The Mueller Report: Game Over: Not So Fast

Everything we thought was true, that which we have seen exposed over and over again (in some of our news) turns out to be true. The Mueller Report tells us this. Game Over – I think not. There is little in there that we did not already know. We have a President who will do anything to stay in power, although he was quite surprised when he won it. Was his surprise genuine? I doubt it. This is not a man who cares a hoot about being genuine. He had his guys put the fix in and they are all in jail for it. But he kept this hands clean, no paper trail to him, no tapes, just word-of-mouth. What people say is easily challenged, easily turned into a personal attack, slander, their-word-against-mine. Our laws will never get closer to this guy than what the Mueller Report managed to seek out and tell us. Our President is friends with mobsters and knows better than to leave evidence behind of his misdeeds.

How near crisis are we in America and in the world? How near a critical point in the transformation of our democracy/republic into an authoritarian state? How close to coastal flooding and weather too violent to ignore? How close to the death of our oceans? Whether or not we can afford to take our sweet time and make sure we have the goods on this man while he tramples our laws and our values and our institutions is not a question to be taken lightly. Trump proves through the testimony of his familiars that he would do anything to get his way, anything to protect himself, and anything to get reelected to an office that he disrespects, and does not comprehend or honor.

The Senate will not impeach. We know this. Trumpists around the country believe the new AG when he says that Trump is in the clear. But these are people who have taken us a long way down the road to destruction both at home and abroad, people who only seem to care that the economy seems temporarily improved. When America is finally ruined who will we blame, the people who didn’t see through Trump, or the people who did who did not do enough to stop the desecration of our nation? Will impeachment from only the House of Representatives wake up the bewitched? Impeachment doesn’t mean that a President has to give up his/her office. I don’t know if impeachment will work.

I thought the law was a muscular thing; that there was power and justice in the law. But when it comes to the powerful and the wealthy the law seems quite “dainty”. Lawyers intone on our television sets all day long. One day they find that Trump is despicable and bad for America. But then they equivocate, because we have written America into a corner where a sitting President cannot be indicted. Today the same lawyer who spoke with some passion yesterday now is pontificating about using our powers of reason, and is rationalizing inaction.

If any person without power or wealth in America did the things this President has done or tried to do s/he would be in jail. If we have a Constitution that does not allow us to protect our nation against a scheming President, a President who cares more about what he personally can “win”, not for the nation but for himself, and the adulation of his deluded followers, what loyalty he can command through fear, not through worth; when our Constitution does not protect us from such a person then that document is no longer enough to provide a government that works for we the people.

Our Constitution assumes that we will elect someone with integrity and a broad philosophical view which will keep our nation safe from plunder and dismantlement, or from weakness that allows a foreign power to exploit us. We have let a person with no integrity, no depth of view, a destroyer into our government instead. And now we find ourselves with no way to free ourselves that does not further the destruction of our freedoms and rights and the apparatus that allows us to keep these abstract and hard-won values. If the election doesn’t work, only mass demonstrations and chaos will offer any hope of restoring our nation to the framework provided and maintained by our ancestors. We also cannot stop governing for elections. There is always an election on the horizon.

Photo Credit: From a Google Image Search – NJ.com

You can also find this post at  Tremr.com

Morality in America: Secular or Religious?

_atrk_opts = { atrk_acct:”F5LZl1a8FRh2WR”,
domain:”thebrissioniblog.blogspot.com”,dynamic: true};

(function() { var as = document.createElement(‘script’);
as.type = ‘text/javascript’; as.async = true; as.src =
“https://d31qbv1cthcecs.cloudfront.net/atrk.js”; var s =
document.getElementsByTagName(‘script’)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(as, s);
})();

 

America wants to be and believes that it is a moral nation, at
least as moral as flawed humans know how to make it, but we are in the midst of
a tug of war to decide if our morality will be secular or religious. It is
unclear why we are even having this argument. The Constitution and our
forefathers clearly come down on the side of religious freedom for American
citizens and they have left enough written documentation to convince most of us
that the founders of our nation felt that the best way to insure religious
freedom is to separate government and religion. This would seem to negate the
formation of a Theocracy.

However, some in present-day politics are trying to walk back
our traditional understanding of what our founders intended while claiming that
they can channel the actual intentions of those who wrote our founding
documents. They argue that America harbored only sects of Christianity in Colonial
times and that, if our forefathers had been faced with Muslims, or Buddhists,
or other global religions that have found a home in modern day America, then
they might have written about religion and government in a different way, or
they might have made America a Christian nation. But wishing it, or even
positing it as a logical conclusion, does not make it so. I would like to think
that our founders were far-sighted and wise, but think the 3/5 rule which
turned some people into objects, and think about the blatant elitism of our
forefathers, which suggest that they were products of their times, perhaps
overseers rather than seers.

Examining the differences between secular morality and what
advocates mean when they long for religious morality might help inform of us of
which way we would like to go. The right wing Conservatives, with a
preponderance of Evangelical Christians offer us some insight into religious
morality. We get an impression of an Old Testament sensibility, a return to the
rules as laid down in Leviticus. We have the Ten Commandments, of course, but
when we turn them into very literal rules for our nation they would change
America a great deal. I won’t go through them one by one.

The Commandment we are most caught up in right now is Thou
shalt not commit murder. Here is the Pro Life argument in a nutshell. How will
we ever get around the moral argument about whether or not the killing of an
unborn baby, whether it is a mere blob of cells, a possibility of life, or
whether it has taken fetal form and resembles a child is murder or whether that
Christian concept is not the business of our government. We know women have
aborted unwanted children since the beginnings of time and at great risk.
Sometimes the timing of a pregnancy is so wrong or the circumstances of the
pregnancy are so repugnant that a woman is almost obsessed with stopping the
pregnancy. Sometimes a woman knows or senses her own life will be in danger if
she gives birth to a child or even shows anyone that she is pregnant. Since
pregnancy falls within the female realm, the decision about aborting a
pregnancy should fall within the female realm and the process should be as safe
as possible and should definitely not involve rooting the fetal cells out with
a stick or a coat hanger. If the GOP truly wants to end abortion then they need
to set up humane systems to help women through to term and to find parents for
the children that are the result of unwanted pregnancies. Until these systems
are in place I don’t see how women will agree to ending legal abortion.

Besides adopting a literal interpretation of the Ten
Commandments, we have those who suggest that we need to heed things that are
often incidentally described in the Bible as the Christian traditions that
pertained at the times when the Bible was written, although quite a few
centuries passed before we had both the new and the old testaments. So we have
those who admonish women to be submissive and to allow their husbands to
control the lives of the family. I’m not sure, given what we now understand
about the way this can lead to domestic abuse of wives or children or both why
we would ever want to take power away from women ever again, or why women would
freely give up their position as equals.

Those on the religious right argue that having women once
again assume a submissive role in relation to their husband would restore the
nuclear family, end crime, end immorality and end sexual and gender
“deviation”, in other words, would put LGBT people back into the closet or put
them in danger of being punished for their “immoral” behavior. And then, they
(these new patriarchs) argue we could end all this political correctness crap
and, in fact, life would be good. Society’s rules would be simple and clear,
and right and wrong would be spelled out according to God and Jesus [or to someone’s
interpretation of acceptable Christian protocols for living a Godly life].

The Bible does not talk about evolution, so we would just bury
centuries of scientific inquiry? Science, in fact, comes up with so many
conclusions that appear to be at odds with the Bible that we can expect that
abandoning scientific pursuits will bring us all closer to the heaven. Will we
punish those who have curiosity built into their psyches? Well we will
certainly have to pass laws against such investigations of our world and decide
how we will punish those who persist. Can you see how this could all get out of
hand very fast? Do you want an America that lives out the dream of the
Puritans? Do we want to measure our government’s laws by any particular
religion? Will we have a democratic government if it is “God” (as interpreted
by man) calling the shots?
 
 

Clearly sticking with secular morality grants us the freedom
to maintain a democracy. But what rules apply to secular morality? That is what
makes it all so difficult to enjoy freedom because a citizen must frequently
judge what will offer maximum freedom to the most people, while doing the least
harm. This is an enormous task. We often get the balance wrong. Here we rely on
the dialectic to set things right. When things go too far in one direction
forces drag events back towards the center.

So take the case of campaign finance, which most of us agree
is totally out of whack with the very foundation of democratic government. Once
our Supremes agreed that corporations were people we gave our elections back to
the very elite who argued for ascendancy at our nation’s founding. We gave our
elections to the wealthy this time, not the landowners, although I’m sure they
all own land (perhaps not in America, though). President Obama’s election
proves that small donors have some power, but the right wing is trying hard to
negate that. Republicans have more milestones on their agenda to turn our
governance over to the wealthy. Now individuals can give as much as they wish.
Republicans manufactured an IRS scandal and raised such a ruckus that no one
can reevaluate the use of 501 C-4’s again. Even the ploy to pass a flat tax
needs to be examined very carefully because it is most likely a political IED.
In fact Republicans would like to simplify our government right to death.

We are trying to make sure that secular morality, that old golden
rule of ‘Do Unto Others as You Would Have Others Do Unto You’ is still a
guiding force in our nation. We are trying to practice a new American
Exceptionalism that relies on diplomacy and a ‘live and let live’ spirit
(whenever possible) rather than the old idea of exceptionalism that says we
must loom over everyone and threaten to beat them into submission because fear
is the only emotion people really understand.

The American experiment to respect each other and to share
power is still an exceptionally idealistic one and, in that sense, our
exceptionalism still lives and, if we were allowed to cooperate with other
world governments to help lift people around the globe and turn the planet into
a safe, stable, and healthy world the morality of that would far outshine any
Puritanical rule of lockstep religious practices and prejudices that could ever
come out of the atavistic longings of the right wing of the Republican Party in
America.
 
By Nancy Brisson

Democrats: Wusses or Saviors of our Nation?

The
Democrats are being shafted because they are unwilling to give up on the
Constitution and the American government. Who knows better than the Democrats
how seditious the Republicans have been. They have damaged our Constitutional
government by grinding it to a halt, or nearly a halt. They have done this by
refusing to bring any important bills to the floor of the House. Since the
filibuster rule was relaxed (somewhat), some judges have been sent to fill
federal benches. However, the filibuster rules were not relaxed for important
bills, so not many things have passed the Senate either. If a bill happens to
get through the Senate it can’t even get considered in the House because John
Boehner will not bring it to the floor for a vote.
This is not
some temporary strategy. It has been in force for the past four years, since
the Democrats lost the House in 2010, and if the Democrats are unable to turn
things around this strategy will be in force for the next two years. The
Democrats could probably bring Republicans up on charges of sedition, but they
have held back. They believe America can be saved and that when the Tea Party
fever breaks the country will go back to having two parties that agree once
more to wheel and deal and compromise.
I respect
the Democrats for pretending that everything is fine, for holding back, for
protecting our history as a great nation, but I am afraid that the Republicans
have no such compunctions and will go for the juggler if they get a clear
chance. Perhaps they will try to impeach Obama if they win the House and the
Senate in 2014. I believe that this would be a terrible mistake for all
Americans and the fallout might bring about that very civil war we seem to be
headed for. If we cannot reconcile the agenda of the left and the agenda of the
right, if one party will risk nullifying the Constitution because either they
want their power back or they believe so strongly in their ideological policies that they will trash the Constitution and commit seditious acts to get
their way, then we are screwed.
Republicans
believe that the next election is their ticket to having everything they ever
dreamed of and they believe that they have stacked the deck enough to ensure
that the election outcome will go their way.

Should the
Democrats keep backing off the Republicans to save America? Will backing off
the Republicans save America as we know it? Should we finally just go ahead and
get tough, shake the stuffing out of these folks, bring charges against them
and have the whole argument hauled right out into the open. The Republicans,
especially the Tea Party Republicans, have been waltzing really close to the
treason line and Democrats have cut them lots of slack. Republicans have even
gone over the line a few times or why would we have the militias. 
So either we
need to give the Democrats props for keeping to regular order as much as
possible or we have to disparage them as wusses and throw in our lot with the
right wing crazies. Since the entire world is full of nations warring over
internal political divisions why not just join in rather than pretending that
we are saner than everyone else. This is a very sad chapter in our nation’s history.

By Nancy Brisson