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Sunday evening I watched the program "Love and the Constitution" featuring Jamie Raskin, a constitutional law professor and member of the Jan 6 committee. He was elected to Congress in 2016 and the program started with his election. It was interesting to have my memory jogged on what the first couple of years of the DT administration were like - like shutting down the government etc. It was a wonderful program and puts Rep. Raskin on a short list of people I would vote for for President. It might be refreshing to have a Constitutional scholar who loves the Constitution to repair the damage that has been done to the Constitution by all three branches of government. The shadow docket of the Supreme Court and its dismantling of democracy is one thing that needs to be fixed. The Congress as a supposed democratic institution needs the have some adults elected to the Congress. President Biden is doing an amazing job in extremely difficult circumstances. The two party system that John Adams called the worst evil to befall the Constitution should be buried with the Republican party. We can do better than a system that leads to such dysfunctional extremes. Let's celebrate the Biden Boom! Let's celebrate the Constitution. But, make it work for All the People this time.

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"It was a wonderful program and puts Rep. Raskin on a short list of people I would vote for for President."

Whew. So while Republicans are uniting, the Left is back to the purity tests, pipe dreams, and third party Pied Pipers which helped elect Trump once and can again. A typical move, pretend to praise Democrats' accomplishments and then pull the plug on the two party system.

Gush over Jamie Raskin and ignore that Jamie Raskin is a Democrat.

I was lucky to be a neighbor and constituent of Raskin's when he first ran for Congress. To honor him, I try to follow his example - including strategic voting to support Democratic control of government. My list of who I would vote for for president includes any candidate who wins the Democratic primary. That means, after caucusing for Sanders, volunteering and voting for Clinton and after voting for Warren, volunteering and voting for Biden.

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We had a constitutional scholar, Barack Obama. The problems are beyond being a decent, intelligent human. (I admire Rep. Raskin deservedly )T But the next dem president will only be as effective as we are active, right down to the Drain Commisioner and Library Board level. Showing up at School Board meetings and City Commission meetings is important. We need to be a strong -and active- progressive block.

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ThankYou!!!!

Racist wing religious extremists learned the lesson of the Civil Rights movement. Get into politics at every level. Show up and remake the party in your image.

Racist right wing religious extremists volunteer, vote, and run - as Republicans. They didn't swallow the elephant whole, they ate it bite by bite before *s#itting* out in their image - Trump.

The Left has a lot of catching up to do. BLM has the right idea - an alliance for civil right. Cori Bush for example.

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I filed for Treasurer of our county for the primary in the spring. I expect to be the only Democrat on the ballot! My heart is breaking! I will be 79 if I am elected in the fall.

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Good for you. I am 79 too. Thinking of posting myself for school board. At this point it would be write-in, but nobody here wants that job. And I'm not sure I do either, but I could be at least a placeholder.

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Do it! My town needed someone to run and Selectmen encouraged me to step up. I had no children in school but I did have years of experience in government out of state. I knew the District had problems and no one seemed willing to face them or figure out what was wrong (although I had an idea). I was elected - served two 3-year terms, the last two years as Chair. We figured out the cause of the problem (a business manager who had stolen $250,000) and took care of that (sent her to prison). Rebuilt the confidence of the voters and passed budgets with nary a problem.

You will learn a lot being on that side of the Board table. And you may be able to build voter interest and better understanding of how a School Board works.

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Do it, Annie! A buddy of mine ran for county commissioner as a write-in not long after he graduated from high school in 2018. He decided to run about 48 hours before the primary. A multi-generational cohort of supporters swung into action and got him on the ballot. He came in sixth in the general -- the top seven were elected. He's currently in college and doing a great job.

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Don't let your age dissuade you. It gives you perspective, emotional balance, and the courage to say what needs to be said. At our age (I will be 81 in March) we don't have to be building anything; we have nothing to lose by telling the truth and doing what's right. So you're already ahead of any Republican on the ticket.

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Rusty, I have an accounting degree from ISU (a late in life student). Then in 1987 after graduation I started working as a sales and use tax, withholding and income tax auditor for 26 1/2 years. I retired at 70 1/2. I am ready to go back to work and work for my county government now!

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Thanks, Rusty. There is actually NOBODY on the ticket for this position, which was vacated midway by the incumbent. School board is non-partison. I live in a small town. Running would not be an issue. And they do need people like me. My problem is concern for my own health. I'm going to talk to someone I know who is on the board to get her thoughts.

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Check out Run For Something for candidate support:

https://runforsomething.net/

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Good for you, Sharon! I hope you win!

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Yaay!!! YOU are the solution. All Best Wishes!!!!

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👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

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Hey! You’re just a kid! You will win…never ever doubt that, not even for a minute!!

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LOL! I live in a "Republican" county in Indiana. Most folks are uneducated and only vote straight "Republican" because they know the word "Republican". So very sad!

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Kudos.

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Bless you!

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Love Cori Bush! She is indeed a force of positive energy for her making our country a better place.

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A savvy and smart activist and politician.

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I suggest that we need a strong and active Democratic block. At least if we want to get anything done. The Democratic Party is the big tent. That has always been its strength. Insisting on purity is a gift to the Republicans--that is, to the authoritarians. Yes, we need progressives--I consider myself one--but let's be clear that we will support what most Democrats want, because at this point there is no choice if we want to be effective and stave off tyranny.

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ps. Obama was not nearly the scholar, activist, nor politician that Raskin or Clyburn are. They are smart, savvy team players.

Obama, despite being a basketball fan, never understood team play or political strategy. He won elections but was not an adept executive because he did not work with his Democratic team in Congress.

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If he had understood team play or political strategy, we might never have had TFG in the white house.

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Oh yes, purity tests....going strong in the our new CD six here in Oregon. I want someone who can win in the general and that person might not check every box. It is not enough to want medicare for all, or universal health care; it has to be single payer of else. On one thread I gave a little history starting at the New Deal about the effort to get health care for everyone. Shame on me, as someone decided to be condescending and I suspect was also mansplaining. Finally, I explained to him why he was offensive and didn't receive a reply after that. But if the Neanderthal Peter Thiel had his way, I wouldn't be voting.

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You go girl!!! Absolutely yes.

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Pragmatism, as in who stands the best chance of beating whomever the Republicans nominate, should be the guiding principle for Democrats given what's at stake. Progressives, for all their noble policy positions — most of which I support, too often forget the well-worn saying "perfection is the enemy of the good."

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Four thumbs up. I have tried to explain this, but talking to them is like talking to a true believer of any hue. I have to smile about the irony on one of the pages which is supposedly open for discussion, but no this and no that if it's not pure far left progressive. Just as autocratic as those they oppose.

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Feb 8, 2022·edited Feb 8, 2022

Only a billionaire like Thiel could get away with objecting to women voting. Democrats should use this against any Republican who accepts Thiel's help. He deserves to be ostracized.

Also, FWIW, research continues to build a case that Neanderthals don't deserve having their name used a pejorative. Smarter and more ingenious than earlier thought, they may not have gone extinct. Instead, they likely were absorbed into the homo sapient population. But I'm biased because of my higher-than-average Neanderthal DNA.

I suggest referring to Thiel as a troglodyte. One meaning of the word: a person who is regarded as being deliberately ignorant or old-fashioned. Or call him a rich savage.

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I didn't mean to insult Neanderthals and actually thought about what you mentioned. I think it's great you have a higher than average amount of their DNA. And I do read about prehistory. I finished a book on ancient DNA not long ago. i was in a hurry and had a different word in mind, but was iffy on the spelling. You provided the word I wanted. I confess to being a poor speller and am also at the age when the word I want sometimes escapes me, but will come if I am not trying to think of it. I think I can fairly call Thiel a misogynist. He is certainly in the wrong century.

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What planet are you on? Not this one, that’s for sure. Republicans are uniting? You couldn’t prove it by what they are saying. Or by their steadily diminishing minority. Democrats are engaging in purity tests? Sure they are. That’s why they united behind Joe Biden, and passed ARP with not one Republican vote, and the infrastructure package with very few. It’s time to come down to Earth.

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Sheesh. Mitch McConnell's Senate. The Leonard Leo Supreme Court. RNC. Unite the Right is the GOP motto. What they *say*? Seriously. They will *say* anything. Listen to Susan Collins. She says all sorts of nice stuff -and then marches lock step with McConnell. You shall know them by their deeds.

Yes Democrats united behind Biden. THANKYOU James Clyburn. ThankYou all the Democratic contenders who stepped down from their personal ambition and stepped up for their Country and Party. ThankYou all the Democratic voters, many of them for whom unity did not come easy.

Yes after the 2016 disaster, many on the Left joined the Biden coalition in 2020.

But comments about 'short list of Democrats I would vote for for president' show that many consider their vote a personal expression of their own deeply held feelings - rather than a tactic to strategically unite for a shared goal.

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Amen!

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Right on the button, lin. Thank you.

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Unfortunately, at the local level, certain progressives are pushing purity tests and they constantly diss Biden. If a pol takes even a dime from a corporation, that person is a corporate D. Our secretary of state here in Oregon just made it more difficult to get measures on the November ballot about campaign money because there is a court decision about the wording of these. They would also apply to unions and that may be part of the problem. The story now is incomplete and I hope there is further information. And Phil Knight just made a large donation to Betsy Johnson, a DINO, who is running as an independent for governor. And no, the Oregon supreme court has not made a decision on Kristof.

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With the incessant national noise, I’ve been less engaged with what’s going on in Oregon at the state level. My bad.

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Not at all your bad. There is so much going on in every state that it is hard to keep track. That's one of the thing that I like about this site; I read about what's going on in other places. And yes, the national noise is very loud.

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Not following your logic as a response to Cathy’s comment.

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Feb 8, 2022·edited Feb 8, 2022

You gotta play the hand you're dealt. Focus on uniting and winning. The two party system may not be working for a lot of us, but the alternative is marching in circles with no one listening.

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Exactly, Syd. Thank you for a concise statement of what has to drive our priorities right now. One of the reasons some Progs are obstructive is because they want some kind of absolute in the outcome. That's kind of the same approach right wing republicans use. And it isn't getting them anywhere either (thankfully). But they can keep things muddled up enough we could lose unless we get straight on what is at stake here. The two (or more) party system does work, but first you have to have working, politically healthy parties capable of engaging in rational discourse.

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Some people do not seem to understand this at all. They do not understand the reality of what can be achieved in the political realm. When I tried to point out that we should celebrate what Biden has achieved and not constantly diss him, I was "toxic." Just was on one thread where one person was trying to talk about the practical problems of getting campaign finance reform. The other person wanted a detailed plan and then I guess he thought that could be implemented with no problem.

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"Politics is the Art of the Possible." A duly famous quote.

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A quote I often use, but rarely receive any kind of cogent answer to it.

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We can’t succumb to purity tests. Otherwise we end up with Jill Stein and other third party candidates siphoning off electors.

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However, I loved Raskin way back when he had Rand Paul’s haircut.

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Cathy praised the worthy Raskin to the skies. Told us to celebrate the Biden Boom. And then rallied us to pull the plug on the two party system, leading the way for a purity test politics. Which she claims will help all of us. Well, the Democratic successes are helping all of us. We need a larger majority to do more.

We have a two party system. That is the choice. After Ross Perot, Republicans learned the lesson of uniting the right for power, particularly the power of the courts.

And even after 2016 and with the Leonard Leo, Koch, Mercer et al Supreme Court obstructing justice for years to come. Many on the left still don't get it.

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I believe this is missing the larger point. The Constitution as written was adequate for the white society that ruled America in the late 18th and early 19th century. But societies become more and more complex over time. The steps are incremental and designed to solve problems as they arise.

But the overall effect is monumental when comparing, say, today with 1800. Our society has changed to the point that it is utterly alien to that which existed in the early days of the Republic.

The arc of all major societies is towards collapse. Joseph Tainter’s book, “The Collapse of Complex Societies” delineated this truth nearly 40 years ago.

It has become painfully obvious that the intricately-structured, rickety, yes two party system of governing America, designed largely as reflexive protection against Britain, is hopelessly unequal to the challenges of the modern world. Attempts to solve the problem by tacking on a third party or adding even more radical change to the superstructure are effectively man’s best effort to stick a finger in the dyke in order to prevent the flood.

Working within the system, becoming involved at even the lowest levels of government are calls to action that are hard to resist - there is a certain very finite logic to them.

But the larger point remains hard to ignore. America has become too complex a society to remain cohesive. Its collapse is relatively imminent. It is true that the same can be said for the rest of the developed world, democracies and otherwise. But the American system is so ossified, so structurally immovable and the penchant of your country for deep, coruscating internal division almost guarantees that its collapse will be arrived at more swiftly.

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The Founders as Enlightenment revolutionaries were progressives. The essence of the Constitution is coming to consensus through reasoned debate of empirical evidence. The scientific method informing an agreed legal framework. This is how we transfer executive and legislative authority, interpret the law through the judiciary, and make laws in the legislature. And amend the Constitution. Everything else is up for reform and renewal.

Our government is threatened from the Right by the absolute truths of religious creed and from the Left from the absolute truths of ideology. More parties won't fix absolutism. More parties may create more gridlock and worse politics. Showing up once every 4 years to skew a presidential election is not building a party.

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I find it an imposing task to imagine more gridlock.

I like the ideals in your first paragraph, but they remain aslant from the trend to complexity. Each new problem brings (at best) a just-in-time solution and, as an added bonus (?) another jump towards an increase in overall complexity. The Jenga sticks grow, and to a more than casual observer, look less sturdy.

Add to that the insane and entirely unique pace of technological transformation and it becomes more to difficult to argue that the centre can hold. The centre is no longer served by its collection of what it took to be truisms. So it embarks on a futile search for progressive ventures (ranked choice voting is one) to preserve the unpreservable.

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I've had these thoughts, though not as coherently and cohesively -- along with the long-held conviction that the earth's population has grown too large to be supported by the earth's resources. These two thoughts seem of a piece to me -- that once a system grows too large, it starts to collapse. Are viruses like Covid the planet's way of shaking off its major predator? Are the deep socio-political-cultural divisions we're seeing an inevitable result of societies being organized along the lines of have and have not? Have we already engineered the destruction of our species, with current situations being the beginning of Act I? Sorry -- a maudlin start to the day. I think I'll take the dog for a walk.

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Somewhat off topic, but a response to the previous post: Each year, starting in 2006, the Global Footprint Network calculates so-called Earth Overshoot Day, “the date on which humanity has used more from nature than our planet can renew in the entire year.” For 2020, the date was August 22; in 2021, it was July 29. The organization estimated that each year humanity was consuming about 160% of what the Earth could replenish. Here's a link:

https://www.footprintnetwork.org/about-us/our-history/

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The two extreme parties do not represent me. I have no elected representative that represents me. On Biden's Inauguration Day a Gallup poll showed 25% of the people identified as Democrats, 25% as Republicans and a simple majority 50% as Independents. The solution to the third candidate spoiling the two party bipartisan (as quite different from nonpartisan) lock on elections is called ranked choice voting. The two party system is not in the Constitution and in fact the founders thought it would destroy democracy. They are being proved correct in this century. Texas is already an autocracy with minority white male rule. ALEC has gotten 17 states (red ones) to pass resolutions to hold a Constitutional Convention. It takes 38 to have one. If you think the Supreme Court super-majority is a problem which is already ripping up the Constitution wait until the ALEC Convention makes the death of our democratic republic a reality.

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May I suggest that it is not about you? It is about putting our personal lived experiences to work for our shared goals?

It is not about seeing someone just like you in office, unless you run for office. It is about working and playing well together. For something more important than our individual selves.

The Founders were against factions in general. But as Ben Franklin said, 'when animosities arise, stand with the party which unfurls the flag of the general welfare.' Loosely paraphrased.

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Sorry lin. You are making so many assumptions about who I am and you have no clue. Enjoy this sunny day!

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Well put, lin. I do think the time will come when the "United States" will either redefine and rename itself, or it will regionalize into an assembly of nations rather than semi-independent states (which is where our name originally arose). Most of us have a sense of regional identity, and there are many formal, legal regional collaborations already in place. We can't predict where the future will take us (as the recent past has all too well reminded us). But we do seem to be on the cusp of some kind of significant change. The values we choose to operate under will play a large role in how that plays out. The trope that nations and empires necessarily descend into violence is not true. Mostly they just kind of wind down.

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Republicans are uniting? Really?

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Yes. THIS is what we need!

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Wow. Just wow. Lin, you seem to have jumped to a whole lot of conclusions based on not much. I don't agree with Cathy Learoyd's apparent opposition to the two-party system, and I'd never quote John Adams as an authority on the subject (that was then . . .), but where did she say that Raskin was the only Dem she would vote for?

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In the documentary he made it very clear that the power to govern is Congresses to do the things you listed that need to be fixef, not the presidents. It is the President's job to faithfully execute and uphold the laws Congress passes and the Constitution. That is why executive orders have no real teeth and since Congress under Obama was able to do little to nothing because of McConnell's obstruction it was his only avenue to fixing things. Wasn't Obama a Constitutional law professor? Raskin is wonderful, I agree, but I think he will do the most good being in the House. He is now a household name, like Schiff. Four years ago I would have been hard put to name any Representative from Maryland except for my own. He is gaining national respect and influence. I'm going to enjoy watching him in action over the coming years. Although I think his wisdom and love of democracy would be extremely useful on the world stage...I would have no problem giving him my vote if he chooses to run for president.

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The US Constitution was clearly never intended to work for all the people (read it if you don't believe me). And it never will work for all the people without a major rewrite to bring it into the 21st century

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Then the question is who would rewrite it for the 21st century vs. going back to the 18th century or earlier. I do think a Constitutional Convention will happen in the next decade but whether it will be to strengthen democracy or strengthen atrocracy we don't yet know.

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Great typo, seems a contraction of atrocious-cracy

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Oops, not intentional. Guess I coined a new word. LOL!

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But, a new word so apropos to today's issues....

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Remember that a Constitutional Convention cannot be limited in what it does, and think about how the delegates will be elected.

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Well, hopefully, by ten years' time, all the corrupt republicans will be in jail or on that island in Siberia.

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Alas, they have spawn. Many.

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Alas, so true...and brainwashed followers... we cannot send them all, I guess.

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How bout the Koch Brothers?

Or, the Federalist Society?

Or, hey, we could even ask Donald Trump (although I do not think he can read or write) to do it!!

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These are the most gung ho to do it, be careful what you ask for. When the Heritage Society decides that all the donor money is going to the MAGAts, and abandons the traditional Republican blather (read that somewhere yesterday), then the dye is cast, in my view…

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Add ALEC. They are powerful and have loads of funding.

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And pretty sure that people would be shocked at who is a member. Suffice it to say that Dan Patrick, truly evil Lt Gov of Tx, is emblematic of the ALEC evil that spreads state house to state house with lightening speed.

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I didn't know this about Dan Patrick, but I'm not at all surprised.

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ALEC already has 17 states (red ones) calling for a Constitutional Convention.

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Actually, ALEC is already working on the Constitutional Convention for a very conservative constitution. They already have 17 states out of the needed 38 to call for a conventional. Republicans have achieved their goal with the super-majority Supreme Court and now is going straight to the heart of the Constitution to get it out of their way. Saw a cartoon yesterday that said Welcome to Texas - Where the Hand Maids Tale meets the Taliban.

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... pretty sure these folks are aiming for fair and just for all ...:

https://www.movetoamend.org/

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Sure, Kathleen, there are good people and good ideas, yet a premature convention would break open Pandora's box. The best you'd get would be the Invasion of the Body Snatchers, while the worst that lies buried under that fine table of stone doesn't bear thinking of...

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But, Peter, isn't it good to start lining up plans for when the time is right? There are pervasive changes we need to update our democracy to bring it into this century. We need a catalogue of the changes to come that have much better checks and balances as well as qualifications for public servants (corruption, bankruptcies, connections with evil empires, mental health stability. Can they pass the National Security background checks and Civil Service Exams | Federal Civil Service exams. Oh, and can they read? I would add, how addicted are they to twitter, social media, golfing, lying and gazing in the mirror at their own reflection (level of Narcissism). And how do they feel about democracies, emolument clauses, racism, misogyny, nepotism, fair share taxation with proof of last ten years IRS returns) and the Rule of Law (i.e.do they live above it or under it?). Who do they look up to and admire (no autocratic leaders allowed, even if they "can look into their souls." Better get back to something constructive like clearing the snow.

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Well said—and well thought! (The linguist says pensa means “thinks” in Latin or Italian.) I had the Federalist thrown at my head at age 17, but today we have the Federalist Society thinking hard about how to deconstruct America on the basis of the 1787 document and plenty of federalists with the appropriate prefix “con” drumming up states’ support for a d.i.y. constitutional convention that would take the country back where they want it, to their very own pre-1787 libertarian-la-la-land. It’s because that wild backwoods bunch are already busy plotting and planning that we’ve reason to beware of a prematurely timed and inadequately prepared convention, for, unless I’ve misunderstood, convening a convention means throwing the entire constitutional issue wide open.

As for “clearing the snow”, the world will be safer when some people are kept busy with such healthy activities in remotest Alaska. Or somewhere equally remote on the other side of the Bering Strait.

So, before there can be any changes (which must, among other things, incorporate Madison’s view that the Constitution should be regularly reviewed and updated) there must be a huge amount of thorough preparatory work, and here I am completely behind Kathleen and citizens’ associative work. With this proviso: if it can be done by means other than a constitutional convention, so it should be—see MaryPat Sercu’s comment to that effect.

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Feb 8, 2022·edited Feb 8, 2022

"We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling and other related cases, and move to amend our Constitution to firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights." Yes! BUT, we do not need a Constitutional convention or rewrite to amend it. We just need to amend it to stop corporations from buying, then destroying, our democracy.

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I agree with you Mary Pat. Using the idea of nation rebuilding as a foundation, I wrote a paper in 2015 in favor of reestablishing the values base for the nation, suggesting we needed to come together with a contemporary and more dynamic constitution. I thought it a healthy exercise in pursuit of ensuring the democracy we professed to love. I shared it with five people I respected. It died the appropriate death it deserved. That experience reminded me of the Baptist fault that fits in this train of thought about convening a constitutional convention. If we can't get unanimity in ideology, start over, build a new church, and work the slow path to where ideological differences divide, rather than unite. The hard work is adjusting to differences, to make progress, not to create the most perfect and unchangeable way to live together is the productive direction for our messy nation. HCR certainly makes clear that opening up a convention to update the Constitutional would prove as ill-advised as did that which occurred in 1787; the damned compromises we now live with. Amend, yes, and recognize that our constitution is not divine scripture, but the product of it's time, brilliant though the idea is that all men are created equal and equal under the laws of a just nation.

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Yes, I think Citizens United is the crux of the problem and why we are losing our democratic republic. However, the alternative to a Convention of States is the Congress presenting the amendment and most of them have been corrupted by the money allowed by Citizens United. It is like asking a fox to put a lock on the hen house.

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True that. But to my knowledge there has been more push for a Congressional Convention from the right than the left. We are back to un-corrupting government a school board seat and a County Commissioner position at a time. Have to re-read the last third of David Pepper's book again ("Laboratories of Democracy"). And EVERYONE ON THIS SITE NEEDS TO FOLLOW CATHY'S LEAD: JOIN AND BE ACTIVE IN THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS!

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Exactly. They are way ahead of any reasoned effort

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I say we substitute the Massachuesetts Constitution for the US Constitution.

A MUCH better document and sans all the compromises with the slave states and rich plantation owners.

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Talk of changing the United States Constitution at this time is akin to painting the living room while the house is on fire. Do we really need to water down our efforts in preserving the Democratic form of Government we currently enjoy? We have got to coalesce around the 2022 and 2024 elections.

Perhaps the Constitution is not so much at fault as the people who interpret it.

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Mike All this talk about a Constitutional Convention is totally irrelevant to what is occurring in modern-day America In over 250 years there has been fewer than 30 Constitutional Amendments, of which only a handful were substantive. The suggestion that a Constitutional Convention could ‘repair’ the Constitution defies political realities [requirement for approval from 3/4 of states].

I commented earlier today on the volatility of the Constitutional checks-and-balances provisions. Additionally. There is the ongoing struggle over federal/states rights as reflected in the 10th Amendment.

We are obliged to work within our existing amended Constitution under which, for now, we have a ‘rogue’ Supreme Court. Currently it seems highly unlikely that the Legislature can clip the wings of this court and a president has limited opportunity to enforce Executive Orders.

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The document doesn't need repairing - it needs replacing, preferably with a document that supports a Westminster (i.e. parliamentary) style system rather than the Latin American-style presidential system now in place (Look up the stats on which countries besides the US actually have presidential systems. You'll be shocked.)

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Why in the world would we now try to be like the very form of government we rebelled against?

You also discount the sense of tradition, Patriotism and downright love Americans have for their Founding Fathers and the Constitution of these United States.

At present the United States is going through what is undoubtedly a cataclysmic and frightening time. We are in a serious battle for our Democracy. Constant disparaging of who we are, our past and how our Constitution works is untimely to say the least.

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Maybe because it works, for the UK and for most of the world outside of the United States. (And has worked for upwards of a thousand years.) Why would the US want a form of government which is found almost exclusively in South America, and in South American dictatorships at that? There was nothing inherently wrong with the form of government in place in England at the time of the American Revolution - just in its policies toward its colonies in the New World. I grew up in the US and would love to see its brave political experiment succeed, but at the rate things are going, I'm afraid it might not - at least not without some major rethinking.

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Talia I can appreciate your frustration with our Constitution as it has gradually evolved over more than 250 years. Can you describe how we might scrap the present Constitution and create some sort of parliamentary system? As I described in my commentary, the devil is in the details. I don’t foresee such a revolutionary endeavor.

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The question should be: What is in the Constitution that you perceive as not working?

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Hate to admit I lived in Massachusetts for over two decades and have never read its Constitution. It did seem to work well. Now living in Texas I don't think I could make any sense out of its Constitution and its 507 amendments! That what odd year elections are for - to pass Constitutional amendments by small turn-out on important things like allowing rodeos to do raffles.

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The US Constitution was a brilliant and appropriate document for its time, when the US was a small, close-knit country with a relatvely homogeneous population and common social values. Its creators had know way of knowing that in 200 years, the country would become a sprawling , coast-to-coast conglomerate of fifty states, each of which with disparate politics, demographics, characters, and philosophies. Had they known, I think the Constitution would hsve been written quite differently.

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RAFFLES at rodeos? it's the beginning of the end.

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Feb 8, 2022·edited Feb 8, 2022

Your comment is illustrates why I almost always vote no on constitutional amendment ballot measures in California. Some of the things people want to hammer into a state or federal constitution do NOT belong in a constitution.

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Ralph Nader helped give us Bush. Jill Stein voters helped give us Trump. Bernie Sanders helped give us Trump. Split the Party and give us a Dictatorship in 2024. As I bet Dr. Richardson would tell you history does not lie.

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Corrupt republicans, the Mercers, the Murdochs, the Kochs, and Vlad and his oligarch friends ALL helped give us their seditious monkeyman for their destructive ends of our democracy. A soul-less, narcissistic, revengeful man-corporation can be bought by anyone, especially if they make him emperor.

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And we split our votes while we put our head in the sand and pretended the boogeymen weren't there. Biden, Sanders, Warren, Cheney, Kinsinger, etc. weren't bought. "Going down to the crossroads" is a personal decision.

Once again. We aid and abet the enemy when we ignore the threat and our personal responsibility in fighting it. We absolutely do not have the luxury of blaming someone else, pandering to a wish list or playing politics at this time.

Jon Meacham, James Carville and other have stated this: DEMOCRACY IS HANGING BY A THREAD. I for one walk around with a low level of terror at the prospect of living in an Authoritarian State should the Democrats fail in 2022 or 2024.

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FairVote.com. rank voting

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I know what that is Kat. We 1000% need to keep our focus on defeating the Republicans in 2022 and 2024. Anything else is a distraction.

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and the emperor has no clothes...

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And the graphic image that conjures up is too horrifying for words.

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Yes it is. It haunts me Dave. Already the Republicans are talking of impeaching Biden, jailing people they deem not in lock step with their agenda and on and on. They are counting on winning in 2022.

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And setting themselves up for some major trauma if they don't; a consummation devoutly to be wished for and which we all need to work to bring about.

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Seems like he is the rare case of a decent human being in politics.

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You need to listen to CSpan more. Yes, Jamie Raskin is my hero but he is not a rare case of a decent human being in politics. The list of Democrats is too long to type out - but why not start with James Clyburn, Sheldon Whitehouse, Patty Murray, Hakeem Jeffries, Jon Ossoff, Zoe Loftgren, Tammy Baldwin, Maisie Horano, Tammy Duckworth, Raphael Warnock ...

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And an odd duck to be that open about his (gasp) feelings and emotions. He is a decent human being, and that is not damning by faint praise.

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One thing I noticed on Rep. Raskin office wall was a framed list of the Early Warning Signs of FACISM from the Holocaust Museum. Here it is as a quiz:

QUIZ: How many of these Warning Signs of Fascism do you see in today's America? Check the boxes.

Early Warning Signs of

FASCISM

☐ Powerful and Continuing Nationalism

☐ Disdain for Human Rights

☐ Identification of Enemies as a Unifying Cause

☐ Supremacy of the Military

☐ Controlled Mass Media

☐ Obsession with National Security

☐ Religion and Government Intertwined

☐ Corporate Power Protected

☐ Labor Power Suppressed

☐ Disdain for Intellectuals & the Arts

☐ Obsession with Crime & Punishment

☐ Rampant Cronyism & Corruption

☐ Fraudulent Elections

(from the Holocaust Museum)

____ out of 14 checked

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There is one missing. A population ignoring/dismissing the signs.

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Sadly true, Barbara. I would note that the author of the article from which the list on the poster was taken--Laurence Britt--noted in his opening paragraph:

"And fascism’s principles are wafting in the air today, surreptitiously masquerading as something else, challenging everything we stand for. The cliché that people and nations learn from history is not only overused, but also overestimated; often we fail to learn from history, or draw the wrong conclusions. Sadly, historical amnesia is the norm."

https://secularhumanism.org/2003/03/fascism-anyone/

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Far too many out of 14.

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With the exception of 'Supremacy of the Military," all are present to some extent today in our country. Fascism replaces democracy in bits and pieces, not all at once. And eventually, before you know it, it's there, big, ugly and undemocratic. BINGO!

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Make it work! Don't leave it "for the other guy". Be an informed and involved citizen. Support the candidate you want to see lead with your time and your money. Even if all you do is provide true facts around the water cooler or with neighbors and friends. Write letters to the editor. Join the local party group. Join Indivisibles. Advocate for truth, justice and the American Way. The America where all men (and women) are created equal. We are not there yet but working toward that end.

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Cathy James Madison in Federalist 51 makes a stark statement about human beings “If men were angels, there would be no need for government….’ This is precisely why there was such a focus on establishing checks and balances (Executive/Legislature/Judiciary) in the Constitution.)

There were no ‘political parties’ when Washington was elected president. Washington, in dealing with Hamilton/Jefferson food fights, expressed great fear of political factions. Gradually political parties evolved, at times splitting [the Republican Party was created from remnants of the Whig and American Party in the 1850s.]

Historically, checks-and-balances has been a teeter board, at times with the legislature dominant and, more frequently with a president pushing the constitutional envelope. On occasion, the Supreme Court upsets the ‘constitutional balance.’ The current Supreme Court majority seems as historically out of step as the “Dred Scott’ SC of the 1850s and the SC that FDR inherited in 1933.

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Feb 8, 2022·edited Feb 8, 2022

Cathy,

I understand your enthusiasm for Jamie Raskin. However, "a constitutional law professor" disqualifies him from being President.

He can read.

:-)

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Choosing Presidential Candidates because they make us feel good or they are the flavor of the month is a recipe for bad bad outcome.

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Barbara Several historians have written that the qualities required to win a presidency are starkly different than those required to function appropriately as president. If you look at the 10 attributes that historians and political scientists apply in the C-Span ranking of past presidents, they differ profoundly from the selection process of a presidential candidate.

TV attractiveness now is certainly a prerequisite for a prospective presidential candidate. Lincoln would probably have flunked this test. Today FDR in his wheel chair would have done badly. In 1960 in the Kennedy/Nixon debates, JFK’s attractive vigor was in sharp contrast to Gloomy Dick, who refused make up and was appearing just after days in his sick bed.

Robert Redford would be a superb presidential candidate these days. Meryl Streep would do well as a female candidate. Though Lassie would meet the requirement of being American born, alas he was not 35 years old. Botox for presidential candidates?

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Mike Though “a constitutional law professor’ is disqualified from being President because he can read, there is no disqualification of a “constipated President.” Cause for a Constitutional Amendment?

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Cathy, might be good for you to go back and read the reasoning and conditions behind John Adams comment. Shall we return to a bunch of people running independently, with the top vote getter becoming President and the second becoming vice-president. At the time the founders were cycling the offices among themselves. Jefferson (an odd man in many ways) broke that when he figured out how to manipulate the system in his favor. There were factions before, but that likely was when parties began, so that voters could join together to promote their choice of candidates and causes. Remember also that those votes were not cast by "All the People", but basically by more or less self-selected representatives of the people. "People" did not include women, most colored men, or, in many places, men who did not own land. There were many parties, not just two, in the beginning. The same is true now, and both major parties are actually coalitions of people who share enough values and goals in common to work together. What we're seeing now is yet another shift in those coalitions, esp on the side currently known as "Republican", whose factions are breaking apart. The chaos is significant. And it may disintegrate. But our of the chaos may emerge other ways of organizing around conservative principles. Or some splintering may occur, with a central party emerging that pushes the extreme right wing into irrelevance. Some signs of that possibility.

To be honest, I am not sure what your point really is in your post. At one point you say "celebrate the Constitution", but the "solutions" you propose (some of which do not even make sense) would require us to throw the Constitution away.

I hope that some of the people who "liked" what you wrote reread it and rethink what they are actually "liking". Several commenters noted the inconsistencies and raised their concerns. I add mine.

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I applaud this comment. I am 1000% not attributing what I am about to say to anyone on this comments board today. Here goes. Be cautious in talking up these causes folks. There are many and more than you realize among us in these United States who want to sow dissension, disbelief in our institutions and hatred of others and hence chaos.. A friend of mine as part of his occupation has studied propaganda in America. It is here and has been here. We are easily fooled and swayed by running to one cause and then another. Stay focused on preserving Democracy. Stay focused on the 2022 elections.

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I wholly agree Barbara that 2022 looms enormous! I feel stymied way out and up here in Washington. After the victories of Ossoff and Warnock I feel it vitally necessary to augment the skin on my teeth so I've arranged to travel with my brother to Fulton County in November to timely bring food and water to those in need. Being somewhat feisty but in the last year of my eighth decade, I may not hold up well to the complications I may provoke from the vigilante election officials. But I am certain that if trouble finds me, at the very least it shall be good trouble.

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I believe Georgia wrote into their draconian voter suppression "laws" that it is considered against the law to give food and water to voters in line. I might be wrong though. Just check on it would you?

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You are definitely speaking for me. ThankYou and Thank your friend.

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It might be effective to have a system of open primaries and ranked choice voting. It would increase voter participation and decrease the party hegemony.

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It's being tried in some local elections and, I believe, in one state for state elections. It has been very successful in Ireland and some other places. But for us, right now, it is something that Congress should take up while looking at fixing voting for national offices. And for us, here, right now, it would be a distraction away from the critical work of preparing for and building up awareness of the upcoming midterms and the Nov 2024. We can't afford that.

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Hallelujah! Thank you, Cathy.

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One looks at individuals such as Jamie Ruskin with admiration as a fellow American...then on the other hand, thinks how totally ashamed they would be as a Republican today! To be fair...I can't believe the silent majority comes close to identifying with the despicable sycophants that represent the republican party presently. Unfortunately...their apathy damns them and possibly our Democracy. I shudder to think what might happen to this Country if the Elections of 2022 and 2024 go wrong!

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Incomprehensible...

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I would like to see Jamie Raskin as our President too. My heart was breaking Sunday night for him and his family. I would also like to see Adam as our President. However, at soon to be 79 I might not be so lucky. They are both wonderful young men!

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I am 72. I am Jewish. Like Raskin and Schiff. There is too much antiSemitism on the right *and* on the left for a Jew, no matter how qualified, to be elected president of the United States.

Please prove me wrong.

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I'll take a pass on Mr. Schiff, he seems a bit too enamored of the spotlight; Mr. Raskin, however, looks better than anyone in either party who is currently making candidacy noises.

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Have you read his book? If not, I suggest you do.

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I'll take a look, but there's a long list before I get into political puff pieces.

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Schiff!

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Adam Kinzinger is 43. Which Adam would you like to see as president?

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It's a really short list. Right now, based on your recommendation, there's one name on it.

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Yes, only one name on your list of who you will vote for for president. Donald Trump. He's counting on you.

I know, I know. *I won't and you can't make me* the rallying cry of of the intransigent and self indulgent so called 'opposition.'

It's not about you. It's about our most vulnerable neighbors and fragile planet who will be done irreparable harm by a Republican regime. Again.

Don't think for a moment that just because you sit on your hands, there isn't blood on them.

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You should really stop and think a bit before you start ranting. My comment was in response to Cathy's post and complimentary remarks about Cong. Raskin. For the record, I wouldn't and didn't vote for the former president even against the former Secretary of State. This sort of doctrinaire and presumptive response without accompanying thought is why the Democrats have a hard time getting anything done.

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"This sort of doctrinaire and presumptive response without accompanying thought is why the Democrats have a hard time getting anything done."

HaHa. Presumptive and Doctrinaire. *and Democrats have a hard time getting anything done* to boot.

Pandemic relief. Economic stimulus. Infrastructure.

And truly formidable work in the House because we have a sufficient majority and a very good progressive wing working with the leadership. And if we had a larger majority in the Senate then we'd have Civil Rights acts and Build Back Better.

Whatever ...

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Trying to click heart, lin. Maybe it'll kick in later, Good response. We got work to do. It'd be nice if some of the people making uninformed claims about what is going on would join in. That's the way to get things done, not throwing bricks.

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Guilty of throwing bricks myself - not the best way to get people to join in. ThankYou for the reminder that we need to work and play well together.

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Darn… I had intended to watch that! I hope it’s still available!!

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There should be articles, ads, multiple news stories as to what daily life would be like with an authoritarian goverment. But then, many people probably wouldn't believe it until it happens. Really. It appears they have no idea!

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I have been watching Seaside Hotel, set in Denmark. The Nazis have just taken power. Relatively minor things happen at first, like having your phone calls monitored by the censors and cut off if not for business purposes. Gosh, we would never stand for that! Oh, I forgot, earlier a gay character was savagely beaten by Hitler youth, and Jews were being targeted, but we are used to that kind of thing. But prohibiting phone calls? Terrible! That would be going too far! (Sarcasm)

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I remind you of the Patriot Act of 2001. We gave up immense freedoms with that one.

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Remember, it was a Cheney who stole them.

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Unless it is the Cheney who is currently fighting for Democracy then this is a moot point and actually serves no one except to further sow division which as we know is a hallmark of fascism.

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A good point (about my bad point). My intent, though, is to caution us that Liz Cheney's version of democracy's freedoms does not include, for example, recognition of LGBQT rights.

"The Brookings Institution argued that Cheney has a long-term strategy to become the leader of the Republican Party in the post-Trump era, and that "she’s a real conservative—Democrats who like her opposition to Trump will never like her politics."

[Wickipedia]

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I agree. I do not like Liz Cheney's viewpoint on the above issues. BUT. I am only focused on seeing that we preserve this Democracy so that we may have the luxury of tackling issues once again.

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So true, will never forget Dickie

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Thank you for the suggestion of Seaside Hotel. Well put, Carol. Yes! It is a marvelous look at the insidious nature of autocracy. First the Nazi soldiers are housed in a neighboring hotel to yours, then you are trying to placate them by offering a meal, then they are fencing off the beach, and all the while an intimate relationship is building between one of your hotel's staff and one of the Nazi soldiers. And then there's more. It is a good look at how the frog in the pot is confronted with one and then another "nearly" intolerable situation until the water is boiling. One character at the hotel is paying attention, listening to the radio. The others roll their eyes at his reports about Germany and England. It is gripping. As is our situation, unfortunately.

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Feb 8, 2022·edited Feb 8, 2022

Nine seasons! Speaking of "frog in the pot."

https://www.justwatch.com/us/tv-show/seaside-hotel-2013

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Jane, Seems like R voters in particular are clueless. They think masking and distancing are infringing their freedom? They should vacation in Turkey, or N. Korea for a few weeks. They would return ashamed of themselves. Never happen....

Canadians are free people, but when their government issues laws and mandates the people seem to obey them without too much trouble. Check out what it takes to own (and continue to own) a firearm in Canada for example. Check out what a Canadian goes through to just visit the United States, for another.

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But the current trucker's actions seems to be skewing this view a bit.

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As a Canadian-American(Camerican?), I can tell you that the feeble response of our government to what many people refer to as more an occupation of our capital than a protest is a cause for public outrage. The trucker caravans have made it difficult for health care workers and people in need to access hospitals- counter demonstrations by health care workers and their supporters have led to angry confrontations in Toronto. The antivac truckers are a small but highly vocal minority among Canadian truckers 85% of whom are vaccinated. The only saving grace- no guns. I see this is a preview of what could happen in Canada if the US abandons the rule of law and goes full bore authoritarian. The threat to US democracy is a threat to all democracies.

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Even in Vancouver there is great frustration (comments from my ex wife). Evidently there is a considerable contingent of US activists...

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Lots of US money and US right wing extremists fueling this- but they have some fertile ground in Canada to work with. And some members of our Conservative party have given them political cover. Some people here have forgotten that we choose our leaders through elections and not by intimidation and bullying.

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I wondered about that.

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Thank you for the insight, Richard. I do agree with your ending statement. The minority trucker contingent is perfect example.

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And there are reports of Nazi flag waving. When you look at the fact that some strongly fascist leaning Republicans support these truckers this spells trouble. FOX is supporting the truckers. And now the truckers have advanced to the Detroit bridge.

Sending the best of wishes to the Canadians.

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I also heard, in one report, Confederate flags. Same report stated that there were many truckers/anti-vaxxers from the U.S. participating. I haven't heard this elsewhere yet however.

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I also read where Canada declined Republican support. Go Canada.

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One trucker with an 18-wheeler can make a statement. 30 truckers in the same place can produce gridlock in a city's transportation arterials. Then the media piles on...

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<heart>

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Snopes has investigated the truck caravan stories and *surprise* there are many lies and much fakeness. Several articles recently posted. Here’s one: https://www.snopes.com/articles/392281/freedom-convoy-size-exaggerated/

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Thanks Gigi. Who are those pushing the narrative that the “convoy” has spread world wide? The same small number of anti vaxer folks that have been noted recently?

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And inspiring reactions throughout the world. People have about had enough.

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Almost sounds like people are "mad as hell" and not going to take it any more. Network was a profoundly impactful movie when it was released but I don't think anyone expected it to be prophetic as well.

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American trouble makers, betcha

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Feb 8, 2022·edited Feb 8, 2022

Agreed. Exception for commerce....?

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Why are you measuring us up against such low bars? Why is what we are doing OK because there are other countries who are worse?

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I think you read that post way differently than I did, Elaine. I got that in the US there are people who actually think their rights are being infringed by being asked to behave like responsible grown-up. The writer was pointing out that wearing masks and doing other responsible things is not the same thing as the kinds of things that can happen in authoritarian countries. Give some thought to that, because one of the big topics right now is that we are dealing with the possibility of our own country heading that direction. While foolish, self-absorbed people whine about masks and vaccines, they are being used to set the stage for infringing on REAL rights, like the right to vote or make your own choices about your body.

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I didn’t read it wrong I assure you.

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I'm sure you think so. I read it differently. That's ok. But I would like to understand better why you read it the way you did.

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Media countering good sense at every turn, leading us straight to authoritarianism, is almost laughable (non-humorous version). Media will be the First Thing brought to heel.

Someone describing what will happen to America when we convert to authoritarianism should lead with that first.

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Exactly! Can’t forget how tfg banned journalists who raised probing questions from his press conferences.

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And just look at how journalists are being treated at the Olympics. Plus, this morning, the recently 'missing' Chinese tennis star, Peng Shuai, gave a 'forced confession' with a 'minder' seen in the background.

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Just read Margaret Atwood's Handmaid's Tale. That's all you need. It's slim.

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Yes. I have read that, but realize many will not. If they do, it's thought of more as a novel, and chose to see it as not happening here.

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Milton Mayer’s “They Thought They We’re Free, Germany 1933-1945”.

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I will check it out. Thanks!

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Starting with book burning, oh wait, we already do that.

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How has FB helped make it this way?

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FB has an algorithm that measures success by how much "conflict" it promotes.

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TC, I just deleted a reply heartily endorsing your post about FB’s algorithm(s), but my elaboration on your post made no sense, and I’m too tired to fix it. I despise Zuckerman’s arrogant contempt for our country.

Good night all!

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I guess the America he disdains made it too easy for him to succeed and become rich & influential so he abuses it like a ‘cheap woman’ he succeeded with.

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I agree. We should all do to Facebook what a lot of others have done to Spotify.

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Be careful with that. We become social authoritarians in a way if we keep ganging up like that.

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Good point. I'll add to it that this kind of thing keeps the masses entertained, while doing nothing to fix the underlying problem.

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Morning Gus.

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Exactly why I closed my FB account

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It’s why he personally lost billions last week. May it keep happening.

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Enragement maintains the engagement.

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Well, I'm enraged at Thiel, and Kushner. Won't last long, not going to waste any brain cells or cortisol on them.

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Ukrainians, recognizing the repeated divisional digital strategies, have learned to do something similar.

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And how could 20,000 likes be wrong?

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YES! I listed three book above that explains it all.

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Conflict or reaction?

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Remember how Jared Kushner used to brag about how Facebook was “embedded” in the 2016 Trump campaign? Peter Thiel on the board-FB (and now Meta) play a big part in dismantling democracy-too bad because it could have been used for good.

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Peter Thiel just left Meta to help Trump-backed candidates.

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How has NYT and Washington Post helped make it this way?

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Diana, I can’t really disagree with you, but I also think they kept us critically informed during the last administration. What other major daily’s had the capacity to do that? We could ask the same question about broadcast and cable media, but where would that really get us? At least we have a choice as to what to read and watch. The real question was asked by Ted Keyes, about FB. Unregulated and indifferent, profit over country, there is no question that FB has done grievous harm to this nation.

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Gus, I agree. I dumped FB a couple years ago. I advise all to do the same. Force Zuckerman’s evil to die!

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As the faithful who've swallowed The Word won't even look at other sources of information -- not even when they tell them what they want to hea