Thursday, September 20, 2018

Staying In Place

President Trump isn't going anywhere:
Investigating could be easy. Tossing Trump out of office will be nearly impossible. And reversing policy could be tough, since it usually takes 60 votes to overcome filibusters, and Democrats are highly unlikely to even approach that sort of number.

While an article of impeachment would need only a House majority, actually tossing Trump out of office would need a two-thirds Senate majority. And that is likely to be unattainable.
That won't keep them from trying, or imagining that they are...

Stumping The Kids

More college students admit-the Trump economy is actually doing well:

Fake News, Real Time

Share a rumor, go to jail?
In their report, the committee advised criminal sanctions for those who have crossed a “threshold of serious harm such as election interference, public disorder, and the erosion of trust in public institutions.”

The ministries of law and of communications confirmed in a statement that the government had accepted the recommendations and would work towards drawing up appropriate legislative measures to combat the issue.

“They have essentially been looking for different ways to weaponize falsehoods on the Internet,” said Janil Puthucheary, senior minister of state for communications. “We have set our clear principles to guide Singapore’s response and we have recommended clear and robust measures to be taken by various stakeholders including government, and these include a recommended legislative response.”

“We believe that on the basis of the information provided to us that the nature of falsehoods, and especially deliberate online falsehoods, by their very nature they have the upper hand over the facts,” he continued. “They are more easily believed, they travel further, they travel faster, and they are much harder to dislodge.
But isn't the way to counter what you think is fake news with the real thing, not doing time? Unfortunately, they're not the only country doing this...

The Mob Rules Again?

How an essay turned into a firing moment:
Critics charged that his NYRB piece carried a “self-pitying tone” and downplayed the accusations — which included slapping and choking and came from over 20 women, as opposed to the “several” people Ghomeshi noted in his essay, the paper reported.

He was acquitted of charges in 2016 after a judge said that three women who testified against him altered their stories or failed to reveal information to police.

The Times reported Wednesday that a note was added to the top of “Reflections from a Hashtag” that said the essay “should have included acknowledgment of the serious nature and number of allegations that had been made against the writer, Jian Ghomeshi,” after which some accusations were listed.

Attempts to reach Ghomeshi and Buruma for comment were unsuccessful, the Times said.

Buruma — who said the essay is part of a thematic package focusing on those convicted of sexual assault via social media rather than in court — was slammed after he gave an interview that left some with the impression he wasn’t interested in the accusations against Ghomeshi, the paper reported.

“I’m no judge of the rights and wrongs of every allegation. How can I be?” Buruma asked in an interview with Slate shortly after the essay’s publication. “All I know is that in a court of law he was acquitted, and there is no proof he committed a crime. The exact nature of his behavior — how much consent was involved — I have no idea, nor is it really my concern.”
Unfortunately, in the court of hashtags, everyone is guilty even if they're innocent...

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Spending Surrender

Whatever happened to spending cuts?
Several factors have left conservatives less well-positioned to extract concessions.

Congressional leadership strategically bundled funding for the labor bill, a major Democratic priority, with funding for the Pentagon, a major Republican priority. For conservatives, voting against the package would mean voting against an increase in defense spending and a raise for the troops.

“If they want to vote against defense, that’s up to them. I don’t quarrel with anybody’s vote. There’s going to be sufficient votes to pass the legislation,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a member of the House Appropriations Committee. Cole also praised the bipartisan commitment to keep controversial policy riders out of appropriations altogether in order to move the bills forward.

“That doesn’t mean those fights are over, it just means you’re not going to be able to win them in an appropriations bill,” he said.

Meadows said he would have no trouble voting against the defense bill because of what it is packaged with. He criticized GOP leaders for passing bills with Democratic support rather than focusing the bills on GOP priorities and muscling them through with Republican votes.

“It’s a Republican majority,” he said. “It’s always easy to pass a bill of the other party. I mean, I can tell you, most of my voters will not see this as a win.”
Doing the opposition's job for them usually isn't...

Teacher's Rules

Leave your politics at the door?
The bill would also stop educators from entering into any discussions about both pending or enacted law, court cases, or executive orders — at any level of the government whatsoever.

Additionally, teachers would be unable to discuss activities that “hamper or impeded” the actions of law enforcement or military recruiters on campuses.

A portion of a memo Tallman sent to his House colleague reads, “Our K-12 school teachers should not be using their classroom time spent on political or ideological indoctrination. Doing so takes time away from instruction in the academic foundation subjects of mathematics, science, English, history, and civics, and prevents our students from receiving a high-quality public education for careers in the global, high-tech economy.”

The outlet said that legal experts questioned the bill, pondering it as “unconstitutional overreach” that violates academic freedoms.

One such expert is David Hudson, a professor at the Nashville School of Law in Tennessee as well as ombudsman for Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center in Washington, D.C.

Hudson said, “[The bill] runs roughshod over the cardinal principle of academic freedom. In certain classes, political speech and frank discussion is necessary. I mean social studies class, contemporary issues — you need teachers talking about current events.”
Discussion, yes-propaganda, no...

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Blogging In The Years: 1991

Whom do you believe?
Before the days of exhausting and exhaustive testimony would end, Hill would coolly and impassively detail the nature of Thomas' alleged harassment while she worked for him in government positions from 1981 to 1983. Words like "penis" and "breasts" and "pubic hair" would enter the public record repeatedly in so somber and untitillating a fashion that no one in the hearing room would blanch, let alone smirk or giggle. It was clear that the differences in the Hill and Thomas versions on what transpired a decade ago were not a simple matter of differing sensibilities — oversqueamishness on her part vs. bad taste on his. If Hill's description of Thomas' words and actions was truthful, then the Supreme Court nominee was guilty of sexual harassment in the past and perjury in the present. If Hill's account was a flight of fantasy, then she was delusional and a candidate for medical attention.
In the end, it doesn't really matter if he gets the job, does it?