Sunday, June 23, 2024

The Worst-Case Scenario


 

Louisiana GOP Violates The Constitution With New Mandate


 From Dan Rather:

Just when you think the audacity meter has reached its zenith, along comes the Republican-dominated Louisiana state legislature. This week it passed — and the state’s far-right governor signed — a law requiring all public classrooms to display the Ten Commandments. 

 

Governor Jeff Landry argued that the Commandments are not simply religious treatise but “foundational documents of our state and national government,” perhaps trying to circumvent the inevitable hue and cry from just about everyone.


I’ll get to the hue and cry in a moment. First, if one wants to talk about foundational documents of our government, I think the Constitution is a better place to start. The First Amendment guarantees the separation of church and state. Full stop. Requiring the displaying of the Ten Commandments violates the constitutional principle of religious neutrality. 


Honoring Supreme Court precedent is another foundational tenet of our democracy. Yes, this has happened before. In 1980’s Stone v. Graham, the Supreme Court struck down a Kentucky law that also required the display of the Ten Commandments in schools. The court found that the law violated the First Amendment’s establishment clause. In its opinion, the court wrote that the Ten Commandments are “undeniably a sacred text in the Jewish and Christian faiths” and displaying them “serves no ... educational function.”


One could argue that Louisiana should be more concerned with the quality of the education in those classrooms than what is on their walls. The state ranks near the bottom nationally for education and 50th for overall quality of life. Perhaps instead of this political stunt, Louisiana lawmakers should think about raising teacher pay, among the lowest in the nation. Or maybe try to keep kids in school? The state ranks 48th in graduation rate.

 

Putting an 11-by-14-inch poster “in a large easy to read font” in every classroom from kindergarten through graduate school will cost money. Don’t worry — it will be paid for by private donations. But who will pay for the inevitable and orchestrated legal fight to come? Louisiana taxpayers. 


After eight years of a Democratic governor, the Republican- controlled state legislature is making up for what it sees as lost time. It recently turned down federal aid for summer food assistance, claiming it wants Louisiana families to be self-sufficient. Those same families suffer from a higher rate of food insecurity than most of the country. And Louisiana is the first state to advance a measure designating abortion pills as dangerous controlled substances.

  

Now to the hue and cry. It was loud and it was immediate, coming from, among others, the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the Southern Poverty Law Center, which jointly stated that the law “violates students’ and families’ fundamental right to religious freedom.”


So why would Louisiana bother with what seems to be a cut-and-dried case of unconstitutionality?  

“I can’t wait to be sued,” Governor Landry said at a Republican fundraiser in Nashville, according to The Tennessean. Good thing, because the ACLU has already filed suit.


All this is part of a larger national plan by a minority of  Christians to inject expressions of their faith into everyday life, whether we like it or not. With a highly politicized and far-right majority on the Supreme Court at the ready, these groups believe they will get a friendlier reception from the court and could ultimately be successful.  


They have reason to be hopeful. In 2022, the court sided with a high school football coach who argued he had the right to pray on the 50-yard line after games. The increasingly porous boundary between church and state seems to be eroding faster than a snowball in July. Even so, legal experts think this one is a real stretch.


Charles C. Haynes, an expert in religious liberty and civil discourse, told The New York Times that he believes the state is “overreaching,” adding that “even this court will have a hard time justifying” what Louisiana lawmakers came up with. 


But perhaps most interesting is how do parents and lawmakers square the behavior of their revered MAGA leader with the Ten Commandments? 

 

Democratic strategist David Axelrod on X had this recommendation: “Here’s a suggested quiz for the schoolchildren of Louisiana: ‘Look at the poster on the wall of the Ten Commandments and write down the total number Donald Trump has broken.’”


We could quibble about the total number, but let no one be mistaken: This new Louisiana law is a dangerous development for our country. Donald Trump champions a national movement to eliminate the separation between church and state.  

GOP Tries To Force Religion Into Schools

Political Cartoon is by Gary Huck at huckkonopackicartoons.com.
 

The Gun Violence Carnage Continues


 

Saturday, June 22, 2024

The Losses From The Dobbs Decision


 

A Great Actor Has Left Us


 

Christian Nationalism - Anti-American And Unconstitutional

 

Throughout history, religion has been used to justify violence - both between countries and inside countries. Those convinced they are members of God's "true" religion have felt justified to vilify, attack, and even kill those who disagreed with them. Even different sects of the same religion have been guilty of this bigotry. And the result has been centuries of violence and death.

Our Founding Fathers were well aware of this, and they did not want their new nation to fall into that trap of religious violence. So they created a secular nation that would stay out of religious issues. They made sure of this by including their wishes in the Constitution. They included three things in that Constitution:

* The government would not establish a religion or show favoritism toward one.

* The government would not keep any citizen from freely exercising the religion of his/her choice.

* There would be no religious test for holding government office.

For the last couple of centuries, that secular nation has survived, and those three rules have allowed the nation to avoid the worst religious strife and violence. Every American citizen has been free to engage in any religion they wish (or no religion), and members of different religions and sects within a religion (or no religion) continue to serve in government positions.

Because this system of keeping the government out of religion has worked so well, one might assume that Americans would wish to keep that system intact. And most Americans do. Poll after poll has shown that most Americans want to keep their religion and their government separate. But there is a minority that disagrees.

The Christian Nationalists don't believe in secular government or the constitutional protections it offers. They want to force all Americans to abide by their own religious beliefs, even though they are only a tiny minority of Americans. They would subjugate Americans of other religions, other christian sects that disagrees with their views, and those who prefer to engage in no religion at all.

They claim the United States was created as a christian nation. It wasn't. The Founders were clear to not do that. They intentionally created a secular government that would honor all religions. And even at the founding go this nation, there were citizens of many religions (and no religion).

They claim the Founders were all christians. Also untrue. While many were christian, others were deists, and some had no religious beliefs. What they all agreed on was that the secular government they created would stay out of religion.

They want all government laws to be based on their own particular view of the Bible, and would reject multiculturalism and equality. And they want all government officials to be christian.

Their views are blatantly unconstitutional, anti-democracy, and anti-American. We must fight hard against their pernicious views of America.

Thou Shalt Not . . .

 Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at claytoonz.com.

No More Prepared For A Second Term Than For His First


 

Friday, June 21, 2024

Red State Republicans Refusing To Save Rural Hospitals

 

50% Of Voters Want Bump Stocks To Be Banned


The chart above reflects to results of the Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between June 16th and 18th of a nationwide sample of 1,396 registered voters, with a 3.1 point margin of error. 

The Commandment That SHOULD Be Posted

 Political Cartoon is by Ann Telnaes in The Washington Post.

About 238,000 Workers Filed For Unemployment Last Week

 

The Labor Department released its weekly unemployment report on Thursday. It showed that about 238,000 workers filed for unemployment benefits in the week ending on June 15th. Here is the official Labor Department statement:

In the week ending June 15, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 238,000, a decrease of 5,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 1,000 from 242,000 to 243,000. The 4-week moving average was 232,750, an increase of 5,500 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 250 from 227,000 to 227,250.

Pedophiles Are Not Where Right-Wingers Think They Are

Political Cartoon is by Nick Anderson at Counterpoint.com.
 

The Ugly Truth

 

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Happy Juneteenth!


 

President Biden Knows Exactly What He Is Doing


 

Celebrity Endorsements Matter To A Minority Of Voters


The chart above reflects the results of the USA Today / Suffolk University Poll -- done between April 30th and May 3rd of a nationwide sample of 1,000 registered voters, with a 3.1 point margin of error.

Renewing Their Vows

 Political Cartoon is by Bob Englehart at Cagle.com.

Greedy Corporate CEO's Climb On The Trump Bandwagon


The following is part of post by former Labor Secretary Robert Reich:

The Business Roundtable is an association of more than 200 CEOs of America’s biggest corporations, their most powerful voice in Washington.

 

Last Wednesday, its chair, Joshua Bolten, told reporters that his group planned to drop “eight figures” while “putting its full weight behind protecting and strengthening tax reform.”


Translated: It’s going to pour money into Trump’s campaign to ensure that Trump’s 2017 tax cuts — most of which benefit big corporations and the rich — don’t expire in 2025, as scheduled. 


On Thursday, Trump met at the Business Roundtable’s Washington headquarters with over 80 CEOs, including Apple’s Tim Cook, JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon, and Walmart’s Doug McMillon.


Trump reportedly promised the CEOs he’d cut corporate taxes even further and curtail business regulations if elected president.


Trump’s 2017 tax cuts reduced the rate of corporate income taxes from 35 percent to 21 percent. That has cost the nation $1.3 trillion. Those tax cuts, along with the tax cuts put in place by George W. Bush, are the primary reason the national debt is rising as a percentage of the economy.


What have corporations done with the money they’ve saved? They haven’t invested it or used it to raise wages. Nothing has trickled down to average workers.


A large portion has gone into stock buybacks. The year after the tax cut went into effect, corporations bought back a record $1 trillion of their shares of stock. Buybacks raise stock prices — and, not incidentally, CEO compensation, which is largely in shares of stock. 


Making Trump’s 2017 tax cuts permanent — as the Business Roundtable seeks — will cost $4 trillion over the next 10 years, $400 billion per year — and cause the debt to soar.


Yet the CEOs that Trump met with last week have been thriving under Biden.


Corporate profits are way up. Stocks are at near-record levels. Inflation has plummeted. Industries like energy that appeared to be at risk from Biden’s policies are doing well.

So why are these CEOs attracted to Trump, whose antics are likely to destabilize the economy? . . .

They’re coming around to Trump because they want even more tax cuts and regulatory rollbacks — which means even more money in their own pockets. . . .

The greedy cynicism of America’s corporate elite is now on full display. 

MAGA Reacts To Juneteenth Holiday

Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at claytoonz.com.
 

Donald Trump Has Severe Memory Issues

 

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

GOP Platform: Whatever Trump Wants

 

33% Lees Likely To Support Trump After His Conviction


The chart above reflects the results of the Politico / Ipsos Poll - done between June 7th and 9th of a nationwide sample of 1,027 adults, with a 3.2 point margin of error. 

Right-Wing Logic(?)

 Political Cartoon is by Matt Davies in Newsday.

Trump's Insane Idea To Help The Rich And Hurt Everyone Else

 

If Trump is re-elected, he and his GOP cohorts have already told us they want to continue the tax cuts he got passed during his first term (over 80% of which went to the rich and super-rich). It won't help the working class at all, and will only have a tiny benefit for the middle class -- and it will add trillions more to the national debt. It's a very bad idea.

Now Trump has come up with an even worse idea. At his meeting with congressional Republicans, Trump floated the idea of doing away with the income tax completely and replacing it with a tariff on all goods entering the United States.

Before you celebrate the idea of no income tax, stop and think of what the tariff on everything would mean. It would mean higher prices of nearly everything you buy. And not just a little higher. To replace the billions received in income taxes, the tariffs would have to be very high - and that would make prices on goods much, much higher!

It would be disastrous for the poor. They are already struggling to get by, and raising prices much higher would mean they would struggle just to have a subsistence existence. Working class families would also be devastated. They are already barely keeping up with inflation. The higher tariffs would mean they'd fall behind, and many would drop into the poor class. Middle class workers would also suffer. All of these groups would pay much more in higher prices than they currently pay in income taxes.

Only one group would be helped. The rich would make out like bandits! They would be happy to pay the higher prices, because it would be much less that they have to pay in taxes - and they could easily afford the higher prices.

It's just one more crazy idea that shows Trump, and his GOP cohorts, only care about one small group - the rich (and especially the super-rich). They don't care about hurting ordinary Americans as long as they can serve the rich.

Trump's Fascist Future Dream

Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at claytoonz.com.
 

Ethics Don't Matter To These Two