The Political Slant

Anti-Trumpers Target Lawyer’s Efforts to Uphold New Law In Arizona

Arizona lawmaker Alex Kolodin cosponsored SB1291, a critical piece of legislation that was signed into law last year in the state, which improved constitutional protections for probate victims and their families. 

Behind the many issues facing Americans is a problem that is fast becoming nationally recognized: probate piracy and denial of Constitutional rights. 

This is when the government and self-interested parties engage in strategies to legally deem Americans “incompetent” to manage their own affairs, and open them to probate litigation. When this occurs a person can lose all of their rights and have their life savings and property taken over by court-ordered attorneys, guardians, and fiduciaries.

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The Failed Promise of Independent Election Mapmaking

by Marilyn W. Thompson, with research contributions from Ryann Grochowski Jones.
ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom.

In Washington and other states, independent redistricting commissions have fallen prey to partisanship, just like the legislative bodies they were meant to replace.

Washington state’s mapmakers had been working for almost a year to draw the lines that would shape the state’s elections for the next decade. Now they had five hours until the midnight deadline and they’d made little progress.

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Academic Assertions & Authenticity

Many of the “Progressives” in the U.S. were the protestors of the 1960s. The Baby Boomers, numbering 76 million, as identified in demographics from 1946 to 1964, were quite vocal and resistant to the American values in which they were raised. To be fair, they had never seen the economic hardships of the 1920s and 1930s; they were raised in a consumer economy, a materialistic culture that was an economic gift to their parents and a curse to them. One of, if not the biggest influence was a college education, which, according to Inside Higher Ed, the “undergraduate enrollments increased 45 percent between 1945 and 1960, then doubled again by 1970.”

Certainly the U.S. was not a perfect society where the Boomers grew up, but when compared to other nations, the Boomers in the U.S. grew up with a prosperity that their parents could only imagine. That freedom and prosperity was threatened by the Vietnam War, where fifty-five thousand American young men perished for reasons that, in an historical perspective, seem pointless.

Somewhere the radicals realized that it wasn’t hip to resist authority; it was better to be authority.

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The Gerontology Generation

According to Statista.com, the median age of the U.S. population on in 1960 was 29.5. That average has moved up to 38.8 as of 2021.  As the numbers indicate, America is getting old, and our representatives are getting older as well. Our president, Joe Biden, is the oldest-serving president at the age of 80, and as of September 2023, has every intention of seeking re-election. The U.S. Senate is the oldest in history, with an average of 63.4 years old, and almost a quarter of those senators are over the age of 70. The 2023 House of Representatives is the third-oldest in American history, with an average age of 57.5 years old. Crunching the numbers, the average federal representative is at least twenty years older than the median age of their constituency. Some would say that the U.S. is a gerontocracy, that is an “oligarchical rule in which an entity is ruled by leaders who are significantly older than most of the adult population.”  Does time make people more wise, or just better politicians?

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Sovereign Sponsored Spin  

In order that my readers do not think I am some conspiracy theorist, I like to cite reliable sources.  From Statista, as of April 26, 2023, COVID-19 killed 1,130,662 in the United States. I mean, mistakes happen, right? Many of those listed as succumbing to the virus had refused to be vaccinated, and subsequently were infected and died. Many of the “Anti-Vaxers” who became infected and perished were rather famous in denying the effectiveness of the vaccine; they were dead wrong, and life goes on without them. As much as I hate to say it, I feel little sympathy for the “conspiracy theorists” who perished; they were wrong, and now they are dead wrong.

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Discord Leak: Information, Insecurity, and Impairment  or Perfidy, Peril and Publishing Perniciousness

Twenty-one year old Jack Teixeira, a guardsman in the Massachusetts Air National Guard, has been arrested and accused of revealing classified national defense information. According to The Guardian (not affiliated with the Massachusetts Air National Guard as far as I know) Teixeira took secret documents home, photographed them and posted them on 4chan and Telegram internet sites.

It’s a big deal because of this: Releasing classified information reveals what we (or, as it is, the U.S. government) know, and by revealing what we know it also endangers those who supply us with information about our adversaries. When such information becomes public, the source of that information can be in grave danger (or, as Jack Nicholson said “is there any other kind?”) and, in some cases, be executed almost immediately. What Jack Teixeira apparently doesn’t understand is that revealing information puts our sources at risk. Certain information can come from very limited sources, and when that information in U.S. hands becomes public, those who had access to said information and revealed it to the U.S. are in questioned and, in many cases, executed or imprisoned for a very long time.

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A Directive Disallowing Dalit Discrimination

The United States has been described as “the melting pot” because between 1820 and 1920, 80 million people emigrated to the U.S. and became citizens. Certain prejudices are beginning to rear their ugly heads. The city of Seattle became the first city to outlaw caste-based discrimination on February 1, 2023.

To offer some explanation, we quote Forbes of February 3, 2023: “The caste system is a social hierarchy structure that divides people at birth into social classes—it has roots in South Asia and Hinduism but also impacts African, Middle Eastern and Pacific communities.”  Dalits, also known as “Untouchables” are the lowest of Hindu culture, and have been for several thousand years.  Several universities have already adopted policies that forbid discrimination based on the caste system.

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Follies, Foibles and Falsehoods

Some liars make themselves famous for the wrong reasons, and all of the exposed liars make 2022 an annus mirabilis. Sunny Balwani is getting thirteen years in federal prison for misleading investors out of millions of dollars. Elizabeth Holmes who partnered with Balwani, was sentenced to eleven years for claiming her biotech firm Theranos could do things it, in fact, could not do. Sam Bankman-Fried faces a potential one-hundred fifteen year sentence in the federal slammer if he is convicted in federal court of bilking crypto investors out of billions of dollars. According to one of my law professors, going up against the Feds is almost always a losing proposition.

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The Fed’s Fiduciary Fumble

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The Covid pandemic created a lot of economic changes. Privileged employees who taunt their employers and claim they will never return to their office. Wages moved up because of a lack of talent. (“Talent” is human resource jargon for employees.) Members of the U.S. Congress made high-yielding stock purchases because of inside information, and now dare their constituents to try to make such inside information trades illegal while they waive their gains in the face of their electorates.

Some information before we continue. There is a public organization called the Federal Reserve System. No, wait, it is a private organization. No, wait, the Fed, as it is called, is, um, both. Owned by the banks (big ones, naturally) the Fed is a privately held public organization, and don’t you dare ask the names of those banks. After all, knowing the names of those banks would open to public scrutiny decisions about interest rates charged to the public, and we just can’t have that, now can we? After all, private organizations that have a vested interest in public policy deserve their privacy, now don’t they? If only they were on Facebook, then we could buy all of their personal information, but no, they have far too much money for that to happen.

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Scrapping the Slippery Slope Supposition

Not a lawyer, but took a few law classes; the professors taught the law classes as if they were teaching in law school. The constitutional law professor (Harvard grad, by the way) stated that there were aspects of the law that our Supreme Court deliberately stayed away from, because they were “slippery slope” issues. Welcome to the slippery slope, America.

The recent decision, which will probably be known as Dobb v. Jackson, turned to federalism. “Turned to federalism” means the issue has been turned back to the states to decide for themselves. The federal protection of abortion is no more. The SCOTUS decided that the federal protection of the right to get an abortion was not constitutional, that is to say, there is nothing in our Constitution that guarantees the right to get an abortion; Roe v. Wade is overturned.

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Wrecking the Refund Reckoning

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The student debt problem remains, but there are always options.  Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.,  Maxine Waters, D-Calif. and Senator Elizabeth Warren, like spoiled children who can’t get what they want the fair and proven legislative way, will create a workaround. The aforementioned representatives are suggesting, or, even insisting, that President Biden achieve what they cannot accomplish via legislation by issuing an executive order relieving millions from their student debt.  An executive order would be a great boon (in the way of votes) for the Democrats who pushed for it. Look for such a move close to the election, where it will be firmly in the minds of voters.

To quote Senator Elizabeth Warren: “Student loan debt is crushing millions, especially during this pandemic. It’s an anchor dragging down our struggling economy.” So adding trillions to the government debt will be a good economic move?

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Iran Has More Progressive Abortion Laws Than Texas – Video

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Should the SCOTUS leak of the Alito draft decision prove true and powers go back to the state level, Texas will effectively have more restrictive abortion laws than the entire country of Iran. Manila Chan sits down with famed professor (and party to the JCPOA negotiations in Vienna) Mohammad Marandi, of the University of Tehran, to discuss the hot social topic du jour – abortion, women’s choice, and the role of government. We’ll learn some Iran 101 basics with the professor and see what Iranians think of the Roe v Wade issue dominating the headlines in the US.

The Secret IRS Files: Trove of Never-Before-Seen Records Reveal How the Wealthiest Avoid Income Tax

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by Jesse Eisinger, Jeff Ernsthausen and Paul Kiel

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox.Series: The Secret IRS Files Inside the Tax Records of the .001%

In 2007, Jeff Bezos, then a multibillionaire and now the world’s richest man, did not pay a penny in federal income taxes. He achieved the feat again in 2011. In 2018, Tesla founder Elon Musk, the second-richest person in the world, also paid no federal income taxes.

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War on Crime – We All Are Victims

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So after 40 years of “tough on crime,” it’s come to this. In addition to the military-industrial complex, we have the penal system / financial complex as something to worry about. We now have perverse incentives in place to continue the expansion of incarceration as the answer to all of our societal problems. It makes perfect sense to keep building new facilities whose sole purpose is to enrich the corporate investors, who enable governments to pretend they are addressing their crime problems by locking up miscreants for longer sentences. All in the name of being tough on crime, which politicians love to tout to their voters.

In the October 15 issue of Science Magazine, there’s an outstanding summary of current research and trends in the social sciences regarding incarceration in the US. They show how the past 40 years of tough on crime has ignored secular trends on reduced crime rates (yes, homicide rates for the last couple of years have gone up). Instead, the incarceration rate keeps going up, and we are building a class of people who find it impossible to function in society after they are released from prison.

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War Criminal Talk

 

There’s been much talk lately about ‘war criminals’ – with the latest accusation coming from the United States accusing Vladimir Putin of Russia of war crimes in the ongoing war in Ukraine, now in its sixth week. The rhetoric climbed to the highest levels in early April 2022 when for just the second time in history – a state was suspended from the UN Human Rights Council. In the UN’s 77 years, Russia joins Libya in this dubious distinction. This, highlighting not only US hypocrisy but that of all nations who supported the US-led vote because there is no other member country that has left behind greater humanitarian crises in its wake than the United States of America.

Take for instance Laos. The tiny, landlocked, Southeast Asian country was the staging ground for the first proxy war between the United States and Russia (then the Soviet Union). Many today, can compare the events unfolding in Ukraine to those of 1960s Laos – caught in the crosshairs of the American invasion of Vietnam, to the lesser-known Secret War in Laos that spanned four consecutive US presidents: Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon. 

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AOC’s Atrocious Assessment

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (from this point described as AOC) has determined capitalism in the United States as “irredeemable.”  AOC has a degree (cum laude) in economics and international relations from Boston University. So a member of the U.S. Congress with an economics degree describes capitalism as: “Capitalism is an ideology of capital-the most important thing is the concentration of capital and maximize profit.” While the aforementioned quote is a great summary of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, there are other considerations regarding capitalism.

Capitalism was outlined by Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations in1776, with the newly-minted United States as an “early adopter” (gosh, I’m sure I heard that somewhere else.) Mercantilism, which preceded capitalism, was the fruitless feudal attempt of the nobility to retain the wealth created by the peasants and serfs. The United States gave up the feudal system and set out on a capitalist journey after fighting off the greatest power on earth. In case you are wondering, Article 1, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution prohibits the states from granting titles of nobility, that is, prince, duke, or any other title to a citizen. In short, the founding fathers had enough of kings and royalty. (I’m sure they would have exempted Elvis, but that’s another essay.)

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Invest in America; It’s Now or Never

What is “vengeful taxation”? That seems to be the sticking point now for my senator Joe Manchin from supporting some version of the Democratic social safety net spending program. Note how over the years, the emphasis in discussion has changed from describing the objective of the bills, to strictly focus on the overall cost of the programs. But back to “vengeful taxation”, according to Manchin it is not vengeful to seek the correction of the 2017 tax cut bill, as long as the tax rate for corporations keeps them globally competitive. Whatever that means.

Joe Manchin (D-WV)

Look, we in West Virginia have benefitted from the attention paid to this small, land-locked state lacking in so much of what is valued in the US these days. Having a Senator at the fulcrum of power is useful. And I am reminded of how small this state really is when I recall we encountered Senator Manchin at a local restaurant as he came in, bereft of staff and entourage, to join a party at another table. He gave us a couple of minutes as my wife pressed a couple of points home to him, and he was able to respond in the way many politicians have mastered – clasping hands, literally backslapping, and saying nothing that could not be interpreted in many different ways.

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