Fruits of their Labor
You good? I'm good. Keeping the Senate is such a relief. Losing the House disappoints, but due to some serious Gerrymandering (ruled Unconstitutional in Ohio and Florida), the GOP cheated their way to the majority. However, if the Midterms were the best opportunity the GOP to seize back total control of our government, they have failed on a massive scale. While they gear up their fake investigations into Hunter Biden's laptop and Dr. Fauci, let's see how long it takes for the general public to appreciate just how far out of the mainstream the Ultra-MAGA GOP now is. Let's see the fruits of their labor be in the form of catastrophic defeat at the ballot box in 2024. This certainly does not mean the Democrats can take anything lightly. The Democrats have a long history of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. So let's all stay on the Democrats to come through with campaign promises, including expanding voting rights, Same Sex Marriage, Abortion and Freedom from Religion (see also Domestic Terrorism) to protect the disadvantaged in our electoral process. Have a great week! Democrats, Sweep the Floor in 2024!
After several attempts to publish an updated blog (only to find them entirely "erased" before they could be posted), I feel inhibited from writing more. The auto-save feature still is available, yet seems "broken" so nothing I write and save remains saved. Everything instead is deleted and lost forever. My blogs about MAGA and Trumpism all simply vanish - which is exactly what I wish would happen to Trump and his supporters. Unfortunately, it never is that simple. Vote to protect America - vote Blue at all levels of government. The Right Wing is circling the wagons to protect Trump - no matter how bad it gets for America. Vote wisely - vote FOR democracy, vote Trumpism back under the rocks from whence it came from. End of rant. Hopefully, this one gets published. If not, at least I've tried.
Time to Check the Supreme Court
After believing the Supreme Court was the most important institution in our system of government, I have come to the conclusion that it is no longer worthy of my upmost respect. Having been a member of the Supreme Court Bar since 1989, and being a retired educator on the Constitution and our democracy, I can safely say that the High Court has not only "lost it's way", but it has chartered a far Right Wing course and ideology as its compass. As a result, it is now time to expand the Supreme Court so that it better represents the majority of Americans the current Court seems to ignore. We are a nation of diverse ideas, cultures and attitudes. Diversity is what makes America Great - not uneven justice dispensed by ideologues hell-bent to turn away from our democracy in favor of one religion or political ideology.
Congress has the express power under Article I of the Constitution to determine the jurisdiction and size of the Supreme Court. It's now time to demand that it be expanded to represent all Americans.. If not, we will continue to see the degradation of our democracy at the hands of people with design to turn our country into a theocracy based one world view - that of a radical Christian ideal that inherently denies equality to anyone that doesn't adhere to said view. Enough is enough. We need to weed out corrupt politicians, take the money out of our election processes (see Citizens United) and restore representative balance on the Supreme Court. It is the only way to stop the eventual erosion of our rights and the democracy as we have known it since the Framers created the Constitution. The power IS with the people. It's past time we exercise that power at the ballot box. Now is the time to check the Supreme Court - before it is too late.
It's UnAmerican, It's Not Jewish!
Many years ago, there was an episode on The West Wing about the death penalty and whether it has any real role in deterring capital offenses. During this episode, the story includes the turmoil facing Toby, a Jewish character and a senior advisor to President Bartlett because his religion poses several questions relating to the legitimacy of the death penalty. By the end of the episode, one thing was made clear - the Death Penalty is NOT Jewish! (See: www.westwingepguide.com/S1/Episodes/14_TTSD.html). Every year, I would use this episode in my classes to highlight the importance of The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Why? Because under the Establishment Clause, Americans are guaranteed the Right to believe in any religion, or none at all. It also prohibits the government from using legislation to codify in our laws any one particular religion's view that may not be shared by other religions. Up until recently, that was how the Establishment Clause has been interpreted. Except now in 2022, religious zealots of the Right Wing have co-opted our Supreme Court by having a majority of its current members toss the Establishment Clause out on its ear. How so?
By ruling (or even hinting at such a ruling), that abortion by law is wrongful and not a protected Right for women, SCOTUS has taken one religion's position on abortion and has applied it universally against all Americans to now become part of our Nation's Laws. Abortion is to be considered wrongful and illegal and no matter what your religion's position is on the subject, only one (their) religious views will apply. How so? According to Justice Alito's "draft" opinion, history has never protected a woman's right to an abortion and that no such right shall exist in any form - even when a pregnancy arises out of incest or rape. Even if the life of the mother is in serious jeopardy, (see ectopic pregnancies), then a life-saving procedure for the mother is not allowed. Only the life of the unborn fetus is to be protected. But this is NOT Jewish and never has been. If the Court wants to cite history, how much further back does one need to go to find it in the Torah - where abortion is not only allowed, but proper in the case of rape, incest or when saving the life of the mother? Not only is the physical wellness of the mother a serious consideration under Jewish Law, so is her psychological wellness. Are we to believe the Justices supporting an all-out ban on Abortions no longer believe in the "Judeo-Christian" foundations of our American culture - only a one-sided extreme Christo-Facsist view?
Now I know many will read this and say, "Come on Rubin, you're taking that a tad bit too far." But am I? As a Jewish American, I have personally faced Anti-Semitism, both as a student in school, as an athlete and as an adult in the public in general. I frequently encountered the argument (still raised today), that "we live in a Christian Nation!" It was used against me as a "Jewish" candidate for Gahanna, Ohio City Council in 1999. But according to the Constitution, my religion does not relegate me to Second-Class citizenship. This is found not only in the First Amendment, but also in Article VI (No religious litmus test to be a public official) or in the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause. But when it comes to Abortion, my religious beliefs are no longer valid because my religion is no longer considered relevant for protection. First Amendment? What's that?
And what about all of the "religious exemptions" the Right Wing have recently been demanding from our Courts? I mean, I can be exempt from baking cakes for same-sex marriages because my religious beliefs forbid me to. Where are those clowns that claimed they have a religious exemptions to vaccines and how the military should also grant said exemptions. Where are the exceptions for my religious beliefs as they apply to abortion? Law requires a standard of fair and consistent application for all, not just a select group that conveniently follows their own personal religious beliefs. This is not what our Founders and Framers wanted or expected when creating our great nation. It is not American. It is not Constitutional. It is NOT Jewish. Vote like your (religious) life depended upon it, because it really does. We must not stand by idly while our Courts push women and those adhering to opposing religious views (or no religion at all) to become Second-Class citizens.
Democracy is Worth Fighting For
I'm not leaving Twitter. Democracy demands we fight for her. No one is going to scare me off a social platform that had engaged millions. Real tyranny is at our doorstep, and the GOP is a driving force for it. Think I'm exaggerating? Take a look at Red States. Their actions speak louder than words. In the event the GOP takes the majority in the House and Senate, we can kiss our republic goodbye. Elections will resemble those we used to send advisors out into the world to protect. Ironic our own elections can be so corrupted by a political party so hell bent on destroying democracy all for the sake of an unbridled thirst for power. If this was on the Democrats, I would say the very same thing. But it's not on the Democrats - it's on the Republicans. Let's show them en masse this November that Democracy is worth fighting for at the ballot box in November. The fight must go on (before it is too late). See you at on Twitter @RubinsRants.
Stop Dithering, Start Doing
Depression comes in a variety of sizes, stages and shapes. In 1929, America and the world experienced an economic depression that literally required a World War to crawl out of. Economic depressions have come and gone throughout the ages. When an individual is depressed, many around them will offer words of encouragement, many others will encourage therapy. Some physicians will consider administering pharmaceuticals to assist the depressed individual "cope" with what is causing their melancholy. But what has been done to help countries out of a collective economic and emotional depression? Stimulus spending has been utilized, hoping to ease some of the negative economic impacts a depression may bring. Offering employment that includes providing a living wage that will give back workers their self-esteem will also help. But what about the collective exhaustion from the political mayhem that our nation has been experiencing since 2016 and the election of Trump? What about the utter depression of witnessing Trump's criminal actions and the GOP's aiding and abetting of same in plain sight? They seem to think by committing crimes in broad daylight, that it's just a matter of opinion whether it is a crime and anyone who disagrees with them is simply a "political opponent". But real crimes have been committed. Real laws have been broken. Being done in broad daylight changes nothing. Their cynical effort to do so in the wide open brazenly reflects their beliefs that most Americans are either stupid or too depressed to care (including efforts to destroy public education and women's reproductive rights).
As one would suggest to a depressed soul, think positive! Remind yourself that not everything is so bad, that hope is always with us and that ascertainable standards illustrate that things are indeed not only getting better, but are now spreading in a way that indicates a full recovery may be possible. This would certainly help pull an individual out of being depressed. So why can't we expect this to be the narrative our media collectively present to us as a nation? Why can't the media remind everyone that diplomacy does work in foreign affairs? That efforts to reduce inflationary fears are in the Biden plans to rebuild America? Lowering health and child care costs would immediately reduce these inflationary elements. Yet, as a nation, I fear we collectively need more good news to remind us of our greatness. We are the United States of America.
Unfortunately for quite some time, our media is more concerned that fear and failure captures more viewers, hence leads to more Ad revenues. But what if the result of the media's relaying of so much negativity is that viewers not only turn their channels off, but also decide to economically boycott those sponsors that fund Anti-democratic channels? This includes the print media, electronic and social media. Yes, there is a lot to be thankful for. We have effective vaccines against a very scary and dangerous virus. We have improved mechanisms that can lead to advances in cancer forecasting and treatments. We have a booming economy with now over 6% annual GDP growth. Employment is taking new and more intense varieties of shapes. In-person, virtual, hybrid and remote work are taking off. So why does the media continue to push us all down the rabbit hole of collective depression? What's really in it for them? Improved journalistic standards are certainly not one of them.
Seems the "horse race" commonly known as politics somehow requires them to broadcast and promote the most extreme views of the minority. Instead of calling the GOP out for harboring absolutely loony notions about the 2020 election, they promote them as legitimate "differences of opinions." Just today, the Republican National Committee identified the January 6 insurrection as nothing more than an exercise of "Legitimate Political Discourse." Read that again. "Legitimate Political Discourse." A rioting mob of idiots is hardly "legitimate" let alone "discourse." Clearly, the GOP has lost its way. Will our media call them out as being conspiracy nut jobs that side with insurrectionists and domestic terrorists or will they continue to give them a platform to promote their anti-American rhetoric? Unfortunately, we know what their choice is and will be. Our solution is simple. Stop being depressed. Get energized. Saving democracy is worth the effort. Stop watching opinion news. Step out of your comfort zone and silo. Boycott companies that sponsor these politicians and their supporting media. And the best way to overcome the depression we have collectively suffered for so long - mask up, promote Biden's successes, promote pro-democracy candidates and VOTE BLUE.
As President Harry S. Truman once said; "America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand." That job is indeed, at hand. Stay safe, stop dithering and start doing! Be well!
Jan. 6, Insurrection Day
Birthdays come and go, as do New Years, but one thing that will hopefully last forever in the collective minds of all Americans, is the stark reality that on this day in 2021, a mob of insurrectionists, following the goading and constant pressure of Right Wing Media (electronic, print and social), attacked our nation's Capitol for one reason and one reason only - to topple our democracy in favor of a guy that wouldn't cross the street to help any single one of them. As the January 6 Investigation Committee continues to reveal, the attack on our Capitol was not "spontaneous", was not led by a concerned group of "Patriots", but was led by Donald Trump and his cabal of authoritarian thugs hell bent on maintaining power at all costs. You may remember a blog I wrote during Trump's presidency that he and his advisors seemed to think they were never going to lose the 2020 election, and as a result, they acted with a cavalier attitude towards breaking established norms and laws (see Hatch Act). Now we clearly see why they maintained said attitudes - they actually believed they were above the law and would succeed in convincing Americans that Making America Great Again meant destroying democracy and that they alone should decide what laws were to be upheld and who was to benefit from those laws.
Today, President Joe Biden forcefully reminded us that those "patriots" only care when they can personally benefit, no matter the potential damage it may cause our great nation. And the GOP? "Biden is politicizing the Riot" and Biden's speech today is only designed to "divide us" (Fox News). We can only understand that the GOP today no longer believes in limited government (see expanding roles in overturning the will of the people attempting to use the ballot box, controlling reproductive rights of women, demanding freedom against vaccines) all the while claiming they "love America" and "Freedom" no longer means being held personally responsible for their own actions (always "someone else's fault -a solid bit of Trumpism logic).
May January 6 be remembered throughout the remainder of our great history, as a day that America woke up to the stark reality that Republicans have ceded all common sense and duty to the Constitution in exchange for absolute loyalty and fealty to one man, Donald J. Trump. Only a very public trial and sentencing of this man will ever cause our nation to begin to heal from the wounds MAGAs so willfully inflicted on our collective sensibilities and democracy. I say this out of true sadness, as MAGA today remains as loyal to Trump as ever. This is no more clearly evidenced by the widespread public display of "Let's Go Brandon" and posting Three percenter decals on motor vehicles and flag poles. Case in point. My idyllic neighborhood has two new neighbors. Instead of being neighborly, they immediately began flying MAGA flags and/or the Betsy Ross Flag (a symbol of White Supremacy utilized by the KKK). When confronted by one of their next door neighbors about the flags violating our HOA policy on flying flags other than the Stars and Stripes, their response of "Fuck Off" and/or "Fuck You" tells us all what we needed to know. And that is where MAGA is today. The group that labeled Clinton supporters "Snowflakes", because they allegedly could not fathom losing to Trump, now can't stop promoting Trump long after he was soundly defeated and has been out of office for a year. One year after the 1/6 Insurrection and they STILL adhere to Trump like a moth to a bright bulb - except the cult following Trump is hardly filled with "bright bulbs."
On top of this nonsense, we have millions of Trump supporters claiming they have "religious" reasons not to get vaccinated from a plague the likes of which the world has not seen in over 100 years. Even more scary, is the combination of these people promoting Trump lies while claiming "Jews designed the vaccine to kill billions of Christians" (See:
www.deseret.com/utah/2022/1/4/22867216/tech-entrepreneur-dave-bateman-claims-covid-19-vacccines-plot-by-jews-to-exterminate-people-entrata). As absurd as it appears, millions of MAGA's embrace such nonsense - because blaming anyone other than themselves for their stupidity is so on message for the Trump Cult. (Remember Jewish Space lasers?).
So as memories of December 7 (Pearl Harbor Day) and September 11 eventually fade away, America needs to be repeatedly reminded that on January 6 "Insurrection Day", a former president with designs on becoming President for Life, used his position, his political party and supporting media, in an attempt to destroy our system of democracy, the very foundation our great nation relies upon. And for this, we must never forget.
"I did not seek this fight brought to this Capitol one year ago today, but I will not shrink from it either. I will stand in this breach. I will defend this nation. And I will allow no one to place a dagger at the throat of democracy." Jospeh R. Biden, 46th President of the United States.
Pray for Democracy
After attending business meetings in Ohio, I enjoyed the weekend at my daughter and son-in-law's home. While with them, I met a physician temporarily in town on a Residency Rotation, whom they had invited for dinner. It did not take too long to appreciate that the gentleman was quite confident in himself and was not shy (by any means). Seems confidence is one of the things young doctors have plenty of.
Anyway, as I enjoyed my meal, my son-in-law and daughter engaged in lively conversation with our guest about the his field of medicine and what his future plans were (for reference, my son-in-law is an attending interventional radiologist and professor of medicine in Ohio). The young doctor was only in town a few weeks on a rotation and was planning on returning to Florida to discuss his future plans with his (also physician) wife. Seems he has decisions to make as to where he would be spending a year in a fellowship program in his field of study. Keep in mind, although I was seated next to him, I had nothing to offer in conversation as I am not a physician and no longer live in the community.
Interestingly, the conversation moved into a discussion on Covid-19 and it appeared all were in agreement that science is not something to be mixed with politics as scientists don't rely upon political ideologies or emotions to determine outcomes. Once the guest agreed, I began to wonder how he felt about Florida's Governor's positions on disease. Still unwilling to interject, I waited for him to open up that "can of worms" and right on cue, he did.
After establishing his "belief" that science must be apolitical, he opined that Florida was being well served by Gov. DeSantis. Only when I shook my head did he assert "you must be a democrat" and then he began to ask me about the "abuses Biden has undertaken as president." The look on my daughter's face was priceless. Please note, my daughter is basically apolitical and has zero interest in Florida politics, but she knows her father knows a bit about politics, government, law and the Constitution. Not wanting to embarrass her, I calmly informed the guest that my politics are not based upon emotion, but rather upon the system of government laid out by the Framers of our Constitution. Then he pressed about Biden abusing his authority through the use of "Executive Orders". I reminded him that "EO's" have been around since George Washington and Ronald Reagan was the the first of the "modern" presidents to overwhelmingly exploit their use (See: www.presidency.ucsb.edu/statistics/data/executive-orders).
. Knowing where this was headed, the guest emphatically stated that mandates for masks and vaccines were "Unconstitutional" and DeSantis was correct is refusing to abide by them. My response was straightforward. DeSantis is simply engaged in a publicity campaign centered upon the notion of nullification of Federal authority. Amazingly, he agreed! What he did not understand or appreciate, was the fact that nullification has never been a successful position to take. I reminded him of John C. Calhoun and Jackson's Nullification Crisis and the position the Framers took in Article VI (Supremacy Clause) making the supreme law of the land with States being required to adhere to it. Only at this point did he ask what my background was. Oops!
After stating so clearly that science and scientists are above reproach by politicians, he seemed to ignore the very same applying to Constitutional historians, lawyers or professors of American history/political science. When he ventured to guess that no time in our history has a president ever used Executive Orders to mandate actions by the public, I decided enough was enough. I then filled him in on my background, and reminded him that mandates have been around for decades. Seems doctors should stick with science because he seemed out of his league when the issue of rationing was mandated by FDR in an EO during World War II. (See: www.nps.gov/articles/Rationing-in-WWII.htm).
Being smart enough to know he was "out of his lane", the good doctor quietly backed off without a whimper. The remainder of the evening was quite pleasant, yet I couldn't help but think that out Country is is deep trouble, when well educated individuals can refuse to acknowledge reality if it doesn't fit their preconceived narratives. Although he accepted by arguments, I seriously wondered if it made any difference to him at all.
Which brings me to my last point. If and when the House January 6 Investigating Committee eventually reports to the nation that a former president actively sought the destruction of our democracy, will it ever make an impact on their belief system? With the potential destructive impact on the former president and MAGA, will it make any difference if the lane for the GOP presidential nomination opens wide for a Trump clone like Ron DeSantis? Will anything sink into the brains of those convinced they alone are right, no matter facts or reality? Our democracy is in peril if the answer is "No."
As Founder and Framer Alexander Hamilton once wrote; "There are seasons in every country when noise and impudence pass current for worth; and in popular commotions especially, the clamors of interested and factious men are often mistaken for patriotism." It's well past the time for Americans to call out MAGA and the Radical Right's Media Machine for what they are - Anti-American, hate filled insurrectionists wrapped up in undemocratic ideologies. Until then, we are all in peril. So, for this holiday season, please pray for our democracy - we all need it.
Now that Election Day 2021 is over, can we all just take a collective breath and ponder what is really happening in our country? Hundreds of idiots lined the streets of Dallas yesterday to celebrate the zombie return of John F. Kennedy, Jr. believing his death in 1999 was a hoax and that his return will mark the new initiative of Trump and Kennedy running for the White House in 2024. With all of the other Q crap out there, it was proven once again that some people are too stupid to even know how stupid they actually are. What will it take for some to give up believing bullshit when said beliefs are proven wrong, time and time again? Gotta give it to them though, they sure are persistent in their stupidity.
In the recap of the Virginia's Governor's race, it appears that same stupidity and ignorance was at work as millions of voters elected Trumpkin Youngkin to the Governor's mansion because they were convinced by the Right Wing and the main stream media that an Anti-White Critical Race Theory ("CRT") was being taught to unsuspecting students whose parents reject as indoctrination. When asked what exactly CRT is about, none could articulate anything. Not a clue, but "I don't like it and I vote." How can Democrats defeat arguments that are based upon emotionally tied non-existent issues? How can one deal with and convince those that believe in zombies that their belief systems (as a whole) are seriously flawed? How does an entire political party combat a media hellbent on ensuring every election turn in a horse race instead of an election dealing with crucial social and economic policy?
One thing is for sure. GOP claims of election rigging certainly were muted after "their guy" won in Virginia. Now, can the Democrats and the media please amplify the hypocrisy that permeates the Right Wing and begin to bring America back to its collective senses? The Dems better count on themselves figuring out the path forward because the media has million$ of reasons not to change a thing. To the media, Titillating (even if false) news is always the way forward - "Remember the Maine!" (See: "Yellow Journalism"). When we say "Click bait", who are we "hooking" with their distractive bullshit?
Perhaps the only way to win is for the Democrats to take the offensive while actually getting popular policies passed in sweeping legislation. They better get to it soon, because the 2022 midterm elections begin today! As Democratic President Harry S. Truman once so famously said, "Carry the battle to them. Don't let them bring it to you. Put them on the defensive and don't ever apologize for anything."
No Man Is Above The Law
For decades when I met new people, I always find a way to interject in our initial conversations a statement that "I chose to go to law school instead of medical school because I really don't like people." These days though, I seem to really mean it. With over 700,000 fellow Americans dead due to Covid (56,000 Floridians alone), I no longer seem to really care about Anti-Vaxxers filling up ICU's in local hospitals, leaving vaccinated patients with serous medical needs without medical beds.
Now we hear that the wife of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (one of the worst deniers of science our nation has ever witnessed), has been diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Instead of making a simple mention of her diagnosis, the local media has been making it out to be the only person in the state to be facing a dangerous disease. So much so, that many locals are insisting the negative news about the governor's horrific political moves created solely to enhance his future presidential aspirations must be set aside because "his wife is sick." What? When death and disease abounds, we only seem to care when such bad things happen to the wealthy or connected? Now we need a "hands off" attitude towards a governor that seeks his own limelight - to the great expense of the constituents he misleads and mismanages through his elected office? What's that old saying - "Good for the goose, good for the gander?"
So Covid has "hardened" some of us. Does it make me a bad person? I mean, I care deeply about preserving our democracy and our Constitution, should I really feel badly for people that couldn't care less about what I believe in?
It has come out that several of Trump's former staff that were actively engaged in the January 6 insurrection are defying Congressional Subpoenas investigating this tragic event by refusing to comply with the demand to appear upon "instructions" from Trump. Since everyone knows Trump uses his tried and true "run out the clock" strategy, Congress should be prepared to immediately move with criminal referrals for those that refuse to comply...right? I mean, we all knew Trump would try to block the subpoenas. Knowing the Republicans in Congress used subpoena powers to investigate anything that even rhymed with "BENGHAZI", why is there so much effort by many to deny compliance with orders issued by Democrats? But what if Congress fails to enforce their subpoenas? I mean, if subpoenas have no teeth, perhaps warrants are next? I mean, who likes complying with warrants? Can anyone now say "Trump told me I didn't have to comply" and that will be enough to convince a judge the law doesn't apply to them?
Throughout my adult life, I have been a cheerleader for our system of government established by the US Constitution. Like every elected politician (as a licensed lawyer), I have repeatedly sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution. I take oaths very seriously. How long before our great nation wakes up and realizes that oaths are sacred and are to be enforced? How long before we realize that efforts to avoid compliance with Congressional investigations are leading directly to the unraveling of our legal system of equal enforcement under law? If no man is above the law, then how do so many rich, famous or elected act with impunity when facing potential legal enforcement?
As the late Robert Kennedy once wrote; "Every society gets the kind of criminal it deserves. What is equally true is that every community gets the kind of law enforcement it insists on." It's far past time ALL Americans demand compliance with our laws, otherwise, our democratic-republic is in grave danger. We may be reaching a point of no return. Let's make sure our politicians know real Americans want the laws enforced - even if the perpetrators are Republicans.
Daniel R. Rubin is an Attorney, Key Note Presenter, Lecturer and Award Winning Author. He is a retired Adjunct Professor of American History who also taught Advanced Placement United States Government and American Politics in Venice, Florida. @2023 Daniel R. Rubin Copyright. All Rights reserved.