“Presidential behavior”: an easy answer if ever there was one

In our continuing curiosity about how our elected officials feel about the presumptive president-elect [PPE], we have a new entry in our Easy Answers series.

Today I emailed my senators:

On 60 Minutes this past Sunday, in reference to the presumptive president-elect’s tweet that “millions of people voted illegally,” Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said, “It doesn’t matter to me.”

Does it matter to you that the presumptive president-elect tweeted an obvious lie?

(N.B.: it is an obvious lie.  Any references to the Pew Study will be disregarded, since 1) the author of the study has repudiated any validation of this lie; and 2) the study was performed in 2012,  not for this election.)

Also, Kellyann Conway made the astounding claim that because he is the presumptive president-elect, any such tweets were de facto “presidential behavior.”

Do you agree that the presumptive president-elect’s behavior is “presidential”?

Unclean! Unclean!

With A Christmas Carol and the Tour of Homes in the books (albeit with one more weekend of CC performances to go), it’s time to excavate the study.

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That may not look so bad to you, but trust me—it’s a mess: the detritus of three months of shedding as I move from one project to another.  It will be therapeutic to get everything tidied up/stored/tossed.

And then it’s on to… TBD.


Et voilá!

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Notice not only the clear floor and desks, but the addition of the Assistive Feline™.

None dare call it lying

In her Washington Post op-ed on Friday, Ruth Marcus bemoaned our post-truth PPE.  She’s on point with her facts and her opinions, but on one item she completely missed the boat.

Ironically, while gigging the PPE for “not quite understanding what euphemism means,” she bends over backwards dancing around the hard truth[1]: “consistently heedless to truth”; “untrue assertion”; “untruths”; “chock-full-of-lies”; “truth-impaired”; “unconstrained by facts.”  Only in her last paragraph does she nail it: “The journalist’s challenge is not to tire in refuting the torrent of lies.”

The way to do that, Ms. Marcus, is to use the exact terminology each and every time: the PPE won by lying.  He continues to lie. He is a liar.


[1] See what I did there?

A non-answer to an easy question

One of the easy questions I recently asked of my senators was whether they agreed with the PPE’s tweet that people who burned the flag should be “stripped of their citizenship,” and whether they would vote for legislation that mandated that.  (Spoiler alert: there is no mechanism for “stripping” a U.S. citizen of his citizenship.)

Sen. David Perdue (R) responded via email:

 Thank you for contacting me to express concern over desecration of the American flag. I always appreciate the opportunity to hear from my fellow Georgians.

Like most Georgians, I find desecration of the American flag to be personally offensive, but unfortunately the Supreme Court ruled in the 1989 case of Texas v. Johnson that flag desecration is protected speech under the First Amendment. A year later, in the 1990 case of United States v. Eichman, the Supreme Court struck down the Flag Protection Act as an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment’s protections on free speech.

In light of the Supreme Court’s decisions in Johnson and Eichman, the only option available to Congress to prohibit desecration of the American flag is the passage of an anti-flag desecration amendment to the Constitution. This would require the support of a two-thirds majority of each house of Congress and ratification by three-fourths of the States. I will support the passage of such an amendment if it is proposed during my time in Senate.

Well.  Number one, as I replied to the senator, my concern was not over the “desecration” of the American flag; my concern was protecting free speech.  The idea that the U.S. flag is sacred is ridiculous.  That would imply it is part of some kind of state-sponsored religion, one that worships the state in fact, and we all know that is not the case.

Number two, he (once again) did not answer my question.  But I’m going to presume that yes, he does support passing legislation to “strip” a U.S. citizen of his citizenship if that citizen exercises his right to free speech.


An answer, kind of, to an Easy Question

When I got home from the theatre yesterday, there was a message on the phone.  It was from a Drew Robinson, a pleasantly-voiced man, letting me know that Sen. David Perdue’s office had gotten my email about waterboarding (the PPE and several of his surrogates had suggested it was dandy).

This was just prior to my deciding to make this a blog series so I don’t have the exact wording of my email, but I essentially asked if my elected officials if they were down with the U.S. torturing prisoners in contravention of international law.

Mr. Robinson’s message, and I paraphrase, was to assure me they would be passing it along to the senator that I opposed the reintroduction of waterboarding in the Executive Branch.

You, being the astute reader that you are, will already have noticed that this is not really an answer to my question.  I appreciate that they’re not going to keep my opinion from the senator, but my question was whether David Perdue agreed with the PPE that we should be waterboarding.

And so back we go:

I had a voice mail on my machine yesterday from Drew Robinson from your office, assuring me that they would pass along to you my opposition to the U.S. waterboarding in contravention of international law (“in the Executive Branch,” as Mr. Robinson phrased it).  I appreciate the contact, but my question remains:

Do you agree with the presumptive president-elect’s position that the U.S. should waterboard its prisoners?

Astute readers will also have noticed that Mr. Robinson (presumably following office protocol) did not call the PPE by name.

Easy answers

Oh my.  Our PPE certainly has some rather —what’s the word I’m looking for?— ignorant suppositions about U.S. citizenship and protest.

(There are those who are beginning to posit that whenever he does something dumb as shit like this, he’s just squid-inking to keep us from being even more outraged at his real problems.  I am not discounting the proposition.)

And so off we go to our elected officials:

The presumptive president-elect has tweeted: “Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!”

Do you agree with his statement?  Would you vote for legislation which stripped an American of citizenship for participating in an unpopular form of protest?

Bless their hearts

Now that the election is over, the amygdala-based lifeforms are having to find other existential perils to fuel their daily crisis.

Here’s one mother who has gotten creative in her efforts:

Homeschool mom crushed by ‘moral dilemma’ after son sees male CoverGirl wearing makeup

Oy, as we say in my neck of the woods.

The problem with all this is not that she thinks it’s weird or icky that a boy is wearing makeup.  That’s fine.  Chacun à son goût, and all that.  There’s more than one hippie with whom I camp whose choices, impulses and/or pleasures cause me to raise my eyebrows and/or purse my lips.

The problem is that for her, this is a “moral dilemma.”  A moral dilemma?

Of course it is.  The amygdala-based lifeform requires that life be a certain, specific, and unalterable way.  This guarantees an eternally renewable source of energy: newness is to be feared.  Change is to be feared.  Ambiguity is to be feared.

They cannot allow themselves to recognize that life might have been different before this and will be different after this—and the idea that life is changing even as we live it is enough for them to get their daily dose of panic.

So this lady is having a great day.  She is so fearful of a boy wearing makeup (and all that this might mean) that she cannot take her eyes off her son “for a second.”  She cannot bear the thought now of even allowing him to “go over to a friend’s house,” where he might encounter something different than the walls she and her husband have built for him.  She feeds off this fear.  If she were a vampire, she wouldn’t have to dine for a month.

Finally, every parent’s rueful truth—that their six-year-old is growing up so fast—becomes in her world another source of tasty, delicious fear.  I’m sure she’s looking forward to the teen years with slavering anticipation.

Ethics—how do they even work?

This is another in our Easy Answer series, in which I ask my congressional representatives a pretty easy question to answer and await their response.

This time my concerns spring from the probable hypocritical stance taken by our Republicker friends in regards to the presumptive president-elect (PPE) and his business dealings with foreign sources.  My trigger was this article from the WaPo.  It’s worth a read.

For real, the howler monkeys have been shrieking and flinging poo about Hillary Clinton’s “corruption” in taking money from foreign governments, etc., to fund the Clinton Foundation, the non-profit her family runs to “convene businesses, governments, NGOs, and individuals to improve global health and wellness, increase opportunity for women and girls, reduce childhood obesity, create economic opportunity and growth, and help communities address the effects of climate change.”  Much was made of its diabolical nature during the campaign, despite its consistent high ratings from independent organizations like Charity Navigator.

Likewise, the Republickers cranked up that smoke machine and did their best to make the Foundation look as if it were some kind of money funnel to the Clintons themselves, which of course it isn’t.  One claim I read was that you could tell it was corrupt because only 3% of its funding was dispersed in donations.  This was of course a deliberate lie and not an easy one for the regular voter to see through: since the Foundation runs its own programs, little of its funding goes to other organizations.  Let me repeat that for the hard-of-thinking: because the Clinton Foundation runs its own programs, it uses its funding to do that rather than pay someone else to do that.

So with such high dudgeon and general fantods on the part of the Republickers, you might very well think it was because of their high moral and ethical standards.  You might think that now that the PPE is heading their way, they’d be clutching their pearls and staffing their investigative committees to root out all potential corruption from the PPE and his foreign business issues.  You might think that, but then again you might be A Idiot.

Today’s email:

Many of your colleagues have been quite vocal in their calls to investigate Hillary Clinton on the basis of “foreign donations” or “entanglements,” implying that the U.S. President should be above suspicion when it comes to money matters and foreign entities.
Do you share their view, and do you intend to apply the same ethical standard to the presumptive president-elect’s business affairs?

As usual, I concluded with, “As a matter of course I will publish my question to you and your response both on my blog and on social media.”

Betsy DeVos

Already, we have a second post in our new Easy Answers series.

The presumptive president-elect [PPE] has selected Betsy DeVos to be his nominee for Secretary of Education.  The short version is that this woman has spent most of her adult life attempting to dismantle public education wherever she can: vouchers (of course); for-profit charter schools; no regulation for charter schools; characterization of “government schools” as “failing”; characterization of teachers as “the problem”; etc.

Here’s the first round of news articles on this piece of work:

And that’s just the legitimate news outlets.  You should hear what education organizations are saying.

edited to add: RawStory gives us the gory historical details in a story they’ve republished from five years ago.  This article is a must-read.

So here’s today’s email:

The presumptive president-elect has chosen Betsy DeVos as his nominee for Secretary of Education.  She refers to the public school system as “government schools,” usually categorizing them as “failing,” and has spent millions of her family’s fortune on promoting the diversion of tax dollars into private entrepreneurial schools while discouraging any kind of oversight of these institutions.

Do you share her values, and do you plan to vote to confirm her?

I’ll keep you posted.