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The Constitutional Convention Concept Is A Republican Con Job.

The GOP's Con Con.

American democracy is headed for peril. A quiet campaign to legally overwrite the Constitution of the United States of America, with the ostensible purpose of proposing a balanced-budget amendment, has been silently building steam.

The process is known as a Constitutional Convention, a legal apparatus by which the contents of our Constitution can be altered.

Prominent extremist Republicans like Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee have supported it, and the Koch brothers‘ libertarian network has long placed its financial power behind their push.

Article V of the U.S. Constitution grants Congress the power to amend the Constitution by a two-thirds vote. It gives the states the power to call for a convention to amend the Constitution if two-thirds of the states can muster support for the measure.

Having the radical right wing rewrite our Constitution would be an unparalleled disaster for the American people, not to mention the rest of the world.  The Center on Budget and Priority Policies understates the case beautifully by telling us that it’s got “serious risks”. That’s a soothing way of telling us our entire global economy will be wrenched.

David Super of the Los Angeles Times wrote that “It would also drastically reduce America’s standing in world affairs,. far more than handing the presidency to an incoherent, shop-worn reality TV star.”

Conservatives have been after what is best called the “Con Con” for years. The Constitution is a nuisance to them because it stops them from completely disenfranchising everyone who’s not in the good ol’ boys club.

Although the same people who brought you “Medicare for All” and the Free College plan are able somehow to convince themselves otherwise, it is virtually certain that conservatives would dominate a convention held today.

They have control of the White House, Congress, and 32 state legislatures. They’ve also got all the money. They would clearly have marked influence over every provision in the project.

The right has also retained control of the Supreme Court, thanks to Republican refusal to vote in the confirmation of President Barack Obama’s candidate Merrick Garland. This too would obviously give conservatives the upper hand in any litigation arising out of the convention.
Whether the delegates run for election in heavily gerrymandered districts or are appointed by state leaders, the result would be the same. A convention with a heavily right-wing bent.
If the Tea Party or the alt-right of Richard Spencer and Sebastian Gorka, were to write us a new Constitution, it hardly requires speculation to imagine a lack of improvement.

The things on their agenda read like a grocery list of bad ideas, but then again, that’s the Republican way.

They will make English the official language of the US.

They intend to “define life at conception“, which is a polite euphemism for criminalizing abortion and perhaps even contraception.

They will also include corporations as people with every constitutional right, clarifying the matter legally in favor and confirmation of the horrendous Citizens’ United ruling.

They will reverse gay marriage, as former Alabama judge and alleged molester Roy Moore proposed by way of a Con Con in 2014.

They will codify in the 1st Amendment their right to impose Christian faith and values on everybody in the whole country.

They will change the 2nd Amendment to forbid regulation. All hope of reasonable gun control would thus disappear.

The big thing they’re emphasizing now, the balanced budget amendment, might even involve the doing away of the income tax and the Federal Reserve altogether. This would leave the American poor to scrabble for a living like beggars in the sewers of Calcutta- in the richest country in the world.

Once a constitutional convention is called, all bets are off. “Regardless of why a convention is called, there is nothing to stop it from becoming a runaway convention that could ultimately overhaul the U.S. Constitution completely,” said Scott Swenson, the vice president of communications for Common Cause, to Salon Magazine.

The Constitution and the foresight of the Founding Fathers in making it so hard to alter are all that has saved us from Donald Trump and the other Republicans, who have been trying to get around it for years. Overhauling it would be an atrocity.

The only thing that has prevented it from happening already is the Democratic Party, which is now doing its best to stave off completely unnecessary threats from the far, radical left. Unbelievably, they are for this too.

Organizations such as Justice Democrats founder Cenk Uygur’s Wolf-PAC have been fighting for this as hard as the Tea Party has.

“It’s got to be an amendment,” said Wolf-PAC’s Texas state director, Todd Jagger.

That someone on the left could actually believe this defies the limits of human understanding.

Concluding, the big takeaway from this article, is that an Article V convention call is a terrible danger to American democracy.

If the Republicans manage to pull this off, we will all be rendered helpless. They could do anything they wanted. The states would lose all control.

We’ll be flat on our backs for the rest of our lives.

We have to get the word out about this, and we’ve got to do it now, or we may very well see the very foundations of the United States – the rights we hold so dearly as Americans – shake or disappear.

The best way to stop them is by electing Democrats to state legislatures, and everywhere else. Our professionals are tough. They will shut this thing down across the board. The Blue Wave is the first step. We must all make sure we vote.

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MD DissectFake- Mexican Mob and NorCal Wildfires Rumor Debunked

A strange rumor caught the attention of one of our contributors recently.

An idea has been making the rounds that the apocalyptic wildfires in Northern California were started by the Mexican Mafia, in an iron-fisted attempt to eliminate competition from the marijuana industry.

He thought little of it at first. But it just kept coming up, and now it’s turning into an accepted part of the narrative in the area.

Rumors are common, of course. But in this day and age, when even the most innocuous aspects of American culture, e.g. Pokemon Go and the #DontShootUs hashtag have been poisoned and used against us by the Russians, nothing can be taken for granted.

So when you hear a widespread rumor, especially regarding anything that might be employed to raise racial tensions and turn neighbor against neighbor, it’s a good idea to look at where it came from.

The problem started when right-wing blog Got News claimed an exclusive bombshell in the ongoing wildfire story. They did not cite any of their alleged law enforcement sources. No quotes of any kind appear in the story. It fails to present any evidence beyond the fact that the fires damaged marijuana crops.

Breitbart News got ahold of it shortly thereafter.

Now, here’s where things get interesting. GotNews is run by a guy named Charles C. Johnson, the white nationalist infamously known as “Trump’s Troll”. He reportedly acted as an adviser to the Trump administration’s transition team. Johnson has recently been implicated in the Russia investigation, according to a recent piece by Ben Schreckinger in Politico.

Johnson also arranged and attended a meeting between Assange and Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican who has consistently argued for closer ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government.

In other words, Charles C. Johnson is probably on Putin’s payroll. And he’s definitely on his side.

Although the likes of the slovenly Charles C. Johnson seem like random wingnuts, these stories are not random at all. They are part of a carefully coordinated and worldwide disinformation campaign, financed by Russia and inspired by fascist ideology.

The utmost attention must be brought to the way that this is done. Believe it or not, propaganda specialists are telling the truth 9 of 10 times. That’s the whole point. If all of it was nonsense, it would be written off right away. So most of it isn’t. Lying blatantly isn’t what they do. What they do do, is actually very clever. They will take that one lie, break it up into chunks, and then feed it back to people in a way they often don’t notice.

The method employed in this article was an associative trick. They take two things that could plausibly be related and simply discuss them, side by side. The lie comes in so smooth, you barely notice it. Watch carefully the Breitbart article’s opening paragraphs for a good working example. It’s down there in italics and it includes the link.

“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Acting Director Tom Homan confirmed on Thursday that a man arrested in connection with setting a fire in Sonoma County Wine Country is an illegal alien from Mexico who has been twice returned to his “home country.”

Three claims are being made here. First, that a man has been arrested by ICE. Second, that the man is an illegal alien from Mexico. Third, that his arrest was made IN CONNECTION with setting fires. The first two are true; the third is patently false. It is a complete and total lie.

Many Americans, however, will swear on the lives of their families that the opposite is true. This is because they have been brainwashed so totally by conservative media that they truly believe what Breitbart writes is the gospel truth. Studies on the subject indicate this type of person will defend a story like this to the end.

In direct contravention of this statement, Sonoma County Sheriff Robert Giordano directly addressed the false claim at a press conference held at the time.

The Breitbart article was flat out called “false and misleading.”

There is no indication he is related to these fires at all,” Sheriff Giordano said. “Cal Fire is doing an investigation to see how these fires started. We don’t even know if it’s arson.”

The simple fact is, it’s wildfire season.

Long fire seasons are normal for California. Rain is usually absent for half the year. Thirteen of the 20 most devastating fires in California history, as measured by the number of buildings destroyed, have started on Oct. 1 or later, according to Cal Fire records.

The wildfires this year were the worst in state history, an unparalleled tragedy. The callousness needed to use an event like this for political purposes can only belong to Putin.

This is the face of fascism.  Manufactured incidents, news used as a tool to mislead and obfuscate. Propaganda, dishonesty, and confusion become the new and accepted norm. This is the face of their new authoritarian ideology. That ideology will be gradually dripped into the heads of the people by the likes of Sebastian Gorka, who was recently hired by Fox News.

This concept is not abstract, or something that only happens elsewhere. Companies like the Sinclair Broadcasting Company, which is said to be in talks with conservative TV show host Bill O’Reilly, will soon be threading pro- Trump messaging into every aspect of television. Their virulent brand of right-wing commentary and so-called “classic propaganda” may soon reach three-quarters of US households.

Going forward, the Mexican Mafia wildfire slander serves as an excellent case study for the examining and reverse-engineering of Republican propaganda. There will be more of this to come than we can imagine; Russian ads alone reached over 120 million on Facebook this year.

By thinking critically and staying alert, however, we can spot the fake news virus as it spreads. We can dismantle them, dissect them, and lay bare their innards to the light.  In this manner, we will come to see how they work.

Our job is to expose lies and bear witness. So please, when you see a story that looks like it could be suspect, let us know. Send it in so we can get to the bottom of it, and send it packing once and for all. Those who seek to educate will always stand as defenders of the truth. And that is the purpose of the Millennial Democrats DissectFake project.

Beneath, we are gratefully borrowing a crucial production of the International Federation of Library Associations(IFLA), which describes itself as the global voice of the library and information profession.

IFLA has made this infographic with eight simple steps (based on FactCheck.org’s 2016 article How to Spot Fake News)  to discover the verifiability of a given news-piece in front of you. Download, print, translate, and share – at home, at your library, in your local community, and on social media networks. The more we crowdsource our wisdom, the wiser the world becomes.

How to Spot Fake News

 

Modern Indulgences- Trump and the Religious Right.

At the Family Research Council’s recent Values Voter Summit, the religious right declared itself for Trump, with great enthusiasm and thunderous applause. Trump went on one of his rants about saying Merry Christmas, and the crowd went wild.

This is a travesty, and a hard to understand one. This president is the antithesis of every religion’s value systems, all of which emphasize right living and a connection with a higher power. Trump is a sack of walking debauchery. Christmas will not be merry at all, until he’s been shown the White House door. Neither will Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or any other holiday.

The Values Voter Summit is an annual political conference, held in Washington, D.C. for ultra- conservative operatives and elected officials from across the United States.The president was received there as a conquering hero, especially after declaring that there’s been a War on Christmas going on all this time, and that it has just been won.

It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that if the president wanted to win an imaginary war, he might have invested some of his billions into an X-Box.

Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka, who both were fired from the White House due to their virulent extremism, were both present, and both out for blood. “There is a time and season for everything,” said Bannon. “And right now, it’s a season for war against a GOP establishment.” The whole event was a fraud. That’s a room full of people at war with itself.

This is the bill being presented to the likes of Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell. The alt-right is a golem, called forth to do the bidding of a small and shrinking group of men. And like any golem worth its salt, it has risen to consume its masters.

These are the fruits of the policies that the Conservative Coalition started. This term refers to an unofficial, Tea-Party like outfit in the U.S. Congress that existed between the 1960’s and 1990’s. Its goal was to bring together the Northern Republicans and the minority of Southern Democrats who were incapable of changing with the times.

The term became obsolete once there weren’t any Democrats left; we showed the door to the reactionary and bigoted elements of the Democratic Party long ago. The philosophy and approach lived on, however, and seems to be making an unfortunate comeback.

Many people think this way of doing business came largely to an end with Jerry Falwell’s declaration to end the Moral Majority in 1989, declaring under George H.W. Bush that their goals had been achieved. It didn’t. It just shifted gears and chose a new name.

Since then, America has continued watching the process of one of its political parties drained utterly of mercy and benevolence. This has never been so clear as since Trump took office.

Over this last year, the Republicans have proposed legislation to destroy unions, the healthcare system, and the education system. The Environmental Protection Agency was placed in the charge of Oklahoma’s former attorney general, Scott Pruitt, a man who has spent his entire life opposing it.

They want to defund Planned Parenthood, they want to restrict abortion. Legislature has been proposed in sixteen states to stifle public protest. Increased risk of violence against transgender persons and other at-risk groups are the inevitable result of a roll back of anti-discrimination laws, but they do not seem to hold this important.

What they do hold important is to funnel wealth from the poorest to the richest. Their desire seems to be to roll back the clock arbitrarily, to a time that most of us are very glad is past. All of this is being done with the full support and sanction of the religious right, who are making big bank too.

This is why they were so happy to see the election of Donald Trump. They knew he would be good for their finances. Franklin Graham at the time said that he was convinced it was the “hand of God that got Donald Trump elected. Not Wiki-leaky, or anything else. The hand of God”.

The finances of the people who make up their congregations were not considered. Even the ability of those people to receive basic health care and keep breathing was ignored, as none of them were heard protesting Trump’s decision to gore Obamacare. The disgraceful examples set by Trump, i.e. greed, profligacy, nepotism, corruption, etc. were shown a blind eye also. Even the infamous “Grab em” tape in which he blatantly proves himself a sex offender didn’t do the trick. All of it was ignored.

One thing only was taken into account- their plan to lay waste the First Amendment, with its insistence on enforcing the separation of church and state.

Leaders of the religious right recently started demanding federal benefits for churches hit by Hurricane Harvey, even as the cleanup started. It seems innocuous, but actually it represents a highly significant milestone in their plan to lay waste the First Amendment. They have preparing groundwork to lay claim to public funds for a long time.

If they can gain a toehold by getting legal recognition collecting federal money, they can slowly worm their way into positions of influence in a government they are legally forbidden to enter.

This is why they’ll forgive Trump anything. It’s why Franklin Graham attributed his victory to the Hand of God, and not “Wiki-leaky, or anything else”.

The way the whole thing works out is markedly similar to the historical sale of indulgences, where corrupt priests caused an entire Reformation, selling God’s permission to live licentiously to the rich. Wow. In the meantime, we’re to start saying Merry Christmas again, but one wonders what Christ might think.

It’s all being made possible by Donald Trump, which is why they’ll forgive him anything. Martin Luther must be turning over in his grave, to see Protestants selling indulgences. The whole operation drags the spirit of the church through the mud like nothing since the Spanish Inquisition.

“I pledged that, in a Trump administration, our nation’s religious heritage would be cherished, protected, and defended like you have never seen before,” President Donald Trump said on Friday. “That’s what’s happening. We are stopping cold the attacks on Judeo-Christian values.”

It is the very definition of irony, that the people who’ve been screaming about the End of Times and the Antichrist all these years, would end up lining up with the guy who best fits the description. For Democrats, this all provides a pleasant reminder of the reasons we can look at ourselves in the mirror and sleep at night.

 

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