A New Standard for SCOTUS Nominations?

I cannot imagine a bigger metaphorical bomb detonating than the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. We all knew it was going to happen eventually, the woman was 87 and had fought through cancer. She was tough but death comes for us all and the death of a Supreme Court Justice is like a time bomb in American politics, one that puts even more pressure on an election.

I understand that the 24-hour news cycle has shortened our attention spans but I want you all to try and remember back to 2016 when Justice Antonin Scalia died. President Barack Obama had nominated Judge Merrick Garland of the District of Columbia Circuit Appeals Court to fill the empty S.C.O.T.U.S. seat. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (who still serves in that same position today unfortunately) stirred up drama around the upcoming presidential election.

“Given that we are in the midst of the presidential election process, the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee and I believe that it is today the American people who are best-positioned to help make this important decision — rather than a lame-duck president whose priorities and policies they just rejected in the most-recent national election.”

United States Senator Mitch McConnell (R, KT), The American People Should Have a Voice in the Selection of the Next Supreme Court Justice (2016), <https://www.mcconnell.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2016/2/the-american-people-should-have-a-voice-in-the-selection-of-the-next-supreme-court-justice>.

Senator McConnell delayed Judge Garland’s confirmation to the S.C.O.T.U.S. until the next election then immediately started the process when President Donald Trump nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh (from the same court – DC’s Circuit Appeals Court) to the empty S.C.O.T.U.S. seat.

Fast forward four years and the nation finds itself in a similar situation – a dead Supreme Court Justice leaving eight Justices on the court and a tense election in the near future. Will Senator McConnell display some consistency with the new precedent he and his party set back in 2016?

“President Trump’s nominee for this vacancy will receive a vote on the floor of the Senate.”

Senator McConnell, McConnell: ‘President Trump’s Nominee for this Vacancy will Receive a Vote on the Floor of the Senate (2020), <https://www.mcconnell.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2020/9/mcconnell-president-trump-s-nominee-for-this-vacancy-will-receive-a-vote-on-the-floor-of-the-senate>.

The senator justifies his decision by linking the precedent to the year 1888, the last time there was a S.C.O.T.U.S. vacancy while the White House and the Congress were held by different parties.

Wikipedia, List of Nominations to the Supreme Court of the United States (2020), <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nominations_to_the_Supreme_Court_of_the_United_States>.

In 2016, the Democratic Party held the White House while the Republican Party held both houses of Congress. Today, the Republican Party holds the White House and only one house of Congress. One can still argue that we have a divided government so I’m skeptical about Senator McConnell’s reasoning.

I don’t understand why a specific political party needs to be in control of the national government in order for the Senate to proceed with S.C.O.T.U.S. nomination hearings but, given that was Senator McConnell’s reasoning four years ago, he should definitely uphold that same standard today. Otherwise, Mitch McConnell’s name is now synonymous with a “double standard.”

What holds people back?

Take the right turn in Duke City and you can find anything.

The feeling of “living just enough for the city” as Stevie Wonder so elegantly phrased it is becoming more common in American cities.  Housing prices are soaring above wages and the gap between the working lower classes and the upper affluent classes is stark but opportunities remain.  There are always opportunities for the less fortunate, it just requires a little creativity.

I commute to my job on public transit and every day I see people who look as though they are going hard times – not well dressed, poor hygiene, a little spaced out (possibly on a foreign substance) – but they all seem to be able to scrape together enough money for a bus ticket.  What’s even more amazing is that most of these people have a smartphone in-hand with ear-buds or headphones on their heads.  Regardless of how my lower-class peers are able to afford these small luxuries, I don’t think they realize the kind of opportunities they can access with these devices alone.

A mobile phone can provide one with organizational tools for planning a day and recording other phone numbers for future reference (the start of any entrepreneurial endeavor) as well as grant you access to an internet connection via any public library or city-owned building.  Are most people even aware of the existence of public libraries these days?

I’m not the most entrepreneurial or business-minded person but I can still hold a job and keep hold of some money; it doesn’t take a lot of thought or effort.  What is holding so many people back?  Drugs, mental health, an inability to utilize money effectively, obsessive personalities combined with addictive (or even criminal) behaviors?  I genuinely want to know.

7-Ways-to-Stay-Motivated_v3-01-1

Juxtapositions of Modern Success

As I walk through my city streets, I see a strange juxtaposition of modern progress.  I see rising infrastructure along the skyline with empty windows and “for rent” signs.  I see people in suits with high-tech phones stepping over the tattered and dirty homeless.  I see cold and desperate people sleeping outside of night clubs filled with affluent and arrogant college students.  I see middle-class workers with their heads in their phones hustling between multiple jobs while lower-class street-walkers beg for some charity.  I see all these examples of the dichotomy in America’s current success story and I don’t know what to do about it.  I don’t have any answers for the poor and the down-trodden besides all the cliches that have already been preached publicly hundreds of times over.

What happened to our sense of community across America?

Old Address, Out-of-Date Voting

I went to a polling place today to vote in a local election and I was confused when I realized that my new address was not updated in the City of Albuquerque’s list of registered voters.  Earlier this year, I relocated from Albuquerque’s District 1 (West ABQ) to District 6 (Nob Hill) and immediately re-registered to vote (as I usually do).  Perhaps municipalities should update their voter registration records more frequently, but what do I know?

I still voted this morning, I just had to vote for my former neighborhood rather than my current neighborhood; not a big deal in the macro.

(If I’m missing something, let me know in the comments section below.  Don’t forget to tell me how big of an idiot I am.)

 

The D.N.C. is cheating AGAIN!

SOURCE: The Jimmy Dore Show, <https://youtu.be/BwjRnXGtkr0>, posted 8/27/2019.

^ This is what the Democratic Party does, they cheat the populists out of the process by manipulating their primary rules.  The Democratic National Committee (D.N.C.) was against Bernie Sanders in 2016 because they were beholden to the Clinton machine and Sanders was the anti-war voice against Hillary Clinton.  Now, the D.N.C. is against Tulsi Gabbard because she’s the new populist voice speaking out against the corporate interests who bankroll the Democrats.  Changes in debate rules in the middle of the election season, discounting specific polls that don’t favor specific candidates, setting thresholds for fundraising as qualifyers for potential nominations, these are some of the subtle tactics that the dominant political parties (the Republican Party is guilty too) use to maintain power and shut out candidates who value the public over their party.  Populists are at an incredible disadvantage because our elections are all about party loyalty and fundraising.
President George Washington warned the American public about party politics, these fucking donkeys and elephants have taken over the nation!

Populists are at an incredible disadvantage because our elections are all about party loyalty and fundraising.

SOURCE: United States Representative Tulsi Gabbard, <https://youtu.be/es3lWK-wXLs>, posted 8/27/2019.

 

 

WATCH: Kyle Kulinski on Mainstream Bias

Video Source: Secular Talk on YouTube.

Presumptuousness, pompousness, entitlement, and condescension are among the worst of human qualities.  They can be ascribed to an individual like Donald Trump or to a collective of people like American news media.  I hate television news because they’ve grown accustomed to viewers taking them at their word.  We need to remember that what we refer to as “the media” are still simply people in positions of power or if not power than influence.  It’s a different kind of power than the kind which our current president wields but is just as dangerous when corrupted.

WATCH: “The Nature of Power.”

Video Credit: Wizard of Cause on YouTube.

Power is an essential element of human sociology.  Many of us take it for granted, ignoring the implications of handling power and the consequences of acts of power, which may explain the extravagance we take with power.  Perhaps we need to alter the way we think about power and makes changes to how our social organizations handle power.  What if we thought of power not as a position toward which to aspire to but as a “force of nature” to be directed in a particular way; an act of god which we use with humility and due diligence.

New Mexico – a lot of potential with an old mindset.

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

Living in New Mexico is like living in a trailer park that’s been granted statehood.  Our infrastructure is barely up to twentieth century standards, our politicians are unprofessional (technically), and most people don’t know how to drive.

 

School bus on Indian Service Route 5010 near Sanostee, New Mexico
Image Source: <http://www.newmexiconewsport.com/>.

 

New Mexico does have potential for growth if only the public would ditch this lingering old West, Libertarian mindset.  “Live free or die,” as they say – oh, wait, wrong state!  New Mexico’s motto is a question: “red or green?”  That’s also a good way to figure out if someone was born/raised in New Mexico, just ask the person if they like smothering their food in chili peppers to the point where you can’t even taste the main part of the dish.  Mexican-style food is delicious when it’s not smothered with one thing like chili peppers or cheese but I’ve digresed.

Perhaps I’m fixating on some things that don’t matter.  Perhaps I’m judging New Mexico a little too harshly.  New Mexican communities are heavily family-oriented which make for very cohesive communities, albeit communities that are not very well coordinated as one over-arching community throughout the entire state.  We’re more like a lot of isolated communties amidst an incredibly wide expanse of geography.  Maybe if we had some decent public transportation that was more widespread to more population centers, we could be operating as a more cohesive statewide community.

Albuquerque Public Schools should definitely do something about the lead in their sinks.

One area where New Mexico looks very promising is the film industry and we can hope that the state takes further advantage of of this.  With the new studio that Netflix is opening in Albuquerque, perhaps we can become the next Los Angeles in a few decades as an entertainment epicenter.

Can we all just play some games together?

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

Politics is becoming way too tribal these days and I’m becoming more inclined to simply opt out of the process altogether.  Why state my opinion if I’ll just get taken out of context and demonized by my opponents?  Why try to promote truth when most people don’t care about truth?  I’ll just stick to my dead-end jobs and enjoy my days off with some video games.

 

Destiny 2 5_16_2019 11_48_35 AM
A Hunter meets a Titan on Nessus (Destiny 2).

 

I think the best way to be politically involved is in your local community (at least).  Your home community will have the most effects on your daily life and your daily interactions can have some influence on the local culture (however small that influence may be).  Perhaps the keys to countering rising political tribalism lie in expanding your personal interactions on the local level.  Every facet of your life should not be a part of some grand political fight, that kind of life grows exhausting very fast.  We need to remember to take time away from our personal politics to just spend time with people – no politics, no grand-standing, no partisan bullshit – just spending time with your peers casually bantering with one another (like people used to do in the days before internet connections).

Personally, I would love to find some gamers in Albuquerque just to get together with a couple times a week and talk about video games for a couple hours.  Maybe I should start a “No Politics” club to attract more intelligent people. 😀 lol Maybe I can even bring back the Know Nothing Party. 🙂

Btw, my Blizzard gamertag is “Crabb90#1566” if any Destiny players want to jump into the Crucible with me. 😉

A Globalized Economy and Drugged Shrimp

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

Three years into the administration of President Donald Trump and the economy is “booming” (at least for bankers, investment firms, and corporate business).  Rural communities are still struggling to maintain some independence in the modern world but at least Wall Street is thriving off of consolidation and exploitation.  The state of contemporary working classes all over the globe is enough to induce a state of depression but at least business classes and service industries are making us all fat and content with modern luxuries.  There are even some British shrimp that are getting high off of human excesses, the drug war has gone international and is now affecting our water ways.  Tricky Dick would be proud.

And while some communities scrape up some money to implement idealistic policies such as plastic bag bans and carbon taxes (the “liberal agenda” at work), the rest of us are working our butts off to keep our bank accounts just above poverty levels, all for a slim chance to “make it big” and join the ranks of the fabulously wealthy “one percent” (the American Dream, am I right?).

This new world of constant connections and interdependence has its advantages but the transition has been tough for us millennials as we struggle to forge our own destinies amidst endless distractions and, as social services continue to be cut from government budgets in an effort to “reign in spending” in the name of “fiscal responsibility,” it seems like the purpose of government itself comes more and more into question.  I suppose we can always get another bullshit job after another serving fried food to fat Americans and getting drunk on our craft beers.