Five Vs Nine…

The Keystone Kongress and the Kangaroo Court
Once again our Keystone Kongress is proving that they CAN get things done. Mostly, they just don’t want to. Well, assuming the things they might get done would benefit the majority of American people. THOSE things, they can never seem to do – and when they DO take them up – whatever follows is more of a hollow joke than anything substantive.

The first time I noticed this phenomenon was when they all got together and, in ONE DAY, declared Terri Schiavo, a brain-dead patient her husband was trying to remove from the machines, “alive.” Turns out she was still dead and failed to properly respond to the Kongressional declaration. NOW, activist and ideological morons on the SCOTUS have decided to overturn Roe v Wade…you know…because of ‘Stare Decisis,’ the doctrine that precedent should be followed in determining law. I’m sure we all remember each of them perjuring themselves by swearing to honor the principle before said Kongress.

The vast majority of the American people are angry about the choice and have taken to protesting – up to and including the court members houses. So the Sennett has already passed a law offering police protection to the appointees. Apparently, there’s some concern that the idiots face a potential threat to their well-being. I wonder if the ruling clowns will pass similar legislation protecting the women whose well-being is threatened by the idiotic declarations of the court. (Spoiler alert: they won’t…)

I guess I should add there there IS a law on the books protecting SCOTUS morons from the free speech of the people. Apparently, it’s illegal to try to sway a SCOTUS “decision.” To me, that translates perfectly to powerful people protecting themselves from the consequences of their actions. I believe the founders would NOT have approved…

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Oh, the IRONY…
I hear that the lying, ideological, moron windbag Samuel Alito, Jr spoke at George Mason University on the topic of ‘Statutory Textualism.’ George Mason University is one of those diploma-mill “schools” that exist for the sole purpose of converting people into dependable conservative voices in law. That is, they don’t teach “law,” they teach “conservative law.” No, it shouldn’t be different…but it is. I suspect George Mason, the man, would HATE being associated with the moral and mental deprivations of modern conservatism but he’s held in high esteem by people who don’t understand things because he initially refused to sign off on the Constitution. (More on that in a second.) They seem to ignore the fact that he ALSO wanted an immediate end to the slave trade, for example… but I digress…

‘Textualism’ is the moronic concept that when interpreting law, the actual, written words in the statute in question are the ONLY thing that should be considered. The REASON for the law is not relevant and should not be part of the consideration. It’s the tool stupid people use to justify their preferred positions, NOT arrive a sound conclusions. They decide what they want the outcome to be, then search for justification and reject any and all opposing information. That’s backwards thinking and it’s the stock and trade of religion and conservatism.

In the case of Roe, the backward thinking is expressed in their upcoming evil ruling by pretending that since the word ‘abortion’ isn’t actually written in the Constitution, it must not be Constitutional to rule on abortions at the Federal level. That wrongheaded thought causes me great concern, not only for other things that are not specifically written into the Constitution but for some of the things that ARE. Remember, the original Constitution defined black people as only 3/5 human, fercrissakes. Also, bear in mind that Roe v Wade was not specifically about abortion. It was about privacy, which IS written in the Constitution…

Do you know WHY the Bill of Rights are amendments and not specifically included in the original body of the Constitution? As it happens, the founders were concerned that if they tried to codify each and every right a person has, they’d certainly overlook something, somewhere. They KNEW they couldn’t cover everything that should be covered. Either they would overlook something, or the issue in question was something they’d never even heard of, but they knew they couldn’t think of everything. They tried to get around it by NOT codifying ANY rights in the Constitution but it turned out too many of the colonies (by now, states) wouldn’t sign on without something specific on the topic. Thus, the Bill of Rights was born. As it happened, the founders were right. They didn’t think of everything. Ah, but they DID consider that which they were unable to consider and one of those clever sods added this:

Amendment IX:
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

That’s a SHALL NOT, not a probably shouldn’t. In short, the founders, among them, ironically, George Mason, told the lying ideologue Alito his attempted defense of eliminating rights was bullshit 233 years before he even tried it. The irony is that Mason was one of the driving forces behind the Bill of Rights in the first place. He refused to ratify the Constitution until it was included. I don’t know, maybe Mason was a scheming weasel, too, and the secret plan was to limit rights exactly the way Alito plans to do now. I doubt it, though. I think Alito and his activist, ideologue buddies are twisting and torturing Constitutional intent to create their preference, not interpret law…

And The Tension Rises…

The Sour Cream Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has experienced a breach. Someone, somewhere in the bowels of the court leaked a draft document showing the court’s intention to overturn Roe v Wade. These cowardly weasels (they like to call themselves “justices”) prefer to hand down their most egregious, most abominable decisions quietly, in the night, as they abscond out the back door. Let people yell and howl at their activism, they’ll be long gone and in their hidey-holes for a few months.

It’s not a surprise. The cons packed the court intentionally with the goal of returning the US to the days of back-room abortions and punishing poor women – one of their favorite things to do. I specify “poor” because that’s the group that will suffer the most from this stupid, activist ruling. Women with resources will simply travel to a smarter, blue state, get the needed procedure, and come home and show everyone the photos from their recent “vacation.” But if you can’t pull together the scratch to travel out of state? You WILL suffer that error for the rest of your lives. Suck it up, buttercup. As usual, people have forgotten history. Young, fertile women today are about to find out just how brutal that time was. I wonder how long it will be before those cretin red states are requiring women to bring a permission slip from their husbands to obtain birth control.

Younger women might think, “Oh sure. Like THAT’S ever going to happen.” Yeah, it could. That used to be the rule and it could easily be the rule again. That’s the way things were for women in my lifetime! Also, women couldn’t have credit cards in their own name. I doubt THAT one will change, though, because the cards financially enslave people and in our brutal, so-called “free market” system, keeping people down financially is the primary goal. But a woman’s doctor WOULD often examine the woman and then contact the man who speaks for her to discuss the results. Women my age know what they’re up against. Younger women don’t seem to.

The dishonorable liars on the once respected “high” court who stand with this decision each took turns telling the Senate that Roe v Wade was “settled law.” There’s no such thing, of course, but that was their story and they stuck to it. The thing is, they were nominated in the first place because they were dependable votes against women. But I say again, they testified before Congress, saying something in the moment they knew they were misrepresenting – just to get the seat. Lying to Congress is illegal, sworn in or not. When they lied to Congress, they committed perjury, right? I think perjury should be an impeachable offense for a SCOTUS judge. Maybe we can get that into the next constitution. You know…after the revolution…

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Have you heard the one about how landlords provide housing and that if ANY controls are imposed over the process, those greedy little bastards just might stop investing? Oh, it’s a real knee-slapper. See, in real life, landlords aren’t providing housing. They’re denying housing by buying up ALL of the available inventory. You hear about the “housing shortage” in the corporate media all the time but there are plenty of buildings. They’re just all owned by rich folk who have no use for them other than gouging every dime they can from the working class. When rich people use their lucre to buy up most or all of the single family homes in a given area, other prospective buyers get locked out of the process. They then rent instead of buying. This puts pressure on the rental market and people in no position to buy are forced to compete with those who COULD buy if there was something reasonable available. I describe it as a “shit rolls downhill” situation…

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Just For Fun:
I believe in an 80 year cycle of things. I know, that’s a bit obscure. That’s because the “things” in question are different, working in different 80 year cycles. Also, 80 is only the average and the numbers don’t always work perfectly. Sometimes, it’s 75 years, sometimes, it’s 85 years but you can pick a cycle and follow like events through history and you’ll see the cycle, too. My own suspicion is that it takes about that long for in incoming generations to re-learn – or more accurately, forget – what the older generation once knew from experience. But check this out:

The end of the American Revolutionary War was, officially in 1783. (The fighting stopped in 1781.) 80 years later? Why, the American Civil War in 1861. THAT ended in 1865. 80 years after that? WWII. 1941 – 1945 as far as American involvement. So, why those events and not others? Why for example would I cite WWII but not WWI, or any of America’s other bullshit wars for that matter? Well, the subjectivity is what makes this abstract. The reason I focus on them in this particular cycle is that they’re transformative events, BIG things that changed the world. The Revolutionary War introduced the world to a brand new country, one that would later become the world hegemon. The American Civil War overturned an entire social and economic structure, turning the US from a racist hell-hole with legalized slavery, into the racist hell-hole with slavery outlawed we live in today. (The racists had to switch to a “prison” system to accomplish those same goals…)

Yes, WWI was a big deal but the Dough-boys went over, fought, and came back to a world pretty much the same as the one they had left. It DID set the stage for the later transformation but didn’t do much on it’s own but kill a lot of people. WWII, though? The entire world was different after that war. Everything, everywhere. For better AND for worse. The Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s? Why not that one? The Civil Rights movement looked like a big, transformative deal. But, let’s be honest, here, shall we? The people airing grievances during the Civil Rights movement are pretty much STILL out there airing pretty much the SAME grievances and precious little has changed for them beyond window-dressing. Ethnic minorities still suffer social and institutional racism. Illegal wars for profit still rage in this country just as quickly as the wealthy can convince the cannon fodder THIS war is necessary. Fat, old, white men are STILL trying – with unfortunate success – to own and operate women.

Now take a look at the world around us today. Everyone, rightly or wrongly, is angry and getting angrier. The politicians have been VERY clear in their “let them eat cake” attitudes. The brutal, no-holds-barred, so-called “free market” capitalism is slowly crushing the life out of the workers. Climate change is out of control, now, and greed just keeps pretending it will be okay. The anger of the average Joe is growing, little by little, day by day – and it’s just getting worse. So…add 80 years to the end of WWII in 1945.

Can I guarantee the world with devolve into some course-changing, cataclysmic event in 2025? Of course not. But the US DOES have an “election” coming up in 2024 and most people realize it will NOT be a fair or honest contest. The red states have created so many election laws that come down to some form of “if the outcome isn’t in keeping with our Gerrymandering, we reserve the right to change the results ourselves,” only a fool would trust the results. January, 2025 is when the next Presidential inauguration takes place in the US.

Yeah, I know. Tin-foil hat stuff. Like I said, just for fun. Do with it what you will. But in the meantime, you might want to keep your powder dry…

Real Estate Investment Trouble…

I’ve been trying to warn anybody who would listen to me about REITs for something like eight years now. ‘REIT’ is an acronym for Real Estate Investment Trust. It’s basically rich people pooling their money and buying up all the single-family housing. I need to be clear, here. REITs used to serve a valuable purpose. They bought and maintained apartments and strip malls around the country. There’s a place for that. It provided housing, not eliminated it. Buying up the single-family homes is a fairly new phenomenon. They didn’t even really START until about 2014. Before that, investors weren’t sure it was a good plan. They’re all on-board, now, though. The thing is, NOBODY in or around the industry is going to make any effort to stop the problem. EVERYONE thinks they’re making money and, well, what could be wrong with that? The seller gets (usually) more than their house is worth and in some case, an offer in seven minutes. The agent gets a FAT commission. The REITs get the property. Sure, society gets torn apart, one house at a time, but, profits, right?

One company, Invitations Homes, Inc., owns enough single family homes in the United States to house every person living in Iceland. They own 82,758 single family homes. Figuring an average of 4.5 people per home, they could easily house the entire population of Iceland, currently around 344,979 people. Most of the homes they’ve taken off the market are in the west and in the sunbelt states where, as the article reads: “the barriers to homeownership are highest and rent demand is strong.”

“…barriers to homeownership are highest” in those areas because the REITs keep buying up the housing at whatever they need to pay to get the property. Joe Six-pack can’t compete with all-cash, no inspection, short escrow, sale in minutes REITs. “…rent demand is strong” because fewer and fewer people can afford to BUY the houses. The rents compete with a house payment, these days, because once the REIT owns all the available housing in a given area, they can charge whatever they want to charge. People will pay it or they won’t. If they don’t, there’s a nice bridge they can move in under – at least until the police drive you away.

Sadly, our society has been conditioned by the corporate media to just knee-jerk a reaction. “Oh, the homeless? Must be addicted to drugs. Must be an alcoholic. Maybe they’re insane.” Stay with me, here. Maybe…just maybe…many people CAN NOT pay $3,000 for a one bedroom place and don’t have the resources to leave. No money, no place to go, no options in our brutal, so-called “free market?” Tough! You bought that latte, that one time, you remember? YOUR fault!

Since the industry WILL NOT police itself, it’s up to politicians to step in. They could pass a law forbidding REITs from buying single family homes AND require them to divest in a fairly short time. This would return inventory to the market and bring the values back to where they should be. Of course, EVERY single person associated with real estate transactions would WAIL like someone just cut something off their body without anesthetic. The REITs themselves? Rich people, remember. Our politicians work for the rich people. Quick review, left or right, which politician might YOU expect to stand up and do the right thing for the average American? Okay, likely Bernie but he wouldn’t be able to do it alone, so…instead we get politician talk and stupid, useless ideas. “Hey, let’s just build more inventory.” Quick question, how does building more inventory help if the rich people keep buying up everything as it comes on the market? Someone builds 1,000 houses, the rich buy up the 1,000 houses. Still no inventory.

I mention it because I’m currently trying to find MY way through being victimized by the process. I’ve lived in a small but well-maintained little house for several years now and because the owner wasn’t greedy, I’ve been fortunate to be paying far below market rates. The landlord COULD have chased the money but he chose not to. Then, he died. His children inherited the property and pretty quickly decided to sell. A fat wad of cash instead of a steady, dependable income is often too enticing for people to pass up. But it’s put my whole life into upheaval. Will I be able to stay in the city I grew up in? Maybe, maybe not. CAN I pay usury rent? If I stay, I’ll have to.

To be clear, I’m not protesting REITs because they’ve landed on me. I protest them because sociologists have long understood that home ownership is one of the best predictors of a stable society and REITs are undermining that with amazing, frightening speed. I suspect that, sooner or later, this horrifying land grab will be one of the main drivers of the revolution…

Stay tuned…

Money To Dust…

I’ve been hearing a lot of chatter, recently, from the conservative bubble about how they’ve lost their “freedom of speech.” As usual, it’s bunk. What IS being challenged is the freedom to lie. The people who have been banned from various sites are usually warned that their lies are going to lead to bans. THEN, they GET banned because they insisted on continuing the lies. Then they pretend the real issue is someone has infringed on their “freedumb of speech.” I’m a big fan of the First Amendment. That’s the one that contains the freedom of speech clause. But I ALSO know the danger to allowing unfettered disinformation out into the body politic because a democracy (or, in this case, a Republic) depends heavily on a knowledgeable electorate.

The obvious problem is “errors” (intentional or otherwise) in judgment regarding what is truth and what is not. Remember Hunter Biden’s laptop? The right was all over that from early on. The left didn’t pay much attention because there didn’t seem to be any “there” there. Turns out there was. I wonder how many people got in trouble with social media police for pushing a story that turned out to be true. But just because someone dropped the ball on the Hunter laptop doesn’t mean the 2020 “election” was stolen. There really ARE pure lies out there, undermining our society second by second.

When people with ill-intent began to turn the First Amendment against Americans, I found myself in a quandary. As an example, did you know that the Cato Institute was founded by the Koch brothers for the specific purpose of spreading disinformation about climate change? Yes, by all means, the First Amendment. But when one’s freedom of speech gets perverted and twisted into freedom to lie, freedom to undermine society, freedom to disseminate disinformation and misinformation, and even freedom to endanger all of humanity? Well, I’m all for flags on social media posts and when the corrupt pattern is continually repeated by the same characters, I’m okay with banning them.

Elon Musk has had several run-ins with Twitter over the years on the topic and has become, apparently, tired of the fight. So he says he’s going to buy Twitter and open it up as a true free speech zone. Let’s assume for the moment that he actually follows through with the purchase and pursues his dream of a site fully free of oversight on what people post. You know what he’ll get? First, a site so rife with falsehoods and misinformation it won’t be worth any thinking person’s time. but shortly thereafter on his open space? Porn. Someone, somewhere will test the waters by posting a lovely photo of a woman’s bare chest. If that goes unanswered, it will take off from there and before too long, porn will be the mainstay of Twitter.

It’s not theoretical. There is a site called ‘Tumblr.’ It was designed for photo blogging, that sort of thing. It had a hands-off policy. Before long, Tumblr was known primarily for all the adult fare that could be found there. Over time, that pushes out others who want to use the site for something else and then it hurts ad revenue as fewer and fewer advertisers are willing to associate themselves with a porn site. Tumblr finally decided to police people’s “free speech” and do away with most of the adult stuff. Tumblr is still there but the presence isn’t the same. They’re not the only site, either. There’s one called ‘OnlyFans.’ It was designed as a video site where people could show off their talents. Like, say, juggling. Viewers pay a subscription fee to watch you juggle and presumably, learn a few new tricks and techniques. OnlyFans, too, had a laissez-faire attitude. So, ladies who work in the sex trade started using the site to showcase their…um…”talents.” Now, from my understanding, it’s pretty much adult titillation and private sex shows. At one point, the company publicly considered shutting the adult stuff down but decided against. Now it’s their main identity.

So I hope Elon DOES open up Twitter. We’ll all get to watch the self-described “business genius” turn $44 BILLION dollars into dust…