Republican National Convention 2020

Barred from using their official position for partisan political purposes

2020 Republican National Convention Official Logo
2020 Republican National Convention Official Logo
Not being a masochist, I watched only excerpts of the Republican National Convention. I had decided that I didn’t want to have to get a new television because I had thrown my shoe through the set.

And by the end of the week, the GOP may have largely succeeded in achieving its goals. The fact that some of its actions were inappropriate, probably illegal, and largely false may not really much matter.

Who cares about the Hatch Act?

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo’s speech, while on an official visit from Israel has incinerated norms. The Hatch Act bars State Department employees from using their official position for partisan political purposes. Surely, this was partisan political activity while on duty. But the boost to the reelection campaign may have been achieved. “Using Jerusalem as the venue, Pompeo has further politicized the U.S.-Israeli relationship with an electioneering pitch.”

Compare this with what Colin Powell said in 2004. “As secretary of state, I am obliged not to participate in any way, shape, fashion, or form in parochial, political debates. I have to take no sides in the matter.” But Pompeo is a politician, not a diplomat.

The naturalization ceremony for five people – hey, djt LIKES immigrants! – was a nice touch, if incongruous with his 2016 campaign and regime. And a surprise political event for two of the women being sworn in. Having acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf on hand could also be a violation of the Hatch Act.

But if you remember Kellyanne Conway’s repeated violations of the Hatch Act in 2019 and earlier caused her no consequences. That’s because of guess who protects her.

Plus the White House was used as a backdrop for Melania’s well-received speech. I did LOL when she said her husband “has not, will not lose focus on you.” The setting may not have violated the law, only precedent, and decorum.

“America is not racist”

You know that conversation America has been having about race recently?

And among the greatest examples of racism? The guy running for reelection. As though you didn’t know.

Of course the regime does not believe in systemic racism. “But it’s so real that Merriam-Webster is changing the definition of racism to include it.” The accomplishments of speakers such as Nikki Haley and Tim Scott rather proves the point that they succeeded despite their struggles.

Beware the “radical left”

Instead of attacking Joe Biden directly, much of the GOP seems satisfied with attacking those around him. Joe is a puppet of AOC and her ilk, the narrative goes. Republicans are attempting to convince voters that nothing less than “Western civilization” was at stake. So registered foreign agent Pam Bondi attacks Biden for … corruption? Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa tells the crowd that Joe is going to ban farm animals?

Biden, correctly, I believe, thinks the GOP is seeing the unrest in Wisconsin as a “political benefit.” Perhaps that’s why the RNC gave prime time to vigilantes.

In his too long speech, the Republican candidate painted Biden as a radical, which will come as a shock to most Democrats.

But even Ann Coulter, in bashing the media, notes the ineptitude of IMPOTUS. “As the country burns, Trump (the president) sits in his bed sending out gratuitously bad-ass tweets… followed by utter spinelessness. He talks like he’s Yosemite Sam, then does nothing. This is the worst of everything…

“Trump claims he’s the antidote to the mass riots in cities across the country, but what powers will he have after being reelected that he doesn’t have right now, while he’s already President?”

Acid reflux

Washington Post editorial board: “But beyond the low unemployment rate he gained and lost, history will record Mr. Trump’s presidency as a march of wanton, uninterrupted, tragic destruction. America’s standing in the world, loyalty to allies, commitment to democratic values, constitutional checks and balances, faith in reason and science, concern for Earth’s health, respect for public service, belief in civility and honest debate, a beacon to refugees in need, aspirations to equality and diversity and basic decency — Mr. Trump torched them all.”

“In this alternative reality, the pandemic has virtually passed — thanks to the heroic efforts of Trump — the economy is roaring back, peace abides in the Middle East, and lions frolic with lambs in prosperous urban Opportunity Zones.”

I worry he can win. Incumbency, which he’s used to great if unethical advantage, is powerful. “With a blaze of fireworks and a burst of heated rhetoric… [he gave] his acceptance speech from the South Lawn of the White House…” And more than 1,000 supporters “packed the grounds on Thursday evening to watch his speech, with few masks in sight, in a spectacle that flouted social distancing guidelines.”

Somehow the guy is “trying to run as both the incumbent and the outsider.” He is right, though, about one thing. “The choice… is stark, calling this ‘the most important election in the history of our country.’” Polling in August does not win elections in November.

DOMA, GWB and large sugary drinks

Yeah, I hate agreeing with Tucker Carlson too.

Recent news stories of interest to me:

The U.S. appeals court in Boston became the first appeals court to strike down as unconstitutional the federal Defense of Marriage Act. This seemed obvious to this old poli sci major that DOMA violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

The prosecution of former presidential candidate John Edwards is officially a waste of time and federal resources. Not surprising to me: I had predicted his acquittal. My, I hope the government doesn’t decide to prosecute again after the jury was hung on five of the six charges.

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama host former President George W. Bush and Former First Lady Laura Bush for the unveiling of their official portraits. It’s true: GWB can be a funny guy. He starts speaking at about the 10:40 mark; Laura had a good line or two.

Obama Ordered Wave of Cyberattacks Against Iran. “Concerns have been raised that the revelations will set a dangerous precedent for the future of cyber warfare and international relations.” Makes me feel rather unsettled as well.

The SpaceX Dragon, after its trip to the International Space station, splashed down safely. While I’m still wishing NASA were doing this, I’m glad some entity in the US is going into space.
On the heels of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s announcement that he is seeking a citywide ban on all sugary drinks larger than sixteen ounces in restaurants, movie theaters, food carts, and ballpark concession stands, Jon Stewart spent the first third of Thursday’s edition of “The Daily Show” excoriating the proposed law— and Mayor Bloomberg himself.

For Stewart, Bloomberg’s proposed soda ban put him in a particularly tough position: being forced to concede a point to a political adversary who blasted Bloomberg’s idea on Fox News. “I agree with Tucker Carlson,” Stewart said, holding back mock-tears.

Yeah, I hate agreeing with Tucker Carlson too.

The ban reeks of …here’s a term I almost never use, because I generally agree with the legislation protecting people from themselves; I mean, wear that damn seat belt! But this is…nanny state run amok. And The Wife, independently, used the same term. Not that I recommend a Big Gulp – it would give ME a royal headache; I DO recommend these cartoons on the topic.

Anti-intellectualism is taking over the US; “The rise in academic book bannings and firings is compounded by the US’s growing disregard for scholarship itself.”

Green Lantern relaunched as brave, mighty and gay. This was reported a “major character,” but this GL “is not the emerald galactic space cop who was, and is, part of the Justice League and has had a history rich in triumph and tragedy. Instead…, Alan Scott is the retooled version of the classic Lantern whose first appearance came in the pages of ‘All-American Comics’ No. 16 in July 1940.” The marketing of this by DC feels like a stunt.

ALEC Slips Exxon Fracking Loopholes into New Ohio Law. “While the new law will allow doctors to obtain disclosure of fracking chemicals, it places a gag order on them…meaning some chemicals aren’t disclosed to the public at all.” My barber asked me this week what I thought of fracking; I am generally suspicious of the use of so much fresh water. But the secrecy really tips the scale against it.

I’m giving my daughter a sample spelling test. Seven of the first ten words are: break, sleigh, steak, eight, great, weigh, prey. I realized I had to give her definitions, because every single one of those words has a common homonym; English is so tricky.

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