Author Archives: Mike


The Fallacy

This threatening chant often repeated by white supremacists in America is not just wrong, it’s hopeless.  Of course they will replace us.  It’s a mathematical certainty.  It’s true that Blacks and immigrants bear more children on average than Whites, but that’s not the reason.  Even if we all had the same number of offspring and if Trump closed the borders tomorrow, every successive generation in America will contain a smaller percentage of Whites and with every generation this trend accelerates.  Victims of our own pride we are destined for extinction.

It’s not about our genes; it’s not a question of a superior race.  It is the “one-drop rule” that will usher us to our ultimate demise.  This rule literally means that a single drop of “black blood” makes a person black and the product of every mixed couple will add to the growing community of Blacks.  The math is not hard; I picked up on this when I first heard the rule in the sixth grade while my Dad was stationed in Hampton, Virginia.  I’d almost blocked it out of my mind because no one ever says it out loud. 

“Anthropologists call it the “hypo-descent rule,” meaning that racially mixed persons are assigned the status of the subordinate group. This definition emerged from the American South to become the nation’s definition, generally accepted by whites and blacks. Blacks had no other choice. As we shall see, this American cultural definition of blacks is taken for granted as readily by judges, affirmative action officers, and black protesters as it is by Ku Klux Klansmen.”

”Not only does the one-drop rule apply to no other group than American blacks, but apparently the rule is unique in that it is found only in the United States and not in any other nation in the world.”

Who is Black? One Nation’s Definition” by F. James Davis 1991

In the age of Trump the one-drop rule is frequently applied not just blacks but to all non-whites.  Perhaps Senator Warren and all her descendants should be called American Indians after all. 

Of course at the same time the percentage of “pure blacks” in America is disappearing even faster than our Lily-white population.  The difference is they have taken responsibility for rearing these mixed race children, welcoming them into their communities and sharing their rich traditions and sadly their long standing resentments.  The irony is neither blacks nor whites want to change that definition even though both would benefit.  We’ve all become far too comfortable living is our own separate communities.

If it’s any consolation, this has happened a hundred times before even if on smaller scales.  Caucasians may go the way of Cro-Magnons and Neanderthals.  Officially extinct, yet every one of us possesses those crucial drops of Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal blood.  Today we might call them genetic markers and if we believe in natural selection we might imagine we inherited the best of both. 

Inside the Mind of William Barr

For those to dare to venture with me down this treacherous winding path there is a prize at the end of the journey.  From his words and actions we must piece together an understanding of Barr’s strategy and its goal.

There’s little doubt that like the President’s personal lawyers, Barr has punched his ticket “on the Trump Train” and like any good team their moves are well coordinated.  Still it would be unfathomable to think they would operate without some legal theory, even a flawed one.  For the investigating House committees understanding this theory is crucial.

Many of us think Barr’s objective is to push Congress toward impeachment, which Trump can use to consolidate this base.  I think Barr and the President recognize that impeachment is inevitable so the goal is to buy time to stir the Trump base into a fever pitch.  The strategy relies on reinforcing conspiracy theories, illegal coups attempts and harassment of the President all to discredit impeachment hearings before they begin.  The defense is to begin impeachment now.

Even as Barr has tried to obscure the details his legal theory, his testimony before Congress reveals clues and vague instructions for Congress to follow.   The surreptitiousness is necessary to hide the fact that impeachment is his idea rather than an unprovoked and impetuous move on the part of the Democrats.  The defense is to give Barr the credit he so wants to avoid but so rightfully deserves.  Congress should thank him for clarifying his opinion that criminal justice is the domain of the Justice Department while impeachment by Congress is the sole remedy for handling Presidential misdeeds.  Congress should stop investigating criminal offenses and begin investigating impeachable offenses.

The following is solely my interpretation of William Barr’s legal theory as it relates to the office of President. The pieces are coming together so I think it’s a fair interpretation unless or until Barr himself is willing to expand on his theory.  As it stands I believe Barr has given Congress the green light on impeachment; the House should believe it too!

Barr’s theory is based in part on this definition contained in the U.S. Constitution;

The charge of high crimes and misdemeanors covers allegations of misconduct peculiar to officials, such as perjury of oath, abuse of authority, bribery, intimidation, misuse of assets, failure to supervise, dereliction of duty, unbecoming conduct, and refusal to obey a lawful order.”  For clarification only they added “Offenses by officials also include ordinary crimes, but perhaps with different standards of proof and punishment than for non-officials, on the grounds that more is expected of officials by their oaths of office.”

Barr believes that;

  1. The prosecution of ordinary crimes by non-officials is the sole duty of the Justice Department and not that of Congress.  He has conceded that Congress may interrogate ordinary citizens like Donald Trump Jr. but must refer this to the Justice Department for any prosecution.
  2. The prosecution of ordinary crimes by officials may be done by both.  Ideally Congress should prosecute the official first but with different standards of proof
    1. The standard of proof in a criminal case is “beyond reasonable doubt.” I’m a numbers guy so I’m going to put that at 97%.  The standard for non-criminal cases like civil actions is generally “a preponderance of the evidence”, specifically set by law at 51%.  Presumably the higher standard for criminal cases is because of the possibility of physical punishment or confinement whereas other cases are limited to monetary penalties, compliance or injunction. 
    2. According to Wikipedia, ”Conviction removes the defendant from office. Following conviction, the Senate may vote to further punish the individual by barring him or her from holding future federal office, elected or appointed. Conviction by the Senate does not bar criminal prosecution.”
  3. Prosecution of misconduct peculiar to officials is the sole duty of Congress.  The definition gives examples of such crimes but does not limit them in any way.  Any abuses of the extraordinary powers granted with the office may be scrutinized in the impeachment process.

While Barr’s strict interpretation of the separation of powers between criminal offenses and impeachable offenses defies precedent, it does make some good points.  I think perhaps it is a legal theory of convenience rather than one of firm belief.  But either way I would urge the House to take it at face value and proceed directly to impeachment.  Barr himself will either have to own it or explain it.

Congressional Duty to Impeach

David Pecker, how did that work?

I think the crime of blackmail usually works.  And I have no doubt that for David Pecker and the National Enquirer it’s always worked, at least until last Thursday when Jeff Bezos struck back.  But I’m not sure they know what’s just happened.  Perhaps this quote from Emile Zola can provide clarity.

“When truth is buried underground it grows, it chokes, it gathers such an explosive force that on the day it bursts out, it blows up everything with it.”

Emile Zola

I would only add that if the SDNY pulls this thread very carefully they may end up with the whole sweater in their lap.

When are you going to make them squeal, Joni?

Senator Joni Ernst

All we get from you and too many of our fellow Republicans is acquiescence to McConnell and Trump.  If you have no plans to actually do anything, you might as well hand your proxy to Mitch and come home.

My question for you today is about the Russian sanctions vote.  Now I am a lifelong Republican, but vehemently anti-Trump and anti-Russian.  I realize many in Congress will often abandon their principles to side with Trump.  I didn’t expect this from you.  I’m told this is all about appeasing Trump’s base which brings me to my question.

I live in a retirement community here in Grinnell and I know a lot of Republicans who have stuck with Trump.  A lot are patriotic veterans like you.  Yet I have never met one who sides with Russia. None claim Russia did not interfere with our 2016 elections, although some wish that conversation would just go away.  Your vote did nothing to curtail this conversation.  In fact your vote goes sideways with patriots of all colors and I suspect it will cost you support even among the Trump base.

Removing sanctions on Oleg Deripaska’s companies is not a trademark issue for Trump.  That’s why he tried to slip it through quietly on Christmas break.  That’s why he said nothing to defend this action.  To those of us out here in the real world, it only serves to enhance the impression that he’s beholden.

Sanctions or tariffs will always cause pain on both sides. Think of it as a school yard brawl. You take on the bully to change his behavior but only if you are willing to suffer a black eye. You know if you lose the fight your friends will move away and you will become (no other way to put it) “his bitch.”

That’s kind of where we are!

Now the sole purpose of sanctions is to change behavior, yet there is no sign that Russia’s interference or Deripaska’s role have changed.  The rational of the administration is that forcing Deripaska to sell some of his shares in these companies is a punishment. Yet your action just sent their value soaring while he and his cronies consolidate more power.  As far as I can see we not only got bullied but conned as well. We just told the Russians to “go for it again.”

I know it may seem like we’re a bunch of hicks out here, but we’re more informed than you may think.  So if there’s some “secret” benefit to this deal, it’s time you let us in on it.


PS. As posted at I will be happy to post your reply.

Congressional Duty to Impeach

High Crimes and Misdemeanors

What are we talking here, “treason” and “jaywalking?”  Or did our founding fathers have something different in mind?  Well, Benjamin Franklin asserted that the power of impeachment and removal was necessary for those times when the Executive “rendered himself obnoxious.”  Does that remind us of anyone we know?  For most of us, we see these words and think that some kind of crime must be alleged before an impeachment trial can begin.  Sure, we call it a trial, but Congress is not a court of law.  It is a trial in the sense that there are facts and circumstances to be weighed, whether we are weighing criminality or obnoxiousness…. Continue reading


After reading my most recent article, How Our Voting Method Brings Out Our Worst, my son, Ian said, “Dad, they’re never going to change the voting method.”

He may be right, but if there was ever “a right time to do it” that time is now.  If there was ever a time when the public is ready for change that time is now.  In fact with the support of national organizations like FairVote, local governments across the country are trying out different voting methods in hopes of getting fairer elections. But local governments generally do not face the extreme polarization we see in national elections. National elections are what we need to fix and it’s already happening.

A Congressional House race in Maine was just resolved using a form of ranked choice voting called the “instant run-off” and the plurality winner didn’t win…

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Not since “No Child Left Behind” (declaring that every child should perform at or above the 40th percentile,) has Congress shown such incompetence in comprehending simple math.

This was quite apparent in Susan Collins’ 40 minute justification of her yes vote!  We all understand this cannot be decided either way with absolute certainty; but her conclusion that the “more likely than not” standard should apply, is deeply flawed.  This standard would apply if we were deciding which of two candidates should be elevated to the Supreme Court.  There are scores of equally qualified candidates; and finding one without such a sordid past, just can’t be that hard.  Basically Collins has said the probability that Kavanaugh has lied, is somewhere below the 50 percentile mark.  Now I don’t know if he lied about everything; but it’s pretty clear from both sworn and volume of volunteered testimony, he lied about some things.  And it can’t be that hard to find a candidate who at least pretends to be non-partisan! Continue reading

Senator Graham, You Know You’re in Trouble, When You Can No Longer Count on Me.

Linsey Graham says, What am I supposed to do? Go ahead and ruin this guy’s life based on an accusation?

Lindsey, what world do you live in?  We’re talking about turning him down for a job, something we’ve all survived and got on with our lives.  A hiring decision requires only a preponderance of the evidence that you have the best candidate, not guilt beyond the shadow of a doubt. Besides you missed the point entirely; this isn’t about his reputation or her reputation, it’s about decisions, some of them life or death decisions affecting some three hundred million Americans for years to come. Continue reading