Primo Supremo Primer

My last post was all about my philosophy re: Supreme Court justices, but I’m getting a lot of questions about the practical consequences of Justice Kennedy’s retirement.

What does this mean? Who’s going to replace him? What’s going to change? Is this the beginning of the apocalypse?

The TL/DR answers are:

  1. Not as much as you think.
  2. Not Mike Lee.
  3. Not a whole lot.
    and finally,
  4. Not even a little bit.

If you’re satisfied with that four-part summary, look no further. If you want more, then read on…

1. Not as much as you think.
For all the talk about how Kennedy is a huge swing vote, he really isn’t. He votes reliably with the conservative bloc far more often than not, and his blistering Obamacare dissent was as hard right as anything Antonin Scalia ever wrote.  On economic issues, he’s a model of judicial restraint in ways that aren’t likely to make Democrats happy. Kennedy also wrote the majority opinion for Citizens United, which the Left universally despises, and, just recently, he sided with the conservatives upholding Trump’s fascistic travel ban.

True, Kennedy has broken with the conservatives on the two major social issues of our time, notably abortion and gay rights, which is why he’s the one Republican appointee beloved by the Left. But he’s not even particularly reliable on those two issues, either. He wrote the opinion telling the Colorado baker that he didn’t have to bake the damn cake, and he voted with the conservative majority in a recent abortion rights case, National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra, which found that pregnancy centers don’t have to tell their patients about options for terminating their pregnancies.

But, yes, it’s likely that Roe v. Wade will see a fresh challenge under the new justice, and for most of the general public, which doesn’t know a penumbra from a porcupine, that’s the only issue that matters. I will address that under item 3. First, I want to point out who the new justice will be, or, more specifically, who it will not be.

2. Not Mike Lee. 
I’ve had several people approach me with concerned looks on their faces asking how I will respond if Trump picks Sen. Mike Lee for the High Court. Lee won his seat by defeating my father, and, while I’m certainly not the most objective observer on the subject, I still think he’s been an embarrassment to the state of Utah as a lousy senator more devoted to ideological purity than constituent service.

That said, I really don’t harbor any personal animus toward the man, and I haven’t pulled out my Mike Lee voodoo doll in years. I think his obsession with the Constitution as a magical talisman is much better suited for the Supreme Court than it is for the U.S. Senate. All told, he’d probably be an entirely adequate justice. There are a number of reasons, however, why he will never get the chance to prove it.

The buzz around Lee is that Trump thinks that since he’s already a senator, the Senate is more likely to confirm one of their own with less contention than they would in confirming someone they don’t know. This is exactly backward. The fact that he’s a politician, not a judge, means he has a 100% political track record, complete with plenty of fodder for advocacy groups to use in attack ads. It also means that moderate Republicans – notably Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski – have enough familiarity with Lee to breed an appropriate amount of contempt. The wafer-thin Republican majority in the Senate can’t afford any defectors, and Lee has a remarkably Cruz-esque knack for alienating his colleagues.

In addition, Lee has never been a judge, When non-judge Harriet Meyers was nominated by W., her nomination was eventually pulled after Republicans revolted en masse, in part due to her lack of judicial credentials. Lee is also a Mormon and a graduate of BYU Law School, which, although a solid school, is not a member of the rarefied fraternity of Ivy League-level institutions that serve as the bullpen for the judicial big leagues.

And while Lee has proven to be a reliable Trump toadie for the past two years, he had scathing things to say about Candidate Trump, and he refused to endorse The Donald even after he’d won the nomination. Trump is like an elephant in many respects, most of them physical, but the one thing he never forgets is disloyalty.

I don’t know who the pick will be, but it’s going to be the choice of the Federal Society, not Donald Trump, and the Federalist Society is not going to nominate Mike Lee. It won’t matter all that much, because of what is likely to change, namely:

3. Not a whole lot.
A friend of mine on Facebook, after Kennedy announced his retirement, said “You promised me that Roe v. Wade would never be overruled!” That’s not a promise I’m equipped to keep, but I’d still be willing to lay money on that being true. Roe has been repeatedly challenged and even eroded by subsequent decisions, but the core idea that government is constitutionally prohibited from making abortion illegal has endured for 45 years and is likely to endure for at least 45 more and beyond. The longer a precedent is allowed to stand, the more reluctant the Court is to pull it out by the roots.

The other factor in this is Chief Justice John Roberts, who has repeatedly demonstrated his squeamishness at presiding over seismic shifts against stare decisis. His Obamacare dissent was his first salvo in establishing himself as the future Kennedyian swing vote, but he’s fired several since then, including the recent Carpenter v. United States decision requiring law enforcement to get a warrant to pull cell phone records. Roberts sided against Kennedy and the three other conservatives and aligned with the RBG wing. Should Thomas et al try to burn Roe to the ground, it’s likely that Roberts will attempt to broker a less-drastic compromise or oppose such a move altogether.

And while this may be a tangent, it’s important to note that overturning Roe, as unlikely as that outcome is, would not suddenly make abortion illegal. Many states have already passed laws that go way beyond Roe’s protections of abortion rights, and those laws would still stand in the wake of a Roe reversal. States that outlaw abortion entirely would be subject to boycotts a la South Carolina’s bathroom bill, which was eventually repealed in the face of public outrage.

Yes, things may get heated and messy for awhile, but the legislative process is the one designated to deal with that kind of messiness. I firmly believe that one of the reasons this issue remains such a tinder box is that the High Court has denied Americans the right to hammer out appropriate compromises. Eventually, the legal landscape for abortion will more accurately reflect the will of the people than Roe currently does, which would ultimately mean less contention and violence.

Of course, all that presupposes that Roe will be overturned, which, as I say, is an unlikely outcome.

As for gay rights, the idea that gay marriage will become illegal is even less likely than a Roe reversal. I outlined why in a previous post, so allow me to quote myself:

[Obergefell v. Hodges] overturned only part of the Defense of Marriage Act. The other part – the section that states can ignore same-sex marriages performed in other states – is blatantly unconstitutional, since it violates the Full Faith and Credit Clause, which reads as follows:

“Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State.”

So if one state makes gay marriage legal, every state has to recognize those marriages.

Congress knew this part of DOMA was illegal when they passed it, and President Clinton knew it when he signed it. It was a cynical, craven pandering to an electorate which, at the time, was solidly opposed to gay marriage. (Yes, times have changed.) Clinton even publicly stated that he looked forward to the day when the High Court overturned the unconstitutional law he had signed.

So that’s out there like a Sword of Damocles waiting to fall on anyone who tries to overturn Obergefell. But even if it weren’t, the Court would now be in a position of not just preventing new same-sex marriages, but of nullifying thousands of existing marriages, something even the most conservative members of the Court would be reluctant to do.

All this should reassure those who think this is the beginning of the apocalypse, when in fact, it’s:

4. Not even a little bit.
This is not just because not much is likely to change, but because even if things do change and every decision you like is reversed, all that does is throw contentious issues back into the legislative arena, which is precisely where they belong. And in that unlikely event, the discussion will shift to what the proper role of the SCOTUS ought to be rather than whether or not a decision produces the policies your team likes.

To sum up – social media should spend less time worrying about the Supreme Court and more time complaining about how much Star Wars now sucks.

America’s Referees: Their Emanations and Penumbras

My youngest son played in a youth basketball league this year, and his team’s track record was 0-10. Or maybe it was 0-12. I’m not sure about the second number, but I’m 100% positive about the first. 

This was a particularly difficult experience both for him and for his parents, who had to come up with ways to buoy his spirits every time he lost – and he lost every time. Given how much my son hates to lose, his anger and frustration built exponentially throughout the season, as did his fury at those he considered to be the true villains in this scenario and the architects of his every defeat:

Those stinkin’ refs.

To hear my son tell it, all the referees were engaged in a grand conspiracy against his team, rigging every game to ensure a victory for the other guy. I can’t really blame him. They were an easy scapegoat, and they provided the only way to work around the fact that our team was just deeply and fundamentally lousy.

Still, picking on refs is a national pastime. Refs get cheered when the call benefits the home team and booed when it does not. Hardcore fans rarely, if ever, give a ref credit for a good call that hurts their team. Even so, it’s the referee’s duty to try to be as objective as possible and show no favoritism to one side or the other. A ref is there to make sure everyone’s playing by the rules, not to help one side or the other to win.

What I’ve outlined above, in crude terms, is the way I view the judicial branch of government.

The ideological battle in Washington has calcified into one team versus another. (I wish that were not the case, but that’s another discussion.) I believe that the nine justices of the Supreme Court ought to function not as as players on either ideological team, but as the referees. And a good justice should be willing to uphold laws they personally dislike as long as they abide by the constitutional rules of the game.

As Justice Kennedy retires, the apoplexy on the left demonstrates that this is not how the majority of people see the role of the High Court. Most view it as a sort of above-the-fray superlegislature, where smarter people than the hoi polloi can save us from our own idiotic laws. This is the case not just with leftists, who want the Court to override any legislative attempt to change abortion laws, but with those on the Right who were disappointed that the Court didn’t nullify Obamacare. Everyone wants the ref to make calls that help their team win.

From my perspective, the policy outcome of a judicial decision is largely irrelevant. It is not the Court’s responsibility to make sure the laws do what the justices personally want; it is the Court’s responsibility to call fouls when the laws go out of constitutional bounds.

The late and much-missed Justice Antonin Scalia summarized his philosophy this way in an interview with nymag.com:

[I]f a state enacted a law permitting flogging, it is immensely stupid, but it is not unconstitutional. A lot of stuff that’s stupid is not unconstitutional. I gave a talk once where I said they ought to pass out to all federal judges a stamp, and the stamp says—Whack! [Pounds his fist.]—STUPID BUT ­CONSTITUTIONAL. Whack! [Pounds again.] STUPID BUT ­CONSTITUTIONAL! Whack! ­STUPID BUT ­CONSTITUTIONAL … [Laughs.] And then somebody sent me one.

Scalia has a reputation for being a right-wing firebrand, but to his immense credit, he repeatedly upheld laws that he personally believed were stupid and constitutional, the most prominent being his opinion upholding the right to burn the US flag as a form of protest.

“If I were king,” he once said, “I would not allow people to go about burning the American flag. However, we have a First Amendment, which says that the right of free speech shall not be abridged. … Burning the flag is a form of expression. Speech doesn’t just mean written words or oral words. … Burning a flag is a symbol that expresses an idea.”

In other words, Scalia thought flag burning was “stupid but constitutional,” and, as the ref, made the right call.

This will often result in painful losses for both teams, but the alternative to this approach, in my mind, is much worse. It’s a nine-person oligarchy with lifetime appointments making laws with no accountability. Essentially, it’s a system rigged by refs who get to pick the winners and losers of every game.

This, incidentally, is the main reason I want to see Roe v. Wade overturned. It is not because I’m particularly eager to make abortion illegal, but because that decision is the worst modern precedent of judicial referees making a call solely to benefit their favorite team.

Roe v. Wade decided that there is a constitutional right for a woman to have an abortion in the first two trimesters of her pregnancy. The problem is that the Constitution says nothing whatsoever about abortion, let alone which trimesters are sacrosanct. In order to manufacture a constitutional right to abortion, the justices came up with a bizarre legal rationale that defies any semblance of common sense.

As I understand it, the analogy is one of a lightbulb, pictured below:

(I apologize for not using a more eco-friendly bulb. These are easier to edit in Photoshop.)

This bulb represents rights clearly delineated in the Constitution, like so:

This may be only partially accurate, but the 1965 Griswold v. Connecticut decision established a “right to marital privacy” ensuring the ability to legally obtain contraception. The majority opinion in that case references Amendment 4 protections against unreasonable search and seizure and Amendment 5 protections against self-incrimination, so, while there may be other rights in other precedents, these are the ones I’m putting in my lightbulb.

Anyway, here’s your handy-dandy Constitutional Right lightbulb, which throws off “emanations,” or rays of light, like so:


It just so happens that those emanations constitute rights in and of themselves. One of those rights, it seems, is the Right to Privacy, like so:

Not sure what rights the other emanations are. Given that a lightbulb throws off innumerable emanations, it’s best not to place any heavy objects on this particular analogy, as it’s likely to collapse, even though it was thought up by people far smarter than you are.

Now it turns out that the Right to an Abortion is not, like the Right to Privacy, a direct emanation from the lightbulb. (That would be too easy, apparently.) No, the Right to an Abortion can only be found in the “penumbra” of the emanation.

What’s a penumbra, you ask? Google tells me it’s “the partially shaded outer region of the shadow cast by an opaque object.” Now I’m not sure how an emanation is an opaque object – this analogy really doesn’t hold water  – but the penumbra can be defined as sort of the fuzzy edges of the light as it starts to fade. Or, if you will, the shadowy emanations of the emanations. In any case, with our drawing, if you zoom in, you can find the penumbra’s soft, gentle glow, like so:

And there, if you look hard enough, you can see the constitutional Right to an Abortion, clear as day, hidden in the penumbra of the emanation of the Right to Privacy.


Of course, it’s only a right to an abortion in the first two trimesters and a whole host of technical issues that the Constitution never dreamed of mentioning but which are clear enough if you analyze the emanations of the penumbras and the penumbras of the subsequent emanations down to the microscopic level and anyway this is the outcome we wanted so shut up.

So let’s take a step back and look at the whole picture, with the irrefutable constitutional Right to an Abortion in trimesters 1 and 2 highlighted by the red arrow seen below.

Ta da!

Hopefully, that looks as silly to you as it does to me. Even if it doesn’t, it should scare you into imagining what a judge from the other team could find in any number of emanations or penumbras. What’s to prevent a judge with Trump-like prejudice from finding a new right to shut down critical news outlets, beat up immigrants, or deport all Muslims in some other convoluted emanation and penumbra scenario?

Roe v. Wade is essentially the refs calling the abortion game before it begins.

Most abortion rights supporters have never considered the convoluted legal reasoning behind Roe, but even those that have generally don’t care. This is the policy outcome they wanted, so who cares if the refs had to cheat to get it?  But there are plenty of examples of the Court producing truly terrible outcomes when they decide to become players instead of refs. Dred Scott. Forced sterilization. Japanese internment camps. Separate but equal. Yes, unprincipled refs with unlimited power can get you what you want, but they can do an awful lot of damage, too.

Notice, too, that I’ve said nothing about my own personal position about abortion. I’m merely saying that if you want a constitutional right to an abortion, you should have to amend the Constitution to get it.  Of course, amending the Constitution was deliberately designed to be a difficult process, requiring a supermajority in Congress and the approval of 3/4 of state legislatures. It’s much, much easier to find justices who manufacture rights out of the ether to subvert that process with a literal handful of votes. They do so in the name of a “living Constitution” that can ignore the plain language of the document and be twisted and tortured into meaning whatever a majority on the Court wants it to mean.

“Saying that the Constitution is a living document is the same as saying we don’t have a Constitution,” said economist Walter Williams. “For rules to mean anything, they must be fixed. How many people would like to play me poker and have the rules be ‘living’? Depending on ‘evolving standards,’ maybe my two pair could beat your flush.”

Likewise, my son would have liked “living” rules in all the basketball games he lost, but that would have been far worse in the long run. Whether on the basketball court or the Supreme Court, when the refs cheat, everybody loses. 

Dinner Table Politics: How Government Works

Abby asked that we take a step back from talking about the news of the day and have an in-depth discussion about how constitutional government works. As a result, Schoolhouse Rock gets sung more than a few times, and we discuss executive orders, declaration of war, and the difference between emanations and penumbras – i.e. what they are and why they makes for bad constitutional law.
Plus: Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the travel ban decision, and a very loud dog.

Download this episode here.

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Order of the Arrow Ordeal Secrets: The Final (Bad) Words

Two years ago, I wrote a lengthy article titled “Order of the Arrow Ordeal Secrets: The Final Word.” I thought that was, indeed, my final word on a subject that has attracted more people to this blog than any other. But I offer this addendum to share an NSFW comment I just received – edited for community standards, of course.

What’s interesting is that this comment came on the heels of my visit to Scout Camp yesterday.

It was Camp Hunt, to be specific, right along Bear Lake, which sits across the Utah/Idaho border. My youngest son is our troop’s Senior Patrol Leader, and I got to spend the day doing archery, watching corny skits, and playing Mafia by the campfire after the sun went down.

Other than the fact that camping is a miserable experience by definition, it was a pretty good time, with good company and plenty of father/son bonding. I know I’m supposed to be deeply bitter about the Order of the Arrow, but I managed to somehow enjoy myself.

However, it also included a pitch for Scouts to join the Order of the Arrow, featuring this very white dude in faux-Native American garb.


He even asked all current or former OA members to stand up and be recognized. And stand up I did. I was hoping he would ask me to say something, but he didn’t. Which is probably for the best, as anything I would have said probably wouldn’t have been helpful to anybody.

You know, kind of like the following comment, received from someone named Brad, who has chosen to defend the honor of his sacred organization with the following screed, which appears with dashes as substitutes for letters in words that violate the Scout Law:

_________

You’re a F—ING LIBERAL PEACE OF S–T A–HOLE! Who probably never earned EAGLE SCOUT, and you only went through ORDEAL and never participated really, because you were too busy going to the mall and riding on your skateboard – to actually take the adventure and go to a Boy Scout National Jamboree where you meet diligent, disciplined, educated, outdoors-man-type young men READY FOR ADVENTURE coming from all cultures, countries, languages and backgrounds and getting to interact with tose people and et their food and learn their language and customs and guess what young boys in REAL BOY SCOUTS D: Mr. Greek, and Mr. American, and Mr. Kenya and Mr. China, and Mr. Australia, and Mr. Russia, and Mr. India, and Mr. Argentina all sit around the campfire and whittle neckerchief slides (the reason why the BSA was started) – apparently you don’t value you your neckerchiefs – I still have all mine – they make great tourniquets or did you never get past 2nd class and earn the First Aid Merit Badge.

As far as your STUPID CONSPIRACY THEORY regarding the OA being a secret arm of the BSA associated with the Taliban?????????? WTF? You might honestly be the most retarded idiot f—ing douche bag cum dumpster trash can lid complete fat a– piece of s–t, meaning that you and your STUPID points of view are neither accurate or warranted. Effectively your arguments are nothing but the ramblings of a little picked on pussy child. GET UP A–HOLE BE A F—ING MAN! ARE YOU KIDDING? BOO F—ING HOO. I AM SOOOOOOO SORRY YOUR PRECIOUS FEELINGS GOT SO TERRIBLY HURT WHEN YOU WERE “poor me, i’m cold tired wet and hungry”. Well MOUNT UP B—H. Some of that training carried me through the Army as an Infantryman, and Airborne School, and Ranger School, and in 2003 to the invasion of Iraq, and after I got out of the ARMy after being shot – I went back overseas to serve my country more as a Contractor – also getting shot at in multiple countries. But the best part is….I learned earning my Ordeal, Brotherhood, and Vigil, as well as my EAGLE SCOUT, I learned how to survive WITHOUT B—-ING.

Apparently you never learned that F—ING LESSON.

So YOUR F—ING WELCOME. Because the OA “Ordeal” and the “Brotherhood Ceremony” and the “Vigil Honor” plus being a Cub Scout, Webelo, and finally an EAGLE SCOUT – because that early training taught me how to live, survive, and taught me how to lead and love my fellow scouts. I was then prepared when I volunteered for the infantry and airborne and ranger and combat….so you can NOW appreciate the opportunity and right to voice this complete BULLS–T. So “DOUCHE BAG” your F—ING WELCOME – C-NT!


And that is all Brad had to say on the matter.

I don’t have anything to add, really, or to say in response. Instead, I offer this one Arrowman’s passionate defense of the organization he loves and let the reader draw their own conclusions.

And that’s my last word. Really. (Until the next last word.)

Today’s Dinner Table Question: Is Trump Hitler?

The latest episode of Dinner Table Politics is online!

The separation of children at the southern border has launched a new round of “Trump is Hitler” memes. Jim argues that this actually helps Donald Trump, while Abby wonders why no one is comparing Trump to Vlad the Impaler and insists that memes that say “TEMPERED RHETORIC” aren’t likely to go viral.

Download the episode here.

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How to Hitler your way to eight years of Trump

Before I even begin, I want to make something clear. This is not going to be a post about how Trump isn’t Hitler. I have written posts like that, but I don’t particularly like them, because they end up sounding like defenses of Donald Trump. And I don’t want to defend Donald Trump, especially with his current policy of punishing asylum seekers by ripping their children away from them. It is monstrous, and it must stop. I do not want anyone mistaking this post for anything that can be interpreted as a defense of this terrible president or a minimilization of the terrible things he is currently doing.

So let us begin.

A Jewish friend of mine who is no fan of Trump posted a Facebook status update asking people to refrain from comparing Trump to Hitler. Acknowledging the fact that Trump was awful, she called it disrespectful to the millions of people slaughtered by the Nazis to equate Trump’s current evils with Hitler’s exponentially more monstrous crimes.

As could be expected, she was inundated with angry comments from both sides, and the thread degenerated into namecalling and nastiness, at which point she deleted her status and replaced it with one that said “I like roses.” Thus shamed into silence, she exited the conversation as the rest of social media continued to go full Godwin and make wall-to-wall Hitler comparisons from morn until night.

I do not think people realize how helpful such comparisons are to Donald Trump’s reelection campaign.

Some history:

  1. Bill Clinton survived impeachment in 1998 not because everyone was hunky dory with a 50-year-old president having an affair with a 21-year-old intern in the Oval Office, but because Clinton’s adversaries were seen as puritanical hypocrites who were even worse than he was. I don’t recall anyone calling Clinton Hitler at the time, but I don’t think it would have been helpful if they had.
  2. George W. Bush won reelection not because he was adored in 2004 – by then, his post-9/11 sky-high approval had fallen to earth and then some – but rather because he was able to define John Kerry and the Democrats as weak, unpatriotic pansies unable to stand up to terrorists and rogue regimes. It’s not insignificant that pictures of W. with a Hitler mustache were all the rage at war protests.
  3. Barack Obama entered 2012 with dismal approval numbers, but the people who hated him were unpleasantly angry white dudes in tri-cornered hats who had plenty of Obama-is-Hitler memes at the ready.

The point being: modern presidents typically don’t win reelection because they are beloved. They win when they effectively define their enemies. And when those enemies resort to Hitler comparisons, defining them as extremist loons becomes much, much easier to do.

If I were Donald Trump, and I had the option of 1) defending my indefensible policy of ripping children from their parents when they cross the border seeking asylum, or 2) defending myself against charges that I am Hitler, which option would I choose?

No contest. Like Donald Trump himself, I’d be #2 every time.

Now you can try to make the case that the Hitler charge forces him to defend both positions, but that’s demonstrably incorrect. It actually makes it easier for him to minimize the horror of what he’s doing because it’s not as horrible as what Hitler did.

I say this is demonstrable, so allow me to demonstrate.

On June 17, actress Debra Messing made the following post on Instagram:

See that? “This little boy, who has been taken from his parents, has been assigned a number. #47 on his chest and arm. Like the Holocaust.”

LIKE THE HOLOCAUST!!!

Okay, with that caption as the catalyst, where is this conversation likely to go? Is it going to focus on the inhumanity of separating children from asylum seekers? Or is it going to be on whether or not this is an apt Holocaust comparison?

Because this isn’t an apt Holocaust comparison. People are assigned numbers for all kinds of purposes all the time. (When you take a number at the deli, is that like the Holocaust?) And of course, those interned in concentration camps weren’t given T-shirts; they had their numbers tattooed on them. And the tattoos, as awful as they were, were the least of their problems. How likely is this little boy to be forced into hard labor with little or no food until he succumbs to sickness or starvation? What are the chances that he’s going to be led into a gas chamber?

Now before you get angry and start arguing about the aptness or non-aptness of my comparison analysis, take a moment and recognize what you would be doing if you were to engage me on this.  All I have to do to win that argument is prove that this photo isn’t the Holocaust. It’s the kind of argument that Donald Trump could win easily.

In fact, he could cut you off at the pass by pointing out, as Snopes.com did, by pointing out that this whole story is fake.  According to Snopes, a “closer look at the image shows that the numbering is part of the shirt,” and that this is “a shirt manufactured for retail, not government issue.” Which makes sense – where are kids #1 through #46? It’s probably a sports jersey of some kind.  This photo was taken as “Border Patrol agents [were] taking in a father and son, neither of whom had yet been processed. The snapshot was captured as the pair were apprehended, meaning they had not been issued clothing.”

So if you were to have this conversation with the president, you would be arguing he’s just like Hitler, and he would be arguing that you’re blowing things way out of proportion and making the whole thing up. And he would be right and you would be wrong.

And neither one of you would be focusing on the terrible things that are actually happening to this little boy.

That’s the real problem. You want to defeat Trump? I sure do. And you don’t defeat Trump by fighting on his turf, where exaggerations carry the day and facts are open to alternatives. That’s the turf where Trump-as-Hitler lives, while in the meantime, the real Trump is splitting apart real families and creating a great deal of human misery. 2020 is going to be an absolute nightmare if all Trump has to do to win reelection is be better than Hitler.

iHob, Clinton, and Colonoscopies

The latest episode of Dinner Table Politics is online!

Yes, the Korean summit between Trump and Kim Jong-Un gets a mention, as does the G7 debacle, but we spend a good deal of time talking about the change from iHop to iHob, the need for colonoscopies, and how Bill Clinton would fare in the #MeToo era, with a detour into a discussion of John Hughes movies.

Also, Abby professes her undying love for the two Canadian Justins: Trudeau and Bieber, respectively.

Download the episode here.

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Roseanne, Tariffs, and Abby v. Barbara Bush

We discuss Roseanne, which may or may not have been Abby’s favorite television show, as well as the stupidity of tariffs and a president who thinks he can pardon himself.

And finally, at long lost, the world learns the story of how an eighteen-month-old Abby tried to pull off a daring pearl heist at Barbara Bush’s expense.

Download the episode here.

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Solo, Opioids, and Korean Summits

Recording the latest episode of Dinner Table Politics pre-Roseanne, Abby and Jim wonder if “Solo: A Star Wars Story’s” underwhelming box office performance has a political explanation. They then discuss whether medical marijuana is a solution to the opioid epidemic, and how President Trump’s on-again, off-again summit with North Korea will impact the upcoming midterm elections.

Abby’s choice for president in 2020

Also, how is it possible that Glenn Beck is a Trump fan? Could it have something to do with him being forced to sell his private jet?

Listen to the latest episode here.

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Guns, Guns, and Guns

This “very special” episode of Dinner Table Politics was actually recorded after the Parkland school shooting and never released, but the Texas school shooting has made it all too relevant again.

Download the episode here.

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Abby and Jim share their thoughts and prayers about thoughts and prayers and discuss what kind of concrete actions are possible to stop gun violence. If the Second Amendment allows militias to be well-regulated, then what regulations are appropriate?

Also, is the NRA buying politicians? If so, why doesn’t it start buying Democrats instead of Republicans?