West Virginia vs. EPA

“It is not plausible that Congress gave EPA the authority to adopt on its own such a regulatory scheme,’’- Justice Roberts for the majority.

“The court appoints itself — instead of Congress or the expert agency — the decision maker on climate policy. I cannot think of many things more frightening.’’ – Justice Kagan for the dissent.

This failure of United States government appears likely to be the most proximate direct cause of unprecedented misery and mass death ahead for humans on planet earth.

Notes from: “Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work”

“Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work”
book by Alex Williams and Nick Srnicek, 2015

notes from Blinkist


PostCapitalism by Paul Mason (2015) offers a close examination of the failures of current economic systems. The 2008 financial crisis showed us that neoliberal capitalism is falling apart, and these blinks outline the reasons why we’re at the start of capitalism’s downfall, while giving an idea of what our transition into postcapitalism will be like.

The book begins (chapters 1–2) by critiquing dominant left-wing thinking in the West.

Contrasts left-wing folk politics with the success of neoliberalism in achieving global cultural hegemony.

Folk politics isn’t working.

Most people don’t distinguish between Liberalism vs. neoliberalism.

The current political tactics of the left are failing for working people. To succeed in transforming society, the left must take a page out of the right-wing playbook and build a long-term, strategic vision that offers an alternative to the current neoliberal, capitalist world order.

The most important takeaway is that the left needs to build a similarly long-term, strategic vision. To do so, the left will need to abandon its fear of organizational secrecy, hierarchy and rationality. Such changes are essential if we are to build and sustain a comparably hegemonic position.

Automation and unemployment are increasingly likely.

Universal basic income is the key to creating a world after capitalism.

In the 1960s and 70s, basic income was a core proposal of the US welfare system. Economists, NGOs and policymakers were all exploring the idea in great detail. In fact, 1,300 economists signed a petition urging the US Congress to pass UBI, and two presidents, Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter, attempted to pass it as legislation.

Support has come from writers like Paul Krugman and Martin Wolf, and news outlets like the New York Times and the Economist.

“The goal of the future is full unemployment” – Arthur C. Clark

Orwell wrote, “the job of the thinking person is not to reject socialism but to make up his mind to humanise it”

What happened to Occupy?

The emotional rural response to the disarmament trend

The majority of people nationally and locally support the slow tending changes of U.S. gun laws moving toward disarmament. Yet a number of rural New Jersey communities are resisting and acting out against the long term trend of change in our gun culture by asking local governments to declare themselves “second amendment sanctuaries” and to oppose any new restrictions on guns which they deem to be unconstitutional. Local governments comply because these measures are popular with the voters and cost nothing now. In a sense, the sanctuary measures are harmless. But even if they have no legal impact, I’m concerned that they set the stage for wasting taxpayer money ahead. The reality is that gun regulations laws fall under state and federal jurisdiction, not local governments. No matter how much a local community “resists”, they won’t change that. Compliance, as a practical matter is an individual choice with little to no local community impact. Despite the emotional discussions, gun law compliance will be based on simple economics, not an emotional or values-based position.

IMO these sanctuary measures only “kick the can down the road” by continuing the division between rural community residents and the much larger rest of the state population. The overall state population overwhelmingly support change in gun culture. It would be better, IMO, for governments to engage and empower local rural residents to get involved if state-level gun culture efforts.

Some proponents of the gun sanctuary movement have even resurrected words like “nullification” and “interposition”from Southern secessionists during the Civil War and opposing desegregation in the 1960s. That’s scary, but probably not meaningful.

In the end, I predict that these social tensions will fade away without much excitement. Evolving gun regulations will be crafted in a way to dissipate emotional reactions as an important integral component of their design. Technology and finances will effect the change in an unemotional manner. Future regulations about gun insurance, taxation and registration will wisely avoid confrontation and allow the resisters to voluntarily comply with changes as the financially and legally logical choice. I’ve covered those from a revenue and tax perspective in other blog posts.

Our duty to stand up

“Mr. President, I go home to my district daily. Each morning, I wake up, and I go and fight for my neighbors. It is my constitutional duty to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch. But, it is my moral duty to fight for my constituents.” – Elijah E. Cummings, July 2019, in response to Trump’s “disgusting, rat and rodent infested district” comments.

I firmly believe that ordinary citizens have these same duties of government oversight and advocacy for each other. This has been a core belief for me for as long as I can remember; even as a young child learning from mom and dad. Elijah Cummings taught me much about civil rights in my early teenage years. By the time that Methacton High School faculty chose me to receive the school’s annual citizenship award in 1976, a few months before our nation’s 200th birthday, I had already read about Cummings and had been influenced by his work.

Thank you Honorable Representative Cummings for serving as a personal role model and offering a lifetime of inspiration. Activism and advocacy is not an easy road, but a necessary one.

Judicial bias is as real as rain

We do not ever really know what is in the mind of a judge who decides a case. We can only analyze the outcome. But we do know three things:

1) It is absurd to say that judges do not have predictable and demonstrable personal bias. Anyone who works with judges regularly as an underling or attorney would find the suggestion of open-mindedness in this article to be laughable.

2) The absurd political process of Garland/Kavanaugh will forever mar the reputation of the Supreme Court. The average middle-of-the-road person now sees the court as a political tool.

3) This threat to the reputation of the Judiciary won’t be fixed by denying the existence of partisanship in an academic setting like this William and Mary conference. How about data-driven analysis of case history?