Open Thread for Monday, August 10, 2020

Sister Nancy

Let’s get the week off to a start here:

  1. Let’s talk about which candidate might ‘hurt God’ — E.J. Dionne’s column this morning reminded me I wanted to share Sister Nancy Hendershot’s Facebook post (see above) offering calm witness about Joe Biden’s relationship with his faith — in contrast to the guy who waves a Bible around like a weapon but doesn’t read it.
  2. Did y’all feel the earthquake? — Twitter tells me that Synithia Williams did. I did not. I was asleep at 8:07 a.m. Sunday. But my wife came and woke me up to tell me about it. She said she heard some rumbling upstairs like a heavy person was walking around, then she heard the wind chimes at our back door.  She later seemed a bit concerned that I slept through it. But hey, I used to live in the Andes, so I’m all like, Call that a quake? I was, however, impressed that it would be felt so far away from the epicenter…
  3. Jaime catching up to Lindsey — This is very encouraging, although I won’t feel like it’s real until Jaime gets several points ahead. Actually, I won’t feel like it’s real until Election Day. I’m avoiding getting excited about polls these days. Things are too squishy and vulnerable. I have practical experience in the last election reminding me about most white South Carolinians’ physical disability that prevents them pulling the lever for a Democrat, no matter how good the Democrat or embarrassing the Republican.
  4. In case you want to talk about football — I notice from Bryan’s Twitter feed that football fans are talking about college football being on the verge of being cancelled. Of course, if you’re me, you’ve kind of amazed that anyone was even considering it this  year. But, you know, football fans are as inscrutable to me as those white South Carolinians who can’t figure out how to vote for a Democrat (something that would absolutely amazed their grandfathers — so we know it’s not genetic).
  5. Linda Bell won’t back Henry’s foolishness any more — State epidemiologist Linda Bell has had enough of being used as a prop by the governor’s office, and says, “I will not ‘stand next to the governor’ anymore without speaking to what the science tells us is the right thing to do, particularly as his staff intend to portray that as my complicity with his position.”
  6. We’re not at 100,000 cases yet — But we should get there today. Meanwhile, of course, we’ve hit the 5 million mark nationally.
Sister Nancy talking about church got me to go grab a picture of mine. I took this after Mass one day in 2017...

Sister Nancy talking about church got me to go grab a picture of mine. I took this after Mass one day in 2017…

26 thoughts on “Open Thread for Monday, August 10, 2020

  1. Barry

    When Trump talks about God, it’s clear he 1) has no clue what he’s talking about and 2) invokes God to his own political benefit.

    My pastor, a man who never talks politics from the pulpit (and doesn’t do Facebook) said Sunday that he believes Americans are as divided as we ever have been, including the civil war. He stated he felt Americans would take up arms against each other if only slightly nudged. (A friend told me he believes if trump suggested such a thing, thousands would comply and many more would die).

    I’m seeing evidence of this division in churches and especially in youth groups. One of my children (17) says he hates political talk of all kinds but that in youth meetings everyone is taking political sides. He pretty much hates youth group now.

    My oldest went on a mission trip over a year ago. As soon as they loaded onto the bus, several of the youth that are most vocal started up with pro trump talk and how everyone else is nuts. I assume they were joking some but my oldest got very upset. He hasn’t been to another youth outing since.

    I’m also about done with my church. It seeks allegiance to trump is the #1 priority with too many and I’ll never bow down to that or anyone that kisses his backside.

    Reply
  2. Barry

    When Trump talks about God, it’s clear he 1) has no clue what he’s talking about and 2) invokes God to his own political benefit.

    My pastor, a man who never talks politics from the pulpit (and doesn’t do Facebook) said Sunday that he believes Americans are as divided as we ever have been, including the civil war. He stated he felt Americans would take up arms against each other if only slightly nudged. (A friend told me he believes if trump suggested such a thing, thousands would comply and many more would die).

    I’m seeing evidence of this division in churches and especially in youth groups. One of my children (17) says he hates political talk of all kinds but that in youth meetings everyone is taking political sides. He pretty much hates youth group now.

    My oldest went on a mission trip over a year ago. As soon as they loaded onto the bus, several of the youth that are most vocal started up with pro trump talk and how everyone else is nuts. I assume they were joking some but my oldest got very upset. He hasn’t been to another youth outing since.

    I’m also about done with my church. My wife and I, after 21 years, are considering leaving. For too many, allegiance to trump is the #1 priority and I’ll never bow down to that or anyone that kisses his backside.

    Reply
  3. bud

    Ok all you constitutional scholars out there explain this to me. I’ve read and re-read Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution and it seems crystal clear that congress is the branch of government responsible for tax policy. I see nothing that gives POTUS any more authority to modify the payroll tax than it gives the speaker of the house to launch a B-52 attack on Iran. So why is the president’s executive order to defer the payroll tax not just ignored? Brad or bud can’t order a tax deferral so how does Donald Trump do it? I don’t see why the courts even need to be involved. I assume this is some “emergency” power. But that pretty much gives POTUS unlimited power just by declaring an emergency.

    Reply
    1. Bryan Caskey

      “Ok all you constitutional scholars out there explain this to me. I’ve read and re-read Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution and it seems crystal clear that congress is the branch of government responsible for tax policy. I see nothing that gives POTUS any more authority to modify the payroll tax than it gives the speaker of the house to launch a B-52 attack on Iran. So why is the president’s executive order to defer the payroll tax not just ignored?”

      A deferral? Huh, I don’t know. But I guess it’s the same authority President Obama had to defer Action on Childhood Arrivals. That’s that the “D” in DACA stands for. Remember the, I have a “pen and a phone” thing from President Obama? I guess it’s like that.

      Hope you’re enjoying your slippery slope!

      Reply
      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Well, Bryan, I think you’ll agree, won’t you, that we’re talking about something qualitatively different when we get into the power of the purse.

        It’s one thing to direct the executive branch you lead to interpret an immigrant’s status in a different way — and we can certainly have a good debate about that, if we’re so inclined, but we’re talking about something different here.

        Congress had failed to reach agreement on a three-trillion-dollar emergency package, and Trump just stepped in and authorized handing out direct cash payments and tax cuts.

        Call it a slippery slope if you like, but it’s a different hill that he’s sliding down.

        I didn’t include it among my suggested topics because I had forgotten about it. It was all the talk on Saturday, but it didn’t stick in my head because I wasn’t impressed. Once we fully sort out what he did and didn’t do, and what he could and couldn’t do, Congress should have this sorted out.

        Of course, given recent history, I may be giving Congress too much credit…

        Reply
        1. Bryan Caskey

          “Well, Bryan, I think you’ll agree, won’t you, that we’re talking about something qualitatively different when we get into the power of the purse.”

          Would I? I agree the Internal Revenue Service is a different agency than the Immigration and Customs Service,and they do different things (naturally), but they’re both sub-parts of the Executive Branch. So sure, it’s a qualitative difference, but it’s a distinction without a difference. Again, the President didn’t really override the law or tell the IRS to not follow the law. He’s apparently just deferring it. Is that the same thing? Maybe. Maybe not. What happens to a dream deferred? (Benefits of a liberal-arts education.)

          “Congress had failed to reach agreement on a three-trillion-dollar emergency package, and Trump just stepped in and authorized handing out direct cash payments and tax cuts.”

          As I understand it, it’s a deferral of the IRS collecting the payroll tax. It’s still owed (at some point, I guess). I think you’re improperly characterizing it as a “tax cut”. Problem is, since it’s not a waiver, seems like there’s not much incentive for a taxpayer to not remit. I don’t know if the Executive Branch has ever asked for deferred action on tax status, but if the Executive Branch can defer action on one thing, seems like it can defer action on a great many other things. That’s the problem with slippery slopes…they go downhill.

          “Congress should have this sorted out.”

          Well…yeah. But they should have sorted out immigration, too. I mean, I guess we could say this about a great many things. And the inclination for the Executive Branch to start doing things without Congress creates several problems before you even get to the merits of the act itself. First, and EO is a very impermanent thing compared to a law. The EO is subject to the next Executive coming in and just canceling it with a stroke of a pen. Accordingly, they are risky to rely on, compared to actual federal statutes. Second, they become inherently political since the EO is not a compromise between the two parties, or the two houses of the legislature, and therefore, there is a high likelihood of the next Executive of the other party wanting to negate the EOs from a predecessor who was not in the same political party. We’ve seen this in action with the change in the party holding the White House for quite some time.

          Reply
      2. bud

        Hmm, the “what about” argument. Democrats use that too but it makes no more of a good argument for them either. So if I agree DACA was wrong then can we move on to the issue at hand?

        Reply
        1. Bryan Caskey

          I’m not expressing an opinion as to either one being right or wrong. That wasn’t the question you asked me. :) You just asked what the legal basis was, and being a lawyer who looks for precedent, I found you one.

          Reply
          1. bud

            Actually I’m not expressing an opinion about the merits. I actually thought the $400 unemployment add-on was a reasonable compromise. So why wasn’t this offered as a legislative initiative. So counselor I will infer that since you’re making a precedent case you likewise don’t find any constitutional verbiage to support the president’s executive order.

            Just as a general observation shouldn’t congress reclaim it’s constitutional authority.

            Reply
            1. Barry

              Might be tough with the folks trump has nominated to the court who believe in a very strong executive branch- when republicans are in charge

              And a weak one when democrats are in charge.

              Hypocrites

              Reply
              1. Bryan Caskey

                “Might be tough with the folks trump has nominated to the court who believe in a very strong executive branch- when republicans are in charge

                And a weak one when democrats are in charge.”

                Do you have some specific examples of this?

                Reply
          2. Ken

            “I’m not expressing an opinion as to either one being right or wrong.”

            Hm, references to “slippery slopes” at least suggest that the person using that term has a problem with where the slope leads. So I’ll classify that statement as disingenuous.

            Executive deferrals — whether of payroll taxes or deportations — may bend the Constitution. But it’s not clear to me that they break it, since they are merely resetting priorities with respect to this or that executive action. The more relevant question here is: is this good policy, or just a political fop? My view is that Obama’s action was the former and this recent is is the latter.

            Reply
    2. Barry

      The new thing is for presidents to ignore Congress – and bypass congress.

      The Biden presidency is going to be terrible payback for Trumpers and conservatives. As a former conservative, I’m looking forward to it.

      Here is hoping, if Biden wins, he issues hundreds of executive orders within 6 hours of being sworn in.

      Reply
  4. Brad Warthen Post author

    Special thanks to Dave Crockett, who let me know, quietly — via email — about some glaring typos in this post…

    “offering calm witness about Joe Biden’s relationship with his face — in contrast to the buy who waves a Bible around like a weapon but doesn’t read it.”

    Reply
  5. bud

    Another interesting move by Trump that has received scant attention is his order to withdraw troops from Germany. That is actually a good thing. But the neocons are strangely quit. Apparently this isn’t especially controversial on any side of the political spectrum.

    Reply

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