Understanding…

The more I see in “social media” and in the news media, the more obvious it is to me that, not only do most people really not understand how politics, government, and the legal system work – or fail to work – most of them really don’t want to understand… and the media, in large part, abets that lack of understanding.

Trump, or any other President, proposes an annual budget… and immediately there are headlines about what the President is going to do…. and all sorts of reactions. No… that’s not necessarily what is going to happen. That’s what the President says he wants to happen, but it’s going to take authorizing legislation and then appropriations to change the existing way things are done. I’ve never seen a President’s budget proposal adopted without significant changes, and many Presidents have had their budgets totally ignored by Congress.

If Congress gets hung up, and it usually does, then a continuing appropriations bill will let matters proceed as they did in the previous year. But any change – positive or negative – requires authorizing and appropriations legislation by both the Senate and the House.

Likewise… for all the rhetoric… no one is going to take all guns away from the American people. The most Congress will ever do – even the most left-wing Congress possible – is to prohibit specific weapons, as it already has with machine guns and fully automatic weapons, and the number of bullets in a magazine. Anything more would require the repeal of the Second Amendment, and that isn’t going to happen. Yet a huge number of gun advocates are deeply convinced that a ban on assault weapons will lead to a ban on all weapons… or that limiting magazine sizes is tantamount to “taking their guns.”

Three years have passed since Trump promised to revitalize the coal industry. Despite relaxation of some environmental standards, there are fewer coal jobs now than then. Why? Because alternative power sources and natural gas are cheaper than coal. Net result – more pollution and fewer jobs. But there’s scarcely a word about that in the coal producing states… or anywhere else.

During the long Presidential campaign, at least two candidates have been questioned on their performance as public prosecutors… and the possibility that they prosecuted minorities too vigorously, especially in cases where later evidence showed that some of those prosecuted were unfairly convicted. That’s tragic… but the blame shouldn’t immediately fall on the prosecuting attorney. If a prosecutor ignores existing evidence, that’s a real problem, but if the prosecutor prosecutes based on the evidence presented, then they’re doing their job, and the blame for evidentiary failure should fall on the law enforcement system that provided the evidence. Prosecuting attorneys are overworked as it is, and to expect them to add detailed evidence-gathering and checking to their duties is not only unrealistic, but impractical. It’s not their job, but apparently the media and some political reporters aren’t interested in either accuracy or practicality.

Then there’s the right-wing claim that convicting Trump of the impeachment charges would overturn the election results and change government. Exactly how? As I’ve noted before, Mike Pence who is a Republican even more conservative than Trump would have been President. That fact didn’t ever seem to get raised or noticed.

I could go on and on… but…maybe… just maybe… I have trouble getting my head around how so many seemingly intelligent people don’t know or don’t want to know anything contrary to what they want to believe… even when it’s laid out in law and the Constitution… or in dollars and cents.

3 thoughts on “Understanding…”

  1. Michael says:

    Could you unpack the “Net Result more pollution and fewer jobs” statement. It would seem to me that natural gas, overall, is a lesser polluting fuel than coal. Fewer jobs I understand.

    1. Natural gas is less polluting than coal, but it’s more polluting that commonly recognized. One of the larger components of air pollution in Utah is methane emissions from oil wells and natural gas wells. Yes, natural gas burns cleaner, but the the total pollution level has to be considered.

  2. Tom says:

    Normally I would agree with your analysis but in the present world I wonder if we are a little too hopeful.

    Trump has the Justice Department, The Senate and considerable number of Representatives doing what ever he seems to wish to have done. He does not yet own the Federal Reserve but he has much more power than any other President I can think of over the last century. He is not in the least bit interested in following ‘the system’ or ‘protocol’. Thus what seems not permissible he would try anyway because he is ‘The President’! So the outcome in Congress will depend upon Congress following protocol: which it seems to have ignored in one or two instances already, creating a zero sum environment.

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