Democratic Institutions and the Transition of Presidential Power

Donald Trump’s power as president of the United States comes from the fact that he was elected president, not because he is Donald Trump. President Trump’s presidential power will be transferred to Joe Biden on January 20 when Biden is inaugurated as the next president. Democratic government is governed by democratic institutions and people gain political power based on the positions they hold rather than based on who they are.

The 2020 presidential election was, in that sense, a triumph of democratic political institutions, in that the succession of presidential power is occurring as scripted by those institutions.

Despite President Trump’s claim that the election was fraudulently stolen from him, he was unable to hold on to the office. He brought political pressure on governors and state legislatures, and filed many lawsuits, but was unable to change the election outcome.

Armed Consumer Affairs Cops Raid Stockton Salon

“Did anyone know the California Department of Consumer Affairs has its own armed police force?” wonders Katy Grimes of the California Globe. Vicki Kirk and Dino Ballin, owners of the Pomp Hair Salon in Stockton, found out the hard way. 

They were raided by “armed, body armor-wearing cops from the Department of Consumer Affairs, for being open and ignoring Governor Gavin Newsom’s statewide small business shutdown.” The salon had strict safety protocols in place but the black-clad cops burst in “like a drug raid.” 

NCAA Court Case Will Not Restore Lost Rights of Athlete-Students

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear an appeal by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in response to a Ninth Circuit ruling that allows colleges to compensate athletes for expenses related to their education. In 2014, West Virginia running back Shawne Alston argued that NCAA rules that place any limit on compensation from universities to athletes violated antitrust law. The NCAA sought to put that ruling on hold, but Justice Elena Kagan denied the request and now the high court will hear the case, with a ruling expected by summer 2021. Whatever the result, the woes of athlete-students will continue because, as CNN reported, “bans against direct cash payments remain in effect.”

The Radicals Are Gunning for John Marshall

Marshall County, Alabama, is located in the north of the state near Huntsville. It was founded in 1836 and named for Chief Justice John Marshall, the fourth chief justice of the United States and an ardent nationalist. In step with the times, it is also the target of regular protests. One facet of the protests is aimed at Marshall himself.

Capping Insulin Copays Won’t Cure Insulin Price Woes

In 1996, a vial of Humalog (roughly a month’s supply) cost patients about $25 per vial. By 2017, the anti-diabetes medication cost nearly $275. Insulin prices have only increased since then. A Business Insider article estimates that from 2017 to 2019 the average diabetic spent $300 to $400 for a month’s supply of insulin.

To afford their vital medication and make financial ends meet, many people with diabetes ration their insulin. One STAT article finds that 25 percent of diabetics rationed their insulin at least once a year due to financial difficulties. When rationing isn’t enough and times are desperate, some people turn to black markets.

Logrolling Fills COVID Relief Bill With Waste

The latest example of how professional politicians generate costly waste on Capitol Hill just became official.

Shortly after a number of COVID-19 relief measures passed earlier in 2020 as part of the CARES Act expired, President Trump signed a $2.3 trillion spending bill to extend them. The spending bill combines $900 billion of COVID-19 relief measures with $1.4 trillion of funds for operating the federal government through the end of its 2021 fiscal year.

Dr. Deborah Birx Gets Pushback for Violating Her Own Standards

“We cannot go into the holiday season, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, with the same kind of attitude, that those gatherings don’t apply to me.” That was Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, speaking to reporters on December 6. Dr. Birx had also warned about gatherings on Thanksgiving, and the day after she violated her own guidelines with a trip to a vacation home in Delaware, in the company of two households.

Fearmongering v.2021

It feels like we’re in the abyss right now, sinking toward the bottom,” said Dr. John Swartzberg of the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. “We’re not going to sort of get some balance in our lives again until probably sometime in February.

Sound familiar?

Is it true?

Early Covid-19 Vaccine Distribution Troubles Add to a Long List of Government Pandemic Failures

It’s been nearly twelve months since Covid-19 reached the United States. Since then, more than 19 million U.S. citizens have contracted the disease, resulting in just over 334,000 deaths. Well-intended but often misguided policy responses have added high unemployment, financial strife, and widespread mental health concerns to an already deeply troubling situation.

Mr. Jones Makes Compelling Case for Scrappy, Robust Journalism

Perhaps one of the most overlooked movies of 2020 may be Mr. Jones. For those interested in freedom of the press and government accountability, this historical drama written by Andrea Chalupa and adroitly directed by Polish director Angieska Holland may be one of the most important movies in recent years. In chronicling the intrepid investigative reporting of Gareth Jones, the film makes a compelling case for scrappy, robust investigative journalism.

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