Political Literacy Posts

On Trump, Jackson, and the Civil War

posted May 1, 2017, 3:01 PM by Betsy Ruffin

President Trump is under fire for remarks about Andrew Jackson, the Civil War, and a possible relation between the two.  Because folks on social media are not always known for their thoughtfulness, here are some links on this subject that are a little more objective.  

The first is the most complete transcript of the remarks I can find because I like to see remarks in context.  The next two are analysis of the remarks. 

To those who want to boil the  causes of said war down to one word-slavery - it is not really that simple.  While slavery was a main- likely this main- factor, there was more going on beneath the surface even at government level and certainly at a personel level for the soldiers.  Here are a few links on, the first a UK site so more objective one would hope


The Clinton Campaign: What Went Wrong?

posted Apr 18, 2017, 12:21 PM by Betsy Ruffin   [ updated Apr 18, 2017, 12:21 PM ]

Several books have been published detailing views on what went wrong with the Hillary Clinton campaign. 
The list includes a new book by Jonathan Allan and Amie Parnes.  
For more news on this book, see Clinton:"That was my last race"
Other books are:

For the view from the other side:
How Trump Won: the inside story of a revolution by Joel Pollak and Larry Schweikart

Voter ID Laws - do they discriminate?

posted Feb 28, 2017, 12:31 PM by Betsy Ruffin

Texas voter ID laws are back in the news with a recent change from the DOJ.  Are they discriminatory?
In brief, proponents say no: few instances of potential voters have been noted, other activities require ID,  most folks can get some acceptable form of ID,  they help prevent voter fraud.  Opponents says yes: the cost of ID disproportionately affect minorities,  voter fraud is not significant issue,  the intent is specifically to disenfrancise minority voters.  
Some links to sites with pros and cons:

Beginning a Series on the US Constitution

posted Feb 27, 2017, 11:18 AM by Betsy Ruffin

As a librarian, I believe in getting primary sources where possible as a baseline for other research.  So, let's see what primary sources (sources written at the time, actual documents or actual transcriptions of origial documents) are online for the Constitution.

What is a Resolution of Inquiry?

posted Feb 11, 2017, 11:52 AM by Betsy Ruffin

Rep. Jerrold Nadler has introduced a Resolution of Inquiry seeking certain information concerning President Trump.  The resolution text from the Congress website is https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-resolution/111?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22congressId%3A115+AND+billStatus%3A%5C%22Introduced%5C%22%22%5D%7D&r=20
So, what is a Resolution of Inquiry? 
You may find the official wording in this document. 

Who is on the House Judicary Committee that is to respond to the inquiry? 

Some history on the use of Resolution of Inquiry

On the Ivanka -Nordstrom Controversy

posted Feb 11, 2017, 11:28 AM by Betsy Ruffin   [ updated Feb 11, 2017, 11:29 AM ]

Are stores dropping her line to protest President Trump?
Maybe, maybe not. Regarding changes related to her clothing lines, some cite dropping sales , others say they are just mixing her line in with regular merchandise or continuing to supply it online.  There is a boycott movement, however, that is targeting stores that sell the line and this can not be discounted as a factor.  

What about President Trump and his Nordstrom is unfair tweet?
Most sources say the question here is ethical rather than strictly legal.  This is not the only company he has mentioned - positive or negative -  and it gets particularly sticky when tweets from his realdonaldtrump Twitter account are shared to his POTUS twitter account.   However, even the ethical considerations are not clear yet due to the new nature of several elements involved here.

What about KellyAnne Conway's comment to buy Ivanka?
In response to a question on this at a press briefing, Sean Spicer noted that she had been "counseled" on this.  Another report has her apologizing to the President in regards to this.

In summary (my words):  The wide ranging business interests of the President and his family do present issues not faced to this extent previously.   Caution is certainly warranted on the part of all parties in both verbal and action responses.   

Sources used:





On Rule 19

posted Feb 9, 2017, 11:10 AM by Betsy Ruffin   [ updated Feb 9, 2017, 11:10 AM ]

What does it actually say?

What is its history? 

What was the stated justification in this case?
According to a Politifact article , it was her persistence in talking, following warnings. 

On the Immigrant Vetting Process

posted Feb 7, 2017, 9:35 PM by Betsy Ruffin   [ updated Feb 7, 2017, 9:37 PM ]

As of this writing,  President Trump's Immigration Executive Order is still on hold.  So I was curious as to what was in place from the last administration.  Here is what I found:

On the immigration order

posted Feb 2, 2017, 2:27 PM by Betsy Ruffin   [ updated Feb 2, 2017, 2:28 PM ]

A lot has been posted on this.  Some places for  news rather than rhetoric:

On Trump Kills Eight Year Old Yemen Girl

posted Jan 30, 2017, 2:19 PM by Betsy Ruffin   [ updated Jan 30, 2017, 2:23 PM ]

The latest outrage on social media is the death of an eight year old girl in Yemen.  The headlines usually mention Trump.   Before giving the facts on this, let me say the death of this 8 year old is sad. That is not disputable.  Now for a few facts: 
1. It was a military raid, authorized by Trump for sure, but he was not there and did not kill the girl himself. http://6abc.com/news/1-us-service-member-killed-3-wounded-in-yemen-raid/1726534/
2. The girl was a sibling to a 16 year old male killed in a military action authorized by Obama. 
3. Both were children of  Anwar -al - Awlaki, a radical cleric with ties to Al Qaeda.  He was killed in an action in 2011, which would also have been in Obama's presidency. 

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