Are The Boy Scouts Of America Associated With A Political Party?

Whether or not the Boy Scouts of America are associated with a political party is a question worth asking. The organization is essentially a club, which means that scout leaders are technically allowed to teach the kids whatever they like. Considering the current scandal regarding the abuse of our children by scout leaders, knowing who the organization does or does not support — and which organizations support the scouts — seems even more important.

The Boy Scouts of America (or BSA) does not enforce a political party. BSA leaders seem to subscribe to the “country before party” doctrine, which means they support whichever leaders best embody American values — something that political parties rarely do when there’s a choice between that and getting reelected.

That’s not to say they don’t participate in “political” events. BSA Eagle Scout Bryan Wendell wrote in 2018: “Troop 605 from Rocky River, Ohio, provided [a color guard flag ceremony] at a 2016 political event in Cleveland. (Nice job Nick S., Tristan A., Grayson N. and Erik H.! The troop served as color guard and then immediately left the stage and the premises. They provided a patriotic service and departed before things got political.”

BSA members are allowed to conduct these types of ceremonies even at an individual candidate’s rally or campaign event, but there are rules they must follow. Most importantly, they can stay only for as long as it takes to present the scout colors and perform the Pledge of Allegiance, and no longer. Individual members can stay if those members want to support someone on their own, but they’re required to remove uniform and any other means of scout identification first.

The reason is that the BSA does not endorse specific candidates or their parties. Should the BSA members be allowed to stay beyond what is deemed “patriotic,” then it might be portrayed as such by the media and other organizations. The BSA considers presentation of colors and recitation of the pledge as one of those aforementioned “patriotic services” and not an endorsement. The BSA does not ask individual members not to vote.

The BSA still takes several controversial stands, such as can be conveyed through its own “Scout Oath”:

On my honor I will do my best

To do my duty to God and my country

And to obey the Scout Law;

To help other people at all times;

To keep myself physically strong,

Mentally awake, and morally straight.

The associations with religious belief are why it took so long for the scouts to condone homosexuality and allow scout leaders to be openly gay. It is also for this reason that the BSA did not allow scouts to be openly agnostic or atheist. What’s controversial about these stances? Simple: young children have impressionable minds, and they are much more apt to misunderstand what it means to support God and country — if they can conceive of these concepts at all.

What Would Joe Biden Do With The Presidency?

Presidential elections between Trump and a contender usually only happen one way: attack, attack, attack. It can be difficult to sift through the information available — the actual facts, not the misinformation or conspiracy theories Trump is so famous for — when both candidates spend more time attacking the other than actually putting forth their own plans for the presidency. That’s one of the reasons why Biden was such a weak candidate and, arguable, why Trump won his first term. 

What would Joe Biden do in his first 100 days. Believe it or not, he has a plan outlined. Of course, much of that plan was hinged on the likely outcome of a Democrat-controlled  House and Senate.

One of Trump’s biggest hurdles to winning the presidency was the issue of race, for which he received terrible marks even from his own voters. That’s probably why one of Biden’s priorities was the Equality Act.

Biden explained, “I will make enactment of the Equality Act a top legislative priority during my  first 100 days — a priority that Donald Trump opposes. This is essential to ensuring that no future president can ever again roll back civil rights and protections for LGBTQ+ individuals, including when it comes to housing.”

“Too many states do not have laws that explicitly protect LGBTQ+ individuals from discrimination,” he added. “It’s wrong to deny people access to services or housing because of who they are or who they love.”

For Trump supporters, the Equality Act — passed last year by a Democrat-controlled House — was the choice between minority equality and religious freedom. The Equality Act would increase protections provided to minorities in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and completely ban any discrimination still legal in sectors like housing, jury selection, public accommodation, and employment. Specifically included are protections for sexual orientation and gender identity. Trump notably stripped these protections from LGBTQ+ federal employees during his term.

What Do The Polls Say About The 2020 Election?

The specter of the 2016 election looms high this year. Hillary Clinton held a commanding lead over Donald Trump in 2016, but she was defeated. If you listen to Trump talk about it — or any of his supporters — you might think that he won by a veritable landslide. But the truth is he won by a paltry 70,000 votes, which determined the electoral college. He lost the popular vote by an awe-inspiring three million votes.

So what do the polls say this year?

Well, they show similar margins. That will leave any Biden supporter with a sick feeling in their stomach. The truth of those polls is more complex, though. For example, pretty much everything you can imagine swung in Trump’s direction in 2016. There was a great economy, people were sick of practiced career politicians, the email scandal, Bernie Sanders dividing Democrats, and FBI Director Comey’s indication that there was “new evidence” only days before the election — evidence, which, by the way, turned out to be absolutely nothing.

When you consider all those factors working for Trump in 2016 — and the fact he only won by a mere 70,000 votes — you start to realize that it shouldn’t take much going wrong to result in a Biden landslide. And a lot has gone wrong! The coronavirus response is widely believed to be a disaster. Conspiracy theories related to Hunter Biden aren’t sticking. The economy is in shambles. Trump just managed to select his third Supreme Court justice, who could be key to overturning controversial laws like the ACA, gun rights, and even Roe v. Wade. But those are all factors that could turn the election against him.

Why is Biden’s team suggesting the race is much closer than it appears to be? First, we’ve seen that polls aren’t always indicative of a win. They’re being wildly more careful that Hillary Clinton was in 2016. Second, presidential races are almost always won by razor-thin margins, although we don’t always view it that way. So again, there’s reason to be careful. Third, this race will likely be determined by Democratic voter turnout, which the GOP is trying to suppress. Couple that with the fact that fewer people go out to vote when they think a nominee is a sure thing, and you might realize those comments are being made to ensure people continue to vote up until Election Day.

One reason to be hopeful of a Biden win is that almost all of these polls mean Biden wins even within the margins of error. But there is so much uncertainty, that we still cannot say for sure what will happen — especially since even Trump’s own supporters don’t believe he will concede if and when he loses.

You have the right to safety at the polling locations, but police aren’t allowed on site unless something goes wrong. If it does, you’ll have to rely on witness testimony if a case ends up in criminal or civil court. A personal injury attorney is the best source of information if you were attacked by another voter or the polling location was safe. This is especially important if the attack or accident prevented you from casting a ballot!

Joe Biden Officially Wins 2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination; No One Notices, Cares

After a batch of state primaries you probably didn’t hear about yesterday, Joe Biden is now the official winner of the 2020 Democratic nomination for president. But then again, you probably didn’t hear about that either, because Biden is not only one of the least exciting Democratic candidates in history — even compared to Hillary — but we also have bigger fish to fry right now.

You might be thinking “coronavirus” when we say “bigger fish to fry,” and it’s true, COVID-19 is still a fairly big problem in the United States. By the time Election Day comes around, it might be an even bigger problem. Especially when considering how brutal fights over whether or not to open up universal absentee ballots are likely to become. But coronavirus isn’t the fish we’re talking about.

Truth be told, there’s a long list of bigger fish.

First and foremost, unrest. Many have noted that the U.S. has perhaps hit an inflection point during which we’re forced to deal with our institutionalized racial bias against African Americans. But the truth is that few Republicans are rethinking their party’s values when it comes to “black lives mattering” or their rights in general. With a president who is working to divide our country like never before, it’s difficult to see the current unrest or polarization declining in time for Election Day. If anything, it will likely become worse.

And then there’s the distinct possibility that Trump loses the Electoral College by a slim margin. Can you see it happening? We can. Can you see Trump conceding defeat to Joe Biden, who he’s been calling a criminal for the last, well, for as long as we can remember? We cannot.

No matter who wins the presidency in 2020, it seems most likely that the divide between the two major political parties will only grow stronger — and that means more unrest in the early months of 2021, after one president or the other is sworn in during a growing upheaval.

It’s Time To Admit That Joe Biden Has Won The 2020 Democratic Nomination For President

Bernie Sanders supporters won’t want to hear this — and for good reason — but Joe Biden has created an insurmountable lead. Sanders is down and out through some incredible misfortune, but is that a good thing? It’s almost as if the current viral outbreak is tailor-made to tell the people of our country, “Vote for the guy who wants you to have paid sick days and guaranteed healthcare!” But we weren’t listening.

The novel coronavirus covid-19 is extremely dangerous — far more so than most of us realize. 

Reproduction rates are difficult to calculate. These numbers, however, show us how many people a virus could potentially infect. For example, the flu has a value of R1.3. That means that a person infected with the seasonal flu will infect another 1.3 people on average. It has a fatality rate of only .1 percent, which seems quite low until you see how many people die each year — approximately 645,000 people around the world.

Many of us have taken to sharing memes on social media websites. They take a supposed expert’s viewpoint that we shouldn’t be panicking. And while that may be true, they leave out important information when comparing coronavirus to the flu. After all, they say, covid-19 hasn’t killed that many people, while the flu kills hundreds of thousands every year!

Covid-19 has a value between 2.0 and 2.5. That means a person infected with covid-19 is likely to infect at least two more people with the virus. The presumed fatality rate of covid-19 is around 2 percent (although it may fall significantly when we gather more data), and varies by country. Today marks the day we’ve hit over 200,000 cases and only around 8,000 deaths. No big deal, right?

Until you start making more meaningful comparisons. For example, the Spanish flu of 1918 killed up to 50 million people when the world’s population was much lower. Certainly, it hit people at the height of WWI, and that was a major cause of its spread. However, it killed those tens of millions of people with a rating of only R1.8 — meaning covid-19 is more contagious than the Spanish flu.

The Spanish flu also had a fatality rate of around 2.5 percent, making it only minutely more deadly than the current outbreak. That’s why governments are starting to take such drastic measures to prevent the spread of this virus. Because they’re finally starting to wake up to the reality of what it might actually do.

Sanders’ policies — had they already been implemented before this outbreak — would have prevented much of the heartache that will follow. We’re on the brink of financial and personal disaster, and it’s up to us to find a way to deal with it pragmatically. Thus far, we haven’t showed we have the motivation to do that.

Common Criticisms Of Bernie Sanders — And Why They’re Nonsense!

Everyone has an opinion on Bernie Sanders. As the race for 2020 heats up, so do the criticisms that candidates must endure. Somehow, the Democratic field is still crowded going into South Carolina on February 29, and then Super Tuesday on March 3 — when many of the nation’s delegates are up for grabs. Sanders is currently the clear frontrunner, but there are plenty of opinion pieces cropping up about how his apparent lead is a mirage. Are they right?

Short answer: No.

The longer answer requires a closer look at those criticisms. We’ve all heard about how his win in New Hampshire is blunted because it was so much more decisive in 2016, when he won against Hillary Clinton by more than twenty points. But how is that fair? How is that a sensible criticism? In 2016, it was basically one man, one woman race. In 2020, there are at least seven candidates who could still claim delegates on Super Tuesday!

Another common criticism says that Bernie’s winning streak is only due to the delegate split between opposing moderate candidates. That also makes little sense based on the information that we have.

First, polls don’t just request information on who participants would like to see win the Democratic nomination. Those polls request information on second choices. The data shows something peculiar: even Joe Biden’s supporters would split off to the Bernie camp in a plurality over other candidates. Moderates dropping out of the race wouldn’t necessarily hurt his chances of winning. 

One has to ask why that’s the case. Well, we know the answer to that too. Polls also show us that voters want the person most likely to beat Trump in 2020 to win the nomination — which is why they’re still supporting moderates. What happens if they realize that Sanders has won in head to head matchups against Trump for five years running? According to most polls, he’s got the best shot of beating Trump even if no one realizes it.

And anyone with half a brain knows what happens when Elizabeth Warren drops out of the race, as she will almost certainly do after Super Tuesday. Her supporters are also far more likely to follow Bernie. His lead over the other candidates is extremely solid — and much of the mainstream media (MSM) isn’t giving him the credit where it is due.

Many also contend that Sanders has no support. In Congress, that may be true. But that’s a symptom of a legislative branch that won’t actually represent the people more than a single senator who doesn’t have the support of the people. Bernie has the support. Congress just doesn’t care.

For information on bills that Bernie Sanders has written or cosponsored, check his Govtrack page.

Does Trump’s Behavior Constitute “High Crimes and Misdemeanors?”

We’ll answer the question outright: Yes. Trump’s lawyers have argued that his activities as POTUS do not rise to the definition of high crimes and misdemeanors, the bar required for a public official’s impeachment. They say that articles of impeachment must relate to a crime committed (which is contradictory to arguments already explored by the president’s supporters, i.e. that he can’t even be impeached no matter what, because he’s president).

But is that true?

It comes down to what the framers of the United States Constitution actually meant when they used those words. To know that, we need to know the definitions of “high crimes and misdemeanors” as they were in the late 1700s when the clause was actually written into the document.

The definitions of those words back then were a lot different than they are now. Generally, they described behavior by public officials who had violated the public trust in some way. Alexander Hamilton — one of our Founding Fathers — said as much in his Federalist Paper No. 65. And that’s very much in line with how public officials have actually been impeached since the provision was written.

There’s a lot of precedent for impeachment, but law professor Frank Bowman says that it basically gets thrown out every time someone new is put through the gauntlet. “The defenders of the impeached officer always argue, always, that a crime is required. And every time that misconception has to be knocked down again.”

He exemplified the meaning behind his statement further: “Let’s say the president were to wake up tomorrow morning and says, ‘All this impeachment stuff is kind of getting on my nerves. I think I’m going to Barbados for six months. Don’t call me, I’ll call you,’ and just cuts off all contact and refuses to do his duty.”

“That’s not a crime,” he says. “It’s not violating a law. But could we impeach him? Of course we could — otherwise what’s the remedy? We have a country without a president.”

Gerald Ford famously said: “An impeachable offense is whatever the majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history.”

Although many legal scholars might take issue with that statement, and there’s also a lot of precedent that goes into the decision-making process, it’s certainly more in line with the truth.

Oh, and news flash: the president did commit a crime. The Government Accountability Office finally released its report on whether or not the Trump administration broke the law by withholding Congressionally appropriated monies from Ukraine, ruling that, indeed, he did.

“Faithful execution of the law does not permit the president to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law,” the ruling explained. “OMB withheld funds for a policy reason, which is not permitted under the Impoundment Control Act.”

Does It Matter Why Trump Held Up Money Bound For Ukraine?

Not everyone is following the televised impeachment hearing testimony. If you’re not, then here are the highlights: Democrats are trying to make a case that President Trump held up a Ukraine security aid package in order to extort or bribe “a favor” from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. It’s a good case based on the facts. 

Republicans are saying that the Democrats are all wrong, and that the only reason they’re moving forward on impeachment is because that was the plan since Trump was elected. They say that Trump held up security aid because he was disturbed by corruption in Ukraine, which is why he asked for investigations regarding long-ago debunked conspiracy theories he himself helped make popular. Trump, there, is not guilty of high crimes or misdemeanors, they say. It’s a bad case based on voter sentiment and emotion, but not the fact.

But then again, it doesn’t really matter what story you believe: Trump blatantly committed illegal acts by holding up the money for any reason — because he didn’t notify Congress that he was doing it.

You see, the power of the American purse belongs to Congress — and only Congress.

The Impoundment Control Act of 1974 (ICA) was written in order to guarantee that a president couldn’t just willy-nilly subvert the law and take that power away from Congress to instead meet the purported needs of the Executive branch. But that’s exactly what Trump did.

The law was written because other presidents have tried to do exactly the same thing in the past. Nixon decided to withhold Congressionally appropriated monies if he didn’t agree with how or where they were to be spent. The ICA gives presidents the ability to impound or defer Congressionally appropriated monies only for certain reasons, none of which jive with “I was worried about corruption, but only after you caught me.”

And it’s that Republican defense that really rubs everyone else the wrong way. They say that there was no wrong done because Trump eventually released the security aid package to Ukraine. The problem is, he didn’t do this until Congress found out he was holding it up in the first place — something he is, by law, required to tell them about under the ICA. More than that, he’s required to tell them why he thinks he has the authority to do it. He did no such thing.

That’s illegal — and certainly meets the threshold of high crimes and misdemeanors required to impeach a sitting president. He withheld Congressionally approved money illegally, he failed to give a reason for his decision (and still hasn’t); also illegal, and what’s more, we know that the Trump administration was told that these were illegal acts and how to follow the law — but he decided to break it anyway. That’s as blatant an overreach of presidential authority as there has ever been.

Are Democrats Really As Divided As They Seem Headed Into The 2020 Election?

If there’s one thing we keep hearing on repeat no matter the bias of the mainstream news we choose to consume, it’s this: the Democratic party is a deeply divided one. But it’s important to remember that people said the same thing about the Republican party headed into 2016 — and look how that turned out. If you listen to the talking heads, it’s a tug of war between progressive Democrats and moderate Democrats.

But that’s a load of hooey. 

A plurality of Americans define themselves as Independent. It means they might typically swing further left or further right, but they want to choose the best man (or woman) for the job. According to a September 2019 Gallup poll, only about 29 percent of Americans identify as Republican. Only 31 percent identify as Democrat. 49 percent on those who identify as Independent lean left while 44 percent lean right.

The Republican party is extremely influential. Those on the core right are extremely well-versed in convincing everyone else that their party is better for the economy or that those on the left will take their guns or convert the country to socialism (which most people fail to adequately define or understand, but that’s an entirely different topic).

None of that is true. The Constitution can be amended, but if you believe that it can be amended enough to change the core of America into a socialist machine, you should probably be taken out of the equation entirely. It’s impossible.

And Democrats want gun control. They don’t want to take everyone’s guns away. Liberal or conservative, Americans are not divided on this issue. 

More important are the other issues that could be determining the outcome of elections. Most people say they vote for a better economy. But they’re obviously not voting based on facts. Over the last hundred years, Democrats in office have delivered far faster growth, on average, than their Republican counterparts. 

And then there are the beliefs that the majority — different than a plurality — of Americans believe. Here are a few of the most relevant to the modern era:

An awe-inspiring 82 percent of us believe that the ultra-rich have too much control over politics (that means those people should be voting Democrat).

A whopping 69 percent believe big business has too much control over politics (that means they should be voting Democrat). 78 percent are for increased regulations. Democrat again.

82 percent believe inequality is a big problem. Democrat.

96 percent believe money is the core problem for our broken political system. Democrat, Democrat, Democrat.

80 percent believe we should make sure corporations are paying their fair share of taxes. Democrat!

60 percent believe the government should make sure each of us has access to healthcare coverage. Democrat.

63 percent believe four-year colleges should be free. Democrat.

76 percent are concerned about climate change. Democrat.

84 percent believe in universal background checks for all gun purchases. Democrat. 

The list goes on, and on, and on. Turns out we’re not that divided at all.

Will Trump Impeachment Help Him Get Reelected?

There’s a reason why Nancy Pelosi was so reluctant to impeach Donald Trump for so long. She knows that when Republicans launched the same attack on former president Bill Clinton, it hurt them in the next round of elections. She doesn’t want impeachment to have the same end for Trump and his Republican cronies that it did for the Democrats when Clinton was impeached. Trump, after all, thrives the most when he is enveloped in chaos. 

That’s why impeachment might just help him get reelected in 2020.

There’s also a more critical matter to consider: all the news surrounding inevitable impeachment is stealing time away from the Democratic candidates for 2020, who haven’t been seen or heard from since the whole Ukraine situation exploded — even though they’re still on the campaign trail, fighting hard for their chance at the highest office in the world.

If the impeachment inquiry were to drag on, this trend would likely continue. That’s why it’s in Pelosi’s best interest to end it as quickly as possible. And that seems to be her gambit, which is why the White House is doing its best to run interference and stall for as long as possible. The fiasco emboldens Trump supporters and mutes everyone else’s. 

There’s also the reality that impeachment will likely end up going nowhere. Mitch McConnell has no choice but to move forward with a “trial” if Trump is impeached, but he also gets to decide how long the trial takes. He’ll probably hurry it along, but he could also delay or spread out proceedings to interfere with Democratic campaigns. 

Then there’s another possibility: the Senate might actually remove Trump from office, even though they seem to be in complete support. The loudest Republican voices have already turned on him for abandoning the Kurds to a potential invasion by Turkey. For a party that has continually defended him no matter what, this is a huge change of pace. It’s not like this is the first egregious decision Trump has made while in office. It’s only the most recent, and the cacophony of voices deriding his choice is loud and clear.

Add that to the fact that Republicans voted alongside Democrats in the Senate to pass a non-binding measure saying that Trump should release the whistleblower complaint and call transcript (he subsequently did), and something funny seems to be happening in Congress.

If all that weren’t enough, former Trump executive Barbara Res said she believes he will resign to save face before properly impeached. We know he doesn’t want the stain on his presidency, and we know he’s always out for himself. Leaving office would catapult Pence into the spotlight for reelection prospects, and while we know how Trump’s base feels about Trump — we have no idea if that excitement extends to the vice president.

Democrats might have an easier path to the presidency in 2020 than anyone expects.