America Today

Post 1,013


Put ‘Em Up

Markwayne Mullin is a brand new Republican Senator from Oklahoma. He stood vainly proud a couple of weeks ago for all Americans to see and emulate.

He was challenged by Teamsters boss Sean O’Brien, himself not an exemplar of gentlemanly conduct. Not one to let a stupid challenge go, Mullin challenged back, stood and took off his ring, daring O’Brien to a fist fight right there in the Senate hearing room. It took all the power committee chairman Sen. Bernie Sanders could muster to stop the idiocy.

Mullin exemplifies much of our national leadership, where differences are worked out with fists, just as they were on the playground in 7th grade. These are the people setting an example for the rest of us. These are the people telling Americans that physical violence is not just appropriate, but that it’s good.

These are the people leading the way to thugocracy, where elbows to the kidneys rule in the Rotunda, where laws mean nothing, where shouting down neighbors in a school board meeting proves that you can out-volume everyone else to get your way. They pave the path to where death threats and mass shootings are the stuff of real Americans, the currency of the realm. They make sure that the biggest bully gets to be President.

Mothers and fathers, teach your children well so that they have the sense not to follow these thugs. Our nation is counting on you.

The Supreme Court

After multiple exposés of big money from extremely wealthy Republican donors falling into the laps of 2 or 3 Supreme Court Justices and the public outrage these scandals caused, the Court has bravely issued its own ethics guidelines. It is a code of conduct much like that which applies to lower courts, but it differs in one key respect: The Supreme Court ethics rules offer absolutely no method of enforcement. It’s essentially a statement of, “Here’s how we should behave, but we don’t have to and you can’t make us. Nya-nya.”

Court watcher Dahlia Lithwick said that this new code appears to have been “principally drafted with the intention of instructing us that they still can’t be made to do anything.”

So, enjoy the Court’s disingenuous “there, there” pat on the back of your hand over their scandalous behavior. They are saying that their ethics rules mean nothing more than that you should ignore their possibly illegal behavior and just shut up about Court scandals.

Should we allow them their continuous self-pardon, the Court, the final arbiter of the law, will officially be the only place in all of America that is formally allowed to ignore the rule of law.

Oh, wait – that’s how it’s always been. What have we done?

The Rule of Law

Last Wednesday was the 60th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. That caused me to remember various events of his foreshortened presidency, including the much resisted admission of James Meredith to the University of Mississippi in 1962.

Governor Ross Barnett did everything he could to prevent the integration of Ole Miss, including appointing himself registrar of the university so that he could personally reject Meredith’s application. At last President Kennedy federalized the Mississippi National Guard to enforce the Supreme Court decision that Meredith must be admitted to the university. Not long after that Kennedy addressed the nation. Here is part of what he had to say.

For our nation is founded on the principle that observance of the law is the eternal safeguard of liberty – – and defiance of the law is the surest path to tyranny. The law which we obey includes the final rulings of our courts as well as the enactments of our legislative bodies. Even among law-abiding men, few laws are universally loved – – but they are uniformly respected and not resisted.

Americans are free, in short, to disagree with the law – – but not to disobey it. For in a government of laws, and not of men, no man – – however prominent or powerful – – and no mob – – however unruly or boisterous – – is entitled to defy a court of law. If this country should ever reach the point where any man or group of men, by force or threat of force, could long defy the commands of our courts and Constitution, then no law would stand free from doubt, no judge would be sure of his writ and no citizen would be safe from his neighbors.

That was 60 years ago and Kennedy is still right.

We have plenty of people breaking the law right now as flagrantly as Gov. Barnett did back then, although they’re often sneakier and more destructive of our democracy and the Constitution today. Think:

– January 6: Both the riot and all the criminal machinations to steal the election to keep Trump in power. You can add in Kari Lake in Arizona and all the other lying, self-centered, election denying defrauders.

– Trump’s promise that if elected in 2024 he will take all federal power for himself and remove all  public servants who aren’t loyal solely to him.

Project 2025, a lofty language guide from the starch-in-their-underwear Heritage Foundation to dismantle the Constitution and all traditional American values and to give all power to a small cabal of rich people.

– The promised return of Trump’s Muslim ban and cruelty to dark skin people at our southern border, including the theft of their babies.

Lawlessness is not new, but we are at a point of dis-integration, where elected leaders gaslight us and incite us to break the law and where destruction fails to raise many eyebrows. The history books tell us what will happen if this progresses. Indeed, with the violence that happens every day, we are already at the point where “no citizen would be safe from his neighbors.” Ask any of the survivors or loved ones of the slain from our daily mass shootings how they’re feeling about their neighbors.

From Steve Schmidt:

We are accustomed to think of sociopaths as violent criminals, but in The Sociopath Next Door, Harvard psychologist Martha Stout reveals that a shocking 4 percent of ordinary people—one in twenty-five—has an often undetected mental disorder, the chief symptom of which is that that person possesses no conscience. He or she has no ability whatsoever to feel shame, guilt, or remorse. One in twenty-five everyday Americans, therefore, is secretly a sociopath. They could be your colleague, your neighbor, even family. And they can do literally anything at all and feel absolutely no guilt.

Given the constant presence of those who would demolish the rule of law, perhaps it’s time to reinvigorate our dedication to it. That will most certainly mean that we elect people who think the rule of law, democracy and majority rule are pretty good things. We’ll need people who have a conscience and possess the ability to feel guilt and shame. Perhaps it’s time that we refuse and eject from office all who think power for themselves is all that matters.

Today is a good day to be the light


  • Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
  • Fire the bastards!
  • The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

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