Supreme Court

Special Tuesday Post – Read This First


The case is from North Carolina, Moore v. Harper, and it is perhaps the most threatening challenge to our freedom and to our way of life in our nation’s entire history. It will be heard in the Supreme Court oin December 7. We better hope that it doesn’t become a day of infamy.

This state bill is a brazen step to undermine the fundamental principle of checks and balances and to destroy election integrity by vesting all election power in state legislators, not We The People. It would prohibit all state court and executive review of legislative tampering with our rights, regardless of how outrageous and democracy crushing a legislature is.

This travesty of a bill would allow state legislators to:

– end early voting and vote-by-mail

– close polling places to make it difficult for opposition voters to vote

– rig voting maps to favor one party and keep them in power forever (gerrymandering)

– bring back Jim Crow voting laws

  • THIS BILL WOULD ALLOW STATE LEGISLATORS TO COMPLETELY IGNORE THE WILL OF THE VOTERS!

This is cheating-by-substitute-electors on steroids. In contrast to Trump’s lying, his  “stop the steal” fraud, these legislatures would actually have the power to steal elections. We know that’s true, because doing so is the entire intent of this heinous bill. It is an effort to make legal what Trump, John Eastman and their cult of thieves tried to do on January 6.

Follow this link to Vox’s description of this seditious North Carolina bill and read about it in Sheila Markin’s explainer.

It’s as clear as can be that this North Carolina perversion is an effort to end elections altogether and to vest all power in the legislators of one party – NOT WE THE PEOPLE. That’s how Russia, China, Hungary, Iran, North Korea and all authoritarian countries operate. If the Court enshrines this nuclear bomb into our democracy, all swing states (predominantly Republican) will pass identical laws and our experiment in self-rule will be over. Dead. Your voice will be silenced permanently.

I wrote “clear as can be,” but it may not be clear enough for six far right Supreme Court Justices, who have their religion and their extremist rationalizations blinding their eyes. Should they decide in favor of the petitioners (the North Carolina state legislators), they will claim their conservative bona fides, but there is nothing conservative about disenfranchising all voters in the state, nor of ending the safety of checks and balances.

What’s really odd and so deeply troubling is that the Supreme Court decided to hear this case at all. It’s so plainly anti-Constitution that they should have refused it immediately.

These justices have proven their immunity to public opinion (see Dobbs or ask that raped, 10-year-old Ohio girl), and I’m not at all clear what we can do to stop this Constitution killing machine, the Supreme Court.

During the Senate confirmation hearings on John Roberts, Neil Gorsuch, Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, they all assured us of their belief in stare decisis – to leave Supreme Court precedent unmolested – and that Roe was settled law.

So-called “moderate” Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) was the deciding vote on the Kavanaugh confirmation and she declared that in a private meeting he had given her his assurance about Roe. She believed him, too, just as the Senate believed all 6 extremist justices.

Where did Collins’ common sense go? How did she allow her BS detector to become inoperative? For that matter, how did senators fail to believe Anita Hill and instead they believed Clarence Thomas and his “high-tech lynching” deception?

Now these extremists are in a position to end our democracy. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. There will never be a chance to vote it back. That’s why this is perhaps the most threatening challenge to our freedom and to our way of life in our nation’s entire history.

NOTE: For best clarity about this case you must read Sheila Markin’s post. She has the legal bona fides to analyze what’s at stake and she puts it in plain English for us.

Meanwhile, you can join Common Cause-Ohio’s listening party for the oral arguments in this case at 8:45 – 10:15 AM CST tomorrow, or listen on the Supreme Court web site.

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  • 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.

Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) It’s going to take a lot of us to get the job done.

And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town or neighborhood vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2023 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Ending the Tyrannical Minority


America has always lived with a minority, although we haven’t always been at its whim. The bad news is that it has taken great acts of hypocrisy, reality denial and blatant power grabs to bring us to where we are now, at the whim of a tyrannical minority. The good news is that we can do something to make this a democracy, as in: self-governing majority rule. To make that happen, we’ll have to do something different, because if we don’t, we’ll just get more of the same. Here’s a plan.

Insanity in the Senate
1. Reform the Filibuster

The Founders envisioned the Senate as a “great deliberative body,” which, I suppose, it has been for short periods and from time to time. However, that entire concept became impossible when the filibuster became a phone-in exercise. The Senate immediately became brain dead because majority rule was exterminated. Nothing controversial can get done because the filibuster makes it necessary to have a super-majority (60 votes) to break a filibuster and then to at last vote on something – anything.

The result of that is that the majority of Americans most commonly do not get what we want.

Example: 90% of Americans want universal background checks prior to the sale or transfer of any firearm, as well as a ban on the sale and the ownership of military style assault rifles.

Example: The majority of us favor pro-choice, universal healthcare and no corporate money in our politics.

All of that and far more are things We The People want, but which we don’t get because of an intransigent minority in the Senate with its finger always on the filibuster trigger.

I don’t think we should eliminate the filibuster, because that would inevitably accomplish nothing more than switching from minority tyranny to majority tyranny. Plus, it would enable extremists to cram through Constitution crushing legislation. All we have to do is to make the filibuster more difficult to initiate and more painful to sustain.

2. Make the Senate Proportional to Our Population.

It makes next to no sense for Rhode Island to have the same representation and power in the Senate as does California. The way it is now gives Rhode Islanders about 36 times more power than Californians. If you can find fairness or even a smidgen of sense in that, be sure to spell it out in the Comments section below and teach something to the rest of us.

Otherwise, it’s time to balance senatorial power. Here’s how.

There are roughly 331 million of us and 100 Senate seats. Do the math: we establish the rule of one senator per 3.3 million Americans. In this plan the Dakotas, Montana and Wyoming together will have 1 senator; California will have 13; Florida will have 9; Utah will have 1; Illinois will have 4; Kansas will have 1; Nebraska and Iowa together will have 2; Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont together will have 2. You get the picture.

You’ve seen the electoral map showing that the vast, non-coastal parts of this country are red. Those areas have far more head of livestock than people and entire counties that are home to just a few dozen citizens. The practical effect of that is that they punch way above their weight class in the Senate. Good for them. Not so good for high population states or our country as a whole. Change that to make representation fair to everyone by making Senate representation proportional.

Insanity in the House
1. End Gerrymandering

It’s just a legalized form of cheating. It’s power grabbing that is funded by disenfranchising citizens. It is a way to undermine the Constitution. It is a sleight of hand that permanently impoverishes millions. It is a slimy way to make sure that lots of us aren’t represented in Congress at all.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder has done some remarkable work on this as Chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee. He and the committee have clear, actionable plans to end this monstrously inequitable practice that empowers clever bad guys (the minority) and dis-empowers millions of us (the majority).

2. End Obstructions to Voting.

Yes, I’m talking about the practice of removing citizens from voting roles for idiotic reasons, like because they didn’t vote in the last two elections (Ohio and elsewhere) or because they’re Black and poor (North Carolina, Georgia and Florida) and more. The Constitution doesn’t say a thing about restricting such people from voting. In fact, it doesn’t suggest disenfranchising former felons, either. I’m looking at you, Florida Governor DeSantis.

Insanity in Campaigns and the Supreme Court
1. Reverse the 2010 Citizens United Decision

In an colossal act of larceny, the Supreme Court decided the Citizens United case in 2010 by deciding that inanimate, non-sensate corporations have all the same rights that you have. All of them. It’s larceny because that decision gave corporations and big money individuals way more impact on our elections than you have. That decision effectively stole elective power from you and gave it to big money interests to elect members of Congress who would do their bidding.

And that’s what Congress does. Blame Chief Justice John Roberts for that.

Want to fix that and restore the system intended by the Founders?

  1. Write a law that allows money and money equivalents to be donated to any candidate or political party only by flesh-and-blood, actual human persons. To accomplish that,
  2. Establish by law that money is property, not speech.
  3. Establish by law that inanimate objects like corporations do not have all the same rights as human beings. Corporations are not people, Mitt Romney.
  4. Establish by law that corporations cannot do back door political influencing by means of Super PACs and the like.

This will be tricky and the process will be fraught with comically feigned and eagerly performed indignation and impassioned idiocy. Keep in mind, though, that our current system is a perfect machine to ensure sub-optimal results for We The People. It discourages good people from running for office. It ensures the continuing enrichment of already fabulously wealthy people and corporations and the impoverishing of everyone else. It underlines in blazing colors that we don’t care about the intent of the Founders or anything else other than power grabbing.

But we don’t have to be like that.

Clearly, if we want something better, we’ll have to do something better, like,

2. Reverse the 2012 McCutcheon v. FEC Decision

Prior to this case the McCain-Feingold bill limited the amount any individual could contribute to any candidate to $2,600 per-candidate, per-election, or $5,200 for a primary and general election. It also limited the aggregate any individual could contribute to all candidates in any one election to $123,200. Shaun McCutcheon sued to have those limits abolished.

The Supreme Court shot down his hope of eliminating the per-candidate limit, claiming that allowing more financial leverage would be seen as, or effectively would be legalized (gasp!) bribery.

But in a truly contorted and galactically illogical opinion the Court decided that eliminating the aggregate limit somehow didn’t amount to authorizing legalized bribery. The 5-4 “We don’ need no stinking stare decisis” conservatives struck it down, popping the top off the bribery equivalent.

Just image if Mr. McCutcheon were to give $5,200 to every Republican candidate in any one election cycle. Do you suppose that might give him oversized influence in our politics and amount to legalized (gasp!) bribery?

If we are to be a representative democracy, this decision has to be reversed by Congress.

The Point

The playing field must be level if We The People are to be in charge (as in: self-government majority rule). For that to happen we have to remove the unfair, inequitable influences on our politics. What’s above isn’t the complete medicine for what ails us, but it’s a start.

Are you feeling a glow of gratitude, what with Thanksgiving right over the horizon? That’s fine and that’s good, because in this country we still can do something to move us toward a more just nation, that more perfect union.

Wishing you a heartfelt Thanksgiving.

————————————

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.

Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) It’s going to take a lot of us to get the job done.

And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town or neighborhood vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2023 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

I Don’t Know Whether to Believe Justice Clarence Thomas


Now it’s your turn.

Friend, activist, Witness at the Border reporter and founder of Peaceful Communities, Lee Goodman, has a facility for clarity. While I’ve been beating the drum for center-and-left-thinking people to vote for quite a while, Lee’s recent essay is the best I’ve seen to communicate what’s at stake. Here it is as a Guest Essay. All emphasis is his except the last sentence of his post. That emphasis is mine.  JA

I’ve sprinkled throughout this guest essay pics from the White House Fact Sheet on what today’s Republicans want to do to you. This looks mostly at health related issues, but the same kind of Republican “screw you” attitude applies to infrastructure rebuilding, re-shoring of manufacturing and all the great jobs re-shoring will create and more. They offer only cutting anything that will help ordinary Americans and cutting taxes on rich guys. You know: trickle down economics that hasn’t trickled down for over 42 years. This is why you can’t vote for any Republican.


During oral arguments on a case challenging affirmative action, Justice Thomas said he didn’t “have a clue” what “diversity” means. Could he really be that stupid? Former President Trump’s behavior demonstrates that he has no idea what “decency” means. The campaign literature I have been receiving in the mail leads me to suspect that a whole lot of Republican candidates have no idea what “honesty” is. Leaders of the Republican party have shown that they don’t know what “civilization” means. The new owner of Twitter, who has given the green light to hateful incitement, doesn’t care what “responsibility” is all about. An entire political party that says it is “conservative” clearly doesn’t remember what that word means.

The right wing has discarded the vocabulary of normal human relations. It is rewriting the dictionary of political thought. Things that are not “people” are, to them, people. Intimidating folks by carrying assault rifles is peaceful demonstration. Riotous insurrection is free speech. Making it difficult to vote is democracy. Refusing to accept the results of elections is patriotic. Truthful reporting is “fake” news, while nonsensical conspiracy theories are revelation.

See the footnote* below.

Can so many people be out of their minds? Are we surrounded by idiots, oafs, and lunatics? Can it really be that our the Supreme Court is determined to eliminate fundamental rights and freedoms?

It was hard enough to accept over the years that there were places in our country that were behind the times, populated by intolerant religious zealots and ignorant bigots. It is harder to accept that their worldview may now have the support of the majority.

We are not just squandering our national heritage of accomplishment. We are engaged in dissembling our country.

Actually, they want to be able to eliminate those benefits EVERY YEAR.

I have never been more worried about an election. As in all prior elections, large numbers of registered voters will not vote. Those uncast ballots will decide who wins, just as much as the ballots that are counted. On the news last evening, I heard people say they would not vote because they don’t feel that the people in power are listening to them. I can’t think of a better way to guarantee that you won’t be listened to than to not say anything.

Our country is not alone. Demagogues and dictators are plentiful. Repressive regimes are thriving. People are fleeing danger in their homelands and are being expelled from the places where they seek refuge. The upbeat stories at the end of evening newscasts of firemen giving firetruck rides to sick children do not balance out the reports of drought, floods, famine, war, and other misery.

Despite what Clarence Thomas, Elon Musk, Mitch McConnell, Ron DeSantis, Gregg Abbott, Mike Pence, Alex Jones, Rudy, the pillow guy, and the rest of the Fox News alternative universe say, there is something called “reality.” There must be “dignity.” We cannot let greed, hypocrisy, hate, jealousy, and fear-induced fantasy destroy hope.

If you haven’t decided yet whether to vote, assume that the people you don’t want running your life already have.
.

  • Lee Goodman can be reached at [email protected].
  • Click the logos for more.
  • ———————————–

“Don’t boo. VOTE!” – President Barack Obama

“Voting is what you’re going to do [this] Tuesday.” – JA

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*As he was headed out of Congress in 2004, 12-term congressman Billy Tauzin (R-LA) inserted a little addendum into George W. Bush’s thousands-of-pages-long Medicare Part D plan (which nobody read). It said that the government – Medicare – was prohibited from negotiating drug prices with pharmaceutical companies. Tauzin then left Congress and took a new job as president of PhRMA, the lobbying organization for Big Pharma. That gave him an increase in pay of 7,110% and ensured the highest cost of healthcare for seniors.

Extremely Late Addition

Friend Mardy Grothe publishes a weekly offering focused primarily on literature and language, always including memorable quotations. One offered today is from Scotty Reston of the New York Times that captures our solvable problem today:

“All politics is based on the indifference of the majority.”

Indifference simply isn’t an option today.

————————————

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.

Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) It’s going to take a lot of us to get the job done.

And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town or neighborhood vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2023 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

SPECIAL SATURDAY EDITION: Aren’t You Tired of Being Lied To?


It’s your turn now.

Cuban-Americans in Miami-Dade county are particularly sensitive to anything that smacks of Communism. They and their lucky ancestors fled Castro’s cruel dictatorship and now these Americans will vote against anything that even sounds like “Communism.”

So, Republicans are blasting them with disinformation, saying that President Biden is a socialist and that he will foist socialism on them, which, factually, is absurd, since Biden is a centrist, a capitalist. But these Hispanics are being lied to over and over to scare them into voting against Democrats.

Hey Cuban-Americans: Aren’t you tired of being lied to?

Paul Pelosi was attacked by an intruder intent upon attacking his wife, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. She wasn’t at home in San Francisco, so the intruder beat Paul Pelosi with a hammer. He’s at last left the hospital and is recovering from his wounds and surgeries to his head and hands.

The new owner of Twitter, Chief Twit Elon Musk, wasted no time suggesting Pelosi and the attacker had a gay relationship. Then Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Green amplified that, essentially blaming the victim for the attack. Donald Trump, Jr. tweeted a picture of his underwear with a hammer sitting on it.

There are dozens (possibly hundreds) more Republican attacks on the Pelosis.  And there are the silent cowards who refuse to offer any statement of empathy or caring. They all lie and inflame violent extremists like the Pelosi attacker and at the same time tell you and me that they are the patriotic ones.

Hey Americans:  Aren’t you tired of being lied to?

Brian Kemp beat Stacy Abrams for the governorship of Georgia 4 years ago. He was the Secretary of State then, in charge of elections. I’m sure it was just a coincidental that while he was campaigning that he purged the voting rolls of 560,000 voters, 107,000 of whom should never have been “purged.” Guess what color most of them were?

This year Kemp doesn’t directly have a hand on voter registrations, so he only removed 90,000 voters. Guess what color most of them were?

He tells everyone what a patriotic guy he is.

Hey Georgians: Aren’t you tired of being lied to?

Kari Lake is having a time of it running for governor of Arizona, spewing multiple false statements in a single sentence. And she’s following the Trump skulduggery, recently telling an interviewer who asked if she will accept the results of the election that she’s going to win the contest to be governor of Arizona, so, yes, she will accept the result of the election.

Woe be to Arizonans if she doesn’t, because she will claim fraud, stolen election, locusts, frogs and fire. She will demand recount after recount and threaten a zombie apocalypse. She will claim that she’s seen headless corpses in the desert like her former deranged governor Jan Brewer and will threaten to make more of them.

The singing group the Zombies (the name is so appropriate for today’s liars) had a hit in the 1960s that anticipated Lake:

.

Now you’ve been told.

Hey Arizonans: Aren’t you tired of being lied to?

Regardless of the other worldly idiocy that will come from the Supreme Court over Affirmative Action and the majority opinion that will be written by Clarence Thomas (because he’s Black and is pleased to be a tool), Whites are not being discriminated against in our colleges and universities. Thomas’ opinion will be just as stupid as John  Roberts’ opinion that gutted the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Roberts said that discrimination of non-Whites was over and we no longer needed to stop racist voting suppression. North Carolina and several other states immediately expanded their gerrymandering to dis-empower Black voters, did gross purging of voter registrations and closed polling places in poor areas. Thomas’ opinion on affirmative action will be packed with just as many lies and reality denying stupid stuff that similarly hurts people who need protection from White supremacy.

Aren’t you tired of being lied to?

Now this from Common Cause:

Donald Trump’s disinformation machine is already preparing to call to overturn midterm election results in swing states… before most voters have even cast their ballots! [emphasis original]

You read that right – over the past few months, Trump has mobilized extremist attorneys and dark money groups – all towards a desperate attempt to reverse any results he doesn’t like.

I suppose you can call these the “pre-lies” or “there was no penalty for the 2020 election lies, so these are pile-on lies” or “our pants are already on fire, so why not lie?” or “we don’t care if our nose is as long as a telephone wire lies” or “paving the way for more grift lies” or “deflate you to keep you from voting lies.”*

Aren’t you tired of being lied to?

It’s all they have. Republicans, MAGA, alt-right – they don’t have any policies, concern for your welfare, any notion of honoring of values except grubbing for power like pigs at a trough and backroom deals to get them money.

Seriously now, aren’t you tired of being lied to?

Because there’s something you can do to stop the right wing lying attack on America:

VOTE!

Vote for any candidate who opposes the liars. Vote against the insanity. Vote as if our way of life – yours and mine –  is at stake.

Because it is.

Doubt that? Read this.

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* As Sen. Joe McCarthy was defaming a quite innocent young attorney, Army lawyer Joseph Nye Welch intoned, “Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”

Of course, the answer to Welch’s question was a firm and resounding “NO!” McCarthy had no sense of decency and neither does Trump, nor does any of his spineless followers, like Kari Lake. Their only interest is more power and more money. But you already knew that.

Note that the Mr. Cohn referred to in the recorded exchange is Roy Cohn, Donald Trump’s father’s hydrophobic lawyer and Trump’s rabid model for his decades of chicanery.

Vladimir Lenin is quoted as saying, “When it comes time to hang the capitalists, they will vie with each other for the rope contract.” It seems that now as then we can be bought for a relative pittance, this at our grave peril.

The cheap lies will kill us just as dead as Lenin’s rope if we let them.

————————————

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 – just 3 days left. Get up! Do something to make things better – VOTE!

Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) It’s going to take a lot of us to get the job done.

And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town or neighborhood vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2023 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Dracula Today


Now it’s your turn.

Bad Moon

John Fogarty and Credence Clearwater Revival sang about it decades ago, perhaps prescient about the dangers that surround us today.

I see a bad moon rising
I see trouble on the way
I see earthquakes and lightning 
I see bad times today
    
Don't go around tonight 
 'Cause it's bound to take your life
There's a bad moon on the rise

I always needed an interpreter to understand Fogarty’s words. For example, I thought he said that there’s a bad moon “on the right,” not “on the rise.” If he had sung it the way I heard it, he’d be exactly right for today’s America, although his way is pretty accurate, too.

That bad moon on the right brings hatred, lies, hypocrisy, lost integrity and an imminent threat to our very democracy and threats of violence and death to our fellow citizens. But you know that, just as Fogarty seems to have known it in my misinterpretation of that line in his song.

We have 6 days left to stop that bad moon on the right and make the difference that must be made.

American Psychosis

Yes, of course we’re psychotic. That’s what explains all the reality denial and our pronounced sociopathy, like that self-deluded thug smashing Paul Pelosi’s head with a hammer. We’ve been down this Alice in Wonderland rabbit hole many times and somehow we’ve survived it. All we had to do was to tolerate the death and destruction and voilà! everything was just fine again.

Like the Civil War, when half the country violated its sacred word, violated its oath and attacked the other half of our country. We only had to tolerate over 600,000 dead and many times that number wounded, hobbled, disfigured for life or insane.

Like over 86 years of Jim Crow lynchings – 4,743 of them according to the NAACP – and those are just the documented lynchings. And, of course, there was the terrorizing of millions.

Like the hatred and violence unleashed on various immigrant groups, like the Catholics, Irish, Italian, Chinese and Jews.

That’s just some of what we’ve tolerated.

See Note 5 and the final graphic below.

In David Corn’s book American Psychosis he recounts the cruelty and flagrant dishonesty of America’s alcoholic senator, Eugene McCarthy (R-WI). A fellow senator, Millard Tydings (D-MD), described McCarthy’s claim about the State Department being infested with communists, saying his charges were “a hoax perpetuated on . . . the American people” and “perhaps the most nefarious campaign of half-truths and untruth in the history of the Republic.”

Nevertheless, Republicans back then “viewed McCarthy as a potent weapon to deploy against Democrats.” McCarthy supported “a popular revolt against the upper classes,” and “accused the Truman administration and Democrats of being traitors to America. He had no evidence, only accusations.” Put a bookmark in that: no evidence, only accusations.

Gen. Dwight Eisenhower was campaigning for the presidency in 1952 and was to give a speech in Milwaukee. Included was a paragraph excoriating fellow Republican McCarthy, the insanity of McCarthyism and the spinelessness of the followers of his hatred. That paragraph said that to believe McCarthy was to believe that the government was being run by “men whose very brains were confused buy the opiate of this deceit,” meaning the deceit of McCarthy.

But Eisenhower needed Wisconsin votes, so he never spoke those words in public. In fact, even as he deplored McCarthy, he remained silent for years about McCarthy’s hypocrisy and the cruelty he set upon good Americans and the very fabric of American values. Even the Supreme Court took a swing at what we profess to be our values by ruling that the First Amendment did not cover communists. Surely you’re seeing the parallels to today.

Trump is our McCarthy, the liar, the manipulator, the hatred spewer, the accuser of wild conspiracies without evidence. So, too, are his imitators, suck-ups and opportunists for votes who are doing the same thing, just as happened in the 1950s.

Were Sen. Tydings alive today we surely could show him what a real hoax on the American People can look like. He’d have a new take on “perhaps the most nefarious campaign of half-truths and untruth in the history of the Republic,” the Nazi-MAGA scourge.

Like the Civil War, lynchings and McCarthyism, our present psychosis – our blood sucking Dracula, in Halloween-speak – will not go away on its own. We’ve already tolerated too much death and destruction and America’s Dracula will continue to attack us and suck the life out of this republic until we take action.

This national vampire must be fought into a coffin and a stake driven through its foul heart so that it can’t drain all the blood from America. That’s what you’re going to do next Tuesday.

From Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) yesterday:

But I’m also sad this violence [against Paul and Nancy Pelosi] isn’t more surprising — just as I wasn’t surprised by January 6th.  This is what happens when we’re taught that those who disagree with us are existential threats to our survival; when we label our own tribe good and the other evil; when we fail to call out the bad behavior of our own “side” out of loyalty or denial.

We’re hearing calls of sympathy, empathy and caring for the Pelosi’s from Democrats. The Republicans are made of other stuff and prominent individuals are making up horrible conspiracy stories, they’re blaming the victim and refusing even a hint of concern for the Pelosi’s. Likewise, they haven’t concern for any of the Democrats or their families who receive a near constant stream of death threats prompted by Republicans’ dreadful demonizing. Republican politicians can’t even muster a, “Sorry that happened to you.”

Think about that when you go to vote on Tuesday. Think, “A stake through its heart.”

————————————

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.

Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) It’s going to take a lot of us to get the job done.

And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town or neighborhood vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2023 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Inside President Biden’s Head


Page 1: Conjuring

He has not invited me into his head, nor has he shared his inner politician or inner President with me. He and I have had no Vulcan mind meld, nor any spooky transmissions. But there’s stuff going on in President Biden’s brain and, blurt-prone though he may be, not everything he thinks gets spewed publicly. We’re left to conjure his intentions.

And conjure, I do! About things like our blatantly political and extremist (did I mention radical?) Supreme Court as an arm of the Republican Party, exactly what the Founders thought they were protecting us from.

People were calling for Biden to expand the Court with centrists and center-leftists even before he was inaugurated, afraid that the things we feared would come about – things like yet more voter disenfranchisement, the end of Roe, more onerous gerrymandering, preventing the EPA from regulating the emission of greenhouse gases, defeating efforts to keep guns out of public places, tearing more bricks from the wall separating church and state and the flood of corporate cash into our politics (what did I miss?). Our fears have been realized, as all of these things have come about.

The bad news from the Court may not be done. On the docket now is a case to decide if state legislatures can take away your vote – literally negate your citizenship (Harper v. Moore). That’s exactly what Republican controlled state legislatures are attempting to do. If they get their way via this radical Supreme Court, it will be a time stamped event that will mark the moment when democracy was permanently crushed and died. The decision is now in the hands of the Court, with oral arguments having been presented on October 4. If this doesn’t scare you, re-read this paragraph.

So, how come President Biden has been silent, not even speaking to something as simple and non-aggressive as imposing ethics rules on our Supreme Court justices – rules like those on judges in other courts? Or establishing term limits so that we can shed grumpy and radical old men? And how come he has refused comment on expanding the court to 13? Two reasons.

First, attempting any of that before the mid-term election would likely produce an overwhelming wave of Republicans in Congress, at which point all progress would grind to a halt and a Republican would win the White House in 2024. Trying to do any reform would be a near-perfect strategy for losing.

That could change following the mid-term election because Biden has Captain Kangaroo pockets full of major legislative wins. But that’s not likely, which leads us to the second reason Biden has been silent.

He doesn’t like any of those ideas. His refusal to so much as have a conversation about any effort to moderate this radical Court tells you all you need to know about what’s in his head. Expect reform of the Supreme Court in about half a century. Maybe a full century. If we still have courts and if we still have a democracy.

That’s what I conjure about Biden’s conjuring about the Supreme Court. I really want to be wrong about this and fear that I won’t be.

Page 2: Hurricane Ian and President Biden

From former colleague Nora Paller:

Community In Action

Watching the scary, dangerous, horribly damaging Hurricane Ian devastate Florida and beyond was tragic. Many people will never be able to come back financially [or] from the emotional trauma of this event. The only good thing was to see all the people who reached out to help – to see community in action. Pulling together to face a larger threat can bring people at odds with each other to let it go and work together. All of sudden, DeSantis wants to talk to Biden. Instead of wasting Florida’s money sending asylum seekers to Massachusetts [link is mine], he is doing something direct[ly] for the people of Florida. Could we stop all this nonsense and work together? Turns out they could and we can.

President Biden, you can lead a Community In Action parade with just your words. Here’s hoping that’s in your head, because the people of Puerto Rico, Florida and the Carolinas need a parade right now.

Page 3: What Is In President Biden’s Head

Securing solid majorities in both houses of Congress is in the front of President Biden’s frontal lobe, because all progress depends on that. Absent those majorities, hateful fools like Republican Joe Kent will get their way and obstruction is all that will happen.

We had eight years of The Party Of No when President Obama was in office and people like Speaker of the House John Boehner and Tea Party Republicans were pledged to Mitch McConnell’s hateful commitment to “Make Obama a one-term president.” True to their word, that’s all – that’s everything – they attempted to do. The Republicans opposed everything Obama proposed in goose-stepping, moronic uniformity. They were and are The Party Of No.

And that’s what we’ll get again unless there are solid BLUE majorities elected next month. That’s in President Biden’s head for sure. He knows that. You know that, too.

————————————

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.

Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) It’s going to take a lot of us to get the job done.

And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2023 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Fun In Far-Right Lunacy


How ’bout a Little Murder?

Right wing crazies continue to be out in force in North Carolina, a state that joyously stole voting rights from tens of thousands of its citizens. That’s a state that does precision, targeted gerrymandering to deliver the majority of Congressional seats to White Republicans, even though they garner only a minority of the votes.

NC Bill 158 was intended by its sponsor, state Rep. Larry Pittman, to be a ballot initiative this November. His bill would make it legal to murder a pregnant woman who intends to get an abortion if you are “defending the life of a baby.”

No, of course you don’t believe that. How crazy would someone have to be to propose such a thing? Well, now we know.

Download that stupid, barbaric, death-dealing proposed legislation here and read that seriously hollow-skull death warrant by a seriously hollow-skull legislator who would authorize murder. It was drafted and submitted to the NC legislature in 2021, but, surprisingly, even in North Carolina most of the state representatives aren’t quite that crazy. Too few of them supported that homicidal maniac law, so it bogged down in committee.

The point is that Rep. Larry Pittman’s insane, legalized murder scheme was proposed at all. For now, the good news is that Pittman is not seeking reelection. The bad news is that Pittman isn’t alone in his dangerous and wacko notions.

Consider Texas SB8, enlisting vigilantes to spy on and bust neighbors for even thinking about getting an abortion. They can then collect a $10,000 reward (that’s the minimum) for doing the dirty work of the state, this to immunize the state and thus allow it to circumvent the law.

Click for the story

Our Murder Industry Good News

We massively cull our human herd via suicides at the rate of one every 21.5 minutes, mostly accomplished using pistols. Easy-peezy, trigger squeezy. That’s testament to something – I don’t know what. While that’s been happening, we’ve had an ever-increasing series of mass murders and now the firearms industry has set a new record.

Those mass murders have largely been done with assault rifles. Here’s what’s noteworthy about that: our firearms industry has sold over $1.7 billion of assault rifles in just the past 10 years. What a success story! I’m sure they’re cheering in Buffalo, Uvalde, Highland Park, Newtown, Parkland, Aurora, Littleton, Blacksburg, Stockton, and Santa Fe. And in Las Vegas, Squirrel Hill, Loveland and more. The mass murder list grows at the rate of 1.5 shootings per day, nearly all by assault rifles.

That billion dollars doesn’t count the money spent to accessorize those battlefield killers, like extended capacity magazines, bump stocks, sniper sights and huge volumes of ammunition. Be clear that the (literally) breathtaking billion bucks doesn’t count any of the other things that go “bang” and which aren’t assault rifles, like hunting rifles, shotguns, pistols and the rest. $1 billion. It’s a true American commercial victory.

It’s great to see that we Americans still have “it”. Indeed, you may have thought that we’re first only in Covid deaths. Not so, because we’re also number one in death by firearms, yesterday, today and tomorrow. Cue the proud, real man music.

This is the country we have created with our intentional injustices, our overt embrace of  dishonesty, our never ending claims of grievance and our bottomless insecurities masquerading in bravado. Is there a way to send an entire country into psycho-therapy? Should we supplement fluoride with mood elevators added to our water supplies? Think of it: we’ll stop tooth decay and rage crimes all at the same time.

Dear Clarence,

The Federalist Society Six – The Rights Bandits – They’re Wrong

You killed our rights as if we weren’t right there seeing what you were doing. You’ve promised to do yet worse, as you metaphorically play your pre-Enlightenment instrument and declare that only 2,000-year-old music may be played. You’ve made it clear to everyone that you want to restore ignorance and fear and you want to hobble our minds, relegating us to a new Dark Ages. But bad news is on the horizon for you, Clarence, because our turn is coming.

Clarence, you’re just not seeing it. We will out-last you. We will out-live you. We will negate you.

Your band of self-righteous rights assassins is having its day and a tiny percentage of Americans who are big mouthed zealots is cheering all of you. But the vast majority of We The People (remember us?) are preparing to supersede you. We will out-smash your smashing of stare decisis and we will revisit and restore everything you crushed. We will overwhelm and reverse your attempt to take us to some fantasy of Biblical purity, your far right lunacy. We’ll do that because:

Far right is far wrong.
.

Clarence. Your day of basking in the glow of your puffed, self-righteous ego and your imagined high tech victimhood will be over and you will be a mere footnote in the history of world cruelty. We will replace you. We will not miss you.

Begone, Clarence.

Many thanks to JN for this

WAKE UP, AMERICANS!

Smell the coffee and see what is really happening right in front of you, because it’s all going to play out in the duplicity of this far-right court. Your pocket will be picked clean of your rights. It will take generations to repair the damage. So, watch this video. It will give you clarity about what the Court is really doing.

And just in case you’re still a smidgen unclear about your important choices, read Ira Leavit’s explainer featuring your favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero. I superrecommend it.

Then pass this message along to 3 people, because it’s going to take a massive number of us to prevent a far-right lunacy disaster.

We must do that, because in all ways, there is no fun in far-right lunacy.

————————————

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.

Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!)

And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2023 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

The Big One


Click, then pitch in

Religion has been the driving force or the excuse for more death, misery and suffering than any other cause in all of recorded history.

I refuse to do the research necessary to numerically substantiate that claim. If it’s important to you, do your own research. If my claim isn’t exactly right, it’s close enough to merit our concern.

Religious beliefs are precisely that: beliefs. They are necessarily a leap of faith that is driven by internal, non-analytical forces, not by observable facts. They are neither right nor wrong but they are customarily held to be absolutely, factually right, regardless of how many language translations and manipulations have assaulted original texts. Therein lies the problem, because personally held certainties overwhelm higher brain functions, which then causes humans to insist on cramming their certainties onto others. See: the Spanish Inquisition and many other forced conversion and murder rackets.

The Pilgrims left England seeking relief from the domination of the Church of England. Seventeen decades later their quest for religious freedom was enshrined into the First Amendment of the American Constitution:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof .  .  . “

For the past 250 years we’ve been trying to tie down the various threads hanging off that phrasing.

For example, Congress passed a law adding “In God We Trust” to all U.S. currency in 1955. No, those words were not always there and yes, that sounds suspiciously like tying religion to government. But back in the Cold War days we had to somehow differentiate ourselves from the godless Commies, so there was little opposition to the additional words. Besides, who would object to those words in those days, and thereby risk accusations of being a closet communist?

Nevertheless, that phrase doesn’t work too well for people who fervently believe that there is no God. If people are to use money, that phrase explicitly denies the free exercise of the religion of no religion every time they buy something. That’s a big chink in the armor of separation.

Here’s another example. George W. Bush managed to get federal money sent to “faith-based initiatives” during his Reign of Doofus. That meant that church run schools were given public money – your tax dollars – for the purpose of religious indoctrination. That sounds a great deal like pre-Pilgrim England. What happened to the separation of church and state during the glorious Doofus Days?

Last month 1 Episcopal (raised Catholic) and 5 Catholic justices of the Supreme Court commanded the State of Maine to pay for the education of children attending private, parochial schools. Insert the same question about separation here.

Now you can add to this hanging thread list the North Carolina public school football coach who wants to pray at the 50 yard line after each game. The religion-powered Supreme Court decided that his ostentatious public display of his private religious beliefs at his public school function was just fine. The Supreme Court implied, “Take a knee in the middle of the field, catechism coach, and implicitly direct your players to do the same.”

You don’t suppose that with all that peer pressure and obeisance to The Coach that impressionable teens might find it impossible to refuse to participate, do you? So much for their freedom from religion. We’re back to the separation issue, except it seems to be fading into a distant memory, now with the enthusiastic support of the “We’re substituting our personal beliefs for the Constitution” Supreme Court.

We have religious fundamentalists all over this country claiming that our country was founded to be a Christian theocracy, which is true only if you ignore the contrary facts offered by the Founders.

Yes, this issue is fraught, as the Founders (at least some of them) believed that ” . .  .  we are endowed by our Creator  .  .  .  ” Nevertheless, they signed off via the First Amendment on individuals being free from any governmental imposition of religion. I’ll support the freedom side in that conflict every time.

The most urgent time for confronting this threat to our liberty is now, as public school boards are inserting both Christian prayer and religious teaching into their curricula. And public school boards themselves are now saying Christian prayers before their meetings. Florida is banning books based on bureaucrats imposing their religious views on public libraries and public schools.

One would hope that all the people at these public, governmental venues would realize that they are not running Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show. If they don’t see that – and apparently they don’t – and if we don’t take action, most urgently with our votes, we will be on the slippery path to theocracy.

Wake up call: Many of your neighbors think that’s what this country should be.

In case you think theocracy would be just peachy, let’s look at other theocracies around the world to see how those work for the people. Try Iran. Or Afghanistan. Or Saudi Arabia. Now how do you feel about creating theocracy here?

Don’t foolishly think that a Christian theocracy would be better than a Muslim theocracy. That’s never been true. We disproved that deluded notion during the aforementioned Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades and even as we were burning women as witches in Massachusetts.

TO ALL PUBLIC OFFICIALS: If you want to practice religion, go to a religious institution of your choice or to the privacy of your own home. Or go to that traveling salvation show. But keep your religion out of our government and out of our public squares.

But that is exactly where Christian nationalists want to put it. For a chilling read on this, see The Washington Post piece, After Court Ruling, Activists Push Prayer Into Schools. The subtitle is “They say church and state are already too separate.”

Not so! Cramming Christianity into public school classrooms and onto public school football fields simply isn’t separate. It’s an establishment of religion exactly as prohibited by the Founders. Take that, self-proclaimed originalists!

If you want to fully understand Christian nationalism (which is neither Christian nor nationalist), link here and then click the orange “View the report” button. That will get you a download of the PDF “Christian Nationalism and the Jan 6 Insurrection.” This document is required reading for all patriots and believers in freedom.

————————————

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.

Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!)

And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2023 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Are You Seeing The Pattern Yet?


The people at the not-for-profit Citizens United were on a mission. They hated Hillary Clinton. A lot. They filmed what they called a documentary, Hillary: The Movie, and planned to release it in 2008 in an effort to submarine her candidacy for the Democratic Party nomination for the presidency. They wanted to air their hit job film just prior to primary elections in the various states. But they had a problem.

One of the provisions of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (commonly called McCain-Feingold) banned the airing of corporate funded “electioneering communication” for the 30 days before a primary election and for 60 days prior to a general election. The Citizens United people wanted to blanket the airways with their electioneering communication attack piece all the way through the primaries, so in December 2007 they filed suit to challenge that provision of McCain-Feingold. If they won, they would be able to run their electioneering film in the then-upcoming campaign season of 2008.

The district court refused their application for injunctive relief. In the appeals court Citizens United claimed their 90-minute film was a documentary, not electioneering. The court easily saw through that smoke screen and refused that argument, stating what was perfectly clear to everyone, that it was not a documentary film, but a 30-minute attack ad. It was an attempt to affect the election (the very definition of electioneering). Further, the court saw that their intended use of the movie was expressly at odds with established law.

On the case went to the Supreme Court (Citizens United v. FEC), which decided in favor of Citizens United in January 2010, overturning the lower court’s ruling. The court declared that the corporate electioneering communications restrictions of McCain-Feingold were unconstitutional and Citizens United could air their film as they wished. That should have been the end of the case, but it wasn’t.

Chief Justice John Roberts directed the attorneys to return to the court and re-litigate the case, this time specifically testing the rights of corporations and speech equivalency. It’s important to note that those issues were not part of the case brought by Citizens United.

—->  In other words, the court fabricated an entirely new case focused on issues that were not in contest in the Citizens United case.
That is not supposed to happen.
.

And in this fabricated case, the Supreme Court decided in a 5-4 vote that corporations have full First Amendment rights.

Let me be clear about this:

—-> The Court majority effectively declared that non-sentient, non-human corporations have all the rights of flesh and blood human beings.
Like you
.

Making things worse, Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, reaffirmed that money was effectively the same as speech. He declared that the First Amendment doesn’t allow prohibitions of speech even if the speaker is a corporation.

And that started a deluge of corporate money – dark money – into our politics that persists today.

To be sure there were earlier cases that chipped away at our protection from big money influence in our politics, including Buckley v. Valeo, which effectively declared that money is the same as speech. That assertion, of course, is ridiculous.

While money used for a campaign contribution certainly enables speech, that doesn’t make it the same as speech. Indeed, if you follow the Court’s Buckley logic, they’d have you believe that if I use money to buy a car, that money is the same as a car. Utter nonsense.

Money is property that is used in exchange for other things. That doesn’t make it the same as those other things. Nevertheless, the Roberts court wasn’t able to or refused to see the difference and the Citizens United case became the back breaker of integrity in our elections.

Key Point: That decision was driven by John Roberts legislating from the bench in a case that was not even brought before the court by a plaintiff! One has to wonder if this was a predetermined decision he wanted to reach. Otherwise, where did that secondary case come from?

Put a bookmark here.

Professor Heather Cox Richardson reported this in her July 6 edition of Letters From an American:

“Both the Organization of American Historians and the American Historical Association, the flagship organizations of professional historians in the U.S., along with eight other U.S. historical associations (so far), yesterday issued a joint statement expressing dismay that the six Supreme Court justices in the majority in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision that overturned Roe v. Wade ignored the actual history those organizations provided the court and instead ‘adopted a flawed interpretation of abortion criminalization  .  .  . ‘ “

” ‘[t]hese misrepresentations are now enshrined in a text that becomes authoritative for legal reference and citation in the future, ‘an undermining of the imperative that historical evidence and argument be presented according to high standards of historical scholarship. The Court’s majority opinion…does not meet those standards.’ ” [emphasis mine]

Translation: the Supreme Court ignored evidence that was inconvenient to the decision the justices wanted to make (i.e. overturn Roe). As in the manufactured case derived from the Citizens United law suit, the court clearly had its mind made up to push the doctrines it wanted, irrespective of precedent, facts and even without having a case before it.

And that radicalization is the true danger of this gerrymandered Supreme Court. It appears these justices want to roll back rights and progress 90 – maybe 150 – years.

Are you seeing the pattern yet?

You better see it, because this Court has already invited yet more cases to give them the opportunity to end yet more rights of the people.

For further reading, review Harry Littman’s troubling forecast of Supreme Court malfeasance.

—————————————–

Special Note: According to an ongoing Gallup survey, public confidence of the Supreme Court has plummeted down to 25%. And this study update was conducted before any of the end-of-term Court decisions were announced, including Dobbs. A fresh study will almost certainly show a sharp drop from the already historically low public confidence in the Court.

A similar drop in confidence is what Justice John Paul Stevens predicted in his blistering dissenting opinion in the Citizens United decision in 2010. As you can see, that is what happened.

Click me for the story

For Nerd Readers

You must read Jeffery Toobin’s explanation of this sordid story in The New Yorker. For a sampling, here’s a section of Toobin’s comments on Justice John Paul Stevens’ dissent in the Citizens United case:

So it was especially galling that the Court converted Citizens United from a narrow dispute about the application of a single provision in McCain-Feingold to an assault on a century of federal laws and precedents. To Stevens, it was the purest kind of judicial activism.

Or, as he put it in his dissenting opinion, “Five Justices were unhappy with the limited nature of the case before us, so they changed the case to give themselves an opportunity to change the law.” [emphasis mine] The case should have been resolved by simply ruling on whether McCain-Feingold applied to “Hillary: The Movie,” or at least to nonprofit corporations like Citizens United.

Stevens was just warming up. His dissent was ninety pages, the longest of his career. He questioned every premise of Kennedy’s opinion, starting with its contempt for stare decisis, the rule of precedent. He went on to refute Kennedy’s repeated invocations of “censorship” and the “banning” of free speech. The case was merely about corporate-funded commercials shortly before elections. Corporations could run as many commercials as they liked during other periods, and employees of the corporations (by forming a political-action committee) could run ads at any time.

Stevens was especially offended by Kennedy’s blithe assertion that corporations and human beings had identical rights under the First Amendment. “The Framers thus took it as a given that corporations could be comprehensively regulated in the service of the public welfare,” Stevens wrote. “Unlike our colleagues, they had little trouble distinguishing corporations from human beings, and when they constitutionalized the right to free speech in the First Amendment, it was the free speech of individual Americans that they had in mind.” Congress and the courts had drawn distinctions between corporations and people for decades, Stevens wrote, noting that, “at the federal level, the express distinction between corporate and individual political spending on elections stretches back to 1907, when Congress passed the Tillman Act.”

As for Kennedy’s fear that the government might regulate speech based on “the speaker’s identity,” Stevens wrote, “We have held that speech can be regulated differentially on account of the speaker’s identity, when identity is understood in categorical or institutional terms. The Government routinely places special restrictions on the speech rights of students, prisoners, members of the Armed Forces, foreigners, and its own employees.” And Stevens, a former Navy man, could not resist a generational allusion: he said that Kennedy’s opinion “would have accorded the propaganda broadcasts to our troops by ‘Tokyo Rose’ during World War II the same protection as speech by Allied commanders.” (Stevens’s law clerks didn’t like the dated reference to Tokyo Rose, who made propaganda broadcasts for the Japanese, but he insisted on keeping it.)

Stevens’s conclusion was despairing. “At bottom, the Court’s opinion is thus a rejection of the common sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self-government since the founding, and who have fought against the distinctive corrupting potential of corporate electioneering since the days of Theodore Roosevelt,” he wrote. “It is a strange time to repudiate that common sense. While American democracy is imperfect, few outside the majority of this Court would have thought its flaws included a dearth of corporate money in politics.” It was an impressive dissent, but that was all it was. Anthony Kennedy, on the other hand, was reshaping American politics.

————————————

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.

Did someone forward this to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!)

And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2023 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

For Six Justices: Imagine That


Click the pic to hear what they said about Roe and stare decisis during their confirmation hearings. Then decide if they lied to us.

If you see your picture to the right, this is for you.
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Did you ever have little kids? Were you yourself ever a little kid?

I want you to think back to when you were 9 years old, sitting in your third grade classroom. See it in your mind’s eye. You’re at your desk watching your teacher at the front of the room as she is explaining something. You hear a sound and momentarily glance toward the door. It suddenly flies open and a guy in full body armor, carrying an assault rifle and a handgun charges in and shoots your teacher. There’s blood on the wall behind where she was standing and she’s motionless on the floor. Then he starts shooting your friends. He’s firing multiple bullets into each of their bodies and there is blood everywhere. Then he sees you and aims his AR-15 directly at your face. Now tell me how you feel about really strict gun laws.

Front page of the New York Times Sunday Review, May 29, 2022. Cites multiple mass shootings, each with the same lede: “Authorities said the gunman was able to obtain the weapons legally.” Click the pic – read it and weep.

That’s no horror movie scene. Other than the grade level, that is exactly what happened in Uvalde, Santa Fe, Sandy Hook, Columbine, Parkland and more. That’s effectively what happened in Buffalo and El Paso and Aurora and Charleston and Milwaukee and Las Vegas and Pittsburgh and  .  .  .

Nothing in the just-passed gun safety bill would have prevented any of those massacres. To be fair, the safe storage provision might have kept that Bushmaster assault rifle out of the hands of that 19-year-old Sandy Hook murderer. Maybe.

New scenario.

Imagine your child is with you, holding your hand as you’re crossing the street. You look up and realize that there’s a shooter on the sidewalk in front of you and he’s aiming his military style assault rifle directly at you. You’re instantly certain that you’ll be dead in a fraction of a second, that you cannot protect your child and that your little one will be dead a second after you. Now tell me how you feel about really strict gun laws.

Different situation.

You live in the ghetto, the poorest, grimiest part of the city. On a good day there is just enough to eat for your three kids and you. There are a lot of days that aren’t nearly that good. Two months ago a vagrant broke in and raped you and now you’re pregnant with what will be a fourth child. Now tell me how you feel about the right to an abortion.

From The Onion, of course. Click the pic.

I suspect that the self-certain Bible thumpers living in comfortable means are sincere in their beliefs about abortion. That isn’t the problem. The problem is that they want to impose their beliefs on you. They want to take away your rights and they’ve succeeded at that, yet they haven’t even a ghost of a clue about you and how their certainties are completely alien and absurd in your existence. Once again, tell me now, as you sit in misery in the ghetto, pregnant with a rapist’s child and with three hungry kids, how you feel about the right to an abortion.

The comfortable moralizers also don’t haven’t a clue what it’s like to have an AR-15 pointed at their faces. They don’t know what it’s like to see their friends’ bodies ripped to shreds or to know they can’t protect their little ones. Doesn’t matter. They’re certain that they know what’s best for you and the rules you have to follow.

It’s easy to spout platitudes and holy proclamations when you yourself are not impacted by their consequences. But when you’re at the receiving end of extremist policies, it looks and feels quite different. Funny how that works.

Many thanks to KL for this.

So, to you six Supreme Court justices, appointed by Presidents, all but one of whom lost the popular vote, you are administering the tyranny of the minority. To you, who justify your pitiless convictions by invoking obscure 13th century English law and who are supremely extremist and supremely certain that your views are not just right, but that they’re supremely right and mandatory for everyone else: Just imagine.

Imagine that you’re that kid in that third grade classroom seeing your friends being killed, or you’re that parent crossing the street holding your little child’s hand, knowing you’re both about to be murdered, or that you’re that pregnant woman in the ghetto.

One more time: All of your extremist yelping about the Second Amendment and your moralizing about abortion look a bit different now that all that yelping and moralizing affects you. Imagine that.

The same goes for you extremist Republicans both in Congress and in state legislatures. What you’re doing hurts people. What you’re doing kills some people. What you do is cruel and it’s long past time for you to find something better to do with your time than to rile up others with your holier-than-thou and self-serving certainties that harm people. Go home. Don’t come back. When you disappear, that’s when things will begin to get better for the rest of us.

And the rest of us can easily imagine that.

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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:
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Fire the bastards!
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The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

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The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2023 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

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