Bear with me on this. The good stuff is at the end.
Anyone with their lights on knows that the presidential election of 2016 was — and has continued to be — a disaster for the United States and the world. The election of the incompetent and corrupt Donald Trump will have damaging repercussions for at least a generation after he is out of office. Our intelligence community as well as the recently concluded Robert Mueller investigation have found that the Russian government engaged in a sweeping and systematic attack on our electoral process for the purpose of putting Trump in office. And they succeeded in this effort.
At the time, Mitch McConnell had already refused to give even a preliminary hearing for almost a year to President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland. Right wing evangelicals and other deplorables understood that a Trump victory would give them a chance to place a right wing partisan on the Court, and Trump was given a list of “acceptable” hard core ideologues which he promised to use when he was president. The right wing partisan turned out to be Gorsuch, who now sits on the Court.
After the election, Trump’s lawyer (White House Counsel) Don McGahn conned Anthony Kennedy into retiring, and a second political hack (Kavanaugh) was appointed to the Court, effectively guaranteeing that the Supreme Court is now — and will be for the next 40 years — an arm of the Republican Party. So we can say goodbye to much of the progress we’ve made over the last 75 years:
women’s reproductive rights
consumer protection from predatory corporate practices
the rights of workers to organize and demand safe working conditions and decent pay
the right of Americans to be safe from crackpots with machine guns
the rights of legal American citizens to go to the polls and cast their vote in elections
the rights of communities to receive a fair share of federal funding and equal representation in Congress
These last two are being addressed in the Court today, as they “deliberate” on the question of whether the 2020 census can include a question about citizenship. It’s for sure that if such a question is asked, many minorities will simply hide from the census. They will then be underrepresented, and national policy will be determined for the next ten years based on those false numbers, even thought the Constitution requires that all people in the country be counted. The best guesses from Washington watchers today is that the Court’s right wingers are “leaning” toward undercounting and vote suppression in this case. And of course they would, because they know the Republicans would never win another election if every citizen voted. They will probably render their decision in June.
There is nothing we can do about this. The Supreme Court makes the final decisions on these matters, and they are now determined to remake The United States in the image of the John Birch Society. All of us will deal with a dystopian future, in which rich people and corporations determine the rules for 99% of us, and our only appeal will be to — oops! — the Supreme Court.
And the danger is not past, as the Trump gang is currently trying to get Clarence Thomas to retire, so they can replace that bitter old man with a fresh, bitter young man, so as to keep the “dynasty” in place an extra 30 years. The moral of this story is you should have voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, and you should vote for whichever of our great Democratic candidates wins the nomination to run for President in 2020.PS: We need a “blue wave” in the Senate, too, so the Democratic President might be able to get her appointments confirmed, and not blocked by Mitch McConnell.
I’ve been depressed and unproductive for the past couple of years, but these days I’m starting to feel better. My Christmas song this year, I hope, reflects this. Of course, it’s a song that is beyond my ability, which has become an unwritten rule for The revision99 Holiday Recording Pageant. This year the song I’m trying to do that I can’t really do justice to is “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).”
Four-hour memorial tribute to John Lennon this morning on “Breakfast With The Beatles,” the 38th anniversary of his death. Listening, I found myself wondering what John might have done if he’d lived as long as I have.
Call me crazy, but when the president of the United States announces that he could shoot somebody on 5th Avenue and not lose any supporters; when he refers to Nazis chanting “Jews will not replace us” as “very fine people;” when he’s OK with a Republican congressman assaulting a reporter; when he says that business deals in Saudi Arabia take precedence over the life of a journalist; and when he calls the press “the enemy of the people,” should we be surprised when one or more of his crackpot fans decides it’s acceptable behavior to mail bombs to prominent members of the “enemy” party, namely the Democrats?
Republicans Have Now Realized Their Decades-Long Dream of Taking Over the Supreme Court.
I reached adulthood in the late 1960s, and looking around the political environment in those days, I thought the country was firmly set in the ways of fairness, honesty, compassion and unity. Before I was born, rich guy Franklin Roosevelt had reached “down” across the class barrier to offer federal support to regular folks during the Great Depression. Harry Truman had desegregated the Army. Social Security, which had been attacked by conservatives since its inception, had matured into a popular, successful program no longer questioned by the majority of Americans. When I was still a kid the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act were passed. Medicare was passed. The war in Vietnam was ended more or less by popular declamation. In the years to come the Supreme Court would hold that women had a right to control their own bodies, police couldn’t beat confessions out of suspects, and gay couples could marry if they wanted to. We were imperfect, but we were generous. We sought justice.
Republicans in the Senate are going to push through confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, and it will look and feel as if they’ve scored a “win,” but little good can come of it for them.
The Supreme Court was specifically designed to be a non-partisan institution. That’s what the lifetime appointment was intended to accomplish. Justices wouldn’t have to answer to those in the political wings of government who put them on the court . Their only agenda would be to measure the law against the Constitution, and rule on cases based on whether the legislation in question adheres to the intent of our founding document.
Last Friday the New York Times ran a story suggesting that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had attempted to remove Donald Trump from office by secretly recording a conversation with the president and then getting Mike Pence, half the members of Trump’s cabinet, and two-thirds of both houses of Congress to invoke the 25thAmendment (unfit to serve) and throw him out. Rosenstein has emphatically denied the allegation (given to the Times by a source they decline to name), but frankly I think if there is anyone in the administration who doesn’t want to remove Trump, someone should check to see if that person might be unfit.
After acting more or less like an adult for a couple of days, the Celebrity Apprentice President turns to Twitter to lash out at Christine Blasey Ford for daring to disrupt his Supreme Court party.
When Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s identity was leaked and she decided she had to come forward with her story about Brett Kavanaugh trying to rape her when they were both in high school, everyone in Washington knew she’d have to be treated carefully. Mainly, they understood that they would have to act as if they believed her, and they would have to pretend to respect her as a woman, and not go down the Anita Hill road like they did in 1991. Mainly, this meant somehow stopping the president from tweeting something insulting or demeaning at her.