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More paraphrasing

Julia Ioffe made another very good point in her interview with Frontline on Putin’s war on Ukraine. It’s about how the Russian government and security counsel works that made me think of Justice Alito’s reasoning on his reversal of Roe and how abortion and just abortion had to be thrown out because the constitution doesn’t say anything about abortion and the 14th amendment can’t be used to protect it.

Russians do everything by the book. Or the form:

“It’s this very Soviet obsession with bureaucracy, with ticking the boxes and insisting on the form while completely abandoning or perverting the substance.”

I have a lot of issues with Alito’s reasoning and I don’t have to be a lawyer to understand that he is singling out abortion because he thinks morality about the non-viable fetus is absolute. He says stripping right to privacy protections doesn’t apply to gay marriage or interracial marriages or contraception. It only applies to abortion. And I have to agree that this issue should have been argued on the basis of sexual equality, not privacy, because only women are being forced to become mothers for their sexual activity whether they want to be mothers or not. Men’s bodies are not forced to do anything. If the sexes are equal when it comes to their sexual behavior, then what women decide to do with their bodies before viability should be out of the state’s control. I think that was RGB’s argument and I wholly agree.

But what we have with Alito is a ticking of the boxes. There’s no mention of abortion in the constitution so it’s not covered. He’s not stupid enough to not see the consequences. He’s just not interested because it doesn’t serve the Soviet goal. Therefore, technically, it can be thrown out and it looks legal. But the issue is unsettled and will remain unsettled as long as the Roberts Court has the majority. It’s not going away because abortion has been happening since time immemorial. It predates the Constitution. But Alito’s doesn’t have to consider that. It’s not what he was hired to do. So we’ll all just have to suck it up and deal with it.

Here are some of the out of the box crazy ideas of the sort that our Republican counterparts would do: All abortion clinics around the country should remain open and should serve women who come to them just as they always have. Do the abortions up to viability, dispense the mifepristone and methotrexate and don’t change a thing. Do what any group of MAGA men do. Form a militia. Get yourselves a bunch of buff Amazon women with semi automatics guarding the door of the clinics. Oh, that’s not what the second amendment is for?? Dare anyone who comes near to take them on. Let’s see those images on TV. If Kyle Rittenhouse can do it…

Abortion has been happening forever with implements and Silphium and tinctures of pennyroyal and wild carrot. Modern medicine just makes it safer. So, get an old RV, drive it into the desert and make mifepristone. They haven’t banned women from organic chemistry labs yet.

There will be arrests, there will be jail sentences. There will be protests. Do it until the court agrees to re-argue the case on equality grounds. Let’s see what happens so Alito will have some data to work with.

Be shameless, ignore the law.

You can only get sent back if you allow it.

Let the supreme court’s army enforce it.

Illiberal Democracies go after Women’s Rights.

If you haven’t heard that term, illiberal democracy, prepare yourself because that’s where the United States is heading. We are going in the direction of Victor Orban’s Hungary.

Fans of Sebastian Gorka’s podcast may be wondering, what’s the big deal?

Well, Victor Orban was re-elected in Hungary recently. To paraphrase Julia Ioffe’s comments on putin’s re-election in Russia, “was Orban technically re-elected in Hungary? Yes. Was there technically a democratic election? Yes. Did Orban technically win this election? Yes. Is Orban a democratically elected leader of Hungary? No.” Note the absence of the word “technically” in the last sentence.

In Hungary, government is run on technicalities and not law. The US also runs on technicalities. Technically, we all have a right to make medical decisions in the privacy of our consultations with our doctors. Technically, we can marry whoever we want. Technically, black people are whole people who can technically vote in technically free and fair elections. Anyway, you can see where this is going.

Technically, we are going to have free and fair elections this year and in 2024 and technically, the citizens of each state will elect their representatives. And technically, that’s not really up to the citizens of each state anymore. It’s up to the Secretary of State and whatever the elections board of each county says in some of the states, particularly the electoral college states that voted for Trump.

Technically, even if the entire state of Georgia overwhelmingly votes for Democrat A for governor, the state is currently set up in such a way that the election boards can overrule those votes. And technically, the citizens can probably appeal that decision to the Supreme Court that technically is supposed to protect their constitutional voting rights but is now more commonly referring to the constitution as originally written. Also, the Roberts court gutted the Voting Rights Act.

So, you may be asking, what does that have to do with ME?? Well, as we have seen, elections only count in the US if the votes from each individual state are collected together to form a critical mass of votes that collectively outnumber the other states. So if you have a state or two who have decided to withhold those votes to prevent a critical mass or change the electors to “correct” for faulty votes by some technically full human beings in that state, then the votes do not get added to the total and the critical mass is not achieved and another minority government takes over and appoints even more ultra conservative Catholic judges for whom religious freedom technically applies to everyone but in actuality only applies to other ultra conservative religious people (because if you’re not religious, you don’t need freedom and protection of your rights? Is this how they’re really thinking? Because it feels like this is how they’re really thinking.)

That might be ok with you NOW. But sooner or later, you might find that your technically free and fairly elected president decides to launch an apocalyptic nightmare of an unjustified war on China or whatever and technically, you’ll have fhe right to protest but in actuality, you’ll be toast.

THAT’S illiberal democracy and unlike Alito’s silly notion that we have no idea what will happen when Roe is overturned because there is no precedent in history and women have made so much progress in 50 years and no longer need these protections, we actually know what happens when a technically freely elected president decides to drag his country into WWIII against his citizens’ will. It’s actually a Fucking mess.

Now, dear lurker, fold this little post up, put it in your pocket and the next time your government ruins your life because you voted for a guy who wanted to own the libs, you can pull it out and read:

We told you so.

So, how did this happen?

There are some theories that say that the wealthy and well connected got sick of the whole FDR New Deal thing and the civil rights movement and saw their way of life come crashing down. Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell wrote a memo laying out how they could take their country back: own the courts.

Here’s how they did it:

1.) Use religion. Very religious people tend to stick to rigid parts of the Bible. I’ll let a psychologist figure this out but let’s assume it gives them security if they know there is no ambiguity in the world that they can’t control.

2.) Shine a spotlight on feminism, abortion and gay people. Remember Anita Bryant? Phyllis Schlafley? This stuff has been around since the mid 70s.

3.) Make working class men feel like they’ve been castrated then point them towards women and gay people. Thank you, Rush Limbaugh

4.) Run candidates that promise to return America to that Shining City on a Hill. It’s Morning in America! Cue Ronald Reagan. Real men vote for Ronny, real women stay home and watch the kids. Everyone else is un-American. Promise your voters that you will stop the immoral sluts that kill their babies and castrate their partners by getting more education, going to work and earning more money.

5.) Buy your own News! Enter Rupert Murdock. Make your audience feel outraged at the loss of masculinity that you suddenly called attention to. Create images of hot blonde babes sitting between two beta males. Make it seem possible…

6.) Capture state legislatures. Get those legislatures to pass laws that ding women, gay people and African Americans. This one is on Barack Obama. He took his eye off the ball. Or he was day dreaming. Or something.

7.) Lather, Rinse, Repeat. Gerrymander the shit out of southern states where racism is endemic. Do the same with some northern states, like Pennsylvania.

8.) Appoint judges that work for YOU. After all, why should you pay taxes to support THOSE people? Think of your children.

9.) Whip your religious fan base and the guys you emasculated into a frenzy over abortion.

10.) Have your justices Gut the voting rights act. Use the excuse that all those bad things that happened to African Americans when they used to vote, well those days are gone. So much progress has been made since the Voting Rights Act was enforced that we don’t need chunks of it anymore. It hurts southern states’ self esteem.

11.) Have your justices deliberately ignore what subsequently happens to voting rights in those states and then have them use the very same reasoning to gut abortion and every other privacy related issue. What other things might they take issue with? What about business related things? Discrimination? Is social security even legal?? (Oh, you think that’s sacred just because we’ve had it for 80 years? If a 50 year precedent can be set aside, what makes you think social security and Medicaid can’t? Elect the wrong people to Congress and they’ll gut that in a heartbeat. Then who are you going to appeal that to?)

12.) Now. Try to vote them out. Well, you can’t. They’re appointed for life. And probably the presidents they appoint will do what they want.

This is how it works. You gerrymander the courts and you can do whatever you like, sell off whatever parts of the country you like to your new American Oligarchy and keep a cut for yourself. Hold technically free and fair elections but have YOUR people do the vote counting.

The takeover towards illiberal democracy most likely includes restricting the rights of women, minorities and gay people. They’re the cannon fodder that is used by the malefactors of great wealth and power to make sure they always get their way. And the way they always win the game is by taking over the courts and never ever letting some inconvenient liberal democratic norm like free and fair elections displace them ever again.

That’s how it’s done in every illiberal democracy. Use the ladies, gays and minorities to get your judges. Then, do what you will.

It’s not a bug, it’s a feature.

**************

There will probably be more insight on the takeover of the courts when the January 6, Committee starts their hearings. The coup was in the works long before the election and I have no doubt that the court would have been pressured to settle the matter and keep the peace if Pence had gotten in that car.

**************

Ok, so you may say, well the wealthy and powerful have always gotten their way. It’s natural law or some such bullshit, and there’s nothing I can do about it. 😩

Except, that’s not true. For one thing, it has taken them decades to get here. They started planning this takeover in the early 70s. It is now 50 years later. There might be some generational metric in play here. This is something the social historians to research.

But our rule of law and our liberal democracy that came out stronger after the civil rights era took 50 years to reverse. That takes dedication and money and a lot of dirty tricks and a flood of very loud, very well funded and shameless propaganda mouth pieces. It was by no means assured that we would end up here. The election of Donald Trump certainly sped things up and was probably a serendipitous windfall that they had to take advantage of. But for the time being, they don’t quite have it all. They’re pretty close but it’s not assured.

We will see. There’s still a possibility that we can get back what we so casually gave away or was tricked into trading for low taxes or a sense of superiority or whatever.

This democracy takes vigilance and learning from mistakes and effort. If you don’t want to do the work, you could end up in a country where your decisions are made for you and I can’t imagine that loss of choice is anything a libertarian is going to like.

N