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Somewhat Brief Reflections

Just various thoughts about how things look right now. They all interrelate at some level, of course.

Completely predictably, the Supreme Court took power away from the Environmental Protection Agency, which was created in the Nixon Administration, when Republicans were very bad, but not as awful as they are now. This will be one in a series of decisions where the Court will remove most or all of the power of the government to do anything about pollution or climate change. It was the major goal of the Kochs, and it will overjoy corporate polluters and depredators of the land, who will be free to drill and frack and burn and emit, as much as they want, with no governmental power to stop them.

This of course was another of the many completely predictable things that this Court would do. This is what the media had no interest in discussing in 2016, because for them it was all about emails, their ratings, and the enjoyment of mocking Hillary and liberals in general. How many times did she say that the Supreme Court was at stake? How many times did we say it? How many people willfully refused to listen or care, so much fun were they having at the personality carnival?

All you have to do is see which cases the Court will accept, and you will know why they are, and how they will decide on them They don’t take cases because it would be fun, or they enjoy legal analysis, they take them because they intend to use them to rewrite more laws; as they are, in a bitterly ironic way, the most radical Supreme Court in United States history, and the justices who are actually”making laws, not interpreting them,” as they and their backers loved to say to credulous voters that the liberal justices were doing.

This Court cannot be allowed to completely destroy the country, the world, 250 years of halting but noticeable progress. And I don’t care how bad it will look to the media, and how much Republicans will scream about it, the power of this Court has to be diminished.

The only feasible way to do that is to add Court seats. The only possible way to do that is to win enough Congressional seats to make such a change. Lose one chamber of Congress, and we are powerless to do it for at least another two years. It is not inevitable that we will lose either chamber, though it is more likely than not. Voting in record numbers is imperative.

We do see that the Court is now going to decide in their next term that a state legislature has complete power over its election system, as the slave states argued in the 1840’s. The goal is to make sure that Republicans win in every currently red state, they cannot be defeated. It would also mean that these current justices will never risk any threat to their power.

I would strongly recommend that blue states like California and New York rewrite their rules on districting, and take them out of the bipartisan commissions that they felt noble in entrusting them to. They should radically gerrymander their states, to get every single Democratic district they can out of them. This is what they do in Texas, Florida, and all the rest of the red states. Not doing it ourselves is suicidal

Things look more promising in regard to Trump. I would be very surprised if he ever held office again. I don’t know if he will just not run, or run and lose in the primaries, but he will not be elected President. Republicans are nothing if not resourceful and adaptable, and they will have no problem pivoting from Trump to DeSantis. Rupert Murdoch has already made it clear in his publications, and even a few Fox personalities are carefully trying it out.

DeSantis is a more dangerous version of Trump. Just as fascistic, relentless, and he is not a buffoon like Trump. I would expect him to get the nomination. As to DeSantis winning in a national election, it is not inevitable. He is clearly on the wrong side of abortion rights, and that could be decisive, unless of course the voting systems are by then so rigged that he would win enough states even without the votes.

It’s gratifying to see Trump be taken apart in the January 6 Committee hearings, and those hearings are being very well run. But we cannot ignore the fact that even now, Republican overlords such as the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society are figuring out how to jettison Trump, appear noble in doing so, and then be free to get DeSantis elected. Nothing they do is with the good of the country or its people in mind. It is all about their power, money, and Christo-Fascist ideology, which they intend to be the ruling paradigm forever.

Democratic leaders, whoever they are, should be strategizing with that in mind. That is why, while I do enjoy seeing Trump being figuratively eviscerated, I keep thinking that to the extent that some people, including many media, might like to see this as, “Yes Trump was a threat to democracy, but there are many good Republicans who are standing up to him,” it is like wanting to imagine that eliminating one powerful general does not mean that most of his army is not still ready to fight, and that there are not others ready to take command and wage the battle.

The goal must be to tie Trump to the Trumpists, which is really 90% of the Republican Party. None of this is just about Trump, though he is the key figure in the story being told now. Republicans wanted him, they followed him, all the way through his hatred and lies; and they are still on board with almost all of it, they just want another face.

For good news, the generic ballot polls look better, but some may be a transitory result of the Dobbs decision. Democrats MUST link the entire Republican Party, and its ideology and actions, to Trump. This is not a party of mostly good people who were led astray or who will learn from their mistakes, as Susan Collins likes to pretend. It is what Hillary Clinton said at the outset, and of course was assaulted by the media for saying: It is a vast right-wing conspiracy. It is funded by trillions of dollars, it owns most of the media, it never stops trying to frame every single story and event in they way that benefits them.

There is a saying, I don’t like the images it connotes, but it is very meaningful. “May as well be hanged for a sheep as for a lamb.” That refers to the days when the people who ran villages and owned farms, passed laws decreeing capital punishment for the stealing of livestock. You were hanged whether you stole something big, or something smaller, whether a sheep or a lamb. So if you are going to be hanged, or at least risk it, you might as well go for the bigger prize.

If Democrats are going to lose, if the party and the country is going to be destroyed as any kind of democratic state, then you might as well go down fighting, telling as many people as possible, in as vivid terms as you can, how evil the Republicans are, and what they will do next. And if you need to put some graphic pictures in your commercials, of the lands burning and the rivers drying up; of gun violence; statistics of women dying from forced births, or just losing their jobs because of pregnancy, then do it.

It is really something to see people who probably mean well, writing on social media to the effect that, “Hillary warned us,” or, “I didn’t think the Supreme Court would do all this.” She did, over and over, and she was not the only one who warned us. And anyone who had any idea of what the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation and the Kochs wanted to do to the Supreme Court, should surely have known all of this, as surely as Cassandra could see the future that she was doomed to tell, with no one believing her.

Finally, for now, I do not want to see this wearying refrain of “Biden is not doing what we elected him to do,” “DOJ is awful, Garland is in cahoots with them.” Biden is not Bill Clinton or JFK or even Johnson, certainly not FDR. He is what he is, a decent person trying to do good things. He is the only chance we have going into the midterms. If we lose those, perhaps we would want to look at another Presidential candidate, but it would probably be academic, because how would she or he beat the stacked electoral and voting rights deck? Democrats must win the midterms, and they have the issues to do it, if they use them correctly.

I won’t go on about the Left here, but I can predict with almost certainty that whatever the merits of AOC, if she becomes a major symbol of the Democratic Party, someone going around campaigning against incumbent Democrats, we will never win. There was a place for that kind of thing in the ’50’s and ’60’s, the costs of losing a few races, or even a Presidency, were perhaps affordable. Not now. We need votes, we need seats, and we need people with the intelligence and will to parlay them into effective power.

I always want there to be more liberals in Congress, but if the Republicans control it, what would it matter if we had five more liberals on it? What could they do? I remember other sites counting up each off-year race, cheering even in the midst of overall defeat or status quo, that this person here or there beat someone they didn’t like. As if it were this hundred-year board game. Actually, I always thought that it was more of a pleasant indulgence of feeling important,, or an anodyne. No time for that now, it all has truly become a zero-sum game, one that we have to win, and keep winning.

Today’s bright spot

It’s a beautiful thing.

Congratulations Justice Ketanji Brown-Jackson.

Just Asking Questions

OooOooo! Something about Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony yesterday certainly has the MAGA Twitter contingent’s knickers in a twist. I am not at all surprised that they focussed with laser like intensity on what she was told happened in the SUV when TFG was driven from the Ellipse to the west wing against his explicit orders.

Unsurprisingly, the Secret Service “disputes” this account. Therefore, according to MAGA Tweeters, she must have lied.

Let’s unpack this to get to the heart of what is freaking them out.

First, Hutchinson wasn’t lying about what happened in the SUV because she wasn’t there. Her account was that the secret service agents in the SUV had told her what happened.

They told her that TFG ordered his secret service to take him to the Capitol. He ordered it because he was “the Fucking president”. When they told him that they didn’t have enough advanced knowledge to do that and that they would be returning to the White House, he lunged over the front seat and tried to take the steering wheel. The agent then grabbed his arm and told him to take his hand off the wheel. At that point, TFG put both hands around the agent’s clavicles, as if he was intending on strangling the driver.

Well. That sounds pretty bad. But I probably would have done the same thing in a life threatening situation. I’d have fought like hell to wrest control of the vehicle from the driver. But that’s not what is happening here. TFG is actually trying to go into danger and the agent’s job is to protect the president, not Donald Trump. Personal relationships don’t matter in this situation.

The thing is, TFG never seemed to think he was in danger that day. The reason for this is obvious.

So, to recap, TFG wanted to go to the Capitol to egg on his supporters and confront and challenge Mike Pence. He was never in danger, except from maybe Liz Cheney who knew exactly what was going on in the Capitol when it happened and knew that Jim Jordan was involved. (She told him as much st the time)

But he was trapped in a car with a couple of bodyguards who weren’t doing what he demanded. When he tried physical force his bloated 75 year old body found no purchase was flicked away like a fly.

Well. She must be lying. Because that is not the image they have of their perpetually dour faced fearless leader. That’s not the strength and STA-MIN-A he boasted of. In this scenario, he comes off looking… dare I say it?… Weak.

He’s a pathetic old man who decisively lost the election and tried every trick in the book to overturn it and stay in power indefinitely. And none of it worked. He could not use his alpha male superpowers to make them do what he wanted. And Hutchinson related the whole thing in front of the whole world. Also, he throws his food like an angry three year old.

That’s not the picture of TFG that his supporters want anyone to see in their minds. They can’t even bleach the image out of their own minds. The guy looks like a pathetic loser.

They’re more used to imagining this:

I have no idea what animal that is but I’ll bet any six year old obsessed with dinosaurs knows the Latin name, where it lived at what it ate.

That’s an image of bravery. Riding the back if a dinosaur, taking on the forces of whatever with a handgun. And there’s a giant flag so you just know he’s patriotic.

But what Hutchinson relates doesn’t look anything like that.

Therefore, they must discredit the witness. Yep. She’s lying.

No she’s not. There’s a good possibility that the secret service was exaggerating. Or they made it up. If that’s the dispute, it’s easy to clear that up. All they gave to do is swear an oath and correct the account.

If they don’t, it looks like she’s recalling the event accurately and the secret service looks like cowards.

Finally, it’s not Hutchinson’s responsibility to prove the secret service agent’s account as true. It’s the prosecutor who has to prove it. But this is Congress. It’s a felony to lie to Congress. And while these people can’t actually indict anyone because that’s not their scope, the committee is made up of lawyers and US Attorneys who used to work as prosecutors for the DOJ and were appointed to their offices by a former US president. They are pretty much the go to guys on how to collect and present evidence they think is enough to get an indictment from a grand jury. They’ve done it enough times. Now they’re just doing it as Congressmen

So, discrediting this witness is going to be much harder. I’m sure they’re going to try and they have a tendency to believe the most convoluted, bizarre sh]# so I count nothing out.

I just don’t think that’s going to work this time. This time, we almost caught him throwing his feces and it sounds all too real.

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

Outstanding questions:

Who was Mark Meadows texting all day?

Who was Mark Meadows talking to on the phone when Hutchinson tried to get in the car? I mean besides Jim Jordan?

Did Mark Meadows talk to Ginny Thomas on 1/6/21?

Why won’t Mark Meadows testify?

Why won’t Pat Cipollone testify? He seemed to know or suspect what was going to happen on 1/6. Did he warn anyone? If not, why not?

January 6 in pictures

Check this out. It shows what the January 6 committee has presented in its hearings to date in pictorial format. It looks pretty accurate except that John Eastman seems to be missing from the Hang Mike Pence spoke. Oh wait, he’s right in the middle in TFG’s head. Yeah, that’s probably right.

Today’s guest in the role of That Surprise Witness for a Very Special Afternoon Hearing is Cassidy Hutchinson who was an assistant to Mark Meadows, TFG’s former chief of staff. Hutchinson was probably well aware of what was going on since her boss would have been in the room most of the time.

Meadows has refused to testify. Hutchinson may do it for him.

The question yet to be answered is what was so urgent that it couldn’t wait until after the July 4th break?

Put your best guesses or wild ideas in the comment’s below.

Obama’s sterling reputation finally gets scrutiny

There are many reasons why we are here today but we need to acknowledge that Democrats had a huge part to play in this. I’m not referring to our razor thin margins in the house and senate that make it almost impossible for Democrats to pass anything no matter how hard they work or how good the intentions towards helping average Americans. If you need a non-Roe reason to vote this fall, abolishing the filibuster should be at the top of the list.

No, what I’m specifically referring to is the Democratic party’s decision to ignore the concerns of women and the working class in 2008. That’s when they fixed on a cynical strategy of using race to win the presidency and the scorched earth tactics that the Obama campaign used to capture the boomers.

Then Obama continued to use accusations of racism to mute all of his critics. At the same time he did next to nothing for women. Actually, it was worse than that. How many years did his PR team roll out that symbolic but powerless Lily Ledbetter act but bury Obama’s silence and inexcusable inaction on the Paycheck Fairness Act? Does anyone remember when he forced an age limit on Plan B because he was thinking about his daughters like some Arkansan patriarch?

How about when the “feminist in charge” in the Oval Office decided not to pursue codifying Roe or reproductive rights because they weren’t his legislative priority. Yeah, he really said that:

“As a candidate, Obama supported the Freedom of Choice Act, which would eliminate federal, state and local restrictions on abortion.

His stance on the issue, as well as his decision to lift many restrictions on stem cell research, angered groups opposed to abortion, including many Catholic and other Christian religious groups.

Asked about the Freedom of Choice Act at Wednesday’s news conference, Obama said it “is not the highest legislative priority.

“My view on … abortion, I think, has been very consistent,” Obama said. “I think abortion is a moral issue and an ethical issue.”

There are some who suggest that this is simply an issue about women’s freedom and that there’s no other considerations,” he said. “I think, look, this is an issue that people have to wrestle with and families and individual women have to wrestle with.””

It’s very telling that Obama omitted that abortion and reproductive rights are an equality issue. Apparently, womens’ freedom is an issue that must be wrestled with, not an inalienable right that nature already gave us. Today, they are wrestling with their freedom in state after state. What a wonderful waste of time, money, and promising young womens’ lives. Yes, indeedy, you heard it straight from the mouth of the alleged champion of civil rights right up there with MLK Jr. Please spare me. “Injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere” didn’t trouble him a bit.

There is a lot of difficult stuff on Democrats’ shoulders this year. They are facing a headwind while walking up a mountain with chains around their feet. Congressional districts are gerrymandered, the party is appropriately diverse in policy opinion but that lack of homogeneity is working against mass action, and their razor thin margin makes it very difficult to combat a dangerously radical former Republican Party that has backing of paramilitary groups and an undemocratic agenda to lock themselves in power permanently by whatever means possible, impossible or illegal.

The Obama years locked Democrats into this when it ignored and underfunded the Democratic National Committee when the Republicans initiated an aggressive campaign to takeover over state houses everywhere. The response to state house takeovers was anemic at best. The party got consigned to Obama’s spare room of unused furniture.

Now, I’m not saying that Democrats are completely responsible for overturning Roe. They obviously weren’t the ones who wrote the opinions. Busting women down to second class status and setting in motion side effects that will affect everyone in the decades to come was not their fault directly. But we need to acknowledge that they let it happen when they jumped on Obama’s bandwagon and stampeded women to do the same because where else were they going to go to protect their rights – that Obama decided not to fight for? See quote above.

This is not picking on Democrats. This is to wake them up out of the spell they have been under since Obama decided to run for president. That cynical decision to harrass, threaten and ostracize Democrats, especially women Democrats who wanted to scrutinize Obama’s record and intent before anointing him president has very likely been a major contributing factor in where we are today. In fact, it was the Obama campaign’s repulsive use of sexism lurking in the Democrats’ own leadership and consultant class that has resulted in not just the loss of women’s bodily autonomy but will also ironically affect black women disproportionately.

And don’t tell me Hillary Clinton couldn’t have won in 2008. After the collapse of the financial markets, LIBOR teetered close to the edge, threatening to take the world into a Depression unlike anything we have seen since 1928, and Republicans let the Lehman Brothers collapse kick off a chain reaction of titanic proportions, even Dennis Kucinich could have won the White House.

I have always suspected that Obama was backed by the smartest guys in the rooms on Wall Street where women’s bonuses are not nearly at the same level as their male counterparts. They don’t care about women’s problems because what does that have to do with winning big at the global casino? These were the guys who set Obama’s agenda and at the top of their priority list was saving their asses from the financial catastrophe they caused without having to take a hair cut. And we know this because giving the keys to the treasury to Wall Street while ignoring average Americans and Main Street were the only things that Obama got done successfully. The ACA was originally Mitt Romney’s policy in Massachusetts, carefully rebranded as Obamacare but not lacking in any of the free market features that made it so attractive to Republicans.

I see a lot of cult faithful still flogging the unpardonably flawed ACA as Obama’s great achievement. But if you ever fell into the ditch between making too much money to get medicaid and too little money to get any healthcare policy subsidies at all like I did for a year, you would see the ACA for the lipstick on a pig that it is for many people. There was never any attempt to control costs and insurance policies are still expensive with high deductibles.

But omg the minute you criticize Obama’s abysmal record on womens’ issues, that ACA gets thrown in your face with a series of SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT UPS!!!

It is past time to have a truth and reconciliation discussion about what happened in the Obama years and the party’s complicity in letting last Friday’s decision happen.

You can’t fix a problem until you identify what it is. In this case, it is the disgusting and damaging internal sexism lurking at the heart of the party.

Time to take it out and examine it and make a commitment to fixing it. That means giving Joe Manchin a few seconds to wrap his head around being shunned until he gets onboard like all the Democratic women in 2008 who were told, unbelievably and without any proof whatsoever, that Obama was a better feminist than Hillary Clinton. And if you didn’t believe that then you’re a racist.

Some of us could see this day coming from a mile away when the party decided to push Hillary out of the way in 2008 and break any covenant the party had with women and the working class. The foundations of the party crumble while women are encouraged to give up their fulfilling careers and go home and be full time mothers. By force if necessary. 2008 got us here and the party has a lot of soul searching to do.

Obama’s reputation benefits from being a president sandwiched between two of the worst presidents in American history. He looks amazing in comparison because he didn’t start a money sucking, life wasting unprovoked war or plot a coup. We know what the party of Bush and Trump thought about women’s equality and just assume that Obama wanted to do something about it. But his actual record is silent on the issue. Assumptions don’t make him a better president when half of his constituents were casually ignored. You can’t even say he had good intentions because he publicly announced that he had no intentions at all on the matter. And I don’t want to hear another word about how transformational he was while the smoking ruins of womens’ equality surround us for years to come.

It can’t happen here? Sure it could. They’re already working on it.

All together now:

“But her emails!!”

Necessary Outrageous Precautions

I saw something similar to this the other day. Post Roe is not going to just affect poor and minority women. It’s going to affect everyone, female and male. No one gets out of this unscathed. Here’s the first big warning:

Also recommended:

  • Don’t use a credit card to buy pregnancy tests.
  • If you’re of child bearing age, don’t buy pregnancy tests at all. Have an older woman buy them for you.
  • Don’t buy pregnancy tests at a self checkout line where there might be a camera. Walmart and CVS were mentioned.
  • You know when you go to your doctor for something as simple as pink eye and they ALWAYS ask you when your last menstrual cycle was? Don’t answer that question.
  • Submit urine samples ONLY for the tests required and make sure you see the contents of the cup flushed. Ask in advance if your urine will be tested for pregnancy on top of your required test. If it is, or they tell you it’s routine, find another doctor.

Men are going to have to get used to unwanted children. They’re going to have to pay for that. Better make sure your girlfriend has a backup plan with Plan B, funds to travel out of state, and costs of medical or surgical abortion. If in doubt, put your junk back in your pants and walk away until you have an agreement.

Plan for more children than you expected in your life. Accidents happen, you might be living in Mississippi and it’s a long drive to the nearest clinic, IFF you are allowed to leave your state at all. If you have an abortion and return to your trigger state and anyone finds out about it, you should know that some state legislatures are planning to charge you with obtaining an illegal abortion, or they will sue anyone who helped you get to the clinic by providing transportation or funds. The doctors in other states may be charged by your state of residence for helping you escape motherhood. Now we really are entering the world of the Handmaid’s Tale. Fortunately for some women, especially in states like WV and Ohio, Pittsburgh is proactively passing local ordinances that will 1.) put enforcing abortion restrictions on a back burner, 2.) protecting the medical staff and people who provide transportation from out of state lawsuits 3.) crisis pregnancy centers will be required to tell women up front what they are. No deceptions or delays allowed.

Of course this has a Cinderella time limit. If Josh Shapiro doesn’t get elected governor in November in Pennsylvania, all abortion rights and protections here will go poof! The golden carriage will turn into a pumpkin, the footmen mice will be turned into the police and your beautiful ball gown will be magically transformed into maternity jeans.

I can’t envision a scenario where this reversal will not impact the lives of women with full time careers. It will. It will happen in southern states first. I predict a certain smugness. When people have power over other people, they can’t help but look at the powerless as less than 100% equal or even human. Insert Stanford Prison Experiment here.

Employers are going to seriously reconsider giving women of childbearing ages work or projects that require a lot of responsibility. There might be months of maternity leave down the road or a shortage of childcare. Why hire or promote when Brad can be available all the time? He’s putting his career first. And that’s going to impact a lot of household economies. If you are relying on your wife’s salary and she confides in someone that she’s unintentionally pregnant anf the state takes over her life to protect the fetus when that friend spreads that confidence around, you might be stuck with an 18 year responsibility that you didn’t need. And let’s be clear here, married women who get pregnant are going to be expected by society to not put an unwanted child up for adoption. The pressure on them will be intense. Women will be mommy tracked whether they want it or not.

Come to think of it, there might be fewer women going to college. Sure. Why spend money on a daughter who might end up dropping out in her sophomore year because she unintentionally got knocked up and her partner left the country for study abroad – indefinitely? It starts to look like throwing money away with a poor ROI.

Some states are trying to pass laws to prohibit employers from helping their female employees travel to safe states for procedures. Yes, they intend to go that far. That will affect a lot of American corporations that are already short staffed.

It’s going to be a nightmare. But I doubt suburban women who voted Republican in 2016 and just wanted a change and couldn’t stop hating Hillary for what Bill did with Monica were thinking about the implications at the time. People can be extremely short sighted and lack the twisted imagination of a fanatical religious anti-choice activist. They are diabolically clever.

The blow against half the country’s population is only the first assault. The next one will target all that money you paid into social security and Medicare all through the years. Don’t believe me? Ok. I’m just being hysterical. I’m exaggerating. People EARNED that money. They’ll never touch social security.

Yeah, that’s what they told us about Roe 6 years ago.

***********

And now a musical interlude for all of the women who just got Catholicism as their official religion:

Hall of Shame

There are so many things to write about, in the aftermath of the Dobbs decision, which for the first time in American history, had a Supreme Court taking away a personal right which had been previously granted by an earlier Supreme Court, and had actually been law for fifty years, with hundreds of millions of people relying on it.

We need to look at whether we can overcome this, and get the right back; how we can possibly combat the fascist theocrats who bid to take over he country; what our chances might be in the November elections. But I feel like focusing, just for now, on the various people and forces who got us here. Of course the Republicans were the prime evildoers, but that were plenty of useful idiots, spiteful fools, arrogant and self-indulgent people who would always convince themselves that they were on the right side, but whose actions and statements played right into the hands of evil.

I have a very good memory for things; not everything, but particularly those with an emotional content. My parents were very good at that, too; they had all sorts of stories about which Congressman or radio personality helped Joe McCarthy spread his reign of terror, or who helped Nixon rise to power, or which celebrity supported him. We would be watching or discussing a movie, and one or both of my parents would tell me how much they disliked this or that star, and it was often because of their politics. They would never forget, and I admired them for that, because one shouldn’t, one should not let bad people slither away from responsibility, even though of course most of them do not face any direct consequences.

So I do that, too. And there are a few people which stand out in my mind over the past twenty years or so, those who contributed in their way to the virtual takeover of America by fascists. This is not like Nixon’s Enemies List, I am not planning to do anything more than mention them; maybe some people will think less of them, which would be some small salve. The list is in no order of degree or chronology.

All the media who in the 2000 election, kept trying everything they could to even up the race between the respected Vice President Al Gore, who had been a senator, who had served in Vietnam as a journalist, who was quite intelligent; and his opponent GW Bush, who was a governor in a state where the Lieutenant Governor had more power; who had gone AWOL from his National Guard post, who had no knowledge or interest in any aspect of governing.

So they kept making the campaign about Gore fundraising at a Japanese Temple; about his uncertainty as to what color suit to wear; about him audibly sighing at the first presidential debate. This was the first notable example of “both-sidesing” a crucial race, to give the far less knowledgeable and articulate Republican a chance to defeat the Democratic candidate.

Then in the famous recount in Florida, the media’s efforts to avoid pointing out that Gore would surely win if the votes were recounted. That really is all that should have mattered. The Supreme Court stopped the recount just before Gore pulled ahead for good. And putting that all aside for a moment, the amount of votes for Ralph Nader in Florida easily were enough to have given Gore the presidency, had even half of them voted for Gore, instead of throwing the vote away. And do we remember the “butterfly ballots” which confused some elderly voters so that they punched in a vote for Pat Buchanan? For want of a nail…

Then, in 2004, faced with a similar problem, the media managed to make the election about whether decorated Veteran John Kerry had actually made it all up, or shot himself, as the right-wing fanatics claimed. Special mention goes to Chris Matthews, who put the “Swiftboaters” on his show every single day, with the tease, “We have new claims by the Swiftboat people.” They were all utter lies, slanders, but they made for good ratings for Matthews.

Out of all this, we got the Iraq War, a devastating collapse of the housing market, and Roberts and Alito on the Supreme Court.

Then we had President Obama, who does not go on the list, but who sat there and did nothing while Mitch McConnell, in a stunning display of contempt, refused to let the Senate hold a hearing on swing Justice nominee Merrick Garland. Obama had a 53% “Favorability Rating” which he had carefully cultivated by never combating Republicans; but even in his last months of tenure, he would not risk any of it, by going on national TV and attacking this absolute contempt for the judicial system, and very likely unconstitutionality, on a daily basis, and sending the issue of whether “advise and consent” is an affirmative duty, to the 4-4 Supreme Court. He just let it go, something no Republican would ever do.

And then we had the 2016 campaign, where the media outdid itself in desperately trying to make Trump look coherent, and disparaging Hillary Clinton in every way possible. We remember if far too well to want to review it again, except for a few names that stand out to me. So many people who latched onto the biggest political red herring of all time, her mail server and emails, as if they were either incredibly bad journalists, or wanted Trump to win, or were so excited to be able to attack her every hour, and maybe get some kind of prize for it.

Do you remember Carl Bernstein, excited to be back on TV again, saying that he was sure that “the email story was bigger than Watergate?” Or Matt Lauer and the others who thought they were Perry Mason, and that she was going to confess to something, anything, or just break down and cry, or else attack them, so that they could attack her more?

Of course there is Bernie Sanders and his Bernie Bros, whom I have mentioned on several occasions, but they cannot be ignored, and he and they are still there.

Then there is Eddie Glaude, who seems to have become a regular guest on various shows on MSNBC, who said that it was a race between “the devil you know” (presumably Hillary), and “the devil you don’t know (presumably Trump), “and why should you have to vote for a devil?” Glaude said that he was not voting in the election. Somehow this has not destroyed his chances to ever be on TV again, as he just carries on as if he had no responsibility at all for the societal problems he angrily declaims about. How many people followed him, or Susan Sarandon, and did not vote in that election?

Then Maggie Haberman of the NYT, who somehow got a Pulitzer Prize by writing down everything that Trump fed to her on a daily basis. She is still doing it. And who can forget her excited tweet, “Looky here! I’ve just gotten my hands on an advance copy of ‘Clinton Cash.'” That was a Far Right funded book whose claims were completely debunked by credible journalists, but boy, did she want Trump to win, it made her career.

We of course have NYT Editor Dean Baquet, who has turned the once prestigious paper into a right-wing rag with a thin veneer of class. Their infamous headlines the week before the election, “Clinton campaign jolted by new emails” (there were no new emails). and “FBI finds no clear link between Trump and Russia” (also a lie planted by Giuliani’s cabal in SDNY), probably decided the election.

And of course combined with FBI Director Comey being so afraid of the Republicans in Congress, and hating the Clintons so much, that he did exactly what the Trump people wanted, and implied that he was reopening an investigation, which he recanted as soon as he saw that there were no new emails, that the FBI had held onto Anthony Weiner’s laptop in order to invent this falsity, but of course it was too late. To this day, Comey has never accepted any blame for this travesty, not that it would have mattered.

And then there were the Intelligence reports that President Obama was receiving; we read in a story from after the election, that they were coming from six different intelligence agencies, that Russia and Putin were interfering with the election on behalf of Trump. The sourced story stated that Obama went to McConnell to ask him to make a joint statement with him about this immensely serious matter, but McConnell not only refused, he said that he would verbally charge Obama with unduly trying to influence the election from the White House.

So Obama apparently backed down, made no statements, and as we know, there was major collusion between Trump and Russia, with Manafort being central to that, giving polling date to Kilimnik, who then worked with Cambridge Analytic to craft thousands of fake news stores on Facebook to specifically target voters in key states. Once Trump took power, investigations into this were shut down or blocked, Comey was fired, and so the story that Obama had been given, never got out to the American people before the election, or even after it.

So that got us Trump, and then Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett, Barrett’s nomination being rammed through right before the next election, when voting had already started. It is really as simple as that. All the things that so many millions of people are now miserable and frightened about, could mostly have vanished, had these other steps, the virtually impotent reaction to them by President Obama, and then the media’s bias, greed, and complete dereliction of duty, not taken place. Obama may have meant well both times, but didn’t want to fight, so let McConnell get his way, and roll over him. For want of a battle, the kingdom was lost.

And we must have a special paragraph for the NYT’s Maureen Dowd, whose weird combination of Mean Girl jealousy, and twisted sexual predilections, caused her to gush over the “manliness” of GW Bush, and mock the “wimpiness” of Al Gore; to write columns like “Donald the dove, Hillary the hawk,” and “Donald Trump is wicked, but he’s wicked smart,” and to pursue Hillary Clinton for decades on a daily basis, like one of the Eumenides. And she is still there, not an iota or reflection or remorse in her psyche.

There are more such people, but those are the ones who most come to mind right now. Virtually everything that is happening now is a direct result of those past elections, and of the stupid and arrogant people and malicious jerks who caused it to, or let it happen.

And many might say that this is all in the past, and that we must focus on the future, what we must do now. But I would say that this is is not just about calling people out, and holding them responsible for what they did, but that if we don’t see the path, we will certainly end up just letting them, or others of the same nature, do it many more times, and then there will be no way to come back from it.

Past is more than just prologue, it is precedent and pattern. All the terrible things that Republicans have done, and are now even accentuating, could not have succeeded nearly so well, if they had not been aided every step of the way by their pawns and self-righteous dupes, who will get right back to it once the shock of the overturning of Roe v. Wade has subsided. We have to combat them nearly every bit as much as the Republicans.

Stay out of the woods

From the Handmaid’s Tale, season 4 finale. Recap: Commander Fred Waterford who with his wife helped overthrow the government of the United States, created the place called Gilead, and crafted the idea that young fertile women should be held in captivity to serve as brood mares without access to abortion or contraceptives, meets the escaped women he put into servitude in a dark no-man’s land woods somewhere on the border between Canada and the US.

Editor, roll the tape:

Sic Semper Tyrannis.

See you in November.

Nightmare Scenarios

How the Roe decision leaving women’s lives up to the individual states will affect women.

Scenario 1:

States will prohibit the free movement of women of childbearing age to prevent them from traveling to states that might provide them with abortions.

Case:

Tracey is a 29 year old sales rep living in Ohio. Her state has a heartbeat law and is instituting a Texas style aid and abetting law so that anyone who helps a woman access any abortion is subject to a civil lawsuit.

She is commuting with several other company employees from Ohio to Pittsburgh. There is an abortion clinic in Pittsburgh and the current governor has vowed to protect access to abortion with everything he’s got (thank you, Tom Wolf). In the minivan, there are two men who are junior to Tracey in her department. There is one other woman.

At the border, the van is pulled over. Ohio state police? Anti-choice vigilantes? Who knows. Tracey and the other woman are asked to get out of the car and are administered pregnancy tests. Tracey tests positive although she didn’t know she was pregnant.

The other woman is allowed to get back in the car speechless, furious and humiliated and notices that Brad in the backseat is smirking. The driver of the car is given notice that he will be sued. Tracey misses her sales meeting because she is immediately driven to a crisis pregnancy center.

Question: Who will get the biggest sales bonus this year? Will the men in the group decide to go to meetings and social events without their female colleagues?

Scenario 2:

The state has passed a fetal protection bill that holds women and anyone she is affiliated with criminally responsible for any harm that comes to an embryo or fetus.

Case:

Alice is a principal investigator at a biotech that researches cancer and produces biologic therapeutics. Alice works in a lab where she may be exposed to teratogenic compounds. Alice has been studying a particular pathway and needs a few more months in the lab to perform experiments, analyze data and write a paper for Nature where she will be the first author. She’s 95% certain that her discovery will lead to a major breakthrough that will save thousands of cancer patients a year. This will put her on the path to major awards in her lifetime.

However, Alice is of childbearing age. Because she may not realize she is pregnant, she may be harming her embryo if she works around these potentially harmful compounds. In an abundance of caution, the company removes Alice from the lab and prevents her from entering it again even if she isn’t pregnant. She will need to give instructions to her subordinates to carry out the research from an office in another part of the building away from any labs.

Question(s): Who gets credit for the work? Why is this company paying for an employee who can’t actually do the job anymore when Joe Hotshot-Labrat has been doing all the work and has been passing the patentable work as his own?

List your scenario. There are going to be a bajillion of them.