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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.

20 Responses

  1. Agree almost completely William. What we are witnessing is the BEST COURT money can buy… and its GOP money.

    The only feasible way to do that is to add Court seats.

    Yes, BUT… the last time I saw anything it was Biden saying he was not in favor of this.

    He [Biden] is what he is, a decent person trying to do good things

    Here is where we disagree… Biden might be a decent person, but if he wants to do good things for the country he’s got to wake up.
    Now with the stories circulating that Biden has cut a deal with McConnell over Conservative judges for the District court (whatever circuit KY is in) I am apoplectic. Assuming this is true (and now I am seeing it on more sites), so I assume it is, I don’t think I can pull the lever for Biden if he runs for re-election… In fact I would be in favor of him being 25thed if this is true.

    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

    Agreed, and the Obama era bullshit of “when they go low we go high” has to end… played directly into GOP hands, and I could probably be convinced that it was intentional.

    • Changing the size of the Court is not without precedent: there were originally 6 Justices, but the number was expanded to 7 and then 9 as the country grew. Lincoln successfully had the number increased to 10, which allowed him to proceed with some of his wartime policies (particularly the blockade of Confederate ports). After his death, the Republican Congress reduced the number back to 7 to prevent Andrew Johnson from nominating any Justices. It was later increased back to the 9 we have today, so objections based on FDR’s failed attempt to pack the Court are pretty much baseless.

      My concern is that when the electoral pendulum swings back we’ll see the GOP do the same thing and we’ll get into some sort of tit-for-tat augmentation of the Court. I’m not sure there’s any alternative. These latest decisions are the most shameful since Dred Scott.

      • I think that this would be preferable to what we have now, the prospect of this Court ripping apart the entire country and turning it into some kind of oligarchical or dictatorial religious state.

        If we made the Court 13, and then the Republicans made if 25, and then we made it 51…well of course it would take years. But the Court would lose all credibility, which is what we want now. They have no martial power, they cannot enforce their decisions. The only power they have is that they would enable lawsuits by their benefactors. But if we could keep appointing judges to lower courts, we could get favorable rulings at the district or state level which they would have to appeal to the Supreme Court, but what if we don’t follow it? Right now, we see some state courts refusing to enforce anti-abortion laws for now. The more chaos in the legal field, the better it is. Strange that people on our side, who always would argue for legal clarity, and the power of rational jurisprudence, would actually now be better off if the Supreme Court lost its status and power. Is there any area in which we would need them for something benefiitting justice and democracy?

        • The supreme court definitely has lost it’s status. 2/3 of the country sees it as a joke. People are going to refuse to obey the edicts they send down. They might as well be 6 people sitting a beer hall writing legal opinions.

      • What I would do is write legislation stating that the supreme court can only be expanded when districts are expanded. So we have 13 districts now so we can have 13 supreme court justices. Also part of reform could be taking away the lifetime appointment.

        • What about travel vouchers and pardoning anyone who tries to get an out of state abortion? If he allows this modern day witch trial to continue without any solution other than “just vote” he has blood on his hands as far as I’m concerned

          • The pardon power extends only to “offenses against the United States”. The President can’t pardon someone convicted of a crime under state law – this is why Trump was so worried about the New York investigation.

            Given this current decision, I’m not sure a Federal law codifying Roe wouldn’t be thrown out by the Court as usurping state authority under the 10th Amendment. I suppose the Federal government could claim that the purpose of the law was to enforce the Equal Protection clause of the 14th.

            I don’t see how a state can claim extraterritorial jurisdiction over abortions without violating the commerce clause. Only the Federal government can regulate interstate commerce. Perhaps I am insufficiently imaginative.

          • I have seen the pardon suggestion which actually seems like a pretty good idea. I don’t know about the rest but my post really was about expanding the court.

        • Well, Ga6th, that’s the way things originally were. One Justice per District, which is why the number of Justices increased to 9 in the first place. There’s certainly ample precedent for increasing the number of Justices to that number now.

        • I think it would take an Amendment to implement term limits. Articls III, Section 1 says:

          The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour,

          which I think implies that their terms can have no statutory limitation.

    • Haven’t we all had enough? What good is a Democratic president if we are just left to suffer like this? Why isn’t he implementing Elizabeth Warren’s idea of putting abortion clinics on federal land? He is the president and he needs to start acting like it!

      • My 2 cents worth:

        Biden came to the Senate when it was a contentious but nevertheless collegial body, where compromise and bipartisan cooperation were still possible. He still thinks of it that way, because his decades of experience tell him it’s so and that’s the way to get things done there.That’s just not the case anymore. There are people in his own party (and we know who they are) who are really playing for the other team and have absolutely no intention of contributing to his success.

      • Putting abortion clinics on federal land would not work from what I have read because the GOP would just stalk women and then arrest them once they left the federal areas.

        • From my rather hasty reading, I think this depends on whether the Federal government has exclusive or concurrent jurisdiction over the Federal land in question, which depends on when and how the land was acquired by the Federal government and whether the state legislature ceded jurisdiction when the land was acquired. If the land was owned by the Federal government before the state was admitted or the legislature ceded jurisdiction when the land was acquired, then the Federal government has exclusive jurisdiction and state law doesn’t apply there. I don’t see how a state could prosecute under those circumstances.

          • The other night, the governor of New Mexico was suggesting to Biden that clinics be placed on sovereign lands within states with bans, much as casinos are currently exempt from state gambling prohibitions. Biden appeared to be taking notes. I am not sure if such sovereign nations can be so exempted, particularly in light of the Supreme Court decision, but it may be dependent on their individual compacts.

    • My understanding is he cut some deal with McConnell but it only works IF there is a vacancy and there is no vacancy and none looking to be there in many years. I don’t know where this story came from but I would assume it is a GOP head fake fed to the media just like the undercutting of Cassidy’s testimony Tuesday.

      My biggest problem with Biden is the same problem I had with him when he was in the primary and that he fails to recognize how evil the GOP is. Yes, he definitely needs to wake up and he needs to drop the Obama shtick. It’ didn’t work for Obama that well and it doesn’t work for him at all.

  2. 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.

    I wish I could be sure of that. Barring (no pun intended) a conviction for seditious conspiracy or some sort of serious health issue, I don’t see him standing down. Whether he can con the GOP into nominating him or a sufficient number of voters into electing him is another matter, but I wouldn’t count him out just yet. Last time, I thought he’d be out of the race by New Hampshire and look how that turned out.,

    • Supposedly he is going to announce July 4th. I don’t see how the GOP stops him and he has the base of 40% for the GOP primaries that he had in 2015 and the way their primaries are set up that is enough to win the nomination.

  3. Check RD’s last post for the usual Friday night links, since I can’t post any links or images on William’s threads.

  4. Perhaps we could just make it a Federal crime to conspire to impede a woman’s access to abortion?

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