Showing posts with label Supreme Court. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Supreme Court. Show all posts

June 29, 2023

What if Democrats played politics as dirty as Republicans?


By Hal Brown

I was thinking of writing about this last night but thought it was too simplistic an idea to write more than a few sentences. Then first thing this morning I was watching "Morning Joe" and they were discussing how President Biden talked about this story:

Biden mocks Tuberville for touting broadband funding he voted against 

and Joe referred to this story because it was about Alabama:

The United States Supreme Court for the present saved Democracy in rejecting the Independent State Legislature theory, but as this NPR story says, at least for the present time:

Supreme Court rejects Independent State Legislature theory, but leaves door ajar

This is also being discussed on MSNBC as I write this:

What could happen if the Supreme Court ruled the other way?

The panicked progressive pundits presume that this would result in it being almost impossible for a Democrat to win another presidential election in the foreseeable future.

This might be the case if it was based on assuming that all states where Democrats controlled the legislature didn't reverse the results in elections where the Republican candidate for president won.

Call it playing hardball or dirty, this could only happen if the Democrats played the game of politics by bending or outright suspending the rules of democracy. 

What if Democrats played ruthlessly and often without regards to ethics and truth, let alone simple decency and decorum, the way the Republicans (with rare exceptions) do?

A recent example of playing hardball comes from Massachusetts where their lesbian governor, Maura Healey, used state tourism dollars to put up pro-LGBTQ billboards in Florida and Texas (read article here):

Click above to enlarge image

Here in my home state of Oregon, where by coincidence Tina Kotek became the second openly lesbian governor (Maura Healey was the first) our state now allows terminally ill people to come here to take advantage of our death with dignity law (read article).

States where abortions are legal and which are adjacent to states where it isn't or is highly restricted are also moving family planning clinics close to their borders. See 

New Abortion Clinics Are Opening Near Borders and Airports to Stretch Access as Far as It Will Go - Time Magazine

Back to the Ballot Box

How would election night look if state legislators could change the outcome?

For those of you who watch MSNBC on election nights and marvel at how Steve Kornacki (above) explains the voting patterns with his famous "big board" imagine how he'd have to explain what the vote count meant adding in whether the state legislator might overturn the outcome.

If every state legislature was to engage in the practice of making sure that their state cast their Electoral College votes for one party or the other the results of all presidential election would be determined in advance. 

The only more-or-less fair elections in the country would end up being those for candidates running for local office with the most important for how the country is run aside from who represents the state in Congress would be for the state legislature. The states which controlled the most Electoral College votes would determine the outcome of every presidential election.

June 4, 2023

How article about Jack Smith reconvening grand jury sent me a mystical message about justice's jigsaw puzzle

 How article about Jack Smith reconvening grand jury sent me a mystical message about justice's jigsaw puzzle

By Hal Brown

I read through this article (shown above):

NBC News: Grand jury in Trump classified documents case expected to meet this coming week after hiatus

A grand jury that has been hearing evidence in the case against former President Donald Trump is expected to meet this coming week in Washington after a lull.

It lays out in great detail how Trump is likely to be charged in the Mar-a-Lago documents case and what his various defense tactics could be. You can read the article above or a summary here:

After I read the NBC News article I scrolled through the names of the five reporters who are credited with the scoop.

(On and most platforms this is published on you can click the following images to enlarge them.)

 and came to the following:

It often happens that I open advertising websites accidentally because the trackpad on my laptop is very sensitive. If I touch it lightly when the cursor is over and ad the ad opens. By mistake I clicked on the animated ad from CRAFTHUB for jigsaw puzzles on the left above. This took me here:

Sometimes ads pop up in the middle of articles that seem to be there because some artificial intelligence was playing a joke or making a snark comment in reaction to the text surrounding the ad. In this case were the cybergods saying making a commentary about the evidence and aspects of the legal morass in this particular case, and even about all of the literal trials and testicle twisting tribulations facing Donald Trump.

Full Disclosure: I write the following as a secular Jew who doesn't believe in God and considers the Bible to be book of fables mixed with accounts of actual events.

There are lots of pieces to the judicial jigsaw puzzle, or puzzles, involving Trump, but eventually the American judicial system may have its come to Jesus moment.* Despite in significant instances from the ironically named Supreme Court to lesser courts having followed the Fallen Angel into his domain, it will have a  redemption of near Biblical proportions.

It is a sickly icky irony that the far right member of these courts wear the cloaks of Christianity while making rulings that if there was to be a Second Coming Jesus would be having a serious sit-down with them to enlighten them about the errors of their ways. Of course considering that John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett are Catholic they don't have to wait until the End of Times. They could confess their transgressions to their priest.

Related article:

November 1, 2022

There is no longer a "We the People of United States"

 There is no longer a "We the People of The United States"

by Hal Brown
 The morning after Halloween I envisioned zombies dancing when I read title of this column this morning

America must step out of this self-destructive zombie dance

The title of the column by Amanda Ripley (the author of “High Conflict: Why We Get Trapped — and How We Get Out”) suggests she is going to give us an answer.

Here are a few excerpts:

High conflict — the kind that is self-destructive and stubbornly resistant to resolution — is not mysterious. And we have much more wisdom about how to respond to it than we think.

The only good option is to do counterintuitive things. We must step out of the zombie dance we are in... One lesson I’ve learned in covering dysfunctional conflict for the past five years is that most people, even very violent people, want to live. And they want their families to be safe. That is one thing we all have in common. Horrific incidents such as the one at Pelosi’s home offer an unusual (and fleeting) opportunity to invite people to do something differently.

Here's where she began to lose me as she explained solutions The bolds are hers.

First, sign the contract. All over the world, the U.S. government has pushed politicians to sign codes of conduct in times of conflict. Gang-violence interrupters do this every day in Chicago and other cities — urging combatants and their supporters to join a nonaggression pact. It’s time to invite American politicians and pundits to do what we’ve long asked other people, in far more harrowing circumstances, to do.

Uh oh, with the word "invite" my wishful thinking alarm just went off.

She went on:

In politics, this might mean pledging not to dehumanize one’s opponent on social media or elsewhere (by saying they are evil or hate the United States, for example). The codes could include vows to accept the results of the election after reasonable due process and, of course, to condemn all acts of violence, especially when they are perpetrated against a member of the opposition. 

Really? What world is she living in?

Going down the rabbit hole to her next highlighted paragraph:

Walk the walk. Part of how we got into this mess is by watching politicians and pundits gleefully attack each other on TV. Part of how we get out of it is by doing the opposite: having credible messengers from each side demonstrate human decency.

She concludes that section with:
One thing Americans still do exceptionally well is to produce original, creative content. We tell stories that move people to imagine a better world. Now is the time to tell a different story, one of courage and decency alongside honest debate.
This is true, but assuming this content is produced, where does it go to reach the people who need it the most? Fox News, the fever swamps of social media? I don't think so.

Here's her next suggestion:

Right-size the fear. One predictable cause of collective violence is collective fear. When threat levels are high and fear is mixed with contempt, disgust and humiliation, humans will feel they have no choice but to annihilate one another. 

This is what disturbs me in the last paragraph of the essay. Who are the "we" (my bold) below?

We, the public, are being manipulated by conflict mongers. We are being turned against each other and we are all suffering, to different degrees. It is time to question these storylines, to question our fears as often as we have learned to question truth. And then demand something radically different, something that will enable us to coexist. We know how to do this.

There is no collective "we" in the United States and other countries where there is a battle between a group, call them "bad people" who want a facisist country as long as their side is in control, and "good people" who want democracy where, to be corny, the Gold Rule prevails. Here and in countries like Brazil the most recently, the good people barely outnumber the bad.

There is, alas, no "we the public" - just as there is no longer a "we the people" as in the first paragraph in the U.S. Constitution.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Democratic and Republican politicians have taken to holding up their pocket sized copies of the U.S. Constitution. Here's something Trump and Obama have in  common. Someone decided it was worth publishing pocket Constitutions with them on the cover. The Obama is $9.99 and Trump's is $14.99. It's as it if has become a prop.

Historians and constitutional scholars correctly debate what the Founders meant by "we" and the words in the preamble to the document.

It certainly wasn't everyone in every case in every way. But it was clear that they wanted "a more perfect union" and to insure a mechanism for amending the Constitution over time. Perhaps some like George Washington,  Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, and Alexander Hamilton  envisioned the 13th Amendment freeing the slaves would be ratified  about 100 years later in 1865.

It is now up to the Supreme Court to interpret what the Founders meant and how it should be applied to the issues of the day. The basic question remains: what is the meaning of "we the people?"

Clearly, there is a significant segment of the population that doesn't want "we" to mean everyone.

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