A Captured SCOTUS

A lot of the tradecraft of covert operations was used as they stealthily crept up to and captured the Supreme Court and now instructed in what it is that they wish to get done. And so I think once people have those two thoughts in mind that this is a captured court, not a conservative court, and that the manner in which it is captured is akin to an intelligence type covert operation, then you can begin to think about what the solution is. Once you’ve identified the illness, you could begin to think about the cure.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
Amicus – Religious Liberty and the Right to Vacation in Jackson Hole – NOV 23, 2022

The Scheme: How the Right Wing Used Dark Money to Capture the Supreme Court by Sheldon Whitehouse

If you want to understand the magnitude of the problem of the captured SCOTUS, you need look no farther than the next case on the docket for the SCOTUS:

Amicus – The Blockbuster Case That You Probably Haven’t Heard About – DEC 03, 2022

As Hila Keren points out repeatedly in that episode, the principal that should be at the heart of this case is that the marketplace must remain open, not subjected to every single little objection that can be thrown up by various believing parties who come to the marketplace and want their beliefs to be honored without question while participating in the market.

The SCOTUS shouldn’t even be hearing this case because there is no real case to be heard here. There is no one who wants a website made by the plaintiff because the plaintiff doesn’t even offer that service in the first place. It is a case crafted to be heard by this SCOTUS; a SCOTUS that has been put in place by the very same people who crafted this case. This entire scheme is improper and should be derailed before these people make a mockery of our entire system of justice.

Monuments to the Unthinkable

What I think is helpful is not to conflate these two things or not to suggest they are the same, but to put them in conversation with one another so that we can learn about them, so that I can think about what it means that Angola prison in Louisiana – the largest maximum security prison in the country where 75% of the people held there are Black men and 70% of them are serving life sentences – what does it mean that that is built on top of a former plantation?

I’ll always remember my trip to Dachau and standing in Dachau and seeing this sort of vast expanse of gray land. Look to your left – you see the remnants of the crematorium. You look to your right – you see the remnants of the barracks. And I close my eyes and I imagine what it would be like if; on that land, they built a prison. And in that prison, the vast majority of the people held there were Jewish.

I couldn’t even finish the thought exercise because it was so viscerally upsetting. It was so absurd. It would be such a horrific, inexcusable manifestation of antisemitism.

…And yet here in the United States, the largest maximum security prison in the country in which the vast majority of people are Black men serving life sentences, many of whom work in fields, picking crops for pennies on the hour – what does it mean that that place is built on top of a former plantation? The failure of American memory around chattel slavery allows a place like Angola to exist in a way that a more direct confrontation with memory in Germany would never allow a similar space in Germany to exist in the same way.

Clint Smith
NPR – Fresh Air – ‘Monuments to the Unthinkable’ explores how nations can memorialize their atrocities – December 1, 2022

youtubemuseumandmemorial.eji.org

It is the very act of attempting to remember that becomes the most powerful memorial of all.

The Atlantic/Clint Smith
How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America – June 1, 2021 by Clint Smith 

MAGA: Amnesty – It’s Not a Border or an Immigration Problem.

More than two million people tried to cross the US-Mexico border in 2022, according to officials. They want to make this sound like a large number. It would be a large number, if these people were migrants and expected to go back and forth across the border each year.

These people are not migrants though, no matter how many talking heads call them migrants. They aren’t moving back and forth across the border several times a year, what migratory means. They aren’t just coming here because they want to move to America, what the word immigrant means. For the most part, these people don’t want to be here, they were forced to come here out of fear of where they were.

Allusionist 53: The Away Team – March 31, 2017

They are not immigrants beyond the fact that they want American protection from persecution (as foolish as believing that America will value the lives of refugees may be) and so want to become American citizens, with all the baggage that comes with being brown-skinned people in the original home of White Supremacy.

These people are refugees. That’s how you get two million people crossing a border into another country in a year. They are not invaders, drug runners or any other kind of criminal. They are poor, desperate people and we are using them as pawns in our political battles. We should be ashamed of ourselves.

texasstandard.org

Americans are outraged about the influx of refugees at the Southern border; at least, that is what Greg Abbott and the Texas GOP would like you to believe. They are betting on you being willing to torture poor refugee families in the name of your own security. That is the bet they are making in 2022. Will you do it? Will you go down to the border and use a cattle prod on these poor people in order to drive them back to their countries of origin, or will you be happy to allow the Texas and Mexican governments do your dirty work for you?

What needs to be done is to fix our amnesty rules, fix the injustices in Venezuela and Brazil and half a dozen other countries South of our border here in the United States. Injustices that we helped to create with decades of money to banana republics that we helped to create in the first place. South America is the way it is now largely because we made it that way, because it suited our corporations commodity-extracting needs. Now that these refugees from our policies show up on our door, we need to torture them some more? I think we’ve seen enough depravity now.

Lawyers for Martha’s Vineyard Migrants Call for Criminal Probe
facebook.com/Stonekettle
New York City considers legal action against Texas over migrant buses

There isn’t a problem on the border that passing legislation that fixes the immigration system won’t address. That isn’t a presidential problem, that’s a @SenTedCruz problem.

The biggest problem with immigration is Republicans cowardice in dealing with immigration. @marcorubio is the poster child for this cowardice, scuttling his own bill in the face of grassroots Republican xenophobia.

These cowards have no room to complain now. We cannot just close the fucking border. That isn’t a possibility and these Senators have to know this. We need immigrants. They do most of the shit jobs in this country, so keeping them out hurts the Republican capitalist religion.

This self destructive bullshit fear mongering has to stop. There is blood on all Republicans hands now. The El Paso shooting, the Uvalde shooting, etcetera. Republicans created the environment where these events take place and so all of them are to blame for those deaths.

It sickens me that I am represented in the Senate by these cowards. That my governor is no better than a coyote exploiting the desperate people who show up at our border seeking help. That Republicans in Texas would encite this violence in their pursuit of power.

I will vote for anyone who has a workable humane solution to this problem that has festered since long before I was born. The problem for Republicans is that they don’t have any proposals that are humane and workable. Which means they won’t be getting any sympathy for from me.

twitter


The midterm elections are over. Texas has spoken; and Texas as a whole is every bit as xenophobic and racist as most of us liberals feared it was. Texas has re-elected not only the grandstanding demagogue that is Governor Greg Abbott, but they also re-elected the only Attorney General in the United States that was under felony indictment at the time of their election, Ken Paxton.

Texas has declared its intentions to flaunt the law and common decency for the extent of the foreseeable future, and so I think the United States should answer the declared intentions of the citizenry of Texas. If Texas thinks it can get by without the help of the United States, the federal government should kick out the props that keep the Texas economy afloat and see how well the state really does without that federal money.

There are many ways this can be done without harming the day to day life of the average Texan directly, and yet starving the criminal enterprise that is Texas state government under Greg Abbott and single-party Republican rule. I would start with the money that the federal government gives to Texas to cover the costs of border security and immigration.

The US government pays Texas to deal with immigrants and asylum seekers. This is the second largest income that Texas gets (21 billion in 2004 from the feds) it’s probably not enough given the drain that refugees exact on the governments who wind up sheltering them; but still, Texas is paid to deal with the refugee problem itself and not to spend that money shipping asylum seekers to other states and contractually gagging the contractors that are illegally transporting non-citizens across state lines. Not only should charges be brought against Greg Abbott and the transportation operator for the crime of moving non-citizens across state lines (basically, Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis are coyotes) but I think that the US government should go even farther and take back the money that Texas is misappropriating and put it to use in solving the problem.

The US and Mexico should just designate an area along the Texas-Mexico border as the place to go to apply for asylum, to apply for entry into the United States, the way that Ellis island was used a century ago. Some portion of Texas and some portion of Mexico should just be federalized and set aside to deal with this growing problem of amnesty and climate refugee status, some place large enough to house these people for as long as it takes to resolve their cases and find them permanent shelter somewhere else. Staff these new facilities with enough judges and US attorneys as well as beds and commissaries to house and feed the people that Texas just leaves out in the cold, pretending they don’t have the funds to fix the problem.

Stop paying Texas to play with the lives of the innocent victims of abusive governments we helped to create, stop paying Texas to keep out migrant labor that the rest of the country needs. It’s time to meet Greg Abbott on the hill he has chosen to die on, politically. If he wants to ally with the White Nationalists and xenophobes that back Trump today, he’s going to have to do so at the cost of Texas land itself and Texas’ economic prosperity.

reddit

Featured image: https://graphics.reuters.com/USA-IMMIGRATION/MEXICO/mopankddwva/

Lady Justice and Charlottesville Nazis

It will surprise you not at all to hear this comes up in almost every chapter, but some woman says “it just needed to be done” and I didn’t sit around workshopping it for three months, I just did it.

Dahlia Lithwick

Call me weird, but that put a lump in my throat.

Amicus – Listen to Lady Justice – SEPT 26, 2022

I went ahead and sprang for the book. I’ll get back to you on listening to the book through my podcast app. Not sure how I’m going to like that. As of December when I checked this entry and then archived it, I still haven’t gotten past chapter two of the book. It’s not that the book doesn’t hold my interest, it is that the chapters are listed as articles in my podcast app and I simply have too many other podcasts that I’m not listening to that I go to first instead of listening to the book. Won’t be doing this (buying a book to stream like a podcast) again.

ChiCon 8 Day 5

With all of the masking we’ve been doing for the last three years I’ve begun to notice that there is something private and sensual about seeing other people’s lips. Or is it just me?

First panel of the day was What Does Justice Look Like? (Christine Amsden, Jean Bürlesk, Matt Mitrovich, Su J Sokol) The panelists all appeared to agree that criminal justice should look like restorative justice and not incarceration or revenge. I really can’t argue with that belief because it seems to be backed up by facts and experience.

Economic and social justice could best be achieved by simply establishing universal basic income (UBI). Once again, experience and evidence seems to suggest that it is the best way to address so many ills of the world and would go a long way towards saving society money since eliminating poverty with UBI would end most crime and address housing, food and healthcare problems. How do we fund it? Imagine that every moment in any life has an attached value that can be monetized and the individual paid some significant portion of that value. This is simply redefining what basic economic value is. An accounting trick that benefits us all. That’s my interpretation of the problem, anyway. Most people including the panelists seem to be caught up in the delusion of money.

How do we achieve this new justice? Talk. Consensus. Action.


My second panel of the day was Viewing the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse (David Stokes, Jack Glassman, Randall Roman, Vanessa MacLaren-Wray) I’ve had the date noted as a scheduled post on the blog for a few years now. I need ideas and text to populate that blog entry, ergo my interest in this panel. Eclipses happen because of Syzygy: the nearly straight-line configuration of three celestial bodies (such as the sun, moon, and earth during a solar or lunar eclipse) in a gravitational system. This happens approximately twice a month. We don’t get eclipses twice monthly because the Earth, Moon, Sun system don’t quite line up, which leads to a lot of missed eclipses.

High ultraviolet and infrared light during low visible light portions of a partial eclipse is why you shouldn’t look directly at the sun without protection; at least until totality is achieved. Then you can look directly at it. Your pain sensors in your eyes protect you from overexposing and destroying your retinas during normal sunlight, however you can blind yourself by looking at a partial eclipse without ever feeling any pain.

So wear those protective lenses. There is a list of approved vendors on the American Astronomical Society website. One of the panelists had a handful of Rainbow Symphony give away glasses to pass out, the same kind of glasses that he hands out at eclipse events while performing his duties as a professor. He teased us with an image of the Coronado personal solar telescope. I’d still rather have a regular telescope and I’ll use the sun filters that come with one of those to look at the sun. A twofer.

There will be an annular eclipse in mid-October 2023, a preview of the total eclipse that will happen 177 days later in April of 2024. If you go to Albuquerque to see it you can ride in a balloon at the balloon festival and witness it, if that is your kind of thing.


The Wife and I broke down her art show display and packed it up for transport back to Austin. Very little art going back with us, which is the kind of thing you want to happen when you bring art to sell at a convention. We aren’t going to break even on this trip but we did sell enough to cover part of the costs at least.

After I finished lugging all the art back up to the room, I popped in to catch the last half of What Is Our Climate Future? (Angeli Primlani, Eli K.P. William, Mike Fortner, Vincent Docherty) I don’t know what was talked about before I got there but they seemed to be hung up on why mass transit sucks so bad in the US when it clearly works pretty much everywhere else in the world. I can answer that question. Social norms dictate structural development. Japan has better mass transit because social norms value the collective in ways that do not occur in the West and certainly don’t occur in the US, not even in the largest cities. If we want to limit climate change by getting away from individual car travel we are going to have to change social norms in the US. I wouldn’t hold my breath on that subject. Better to hope that auto-drive becomes a thing and that we can convince everyone to value shared resources like public vehicle transport. It’s a dream I have.

I discussed one of the subjects near and dear to my heart with one of the panelists as we walked down the hall. I may have to embroider the catalyst that I had in mind for one of the stories that I’m eternally working on.


Then it was closing ceremony time. The guest of honor for ChiCon 8 was originally going to be Erle Korshak. He died a year ago in August. None of us would be attending WorldCons today if it hadn’t been for the contributions of Erle Korshak. The convention became the open annual event that it is because he and the other early founders of speculative fiction fandom rebounded from the first convention in New York city and set about creating a repeating event that has continued until this day. Thank you Erle. We are all in your debt.

Steven Barnes and his wife Tananarive Due were tapped as Guests of Honor after Erle passed. I have read quite a few books of his that he co-authored with Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. Their podcast is at lifewritingpodcast.com. The Glasgow gimlet won best drink. Royal Manticorian Navy won best party. That’s it. The show’s over. Hope to see everyone in Glasgow in two years.

A Vaginal Dred Scott

The change in public opinion and feeling in relation to the African race which has taken place since the adoption of the Constitution cannot change its construction and meaning, and it must be construed and administered now according to its true meaning and intention when it was formed and adopted.

Dred Scott v. Sandfordsupreme.justia.com

Women were never seen as full, responsible citizens of the United States. They weren’t allowed to vote even after the results of the Civil War and the changes to the Constitution that invalidated the Dred Scott decision. Black men could vote, black women could not. No women could vote until the passage of the 19th amendment on August 18, 1920. Even today women are still seen as suspect, as not really capable of making informed decisions about their own bodies and their own futures. To this day there is no part of the Constitution that guarantees equality before the law to women.

This started to change after 1920. With the right to vote, women became almost full citizens. They were allowed to own property as early as 1848, seventy-two years before they were trusted with voting rights. In the 1960s women gained the right to open a bank account. They could vote forty years before they were trusted to handle their own finances at the bank.

There was one thing women have always been trusted with though, and that was the birthing and raising of children. Getting pregnant and producing the next generation of human beings was the only thing that was gladly left to them; the children and all the housework that came along with raising them.

Midwives and doulas were women, and they were the experts that were brought in to deal with births and the prevention of unwanted births, prior to the invention of modern medicine and the creation of the AMA. There wasn’t a thing called abortion before that point. They referred to it as restoring the menses, the return of the monthly bleeding that comes along with being a female of the human species.

Throughline – Before Roe: The Physicians’ Crusade – May 19, 2022

There were no laws in place to prevent abortions before quickening prior to the physician’s crusade lead by that one man, Horatio Storer. Because he wanted to push midwives out of the birthing room, to take away from women the one thing they had been entrusted to do throughout human history, he started the chain of events that has lead us down the long, winding road to where we are today. Had he not started his crusade against abortion practiced by anyone other than AMA doctors, none of the events we have witnessed in our lifetimes would have played out the way they have. He lit the fire of the pro-life movement that took over evangelical America.

Throughline – After Roe: A New Battlefield – June 16, 2022

The belief that separate and equal life begins inside a woman’s body and not once a baby is born may be the way that anti-abortionists frame their arguments, but their arguments amount to a denial of female equality no matter how you frame it. Forcing someone to do something with their body that is contrary to their will is involuntary servitude, especially when that something permanently alters the body in question and can last anywhere from a year to the rest of their lives. Slavery of the kind practiced after slavery was outlawed.

This kind of enslavement is worse than the chattel slavery that is practiced out in the open, is acknowledged and can be targeted for what it is. This type of immoral usage is a fraud, a trick at the expense of the other who is powerless to stop you from abusing them, hamstrung by the unequal laws that constrain them. If men, the law-creators, carried children then motherhood would be one of the most well-funded endeavors in human creation. On reflection, that is probably how it should be funded.

Forcing women to birth children that they don’t think of as people is dangerous to society itself. Children are not punishment and we cannot afford to treat them as punishment, nor can we justify the taking of them from their families as providing children for the adoption mills; institutions that were founded for racist and genocidal reasons in the distant past. Adoption mills that the newest Justice on the SCOTUS bench have profited from more than once.

Denying women legal equality was the platform on which the Moral Majority and the modern American conservative movement were founded. The antics of people like Phyllis Schlafly, Jerry Falwell and many, many others were the broadsides unleashed on the women’s rights movement, a movement that was set to establish women’s rights in the United States Constitution for the very first time.

The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was the instrument that they used to whip their followers into line with in the late 70’s. This is an almost forgotten historical fact these days, but the ERA was what got them off their pews and into State Houses agitating for an end to women’s liberation. The ERA was the motivator, the last straw, but it was the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) Roe v. Wade decision that lit their hair on fire to start with.

I have never understood why it is that Roe triggered them in this fashion. Abortion has always existed, even if we didn’t call it that. Roe was a perfectly acceptable compromise that took both sides into account. It would have been preferable if the legislatures of the various states and the federal government had cared enough for women’s health to do the right thing and make the procedure legal and available for poor women who didn’t want to have more children they couldn’t feed, but then being thoughtful and humane to those we exploit under capitalism isn’t the kind of behavior that comes naturally.

I distinctly remember accompanying my mother to a Planned Parenthood center in Dallas as a teenager in the late 70’s. We had to travel there from our hometown in Sweetwater because abortion services weren’t a thing you could find out in the hinterlands of Texas. You had to go into the cities for those types of services; and you didn’t tell anyone that’s what you were going there for if you did go there. So we made a side trip to Six Flags on that journey as a cover story, but we also went there to get someone an abortion.

That wasn’t the only time I went to a women’s health clinic for services like abortion. There were girlfriends and acquaintances that needed help, help that I was happy to assist them in getting. The Planned Parenthood center in San Angelo didn’t perform abortions but did conduct screenings for disease and provided access to contraception. Contraception, another bugaboo of the Moral Majority, one that they would prefer we didn’t notice they had a problem with.

Healthcare is Not a Popularity Contest

Roe wasn’t even the best vehicle that could have been presented as the case that would have secured equality, bodily autonomy, for women. The Notorious RBG thought that a different case should have been advanced:

On the Media – Instead of Roe: The Case that Could Have Defined Abortion Law – June 24, 2022

Who can say what a different case with a different, less medically obsessed, decision would have done for the cause of women in the United States.

As the morality laws across the country started to fall one by one. From interracial marriage to contraception and onwards, the Christianists watched from the sidelines and fumed as their religious beliefs enshrined into law were struck down, and they demonstrably grew more agitated as the country became more and more secular. Until Roe. Until it became clear that the country wasn’t going to adhere to their christian beliefs until they stepped forward and made their beliefs the basis for party loyalty.

…and so was born the Moral Majority, with the ERA as their first target. They were the force that got Ronald Reagan the Republican nomination and then the presidency. With that success under their belt, they then worked to infiltrate every bit of government that they could, altering the course of the American experiment with their meddling. With their need to see America be Christian first and foremost.

I really thought they’d never reverse Roe. They’d never be that stupid, that incapable of understanding what it was that Roe was part of. Incapable of understanding the intrusions into their own lives that reversing Roe would make possible. But the leaked Alito opinion proved how wrong I was. I had to finally admit that they did plan to reverse it and that they are every bit as stupid as I first thought they couldn’t be.

It’s quite possible that Alito leaked the draft opinion himself in an attempt to keep Robert’s watered down Dobbs opinion from gaining traction in the court. We may never know the facts of it. What can be said is that both the draft opinion and the SCOTUS Alito-authored decision are blatantly unconstitutional documents.

It seems weird to write those words about a SCOTUS decision, a SCOTUS that is supposed to be the maintainer of Constitutional law. However, Alito’s arguments completely ignore the ninth and tenth amendments to the Constitution and sets their intent aside in favor of conservative ideology.

We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely – the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. That provision has been held to guarantee some rights that are not mentioned in the Constitution, but any such right must be “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition” and “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.” Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U. S. 702, 721 (1997) (internal quotation marks omitted)

PoliticoText of initial draft, supremecourt.gov

Unenumerated rights are guaranteed under the Ninth amendment and the due process clause in the fourteenth is just the stick on which the unenumerated rights have been measured by the SCOTUS. Justice Alito focuses on the due process clause without answering the question of why the due process clause applies at all. A right to an abortion need not be mentioned anywhere or indeed required to meet the high bar that Alito sets in his decision because the Ninth amendment makes no requirements on what an unenumerated right is. It is the SCOTUS that applies this false rule.

Justice Alito handwaves several times about personhood in his decision but he never does justify his legal opinion on the subject of abortion in anything substantial. He can’t do this because there is no person present inside the person of the mother, no matter how hard you squint at the problem. There is no soul, no functioning brain and insufficient oxygen to make the brain function even if it is developed enough to function in the final weeks of pregnancy. There is no proof of the existence of the soul and so he can’t argue ensoulment at conception as his basis for rejecting abortion as a legitimate medical procedure, and there certainly isn’t a person present at conception if there is no soul present.

Nor is it really a right to an abortion that most women seek but rather the right to the same kind of medical care that is provided to men. Medical care that includes treatment of all of their internal organs as if they are just like the internal organs of a man. This treatment would necessarily include abortion when she and her attending physician, doula or midwife deemed it necessary. That’s it. No refereeing by the government on any level. Her body, her choice.

The decision in the Dobbs case is nothing more than conservative ideology and it contains no legal or historical merit of its own aside from the fact that its author sits on the SCOTUS and is empowered to make these kinds of decisions for all of us. Sits on a court hand-crafted by Donald Trump and the Federalist Society to do what this opinion does, stop abortion from being performed in states that don’t want to grant bodily autonomy to women. The Moral Majority has finally gotten exactly what it asked for. I doubt they will enjoy having it as much as they thought they would.

The Dog Only Thinks He Wants to Catch the Car

This is hardly the first time this kind of ideological judicial activism has been performed, either. Casey was itself a meddling in the judgement of Roe, an attempt to loosen the rules so that the states that wanted to restrict abortion into the second trimester of a pregnancy could do so. This rigged SCOTUS has also neutered the Establishment Clause with the Carson v. Makin decision, clearing the way for governments to promote whatever religion they like by supporting them with tax generated funds. They have endorsed public prayer in schools in yet another reversal of established law. It seems that conservatives are completely okay with judicial activism if the judges do things that they agree with.

Amicus – Just Doing the Job They Were Put on the Court to Do – JUNE 25, 2022

Clarence Thomas has stated the goals of the conservative majority on the court quite clearly. If they are going to be ideologically consistent, then all the decisions he mentions in his concurring opinion in Dobbs (Griswold, Lawrence and Obergefell) also must fall. Whether they will get to tell us which orifices we can have sex with, whether we can use contraception while having sex or marry the same-sex partner of our choice is uncertain, but we should definitely not assume they won’t try and come for those previously established rights. What about wet dreams, Justice Thomas? Can I still enjoy my wet dreams?

Chief Justice Roberts wanted to head off the blatant declaration that Alito penned on the subject of abortion, that much is clear. The court bears his name as Chief Justice and consequently he is obsessed with trying to maintain the court as a relevant fixture in the US Government and not have it relegated to the backwater it was at the time of the founding. Perhaps he and his conservative cronies should have thought about the possibility of the Court becoming a tool of religious zealots before they pimped themselves out to the religious right in 1979. It’s a little late to worry about the Court’s reputation now.

This court has shown its true allegiance. Its allegiance isn’t to the Constitution that they swore an oath to uphold, it is to their own Christianist ideology, and nothing will sway them from their path. They are as certain of their moral superiority as the Taney court was certain of theirs when they authored the Dred Scott decision.

What a difference five years makes. In 2017, I feared that the court was ‘lead[ing] us … to a place where separation of church and state is a constitutional slogan, not a constitutional commitment’.

Today, the court leads us to a place where separation of church and state becomes a constitutional violation. If a state cannot offer subsidies to its citizens without being required to fund religious exercise, any state that values its historic antiestablishment interests more than this court does will have to curtail the support it offers to its citizens.

Sonya Sotomayor dissent from Carson v. Makin  (Amicus)

Just like Dred Scott and any other American with black skin was back in 1857, women have been remanded back into the custody of the men that they have sex with, or are raped by, to be their property once more. That is the effect of making it impossibly expensive to raise children on the one hand, providing no safety net for those women who find themselves unexpectedly pregnant; and forcing those same women to take years out of their lives to raise the children that they didn’t want, weren’t planning on and have no established support system to lean on. They will turn to the people who put them in this position and be forced to rely on them indefinitely.

It’s worse than that even. No one ever talks about ectopic pregnancies. No one wants to talk about anencephaly or other equally tragic birth defects that aren’t found until the third trimester.

Those women will also need to get abortions or face trauma or possible death from the pregnancy. An abortion is far safer than giving birth, even in the most advanced country on the planet, which isn’t the United States anymore. It also isn’t murder or whatever else you might believe about it based on things you have heard. Abortion is a medical procedure, a chemical result, as natural a course of events as a successful live birth is. We occasionally still call it a miscarriage, but that’s just an abortion by a different name. In the case of chemical abortions, its probably the same cause as a miscarriage. How do you plan to investigate that and tell the difference between the two?

Women Will Die

With this decision by Justice Alito and his fellow conservative SCOTUS conspirators, women are reduced once again to being baby-making machines. They are a walking uterus, worth nothing if they cannot produce viable children. They might as well be axolotl tanks, machines that do nothing but turn out new people. Machines without brains, without desires, without thought. They are slaves, just as black people were once slaves. Slaves to their biological processes.

Short Wave – The Turnaway Study: What The Research Says About Abortion – May 9, 2022

Being unable to have children is the only way to be free in this society. To be a natural, normal human being is to be a slave if you are a woman. This status will eventually be transferred to the men who get them pregnant, too. I talk about the consequences of reversing Roe at length in the linked article on the subject here and above.

MeidasTouchGOP Handmaid’s Tale: SCOTUS Overturns Roe v. Wade – May 2, 2022

John Cornyn said the quiet part out loud when he suggested that Brown v. Board needs to be targeted next. It’s not about his personal racism when he says this, not directly anyway. It’s about using racial inequality to make us all pay for unwanted pregnancies since it can be shown that there are unequal medical outcomes that will be made worse by striking down Roe.

Learn ConLaw – After Dobbs – 06.28.22

The cost that the Dobbs decision will inflict on poor women will be almost incalculable. I brushed over several obvious costs and curtailments of rights that women will experience in both of my articles that I’ve linked other places in this article. I see no reason to go through the list of bad outcomes that I’ve already produced there save this one thing; miscarriages happen. Miscarriages happen frequently (about a third of pregnancies) Will we prosecute these unfortunate women like murderers? If history is any judge, we will.

(Criminal Prosecution Of Pregnancy Loss Expected To Increase Post-Roe)

After they’ve strapped these poor women down and successfully forced them to have children, someone is going to have to pay those costs. Absentee fathers will be targeted first. This is not news to poor fathers whose wages have been garnished for quite some time for this purpose. They will be further demonized in the coming years, with calls for punishment that I don’t even want to think about, much less try to predict.

The taxes on everyone will have to be raised eventually, even if rulings like Brown v. Board are reversed. Raised to help fund the increased burden that the thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of unwanted children will create. Children and then adults that will swamp most of the red states in the country. The cost of schooling or the cost of prison. The cost of food and shelter or the cost of healthcare. Red states that will deny to their last breath that this economic crisis, this glut of uneducated, unwanted people was caused by their delusions about abortion and the sanctity 0f life and they will look to the Blue states to save their asses one more time.

The Things You Own End Up Owning You

All of this might have been avoided, some of it could still be avoided. Laws should be based not on ideology but on best principles objectively proven through trial and error. Bronze-aged morality does not work when coupled with instantaneous communication across the entire world and world-wide next-day shipping.

The circumventing of state-maintained abortion laws is already taking place. This creates black markets in drugs and medical procedures which are essential, black markets defended by people who normally would never think about breaking a law. The destruction of the rule of law follows on the heels of the average person’s willingness to simply look the other way in order to save a loved one’s life or future. You thought the drug war was expensive? Get ready for a drug war 5 to 50 times more expensive depending on how seriously you want to take this sanctity of life thing.

In order to stop this erosion of trust in the law it is essential that we take back control of our government from these ideologues who have taken the power in our absence. We have sat too long behind the Roe decision and congratulated ourselves too early on our enlightened society. The barbarians are well beyond the gates now because they are in control of the Senate, the SCOTUS and most of the States.

We the People can fix this, if we understand the priorities that must come next. Go to your local party precinct meetings. Let them know you are there to help. Get out, canvas your neighborhood, and vote. Vote to throw out Republicans and anti-choice, misogynist leaders of every stripe (yes I’m looking at you Joe Manchin) more importantly, let your representatives know your mind about what they are expected to do as your representative in the State House and in Washington D.C.

The ERA has been approved by enough states now. It needs to be confirmed as having been ratified, and it needs to be encoded into US law immediately. The ERA may not be enough to fix this problem all on its own, but it will be a start. Restart and expand the child tax credit immediately. These funds will go directly to where the problems will appear first, families with dependent children. Children they weren’t planning on having but now will be forced to have. Get the government out of the process of determining health outcomes for individuals. Just like the law everywhere else should be, objectively determined best practices should be what occurs in medical clinics unless the individual insists on being treated differently.

Then there is the Supreme Court of the United States. The court has been treated as a final authority on Constitutional law since Marbury v. Madison in 1803, but there is no basis for the court being treated this way written into the constitution itself. That is the precise belief that Roberts hoped to preserve, that the court has any say over what can be enforced as law in the United States. We may not be able to change the way the court is used by the people who are there already, but there is nothing that says we can’t make the court as big as we want it to be. Twenty, thirty, even fifty justices, whatever the number is that we decide is enough to make sure that the views of the American people are part of the deliberations of the Court itself. Large enough to make sure that a tiny group of judicial activists can’t just decided to change a half century of established jurisprudence in the blink of an eye with one flawed ideologically driven decision.

The last time that unconstitutional, unpopular, far-reaching opinions like Dobbs were handed down by the court, the Civil War broke out. We are about to enter those turbulent waters for a second time, driven there by the same backwards mindset that gave us the Dred Scott decision in 1857. No matter what the SCOTUS says, women will demand their independence. They will fight for it and they will die for it as well as die from the lack of it.

We envision a world where every reproductive decision, including abortion, takes place in thriving communities that are safe, peaceful, and affordable. We envision a world where all people have the power and resources to care for and affirm their bodies, identities, and health for themselves and their families—in all areas of their lives. As we shift the conversation about abortion, it will become a real option, accessible without shame or judgment.

abortionfunds.org

Featured image screencapped from: nwlocalpaper.com/our-summer-of-rage

Postscript

July 3 – The original text of this article contained several hasty legal arguments that I have since excised, and I have expanded on some other thoughts as well. I apologize for the misinformation that I might have passed on earlier. I also added in the Meidas Touch ad.

Privilege

There is a growing sentiment that I’ve heard voiced more and more often since the January 6th hearings started:

facebook/Stonekettle

This recent outrage is just more of the same in my mind. It’s the same kind of thing that he’s done and said since the day he took over his father’s businesses and proceeded to run them into the ground while simultaneously pretending to the possession of obscene levels of wealth. This has gone on far longer than he’s been in the public eye and been the darling of Christianists everywhere.

He’s always pretended to be above the law and said things out loud that most people would understand are an open admission of guilt. Several people have pointed this kind of behavior out to me over the last couple of weeks, as if I haven’t been pointing it out to most of them for more than six years. He’s guilty whether he admits it or not. What he’s doing is a con, a scam, a fraud. It’s clearly sedition and we just need to see him convicted in order to keep him out of office in the future.

Let me put it this way. If a prosecutor will bring charges against Donald Trump. If a prosecutor brought charges in front of a court and if that court convicted him. After prosecuting and convicting him, if that court sentenced him to death by firing squad. Finally, if Donald Trump takes several bullets to the chest in front of a firing squad for his transparently obvious crimes of sedition, only then might I be willing to admit that a wealthy person could be held to account in the United States.

Donald Trump doesn’t need an insanity plea and he’d never stoop to being represented that way in court. He doesn’t have to worry about pleas or legal strategies because he’s convinced everyone of importance that he is wealthy and comes from old, established American wealth and power. Fine, christian wealth. Wealthy people in the United States need not worry about jail time, especially prominent, wealthy, christian white men.

The United States was created by the wealthy for the wealthy. It was created out of the dreams of the average person, the dreams that they too might one day be wealthy. Their dreams, their blood, their sweat and their tears. But this country isn’t for average people, no matter how many of them die for it. This country serves the one percent, the upper echelons of wealth. The truth of this is evident all around us if we only look.

The founders were all landed gentry. Men of wealth and property. The most prominent name on the Declaration of Independence was a smuggler (along with Sam Adams) engaged in evading the taxes levied on them by the British parliament. The founders made grand promises of equality and liberty for everyone; but really, who cares about other people’s liberty anyway? I got mine, get yours.

When I was at my most cynical on this subject, many years ago, I observed that the United States had finally reached economic racial equality because O.J. Simpson managed to get away with killing a white woman and her boyfriend in cold blood. A wealthy black man was finally equal to a wealthy white one when it came to law and justice. It’s just unfortunate for him that he spent all his wealth evading justice on a murder charge and so ended up jailed as a poor black man a few years later.

One day even independently wealthy women will be as bullet proof as wealthy men currently are. On that day Martha Stewart will be able to not only engage in insider trading but almost cut the heads off former lovers and get away with it scot-free. Martha Stewart is no Donald Trump. He can send violent mobs to the Capitol of the United States with the goal of catching and killing his own Vice President, and he can walk around bragging about it for years afterward.

It’s nice to be privileged like that, I imagine. It probably tends to make you even less connected to the real world around you than the average American is. Tends to make you more than a little nuts. But, hey, that’s okay. He has money. He’s a nice guy once you get to know him and he’ll make it worth your while to be nice to him. He’ll get away with sedition, most likely.

NPR: All Things Considered – Proud Boys leader and 4 top members are charged with seditious conspiracy for Jan. 6 – June 6, 2022

While it is true that you can be barred from public office for being convicted of sedition, that charge almost never sticks, as the podcast embedded above goes into. Imagine being the prosecutor that fails to keep Donald Trump from running for office again; or keeps Donald Trump from running again, and becomes the target of every gun-carrying wingnut in the United States. Even less of a winning scenario than the charge of sedition being successful against one of Donald Trump’s lovely, lovely henchmen. Which is still a longshot.

There is also the fact that we’ve never prosecuted a President before in 240 years of US history:

In the 240 years since America’s founding, no former president has been indicted for criminal conduct. This isn’t because they were angels—far from it. And it isn’t because post-term indictment is not legally allowed. Instead, it is because Americans don’t like the idea of criminalizing politics. Both parties and the public see the prospect of post-term immunity as a guarantee that the country’s politics will remain civil and that power will transition peacefully from one party to the other. That is what drove President Gerald Ford to pardon Richard Nixon. And it’s one reason why the Office of the Independent Counsel decided not to indict former President Bill Clinton.

The presidency of Donald J. Trump has upended those calculations, and the resistance to post-term investigation may now come at too great a cost. When he leaves office, whether in January or four years later, the next administration or one of the states can and should investigate citizen Donald Trump—a former president whose legal status will be no different from that of any other American. The risk of politicization of such an investigation is far outweighed by the danger posed by failing to uphold our nation’s values. To protect future presidents from retributive investigations once they leave office, however, any investigation should be limited to Trump’s conduct before and after his presidency, not his behavior while he was president. If the findings of such an investigation justify it, prosecutors should indict the former president for violations of criminal law.

theatlantic.com

Until the time that all happens, the indictment, prosecution and sentencing of Donald Trump (the wealthy, white, christian, former President) I’m going to stick to the more doable task of keeping the House Democratic, making the Senate democratic and securing the election system against all future Trumpists. Because I think it’s important to maintain realistic goals.

facebook and facebook.

Postscript

Republicans have upped the ante:

Lindsey Graham, Hawley, Greene, Trump, and Republicans et al, [are] threatening Americans with violence if they don’t get their way. That’s not hyperbole, those are their own words.

And in point of fact, threatening violence over your political/religious beliefs with the intent to intimidate a population and/or to overthrow a government is the very definition of terrorism.

We’ve dropped missiles on terrorist leaders in the Middle East for a lot less than what Graham said yesterday.

facebook.com/Stonekettle

They’re daring our government to do the job they’ve sworn to do, knowing that the government never enforces laws against the wealthy unless forced to. They are counting on us not to force our government into action. To not be able to force our government into action.

If we don’t call their bluff then there is no point in doing anything after that. If all they have to do is threaten violence, then they’ll just be that much more encouraged to threaten and then do violence the next time, and the next time and then the time after that. All of these elected officials who threaten violence should be immediately arrested for fomenting a riot. We’ve seen that their followers are violent, will riot at any sign of encouragement, and they are encouraging them to be violent again. Their calling for violence again is all the proof we need to bring them and Donald Trump himself up on charges.

Why hasn’t this been done already? Wealthy people own this country.

facebook

Police Lynching

What we witnessed was a lynching. That’s part of the reason to put it in a historical context. It was a public message to people that what Officer Chauvin was doing was okay and you might be next.

Phillip Atiba Goffpolicingequity.org

The quote is from this episode of The Rachel Maddow Show:

RACHEL MADDOW – Hope over history: Racial justice advocates anxiously await Chauvin verdict – April 19, 2021

Professor Goff’s statement echoes what I took away from the brief bits of the nine minute video of Officer Chauvin killing George Floyd that I could make myself watch. Officer Chauvin was acting the part of a terrorist, instructing his audience on the subject of what happens when law enforcement decides to kill a black person. I can kill him and I can kill you. That is what Officer Chauvin is saying.

Monday’s show led off with a visitation on the 100th anniversary of the massacre in Tulsa. If you haven’t heard the story, it is worth giving this six minute video a chance to tell you about it:

RACHEL MADDOW – Remembering the Tulsa race massacre as the 100th anniversary approaches – April 19, 2021

It is also worth remembering in the time and place that we find ourselves in today, that the police in America were founded from the slave patrols that were instituted during the years when slavery was a part of life in the United States:

Throughline – American Police – June 4, 2020

…this system of essentially tracking black people’s movements to control them needed a similar kind of armed and/or empowered law enforcement constituency. So on one hand, you do have the growth of a formal bureaucratic nuts-and-bolts police system that emerges by the late 1860s, 1870s. You know, prisons are being remodeled or expanded and built. Prison farms are beginning to open. I say all that to say because the South had a very anemic infrastructure when it came to criminal justice by a very stark contrast to northern states. And one of the things that it doesn’t really have is it doesn’t have a formal professional police force like – certainly like big cities from Boston to New York, Philadelphia, the old colonial cities, now essentially industrial, thriving, modern places by the 1870s and 1880s. And so what does the South do? Well, Southern leaders empower vigilante groups to do a lot of the day-to-day surveillance and policing of black people, and out of that, particularly in 1866, the Ku Klux Klan is born in Pulaski, Tenn.

npr.org

In the South the police force is directly descended from the KKK and slave patrols. In the North the history is different, but just slightly different. The police in those areas still establish a racial hierarchy with black and brown people at the bottom of the social ladder, they just didn’t do it because of slavery. This is the racial basis for American policing. The history that all Americans have to accept and deal with.

I liked Six Flags Over Texas back when I was a teenager and into amusement parks. I could appreciate the history of the six flags that flew over Texas that was the reference for the name, but I always knew that one of those six flags was a flag of rebels and white nationalists. The amusement park that started in Texas is too embarrassed to fly the rebel flag in places where they own parks and the rebel flag never actually flew, so they have repurposed the six flags to be some other six flags and who really cares now anyway? I’m sympathetic to their corporate problem and really don’t see why they should have to fly flags in the first place other than that they put it in their name. Apparently some people didn’t learn their history and now want to pretend it wasn’t real history. They want to force Six Flags to fly the rebel flag even though the name and the flag were specific to Texas. These are facts folks.

There are plaques up in the Texas capitol that claim that the Confederacy wasn’t based on preserving slavery, which is false. Those plaques as well as most of the statues and monuments across the South date back to various times when white nationalism was in power and acted to whitewash history, giving themselves honor that they never deserved in the first place. They used their authority to compel the schools to muddy history in the textbooks, teaching kids falsehoods that could be disproved by doing basic research on the subject of the history of the succession movement and of the racist history of the American continent under European dominance and then United States dominance.

What has become clear to me over the years since I first started paying attention to this subject is that a lot of people have been fed lies for a lot of their lives; and they are happy to go on believing the comforting lies that they were told as children. It’s time to grow up now. It’s time to embrace the truth as it transpired through history, and to make our way forward with a firm grasp on the truth. Like the confederate monuments that dot our landscape, each town square that ever held a lynching party should be required to host a token from this memorial:

youtubecnn
New York Timesmuseumandmemorial.eji.org

…and Derek Chauvin should be forced to wear one around his neck for the rest of his life. He is the personification of the racist history of the American police system. It is long past time to rewrite that system. At least the jury did find him guilty. That is a step in the right direction.

I cannot help but think of the famous image of Deputy Sheriff Cecil Ray Price and Sheriff Laurence A. Rainey laughing at a hearing after their arraignment following the murder of three civil rights workers in Philadelphia, Mississippi, in 1964.

Price and Rainey thought it was funny when they were arraigned along with 16 of their friends—not for murder, because Mississippi refused to bring charges, but for conspiracy and violating the civil rights of the murdered men, both federal offenses. And why shouldn’t they think it was all a joke? The jury was all white and, after all, they were law enforcement officers.

heathercoxrichardson.substack.com

Failure of Justice

Facebook – Stonekettle Station

The Orange Hate-Monkey has interfered in an internal justice department matter. He has directed his fixer/AG Billy Barr to reduce the sentence that his henchman Roger Stone is facing for violating the law at his direction. He is violating ethical rules and regulations in an effort to let his friend off lightly.

So just impeach Trump again. Just do it. Tomorrow do it again for the next stupid thing he does. Then again the next day. Then again the next day. Continue to repeat as necessary until his Stormtrumpers begin to understand the landslide that is waiting to crush them.

Everything that Trump does is a violation of some ethical rule or some guideline that isn’t strictly law, and every other thing he does is a violation of law that he pretends isn’t a violation. So impeach him a hundred times. A thousand times. Does it really matter how many times he is impeached, if every single thing he does should be something he is removed from office for?

Impeach him again. Just do it.


02/13/2020 (next day) – The hand-waving by the friends of the OHM’s new fixer/A.G. has begun. The host of this segment on Morning Edition spells out the timeline for the guy, and he still insists that Barr was not taking direction from the president.

Morning Edition – How Much Is Politics Influencing The Justice Department? – February 13, 2020

Occam’s razor would suggest that the guest is lying for his buddy Billy Barr who got his direction from the President right before he got involved in the case. Was given direction by a president who is too stupid to not broadcast the illegal things he does every day.

02/14/2020 – We discover today that Billy Barr is also interfering in the prosecution of Mike Flynn.

Mr. Flynn’s case was first brought by the special counsel’s office, who agreed to a plea deal on a charge of lying to investigators in exchange for his cooperation, before the Washington office took over the case when the special counsel shut down after concluding its investigation into Russia’s election interference.

Mr. Flynn’s case has been bogged down in recent months by his lawyers’ unfounded claims of prosecutorial misconduct; a judge has already rejected those accusations. Mr. Flynn then asked to withdraw his guilty plea, which he first entered in December 2017. His case has become a cause célèbre for Mr. Trump’s supporters.

On Tuesday, Mr. Barr and Mr. Rosen overruled career prosecutors’ recommendation that a judge sentence Mr. Trump’s friend Roger Stone Jr. to seven to nine years in prison after a jury found him guilty of witness intimidation and several false statements charges, in accordance with standard sentencing guidelines, and insisted on a lower recommendation.

New York Times

…but, you know, he’s not coordinating with the president in his efforts to exonerate or mitigate the punishment of his cronies.

Featured image is a screenshot of this New York Times story.

Justice

I’ve been studying the subject of impeachment in the United States for several years now. Any of you who take your job as a citizen of the United States seriously have also been doing this. If not, shame on you.

In the course of my education on the subject of impeachment I’ve discovered a glaring error in the arrangement of our government and it’s various competing functions. Congress has no ability to enforce its will on its own. It is beholden to the executive branch to see that its lawful orders are followed.

This error only shows up when the executive branch and the legislature are held by different factions, as has happened since the House of Representatives flipped into Democratic hands in 2018. The executive branch, for the first time in history, has refused to honor lawfully executed subpoenas and requests. Never in history has the executive refused outright to comply with requests made of it by Congress.

In the past, the house has had to create its own arm of enforcement, the few times that it was required to contest with an unlawful, intractable executive. The first presidential impeachment, that of Andrew Johnson, saw congress having to create its own jails and create its own police force to do its bidding so as to be even capable of doing the oversight work that is delegated to it in the Constitution.

The justice department should not belong to the president. This is one of the errors in government arrangement that will have to be addressed when the presidency changes. What do I mean? Congress has no enforcement arm without being able to secure compliance of the justice department. This needs to be spelled out in plain English. The Justice department SHALL enforce congressional subpoenas and all requests for information issued by congress. The Justice department will arrest and detain ANY individual that attempts to evade a lawfully executed Congressional subpoena. The Attorney General shall answer to congress and can be fired by the Congress as well as by the president.

Justice should be effectively severed from the Executive branch. Permanently.

@righthandedleftyartist (Tom Garrahan) has removed himself from Instagram and I stupidly respected his IP rights and didn’t get a screenshot of the post that was originally in this location. Sorry?