Monthly Archives: May 2022

A republic, if we can keep it

Are we going to go back to this?

I recently watched the two-part PBS Ken Burns series on Benjamin Franklin, and ate all four hours of it up; Burns has a way of making material that our history teachers probably made pretty dry (I remember having to memorize dates and names for no apparent reason other than test-taking) into actually-interesting dives into historical details.

One of the Franklin quotes that the documentary relays is Franklin’s response to a member of the public, asking him after the U.S. Constitution had just been established in 1787, as to whether the nascent United States was now, under that Constitution, a republic or a monarchy; Franklin wryly replied that it was “A republic, if you can keep it.” (The Washington Post says that while these words don’t appear in Franklin’s known writings or in any known contemporaneous written account, he “probably” said them.)

Indeed, can we keep our republic?

Former “President” Pussygrabber — who lost the popular vote twice, in 2016 and in 2020, yet became “president” against the expressed will of the majority of the American people in 2016 anyway — still says that he actually won the 2020 presidential election, and he recently advised Repugnican candidate Mehmet Oz (his endorsee) to go ahead and declare himself the victor of this past week’s Repugnican primary election for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania even though thousands of ballots still remained to be counted. (NPR reports that a state-mandated automatic recount in the very tight race is probable, and that we might not know the winner until that state’s statutory deadline of June 8.)

This is blatant fascism, not democracy.

You don’t count every ballot; no, you see, whoever the twice-popular-vote-losing, twice-impeached, treasonous former “President” Pussygrabber says “won” the election “won” the election.

This fascist, anti-democratic sentiment is catching on.

Not only do Pussygrabber and his legions of brainwashed cult members — and it is a cult (the central blatantly false tenet of which is that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Pussygrabber, although this beyond-bullshit claim has yet to be proven with any actual evidence in any court of law, as our democratic system requires if you are going to actually steadfastly claim that an election was stolen) — have deep disregard for election results that they don’t like, but a Repugnican candidate for governor of Colorado says, in all seriousness, that Colorado should eliminate the popular vote for its elections and institute something like the Electoral College for the state, in which the votes of the rural areas of the state (like the red states) are given more weight than the votes of the urban and suburban areas of the state (like the blue states).

The Repugnican candidate (a Greg Lopez) is highly unlikely to become governor of blue-state Colorado — he’s pretty unlikely to even become the official Repugnican candidate for governor in November as a result of the state’s June 28 primary election, according to PredictIt.org — but it’s the thought that counts.

That a candidate for governor seriously would suggest that Repugnican voters’ votes count more than Democratic voters’ votes is chilling.

It’s beyond bad enough that Repugnican voters’ votes count more than Democratic voters’ votes on the federal level — this is why the Repugnicans are stronger in the U.S. Senate that they should be (because every Podunk red state gets two U.S. senators no matter how small its population) and why we have a 6-3 wingnut-controlled, human-rights-destroying U.S. Supreme Court, and it’s why we had to endure “President” Pussygrabber in the first fucking place (because of the Electoral College, which put him into the White House even though the popular vote did not) — but now, we’re to further degrade our democracy on the state level.

Under The Greg Lopez Plan, your state’s governor (to name just one elected office in your state) would not be elected by the popular vote (I mean, how quaint!), but would be elected in an Electoral College-like system in which the Repugnican-voting regions’ votes would count more than the Democratic-voting regions’ votes — guaranteeing control over the majority by the minority in perpetuity.

This shit is the stuff of which civil wars are made: the minority telling the majority that the majority’s votes don’t count as much.

When you read or hear that democracy itself is on the ballot this year, know that it is.

We’re either going to stand up against one-man rule — in this case, the mad monarch being King Pussygrabber (backed by his mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging cult members) — or we’re going to lose our republic.

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The Fetterman Mystique

Image may contain Human Person Clothing Apparel Shorts Grass Plant Carrie P. Meek and Nicola Bertram
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John Fetterman, pictured above at a campaign event in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, last month, is, um, not your usual candidate for the U.S. Senate. And that’s a good great thing.

John Fetterman, Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate for Pennsylvania, won every county in the state in the primary election yesterday.

I’m glad to know that, since I’ve given more than $200 in small donations to him over time.

I don’t even live in Pennsylvania, so why did I do a little bit to help the Fetterman campaign?

Call it The Fetterman Mystique.

Or, as The Atlantic has put it, “John Fetterman Wins on Vibes.” (The tagline is: “The 6-foot-8 goateed Senate candidate prevailed in the Democratic primary less on the strength of detailed policy proposals than on vibes.”)

While “vibes” certainly are part of the equation of Fetterman’s victory yesterday — the voters were fairly starving for a down-to-earth, genuine candidate for political office, I surmise — I think it would be unfair to say that it was all “vibes.”

No, Fetterman is not a policy wonk, from what I can tell, but I am clear on his key political positions, which include (in no certain order):

  • He opposes the anti-democratic filibuster, which keeps us enslaved in rule by the right-wing minority, and as a U.S. senator he would vote to abolish it.
  • He correctly has called health care a “fundamental human need and right.”
  • On that note, he supports a wealth tax. (This is probably the most immediate, most achievable way to seriously tackle our huge problem of insane income inequality, which to me is our No. 1 problem after climate change.)
  • He supports a $15 minimum wage (at the minimum…).
  • He is pro-choice.
  • He is deeply supportive of those of us who are not heterosexual and/or not gender-conforming.
  • He supports the federal legalization of marijuana.
  • He opposes the death penalty and supports reforming the criminal justice system.
  • Environmental protection is a tough issue in a coal state like Pennsylvania, but he supports a transition toward green and renewable energy.

So there is the head stuff — which also would include the fact that the Democrats need to win every U.S. Senate seat that they possibly can in November in order not only to keep the Senate, but also to expand their majority past DINO “senators” Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin in order to be able to kill the fucking filibuster for fucking once and for fucking all — but yes, there is the heart stuff — the “vibes” — too.

The aforementioned Atlantic article begins:

Even if you don’t know a single policy he supports, chances are good that you know what John Fetterman looks like. Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor is larger than life at 6 foot 8, distinctively bald with a salt-and-pepper goatee, and draped in a baggy shirt or hoodie. Oh, and he’s a shorts guy too.

Fetterman easily won [yesterday’s] Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, and will run in November in a race that could decide control of the chamber. (He experienced a stroke on Friday but says he is expected to make a full recovery.) Some people consider it distasteful to focus on a candidate’s aesthetics over their message, but in Fetterman’s case, aesthetics is part of the message, and the message has resonated with Keystone State voters. …

Sure, Fetterman’s appearance is part of the package, whether he would like it to be or not. Not many of us are 6 feet and 8 inches tall and bald, and Fetterman has what some might call quirks that I like, such as his distain for wearing suits (I also fucking hate wearing suits, as I hate the artificiality of it — I always have found the idea that if you simply don a nice suit, you’re suddenly automatically honest, competent, credible, honorable, etc. to be demonstrably bullshit*).

Further, Fetterman is in my age group — he’s 52 (and will be 53 in August) and I’m 54 — and we Gen Xers largely have been shut out of the halls of power, so Fetterman gives me the sense that someone in my generational cohort can have an influence in the halls of power in D.C. for fucking once. (Yeah, um, the 57-year-old Kamala Harris, an awful, do-nothing politician whose approval rating is only around 40 percent, doesn’t count...)

Will The Fetterman Mystique carry John Fetterman all the way to the U.S. Senate in January 2023? We’ll see.

Fetterman overcame the first considerable obstacle, that of the Democratic Party establishment — the corporate whores who call themselves “Democrats” while selling us, the people, out to the highest bidders — to win the primary, and with his populist “vibe” he won every county in his state yesterday, which seems like a pretty good omen for November to me.

P.S. Also in yesterday’s primary elections, Repugnican U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn lost his primary race. He’s a crazy fucking fascist, but at least he’s pretty; I’d be lying if I said he wasn’t at least nice to look at. (Unfortunately, it’s looking like we’re probably going to be stuck with the dog-ass-ugly crazy fascist Marjorie Taylor Greene for another term.)

Cawthorn’s biggest sin, I believe, was claiming that other Repugnicans in D.C. invited him to cocaine-fueled orgies (I paraphrase…). That, apparently, was the only red (white?) line that could not be crossed.

At least Cawthorn, a Pussygrabberian, has not (yet…) claimed that the election that ousted him from power was “stolen.” Maybe that’s not going to prove to be such a great political tactic in the future.

Anyway, I dunno — it seems to me that if nothing else, Cawthorn has a new career in gay porn if he wants it…

*Here’s a guy in a suit and tie, for instance:

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The tyranny by the minority continues

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The U.S. system of governance is set up to keep stupid white men like U.S. Supreme Court “Justice” Samuel Alito — a minority of the U.S. population — in power over the majority of the U.S. populace in perpetuity, and this anti-democratic situation will continue only for as long as we, the majority of the American people, allow it to.

A nationwide Faux “News” poll of registered voters taken in January of this year found that 63 percent of the respondents believed that the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Roe vs. Wade, which in 1973 by a vote of 7-2 affirmed a woman’s right to an abortion in all 50 states, should stand, while only 31 percent of them believed that it should be overturned.

In yet another striking sign that the United States of America is ruled by the far-right-wing minority, the U.S. Supreme Court very apparently is on the verge of officially overturning Roe vs. Wade.

Politico reports that at least five of the nine Supreme Court “justices” are poised to sign off on “Justice” Samuel Alito’s decision, which would strike Roe (and another, later abortion case, Planned Parenthood vs. Casey) and allow each state to determine whether or not a woman may have an abortion.*

Claims that the “lofty” U.S. Supreme Court isn’t political are fucking ludicrous, of course.

If abortion were such an inherently egregious wrong, then why not just declare it “murder” and prohibit it in all 50 states? How could an inherently egregious wrong be prohibited in some states but allowed in others?

And should your human rights, as an American citizen, be determined by your locality?

The U.S. Supreme Court can rule just about whatever the fuck it wants to — and for the past many years that’s pretty much what it has been doing — so it’s telling that the court is poised to make abortion a “states’ rights” issue (and one wonders what else the backasswards court will deem a “states’ rights” issue, but that’s another post).

The court is pussying out on abortion by going with the “states’ rights” “argument” because, as cray-cray and abjectly stupid as the majority of the “justices” are, even they know that were they to dare to even try to prohibit abortion in all 50 states, the backlash would be quick and severe. These assholes want to keep their jobs (and their lives…), of course.

Therefore, they’re trying to do as much damage to the nation as they can while pushing through their radical right-wing political agenda without jeopardizing their own high-and-mighty positions too much.

There will be plenty of backlash if indeed, as I fully expect it to do, the wingnut-dominated Supreme Court quashes Roe and makes abortion a “states’ rights” issue.

Politico reports that the final, official decision to kill Roe most likely will be issued within the next two months.

If there is any upside to this latest example of the brazen tyranny by the minority, it’s that while the calcified Democratic Party, under the “leadership” of Joe Biden, has failed to rally the base and the middle for the upcoming November elections, the overturning of Roe certainly should rouse these voters, the largely silent majority.

Yes, the overturning of Roe will make the not-even-one-third** of Americans who support its overturning wet, but it’s going to enrage the other two-thirds.

Beyond the upcoming midterm elections — it would be glorious if the activist, wingnutty U.S. Supreme Court lost both the U.S. Senate and even the U.S. House of Representatives for the Repugnicans this November — those of us who aren’t bat-shit crazy need to work to reform the U.S. Supreme Court.

In that, we need a multi-prong approach. Obviously, we need to win as many elections as we can, even though the deck is stacked against us in terms of the U.S. Senate and with the deeply anti-democratic Electoral College, under which the loser of the nationwide popular vote can become U.S. president anyway, as happened in both 2000 and in 2016. (Yes, the only popular vote that the Repugnicans have won since 1992 was in 2004. Again: Here in the United States we have tyranny by the minority.)

Beyond that, it’s beyond time to expand — to pack, if you must — the U.S. Supreme Court by expanding Democratic control of the U.S. Senate and abolishing the filibuster so that the court can be expanded by Congress, which has the full authority to do so. I’d say that the court could use, minimally, three more justices.

The hypocritical, anti-democratic, self-serving Repugnicans certainly don’t play by the rules; recall that while the Repugnicans denied President Barack Obama the opportunity to replace “Justice” Antonin Scalia even though Obama had had more than 11 months of his presidency left — stating that the vacant Supreme Court seat shouldn’t be filled until after the 2016 presidential electionformer “President” Pussygrabber’s nut-job Supreme Court pick of Amy Coney Barrett, in a huge Fuck you to the American people and to the American system of democratic government, was sworn in on October 27, 2020, right before the 2020 presidential election.

The best-case scenario is that we gain enough seats in the Senate to kill the filibuster and then pack that fucking court.

If we don’t push back — hard — against our anti-democratic overlords who represent only the right-wing minority and who operate only in bad faith, we won’t have a democracy left. (Arguably, we already don’t.)

P.S. Yes, a Democratically controlled Congress could and should at long last codify abortion rights into federal law, but in addition to that, it’s still past time to pack that court. The current court’s anti-democratic, backasswards bullshit must be checked.

P.P.S. The media have noted that it’s vanishingly rare for a pending U.S. Supreme Court decision to be leaked before its official release, but I saw in Wikipedia’s entry on Roe vs. Wade that there was a leak in that case, too.

If I were conspiratorial, I might posit that this leak of the impending Supreme Court decision destroying Roe was no leak, but was a trial balloon quite intentionally set aloft right before the midterm elections to gauge just how bad the political blowback might be.

*The leaked (or “leaked”) draft of Alito’s decision concludes (on Page 67): “The [U.S.] Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives.”

**A nationwide Quinnipiac poll taken in November 2021 found that 63 percent supported Roe vs. Wade as the law of the land, while only 28 percent didn’t.

I don’t see that more than one-third of Americans oppose abortion rights, making opposition to abortion a decidedly minority view in a system in which the majority is supposed to rule.

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