Tag Archives: United States Supreme Court

Repugnicans’ war on women is also a war on justice, decency and democracy

ED'S NOTE, GRAPHIC CONTENT-- A powerful political cartoon depicting the assault of Lady Justice has gone viral in the wake of recent allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. The graphic image, seen here, shows her blindfolded and pinned down as her scales lie beside her, one hand covering her mouth -- an explicit reference to how California professor Christine Blasey Ford described an alleged sexual assault by Kavanaugh when they were both in high school in 1982.

So very apt.

I am not a blind feminist — I refused to support Repugnican Lite Billary Clinton for the presidency just because she’s a woman, for instance, and being called a “Bernie bro” by so-called “feminists” did not shame me into giving a penny or my vote to a Repugnican Lite female candidate, and, on that note, I oppose rank misandry posing as “feminism” — but I am a feminist in that I believe in equality for women, who continue to be held down by a patriarchal society.

And, of course, as a gay man I am intimately familiar with how our patriarchal society denigrates and oppresses anything and anyone considered to be feminine, and how it blindly obediently vaunts all things “masculine.”

The fight over the nomination of drunkard and sex criminal Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court is not just about the allegations of his sex crimes in and of themselves, of course, but is part of the ongoing “culture war” in which the right believes that right-wing, straight, “Christian” white men should continue to subjugate the rest of us with impunity.

So important is it to the right wing that stupid white men continue to rule that even Repugnican women (who universally are afflicted with Stockholm syndrome) are now said to be more fired up to vote in next month’s midterm elections than they were before the Kavanaugh fracas.

This is some sick and twisted shit, of course, but then again the Repugnicans are a fucking sick and twisted lot, a true basket of deplorables (I have to agree with Billary on that, although I find her plenty deplorable her-presidential-nomination-stealing-self).

That said, we must continue to fight against the fascists, which includes voting on November 6. They will vote for evil, as they always do; we must vote for good.

And we can take some solace in the fact that the Repugnicans must cheat in order to “win.”

The Repugnican presidential candidate won the popular vote only once since 1992 (Gee Dubya “won” “re”-election in 2004 by only 50.7 percent of the popular vote; he had lost the popular vote in 2000, and Pussygrabber also lost the popular vote in 2016).

The majority of the American people prefer a Democrat over a Repugnican, which is why the Repugnicans must do everything in their power to subvert democracy and throw elections their way, be it via widespread voter suppression or via such fascist bullshit as Bush v. Gore, in which the Repugnican-appointed “justices” of the Supreme Court, not the American people, picked the U.S. president in 2000.

And look how much the Repugnicans have had to cheat brazenly in order to shove Kavanaugh through. First, they had to pave the way by reducing the confirmation vote for a Supreme Court “justice” in the U.S. Senate from 60 votes to only 51 votes, which they did for Neil Gorsuch — after they had denied President Barack Obama the right to name a replacement for bloated piece of shit Antonin Scalia even though Obama had had almost a full year left of his presidency.

In addition to his white-male privilege, Kavanaugh has benefited not only from the anti-democratic Electoral College that gave us Pussygrabber and from the craven new simple-majority vote requirement for a Supreme Court “justice” in the U.S. Senate, but also from a fucking sham of an FBI “investigation” into his sex crimes, in which the “investigation” was done within only a few days and in which key individuals weren’t interviewed by the FBI at all.

Just as I never will consider George W. Bush nor Pussygrabber to have been legitimate U.S. presidents, I never will consider Gorsuch or Kavanaugh to be legitimate U.S. Supreme Court justices. Never.

How you got there fucking matters.

What we, the people, need to ensure now is that the Repugnican minority no longer can treasonously cheat its way into dominating us, the majority.

The fascist traitors “win” because thus far we have let them. Indeed, they always have counted on us to do so, because while they are shameless, violent and craven, we lean toward conscience, peace and decency.

We already have the majority; the only question is how much we’ll fight for it.

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Best-case scenario: Dems win Senate, decide next high-court justice

APF/Getty Images photo

Two pussy grabbers in a pod: Brett Kavanaugh and “President” Pussygrabber shake hands after the “president” announced Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court in July.

I never would predict that the Democrats will win the U.S. Senate back in November as well as the U.S. House of Representatives. (Fivethirtyeight.com right now, as I type this sentence, gives the Dems an 81.3 percent chance of winning back the House, but only a 32.6 percent chance of winning back the Senate.)

Still, after our ongoing long national nightmare, I can dream.

I believe U.S. Supreme Court “justice” nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, that back in the early 1980s, when he was 17 years old and she was 15 years old, he drunkenly sexually assaulted her (gee, can we add under-aged drinking to the sexual assault?).

We already have one known sex fiend on the nation’s high court; we don’t need another. (Nor, for that matter, do we need yet another right-wing white man; the court has not been representative and reflective of the U.S. population forever.)

Because of the statute of limitations, it’s too late to prosecute Kavanaugh, but in most cases 17 years old is old enough for an act to be indicative of one’s character, I believe, and because I believe Kavanaugh’s accuser, I believe that he is unfit to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, his radical-right-wing views aside.

Anyone who can’t understand why a victim of sexual assault would remain silent for years (Ford did recount the sexual assault to her therapist in 2012) probably hasn’t been the victim of a sexual assault. Especially if the perpetrator has power and status, of course a victim easily could choose to remain silent, expecting (often if not usually correctly) to be even further victimized if she or he were to report the incident.

The Anita Hill debacle didn’t happen until 1991; she was treated atrociously, including by perennial presidential wannabe Joe Biden (a DINO) and by soulless mercenary David Brock, who went on to work for/with DINO Billary Clinton (because, you know, she’s a feminist).

If it was that bad for Anita Hill in the early 1990s, how much better do you think that it was for Christine Blasey Ford in the early 1980s? Her perpetrator went to prep school and then to Yale. He had a future, you see; hers, on the other hand, was disposable.

So this is what I’m hoping — dreaming — will happen: Brett Kavanaugh will go down in flames, as he deserves. There won’t be enough time before the November mid-term elections for the treasonous Repugnicans to try to ram through the installation of another Nazi on the U.S. Supreme Court with a simple majority Senate vote instead of the historically required 60 votes (as they did with Neil Gorsuch, whose seat on the Supreme Court is stolen property).

Then, the Dems will take back the Senate in November, and one of two things will happen:

(1) They won’t allow “President” Pussygrabber to put another wingnut on the high court — they will stick to the simple-majority Senate vote requirement that the Repugnicans have felt was just fine for Gorsuch and now for Kavanaugh. (Let the Repugnican traitors have a taste of their own bitter medicine; their “nuclear-option” change in the Senate rules should remain in place.)

The best that Pussygrabber would be able to do in this scenario is to put a moderate on the bench, as Obama was willing to do (with the Senate controlled by the opposing political party) with Merrick Garland.

Or (2) if they really find their spines (which is not nearly as likely as is scenario No. 1), the Senate Democrats will simply do what the Repugnicans did during President Obama’s last year in office: simply refuse to put anyone new on the bench until after the next presidential election. (Yertle McConnell proclaimed that democracy demanded that!)

If the Repugnicans did nothing wrong by depriving Obama of the presidential right to name a U.S. Supreme Court justice in the last year of his presidency, then they will have nothing to bitch about.

I tell you what: If the Democrats actually recapture the Senate in November, a feat in and of itself given the electoral map, and then actually refuse to allow Pussygrabber to put another “justice” on the Supreme Court — finally showing that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander — I probably will switch my voter registration back from independent to Democrat.*

The Repugnican traitors shamelessly play hardball while the Democrats cluelessly try to sing “Kumbaya.” Until and unless the Democrats’ spines finally calcify, they don’t deserve our full support.

*I had changed from Green to Democrat to be able to vote for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential primary, but after the anti-Bernie Democratic National Committee e-mails were released in July 2016, I changed to independent (“no party preference” here in California) out of rage and disgust.

The Democratic Party would have to impress the hell out of me for me to ever join it again.

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On civility and the lack thereof

Updated below (on Thursday, June 28, 2018)

Image result for U.S. Civil War South surrenders

It’s feeling like it’s long past time to become “civil” again…

The writers of fivethirtyeight.com today posted an interesting chat on the topic of civility.

I agree, as usual, with Nate Silver’s take on civility (as I understand his take on it, anyway): There’s a huge difference between a full-on assault on democracy and merely rude words or actions.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders-Goebbels being asked to leave a quaint restaurant because she’s a Nazi spokesweasel, for instance: not actually a threat to the bedrock of our democracy. My calling Sarah Huckabee Sanders-Goebbels “Sarah Huckabee Sanders-Goebbels”: also not actually a threat to the bedrock of our democracy. (Neither is profanity, but over the years I’ve been slammed for my use of profanity here, even while our democracy is dismantled by fascist traitors, piece by piece, before our very fucking eyes.)

The Repugnican Party, under the “leadership” of Senate Majority “Leader” Yertle McConnell, refusing to allow former President Barack Obama to appoint a successor to the late U.S. Supreme Court “Justice” Antonin Scalia, even though Obama still had more than 11 months left in his presidency when Scalia kicked the bucket in February 2016, not only was uncivil, but it violated the nation’s preceding history and tradition, destroyed any trust that anyone possibly could have in the Repugnican Party to act in good faith ever fucking again, dealt yet another bloody blow to our democracy like the head of a helpless baby harp seal, and, in my book, violated the U.S. Constitution*, which all of the traitors of the Repugnican Party who participated in the Neil Gorsuch debacle had taken an oath to uphold, not to shit and piss upon.

Further, in my book, it was a treasonous act. Why? Because the majority of the American voters had voted Obama in for a second term in November 2012. (I was not one of them, but I recognize that he won the presidential election fairly and squarely, entirely unlike our last two Repugnican “presidents.”)

When the American voters gave Obama a second term, they knew fully well that the possibility existed that one of the members of the U.S. Supreme Court might die or otherwise become incapacitated during his second term. And they chose Obama, not Mittens Romney or the Repugnican Party, to be the one to make that decision.

But while the scaly Scalia’s body was still warm (well, the reptile probably never was warm, but that’s the saying), Yertle McConnell proclaimed, “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.”

Acting as though he was following the will of “the American people,” Yertle McConnell of course instead was following the will of his own craven, right-wing, anti-democratic party. He chose political expediency over doing the right thing, and, again, in my view, because he brazenly subverted the will of the American people as they had expressed it in the presidential election November 2012, Yertle committed treason. The people had voted; he then told them to go fuck themselves.

(No, not literally. Because that, you see, would have been “uncivil,” and we cannot have any incivility! It’s perfectly fine to commit treason, you see, but to cuss is the worst thing that you can do [well, outside of tossing the hungry, hungry Sarah Huckabee Sanders-Goebbels from a restaurant].)

That’s how the Repugnicans operate: They fastidiously strain out tiny gnats yet gulp camels whole (except, of course, they find it in their three-chambered reptilian hearts to make exception after exception for “President” Pussygrabber’s incessant vulgarities).

And it’s funny — Pussygrabber recently called the 5-4 Gorsuch Court’s** ruling upholding his hateful, discriminatory ban on Muslims from the United States to be “a tremendous victory for the American people and the Constitution.”

Bullshit.

The treasonous (redundant) Repugnican Party, acting in bad faith and treasonously against the wishes of the American people that they already had articulated via the democratic process, denied our nation’s first black president the right that at least in modern history had been granted to every previous (and white) president without hesitation: the right to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Such a treasonous subversion of our Constitution and our democracy — and anything that stems from it — is no “victory for the American people and the Constitution.”

Neil Gorsuch, like “President” Pussygrabber, is illegitimate. Yes, it matters how you came into a position of power, whether you did it legitimately and fairly or whether you did it illegitimately and unfairly.

Millions of more voters cast their votes for Billary Clinton than for Pussygrabber, yet we tell our young people to vote, that their votes matter, even though at least twice in my lifetime, two of our “presidents” didn’t even fucking win the highest number of votes.

Because Obama was denied his constitutional right, as president, to fulfill a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court when he still had more than 11 full months in office to go, Gorsuch always will be illegitimate to me, as will be all of his decisions, all of which only can be the fruit of the poisonous tree (even if he should ever make a decision that I actually agree with).

The only good news in all of this is that the Repugnican traitors have to cheat to “succeed.” They can’t win the popular vote (and have to have the help of Russia to even win the Electoral College, which should have been abolished ages ago) and they have to subvert laws and historical norms to get what they want.

And I’m thinking that even given their reptilian brains, they have to know, in the back of their tiny little minds, that when they celebrate their “victories,” like today’s 5-4 Gorsuch Court summary execution of public-sector labor unions (which had been on the right-wing wish list for many, many years), it’s actually quite fucking hollow, because they had to fucking cheat to get those “victories.”

Another blog post, of course, is why we, the people, have allowed such bullshit as stolen presidential elections, bogus wars and stolen U.S. Supreme Court seats.

It might start with our apparent mass belief that we decent folk must at all times be “civil” — a belief that our treasonous, anti-democratic enemies on the right have demonstrated amply that they do not at all share.

Update (Thursday, June 28, 2018): I neglected to mention above that in April 2017, Yertle McConnell also had taken the “nuclear option” and changed long-standing Senate rules so that Neil Gorsuch could be confirmed by a simple majority of the senators instead of by 60 of them, as was the tradition. Gorsuch thereby was confirmed by only 54 votes.

Again, to get Gorsuch on the bench, the treasonous Repugnicans had to cheat — big time. I mean, it’s fucking uber-blatant: Losing? Just change the rules! Lower the bar so that you “win”!

Also, Yertle actually uttered these words yesterday after Supreme Court “Justice” Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement: “The Senate stands ready to fulfill its constitutional role by offering advice and consent … We will vote to confirm Justice Kennedy’s successor this fall.” (Was Yertle trolling us or is his pathological hypocrisy truly so egregious that he truly sees nothing wrong with it?)

So when the Repugnicans have the chance to fill a vacancy on the nation’s highest court, time is of the essencethe Constitution says so! But when a Democratic president (especially a black one) has the chance to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court, he must be stonewalled for a year! It’s only fair!

The treasonous wingnuts among us treat the Constitution like they treat the Bible — they pick and choose, emphasize and ignore, based upon what is most politically and personally convenient for them at the moment. One moment it’s a sacred fucking document, and the next moment it’s toilet paper, to be used accordingly.

I always have been able to articulate exactly why I detest the Repugnican traitors (redundant) among us; for me it’s not rank tribalism. They get away with their treason only because we, the people, thus far haven’t done to them what they deserve to have done to them, but if they push the envelope much further — such as try to reverse Roe vs. Wade or actually try to revoke same-sex marriage — that might change.

Revolt always has been and always will be is a legitimate response to tyranny. When your democracy is being destroyed systematically by self-serving traitors whose lack of decency and lack of good faith know no bounds, it’s the only legitimate response.

*Yertle McConnell’s only loophole is that the U.S. Constitution does not give the U.S. Senate an actual, explicit deadline to vote on a new justice/“justice” to the U.S. Supreme Court after a vacancy. Still, long vacancies on the U.S. Supreme Court were common enough in the 1800s but have not been common in modern history; since 1970, the average court vacancy hasn’t lasted even a full 60 days.

McConnell & Co. certainly violated the spirit, if not the letter, of the Constitution, which grants the sitting (not the next) U.S. president the right to nominate a new Supreme Court justice/“justice,” and it’s sad that unless basic fucking decency is expressed explicitly in writing, craven traitors will subvert democracy to get their own way.

**I can only think of the current court as “the (5-4) Gorsuch Court” — because it contains an illegitimate “justice” named Neil Gorsuch, whose very presence on the court taints every court decision in which he participates.

I adamantly refuse to give the dint of legitimacy to those who are illegitimate, such as “President” George W. Bush, “President” Pussygrabber and “Justice” Gorsuch. You don’t reward the blatant theft of political power by doing anything to give it the air of legitimacy.

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Mini-Scalia Neil Gorsuch indeed would be the recipient of stolen property

As I noted at the time, then-President Barack Obama had had more than 11 months left in his second term to appoint a new U.S. Supreme Court justice after fascist piece of shit Associate “Justice” Antonin Scalia keeled over a year ago this month.

The Repugnican Tea Party traitors — who now, of course, uber-hypocritically cry bloody fucking murder at any whisper of a hint of Democratic obstruction — for almost a year spectacularly denied Obama’s right to nominate a new justice, claiming that the people should decide.

“The people” whom the Repugnican Tea Party traitors claim to wuv so fucking much had fucking decided, when they voted in November 2012 to keep Barack Obama in the White House. When they voted for Obama a second time, they knew fully well that during his next four years in office a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court might come open.

The Repugnican Tea Party traitors’ history-breaking refusal to fill a vacant seat on the nation’s highest court when the sitting president still had almost a year left in office was yet another serious blow to our democracy, not far enough behind how the Supreme Court in 2000 voted 5-4, along party lines, to put George W. Bush into the White House, even though, jut like “President” Pussygrabber, he had lost the popular vote.

This is how much the Repugnican Tea Party traitors truly love the American people: They’ll gladly shit and piss on the U.S. Constitution and wholly ignore presidential (and other) election results if they can get away with it. True to their fascist roots, pure, raw power — no matter how they get it — is all that they fucking care about.

Of course “President” Pussygrabber’s nominee to the vacancy on the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch, whose fascist mamma had to quit her job as head of the Environmental Protection Agency because she was destroying the agency for the benefit of her polluting, plutocratic, fascist buddies* — is yet another fascist piece of shit, but to me, his record is (almost) entirely irrelevant.

Anyone whom the Repugnican Tea Party traitors nominate now to the U.S. Supreme Court doesn’t deserve the seat because it will have been a stolen seat.

Yes, not just that you come to power, but how you come to power, fucking matters.

Just as I never will consider Pussygrabber to be the legitimate president of the United States of America because he lost the popular vote by almost 3 million votes and because he very, very apparently treasonously had a considerable amount of help from the enemy nation of Russia, I never will consider Scalia’s replacement to be a legitimate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, because the anti-democratic, power-grubbing, wholly honor- and decency-free Repugnican Tea Party traitors deprived Barack Obama — and, by extension, the majority of the American people, who had voted for Obama in November 2012 — of the rightful right to name that justice.**

*Wikipedia notes of Ann Gorsuch Buford:

Gorsuch based her administration of the EPA on the New Federalism approach of downsizing federal agencies by delegating their functions and services to the individual states. She believed that the EPA was over-regulating business and that the agency was too large and not cost-effective.

During her 22 months as agency head [which spanned from part of 1981 through part of 1983], she cut the budget of the EPA by 22 percent, reduced the number of cases filed against polluters, relaxed Clean Air Act regulations, and facilitated the spraying of restricted-use pesticides.

She cut the total number of agency employees, and hired staff from the industries they were supposed to be regulating. Environmentalists contended that her policies were designed to placate polluters, and accused her of trying to dismantle the agency.

This is pretty much everyone whom “populist” “President” Pussygrabber has appointed to his cabinet: fascist plutocrats who want to destroy — for the benefit of themselves and their fascist, plutocratic buddies — the federal agencies that they’re supposed to strengthen.

Yet millions of mouth-breathers actually voted for Pussygrabber, incredibly stupidly believing the billionaire fascist’s lies that he actually gives a shit about us commoners.

**No, I’m not an Obamabot. I voted for Obama in 2008, believing his ubiquitous promises of “hope” and “change,” but not in 2012, since he didn’t fulfill his campaign promises in his first term, and as I don’t believe in rewarding broken campaign promises with another vote.

I frequently have criticized Obama here, and that’s because he campaigned as a progressive but actually presided from the center to the center-right. (To paint his record as better than it is because he’s black is to be racist, just as to paint his record as worse than it is because he’s black is to be racist, so the self-defeating identity politicians, most of whom stupidly supported the widely despised, faux populist, Repugnican Lite Billary Clinton and whose obnoxious, hypocritical, self-serving bullshit helped to put Pussygrabber into the White House, can go fuck themselves furiously.)

All of that said, just as I had voted for Ralph Nader and not for Al Gore for president in 2000, knowing that Gore would win all of my state’s (California’s) electoral votes no matter how I fucking voted, and just as I fully recognize Gore as the rightful winner of that presidential election, although I voted for Jill Stein instead of Obama in 2012, of course I recognize Obama as the rightful winner of that election.

(And the pattern continues: I voted for Jill Stein again this past November, knowing that Billary Clinton would win all of my state’s electoral votes anyway, and I recognize only Billary as the rightful winner of that election [the fact that she and the Democratic National Committee worked closely together to fuck over the actual Democrat, Bernie Sanders, aside]).

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Ding-dong! Antonin Scalia is DEAD!

Updated below

FILE - In this June 17, 1986 file photo, President Ronald Reagan speaks at a news briefing at the White House in Washington, where he announced the nomination of Antonin Scalia, left, to the Supreme Court as a result of Chief Justice Warren E. Burger's resignation. William Rehnquist is at right. On Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, the U.S. Marshals Service confirmed that Justice Scalia has died at the age of 79. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

Associated Press file photo

Hell has a new resident. The freshly late Antonin Scalia, left, is shown with then-President Ronald Reagan and then-U.S. Supreme Court “Justice” William Rehnquist at a press conference in the White House in June 1986 at which Reagan announced his nomination of Scalia to the Supreme Court. Scalia — who, among others things, took issue with “the law profession’s anti-anti-homosexual culture” and the “homosexual agenda,” and who believed that the U.S. Constitution does not guarantee abortion rights but that it does support the death penalty (even for minors and for mentally retarded individuals), and who blatantly treasonously and anti-democratically put George W. Bush into the White House even though he had lost the 2000 presidential election to Al Gore — does not somehow magically become angelic in death, since everyone dies.

Wow.

Fascist U.S. Supreme Court “Justice” Antonin Scalia was found dead this morning, apparently of natural causes, at a luxury ranch resort near Marfa, Texas, at age 79 after he hadn’t shown up for breakfast. At the time of his death he had been the longest-serving of the current members of the court. He was nominated by one of our worst presidents, Ronald Reagan, and mind-blowingly unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 1986.

So President Barack Obama gets to nominate another U.S. Supreme Court justice, apparently.

Hopefully this means that 5-4 decisions from the nation’s highest court from here on out will mean decisions that lean to the left rather than to the right, as has been the case for far too long now.

P.S. Years ago, I saw Scalia speak at the University of Arizona in Tucson. I don’t remember most of what he said, as it was so long ago, but I do recall his defense of his strict, supposedly “originalist” interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, and his wholehearted rejection of the view of the Constitution as a living document, which must evolve with the demands of the times.

I recall a woman in the audience lambasting him for his cold-bloodedness during the Q-and-A. His “defense” of his far-right-wing position on constitutional matters was something like, “Do you really want people like me deciding what the Constitution is all about?” (Sadly and pathetically, this “argument” seemed to disarm the angry woman, who then actually apologized to him.)

Anyway, that’s what Scalia did anyway during his time on the U.S. Supreme Court: he interpreted the Constitution to fit his own, far-right-wing political ideology, which included preventing the expansion of freedom beyond those who belong to the elite and otherwise defending the socioeconomic status quo. (It’s only an “activist” judge if it’s a left-leaning judge, you see.)

Update: This was predictable: Politico reports that Repugnican Tea Party Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says that Scalia’s seat on the U.S. Supreme Court should not be filled until after the presidential election in November.

Bullshit.

President Barack Obama still has more than 11 full months in office. (Inauguration Day will be January 20, 2017.)

“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president,” the tortoise-like McConnell fascistically proclaimed in a statement.

The American people have had a voice. They elected Barack Obama twice. When they elected Obama for a second term in November 2012, they knew fully well (or should have known, anyway) that he would have the power to nominate, if necessary, a justice to the U.S. Supreme Court during his second term.

The Constitution says that the president nominates, and that the Senate must confirm, all new justices to the Supreme Court.

Unfortunately, I am not aware of any constitutional (or other legal) deadline for this process once there is a vacancy. However, the suggestion of the traitors who comprise the Repugnican Tea Party that President Obama should be deprived of the president’s constitutional privilege of nominating an individual to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court is yet another example of their treason and their treasonous hatred of democracy when the democratic process does not go their way (such as their full support of the blatant electoral theft of the White House in 2000).

Surely if Obama were a Repugnican Tea Party president in his last year in office (and if he were white), the Repugnican Tea Party traitors would demand that any vacancy on the nation’s highest court be filled ASAP, presidential election year or not. They would argue that our democratic process demands it.

Fucking hypocrites.

Holding up the replacement of the abominable Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court when the duly-twice-elected President Obama has more than 11 months to go would be yet another anti-democratic act of war — and treason — against the American people and should be reacted to accordingly.

More than enough is more than enough!

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Do most public-sector labor unions DESERVE ‘fair share’?

The largely right-wing U.S. Supreme Court is poised to potentially deal a potentially devastating blow to public-sector labor unions by possibly ruling that it violates the First Amendment rights of those whose jobs are covered by the public-sector unions to have to pay a “fair share” of what it costs the unions to collectively bargain and otherwise do business that benefits the workers the unions cover.

First, let me note that in general I’m pro-union. In the aftermath of the decimation of the middle class since the Reagan era, the worker has no other entity working on his or her side.

That said, so many labor unions, at least public-sector unions, have become less and less about working for the workers and more and more about benefiting those at the top of the unionsà la something right out of Animal Farm.

I have watched my public-sector union, Service Employees International Union, go downhill over the past many years.

Nationally, SEIU’s top “leaders” decide on presidential endorsements, giving us rank-and-file members — you know, those of us whose dues pay their salaries no vote whatsofuckingever. (SEIU, without a vote of its rank-and-file members, endorsed Barack Obama in 2008, which I agreed with at that time, but then, again with no vote of the membership, endorsed his re-election in 2012, which I didn’t agree with, as Obama hadn’t delivered on his promises to the labor movement, and for this year, SEIU, yet once again without a vote of its rank-and-file members, has endorsed Billary Clinton, which has outraged me and many, many other SEIU members who want Bernie Sanders, not Democrat in name only Billary.)

Locally, my state’s SEIU “leaders,” after they won re-election in a low-turnout election in May 2015, decided to try to give themselves five- and six-digit raises that they dishonestly have called “stipends.” (Because of the backlash, they have failed — thus far.) Locally, my state’s SEIU is far more about benefiting its president and her cronies than it is about the union members’ best interests.

This has been the case for some years now. When former California Gov. Arnold “Baby Daddy” Schwarzenegger, starting in 2008, shit and pissed all over SEIU members, such as by imposing first one, then two, then three furlough days (forced days off without pay) a month and illegally eliminating two state holidays, SEIU’s “leadership,” including its current president, who had taken the reins before Baby Daddy’s attacks, were fairly worthless.

Apparently SEIU sued unsuccessfully (apparently bungled its legal action), but SEIU overall was way too quiet in fighting the illegitimate Schwarzenegger administration’s onslaught against its members. When we dues-paying union members really needed our union to fight for us, the union did not fight for us in a meaningful way.

And the union hasn’t improved much, if any, since then. If SEIU here in California seems better now, it’s most likely due mostly or entirely to the fact that the state’s finances rebounded after Democrat Jerry Brown came back to the governorship in January 2011, turning the “Baby Daddy” Schwarzenegger state budget deficits into state budget surpluses in rather short order.

I acknowledge that in an economic downturn, union leaders feel that they have to be careful not to alienate the populace by refusing to sacrifice anything, but history has demonstrated amply that once something is taken away, it can be very difficult if not impossible to get it back. This is how the right wing operates, and without effective opposition, the right wing gets its way.

What infects SEIU, nationally and, in my case, locally, is what infects so many organizations whose intended creation was to help people: The organizations over time become more and more and more about their well-paid “leaders” and less and less and less about the organizations’ missions and those whom the organizations are supposed to help.

Dissenters are pushed out as the self-serving “leaders” feather their nests, intending on keeping the game — pretending to be doing their jobs when they’re only primarily benefiting themselves — going for as long as they possibly can.

If feathering their own nests means selling their membership out to the powers that be, then the “leaders” of these organizations will do it.

So: When I read that the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to perhaps rule that public-sector unions throughout the United States may not collect a “fair share” from any worker who does not want to contribute it, knowing how horribly SEIU has acted over the many past years that it has been “my” union, I can’t say that I’m all that distraught. (And I’d prefer to be distraught, because if SEIU had been doing its job over these past many years, I would be distraught.)

SEIU endorses presidential candidates without giving me a vote on the matter, even though it gladly takes my money every month, and when the local SEIU was tested by “Baby Daddy” Schwarzenegger, it failed miserably — but its “leaders” want to give themselves big raises nonetheless.

What, exactly, do I need SEIU for? Apparently I’ve only been one of its huge herd of cash cows.

If nothing else, let this Supreme Court case, if “fair share” is shot down, be a wake-up call to the many labor unions throughout the United States that have calcified and grown complacent, that have become far more about benefiting the “leadership” than benefiting the membership.

If we don’t see much backlash to a Supreme Court ruling that “fair share” violates the First Amendment — and I predict that we won’t/wouldn’t — in no tiny part it would be because the unions stopped being effective for their members years ago. They — we — have felt about as used, abused and screwed by our own unions as we have been by our corporate overlords.

For now, for years now I’ve been paying full monthly membership dues to SEIU (the dues are taken out of my paycheck automatically), but because SEIU has been making presidential endorsements on my behalf without giving me a vote — yes, that’s just like taxation without representation — I have been considering investigating if I can opt out of contributing to SEIU’s political activity. (I [probably] agree with most of SEIU’s political activity on the state level, but not giving me a vote in the union’s presidential endorsement is unfuckingacceptable.)

If the Supreme Court rules in the not-too-distant future that I don’t have to give SEIU a penny, not even my “fair share,” will I give SEIU a penny?

Right now, I lean toward not.

And that’s SEIU’s fault, not mine. I’m more than happy to pay for a benefit. How the calcified, self-serving, selling-out-its-membership SEIU is benefiting me is harder for me to see with each passing year.

P.S. “Unions fear the potential loss of tens of millions of dollars in fees could reduce their power to bargain for higher wages and benefits for teachers, firefighters, sanitation workers and other government employees,” notes The Associated Press of the Supreme Court’s possible axing of the “fair share.”

(The Supreme Court case, by the way, originated here in California, apparently by some anti-union wingnut in wingnutty Orange County who opposes the California Teachers Association.)

The AP notes that since Michigan became a so-called “right-to-work” state in 2013, “Membership in the Michigan Education Association has since dropped by 19 percent.” That doesn’t strike me as a devastating drop.

It’s hard to say how much membership in my local SEIU would drop were the “fair share” to be eliminated. I don’t imagine that very many of those now legally required to pay the “fair share” but who don’t want to give a penny to the union will continue to pay the union a penny when/if they no longer have to. (But they’re not union members, so their no longer paying their “fair share” wouldn’t represent a drop in membership.)

And the Supreme Court’s elimination of “fair share” altogether would induce me, I surmise, to give a long, hard look at whether I find enough benefit in SEIU to continue to be a full dues-paying member.

At some point, you really become beyond sick and tired of being a perpetually punk’d and chumped cash cow.

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The Supremes give me reverse November 2008 déjà vu

Updated below (last on Friday, June 28, 2013)

For this progressive Californian, this week feels like an uncanny reversal of Election Day 2008: In November 2008, we Californians saw our nation’s first non-all-white president* elected, a historical milestone — but with the narrow (52-48) passage of Proposition H8, which wrote homophobia into the California state Constitution by banning same-sex marriage, we non-heterosexual Californians were stripped of our constitutionally guaranteed right to marry, which the California Supreme Court earlier that year had ruled was ours.**

Yesterday, in a typically 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court eviscerated the Voting Rights Act, claiming that the act’s provisions were too outdated, despite the fact that Congress had renewed it overwhelmingly in 2006, which wasn’t all that fucking long ago.

In her dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg nailed it on the head when she remarked, “Throwing out [U.S. Justice Department] pre-clearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes [to voting laws] is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.”

While I surmise that Congress will restore the Voting Rights Act in the future, that won’t happen, of course, with the current wingnut-dominated U.S. House of Representatives. Indeed, media reports are that the fascists of the red states, in light of this new U.S. Supreme Court decision, are working fast and furiously to reinstate their voter suppression laws (previously shot down by the Justice Department) just in time for the 2014 midterm elections.

I have to wonder, of course, if that was the goal of the wingnuts on the high court: To help the struggling Repugnican Tea Party in the next national elections. Hey, they’ve certainly involved themselves in election-fixing before, which even former U.S. Supreme Court “Justice” Sandra Day O’Connor, who was appointed by Ronald Reagan and who, with four other like-minded “justices,” put George W. Bush in office, has expressed a potential problem with.

Yesterday was a giant leap backwards for the equal human and civil rights of non-whites, and was yet another stain on our nation caused by yet another 5-4 vote by the right-wing U.S. Supreme Court, right up there with the court’s 5-4 coronation of George W. Bush as president in late 2000 even though he’d lost the election by more than a half-million popular votes and even though the pivotal state of Florida clearly had been stolen as a “victory” for Bush and with the court’s 5-4 Citizens United decision, which reinforced the bogus concept that corporations are just like individual people, and that just like individual people, corporations have First Amendment rights.

It’s mind-blowing to ponder the fact that the voting rights for which so many Americans fought and even died were eliminated at the stroke of the poisoned pen of just one right-wing U.S. Supreme Court justice. (Yet at the same time I suppose that it’s a little encouraging to know that it was only a 5-4 vote, that only one “justice” made the difference.)

I hope that the backlash against the right wing’s ongoing attempt to suppress voters is considerable. Generally speaking, the right-wing traitors among us win little battles here and there, but over time, they continue to lose the war. They stymie and delay progress as much as they can, but progress still marches on, and the haters go down in history as the haters that they are or were.

But today, unlike in November 2008, there was good news for us non-heterosexuals when the US. Supreme Court ruled, 5-4 (of course), that the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, which Congress passed in 1996, is unconstitutional, as it violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection of the laws (duh).

This ruling means that no same-sex couple that has been married in a state with legalized same-sex marriage may be denied any of the federal benefits of marriage that are enjoyed by opposite-sex married couples.

However, this also means that same-sex couples in most states will not have the same rights as do same-sex couples in other states (those states that have adopted legalized same-sex marriage), which, of course, is a patently unfair and thus an untenable situation.

Yes, the nation’s high court, while it struck down DOMA, by yet another 5-4 vote refused to touch Prop H8, ruling that, as Reuters puts it, “supporters of [Prop H8] did not have standing to appeal a federal district court ruling that struck the law down.” Thus, the court apparently very intentionally avoided directly ruling on whether or not any state may constitutionally outlaw same-sex marriage, leaving same-sex marriage, for now, as an untenable issue of “states’ rights.”

Because the U.S. Supreme Court wouldn’t touch Prop H8, the lower federal courts’ rulings that Prop H8 is unconstitutional (because it violates the Fourteenth Amendment) stand, and my understanding is that this means that California will have same-sex marriage again, as it did briefly in 2008 (between the effective date of the California Supreme Court’s ruling for same-sex marriage and the effective date of the same-sex-marriage-nixing Prop H8) — but, I understand, there’s more legal wrangling ahead as to what, exactly, the Supremes’ refusal to touch Prop H8 means for California.

It was cowardly, irresponsible and short-sighted of the court to rule that DOMA is unconstitutional on the grounds of the Fourteenth Amendment but to then refuse to rule that accordingly, no state may outlaw same-sex marriage on the grounds of the Fourteenth Amendment, but apparently today’s rulings were, pathetically, the best that we could get from this right-wing court.

Of course it would have been nice if either or both of today’s high-court rulings on DOMA and Prop H8 (the court’s cowardly refusal to issue a ruling on Prop H8 was the court’s “ruling” on Prop H8) had been 6-3 or even 7-2 (or hell, even 8-1 or 9-0), but the right-wing homo-haters have no credibility in (predictably) calling the 5-4 decisions the “tyranny” of the U.S. Supreme Court against the American majority when a series of recent nationwide polls clearly show that a clear majority of Americans favor same-sex marriage.

And those fascistic haters who claim that to overturn Prop H8 is to overturn the will of California’s voters conveniently ignore the two facts that (1) any ballot measure passed by a majority of any state’s voters can be overturned by a federal court if that court deems it to be unconstitutional (Civics 101 — duh) and that (2) while Prop H8 passed in November 2008 with 52 percent of the vote, polls show now that around 60 percent of Californians support same-sex marriage; were Californians to vote again on the issue again today, same-sex marriage would pass by a decisive margin. Prop H8 no longer is the will of the majority of California’s voters.

So: Today we can celebrate a significant although incomplete victory for same-sex couples who desire legalized marriage and the rights (and, yes, the responsibilities) that come with legalized marriage.

But we need to fight like hell to regain the ground that we just lost where voting rights are concerned, and we need to fight like hell to gain full marriage equality for same-sex couples in all 50 states.

The U.S. Constitution’s demands for fairness and equality demand that we do so.

*True, Barack Obama (whom I don’t really consider “black” but consider to be of mixed race) turned out to be a huge disappointment, a George W. Bush Lite, but I did cast my vote for him in November 2008 before I knew how his presidency was going to unfold. I voted for him in 2008 at least in part because I thought that it was great to be able to vote for the first non-all-white president in U.S. history. (In 2012 I could not, in good conscience, vote for Obama again; I voted for Green Party candidate Jill Stein.)

**And this was no radically left-wing California Supreme Court; when it ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in 2008, most of its justices at that time had been appointed by Repugnican, not by Democratic, governors.

Update (Wednesday, June 26, 2013): Democratic California Gov. Jerry Brown has instructed the California Department of Public Health, which comes under his authority, to direct all of California’s 58 counties to begin to issue same-sex marriage licenses as soon as is legally possible, which might take a month or so.

Update (Friday, June 28, 2013): The homo-hating wingnuts here in California (and elsewhere) are going apoplectic over this (from The Associated Press today):

The four plaintiffs in the U.S. Supreme Court case that overturned California’s same-sex marriage ban tied the knot [today], just hours after a federal appeals court freed gay couples to obtain marriage licenses in the state for the first time in 4 1/2 years.

State Attorney General Kamala Harris presided at the San Francisco City Hall wedding of Kris Perry and Sandy Stier as hundreds of supporters looked on and cheered. The couple sued to overturn the state’s voter-approved gay marriage ban along with Jeff Katami and Paul Zarrillo, who married at Los Angeles City Hall 90 minutes later with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa presiding. …

Although the couples fought for the right to wed for years, their weddings came together in a flurry when a three-judge panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a brief order [this] afternoon dissolving, “effective immediately,” a stay it had imposed on gay marriages while the lawsuit challenging the ban advanced through the courts.

Sponsors of California’s same-sex marriage ban, known as Proposition 8, called the appeals court’s swift action “outrageous.” Under Supreme Court rules, the losing side in a legal dispute has 25 days to ask the high court to rehear the case, and Proposition 8’s backers had not yet announced whether they would do so. …

Call the homo-haters a waaaaaambulance! Anyway, the AP story continues:

The [U.S.] Supreme Court said earlier this week that it would not finalize its ruling in the Proposition 8 case until after the 25-day period, which ends July 21. But San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who joined the two couples in the lawsuit, said [today] that the Ninth Circuit panel had the power to lift the stay it imposed.

“The fact of the matter is the only thing holding up the weddings was the stay that the Ninth Circuit had in place,” Herrera said. “The fact that there is a separate 25-day period allowing the petition to go for a rehearing is separate and apart from that stay.”

[California Gov. Jerry] Brown directed California counties to start performing same-sex marriages immediately after the appeals court’s order. A memo from the Department of Public Health said “same-sex marriage is again legal in California” and ordered county clerks to resume issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. …

Anyway: Wow. After the U.S. Supreme Court’s handed-down decision on Wednesday not to touch the Prop H8 case, we Californians had figured that there would be a wait of at least around a month for same-sex marriages to resume in California; we didn’t expect them to resume this quickly.

I misspoke above, by the way: The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday did not uphold both federal district court Judge Vaughn Walker’s 2010 decision that Prop H8 violated the U.S. Constitution and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in February 2012 to uphold Walker’s original ruling.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday vacated the circuit court’s ruling, which then reverted the matter of Prop H8 to Walker’s original 2010 ruling.

Frankly, Vaughn Walker, who is now retired, is a hero to me. Yes, he is a gay man, and yes, the homo-haters tried (but failed) to have his 2010 pro-same-sex-marriage ruling invalidated because he’s gay (apparently only [presumedly] straight white men can be fair and impartial judges, you see), but Walker is no left-wing radical: He was nominated as a federal judge first by Ronald Reagan and then by George H. W. Bush, and apparently his political leanings are conservative-libertarian.

I consider Walker’s ruling to be a landmark document in U.S. gay, lesbian and bisexual history. You can read it, if you want, here.

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