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Gender: Male
Home country: USA
Current location: PA
Member since: Wed May 11, 2005, 10:48 PM
Number of posts: 10,639

About Me

I love spending time with my grandchildren and gardening.

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In this post https://www.emptywheel.net/2022/03/30/the-right-wing-plan-to-rig-scotus/ I discussed the Republican plan to rig SCOTUS by selecting SCOTUS nominees who would reliably vote their way on issues important to their base and their donors. They’ve succeeded. In this post I give a brief sketch of their goals for each group, the means of enforcement, and the impact on the nature and benefits of American citizenship.

1. Donors. There is an oligarchy inside our democracy, as I have been saying for over a decade. It dominates the Republican donor class. Oligarchs want the freedom to do anything they like with their money and the assets they control. They want the freedom to do whatever they think will make them richer. And they really hate the idea of taxation and all forms of redistribution of wealth. Their current goal is to weaken the ability of the federal agencies to regulate, because that reduces the value of their assets.


Right-wing lawyers have been arguing that there is no Constitutional basis for administrative agencies, and thus no basis for rules made by agencies. This led to the non-delegation doctrine which limited the power of Congress to delegate authority to agencies. The current version is called the major questions doctrine, which says Congress has to be very specific about what it delegates if there is a big effect. It essentially gives SCOTUS the power to overrule any agency action it doesn’t like by saying Congress wasn’t explicit. As an example, SCOTUS used the shadow docket to strike down a CDC rule extending the nationwide moratorium on evictions in Alabama Assn. Of Realtors v. Department of Health and Human Services, link here. The Court said the cost to landlords was so great that Congress had to explicitly give the agency poser to make such broad rules.


Another challenge to democracy is the idea that state legislatures can make election rules without the checks and balances of their state constitutions, including their governors and courts. This is called the independent state legislature doctrine. I love the idea that this garbage jurisprudence calls itself “doctrines”.

Each of these cases essentially means that we don’t live in a democracy, that the votes of millions of us don’t matter, and in turn, that government controlled by a minority of rich people and religious fanatics cannot be replaced by a majority of voters.


In this post https://www.emptywheel.net/2022/03/30/the-right-wing-plan-to-rig-scotus/ I cited constitutional scholars across the ideological spectrum saying that originalism and textualism were the conservative backlash against these and many other so-called liberal decisions of the Warren Court. The six conservatives now ruling over us plan to gut those decisions. They were all selected for that purpose. In the future, we will have very few meaningful rights as Americ. The bulk of our rights will be set by states, many of which are gerrymandered so that a minority can decide what you can and cannot do.

That’s not my idea of America.

I have always been disgusted by the media's bothsiderism but...

today I happened to catch Bod Woodward on morning Joe taking it to another level. He kept insisting that the left is equally responsible for the right wingers war on democracy saying that it rests on Biden's shoulders to turn the temperature down. He was chastised numerous times by the other guests and hosts but wouldn't give up on his talking point. He was given ample opportunity to clarify what he was saying but he even went so far as to compare what meadows, ginni T. and the rest of them were doing after the election to the way Democrats operate. This nonsense is expected over there at fox but the MSM has got to start doing better, it has been going on way too long and if they don't stop with the false equivalence I see no hope for the future.

They don't just want to "stop" history --they want to erase it

Republicans aren't content to just "stop" history — they want to erase decades of progress entirely
Book banning, forcing people into the closet, even childbirth death: The GOP can't wait to bring it all back


In 1955, William F. Buckley of the National Review famously defined his magazine's mission — and that of conservatism broadly: To stand "athwart history, yelling 'Stop!'" The quote frequently gets romanticized, though it should not.

Buckley wrote his mission statement a mere month before the Montgomery bus boycott began and a year after Brown vs. the Board of Education was decided. He did not hide that the "radical social experimentation" he decried was desegregation. In the 21st century, however, conservatism — which has become indistinguishable from Republicanism — is no longer content with just trying to stop or slow down progress. Nowadays, Republicans are hellbent on re-litigating seemingly every battle they've lost over the decades. In some cases, over a century's worth of progress is being targeted for elimination.

They don't just want to "stop" history —they want to erase it.

Indeed, that is what this "critical race theory" hoax that has the right all riled up is all about. Under the guise of battling "critical race theory" — which is almost never taught in public schools — Republicans are trying to ban books that cover the civil rights movement and intimidating history teachers into pretending the 50s and 60s never happened. Buckley may not have been able to "stop" the civil rights activists he loathed so much, but his Republican descendants are intent on hiding the fact that the movement for civil rights ever happened.

The book banning frenzy is just the tip of the iceberg, however. It's now clear that Republicans want to revive every political fight they've lost, going back at least to Buckley's time and, in some cases, even before it.


Can Merrick Garland find his inner Zelensky and stop America's slide into Putinism?

Can Merrick Garland find his inner Zelensky and stop America’s slide into Putinism?
Political bombshells here at home tie Donald Trump tightly to a criminal conspiracy on January 6. Will the attorney general find the courage to act?
The Philadelphia Inquirer: Can Merrick Garland find his inner Zelensky and stop America’s slide into Putinism? | Will Bunch.


Indeed, a federal investigation that so far has netted charges against more than 700 smaller fish hasn’t ensnared any swamp creature larger than James or Rhodes, who pleaded not guilty to the same seditious conspiracy charge. The big kahunas — Stone, his pal Michael Flynn, Trump January 6 advisers like Eastman, Rudy Giuliani, and Steve Bannon, as well as Trump himself — have not been charged (although Bannon faces trial for ignoring the House Committee’s subpoena), and legal watchers have seen scant evidence such a probe is far along.

That, in a nutshell, is the true significance of last week’s legal filing by the House committee. In announcing its strong evidence of Trump’s criminality around January 6, the committee also made it all but inevitable it will eventually send a criminal referral against Trump to Garland at the Justice Department. This will likely come after public hearings, probably this spring, that will lay out the case of the United States vs. Donald J. Trump. The pressure will mount on Garland to do something America has never done — charge a president with a crime.

That’s why what’s happening right now in Ukraine should be a game-changer. We are watching, in real-time, the moral implosion of a powerful, nuclear-armed nation that’s just a few years farther down the rabbit hole of authoritarianism than the United States. Putin’s delusional but deadly invasion of a sovereign democracy has elevated the question: How do you stop a madman? And when? In Sunday’s Washington Post, veteran journalist Dan Balz reports the biggest worry of America’s western allies in working so closely with the Biden administration against Russia is their fear that U.S. voters — or U.S. vote counters — will return Trump to the White House in 2024.

Yet fear has ruled our own response to Trump’s criminality. The latest deer in those headlines has been newly elected Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg, who stunned his top career staffers by aborting their ongoing criminal investigation into Trump’s role in the dodgy finances of the Trump Organization. It’s totally legit to worry that the milquetoast-y Garland — whose prosecutors have already pulled their Trump-related punches in other matters — is the next frightened deer standing on the roadway between January 6 and real justice.

One of the few positives to emerge from the horrors taking place in Eastern Europe is the reminder for a politics-weary world of what actual courage looks like, in the unexpected persona of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. A former comedian and actor, Zelensky has shown the power of looking directly into a camera and speaking plain truths, about the barbarity of Putin’s invasion and the will of his own people to resist it. It’s something that some of America’s political leaders — but especially Merrick Garland, facing the decision of a lifetime — should watch, and study. That’s because speaking the plain truth about what Donald Trump did, and acting upon that truth, is the only surefire way to prevent an American Putin.

"You cannot just go and buy a weapon. It's not like the United States"


Key update
‘I’m going to fight to my last drop of blood’: Ukrainians return from abroad to join battle

SHEHYNI, Ukraine — Some Ukrainian men living overseas lined up Friday at border crossings to return to Ukraine and do their part to fight Russia’s onslaught. Others, attempting to leave Ukraine, expressed frustration at being blocked amid a national call to arms.

Ukraine’s border guards stopped all male citizens between the ages of 18 and 60 from leaving the country on Friday, as the Defense Ministry called on residents of one district of Kyiv to make molotov cocktails.

Alexander Gorbenko, 54, complained that there was little he could do to protect his homeland from Russian troops as he parted from his wife and 11-year-old daughter at the Medyka-Shehyni border crossing to Poland, unable to cross with them.

“I just have an air rifle, the cash machines don’t work, and there is no organization,” he said. “I cannot prepare. You cannot just go and buy a weapon. It’s not like the United States.”


How Will America Deal with The Next GOP Wannabee Dictator?

How Will America Deal with The Next GOP Wannabee Dictator?
If the DOJ and Congress don't prosecute Trump and change our laws, the next Republican to occupy the White House will probably also try to end our democracy

“Precedent” sounds boring and wonky. In reality, it’s the way past criminal Republican presidents have taught those who followed them to break the law.

This is the shocking story of how Republican presidents taught each other to break the law, and how — if Trump isn't prosecuted — the next Republican president will try to end democracy in the USA.

Trump has broken multiple past presidential precedents and established entirely new ones that — unless they’re punished and outlawed — provide a template for the next Republican president who wants to turn America into a strongman oligarchy like Hungary or Turkey.

And given the rhetoric coming out of the GOP’s front-runners for 2024, we should be seriously concerned about that as a future


Since the Nixon precedents were set, criminality and a flagrant disregard for democratic norms have run like an underground river through the GOP, and have now flowed from federal to state Republican politicians as well.

As you’re reading these words, Republicans are preparing to openly steal elections in more than a dozen states and fifty corrupt Republicans in the US Senate just helped them in their effort.


we should be grateful that Democrats elected a lot of smart, fearless women in recent years



Consider what happened to lead to this federal criminal referral. After electors sent fake certifications to the National Archives, NARA then sent them to Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs.


Arizona took immediate action; given Nessel’s comments, Benson appears to have referred the matter to Nessel. Some of these details were made public last March after American Oversight obtained them. But after the January 6 Committee put them all in context and focused renewed attention to how the fake certificates fit into a larger effort, it led Nessel to hold off on pursuing potential 14-year charges against some of the most powerful Republicans in the state, and instead to formally refer the investigation to the Feds, based on the logic that the obviously coordinated effort to forge fake electoral certificates is part of a larger whole.


Regardless of what Willis decides, she can also refer actions to the Feds because it, like the forged electoral certifications, “is part of a much bigger conspiracy.”

The point is (besides that we should be grateful that Democrats elected a lot of smart, fearless women in recent years) that there are lots of moving parts to this “much bigger conspiracy.” And all those moving parts have, as an option, referring their investigative findings to DOJ to drop it into the “much bigger conspiracy.”

So during the year when DOJ has been laying what Merrick Garland called “the evidentiary foundation for more complex cases,” states and local authorities have been conducting investigations that can be joined to that evidentiary foundation.

These are all parts of a much bigger conspiracy.

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