Lately, my friends have been expressing despair about the world, and especially our own little corner of it, the U.S. of A.
On Sunday, I started my day by checking my email. My friend and Bloggelini Evelyn had written me to declare:
"My head splits open a little more every day, when I hear the endless platitudes that follow each massacre. Me? I’m over this country. Oh, I will vote and be engaged, but I have no hope that that we are not at the end cycle of our capitalist democracy. I predict another civil war, tho not, I think in my lifetime....
I can’t say more. I have a watercolor class on zoom and that’s about where I am at in my history. I know you have the energy to get really angry and active, but not me. I am done!"
I pondered what to say in reply. But before I could figure that out, my friends, a lesbian couple, picked me up to drive to Mountain Lake Park for a walk with our total of three poodles.
As we walked, they told me about their recent trip to Holland, France and Belgium. They're freaked out by what's happening here, are considering just pulling up stakes and moving to one of these smaller, saner countries. Wouldn't it make sense to flee this American mess and continue bringing up their son in a more rational and compassionate country that had, for example, socialized medicine and free higher education?
My position is this:
The U.S. has so much power that it effects the whole world.
An example of our power:
Our invasion of Iraq,
the catastrophe that keeps on giving.
BUT the people of the world have very little ability
to affect what the United States does.
Only we, the citizens, have a chance of effecting change in this country.
Many of us believe our country must offer
equal opportunity for all & take care of those in need.
Many of us believe the invasion of Iraq
was a horrible tragedy that must not be repeated.
We have a responsibility to the rest of the world
to stay here & keep working on change HERE.
We cannot abandon the problems in the U.S.
Morally, we cannot say that we are "done."
And there are good things happening too!
1.The Pope is visiting
Canada to apologize for crimes
the Church committed against native children!
(I see reparations in the future.)
2.The descendants of Black people, who owned and developed a beach in Southern California
that was stolen from them
by the government,
have just gotten that beach back!
3.There are a lot of incredible progressives
in Congress right now --
and some of them are even white men!
4.And don't forget the hearings of the January 6 Committee,
which have entertained and enlightened
and horrified us with their revelations.
The truth is that the White Supremacists are agitated BECAUSE we have actually moved forward. They must have been asleep at the wheel when
gay people got the right to marry and women got the right to control their own bodies.
There's a Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times." We are, for better or worse, living in interesting times. We are called to do what we can, to do SOMETHING.
For now, here are two petitions to sign. Petitions are symbolic acts. But they have made a difference many times:
This is to urge the Democrats in Congress to fill all the 60 empty judgeships before the end of the year, after which they might not have a majority. Click here for the petition.
This is a petition by the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) to the White House demanding that Biden do whatever he can to bring Brittney Griner home from Russia. Griner, a professional basketball player in the WNBA, was playing off-season in Russia and was arrested for possession of a small amount of hash oil. Putin is making the most of the situation. There's lots more info on Griner's cause on the petition page. Click here to sign.
All for now, Bloggelinis mine. And Evelyn, if you're painting watercolors instead of changing the world, I want to see those watercolors! Terry
Lilith Women's Theater | 547 Douglass St., San Francisco, CA 94114
I watched the Hearings of the January 6 Committee on Tuesday, July 12 with great amazement and excitement. Wow. There it finally was: The proof of intention.
On the morning of July 13, when I opened the NY Times, I expected there to be a headline saying:
"TRUMP INTENDED TO SEND HIS MOB TO DISRUPT COUNT!"
But I expected that news to be a HUGE BANNER across the width of the page! I did not expect that news to be kicked to the side by a pretty photo of the universe.
Okay, it's not just pretty. It's a beautiful photo. A MAGNIFICENT photo. But its publication makes absolutely no difference to our political life. Let's face it, the universe has been around for a long time, and will continue to do so.
Despite that boring fact, the editors in their wisdom gave this photo four times the space of the revelation that there was absolute proof that the former President of the United States had committed treason.
FOUR TIMES! I would not be upset if the headline shared space EQUALLY with such a gorgeous photo...
Of course we've known forever that Trump did everything he could to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power. But the legal nitpickers have been telling us forever that there was no proof that he INTENDED to do that. And specifically, there was no proof that Trump INTENDED to disrupt Congress counting the electoral college votes, the last legal step before Inauguration. And without proof of INTENTION, it would be very difficult to put Trump in jail.
The July 12 hearing finally delivered the absolute proof that Trump intended INTENDED INTENDED to send a violent mob to the Capitol to prevent Congress from counting the electoral college votes on January 6.
And since July 12, there have been no op-eds on that day's hearing, and only three letters to the Editor on that subject. It's as if the NY Times wants us to forget the hearing ever happened. It makes me wonder if, in some way, the NYT is on the side of Trump. That the editors WANT Monster Toddler to continue to be a force in politics because his outrages sell more newspapers.
Indeed, I have no deep faith in the NYT. I will not forget its support for the Bush administration's ludicrous build-up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Not every daily paper toed the Administration's line. The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times maintained some objectivity. But not "The Paper of Record," the Grande Dame of journalism. They confessed their sins when it was conveniently too late. Here's a quote from their own article about their misdeeds:
May 26, 2004: "Articles based on dire claims about Iraq tended to get prominent display, while follow-up articles that called the original ones into question were sometimes buried. In some cases, there was no follow-up at all.
On Oct. 26 and Nov. 8, 2001, for example, Page 1 articles cited Iraqi defectors who described a secret Iraqi camp where Islamic terrorists were trained and biological weapons produced. These accounts have never been independently verified."
Dear Bloggelinis: I actually wrote this blog on July 13, but then didn't send it. I do that often. But I'm sending it now, because I do believe trying to figure out how far to trust the media is an important subject. Terry
Lilith Women's Theater | 547 Douglass St., San Francisco, CA 94114
Of the current Supremes, four committed perjury when they said during their nomination hearings that they would not vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. Perjury is a crime punishable by imprisonment. Perhaps once The Four have been tried and either exonerated or served their time in jail, they can resume their positions on the Supreme Court. Justice Clarence Thomas should recuse himself from all federal decision-making, because his wife tried to overturn the federal government. However, if the Supremes DO go so far as to overturn Loving v. Virginia (1967), which made interracial marriage legal in all states, then -- depending on where they live -- the Thomas's marriage might be invalid and there would no longer be that basis to object to the Justice's participation in the Court.
A JUDICIAL COUP
A judicial coup. I find it hard to write those words. Aren't we in the middle of hearings about an electoral coup that we just barely avoided?
Please notice that wonderful key word in the last sentence: "avoided." Yes, it was terrible that Trump almost overturned the election. But he FAILED. That's very comforting, isn't it? I feel very comforted by that fact.
But now we've somehow backed ourselves into a full-blown JUDICIAL COUP. I believe AOC was the first person to call the Supreme Court's recent flood of decisions, to undo all social and environmental justice progress within its reach, a COUP.
I really hate that word, "coup." Coups are something that happens in OTHER countries. I'm used to reading in the NY Times about a coup here, a coup there. I shake my head at how awful it must be to live somewhere that such things happen. And then I forget about it.
I WOULD LIKE TO FORGET ABOUT THE POSSIBILITY OF OUR DEEPLY FLAWED DEMOCRACY BEING OVERTURNED. I'M READY TO START WORRYING ABOUT OTHER THINGS.
Oh well. This is what history is giving us. This is what's on our plates.
This judicial seizure of power from the legislative and executive branches of the federal government is indeed illegal, as it violates the constitutional insistence on a BALANCE OF POWER between the three branches of the government. And foremost, it is a seizure of power from the majority of citizens, who fully support the progress that has been made.
THE REMEDY IS SIMPLE:
ADD FOUR MORE JUSTICES
TO THE SUPREME COURT
From COMMON DREAMS:
"On Friday June 24, the Supreme Court's out-of-control right-wing supermajority eviscerated our reproductive freedoms by overturning 50 years of precedent guaranteeing a woman's right to choose to have an abortion," Stand Up America executive director Christina Harvey said during a Monday June 27 webinar announcing the "Four More" campaign—a project also backed by Demand Justice, Indivisible, and Take Back the Court Action Fund —in support of the Judiciary Act. The proposed legislation, sponsored by U.S. Reps. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), and Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.), would increase the size of the court by four justices.
So three progressive Democratic members of Congress -- including the redoubtable Rep. Nadler of New York -- have proposed legislation: The Judiciary Act, which would add four new justices to the Supreme Court NOW. (I consider Nadler redoubtable because he's been there forever and is in the habit of being courageous.) This legislation is now before Congress.
Adding 4 justices to the Supreme Court is simple.
The Judiciary Act is like any federal legislation.
It just needs a majority in the House and the Senate to become law.
It's not like impeachment, which needs a 2/3 supermajority.
ADD FOUR JUSTICES FOR JUSTICE!
There is nothing sacred about nine justices on the Supreme Court. The Constitution doesn't mention a number. The Court started out at five justices. So at some point, they added four more.
Compared to almost every other country, our Supreme Court is absolutely puny with just a lousy nine: Italy and Israel have15, England 12, Holland 36, France 120 (yes!), Belgium 30. All these countries have much smaller populations, but they wouldn't consider giving final arbitration power to just nine human beings.
STILL THINK ADDING 4 JUSTICES IS "TOO EXTREME"?
CONSIDER WHAT THIS RIGHT-WING POWER-DRUNK
SUPREME COURT HAS DONE IN JUST ONE SESSION:
Denied Social Security benefits to the residents of Puerto Rico,
Blocked a federal vaccine-or-test requirement,
Denied detained immigrants bond hearings,
Undermined tribal sovereignty,
Allowed the CIA to withhold information about torture at black sites (a black site is a secret facility used by the U.S. as a prison and interrogation center, whose existence is denied by the government.)
Denied legal protections in the 100-mile border zone,
Limited the rights of death row inmates,
Overturned state-level concealed carry laws,
Denied Miranda rights,
Blocked the authority of federal agencies to safeguard public health and the environment, and...
13. OVERTURNED THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT
TO AN ABORTION!
That's just one session! And they have no intention of stopping. They have already agreed to hear cases NEXT TERM that would:
Overturn the right to same-sex marriage
End affirmative action."
Allow state legislatures the right to set election rules, even if they were in conflict with that state's constitution. And these rules would ONLY be subject to review by the Supreme Court. This would allow a Republican state legislature to submit a slate of false electors -- that is, electors who do not represent the will of the majority of the state voters. This wa one of the schemes Trump tried in 2020. But he was stopped by state courts. But if the Supreme Court has its way, state courts would have no power in 2024. Only the Supremes would.
There's more than one way to skin a democracy!
ADD FOUR JUSTICES FOR JUSTICE!
Adding justices to the Court is social change that we, the people, can actually make happen. We have a majority in both Houses now.
I know, I know. It won't be easy in the Senate. But we can't just give up because it's not easy! Democracy is not about just creating change when it's easy. FDR had to fight hard for the New Deal and the social safety net his administration created. He campaigned to pack the Supreme Court because the Court was declaring all his programs unconstitutional! He didn't succeed in adding justices, but in the end, the Supreme Court BACKED DOWN. Why? Because it saw that the American people were outraged by its decisions and many of them supported FDR adding justices. Sometimes in politics, even when you lose, you still win.
This is something we can do. Let's pressure our representatives to vote for the Judiciary Act before November elections!
Bloggelinis: I'm excited to plan a meeting with my Representative -- Nancy Pelosi. Any San Francisco Blogellinis, please tell me if you're interested in joining me. I need a buncha folks. And all you other Bloggelinis who agree that the current Supreme Court is a disaster -- Blogmistress is asking you to consider meeting with your representatives too!
And remember, if there's one thing that President Biden is really great at, It's picking nominees for the Supreme Court. I can't wait to see who else he comes up with! Terry
Lilith Women's Theater | 547 Douglass St., San Francisco, CA 94114
I am not a person who watches TV, including hearings on TV. I didn't watch the Watergate hearings or the Anita Hill hearings. I was content to read about them in the paper the next day. I did spend a day with the 2nd impeachment hearings. I only watched the first of these Jan. 6 Committee hearings because my houseguests were watching. That was enough. I was hooked:
The truth is finally coming out!
The Monster Toddler is going to jail!
I'm witnessing history!
Now I arrange my schedule around the hearings. I must see them live. I have made a ritual of setting up my little computer in the kitchen on a box so it doesn't get dirty while I cook, slicing vegetables and stirring pots of beans, as I watch.
So, needless to say, the announcement of a surprise witness for Tuesday got my adrenaline pumping. And Cassidy Hutchinson, 25 and calm and beautiful, truly delivered the goods. I was spellbound.
She was the aide to Trump's last Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows. Her office was between Meadow's office and the Oval Office. According to the Washington Post, Meadows included her in all important meetings. She was "in the room where it happened" both literally and metaphorically long before January 6.
She was most crucially backstage where it happened -- on the stage on the Ellipse where Trump's rally was about to to begin. The President was furious that the crowd wasn't as big as he expected. When he was told that many of his supporters couldn't come into the ellipse because they were not allowed to bring their weapons through the metal detectors -- magnetometers, called "mags" for short -- he was outraged.
According to the NY Times:
Mr. Trump, Hutchinson testified, said "something to the effect of, 'I don't f-ing care that they have weapons. They're not here to hurt me. Take the mags away. Let the people in, they can march to the Capitol from here.'"
These words, which Hutchinson herself heard the President say, make it clear that the President:
knew that his followers had weapons -- "knives, pistols, rifles, bear spray, body armor, spears and flagpoles," among other things,
knew that he himself was not endangered by these armed men, which brings up the possibility that he knew they might endanger others, and
wanted these armed followers to march to the Capitol.
This is by far the most incriminating part of Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony. This testimony alone could lead to criminal charges.
Ah! The smoking gun at last!
Or shall I say: ANOTHER smoking gun?
How many smoking guns do we need?
He knew! He intended!
Can we please have our indictment now,
Attorney General Garland?
Hutchinson was also the fly on the wall when White House Counsel Pat Cipollone begged Meadows to make Trump calm the mob. At that point, they were chanting "Hang Pence!" According to Hutchinson, this is how Mark Meadows replied:
"Mark had responded something to the effect of, 'You heard him, Pat. He thinks Mike [Pence] deserves it. He doesn't think they're doing anything wrong.'"
So if the mob had killed Pence (which they probably would have if they'd found him), that would have been fine with Trump?!? Unbelievable. What's even more unbelievable is that Trump was completely open about it! How stupid is that? No matter how low Trump goes, he can always go lower. There is no bottom for him.
But then, why should there be? His whole life, he's gotten away with every single thing. Everything except overturning the election.
It was one revelation after another. Who will ever forget the little sidebar story of Hutchinson wiping catsup off the White House dining room wall during earlier days? This particular catsup was on the hamburger that Trump threw during his tantrum when he found out that his own Attorney General had declared that there was no fraud in the 2020 election. Apparently Trump was inclined toward tantrums where he threw food and broke dishes.
I'm grateful for Cassidy Hutchinson's breathtaking memory of all the details of January 6, and her serious demeanor, which made her testimony totally believable. I also deeply appreciate her use of the word "disgust" to describe her feelings about Trump's behavior on January 6. Thank you, Ms. Hutchinson. Those of us who have been disgusted for going on six years are glad to have that word in the Congressional Record.
But nevertheless, despite the wonder of Hutchinson's testimony, I started pondering whether she and all the other witnesses I had heard were truly "courageous," as they are routinely described by Committee Chairman Thompson. After all, they're Trump enablers or they wouldn't have been on the scene! They witnessed Trump commit crimes and they didn't let out a peep until they were subpoenaed by the Jan. 6 Committee! During the Impeachment hearings, they kept their mouths shut. Why didn't they come forward then? THAT would have taken COURAGE. Maybe they're talking now because they can see the Trump ship finally sinking and they're just trying to save their asses.
And what about Caassidy Hutchinson? She's so unlike the other witnesses, almost all of whom are older white men. She's as beautiful as a movie star. She's obviously a person of extraordinary ability to have risen so fast and far at such a young age. An office a five second walk from the Oval Office, at the age of 23? Not too shabby!
And after everything she witnessed, she says she was worried that Trump was tarnishing his "legacy"! What legacy? His legacy of separating young children from their parents at the border and building a half-assed border wall, for starters? Cassidy Hutchinson obviously agreed with what Trump did as President! Does she truly regret her support for him now? I do believe she's being courageous to be testifying. But perhaps she's also making a brilliant career move at the same time.
For whatever reason, by the time the hearing ended, I was depressed. Maybe the cumulative effect of all the hearings had just done me in. I was left mired in my own swamp of disgust. . It was only noon, but all I wanted to do was crawl into bed and forget about the world. So I did, and I slept for the rest of the day.
I stayed mired in depression until the next day, when I watched the Tuesday night Stephen Colbert show on Youtube.
THE SECOND BRAVE WOMAN
Colbert's guest was Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, aka AOC. He had invited her to talk about the Supreme Court decision about abortion, neither of them knowing the bombshell testimony for the Jan. 6 Committee that would occur earlier that day.
I adore AOC. Just seeing her lifted my spirits. (Should you doubt her credentials as a brave woman, please click here to watch the speech she gave on the floor of the House after another Representative called her "a fucking bitch.")
First Colbert and AOC discussed that day's Jan. 6 Committee hearings. One of the many bombshells not heretofore mentioned by me was Ms. Hutchinson naming all the Congressional representatives who had asked Trump for preemptive pardons (which he failed to give them, by the way). AOC said that asking for a pardon is equivalent to confessing to a crime. I did not know this. But it makes sense. Because, after all, why would you need a pardon otherwise? AOC said, for starters, as confessed criminals all of them should be booted out of Congress. FOR STARTERS, she emphasized. AOC is all about taking action.
Then Colbert and AOC moved on to the Supreme Court and abortion. AOC said that the three branches of the federal government -- President, Congress and Supreme Court -- are CO-EQUAL. She said that it was the responsibility of the other two branches to restrain any one branch that was getting carried away with its power. Obviously, the current Supreme Court is absolutely drunk on its 6-3 right-wing majority.
AOC: (Not exact quote) "I look to history for solutions. What did Lincoln do when the Supreme Court made the terrible Dred Scott decision, which deprived ALL African-Americans, whether enslaved or free, of citizenship? Lincoln responded with the Emancipation Proclamation! And what did FDR do when the Supreme Court was busy declaring all the programs of the New Deal unconstitutional? He campaigned for expanding the number of Supreme Court justices! Although that campaign didn't succeed, it had a LOT of popular support. And it made the current justices pull back from their right-wing activist decisions. I think, (says AOC) that Biden should campaign to expand the Court!"
I love this woman. She inspires me. She educates me. She shows me how to change things. My depression had completely evaporated by this point.
And THEN, Colbert introduced a new subject: "A certain person will be turning 35 one month before the 2024 Presidential election..."
Yes, Alexandria Octavio-Cortez will be old enough
to run for President next time!!!
You don't have to be 35 to run. You just have to be 35 before the election.
And AOC laughed and squirmed in her seat and protested that she was focussed on democracy and her constituents' needs and all that jazz...
BUT SHE DIDN'T SAY NO, SHE WOULD NOT RUN!
Oh, I tell you, I was high on hope after that! When I mentioned the possibility of President AOC to Carolyn, she replied, "But what about Stacey Abrams?"
At first, I was trying to figure out which one I wanted more. But then I realized that is our one-two punch! I figure, with eight years of Abrams (AOC as VP), followed by eight years of AOC as President -- I do believe we could turn this damn country around!