A Time to Fight for the Memory of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Our Rights and Our Lives: For DT, there is No Right to “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” Except for Himself

Immediately after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday, DT and Mitch McConnell were apparently plotting how to nominate and seat a loyal follower on the court. In fact, they had been plotting for months what to do when she died, and on Saturday announced they would speedily replace her. To them, her death did not mark the loss of a brave living being loved by many, but a craved opportunity to advance DT’s attempt at dictatorial power and secure the ability to possibly nullify the constitutional transition of power.

 

Even in the face of so many people grieving, they rush to fill her seat on the court, showing an unseemly greed, and revealing once again what this administration represents⎼ namely the attempted reduction of everyone from fellow human beings to pieces of equipment, machines to work, resources valued only as much as they, we can be used and manipulated. Anyone who works, fights, for the good of others is a “sucker” or a “loser”. The only beings seemingly free from this dehumanized transactional value are dictators and the super-rich, but even these people are fawned over as gods when they favor DT, and Satan himself when they oppose him.

 

Once again, DT’s actions show that for him there is no right to “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” as spelled out in the Declaration of Independence, no inalienable rights for anyone but DT himself and his close followers, no laws to limit his pursuit of power.

 

An article in Common Dreams makes clear what this moment, now, means to most of us. After our grief, we must act. The article quotes tweets by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: “Our first, no. 1 priority is to do everything possible to secure electoral college victory in Nov. This is the fight of our lives. …Opponents of democracy need your resignation to succeed. Don’t give it to them.” And: “We can win, we can succeed, but we cannot do it alone. …We must get to work. Everyone matters. Everyone has something to give.”

 

Democrats are fighting and we must help them. Even some Republicans are saying out loud that the Senate must not rush to judgment, but carefully consider who should be added to this court. Others that the election is less than two months away and we must wait to hear who the voters think should nominate the next justice (as Senator Grassley and McConnell advocated in 2016 when President Obama had the opportunity to choose a new justice). This includes Lisa Murkowski, and, depending on the moment, Susan Collins.

 

So, whether it be demonstrating, writing letters, sharing information, helping get out the vote, voting for Biden and other Democratic candidates, and calling GOP Senators, we must stop DT’s attempt to use Justice Ginsburg’s death as an opportunity to turn the Supreme Court into a tool for domination, to assume complete power over the court and our government as a whole. And we must stop his attempt to win a second (and third) term in office.

 

**Here are numbers of some GOP Senators to call: Susan Collins: 202-224-2523, Cory Gardner: 202-224-5941, Chuck Grassley:  202-224-3744, Lisa Murkowski: 202-224-6665, Mitt Romney: 202-224-5251.

 

 

What We Can Do, Now, to Help Get Out the Vote

Some of us wish we could do more, and influence the election, change the world, get justice, or at least get DT out of office. Taking action to get out the vote will not only help us get DT out of office, change governmental policies, and give us the chance to actually make substantive changes in this nation, but it can make us feel stronger. To paraphrase a poem by Theodore Roethke, we learn by acting how to act.

 

Here are a few contact numbers and addresses to take action to get out the vote:

 

 

NextGen America Phone calls

https://www.mobilize.us/dailykos/event/308026/?link_id=9&can_id=940d7b7aed53dbb8a766175be328d94e&source=email-getting-out-the-vote-for-young-people-in-this-pandemic-2&email_referrer=email_905179&email_subject=we-will-win-if-we-can-get-young-people-to-vote

 

National Calls

https://www.mobilize.us/dailykos/event/291103/?link_id=6&can_id=940d7b7aed53dbb8a766175be328d94e&source=email-we-are-less-than-70-days-before-the-election-what-are-you-doing-2&email_referrer=email_9024

 

Turnout Thursday, 9/3, make calls:

https://www.mobilize.us/turnout2020/event/292970/?utm_source=DK&link_id=0&can_id=940d7b7aed53dbb8a766175be328d94e&email_referrer=email_889258&email_subject=re-a-concrete-strategic-way-to-get-more-swing-state-democrats-to-vote-in-november

 

Write letters

https://votefwd.org/

Staffing the Polling Places:

https://www.powerthepolls.org/?fbclid=IwAR2R5mB-eI3T86T63HUZpwLdZrVaCUBr28Txijj4V5UY0H8m2I5tkmEjpxc

 

https://www.elections.ny.gov/BecomePollworker.html

We Still Live in A Democracy, Despite What DT Would Have Us Believe

It is wrong to say this nation is now a dictatorship, an oligarchy, fascist state or a monarchy. I myself have pretty much said these things at one point or another or said we are no longer a democracy. But the US is still a democracy, despite the way DT tramples the landscape of democratic institutions⎼ the separation of powers, the rule of law, and the oath requiring him to protect the constitution. Since he came to power, he has done everything he could to undermine our nation and political system, even suspend constitutional protections.

 

DT is not a dictator or monarch. He is a “would-be” dictator or “would be” monarch. He is a wannabee. And we can’t crown him with our language. We can’t give him, and must resist giving him, what he wants.

 

To say the US is no longer a democracy is to say DT has won. He hasn’t. He is losing every day. He has never received the support of a majority of citizens. The fact that we hear and can talk about his abuses of power, lies, negligence, corruption, and incompetence shows this. The fact that nurses (wearing masks and social distancing) could protest outside the White House against his failures in responding to the pandemic shows this. The fact he and the GOP have been trying for years to end the right to protest (depending on who is doing the protest) and haven’t succeeded shows this.

 

According to DT, white nationalists, and other armed groups protesting against orders by Democratic Governors that protect people from the coronavirus, are “good people,” ⎼ while African-Americans, protesting the murder by police of someone in their community, are “thugs.”

 

The fact that he signed an executive order intended to exercise control over social media, after Twitter announced it would fact-check DT’s tweets, shows this. The fact that he is trying right now to make sure there are no more whistleblowers and Inspector Generals shows this. The fact that he acts to stop any criticism of him, and will attack or threaten those who do so, especially the media, female Democrats, or any democrat of color, shows how insecure he is. No one, certainly no political figure, is safe from him.

 

A strong person does not treat an opponent as an evil with no right to exist. But this is exactly what DT does. He is a weak person, yet he unfortunately has tremendous institutional power. He has been unraveling before our eyes, as illustrated by his comments about ingesting disinfectants or taking a drug not proven either safe or effective against the coronavirus, but somehow is still in office….

 

To read the whole article, please go to The Good Men Project.

Cutting the Jugular Vein of Democracy

Do you feel the news cycle is speeding up or things are getting even worse since the impeachment trial? I thought the world was in trouble ever since DT was elected. But since the Senate abdicated its role in holding the President accountable for his actions, DT’s tweets and actions have spiraled out of control. Or maybe his aim is clearer. He has gone directly toward the jugular vein of democracy and has cut it.

 

Even Bill Barr, his legal fixer, spoke out saying enough is enough. Whether it was real or more likely political theatre, he said that DT’s tweets attacking the justice department, attacking actual judicial proceedings, was making his job impossible and undermine the legal system.

 

The context for Barr’s comments was DT’s direct and obvious intervention in the sentencing of Roger Stone, his “friend” and supporter who knows where so much dirt is buried. DT even attacked the judge and a juror in the case, illustrating what his lawyers, as well as GOP Senators (other than Mitt Romney), proclaimed: DT thinks he can do whatever he wants, thus destroying the concept of a fair trial. As the New York Times, Adam Schiff and others pointed out, if he is the law then there is no rule of law, and the constitutional separation of powers is dead.

 

After Barr warned him to stop his tweets, DT went on to say that he had the power to interfere in the Stone Case, or any case. And Barr’s move to make sure any investigation of the President must go through him, just cements DT’s control over the DOJ and judiciary and destroys the constitutional balance of powers.

 

As Rachel Maddow pointed out, DT is interfering in cases and pardoning criminals in order to make clear: if you violate the law on my behalf, you get a free pass. If you oppose me, as his firing of Ambassador Sondland, and Colonel Vindman and his attacks on Adam Schiff illustrate, you will pay a severe price.

 

And it is not just DT and those close to him who are speeding up their attacks on democracy, but Russia and some corporate media outlets. Last week, as reported by the New York Times, former acting director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire had officials from his agency brief the House Intelligence Committee that Russia was interfering right now in the 2020 election to aid DT’s re-election campaign. This led to DT angrily berating Maguire and replacing him with Richard Grenell, someone with no experience in intelligence but who is a DT loyalist….

 

To read the whole post, please go to The Good Men Project.

 

T Is A Hurricane of Historic Proportions

I have many calm moments, when I meditate, exercise, walk in the woods, talk with friends or simply breathe. Beautiful moments. And then—I turn on the radio or my phone and who knows what insanity might ensue.

 

I just heard the latest news about Hurricane Michael, which struck the Florida panhandle with winds of up to 155 miles an hour. It is now called the strongest hurricane to ever strike the coast. It grew so quickly, from a category 2 on Sunday to almost a category 5 today, probably due to waters overheated by global warming, the same global warming the GOP deny despite the overwhelming scientific evidence against their position.

 

Yesterday, a neighbor called to tell me of two sightings of Fishers, a carnivorous mammal related to weasels. They have only recently returned to this area and have been known to kill squirrels and other small animals, including porcupine and hare, occasionally wild turkey, bobcat, and even house cats (although rarely). They are excellent climbers and can be vicious. I immediately went to the front door of my house to call in my cats. After the Kavanaugh abomination and almost two years of T, I am, like everyone I know, a bit sensitive to bad news.

 

This administration puts us all on a continual threat alert and I think this is exactly what they want. People continually stressed are not as likely to think clearly or feel powerful.

 

The last two weeks and the hearings and discussion on Judge Kavanaugh were especially bad. They were a continual assault, a political hurricane of historic proportions threatening not only women but all of us who are not misogynists, not white nationalists or sycophantic supporters of the President, or who are not in favor of considering corporate rights or the rights of the wealthy as more important than any other rights.

 

These GOP attacked anyone who called for a real investigation into Kavanaugh’s past and were particularly vicious in their attacks on any of the women who came forward. In fact, T even mocked Dr. Ford.  He called for holding those who made “false” claims against Kavanaugh liable. What about false claims by, or in support of, Kavanaugh? Would Kavanaugh or any his supporters who lied or rushed to hide the truth be held accountable?

 

Many wondered: was the GOP rush to judgment due to fears about what will happen in the November election? Or was something else involved?

 

The Supreme Court is going to hear a case called the Gamble v US. It involves a felon arrested for possession of a firearm. It could, however, have grave implications if T is ever impeached, indicted, or tries to use his power to pardon anyone from his administration or campaign who have been prosecuted for crimes or called to testify to the Mueller investigation.

 

The Gamble case involves the question of whether “double jeopardy” is limited by “dual sovereignty.” In other words, whether a state can separately prosecute anyone after they were tried by the Federal government.

 

Right now, T can pardon people for Federal crimes, but anyone so pardoned can still be prosecuted in state courts. T wants to destroy this possibility. And Kavanaugh could help make that a reality. He might be the deciding vote in expanding T’s and the GOP’s power, so they can’t be held accountable for crimes they commit or their assaults on the rest of us.

 

While hurricane Michael was striking Florida, hurricane T was in Erie, Pennsylvania at a fundraiser and then a rally, yelling “lock her up” and such. Even a threat to the lives and property of millions of citizens did not stop him from focusing on himself and trying to rake in money.  He needs to be stopped.

 

And let me repeat what many have been advocating: each of us needs to vote, make calls, volunteer as an election official, write postcards to get out the vote—to do whatever we can to energize ourselves and throw T and his supporters out of office.

 

**Thank you to Jill Swenson and other friends who first posted on FB about Gamble v US.

When Feeling Bad Leads To Doing Good

I get angry and a little depressed, probably just like most of you, at the increasing social inequities, at the actions of many of the richest individuals to undermine public schools and the public commons (our air, water, even the parks and common spaces), the lawlessness and intractability of our political system, at the instability of the weather, etc. It’s a crime that, in the richest nation in the world, one million school children are homeless, one quarter of all children live in poverty. Last week there was a report of drones getting in the way of aircraft fighting fires out west. Such shortsightedness and delusion.

 

Many people tell themselves things like: “There’s nothing I can do. Politics is a waste of time. The system is rigged. I’d rather just go about my life.” Such an inner dialogue is probably responsible for the fact that, in most U. S. elections, fewer than 50% of Americans vote or protest or, possibly, even educate themselves on the state of the world and the campaign issues. (In 2012, 58.6% of registered citizens voted; in 2014, 36.6%.) In a democracy, this is your life. Politics is personal. To have a say in politics, you must speak.

 

The fact that you feel discomfort, outrage, depression is an indicator that you care, not that you shouldn’t. It means that you want to take action, not that no action can be taken. Maybe you grew up feeling there is no way to face discomfort or you must get rid of, medicate away or let the emotion take you over. Instead of attacking, hiding, or letting the feeling take you over, you can feel the feeling, rest in it, and understand it. Only by knowing your feelings can you know what they have to tell you, act on them appropriately or let them go.

 

Schools need to educate young people about how to participate in democracy, and how to understand and be mindfully aware of their own emotions. To do that, they need to teach mindfulness and become democratic communities where students can grow up familiar with taking responsibility for their lives, communities, and nation. Students need to be given the space to verbalize, analyze, and discuss what they feel and think about the state of the world today. In my school, community service is a graduation requirement and some teachers build political/social action into the curriculum. In my historical development course, on the first day of classes, I often asked: “What are the biggest problems with our world today?” Once students named the problems or concerns, I then asked: “Which of these is most basic?” Each student then had to decide which named concern they considered most basic and follow its historical, cultural, and intellectual (and sometimes artistic or other) roots through all the times and cultures we studied during the year. The final assessment became analyzing and describing how this problem developed, and how other cultures dealt with it. Students need to be helped to recognize that their way of conceiving the world and themselves is crucial in how they act and in the responsibility they assume for the state of the world.

 

In our concern and outrage lies our salvation. Our loves, our willingness to act not just for our own welfare but for the welfare of others, combined with our openness to study, analyze and understand what might be in the greater good–this can counter hopelessness. And a comprehensive education, which includes learning mindful self-awareness in a democratic school, serves the possible realization of that salvation.