Just A Bunch Of Random Thoughts

It’s been a rough few days in a couple of ways, and tonight my mind is all over the place.  I suspect it may be this way for another two weeks or so, and after that … who knows.  Anyway, tonight I’m just sharing some of the thoughts that have been keeping me awake nights of late.  Random thoughts … no necessary path from one to another … just things that are disturbing the peace in my head.

I have to ask a burning question:  What exactly do Republicans want??? I mean, the list of things they don’t want is as long as my arm, but I don’t hear anything they do want other than tax cuts for the wealthy.  What is it they don’t want?

  • They don’t want women to have rights of autonomy over their own health
  • They don’t want disabled and retired citizens to have healthcare
  • They don’t want retired citizens to get back part of the Social Security they spent 50+ years funding
  • They don’t want the government to help those with staggering student loan debt
  • They don’t want to raise the minimum wage rate
  • They don’t want to aggressively address climate change or other environmental issues
  • They don’t want corrupt politicians to be held accountable for their crimes
  • They don’t want to educate children, but rather to mould them to be good little peons
  • They don’t want to honour the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution that calls for what Thomas Jefferson coined a “wall of separation between church and state”
  • They don’t want to allow LGBTQ people to marry
  • They don’t want a more equitable distribution of the wealth in the nation
  • They don’t want any form of gun regulation

And that’s just a few of the things they are against.  But what, exactly, are they FOR?  Best I can figure from listening to the things they don’t want, what they do want is to turn this nation into some dystopian place akin to Orwell’s 1984 or Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale or Huxley’s Brave New World.  I’ve read all three of those and quite frankly they are the stuff nightmares are made of – nobody would willingly live in such a world.

More than once, I’ve heard Republican politicians praise Hungary’s autocratic leader Viktor Orbán.  If they so love his way of governing, love his policies, perhaps they would do well to relocate to Hungary and help him further destroy his nation, rather than staying here and destroying ours, too!

If a parent knowingly puts a child’s life in danger, such as leaving a loaded gun lying around, or leaving the child by himself for an extended period of time, or locking him in his room for 3 days without food, that parent will have their child(ren) taken away from them, and the parent may also see the inside of a jail cell.  And yet … if a parent knowingly puts a child’s life at risk by refusing to have that child vaccinated, the parent is applauded.  Anybody care to ‘splain this one to me?

Just over a year ago, current candidate for the U.S. Senate from Ohio, J.D. Vance, appeared on a podcast where he said that if Trump were to win another term in 2024, he should “seize the institutions of the left,” fire “every single midlevel bureaucrat” in the US government, “replace them with our people,” and defy the Supreme Court if it tries to stop him.  No way in hell should anybody with half a brain even consider voting for this lunatic!  Again … it appears that today’s Republican Party no longer values democracy and would prefer to live in a nation ruled by a dictator and populated by automatons who were once human.

Supreme Court Justice Virginia Clarence Thomas should be impeached.  It isn’t bad enough that his wife is an insurrectionist who had a role in the attempted coup on January 6th.  It isn’t bad enough that he is against women’s rights, against LGBTQ rights, and apparently against the Constitution he is supposed to be upholding.  Yesterday, Justice Thomas blocked a judge’s order that Lindsey Graham must testify as to his role in the January 6th attempted coup.  It’s largely thought that it is a delaying tactic to delay Graham’s testimony until after the November 8th election.  Thomas’ order is temporary, pending a review by the full court, but Graham begged for an “emergency” order to keep him from having to testify … at least for now.  I say impeach Justice Thomas … this is not the first time he’s shown his partisanship, shown that he is not interested in justice.

Last, but not least, as most of you know by now, President Biden’s student loan debt forgiveness plan is already accepting applications.  Courts had thrown out filings in a number of states that were opposed to the program, and it looked like it was good to go, but then … alas … yet another court, a federal appeals court, decided to halt the program … temporarily.  Please take a look at this video showing a number of politicians arguing against the program while they themselves … well, just take a look and be prepared to growl …

And on that note, I leave you with just a bit of humour to balance out the bleakness …

Today Is A Dark Day

So, there were no surprises in the Supreme Court ruling in the case of Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health, but nonetheless it was a gut punch for at least half the people in this nation.  We knew this was to be the outcome, for we read Justice Alito’s leaked opinion on May 2nd and our jaws dropped then, just as they did this morning.

What hypocrisy that yesterday the Court ruled it illegal for states to do ANYTHING to restrict the rights of gun owners, and today the same Court ruled that it is perfectly legal to do EVERYTHING possible to restrict the rights of women.  It should be noted that the majority of gun owners are, in fact, males.  Well, my friends, we women know where we stand.

But it isn’t going to stop here, and Justice Clarence Thomas, husband of insurrectionist Virginia Thomas, has already made that perfectly clear …

“We should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell. We have a duty to correct the error established in those precedents. After overruling these demonstrably erroneous decisions, the question would remain whether other constitutional provisions guarantee the myriad rights that our substantive due process cases have generated.”

The cases he refers directly to are:

  • Griswold v Connecticut – a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that the Constitution of the United States protects the liberty of married couples to buy and use contraceptives without government restriction.
  • Lawrence v. Texas – a decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that sanctions of criminal punishment for those who commit sodomy are unconstitutional.
  • Obergefell v Hodges – a landmark civil rights case in which the Supreme ruled that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples by both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

I have lost all respect for the United States Supreme Court, for they have taken this nation into darkness, have shirked their duty to the U.S. Constitution, to the nation, and to We the People.  Today, the Court is but another arm of the right-wing of the Republican Party, doing not what is in the best interest of the people, but what is demanded by the religious fanatics who would control every aspect of our lives.

The majority of people in this country want gun laws that will protect us and our families from such incidents as Uvalde and Buffalo.  The majority of people in this nation believe women should have the right to make their own health decisions.  But the will of the majority matters not on this dark day, for the spate of recent decisions have all gone against what the majority of people in this nation want.  This can only lead me to believe that in some sense, we are already living under an autocratic government if the will of the majority can be completely disregarded while the will of the few wins the day.  Today, it was women’s rights, but tomorrow …

First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me

Poem by Martin Niemöller

Let Da Snarky Snippets Roll …

Okay, friends, it’s been a while since I’ve let the snark roll and today I think it’s high time!  It’s building up and causing me to be a very grumpy ol’ gal, so hold onto your hats while I share just a wee bit of my angst this afternoon …

Equal Justice Under Law

Those are the words engraved above the main entrance to the Supreme Court Building.  Apparently, some of the nine justices sitting on the Court today never look up as they are entering the building.  Per Justice Clarence Thomas, husband of the notorious January 6th coup supporter …

“I do think that what happened at the court is tremendously bad. I wonder how long we’re going to have these institutions at the rate we’re undermining them and then I wonder when they’re gone or destabilized what we will have as a country, and I don’t think the prospects are good if we continue to lose them.”

That “tremendously bad” thing he was talking about wasn’t his wife’s contribution to the attemped coup last year, nor was it the draft of the decision to reverse Roe v Wade, but rather the fact that the draft was leaked.  Now, a couple of points here … there is much speculation that it was leaked with full knowledge and support of at least one of the justices.  More to the point, though … speaking about “undermining the institutions” … what is being undermined is the purpose of the institutions, what they are intended to accomplish.  The U.S. Supreme Court is intended to hear disputes and make a final decision based on the Constitution and on what is best for the people of this nation.  In a number of recent rulings, they appear to have made their decisions based on what the Republican Party wants, not what is best for any of us.  So, Clarence …

Another one speaks up too late

Former Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, has written a book ironically titled A Sacred Oath.  It is yet another ‘tell-all’ book about the former guy’s ignorance and inhumanity.  Now, I haven’t read the book … I may or may not, I’m as yet undecided … but I’ve read a few reviews and snippets that were published in the media.  In the book, Esper apparently tells that Trump wanted to shoot at civilians protesting against racism in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd and suggested that the Pentagon launch Patriot missiles at drug laboratories in Mexico — saying no one would know the United States was responsible.  This one thing exemplifies the utter stupidity of the former guy and proves that we barely dodged the bullet from 2017-2021.

My question for Mr. Esper is this:  WHY THE SAM HELL didn’t he make this public as it happened, rather than two years after the fact???  Does he expect to be hailed a hero for letting us know how close we came to being shot for exercising our 1st Amendment rights, or how close we came to starting a war with our ally, Mexico?  I’m quite sure there are some interesting, nay fascinating, tidbits in Mr. Esper’s book, but I have zero respect for him, for he could have gone to the proper authorities, could have stood before Congress and told what he knew back in early 2020, and it might … just might have been enough to finally convince the U.S. Senate to finally convict and remove the criminal from the Oval Office.  WHY did he wait?

Today, we face the very real threat that the former guy will run for office again in 2024 and a truly catastrophic threat that he could win, which would be the end of this nation as we’ve known it.  Mr. Esper could have been a hero, but instead he continued to be a loyal lapdog to a madman and is now attempting to profit from it via book royalties.  Apparently his ‘Oath’ wasn’t so ‘Sacred’ to him after all, eh?

Summer of Rage

Summer doesn’t officially begin for more than a month, but it has already been dubbed the “Summer of Rage”, as a result of the many protests supporting women’s rights, specifically Roe v Wade, across the nation this past weekend.  In Washington D.C., more than 20,000 protestors marched in protest of the Supreme Court’s pending decision to overturn Roe, and similar protests occurred in nearly every major city in the nation.  The people are making their voices heard loud and clear, but it is doubtful whether it will have any impact on the decision by the Court, since the nine justices are guaranteed their job for life and have no need to even consider the voice of the people.

Members of Congress, on the other hand, do serve at the will of the people and after the Senate refused to support women’s rights last week, it may well be that certain Republicans will face an uphill battle.  Frankly, I hope every damn one of Republicans in both chambers of Congress who are up for re-election this November lose by a landslide.  Apparently, most of them did not get the memo stating that women are people too.  Women’s rights are Civil Rights.  We are not some strange space aliens who must be controlled, nor are we objects created solely for men’s pleasure, as most Republican males seem to believe.  Summer of Rage, eh?  Looks like it’s gonna be a long, hot summer.

The Week’s Best Cartoons 4/2

Y’know … some days even the political cartoons raise my hackles, but I must admit they are dead-on accurate and say as much at a glance as some of the OpEd writers can say in 1,000 words.  And so, each week I head over to Political Charge where TokyoSand has compiled the best of the best from the week.  This week is no exception and I think you’ll agree with the take of most of those drawing the ‘toons.  Oh, if only I had such artistic talent … I could be rich and famous!!!  I wonder …

Anyway, here is a sampling of Tokyo’s Toons and I hope you’ll follow the link at the bottom and head over to her place to check out the rest!  Thank you as always, TS!

There were a lot of different news stories that got traction this week, as evidenced by the range of cartoons I saw. Here are some of the best ones, in my opinion.


See all the ‘toons at TokyoSand’s Political Charge!

The Week’s Best Cartoons 3/26

Let’s start this Sunday out with the week’s best political cartoons from TokyoSand over at Political Charge, shall we?  Many topics to tackle this week … the confirmation hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, the Russian war in Ukraine, fuel prices, the emails between Clarence Thomas’ wife and Mark Meadows … whew … it’s enough to wear us out, but the political cartoonists are at their best!  Thank you, TS!

Here’s some of the great cartoons I saw this week about the confirmation hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, the war in Ukraine, and more.

See all the ‘toons at TokyoSand’s Political Charge!

Revelations Of A SCOTUS Wife

It must be tough to have a wife who is a constant embarrassment – maybe even tough enough to send a man to the hospital.  Most men would not have stayed with such a woman for 35 years, but then … Justice Clarence Thomas is not most men.  He is a Black man sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court … one whose nomination in 1991 by then-President George H.W. Bush was fraught with conflict, in part because of his views on such things as affirmative action and women’s rights, and in part because of statements by lawyer Anita Hill claiming sexual harassment by Thomas.  Despite all this, Thomas was confirmed to the highest court in the nation.

Justice Thomas has often issued opinions I disagree with … he is one of the conservative justices on the Court, so that’s to be expected.  But it is only in the last 14 months that I’ve come to believe that Justice Thomas does not belong on the U.S. Supreme Court and that if he has anything resembling a conscience, he will step down … immediately!  Not necessarily because of any decision he has handed down, but because his wife’s antics have completely cost him his reputation, have made even the most astute legal minds question his integrity.

On Thursday, two well-respected journalists, Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, reported on Clarence Thomas’ wife, Virginia Thomas, and a set of emails that passed between her and former Chief of Staff under Trump, Mark Meadows between November 2020 and January 2021.  Some of the content of these emails is eye-popping.  The piece by Woodward and Costa is far too lengthy for me to post here, but I urge you to read it when you have a few minutes.

A few excerpts …

  • On Nov. 10, after news organizations had projected Joe Biden the winner based on state vote totals, Thomas wrote to Meadows: “Help This Great President stand firm, Mark!!!…You are the leader, with him, who is standing for America’s constitutional governance at the precipice. The majority knows Biden and the Left is attempting the greatest Heist of our History.”

  • In the Nov. 5 message to Meadows, Thomas went on to quote a passage that had circulated on right-wing websites: “Biden crime family & ballot fraud co-conspirators (elected officials, bureaucrats, social media censorship mongers, fake stream media reporters, etc) are being arrested & detained for ballot fraud right now & over coming days, & will be living in barges off GITMO to face military tribunals for sedition.”

  • On Nov. 13, she texted Meadows about her outreach to “Jared,” potentially a reference to Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior White House adviser. She wrote, “Just forwarded to yr gmail an email I sent Jared this am. Sidney Powell & improved coordination now will help the cavalry come and Fraud exposed and America saved.”

  • On Nov. 19, which would be a crucial day for Powell as she spoke at a news conference at the Republican National Committee, Thomas continued to bolster Powell’s standing in a text to Meadows. “Mark (don’t want to wake you)… ” Thomas wrote. “Sounds like Sidney and her team are getting inundated with evidence of fraud. Make a plan. Release the Kraken and save us from the left taking America down.”

Remember, my friends, that these are the words of the wife of a Supreme Court Justice.  Her words, her texts, were … what?  Treasonous?  Seditious?  Granted, they were not the words of Justice Thomas, nor is there any evidence that Justice Thomas supported her words and actions during that time.  But ask yourself this:  Do you think he was completely in the dark, unaware of the cages his wife was rattling, the shitstorm she was stirring?  Do you imagine they never discussed it, that she never gave him her opinions about which she felt so strongly?

I am highly offended that this woman, along with so many others — lawyers, activists, white supremacists and the like, attempted and nearly succeeded in overturning my vote, and more than 81 million others, in order to install a cruel, evil wanna-be dictator.  Had they succeeded, we might be living in a nation even worse than Russia today.  Thankfully they did not succeed, but no thanks are due to Virginia Thomas!

I think this will be a deep, dark stain on Justice Thomas for whatever time he remains on the bench.  Justices are expected to set aside their own political views and rule in the interest of the country with the Constitution as their guideline.  Justice Thomas has a built-in conflict of interest.  If he has a conscience, he must use it to tender his resignation.  If he does not do so, then we know we have one very corrupted Justice on the Supreme Court.

Just Two Little Snippets

The thing that occupies my thoughts the most these days is the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.  My heart cries for the people of Ukraine and frankly I would love the opportunity to spit in Mr. Putin’s face!  However, other things also demand my attention, so for the moment I will turn my mind and my angst in other directions.

Address the real problem, Teddy!

Recently, Senator Ted Cruz made the following statement …

“Across this country, Americans are horrified at skyrocketing crime rates, at skyrocketing homicide rates, at skyrocketing burglary rates, at skyrocketing carjacking rates.”

Hmmm … I guess that I am the anomaly, then, for none of those things ‘horrify’ me.  What does horrify me is the alarming increase of racism, the murder of numerous Blacks by police officers, the very people we are told to entrust with our lives.  I am horrified by the utter disregard for the people of this country by certain politicians, many of them newbies from the last election.  I am genuinely horrified at the attempts in the majority of states to restrict voting rights such that Black people, the elderly, college students, and the poor will find it almost impossible to cast a ballot.  I am also horrified by the refusal of the Supreme Court to uphold voting rights and women’s rights, thus obliterating much of the progress that was made over the last century.  I’m horrified by the Republicans and the conservative media blaming every single thing they don’t like on President Biden, while failing to even note his many successes.  Oh yes, my friends, there are many things that should horrify the people of this nation, but crime … I’m not horrified by the crime so much as the failure to effectively address it, to consider the reasons people commit crimes.

Frankly, I’m more afraid of that “law-abiding” gun nut I see walking into the grocery store, or the pickup truck driving down my street with confederate flags in the back window and Trump stickers on the bumper.  If Mr. Cruz, or any other member of Congress, is so horrified by crime in this nation, then there is one thing they can do that will drop crime rates dramatically and have an almost immediate effect:  PUT STRICT GUN LAWS INTO EFFECT!!!  Take a look at crimes committed over the past year or ten years and you’ll find that most are committed with the use of a common tool – a gun.  If people have naught but a knife, a baseball bat, or their fists to subdue their victims, the crime rate is going to plunge dramatically.  Heck, we could probably reduce most police departments by at least 50%!

But the reality is that Ted Cruz couldn’t care less about crime or about the victims of violent crime … his statement was made for the sole purpose of garnering support, as it’s pretty clear he hopes to be on the ballot for president in 2024.  Perhaps he would do better by staying in Texas when the weather gets cold and the lights go out, rather than running fast as he can for the warm beaches of Cancún.

Justice Thomas should resign!

Since the founding of the nation, no spouse of a sitting Supreme Court justice has been as overt a political activist as Virginia Thomas, wife of Justice Clarence Thomas.  Ms. Thomas has a leadership role in the Council for National Policy, a right-wing group with more than 400 members who include leaders of organizations like the ultra-conservative Federalist Society, the National Rifle Association, and the Family Research Council.  Most recently, Ms. Thomas took up the battle cry for Donald Trump’s Big Lie, the fantasy that millions of illegal votes were cast in the 2020 presidential election and that Trump was actually the winner.  Not only has no evidence been uncovered to support this Big Lie, but the election has been investigated numerous times in nearly every state and deemed to have been the most fair and honest election in the history of the nation.

Ms. Thomas, however, continues even today to work against the people of this country, to attempt to undermine our will, and pressured Republican lawmakers to challenge the election results and appoint alternate slates of electors.  Had they done so, the election would have been decided by none other than the U.S. Supreme Court, of which Clarence Thomas is one of nine justices.  Can we say, “conflict of interest”?

Because Supreme Court justices do not want to be perceived as partisan, they tend to avoid political events and entanglements, and their spouses often keep low profiles. But Clarence and Virginia Thomas are the exceptions to those norms.  In addition to her position at the Council for National Policy, she founded a group called Groundswell with the support of Steve Bannon, the hard-line nationalist and former Trump adviser. It holds a weekly meeting of influential conservatives, many of whom work directly on issues that have come before the court.

For the three decades Justice Thomas has sat on the Supreme Court, he and his wife have worked in tandem from the bench and the political trenches to take aim at targets like Roe v. Wade and affirmative action. Together they believe that “America is in a vicious battle for its founding principles,” as Ms. Thomas has put it.

I think the time has come for Justice Thomas to turn in his resignation, and failing that, for Justice Thomas to be impeached.  The Constitution states that judges “shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour.”  I don’t believe that Justice Thomas’ behaviour qualifies as ‘good’, and I do believe that his wife’s fanatical activism is influencing his decisions, interfering with his integrity.

Good News, Bad News

Starting with the good news …

The U.S. Supreme Court made a right and proper judgment on Wednesday (for a change), ruling against the former guy in his attempt to hide evidence of his own and others’ involvement from the House committee investigating the attempted coup on January 6th 2021.

Trump wanted to prevent the Congressional committee investigating the insurrection of January 6, from gaining access to White House records for that day and the days leading up to it, invoking executive privilege. The justices overwhelmingly, 8-1, ruled against him.  Executive privilege can only exist while you’re an executive … which Trump no longer is!

The ruling on Wednesday opens up a trove of documents to congressional investigators who have sought them to determine Trump’s actions and mindset in the weeks leading up to the Jan. 6 attack, as well as what he did as his supporters were rioting at the Capitol.

Among the documents sought by the committee are speech drafts, call and visitor logs, handwritten notes and other files previously kept by senior Trump aides like chief of staff Mark Meadows, adviser Stephen Miller, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and White House associate counsel Patrick Philbin.

The only member of the high court who signaled he would have granted Trump’s request for emergency relief was Justice Clarence Thomas who has proven time and time again that he has outlived his usefulness on the Court.  To me, the surprise in this ruling was that the three justices appointed by Trump during his tenure in the Oval Office, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett, all voted against his interests and for truth, justice, and democracy.

A half of a thumb-up for the Court for (finally) doing the right thing.

And then, the bad (really bad) news …

The two bills languishing in the Senate that would have protected our constitutional right to vote, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act, are DOA – Dead On Arrival, thanks to 52 people … 50 ‘Republicans’ and Joe Manchin and Kyrsten B. Sinema.  Given the draconian laws that have been passed in some 40+ states that would disenfranchise Blacks, Hispanics, the poor, the elderly, and the young, voting will no longer be ‘fair and equal’ or just or democratic.

The last best hope, and it is a slim one indeed, is that the courts rule against the states’ aggressive measures to skew the outcome, but given recent history, I’m not holding my breath on that one.

A number of groups have already said they will withdraw their support from Manchin and Sinema over their unwillingness to protect our voices at the polls, but unfortunately neither of them are up for re-election this year.  Both will be up for re-election in 2024, leaving us with few choices for removing them from the Senate for another three years.

The United States Constitution gives the Senate the power to expel any member by a two-thirds vote, but given the current makeup of the Senate and the fact that the 50 Republican Senators seem to love Manchin and Sinema (and why wouldn’t they, for both are Republicans at the core), the odds of that happening are slim-to-none and it has not happened since 1862.

I wrote a scathing letter to my own Republican Senator Rob Portman tonight indicating that I was highly disappointed to find that neither he nor any other Republican in the Senate could find even a smidgeon of conscience.  Under ordinary circumstances, I would have informed him that I would be actively seeking to ensure his bid for re-election fails, but I cannot do that, because he is retiring at the end of this term.

And so, we are left with few choices and little voice.  One thing we can and must do to whatever extent possible, though, is offer to help those who would otherwise be disenfranchised by helping them with unwieldy registration forms, providing transportation, child care, or whatever else they need to ensure they can cast a vote and vote the clowns out of office in November!

First Thing In The Morning Grousings!

I actually wrote another post for this morning, but I decided to push it back to this afternoon’s post, for it seemed just a little too weird for first thing in the morning!  And so, you get the joy of listening to me grumble & grouse first thing in the morning instead!  Aren’t you guys lucky?  Stay tuned for weird this afternoon!

Score one for free speech!

Brandi Levy was a 14-year old cheerleader on the Junior Varsity team at Mahoney Area High School in Pennsylvania in 2017 when she tried out for the Varsity team … a step up the ladder.

She wasn’t chosen for the Varsity team, and expressed her disappointment and frustration on social media in a moment of anger, writing, “Fuck school. Fuck cheer. Fuck softball. Fuck everything.”  Okay, so not the most appropriate language, but she was 14, hurt and angry.  Who of us didn’t use that F-bomb to express ourselves when we were 14?  And who expects a 14-year-old kid to always be calm and rational when angry?  Think about it … when most of us were 14, there were no cell phones, no computers, and no social media, so under similar circumstances we would likely have called our best friend and cried on his/her shoulder for a bit, ranting and cursing.  We certainly weren’t going to get penalized by the school for it!

Well, apparently the administrators at Brandi’s school thought they had a right to oversee her off-campus activities, and she was suspended from the Junior Varsity team for one year.  Long story short, Brandi, represented by lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued the school for its decision and in 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia ruled that the First Amendment did not allow public schools to punish students for speech outside school grounds.  The logical answer, in my book, and end of story, right?  Wrong.  The school district took the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, who ruled 8-to-1 yesterday in favour of Brandy Levy, the lone dissenter predictably being Justice Clarence Thomas.

Justice Stephen Breyer, writing for the majority, said …

“Our representative democracy only works if we protect the ‘marketplace of ideas.’  Schools have a strong interest in ensuring that future generations understand the workings in practice of the well-known aphorism, ‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it’.”

Breyer also said, though I don’t think it was part of the formal written decision, that if simply using swear words off campus met the bar for substantially disruptive speech, then … “my goodness, every school in the country would be doing nothing but punishing.”

Ms. Levy, now a college student, said of the ruling …

“The school went too far, and I’m glad that the Supreme Court agrees. I was frustrated, I was 14 years old, and I expressed my frustration the way teenagers do today. Young people need to have the ability to express themselves without worrying about being punished when they get to school.”

As for the ACLU, an organization that I support in spirit, though not monetarily, is not missing a chance to make a buck or two, for they are now selling t-shirts …

“If you’d like to show your support for our fight for free speech rights – including our young client’s right to express herself – you can do so in style with our new “Fuck Everything” Tee, available for pre-order today.”  🙄

I do not care, okay?

Would somebody please … PLEASE tell the mainstream media that We the People do not give one royal shit about Britney Spears???  I do not care about her, her father, or her money!  If I get one more “breaking news” update about this single braincell twit, I’m going to turn off my phone for the rest of this month!  The one this evening by the New York Times was to inform us that the poor little rich girl just wants her life back.  Sorry, folks, no sympathy here!  People are being shot in supermarkets, people are going to bed hungry, living on the streets, our voting rights are being butchered, our Congress is a roadblock to progress, the Delta strain of the coronavirus threatens to take still more lives, and racism is running rampant.  Little Britney Spears just wanting her life back, wanting her father to stop controlling her purse strings, is Irrelevant with a capital ‘I’.  ‘Nuff said.

At least one judge gets it

I have two thumbs up 👍 👍 for U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth.  The case he was hearing yesterday was that of Anna Morgan-Lloyd, who had pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of demonstrating inside the Capitol on January 6th.  Personally, I think the charges are far too mild, especially since this woman told friends that the attack on the Capitol and Congress and her participation in it was “the most exciting day of my life.”

She sang a different tune in court yesterday, however, saying …

“I went there to support … President Trump peacefully. I’m ashamed that it became a savage display of violence that day … It was never my intent to be a part of something that’s so disgraceful to our American people and so disgraceful to our country. I just want to apologize.”

Personally, I do not accept her apology and would like to see her sentenced to federal prison for the next ten years, but … that’s just me.  I suppose these lunatics should be glad I’m not a judge, eh?  But back to the judge …

He gets the kudos from me for a single, short statement he made before sentencing Ms. Lloyd …

 “I’m especially troubled by the accounts of some members of Congress that January 6 was just a day of tourists walking through the Capitol. I don’t know what planet they were on … This was not a peaceful demonstration. It was not an accident that it turned violent; it was intended to halt the very functioning of our government.”

He is exactly right, and there is now evidence to that effect … and more.  I hope that those who are charged with more serious crimes than Ms. Lloyd was, also come before Judge Lamberth, for he has shown significant knowledge and understanding, and I don’t think he’s going to let the worst offenders slide because either they don’t like the food in prison or their back hurts!

Ms. Lloyd, meanwhile, got 36 months, 3 years, of probation with a stern warning from the good judge that if she violated the terms of her probation in any way, she will go to jail, no ifs, ands, or buts. Prosecutor Joshua Rothstein called probation appropriate because Morgan-Lloyd had no known ties to extremist groups, did not plan to enter the Capitol, stayed inside one hallway for only about 10 minutes and did not commit any violence or destruction while there.

The Justices Have Been Busy!

The Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court have been busy little beavers this week.  Their rulings are something of a mixed bag … more to raise my hackles than not, but let’s start with the good news.

ACA survives to save more lives

Once again, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as Obamacare, was on the chopping block, and yet again, for the third time, the Court saved it from the Republican hatchet in the case of California v Texas.  The most interesting vote in my book was that of Justice Clarence Thomas.  Thomas, who voted against ACA the first two times it came before the Court, voted in favour of it this time, saying …

“Whatever the act’s dubious history in this court, we must assess the current suit on its own terms. And, here, there is a fundamental problem with the arguments advanced by the plaintiffs in attacking the act — they have not identified any unlawful action that has injured them. Today’s result is thus not the consequence of the court once again rescuing the act, but rather of us adjudicating the particular claims the plaintiffs chose to bring.”

He’s not exactly the head cheerleader for the Act that has allowed so many to have access to healthcare when they otherwise would not have, but a statement of fairness, at least.  I was also surprised that Justices Kavanaugh and Barrett voted in favour of ACA this time ‘round.  It is estimated that if the Court had struck down ACA, some 21 million people would have lost their access to healthcare.  There are still larger issues related to ACA that the Court has not yet addressed, but for now, it lives to see another day, to help people be able to take their sick children to a doctor.

The Court upholds bigotry

This one, Fulton v City of Philadelphia, involved the city of Philadelphia and a Catholic adoption agency who refused to work with same-sex couples.  Philadelphia had stopped placements with the agency, Catholic Social Services, after a 2018 article in The Philadelphia Inquirer described its policy against placing children with same-sex couples. The agency and several foster parents sued the city, saying the decision violated their First Amendment rights to religious freedom and free speech.

Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for six members of the court, said that the Catholic agency …

“… seeks only an accommodation that will allow it to continue serving the children of Philadelphia in a manner consistent with its religious beliefs; it does not seek to impose those beliefs on anyone else.”

I understand his view, but I still think it is wrong to allow any public agency to discriminate on any basis.  It’s a slippery slope … what comes next?  Will they confine their selection of potentially adoptive parents to only those with white skin?  Or perhaps only those who identify as Catholics?  The ‘right’ to freedom of religion is sacrosanct, however it should never infringe on other people’s rights, especially the rights of children to be placed in a loving home.

Human Rights … depends on who’s asking

The third case, Nestlé USA v. Doe, was brought by six citizens of Mali who said they were trafficked into slavery as children. They sued Nestlé USA and Cargill, saying the firms had aided and profited from the practice of forced child labor.  Note that the claim itself was not in dispute … it happened.  What was in dispute was whether the U.S. corporations involved in human rights violations outside the U.S. could be held accountable.

Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for the majority, said the companies’ activities in the United States were not sufficiently tied to the asserted abuses.  And that was the end of that.  So, corporations can operate facilities to manufacture their product outside the U.S. using child labour, paying next to nothing, and the laws of the U.S. will support their activities.  Seems rather odd to me for a nation whose very foundation is built on human rights.  A nation who screams bloody murder when a [white] person is denied any right.  A nation that is a member of the United Nations, an organization dedicated to human rights around the globe.  Hypocrisy?  Oh yeah.  But then, what would you expect from a nation that is attempting to deny the poor, the elderly, Blacks and other minorities the right to vote?

June is the busiest month for the Supreme Court, the last in its annual term and quite often the most controversial cases are saved for June.  One that is on the docket is Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee, a case concerning voting rights.  The Court will decide whether to uphold Arizona’s racist and restrictive voting laws that allow the state to a) discard ballots cast at the wrong precinct, and b) make ‘ballot harvesting’ a crime.

Next year will be especially confusing for some voters, as newly drawn district maps may change the location of their polling place.  So, if John Doe casts his ballot at the same place he did in 2020, not realizing there had been a change in the boundaries of his district, his ballot will be thrown out under the new Arizona law.  And if someone collects the ballots from residents of a senior care facility and takes 20 or 30 ballots to the drop box, that person would be in violation of the law and those ballots not counted.  Discriminatory as hell!

However, the larger question is whether the ruling will be so broad that it will also effectively endorse new voting laws that states have passed this year.  The Court, under Chief Justice John Roberts, has generally sided with Republican state officials when they have restricted voting access.  Keep your eye on this one, folks, for it may be the seed that determines whether We the People will continue to have a voice in our government, or whether our civil rights will be jerked out from under us.