Thursday, December 21, 2023

Rocky mountain high



     The steady drumbeat of bad news — war in Gaza, fascism on the march abroad, "democracy hanging by a thread" at home — missed a beat Tuesday evening, as the good news radiated out from Colorado: the state supreme court had ruled that Donald Trump cannot be on the ballot there, since he was an insurrectionist in open rebellion against the United States government since Jan. 6, 2021, rendering him unfit to hold office according to the 14th amendment to the United States Constitution.
      A very satisfying, "The emperor has not clothes!" moment. For those of us dwelling in the reality-based world, anyway.
      Hope flickered. Maybe the legal system, abused and insulted, ravaged and humiliated — I almost said "beaten," though not quite yet — will surprise us by standing up, straightening her garments and telling Trump to get the fuck off her.
     That's premature. The United States Supreme Court is still packed with Trump's hand-picked toadies, and respecting the rule of law versus servicing their guy is probably too much to expect. Clarence Thomas is wholly corrupt — bought and paid for by right wing donors, not to forget his wife is practically a Jan. 6 insurrectionist. The chance of them upholding the Colorado decision is somewhere between zero and none.
    Still. Colorado reminds us that as bad as it is, the game is not over. As terrifying as the general support of Trump is — though not in any way mysterious. The duped are invested in the scam. Get your head around it — there are cards to play. As my son said when I asked him, in 2016, why he wasn't as frantic as I was and am, he said, coolly, "The institutions are strong."
     Not quite as strong now as they were before seven years of the most mind-blowing carnival of idiocy, venality and cowardice imaginable — actually beyond imagination. I would not have thought it possible. Just last month, Trump brought up, unprompted, accusations that he had been urinated on by prostitutes at an encounter at the Moscow Ritz Carlton in 2013. "I'm not into golden showers" the former and likely future president confided to his audience, who cheered. There were zero repercussions. A story you probably missed because it was immediately lost in the continuing shitshow of jaw-dropping wrong that is Donald Trump and Red State America. Even when things do linger, like his comment that he would be a dictator "on day one," few felt the need to observe that this wasn't really new, coming from the man who wanted the Constitution to be suspended so he could be declared president by fiat.
     I did have a thought I would share with Republicans if it were worth bothering to share ideas with them: Aren't you tired of this? God I am. As much as I shudder at thinking of America becoming a Hungary-style dictatorship, I'm just so weary of the house-of-mirrors blather, the constantly lying, exaggeration, whining. Colorado, with its crisp mountain air, provided us a gust of that most bracing, invigorating and hard-to-find-lately scent: hope.

28 comments:

  1. So, this is what I don't understand: Let's say SCOTUS upholds the lower court, and CO can leave Trump off the ballot. Elections are run by the states. Let's say the Secy of State of CO decides to put Trump on the ballot anyway. Is there a SCOTUS police force I don't know about that will enforce their ruling? What if Alabama or Montana leaves Biden off their ballot? I would think all votes for that state should be throw out. But where does it say that? And who decides what happens? When the Court ruled Nixon had to give up the tapes, he did. But what if he didn't?
    If Trump wins in 2024, we can only hope for a Democrat House and Senate for some control. If he has both, we are really fucked, and not in the fun way.

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    1. *Nobody* expects the SCOTUS POLICE FORCE! Our chief weapon is surprise, surprise and fear, fear and surprise. Our *two* weapons are fear and surprise, and ruthless efficiency.

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    2. Shari, your fears are justified. And shared. I fear that keeping Him off the ballots, no matter how legitimately deserved, will lead to more slates of alternate Electors. It will give His mob an actual justification to contest the Electoral College vote, which will lead to His election if it goes to the House of representatives.

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  2. I too felt I guess it was surprise, at this ruling. Other states had looked at the possibility of barring trump from the ballot based on the section of the 14th amendment citing insurrection but it didn't go anywhere. The reality is there is some ambiguity in the wording of the amendment and nowhere does it state they can't run just that they can't sit.

    it will be interesting what the Supreme Court has to say about the Colorado ruling.

    More interesting is the immunity from prosecution case the court has indicated it will take up upon the request of the special prosecutor. If presidents are found not to have total immunity that shields them from prosecution even in cases of insurrection those trials will proceed . If found guilty maybe the 14th amendment would then bar even an elected candidate from taking office.

    Though it would be unfortunate if the results of the election were overturned by the court and the winner could not take office. Could lead to prolonged litigation and possibly violence

    Worse than the case of the hanging chads where the winner of the popular vote allowed the cancellation of a recount in Florida resulting in the unclear winner of the electoral college vote to take office. Oh, a simpler time

    I just hope trump doesn't gain the nomination and if he does loses the election and the courts involvement is not the deciding factor

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    1. Oh gawd! Your comment took my brain to an absolutely terrifying nightmare. What could possibly be even worse than Trump winning could be that he wins despite convictions and all his toadies and followers feel vindicated to everything he said and promised to do to "enemies", but the court says he can't take office due to conviction. We'd absolutely still get violence from the MAGA cult after the election and after the court decision AND we'd end up with his VP choice, which at this point could be Vivek Ramaswamy, his most brown-nosing sycophant to date, or Mike Johnson, and they'd all be even more intent on insanity-based revenge. I need to go take some aspirin.

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  3. Yes, I am tired of all his shit. T’s only announced plans are to eliminate migrants and drill. Biden has been more moderate on drilling than many would like but his team does not want to say that. Until Democrats are front and center with their plans to “secure the border,” (sorry, I hate that phrase too but it is a good short), R’s will continue to win on that issue. Migration is a worldwide problem. I wish I had a solution. I wish your son had been right. But we must continue to engage, thank you for all you do.

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  4. Never mind the voters. Never mind the obsolete Electoral College. It turns out, apparently, that the president is "elected" by the Supreme Court. Just as in 2000, who sits in the White House, who has the title Commander in Chief, who wields the most unimaginable power in the world, is determined by nine unelected "justices" mostly bought and paid for by Republican dark money. So much for exhortations to VOTE BLUE. Turns out it probably won't make much difference.

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    1. Obsolete electoral college? Sure, let us have California and New York decide for the rest of the country by whom we will be governed. Well, at least we know you attended public schools.

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    2. It's not the states that decide; it's the people in the states. Better the millions in New York and California than the hundreds on some farms in Utah. The majority should decide.

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  5. The institutions are strong? Pretty to think so, young Steinberg lad. Ah, youth. With the Supreme Court, Justice Dept and (soon) both houses of Congress in on the chicanery, how exactly will this monster be stopped?

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    1. That was in 2016. I wonder if he’s quite so sanguine today.

      Coey

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    2. First step to stop this insanity is the sane, but lazy and ignorant turn out to vote against The Cowardly Liar, leaving no doubt for the cowering assholes unwilling to stand for Truth.

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  6. Your second sentence in your third paragraph is outstanding. I sent it to Frank Bruni’s For the Love of Sentences, where I hope it will receive more attention.

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    1. There's only one sentence in the third paragraph, but I agree that the imagery towards the end is outstanding, but par for the course with EGD's wordsmith extraordinaire.

      john

      john

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    2. The need for Neil to maintain EGD is validated by the rape imagery that perfectly describes the Drumpf Administration, but would never be published in the paper. Similarly, use of the term Golden Showers, which exemplifies the artistry of The Cowardly Liar. His participation was never alleged, just his disgusting idea of insulting a man so superior to himself that a fair comparison belittles Drumpf's character and integrity, rendering Him a worthless lump of a human being, apparent to all good men.

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    3. There are two sentences, John, the first being, “Hope flickered.”

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  7. Until voter turnout is in the high 90s, I struggle to believe our "institutions are strong." Your son has an optimism I envy.

    I appreciate your continued writings and honesty. There is something soothing and comforting about the continued alarm and non alarm stories.

    Let's hope Dr. King was right, and the moral arc of the universe still bends towards good.

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  8. Good to see a political piece from you again.

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    1. I think I'm going to keep them on the blog, for now, until the paper figures out what it wants.

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    2. Or what they want from YOU, Mr. S. (Look at what they did regarding Israel. Did somebody rich and powerful lean on them...and therefore upon you as well?) It's a smart move...one that might, in the long run, even save your job. .At least until The Orange Guy shuts the whole megillah down in two or three years.

      But maybe that just sounds like words from a drama queen. I hope to hell they are. Otherwise...as an earlier commenter put it...we are really fucked.

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    3. Nah, just the opposite. Rather than rich and powerful, it's more the in-the-trenches radio staff not realizing that the purpose of a newspaper column is to provoke reader interest and discussion, not make them feel good about themselves and reflect their own opinions, exactly. The overarching trouble — the the Sun-Times is subordinate to WBEZ — is not something I can fix by making myself a pain-in-the-ass to my bosses. You don't accumulate 36 years on the staff of an organization without knowing when to go quiet, and keep your powder dry to fight another day.

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    4. Had to do some homework in order to find out about all the changes that WBEZ has gone through over the years. Didn't realize it's the tail that wags the dog. When I last lived in Chicago (1975-92), it wasn't such of a much...the Board of Education station. But it was home to superb jazz programming (say Dick Buckley)--and those sounds disappeared for good in 2008. I've been gone a LONG time.

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  9. Can you please add a like button, so I can like anonymous' reply to Shari.

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    1. "Add a like button"? Who do you think I am, Mark Zuckerberg?

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    2. That's the last thing I want to see here...or that EGD needs. It's one of the reasons I call it Fecesbook...or Fightbook. Way to go, motherzucker.

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  10. "The institutions are strong."

    Unfortunately, we've seen that they're only as strong as the people who comprise them. When half the Congress and more than half of the Supreme Court are all-in on supporting a transparently unfit and criminal "leader," they can bend the institutions to do whatever they want.

    This predated even the Biggest Loser's term. McConnell cynically and anti-democratically stole a Supreme Court seat and no institution prevented him from doing so.

    Yes, and the vaunted "checks and balances" were to keep the wanna-be autocrat from doing too much damage. We saw how that worked out, as well. Agent Orange could have been convicted in either of 2 impeachment trials and thus effectively prevented from returning to the Oval Office. The feckless toadies in the Congress didn't have the integrity to vote for that outcome.

    The fact is that much of what transpires with regard to DT going forward will ultimately be determined by Supreme Court rulings. A SC on which 3 of the members were chosen by the guy himself, partly with the view toward them ruling the way that he wants them to. Hmmm... does that seem like a problem? When the institutions were established, the founders never imagined this type of charlatan gaining any traction in our republic. I actually find it kinda hard to blame them for that. The actions of the millions in thrall to this guy have been hard to believe, even as one has witnessed the whole debacle unfolding.

    This Colorado ruling seems to me like one's team getting a grand slam in the 8th inning of a game that they're losing 20 - 2. It's enjoyable and worth celebrating, for the moment, but doesn't really inspire much optimism for long-term success.

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  11. Ah! A well-chosen Colorado magpie to fly above this piece. Very apt. Folklore attributes meaning to the magpie based on the number of birds seen. One magpie is unlucky. Western cultures view the magpie as a bad omen. They are raucous, noisy birds and their gatherings can become chaotic. They are cunning and love shiny, sparkly things. As a totem, they represent personal acquisition and materialism. Would be even more fitting if the magpie had an orange crown.

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  12. I think it's interesting that today's EGD has the same title as Eric Zorn's Picayune Sentinel, except he has a question mark at the end.

    I think it's most likely that one of two things happens: SCOTUS says "state issue" and let's it stand or SCOTUS says "What's-his-name hasn't been convicted of anything, much less insurrection, so no basis for leaving him off". Take your pick.

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