Tag Archives: Justice

In Memoriam – Barbara Ehrenreich, 1941-2022

“No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.”

Barbara Ehrenreich

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Most Bizarre Quote of the Week – July 23, 2022

“You’re a Black man in America.  You know you don’t want to be nowhere where cops are.  You know you don’t want to be nowhere where cops are cause I know I don’t, and I’m a middle-aged, middle-class Black woman.  I don’t want to be around where the cops are because I don’t know if I’m going to walk away alive or not.”

Judge Erika Ballou of Nevada’s 8th Judicial District Court, advising a Black defendant to stay away from law enforcement

A local police union and Nevada Republicans are now calling for Ballou to apologize and resign.  In response to the outcry, she declared, “What the record shows, is that I communicate with those who appear before me in a manner that is straightforward and understandable.”

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Next!

“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.”

Martin Niemöller

We’re still in shock here in the U.S.  In just a matter of weeks, the conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court undid decade’s worth of progressive social reforms.  The reversal of Roe vs. Wade last month garnered the most attention, but they didn’t stop with that.

In Vega vs. Tekoh, the High Court ruled that a violation of Miranda rights doesn’t provide a basis for civil damages.  The original Miranda vs. Arizona decision ensured people accused of criminal behavior have the right to legal counsel and to remain silent in the face of police interrogation.  Miranda was decided in line with the U.S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment, which had already established certain guidelines for addressing criminal procedures.  The Vega ruling now ensures that law enforcement can act with impunity.  I suspect it’s a response to the vitriolic reactions to high-profile police killings over the past…well, several decades; the ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests and all that.  In Vega, the SCOTUS majority noted that, if the original Miranda court intended to create a constitutional right versus a prophylactic rule, it would have definitively declared that immediately upon deciding Miranda.  The 1966 Court knew how to use its words, the current Court essentially declared, and those words used were not “constitutional right.”  See how verbiage can be twisted so easily by academics?

In West Virginia vs. the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Court undercut the latter’s efforts to regulate greenhouse gases.  SCOTUS agreed with Republican-led states and energy companies that the 1970 Clean Air Act gave the EPA too much power over carbon emissions.  The decision was also a strike back against the 2015 Clean Power Plan – an Obama-era policy that targeted adverse climate change.  To environmentalists, it wasn’t surprising that energy conglomerates were adamant in reversing the CPP, as well as the CAA.  But the West Virginia ruling falls in line with the belief of conservatives that climate change is a hoax.  That’s why energy companies overwhelmingly support Republican candidates.  I have to note West Virginia is a top coal producer.  It also ranks as one of the poorest states in the union.

In his statement regarding the Dobbs ruling, Justice Clarence Thomas suggested the Court should revisit other high-profile rulings, including Griswold vs. Connecticut, which declared the legal usage of contraceptives; Lawrence vs. Texas, which struck down anti-sodomy laws; and Obergefell vs. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage.  Curiously, he didn’t call for a review of Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education, which declared that racial segregation in schools was unconstitutional or Loving vs. Virginia, which legalized interracial marriage.  I guess this is because overturning these decisions would impact Thomas, a Negro married to a White chick.  It’s amazing how some people have no problems enacting laws that wouldn’t affect them personally.

In the 1983 film “The Star Chamber”, Michael Douglas portrays a relatively young judge who becomes engaged with a group of other jurists who find the legal system has gone awry in favor of criminals and decide to enact vigilante justice to right those perceived wrongs.  They hire assassins to kill certain criminals who have escaped incarceration.  The movie is replete with scenes where highly articulate lawyers help defendants get out of trouble.  In one early scene, Hal Holbrook’s character tells Douglas, “Someone has hidden justice inside the law.”  It’s an attempt to justify the group’s brutal actions.

That’s how I often view the legal system.  Charismatic lawyers prancing around even the most heinous of crimes with carefully-crafted verbiage; a kind of Tolkien-style language only they understand, but something the rest of us have to deal with toiling away in the trenches of reality.  I certainly don’t recommend assassination as a viable resolution to our nation’s political ills.  That’s where the treasured right of voting comes into play.  People need to take their voting rights seriously and understand the significance of not voting.  We’ve seen the fruits of voter apathy in my home state of Texas.  In recent years, the right to vote has come under fire from conservatives.  As with many other rights, this isn’t a surprise.  Conservatives have always tried to suppress voting.  You know…the way totalitarian regimes like Russia have.  I’ve noted more than once that the (fair and legitimate) elections of Barack Obama prompted (mostly White) conservatives to launch their assault on the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  During their convention last month, the Texas Republican Party called for repeal of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which guarantees the right to vote regardless of race.  They did this because…well, because that’s what conservatives do – at least here in the U.S.  They were quick to abolish fascism in Europe during World War II, but weren’t so eager to do the same at home.

With this in mind, I wonder if many conservative queers who voted for the likes of George W. Bush and Ted Cruz are satisfied with their decisions.  Along with many mainstream right-wingers, some are ecstatic that Roe was overturned.  But now, I hate to see their reactions at the thought of reversing Lawrence or Obergefell.  But the neo-Nazi clowns who have targeted the so-called “liberal agenda” for years are coming for their faggot asses next!  I just hope they’ll be happy sitting in their designer closets polishing their Ronald Reagan Glee Club pins.

If anyone in the U.S. believes democracy is functioning just perfectly and nothing is wrong, they need to consider this: five of the current justices on the Supreme Court were chosen by presidents who did NOT win the popular vote.  George W. Bush didn’t really win the 2000 presidential election and he barely won the 2004 election; yet he was able to appoint two justices – Samuel Alito and John Roberts.  Donald Trump certainly didn’t win the 2016 presidential election (perhaps the most corrupt in U.S. history), but he was able to appoint three justices to the Court: Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney-Barrett.  Gorsuch’s selection came because Republicans refused to grant President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, the decency of a hearing upon the death of Antonin Scalia in 2016; claiming it was an election year and the next president should choose the nominee.  However, Barrett’s nomination came after the death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg in 2020.  The same band of Republicans who denied Garland a hearing rammed through Barrett’s confirmation without hesitation.

I don’t know if most Americans fully comprehend the significance of the Dobbs decision that overturned Roe.  It could lead to much worse.  But this is what happens when people don’t bother to vote in even the most mundane of elections.  Liberals seem especially reticent to take local races seriously.  I can only recommend everyone concerned about our democracy to make that concerted effort to vote.  I understand how many people feel their votes don’t count, particularly after the 2000 and 2016 presidential elections and all the corruption involved in both.

Yet, democracy is not a natural form of governing.  Humanity is more likely to construct an oligarchy-style system.  In worse case settings, totalitarianism can take root, as it almost did with Donald Trump in the White House.  People need to be wary of the current U.S. Supreme Court and its fascist leanings, disguised as social conservatism.  (Then again, fascism and conservatism are pretty much the same ideology.)

It’s starting with the Roe reversal.  Unless we place more moderates into public office, it will only get worse.

Bottom image: Michael de Adder

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Political Cartoon of the Week – April 10, 2021

Khalil Bendib

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Best Quotes of the Week – April 10, 2021

“Enough prayers.  Time for some action.”

President Joe Biden, announcing new gun control measures

Calling gun violence in the U.S. an “international embarrassment”, Biden has directed the Justice Department to draft model legislation that would make it easier for states to pass gun control laws, meant to bar people from accessing firearms if they pose a threat to themselves or others.

“I heard the governor of South Dakota recently saying, ‘This isn’t infrastructure – it’s got money for pipes.’  Well, we believe that pipes are infrastructure, because you need water to live, and too many families now live with the threat of lead poisoning.”

Pete Buttigieg, Secretary of Transportation, regarding efforts by the Biden Administration to start rebuilding all features of the nation’s infrastructure

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Worst Quotes of the Week – March 20, 2021

“It was Barack Obama himself who knew about the dangers of ballot harvesting in the state of Texas because under his administration, he sent his U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Texas, as well as the FBI, to south Texas to arrest and to prosecute people who were involved in ballot harvesting that were using cocaine to buy votes through the ballot harvesting process in the state of Texas.”

Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX), claiming efforts by the Democratic National Party to secure elections would result in people using cocaine to buy votes

Abbott went on to say, “And when you look at some of the things that they are talking about with regard to H.R. 1, they are trying to institutionalize voter fraud in the United States of America. They want to make mail-in ballots permanent. Everyone knows – including Democrats in Texas – have said that one of the easiest ways to cheat in elections is through these mail-in ballots.”

“Even though those thousands of people that were marching to the Capitol were trying to pressure people like me to vote the way they wanted me to vote, I knew those were people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break the law, and so I wasn’t concerned… Now, had the tables been turned – Joe, this could get me in trouble – had the tables been turned, and President Trump won the election and those were tens of thousands of Black Lives Matter and Antifa protesters, I might have been a little concerned.”

Sen. Ron Johnson, on the January 6 Capital Hill riots

“There’s old sayings in Texas about, you know, find all the rope in Texas and get a tall oak tree.  You know, we take justice very seriously and we ought to do that.  Round up the bad guys.  That’s what we believe.”

Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), mentioning lynching as a form of justice during congressional hearings about anti-Asian-American violence

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From the ‘Get a Rope’ Files

Most Americans remember the tragedy and miscarriage of justice surrounding Casey Anthony.  She’s the Florida woman whose toddler daughter mysteriously vanished from her parents’ home in Florida in 2008.  The child’s body turned up just down the road several months later, but only after Anthony’s mother reported the disappearance.  Cindy Anthony called police after she opened the trunk of her daughter’s car, some 3 weeks following the little girl’s last known sighting.  Casey Anthony led police on a long road of deception before they realized she was most likely responsible for her daughter’s death.  Casey’s 2011 trial became a theatrical event, as people stormed the courtroom every day, and a slew of legal and media pundits offered their opinions and viewpoints.  When the jury found Anthony not guilty of all charges, except lying, outrage became palpable.

And now, just as we got rid of Donald Trump, Casey Anthony has surfaced again – like a mole you thought you’d excised from your face a decade ago.  Last December Anthony filed paperwork in Florida to open a private investigation firm.  Named Case Research & Consulting Services, LLC, Anthony hopes to help other “wrongfully accused people, especially women, and help them get justice.”

I feel this witch got away with infanticide only because she’s a woman, mainly a White woman, and serves no purpose on Earth.

As the old Texas saying goes – get a rope!

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Most Curious Quote of the Week – October 17, 2020

“The courts are not designed to solve every problem or right every wrong in our public life.”

Judge Amy Coney Barrett, in her opening remarks at her Senate confirmation hearing

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Best Quotes of the Week – October 17, 2020

“I think this hearing is a sham.  I think it shows real messed up priorities from the Republican Party.  But I am here to do my job, to tell the truth.”

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, in her opening statement at the start of the confirm hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett

“Politicians should never decide what medical procedures a patient can and cannot receive.”

Nancy Northup, Center for Reproductive Rights, reacting to a court ruling that blocked a 2017 anti-abortion law passed by the Texas State Legislature

“I don’t like to be associated with anything political or with any political campaign.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, on Good Morning America, 10/15/20

“I don’t get that.  You’re the president.  You’re not like someone’s crazy uncle who can just retweet whatever.”

Savannah Guthrie, during a live “town hall” meeting with Donald Trump, questioning his retweet of a QAnon-linked conspiracy theory

No to be outdone, Trump made a trite insult at Guthrie during a campaign stop the next day.

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In Memoriam: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 1933 – 2020

“When I’m sometimes asked, ‘When will there be enough [women on the Supreme Court]?’ and I say ‘When there are nine,’ people are shocked.  But there’d been nine men, and nobody’s ever raised a question about that.”

“Dissents speak to a future age.  It’s not simply to say, ‘My colleagues are wrong and I would do it this way.’  But the greatest dissents do become court opinions and gradually over time their views become the dominant view.  So that’s the dissenter’s hope: that they are writing not for today, but for tomorrow.”

“I tell law students… if you are going to be a lawyer and just practice your profession, you have a skill – very much like a plumber.  But if you want to be a true professional, you will do something outside yourself… something that makes life a little better for people less fortunate than you.”

“Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.”

“Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”

“Women will have achieved true equality when men share with them the responsibility of bringing up the next generation.”

“So often in life, things that you regard as an impediment turn out to be great, good fortune.”

“Reading is the key that opens doors to many good things in life.  Reading shaped my dreams, and more reading helped me make my dreams come true.”

“You can’t have it all, all at once.”

“I’m a very strong believer in listening and learning from others.”

“Don’t be distracted by emotions like anger, envy, resentment.  These just zap energy and waste time.”

“You can disagree without being disagreeable.”

“When contemplated in its extreme, almost any power looks dangerous.”

“In every good marriage, it helps sometimes to be a little deaf.”

“If you want to be a true professional, do something outside yourself.”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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