John Roberts says “Hold My Beer”

Justice John Paul Stevens:

District of Columbia v. Heller, which recognized an individual right to possess a firearm under the Constitution, is unquestionably the most clearly incorrect decision that the Supreme Court announced during my tenure on the bench.

The text of the Second Amendment unambiguously explains its purpose: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” When it was adopted, the country was concerned that the power of Congress to disarm the state militias and create a national standing army posed an intolerable threat to the sovereignty of the several states.

***

That’s cold comfort. I have written in other contexts that an amendment to the Constitution to overrule Heller is desperately needed to prevent tragedies such as the massacre of 20 grammar-school children at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012, from ever happening again. But such tragedies have indeed happened again. In the course of writing the chapter of my memoir that discusses Heller, on October 1, 2017, a gunman fired from the 32nd floor of a hotel in Las Vegas, killing at least 58 people and injuring more than 500 more who were attending an outdoor concert. I had not yet finished the chapter when another mass shooting occurred, this one involving the death of 26 people—including three generations of a single family—at a church on November 5, 2017, in Sutherland Springs, Texas. More shootings have happened since.

You ain’t seen nothing yet.






132 replies
  1. 1
    zhena gogolia says:

    OT, but since it’s a Cole post: My husband just called me to the window to see the three baby robins in the nest outside our living room. He actually got to see the mama feeding them, but I was too late. They’re little gray fuzzies cuddled up with each other.

  2. 2
    Sab says:

    Boy is that OT. Yay birds.

  3. 3
    oatler. says:

    And now the “Mom” rerun I was watching was interrupted by a “news conference” with Trump spewing as usual, followed by applause after every sentence.

  4. 4
    piratedan says:

    late spring here in the desert, so we’re seeing baby quail everywhere, have to admit that watching the tiny ones scampering along the ground as they trail behind Mom or Dad are incredibly squee

  5. 5
    PaulB says:

    That decision also revealed the intellectually bankrupt posturing behind the so-called “strict constructionist” interpretation of the Constitution. They explicitly ignored the text and history of that Amendment in order to get the outcome they wanted.

  6. 6
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Sab:

    I’ve been waiting for an open thread that isn’t gloom and doom about the bottomless pit we’re in, but it doesn’t happen.

  7. 7
    zhena gogolia says:

    @oatler.:

    The accepted Soviet phrase is “stormy applause.”

  8. 8
    Cacti says:

    The Warren Court and early years of the Burger Court were an historic aberration.

    Far more often, SCOTUS has used its power to keep the peons and assorted undesirables in their place.

  9. 9
    Spanky says:

    Walmart says higher China tariffs will increase prices for U.S. shoppers

    Anyone seen my tiny, tiny little violin?

    Whatever. Fuckem.

  10. 10
    catclub says:

    @oatler.:

    was interrupted by a “news conference” with Trump spewing as usual,

    Trump has the media played so well, one might suspect they want to be played. If they weren’t played they might wait till he makes news before breaking into your shows.

  11. 11
    Cacti says:

    @zhena gogolia:

    We’re in the middle of a soft coup by the radical right against Constitutional government, rights, and freedoms. That’s the long and the short of it. I wish that wasn’t the present situation, but we need to be realistic about what’s at stake.

  12. 12
    QUINERLY says:

    Meanwhile….
    Wendy Vitter, an anti-abortion advocate who refused to say if Brown v. Board of Education was correctly decided during her confirmation, was confirmed as a federal judge in Louisiana by the Senate on Thursday.

    Vitter, who works as an attorney for the Catholic Archdiocese in New Orleans, secured the lifetime appointment by a 52-45 vote. She was nominated last year but never confirmed and had to be nominated again this year. During her confirmation hearing in 2018, Vitter was roundly criticized for her refusal to saywhether the landmark school desegregation ruling was correctly decided. Vitter also has a long career of anti-abortion advocacy.
    TPM reporting

  13. 13
    New Deal democrat says:

    Since the restrictions on the Second Amendment are to be taken literally, according to the Court, I see no impediment to Congress banning all manufacturing, sale, purchase, or other transfer of *ammunition* to the far limits of the Commerce power. Because the word “ammunition” occurs nowhere in the text of the amendment.

  14. 14
    QUINERLY says:

    United States Ambassdor to Israel David Friedman: “Israel has one secret weapon that not too many countries have. Israel is on the side of God, and we don’t underestimate that.”
    TPM reporting

  15. 15
    Sab says:

    @zhena gogolia: I wasn’t complaining.

  16. 16
    Cacti says:

    Tulsi Gabbard says she would drop charges against Julian Assange and pardon Edward Snowden if elected.

    Because of course she would.

  17. 17
    Quaker in a Basement says:

    Scalia and others justified the Heller decision by playing silly buggers with the definition of “militia.”

    Well fine. The Constitution explicity gives Congress authority to train and arm the militia. I say its about time they did so. Don’t want training? Sorry, no militia and no gun for you.

  18. 18
    QUINERLY says:

    Trump’s 2018 financial disclosure is up at Mother Jones:
    “According to the disclosure, Trump borrowed between $5 million and $25 million from Professional Bank, a small Florida outfit that specializes in construction and real estate loans. He borrowed the money at 4.5 percent interest through a limited liability company called 1125 South Ocean LLC. The loan was used to finance the purchase of 1125 South Ocean Avenue, a mansion located next door to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club and owned by the president’s sister, Maryanne Trump Barry. Last year, Palm Beach-area newspapers reportedthat Trump’s sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, had purchased Barry’s property for $18.5 million. But Trump’s financial disclosure indicates that in fact he controls the company behind the transaction. Though assets and liabilities are reported in ranges on financial disclosure forms, land records show that the value of Trump’s newest loan $11.2 million.”

  19. 19

    Let’s not forget the messiah of the masses, who is running for the D nomination, is not that different in his policies from the current occupant of the WH where guns and immigration are concerned.

  20. 20
    Bill Arnold says:

    @piratedan:
    We get that in the NE with wild turkeys. Sometimes there are multiple females and a large number of chicks. It is fascinating watching the females maneuver their chick squads/platoons from cover to cover. This really happens and is both cute, and impressive to those humans who have tried to do the same with young humans.

  21. 21
    Keith P. says:

    @New Deal democrat: good idea, plus enough people get hard-ons making their own bullets that it might get decent support

  22. 22
    Bill Arnold says:

    @QUINERLY:

    Israel is on the side of God, and we don’t underestimate that.

    Sigh. David Friedman was not wise to say that.

  23. 23
    Brachiator says:

    The text of the Second Amendment unambiguously explains its purpose…

    When it was adopted, the country was concerned that the power of Congress to disarm the state militias and create a national standing army posed an intolerable threat to the sovereignty of the several states.

    And of course, the US has since decided that a standing army, and permanent navy and air force are essential to the nation’s security. This calls into question the entire point of the Second Amendment.

    Sadly, conservatives have decided that they are willing to sacrifice their own children in order to continue to cling to guns.

  24. 24
    Kent says:

    We won’t start to even have a discussion about rational gun control in this country until either:

    A. Someone armed with high power automatic weapons and high capacity magazines shoots up one of the super elite prep schools in the DC area where the GOP hierarchy have all their spawn cloistered away. And we have about 50 little body bags laying out on the manicured lawns, or..

    B. Someone with very deep pockets rolls a couple of semi-trucks full of weapons into places like Ferguson MO and starts handing out free weapons to the “bla…” people so they can start forming their own ‘well regulated’ militias to combat against police tyranny.

    I’m not sure which scenario will generate Congressional action faster.

  25. 25
    Patricia Kayden says:

    I have written in other contexts that an amendment to the Constitution to overrule Heller is desperately needed to prevent tragedies such as the massacre of 20 grammar-school children at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012, from ever happening again.

    Or Congress could do its job and pass tough but sensible gun control legislation. If Democrats ever control Congress and the White House again, that should be job number 1.

  26. 26
    PsiFighter37 says:

    I would think that Bush v. Gore is worse, easily.

  27. 27
    sdhays says:

    @Kent: B. A wouldn’t do it because the moneyed interests behind this still wouldn’t let them tap the breaks on gun deregulation. Arming the other side of the race war that these people dream of would change their calculus, though.

    It would be cleaner to just defeat these jackasses at the ballot box, but they’re working hard to make that impossible…

  28. 28
    Martin says:

    @Brachiator: The point of the 2nd amendment was clear enough to those who were debating it’s creation. A slave rebellion could not be counted on to be put down by the federal government, in part because they didn’t trust an abolitionist president who had the authority to conscript the slaves into federal military service (a fear which proves valid during the Civil War), and in part because the Constitution only allows the military to intervene on behalf of an invasion, which a slave rebellion clearly is not. The ‘militias’ in question are state militias made up of white slaveowners empowered to be armed to put down such rebellions. The legacy of the 2nd amendment carried on through Regans gun restrictions as CA governor the moment the Black Panthers showed up in Sacramento armed, and to this day with the NRAs inability to defend the rights of black concealed carry owners. The 2nd amendment exists for the sole purpose of arming whites against those they wish to oppress. It’s just a bit more subtle about it now. But it was clearly understood in 1850.

  29. 29
    James E Powell says:

    @catclub:

    Trump has the media played so well, one might suspect they want to be played.

    The press/media created Trump, then they put him in the White House. They are definitely not being played.

  30. 30
    trollhattan says:

    @Spanky:
    Hey wait, I’m a U.S. shopper. Not a Walmart shopper but they’re just (uncharacteristically) saying the quiet things out loud that all the rest already know.

    We’ve all been paying more for a vast array of “stuff” and services as a direct result of Trump’s tariffs. And it’s going to get much, much worse because the Chinese are not going to capitulate.

  31. 31
    Martin says:

    @Patricia Kayden: And the reason we are in this shitshow with respect to Alabama is that Democrats never had the guts to push through abortion legislation. We don’t rely on Brown v Board of Ed to keep the states in line because we passed federal legislation to codify that ruling in law. The federal government never did that after Roe. California did, which is why none of this bullshit plays out here, but part of being a co-equal branch is reaffirming the decisions in other branches when you agree with them. Dems need to pass abortion legislation to settle this matter.

  32. 32
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Kent:

    B. Someone with very deep pockets rolls a couple of semi-trucks full of weapons into places like Ferguson MO and starts handing out free weapons to the “bla…” people so they can start forming their own ‘well regulated’ militias to combat against police tyranny.

    This has a (limited) track record of success – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mulford_Act (California, 1967)

  33. 33
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    OT:
    Here’s a thought experiment for you all. A sort of fantasy that could never happen in real life. Stop me if you’ve heard it before:

    Imagine if you will, in the early 90s, aspacecraft acarrying an infant from a doomed planet crashed in the foothills of southern California during the middle of the night. It was a deserted, rural area, with only a small dirt road running adjacent to an empty field.

    A young couple from Los Angeles just happened to be driving by at the time. They were utterly lost and were desperately trying to find their way back to the interstate, when they saw what appeared to be a brilliant flaming meteor flash across their windshield…. and land right into the field to their right!

    The couple investigate and find what appears to be a human baby in the spacecraft. The couple adopt the child as their own and instill in them values such as the importance of fairness, truth, justice, respect for all life, and that differences are what us strong. The child never becomes ill and never gets hurt. It is not until adolescence that super powers begin to manifest themselves. It’s the typical “Superman” powerset: flight, super strength, invulnerablility, heat vision, the ability to see through walls, super hearing, etc. This individual, we’ll simply refer to as “X”, secretly uses their powers to save people whenever they are needed.

    Fast forward to 2016. Donald Trump has won control of the most powerful office in the world: the American presidency, thanks to foreign interference from Putin’s government, voter suppression, and the misogyny of the American electorate. Over the course of two years, from 2017 to 2019, the US’ democratic institutions at both the national and state level continuously degrade. This same process is playing out across the world. The world that X took for granted is slowly unraveling. They decide to take action.

    Donning a disguise, X issues an ultimatum to Trump, Putin, Mitch McConnell, and every other kleptocrat that if they don’t stop what they’re doing (killing innocents, destroying liberal democracy, targeting marginalized groups), they will be killed. X has demonstrated their abilities to the world.

    What happens next? How would Trump and the Republicans respond to such an overwhelming threat they know they can’t kill? Would they acquiesce? Lose their minds and try to attack anyway? What would this mean for traditional views on the sovereignty of nation states?

    Basically, I’m interested in how authoritarians like several Republican politicians, including their base, would react to being told by an all powerful being they can’t be assholes anymore

  34. 34
    Martin says:

    @Kent: I’m going to go with C: Having someone pop off and gun down the US Supreme Court while a Democrat is president. 9 USSC picks by a Democratic president would be the existential crisis the GOP could not abide by. That would also get us Supreme Court tenure reform at the same time.

  35. 35
    Jay says:

    “In another prong of what’s clearly a bid to win Wonkette’s coveted Legislative Badass of the Year award, Rep. Lauren Underwood, the freshman Democratic congresswoman from Illinois, has taken a major step toward addressing what might be America’s most horrifying public health crisis. Deaths from pregnancy complications for black women occur at four times the rate among white mothers, which is why, in April, Underwood launched a new congressional group, the Black Maternal Health Caucus, to focus attention and legislative action on the problem. Her co-chair in the caucus is Rep. Alma Adams (D-North Carolina); the two also introduced a resolution to declare a second annual Black Maternal Health Week.

    The issue is a personal one for Underwood. In 2017, she lost a close friend, Dr. Shalon Irving, who died just three weeks after giving birth, at the age of 36. Irving was an epidemiologist for the Centers for Disease Control whose death was featured in a major ProPublica/NPR report. She had studied the Third-World level of healthcare faced by many women right here in America; her death proved that the culprits you might assume — poverty and lack of access to care — didn’t matter. It could happen to the woman whose profession it was to study it. It’s damned unhealthy just to exist as a black woman in the Greatest Nation On Earth.”

    https://www.wonkette.com/lauren-underwood-black-maternal-health-caucus

  36. 36
    Martin says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷:

    Basically, I’m interested in how authoritarians like several Republican politicians, including their base, would react to being told by an all powerful being they can’t be assholes anymore

    Easy. They would turn the military arsenal at the public. Prisoners dilemma. North Korea. You can take out the leadership but not before the leadership can vaporize the masses.

  37. 37
    James E Powell says:

    @Martin:

    Of course, the whole problem with America is that the Democrats don’t have guts. Why, if only Democrats had guts, neither the Republicans nor their millions of bigoted, ignorant supporters would have any influence at all.

  38. 38
    Doug R says:

    @Cacti:

    The Warren Court and early years of the Burger Court were an historic aberration.

    Far more often, SCOTUS has used its power to keep the peons and assorted undesirables in their place.

    Yeah, early courts were very employer oriented, even ruling against laws to control bad labor practices. Roosevelt had part of the New Deal struck down. He threatened to pack the court which didn’t work except he got better rulings.

  39. 39
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @Martin:
    Well, “X”, is basically a Kryptonian who has all the powers of Superman. It’s entirely possible they could destroy the entire US armed forces in a matter of minutes or hours, including the nation’s nuclear arsenal. In fact, it would be wise to disable those first.

  40. 40
    Martin says:

    @Jay: Worth amending that story to Venus Williams, world class athlete – GOAT level, with money and status, and she nearly died due to complications that were largely waved off. If someone who is normally worthy of fitness physicians and scientific study can’t get through an otherwise normal pregnancy without this outcome, what hope do normal people have?

  41. 41
    Jay says:

    @Martin:

    “and to this day with the NRAs inability to defend the rights of black concealed carry owners. ”

    Has the NRA ever tried to defend the rights of POC concealed carry owners?

    As far as I am aware, they have always been as silent as a tomb.

  42. 42
    Formerly disgruntled in Oregon says:

    @James E Powell: We’d be in utopia for sure. It’s just that simple! //

    Grow up. Shit’s more complicated than that.

  43. 43
    randy khan says:

    @PaulB:

    That decision also revealed the intellectually bankrupt posturing behind the so-called “strict constructionist” interpretation of the Constitution. They explicitly ignored the text and history of that Amendment in order to get the outcome they wanted.

    It actually was much worse than that. For instance, Scalia based his theory about what kinds of weapons actually could be more regulated on the theory that private individuals did not own heavy weapons like cannon, but in fact many cannon were privately owned, in large part because they were used to defend trading ships from pirates. Every bit of the decision was nonsense.

  44. 44
    Death Panel Truck says:

    OT: I’ve been reading this blog for 14 years, but somewhere along the line I missed it. Why do people call Bernie Sanders “Wilmer”?

  45. 45
    joel hanes says:

    With respect to the estimable Justice Stevens, I dissent and claim that Shelby County was the most obviously incorrect decision made in recent years, with Citizens United and Bush v. Gore as strong contenders.

  46. 46
    Martin says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷: Possible, but you better make sure. Would such a morally superior being be sufficiently risk tolerant to allow for the possibility that NYC gets nuked because they can’t stop all 3000 deployed nuclear weapons at once? Is that really a better outcome than the consequences? Would the public still support that being given that they would harbor doubts about their own safety, or would they turn against this new dictator?

    I mean, that’s the state of modern superhero narratives – would the same people who harbor animosity toward one set of authoritative rulers accept another that claims to have their best interests in mind? To what extent are they willing to sacrifice themselves for the greater good (I would argue in the US there’s virtually zero tolerance for that).

  47. 47
    randy khan says:

    @Martin:

    I’m pretty sure it was Serena, not Venus. And she’s married to a billionaire, so there really were no practical limits to her resources, which makes the point even more sharply.

  48. 48
    JPL says:

    @Death Panel Truck: In order to fool the trolls. During the previous primary they were out in full force.

  49. 49
    TenguPhule says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷:

    Stop me if you’ve heard it before:

    Stop, just stop. We’ve heard this from you before.

  50. 50
    James E Powell says:

    @Formerly disgruntled in Oregon:

    Formerly disgruntled and currently impervious to sarcasm

  51. 51
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Death Panel Truck:

    Why do people call Bernie Sanders “Wilmer”?

    Because the Bernie Bros (and BS-supporting trolls) descend like flying monkeys if BS’s name is mentioned. I’ve been told. Don’t recall actually observing it.

  52. 52
    TenguPhule says:

    @Death Panel Truck:

    OT: I’ve been reading this blog for 14 years, but somewhere along the line I missed it. Why do people call Bernie Sanders “Wilmer”?

    Nickname due to some unfortunate instances of Pro-Sanders posters flocking to every thread using his name and apparently shitting in it.

  53. 53
    rikyrah says:

    @Jay:

    I adore Congresswoman Underwood. She’s getting down to business. I read in an article about her friend. She was highly educated, employed, good government insurance, but, she was BLACK…and so, at risk…
    This shouldn’t be happening.

  54. 54
    ruemara says:

    Can you guys figure out why there’s an Android phone scam that is redirecting sometimes when we open a post?

  55. 55
    Martin says:

    @Jay: No, they never had. The NRA basically only advocates for whites, which is why they so routinely deviate into culture wars bullshit. I mean, maybe 40 years ago when they supported gun regulation and seemed to actually sort of give a fuck.

  56. 56
    TenguPhule says:

    @PsiFighter37:

    I would think that Bush v. Gore is worse, easily.

    One of the original sins for sure.

  57. 57
    rikyrah says:

    @Martin:

    It was Serena. She made HER OWN diagnosis and saved her own life after childbirth.

  58. 58
    TenguPhule says:

    @joel hanes:

    With respect to the estimable Justice Stevens, I dissent and claim that Shelby County was the most obviously incorrect decision made in recent years, with Citizens United and Bush v. Gore as strong contenders.

    All of em, Katie.

  59. 59
    NotMax says:

    @Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)

    the importance of fairness, truth, justice, respect for all life, and that differences are what us strong

    if they don’t stop what they’re doing […] they will be killed

    No thought experiment necessary. What is suggested is inherently contradictory.

    Also too, haven’t we here danced the same imposed dictatorship tango with you many times previously?

  60. 60
    TenguPhule says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    Or Congress could do its job and pass tough but sensible gun control legislation. If Democrats ever control Congress and the White House again, that should be job number 1.

    No, that would be job 3 or 4.

    Job one would be getting rid of the Republicans by any means necessary, because no other jobs are possible until that is achieved..

  61. 61
    TenguPhule says:

    @NotMax:

    Also too, haven’t we here danced the same imposed dictatorship tango with you many times previously?

    Its Deja vu all over again.

  62. 62
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @TenguPhule:
    I don’t think you’re in any position to say to that to me, considering your posting history.

    Besides, this is just a thought experiment anyway. I never want anything like this to come to pass in real life because I don’t like uncheckable power existing in any form, as much as I like superhero narratives. It’s far too risky.

    @Martin:

    Would such a morally superior being be sufficiently risk tolerant to allow for the possibility that NYC gets nuked because they can’t stop all 3000 deployed nuclear weapons at once?

    I personally don’t think Trump or the GOP would ever willingly do that in the first place. It would mean destroying themselves in the process. Not to mention everything they’ve ever worked. No, I think they’d rather live, being the chickenshits they are.

    would the same people who harbor animosity toward one set of authoritative rulers accept another that claims to have their best interests in mind? To what extent are they willing to sacrifice themselves for the greater good (I would argue in the US there’s virtually zero tolerance for that).

    That’s a very good point and one I agree with. The problem with absolute power like that is that it’s too dangerous to be allowed to exist. Even someone with the best of intentions with powers like that can’t be relied on to stay stable forever.

  63. 63
    The Moar You Know says:

    We won’t start to even have a discussion about rational gun control in this country until either:

    A. Someone armed with high power automatic weapons and high capacity magazines shoots up one of the super elite prep schools in the DC area where the GOP hierarchy have all their spawn cloistered away. And we have about 50 little body bags laying out on the manicured lawns, or..

    B. Someone with very deep pockets rolls a couple of semi-trucks full of weapons into places like Ferguson MO and starts handing out free weapons to the “bla…” people so they can start forming their own ‘well regulated’ militias to combat against police tyranny.

    I’m not sure which scenario will generate Congressional action faster.

    @Kent: Neither. “A”, well, they like their money better than their families and “B”, well, I just have a feeling black folks are not going to be willing to die by the dozens just so that America might do the right thing out of racist panic.

    I might also add that volunteering the black community to be the cannon fodder for such a stunt is pretty shitty. The idea gets thrown out here several times a year. It’s a very bad one.

    Why don’t you do it? Go get a gun and show up at your local range with a bag plastered with Hillary and Obama stickers, and make sure your car is covered with them too. You might get a taste of the hell you’re suggesting that black people undertake on your behalf.

  64. 64
    What Have The Romans Ever Done for Us? says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷:

    Basically, I’m interested in how authoritarians like several Republican politicians, including their base, would react to being told by an all powerful being they can’t be assholes anymore

    They all claim to believe in an all powerful being that has expressly told them not to be assholes both outright and via a series of instructive parables. They’re assholes anyway. Granted that being hasn’t made express threats to end their miserable lives but if he did I expect they’d cower in fear and beg for mercy.

  65. 65
    NotMax says:

    @TenguPhule

    Its Deja vu all over again.

    Now with more undocumented alien!

    ;)

  66. 66
    TomatoQueen says:

    @Martin: Fix your link. It was Serena, not Venus. They are sisters, and they are not interchangeable.

  67. 67
    joel hanes says:

    @Bill Arnold:

    Don’t recall actually observing it.

    Most notable in the summer of 2016. This kibozing phenomenon pretty much disappeared after the 2016 general election, but the nickname remains. As we say in software: “for historical reasons”.

  68. 68
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @NotMax:

    Also too, haven’t we here danced the same imposed dictatorship tango with you many times previously?

    I don’t desire a dictatorship, I just want Trump and his ilk to be stopped and punished. Now. I suppose these thought experiments stem from that. The news just depresses me anymore and I feel like my future is being stolen from me. And I’m not even being truly affected by this shit yet! I’m fairly privileged and white, so I know I won’t be touched by this immediately. But it pains me to see so many people hurt (and killed) by the government in my name, that I pay taxes to. My gut tells me that the GOP is locking itself into power so that none of this can be undone.

    I’m not sure what this country is going to look like in 10 years, let alone 40-50. Social Security, my 401k/pension may not exist. Modern society may not exist. This is very terrifying to me.

    Sorry if I’m bothering you with this.

  69. 69
    JPL says:

    @TenguPhule: Yup. The Shelby Cty ruling and Citizens United both continue to harm our democracy so I’d rank them higher.

  70. 70
    Mnemosyne says:

    @zhena gogolia:

    I emailed a commenter I know to ask if I can have one of the front-pagers make a post next week about some unabashedly happy news of theirs that I know is coming up soon. I think we really, REALLY need it.

  71. 71
    JPL says:

    @TenguPhule: I’d like to see a law preventing gerrymandering.

  72. 72
    TenguPhule says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷:

    Besides, this is just a thought experiment anyway.

    You’ve posted this same question at least three times already that I can remember, possibly more when I wasn’t looking.

    Its been asked, answered, why must you keep asking?

  73. 73
    Mnemosyne says:

    @QUINERLY:

    Gosh, that doesn’t sound like money laundering activity at all! 🙄

  74. 74
    TenguPhule says:

    @JPL: That would fall under the definition of Job 1.

  75. 75
    NotMax says:

    @Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)

    none of this can be undone

    History offers counter examples by the bucketful, whether “this” is defined as just or as unjust.

    If I may channel Amir for just a moment, get writing.

  76. 76
    TenguPhule says:

    @NotMax:

    Now with more undocumented alien!

    Imposing their ideology of mayo pea pizza on us all!

  77. 77
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Martin:

    Not only that, but complications THAT WERE PART OF HER MEDICAL HISTORY and COMPLICATIONS TO WHICH SHE ALERTED THEM AND WAS BRUSHED OFF.

    They knew she has issues with blood clots, she told them that her symptoms were the same as when she’d had previously clots and asked for a scan, and they STILL ignored her. Because she’s Black. 🤬

  78. 78
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Its been asked, answered, why must you keep asking?

    I won’t anymore, don’t worry. Also see 68

  79. 79
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @NotMax:
    I meant “none of this can be undone”, in my lifetime and probably not without significant suffering or loss of life. Irreversible climate change is right around the corner, too

  80. 80
    Mnemosyne says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷:

    You need to write it and see if it works on the page. An outline is not a story.

  81. 81
    Bill Arnold says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷:
    This is what the Space Force is for – a vehicle for the covert development of exotic weaponry that might be used against a pesky interventionist alien. (or aliens.) The idea being that plasma jet from a shaped nuclear charge (next+ gen of that), or weaponization of the Earth’s magnetic field or …, might give Our MastersLeadership a way to try(unsuccessfully) to say No. (Mundanely, “We will not willingly sacrifice trillions of dollars of unextracted carbon to help reduce the scale of a mass extinction.”)
    Did you really think it was about Space Pirates?

  82. 82

    @Martin: An abortion rights bill never would have passed Congress, much less been signed by any President since Roe. Even among Democrats you had a sizable anti-abortion number of Representatives and Senators. I don’t think that Carter, Clinton or Obama would have signed it.

  83. 83
    jl says:

    @Sab: ” Boy is that OT. Yay birds. ”

    Not OT at all. Until the second amendment rights of birds are ensured, what will stop Cole from invading the privacy of their nests, and their innocent hatchlings, to rip off pix for the blog (which pays for itself)? What? I ask you, what?

  84. 84
    TenguPhule says:

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Donald Trump “every day gives grounds for impeachment in terms of his obstruction of justice. You never say, blanketly, I’m not answering any subpoenas,” at an event hosted by the Georgetown University Law Center Thursday.

    Pelosi also said “nothing is off the table” in pushing the White House to comply with subpoenas for information, including fining administration officials through what’s called inherent contempt of Congress.

    It’s a little-known power, last used nearly 85 years ago.

    Pelosi said Thursday she hopes it doesn’t come to that. But she called the White House counsel’s letter to the Judiciary Committee resisting all requests for information “a joke” and “beneath the dignity of the president of the United States.”

    The White House has generally argued that it is not required to comply with the torrent of subpoenas coming from House Democrats, because the congressional inquiries have no “legislative” purpose.

    Pelosi strongly disagreed countering that one of the constitutional purposes of congressional investigations is impeachment. “It doesn’t mean you’re going on an impeachment path,” Pelosi said. “It means if you had the information you might.”

    I swear that if the media turns this into a “She was against it before she was for it!” labeling I will scream bloody murder.

  85. 85
    TenguPhule says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷:

    I won’t anymore, don’t worry.

    You’ve said this before too.

    We get it, you’re as scared about all of this as the rest of us. But you keep bringing up proposals and ideas that are more at home with our enemies then our allies.

  86. 86
    NotMax says:

    @Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)

    Dunno about anyone else but am not gonna belabor this to the point of overwhelming the thread, so shall leave it with just one maxim:

    The path to progress does not run in a straight line.

  87. 87
    Sab says:

    @jl: Call me a bigot, but I don’t want birds to have second amendment rights. I’m not sure that they like us.

  88. 88
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @TenguPhule:
    Well, you have my word it won’t happen again.
    @NotMax:
    I know. I’m just scared is all. Things are becoming so unglued, I’m almost worried that the things I’ve said here could be used against me in the next few years by the government if Trump wins reelection

  89. 89
    misterpuff says:

    @Martin: @Martin: Democrats would restore the balance of the court by asking the Repugs who they wish to nom for ‘their’ seats.

    Fairness!

    (Not practiced by Republicans)

  90. 90
    TenguPhule says:

    On the morning that Donald Trump met Swiss president, whose embassy in Tehran represents US interests, reporters shouted a question to him at the White House, asking if the US was going to war with Iran.

    “Hope not,” was his reply.

    We are so fucked.

  91. 91
    TomatoQueen says:

    @Mnemosyne: Also, too, I came away from that piece thinking this is typical substandard care for a first-time pregnancy in a busy, understaffed hospital that in general treats women like crap anyway. With her clotting history (something all her treatment team should know about), she’s at least a moderate risk patient, if not high risk. Why the hell are her protocols as described so minimal? What does it take? It takes a patient like Serena to raise hell, but what of patients before her and after her whose needs are diminished and dismissed?

  92. 92
    TenguPhule says:

    Yesterday, secretary of state, Michael Pompeo spoke with the Omani Sultan Qaboos bin Sa’id, whose has also provided a conduit in recent years between the US and Iran.

    All this suggests, that having cut off all contacts with Iran as part of Trump’s maximum pressure campaign, Trump is now looking for an off-ramp from the road to war, and that means scrambling to reestablish those contacts.

    So far, the Iranians have declared themselves not interested. The supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, has said that such talks would be “poison”.

    The brilliant plan to isolate Iran to make them capitulate has resulted in no way for our country to talk to Iran now that we need to.

    Well done! //s

    /Golf clap

  93. 93
    NotMax says:

    @Sab

    I don’t want birds to have second amendment rights

    Quasi-obligatory: Much less cows.

    :)

  94. 94
    Doug R says:

    @Death Panel Truck:

    OT: I’ve been reading this blog for 14 years, but somewhere along the line I missed it. Why do people call Bernie Sanders “Wilmer”?

    Shhh, you’ll wake up the trollz.

  95. 95
    TenguPhule says:

    Stop calling impeachment a political decision

    We live in an age of corruption. The age has a soundtrack, with earworms. Among the most insidious is that various important decisions are mainly political. Not legal. Not moral. Not constitutional. So deeply has this idea penetrated that it is now articulated by many who are far removed from the actual practice of corrupt and amoral decision-making.

    For instance, there has been a drumbeat of such commentary related to impeachment from highly honorable people. Take my Post colleague Fareed Zakaria, who wrote that impeachment “is, by design, an inherently political process, not a legal one.” From Roll Call’s John T. Bennett: As “legal scholars and lawmakers from both parties have echoed — impeachment is much more of a political decision than one about criminality.” Joe Lockhart, Clinton-era White House press secretary, argued in the New York Times that, because impeachment is a fundamentally political decision, Democrats should focus on ensuring that Trump can serve out his term as a way of weakening the Republican Party by locking it into Trumpism. A student said to me over a recent breakfast: “Impeachment is just a political process.” This has become the common wisdom of our corrupt era.

    In fact, impeachment is a constitutional mechanism, and the Constitution is a legal document. Impeachment is the legal mechanism designed by the framers to permit the republic to hold the president accountable for wrongdoing while in office. True, impeachment does not proceed through the court system — but that makes it no less legal. True, impeachment is a mechanism assigned to Congress, and therefore to elected politicians. But plenty of judges throughout this country are elected and are politicians, and that in no way diminishes their responsibility for legal and constitutional procedures.

  96. 96
    TenguPhule says:

    @NotMax:

    Quasi-obligatory: Much less cows.

    Sadly, the Bears have very good lawyers.

  97. 97
    Jay says:

    “Boy did I call it or what?”

    George Orwell,

    “Hold my beer,……”

    Margret Atwood

  98. 98
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Democrats should focus on ensuring that Trump can serve out his term as a way of weakening the Republican Party by locking it into Trumpism.

    Yeah, no. That sounds like a really terrible idea, Lockhart

  99. 99
    NotMax says:

    @Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)

    I’m just scared is all.

    Empower, don’t cower.

    “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
      – Bene Gesserit litany, Dune

  100. 100
    Amir Khalid says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷:
    That’s a cool idea. Maybe you could, like, write a novel or something around it.

  101. 101
    Jay says:

    “The Trump administration has forked over more than $62 million — taxpayer cash that was supposed to be earmarked for struggling American farmers — to a massive meatpacking company owned by a couple of corrupt Brazilian brothers.”

    https://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ny-trump-administration-bailout-farmers-brazilian-criminals-20190516-6rdb3ithvfec7fttem7qrny54y-story.html

  102. 102
    TenguPhule says:

    The New York Times and other agencies have cited officials as saying that part of the evidence for a raised Iranian threat was pictures of Iranian missiles being placed on small sailboats known as dhows in the Persian Gulf. CNN reported earlier that the weapons were short-range ballistic missiles. It is unclear however, how such missiles could be fired from a small boat.

    Its clear that reporters and Trump appointees think it should be called Newton’s third opinion, not a definite law.

  103. 103
    TenguPhule says:

    @Jay:

    to a massive meatpacking company owned by a couple of corrupt Brazilian brothers.”

    Is that what they’re calling Lindsay Graham’s procurement these days?

  104. 104
    JPL says:

    @Jay: But her emails.

  105. 105
    Sab says:

    Goku:
    How long have you been coming to this site?

    They were having a discussion a couple of weeks ago whether or not Betty Cracker should introduce her middle school/junior high niece and nephew to Balloon Juice. You are quite a bit older than that now, but I was wondering how old you were when you started here and if you think it has had a negative or positive or no impact on your development.

    Not intending to be snarky. I’m just curious. You are our only admitted youngish commenter.

  106. 106
    Cacti says:

    I noticed that as of 2016, the US had been downgraded by the Democracy Index to a flawed democracy rather than a full democracy, scoring 8 of a possible 10.

    I suspect that number’s going to drop a lot over the next 2-years.

  107. 107
    Mnemosyne says:

    @TomatoQueen:

    I don’t think that Williams ever named the hospital, but I suspect it’s in Florida, since that’s where the famous post-crisis interview with Vogue was done:

    https://www.vogue.com/article/serena-williams-vogue-cover-interview-february-2018

  108. 108
    TenguPhule says:

    Announcing his administration’s immigration reform plan Donald Trump said that “to promote integration, assimilation and national unity, future immigrants will be required to learn English and pass a civics exam prior to admission.”

    Trump adds that if the legislation can’t be passed for “political reasons”, it will wait until Republicans take back the House, and retain control of the White House and Senate in 2020.

    Chicken before the egg or sinister slip that the fix is in?

  109. 109
    TenguPhule says:

    @Cacti:

    I suspect that number’s going to drop a lot over the next 2-years.

    Personally I thought we deserved to lose points for Georgia in 2018.

  110. 110
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @Sab:
    I was probably 17 or so when I found out about this place. It’s always nice to have a digital community to belong to. I belong to a few, such as BJ. However, it’s very important to take time away from them and experience the real world. To stay grounded. This place is a great way to stay informed. It’s nowhere near as bleak as say, LGM’s commentariat, often is. Overall, I’d say positive.

  111. 111
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @TenguPhule:
    I was under the impression those were already requirements. Just like how they want to “reform” the immigration system to be more “merit-based”, though I suspect that’s code for “white”.

  112. 112
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @NotMax:
    Thank you : )

  113. 113
    NotMax says:

    @TenguPhule

    More like red meat for the “Whaddaya mean, press 1 for English?” cohort.

    From the man who owns, lives in and profits from Sea-to-Lake in the state of Flowery. //

  114. 114
    Jay says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Sailing Dhow’s are still a common form of transport in the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea and Red Sea. Not just Coastal, but Blue Water, as they are cheap, can easily operate in shallow water and riverine systems.

    When the US needs to rearm MLRS’s in Iraq and Syria, they fly them by Herc or Galexy, to an airport, sometimes off load them onto smaller aircraft or trucks, and take them to site, a journey of thousands of miles.

    Iran sends by dhow, sailing or motorized, almost to the point of use, ( they don’t need a harbour) any further transport is by truck, even in country.

    The US spends a couple million on a shipment, Iran a couple hundred.

  115. 115
    TenguPhule says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷:

    I was under the impression those were already requirements.

    The new rules will specify that the civics exam has been changed to say that the Confederates won the war.

    All reality based liberal immigrants are expected to fail it. //

  116. 116
    Death Panel Truck says:

    @J @TenguPhule: PL: @Bill Arnold: @Doug R: Thanks.

  117. 117
    Citizen Alan says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷:

    You have pretty much described the plot of Miracleman by Alan Moore and Neil Gainan

  118. 118
  119. 119
    Origuy says:

    @Jay: Several years ago, when Michael Palin was still doing travel documentaries, he went around the world without flying, trying to match Phineas Fogg. He and his camera crew took a dhow from Dubai to India. The crew were all Gujaratis. That was 1988, when Iran and Iraq were still at war.

  120. 120
    Jay says:


    Al Jazeera English
    @AJEnglish
    This video footage shows an endangered white stork high up in its nest as a raging wildfire destroys swathes of forest in Russia’s Amur region.”

    https://mobile.twitter.com/AJEnglish/status/1129031247685201920

  121. 121
    J R in WV says:

    @Martin:

    @Jay: Worth amending that story to Venus Williams, world class athlete – GOAT level, with money and status, and she nearly died …

    I’m pretty sure that was Serena, not her sister.

    Also sure many others have corrected you, but I always jump right in when I get there.

    No offense, Martin, just trying to set thing straight!

  122. 122
    Jay says:

    @Origuy:

    Despite massive deforestation, they still build dhow’s in the Middle East, both on the Mediterranean Coast and the Red Sea, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf.

    Sailing dhows these days tend to have auxillary engines, while power dhows have had their underwater lines changed to be more suited to engine power.

    Cordage and sails are now mostly synthetic, nails and screws are used rather than lashings and trunnels, but that’s about it for significant changes, other than radios, hand held GPS, depth sounders and digital charts.

    The when you are engaged in Coastal fishing, hauling cargo from 5 tons to 20,000 tons, there is no better or more economic form of transport.

  123. 123
    PenAndKey says:

    @Sab: I can’t speak for Goku but I’m 34 and have been a reader and on-again-off-again commenter for what feels like forever but has actually been since around 2004 or 2005. That would put me at 19 or 20 when I started, so looking back on it I’ve been a reader here longer than I’ve known my wife. Oy.

    What has that resulted in? Well, if I’m honest… a lot of headaches because it’s ensures I remained a politically astute, argumentative asshole. I’m sure my wife appreciates that, lol.

    Not because of the community, but because you all have made this place a refuge where I can disconnect from the redneck yokels in my small Midwestern city I grew up and still live. You’ve all been a major influence on my entire political life, even if not always good for my blood pressure.

    Huh… I’ve never actually thought about that much before. Now I feel like I should definitely reach out to a front pager to see if they can’t do an email search for my old pen names.

  124. 124
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Yeah!

    I hope Annie’s doing well.

  125. 125
    J R in WV says:

    @PenAndKey:

    Pen names? Oh, you mean ‘nyms, right?

    You may have been here longer than I… I’m pretty sure I got here after Cole converted from Republican to Democratic. But maybe not….

  126. 126
    Just One More Canuck says:

    @NotMax: that was 5 minutes well spent

  127. 127
    Boussinesque says:

    @PenAndKey: I’m 37 and have been here since a bit before Obama’s first term–started when I was in grad school and was looking for ways to avoid working on my research, and continued because it helped me be better informed about all kinds of things (and because the people were great, even if I went years without actually commenting).

  128. 128
    Kirk Spencer says:

    @J R in WV: several old-timers around who’ve been here longer than me, and I started reading this site because it was one of the saner Republican sites which let me the then-librarian get multiple views on subjects.

    oh dear. We’re old, aren’t we?

  129. 129
    debbie says:

    @Martin:

    I seem to recall learning that one of the colonies petitioned the Crown to allow them to form a militia for protection from Native American attacks, but the Crown refused because it feared the militia would attack British troops. I suppose this fits in with not wanting the federal government to interfere with state militias, but how depressing to think the new government would become as evil as the British government.

  130. 130
    Jay says:

    @debbie:

    All of the US Colonies under British rule had Colonial Militia’s, in part, armed and trained by the British, long before the Revolutionary War. They were a key component of maintaining British rule against attacks by the French, First Nations, Spanish, Dutch.

    I think you are thinking of the OIive Branch Petition, sent to the Crown just before the War, stating that the Colonists issues were not with the Crown, but instead, the “ministerial” management, ( policies), and requesting negotiation and reconcilliation.

  131. 131
    Sab says:

    @PenAndKey: Thank you. I had a tiff with one of my favorite commenters about a year ago. He accused me of being a new troll (we have since made up) so I went and searched back and found a picture of my dog that Cole posted back in July 2009. I know I was lurking years before that. I wasn’t here when Cole was a RWNJ.

  132. 132
    HinTN says:

    @Kent: It was the Black Panthers exercising their open carry rights in California that brought rapid gun control to St. Ronnie’s mind.

Comments are closed.