The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Death

First: her refusal to resign when she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2009 (on top of already being old) when Obama could have replaced her has caused an entirely avoidable crisis. She was selfish, put herself first and this is the consequence.

Second: Though far better than anyone Trump will nominate she was on the wrong side of some very bad decisions.

Third: If McConnell replaces her after refusing to allow Obama to name a Justice in an election year, then, yes, the Democrats should remove the filibuster and pack the court if they win.

Fourth: Should they do so, they should do it massively: 15, radical partisan justices. Then pass laws that gut the Republican party for a generation: mandatory mail in ballots to every resident of a State, DC and Puerto Rico statehood, etc, etc… Why? Because once they pack the court, it’s a precedent and the Republicans will do so the next time they can, and should they do so, be sure they will use that to give themselves as permanent a majority as they can. When you go nuclear, really go nuclear: there’s no going back.

Bad, bad times, made worse by one old woman’s selfish disregard for everyone else. If that offends you, so be it. Important people don’t get “don’t say bad things about the dead” when everyone else has to suffer because of their decisions.

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Open Thread


Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – September 20, 2020


  1. S Brennan


    Normally when we disagree we do so amicably but, prescribing a recipe for civil war of my nation, the USA, a nation you do not live in, definitely crosses a line in my book.

    As you know, I have been vocally opposed to the US, under the Clinton, Bush & Obama administrations, turning other nations into living hellholes by appealing to sectarianism. While I understand Clinton/Bush/Obama/Hillary/Sander supporters view internecine war and color revolutions as ordinaire, I do not agree and would kindly ask you to walk back your inflammatory rhetoric.

  2. Zachary Smith

    Item #1: it’s possible Ginsberg didn’t trust Obama to nominate a Liberal. The fellow did seem lean towards people as Conservative as he thought he could get away with. Still, virtually any BHO justice would have been superior to the characters put forward by DJT, and these days the Supreme Court must be treated as a strategy game – and the elderly Ginsberg ought to have resigned.

    Item #2: Almost every current story about Ginsberg treats her as Saint Ginsberg, and I wasn’t able to find any really negative things about the woman. Because of my opinions about ObamaCare, I didn’t care for her claim that forcing US citizens to purchase crappy private medical insurance wasn’t a “tax”. But after some searching this story turned up:

    It gives the impression Ginsberg was a tad bit more deferential to her right wing buddies than was necessary. The piece also speaks of her apparent indifference to some surprising issues.

    Item #3: The “packing the court” theme had been pretty well tamped down, but if the chinless hypocrite from Kentucky goes through with his threat/promise to bring a Republican nominee to a vote, he might tip the balance in the coming election if it is a close one. I suspect Democrats of all kinds will be outraged enough to consider wading through hip deep snow or flood waters to get to their voting place.

    Item #4: Personally, I’d stop at 11 Justices on account of that being already in the History Books. IMO Pelosi will move heaven and earth to prevent any such happening, but events might force her hand. Or that of whoever replaces the *****. Add SCOTUS term limits. Twenty years sounds about right. If a constitutional amendment is needed, do it! Possibly put rotating names of SCOTUS Justices on the ballot with the simple question of “Should Justice John Smith be retained?” If some very high percentage of the voters say no, there is a new opening on the Court. 70%?

  3. Keith in Modesto

    Oh no, Ian! You’ve crossed a line! Whatever will you do? And what line was it that you crossed, you may ask? Why it’s the line where only the Republicans can hit hard when exercising power, while the Democrats just must sit there and take it, being *civil* and properly restrained. Why, goodness knows, if the Democrats ever fought to win with the ruthless determination of the Republicans, the United States might erupt into a civil war! And how could the US run its empire, bombing hither and yon, toppling troublesome foreign governments, keeping the world safe for capitalism, if it got all caught up in a civil war! That would be a tragedy!! Please please, Ian, take back your mean mean words! S. Brennan may cry!

  4. anon

    The Current Affairs article posted by Zach is a good read. I never understood the Notorious RBG cult and could never get into it. I’m guessing the vast majority of her fans won’t ever bother reading about her full record in the Supreme Court. Ginsburg’s early life is to be admired, but she had major flaws as a Supreme Court justice that have been largely whitewashed by her young fan base. I also thought it was incredibly selfish of her not to retire a decade ago.

  5. Chipper

    I assume that Trump/McConnell will claim that they will wait until the next term to nominate someone in order to bring out the Republican vote and get people to vote for Trump, but if Biden wins they’ll renege on that and attempt to put someone through. Am I wrong?

  6. Ginsburg has adequately explained her failure to resign, here:

  7. Plague Species

    The Dems will never do any such thing. They’re purposely Paper Tigers. This ensures Trump will be POTUS until he dies. America is now, effectively, Liberia ruled by a handful of wealthy families. Trump is eviscerating the permanent government and the political establishment in America. He always envied the Liberian Tolberts. It’s his model for America and he’s implementing it as we speak. The Tolberts and the the ruling families of LIberia were all educated by America’s finest academic institutions. That’s rather telling, wouldn’t you say?

    Israel parallels the storied history of Liberia to a large degree, at least prior to its civil war. The oppressed become the oppressors when given power. Since Palestinians are the original Israelites converted to Islam long ago, it’s rather ironic and absurd that the European AshkeNazi coverts to Judaism are doing to the original blood Israelites what the Egyptians and Romans did to them millennia ago and what the German Nazis did to the AshkeNazis rather recently from a historical perspective.

    There is a lesson in all of this. It’s absurd, as an unwashed, to agree to grant power to a segment of the unwashed within the very same system that creates and perpetuates the unwashed and their masters. That’s not reform and it’s not diversification. It’s oppression yet again just with a different shade of lipstick.

  8. Ché Pasa

    I’ve mentioned before how politicians (like, oh, say, Bernie) are socialized to their environments, and behave according to the norms and morés of those environments, not necessarily the way we below them may want or need them to. This, to me, adequately explains Justice Ginsberg’s failures to a) resign when she probably should have and b) spank the rightists on the court more often and thoroughly than she did. They say she was great friends with Scalia, after all, an odd couple (you would think) if there ever was one. Except for the fact that they were both on the High Court and that’s a very small club.

    I would also point to her ACLU background and cred to partially explain some of the strange gaps in her legal thinking. Some things matter more to the ACLU than others. A lot more.

    Ian’s prescription for the Democrats under the circumstances feels right, but… we know them too well, don’t we? And we know what they won’t do. They won’t, for example, actually thwart the Rs so long as what the Rs want as replacement for RBG is a “moderate fascist.”

    The selectee was probably chosen and agreed upon months if not years ago, and the plot of the drama to be played out was written at that time. The wild card is Trump and his gang of thieves and mountebanks — each and every one of whom refuses to be socialized to the norms and morés of their positions and place.

    Civil war? Ha. That’s already under way. DC is not really part of it at this point, but that could change in a twinkling. Whether RBG’s passing will be the trigger, I can’t say, but we’ll know soon enough, won’t we?

    The Dems of course will be on the side of “stability” and “calm.”

  9. Chicago Clubs

    Look, we know the Democrats won’t pack the court. Come on, that’s not even in the cards for those born losers. Everyone is talking about it, but there’s absolutely no way those professional dick trippers will ever, ever do it.

    S Brennan, from another American: blow it out your ass.

  10. Jimmy

    As a moderate, there are many aspects to consider here: firstly, we know that the two teams are largely artificial constructs, and both sides support the moneyed individuals.

    For the past 50-100 years, the D\’s controlled the SCOTUS; they are used to getting their way. Now, it appears that the R\’s may be able to control the SCOTUS. The R\’s did not get rid of the 60 vote requirement in the senate for judges, Harry Reid and the D\’s did. That ploy has now back-fired, just as the US intervention in the middle east has back-fired. The R\’s used the 50 vote minimum to pass their judicial candidates, and they were in control of the senate for Obama\’s last SCOTUS nominee, and did not let him come to a vote, which is within the parameters of the adjusted rule book. The R\’s are still in control of the senate, and can do whatever they can muster with 50 votes on judicial nominees.

    Advocating radicalism will only lead to the moneyed individuals having more power: the country will end up with martial law, and hundreds of thousands of normal citizens could die. Those in power, whether D\’s or R\’s will abuse that power against the individual, just as it didn\’t matter whether Hitler, Stalin, or Mao was in power: all sides abused their powers against the individual.

    The bigger problem is that the government has so much power that the stakes are so high. The real solution would be to minimize government power, and let individuals decide how to live for themselves. The only alternative is eventually \”temporary\” martial law, which becomes permanent martial law, just as our temporary wars have become permanent wars.

    Sometimes it\’s best to just play by the rules, accept your loss, and move on, waiting for another opportunity.

  11. Minor point, but on #3 the Democrats would not have to remove the filibuster because Republicans would have already removed it in order to confirm Ginsburg’s successor.

    Not sure, but I seem to recall it has already been removed with respect to confirmation of judges but may have been restored. Perhaps that removal was just a threat. In any case, the filibuster is a “Senate rule” and those rules are made by the Senate itself and are newly created each year when the Senate convenes. So the filibuster is a procedure that is much less robust than most people think it is.

  12. Plague Species

    It’s clear the two parties are appealing only to those who own the stock market, thus those who own America. Note, there are a substantial contingent who own the stock market, illegal drug cartels included, who are not even American citizens and they don’t vote but they do have considerable influence whereas the American unwashed have ZERO influence. How many times must it be underscored? America is not a democracy. It never was and it certainly isn’t now, more than ever.

    Just as I expected, Trump has announced RBG’s vacancy must be filled post haste. How could anyone have thought otherwise? When he was made aware of her death by the reporter last night, if they would have panned to his crotch you would have seen his erection. RBG’s death has done more for Trump’s libido than Viagra could have ever achieved.

    I sincerely hope that once he and handlers consolidate power, they do to the Dems what Erdogan and MBS did to their opposition, maybe with bone saws as an inspired egregious twist. At least Erdogan’s and MBS’s opposition was a true opposition. The Dems have never been a true opposition to Trump. They think they will win either way, so one saving grace will be Trump revealing that they do not win either way by rounding them up and disappearing them once he and his handlers consolidate power. The Dems will have been hoisted by their own petard. No more $500 hairdos and will finally have them out of the way as the faux opposition they’ve always been sucking the revolutionary oxygen out of the room for the past half a century or more.

  13. John

    RBG’s clinging on past her sell by date is just another example of the poisonous hyperindividualism of neoliberalism. This affliction saturates US public life. This prevents any coherent collective action unless it aligns with personal hubris, ideology or greed. So for the civil war hysteriacs, don’t worry. Civil wars depend on a type of collective action for which Americans are no longer capable. Civil chaos, yes. Little pockets of competency amid the chaos, yes. When the market is pervasive with no rules, it devolves into a den of thieves. Wily coyote America went over the cliff 40 years ago, leg spinning since then, the descent is well under way.

  14. Mallam

    Bill H: Ian is saying to pass “The Judicial Reform Act of 2021” which would require eliminating the filibuster. The filibuster was going to have to go anyway, but they don’t really have a choice now. I mean, they do, but to actually “govern” they don’t. The choice will be to eliminate the filibuster and govern, or refuse and then perish in the 2022 midterms. It’s currently uncharted territory, and many “moderate” senators (such as Tim Kaine) were on record of packing the courts if this situation were to happen.

    The truth is they should have packEd the courts anyway, even if RBG had lived. The majority is illegitimate and appointed by multiple popular vote losers. You want “civil war”? This court is heading towards “the minimum wage and child labor laws are unconstitutional” and “you’re not a citizen unless both parents were citizens, even if you were born here”.

  15. bruce wilder

    Like it or not, we go into an election with the Democrats we have and not the Democrats-we-may-wish-we-had. Joe “nothing will fundamentally change” Biden is scarcely campaigning — see your own post. And, you recommend going “nuclear”. really? with what Party, with what political coalition? the corporate sponsors of BLM are going to unite to change a property-friendly judiciary?

    I am expecting another wave of near-insurrectionary political violence. I am expecting our geriatric top-level elite to fall away — RBG is just one of several who will pass over the next couple of years with significant consequences. I am not sure what it will take to rekindle a sense of public purpose and the urgency of righteous reform — I still think that remains a long game: 2036-40 if the U.S. survives and the form of democracy is pteserved long enough to revive the corpse.

  16. S Brennan

    In a nod to what is written above, this humorous line from an article published in The National Interest:

    “A sixth Republican justice would essentially ensure that any sweeping liberal programs a President Joe Biden or another Democratic president might endorse would be condemned to the ash heap of history before it even had an opportunity to become established.”

    I laughed when I read that. Too funny, when was the last time a Democratic President offered up any “sweeping liberal program[s]”? I am thinking 1965, some 55 years ago. Bill Clinton rolled up that type of thinking in the Democratic party in the early 1990’s.

    As I recall 1965, any “sweeping liberal program” had to be put aside in favor of funding a foreign neocolonial war…something that is still part of the D’s DNA, Obama started three wars and Sanders supported all three of Obama’s wars and wrote his own bill to support the invasion of Iraq, so, wars are still the D’s, [left & right], favorite federal program.

    The FDR branding of the D party is strong but, let’s face it, it’s all branding. Sure, I think it’s fair to say that today’s Democrat is all for “liberal programs” but only when they can figure out how shift the burden of paying for the program onto somebody else AND when the program will not interfere with the high income Ds personal privilege and perks. “Sweeping liberal programs”? Nah, a new federally funded swimming pool in a wealthy neighborhood, perhaps a federally funded art galley in a trendy neighborhood are the goals of today’s D congressmen.

  17. KT Chong

    Haha, puhlease.

    Yes, Mitch will sing a different tune—from 2016 when he refused to consider any Obama’s nominee to replace Antonio Scalia on the Supreme Court because he said it was an election year and Obama should let voters decide. Now he will quickly rush through the Trump’s pick to replace RBG.

    And, the Democratic Party ain’t gonna do SHIT or go nuclear over it.

  18. Feral Finster

    If you think that Team D will pack the court with anything other than corporate imperialist muppets (but these will be corporate imperialist muppets that come down on the Team D side of wedge issues of the day!) then you are delusional.

  19. KT Chong

    Speaking as an economic progressive and self-proclaimed socialist: I certainly hope the Supreme Court will overturn the Roe v. Wade decision and take away the abortion right for women and women ONLY, and ONLY in the red states.

    Reason no. 1:

    Without Roe v. Wade, the abortion right decision will be reverted to individual states: red Republican states will most certainly ban all forms of abortion, while blue Democratic states will most likely EXPAND abortion rights to late term. I do not live in a red state. I do not intend to ever live in a red state.

    Frankly, I really do not care what happen to red states or women in red states, or just people in red states. And, can’t wait to see those red state assholes freak out when all the blue states start to expand and extend abortion rights without Roe v. Wade.

    Reason no. 2:

    Speaking as an anti-feminist: the abortion “right” is not really a right. It is more of a privilege for certain group but not others. Women have that “right” but men do NOT. If a man and woman have sex, and she gets pregnant, she can decide and choose—and he can’t. She can decide that, she just wanted to have sex and not to have a baby, so she can decide and have the right to get rid of the pregnancy. He certainly can’t decide or have the right to make the decision to keep the baby.

    On the other hand, if he decides that, he just wanted to have sex and not to have a baby, but she disagreed and wanted to keep the baby, well, that would be too bad for him. She could make the decision FOR HIM. And, even though he did not make the decision to have the baby, even if they argued and fought over the decision of hers and not his to keep the baby, he would still be financially and legally liable for paying for the baby and HER decision.

    Women always argue that, because the man made the decision to have sex, somehow that decision was the same as the decision to have have a baby. In women’s mind, men somehow forfeit the right to decide to have a baby or not when men make the decision to have sex. Feminists equate a man’s decision to have sex to the decision to have a baby, and they refuse to see the contradiction and irony. For women, the decisions to have sex vs. have a baby are completely separate. For men, one decision forfeits the other. If he made the decision to ONLY have sex and then she got pregnant, then he somehow also made to let her decide for him to have a baby or not—in the warped feminist worldview and irrational women’s mind.

    Which means, abortion is really not a “right” if some people have it and other do not. It is really a privilege. It is a privilege that is exclusive to women. It is an exclusive privilege that women can use to control and entrap a man, to leverage against men, and to make men pay, pay, and pay for women’s decision.

    In which case, I say just take away that privilege because it is unfair and exploitative. When Trump’s Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade, I ain’t gonna sob and cry over it. I will be celebrating it because balance is restored, because it will take away an unfair privilege that disadvantages men.

  20. Hugh

    The structure is rotten. A life time appointment is an invitation for abuse. It supposedly is about the independence of the institution, but what it really does is set the position holder above the institution. And as we keep seeing, these lifetime officer holders don’t know when it is time for them to leave. That’s why a fixed time limit is safer not just for them, but for us.

    I would say too that the conservative takeover of the Court and courts is part of a rolling coup. Voter suppression, gerrymandering, the electoral college, the Senate, it is all about keeping an increasing minority made up of angry white men, conservatives, and certain segments of the rich in power.

    And all this fits in turn into the larger class war the rich and elites (also minorities) have been waging very successfully against us.

    Wheels within wheels and none of them working for us.

  21. Hugh

    Oh, and it was Democratic Senate majority leader Harry Reed who took the filibuster off judicial nominations in 2013. This did not cover Supreme Court nominees. It was McConnell who took that off in 2017 to get Gorsuch on the Court.

  22. GrimJim

    Wow, some of the masks have really come off the poseurs… um, posters with RBGs death.

    I think Ian’s comment sections are now well past their best by date. One less blog comments section to check out, I guess…

  23. S Brennan

    As much as I don’t agree with many of the commenters GrimJim; their arguments are largely supported by facts.

    Unfortunately GrimJim, your comment is completely unsupported; your argument is only buttressed by an unexpressed set prejudices and esthetics. Your comment’s dicta seems driven by an emotional imperialism that is, in today’s world, all too banal.

    The good news is, your elevated sense of self will lead you elsewhere. I only know you from your comment above but, thank you so much for the announcement of your exit.

    GrimJim has left the building folks.

  24. bruce wilder

    reading elsewhere I have run across Dem partisans fantasizing that the Republican Party is near collapse. i wish it were true, but it seems remarkably out-of-touch with reality. the Federalist Society and other Law and Economics projects have transformed American Law. That is an example of a long-term political program pursued at scale, relentlessly and persistently over decades. It built a sophisticated ideology that indocrinates and coordinates. One more seat on the Supreme Court consolidates a re-peopling and doctrinal revolution throughout the Judiciary.

    And, here is Hugh babbling senselessly about the Electoral College as if there was some magical property in running up vote totals in California. The liberals lack ideas, principles they believe in, commitment, organization and the left is even more bereft of all that plus no money. I wish there was a left coalition coming together that thought anything matters enough to organize politically for some purpose other than personal self-advancement.

  25. Hugh

    bruce, if you want to change your world, it helps more to understand it than wave your cane at it.

  26. bruce wilder

    written while waving your cane at the Electoral College!??

  27. I would think Ian has vested interest in expressing himself; indeed, all of Canada should be looking south with a jaundiced eye, she may not be as easy to invade as Greenland but if Our Very Stable Jenious Tea Pot Dictator survives this election he’ll need a chicken-shit little war to keep the Gestapo in business. Afterall, as the atmosphere continues to warm the prime real estate will be to the north, and there is no stopping the migration. Should accept the inevitable now so as to deaden the shock then.

  28. Richard H Caldwell

    Your first paragraph is entirely my position. You are the first person I’ve encountered who agrees with me 100%. I am certain the Federalist Society ran out of champagne last evening. I hate it, but they’ve won, fair and square. I suspect a new, more horrible than ever justice to be installed by next Friday, probably with Joe Manchin’s support.

    WTF Democrats? Can’t you even pretend to want to be in power? This outcome was as predictable as this morning’s sunrise. I am disgusted…

  29. ProNewerDeal

    The Fed poli-trick-ians have no urgency with the COVID health & economic ongoing crisis. covid19-projections has the 7-day average death on Sep19 at 799, eg we have a Sep11 death toll amount every 4 days. The last I heard the House &/or the Senate were on “recess”/vacation to campaign.

    No urgency to crush or reduce the curve to reduce deaths & longhaul (up to disability-causing) patients, after it has been empirically demonstrated how it done, by the approach of either somewhat social democratic nations like Canada (6-wk lockdown with temporary UBI & universal masks) or communist nations like Cuba. No urgency to help significant amount of USians now facing hunger or eviction risk.

    However, I expect the Rs, especially Mcconnell to show extreme urgency as if it were the Cuban Missile Crisis. The Ds may also show urgency in fighting the Mcconnell Turtle Team, if their owners/funders ask their puppets Schumer/Pelosi/0bama/JoeTheBiden/Harris to do so.

    What an oligarchy of backassward morals & priorities.

    How about Schumer & Pelosi declare NO federal judicial nominee evaluation/confirmation process starts UNTIL the weekly prevalence declines to under 50 new COVID cases/100K population in EACH of the 51 states/DC.

  30. kråke

    Each of you can grab something heavy. And swing it.


    Shut up and fight.

  31. someofparts

    “I’ll leave the “live updates” on Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death to the New York Times. Ditto for the overwrought canonization of a judicial bureaucrat marketed for the past decade or so as a “living icon” and a “rock star.” Because if anybody was a beneficiary of liberal identity politics and the mass marketing of image, it was certainly “The Notorious RBG.” “

  32. Yes, horribly horribly selfish, and thank you Mr. Welsh for finally saying it. The same can be said of Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton et al. The women seem to be worse than the men. The American Republic is sinking under the weight of spoiled petulant entitlement-mentality females.

  33. Stirling Newberry

    Here are the things poeple in power have talk about for years but have never said. It is also why the progressive intellentia had a reason to push leftward – the people filling the jobs now would not do the very pragmatic acts that would be required. And Toobin knows this and has for a very long time.

  34. Plague Species×542/1200×800/filters:focal(0x29:684×542)/

    They interviewed Bill Clinton about RBG’s death. Can you guess what his first words were?

    I did not have sexual relations with that woman.

    It’s the first and only time I believe him.

    The hagiographic press is beyond nauseating. Obama given the Nobel Peace Prize before he even begins his tenure. As the living planet breaths its last breaths, these scum are adulating one another before they’ve even done anything, and when they do something, it is a further destruction of the living planet. The one true religion of all “leaders” the planet over, is the religion of Growth and religion of Growth is a suicide/death cult.

  35. Joan

    I push back when lady friends of mine claim that having a woman leader is good: women are just as capable of being monsters. The distinction to be made is one Ian has talked about: whether she can care for the families of her electorate in addition to her own family.

    @KT Chong, your description of abortion is the best proposal for wearing condoms I have ever read. If men are really getting screwed (pun intended) to that extent, maybe they should insist on wearing condoms without exception, even if she says she has an IUD. Or even better: just trade oral while you’re still playing the field, and only switch to potentially pregnancy inducing sex when you’re in a committed relationship and you’ve talked things through.

  36. Theo

    If the Republicans put a stop to Garland, why should they have approved a replacement for Ginsburg?

  37. Not to be critical of either one, and I can’t say for sure as I’ve never heard or read of her actually expressing the sentiment, but it has long been my inference she didn’t retire out of concern Obama would appoint a milquetoast Republican such as Merrick Garland to replace her.

    I actually think pretty highly of both, given the standards by which we have to measure.

  38. Zachary Smith

    Headline this morning:

    “Pelosi won’t rule out new impeachment to delay SCOTUS vote if Biden wins”

    This woman ought not be in the House, let alone some kind of “leader”. The Democrats have the high moral ground right now, but using impeachment as a “stalling” tactic would toss that to the winds. Which is what I suspect is the aim of the *****. She really doesn’t care, but has to pretend that she does.

  39. Plague Species

    In two short months, all those with preexisting conditions, meaning tens of millions of Americans, will be f*cked come 2021, and many of those tens of millions will be Trump supporters and will vote for Trump. They will be voting for their own torturous demise. They will die penniless. Broke. Their life savings and any equity they had will be redistributed to the several remaining too-big-to-fail insurance behemoths after consolidation entirely of that industry in their effort to live a few more years so they vote again for Odonald bin Trump in 2024. RBG died just in time. This is why Trump has a perpetual erection lasting longer than an hour. This is why McConnell and company are cloistering like the Cardinals when a pope dies. In several short weeks, the smoke will escape from the chimney and the Supreme Court, for the first time since the Gilded Age, will have a conservative super majority. Wee. How fun it will be. This conservative super majority will accomplish two things in 2020. The final knife in the ACA and ensuring Trump’s reelection by ending the mail-in ballot count.

  40. Plague Species

    New impeachment proceedings, Nancy? Just what we need. That’ll get ‘er done for sure. What will be the charges be this time? Trump wanting to have sex with his daughter Ivanka if he indeed hasn’t already? Doesn’t she know that’s not a crime for the wealthy elite let alone a sitting president? In fact, it’s a requirement to be a member of that club.

  41. Ché Pasa

    Wow. The hate on Ginsberg is relentless around here, isn’t it?

    Now I have to ask what did she do to earn such opprobrium? What did she do specifically to those expressing so much loathing for her?

    There are plenty of reasons to criticize Ginsberg for actions and omissions, but that’s true of any justice, indeed any lawyer. So which dissents and concurrences of hers are inspiring such fire breathing hatred?

    For myself, I think that the Supreme Court committed a self-own and delegitimized itself with its lawless intervention into the 2000 presidential election, an intervention from which Ginsberg dissented, and the Court has done essentially nothing to restore its legitimacy since. It’s yet another failed institution in our expanding constellation of failed American institutions.

    Thus Ginsberg’s performance and/or failure to resign ten years ago is rather moot. The Court delegitimized itself. Any replacement would merely be joining a delegitimized institution and perpetuating the fraud and failure. You think Ginsberg wasn’t aware of that? I think she was.

    Given that situation, Ginsberg’s concurrences and dissents don’t much matter. Installing someone in her place isn’t going to restore the legitimacy of the Court either.

    But it certainly may make things spiral further into chaos.

  42. kråke

    Plague, Che,

    I know it’s cliche and unoriginal to claim that some prescient past thinker was right, but, but, but, Debord was right.

    There’s no head-on assault on mass spectacle. It exists, in a concrete way, to absorb and mediate discontent, and to turn it into content.

    Now, more than ever, with so many cascade tipping points bunching up into a single season, what’s needed is the understanding had by the likes of Guevara and Mao (their mistakes not neglected): some bodies have to be treated like bodies, no matter the valorization halos that have accrued to them. None of the usual complaints, that the rich will use resistance as an excuse to kill more of the commons, get more autocratic. That’s victim talk, and the rich will do it anyway.

    It’s just that, you know, no corpse is ever wealthy once it’s a corpse. And that matters.

  43. Chicago Clubs

    There’s no “fire-breathing hatred” of Ginsburg on display here. You are responding to a phantom that you decided would exist before you even loaded up the page. What there is is plenty of people saying that if she really gave a shit about her political legacy, an old, cancer-riddled woman should have retired when it was possible to safely replace her, and they’re right. She was selfish to stay on, and I don’t care what anyone else says about it.

  44. Vdf

    \”15, radical partisan justices. Then pass laws that gut the Republican party for a generation: mandatory mail in ballots to every resident of a State, DC and Puerto Rico statehood, etc, etc… Why? Because once they pack the court, it’s a precedent and the Republicans will do so the next time they can, and should they do so, be sure they will use that to give themselves as permanent a majority as they can. \”

    Democrats dont have the repressive power to establish a 1 party state in the u.s. Their unending decline since 1968 is not going to flip overnight in the opposite direction just because of will power or more bold leadership.

  45. Vdf

    Ten Bears \” but if Our Very Stable Jenious Tea Pot Dictator survives this election he’ll need a chicken-shit little war to keep the Gestapo in business\”

    Hes the first one in an eternity who hasnt needed to start a new war, albeit his predecessor had enough running for him when he got elected to last a full two terms.

  46. Ché Pasa

    Should she have retired earlier? Given her own and her husband’s health issues, hell yes. It was inhumane for her to keep pushing on the Court when she was bound to lose most of the time. But she knew this. She was no fool. She had Important Issues that she felt (perhaps selfishly) she was uniquely capable to deal with on the Court. She had a role to play and a lifetime responsibility to play it. And she did.

    Replacing her with someone else in 2009, assuming that someone else wasn’t a radical reactionary like the majority, wouldn’t have changed the outcome of most cases before the Court. The “traditional 5-4 split” would have been maintained. But the emphasis Ginsberg placed on women’s issues and rights might not have been such a priority to her replacement, and apparently she wasn’t willing to risk it with an uncertain Obama appointment. Selfish and ego-driven? Sure. Name me a Supreme Court justice who isn’t.

    If Trump/McConnell is able to push through a replacement for her before or after the election, the “traditional 5-4 split” will become 6-3, and just like before, those 3 will lose most of the time just as the 4 have been doing for decades. The Court has and will have a conservative majority. It would have a conservative majority if Ginsberg had retired in 2009 instead of dying in 2020.

  47. nihil obstet

    I’m being inundated with calls to contact congress critturs to demand no confirmation hearings until the next presidential term begins. So all we can do now is react to conservative power plays? A new norm, I guess.

    This is when we should be laying the groundwork for substantial change to the role and make up of the Supreme Court. We shouldn’t tacitly accept that it’s good as is, if just we’d all accept the latest violation of responsible government and do it ourselves. And we shouldn’t wear out our own commitment on an action that will fail and leave us all worse off. We should respond strongly. We should devise actions. The actions at this time will almost certainly fail. But we may have moved our fellow non-political citizens a few steps towards becoming a base for actual reform, and that will leave us better off.

  48. Howard

    I noticed some question about possible bad decisions that RBG might have been a part of. She wrote the affirming opinion in a decision that relied in part on the 15th-century doctrine of Christian discovery to invalidate the Oneida tribe’s claim of sovereignty over lands that the tribe had just purchased: RBG and the doctrine of discovery.

    She was a great woman, but everyone makes mistakes, and pointing this out does not make one a fire-breathing hater.

  49. someofparts

    I heard about a guy who crossed the picket line at his own company when they went on strike. Told his fellow workers that he would work on the inside for them. He didn’t want to miss any payments on his new truck. I think he had to keep making those payments even after his fellow workers blew it up.

    RBG and the other Hillarys are working on the inside for us. I don’t care if their metaphorical truck gets blown up. I am not part of their We.

  50. rkka

    “ For the past 50-100 years, the D\’s controlled the SCOTUS; ”

    Totally wrong Jimmy. Like, no factual content at all.

    Between 1968 and 1993, Republicans got 9 straight SCOTUS picks. Overall, R’s have gotten 14 SCOTUS picks, the D’s have gotten 4.

    When your “knowledge” is that non-factual, one must wonder how you got it.

  51. Plague Species

    Hes the first one in an eternity who hasnt needed to start a new war, albeit his predecessor had enough running for him when he got elected to last a full two terms.

    I beg to differ. He has started a war and his war has murdered 200,000 mostly unwashed Americans and counting. I oppose America’s military footprint abroad and all the foreign wars, and I also oppose Odonald bin Trump’s bringing that war home and waging it against unwashed Americans in lieu of foreign wars. Odonald bin Trump, self-proclaimed King of the Jews, has tipped his hat that his strategy and the strategy of his handlers is herd mentality in regard to the pandemic. That means 6 million unwashed Americans will be murdered by Odonald bin Trump. 6 million for 6 million, apparently, considering a certain segment of his handlers and a certain segment of his avid, but unreported and unheralded, supporters. Vendettas in the long game.

  52. Ché Pasa

    This whole “at least Trump hasn’t started a war” meme is a crock. In fact, his blood lust is practically boundless. “His Generals” were unleashed in Syria and Iraq, resulting in the destruction of numerous cities, towns and villages, the displacement of millions and the deaths of at least tens of thousands, quite likely hundreds of thousands of non-combatants. Drone killings throughout the Middle East and parts of Africa have more than doubled since the beginning of the Trump regime.

    The sanctions imposed by this regime on Cuba, Venezuela, and Iran (among others) are acts of war. The assassination of General Sulemani and those with him was an act of war. His many trade wars are acts of war.

    Trump’s goon squads have engaged in domestic warfare against immigrants and protesters in the streets of the USA from the start of his reign, and these goons have committed numerous war crimes in the course of their “work.”

    And of course there is the constant roll call of COVID deaths.

    The idea that Trump is somehow less bloodthirsty than his predecessors is absurd and dangerous. It has enabled him to commit atrocities at will without (much) objection and frequently without even the knowledge of many or most Americans.

    Certainly without his taking responsibility of any of it.

    What war? What death? What carnage? Everything is beautiful, right?

  53. S Brennan


    Your post above is the very reason that those of the delusional-left are not taken seriously. People who expound a view of the world that comes from the USA’s propaganda organs tend not to be taken seriously even if that view is “accepted truth”. Can you say Rachel Maddow? Maddow will never be taken seriously again. Why? Because Maddow willingly spewed propaganda, Ché, you are in the same boat..’cept you forgot to collect millions which makes Rachel a hell of a lot smarter than you.

    War is war. Saying sanctions are the same war doesn’t make it so, it’s a stupid comparison…even if Deep-Staters/DNCers/RNCers/WaPo/NYTimes fed you that scrip they laugh when somebody actually takes it to heart.

    Trump has repeatedly tried to remove troops from Syria/Iraq/Afghanistan only to be blocked by a bipartisan coalition of the killing, in congress, in the Pentagon, the 3-Letter Agencies [3LA] and the media.

    Whatever his evils in taxation, Trump is the most peaceful Prez since Carter…and if people knew anything about E Timor, St Carter’s image would look like the bottom of a bird cage.

    The only thing said up there that was actually factual was “the assassination of General Sulemani ”

    The rest is pure Depp-State garbage.

  54. Jimmy


    Many of those appointed by R’s were approved bipartisanly because the candidates were essentially D’s. (e.g. Warren appointed by Eisenhower).

    Also you conveniently pick dates starting with 1968. If you look at 1920-1968, the D’s appointed 23 versus the R’s 19.

  55. Jimmy


    Obviously, since the US Senate was controlled by the D’s continuously from 1933 to 1981, the supreme court appointees should essentially be labelled D, not necessarily R during that entire time.

  56. StewartM

    To the point, reasons why RBG didn’t retire in 2009:

    1) She loved her job, and the longer she stayed the higher her status on the court

    2) Sandra Day O’Connor retired at 75, and regretted it, and she and influenced Ginsberg

    3) She was sure that HRC would win in 2016

    4) She disputed that Obama could have picked anyone as liberal as her —- (fair point, as Obama (the “I’m really a Republican like you guys!” president) would probably not have even in any absence of Senate opposition, given his nominations.

    5) She was always used to doing things her way.

    This last point reminds me of a fellow African-American coworker, now retired, who marched at a kid in the Civil Rights era marches–he was just a few yards away from the famous photo of the policeman setting the German shepherd on one of the marchers—and his response to everything in life could be summed up as “direct confrontation”. For good or ill, for reasons right or wrong, all our managers I’m sure hated to supervise him because he was an in-your-face guy (politely mind you, not yelling or screaming, but not a guy to back down). He learned these lessons as kid marching with Dr. King, and he applied them throughout life.

    Sometimes, however, in other facets of life the direct confrontation approach doesn’t work well, sometimes those managers really are trying to help you win your case, and your making their job harder is self-defeating. I’ve also seen that happen on many an occasion. Sometimes you need to bend a little, and he did not.

    So Ginsburg got to to be a SCOTUS judge by not taking no for an answer and doing it her way. That became a staple of her behaviors. There’s an element of selfishness in it, as Ian says, but moreover just because a behavior worked for you in the past doesn’t mean it should be your SOP.

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