"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Today's Must-Read: Whither America?

From Ian Millhiser at Think Progress:

Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) joked to Republican volunteers on Saturday about gun owners shooting Hillary Clinton. In audio first obtained by CNN, the North Carolina senator talks about wandering into a gun store and seeing a magazine with Clinton’s picture on it. “I was a little bit shocked,” he quips, that “it didn’t have a bullseye on it.”

He later apologized. And, in fairness, it is unlikely that the sitting chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee believes that assassination is the appropriate response to a Democratic woman running for president. But the same recording in which he made those remarks also captures his thoughts on the appropriate response to a Democratic presidency. And it is a constitutional crisis.

“If Hillary Clinton becomes president,” said Burr, who is currently locked in a tight race to keep his seat in the Senate, “I am going to do everything I can do to make sure four years from now, we still got an opening on the Supreme Court.”

Forget about the bulls-eye remark -- that's surface noise and Millhiser makes a little too much of it. (It can just as easily be read as an ironic comment on the propensities of North Carolina Republicans, although given the source, that may be a little too generous.)

What's important is the part about the Supreme Court vacancy, which, as Millhiser points out, echoes comments made by John McCain and Ted Cruz.

The main thrust of the article is the somewhat tattered condition of the Court at this point. We're at the point -- long past it, actually -- where ideology is a prerequisite for consideration of candidates to the bench. The result, depending on who has the majority on any given question, has been disastrous. (Citizens United, Hobby Lobby, and now Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless are, put quite simply, ridiculous decisions)

Which leads me to my own sidebar on Millhiser's essay: I don't think even our "reliable news sources" could cast this as a "both sides do it" scenario. It's quite evident that the majority in this country is still center-left (Millhisers cites some surprising statistics about popular votes, Democratic/Republican, and the make-up of the Senate), and the Republican party is adamantly opposed to most of what the rest of the country favors. Their response is not to rethink their ideology, but to tinker with the system until they get what they want -- gerrymandering, vote suppression, you name it.

And as a footnote, this is what the right wing in this country considers "liberal."


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