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Wednesday, June 29, 2022


The first day of my challenge was a splendid success. With four donations of $100 each and one donation of $200 matched by $600 from the Palmeters and $600 from me, we have now donated $1800 to the DLCC.  Let us wrap this up today with a total of $400 more in donations to be matched by $800. Remember, any donation of $10 or more will be matched so dig deep, let us know about your donation, and perhaps in 48 hours total we will have generated $3000 for local and state elections in this cycle. 


Marc Susselman said...

Contemplating recent events, and the failed campaign of Hillary Clinton, these words by John Greenleaf Whittier came to mind:

“For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these: ‘It might have been [otherwise]!’”

Anonymous said...


Jason said...

I just dropped a $100 for the DLCC. I live in Texas now with a transgender child, it's the least I could do to help turn this state blue and protect the rights of almost 10% of the US population.

aaall said...

another 100

David Palmeter said...

$200 sent to DLCC to match the contributions of Jason and aaall.

John Rapko said...

Off topic for the post, but not the blog: There's now on-line a selection from Raymond Geuss's book Not Thinking Like a Liberal. This part comes towards the end of Geuss's account of his invaluable education at a Catholic boarding high school, and so a couple of dozen pages before the chapter about his encounter with the professor and his book The Poverty of Liberalism:

Marc Susselman said...


Interesting article about the distinction between shame and guilt.

Some oaths need to be broken, while others may not. The loyalty oath which some Republicans have taken to support Trump, are the former, like the man who attempted to kill Hitler, whose guilt was not that he had taken the oath to support Hitler, but that he had attempted to break it. This contrasts to Rusty Bowers, the former speaker of the Arizona legislature, who supported and voted for Trump, but when confronted by Trump’s demands to send a separate slate of electors to Washington, he told Trump that he could not break his oath to uphold the Constitution. We each have to choose what to be loyal to in our lives.

Marc Susselman said...


Yes, the Elgar scene was quite enjoyable. And hearing Samuel L. Jackson speak with a lisp was very entertaining, as was the entire movie. (Kingsman)

There is some truth to the plot - the proliferation of cell phones has, I believer, made the world stupider.

Jerry Fresia said...

In parallel:

"The Abortion Rights Movement Must Now Turn to Grassroots Organizing and Direct Action"

National Advocates for Pregnant Women

"Progressives Launch ‘Four More’ Campaign to Demand Supreme Court Expansion"

"If we are to resist abortion bans, each one of us must be prepared to 'aid and abet abortion,' whether that’s being trained in administering a self-managed abortion, buying and donating abortion pills, driving someone across state lines to receive an abortion, participating in clinic defense, or donating to an abortion fund. But we cannot lose sight of the ultimate goal: a mass movement to establish free abortion on demand as an inalienable right."

Marc Susselman said...

Well, they’ve done it – the Supreme Court has gutted the authority of executive agencies to issue regulations implementing statutes enacted by Congress. The United States Chamber of Commerce is elated.

Anonymous said...

Hi Marc

The recklessness of the Supreme Court troubles me too. Looking to the future, do you foresee their giving cover to States meddling with elections and to their overturning any conviction of President Trump?
I favor a psychological perspective- that they are reactionaries imposing law and order and hearkening back to a pre sixties ante-bellum state of affairs.
You are an authority: what do you have to say?

LFC said...

Re West Virginia v. EPA: A glance at Gorsuch's concurrence finds him, at one point, concerned about the influence of "special interests" on admin agencies -- but not, apparently, about the influence of special interests on Congress. (Of course, to Gorsuch the environmental movement is a "special interest.")

Anonymous said...

in reponse to Anonymous @ 12:04:

Was there ever such a parcel of rogues in a nation?

Anonymous said...

The coming election might be our last chance to rebuff the multipronged Republican coup.
These rulings plus the hearings on 1/6 must get out the vote.
The Republicans may have overreached before they could cement their power grab
If abortion rights isn't motivating enough...

Marc Susselman said...

Anonymous at 12:04,

I don’t know about being an authority, but I do not believe there are any authorities who can predict with any degree of confidence what this S. Ct. is capable of doing. Ten years ago, I would have rejected the possibility that the S. Ct. would engage in downright partisan decision making. Not any more. The only indication we have that the Court would not simply rubber-stamp Trump and his cronies’ diabolical election schemes for 2024 is that they refused to hear his appeals claiming that the 2020 election was stolen. Ultimately, I am hopeful that the Trump appointees will do the right thing – but I do not feel even 85% confident that they will do so.

We are in uncharted territory. No government can be totally secure from the sinister machinations of a person who has no conscience, who is willing to lie, cheat and steal whatever s/he can to usurp power, and s/he is supported by a cadre of evil doers and ignorant lemmings willing to follow where that corrupt leader will take them. Now more than ever we are in need of citizens who are willing to stand up, come what may, whatever the risk to their personal safety and fortune, and be counted in the fight to save our democracy. I do not condone, and hope that it does not come to, the use of violence, but we are facing a crisis unlike any other this country has faced.

Anonymous at 12:25,

Certainly not in this country. The Teapot Dome and Watergate scandals pale by comparison. You would have to go back to the Roman Empire and the dictatorship of Caligula, the L’Etat c’esta moi rule of Louis XIV, and the fascist regimes of Hitler and Stalin to find their equal.

Anonymous said...

Yes, but Marc you can view the last fifty years as a right wing power grab, starting with Nixon and then Reagan, then the hanging chads of 20oo, then Trump and now this Supreme Court,
The Republicans will do ANYTHING for power, because it is a holy cause, though I'm not sure what exactly it is they are fighting for aside from raw power
They are the party of coups- it is what they stand for.
The crescendo will culminate in the dark night of the death of democracy

Anonymous said...

All the Democrats have to do is to make the extremist Supreme Court the issue in November and use as a slogan "Vote out the party of coup"
The Democratic leadership just has to capitalize on this home run the fascist Republicans are giving us

LFC said...

Actually the Sup Ct has always been a political institution, albeit one of a peculiar sort. To some extent it functions, to use Leiter's word, as a superlegislature. The current decisions, while extreme from a particular angle, do not represent as drastic a departure from the Ct's m.o. as some may think. Which is not to say they're anything other than bad.

Anonymous said...

Yes, LFC, there are partisan courts, then there are rogue courts- this court had a mission statement to further the GOP's fascist agenda- isn't it radical to throw out stare decesis?
Sure no one is innocent in life either- still there are crimes and there are misdemeanors- and the current court is the latter. They don't even pretend not to have a political agenda- would you say the same thing if they started throwing out legitimate elections? When do we cross the line from business as usual to coups by way of Supreme Court?

Anonymous said...

I mean former

LFC said...

We'll cross that line when they throw out an inarguably legitimate election result.

aaall said...

"When do we cross the line from business as usual to coups by way of Supreme Court?"

When the time is ripe. The Republican majority figured they could get away with a coup in 2000 so they did one. The Republican majority correctly figured that so obvious a coup for a madman likely wouldn't fly so they passed. Given the opportunity in 2024 they would gladly roll over for a better and smarter fascist like DeSantis.

"...starting with Nixon and then Reagan..."

Actually the Movement began in the 1930s with the Liberty League (one of the arrestees over the Jan. 6 insurrection was a third generation fascist) and took off in the mid 1940s - 50s with the '46 elections, a number of books, and Bill Buckley deciding to stand athwart history. Like rust, reaction never sleeps.

With the EPA decision (unless we get majorities that allow for judicial reform in the midterms) we (and the rest of the world) are doomed.

MS, our tech-bro overlords actually do have Kingsman-like plans as well as compounds in New Zealand.

aaall said...

LFC, that happened in 2000.

Marc Susselman said...


That already happened in 2000. Prior to Gore v. Bush, the S. Ct. had held in multitudes of decisions that the meaning of a state statute was determined by the highest court of the state. In 2020, however, the 5-4 majority threw out the Fla. S. Ct. decision interpreting its own election statute, in which the Fla. S. Ct. ordered a recount. Buch v. Gore was a S. Ct. coup, and started the steady erosion in our democracy.

Anonymous said...

I agree aaall

The slogan of the Republican Party is "by any means necessary."

They are disciplined Jihaddis and as Sun Tzu advised they take whatever the battlefield allows.
Maybe the better word is crusaders- white, male, Christian rich or poor no difference feel this is their country and not ours
That's what they mean by tradition- they are no different than both sides of the Reformation- they don't even after resort to violence- fraud or force as Hobbes said- they just use political force and dececptive advertising and lies witness the lies Barret and Kavannaugh made to Collins
This November is our last chance to stop these Christian Barbarians
They'd rather ruin America than have it taken from their clutches

LFC said...

aaall and MS

I anticipated that someone would bring up 2000.

However, I was responding to a question by anonymous @2:45 pm, who asked, "would you say the same thing if they started throwing out legitimate elections?"

The words "if they started" show that anonymous assumed the Sup Ct had not yet done that. In my response, I was granting anonymous his/her assumption.

LFC said...


Why don't use your name instead of posting as anonymous?

Your raving about "Christian barbarians" is just nonsense. The current Court's reactionary impulses have little to do with Christianity per se.

Have you have ever heard of Justice William Brennan? A mainstay of the liberal Warren Court and a practicing Catholic.

Your raving about barbarians and Jihaddis is not adding much of anything, imho.

LFC said...


Of course an alternative genealogy would go back not to the Liberty League but to the Mont Pelerin Society.

But that would perhaps tend to interfere with your contention that these people are all, without exception, "fascists." Or to be specific, that the Repub Party has been "fascist" since it won the 1946 midterm elections.

Marc Susselman said...


Peter Thiel can't be all bad, after all, he is a Grand Master in chess. What could go wrong? Bobby Fisher, you say? Oh, right.

aaall said...

LFC, they have to do with the strains of Christianity predominate on the Right. I'll raise your Brennan with my Buckley. I don't believe any of the Catholics on the court or prominent on the right could be described as Dorthy Day Catholics. On the Protestant side there is an appalling collection of fanatics and outright grifters.

David Palmeter said...

An interesting thing about this term's Court (pre Brown-Jackson) is that it was composed entirely of Catholics (Roberts, Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanagh, Barrett, and Sotomayor) and Jews (Bryer and Kagan). There isn't a Protestant in the bunch.

Not very long ago this would have been unthinkable--Protestant America wouldn't have stood for it. Country Clubs across America would have been the scenes of strong (but, of course, tasteful) protest.

After the Civil War, at some point, an unofficial "Catholic seat" was created, and a century ago, with the appointment of Brandeis, a single "Jewish seat." But that was it for a long time. Thurgood Marshall was the first black, nominated by LBJ.

The fact that this can occur is, in some ways, a positive thing. But's as if we've dropped bigotry in favor of right-wing authoritarianism. If those are the choices, bigotry doesn't look so bad.

One of the downsides of Roe v. Wade is that it united Evangelical Protestantism and Catholicism. Evangelical Protestants had always been the most anti-Catholic. Combined, they are a pretty powerful force.

s. wallerstein said...

I suppose what strikes from a distance is the division between red states and blue states.
There were, as far as I know, no blue states in Nazi Germany: that is, the whole country went Nazi.

In the United States even if the red states go fascist in some sense, it's difficult to imagine that California, given the mentality of the majority of people there, is going to go fascist, even if the Supreme Court gets worse and Di Santis is elected in 2024, beginning some kind of authoritarian or fascist process.

Maybe the country will split in two, I don't know. However, it seems clear that those who live in blue states are not going to end up under some kind of fascist regime. I feel sorry for those in red states.

aaall said...

"Of course an alternative genealogy would go back not to the Liberty League but to the Mont Pelerin Society."

The MPS was formed too late to be on the first tier of any conservative genealogy. That tier would include Spencer, de Maistre, and Gobineau. I use the 1930s because Capital was really freaked out by Roosevelt and the New Deal. The Business Plot, Liberty League, and the 1937's Conservative Manifesto

are a good place to start.

The Mont Pelerin Society was a "second wave" thing along with books by Kirk, Weaver, etc. Then we had National Review, the Powell Letter and the formation of Cato, heritage, stc. All of this was financed by a few very wealthy folks.

(BTW, are you aware of this:

which was a thing a few years ago).

Anyway, the rise of Movement conservatism is about Capital seeking to end the New deal and the administrative state. The intellectual pets were useful but irrelevant as to means and ends which at first revolved around race with abortion and other cultural placeholders adopted for respectability.

Because folks like the Kochs and Mercers are high on their own supply they they saw neoliberalism as a feature and ignored the bugs. Those depredations led to the rise of right populism which too often leads to some variety of fascism.

Fascism was the likely path for the Republican Party after the Gingrich Revolution in the 1990s. The Republican Party becoming the political organ of Movement Conservatism was a function of Reagan winning the party nomination and then the presidency. There was still a debate in the 1970s. Bill Rusher even wrote a book in the mid 1970s advocating for the formation of a conservative party. Recall that James Buckley (Bill's brother) ran on the New York's Conservative Party ticket for the Senate and won a plurality victory.

1946 wasn't the year the Rs turned fascist but it was still an inflection point. It ended the possibility of further New deal/fair deal legislation, kneecapped labor as a political force, and introduced folks like Nixon and McCarthy into our politics. Both parties were then regional things with liberals and conservatives sorted amongst both.

I'm sure life on Earth 2 (the one where Nixon's ship was sunk and McCarthy's plane was shot down) is quite different.

LFC said...

I agree re: "There was still a debate in the 1970s. Bill Rusher even wrote a book in the mid 1970s advocating for the formation of a conservative party." I'd forgotten that.

The New Deal itself moved increasingly away from its origins, or so I gather is the argument in Alan Brinkley, The End of Reform, a book I own but haven't read.

aaall said...

FDR made the mistake of paying attention to folks carrying on about the deficit, put on the brakes, and the result was a recession which hurt the Dems in the 1938 elections. That and the fact (to those who would see it) of what we know as WWII was inevitable (Dr. New Deal became Dr. Win the War in 1941) so the focus was diverted.

Taft, et al wanted to role back the New Deal but Eisenhower won the nomination and the election and Social Security was actually expanded during his administration. There were actually liberal Republicans back then.

BTW, I see the Russian invaders have been forced from Snake Island. Got to love those Caesars. Now to send missiles that are Sevastopol capable.

Marc Susselman said...

Some choice words from Chelsea Handler, substituting as host for Jimmy Kimmel:

I’ve never performed a vasectomy, but I’d like to do one on Samuel Alito.

Since men have f…ked things up so badly, I propose a 28h Amendment denying men the right to vote.

If men contributed $1.00 to Planned Parenthood every time they masturbated, Planned Parenthood would be in good shape.

s. wallerstein said...

Comment by philosopher Dan Kaufman (hardly a radical leftist) on his blog Electric Agora.

"If the women in these states have any sense, they will refuse to have sex with men.

Even if one *wants* a child, you don’t know whether a pregnancy or childbirth will go seriously south. [We had a touch-and-go childbirth.] Given that these laws have *no* exceptions, it’s a crazy risk to take.

We will be leaving Missouri soon, now that we’ve retired. And we will not reside in any state that has these laws. Our daughter has said the same.

May the entire, wretched Red part of the country rot from the brain drain that occurs from the exodus from their states. They can become even more backwards and primitive and stupid than they already are."

I believe that there will be lots of people like him.

Marc Susselman said...

It is only going to get worse.

Given the S. Ct.’s ruling yesterday in W. Va. v. EPA, it is even more critical that the Democrats retain control of the House and Senate, so that they can amend the Clean Air Act to expand the EPA’s authority in accordance with the S. Ct.’s dictates. This is even more critical than reversing Dobbs, because the fate of mankind itself is at risk, not only women’s reproductive rights. Reversing the Dobbs decision will take decades. But reversing the EPA decision can be accomplished by amending the Clean Air Act, which is doable if the Democrats retain/increase control of Congress. Otherwise, we are all doomed by the failure to seriously confront climate change.

Marc Susselman said...


I did not understand your reference to Kingsman and New Zealand, so I Googled Peter Thiel and New Zealand, and found this:

aaall said...

If one is of a certain disposition and has everything, all that's left is wanting to watch the world burn.

aaall said...

s.w., it seems Dan has changed his tune (which is good).

LFC, I gather from reviews of Brinkley's book that he doesn't deal with neo-liberalism. As for the New Deal/Fair Deal (and Great society), its fairly simple: Actual reform requires significant congressional majorities and the will to use them. 1933 - 38 and 1965 - 66 are the only two periods in which this has occurred.

Marc Susselman said...

A World War using conventional weapons got us out of the Depression and allowed Pres. Roosevelt to elevate the U.S. to a world power. (I just noticed that the word “world” is very odd looking.) With the proliferation of nuclear weapons, we no longer have that option.

s. wallerstein said...


I generally read Dan's posts, although I no longer comment there.

Dan is basically conservative in the sense that someone like Raymond Geuss is basically radical. It goes deeper than politics.

Dan is very anti-woke, but Trump and the current U.S. Supreme Court are more than he can take.

You seem to have the thesis that the current authoritarian or proto-fascist reactionary mindset in the Republican Party has been implicit there for a long time and you may be right, but I doubt that when Dan signed up to be a young conservative many years ago, he noticed that.

So he voted for Clinton in 2016 and for Biden in 2020.

aaall said...

s.w., it's best to think of the Republican Party as the political organ of an ideological movement. It was captured over several decades and finalized with the Gingrich Revolution. Folks who became conservative are like the folks who became Communists back in the day. Their idealism blinded them to the obvious implications.

I do have to wonder at the speed of his tune changing.

"With the proliferation of nuclear weapons, we no longer have that option."

MS, you write as if we will have a choice.

aaall said...

LFC, I believe Kavanaugh is bound to disappoint.

"In a Wisconsin “shadow docket” case that was vacated by the full court, Justice Brett Kavanaugh weirdly inserted an irrelevant footnote referencing Rehnquist’s idea saying that “the text of the Constitution requires federal courts to ensure that state courts do not rewrite state election laws.” A few days later Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas filed a statement in a case in Pennsylvania suggesting that they also believe the Court must reverse a state supreme court that “squarely alters” election law enacted by a state legislature. So that makes four justices who have at least hinted that they are sympathetic to the idea that they are empowered to overrule state courts if they follow their own state constitutions in voting rights and procedures. In fact, it appears that all four are willing to overrule all state actors in favor of the legislature which they deem to be the only authority over election laws."

s. wallerstein said...


For the record I have no idea when Dan stopped voting Republican and began to vote Democrat.
It may have been before the 2016 election.

I know that when he was in the university, in the 80's and early 90's he wrote for conservative publications.

Eric said...

Marc Susselman: A World War using conventional weapons got us out of the Depression and allowed Pres. Roosevelt to elevate the U.S. to a world power. With the proliferation of nuclear weapons, we no longer have that option.

I get the feeling that you believe that is a bad thing. I hope I am wrong.

Eric said...

I'm surprised there hasn't been more discussion about Peter Thiel on this blog. He fancies himself something of a philosopher, with a particular interest in political philosophy, or so I gather.

One of the most repulsive figures of our age.

There's his notorious essay from 2009:

"As a young lawyer and trader in Manhattan in the 1990s, I began to understand why so many become disillusioned after college.... The higher one’s IQ, the more pessimistic one became about free-market politics — capitalism simply is not that popular with the crowd....

As one fast-forwards to 2009, the prospects for a libertarian politics appear grim....

Indeed, even more pessimistically, the trend has been going the wrong way for a long time.... Since 1920, the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women — two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians — have rendered the notion of 'capitalist democracy' into an oxymoron."

(He then muses on how to escape the constraints of democracy using technology: in cyberspace, by seasteading, or in colonies established in outer space.)

Here's something a contemporary of his from Stanford has said:
"Gotta say I wasn’t surprised when tech billionaire Peter Thiel endorsed Trump. Peter and I were dormmates at Stanford freshman year, and while I barely knew him — we ran in different circles — his fiercely Libertarian views were often a topic of conversation among those of us living in Branner Hall. One day I heard a rumor that Peter defended apartheid (which was then still the law of the land in South Africa), which I found morally repugnant. To know that a fellow student, a dormmate for that matter, might defend such a brutally oppressive race-based caste system gave me the willies. But I wanted to give Peter the benefit of the doubt, so I mustered the courage to go to his room to ask him about it. He said, with no facial affect, that apartheid was a sound economic system working efficiently, and moral issues were irrelevant...."

Thiel was born to German parents in Germany, but he grew up in the US. I wonder what his family was up to during the war. Strange that there is so little information on that subject, considering his prominence.

Marc Susselman said...

Given the tenor of my numerous comments on this blog, all of which lean towards a liberal/progressive agenda, I find it astounding that anyone could interpret my comment about the effect that the proliferation of nuclear weapons has had on reducing Presidential power to effect social change as a regret that nuclear war is not on the table. My point was simply that the progressive legislative actions which FDR was able to push through Congress was, in part, attributable to the Depression and WWII, a war using conventional weapons which acted as an antidote to the Depression, an antidote which will not – should not - recur due to the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The Supreme Court which supported both FDR’s and LBJ’s legislative agenda no longer exists, and has been replaced by a retrograde court composed of narrow-minded ideologues.

Eric said...

Marc Susselman,

Part of the social change you mentioned was the US becoming a world power as the result of warfare.
Think on what being a world power entails, from the standpoint of those who are on the receiving end of dictates from the power.

Eric said...

One of the Supreme Court rulings that hasn't gotten as much attention this term as it probably deserved was in the case of FEC v. Ted Cruz for Senate.

The Court predictably ruled that under the First Amendment it's unconstitutional for Congress to limit the amount of money that donors can pay a candidate after the election for personal loans the candidate had made to their campaign. In fact, it would be totally legal now, according to the Court's reasoning, for donors to pay the candidate interest(!) that the candidate had charged him- or herself on the personal loan.

As Kagan wrote in dissent: "Repaying a candidate's loan after he has won election cannot serve the usual purposes of a contribution: The money comes too late to aid in any of his campaign activities. All the money does is enrich the candidate personally at a time when he can return the favor — by a vote, a contract, an appointment. It takes no political genius to see the heightened risk of corruption."

The commentators at the 5-4 podcast are unsparing in their criticism, as well they should be.

Marc Susselman said...


I find it hard to believe that you wrote that comment.

Yes, the United States became a world power by acting in self-defense against a fascist Japanese militaristic nation which committed a sneak attack on its naval installation in Pearl Harbor, and assisting Great Britain in countering a fascist Nazi regime bent on world domination which killed millions of civilians, including 6 million Jews. And you find fault with that. I find your logic incomprehensible.

LFC said...

1) The U.S. became a "world power" much earlier than WW2. The conventional marker in the historiography is the Spanish-American War (1898), though there are various nuances and twists depending, no doubt, on which historians one reads, definitional issues, etc.

2) The Depression obviously was an impetus to the New Deal, but by the time of the U.S. entry as a full belligerent in WW2 (i.e., Dec. 1941) the really progressive phase of the New Deal was long over. WW2 did increase temporarily federal intervention in the economy, e.g. price controls, rationing etc., but that's a different point.

aaall said...

MS, if you change "a" to "the" and limit it to the post WWII period before the Soviet Union became a nuclear're correct. Otherwise it's the turn of the last century - recall TR and the Great White Fleet.

Marc Susselman said...

I used the phrase "a world power" because that was the phraseology Eric used, and I was responding to Eric's comment.

Eric said...

I used the phrase "a world power" because that was the phraseology Marc used, and I was responding to Marc's comment. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Marc Susselman said...


Well, yes, so I did; so I did.

Eric said...

Marc Susselman: I just noticed that the word “world” is very odd looking.

I was recently discussing English-language spelling with a friend whose first language isn't English.

If you think "world" looks odd, consider how "warm" and "worm" are pronounced (in standard NPR American English).

LFC said...

Btw, while there's an enormous literature on the rise of the U.S. to the status of "a world power," a very well-written take on it is F. Zakaria's _From Wealth to Power_ (1998). It originated as his PhD diss, but it doesn't read like a piece of dry scholarship. His main argument is that the growing power and "autonomy" of the federal govt and the presidency in the late 19th cent. enabled and led to a more assertive and expansionist U.S. foreign policy.