Let's Fix This Country
elections

Might as Well Call Gerrymandering the 28th Amendment

State legislatures around the country are busily using 2020 census data to map voters into newly configured election districts. The grail is to obliterate the opposition party's representation in Congress. There's nothing new about this; it's been going on since the early 1800s. But

this time, optimized by software advances, gerrymandering will reach extremes not seen before, and the new redistricting will engineer elections for the full decade until the 2030 census. America as a democracy is becoming a myth.

It doesn't have to be this way. We could easily have a pure democracy if it weren't for the political parties' lust for power. We'll explain how below.

hard right rudder

Republicans decidedly hold the upper hand in the gerrymander sweepstakes. The party has trifectas — control of both chambers of the state legislature as well as the governorship — in 23 states, and in addition controls both legislative branches in seven others. Democrats have only 15 trifectas and control both legislative chambers in only three others.

The remaining 12 states have opted for redistricting commissions to draw the maps for congressional elections.

illiberal art

Map designers or software algorithms employ the techniques of "cracking" and "packing" to neuter the votes of the opposition party. Cracking is used to split areas where that party predominates,…

law

Rising Discontent Says It’s Time to Reform the Supreme Court… »

The Supreme Court is back in session facing a docket filled with controversial cases involving abortion, gun rights, and religion that are bound to stir anger no matter how decided. The court's new 6-to-3 configuration whereby Trump's three conservative appointments have overloaded the right end of the bench has made the court itself controversial, with a public that questions its legitimacy giving it an approval rating that has dropped to an unheard of 40% in a recent poll.

President Biden deflected the radical proposition of packing the court –adding four liberal justices to flip 6-to-3 to 6-to-7 — by appointing…

law

…Not Least for There Being No Oversight »

Judicial scholars are skeptical of several of the Supreme Court's practices. The court goes its own way, subject to no check and balance, and certain of its actions raise ethical questions. Unlike all other courts, the high court is uniquely free of oversight and does not even have a self-governing code of ethics much less a code imposed from without, as by Congress.

At the level below, federal courts must handle all cases appealed to them. Not so the Supreme Court, which alone chooses the cases it will hear. That was not always true. For the first 100-or-so years,…

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zeitgeist

What’s Come Over This Country?

With so much to be thankful for, we've chosen animosity

The polarization that has gripped this country is taking a turn for the worse as evidenced by a marked increase in hostility and threats of violence. It is everywhere, in the fights over mask mandates, rebellion
against vaccination, civility cast aside in Washington, and school board meetings that are the new class war battleground. We are at the point where a turn from threats to violence seems likely.

After a speech in Idaho by Charlie Kirk, the founder of Turning Point USA, a conservative organization with the mission "to identify, educate, train, and organize students to promote freedom", an audience member asked Kirk when "patriots" could begin shooting progressives? Another rose and said,

“At this point, we’re living under corporate and medical fascism. This is tyranny. When do we get to use the guns?"

When the audience applauded, the man went on:

"That’s not a joke…I mean, literally, where’s the line? How many elections are they going to steal before we kill these people?”

The local state representative, a Republican, later called it a “fair” question. Kirk said first "we must exhaust every single peaceful means" but agreed that “We are living under fascism. We are living under this tyranny."

The Southern Poverty Law Center keeps track of hate groups in the country. Its Intelligence Project identified 566 "extreme antigovernment groups" in 2020, 169 of them militias that arm and train. Those counts are slightly down from 2019, but that degree of anger against the U.S. is ominous and those remarks say that something is likely to break out. Once it does, they will all lock and… Read More »

rights

Supreme Court Takes On Gun Rights Again. Will We All Be Packing Heat?

Eclipsed by the morning-after autopsies of the November 3rd elections, that the Supreme Court took on that day an inflammatory gun rights case was barely noticed. The case challenges a century-old New York state law that requires a resident to obtain a special license to carry a gun in public places by proving a "proper cause" for the need to do so. Seven other states — California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island have similar laws.

The complaint is from two men who have handgun licenses for supreme court building

hunting and target practice but were denied “unrestricted” licenses for self-defense. Officials said they could not demonstrate a “special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general community”. It has been presumed that the court, with its new 6-to-3 conservative majority, took their National Rifle Association-backed case to reinterpret the Constitution's Second Amendment's "right to bear arms" as meaning that people should not be overly restricted, or conceivably, should not be constrained at all, the word the amendment uses. The questioning by the conservative members of the court made clear their leanings in that direction.

An amicus brief by 25 Republican senators urged that extreme. They say that the framers weighed the consequences and declared with finality that the right to bear arms needs no permission from officials.

Pulitzer Prize winning author and historian Garry Wills, writing in… Read More »

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