Today’s article presents a challenge. On a national holiday I normally publish an article dedicated to it. On a Sunday I normally publish an article predicated on the biggest political story of the week just ended. Today is Independence Day or The Fourth of July as we commonly call it. If I had to sum up the biggest political story of the week just ended in a single word it would be: Thursday. Even then I’d be incomplete, too much popped that day. However, I think I can blend the two while covering some of Thursday.
July 4, 1776 is the beginning of the United States of America. Imperfect then; despite some setbacks, improved as time has transpired and still striving for a better union today. The cause for celebration is obvious. However, I have much cause for concern. That’s where the parts of Thursday I will cover come in.
The Supreme Court ended its term on Thursday and issued three anti-democratic decisions. The first two involve upholding voter suppression laws in Arizona. The other all but gave the green light to dark money in politics. Neither served democracy; in fact, they undermine it.
The votes were all 6-3 decisions. The three Trump appointed justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett all voting in the majority. Any way you slice it two of the three do not belong on the Court. Gorsuch was only seated because Mitch McConnell and Chuck Grassley held open the seat of the late Antonin Scalia on the flimsy, and totally without constitutional basis, excuse that it was a presidential election year. Barrett’s confirmation was rushed in the waning days of the subsequent presidential election year by the same crew with only Grassley and Lindsey Graham having exchanged the gavel of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Kavanaugh lied before Congress in at least two confirmation hearings which is an impeachable offense (good luck getting that upheld in this Senate!). With a legitimate Court those decision would most likely have gone 5-4 in the other direction.
The Arizona decisions coupled with Shelby County v Holder all but negate the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This Court may toss the liberals a bone or two on social issues – the truth is the Republicans don’t care about them other than to give them lip service to placate the religious rights whose votes they need but they feel are less than brilliant and extremely gullible. When it comes to voting the true GOP agenda of obtaining and retaining power – and make no mistake this Court is partisan – the six will be strictly adhered to it. Expect the flood of voter suppression legislation in the red states to swell just as it did after Shelby County.
In the California decision the Court ruled that charitable organization do not have to disclose their donors. Structured properly there is no line delineating charitable from certain political organizations, and the latter are used to launder donations that fund political ads and other activity while shielding the identity of the true financiers – a/k/a dark money. To some degree I will buy the conservative argument that donations are speech and free speech is constitutionally protected. To some degree! I am willing to be liberal in donation limitations but I want sources disclosed. Being non-partisan for a moment (which is not easy for me) the biggest problem in American politics is the influence of big money and big dark money is downright dangerous to democracy.
I want to know who is writing the initial check! Most often they receive their money via a business. That business derives its revenue from customers like me. I simply want to be able to make an informed choice of where I spend my money. Why would I want to patronize an establishment who in one way or another donates to causes or individuals I despise? The answer is I don’t.
Dark money and voter suppression have an aim in common; to undermine the democratic process. That is simply un-American!
The next bit of Thursday I want to ever so briefly touch on are the indictments of Allen Weisselberg and the Trump Organization. Basically, it accuses them of being crooks and liars. How’s that for yesterday’s news! Much of the deception charged to date centers on tax fraud. The nickel version is that executives had many expenses paid for them which was deducted from their paychecks, declared as an expense by the Trump Organization and never reflected on a W-2 or in the individual’s tax filings. This is classic white collar crime. The exact type of crime that runs rampant in America costing “working stiff” taxpayers a ton of money while going almost totally unpunished.
This was another example of Trump and his cronies being bad crooks. Apparently, they kept a spreadsheet of the transactions which the authorities used in the Grand Jury. They documented their crimes. This is as stupid as the selfies the domestic terrorists posted of themselves in the Capital Building on January 6th. Birds of a feather….
I am of the school of thought that this is far from the end. I expect one of more people to flip and/or superseding indictments.
This last item is a suspicion which I have no proof of. I just found it too politically convenient that the search in the rubble of the South Florida building was suspended as President Biden was airborne for his visit to the site. I’m a believer in Nance’s Law which states that coincidence takes a lot of planning. Less than 24 hours later the search had resumed. I hate to think that anyone would stoop so low as to politicize this tragedy but I can’t help but do it.
America is a great country and certainly has been all my life. Comparing myself to the rest of the world I was able to obtain a world class management degree at an affordable cost, an above average wage at several points in my working career, good health care when I need it most and countless other benefits which I’m certain I’m forgetting and probably wouldn’t have received in most other countries simply because of the fortunate accident of being born in America. All and all America has been pretty good to me. Please don’t let me end my days by having to answer my youngest grandchild asking me the question, “Papa, can you tell me what America was like?”
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