One final note from me, while I'm on a roll: It is all right for the Mango Moron to announce publicly that his choice for SCOTUS would be a woman, but was it really necessary for him to add the crass comment "I've always preferred women to men"? Especially when he has been accused of so many sexual harrassment and prostitution activities. Is there no depth which he cannot plumb?

How people can respect a man like this is totally bewildering to me.

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A thought keeps nagging at me as we approach the election and the real possibility that Democrats could take back control of the government, and this feeling is only intensified by the passing of Justice Ginsburg and the rush to replace her: They broke our government now we’ll break it better.

What Trump’s presidency has shown us is just how broken the system is – it has exposed the flaws, the shortcomings, the laziness and complacency of Congress, and the inability of government to respond to a genuine crisis in a manner designed to benefit the nation as a whole. It has also brought into sharp relief, the toxic nature of our politics and how tribal partisanship trumps all else.

What concerns me is that when we Democrats regain control, we will further divide the nation and enhance the growing sense of illegitimacy, by exacting revenge, passing legislation, issuing executive orders, and legislative quick-fixes in the short term that will have unexpected and disastrous implications. In 2013, then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s use of the “Nuclear Option” to eliminate the 60-vote rule for judicial nominations, is an example – one that has come back with an awful bite.

In a perfect world, we would take the opportunity that majority affords us to recognize the failings of the system (reining in the unchecked Executive power embedded in legislation that should have been monitored, allowed to expire or never granted in the first place; reforming campaign financing by instituting public financing to remove the influence of dark money; repairing or replacing the electoral college system; strengthening the Inspector General position to prevent the mass firings we have witnessed in this administration; seriously considering term limits for Congress and the list goes on. These are all areas that demand review and reform - reforms inure to the benefit of the people generally and not simply the party in power.

Packing the Supreme Court is not such a move. Changing the number of Justices to reflect the politics of the party currently in power brings us closer to constitutional anarchy, similar to that of unchecked Executive authority.

Presidents have the right to expect their nominees to be considered by the Senate – President Obama was not afforded that right. There is no “rule” on whether nominees put forward in the waning months of an election year will or must receive consideration. It has much to do with which party is in power at the time, but tradition (if that matters) holds that nominations made near the end of a President’s term are not considered.

In the present case, tradition (but not any rule) would be for the Senate to postpone consideration, but that is not likely to happen. Once Democrats regain control of the Senate, it would be wise to clarify a time specific after which that body will not consider nominations: Such a “rule” is long overdue.

The re-establishment and codification of norms, the vulnerability of which were exposed during this Administration, could be a move toward reconciliation, healing even. IMO, governing through Executive Orders or legislative fiat would have the opposite effect.

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If they do this, and the way Trump is quoted about Medieval Catholic Theocrat Judge Amy Coney Barrett - "I'm saving her for when I get to replace Ginsburg" - shows that he sees this as a "thumb in the eye" of the majority of this country. So if they do this, GAME ON.

It won't be "court packing," which is what the Republicans have done at every opportunity for the past 40 years. It will be "judicial expansion." There are any number of studies that have shown, just on the basis of population growth since the last time the number of federal judges and courts was expanded, that the federal bench should be double its present size. So anything up to 100% expansion can be justified on the principle "justice delayed is justice denied." And a 15 or 17 member Supreme Court gives us the chance to have a court that actually "represents America as a whole," rather than the conservative Catholics of America.

And two can play "thumb in the eye." We just have to get the left morons who think it doesn't matter who's in office to understand that the system that lets them be the left idiots out shouting on street corners rather than hanging on prison walls in chains, is in the hands of those elected who nominate and approve the judges.

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On another note, Secretary of State Mike Pompous has warned all the major allies who have said they would ignore America's illegal actions of reinstating sanctions on Iran would be facing "serious consequences". So...now Trump and Friends are about to censure our allies Germany, France, and the UK in order to pursue their nefarious plots. Look at the status of the US in the opinion of the world. It just gets worse and worse.

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Thank you for the summation. I find this "in plain site" power grab from the Republicans to be the most egregious yet, in that it would evoke taking away women's reproductive rights with overturning Rowe v Wade and the availablity for insurance via ACA for the most vulnerable in one fell swoop. Though I am beyond my childbearing years, I care deeply about this issue. I am, however not immune from what the defeat of the ACA means. I have cancer and without the ability to have insurance will literally be my demise. No, I am not just thinking of myself, I am thinking of all of the people I sit with in the waiting room at the Oncologist every 3 months. Do you know what I find most disgusting about this insidious power play? It would happen on Justice Ginsburgs' dime.

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The political power play to rush with a replacement for Justice Ginsberg is an outrageous sign of disrespect. Even in their glee to appoint a replacement who is RBG's polar opposite, the Republicans could show some humanity and humility! They don't seem to respect her memory but she touched MANY and this is becoming quite apparent with the accolades and public displays of grief! If the Republicans had any class, they would honor a period of mourning before proceeding with accomplishing a 'win' for President Trump.

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HCR summed up this whole nasty business right here:

"All but two of the many Republicans senators who insisted in 2016 that the Senate absolutely should not confirm a nominee in an election year have suddenly changed their minds and say they will proceed with Trump’s nomination.

"This abrupt about-face reveals a naked power grab to cement minority rule."

This all 100% about power. Nothing else. EVERY thing Republicans do now is to gain and hold on to power. They have been licking their chops and drooling about the prospect of having control of the SCOTUS for an entire generation or more. It has been their ultimate "wet dream". Packing the lower courts is one thing, but now the REALLY big prize, the highest court in the land, is a goal well within their reach. OF COURSE they didn't wait for Ginsburg's body to get cold. They're positively giddy at the chance to have a solid 6-3 majority, so anything that smacks of propriety is thrown out the window. Not even an ounce of respect for someone who has just died. This is about politics now, power, so to hell with what is proper. We are seeing just how totally bereft of any ethics or morals the Republican party has become and it is sad. In these toxic, bitterly partisan, power-mad times, one could say that Democrats might have done something similar were they in such a position. I'm not inclined to think so, but who knows? Power does weird things to people, including forgetting propriety.

R Dooley below/above (wherever it is) does make some very astute points about "exacting revenge" that I totally agree with. We have to be careful here. Two wrongs never have and never will make a right. We MUST ask ourselves, IMO, "HOW did we get to this point?" "What are the 'kinks' in our system that need to be addressed?" HCR asked as much in her question from yesterday. How can we possibly ensure we don't come to this again? Is it even fixable? I really don't know. I think there are imperfections in our system that have become apparent now that the founders could have never envisioned. If, BIG IF, we are put back into power, maybe rather than engaging in short-sighted retributions it might be wiser to set about trying to reform things? We need to try to consolidate our aims, which in itself may be next to impossible, and try to offer the American people a clear vision of trying to put his country back together again.

But, first and foremost, we need to vote. Vote in numbers never seen before in the history of this republic. My belief is that we have gotten to the mess we're in primarily because people won't get off their asses and VOTE. (Young people, I'm talking to you!) We are seeing what happens when a population doesn't vote. It WILL come back and bite you eventually. Your rights WILL be taken away. Maybe people are realising that now. If you want change to happen, you HAVE to vote.

Okay...I'm off to withdraw and try to find some solace, quite simply, because I find all this a bit overwhelming. Peace, y'all...

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A good reminder that in our nightmare of politics here, all bad things start with Reagan. The stench and slime of a small group of greedy white men is the only thing that has ever trickled down from Reagan's economy.

But the most terrifying immediate impact of this assault on the Supreme Court is the potential loss of the ACA. I see others have commented already, but I thought I would add a list of some of the critical things the ACA does for us, which I use to try and educate people. This is by no means a complete list. The ACA is an enormous law, covers myriad health care issues and as our inglorious "leader" said a few years ago, "Nobody knew that healthcare could be so complicated". My list does not focus on the health insurance exchange, which currently covers 8.3 million people, but how it impacts the coverage we all get from our health insurance plans. Educating people about what the ACA really does is very important to me.

The ACA provides these benefits and rights to all Americans who have health insurance and these benefits were NOT available to all Americans prior to the ACA.

1. Requires health insurers to cover people with pre-existing health conditions, and cover them without charging more.

2. Requires health insurers to provide free preventative care for everyone.

3. Allows most children to stay on their parent's job-based plan until the age of 26.

4. The ACA ended lifetime and annual dollar limits on coverage of essential health benefits. Health insurers cannot drop you because you have become too expensive.

5. Health insurers must go through a review process before raising your rates more than 15%.

6. Health insurers cannot cancel your insurance just because you got sick.

7. The ACA protects your choice of doctors.

8. Health insurers must provide 10 categories of essential health benefits: doctor services, inpatient and outpatient hospital care, prescription drug coverage, pregnancy and childbirth services, mental health services, emergency services, laboratory services, rehabilitative services, pediatric services, including dental and vision for children, and preventative and wellness services.

Take another look at that list. Prior to implementation of the ACA many many Americans did not receive all of these rights and services listed above. We have got to keep the House Blue, turn the Senate Blue and turn the White House Blazing Neon Blue, because we may need to pass a new ACA bill immediately.

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It's not just an increasingly conservative Supreme court, it's an increasingly Republican Supreme court. The feedback loop between Republican politicians and the Republican majority on the Supreme court helps to ensure that Republicans' retain their control of government. If elections are free and fair, then Republicans would win far fewer. Neither Trump nor Bush (dubyah) would have become president. Stacey Abrams would be governor of Georgia. Republicans wouldn't have held majorities in the House in years like 2012, when Democrats won 59 million votes and Republicans won 58 million, but Republicans took 33 MORE seats.

The foundation of our democracy is "one man (person), one vote" - every vote counts equally. This is anathema to Republicans who suppress Democratic voting in many states by closing polling places, purging voter rolls, make voter registration onerous and restricting mail-in voting. Republicans gerrymander districts in such a way that they can win only 45% of the vote in some states but win 65% of the congressional seats. All of this is clearly wrong, clearly unconstitutional. Yet the Roberts court has refused to rule on cases challenging illegal voting rights restrictions and gerrymandering - all to help their Republican party continue to hold power. In return, Republican politicians, with the help of the Republican Federalist Society, appoint more and more Republican judges.

As HCR points out, Republicans are a minority party, yet they control the White House, the Senate and the Supreme Court. And they continue to distort the democratic process in ways that will render elections meaningless, and make their hold on power permanent.

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One of the best entries, with suspense and drama, that I’ve read in a long time (and I love them all), followed by such excellent commentary. I love this and admire your skill at condensing the historical context so much.

I have hope that with Collins having recruited Massachusetts’ moderate Gov Charlie Baker to stump for her in Maine, she will be forced to act like the moderate she has always pretended to be. Gideon is leading her and is thought to win. And Kelly seems headed for a win in AZ as well. If this happens, with Romney and what’s his name the independent in the Senate also against Trump ideology, McConnell’s dream will die. I donated to Gideon’s and Harrison’s campaigns last night.

Do not underestimate the number of Republicans fed up with this bullshizz. I have met many in my work in a major hospital. Yes, there are still the deluded cult members who get their 250k/year medications for free under Medicare and yet still wail about socialism, but thankfully for my mental health they are far outnumbered by the ex military who are spitting mad at this president.

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Here is the comment I posted on my blog over the weekend on this subject. Nevertheless, I am not optimistic.

"And now some thoughts brought on by the day's events. I would not bother including them at this point, but it looks like the President's gracelessness demands that I do.

Our fool of a President, Putin’s “useful idiot, didn’t have brains enough to wait at least until after Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s funeral to announce that he would be naming a replacement Supreme Court Justice soon and hoped it would shortly be voted on by the Senate. This is a man raised in a household where love was absent and it is reflected in his every action. Necessary to such an action would be Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, who very well may be a defeated lame-duck Senator by the time the nomination comes before the Senate for a vote.

I fully expect Trump to make his nomination. Whether his stooges in the Senate will go along with him in sufficient numbers is another question, considering that many fought against even having a vote on Obama’s Merrill Garland nomination because a presidential election was coming up within the year, and fairness demanded they follow the dictates of that election. This was the position of Ted Cruz and Lindsay Graham among others in 2016. The shoe is now on the other foot, requiring them to become hypocrites out of loyalty to Trump. Will they? Particularly if they are running for re-election. It works both ways. And how about the female Senators, who would not even be there were it not for Justice Ginsberg’s lifetime of work? And there are those that to whom a quick nomination and vote, as Trump desires, is morally repugnant. It was Justice Ginsberg who had, in anticipation of her passing, wanted a replacement named only after the presidential election. Some may want to respect those wishes. No, confirmation in the Senate of his nominee is not a sure thing.

But Trump wants it badly, and done quickly, since it is likely that the results of the presidential election will result in litigation which will end up before the Supreme Court where another conservative Justice on the bench would suit his aims just fine.

If this happens, and that is where we end up … a Supreme Court infused with new conservative blood handing the presidency to Trump for another four years … because of an unclear election result, made possible only because of Trump’s baseless attacks on entirely legal “vote by mail” balloting and his sabotaging of the Postal Service, the efficient operation of which is essential to voting by mail, it’s time for a new issue to be raised for Americans And that is Emigration. No, that is not a misspelling. It might be time for Americans still devoted to the democracy which has flourished in our country for 231 years to consider picking up stakes and moving elsewhere. I hope that doesn’t become necessary.

Meanwhile, it is likely that Joe Biden will get more popular votes than Trump, and if the Electoral College votes fall into place for him, and he survives post-election Trump litigation, Joe ultimately will become President and have a Democratic House and Senate to support him.

But possibly, he still will have to deal with an ultra-conservative Supreme Court, as described above. I see no alternative other than his going back to FDR’s failed effort to expand the number of Justices on the Supreme Court, perfectly legal if the House and the Senate go along with it. The Constitution does not stipulate the number of Justices on the Supreme Court and a President Biden should not hesitate to nominate four or five additional Justices. Nine is not some kind of magic number and there has not always been that number of Justices on the Supreme Court.

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How blithely, it seems now, we have taken for granted the most critical cornerstones of democracy--an evolving thirst for equality and justice, and (most chillingly) the expectation of voluntary compliance by those in power with the values and traditions that engendered citizens' trust that they would use that power for the benefit of all. That naiveté has been ripped away like a purse-snatcher's grabbing a tourist's handbag, as the Supreme Court ordered Florida to stop counting votes (What? Stop counting votes...in a democracy?), as they have decided that a corporation is a person, and as they decided that voting rights no longer needed protection. Next up on the chopping block: ACA, Roe, Brown, and other less celebrated bulwarks of what has made America's painful evolution toward fairness something we have come to count on. And many other decisions are being made by thirty-something twerps now on the federal bench for a lifetime--long enough to toxify the lives of my grandchildren and great-grandchildren in due course.

"Sow the wind, and reap the whirlwind." I fear that the intensity of rage felt by otherwise normally composed citizens like myself will inflame unfortunate reactions like court-packing and, in the most extreme case, violence (read: assassinations) in an impassioned quest for some semblance of "justice" that realigns behavior with ideals. I believe we are at risk of equally unthinkable calamities if Trump manages to steal the election by some combination of manipulating the countable votes and the all-too-likely blessing of the Supreme Court.

All the more reason that in the days between now and January 21, we citizens who still cling to a shred of restraint and hope must work and donate like never before...like NEVER BEFORE...to the organizations that are fighting behind the scenes to preserve the rule of law--both in letter and in spirit. Go on line and make a breathtakingly large contribution to the ACLU (https://www.aclu.org/) or the Brennan Center (https://www.brennancenter.org/) or some other defender of democracy. A thousand dollars would be a good starting place. Do it now, before you read the next "Comment". Or do you seriously have a better use for the money...?

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TikTok. Although Heather didn't cover this given the gravity of the Supreme Court politics, I have been disturbed by the TikTok deal on two counts. First, this is pure petty revenge from DT because TikTok was the app used to inflate the attendees for the Tulsa Rally that was such an embarrassment for DT. He was infuriated and is now getting his revenge. Second, that part of the deal is to fund the "real" history of our nation. Read propaganda machine! All the students will be wearing Brown Shirts soon. Welcome to the Fourth Reich.

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I despised McConnell before and now his naked hypocrisy puts me over the edge.

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"We hold this truth to be self evident" example du jour.

A word about Malevolent Medusa Mitch. It's essential to rid this nation of his presence in our Senate. Period.

That said, the Republican Senate is like Medusa's snakes. There is likely a slithery queue of deplorable, wannabe successors. The only way to have any chance whatsoever of moving our nation beyond this deadly administration's strangle hold, irrespective of the POTUS outcome, is to flip the Senate. We're not aiming high enough if we're only concentrating on three or four turnover possibilities. We absolutely must up our goal to five or six. Let's flood all of those candidates with money and volunteer time. Finally, we all need to work until the last possible minute to Get Out the Vote. We're about halfway through hand-writing our 300 GOTV postcards. Game on, everyone! (With semi-sincere apologies for multiple tortured metaphors.)

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The Republican agenda--and the packing of the judiciary that has been a gleeful and malignly political move--has been clear since the 1960s. Dems have been incredibly dumb when it has come to addressing it, continuing to think that the minority party (even when in control of the legislature they are still the minority) will "honor" their legislative responsibilities to their constituents. They won't. Instead, they will gerrymander, cheat, and steal their way to dominance over a population that is increasingly focused on social justice, equity, and inclusivity. They are, in a word, corrupt. Corrupt to the core.

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