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Category: Politics

It's Not a Plot
I’ve been working on a screenplay for a while now. The plot is pretty wild, but it’s been a bit of a challenge to actually write the thing.

It’s all about this monstrous global conspiracy, see, and these elites and mysterious, dark forces that are bent on wreaking havoc on us and our way of life. My hero is a someone a lot like you and me. He’s got a job, and a family, and things are pretty scary for him right now. His dialogue has been easy to write. He’s just a regular guy trying to keep the fear at bay. He’ll believe anything as long as it kills the fear. He’d be a cinch for any actor to play, I think.

The role of the the bad guys, on the other hand, might be a little harder to get into. Here’s this super-powerful, immensely rich corporate head (or something like that). He absolutely hates me and you. And he especially hates my hero and wants to destroy America and everything we holds dear. But why?

I can imagine Josh Brolin, for instance, asking me, “Tim, what’s my motivation here?” I’m not sure I’d have a ready answer, but he persists: “Why do I even care about a bunch of non-entities, much less hate them and want to destroy their lives?”

It’s a good question. In fact, that’s the conceptual puzzle that’s got me hung up with the writing. Isn’t the whole point that the elites don’t care about us? Wouldn’t it be better for them to just let us go on as we are…earning low pay, stimulating the economy with our mindless consumption, not getting in their way? It would be stupid to destroy our pathetic little world, right? We pose no threat at all to such people.

Furthermore (Josh might ask) why would they want to replace us with a bunch of poor immigrants? Immigrants wouldn’t have nearly as much money to be siphoned away by the all-powerful. I know that my answers to these questions wouldn’t have to make sense for my conspiracy to work in real life, but what about on the big screen? Not only would a plot like that never fly in Hollywood, it would cause me to lose face in front of Josh Brolin (and Walton Goggins, who is also being considered for the role).

After all, I have my reputation as a storyteller to think of here. And my pride. So the story has to make some kind of sense. Tucker Carlson (the lucky stiff) doesn’t have these kinds of problems.
You Decide
Kirsten Gillibrand, the junior Senator from New York, has an excellent point. Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, Amy Coney Barrett, and Clarence Thomas are all liars. Each of them told the same lie — under oath — during their confirmation hearings to become justices (if you will permit me to paraphrase): “I will not overturn Roe vs. Wade.”

Ah, but they will. The recently leaked opinion penned by Alito proves it. So there you have it…there is a majority of liars on our Supreme Court. (John Roberts, now Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, made a similar assurance during his confirmation hearings, but it is not clear yet whether he has joined with the majority of liars.)

They all sought to mislead the U.S. Senate (and us). Furthermore, the very specific purpose of their lie was to become justices so they could do the very thing they said they wouldn’t: — take away the right to have an abortion from U.S. citizens.

Let’s be clear, then: at least five of the majority of our sitting Supreme Court justices committed perjury — a felony — in order to cast a vote in this case.

Not that anyone was actually mislead by those lies. Everyone knew that none of these people would have been nominated in the first place if they hadn’t agreed to vote to overturn Roe at their earliest opportunity. Senators Collins and Murkowski knew, in spite of what they have said to the contrary. (They, too, are liars…though not perjurers.) Their party, the Republican Party, has been running on that promise ever since the case was decided in 1973. Of course they would only nominate anti-abortionists.

I don’t want to go too deeply into all of the arguments here, either for or against abortion. The legal reasoning behind Alito’s draft opinion, however, is worth noting. It is couched in the rationale of Originalism (a relatively new approach to Constitutional interpretation), and though it makes a kind of sense within that highly suspect theory, it is clear that the fundamentals of jurisprudence are secondary here. Alito and his fellow perjurers are not interested in the law, only in the outcome they were placed on the court to ram through.

There has been an explosion of outrage at this elicitly leaked opinion across the political spectrum. On one side, people are enraged over the snatching away of the Constitutional right to make decisions about one’s own body. I can’t help but agree with them.

On the other side, they are fuming about the leak itself. I must say that I agree with them, too. Such leaks do undermine credibility and respect for the judicial system. My question, though, is whether respect for the court is damaged more by a leak than it is by a cadre of hypocrites and felonious liars seizing control over our lives?

You decide. It’s a free country, after all.
Evil Morons
Good ol’ Mitt Romney. He is one of the few remaining honorable Republicans holding public office. Even so, he is usually pretty circumspect about how he expresses his opinions about his fellow GOPers. Furthermore, the instances in which he shows actual human emotion are rare.

That’s why his comments yesterday were so stunning. He was speaking in particular of a group of Republicans who decided it was okay to speak to a gathering of the AFPAC. Never mind what that stands for; everyone (including them, I’ll wager) thinks they are white supremacists.

You could tell that Mitt had chosen his words with some care, but let me condense them in the interest of brevity. The one-time leader of the Republican Party referred to the speakers as “evil morons.”

Again, not his exact words. He had some cute reference to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in there, and some other language meant to soften the impact of his message. Even so, the two words that stood out in headlines afterward were there for all to see. Evil morons. He also threw in an aside that the positions held by these people were “almost traitorous.” Traitorous Evil morons.

Whatever you might say about Mitt Romney, name-calling isn’t usually part of his political shtick. I’ve never used anything so harsh as “traitorous evil morons” to describe these people. The worst I’ve said, when referring to AFPAC and their ilk, is “crazy stupids.” Not nearly so nasty.

If one is willing to expand the scope of Romney’s statement even further (as this one is), then it could be applied to the entire Republican Party. Traitorous Evil morons. This group would not include Mitt himself, of course, or Liz Cheney, or Adam Kinzinger, or any of the Never Trumpers. But it would include much of that corrupted organization. Traitorous evil morons. all the way down to your local school board.

Traitorous evil morons. Mitt’s words, not mine. Not a precise quote, to be sure, but we can honestly say that he used those words to describe some of his fellow Republicans. But are they too strong? Is this no more than childish name-calling? Perhaps, but if we were able to travel through time and ask that question of as-yet-unborn American citizens who will be living through the aftermath of these times, then we might get a much different answer.
Armed and Clueless
Kyle Rittenhouse says he believes in everything that Black Lives Matter stands for. He says he’s not a white nationalist at all, and that those pictures of him hanging with some Proud Boys and flashing the white power sign were all a big misunderstanding. He was manipulated by some very bad people on his team, people who have since been fired.

I am willing to take Kyle at his word about those things. He is, after all, an impressionable young man who is in way over his head. I can easily imagine that he was swept up by events and landed, quite innocently, at the center of this highly fraught conflict in our society. I am willing to believe, tentatively at least, that that was his state of mind when he arrived in Kenosha.

But that’s just an opinion about someone’s feelings and motivations. We can never be sure about that kind of thing. What actually happened that night, however, is not in dispute. Kyle Rittenhouse came to Kenosha in response to a posting by the Kenosha Guard, a local militia group, calling for “patriots willing to take up arms” against the “evil thugs.” Rittenhouse chose to carry an AR-15 — a semi-automatic weapon capable of firing dozens of rounds in just a few seconds — into the middle of a volatile protest over the shooting and paralyzing of a black man by the local police. He was not there any official capacity, but as a vigilante.

Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, who were among the protestors, had separately seen Rittenhouse’s weapon and dared to approach him. In each case, Rittenhouse chose to fire his AR-15. Neither man was armed; both died. Rosenbaum was hit several times, including the fatal shot in his back. Huber was struck by a single shot to the chest that caused massive (and fatal) internal injuries.

There were no other deaths associated with the protests that night. If Rittenhouse had not brought his weapon to the protest, if he had not pulled the trigger, Rosenbaum and Huber would still be alive. We cannot be certain why he did it, but he did. He chose to arm himself, and he pulled the trigger.

So is he responsible for their deaths? As so often happens in these situations, the mere presence of a firearm seems to have been enough to precipitate its use. If the person using it is uncertain, or frightened, or weak-minded, the gun takes charge. It knows what to do, even if its owner doesn’t. Just by being there, it forces a decision to use it or not. Some people are ill-equipped to make that choice, but if you ask the gun, it will always say “Kill.” That is what it was made to do.

Kyle Rittenhouse is now being celebrated by the Right. He is visiting Mar-a-Lago and entertaining job offers inside the halls of Congress. None of these new benefactors is a supporter of the BLM movement, as Kyle professes to be, but I am sure they will be willing to hear his views on the subject of racial inequality. He is, after all, a hero.
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Yes, voting matters. Polls do not.
~ H, Santa Cruz