Saturday, September 26, 2020

Unpacking the Court, Further Proceedings

By Scott V. Sandford
Justice Correspondent

Last week, we offered a few modest thoughts about protecting Justice Ginsburg's legacy by unpacking the Court with new Justices next year.  The imminent confirmation of Aunt Lydia to a lifetime appointment on that Court has made us sharpen our thinking about what to do with a rabid pack of Republican extremists bent on criminalizing abortion and repealing the New Deal.

Amy Coney Barrett is already attracting wide
support from obedient Republican Senators

It turns out that a Democratic President and Congress have a few other tools at their disposal to keep the Republican-dominated Supreme Court at bay, assuming that Biden's margin of victory is big enough that they cannot nobble the election and install a Republican, as they did in 2000.

Now the Supreme Court two centuries ago decided that it had the power to overturn acts of Congress it concluded were unconstitutional.  That authority has been used sometimes for good, like overturning the Orwellian “Defense of Marriage Act,” but usually for ill, as when the 1930's Supreme Court chucked a bunch of New Deal laws into the trash until they were sufficiently intimidated by President Roosevelt to back off (that was the previous effort at “court-packing”).

That's the power it used to poke holes in the Affordable Care Act, first by absurdly holding that Congress lacked the power to require people to buy health insurance (even though it had the power to prevent them from buying all sorts of things, like weed) and the second by holding it couldn't tell states how to spend Federal Medicaid funds because – there wasn't any reason at all except it was somehow too mean to states, who had the sovereign right to let their citizens die for lack of health care.

How did those federal statutes reach the Supreme Court chopping block? If you were paying close attention in Federal Courts, or are just an irredeemable dork, you might remember that Congress decides under what circumstances the Court gets to decide these cases.  And that means Congress can change its mind if it doesn't like the results it's getting from a Court that includes two sex offenders and soon one Indiana Handmaid.  

Right now, Congress, in its wisdom, has granted to the Supreme Court final authority to decide all Constitutional challenges to federal law, including the Affordable Care Act.  

What if it didn't?  What if 28 USC § 1331, which gives federal courts general authority to decide Constitutional questions was changed?

What if the Judiciary Act of 2021 added some new sections along the following lines:


provided, however, that the Supreme Court shall have no jurisdiction to decide any Constitutional challenges to laws related to

(1) the provision of health care and health insurance, 

(2) protecting the rights of Americans to vote including regulating the manner in which states may modify provisions relating to voting and overriding state limitations on the right to vote,

(3)  efforts to protect the public from the effects of global warming and other types of environmental pollution,

(4) remedying past or present invidious discrimination against women and minorities, including claims that such remedies may have an effect on men or other privileged groups.

For the purposes of this provision, the term “Constitutional challenges” shall include any claim alleging that an act of Congress in some manner insults or injures the sovereignty of a State.

You get the drift.

We have in the past not been great fans of statutes purporting to strip the courts of jurisdiction to hear Constitutional challenges to federal laws, because then you've got Constitutional rights you can't enforce.  But if the only rights the six Republican goons will enforce are those of states against their citizens, maybe it's time to reallocate the burden of protecting rights to the political branches for a while.

There are some other less drastic changes that could be added to keep Brett “She was asking for it” Kavanaugh and his brethren at bay.

Right now for example, it takes only four Justices to accept a case for review or stay a lower court order.

We can fix that too!

The four-justice rule isn't a statute, it's a rule they pulled out of their Supreme blowholes.  Congress can stipulate the number by adding a little something like this:

The Supreme Court may (a) grant a writ of certiorari as specified in Chapter 81 of Title 28 U.S.C. or (b) stay any decision of any other state or federal court, by unanimous vote of the Justices.

So Clarence, Beer-lovin' Brett, Sam, and soon Spooky Amy won't be able to get into any mischief all by their lone selves!

Finally, since this essay on drafting is getting a bit tedious even for us, we've got one more crowd-pleasing suggestion for legislation that no one would disagree with:

The future home of the Marshall-Ginsburg Center
for the Study of Equal Justice Under Law

(a) A sum not to exceed $100,000,000 is authorized to be appropriated to reconstruct the building located at One First Street, N.E. in the State of Washington, D.C., formerly used to house the Supreme Court, for use as the Thurgood Marshall & Ruth Bader Ginsburg Center for the Study of Equal Justice Under Law;

(b) To ensure the continued efficient functioning of the Supreme Court,  a sum not to exceed $500,000 is authorized to be appropriated to provide appropriate video conferencing equipment for the Justices and staff of the Supreme Court and conference and courtroom facilities at any surplus federal installation, including any structure formerly used as an immigration detention facility.

Imagine how inspiring it would be for visitors to the Capitol to turn their attention across the street and see a structure devoted not to the perpetuation of white extremism, but to the important work of Justices Marshall and Ginsburg which falls to us to carry on!  We wouldn't even need to change the motto on the entablature.

All you have to do is vote.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

On Rosh Hashonah it is written, on Election Day it is sealed


By Foreign Correspondent Josephine Baker in Chateau-Thierry with
Scott V. Sandford, Justice Correspondent
and A. Cahan, Hebrew Affairs Editor      

The New Year was marked by two exceptionally grim tidings: the death of legendary Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 87, and the death count of Americans lost to coronavirus had reached 200,000.  As the experience of Germany shows, 150,000 to 160,000 of those deaths could have been prevented by a competent, functioning national government.  

By the way, how many is 200,000 deaths?  It's getting cheap to say it's 50,000 Benghazis or a 9/11 every week.  

By comparison, the American War Graves Commission oversees the memorials to about 207,000 brave Americans dead and missing from World Wars I and II.  We won't lose that many to coronavirus until about Columbus Day at current rates. 

Here's the US Military Cemetery in Normandy, near the D-Day landing site.  Counting the missing, there are 11,000 remembered there:

Here's another 6,000 at the Ardennes Memorial Cemetery:

And 5,000 in Brittany:

Finally, here's Belleau Wood, where ol' Bone Spurs was a no-show because he couldn't be bothered to drive through the rain to honor “losers:”

Another 3,000 here.

That's about 25,000 in total.  Multiply that by eight and you get to the number we've lost due to COVID-19.

With all of these losses at this season you would think the nation would mourn, and reflect on all who have died.


Because if the deaths of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and 200,000 other Americans aren't cause for celebration, what is?

But with Republicans, as we're fond of saying, it's never just one thing, it's every f***in' thing.  It's not just the obscenity of using Justice Ginsburg's death as an applause line for a bunch of suckers many of whom will likewise soon be dead from the virus they picked up at this super spreader event.

It's the hypocrisy.  Remember way back in February 2016, when the Republican Senate refused to grant real President Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland, so much as a hearing on the principle that in an election year, the next elected President should pick the nominee?  It's true.  But that was then and those very same Republicans who were so solicitous of the popular will nine months before an election don't seem to have the same concern 44 days before the next one:

Senate Republicans defended their plans to seat a nominee chosen by President Trump in a presidential election year, despite previously blocking the consideration of a Supreme Court nominee put forward by President Barack Obama in 2016.

“What we’re proposing is completely consistent, completely consistent with the precedent,” Senator John Barrasso, Republican of Wyoming and a member of Senate leadership, claimed on “Meet the Press.”

But Democrats can wail about hypocrisy all they want, and Republicans, whose only superpower is invulnerability to shame, will just laugh, as they always do when Democrats bring withering Tweets to a gun fight.

So what can be done?  Lots, assuming we do our jobs and elect a Democratic President, Senate, and House.

If the Republicans ram through some extremist reactionary Federalist Society fembot, thereby continuing their efforts to pack the Supreme Court with rapists and other reliable conservatives, Democrats are entitled to unpack the Court by expanding it to 13 and nominating four decent Justices, including Merrick Garland.

It's a fun fact that the number of Supreme Court justices isn't in the Constitution.  It's a statute that can be amended by the same institutions that enacted it to begin with.  Check it out.  Title 28 of the US Code covers the judicial branch.  Here's the first provision:

Seems pretty clear to us that if in 1948 the Congress and President could enact a law with the word “eight” in it, in 2021 those same institutions could amend the law to read “twelve.”

Now the notion of changing the number of Justices to remedy 20 years of Republican Court-packing was regarding until recently as both extreme and bootless.  But it's both legal and proper.  If anyone can think of anything else that would persuade Moscow Mitch not to ram through a replacement for poor Justice Ginsburg before January 20, please let us know.

Some have objected that changing the number of Justices would set a bad precedent and that a future Republican Congress and President could further expand the Court to suit their purposes.

Let's do a little thought experiment, shall we?  Let's assume Moscow Mitch gets his way, but that over the next eight or sixteen or twenty-four years the Democrats manage to confirm a majority of non-crazy Justices.  Does anyone think the Republicans would hesitate for one second to add more Justices if they thought they could get away with it?  And if so, show your work, because we can't think of a single norm they haven't shredded in pursuit of power and money.

Eventually, in a sane world both parties would agree to a bipartisan rewrite of Article III providing for 18-year terms for all federal judges but only if both understand that failing to do so would lead to the infinite expansion of the Court, like the universe.

Perhaps realizing that the only thing that Republicans understand is retaliation, some fairly mainstream Democrats have begun to talk about Unpacking the Courts.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder, for one:

And House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler.  Really.  Jerry Nadler:

Perhaps moderate folks like these two are hoping that the threat of Court expansion will be enough to shake loose enough Republicans to keep Moscow Mitch from confirming Justice Opus Dei. 

That may be the biggest drawback.  Even if the Republicans don't succeed in ramming through a hideous replacement for Justice Ginsburg, Democrats should still Unpack the Courts next year to undo the damage caused by denying Merrick Garland a fair hearing and confirming two angry reactionary sex offenders.

If Moscow Mitch were smart, he'd defang the Democrats by agreeing to keep the seat open in exchange for Democrats not adding new seats in January.  Fortunately for those watching the Court with increasing dread and alarm, no one ever said he was smart.

And one more thing: Happy New Year.

UPDATE: Sept. 20, 1642Z:  Dahlia Lithwick also ready to rumble: 

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Law 'n Order, Republican Style

By Scott V. Sandford
Justice Correspondent

Lost in the torrent of news about catastrophic wildfires in the west, the scarcely-surprising revelation that Pres Super Spreader was lying, and continues to lie, about the lethality of the uncontrolled coronavirus epidemic, not to mention his contemning of fallen soldiers as “losers” and “suckers,” was another catastrophic series of blows to the rule of law in America.  Side benefit: these assaults had only one cause and one effect: to rig the election in favor of – you guessed it, Republicans.

How many defeats did the cause of law and order suffer this week?  Let us count the ways and the number of elected Republicans who have condemned these travesties (Spoiler alert:  it's 0.0.).


Remember Michael Flynn, the demented whack job who for reasons still not fully known decided he would tip off Russian diplomats about the incoming Administration's plans to undercut real President Obama's Russia policies and then lied about it to the FBI?

Live shot of rule of law, after Barr weighs in
He was indicted by Republican Special Counsel Robert Mueller. After looking at the overwhelming evidence that he, um, lied, he copped a plea and admitted under oath in open court twice that he was guilty of the crimes charged.

Years passed, and U Bum's Attorney General Torquemada Barr decided for no doubt legitimate reasons that in fact there was no basis for the FBI's investigation (discounting the intercepted communications between Gen. Guilty and Soviet, uh, Russian diplomats).  Accordingly, his Department of Justice demanded that the presiding judge drop the case and spring Flynn.

The judge decided to appoint a friend of the court to make whatever arguments could be made in opposition to this motion (because Flynn was jiggy with it).  He chose subversive radical leftist John Gleeson, a, um, former Federal judge, Federal prosecutor, and associate at that well-known Antifa front organization, Cravath.  

Judge Gleeson had a few judiciously chosen reactions to Barr's efforts:

“In the United States, Presidents do not orchestrate pressure campaigns to get the Justice Department to drop charges against defendants who have pleaded guilty — twice, before two different judges — and whose guilt is obvious,” wrote John Gleeson, a former federal judge and prosecutor appointed to oppose the Justice Department in the case.

The extraordinarily scathing brief alleges in detail and with precision that the Justice Department broke from decades of procedure to help out a friend of President Trump’s. Dripping with contempt for the government’s position, Gleeson argued that federal prosecutors were too lazy to respond to earlier arguments he had made, including whether the content of Flynn’s lies was material.

He added that the DOJ typically does not “make a practice of attacking its own prior filings in a case, as well as judicial opinions ruling in its favor, all while asserting that the normal rules should be set aside for a defendant who is openly favored by the President.”

“Yet that is exactly what has unfolded here,” Gleeson wrote.

We don't have much to add to what Judge Gleeson had to say, except to point out that this act of obstruction of justice by Torquemada Barr, taken in isolation (which it isn't – see below!) would be the worst crime ever committed by a United States Attorney General, up to and including John Mitchell.


We all know that, thanks to the absurd and anti-democratic Electoral College, the 2020 Presidential election will be decided not by the will of the people of the United States but by the people in six swing states. One of those states, which Hillary Clinton lost by some 23,000 votes in 2016, is the great state of Wisconsin. How's it going? 

Not so good.

The appalling Republican record of doing everything in its power to nobble elections and hold on to its minority rule is known to all, other than the press and Republicans, so we need not dilate on it here.  Exhibit 38,534: the 2020 Wisconsin ballot.   Republicans have noticed that U Bum's margin of victory was less than the 31,000 votes garnered by Jill Stein on the Insufferable Entitled Old White Lady ticket.

Could idiocy [Surely, lightning – Ed.] strike twice?  Wisconsin Republicans sure hope so, because they've been hard at work promoting a Green Party ballot line again.  Here's the timetable, courtesy of The Washington Post (although it took some work to unravel their story):

Waiting to hear when Wisconsin Supreme
Court will let him turn on the water
In July, the Green Party suddenly found the resources somewhere to mount a petition drive to get on the Wisconsin ballot.

In August, the staff of the Wisconsin Cheese Board [Surely, Election Commission? – Ed.] determined that the Green Party was using two addresses and told them to advise which one was correct.

After getting no response to this request, on August 20 the Commission denied the Party's request for a ballot line.

Two weeks passed, hurricanes raged, wildfires devoured the west, wheels of cheddar aged in the Wisconsin Dells.  Eventually the Green Party, using the same law firm that represents the Republican Party filed suit to get on the ballot.

On Thursday, September 10, the Republican-dominated state Supreme Court barred the printing and distribution of ballots until it had ruled.

No problem, right?  Umm . . .

That has left election clerks across the state in limbo. They warned that millions of ballots have already been printed, and cities and towns have begun stuffing and labeling envelopes and preparing to send out more than 1 million ballots that have been requested so far by voters.

Now, local officials may need to order new ballots — and cough up the money to pay for them — while facing imminent state and federal deadlines to send them to voters. The state requires that ballots be sent to voters who have requested them by Sept. 17, and the federal deadline for mailing ballots to overseas and military voters is two days later, Sept. 19. 

So to recap the election process in a state that helped swing the 2016 election with a margin of 23,000 is facing a meltdown of its voting system, because a partisan court knows that the longer it dithers, the better it is for their boy, President Tiny Toadstool.

When The Washington Post asked the Green Party candidate, who is not an elderly Harvard-educated madwoman from the Boston suburbs, whether he had gotten help from Republicans, he said the quiet part out loud: “You get help where you can find it. . . .They have their reasons and we have ours.” 


The full list of obstructions and perversions of justice committed by Torquemada Barr is far too long to list in full, but in addition to Count I, it will be recalled that he has promised to deliver his hit job on the 2016 decision to open a counterintelligence investigation on the many efforts by Russia to intervene on behalf of President PAB and the reciprocal efforts by corrupt President PAB minions to solicit such unlawful intervention. 

Torquemada has already made clear that he doesn't believe his October Surprise violates the policy that prosecutors “may never select the timing of investigative steps or criminal charges for the purpose of affecting any election, or for the purpose of giving an advantage or disadvantage to any candidate or political party.”

But in his fevered mind that doesn't keep him from releasing an “interim report” with as many smears as he can slip in. The pressure on the actual investigators has finally caused one career prosecutor to exit stage left, integrity intact:

A top aide to the criminal prosecutor whom Attorney General William P. Barr assigned to scrutinize the Trump-Russia investigation has resigned unexpectedly from the Justice Department, a spokesman said Friday.

It was not immediately clear why the official, Nora R. Dannehy — a trusted assistant to John H. Durham, the prosecutor leading the investigation and the U.S. attorney in Connecticut — stepped down.

The Hartford Courant, which first reported her departure, cited unidentified colleagues in Mr. Durham’s office as saying that she had expressed concerns in recent weeks about pressure from Mr. Barr to deliver results ahead of the presidential election in November.

So a career prosecutor isn't going to be a part of any further effort to pervert the course of justice, which in this case would mean smearing those like Mueller and the FBI who uncovered a chunk of the truth: that President U Bum sought and received massive illegal Russian assistance in 2016.  


Speaking of nobbling elections in favor of Republicans, let's check with another bunch of bent judges, this time doing business as the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.  Last week the Republican majority of that court effectively undid the will of the people of Florida, who voted to allow felons who had completed their sentences to vote.

Lifetime felon disenfranchisement had been a feature of Florida's two racist constitutions written in 1885 and 1968.  After years of effort, the state's constitution was rewritten by popular referendum.

To frustrate the popular will and keep 774,000 citizens away from the polls (in a state won by the Republican nominees  in 2000 by at most 587 votes), the Republican dominated government added a requirement that the felon pay all fines and court costs imposed at any level of government, regardless of ability to pay.

The punch line: in many cases, these people had no idea what that amount was due to sloppy or nonexistent recordkeeping.  So they were denied their right to vote until they complied with a law impossible to comply with.  Not to mention that conditioning the vote on payment of a tax was expressly outlawed by the 24th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

So courts held until the case reached the Republican dominated 11th Circuit.  Guess what?  All six Republican judges, including the five appointed by President U Bum, waved aside 150 years of law and history protecting the franchise and said that the Florida Republican regime could override the popular vote and deny voting rights to the unlucky 774,000,  over one-quarter of which are persons of color.

Or as the dissent said pithily

To demonstrate the magnitude of the problem, Florida has not even been able to tell the 17 named plaintiffs in this case what their outstanding [debts] are. . . . . So felons who want to satisfy the LFO requirement are unable to do so, and will be prevented from voting in the 2020 elections and far beyond. Had Florida wanted to create a system to obstruct, impede, and impair the ability of felons to vote under Amendment 4, it could not have come up with a better one.

And, Judge Jill Pryor, that's a problem because why?

In arguing this appeal, the State told us outright what it has been showing us all along: The State doesn’t care if “the proportion of felons able to complete their sentence” with [debts] included is “0%.” . . . If this is not a nullification of the will of the electorate, I don’t know what would be. And it is a dream deferred for the men and women who, having paid their debt to society to the extent of their capacity—often by having served lengthy prison sentences and periods under supervision—are deprived of the franchise that Amendment 4 promised to automatically restore. The majority today deprives the plaintiffs and countless others like them of opportunity and equality in voting through its denial of the plaintiffs’ due process, Twenty-Fourth Amendment, and equal protection claims. I dissent.

Not respectfully dissent, but dissent. That's a tell.

But you can parse the majority's ridiculous dismissal of the poll-tax, due process, and equal protection arguments yourself, if you are suffering from low blood pressure.  Of greater interest are the five very fine people nominated by Pres U Bum and rammed through the Senate by Moscow Mitch McConnell, who made this cruel and lawless decision possible.

There wasn't much left of the right to vote
after the Eleventh Circuit was finished with it.

Say hello to Kevin Newsom, Federalist Society stalwart (although in his testimony he claimed not to be able to understand its mission statement).  He's a deep thinker:  “In 2000, Newsom wrote a law review article equating the privacy rationale of Roe v. Wade to Dred Scott, the 1857 decision upholding slavery.”  

Elizabeth Branch?  Another Federalist Society member.

Barbara Lagoa?  She's been on the bench for many months now.  And who would have guessed, but she joined the Federalist Society in 1998.  She also didn't know what the Society's mission statement meant.  

Britt Grant clerked for Brett “Trouser Snake” Kavanaugh in his post-sex crime days on the D.C. Circuit.   She's a member of the National Lawyers' Guild.

Nah, we're s***in' you:

In addition, Ms. Grant is a long-time member of the Federalist Society, joining this group in 2004 during her first year of law school and serving as her law school chapter president and later as a member of the Atlanta Chapter Advisory Board and Executive Board. This out-of-the-mainstream legal organization represents a sliver of America’s legal profession – just four percent – yet over 80 percent of Trump’s circuit court nominees, and a significant number of his district court nominees, have been Federalist Society members.

Last but certainly least, Robert Luck.  You already know the rest:

Luck and Lagoa’s successful confirmations cap off a rapid ascent in 2019. Less than a year ago, Luck and Lagoa were appointed to the Florida Supreme Court by Gov. Ron DeSantis after serving as judges in the Florida circuit court system. In September, Trump nominated the pair to replace two federal judges. Neither Luck nor Lagoa has federal judicial experience but are well-respected among peers in the legal field. They are both members of the Federalist Society, a nationwide group of conservative lawyers that seeks to interpret the law as written and plays a large role in Republican court nominations.

(We'll leave for another day the propriety if any of two right wing clowns who owe their rise to bent Gov. DeSantis weighing in on the constitutionality of laws pushed through by the same Gov. DeSantis.)

But the point isn't that the five loons are members of a fringe shadowy legal fraternity with repellent and insane views.  It's that they are members of an Establishment shadowy legal fraternity with repellent and insane views.  Are there any Federalist Society members we could cite in support of this proposition?

How about every progressive's favorite Never Tiny Toadstooler and husband of the year George Conway?  He “has long been a member of and contributor to the Federalist Society, [and] said he had nothing but admiration for its work.”  He now thinks the Tangerine-Faced Grifter is a danger to the Rule of Law.

Before you prostrate yourself before him, maybe ask him whether he also believes the holding of the five clowns his pressure group shoehorned onto the Eleventh Circuit that citizens can be barred from voting until they pay fines and costs in an amount unknowable to them was maybe not the brightest day for the Rule of Law he claims to hold so dear.

UPDATE, Sept. 15 – On September 14, one Republican judge on the Wisconsin Supreme Court defected, becoming the decisive vote to dismiss the Green Party legal challenge on the grounds that entertaining it would disrupt the election.  The Post account also provided further evidence were more needed of who was behind the efforts to put fringe parties on the ballot in a swing state:

Bob Spindell, a Republican member of the Wisconsin Elections Commission who voted to allow the Green Party on the ballot, said in an interview Monday that partisan leanings influenced the actions of many of those involved in both the Green Party and the West cases.

“To be truthful with you, the Republicans wanted [Kanye] West to be on the ballot, and Republicans wanted the Green Party to be on the ballot,” Spindell said. “Democrats did not want the West or Green Party tickets to be on the ballot.”

Wisconsin is one of at least five states where The Post has identified Republicans, including activists who had recently voiced support for President Trump, working on an effort to put West on the ballot. As with the Green Party ticket, the GOP involvement has raised fears among Democrats that West’s candidacy is intended to peel votes from Biden.

In West’s case, Lane Ruhland, a Madison lawyer and former general counsel for the state Republican Party, delivered his ballot petition to state regulators in early August.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

American Carnage: A Republican Tradition

By Isaiah Thomas
Board of Editors
with Medical Correspondent Vincent Boom-Batz, M.D.

So many despicable Republican outrages, so little time.  What to choose?  The noise out of Washington this weekend is the entirely already known revelation that President Pussy Ass  Bitch hates and contemns those who risk, and sometimes lose, their lives in service to their country.

Of course, the Tangerine-Faced Grifter claims the story is as fake as the equally true story about how he was installed as President thanks to Russian election interference or was rightfully impeached for extorting campaign assistance from a foreign government in desperate need of U.S. support and military assistance.  To date, not a single ranking officer who has served with or under him since January 20, 2017 has disputed a single word of the reporting now confirmed by multiple mainstream sources (The Atlantic, AP, The Washington Post).  We'll go with the dogs that aren't barking.

Or we could dilate on the continuing efforts of the Bigot-in-Chief to foment white racist resentment over the entirely justified protests by Black citizens and their allies over the continued killings of Black men and women by out-of-control police forces.  Hello, Rochester!

But we think we'll go with the ever increasing stack of bodies in the corner: the 190,000 victims of President Tiny Toadstool's inept refusal to take effective measures to protect the nation from the coronavirus epidemic.  Lost in the other news was the latest prediction of the American body count by year end:

You can read the appalling details here.  To be fair, we should point out that some non-crazy public health experts think that figure is too high and the butcher's bill for 2020 could be closer to a mere 300,000.  What a relief!

To put this into perspective, this is about 300,000 times the number of persons allegedly killed by violent leftist agitators this year, the horror of which has consumed President Tiny Toadstool and his Trumpublican fake outrage machine for months.

And yet, the Trumpublicans don't appear to be too worried about the death and suffering.  They have stonewalled the Democratic bill to prevent the epidemic from leading to mass hunger, suffering, and homelessness.  They continue to insist that effective prophylactic measures, like compulsory mask wearing in public, constitute the greatest attack on freedom since fundamentalist pharmacists were told they had to do their jobs and fulfill prescriptions for contraceptives.

To us, the most remarkable aspect of the callous Republican indifference to human life, not to mention the extent of suffering and deprivation across the country, without precedent since 1932, is how many are surprised.  After all, they are proud to be the “pro-life” party.

There are a number of plausible reasons for this, as suggested by this thoughtful piece in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

There are also circumstances unique to the United States that have led to our absence of national mourning. President Donald Trump has shied away from his role as consoler in chief, shifting focus away from the dead to deflect criticism of his leadership during the crisis.

But a president who fails to project empathy isn’t the only one to blame, said University of Connecticut history Prof. Micki McElya, who has written extensively on the politics of mourning.

“There’s been a failure among the American people,” she said. “Sure, the administration sets the tone, but it speaks to deeper divisions, and also to structural inequalities in this country,” she said.

Marginalized groups are overrepresented among the severely ill and deceased, particularly people of color, whose more limited access to good health care has led to chronic conditions that make them more vulnerable to the coronavirus.

“The disproportionate impact on these populations is such clear evidence of how structural inequality works,” McElya said.

She also noted that people of color are more likely to work in jobs that increase their risk of contracting the virus — caring for the elderly, processing meat, fulfilling online orders — or live in institutions such as prisons and homeless shelters, where it’s easy for infections to spread.  . . .

While some American coronavirus victims have been honored in the media, there haven’t been events with the broad traction of a national moment of silence, like those recently observed in China, Italy and the U.K.

With the populace so siloed, and those most affected going largely unseen, it’s difficult for many of us to feel we have anything in common with those who have died of the virus.

As the article implies, the real question isn't why there hasn't been more of a outpouring of grief and outrage over 190,000 mostly preventable deaths.  The question is why anyone is surprised.

The last 56 years have shown us that indifference to the loss of innocent lives, especially when those lives can be deprecated as those of persons of color, and to effective measures to save those and similar lives is as integral to Republican beliefs as putting high powered assault weapons in the hands of angry loons (leading to the slaughter of scores of innocent students) or outlawing legal abortion (leading to the deaths of desperate women forced to find lethal alternatives).

It's especially easy for Republicans to ignore the toll of death and suffering when the alternative – effective action such as health care for all – can be categorized as, you guessed it, an intolerable burden on “freedom.”  Don't believe us?  Just check out the album pictured above featuring that guy who seems to be falling over at his desk.  Whatever happened to him?

Just don't ask him how many old people would have died unnecessarily had they not been afforded, since 1965, health insurance under Medicare.  More generally, a study from two far-left institutions, Harvard Medical School and Cambridge Health Alliance,  concluded that in 2009 (prior to Obamacare and Medicaid expansion), lack of health insurance led to 45,000 unnecessary deaths.  

Now 45,000 a year is a far cry from 400,000 COVID-19 deaths a year, but when you consider that Republicans still oppose national health insurance and expanding Medicaid to states ruled by Republicans (notably Texas and Florida), you multiply it by say the 6 years since Obamacare took effect and you get another 270,000 preventable deaths.  Now that's American carnage!

But with Republicans, it's never just one thing, it's every f***in' thing.  They have fought not only guaranteeing health care for all, but also guaranteeing adequate food for all.  Remember when Republicans tried to cut food stamps by threatening a default on the national debt?  

They wanted to cut $13 billion a year in 2012.  Then, Pres U Bum, whom Republican flacks and hacks tell us is such a gross departure from great Republicans like Earl Butz, in the middle of the pandemic that has ravaged America, wanted to kick another 700,000 persons off as recently as May. Of course if Republicans had their way, there would be no food stamps at all. 

Even St. Ronald of Bitburg tried to starve children: 

 After all, it's a core Republican belief that there's no such thing as a free lunch.

And what would happen without food stamps? Well, here's how things are going with the current inadequate program, according to Sunday's New York Times Magazine:

In numbers, it's like this, said the Times:

In one week in late July nearly 30 million Americans reported they did not have enough to eat, according to a government survey. Among households with children, one in three reported insufficient food, the highest level in the nearly two decades the government has tracked hunger in America, said Lauren Bauer, who studies food insecurity at the Brookings Institution. (emphasis added because you people are lazy)

Is that bad?  Sadly we let our subscription to Pediatrics lapse but here are the conclusions of one recent study from Boston Medical Center:

As we awoke this month to another dispiriting report of the numbers of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infections and deaths, a new set of horrifying statistics hit the airwaves. By the end of April 2020, 2 in 5 households with children <12 were food insecure (meaning they were unable to afford enough food for all household members to live active, healthy lives), and, in nearly one-half of these households, parents reported that their children were directly experiencing food insecurity (FI). These levels exceed those found at any time since FI measurement was implemented in the late 1990s, including during the previous Great Recession of 2007–2009. . . .

Ample scientific research establishes that FI experienced at even the mildest levels has acute and later chronic effects on health, cognition, and socioemotional adaptation. Young children raised in food insecure households are at a greater risk of fair or poor health, hospitalizations, developmental delays, cognitive impairment, poor academic performance, abnormal weight and BMI, and decreased social [end of free excerpt; emphasis added]

We're going to guess that if Republicans succeeded in ending food stamp assistance to those who rely on it, the carnage, both short- and long-term, would be even greater and Republicans would care less.   

Speaking of carnage . . .

Then there's the decades-long Republican denial of global warming and refusal to do even one f**kin' thing to slow it down.  How many corpses will that anti-science insanity generate, beyond the current plight of those picking crops in the Central Valley of California in record-high 120℉ heat or clearing the rubble of their Louisiana homes destroyed by Hurricane Laura?

According to Jim, Jen, Stephanie and the other Antifa bombthrowers doing business as The Weather Channel, global warming will lead to 250,000 deaths per year around the world by 2050.  Of course most of those deaths won't be Americans, so maybe the Republicans will need to change their slogan to “Global Carnage.”

So when you hear people saying they can't believe that our current ruling Republicans are so determined to ignore the 190,000 deaths already racked up by their inept non-response to COVID-19, just remember that it's the same bunch that for decades didn't give a rat's a** about equally high and horrible body counts caused by lack of health care, hunger, and uncontrolled global warming.

And we haven't even touched upon Republican indifference to the hundreds of thousands of lives lost from their misadventures in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Nicaragua, Iraq, and, most recently by proxy, Yemen.

We suggest the Republicans unite the various supposedly warring factions of their party around a common vision embodying the best of Republican thinking past and present.  They could simply boast “American Carnage – Mission Accomplished!”