The Watering Hole; Thursday July 2 2015; Recent Supreme Court Decisions and Wingnut Analysis Thereof

As we all know, there are times when no matter what one says or how s/he says it, it remains virtually impossible to summarize the ignorant subtleties implicit in various statements of position by those who, in their own definition, are consummate (right wing) experts on the topics at hand. It’s for this reason I’ve decided that today I’m turning the bulk of this post over to a well known far right spokesman, and in the process allowing him to explain, in his own words and without interruption, exactly what is so wrong about a pair of recent Supreme Court decisions.

So. Courtesy of C&L and/or his blog, here’s the complete transcript of Bill O’Reilly’s “Talking Points Memo” of June 29th. It is his response to the Supreme Court’s recent rulings in favor of both the American Care Act and gay marriage. It’s admittedly a somewhat lengthy dissertation, but since it’s typical of O’Reilly, it doesn’t really demand much more than a quick skim to gather in the points he pretends to make. In the skimming process, you’ll notice that O”Reilly does not, as is his habit, spare the vitriol — nor does he offer any hint whatsoever that he’s more than remotely familiar with the Constitution in re those matters he’s chosen to discuss. He does amply demonstrate, however, that ignorance does NOT always define bliss.

Enough chit chat. Here goes, as they say, nothing:

The court’s acceptance of Obamacare and gay marriage was predictable. In fact our “Is It Legal?” team accurately foretold what would happen last week.

The Supreme Court is made up of nine individuals who see America in very different ways. Some see a country that needs to be changed; others believe we are a settled nation where established law should be upheld.

Generally speaking we have an activist court, not judges who are able to put ideology aside.

Chief Justice John Roberts provides a vivid example. He believes the Congress should make laws, not judges. That was the intent of the Founders.

So Roberts jumped through legal hoops to justify Obamacare.

No matter the legal problems, Roberts ignored them, deferring to congressional approval of the affordable healthcare law.

To his credit, Roberts is consistent. He voted against gay marriage because, again, he doesn’t want the court to make law, which the gay nuptial decision does.

Most of the other justices are consistent, as well. They often decide cases through a prism of what they believe to be right for the country, not what our original system of checks and balances dictates.

Here’s how crazy the system has become. Liberal Justices Ginsburg and Kagan each presided over a gay marriage. In Ginsburg’s case, four.

Yet they did not recuse themselves when the issue came before the court.

Come on! We either have a fair legal system or we don’t, and right now we don’t.

The Factor’s philosophy has been consistent for nearly 20 years. I believe every American should have an equal shot to pursue happiness and prosperity, and that the government must provide oversight to provide that opportunity for all.

But I do not believe the government has a right to impose upon me or any other American rules that deny my freedom to express myself, practice my faith, or earn my living.

If a baker believes marriage is a sacrament instituted by his religion, the government should leave the baker alone.

Even though the Supreme Court has now ruled that gay marriage is legal, it has no constitutional right to force anyone to participate in it.

To do so tears up the social contract forged by the Founders.

Americans who sincerely believe that judges do have the authority to redefine marriage have a perfect right to celebrate their victory, provided they are following their consciences.

However, they do not have a right to demonize those who disagree based on the same principle: conscience.

Yesterday Fox News analyst Father Jonathan Morris was walking in New York City close to where the gay pride parade was taking place.

Father Morris reports two men spit on him. He will tell that story on Hannity tonight.

Oppression runs both ways, and all Americans should consider that.

For example, Justice Scalia wrote a well thought out dissent to the gay marriage decision. He was immediately mocked:

STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN: “Now, Justice Scalia was a little more nuanced in his criticism – writing that if he ever joined an opinion that began the way Justice Kennedy’s majority decision did, quote, ‘I would hide my head in a bag.’ I could have sworn he was already hiding his head in a flesh-toned cinch sack. Please come on my show, sir. Scalia also took issue with the majority’s view that marriage is about free expression, grumbling ‘Expression, sure enough, is a freedom, but anyone in a long-lasting marriage will attest that that happy state constricts, rather than expands what one can prudently say.’ Which is both a fiery dissent and the world’s longest Lockhorn comic.”

In a few months Colbert will be competing against Fallon and Kimmel, both talented and successful guys. He might want to think about alienating traditional Americans to the extent he has; could be very bad for business.

The deciding vote in the gay marriage decision was Justice Kennedy, a good man.

He clearly and honestly wrote that his decision was primarily based on emotion, that compassion dictates gay Americans have equal marital status.

Thus Kennedy forged a legal opinion using the concept of greater good. There is obviously nothing in the Constitution that allows the redefinition of marriage.

On a strictly constitutional basis, that decision has to come from Congress because it is law.

The Supreme Court deviated from that dictum, as it has in the past for political and personal reasons.

On healthcare the issue is again greater good. Obamacare is obviously yet another federal entitlement program designed to help poor Americans at the expense of non-poor Americans.

The president sold the law on the basis that it is a benefit for all. But only his party bought that; not one Republican member of Congress voted for it.

Subsequently, health insurance costs have risen for many working Americans, and a significant number of doctors are refusing to take government mandated insurance programs.

But the four liberal judges don’t really care about the overall impact of Obamacare.

They want free healthcare for the poor and will find a legal justification for it no matter what the actual law says.

Add in Roberts and Kennedy and presto, another enormous social safety net that benefits the have-nots survives a valid legal challenge.

The sad truth is most Americans have no idea what’s really happening to their country. These are complicated issues where both sides have legitimate points. But some important decisions are being made outside Constitutional authority.

If the trend toward big government and political activism by judges continues, the liberty of the individual is going to take a huge hit.

Already we have a guy running for president, Senator Bernie Sanders, who does not oppose a top income tax rate of 90 percent.

Conservative and independent-minded Americans should well understand what is occurring. Uber-left politicians and judges aided by a compliant media and vicious smear merchants on the net now have political cover and momentum.

They are hell-bent on crushing traditional beliefs and competitive capitalism, replacing them with so-called tolerance and forced asset sharing.

The tenets of victimization and grievance may soon dominate public policy even at the expense of public safety and majority opinion.

You see, in the brave new progressive world the rights and welfare of each American really don’t matter.

The promise of collective social justice dominates, and you will be dismissed as unworthy or even be branded a bigot if you get in the way of that promise.

That is the reality of America as we head into the 2016 presidential campaign.

Spread the word.

And that’s the memo.

There’s really not much to say in response to that “speech” other than to point out the fact (obvious to most anyone with a functioning mind) that O’Reilly is wrong on virtually every point he tries to make. I won’t waste my time or yours by citing chapter and verse, will simply cite one of his many premises, the one in which he states that There is obviously nothing in the Constitution that allows the redefinition of marriage, and then point out that there is nothing in the Constitution that ‘defines’ marriage in the first place. In fact, the word “marriage” appears in the Constitution as amended exactly the same number of times as do each the words God, Jesus, Christian, sin, sex — ZERO; right wing political “accuracy” regardless of source therein defined.

Overall, the one thing O’Reilly and his ilk, including each and every passenger in the Republican Clown Car, remind me of is statement which seems to almost entirely sum up their aims, their goals, and their collective philosophy. It reads:

“The National Government will regard it as its first and foremost duty to revive in the nation the spirit of unity and cooperation. It will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation has been built. It regards Christianity as the foundation of our national morality, and the family as the basis of national life. Turbulent instincts must be replaced by a national discipline as the guiding principle of our national life.”

Sounds like one of the Presidential candidates, but which one? Huckabee, maybe, or Santorum? Carson? Cruz? One of the other ten announced so far? Or maybe one who’s still waiting in the wings?

The answer, regardless of how unlikely it sounds, is none of the above. Nor is it a paragraph from the Republican Party Platform for 2016 or from any other year. Nope. Those were word spoken on the first day of February, 1933, by Adolf Hitler in his “Proclamation to the German Nation at Berlin.” That’s not to say the GOP couldn’t use it, that it wouldn’t fit. I mean it’s really close to a perfect summary of their implicit goals, and I’m sure it wouldn’t be copyright infringement if they did so choose to put the words to current use.

And I’m sure O’Reilly would spout praise, for once, instead of his typical streams of ignorant vitriol.

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole; Friday June 5 2015; The Constitution v. “Burning” Wingnut Dementia II; Rick Perry

Yesterday, Rick Perry announced his candidacy for the 2016 presidential contest. He’s one of potentially 20, maybe more, blank slates that have jammed themselves into the Republican Candidate Clown Car. One thing’s certain: Rick is, so far, the standout passenger, the only one wearing glasses. That should hold till Jeb climbs on board.

In 2010, as a run-up to his failed 2012 attempt at presidential candidacy, he published a book entitled Fed Up!: Our Fight to Save America from Washington in which he laid out in considerable detail his amazingly narrow view and understanding of the Constitution. A recent post on Think Progress listed nine completely bonkers things Rick Perry believes about the Constitution and discussed each of them in reasonable detail. Each item in the list, as follows, is pretty much self descriptive, remarkably incriminating, and strongly suggestive of yet another outbreak of Wingnut Dementia. TP calls them “some of Perry’s more surprising beliefs”; I call them crazy and ignorant.

1) Social Security And Medicare Are Unconstitutional
2) All Other Federal Health Programs Are Also Unconstitutional
3) Federal Clean Air Laws Are Unconstitutional “Nonsense”
4) Federal Education Programs Are Unconstitutional
5) Nearly All Federal Laws Protecting Workers Are Unconstitutional
6) Federal Financial Reform Is Unconstitutional
7) Voters Should Not Be Able To Choose Their Own Senators
8) Taxing Investment Income Should Be Unconstitutional
9) Activist Judges Are A Serious Problem

I guess I could at times agree with number nine (Citizens United comes to mind, also the SCOTUS assault on the Voting Rights Act), although I’m sure that he and I would tend to define “Activist Judges” far differently (I’m being kind, I’m sure). Overall, though, Rick’s candidacy once again brings to mind Robert Burns and his 1793 “tribute” to Commissary Goldie’s Brains. There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that Burns simply got the name wrong, that he really intended to dedicate it to Rick Perry, the future Texan who was planing to announce his electoral fantasy some 222 years down the road. So what say we change the title from “On Commissary Goldie’s Brains” to maybe something like “On Rick Perry’s” . . . ummm . . . “Brain?” and then carry forth without further ado.

“Lord, to account who dares thee call,
Or e’er dispute thy pleasure?
Else why, within so thick a wall,
Enclose so poor a treasure?”

Burns may have gotten the name wrong, but even so, he managed to perfectly describe Rick Perry, and with only 24 words! Me, I only hope Rick’s middle name begins with the letter ‘I’ — maybe standing for something like, say, “Indicted.” That would expand somewhat the subtleties of meaning implicit in the letters R.I.P. when applied to Republican presidential aspirations.

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole; Thursday June 4 2015; The Constitution v. “Burning” Wingnut Dementia

Morality, thou deadly bane,
Thy tens o’ thousands thou hast slain
Vain is his hope, whase stay an’ trust is
In moral mercy, truth, and justice!
(Robert Burns)

Here are some links to recent wingnut dementia concerning, at their root, the “moral” issues of gay marriage and transgenderism. The article titles pretty much summarize the content.

Roy Moore: Gay Marriage Will ‘Literally Cause The Destruction Of Our Country’

Tom DeLay: Americans Must ‘Rise Up’ Against SCOTUS If It Rules For Marriage Equality

Mike Huckabee: Gay Marriage Will Criminalize Christianity by Elevating ‘A Lifestyle To The Status Of A Civil Right’

Jindal: Left Trying To ‘Outlaw Firmly Held Religious Beliefs That They Do Not Agree With’

Conservative Pundit: ‘The Nation May Not Survive’ Caitlyn Jenner’s Gender Transition

Alex Jones: Caitlyn Jenner Distracting Us From Obama Civil War

Nothing in any of those links likely catches anyone by surprise, given that the ‘speakers’ are, in no specific order, two 2016 Republican presidential candidates, one (Republican) state Supreme Court justice, one (Republican) former House Majority Whip (since convicted for campaign finance money laundering, conviction later overturned by a Texas appellate court), and a pair of wingnut pundits. One might presume at least a couple of those folks to be familiar with Constitutional details appropriate to their arguments (since each and all cite it regularly, albeit usually erroneously), but no, apparently not so. Or maybe it’s just me that doesn’t understand Constitutional reality? I’m not a legal eagle by any stretch, but I like to think I still have the ability to read and comprehend.

Example: here’s Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment (ratified on July 9, 1868):

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Note the lack of specificity in re the words All persons or in the attendant phrase born or naturalized in the United States; there’s no reference to male, female, race, ethnicity, sexual preference, hair color, age, DNA sequence, even to convicted felon(s) — ONLY to All persons. Seems to me it probably refers to everyone who fits the “citizen” category. Period [with the exception, of course, of plants, the higher animals, etc., none of whom are “persons” anyway — at least not in the legal sense — even when born . . . in the United States]. So what’s the rub? Am I not on the mark in wondering just how it is that the question of marriage/sexual preference equality ever found its way to a legitimate hearing by the Supreme Court?

Baffling. It may be true that some believe LGBT rights trample on religious freedom, on religious rights, but how is even THAT a meaningful complaint? The First Amendment allows “no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” and implied in that brief clause (and also in the Constitution’s main body, Article VI) is the parallel thesis that a given religion has no right to impose itself on anyone else, either, particularly the unwilling. One hopes/presumes it’s also true that the notion of directed or focused hatred may NOT be logically deemed a religious ‘right’ or parcel to ‘religious freedom’ no matter the howls of protest to the contrary.

And further, the conservative thesis that just because gay marriage, exempli gratia, happens to be legal and valid in one or more states does NOT mean other states must recognize same falls on hard times when considered in the light of Article IV of the Constitution’s main body:

Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State.

Seems to me that there’s really no legal issue worth looking at in re LGBT rights and same-sex marriage. The Constitution’s authors never included in its text the words marriage, gender, sex, homosexual, heterosexual, transgender . . . or any other ‘modifier’ currently in vogue (or this day in Vanity Fair, for that matter) to more precisely define the words All persons as in Amendment XIV.

In any case and as noted in the links above, if the SCOTUS should (again) rule in favor of Amendment XIV it won’t take long for the Biblical end times to begin and for Amurkkka to disintegrate and dump herself into the pit of the damned — even as the pure of heart (mostly Republicans) will be gathered up and taken to a blissful eternity. Right? Right.

Maybe what they’re really trying to say was better said by Robert Burns, who put it this way in his poem titled “Holy Willie’s Prayer”:

O Thou, who in the heavens does dwell,
Who, as it pleases best Thysel’,
Sends ane to heaven an’ ten to hell,
A’ for Thy glory,
And no for ony gude or ill
They’ve done afore Thee! . . .

When frae my mither’s womb I fell,
Thou might hae plunged me in hell,
To gnash my gums, to weep and wail,
In burnin lakes,
Where damned devils roar and yell,
Chain’d to their stakes.

Yet I am here a chosen sample,
To show thy grace is great and ample;
I’m here a pillar o’ Thy temple,
Strong as a rock,
A guide, a buckler, and example,
To a’ Thy flock.

O Lord, Thou kens what zeal I bear,
When drinkers drink, an’ swearers swear,
An’ singin there, an’ dancin here,
Wi’ great and sma';
For I am keepit by Thy fear
Free frae them a’.

But yet, O Lord! confess I must,
At times I’m fash’d wi’ fleshly lust:
An’ sometimes, too, in wardly trust,
Vile self gets in:
But Thou remembers we are dust,
Defil’d wi’ sin.

O Lord! yestreen, Thou kens, wi’ Meg-
Thy pardon I sincerely beg,
O! may’t ne’er be a livin plague
To my dishonour,
An’ I’ll ne’er lift a lawless leg
Again upon her.

Lord, bless Thy chosen in this place,
For here Thou hast a chosen race:
But God confound their stubborn face,
An’ blast their name,
Wha bring Thy elders to disgrace
An’ public shame.

But, Lord, remember me an’ mine
Wi’ mercies temp’ral an’ divine,
That I for grace an’ gear may shine,
Excell’d by nane,
And a’ the glory shall be thine,
Amen, Amen!

Ah yes, if ONLY someone in the Clown Car could speak wi’ Scottish Brogue! ;) Yeah, I know. Nevermind.

In any case, Burns did indeed somehow manage to even more completely define the occupants of the Republican Clown Car — along with their conservative ‘brothers’ and pundits everywhere when, in 1793, he wrote this brief but eloquent description of “Commissary Goldie’s Brains”:

“Lord, to account who dares thee call,
Or e’er dispute thy pleasure?
Else why, within so thick a wall,
Enclose so poor a treasure?”

The “Burning” questions are obvious: Robert Burns wrote all of that more than 200 years ago; how did he know? Is Republican-style dementia eternal, perchance?

OPEN THREAD

PS: This just in — Michael Savage: Caitlyn Jenner ‘Mentally Ill,’ Blames Her For ISIS

The Watering Hole, Saturday, April 11th, 2015: OMG, We’re Missing the Bundy Reunion!

Yes, it’s been a year since the Cliven Bundy Ranch standoff – time flies when your country’s going crazy, doesn’t it?

Since the standoff at the Bundy Ranch, it appears that Cliven has found enough like-minded idiots in the Nevada assembly to have had one Assemblywoman, Michele Fiore (R-duh!) introduce a “Bundy Bill” last month. According to an AP story on the local CBS affiliate Channel 8 NewsNow, KLAS:

“The original proposal would require the federal government to obtain permission to use land within the state’s borders. The proposal also strips the federal government of state water rights and would allow county commissions to parcel out state land for commercial use.”

After wasting time and taxpayer money on an obviously unconstitutional bill, the final version supposedly “…deletes core proposals and instead says local sheriffs can enter into an agreement to patrol federal lands. It also states that sheriffs are the primary law enforcement officers in unincorporated parts of their counties.” Oh, yeah, that’s MUCH better, because everyone knows that Federal law enforcement just LOVES to take orders from the local LEOs. KLAS’s 8NewsNow investigative “I-Team” also provides a brief rundown of the ten other States who are producing similar legislation. Yesterday’s ThinkProgess thread on this topic lists those States as: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. TP links to “Keep Our Land American” at www.americanpubliclands.com for more details and a petition.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the Bundy family and their fellow miscreants are celebrating the anniversary with a “Freedom Reunion” aka “Liberty Celebration.” (I guess they couldn’t figure out a way to squeeze both “Freedom” and “Liberty” into the name without sounding redundant – oh, who am I kidding, they don’t know what the word “redundant” means. [“Hey, who ya callin”redundant’? Take it back!”]

Take a look at the actual invitation and its accompanying re-written idealized “history.”

From the Bundy Ranch Facebook page:

THERE ARE PLENTY OF PLACES TO CAMP OR MESQUITE HAS LOTS OF ROOMS TO STAY IN – COME AND ENJOY BUNDY RANCH LIBERTY CELEBRATION

Date: April 10-12, 2015 (Fri, Sat, Sun)
Location: Bundy Ranch – Bunkerville NV 89007 – Exit 112 off of I-15, follow the American flags
Purpose: To gather in celebration of our liberties, agency and stand with God, for our U.S. Constitution, State sovereignty, Property rights and to enjoy access to our lands.
Who is Invited: All people who enjoy freedom
Activities: Camping, Off Roading, Hiking, Playing in the River, Evening BBQ (Bundy Beef), Shooting- Come camp all weekend if you would like.
Stage Activities: Slide/Video Show, Live Band, Cowboy Poetry, Guest Speakers
Program: Friday & Saturday Evening; Stage activities and BBQ
Sunday; Testimony meeting, share your feelings for God and country

Special Invitation: Those who express music, poetry, words, documentaries and other arts. Those who hold political office. The cowboys. Those who supported with prayers and finances. The militia who keep us safe. [emphasis mine] Media outlets both friendly and unfriendly (TV, radio, internet, books, magazines and other). All those who have invited the Bundy family to speak and teach around the world.

*If you would like to be a participant in the stage activities please contact the Bundy family at rancherbundy@gmail.com

Some of the replies/comments:

Janae Hutchins: Wish I wasn’t so far away now. I’d love to come. enjoy the anniversary of your victory against tyranny! God bless America! 🇺🇸

Scott Saragoza: I will be there to stand with all of you for our Liberties…………. Absolutly!!!!!!!! Thank you.

Robert Brooks Bob: God Bless yall from N.W.Ar…Wish we could be there.

Shirley Pitcher: I wish I was heading back to Utah.
I would love too.
Good bless the Bundys

Ray Herrera: This Sounds like a lot of Fun !!! God Bless the Bundy Family !!! They are my Hero’s

William Morgan: Great thing here Mr. Bundy I wish I could be there to support you and Our freedom

Now, c’mon, don’t you wish that you were there?

 

This is our daily open thread – talk about whatever you’d like.

The Watering Hole; Thursday December 18 2014; HELP!!

OK. Here’s the thing. The electoral system in the US has been hijacked by the Supreme Court, by big money, by Congress, and by emergent power structures in the several states. How’d that happen? A quick look in the rear view mirror reminds us that:

1) In December of 2000 the Supreme Court jumped ahead of the pack and appointed George W. Bush POTUS simply because the popular vote in Florida was having some problem with ballot counting, and the distribution of Florida’s electoral votes would determine whether Al Gore or George Bush would become president. No matter that the national popular vote chose Al Gore, no matter the final Florida tally; only the electoral vote determines the presidency; everything else is academic.

2) In 2009, the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case essentially turned the nation’s electoral process into a ‘who can raise the most money’ contest, thereby green-lighting the purchase of the government by corporations, by Wall Street, and by billionaires. In short, money was now defined, in the political world, as the equivalent of speech. The fatter the wallet, the louder the “free” speech.

3) In 2012 the Supreme Court crippled a significant portion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and essentially allowed the several states the privilege of enacting voter registration laws which could serve to reduce voter access amongst various ethnic and racial groups, thereby altering the final vote tally in ways that would ultimately act to favor one political party to the manipulated disadvantage of the other.

Whereto from here? Is it possible for the average Jane and John Doe to recapture their country, or is it too late? Have the oligarch and the right wing Fascist movement won? Has everything shifted in the worst possible way? Is there any possible solution?

Why not a Constitutional amendment, one that clarifies the right of the people to vote, and one that specifically corrects today’s major flaws in the voting/electoral system? Good idea, no? One could easily figure that at least 34 states might stand tall and ratify it by tomorrow, if only Congress would introduce it!

I haven’t heard that anyone in Congress is willing to take the bull by the blanks and get it done, though, so I figured why not help ’em out a little. How about this for starters?

ARTICLE XXVII ?

Section 1.

The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for Senator, for Representative, or for initiatives or amendments be they national or in any of the various States, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State for any reason or by any technique. Therefore:

Clause 1.

The Electoral College is hereby discarded; the Popular Vote only shall determine the election of President and Vice President.

Clause 2.

Individual and corporate financial contributions to all political processes at all National and State levels are hereinafter permitted in any quantity, although no financial contribution can be made to any given candidate, to any given political party, or in support of any particular initiative or amendment. All financial contributions will be addressed solely to a Central Electoral Fund which will then be distributed evenly to each and all candidates and for each and all ballot issues regardless of underlying politic.

Clause 3.

Each and every citizen of age eighteen and above is eligible to vote, in each and every election, for any candidate and on any ballot issue; such right shall not be denied or abridged in any way or by any means, by the United States or by any of the Several States.

Section 2.

The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Now I admit that I ain’t a lawyer, am not possessed by the burden of a “legal” mind. Stated another way, I admit to zero talent in re finding all the “right” words that are invariably implicit in and a requirement of legal baloney. OTOH, I figure that since Rome wasn’t built in a day and since James Madison is no longer with us .  . . well, you know, gotta start someplace. Right? Right.

HELP!!

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole, Wednesday: Hump Day, November 19, 2014

Welcome to deregulation  2.0. Republicans are giddy at the prospects of controlling both houses of Congress. Only one thing is certain, come January 2015: Congressional gridlock will be a thing of the past. Staffers and aids will be working overtime this Christmas season, drafting bills to deregulate everything from the workplace to how many peanuts must go into a jar of peanut butter.

That makes this next bit of news even more alarming. Yet, as serious as this is, it has gotten no mention in the mainstream media. So, once again, we at The Zoo bring you this exclusive.

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2. Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. (Amendment XIII to the Constitution of the United States of America)

Thanks to three-strikes laws and drug laws falling disproportionately on the poor and minorities, the for-profit prison industry thrives on slave labor. [note: since this post was wrintten on Sunday, this story broke about prison labor in California.] But come January, there will be a seismic shift, as the Republican-led Congress moves to rid the nation of all laws that enforce the 13th Amendment. Not only will owning a slave no longer be a criminal offense, Republicans plan on stripping the jurisdiction of the federal courts to hear cases where someone claims a violation of constitutional rights under the 13th Amendment.

The move is expected to be hearalded as a major blow to terrorism. “They hate us for our freedoms” President Bush observed. By deregulating slavery, terrorists will no longer have a reason to hate us.

OPEN THREAD

Sunday Roast: Until we could

Poem by Richard Blanco

I knew it then, in that room where we found for the first time our eyes, and everything— even the din and smoke of the city around us— disappeared, leaving us alone as if we stood the last two in the world left capable of love, or as if two mirrors face-to-face with no end to the light our eyes could bend into infinity.

I knew since I knew you—but we couldn’t…

I caught the sunlight pining through the shears, traveling millions of dark miles simply to graze your skin as I did that first dawn I studied you sleeping beside me: Yes, I counted your eyelashes, read your dreams like butterflies flitting underneath your eyelids, ready to flutter into the room. Yes, I praised you like a majestic creature my god forgot to create, till that morning of you suddenly tamed in my arms, first for me to see, name you mine. Yes to the rise and fall of your body breathing, your every exhale a breath I took in as my own wanting to keep even the air between us as one.

Yes to all of you. Yes I knew, but still we couldn’t…

I taught you how to dance Salsa by looking into my Caribbean eyes, you learned to speak in my tongue, while teaching me how to catch a snowflake in my palms and love the grey clouds of your grey hometown. Our years began collecting in glossy photos time-lining our lives across shelves and walls glancing back at us: Us embracing in some sunset, more captivated by each other than the sky brushed plum and rose. Us claiming some mountain that didn’t matter as much our climbing it, together. Us leaning against columns of ruins as ancient as our love was new, or leaning into our dreams at a table flickering candlelight in our full-mooned eyes.

I knew me as much as us, and yet we couldn’t….

Though I forgave your blue eyes turning green each time you lied, but kept believing you, though we learned to say good morning after long nights of silence in the same bed, though every door slam taught me to hold on by letting us go, and saying you’re right became as true as saying I’m right, till there was nothing a long walk couldn’t resolve: holding hands and hope under the street lights lustering like a string of pearls guiding us home, or a stroll along the beach with our dog, the sea washed out by our smiles, our laughter roaring louder than the waves, though we understood our love was the same as our parents, though we dared to tell them so, and they understood.

Though we knew, we couldn’t—no one could.

When the fiery kick lines and fires were set for us by our founding mother-fathers at Stonewall, we first spoke defiance. When we paraded glitter, leather, and rainbows made human, our word became pride down every city street, saying: Just let us be. But that wasn’t enough. Parades became rallies—bold words on signs and mouths until a man claimed freedom as another word for marriage and he said: Let us in, we said: love is love, proclaimed it into all eyes that would listen at every door that would open, until noes and maybes turned into yeses, town by town, city by city, state by state, understanding us and the woman who dared say enough until the gravel struck into law what we always knew:

Love is the right to say: I do and I do and I do…

and I do want us to see every tulip we’ve planted come up spring after spring, a hundred more years of dinners cooked over a shared glass of wine, and a thousand more movies in bed. I do until our eyes become voices speaking without speaking, until like a cloud meshed into a cloud, there’s no more you, me—our names useless. I do want you to be the last face I see—your breath my last breath,

I do, I do and will and will for those who still can’t vow it yet, but know love’s exact reason as much as they know how a sail keeps the wind without breaking, or how roots dig a way into the earth, or how the stars open their eyes to the night, or how a vine becomes one with the wall it loves, or how, when I hold you, you are rain in my hands.

Stunning.

If I’d loved like this, I wouldn’t have done my part in the destruction of the “sanctity of marriage.”  Although, I guess it’s okay to inflict all manner of destruction on the institution of marriage, as long as you’re in a marriage with someone of the opposite sex — which is really idiotic, if you think about it.

This is our daily open threadMarriage equality now!