Declaring Your Independence

I’m not a patriotic guy in the same way I’m not a religious guy and for the exact same reason I hated day camp.  I truly despise mandated group activities.

You will never find me on a cruise or part of a tour group.  And even as a member of several unions, a political party and any number of biological and chosen families, I like to leave my options open.

This makes perfect sense to me

This is one reason I love living in Los Angeles.  You bring your car, you get to leave whenever you like.  My $7 gallon of gas, my choice.

This includes weddings.  Especially destination weddings.  On a remote island.

Anywhere.

I do send good gifts though

I also have a raging biological aversion to group think.  This might seem contradictory to being a lifelong Democrat or member of the Writers Guild.  But really, it’s not. 

Both groups vocally and often rudely scream their disagreements loudly, publically and privately to the point of self-sabotage.  And we’re seldom happy with the nuances of any group decision we reach to move forward, if we ever truly do.

Anyone want to join my book club?

We’d likely win our battles a lot more quickly and less bloodied but what difference would that make?   We wouldn’t be us.  Who we are and what we stand for is all we have.

This does not mean I am against compromise or sometimes doing what I don’t want to do because it’s the right thing to do or because I care about another person.  

See: Destination Wedding

That’s the easy counter attack so don’t get cute, even intellectually.

Because when compromise is your default position, or you fear for your position or your life when you dare to speak your mind against authority figures holding you hostage in a group situation, you’re nothing but a ________________.

Feel free to fill in the blank this Fourth of July week.

Ahem.

‘Merica!

The last two episodes of Stranger Things Season 4 dropped on Friday and I along with many millions of others made it the most watched program in the history of Netflix.  

SEVEN BILLION plus minutes of the show were viewed this past week, breaking all Nielsen ratings for a streaming show.   It also became the most watched series in Netflix’s history with 930 million total hours viewed worldwide.

Admittedly, you and I don’t truly understand ratings anymore, or so much else, but suffice it to say – that’s A LOT. 

Sure is.

Barack Obama has the most followed account on Twitter and he’s only got 131.4 million followers.  Though if you think that indicates anything encouraging about us, just know #2 is Justin Bieber (114.4 mil), #3 is Katy Perry (108.9 mil) and #4 is Rihanna (106.2 mil). 

The latter three likely tell us a lot more about who we really are.

But so does Stranger Things.

NO SPOILERS HERE but one reason the series is so popular is its core characters have an absolute and undying dedication to fight true evil at all costs. 

They might be a gang of unpopular, marginalized young misfits who argue amongst themselves but they’re willing to risk their lives to save their town, and in turn the world.

Plus a lot of bad 80s clothes.

They might secretly crave popularity but what they know better than the majority of their viewers is that it too often comes at a lethal cost. 

And lethal doesn’t necessarily mean their own death.  It means the loss of every good thing they’ve seen or has happened to them because they decided to be corrupted by power, or play it safe and hide behind it, for some petty personal gain.

That and A LOT of monsters, special effects and sappy, nostalgic storytelling also helps.

But, well, dollops of sappy, nostalgic cheesiness is never a bad thing in storytelling. 

We see you Will Byers

Your mind, and everyone else’s, only gets reduced to nothing when it becomes a full course meal.

Once that happens, you’ve truly not you. 

Not to mention what it does to the rest of us when that new majority of you(s) you’ve created takes hold.

So — Happy INDEPENDENCE Day!

If you know what I mean.

Kate Bush – “Running Up That Hill”

F THE COURT

Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas and the four other Supreme Court judges who voted to take away a woman’s right to choose on Friday can go f-ck themselves.

And kiss my gay ass.

So can anyone who wouldn’t vote for Hillary in 2016 because she wasn’t progressive enough or who just didn’t like or trust her.

As for those who cast their vote for Trump, I hope hell does exist so you can spend eternity there with him.   You will see what an immoral, lying prick he always was up close as you both burn in perpetuity/forever. 

This x 1000

Yeah, I’m pissed off.

In overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that allowed women the freedom of choice over whether to terminate their own pregnancies, the Supreme Court has ruled the majority of the population does not have equal protection under the law.

That right is guaranteed under the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  The amendment was enacted in 1868 and is credited in great part for ending slavery.  Its primary text is pretty simple.  It states:

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.

well… except women

Justice Alito wrote the majority opinion overturning Roe based on his view as a constitutional originalist.  What this means is that he strictly wants to adhere to the literal text of 150 years ago AND what HE interprets as its intent.

In this case, Alito reasons the amendment only protects rights that he claims were already understood to exist in 1868Since numerous states banned abortion 150 years ago, Alito claims the reasoning behind the 1973 Roe case encompassing the right to an abortion is wrong.

He neglects to also mention that in 1868 no woman had the right to vote in the U.S.  Anywhere.  And certainly not one to serve on any court in charge of making laws.

Time to buy winter coats

Or that in citing logic from 17th century judge Sir Matthew Hale in his Roe ripping decision, he is quoting a man who sentenced women to death as witches; and a man who originated the legal notion that husbands can’t be prosecuted for raping their wives.

Go f-k yourself, Sam.  Again.

Here’s an interesting fact amid this insanity.

Judge Alito is a 1972 graduate of Princeton University.  Princeton was an all male school until 1969, when its board finally agreed to admit women for the first time in its 150-year history.  This was a few months after Yale University did the same and was the beginning of a nationwide trend giving women equal opportunities under the law.

But this evolution of social mores made a small but very vocal minority of Princeton graduates real angry.  So they formed an organization called Concerned Alumni of Princeton (CAP) in 1972 in opposition to that and other evolving…um…changes.

Can you guess who was among that small group of concerned men in CAP?  If you guessed Alito, that doctrinaire originalist, you would be correct.

Look who’s at it again

This, of course, is not the most interesting part of the story.  More fascinating is that there have since been many female graduates of Princeton University.  Among them is a brilliant African American activist.  Her name is Alexis McGill Johnson. 

Ms. McGill Johnson graduated Princeton in 1993 with a degree in political science, 20 some years after Alito did with a similar major, despite his best efforts to thwart any female’s attempts to do so.  She also went on to receive her M.A. from Yale in 1995 in that same subject. 

And this was exactly 20 years to the date after what happened?  Anyone?  Well, Judge Alito also graduating from Yale with a Juris Doctor, of course!

Thankfully, that is where the similarity ends.  While Judge Alito became a lifelong originalist, refusing to bend his views towards anyone or anything happening around him, Ms. McGill Johnson has used her education to help poor and minority communities.  This culminated with her becoming president and CEO of Planned Parenthood in 2019. 

Worth a follow!

So let’s hear her take on how to fight her fellow Princeton and Yale alum’s decision to dump Roe v. Wade and take away a woman’s right to choose:

…We are not going back and we are not going to back down.  We are going to take this fight STATE to STATE.  Every single person who is running for anything is going to EAT. THIS.  DECISION. FOR. BREAKFAST. 

And you wonder why I like her?

I happened to hear this quote on a segment Katy Tur was hosting on MSNBC and it intrigued me to see that Katy was a bit taken aback by the colorfully blunt imagery Ms. McGill Johnson used to categorize the path going forward.  It was unlike the forceful  but more politely intellectual jargon most guests on news programs use these days and it took Katy everything she had to restrain herself from asking if this was her best course of action. 

This is the vibe we need

But, well, how else DO you react on the DAY of this decision?  Do you bring a knife to a gunfight, to quote Chicago cop Jim Malone (as played Sean Connery) as he tried to take down organized crime mobster Al Capone and his gang in the 1987 film The Untouchables?  (Note: A reference I hesitate to make as it was thought up by The Untouchables screenwriter David Mamet, a very talented guy I once admired who has since become a right wing crazy).

Well, I say you can’t.  Bring a knife to a gunfight, that is. 

Not when the concurrent nauseating opinion striking down Roe this week was written by the even more conservative and much more morally questionable Judge Clarence Thomas, wife of conspiracy theorist and 2020 election denier Ginni Thomas.

In his support for Judge Alito’s POV, Judge Thomas writes:

In future cases, we should reconsider ALL of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, specifically citing Griswold v. Connecticut (contraception), Lawrence (same-sex marriage), and Obergefell  (same-sex marriage). Because any substantive due process decision is ‘DEMONSTRABLY ERRONEOUS, “’ we have a duty to ‘CORRECT THE ERROR’ established in those precedents.”

This is only the start

In simpler language this means he is itching to repeal laws that allow you to obtain birth control, enter into a same sex marriage or to have whatever kind of sex you like with another consenting adult behind closed doors.  Aside from, I assume, the missionary position (Note: No offense to that well worn sexual preference but I’m not sure there was much more you could do, at least legally, back in 1868).

Curiously enough, Judge Thomas made zero mention mention of the landmark 1967 Loving vs. Virginia decision, which banned laws against interracial marriage.  That decision was won by citing the same due process/equal protection precedents that enabled the passage of Roe, same sex marriage, et al.

Or course, it is up to you to decide if the marriage between Judge Thomas, a Black man, and his wife Ginni, a white woman, had anything to do with that, um, omission.  But here’s 2022’s honorary Oscar winning Black actor Samuel L. Jackson on the subject the day Thomas’ viewpoint was released:

The gang of right wing activist hypocrites now sitting on the Court might feel, to some of us, unrepresentative of a representative democracy that overwhelmingly believes in a women’s right to choose.

Until you think about our  representatives and we, the people, who voted them in.

Maine senator Susan Collins is very concerned that Roe repealing judges Kavanaugh and Gorsuch lied to her in their confirmation hearings when they privately told her Roe was precedent and that they would not be inclined to repeal it.

Really???  Or did she choose to believe a word dodge for her own political survival, or at least expediency.  I, for one, don’t think Collins was dumb enough to believe them.  Despite my disdain for her morally.

What say you, Senator Collins?

It is also worth noting that justice Thomas was appointed by George HW Bush, Justice Alito was anointed by George W. Bush, and Judges Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Coney Barrett were Trump appointees.

Those of you who voted for those presidents because of your pocketbooks, or sat out those races because you didn’t like or wanna hang out with Hillary, Gore or Dukakis, what the f-ck did you think was going to happen????

It bears repeating!!!!

Democracy is a very imperfect form of government but unfortunately just about every other form of government pales in comparison.   As they say.  Or someone once said.

You never get everything you want.  But if you choose not to enthusiastically participate for some of the things you prefer, you run the risk of receiving everything you hate, and then some.

We can only rag on these mother f-ckng judges and Trump for so long.

If we don’t learn from our mistakes and adjust accordingly, f-ck us.  Because we will be f-cked.   For good.  In a very bad way.

Olivia Rodrigo – “F*** You” (feat. Lily Allen)