Saturday, July 21, 2018
The Republican Long Game
written 14 July 2018
published 21 July 2018
The Federalist Society was founded in 1982 to promote conservative judges and legal interpretations. In the 90's, the Federalists felt they were "losing" the culture wars, as most Americans supported environmental protection, contraception, abortion, and rights for voters, women, workers, and gays. Believing they knew what was best for the country, the Federalists decided to pack the courts, particularly the Supreme Court, to impose their narrow vision as the law of the land. Leonard Leo, a conservative Catholic Republican activist, joined the Federalists in 1989. Leo has shaped the Federalist Society to align with the religious beliefs derived from his membership in the Knights of Malta, and is the Federalist liaison to the Trump White House. The only judges Trump has considered are Federalists.
The tight election in 2000 and the intrusive Supreme Court decision to halt the vote count in Florida was the opening play in this long game. The 5-4 decision to make George W. Bush president included three members of the Federalist Society, Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas. When Rehnquist died and O'Conner retired, Bush appointed Roberts and Alito, both Federalists, bringing the total to four.
The aftermath of the voting problems in Florida saw widespread government investment in electronic voting machines, supplied by companies owned by conservative Republicans, using secret, proprietary software. With no public transparency, the accuracy of the vote count began to be questioned. Coincidentally, Republicans flourished, and instituted widespread voting district gerrymandering and erroneous voter role purges purported to prevent voter fraud, successfully suppressing Democratic voter turnout.
The 2010 Citizens United 5-4 decision by the Supreme Court, with the four Federalists in the majority, cited corporate right to free speech, exposing politics to unlimited cash donations, including untraceable dark money. Alito died in February 2016, during Obama's administration. Under Federalist urging, the Republicans in control of Congress refused to move on Obama's court nomination, citing that it was unfair, being "too close to a pivotal election". By November 2016, Republican voter purges and gerrymandering, combined with a cash flood from corporations, the wealthy 1%, and the Russian mob, put Trump in office, and he appointed Gorsuch, another Federalist.
Even though Justice Kennedy will retire even closer to a "pivotal election" than Alito's death, hypocritical Republicans want to rush Trump's nominee through in record time. If Kavanaugh is confirmed, he will be the fifth Federalist on the bench, sealing their agenda for the near future. It is worth examining the agenda of the Catholic Knights of Malta and the Federalists, since they have worked so diligently to stack the court in their favor.
The Knights of Malta are an extremist Catholic sect which considers the Pope too liberal. Their catechism claims to be a moral law higher than human laws, defining acceptable natural and unacceptable unnatural functions. Sensual enjoyment of any kind is unnatural. Sex is for procreation, not pleasure, and a woman's only purpose is to give birth. Since homosexuals don't procreate, they are unnatural. Life begins at conception, so abortion, and somehow even contraception, is murder. These are supposedly God's laws, so individuals have no rights to decide for themselves. Other faiths are anathema.
The Federalist agenda is almost as extreme, proposing that all New Deal programs including Social Security are unconstitutional. Corporations have free speech and religious rights, and there is no constitutional right to privacy. The traceable funding for this agenda comes from the Koch brothers, the Mercer family, the Chamber of Commerce, Chevron, Microsoft, Google, and Pfizer, among others, all with a goal of eliminating financial and environmental regulations.
While Islamic extremists use violence to subdue a nation to their tyrannical vision, Christian extremists have used dark money and pliable politicians to the same ends. The beginning of the reign of Emperor Trump is a good time to be a rich Republican, straight, white, "Christian" extremist man. The rest of us are grist for the unfettered economy ravaging the planet for the profit of a few, employing fewer people in more dangerous jobs, with no provision for education, health care, or a social safety net. From a holistic perspective, this joyless vision of exclusive gain is insanely suicidal, yet passes for Republican wisdom.