Unfortunately, Democrats can’t expand the Supreme Court with their current seat count in Congress. But it’s definitely going to be a 2024 campaign issue whether Durbin likes it or not.

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Agreed. That is something for us to strive for in 2 years. This court is crazy. I think it might also be a good route to impeach the impeachable and put in a set of rules to live by for the court with oversight.

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My understanding Linda is that impeaching a Supreme Court Judge is as easy as impeaching a President. That is a majority in the House and a 2/3 majority in the Senate. If that's true it can't be more difficult (and unrealistic?) to set about more radical efforts to reform the present Supreme Court such as expanding it and getting term limits.

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Easier said than done. The SCOTUS has worn a groove of unaccountability. We need bold action from the majority... expansion, oversight, and rules with consequences.

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This is a very good piece, as usual. A couple of thoughts about this broader conversation that applies as much or more to other (good) journalism as much or more than this (very good) journalism.

Regarding the debt ceiling, in my opinion we need to couch the conversation even more firmly in the absurdity of it. The American debt ceiling is an artificial number, not a percentage of GDP or anything meaningful, that only two other countries in the world even have at all (EU has a structure that sounds similar but is pegged to GDP so it's fundamentally different). There shouldn't be a debt ceiling. The very notion of it is so absurd nearly 200 countries don't have it at all. This is in no small part because the United States employed a modified version of the then British system of debt under Secretary of Treasury Hamilton that has proven so effective it made the US debt the standard for the world.

When Confederates, traitors, were let back into the US government by racist drunk Andrew Johnson under Presidential Reconstruction they immediately tried to destroy the government expansion Lincoln had used to kick their asses, which also created the Land Grant University system and the Freedman's Bureau, both things that helped former enslaved people catch up to white people. The Confederates hated this so they tried to devalue American debt so they could take away government programs they didn't like that they thought disproportionately helped Black people.

Sounds familiar, doesn't it.

The Radical Republicans responded to this by bringing bogus charges to impeach Johnson (the charges were crap but the man needed to go--they rushed it) and writing the Fourteenth Amendment, which both affirmed the obvious, we pay our debts, AND functionally expelled these same Confederates. In other words, the notion of questioning our debt to take away government programs from Black people was so offensive the majority of Congress tried to take a flame thrower to the notion putting it to bed forever.

The massive and terrifying Great War interfered with this giving us the debt ceiling so Congress could punt the idea about how much is too much.

It wasn't until the 1990s that debt ceiling conversations or questions about the validity of our debt even entered the conversation again (though Reagan started this by harping about the National Debt being too much--but that was a budget question and a tax break plot, not a questioning of the validity of our debt).

So the whole thing is a fabrication. Your points about why Biden is treading lightly are nevertheless well taken, but the reality is if Clinton hadn't capitulated on the debt ceiling, one of his biggest mistakes, we wouldn't be having the conversation at all. In other words, the racist origin of questioning our debt should always be front and center. It is just racists doing exactly what they're racist traitor ancestors did that got them kicked out of Congress in 1868.

Another quibble about the people turning a blind eye to Jim Crow from the 19th century through the Civil Rights movement. That really didn't happen. Every state had versions of Jim Crow laws. The house I owned in Indiana that was built in the 1930s was 2000 sq ft, had a servants entrance and was built in a sundowner neighborhood.

There's still a sundowner siren that goes off every day in Nevada. The whole point of Color of Law by Rothstein is that racial redlining impacted most (all?) cities and the book opens with The San Francisco Bay Area and an interview he conducted with a man who had to move to accomodate these Jim Crow laws. It wasn't that some turned a nominee l blind eye, it's that white people in government in every state embraced it.

There's a longer more complicated discussion about why we even decided to take it apart at all (Soviet propaganda in Africa played a huge role, though persistent, relentless effort by Black, Brown and LGBTQ people was crucial).

I think the muddling analogy works but we have to accept the constant role that racism plays in all of this at all times and from all regions of the country.

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All I can say is I desperately hope the predictions of the quoted Professor Cortina, that MAGA Republicans will be swept away by demographic trends (increasing urbanization and immigration from more 'normal' states) comes to pass sooner rather than later!

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I forgot to add, I'm by no means certain that the Repbulicans will pass this bill. I think it a better than even chance but I've no confidence in the sense or moral courage of this crop of House Repbulicans...I'll certainly breathe a sigh of relief if it passes. I'm an Australian but a member of the world economy and we'll be harmed if the MAGA Republicans get their way.

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I yearn for a more progressive president. I yearn for a whole country, not many separate states loosely connected-- mostly by media it seems. Republicans have tried to wear the mantle of conservatism while really and blatantly being extremist and fascist ludicrously pointing to Democrats as too progressive. Democrats are really fearful, trying to hold the line and keep us barely democratic, dreaming of bipartisanship too. They are unsuccessful and shying away from meeting the challenge as democracy slips away. Here too with the debt ceiling which is another way of legislating- by force of blackmail.

Biden is not in the real world if bipartisanship is what he thinks can be achieved in this atmosphere; he's way too fearful and does us no favor kicking the can of debt ceiling blackmail down the road. It may be about winning the next election. He has stuck his neck out by running as old as he is ( as much as we rationalize it) and in effect has caused others to back off the challenge. Because of the real weaknesses of the Democratic presidential ticket there is the danger of DeSantis or Trump making 2024 a close election again and even a worse disaster befalling us.

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Biden is the best US president I have lived under. Since my first election, I have always chosen my politicians both on what they say they want to do, and what I think they will be able to get done. Biden gets things done in the seemingly impossible situation that Trump has created in our government. I can envision what sorts of other deals needed to be made in order to make this happen. We are not at a point where it has already defaulted and people like my mom would not get their social security checks. And, he has set things up so that in 2 years, if people are smart enough to get us both branches of Congress and retain the White House, we could really get some things done. We need to move beyond Manchin as our majority Democratic vote. Democrats do no one any good if they cannot get voted into power. The mandate has become clearer, but we have a horrid mainstream press, which tells people how they are thinking, which I don't think is the news, but they don't analyze why things are happening, and they don't go after Republicans like they should. Absent that, in a country full of light thinkers, and brain dead technology addicts, and people who are manipulated by their religious leaders, Social media and the Bots that Troll them, the message gets coopted.

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May 31, 2023·edited May 31, 2023

We are in a "seemingly impossible situation that Trump has created"... only seemingly. I think people yearn for a stronger response though. The far right (and their vulnerable supporters) is willing to play chicken and test constantly with what they can get away with. And they win that way because the other side wants cooperation and gives in. Obama was good at talking the talk and then he gave in. Biden is somewhat better and quieter in his accomplishments but too fearful (as re the debt ceiling and Ukraine).

The country has moved to the right this way over the recent years. And so any movement to the left is now claimed by propaganda ( as opposed to real measure) as extreme and pushed by "progressives" (a dirty word now, not the growing tip of our goal of social democracy).

I can appreciate what you are saying. I am apparently older; I can remember when I had more faith in the voter. Life is more complicated. The media has made a difference. The internet has made a difference. We have moved more towards corporatism- across the board: what we eat, what we wear, what news and opinion we ingest. We have divided more at least on the surface. At the same time the idea of public education struggles, especially when we need publicly funded higher education (which I had).The public welfare struggles. Biden started off with encouraging ideas about this and being a lot more progressive than he has been able to accomplish. I agree he has been excellent considering. Considering. He said he was a "transitional" president...given the devastation of the recent past president and political developments within the GOP. We have not quite transitioned.Elections should not be SO close when the issues are so starkly laid out about equality, tolerance and democracy itself. Biden has not been able to stop the bleeding. It's too much for one president.

I highly recommend Timothy Snyder's Ted lecture, only 1/2 an hour but worthy of your time "Is Democracy Doomed? The Global Fight for our Future" https://www.ted.com/talks/timothy_snyder_is_democracy_doomed_the_global_fight_for_our_future/c?language=en

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This was a good resolution to a growing disaster. Especially

for 98 million of us out here, who depend on our SS checks and veterans retirement/survivors benefits.

We worked, the great majority of us, 63 million, for 40 years! Retired Veterans and the survivors of

deceased have given this country their lives.

You want Congress and the Senate to be smarter. Then


all have email addresses and phone numbers. Blow them up with your displeasure.

Choose carefully who you donate to! Research them.

What have they done for your state or district. Same for your state reps from county

to legislature.

Call out every FASCIST! Disrupt the Freedom Caucus!

And for your sake, the country's sake VOTE SMART!

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And what is wrong with both Biden and Durbin, refusing to revoke the debt ceiling during the lame duck session? Incompetence? Sheer stupidity or willful blindness to the inevitable hostage dilemma? Biden seems to be sleepwalking into ever greater complicity with GOP fascism.

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