Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Supreme Reason to Re-Elect Obama

The 2012 election cycle is now in full swing, and while I'd love to just hibernate and ignore it, it's clear that the results do truly matter. The Washington Monthly has a series on what a republican victory would mean that's well worth reading, although also quite frightening. While I know many liberals who are quite disappointed in President Obama (the only reason that I'm not disappointed is that I held really low expectations), it's important to assess what are the realistic options, before giving up on his re-election.

One of the greatest long term impacts of any President is the appointment of Supreme Court Justices. In his first term, Obama filled two vacancies, as did shrub before him. Overall, the current court is dominated by republican appointees, which is clearly reflected in the conservative, pro-corporate philosophy of it's decisions. And the next presidential term of office could potentially see vacancies that impact the courts makeup for decades to come.

While Supreme Court Justices receive the finest medical care on the planet, and historically live longer than the rest of the population, age does catch up to everyone. Four of the nine current Justices are in their seventies, an age where physical and mental decline are a common occurrence, and may not remain on the bench through the next presidential term.

First on the list of likely departures is Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who's 78 (79 in March) and has been battling cancer. She has been one of the most consistently liberal voices on the court since her 1993 appointment by Bill Clinton, and it's extremely unlikely that she will serve another four plus years.

Antonin Scalia is 75 years old (76 in March), and has been serving since 1986. A staunch (I would say extreme) conservative, he seems to be in robust health. It's conceivable that he would consider retiring if a republican is elected president, but is a good bet to remain on the bench through a second Obama term.

Anthony Kennedy is also 75 (76 in July), and is arguably the most significant member of the court. He's moderately conservative, and represents the swing vote in many decisions. While not substantiated, I've read multiple reports that he is likely to retire in relatively few years for reasons of age and health. He's been serving since 1988.

Stephen Breyer is 73 (74 in August), and is rumored to be considering retirement. Moderately liberal and fairly quiet, he's considered a very thoughtful, intellectual jurist. I think the likelihood of him remaining through the next presidential term is under 50%, as he often sounds frustrated with the current court.

(Justice bios here: Of course, any of the other five Justices might choose to retire or suffer an untimely demise, but I chose to focus on the four most likely potential departures.)

The Washington Monthly piece is a useful group of articles. Addressing what a republican victory would mean for the Supreme Court, The conservative takeover will be complete. By Dahlia Lithwick is well worth reading.

The current court is viewed as a balance between four liberals and four conservative, with Kennedy somewhere in between, but is more really four moderates, four extreme conservatives, and Kennedy. That balance could be changed dramatically in the next presidential term.

Neither of Obama's appointee's, Sonia Sotomayor or Elena Kagan, are all that liberal, which is in keeping with his own moderate philosophy. And I would expect that any future justice appointees would also be moderates. But compare that to the philosophy of the current republican presidential candidates. Then consider how they would likely choose to fill vacancies on the Supreme Court. It's a scary proposition for the coming decades. That alone is enough to make me support Obama in 2012.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The President on Mars

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time (which I thoroughly appreciate, by the way) you know that I really love a good conspiracy theory. And this has to be one of the best I've ever read:

Two former participants in the CIA’s Mars visitation program of the early 1980’s have confirmed that U.S. President Barack H. Obama was enrolled in their Mars training class in 1980 and was among the young Americans from the program who they later encountered on the Martian surface after reaching Mars via “jump room.”

Andrew D. Basiago, 50, a lawyer in Washington State who served in DARPA’s time travel program Project Pegasus in the 1970’s, and fellow chrononaut William B. Stillings, 44, who was tapped by the Mars program for his technical genius, have publicly confirmed that Obama was enrolled in their Mars training class in 1980 and that each later encountered Obama during visits to rudimentary U.S. facilities on Mars that took place from 1981 to 1983.

You really owe it to yourself to go read the whole thing. Perhaps my favorite part:

On August 21, 2011, Mr. Basiago stated: "Something highly significant has happened, and that is that two individuals from the same Mars training class in 1980 (Basiago and Stillings) have met and are comparing experiences and are able to corroborate not only that they were on the surface of Mars together but that before reaching Mars via jump room they were trained with a group of teenagers that included the current President of the United States (Obama) and director of DARPA (Dugan)."

Mr. Basiago states that during one of his trips to Mars via “jump room” that took place from 1981 to 1983, he was sitting on a wall beneath an arching roof that covered one of the “jump room” facilities as he watched Mr. Obama walk back to the jump room from across the Martian terrain. When Mr. Obama walked past him and Mr. Basiago acknowledged him, Mr. Obama stated, with some sense of fatalism: “Now we’re here!”

The primitive conditions that they encountered on Mars might explain the high level of danger involved. Mr. Basiago and Mr. Stillings agree that Major Dames stated during their training class at The College of the Siskiyous in 1980: “Of the 97,000 individuals that we have thus far sent to Mars, only 7,000 have survived there after five years.” When they then first teleported to Mars in Summer 1981, the young Mars visitors confronted the situation that Major Dames had covered at length during the class the previous summer – that one of their principal concerns on Mars would be to avoid being devoured by one of the predator species on the Martian surface, some of which they would be able to evade, and some of which were impossible to evade if encountered.

So forget the whole Kenyan-Muslim thing. It's clear that our President may be controlled by Martians.
Added: The more I think about this, the more it explains things in my own life. I can't remember much of what happened to me between 1980 and 83. I always thought it was drugs, but now I'm thinking that actually the CIA sent me to Mars, and brainwashed me into thinking that it was drugs. Yup, that would explain a lot.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


I was really rooting for Thaddeus McCotter, but then I saw that he dropped out back in September. So now I'm pulling for Buddy Roemer.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Another Trip Around the Sun

For the 53rd consecutive time, the year begins with my Birthday (hey, I find that important) which is a good thing. We should start partying.

It's 2012, a leap year. Because the year has one extra day, we'll get the summer Olympics and a presidential election. I'm looking forward to the Olympics. The election...well, not so much. But the extra day is nice.

Anyway, Happy New Year to you all!