Category Archives: Culture

The Mything Link


1st black mayor marks new chapter in Montgomery history shaped by race - al.comSeeking to dilute images of its racist past, officials in Montgomery, Ala., voted Tuesday to add the motto “Birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement” to the city seal.

Los Angeles Times/July 3, 2002

If you want to understand the spin machine that colors our understanding of the American experience, spend a couple of days in Montgomery, Alabama, as I just did.  The most direct route from our home in Northeast Florida is navigated along “The Jefferson Davis Highway.”  The historic marker on the property now occupied by the DoubleTree Hotel where I stayed commemorates the shooting of an innocent black man by city police.  The state capitol dome is surrounded by eight murals which highlight events ranging from the original founding of the region as a “white settlement” by the French to the post-Civil War era depicted by black laborers constructing modern day buildings which, of course, they were then prohibited from entering.

Almost everything in the capitol building is a shrine to the confederacy and segregation.  The old state court chamber is identified as the place when Jefferson Davis lay in state.  And the only statue in the building is of Lurleen Wallace, the 46th governor and first woman to hold that office, although her 1966 campaign was as surrogate for out-going governor and husband segregationist-supreme George who was term limited.  What was known only to her doctor and George Wallace (even she was not told), Lurleen Wallace had been diagnosed with colon cancer.  Despite her condition, she continued to campaign and was elected to the state’s highest office but served only 14 months before succumbing to the disease on May 7, 1968.

So let’s give credit where credit is due.  Montgomery, Alabama was “the cradle of the confederacy,” having served as the first capital of the secessionist alliance.  But what about the added phrase, “Birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement.”  It is not like a group of white men and women suddenly had a moment of moral consciousness.   Or that George Wallace, upon the death of his beloved Lurleen, gave a speech as he left the capitol claiming, “The time has come to atone for the way we have viewed and treated the black citizens of our state.”

Let’s be honest, Montgomery became the locus of the civil rights movement because it was the perfect venue for leaders of the movement to demonstrate both the de jure and de facto legal, social and economic injustice which were ingrained in the state’s history, laws and culture.  A more appropriate moniker would be to call Montgomery the epicenter of America’s acknowledgement the aspirational goal of “all men (and women) created equal” was, as Shakespeare wrote, often “more honored in the breach than the observance.”

I found my journey to Montgomery more meaningful in the shadow of the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa race massacre, an event that was not merely spun, but buried with the victims.  Which brings me the ultimate purpose of this post, to try and decipher the debate over the “1619 Project,” an on-going examination, according to the New York Times which published the original series, “that aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans at the very center of the United States narrative.”

As with any historical narrative, the principal author Nikole Hannah-Jones brought her own perspective and life experiences to the work, in some cases overstating the relationship of certain facts to her thesis.  To her credit, when legitimate critiques were made, she revised the text in subsequent versions.  The best example is her adding the word “some” to her contention colonists fought the Revolutionary War to preserve slavery which was increasingly being questioned by colonial governors appointed by King George III.

The debate has now shifted to the use of Hannah-Jones’ essays as teaching materials in public schools.  As reported by Education Week, three state legislatures –Arkansas, Iowa and Mississippi–have introduced bills to ban its use.  And U.S. senator Tom Cotton (Insurrectionist-Arkansas) has called for a national prohibition.  The Mississippi bill calls the 1619 Project “a racially divisive and revisionist account,” while the Iowa bill claims it “attempts to deny or obfuscate the fundamental principles upon which the United States was founded.”  My question, “Exactly which fundamentals are they referring to?”  Let me guess.

  • Puritans came to America to promote religious freedom?  According to the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA), “While Puritans sought refuge from the Church of England’s oppression, they in turn oppressed all non-Protestants in the New World, including Puritans advocating separation of church and state, such as Rhode Island founder Roger Willams.”  So much for religious freedom.
  • America has always been “exceptional?”  Again, according to ACTA, “Ironically, the term was coined by Joseph Stalin in reference to America’s proletariat being largely unwilling to join the communist movement sweeping Europe at the time.” Sometimes, exceptionalism is a term on which we can all agree, when applied to the United States.
  • Paul Revere was responsible for alerting colonists to the arrival of British troops in Boston harbor?  In fact there were five riders that night.  And the longest ride, twice the distance of Revere’s, was completed by one Israel Bissell. One might argue Revere’s fame is due to the fact poet William Wadsworth Longfellow found more words that rhyme with Revere than with Bissell.
  • And of course the Euro-centric whopper, Columbus discovered America?  Despite the fact Norse explorer Leif Erikson outpaced Columbus for this honor by more than 500 years. (Maybe the MAGA shaman thought the crowd was celebrating Viking-awareness day.)

In economics, there is room for Adam Smith and John Maynard Keynes.  In psychology, Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud.  So why not make space in history classes for Hannah-Jones alongside the likes of Donald Ritchie and Albert S. Broussard, authors of the popular high school text American History: The Early Years.  Maybe, just maybe, it will avoid another generation of Americans learning, 100 years after the fact, that 300 plus Black Americans were massacred in Tulsa, Oklahoma or other examples of racial injustices which, as so perfectly articulated by comedian David Steinberg, “expose the tattered underwear beneath America’s tuxedo.”

What are those who want to ban the 1619 Project from classrooms afraid of? That students will desert the foundations of the American experience. Or will they, as President Joe Biden suggested in his speech in Tulsa on the 100th anniversary of the death and destruction on May 31 and June 1, 1921, recognize the greatness of America is enhanced every time its citizens’ “come to terms with its dark side.”

POSTCRIPT:  There was one upside to my drive from Amelia Island to Montgomery.  A sign that life in America is returning to some semblance of normalcy as evidenced by the fact, in rural Georgia and Alabama, “Jesus Saves” billboards and yard signs again outnumber Trump 2020 and MAGA posters.

For what it’s worth.




Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

George Santayana/The Life of Reason (1905)

Talk about your go-to phrase.  I have lost count how many times over the last five and a half years I have introduced a topic with this quote.  That is because it does not matter how many times individuals who should know better ignore Santanaya’s advice, when given the next opportunity to benefit from his wisdom.

On how many occasions have people in positions of power  learned a simple truth about transparency in response to a crisis?  History tells us, “the cover-up is always worse than the crime.”  As evidence, consider the following Top 10 cover-ups going back 130 years.

  • Dreyfus Affair (1894)
  • Teapot Dome (1922)
  • Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment (1932-72)
  • Tobacco Industry Denial of the Health Risks of Smoking (1950)
  • Thalidomide (1957-61)
  • CIA Efforts to Assassinate Fidel Castro (1960s)
  • Watergate (1972)
  • Ford Pinto (1970s)
  • Chernobyl (1985)
  • Pedophile Priests Exposed by the Boston Globe (1992)

PhotographEach of these cover-ups would have succeeded except for one or more brave individuals pulling back the curtain on these scandals.  Or as Nixon aide and Watergate mastermind G. Gordon Liddy once said, “The big problem with conspiracies is that people can’t keep their mouths shut.”  With the exception of White House legal counsel John Dean and FBI deputy director Mark “Deep Throat” Felt, few of these “whistle blowers” are household names.  More recently, Soviet scientist Valery Legasov’s (pictured) role as someone willing to speak truth to power was highlighted in the HBO mini-series Chernobyl.

However, each of the above scandals have their own lesser-known Dean, Felt or Legasov.  Take the Tuskegee experiment as an example.  In 1965, government social worker Pete Buxton found internal U.S. Public Health Service reports which documented mistreatment of test participants and raised questions about violations of professional ethics with superiors.  After years of inaction, Buxton gave copies of the reports to the Associated Press which finally led to termination of the program in 1972.

Perhaps you are asking, “Dr. ESP, why did you choose this morning to bring this to our attention?  Wouldn’t it have been equally relevant during the first Trump impeachment and the administration’s obstruction of justice to prevent public knowledge of the Ukraine quid pro quo?”  The answer to your question appears on this week’s front pages of the Washington Post, laying out what can only be a called “a trifecta of cover-ups.”  Here are the headlines.

  • Key impeachment witness Gordon Sondland sues Mike Pompeo and U.S. for $1.8 million in legal fees (5/24/21)
  • Justice Department releases part of internal memo on not charging Trump in Russia probe (5/25/21)
  • Timeline: How the Wuhan lab-leak theory suddenly became credible (2/25/21)

It is hard to equate Sondland with Mark Felt or Pete Buxton as his actions are based more on personal self-interest.  But the filing does include new details which would not have emerged without Sondland’s input.  Sondland alleges Pompeo told him the Department of Justice (DOJ) would cover his attorney fees if he stuck to the party line Ukraine involved no quid pro quo and he resigned as ambassador to the European Union.  According to the filing:

Ambassador Sondland confirmed he would not resign because he did not do anything improper. After that, everything changed. Ambassador Sondland did not receive his attorneys’ fees, notwithstanding the promises from the State Department that the attorneys’ fees would be paid.

As has been the case too many times during the past five years when the White House and Congress ignored their constitutional responsibilities, the “hero” in the second story is a U.S. District Judge, in this instance Amy Berman Jackson.  Jackson did not hesitate to suggest Attorney General Bill Barr acted improperly by misrepresenting the the Mueller report consistent with internal memo prepared by DOJ political appointees, one of whom was supervising the Mueller investigation.  She also found Barr went beyond the long-held constitutional position that a sitting president could not be charged with a crime when he claimed, were there no constitutional barrier, he would not have prosecuted Trump.

I do not want to downplay the first two stories, but the consequences are limited.  Sondland may or may not get reimbursed.  Trump is out of office.  And most importantly, he and several members of his administration will face their day in court without the advantage of a potential White House pardon. Yet, it is the third headline which triggered today’s blog.  Why?  Because the pandemic impacted the health of billions of people, the global economy and perhaps the geopolitical future of democracy.

At a time when the line between democracy and autocracy is more blurred than ever, citizens across the globe go to the polls and wonder, “Does it really matter?”  I believe, the answer depends whether there is a simple, defining principle which separates the two.  And if we ever needed evidence to make a case for liberal democracy, the past year and a half is Exhibit A.

There are myriad possibilities about the origins of COVID-19, and in time, the truth will come out.  But I find it hard it hard to believe the Chinese would intentionally want to start a worldwide pandemic.  Why?  Because it flies in the face of Beijing’s efforts to convince developing nations democracy is an inferior form of government, plagued by chaos, dishonesty, greed and corruption.  That argument is harder to make when a lack of transparency which contributed to three million deaths is a prerequisite for survival of the alternative.  After all, Chernobyl and the associated deaths of 4,000 to 16,000 Soviet citizens (depending on the source) was one more nail in the coffin of the USSR.

If the Chernobyl cover-up was a black eye on Soviet communism, could COVID-19 and the unwillingness of Xi Jinping’s government to provide real-time, accurate information be China’s “CherGlobyl,” a metaphorical nuclear meltdown from which it may not recover?

For what it’s worth.



Dueling Crucibles


While teaching at Miami University, I was once asked to be part of a visioning exercise at a Cincinnati architecture firm.  The purpose?  To discuss the mindset of recent college graduates and how that might affect their recruiting and business model in the future.

William Strauss - WikipediaMy invitation was based on an article in Miami Magazine about the creativity class I developed as part of the entrepreneurship curriculum.  A second panelist was William Strauss, co-author of the book Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584 to 2069.  As I entered the large conference room and went over to introduce myself to Strauss, something about him looked strangely familiar.  Had I watched a televised interview about the book or seen his portrait on the back cover in some bookstore?  It was only when he said “hello” I made the connection.  This was the same Bill Strauss, who, in 1981, co-founded the satirical music ensemble The Capitol Steps, a project which began as Senate staff entertainment at a Christmas party and, until the pandemic, performed weekends at the their own theater in the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.  NOTE:  Sadly, Strauss died in 2007, after an eight year battle against pancreatic cancer.

As we start to emerge from the combined health and economic crisis precipitated by the spread of the coronavirus, I think about Strauss and the lasting effect of the past 15 months.  In Generations, Strauss and co-author Neil Howe establish the “Strauss-Howe generational theory,” described as follows on Wikipedia.

According to the theory, historical events are associated with recurring generational personas (archetypes). Each generational persona unleashes a new era (called a turning) lasting around 20–25 years, in which a new social, political, and economic climate (mood) exists. They are part of a larger cyclical “saeculum” (a long human life, which usually spans between 80 and 100 years, although some saecula have lasted longer). The theory states that a crisis recurs in American history after every saeculum, which is followed by a recovery (high). During this recovery, institutions and communitarian values are strong. Ultimately, succeeding generational archetypes attack and weaken institutions in the name of autonomy and individualism, which eventually creates a tumultuous political environment that ripens conditions for another crisis.

These critical events are labelled “crucibles.”  While Strauss and Howe document 500 years of such crucibles, I will focus on the last century of generation-shaping experiences from the Great Depression to World War II to John Kennedy’s assassination to 9/11 to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The first four fit the Strauss-Howe theory.  Each brought on a period of national unity eventually eroded by another crisis, the best example being the era of social and economic progress immediately following Kennedy’s death which disappeared with each increase in engagement in the Vietnam war.

The last six months raise a different question.  What happens if there are two or more competing crucibles?  Take January 2021.  During the first month of the new year, the death count from COVID-19 in the United States reached a high point of 102,014.  According to Strauss and Howe, such a traumatic shock to the populace should have triggered a recovery characterized by national unity and strong community values.  However, at the same time, America experienced an equally shocking moment on January 6th when a sitting president incited an armed insurrection designed to prevent Congress from carrying out its constitutional mandate of certifying a presidential election.

Why does it matter?  Twenty years ago, our daughter was a freshman in college on 9/11.  In response to an attack on the homeland, she enrolled in ROTC and now serves as a major in the U.S. Air Force, something no one could have predicted based on her pre-9/11 behavior. Generations contains many similar individual examples how a half millennium of historical events changed the course of people’s lives. If I could share our daughter’s story with Bill Strauss, I imagine he would say, “See, that’s exactly what Neil and I are talking about.”

But what about current freshmen in college?  What will be their personal crucible?  The fact that their transformation from adolescence to adulthood, being on your own for the first time, was interrupted?  Or for the first time in 200 years, the U.S. Capitol was breached, not by a foreign adversary, but by domestic terrorists?  How many young men and women will join the medical profession or become first responders?  And how many will join armed militias or conspiracy-based organizations such as Q-Anon?

What did Strauss and Howe miss that would help us understand “dueling crucibles?”  Maybe it was their belief that the cycle of crisis and recovery was the natural order of things.  However, in hindsight it appears a necessary variable is a leader who understands what Rahm Emanuel once stated, “Never let a crisis go to waste.”  Think FDR after the depression, LBJ after the assassination, George W. Bush after 9/11.  In contrast, Trump will forever claim he would have been re-elected by a landslide but for the pandemic.  FDR, LBJ and W, based on their experience would tell him otherwise.  “When you take control of a crisis, regardless how bad, you win.  When you let it control you, you lose.”

AllPolitics - Capitol Steps: Elaina Newport InterviewOf one thing I am sure.  If Bill Strauss were still around on January 6th, he too would never think of “The Capitol Steps” in the same way.  In 1981, he and troupe co-founder Elaina Newport chose the name based on a rumor which became a widely repeated joke in D.C. political circles.  Rita Jenrette gave an interview in which she claimed she once made love to her then husband Congressman John Jenrette (R-LA) on the stairs to the east entrance of the building.  That meme (I know, an anachronism in 1981) led to a Rita Jennette Playboy cover and photo spread.  What happened on those steps in 2021 was neither a rumor nor funny.

For what it’s worth.



And the Winner Is…


Ten days have passed since former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty on three counts of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.  The commentary since the verdict has focused on three things.  First, whether justice was served.  Second, whether this is a single moment in time or evidence Martin Luther King, Jr. was correct when he said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”  And third, whether testimony of senior leadership in the Minneapolis police department against Chauvin now gives the overwhelming majority of decent, dedicated law enforcement officers new license to speak out when one of their own acts outside the law, department policy or their training.

Let’s be honest.  Yes, the Floyd family called for peaceful protests and told those who looted and set fires they dishonored Floyd’s memory.  But the atmosphere surrounding mass assemblies of justifiably angry and frustrated individuals creates an environment in which violence and destruction, though not inevitable, becomes more likely.  Sometimes it is simply the result of those participating in peaceful dissent being caught up in the moment.  In any protest, the fuel is there.  And all it takes is one stupid act by one individual to produce the spark.

In other instances, the perpetrators are opportunists who see a Black Lives Matter protest as a façade to commit crimes with little or no interest in the underlying reason for a demonstration.  It is the street version of “any excuse for a party,” except the “celebration” ends in property destruction and injury instead of hangovers and random accumulations of vomit.

However, the lasting impact of the Chauvin verdict may have less to do with justice for George Floyd than it has on responses to subsequent instances where the use of excessive and deadly force is at issue.  One need look no further than the six fatal shootings by police within 24 hours of the Chauvin verdict, five of which involved persons of color.  Each involves very different situations and needs to be looked at separately.  Even in the case of Andrew Brown, Jr., where reluctance by Elizabeth City, North Carolina officials to share the unredacted body cam video with the public, much less with the Brown family, there have been protests without the attendant violence or destruction associated with previous marches.

All of which leads me to the conclusion the single most significant winner in the debate over police reform and criminal justice is…PATIENCE.  Remember,  George Floyd died on Memorial Day 2020.  It took almost 11 months before Derek Chauvin was lead out of the courtroom in handcuffs.  In the aftermath of Floyd’s murder, the looting and property destruction took place simultaneously with the first protest marches immediately after the release of Darnella Frazier’s video.

Consider the difference between May 2020 and today.  Last year, the debate on how to stem social unrest was reactive, centering on the appropriate level of deployment of more law enforcement and the national guard.  “Law and order” advocates on the right wanted us to believe protesters and rioters were one and the same.  These issues have not been necessary the past ten days despite the continued instances of fatal police shootings.

Why?  Maybe the root cause of the metamorphosis of protests into riots was never about the circumstances of any individual event but a lack of belief in a system of law enforcement and criminal justice.  The Black Lives Matter has sent a powerful message to members of Congress over the past week and a half.  If you really want to curb violent and destructive social unrest, the best way to do that is passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.  It will reinforce and institutionalize the level playing field that existed in the Hennepin County courtroom during the Chauvin trial.  A playing field on which we are willing to wait because we know the facts and the law can prevail.  The question, as always, “Will they listen?”


Open letter to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy:

Look at the following pictures and please explain why you think there is no difference between the Black Lives Matter movement and the insurrectionists who stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6th.

Families of Black men slain by police are hopeful for reform | National  News | joplinglobe.comAttorney Ben Crump and families of victims of deadly police force came to the Capitol yesterday to encourage passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

Shameful moment in history': Sisters react to insurrection at US Capitol |  Global Sisters ReportInsurrectionists storm the Capitol on January 6th to interrupt certification of the 2020 electoral vote.

It is time for an independent commission to investigate the attack on the Capitol and the underlying causes.  Do not delay its creation by making false equivalencies about the motivation and scope of these very different events.

I anxiously await your response as I lack the patience of the Floyd and Brown families.

WD-40 & Duct Tape


Long time readers know I am a member of the cult of synchronicity, constantly looking for those connections between two or more seemingly unrelated events.  Sometimes the chasm between the two are decades apart.  Sometimes the venues fall within vastly different arenas.  However, in today’s example, there is little space between time or venue.  Though the subject matter differs, the temporal and geographic circumstances are the same, the current session of the U.S. Supreme Court.

One of the topics which triggered this blog is tied to two cases involving a California law which requires charities to disclose their largest donors (Americans for Prosperty v. Bonta and Thomas More Law Center v. Bonta).  NOTE:  The defendant Rob Bonta is the California attorney general.  The original concern was the state’s failure to protect certain confidential information about donors, a legitimate issue which has since been resolved.

So why would two conservative entities continue to pursue the case and appeal the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit which upheld the California law.  Because there is an increasingly blurred line between charitable entities, 501(c)(3) under the tax code, and political organizations, 501(c)(4).  Take one of the plaintiffs, Americans for Prosperity, as an example.  This 501(c)(4) entity was created by the Koch brothers and has been a major player in supporting Republican candidates at all levels of government, influencing supreme court appointments and championing conservative causes. Under current federal law, it is not required to report its major donors.

During Monday’s hearing, questioning by conservative justices suggested they see the California law as a slippery slope which could violate a donor’s right to free speech and freedom of association if the California statute were applied to 501(3)(4) corporations.  Justice Clarence Thomas made this point during oral arguments.

In this era, there seems to be quite a bit of loose accusations about organizations, for example, an organization that had certain views might be accused of being a white supremacist organization or racist or homophobic, something like that, and, as a result, become quite controversial.

In his latest attempt at false equivalencies, Justice Thomas skips over the fact the last time the Court addressed this issue was its decision in NAACP v. Patterson (1958) when the state of Alabama issued a subpoena for the NAACP’s membership list.  The NAACP argued publication of such information could endanger the safety of those who supported the civil rights movement, including desegregation of public facilities, opposed by the governor, state legislature and the state supreme court.  Keep in mind the case was brought less than three years after Emmett Till was lynched in neighboring Mississippi.

NOTE:  Justice Amy Coney Barrett participated in the oral arguments on Monday despite a request by three Democratic members of Congress she recuse herself since Americans for Prosperity had spent over one million dollars on an ad campaign supporting her confirmation.  To date, she has not responded to their letter of request.

Which brings me to the second case Mahoney Area School District v. B. L., which will be argued this Wednesday.  The case centers on a then 14 year-old student who, upon being passed over for promotion to the varsity cheerleading squad, posted a series of F-bombs on Snapchat directed at her school, the softball program, cheerleading and everything in general.  The rant was posted after school hours while she was at a convenience store.

To make their case, the school district draws on the precedent established in Morse v. Frederick (2007) in which the Court ruled an Alaska high school could prohibit students from holding up a sign which read “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” even thought they were off-campus because it promoted drug use in violation of the school’s anti-drug policy.  (Not to mention, appropriating the Savior’s name to encourage doobie dipping probably struck the school administration  as sacrilegious.) But again, there is a false equivalency.  The occasion on which the students displayed the banner, although off-campus, was a sanctioned school event.  Students were permitted to leave campus during school hours to view the Olympic torch relay on its way to Salt Lake City.  And therefore, the school had the right to oversee whether student behavior under that grant of permission was consistent with on-campus policy.

What do these two cases have in common?  Both beg for common sense solutions, instead of convoluted legal parsing and unsubstantiated speculative impacts.  Remember, ever court decision often provides additional fodder for the next related case.  Of course, none of this will stop me from making convoluted arguments based on legal precedence to prove my point about the need for common sense.

Tinker v. Des Moines (@TinkVsDesMoines) | TwitterLet’s start with the latter case.  The standard by which many student freedom of expression cases have been decided was established in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District (1969) which allowed school authorities to regulate speech if it resulted in “substantial disruption.”  In the specifics of that case, the Court ruled punishment for wearing black arm bands protesting the war in Vietnam was unjustified.  No students were threatened and there was no interruption of scheduled classes.

Did the Mahoney School District really thing Brandi Levy (previously identified only as B.L as she was a minor at the time) was causing “substantial disruption” by telling the world how pissed off she was at having to spend another year on the junior varsity cheerleading squad?  Likewise, does Ms. Levi think making this into a federal case serves her well?  Any notoriety, which would have otherwise vanished from Snapchat in 24 hours, is now chronicled in every major newspaper and on-line legal search sites.

While I believe the Court should and will protect her right of expression, any potential employer also has the right to question whether they want to hire someone who reacts to disappointment in such manner.  And forgive me for thinking this story line is more appropriate for a “made for TV movie” than the nation’s highest court.

I also believe the 6-3 conservative court will decide in favor of Americans for Prosperity without making the connection with Citizens United v FEC (2010).  Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing the majority opinion in Citizens United, assumed, with the advent of digital technology, there would be full and instant disclosure of corporate contributions to political campaigns and causes.  He now admits he was wrong on this point.  Common sense tells us, if Americans for Prosperity is spending millions of dollars in support of a candidate or cause, we have a right to know who those “Americans” are.  Is it one or two people with deep pockets claiming to represent the people? Common sense also suggests we have a right to know who underwrote the rally on January 6th sponsored by “Women for America First.”  And who do they actually represent?  NOTE:  The number of newly established 501(c)(4) “social welfare” entities doubled in the year following the Citizens United decision.

In the remake of Gran Torino (2008), Clint Eastwood plays Chief Justice John Roberts who, invoking a Walt Kowalski quote, tells plaintiffs like Americans for Progress and Brandi Levy to quit wasting the court’s time and figure it out themselves.  “Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape.  Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone.”

For what it’s worth.