Strange Bedfellows


Welcome back to the Scuttlebutt, get something to drink, and let’s talk.


You know, it’s been said that Politics makes strange bedfellows… Take those two bastards above (PLEASE!) But before I talk about them, I’m going to talk about some other bedroom hijinks in the news.


Specifically, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.  If you don’t recognize it, that’s the name of the case currently before the SCOTUS that has the left’s panties in a horrible bunch, and is causing the Religious Right to need to go take a cold shower.


A little review: Roe v. Wade is the SCOTUS decision from 1973 that established a national right for women to have an abortion, prior to the viability of the fetus.  


The decision was tied to the right to privacy as established in Griswold v Connecticut, 1965.  Griswold ruled that CT. could not prosecute someone for using birth control devices or advising anyone about their use.

This was tied to the First Amendment through “collateral rights such as the “right of association” etc. and suggests that the guarantees in the Bill of Rights have Penumbras (or shadows, if you will) that must be so for the basic right to be so.  This then went on to tie in the Third, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments as part of the same argument about implied rights, and most importantly the Fourteenth Amendment rights of due process, with the argument that the laws in TX being fought over were too vague.


It’s worth noting that this same concept will be tested in the SCOTUS case New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen, which revolves around the issuing of Permits to carry a pistol. The question of course, is what does BEAR mean?  


Does it mean you get to carry a pistol concealed in public?  NYC of course, says “NO, you don’t get to carry a pistol unless we say you can, and you have to prove an extraordinary need.  Self Defense won’t cut it here bitch!” The counter argument is “Bear means carry, and I don’t need a license that the state can refuse to issue, to do what the Second Amendment says I can do.  If I can’t carry a gun outside my house, I can’t defend myself, which is part of what the second is about.” (That whole Penumbra thing, defense of the state implies self-defense as well.)


So now that we’ve reviewed the idea of the Bill of Rights requiring other rights not expressly stated, let’s go on to look at Roe: 


The key piece that’s in question is a portion of this decision that establishes “Viability” as the litmus test for:

 “Before this, you can get an abortion, and the state can’t say squat. After this the state can restrict abortion due to the legitimate interest in protecting both the woman’s health and the life of the fetus.”


There’s discussion in the findings of Roe on: “where do we draw the line” and recognition that “Quickening” or the first recognizable movement of the fetus in utero was a standard that had endured in common law from around twelve hundred AD. (Note that “quickening generally happens at about 15 weeks, that will be important later.)  Then the decision wanders off into public opinion, laws in other nations, how public opinion has changed, and so on.  Frankly this was and is the bone of contention.  Does the Supreme Court decide based on what prevailing public opinion is? Or does it decide based on what the law says? There is much discussion in this decision on “when is the fetus alive?” 


(It’s worth noting here that while the case decision states that there haven’t been any cases where the death of a fetus was considered murder for criminal purposes… That may have been true in ’73, but it isn’t now.  At least two cases I know of, the defendant was found guilty of multiple murders, one for the mother, one for the fetus.  One of those cases was right here in Bremerton, where a guy knifed the mother to kill the baby.  So much for that argument.)


OK, now that we’ve reviewed Roe, let’s look again at Dobbs.  Jackson Women’s Health is arguing that the GA law drawing the line at 15 weeks vice 21 weeks is illegal. On the face of it, it does disagree with Roe.  


The question of course is whether or not Roe is indisputable?  


The left would have it that; once a decision has been made by the SCOTUS that’s it, it’s done, can’t argue it, go away!  Of course, that’s not true for decisions that the left doesn’t LIKE, but hey, who am I to point out the number of times they’ve tried to argue or ignore McDonald v. Chicago, and Heller v. D.C.? It also ignores some pretty significant cases that were overturned to the betterment of the world, (unless of course you think that Dred Scott was good law…)


The discussion by the justices have revolved around this 21-week rule.  Why 21, why not 15? What is a man that thou art mindful?  Where does life begin?  


Fair disclosure here, while I have, obviously, never had an abortion, two of my wives have.  Both before 15 weeks.  One of them is probably still mentally messed up from it… This was the start of our falling apart, because she later miscarried and the doc blamed it on her previous abortion. So, I do know a little about the subject.  I’m not going to get into the religious considerations, that’s between the patient and their God.  It’s not the state’s business, nor is it mine, nor for that matter is it yours, unless you are the patient, or that patient’s minister/priest/rabbi/mullah/etc …


The Right, especially the Religious Right, argue that “The woman’s right to make decisions for herself  was expended when she decided to get into bed with someone, and that once that egg is fertilized, that’s a kid.”  Sorry, I’m not quite there.  Two cells do not a baby make.


I do find compelling, the argument that we now know more about the formation of the human fetus than we knew in ’73, and a revisitation on when the fetus is formed and “a child” is not unreasonable.


I do NOT find compelling the arguments that “this is long standing LAW” (it’s not even as old as I am, that’s not “long standing” in my book.) nor the argument that “Changing the standard will make a mockery of the court and make them just a bunch of politicians!”  I also don’t find threats from Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D NH) that there will be a revolution if Roe is overturned to be scary.  Don’t throw me in that brier patch Mr. Bear. 


When Roe got into a discussion of English Statutory law post American Revolution, Para 42-45, and “popular opinion” Para 46-68, and 92, they went into the realm of being politicians. I am, have been and will always be a strict Constitutionalist.  Where the Constitution says the National government, or State government has a say, there the court rules.  Where it does not, making up rules makes you a politician, not a judge.  In short, I think that Roe was, while not complete overreach, a political decision.  The case could be made that the basic concept of Roe was solid, but establishing “21 weeks” as solid and immutable?  That’s a bridge too far.


Now let’s take on those two up-top, because it’s just about written in stone that we will have to.  China and Russia are NOT natural allies.  Far from it, they’re about as natural of a pair as Hitler and Stalin.  I’ll point out for the few in the audience that may have forgotten, that Hitler and Stalin WERE allies, from August 23 1939 until June 22 of 1941… For further details go do a 3 second search for the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact on the web. You’ll find plenty of details.


Much like the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, these two countries have often hated each other, and at various times have occupied parts of each other.  There’s also the relatively new thing of “which version of Communism is right?” But the hatred and distrust go back to the Mongols.


Back when the Soviet Union was still a thing, they believed that they were the heirs of Lennon and Marx, and the True Prophets of the same.  Mao didn’t agree. There have been exchanges of fire a few times along their borders, including a little war on and around Zhenbao Island and the Amur River in ‘69.  Back when I was wearing a uniform there were rumors that this actually included the use of a small tactical nuke.  Neither side will admit that… This conflict basically ended by Ho Chi Minh picking a convenient time to die.  His death caused North Vietnam to act as an intermediary.


Seems they were scared that if their two sugar daddies fought, they were going to end up losing the Vietnam war. Then there was Nixon’s peace overtures to China, (hoping to use them as a counterbalance to the USSR) causing China to reconsider going to full war with the USSR.  This was believed to be because China thought that if they could get rapprochement with the US, they could get us to let them take Taiwan back.  Yes, this Taiwan thing has been going on that long.


 Really, we can, to a certain degree, blame Nixon for China’s current position in the world.  I devoutly wish he had not decided to try using China as a cat’s paw against the Soviet Union.  I don’t think they helped much, and they are now sitting in a place where we are liable to have to fight them.


Let’s talk about that for a second.  China is pulling their big money out of Wall Street (see ) which, being a totalitarian regime, is easy for them to do.  


We are NOT pulling our money out of China, which our government can’t force companies, especially multinationals, to do, and invites China to “nationalize” the assets inside their country, much like Naser did to the oil fields and the Suez Canal in ’55-57.  


Let me make clear here that we are talking about a LOT of money, as in trillions.  Don’t be surprised to see that cash locked up with “let us take Taiwan back, and we’ll release the funds, or you can go to war with us!”  


At the same time, Putin is pulling a “lebensraum” (this was the excuse Hitler used to invade the Sudetenland, and Poland.) claiming that “The Ukraine is really part of Russia.”  OK he hasn’t said exactly those words, but he has claimed exactly that Ukraine is intimately linked with Russia by generations of linguistic, cultural, economic, political and family ties… Which is sort of like saying that Chile is part of Argentina because of the same arguments… and EXACTLY like saying that the Sudetenland is part of Germany because so many of the people there are of German descent, speak German, etc. … which was Hitler’s excuse for annexing that chunk of territory.  Oh, and the Ukrainians? Yeah, don’t listen to them fuckers, they don’t know what’s good for them!


“They stole our past,” said Alyona Getmanchuk, director of the New Europe Centre, a pro-Western think tank in Kyiv. “Now they’re trying to steal our future.”


Make no mistake. Putin is an unreformed old cold warrior, who earned his bones as a senior member of the KGB. (Hey, it takes one to know one, and I too am an unreformed old cold warrior.) Look, I expected this land grab a long time ago.  Ukraine and Georgia were the breadbaskets of the Soviet Union, and Russia has, through various means, wanted to/ or did, own those two separate countries for most of modern history.  Not because either country LIKED the idea, mind you, but because even more important than the golden rule (he who has the gold rules.) There’s the IRON rule: He who has the most iron, and the most guys carrying it, rule.  


These countries have been subjugated, and raped, repeatedly by Russia since about 1658, and before that they were Poland and Lithuania’s whipping boys.  When Russia fell in 1918 to the Bolsheviks, Ukraine tried to get free again, declaring their independence, and Uncle Joe Stalin said: “The FUCK you say” sending in troops and making it a Soviet Socialist Republic (that’s communist for “Moscow’s hand puppet”) 


To give you an idea of how bad it was in the Ukraine, they greeted the Nazi’s with flower strewn parades, as rescuers!  


Of course, Hitler being the moron that he was, instead of using that, and putting the Ukrainians in his army to advance on Moscow, (which would have been the SMART move, the Ukrainians were after all the source of the fabled Cossacks!) decided to give them the same treatment that he gave to the Poles, the Russians, and the Dutch.  


There’s a couple of things worth noting here: Russia has suffered from overcompensation for an inferiority complex since the Middle Ages.  They are very paranoid as a nation, and just absolutely sure that given a chance they will be invaded, and all of their stuff will be taken.  They see NATO as someone who is likely to invade their ass on no pretext at all, and allowing Ukraine to join NATO puts a dagger to their groin in their mind.  When you add that to the fact that the USSR is still a living memory, for many in Russia, and they remember quite clearly that the Ukraine used to be their summer playground… 


Well, put it all together and it feels a LOT like the Germans of the 20s and 30s looking at all the land taken away from them by the Treaty of Versailles and mumbling into their beer.


“Domestically, the annexation of Crimea, a glittering Black Sea peninsula, shot Putin’s approval ratings to near 90% in 2014. This year, the Kremlin has escalated its attacks on Ukraine’s pro-Western leadership by appealing to Ukraine’s place in Russian identity; Putin opened a July article about why Ukrainians and Russians are “one people” by describing their current divisions as “a great common calamity.”


“The West, he wrote, was trying to turn Ukraine into a “bridgehead against Russia,” akin to how he claimed the Poles and Austrians had tried to wrest Ukrainians away in earlier centuries. As evidence, Putin presented trends as varied as laws promoting the use of the Ukrainian language in Ukraine, as well as the country’s deepening cooperation with Western militaries.


“It would be no exaggeration to say that the course of forced assimilation, the formation of an ethnically pure Ukrainian state aggressively oriented against Russia, is comparable in its consequences to the use of a weapon of mass destruction against us,” Putin wrote.  Source: which is a copy of the article from the NYT by Anton Troianovski, I am sending you there, vice the NYT, because they don’t have a paywall.


The counterweight to this was a two hour zoom meeting between Biden and Putin on the subject, in which Neville Chamberlain (oh, excuse me, I mean Joe Biden) allegedly threatened to conduct economic sanctions against Russia, if they turned the 175,000 troops massed on the Ukraine border loose.  Of course, this was in spite of removing the economic sanctions against NordStream 2 (the new Russian pipeline to Germany that bypasses Ukraine) that Trump set in place for prior shenanigans by Putin.  


Now, don’t mistake me, I’m not suggesting “Biden is weak on Russia” as many Democrats claim the Republicans state.  


I’m suggesting “Biden is weak,” period.  


Blinken (our SecState) has warned that Russia would “suffer severe consequences” if they invade.  This is feeling an awful lot like the run up to the Munich agreement.  If I were Ukraine, I would be praying that the rest of NATO doesn’t take as weak a stance.


Meanwhile back on the Pacific, Japan is saying that they will defend Taiwan from an invasion, and we remain saying “Well, we might, and we might not.” A legacy of the Nixon deal mentioned above.  


So far, all we’re doing is saying “We’re not going to send government officials to your Olympics.” To which Australia is commenting “Bloody right, us too Yanks!” 


And China is responding “So? We didn’t invite your ass! DILLIGAF if you don’t come?”


We tried boycotting an Olympics once before, for those of you too young to remember.  The summer Olympics in Moscow 1980, boycotted by the US because the USSR had just invaded Afghanistan.  Guess what? It didn’t matter at all.  The invasion still happened, Afghanistan was still occupied, and only the Afghan guerillas were able to get rid of the Russians, in the same way that they later got rid of us, and now are discovering that they in turn are on the receiving end of guerilla warfare from ISIS.


Tie all of this together with an Iran that is still working on getting the nuke, and I believe that we are closer now to World War, possibly nuclear war, than we have been since the Cuban Missile crisis, and maybe closer than then, because there are more wild cards in play.  In addition to China, who thinks Biden and Blinken are weak and the US won’t fight after running out on Afghanistan; and Russia, who feels the same way; we also have that crazy little fucker in the PDRK (North Korea) and the Mad Mullahs that run Iran… 


Oh, and let’s not forget that it could be started by our allies as well… Israel is looking at Iran and muttering “if you fucks even look like you’re getting the nuke, we’re going to send you right back to the stone-age.”  


Not that I blame them, Iran has made it clear that nuking Israel is on their “to do” list.  Waiting for them to strike first is a fool’s bet.  Still that attack could trigger responses around the world.  Yes, I’ve been laying out parallels with the start of WWII, but it could also start due to the equivalent of some mad anarchist shooting the emperor’s nephew.


Make no mistake.  We will not be able to sit this out.  Ukraine, by itself we could sit out, though it would be like sitting out the annexation of Czechoslovakia… it would merely delay the start of war, and give the enemy time to build forces.  Whereas, stopping that invasion from happening would have, at least possibly, have kept WWII from BEING a world war.  If Ukraine falls, Belarus IS next, and Georgia, I wouldn’t give a plugged nickel for Armenia and Azerbaijan, combined, that puts Russia and Iran as neighbors… Oh there’s a fun concept, huh? Then there’s the countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania all three of which are in NATO and all three of which are former possessions of the USSR.  


And if you think for a second that the Ukraine would fall in a vacuum, you’re the guy I want to talk to about a fantastic business proposition, just send me $1,000,000 in Bitcoin and I’ll cut you in.  


Taiwan is the largest single maker of microchips in the world. Our recent supply chain issues demonstrate to anyone paying the least bit of attention that we can’t function without microchips. Further, if we roll on Taiwan, China WILL get their “Belt and Road” initiative, and anything coming from the Pacific will have to go through China.  In short, we can fight them now, or we can fight them later, when they’re bigger and we don’t have as many allies.


Our division as a country plays into the aforementioned countries hands, and seems tailor made for Putin and Xi to start playing Pacman on their neighbors.  It’s all too convenient for them, almost like they had a hand in it, and in electing the single most ineffective leader in the nation’s history.  Of course, that’s just my overly suspicious nature… That set of bedfellows at the start of this article couldn’t possibly be a menage a trois… 


In the long run, China and Russia WILL have a falling out, it’s as inevitable as sunrise.  They share the longest border in the world, and each wants to be THE top dog in the world.  If we can hold on, and keep the invasion from happening, they’ll rediscover all the reasons they hate each other.  Of course if it does go to war, they’ll still rediscover those reasons, the only question is whether or not we’ll be there to watch, and how many people will die in the meantime.


Stay safe out there, keep your head on a swivel and your weapons clean. We live in interesting times.


Until next time I remain,

Yours in service.

William Lehman.

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