Earth-lovers are smiling today

Earth-lovers are smiling today

A huge victory today, especially for those of us who care about our Planet. The Supreme Court has ruled that a Utility Co. providing water to Maui County must stop injecting contaminated wastewater into the ground where it eventually reaches the sea.

Because we’re living in the trump era, our EPA had sided with the polluters in this important case. No surprise there. But they’ve now been stopped by the SCOTUS and the utility company must now comply with the law and clean up the water before they inject it into the ground.

The real shocker for me was that Justices John Roberts and Neil Gorsuch sided with the four progressive justices and against the polluters on this important case.

The Hawaii-based environmental groups that brought the suit, nature lovers and clean water advocates everywhere are smiling today.

I have no doubt that the trump-appointed industry lackeys that now run our EPA are pissed today. That really makes my day.

For the details on this important story, follow this link.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Supreme Court won’t review decision that found N.C. voting law discriminates against African Americans – The Washington Post

<Ben says>

This is a follow up to my posting back on Sept 6th of last year looking into efforts by North Carolina’s Republican legislature to suppress the minority vote. Because the Supreme Court will NOT review the lower court’s decision, this clearly racist and undemocratic act is officially dead. We can breathe a sigh of relief now. But know that even though Rethuglicans have lost the governorship in NC, they still control both houses of the legislature and they are not going to stop trying to keep minorities from showing up at the polls.


Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. cited the state’s changed political scene in the order and noted the justices’ did not address the merits of the case.

Source: Supreme Court won’t review decision that found N.C. voting law discriminates against African Americans – The Washington Post

Hillary Makes History

July 26, 2016

There I was, in my living room, TV tray and all, watching Hillary make history. My bachelor’s feast of hot dogs–all beef, of course–and chips was well-suited for the occasion. My party–the Democratic Party of the United States–had just nominated Hillary Clinton to face Donald Drumpf in November. And although it’s true that Hill and Bill are actually one-percenters, they well understand that we cannot move forward with corporations and their buddies in the upper brackets always getting the lion’s share of everything.

There’s so much to like about Hillary and about the Democratic platform in this election. One of the planks of the platform that I am 100% behind is the move to do something about the Citizens United SCOTUS decision. That’s got to happen. Getting the money–dark money, in particular–out of American politics should be priority one. So there I was, parked in front of the tube with my working man’s dinner, watching my fellow Dems officially nominate Hillary to run.

It was a watershed moment; it’s not about the first woman President as much as it is about ordinary Americans having a leader who will have their back. Yes, I know Mrs. Clinton has had a cozy relationship with Wall Street. But what was true about Barack Obama is true of her as well; they’re not leaving for work each day with their brown bag lunch, but they “get” working people and will fight to make sure they’re not left behind.

Of course, getting anything accomplished that actually benefits working people will not be easy. It’s that Mission Impossible kind of stuff, particularly when you consider how hard Republican pols work to thwart any move that would benefit the 99%. It’s not hard to see how thoroughly-committed they are to tilting the proverbial playing field. Their steadfast opposition to raising the Federal minimum wage is a case in point. That certainly could be the subject of another post. But not tonight…

Continuing on this path of funneling all the good stuff to those who need it least is not a good strategy. That trickle-down bullshit has been discredited again and again. Didn’t work in the eighties when David Stockman and King Ronnie first foisted it on the American people, didn’t work when George W. Bush was President and will not work now. But I’m certain that Hillary is going to give it her best shot. It’s quite possible that, if elected, she will face the same level of obstruction that has plagued President Obama from day one; I’m not hopeful about ultimate success, but I’m sure she’s ready for that fight.

There is so much one could say as we reflect upon this historic moment; journos and pundits are laboring mightily at that task now as the Convention winds down and we hurtle headlong into the really gritty part of this election. For my part, I just want to remember that as I watch events unfold in this, my twelfth Presidential election, we could be taking in a singular event in our shared history. I fervently hope that Hillary will be our first woman President; I think we’re going to make it happen. It may well be that others will follow in her footsteps. But whether that’s how it unfolds or not, I’m certain that the election of 2016 will have moments–many moments–the like of which we’ll never see again.

No more convention-watching and blogging for me tonight. For a more in-depth look at the story of Hillary’s ground-breaking nomination, follow this link.

The Citizens United Case and Political Speech

Note: Because the Citizens United decision was only one subject out of many in the preceding post, I’m going to examine it again in more detail here.


July 4, 2016

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know that a lot of money gets thrown around each time we have an election, often in completely unrestricted amounts and often with ordinary citizens having no idea what the source of the money is.

The Citizens United case is the main reason this has become the new normal American elections. The full name of this game-changing decision from the Supreme Court is Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission and I can say with absolute confidence that our elections have not been the same since that decision came down. It was issued on January 21, 2010; the vote was 5-4.

If you’d like to get up to speed on this infamous decision, this article on the site for the Center for Public Integrity is quite helpful; it was published two years after Citizens  forever changed the electoral landscape and is clear and concise and still very relevant.

I ran across an excellent feature which ran in the New York Time magazine back in 2012 which is very useful at seeing how this nightmare–sprung from the mind of Antonin Scalia–has affected our elections on a practical level. It was written in the run-up to the last Presidential election but is still very good at helping the non attorneys or casual observers among us get up to speed on the ramifications of Citizens United.

There is a well-organized effort to get Citizens United reversed. Amending the Constitution is one possible route; it’s also possible that the decision could be re-visited in the future by anyone bringing legal action on a case which touches on the issue of money in American politics, money from Corporations in particular. That would not be hard to do. It’s one more reason why the up-coming Presidential election is a really big deal.

Because the issue of unlimited campaign contibutions–dark money, especially–gets me so riled up, I’m going to wrap up this post and have my second cup of coffee. The bottom line is that this case was a disaster for our democracy and that nothing will change unless ordinary citizens compel our elected leaders and the oligarchs who now have their collective boot on our collective throat to let us up.


“Bulldog Ben” Basile


You’re a Grand Old Flag!

You’re a Grand Old Flag!

Found this bit of wall art and really liked it. Found it in a very unlikely place, I hasten to add. Loved it. Took it home. Snapped it. Cropped it. For me, it perfectly captures the feeling of what the 4th of July is about.

Our Democracy has aged a bit. That may be an understatement.  But even after 240 years, the ideals upon which our Country was founded are very relevant. As many have pointed out, 240 is not that old in the lifespan of nations.

Even though, obviously, it was something over which I had no control, I’m grateful to have been born here. I’m glad that I’m an American. Our country is far from perfect, but I love her. Glad to have served in her Navy. I am cautiously optimistic about her future but there are many disquieting things happening right now in our corporate life.

Americans who sit in positions of leadership need to stop making it harder for some of their fellow citizens to vote. This is pernicious, it’s a blight on our democracy and it needs to stop.

We need to get dark money out of politics. Corporations and PACS and throw millions–yes, millions–of dollars into campaigns with no one having the slightest idea of where the money came from. This needs to stop.

The Supreme Court erred badly in the Citizens United case. Corporations are not people. And when they were green-lighted to dump vast amounts of money into political campaigns, it was nothing less than a kick in the gut to Lady Liberty. If that decision stands, The United States will never again live up to the lofty ideal we hear whenever The Pledge of Allegiance is recited: “One Nation, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for All!”

This great but troubled country we love can live up to its lofty ideals. But it will take strong, deliberate action by ordinary citizens to right the ship of democracy. When the mechanics of government favor the rich and powerful and avaricious, ever self-serving corporations while ignoring the rest of us, democracy begins to die.

As we commemorate our nation’s 240th birthday, I’m recommitting myself to doing my part to get us off the road to oligarchy and back on democracy’s path. It will take good leadership from our elected officials and a willingness to speak the truth. In the words of Bob Dylan, “Let us stop talking falsely now, the hour’s getting late.”


“Bulldog Ben” Basile on the 4th of July


Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington is one non-profit org working mightily to get the dark money and unlimited corporate contributions out of our elections. Their good work has been very effective and holding our elected officials accountable and shining a light on their misdeeds when they betray the ideals upon which our Nation was founded. To learn more about the work of C.R.E.W. follow this link.