Archive for category Supreme Court

The Millionaire Party

Monopoly Man

Tonight on Chris Hayes’ MSNBC show Prof. Dorian Warren of Columbia University (citing the book White Collar Government by Nicholas Carnes) wondered aloud what it would be like if the millionaires formed their own political party, a party representing just 3 percent of Americans.

  • The Millionaire Party would already occupy the White House.
  • They would control the House of Representatives.
  • They would have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.
  • And the Millionaires would have a 5-4 Supreme Court majority.

While there is no such thing as the Millionaire Party, does it matter that the wealthiest Americans set the tax rates for the wealthy, that white-collar professionals choose the minimum wage for blue-collar workers, and that people who have always had health insurance decide whether or not to help those without? Could be.

See videos …
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Say goodbye to Democracy in the South

Today as you all know, a segment in the Voting Rights Act was ruled unconstitutional. More specifically, it was a segment where laws passed by southern states had to be approved by the federal government. That is no more and guess what? Not two hours later, Texas passed a bill that reduces the number of polling places in heavily black and latino areas.

With this it’s good to know who our enemies are. Of course there are going to be naysayers of my claim. To which I say, you are not fooling anyone. This is a bill that prevented elected officials from changing the voting laws so that they can chose who can vote. An elected official who goes through the democratic system and has a goal to get elected gets to chose who can and who cannot vote. If that is Democracy to you, then you are either a liar or you are a sore loser from the last election. This was in the bill for a very good reason. these states that had to go through the process were states with a long history of racism. Before the act, you had laws that made it very difficult for blacks to vote. They had things such as poll tax, forcing you to pay for a vote and literacy tests that not even an English Graduate could pass. This happened because elected officials do not like democracy and in a long history of racism and bigotry, they had an enemy who could vote them out of the office. What did they do? changed the laws so they could stay in power. Now already it hasn’t even been a day and there are laws being passed to do just the same thing.

Politicians love Democracy the same way businesses love competition.


This Isn’t Funny Anymore

Doctored Photo

Doctored Photo

Why does the Supreme Court keep injecting themselves into our voting system, enabling the plutocrats to get their way? Here comes another 5 to 4 vote. You can count on it. When justice Scalia stunned the court this week by saying the voting rights act is a “perpetuation of racial entitlement”, what was he talking about?

Sounds like Scalia’s living in another era. This is every bit as much about white peoples right to vote as any other race. I’ve been struggling to know my vote is being counted ever since Scalia and his gang of five stole the presidential race in 2000. After all, Scalia said that Americans didn’t necessarily have the RIGHT to vote for their president. He didn’t say anything about congresspeople, but we know that in the 2012 election, Democrats in the house got far more votes then Republicans. Gerrymandering stole the day for the losers there, but let’s face it, republican election fraud has so many avenues in the 21st century, you wouldn’t know where to turn without GPS.

If any of these clueless old white guys who watch Fox “news” think they’re going to benefit from preventing people who make less then a billion dollars a year from voting, they are going to feel pretty silly standing there with their pants down when the realization of what has happened finally hits them. Bush v Gore, Citizens United, and now this! Haven’t we been hearing for years that Judges shouldn’t be legislating from the bench? The Voting Rights Act has been reauthorized numerous times and the last time was in 2005, when the Senate voted 98 to 0 to retain it.

This reminds me of the kind of hubris exposed by Ron Suskind in this 2004 statement, which most now believe was made by Karl Rove, (someone who is widely believed to be rigging our elections):

The aide said that guys like me were ”in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who ”believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ”That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. ”We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

Robert Parry gives an insight into how we got here in his recent article concerning the coming supreme court ruling on the voting rights act:

Over the past half century, wealthy right-wingers have invested millions and millions of dollars in “think tanks” and other research institutions – the likes of Heritage Foundation, Cato Institute and Federalist Society – that have worked diligently to cherry-pick the nation’s early history to transform America’s Founding narrative into its opposite, with Washington and Madison made into states’ rights lovers and federal government haters.

The hubris has become so visible that during Obama’s last election, a Republican governor was bragging about suppressing votes for the president, and Fox “news” had to cut to a commercial when Karl Rove tried to halt the announcement of Obama’s victory.

This isn’t just enraging, it’s downright dangerous!

NOTE: OK, I doctored the photo of Scalia, but we all know that’s what he meant.


National Rifle Association Has Turned the Second Amendment Into a Cruel and Deadly Hoax

The NRA is the enabler of death-paranoid, delusional and as venomous as a scorpion. With the weak-kneed acquiescence of our politicians, the National Rifle Association has turned the Second Amendment of the Constitution into a cruel and deadly hoax. – Bill Moyers

NRA Enabler of death

NRA Enabler of death

Bill Moyers Essay: Living Under the Gun from on Vimeo.

The procession of funerals of innocent children under the casual gaze of the gun lobby and 2nd Amendment zealots, reminds us that our public spaces are no longer safe. This is the antithesis of freedom and civic life. Americans must rise up now against this terror and demand basic security for unarmed people.

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Actual Factors in Gun Violence

The Atlantic has a completely unsurprising look at gun violence stats in America. Which means the gun nuts will all scream and yell and say the stat and conclusions are all wrong…

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Health Care Reform is Unpopular. Right?

The devil is deeply embedded in the details on this one.

At Kos, there’s a fairly lengthy analysis of the generally ambiguous polling on the ACA aka Obamacare.


A poll taken days before the high court’s ruling found that 43 percent of Americans said the court should not overturn the law, and 35 percent hoped it would.

The Public Religion Research Institute poll also found that one in five Americans (21 percent) had no opinion on what the court should do.


Americans are sharply divided over Thursday’s Supreme Court decision on the 2010 healthcare law, with 46% agreeing and 46% disagreeing with the high court’s ruling that the law is constitutional. Democrats widely hail the ruling, most Republicans pan it, and independents are closely divided.

Except for the mandate, its major components are all popular with the public.  People are confused about the bill, what it does and doesn’t do, and what it will mean once it’s fully enacted.  It’s a complex bill dealing with complex problems and people are confused about its impact. Read the rest of this entry »


Taking anti-intellectualism to its logical conclusion

I have been swamped with a new course, and have actually been behind by a week or so on my usual news digest. Hell I haven’t been to any of the conservative news sites I usually laugh so hard at in two or three weeks. Instead of trying to catch up, I just wiped the slate clean and decided to start reading news today as if the last few weeks where trapped away in an alternate dimension, never to be heard from again…

I am so glad I did.

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Supreme Court Upholds the Affordable Care Act – Obamacare Survives

Read more about it here, here, here, here. and here.


Building and Running A Progressive Coalition

At Americablog.  The Four Big Points:

Rules for managing an Effective Progressive Coalition

1. No constituency in the Coalition takes a backward step to advance another’s cause. (I call this the Cruickshank Rule; see below.)

2. Members of the Coalition have each others’ back. No constituency under attack stands alone.

3. The Coalition serves the Coalition, not the Democratic Partyor any other group or goals.

4. The Coalition preferences political action to discussion. (This is the No Dithering Rule.)


“There is no racism” versus “It’s Okay to Talk About Race”

David Graham at The Atlantic:

But many on the right have adopted the view that the only way to address racism is to pretend it does not exist. Thus, anyone who talks about race or acknowledges race or makes mention of the fraught American relationship with racism must by definition be a racist. Clearly, that makes Barack Obama and Derrick Bell racists. It also makes Juan Williams, a center-right commentator, a racist when he points out that Newt Gingrich is using “food stamps” as code for “black.”

I think there’s truth here, but something else at work as well.  Many conservatives consider themselves to be non-racist, yet in almost every conversation about race they find themselves accused of being racist.  So they draw the conclusion that talking about race is by definition a racist act.  If racism was making decisions based on race, it was paying too much attention to race so the obvious solution is to not see race; if the solution to racism is colorblindness than even mentioning race must be inherently racist.  Which is how we got the insane spectacle of Sarah Palin claiming the first black president wanted to return to the pre-Civil War era.  Unable to grasp that people might oppose racism in principle, conservatives have determined that the only reason to do so is base political motives.

However, the absence of overt legal discrimination (i.e. “in the years immediately following Brown v. Board of Education, as the federal government dragged southern states kicking and screaming toward abolishing Jim Crow laws”) has led many conservatives to conclude that there is no racism:

Ta-Nehisi Coates

I think this sort of thinking is endemic to how the conservative movement thinks about racism. For them it isn’t an actual force, but a rhetorical device for disarming your opponents. So one does not call Robert Weissberg racist and question his ties to National Review because one seeks to stamp out racism, but because one hopes to secure the White House for Democrats. Or some such. Even if you have a record of calling out bigotry voiced by people deemed to be “on your team,” it doesn’t much matter because there’s no real belief in it existing to begin with.
The conservative movement doesn’t understand anti-racism as a value, only as a rhetorical pose. This is how you end up tarring the oldest integrationist group in the country (the NAACP) as racist. The slur has no real moral content to them. It’s all a game of who can embarrass who. If you don’t think racism is an actual force in the country, then you can only understand it’s invocation as a tactic.

Paul Waldman:

The message is always the same: Obama and the blacks are mad, and they’re coming for you. Yet people like the Breitbart folks and Limbaugh have two problems. First, they’re running out of material. There aren’t any more shocking revelations to be had. The best they can do is try to make mountains of racial resentment out of the most innocuous molehills, like the fact that Obama supported Derrick Bell’s effort to diversify the faculty when he was a law student. And second, by now anyone who can be convinced that Obama is a secret Black Panther never thought otherwise. The guy has been president for three years. Americans are pretty familiar with him. He hasn’t actually started herding white people into concentration camps, and it’s an awfully tough sell to tell people that he might any day now.

This is a version of the larger problem conservatives have as we get into the 2012 election. The argument many of them will be making, in various forms, is this: Forget about what Obama has actually done. That doesn’t tell you anything. Let me tell you a story about his secret desires, his wicked thoughts, his venomous heart. That’s what your decision should be based on. You hear it from media bloviators, you hear it from interest groups, like the NRA screeching that if he’s re-elected Obama will outlaw guns, and you hear it from Mitt Romney, who is forever claiming that deep down Obama doesn’t much love America and wants to turn it into a European-style social-welfare state. Who are you going to believe, them, me, or or your own eyes?

Watching this stuff is immensely dispiriting, I’ll grant you. But it should be some consolation that it doesn’t seem to be working.

We’re left with a morass of racial resentment seethe and bubble.  It reminds me of a line of Sara Robinson’s – that for centuries men got all kinds of ego-candy out women’s need to take care of their babies and they’re not giving it up easily.  It’s the same dyanmic at work.  White folks got lots of ego-candy out of a society that was structured to keep them from competing with black people and giving up that eg0-candy is hard work.



You have the right to spread them

I have been waiting for the libertarian rights defenders who hate the activist courts to post something about this. Maybe mention it in another thread. A top post maybe. A simple link to one of these pro constitution websites they all hang out on. A screed about keeping the government out of our lives. Anything really. But nothing yet.

Maybe they are all shy? Maybe I just need to get it started for them?

OK, maybe this can kick it off. The highest court ’round has decided the cops can strip search you pretty much on a whim. Where is all the protest? Being forced to buy insurance is socialism and if two guys you have never met want to marry, society will be destroyed, but if the courts say the long arm of the law can perform cavity searches without cause, well that is just good government?

Can we at least teach the cops how to perform exams and combine it with the ACA?


In a Common Cause with Common Cause

I once felt betrayed by the organization known as Common Cause, because I started to get very concerned about unverifiable voting machines early in 2003. Some time later, Common Cause sent me a fund raising letter with large type pledging to attack election problems in the country. I can’t remember whether the machines were even mentioned, but it seemed a given that you couldn’t ignore such an obvious danger to free elections. I sent them one hundred dollars and got exactly no results from them, MoveOn, PFAW, ACLU, or any other high profile organization that was supposed to watch out for little ol’ me and the right – they tell me I possess – to have my vote counted with confidence. Even today, all of these organizations have barely let out a peep about the machines.

This Washington Post article points to the fact that maybe Common Cause is heading back to their roots:

Bob Edgar, a mild-mannered former Democratic congressman and Methodist minister who heads Common Cause, said the group’s renewed activism hearkens back to its founding in 1970 as an anti-Vietnam War, pro-civil rights organization. The group recently named Clinton labor secretary Robert Reich as its chairman.

“It’s really getting back to our roots,” Edgar said. “We believe this is a very dangerous moment, where democracy is really at a crossroads.”

He added: “We’re going to continue to focus on the Supreme Court, particularly those who want to politicize the Supreme Court. And we’re going to continue to use the Koch brothers as the poster children for a group of people who want to move our democracy toward a plutocracy.”

The organization is starting to cause a little hell over something that is absent – of course – from every television news broadcast except the Rachel Maddow Show, as far as I know. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have anything to do with the voting machines, but I’ve got to hand it to Common Cause; this is important and they are the main reason we know anything about it:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

There is a very good reason to turn back a Supreme Court Decision which allows unlimited funds to be spent by corporations or any other source that wishes to influence our elections secretly. An American based, fake grassroots group (what’s new) called “Citizens United” brought the case and some in our highest court lapped-it-up in another 5 to 4 decision.

Seems as though two of the “lappers” were one Antonin Scalia and one Clarence Thomas whom Common Cause bravely exposes as having remarkable ties to people who are dubiously placed when it comes to money in elections; especially the midterm election held after the “Citizens United” case in 2010.

Of course my hopes for the outcome of a deeper investigation is that Mr. Thomas, who has been caught lying on his taxes for over a decade would be removed from the court and face charges.

Either for money, or to hide his wife’s involvement in a political group called “The Federalist Society”, Mr. Thomas has skirted the law he obviously took an oath to protect. Looks as though Mr. Scalia is in a bit less trouble in this case, but he should have recused himself on a case involving Cheney many years ago also.

Of course, this is an opinion piece, but when I think of “grass roots” I don’t think of people with tons of money trying to make a fortune off the rest of us using secret cash; do you?

That, plus the rule of law is a ridiculous farce in this country, however, this story seems to have legs!

From The New York Times:

The Supreme Court had no comment on the issue Monday. Nor did officials at the Federalist Society or at Koch Industries.


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