The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), snuck around in the early morning hours Saturday to decree that stopping a Texas law which discriminates on racial grounds would be unfair to Republicans in Texas who have worked so hard to disenfranchise those who might vote against them.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote (another) scathing dissent which was also signed by Justices Sotomayor and Kagan.

Sadly, three votes to protect the right to vote is as meaningful as zero votes on a court intent upon disenfranchising those who would vote against their preferred political party. It is not enough to be right, we need to win these, especially the obvious ones.

Justice Ginsburg harkens back to the mindnumbing disconnect from reality present in the majority’s Shelby v Holder ruling last year that struck preclearance from the Voting Rights Act. Chief Justice Roberts declared that we are now post-racial and there is no need to consider history, blahblah, pesky facts, blahblah. But, as Justice Ginsburg notes in her dissent “racial discrimination in elections in Texas is no mere historical artifact. To the contrary, Texas has been found in violation of the Voting Rights Act in every redistricting cycle from and after 1970.”

An estimated 600,000 citizens in Texas have not paid the 2014 version of the poll tax and will not have the required ids needed to vote this year.

THAT is how Republicans win: by denying the right to vote to those who are likely to vote against them. They can’t win on their ideas and this is the last desperate gasp of a party soon to become a minoritea. That moment will likely be delayed unless we can convince two more justices that the right to vote is a fundamental right under our constitution and that artificial barriers to voting should be stricken.

Really, how can they let this stand? Justice Ginsburg:

The greatest threat to public confidence in elections in this case is the prospect of enforcing a purposefully dis­criminatory law, one that likely imposes an unconstitu­tional poll tax and risks denying the right to vote to hun­dreds of thousands of eligible voters.

Stop hurting America, SCOTUS. Give us back our democracy.

democracy [dih-mok-ruh-see]

noun
1. government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.

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The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the largest circulation paper in Wisconsin and the paper of record for the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County, penned a scathing editorial calling out the Republican legislature for their attempt to disenfranchise those who would vote for Democrats.

The editorial is in response to the blistering opinion from 7th Circuit Court Judge Richard Posner about that court’s big sloppy kiss to Gov. Scott Walker and his re-election campaign.

From the Journal-Sentinel editorial:

Five appeals court judges gave their colleagues the what-for Friday in a bark-peeling attack rarely seen in the legal genre. Led by Judge Richard A. Posner, himself a convert to the idea that voter ID equals voter suppression (good for him), the judges called the idea of voter fraud by impersonation “a mere fig leaf for efforts to disenfranchise voters likely to vote for the political party that does not control the state government.”

Which is precisely what is afoot in Wisconsin.

It has been clear from the day this rancid idea began working its way through the state Legislature that this was all about winning elections and not about the integrity of those elections. Voter ID makes it harder for certain classes of voters to exercise the franchise, including minorities, the elderly and the young. The fact that those categories of voters tend to favor Democrats should tell you all you need to know about the motivations of Republican legislators.

It’s about winning, baby, which is about integrity only in the sense that up is about down or that white is about black.

The editorial goes on to call out Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen who is contemplating an end around the Supreme Court’s ruling that Wisconsin’s voter id law cannot be used in the November 4th election. How, pray tell, does one defy the Supreme Court of the United States of America? Maybe J.B. stand for Jefferson Beauregard and he will rally the other crazee Republicans who wanted to include secession in the Wisconsin GOP platform this past summer to foment rebellion? Or maybe he is simply an idiot.

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Posted by: JanF | October 6, 2014

Adventures in Googling: “Compassion”

On Sunday, Reince Priebus, Republican Party spokesliar, took to the airwaves to promote the New Republican Party, the one that is nicer to wimmins, not because they care about wimmins but because they realize that they need their votes.

And what better way to get women’s votes than to tell them just how compassionate you are … because women like compassion!!!

But something about his comment made me go to the Googles because I did not understand his use of the word. And look!!

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First Lady Michelle Obama was in Milwaukee on Monday at a campaign rally for Democratic candidate for governor, Mary Burke.

She spoke to a packed house at the Wisconsin Center and challenged us to Get Out The Vote:

“We all need to be as passionate and hungry for this election as we were in 2008 and 2012,” Obama told a packed crowd at the Wisconsin Center Monday.

“When the midterms come along, too many of our people just tune out, and that’s what a lot of folks on the other side are counting on this year,” she said. “They’re assuming that we won’t care, they’re assuming that we won’t be organized and energized — and only we can prove them wrong.”

Transcript: Remarks by the First Lady at a Voter Mobilization Rally — Milwaukee, Wisconsin

This rally was for Mary Burke but the words should be repeated at every Democratic campaign rally in the country between now and election day.

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Posted by: JanF | September 29, 2014

Elections Matter — for Future Elections! UPDATED

The ruling by the anti-voter judicial activists on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, the ruling which implemented newly developed and completely untested voter id rules for Wisconsin’s general election on November 4, 2014, will not be reviewed by the full panel.

ACLU Comment on Federal Appeals Court Ruling on Wisconsin Voter ID

CHICAGO — The full Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals today declined to rehear a three-judge panel’s order reinstating Wisconsin’s voter ID law prior to the midterm election. The vote was split evenly, 5-5, meaning the panel’s order stands. Neither the panel nor the full court has yet ruled on the actual merits of the law, which was found unconstitutional by a federal judge in April. The American Civil Liberties Union is challenging the law, and petitioned for a full appeals court review following the panel’s order on September 12 allowing the law to take effect. The ACLU presented oral arguments to the panel that day asking the court to uphold the April decision striking down the law as unconstitutional and in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

The following is a statement from Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project:

“Allowing this law to take effect so close to the midterm election is a recipe for chaos, voter confusion, and disenfranchisement. The court could have avoided this pandemonium and given Wisconsin voters a chance to cast their ballots free of obstruction. It failed to do so, and we are evaluating our next step.”

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Posted by: JanF | September 26, 2014

Me to GOP: Tough. YOU don’t get to choose.

In the wake of Eric Holder’s announcement that he will be stepping down as Attorney General, the media is filled with right-wing bloviating (no, right-wing, Eric Holder’s Justice Department is NOT “scandal ridden” … any more than “Romney won Ohio”).

This headline from The Hill stomped on my last nerve:
“GOP to Obama: Don’t replace Holder in lame-duck Congress”.

That article includes this quote from Ted Cruz:

“Allowing Democratic senators, many of whom will likely have just been defeated at the polls, to confirm Holder’s successor would be an abuse of power that should not be countenanced”.

“This shall not stand!” proclaims man whose freshness date expired months ago. “Abuse of power” and “should not be countenanced” are, of course, code words for impeachment. Go with that, GOP!! It worked so well for you in the past. If the Republicans want to waste their time on impeachment to please their shrinking base, let them. The country needs a strong, intelligent, principled, Democratic replacement to continue the important work that Eric Holder started; if we have a better chance to get that now than later, with a thinner majority, we should do it.

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Posted by: JanF | September 20, 2014

People’s Climate March: September 21, 2014

With the mid-term elections heating up and a dozen issues being promoted as The Most Important Issue of Our Day, it is easy to lose track of an issue that really deserves our attention: Climate Change. It is, quite literally, an issue that we ignore at our own peril.

In New York City on Sunday, the People’s Climate March will serve to remind people of this vitally important issue and at least get it right-pathed even if it can’t be immediately addressed.

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The People’s Climate March

In September, world leaders are coming to New York City for a UN summit on the climate crisis. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is urging governments to support an ambitious global agreement to dramatically reduce global warming pollution.

With our future on the line and the whole world watching, we’ll take a stand to bend the course of history. We’ll take to the streets to demand the world we know is within our reach: a world with an economy that works for people and the planet; a world safe from the ravages of climate change; a world with good jobs, clean air and water, and healthy communities.

To change everything, we need everyone on board.

Sunday, September 21 in New York City. Join us.

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Posted by: JanF | August 4, 2014

The “I” Word

“Insane”.

The Republican Party is making a point of not mentioning “Impeachment”. In fact just yesterday, Famously Insane Rep. Steve King (R-IA) said this:

“I think Congress has to sit down, have a serious look at the rest of this constitution, and that includes that ‘i’ word that we don’t want to say,”

He was talking about the other “I” word, “Immigration” and making sure that President Obama knew that trying to fix the immigration crisis via executive order (yes, the same crisis that Speaker Boehner (R-OH) begged him to fix via executive order) would trigger Impeachment.

Why is Rep. King so adamant about this? Because he is the author of HR 5272, aka, The Republican Party Suicide Note. He was bursting with pride over it:

“The changes brought into this are ones I’ve developed and advocated for over the past two years,” he told CQ Roll Call. “It’s like I ordered it off the menu.”

Well, as one who wants the Republican party to shrink into Irrelevance (another great “I” word!), seeing them following the lead of Steve King would be something I would order off the menu.
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Posted by: JanF | July 10, 2014

President Obama: “This isn’t theater”

It is emblematic of the hyperpartisanship which has our country in a stranglehold that the president has to remind people that the humanitarian crisis on the border is not theater. But apparently, no crisis or incident (BENGHAZIII!), can be addressed without first dousing the follicles set ablaze by the media and their need to fill air time and print to satisfy the 10-minute news cycle.

From NBC News

President Barack Obama on Wednesday said he is not visiting the U.S. border while in Texas because he is “not interested in photo-ops” and urged Congress to approve funding to deal with the surge of minors illegally streaming into the country.

“There is nothing that is taking place down there that I am not intimately aware of and briefed on,” Obama said. “This isn’t theater, this is a problem. I’m not interested in photo ops.

Obama met with local politicians and religious leaders in Dallas, including Texas Gov. Rick Perry, to discuss the influx of unaccompanied minors crossing the U.S. border. The White House has asked for $3.7 billion to deal with the crisis, a request that has been panned by some Republicans who say the president’s policies are to blame for migrant children believing they can stay in the country illegally.

Pardon me, the president’s policies??? The Senate passed a bipartisan immigration reform bill that reflected the president’s policies and which would have helped mitigate this crisis, including some of the money that is now part of an emergency request. But the Republican House of Representatives would not take up the bill because they knew it would pass and that would enrage the nativist wing of the increasingly wingnutty Republican Party. And it is more important to keep their base frothing for the mid-term elections than to solve problems.

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Posted by: JanF | July 7, 2014

It’s the misogyny, y’all

In trying to make sense of The Way Things Are in a post-Hobby Lobby world, it is important to peel away the layers and understand what the Hobby Lobby ruling is and, more importantly, what it isn’t.

The Supreme Court ruled that a closely-held corporation can avoid paying for health insurance that covers contraceptive options if the belief about how those methods work offends the religious feelings of the majority stockholders.

Yes, the ruling is a direct assault on common sense in its attempt to assign freedom of religious expression to a corporation.

Yes, the ruling is science-denialism writ large.

Yes, it is a poke in the eye to the separation of powers: where a law passed by Congress and signed by the president can be, not merely ruled unconstitutional, but hacked up and rewritten by a court.

And it is likely a specific poke in the eye to President Barack Obama who the right wing has become completely unhinged over to the point that they want to nullify the results of two presidential elections and three congressional elections.

What it really is: complete and utter disrespect for women.

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