On the SCOTUS ruling

In regards to Hobby Lobby.

I’m as angry as anyone, but after a discussion with my editor, I can’t help but think that there is hope yet. This will be a Democratic midterm, and this will be a progressive Presidential in 2016, and the GOP and SCOTUS both made it that way.

This is how it works, guys:

If you want something to fail, and fail spectacularly, let it unfold. Don’t stand in its way. Let it all happen in all its disastrous, trainwrecky glory. Give them enough rope to hang themselves, as the saying goes. Inevitably, they will, in nearly every possible way, and it will be a glorious trainwreck, and the opposite side will then proceed to walk on their way to victory with nary a barrier in sight.

Do you remember the Presidential Primary 2012? I certainly do. I can’t tell you just to what degree my nerves got jangled, but in retrospect, I saw pretty clearly exactly what Obama was doing to Romney. He just simply stood back and let him expose himself for the out-of-touch oligarch that he was. And Romney did so in no uncertain terms – and lost as a direct consequence.

What is Obama doing now? The same thing. The target this time is the entire GOP/teabagger contingent. And he’s winning.

What’s the old saying? Give them a rope long enough and they will inevitably hang themselves with it.

If you remember the 50 times that the do-nothings in the House tried to repeal the ACA that came to nothing, it was not because they thought it was going to fail. They knew it was going to succeed, and that’s why they decided to go the drama-llama route instead of, as I mentioned before, letting it unfold. As a result, it only killed their own ratings, and the ACA, as predicted, rolled out and gained good traction. It’s not perfect, but it made a tremendous impact for those who benefited from it. The GOP is very displeased, be sure of that.

The GOP had shown their true colors. The SCOTUS is only serving to highlight them. Even the billionaires are saying that it’s a matter of time before “the pitchforks come”, to make a French Revolution allusion, and they know it – they’re cashing out as much as they can, because they know that it’s a matter of time before their house of cards collapses. To point, though, that no amount of money saved the French nobility, and none will save the oligarchs either, but let’s not touch that just yet. The point of what I’m saying is this: they’re all out in the open, from the open-carry gun freaks to the moral-majority corporate personhood people of Hobby Lobby. They’re in the open, and they were under the belief that public opinion will be on their side.

They’re wrong, of course, but they don’t know that. The progressives, liberals, and the President, however, are seeing that loud and clear – and banked on it. Look at the polls in a month or so and you’ll see who’s in the lead. Already, female Democratic candidates are gaining traction. Don’t expect McConnell to keep his seat, and Wendy Davis’s victory is all but guaranteed right now – if both she and Alison L. Grimes can capitalize on this. Which, I think they can.

The SCOTUS ruled exactly as it was expected to rule, and it is going to reap the full consequences of its ruling in very short order. Watch the polls on this election year. I can promise you that red states will go purple, if not blue. Eric Cantor was against unemployment benefits right up until he himself was ousted from his post. This will be no different. And let’s see how the Orange Cheeto likes being without work.

They’re doing this all to themselves. They’re trying to pander to the extremist minority, not realizing that in the process of that pandering, they’re pushing away pretty much everyone who isn’t a teabagger.

Needless also to say that Hobby Lobby can expect to go out of business too. Really, will anyone shop there again after this? Not if they have a choice. You want to go by the free-market response? Free market doesn’t like bosses in bedrooms. Whooooopsie.

Don’t worry, kids. When someone insists on shooting themselves in the foot and the closest thing they have is a shotgun loaded with buckshot, then please, by all means, let them point and fire. But make sure you aren’t getting hit by mistake.

Let the GOP carry on exactly as they are – because they are proving themselves every bit as short-sighted as the French nobility, Charles I, Nicholas II, and pretty much every single leader or wannabe leader who lost sight that oppression only goes to strengthen the oppressed, and that every single one of them inevitably creates the very force that will bring them down.

History, kids. It’s a lovely thing.

K.G.

The United States of America, Inc., and the news roundup

Whew. It has been a little while since I’ve done a round-up of all the craziness that’s in the political world, but the current SCOTUS decision was just the incentive I needed.

I refer to the decision that effectively opened the financial floodgates in terms of campaign donations. McCutcheon v. FEC. Full text in the link.

I cannot quite put the caliber of the disaster that this decision is into words. Bear with me, might get rambly.

We have seen the Republican craziness in the months leading up to the President’s re-election. We’ve seen the gerrymandered districts. We’ve seen the candidates’ crazy caliber go off the charts. We’ve seen ridiculous budget proposals that would leave millions below the poverty line and/or starving, just to patchwork-save a quick buck, completely disregarding the fact that putting benefits and the social safety net on the chopping block now will result in a far wider strain on that same safety net in as little as four years. And most of all, we’ve seen an absolutely frightening amount of big money get poured into right-wing politics, most of it courtesy of Charles and David Koch, whose family has been trying to buy the US Government since the days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. I kid you not about that last, look up the details.

Citizens United v. FEC opened the big-money floodgates, and McCutcheon just removed the last remnants of the dam. If you hadn’t gotten sick of the media constantly shoving lies and out-of-context quotes in smear campaigns down your throats, you probably will after the effects of this decision will begin to show in full. Right now, expect to decide the next candidate – from both sides – by how much money is spent by their backers.

And we, of course, know that four of the justices have been bought and paid for by corporate sponsors already. Yes, I’m looking at you, Antonin Scalia. Alito and Roberts were our gifts from George W. Bush. I spat some nails when those two got confirmed and I’m once again seeing why. And you know my standing opinion on Clarence Thomas.

Really. This is a disaster on a mass scale, if you consider that a large majority of the actual people at the voting polls don’t really have the money to contribute to campaigns – and they do so anyway, which is why grassroots efforts pay off – and they also are kept too tired and too busy to think and pay attention adequately to what’s around them. Remember the disillusionment in Ted Cruz after the government shutdown of Oct. 1st? While there certainly weren’t enough people to call for his resignation – not yet, anyway – I wasn’t wholly surprised by the fact that the disillusionment was even there. People don’t see when they’re being scammed until the scam reaches them personally, and people started to see the scam that Ted Cruz was selling – but why weren’t they able to before? Because it was everywhere around them. They didn’t need to think about it right up until they had to. Problem is, money buys media, and the media right now is little more than a propaganda machine. There’s a very good reason I chucked my television three weeks ago, and not just because it’s a CRT clunker that was taking up more space than it’s ever been worth.

If you disagree with me on the media statement, think on this: the other day was the last day to sign up for the ACA, without an extension. The lines circled blocks. Where was a single media report on this? Nowhere.  If the media was truly liberal, those photos would’ve been plastered nationwide, but instead we got a carefully-orchestrated blackout, even though the ACA has met and surpassed its sign-up goal. But no – instead we still get bullshit-riddled reports about the “dangers” of the ACA, and people who, to this day, cannot understand that ACA and Obamacare are one and the same, and I cannot tell you that this blatant ignorance is accidental.

What’s going to happen is basically three things:

1. We’re going to see an overwhelming number of ads, largely coming from the teabaggers and the right, and they will be everywhere.

2. Political campaigning will become the next new big business venture, and we’re going to see people make a shitton of money in political advertising alone.

3. The people’s voice, votes, and opinions will cease to matter as we know it.

Because really, few people can outspend the Koch brothers, and someone making 40K per year no longer can never possibly rank up to someone making 40 billion a year or more.

The Supreme Court has basically just handed this country and its political reins over to whoever holds the most cash, which is what every president since Dwight D. Eisenhower has specifically warned against. Hell, even Tom Jefferson has warned against it, and he was one of the people thanks to whom this country even exists.

The ignorance of history here is absolutely staggering. Yes, the French Revolution was over two hundred years ago, if memory serves my dates right, but the causes of it were largely similar. Just because it’s another century doesn’t mean the dynamics changed at all, and history has always been a great teacher, especially its ugliest parts. The tensions in this country are already skyrocketing to a fever pitch, and I will be very surprised if we’re not going to see a major backlash to this sooner rather than later.

Now, for some more news:

Rick Scott’s voter purge ruled illegal. Yes, thank you, appeals court, because pretty much everyone with a brain cell knew that this was illegal. But while you’re at it, what are you going to do about the fact that his wife is a medical lab CEO and that “drug test the welfare recipients” stunt that caught next to no welfare fraud lined her pockets?

Yet another explosion at a gas plant, and people still think that regulations are a terrible horrible thing. Honestly, it’s things like these explosions, coal waste spills, chemical spills that will likely displace a lot of West Virginians, that highlight that government regulations are an absolute necessity to protect bystanders from a corporation’s thirst to pad their bottom line. This is not the first time such a thing happened, by a long shot, and we’re seeing firsthand what happens when there isn’t enough oversight. The EPA has been gutted by the very same people who right now are collecting a tidy profit regardless of whose water they just poisoned or how many people now have to move because, again, they have no clean drinking water whatsoever.

There’s talk about Jeb Bush for 2016. Yes, another Bush. I’ll wait for you to un-embed your heads from your desks.

And yes, there’s Christiegate. Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, who was very well aware of everything happening in Fort Lee, definitely and very likely the same guy who authorized the closings of the GW Bridge for no more than his own political petty bullshit, basically had his lawyers publicly declare that there was nothing to see and Mr. Christie was fully innocent. But we all know that thing about foxes and henhouses. And we also know that Christie withheld Sandy aid for politicking bullshit as well. Ask the mayors of Hoboken, Weehawken, and yes, Fort Lee. But guess what! The lawyers who “cleared” him are getting subpoenaed!

The more this unfolds, the more I get gleeful. I love nothing more than watch people get their just desserts, and Chris Christie has been an absolutely epic douchebag on more than one occasion. But a fake – proven fake – traffic study to cover up the fact that he was basically engaging in political bullying? Give me a damn break. He’s getting what he deserves, and once he’s out of office, whether it’s by means of an orange jumpsuit, expulsion by vote or expiration of term, his political career is forever over.

And to wrap up this dose of ridiculous things in national politics, Mississippi takes example from Arizona, in all the wrong ways, in a bid to legalize discrimination.

*facepalm* *headdesk*

Don’t those fucking idiots learn?

Arizona’s bill of a similar nature passed both the House and the Senate, to meet its death on Jan Brewer’s desk by means of a veto, and that veto may well be the smartest thing that Brewer has done for her state. However, I said it on my FB page then and I will say it now: the only thing that has forced her into this veto was a massive nationwide outcry against it. Had this bill not garnered the attention that it has garnered, then she would’ve been happy to sign it into law. The senators and house reps of the AZ legislature had reneged on the bill after letting it pass only after they realized the widespread economic impact that this decision would have on their state. Like it as not, but those gay people they want to discriminate against have this thing called money, and money is the one thing that the Arizona state economy needs very badly, especially considering that they’ve been on the short list of states refusing federal funds for no reason other than political bullshit.

I also said back then that Arizona was only the first state to attempt this bill, and there will be others.

And I’m right.

If you only knew what I wouldn’t give to be wrong about shit like this. I’m not psychic, but I know history, economics, and politics well enough that I predict most of this shit on point. And considering the trend of the above, I would give a lot to just once, just once be surprised in a good way. Kentucky going blue and expanding Medicaid maybe? Georgia finally going pro-choice on a grand scale? Something, anything to give me hope that the legislative bodies in the South and the Midwest of the US are capable of logical reasoning and empathy past the “I got mine, fuck the rest of you” mentality.

Well, I also want the Bible Belt to demonstrate some semblance of common sense in general, but considering that South Carolina has been debating how to credit God on an official state fossil proposal….no, I’m not kidding…I think I will need to invest in a cushion, because all the headdesk moments may end up either cracking my desk or giving me a lulu of a bruise.

But suffice it to say that this is not a good day politically. The country has been handed over to the highest bidder, idiots across the country are still attempting to legalize discrimination, and they’re still trying to insert religion where it doesn’t belong in clear violation of the separation of church and state – and conveniently forgetting that federal law will always supersede state law. (Supremacy clause, look it up).

Yeah.

K.G.

And more from the Supreme Court

Much to pro-equality people’s relief, DOMA is struck down.

The sound you hear is the sigh of relief from the LGBT community, the LGBT supporters, the pro-equality young voters, and everyone who has ever believed that no legal body has business of dictating what qualifies as a marriage.

Considering the abysmal ruling on the VRA, and the earlier ruling on the Fifth, I’m a little concerned about the mixed messages from the Supreme Court.  Look at the big picture that these three decisions are painting: your silence, which has been previously protected under Miranda v. Arizona, can be used against you. The voting districts can get redrawn with no repercussions, which, in theory, can be turned against the GOP. And yet, on top of all this, same-sex marriage is a legal reality that is, right now, in legal equal standing with a hetero marriage.

Could it be that maybe, possibly, Clarence Thomas saw that if he went against DOMA, then he’d be a hypocrite?

Nope. Would you believe that he dissented? Of course. And he conveniently ignores, again, that his own marriage was illegal 50 years ago. Further proof he can’t see the forest through the trees, to the detriment of the country’s citizens.

The one part about this decision that I don’t like, which technically cannot be legally allowed to stand in totality of circumstance in this decision, is that a state is still allowed to not recognize a same-sex marriage performed in another state. That is a problem. However, if the key parts of the law are proved unconstitutional, which they were, then that provision too is not valid. Federal trumps state, and especially so with a SCOTUS decision.

Again, going back to the mixed messages: I’m not sure how, or if, I like the current slew of SCOTUS decisions. On one hand, the pro-LGBT victory gives me hope that maybe there’s a way to, eventually, overturn the current judgment on the VRA. On another hand, I look at the anti-Fifth decision and the VRA and really don’t like what it means for minorities. But, with the DOMA strikedown, the SCOTUS is showing that there is room for improvement.

The battle continues…

K.G.

On the new Supreme Court ruling.

You probably have already seen it make headlines. SCOTUS struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act. 

Not two hours later, Texas takes advantage of this.

And I, who reads history books for the hell of it, who researches time periods, culture, attitudes therein just for fun, feel like I’m sitting back and watching the history of this country in rewind mode. Horror doesn’t quite encompass what I’m feeling. Numbness doesn’t either. Hell, the closest I come to comparing my own emotions about this would be the Star Wars III scene where Padme Amidala is watching the entire Council celebrate the creation of the Galactic Empire, knowing that this is the collapse of freedom as she knows it. “This is how liberty dies,” she said. “With thunderous applause.” While there’s no thunderous applause, there is a court decision, a legal act that only a subsequent decision in the same court can overturn, that puts a wrecking ball into the progress of this country when it comes to voters and discrimination.

The November primaries were not that long ago.  I got up at 4am just to be one of the first people to cast my vote. And if you remember the November primaries, minorities faced all sorts of backlash throughout the country – why? Because they wanted to vote. Attempts to intimidate voters off the line? Check. Attempts to curtail same-day registration? Check. Closing down polling centers to force people into hour-long queues to get them to give up and leave? Why, thank you, Florida, if I remember, that was you. And now, Texas (why the hell is it always Texas?!) is redrawing its districts in an effort to – surprise to no one – curtail minority votes.

And Texas, for the record, is seeing its white non-Hispanic majority dwindle down. Another election or two and that state will be bluer than the Caribbean in the summer.

Guys, don’t give me crap about voter ID having anything to do with proof of citizenship. Citizenship gets verified when someone registers to vote. The voter registration card is effectively all the ID you need, and barring that, guess what: voter rolls are required at the polls. So by the time one gets to their polling place, they’re either there or they’re not. If they must register same day – again, gets verified. There’s no need for a voter ID law. And in that same decision, the SCOTUS has upheld Section 5,

Let’s call a spade a spade here, and it’ll be unpleasant, and I don’t really give a damn how unpleasant this is, but I have to say it. It’s about race. This court case was all about race, any way you slice it. It’s all about non-white people being in charge and having the opportunity to influence who’s in charge. It’s all about the fact that there’s a black man in the White House who got there by popular and electoral vote alike, held onto his seat by the same vote, and proved that he has the brain and the acumen to hold the office, and the old white male Christian “majority” of the Republicans can no longer get what they want just on the presumption of their own privilege of being old, white, male, and Christian. It’s about the fact that minorities, whether black, Latino, naturalized citizen, or female in combination with any of the above being anywhere near a position of authority. It’s about the fact that old white Christian males are so insecure in their positions that they feel threatened by every little thing that doesn’t fit into their narrow little comfort zones.

This decision has put a serious dent into forty years of progress; progress and a law that people had been arrested for, killed for, imprisoned for, and lynched for in their quest to get that law on the books. This country has a very long and very ugly history of racism, and if anyone has ever thought that we’re a “post-racial” society, they are deluded. They haven’t seen the racist anti-Obama rallies when he first got elected in 2008. They haven’t seen the birthers effectively bully the President into releasing his birth certificate just because of his middle name, all the while the rest of the country quietly knew that if he were white, it would’ve been considered the height of disrespect. They haven’t see the assassinations of Malcolm X and MLK, who pointed out the deep injustices of racism in their time. All these things happened. They are American history. They are recent American history, if you consider this country’s age, and nothing can paint that history out of the national canvas. Racism is everywhere, even now, in every stereotype that a politician spouts in the media, in the pop culture stereotypes that people get paid money to perpetuate, and in every time that a celebrity has a Freudian slip that shows their actual mentality (yes, Paula “Butter” Deen, I’m looking at you). It’s there, and being immune to it doesn’t erase it one bit. Just because you’re not seeing segregated water fountains a half-century after Brown v. Board of Education got settled doesn’t mean that there aren’t people, everywhere, who miss those days. And unfortunately for the rest of the country, those people are the ones in charge. Case in point, when Georgia high school kids who wanted to have an integrated (that is, a non-segregated) prom, their principal called it a “publicity stunt”. I don’t know which was worse: the segregated prom being there to begin with in the sunny year of 2013, the principal’s response, or the fact that I could actually say, “It’s Georgia” by route of explanation on why there’s a segregated prom in 2013 and people would not think it any unusual an explanation. Same way as I can say, “It’s Texas” to recent anti-birth control spoutings, and no one is surprised.

Truth be told, few things are more disturbing than seeing a Supreme Court – a diverse Supreme Court, considering its history – decide to do away with a provision to one of the most important laws that this country had enacted.

It’s my personal opinion that Clarence Thomas should be censured at the very least; he benefited directly from the anti-discriminatory provisions that this law had set into place, and frankly, I expected him to know better. It’s thanks to that law that he is on his Supreme Court seat. He is decidedly against same-sex marriage, conveniently forgetting that his own marriage was illegal half a century ago too. And he had drawn a concurring opinion on a law that he had directly reaped the benefits from. I don’t think there are words to adequately express my contempt for him and for Antonin Scalia, whose remark on “racial entitlements” should’ve, ideally, warranted a slap across the face, from Thomas first. But apparently, Thomas is that much more comfortable in the bubble  – that the Voting Rights Act and the Brown v. Board of Education decision, and other anti-discriminatory laws had helped him built – than to look at the world outside.

And Texas, looks like, is a little too eager to begin redrawing their maps, says legal scholarly opinion.

Gee, ya think???

And what gets at me is that we, the under-40s, the college grads, the people starting their families or their careers, or both, the people who went to the polls en masse after being thoroughly disenchanted with the state of affairs as it was, are all pro-equality. We have made leaps and bounds in progress, we have been the cause of change – as a people, not as individuals – and I’m pretty sure that there is quite a good bit of outrage at this decision, not just in my generation but in our parents and grandparents, who were likely there for the original change; when the Voting Rights Act was signed. I’m hoping that the outrage will be enough to make some sort of an impact. Unfortunately, I’m good at US history, and unfortunately, I know the next steps down the slippery slope. Because this plus the decision on silence being an indicator of guilt – nice one, SCOTUS, no one revoked the Fifth until now – is starting to raise the little alarm in the back of my mind that says, you’ve seen this all before. Your parents know what this was like. You know you’ve been there.

Yeah. Unfortunately. Deja vu is a bitch. So is history.

K.G.