July 2 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #885

ON THE RECORD ….

“I’m comfortable in my life. There is one thing I miss, looking in the eyes of the people who serve this country and saluting them.” — George W. Bush, adding he also misses the showers on Air Force One and the personal pastry chef. 6/24/15

“I do great with Latino voters. I employ so many Latinos. I have so many people working for me. I’m a job creator. I create jobs. I’m a master job creator. No politician knows how to create jobs. They’re all talk, they’re no action. They don’t know what they’re doing. And you know, the Latinos love Trump and I love them.” —Donald Trump, while giving reporters a tour of his golf course. 6/23/15

“I’m appalled by –– though, I really like to like Nikki Haley since she is a Republican. On the other hand, she is an immigrant and does not understand America’s history,” —Ann Coulter about South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) who called for the removal of the Confederate flag from the state capitol grounds. Haley was born in Bamberg, S.C. 6/24/15

Anyone who knows the first thing about military history, knows that there is no greater army that ever took the field than the Confederate Army.” —Ann Coulter 6/23/15

“I can’t believe Bush is in first place. This guy can’t negotiate his way out of a paper bag. So I’m in second place to Bush. I hate it.” — Donald Trump, who is in second place among Republican candidates in New Hampshire. 6/24/15

“For all the misinformation campaigns, all the doomsday predictions, all the talk of death panels and job destruction, for all the repeal attempts, this law is now helping tens of millions of Americans.” — President Obama, on the Supreme Court’s vindication of the Affordable Care Act.

Today the Supreme Court fulfilled the words engraved upon its building: ‘Equal justice under law.’ Far too long our justice system has marginalized the gay community and I am very glad the Court has finally caught up.” — Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) 

The march of progress is often slow, but it is always steady. On Friday, the United States took another step toward the ideal of equality envisioned by its founders. And we are all more free as a result.” — PennLive Editorial 6/26/15

“This morning, love triumphed in the highest court in our land. Equality triumphed. America triumphed.” — Hillary Clinton 6/26/15

Video of Bree Newsome taking down the Confederate Battle Flag at the South Carolina State Capitol.

“Dylann Roof is a product of the left wing. He’s a product of their education system. As much as they wanna blame it on the right, as far as I’m concerned — you can look at everything he’s done and it absolutely adds up to leftism.” — Fox News guest Kevin Jackson 6/28/15

“Yeah, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is running for president. No, I don’t know why either.” — Hunter in the Daily Kos 6/30/15

“When you add the ACA to the reforms in the stimulus package, Dodd-Frank, and his various climate initiatives. I don’t think there is any doubt: On domestic issues Obama is the most consequential and successful Democratic president since LBJ. It isn’t close.” — University of California Professor Paul Pierson 6/26/15

 

1. Andy Borowitz: Scalia Arrested Trying to Burn Down Supreme Court

In a shocking end to an illustrious legal career, police arrested Justice Antonin Scalia today as he attempted to set the Supreme Court building ablaze.

Justice Scalia, who had seemed calm and composed during the announcement of two major rulings this morning, was spotted by police minutes later outside the building, carrying a book of matches and a gallon of kerosene.

After police nabbed Justice Scalia and placed him in handcuffs, the Juror appeared “at peace and resigned to his fate,” a police spokesman said.

“He went quietly,” the spokesman said. “He just muttered something like, ‘I don’t want to live in a world like this.’ ”

Back at the Supreme Court, Justice Scalia’s colleagues said they hoped he would get the help he needed, except for Justice Clarence Thomas, who said nothing.

Elsewhere: Many in Nation Tired of Explaining Things to Idiots

Of the many obvious things that people are sick and tired of trying to get through the skulls of stupid people, the fact that climate change will cause catastrophic habitat destruction and devastating extinctions tops the list, with a majority saying that they will no longer bother trying to explain this to cretins.

Coming in a close second, statistical proof that gun control has reduced gun deaths in countries around the world is something that a significant number of those polled have given up attempting to break down for morons.

Finally, a majority said that trying to make idiots understand why a flag that symbolizes bigotry and hatred has no business flying over a state capitol only makes the person attempting to explain this want to put his or her fist through a wall.

In a result that suggests a dismal future for the practice of explaining things to idiots, an overwhelming number of those polled said that they were considering abandoning such attempts altogether, with a broad majority agreeing with the statement, “This country is exhausting.” Read more at http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/

2. The DAILY GRILL

“One of the best constitutional minds in the country.” —Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) about Chief Justice John Roberts on 7/28/05

VERSUS

“Today, these robed Houdinis transmogrified a ‘federal exchange’ into an exchange ‘established by the State.’ … Unelected judges have once again become legislators, and bad ones at that. They are lawless, and they hide their prevarication in legalese.” — Cruz about the Obamacare decision written by Roberts on 6/25/15

 

“For the United States, that meant clinging to a policy that was not working. Instead of supporting democracy and opportunity for the Cuban people, our efforts to isolate Cuba despite good intentions increasingly had the opposite effect—cementing the status quo and isolating the United States from our neighbors in this hemisphere. The progress that we mark today is yet another demonstration that we don’t have to be imprisoned by the past. When something isn’t working, we can—and will—change.” — President Obama 7/01/15

VERSUS

– “I intend to oppose the confirmation of an ambassador to Cuba until these issues are addressed. It is time for our unilateral concessions to this odious regime to end.” — Sen. Marco Rubio 7/01/15

– “Opening the American Embassy in Cuba will do nothing to help the Cuban people and is just another trivial attempt for President Obama to go legacy shopping.” — Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) 7/01/15

“I oppose the decision to further embrace the Castro regime by opening an embassy in Havana.” — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush 7/01/15

 

“I will not acquiesce to an imperial court any more than our Founders acquiesced to an imperial British monarch. We must resist and reject judicial tyranny, not retreat.” — Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) 6/26/15

VERSUS

“This decision affirms what millions of Americans already believe in their hearts. When all Americans are treated as equal, we are all more free.” — President Barack Obama, hailing the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage as “a victory for America.” 6/26/15

3. From Justice Kennedy’s Majority Opinion on Gay Marriage

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than they once were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment in themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.” — Justice Anthony Kennedy writing for the Court’s Majority  http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/supreme-court-gay-marriage-ruling-highlights-n382431

4. Conservatives Can’t Hide Their Disgust With SCOTUS

On Obamacare

“An out-of-control act of judicial tyranny … Our Founding Fathers didn’t create a ‘do-over’ provision in our Constitution that allows unelected, Supreme Court justices the power to circumvent Congress and rewrite bad laws.” — Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee 6/25/15

“The judiciary, John Roberts included, is now just the water boy for the welfare state.” — Fox’s Andrea Tantaros on Twitter 6/25/15

“This decision turns common language on its head. Now leaders must turn our attention to making the case that ObamaCare must be replaced.” — Chris Christie on Twitter 6/25/15

“This decision turns both the rule of law and common sense on its head. ObamaCare raises taxes, harms patients and doctors and is the wrong fix for America’s health care system. As President, I would make it my mission to repeal it and propose real solutions for our healthcare system.” — Sen. Rand Paul (KY) 6/25/15

“Today’s Supreme Court ruling upholding the administration’s implementation of ObamaCare means Republicans in the House and Senate must redouble their efforts to repeal and replace this destructive and costly law.” — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker 6/25/15

On Gay Marriage

“The Supreme Court is completely out of control, making laws on their own, and has become a public opinion poll instead of a judicial body. If we want to save some money lets just get rid of the court.”— Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) responding to the Supreme Court’s decision legalizing gay marriage.

“We’re not bound by what nine people say in perpetuity.” — Former Sen. Rick Santorum, who vowed to fight a Supreme Court decision in favor of same-sex marriage:

“A ruling by the Supreme Court is nothing but an opinion if the legislative branch and the executive branch do not enforce it.” — Former GOP House majority leader Tom Delay

“The Supreme Court has spoken with a very divided voice on something only the Supreme Being can do-redefine marriage. I will not acquiesce to an imperial court any more than our Founders acquiesced to an imperial British monarch. We must resist and reject judicial tyranny, not retreat.” — Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R)6/26/15

5. The Nightly Show: O’Blivious – Bill O Reilly’s All White Debate On Racism

http://www.cc.com/video-clips/a3mfzw/the-nightly-show-o-blivious—bill-o-reilly-s-all-white-debate-on-racism

6. Hate Is Subsidized by U.S. Taxpayers

The Council of Conservative Citizens Inc., the group that allegedly inspired the racial hatred in Roof, the 21-year-old high school dropout who is is charged with nine counts of murder, is listed by the Internal Revenue Service as a nonprofit organization that promotes social welfare, also known as a 501(c)(4).” 6/23/15 Read more at http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/06/23/group-that-fueled-dylann-roof-s-hate-is-subsidized-by-u-s-taxpayers.html

7. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don’t have to)

Fox Claims Fast Food Workers Forego Higher Salaries To Keep Receiving “Free Stuff From The Government”http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/06/24/fox-claims-fast-food-workers-forego-higher-sala/204120

Fox’s Ralph Peters: ISIS Is Trying To “Exactly What The American Left Is Trying To Do … Destroy The Past”http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/06/24/foxs-ralph-peters-isis-is-trying-to-exactly-wha/204118

Fox’s Steve Doocy Parrots Rush Limbaugh To Stoke Fears About A Liberal Assault On American Flag http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/06/24/foxs-steve-doocy-parrots-rush-limbaugh-to-stoke/204116

Fox Claims Fast Food Workers Forego Higher Salaries To Keep Receiving “Free Stuff From The Government “http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/06/24/fox-claims-fast-food-workers-forego-higher-sala/204120

Fox’s Andrew Napolitano: Supreme Court Used “Almost Tyrannical Power” To Uphold Affordable Care Act http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/06/25/foxs-andrew-napolitano-supreme-court-used-almos/204156

Right-Wing Media Respond To Nationwide Marriage Equality: “We Should Weep For Our Country”http://mediamatters.org/research/2015/06/26/right-wing-media-respond-to-nationwide-marriage/204166

Fox’s Martha MacCallum On Marriage Equality Decision: “What’s To Prevent” 3 People From Getting Married Now? http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/06/26/foxs-martha-maccallum-on-marriage-equality-deci/204167

Hannity Agrees With Cruz: “Today Is Some Of The Darkest 24 Hours In Our Nation’s History” http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/06/26/hannity-agrees-with-cruz-today-is-some-of-the-d/204177

O’Reilly: “We Have An Activist [Supreme] Court,” Unable “To Put Ideology Aside” In Recent Rulings http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/06/29/oreilly-we-have-an-activist-supreme-court-unabl/204197

Conservative Media Argue Same-Sex Marriage Ruling Creates Constitutional Right To Carry A Gun In Public http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/06/29/conservative-media-argue-same-sex-marriage-ruli/204191

Fox News Rallies To Defend Donald Trump After NBC Announces Split http://mediamatters.org/research/2015/06/30/fox-news-rallies-to-defend-donald-trump-after-n/204207

Fox’s Erick Erickson: “Abuse” And “Parental Issues” Make People Gay http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/06/30/foxs-erick-erickson-abuse-and-parental-issues-m/204210

8. “Blame the Flag,” a cartoon by MarkFiore

https://vimeo.com/131731064

9. Late Night Jokes for Dems

“Donald Trump announced that he’s running for president. During his speech he told the crowd that if elected he would be ‘the greatest jobs president that God ever created.’ Then God said, ‘Hey, don’t drag me into this publicity stunt.'” –Jimmy Fallon

“Donald Trump told ABC news that if he had Oprah as a running mate, they could easily win. Although you know who’d definitely win? Oprah WITHOUT Donald Trump.” –Jimmy Fallon

“In his presidential announcement speech yesterday, Donald Trump pledged to become ‘the greatest jobs president that God ever created.’ This is from the man who coined the catch phrase ‘You’re fired.'” –Conan O’Brien

“Political analysts are saying that as a candidate, Donald Trump is ‘a totally unqualified nuisance.’ In other words, he is a legitimate contender for the Republican nomination.” –Conan O’Brien

“Donald Trump is running for president, and I couldn’t be happier about it. He promised he would be ‘the greatest jobs president that God ever created.’ I think President Trump would be a very good thing for jobs in this country — specifically for my job here at this show.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“Presidential hopeful Donald Trump said yesterday that he has better hair than Senator Marco Rubio – a claim that was recently disproven by wind.” –Seth Meyers

“Jeb Bush is here tonight, fresh off his announcement that he’s running for president. We were also going to have Donald Trump as well, but last time we checked he was still giving his speech.” –Jimmy Fallon

“Trump is running for president and he’s wasting no time getting down to business. In fact, just after his announcement he demanded to see Jeb Bush’s birth certificate.” –Jimmy Fallon

“Donald Trump announced today he is running for president of the United States. Traditionally that means six more weeks of comedy.” –Conan O’Brien

“Due to Donald Trump entering the presidential race, season 15 of ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ will not air. But don’t worry. With Trump running for president, you’ll still get to see an irrelevant B-list celebrity not get a job.” –Conan O’Brien

“Did you see Donald Trump’s big announcement today? Trump is very confident. He could be the only presidential candidate to ever pick himself as a running mate.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“A lot of people aren’t taking Trump seriously. But the fact of the matter is, when Donald Trump makes an announcement, people listen — because he’s shouting. You have no choice but to listen.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“Trump said, ‘The American dream is dead.’ All right, well, it’s not exactly ‘Hope and change,’ but it’s a slogan.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“Donald Trump announced today that he is running for president. And based on the amount of bronzer he uses, he’s also running for president of the Spokane NAACP.” –Seth Meyers

10. From Bill in Portland Maine: House Committee Demands White House Produce A Scandal

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will hold hearings early next month to grill Obama administration officials about a lack of quality scandals originating in the White House, sources say.

“We’ve exhausted all of our leads and didn’t turn up a thing,” said a Republican committee member who asked to remain anonymous. “Solyndra, Fast and Furious, the IRS, the tan suit—even our ace in the hole, Benghazi, is a big nothingburger and at this point we’re down to investigating rounding errors in office supply expenditures.”

Added the source: “We’re going through crossword puzzles over here faster than crap through a goose. Every day is the same—crickets.” More at  http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/06/23/1395465/-Cheers-and-Jeers-Tuesday

11. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: And Now – 5 Years of People Prematurely Declaring The End of Obamacare

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjpJqcM3X94

12. Daily Show: Jindal all the way

http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/2n06t0/jindal-all-the-way

13. Christie Lies

Most Americans don’t know Chris Christie like I do, so it’s only natural to wonder what testimony I might offer after covering his every move for the last 14 years.

My testimony amounts to a warning: Don’t believe a word the man says. If you have the stomach for it, this column offers some greatest hits in Christie’s catalog of lies. Don’t misunderstand me. They all lie, and I get that. But Christie does it with such audacity, and such frequency, that he stands out.

When Christie picks up the microphone, he speaks so clearly and forcefully that you assume genuine conviction is behind it. Be careful, though. It’s a kind of spell. He is a remarkable talent with a silver tongue. But if you look closely, you can see that it is forked like a serpent’s. 6/30/15 Read more at http://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2015/06/after_14_years_of_watching_christie_a_warning_he_l.html

14. Poll: Majorities back Supreme Court rulings on marriage, Obamacare

According to a new CNN/ORC poll, 63% support the Court’s ruling upholding government assistance for lower-income Americans buying health insurance through both state-operated and federally-run health insurance exchanges. Slightly fewer, 59%, say they back the ruling which made same-sex marriages legal in all 50 states.

Support for each ruling is sharply divided by party, with most Democrats and independents behind both, and most Republicans opposed to both. — Tom Moran 6/30/15 http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/30/politics/supreme-court-gay-marriage-obamacare-poll/index.html

15. Steven Colbert: June Is A Lovely Time For A Wedding

https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=34&v=xoZWtdfmIIw

16. How to survive the next 500 days until Election Day

https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=59&v=qyi49blliO8

17. Court Says States Can’t Seek Voter Proof of Citizenship

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider letting states require evidence of citizenship when people register to vote for federal elections, rejecting an appeal from Arizona and Kansas.

The rebuff is a victory for the Obama administration and voting- and minority-rights groups that battled the two states in court. It leaves intact a decision by a U.S. agency that blocked the states from requiring proof of citizenship for voters in federal elections. 6/29/15 Read more at  http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-06-29/states-seeking-voter-citizenship-proof-denied-by-top-u-s-court

OPINION

1. Paul Krugman: Hooray for Obamacare

Was I on the edge of my seat, waiting for the Supreme Court decision on Obamacare subsidies? No — I was pacing the room, too nervous to sit, worried that the court would use one sloppily worded sentence to deprive millions of health insurance, condemn tens of thousands to financial ruin, and send thousands to premature death.

It didn’t. And that means that the big distractions — the teething problems of the website, the objectively ludicrous but nonetheless menacing attempts at legal sabotage — are behind us, and we can focus on the reality of health reform. The Affordable Care Act is now in its second year of full operation; how’s it doing?

The answer is, better than even many supporters realize.

Obamacare has survived, it’s here, and it’s working. The great conservative nightmare has come true. And it’s a beautiful thing. 6/26/15 Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/26/opinion/paul-krugman-hooray-for-the-aca.html

2. Richard Cohen: The GOP’s View From Under the Sand

Louisiana governor, Bobby Jindal is the personification of contemporary Republicanism. He’s opposed to same-sex marriage, abortion rights, the teaching of evolution in the schools and, of course, a reasonable fiscal program. His state is about $1.6 billion in the red, his popularity has plummeted, and in a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, he scored a zero as a presidential candidate. Perhaps he can carry Louisiana, where polls suggest most voters would like to see him somewhere else.

Not all Republicans are so doctrinaire in the application of the anti-government, anti-tax dogma. But the notion that government should be as small as possible and do as little as possible is generally accepted as undebatable. It persists even though America is in desperate need of repairing and/or replacing its sagging infrastructure. The country has third-world airports, highways and bridges as well as a groaning electrical grid that strains if too many people toast their English muffins at the same time.

The cost of revamping, repairing, restoring and just plain creating a 21st- century infrastructure is staggering — an estimated $3.6 trillion by 2020. But huge construction projects would put huge numbers of people to work and would, in the long run, result in savings. It costs money for a truck to sit idle in traffic. We do an awful lot of idling in this country.

Size can be a problem. Large government is inevitably inefficient, but so, too, is large private enterprise. (See the GM bankruptcy.) Much worse than the unavoidable inefficiencies of large government is the failure to fund the government we need. Private enterprise cannot rebuild the nation’s infrastructure or keep our research institutions vibrant. Government must do what only it can do. Only a semi-mystical Republicanism, deluded by its own dogma, cannot see the future. That’s why it may not have one. 6/30/15 Read more at http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2015/06/30/the_gops_view_from_under_the_sand_127171.html

3. Jeffrey Toobin: Doom for a Cynical Assault on Obamacare

Supporters of the Affordable Care Act, starting with President Barack Obama, have generally taken the high road in response to Thursday’s decision by the Supreme Court to uphold the heart of the law. Graciousness in victory is, perhaps, its own reward. But it may also be appropriate, on the occasion of the 6–3 decision in King v. Burwell, to observe that this lawsuit was from its inception a shameful and cynical exercise, which illustrated the debasement of the contemporary conservative legal movement.

What principle was at stake in this lawsuit? The correct answer is none. This is a contrast to National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, which was the first challenge to the A.C.A. In that case, the plaintiffs argued that Congress lacked the constitutional authority to pass the law in the first place. The case made a respectable (if ultimately unsuccessful) argument for a narrow conception of the government’s ability to regulate health care under the Constitution. King v. Burwell did not implicate the Constitution at all. It was, rather, based on a claim that the Obama Administration violated the A.C.A. itself by offering subsidies to purchasers on the federal exchange. The case was, in other words, a sophisticated game of gotcha, based on what was, again, essentially a typographical error. The case was only about trying to destroy the law by denying insurance to millions and setting in motion a death spiral of raised premiums, cancelled policies, and more rate hikes until the system collapsed. (The sheer callousness of the plaintiffs’ lawyers in King was something to behold. Millions tossed off health insurance? Hey, deal with it.)

Obamacare remains controversial, and its future will be an important issue in the 2016 elections. That’s as it should be. If Republicans can win the Presidency and extend their control of Congress, they may well have the chance to undo the law, and they will have every right to do so. But today the Court said that the future of the law should be decided in that political process and not in response to litigation stunts like King v. Burwell. 6/25/15 Read more at  http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/doom-for-a-cynical-assault-on-obamacare

4. Brent Budowsky: Why Hillary scares the right

A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found Hillary Clinton defeating former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) by 8 percent, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) by 10 percent and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) by 14 percent.

Even if this poll exaggerates Clinton’s advantage, when was the last poll showing any Republican defeating her by such huge margins? If there were such a poll, Republicans would be ecstatically celebrating the arrival of the new GOP messiah who would bring the next golden age of American conservatism.

Hillary hysteria is gripping the GOP. Every day, conservative media offers an angst-ridden deluge of attacks against the former secretary of State, with derision, anger and predictions of her coming demise.

As Shakespeare might put it, the GOP doth protest too much. Republicans and conservatives are terrified that there is only one candidate in either party who today demonstrates the potential to win the nomination and be elected by a landslide. That candidate is the Democrat who would be the first woman president.

There is a progressive wave growing in America. When she vows to lead a national fight to reverse widely opposed Supreme Court decisions that allow the wealthy to buy elections and undermine voting rights, Clinton is leading this wave. On other issues it is led by others such as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Clinton and Democrats are riding the progressive wave on the right side of history. This terrifies Republicans and conservatives, as it should. 6/24/15 Read more at  http://thehill.com/opinion/brent-budowsky/246075-brent-budowsky-why-hillary-scares-the-right

5. Eugene Robinson: The Fall of the Confederacy

As a native South Carolinian, I was proud of Haley as she delivered her eloquent speech about the flag — an Indian-American female governor, flanked by all of the state’s leading officials including the first elected African-American U.S. senator from the South since Reconstruction, Tim Scott.

But standing behind Haley was Reince Priebus, the Republican Party’s national chairman, and I couldn’t help but think of all the GOP-led state legislatures around the country, including South Carolina’s, that have passed voter-ID and other laws meant to ensure that fewer African-Americans and other minorities are able to vote.

Even when the flag comes down, those laws will still be in place.

Black voters showed in 2012 that they can overcome restrictive new voting laws. They can do it again, including in state and local elections, where power over voting rights resides.

This historical city that marked the birth of the Confederacy can now mark the beginning of its end. But we have work to do. 6/26/15 Read more at  http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2015/06/26/the_fall_of_the_confederacy_127131.html

6. E.J. Dionne: The Right to be Free From Guns

Advocates of a saner approach to guns need a new strategy. We cannot go on like this, wringing our hands in frustration after every tragedy involving firearms. We said “Enough” after Sandy Hook. We thought the moment for action had come. Yet nothing happened. We are saying “Enough” after Charleston. But this time, we don’t even expect anything to happen.

What’s needed is a long-term national effort to change popular attitudes toward handgun ownership. And we need to insist on protecting the rights of Americans who do not want to be anywhere near guns.

“The best way to disarm the NRA rhetorically is to make the Second Amendment issue moot,” said Guy Molyneux, a progressive pollster. “This is not about the government saying you cannot own a handgun. This is about society saying you should not have a gun, especially in a home with children.”

“Those of us who want to live, shop, go to school and worship in gun-free spaces also have rights,” Molyneux says. “In what way is ‘freedom’ advanced by telling the owner of a bar or restaurant they cannot ban handguns in their own place of business, as many states now do? Today, it is the NRA that is the enemy of freedom, by seeking to impose its values on everyone else.”

The nation could ring out with the new slogans of liberty: “Not in my house.” “Not in our school.” “Not in my bar.” “Not in our church.” We’d be defending one of our most sacred rights: The right not to bear arms. 6/25/15 Read more at http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2015/06/25/the_right_to_be_free_from_guns_127111.html

7. Sally Kohn: The GOP Gay Marriage Freakout

Marriage equality has won at the Supreme Court, but the fight over gay marriage is far from over. Now we enter the Republican temper tantrum phase.

Even before the Supreme Court’s ruling, several prominent Republicans had pledged to disobey any high court ruling in favor of marriage equality—and had called on their fellow Republican leaders to do the same.

For instance, Republican presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee have both signed a pledge that reads, “We will not honor any decision by the Supreme Court which will force us to violate a clear biblical understanding of marriage as solely the union of one man and one woman.”

Huckabee also challenged the authority of our nation’s highest court when he said, “The Supreme Court can’t overrule God.”

Republican Senator Ted Cruz and Representative Steve King also called for Congress and any future Republican president to flagrantly ignore such a Supreme Court ruling.

Let’s be clear: These are current and former officeholders, who have taken an oath to uphold the laws of our nation, literally pledging to violate those laws as interpreted by the Supreme Court.

In any reasonable political environment, this should be a disqualifier for elected office.. 6.26.15 Read more at http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/06/26/the-gop-gay-marriage-freakout.html

8. Laurence Tribe: Supreme Court’s Obamacare decision is a victory for all of us

THE SUPREME COURT has rebuffed yet another attempt to destroy the Affordable Care Act.

The implications of this decision can be summed up in three words: The people won. The most obvious victory is in the decision’s implications for American health care. Had the dissenters prevailed, 8.2 million Americans would have been left uninsured, and many more would have been subject to large premium hikes. The ACA was a culmination of a decades-long effort to provide Americans with universal and affordable health care. And studies show that it is working in achieving those goals. By deciding for the challengers, the court would have gratuitously ripped a major hole in this social safety net.

Still, however total this victory may be, it is worth reflecting on how vigorously the ACA’s opponents have tried to destroy it, and how close they have repeatedly come. When the ACA was passed, no member of Congress in either party argued that it meant what the dissent now claims that it does; nevertheless, at least four justices voted to hear King quickly, and three would have sided with the challengers. Indeed, Justice Antonin Scalia in his dissent went so far as to accuse the majority of having “no semblance of shame” in making arguments that amount to “interpretive jiggery-pokery.” Before we celebrate, we would do well to remember how close the law has come to judicial destruction. 6/25/15 Read more at http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2015/06/25/victory-for-people/65JTpdexIHdryI85OvU3yI/story.html#

9. Jay Michaelson: Supreme Court: If It’s Worth It for Corporations, Pollution May Be Okay

While LGBTs and health-care reformers are still nursing their celebratory hangovers, the final Supreme Court case of the 2014-15 term just junked 20 years of environmental regulations.

The case, Michigan v. EPA, specifically dealt with the EPA’s regulation of mercury emissions from power plants under the Clean Air Act—a long, 20-year process that has been opposed by industry at every turn, even as mercury air pollution from coal-fired power plants has irreparably poisoned the Great Lakes .

Today, the clock has been set back. In its third 5-4 decision of the day, with Justice Kennedy again providing the swing vote, industry has prevailed. Writing for the court, Justice Scalia held that the EPA had to factor in costs in deciding whether to regulate, not just how to regulate.

This is as incoherent philosophically as it is practically. Think about it this way: Who owns the right to your health?

In Justice Scalia’s reasoning, now the law of the land, the toxic chemical emitters do. If it is economically efficient to poison you with mercury—if the costs to them outweigh the benefits to you, calculating an economic value of your health—then they get to do it.

Michigan v. US now stands for the principle that corporate interests are equal in kind to human interests. Whether the EPA should regulate mercury depends on whether it’s cost-effective to do so, treating the costs to industry and the benefits to health equally.

Because corporations are people, right? 6//29/15 Read more at  http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/06/29/supreme-court-if-it-s-worth-it-for-corporations-pollution-may-be-okay.html

10. Robert Redford: Time to step up game on climate change

I believe climate change is the defining environmental issue of our time. It’s hurting our people — around the world — and it’s time to stand up and say we’ve had enough. Enough of rising seas and widening deserts that threaten our homes and our crops. Enough of withering drought and blistering heat that mean more malnutrition and disease. Enough of raging floods, wildfires and storms that threaten people everywhere with one disaster after another.

We’ve got a real chance in Paris to come together and do something about it. But getting it done, and doing it right, will require a powerful public outcry. It’s happening. It’s building.

We know what’s driving the problem, and we know what to do about it. When we burn coal, oil and natural gas, we choke our atmosphere with the dangerous carbon pollution that’s driven global temperatures up about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit in a little more than a century.

That might not sound like much, but it’s already melted about third of the Arctic sea ice in recent decades. That’s a global change that has global impacts on temperatures, ocean currents and salinity levels. Meanwhile, this carbon pollution has raised the acidity levels of the world’s oceans, threatening shellfish and the coral reefs that support foundational life at sea.

Every day we don’t act, the crisis gets worse — and the cost of inaction goes up. 6/28/15 Read more at http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/28/opinions/redford-climate-change/index.html

 

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