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WilliamPitt

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Name: William Rivers Pitt
Gender: Male
Hometown: Boston
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 58,134

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Justice Delivered: A Week That Changed a Nation



Demonstrators react after the ruling in the case of King v. Burwell was announced, outside the
US Supreme Court in Washington, June 25, 2015. The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that President
Obama's health-care law may provide nationwide tax subsidies to help poor and middle-class people
buy health insurance. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)


Justice Delivered: A Week That Changed a Nation
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed

Monday 29 June 2015

"And Lord, we lifted over the delta, feelin' alright,
carried together on the broad, unbroken back of the blues."

óRebecca Meredith


A couple of weeks ago, I was on a planet called Earth, a citizen of the United States, and a prisoner of sorry judgments levied by fools whose political existence is funded through the extravagant largesse of those who sup on hate and greed.

That was my Earth, and my country, and if I despised the manner in which the pieces of what passes for "culture" and "justice" and "government" came together like a jigsaw puzzle left out in the rain, at least I recognized it. It was familiar.

...and then something like last week happens, and all of a sudden, I don't know what planet I'm on anymore. In a small space of days, this nation's highest court confirmed that everyone can get health insurance for a fee, tore a large chunk out of the federal "three strikes" criminal sentencing law, saved the Fair Housing Act of 1968, and gifted all the people of this nation, which prides itself on freedom, the actual freedom to marry as they wish. This particular portion of a long-enduring prohibition that finds its justification in Bronze-Age Biblical morality, and presumes upon that dusty premise to dictate the letter of the law, was ended before noon on Friday.

It didn't go over easy. After the ACA ruling, Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee, both of whom are GOP presidential candidates, each erupted with spittle-flecked rants about the "tyranny" of "un-elected judges" making decisions on cases brought through due process of law to the bench. Justice Antonin Scalia was so despondent over the ruling that he declared words no longer have meaning, and the governor of Mississippi accused the whole thing of being a "socialist takeover" of the United States.

The "un-elected judges" bit deserves some attention, because we're all going to be hearing more of it. When the Supreme Court decreed that comprehensive political bribery and corruption by way of unfettered campaign contributions was the law of the land, via their Citizens United decision, no one puled about "un-elected judges." When minority voting rights were eviscerated, there was nary a peep about "un-elected judges." Now that gay people can legally bind in love and commitment, however, those "un-elected judges" are suddenly intolerable.

"In order to provide the people themselves with a constitutional remedy to the problem of judicial activism and the means for throwing off judicial tyrants," wrote Ted Cruz in the National Review, "I am proposing an amendment to the United States Constitution that would subject the justices of the Supreme Court to periodic judicial-retention elections." Bobby Jindal, for his part, actually managed to out-fail Mr Cruz. "If we want to save some money," he said, "let's just get rid of the court."

Talk about temper tantrums.

(snip)

Make no mistake whatsoever: All that ails us as a nation has hardly been cured. The oppression endured by the LGBTQ community has not been undone by this ruling. Also, the president is still pushing the ruinous Trans-Pacific Partnership with full vigor, and will likely get his way, even as "assistance" for workers who will be "trade adjusted" out of their jobs has yet to come to a vote, and thanks to Mitch McConnell could be permanently shelved.

The filthy bomb-in-waiting Keystone XL pipeline looms, even as fracking pollutes the aquifers. The business of making war still dominates a federal budget that would be better spent on infrastructure and education. The Wall Street and banker brigands who robbed us blind walk free, as do the torturers from the previous administration. People - men, women and especially children - die before the barrels of guns every single day.

The Supreme Court, on Monday morning, veered back into the right lane by limiting the EPA's ability to restrict the spewing of mercury and other deadly pollutants into the environment. "Writing for the court," reported the Associated Press, "Justice Antonin Scalia said it is not appropriate to impose billions of dollars of economic costs in return for a few dollars in health or environmental benefits." Res ipsa loquitur. The thing speaks for itself.

In another Monday morning decision, the Court ruled that midazolam - part of the cocktail that delivered several death-condemned prisoners to a tortured, horrifying end in three states - is just fine and dandy. Not everyone agreed. "Under the courtís new rule," wrote Justice Sotomayor in dissent, "it would not matter whether the state intended to use midazolam, or instead to have petitioners drawn and quartered, slowly tortured to death, or actually burned at the stake."

The screamers will scream, and the stompers will stomp, and it will all be unrepentantly ugly. For whatever reasons, there has always existed a certain permutation of human who must have theirs, and take yours, and deprive more even as they scorn those others for that deprivation. Living that way is lucrative, clearly, but certainly not moral in any sense I have ever been given to understand.

... but despite it all, it feels as if the Earth I thought I knew tilted a tiny bit on its axis last week, just a wee bit closer to the healing light of the sun. Case in point: A woman named Bree Newsome climbed the 30-foot steel pole that flies the Confederate flag on the grounds outside the South Carolina capitol building. When she was halfway up, police ordered her to stop, but she refused, and kept climbing. She pulled down that flag, returned to Earth, and was arrested. The flag was eventually restored, for now.

Even so, that happened.

Heroes exist. You may even be one of them.

The rest: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/31629-justice-delivered-a-week-that-changed-a-nation

Amazing Grace

Astonishment.

Capstone speech.

Perfection distilled.

I ain't no fanboy, as you all well know ... but the eulogy delivered just now by President Obama was pretty much the most remarkable bit of oratory I have been privileged to witness.

Amazing grace.

YES







"The GOP race is filling up faster than the toilets at Arby's."

-- Jon Stewart's opening line on The Daily Show last night

Please turn off the planet. We're done here. Thank you.

The Roof, The Roof, The Roof Is On Fire

We don't need no water
Let that motherfucker BERN
BERN motherfucker
BERN

Hillary Clinton's lead over N.H. Democrats shrinking, poll finds
http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/25/politics/hillary-clinton-bernie-sanders-martin-omalley-new-hampshire-poll/index.html



... probably not an appropriate campaign song, but I likes it, me.

Still don't think he's a used-car salesman?

TPA survived cloture and is about to pass.

TAA ... who knows? It's up to Mitch, thanks to Obama. Who cares about "trade adjusted" workers, anyway, right?

TPP ... coming down the pike one way or the other, and will sail thanks to TPA.

Next up: Keystone ... and the legacy will be secured.

Go ahead and yell at me if it comforts you.

Killing a Nation With Euphemisms: TPP-Eats-Medicare Edition



President Barack Obama leaves a meeting with House Democrats on Capitol Hill, June 12, 2015.
The existence of the Trade Adjustment Assistance bill - which will draw $450 million from Medicare
to provide "assistance" for those losing their jobs because of the Trans-Pacific Partnership - underscores
that people in DC know the trade bill will be a job-destroyer in the US.
(Photo: Stephen Crowley/The New York Times)


Killing a Nation With Euphemisms: TPP-Eats-Medicare Edition
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed

Tuesday 23 June 2015

This week, legislation to give President Obama fast-track trade agreement authority (TPA) will take its star turn in the GOP-controlled Senate. The cloture vote is said to be taking place on Tuesday, and if the 60-vote threshold is reached, the final vote on the bill will happen the same day, or on Wednesday.

More importantly, however, is the following vote, scheduled for Wednesday or Thursday, on "Trade Adjustment Assistance," (TAA), also known as the "We sent your job to a Pacific Rim sweatshop in a country with no labor laws where people work for $2 a day during 18-hour shifts making the clothes you used to be able to afford before we laid you off, so here's ten dollars so you can take in a movie and get your mind off things, but no popcorn for you" bill.

In other words, TAA is a bill to provide "assistance" for all the people who are absolutely going to lose their jobs if the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement (TPP) passes ... and the passage of that trade bill is what all this TPA and TAA mishigas has been about.

"Trade Adjustment Assistance" ... isn't language just such wonderfully malleable putty? It would not in any way surprise me if, somewhere in the dank bowels of a building in Washington DC, there exists a think tank solely dedicated to the crafting and deployment of crass yet terribly effective euphemisms. "The Clear Skies Initiative," also known as "Let the polluters pollute as much as they want." "No Child Left Behind," also known as "Conformity over creativity and critical thinking." "PATRIOT Act," also known as "We're watching you, bub."

And now, this. You're not fired, laid off, outsourced, downsized, removed, erased, kicked to the curb, bounced, deleted, expunged, cut, dismissed, chucked, or even screwed. Nope. You've been "trade adjusted," right out onto the sidewalk with a box of your stuff in your arms and a disorienting buzzing noise rattling the inside of your skull. Such a kind euphemism for so traumatic an event. The boys in the bowels of that building sure put the work in on that one.

Let's say the TPA survives cloture and is passed ... and let's even say that Mitch McConnell trips over his soul in the men's room and actually allows a vote on TAA, and it survives cloture and then passes ... guess what? The money to "assist" people who suffer "trade adjustment" upon passage of the TPP will come from ...

Wait for it ...

Wait for it ...

Medicare!

That's right! Probably the most successful, well-run social program in US history will take it in the teeth to help support people who lose their jobs to the trade bill that necessitated this "assistance" in the first place.

... and here's the best part. The original plan was to "sequester" - another brilliantly vile euphemism - about $700 million per year from Medicare to fund "assistance" for everyone who gets "trade adjusted" by the TPP. Republicans balked at the number, not because it was stealing from Medicare, but because it was Just Another Government Welfare Program Argle Bargle Blah. After a series of negotiations between congressional Democrats, Republicans and the White House, they settled on carving out $450 million per year to "assist" the "trade adjusted."

It's beautiful, in the way an avalanche on a snow-capped mountain is beautiful before it buries and smothers you.

First, the very existence of the TAA bill means these people in DC know the trade bill will be a job-destroyer in the US. Otherwise they wouldn't bother, period.

Second, $700 million per year isn't nearly enough to help all those who will have to hit the bricks once their jobs go away, so $450 million is basically a bad joke.

Third - and this is where the true poetry of evil finds its clarion cry - everyone put on the street by the TPP will someday qualify for a Medicare that is less capable of serving them, because the program has been compensating for the way they lost their job in the first place.

The rest: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/31521-killing-a-nation-with-euphemisms-tpp-eats-medicare-edition

"Hater"

Um...pssst...this is, for all practical purposes, primary season.

Primary season is the most important season. It is when the voters get to choose from a much wider variety of candidates.

It's vital, and the fact that the average turnout for primaries all across the country hovers below 40% is a large part of the reason we're being "governed," by and large, by shitheads.

This is when we really, really get to do some choosing.

It's also when we debate the relative merits of the candidates. Sometimes with heat, because it's that important.

So.

When a supporter for Candidate X makes salient and accurate points about your Candidate Y, or vice-versa, please don't deploy "Well, you're just a hater" or some brain-absent permutation thereof.

You sound like a jackass, and have thoroughly missed the point of the exercise.

This is important. If you don't like it, find another hobby.

What's the word on The Magistrate?

There was a thread on The Magistrate having been absent for an uncomfortably long time, but I can't seem to find it. Any word?

Here's a White guy about to stab a Black guy in the chest with an American Flag.



This didn't happen in Charleston, or Montgomery, or Tallahassee, or Richmond, or Biloxi. This happened in downtown "liberal" Boston during the busing riots, which happened because White Bostonians didn't want Black kids going to school with their kids.

Just a quick reminder to all the non-Southerners who may be feeling a bit superior after recent events. If you think your town isn't riddled with racists, too, you're badly deluding yourselves.
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