Archive for scotus

Blistering Liberal Dissent to Wrong-Headed SCOTUS Decision

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scotus

Note: this is a repost of an April 2, 2014 story from Alan Colmes's Liberaland

Blistering Liberal Dissent To Wrong-Headed SCOTUS Decision (via Liberaland)

In today’s horrible decision to allow the rich to have greater influence electing their buddies, Stephen Breyer wrote a strong dissent signed by Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagen. “Where enough money calls the tune, the general…


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Koched-Up: Take This Job and Shove It, I Don't Work Tea Hill, Anymore

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Image Courtesy Demos

Image Courtesy Demos

Written by guest contributor, "hardybear" of the wonderful Free Range Talk site:

The Federal government and the Koched-Up Lipton Brigade who finished trashing it after BushCo. have officially become the shite-iest bosses in the world. And not just the Free World.

GOP-HypocrisyTwo full branches are in need of a tree surgeon at this point, and what is even an Executive of Obama's calibre to do with both chambers crawling with petulant rich kids  and antique lifer 'Justices'??  Beleagured man was probably trying to recruit the People's Pope for that highest bench just to shame Scalia & Gang.

I confess that I, staunch progressive since the womb, wept when Olympia Snowe announced her exit from Stage Crazy In Washington D.C. early on. Partly because she was one of the last New England RINO's in existence we could count on to 'swing vote' key legislation.

Image, Cagle Cartoons

Image, Cagle Cartoons

Primarily because we were at the beginning of a Domino Fall Fail of "will not seek reelection' announcements that would include good liberals as well. Have a look at the roster of who has already said ¡Hasta La Vista Suckers! here. 

Citizens United was a cancerous, bloated pestilence unleashed by That Manly Bench. SCOTUS used McCutcheon to put every office that can be leveraged with the USD for sale this week, which means we can now add usury and an extra level of corrosive conservative corruption thinly (Fredericks of Hollywood thinly) disguised as more transparent handling of campaign contributions by The People.

 

Congressional Retirement Chart from Pew Research

Congressional Retirement Chart from Pew Research

To roughly paraphrase NY state's Senator Chuck Schumer in response to that Robed Regressive Ridiculousness: "It's another step on the ruination of our political system ... until we are back to the days of the robber barons …"

It only took from 1776 until this week to return to a nation ruled by the monied class.

lobbyistSo what are we liberals going to do about it?? Turn the Sluther Mucking Titanic around and get out every last Vote possible. Worse may be on the way, according to Jeffrey Toobin of The New Yorker. 

We fight back. The Hobby Lobby Green family may own nigh on every for-sale Biblical artifact available,  Shelly Moneybags will buy all elections that take cash or 'credit' and the GOPissants may well have to run Jeb as their Savior.

We fight back. Regressives may have Texas down to six [as of this morning] functioning Women's Healthcare clinics, the Tea Party has crawled up our collective uterus and the War is young.

They won't give up … until Roe is long gone,  the country is Fenced In, every gay American is single, and back in the closet and girls are back to doing floors on their hands and knees in all trimesters.

SCOTUS approved purchasing their employees is just this week's con Cristal news. Fight Back.

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Thursday Links

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links

Image: Montana Cowgirl

Gianforte Weighs In On Montana Tech Rumpus

Fighting SCOTUS's Shameful 'Freedom to Corrupt' Ruling

And The Winner For The Most Sick, Disgusting Response To Fort Hood Is…

Neil deGrasse Tyson Blasts Creationism In New 'Cosmos' Episode (VIDEO)

Researchers Discover Why Zebras Have Stripes.

Blistering Liberal Dissent To Wrong-Headed SCOTUS Decision

Reddit Users Can’t Deal With a Black Kid Getting Into All 8 Ivy League Schools

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Scalia - Listen To Me: They're Not Anti-Abortion Protesters, They're Counselors

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anti abortion signs

Okay, last week the Supreme Court was hearing oral arguments in a case based in my home state of Massachusetts. It has to do with freedom of speech, actually. It relates to the rights of women who elect to visit and/or use the legal abortion clinics in the state. Both sides participated in a heated exchanges in front of SCOTUS -- the issue is whether a 35 foot buffer zone was really necessary to keep free access to the clinics for patients -- or if protesters had the right to get right up into a woman's grill and block her free passageway.

What makes this case quite curious is the take on the protesters by Supreme Court Justice, Anton Scalia.

The DAILY BEAST reports this.

Last week, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told us that these people are not anti-abortion “protesters.”  Instead, he glowingly described them as, “counselors” who wanted “to comfort these [pregnant] women” by speaking to them, “quietly and in a friendly manner.”

Quiet. Friendly manner. Counselors. That all seems to be quite benign. But is it really?

The author of the Daily Beast article, Dean Obeidallah, decided to take a look at just what kind of friendly greetings women were receiving upon their clinic arrival. Here are a few of the welcoming signs these women were met with:

“Be a man-stop your woman from killing your baby!”

“Mommy, don’t kill me!”

“You are going to be the father of a dead baby!”

“Babies are murdered here”

“Danger! Baby killing zone.”

Well, that hardly seems to me to be all friendly-like. Could Scalia have been wrong in his assessment? A SCOTUS justice not knowing a protester from a counselor? To me, this might be a simple case of Scalia coming down with "...ass from his elbow" syndrome.

Obeidallah was in his local area -- New Jersey. So this isn't some Red state battleground. He points out that the Garden State has NO buffer zone law like Massachusetts but they do have a ban on electioneering within 100 feet of a polling place. So we can see where priorities fall in Governor Christie's state. Don't mess with the pols, just with women who are pregnant.

After parking his car a block and a half from the clinic, Obeidallah got out of his vehicle. From there he could hear shouting coming from the direction of the facility, but he wasn't sure what it was until he arrived on the premises. There he saw men and women shouting, cursing, and trying to convince every woman who attempted to enter, not to have an abortion.

They handed out pamphlets explaining alternatives to abortion.  They even offered free sonograms to pregnant women in a van parked outside the clinic. As one “counselor” explained to me, “Once a women sees her baby, she will never have an abortion.”

Free sonograms? Administered in a parked van? Given by whom? Is this a case of practicing medicine without a license or in an licensed medical facility? There's a lot of questions here.

But what this all comes down to is why there's a need for a buffer free zone for women seeking a legal procedure. That's the crux of the case in front of the Supreme Court. This isn't really a matter of counselling or protesting. This is a matter of reasonable access to a legally licensed facility without zealotry prohibiting their right to public entrance.

As Obeidallah writes:

This group of men had formed an angry gauntlet in front of the clinic. They held signs bearing photos of dead babies, Biblical verses, and allegations that baby-killing was taking place at this facility.

But one thing is clear, they were not there as Justice Scalia claimed, “to comfort women.” They wanted to intimidate women to not enter the clinic.

We now have to wait until June for the court's official opinion to be revealed. But when you hear a justice like Scalia making totally outrageous remarks, tendered in a dark cloak of tunnel vision, you can only hope there are others on the bench who do know when their shoes are being pee'd on and they're being told it's just rain.

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Pastor Rick Warren's Not So Kosher Healthcare Plan

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Kosher

Here's the thinking of Pastor Rick Warren, the evangelical Christian leader and shallow religious zealot, according to TPM:

Requiring employers to provide insurance covering contraception is no different than forcing a Jewish deli to sell pork, evangelical Christian pastor and bestselling author Rick Warren said Wednesday.

It's catchy. On the surface it almost seems to make a point that could be an eye-opener -- unless you happen to take the time to analyze this analogy.

"In other words, if all of a sudden they made a law that said every Jewish deli in Manhattan has to start selling pork, I would be out there with the rabbis protesting that. Why? I don't have a problem with pork, but I believe in your right to not have to sell pork if it's not in your faith."

He doesn't seem to get his own point, but being gentile, I don't expect him to get the nuances of kashrut (Jewish dietary law). Hell, I'm a Jew and don't know half the rules. But the issue here that Rick W is missing is that nobody is making you eat the pork, or stopping you from eating it. It's personal choice.

With healthcare, nobody's forcing you to use every provision in your policy. Abortion and contraception are provided to those who, to borrow from your own analogy, don't "keep Kosher/sell pork products."

If you're a large employer and must, by law offer health insurance. That's not a choice you get to make. Also, you have to let your employees make their own "religious" choice. Refusing would be considered imposing religious beliefs on another, an apparent violation of the first amendment to the bill of rights.

Of course that's what the Supreme Court will determine in June. Picking and choosing is when it becomes imposing company beliefs on it's employees. It should not be a company mandate unless that company specifically caters only to those of a particular religious affiliation. Public companies are not religious by definition. They cater to all.

Rick Warren's problem is really this: Health insurance is not really an ala carte business. Generally you can't say I just want to buy insurance to be covered for broken bones and Meningitis. Nothing else. No other diseases or injuries. No gall bladder, kidney, liver, cancer stuff. Just the broker bone and Meningitis coverage. How much will that be?

It's not done that way. Generally in a health policy all medical issues are now covered except for death. (That's what life insurance is for.) The options are the deductibles and percentage of coverage.

But what the Republicans and more specifically the Christian evangelicals are fighting for is to turn health insurance into a strictly ala carte business. And according to them, if you're an employer who must provide healthcare insurance for your workers, you should be able to pick and chose what's covered and what's not.

They don't mind paying for your appendicitis or your treatment for migraines. They just don't want to contribute to total health care if it involves something they don't approve of -- in this case, contraception and abortion. They prefer to treat these matters after the fact, after there's an unwanted newborn, or perhaps the mother dies during the pregnancy or delivery. Caring for unwanted children or funerals for mothers with foreseeable complications is the acceptable way to go.

To create a pick-and-chose healthcare menu would make certain coverages too costly and other services not at all within a consumer's reach. So all medical issues get bundled together to bring down the price for the total coverage. Splitting out certain care issues would destroy the pricing model. And that seems to be the goal of the Republican obstructionists. They can't beat the law, so they'll work any angle to make sure it doesn't function.

Back to the the Kosher Deli analogy: In his equation, the Deli are employers. Pork is abortion/contraceptives. He says you shouldn't make the Deli provide insurance it finds contrary to  their religion or doctrines. And I agree. But insurance isn't pork. It's not against anyone's religion -- except perhaps Christian Science who don't subscribe to using doctors at all.

What may be contrary to one's religious beliefs is but one part of the picture of healthcare insurance. And nobody's making you "eat the pork."  Insurance policies serve a larger population than just one religious belief. So if you don't want pork (abortion) don't order it at the Pink Pig Baconarium for lunch. But don't stop others who love their bacon cheeseburger or their link sausages from eating there. That's taking away their choice.

When you make that decision, Pastor Warren, you're not letting others make theirs. You're taking away my rights. So don't eat or sell pork if you don't want to, but don't stop those from getting access to it if they have such a desire.

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If Corporations Are People, Too, So Are Chimpanzees. New Scopes Monkey Trial

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Scopes Money Trial plaque

A lot lately has been made over the slippery slope quickly approaching the Supreme Court. In the first quarter of next year, they will hear arguments over religious freedoms guaranteed "we the people" and now seemingly "we the corporations" of America as it relates to healthcare. That is surely to be a wonderful case to watch and their June decision will be landmark level.

But before SCOTUS takes up that battle which will help define corporations status as "people", there's some other monkey business to be heading to the courts. Did I say monkey? I meant to say, "chimp." And now that I think about it, what follows might give the true meaning of a monkey court.

In a string of landmark cases to be filed this week, four chimpanzees will fight for the right to retire to humane sanctuaries. Stop snickering. This is real.

It seems chimps are people too, my friend. And if that's the case, it must mean that evolution is real as well. Think about it. Is this the next Scopes Monkey Trial?

Chimpanzee client

Here's the story of the law suits that are being waged.

A man named Pat Lavery and his wife had first came across Tommy the chimpanzee ten years ago. At the time he was believed to be around 16 years old and was a long time veteran of the entertainment business. Who doesn't like a show biz vet? So the Laverys took Tommy in along with other members of the Chimpanzee family. They sheltered them, fed them, and took care of them.

That was going smoothly until last Monday when Lavery discovered that Tommy, the chimpanzee to whom he has extended his hospitality and an endless supply of bananas for the last decade, had sued him in New York’s Supreme Court.

The Daily Beast picks up here:

The first-of-its-kind lawsuit seeks a writ of habeas corpus, a legal tool used to challenge a person’s imprisonment or detention. It demands Tommy’s immediate release from “illegal detention” and transfer to any of the seven refuges that form the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance—making the 26-year-old chimp the first non-human animal to demand legal rights under common law.

Look, as I prefaced, if a corporation that can't breath, eat, give birth, swing on a vine or peel a banana can be considered a person, why not a chimp?

Acting on Tommy’s behalf is The Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP), an organization on a mission to have animals recognized in law not just as “things,” but as “persons” with the right—among others—to “bodily liberty.”

Lest you think Tommy's alone in feeling his rights have been infringed upon,

Tommy’s lawsuit, in which the animal is named as a petitioner represented by the NhRP, is the first of three such cases being filed in New York county courts on behalf of four chimps.

The lawsuit claims:

“Chimps are autonomous, they self-determine their own lives, they are extraordinarily social, self-aware beings—behaviors and characteristics that qualify them as persons with a fundamental right to freedom.”

This really boils down to what does a chimp know, feel, smell, sense and experience. If you subscribe to Darwin's theory, they are endowed with all those abilities. We know that Corporations don't contain any of those. Their inanimate. But with a chimp, there seems to be some recognized qualities to their existence which makes you want to give out a Tarzan yell.

Chimpanzees possess a sense of self that developmentally emerges in a manner similar to humans and is highly stable over time. They recognize themselves in mirrors and on television and can use a flashlight to examine the interiors of their own throats in a mirror. Adult chimpanzees recognize photos of themselves as youngsters,” the papers state, citing affidavits from multiple scientists.

Like humans, chimpanzees have a concept of their personal past and future and suffer the pain of not being able to fulfill their needs or move around as they wish,” the court papers state, adding: “Like humans, they experience the pain of anticipating never-ending confinement.

Show me one corporation that experiences those feelings.

I'm not going so far as the suggest chimps qualify for Obamacare, but they do qualify to be treated humanely. And that's what this is all about.

So Mitt Romney and SCOTUS with your Citizen's United finding, you might want to pay special attention to these upcoming chimp cases. As you approach hearing the corporations arguments for religious freedoms, consider Tommy's case could ultimately be kicked up to your court on appeal, or a banana peel. If you give corporations religious rights, what's next? Will you determine whether Tommy's eligible to demand Kosher only foods. Oh, and let's not forget these show biz chimps were paid when employed. Maybe they qualify for social security and unemployment benefits.

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A Big Fluke You, Evangelicals.

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Sandra Fluke

Last night, Chris Hayes had Sandra Fluke and right-wing radical and Washington Examiner contributor Tim Carney going tete-a-tete on his All In show. They were discussing the two cases the Supreme Court has agreed to hear (probably in March, verdict in June) on corporate religious freedom rights, as they might affect the Affordable Care Act.

When you hear Sandra Fluke speak so eloquently below, you can see why this "whore" according to Rush Limbaugh was fought hard in being allowed to address a congressional panel on Women's Health and Contraception hearing by the terrified, misogynist, Republican party. How dare she spew common sense in such easy to understand words. The GOP was justified in trying to keep her silenced as she destroys all of their fanatical arguments so easily.

It's clear that the evangelicals are on the road with their bullhorns blazing, their pulpits popping  and their zealotry oozing. The more they speak, the easier it will be for the nine SCOTUS justices to see how giving religious freedom as a foundational justification to a company is wrong. It's tantamount to giving corporations the license to pick and chose which laws they wish to abide by and those they chose to ignore. Giving a corporation first amendment rights designed for individuals, (in this case religious freedom), will be the slipperiest slope they may ever have adjudicated. It's very doubtful that under scrutiny and behind closed-door discussions, the SCOTUS members will want to totally destroy human American with Corporate America. It could happen, but I wouldn't bet on it. Not if they are presented arguments like these:

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