Most Conservative Supreme Court Ever Is Too Liberal For Some

The backlash among right wing extremists and your run-of-the-mill Obama haters to today’s Supreme Court ruling that correctly interpreted the intent of the Affordable Care Act to validate federal health care exchange subsidies has been breathtaking to observe. The criticism of the Court in general and Chief Justice John Roberts in particular, has been not merely entertaining,but roll-on-the-floor laughing funny. To understand just

how funny this all is, it has to be understood that this Court is almost without question, the most conservative US Supreme Court in the country's history, under whatever criteria one may wish to make a measurement.

In a post last year, "John Paul Stevens, Marijuana, and the Politics of the Supreme Court", I referred to a couple of ongoing

studies that keep track of such things, in particular the Martin-Quinn score*, Continue reading

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An Unholy Four Embrace Treason

The people who run the republican party, rush limbaugh, ann coulter and william kristol, were joined this week by conservative “Democrat” Jim Webb in issuing pro-Confederate flag – anti-USA statements so off the wall and outright treasonous that one has to wonder how, for the first three of them, they continue to be so embraced by the super-patriot gop base, and on the part of the fourth, Webb, how someone so out of touch with liberal and progressive beliefs could even consider running for the party of the left’s presidential nomination.

Webb, a former US Senator from Virginia, has always been a "Blue-Dog", right-of-center pseudo-Demo on several key issues, including firearms, immigration, and government spying and Patriot Act abrogation of constitutional rights, but now he has separated himself totally from mainstream liberal thought as he refused to join the chorus of statespersons and
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For Larry Hogan, Karma Can Be Tough To Face

While I am a firm believer in free will, as opposed to determinism or the belief that some mythological figure can control the minutia of the daily lives of a few billion humans, not to mention billions more animals, not to mention respond to a few billion daily requests for free stuff (you know, like the gop says the Democratic base only exists to ask for and receive), I do think that maybe karma can have an effect on how personal choices, unintended consequences, and what can best be described as the luck of the draw, turn out in the end. Accordingly, we have instances of the actions and consequences of the actions of public figures to examine and evaluate in light of all this. Today we have a striking example in the persona of the republican governor of Maryland, one Larry Hogan.

Hogan was elected to that state's highest office last November, following the tenure of the prior governor, progressive Democrat Martin O'Malley. It was Hogan's first election to public office, and his biggest prior claim to fame had been the fact that he had worked for former congressman John Rousselot during Rousselot's tenure in Congress in the late
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1970s. Rousselot of course is most remembered as being the public relations voice of the John Birch Society for many years, when he served as their Western Regional Director. As one would think, once Hogan took office, his extreme right wing agenda took center stage*. A big part of this was to do whatever damage he could do to the Affordable Care Act and its Maryland medicaid program. Continue reading

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No Limits to Hypocrisy – GOP Speakers of the House Chapter

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich’s numerous sexual dalliances are well known and well documented, having been resurrected into the public eye during his presidential run leading up to the election of 2012. When he was forced out of power, and soon also out of office, resigning shortly after winning re-election to his House seat in 1998, his gop cohorts turned to a man whom they felt could restore dignity and honesty to the House and to their party, Bob Livingston. Livingston lasted as Speaker for barely six weeks, as he was forced to resign the day of the House vote on the Impeachment of President Clinton,

Dec. 19, 1998, when it was widely reported that he had also had a series of affairs. Livingston thereafter also resigned from Congress, despite his own recent re-election. Both Gingrich and Livingston knew their Congressional replacements would be republicans, as each was the current holder of the seat in a safe gop district.
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The Truth and the Myths of Memorial Day

Many myths and an abundance of little known truths surround the origins of the American holiday of Memorial Day.

The modern interpretation of the holiday is that of a day of remembrance for all those who have died in the military service of the United States including those who perished in wars both recent and long passed. But it was not always so, and stories of the origins of the holiday vary greatly.

One thing that is clear is that the holiday was borne out of the Civil War. Originally called Decoration Day, the first official proclamation of a holiday observance occurred on May 5, 1868, when national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic General John Logan declared that May 30 was to be designated as a day to decorate with flowers the graves of fallen comrades who had died in the defense of the Union. On that first Decoration Day, May 30, 1868, 5,000 visitors to
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Judicial Ethics Rules – Only Nine Judges in US Are Exempt

And just guess who they are. Every judge in the United States, including all state judges under individual state ethics’ rules, and all federal judges under the Code of Conduct for United States Judges must follow specifically delineated rules of conduct, except for the Justices of the United States Supreme Court whose conduct is governed only by their personal beliefs as to what activities in which they may or may not engage.

The US Constitution gives Congress certain powers over the Supreme Court and inferior courts, and Congress has exercised those powers to pass these rules for all inferior federal courts, but not for the Supreme Court. Calls have been repeatedly made to right this striking omission, and just three years ago a group of 212 legal scholars sent Chief Justice John Roberts a letter urging him to adopt a code of conduct for U.S. judges, including those on the Supreme Court. Congress has tried in the past to promulgate such rules for the highest court, beginning with the first effort at a Supreme Court Ethics Act introduced in 1973.

The Case Against the Supreme Court by Erwin Chemerinsky
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No Doubt, Fracking Will Kill Us All

As the oil and gas industry continues to make record profits, their assault on the earth and its inhabitants goes virtually unchecked, racing headlong to a world were the unconscionable wealth and power of the ExxonMobils, the BPs, the Shells, will become worthless, when there are no longer any living creatures walking what will have become an uninhabitable world.

Earthquake Frequency in OklahomaAs the poisons they pump into our water, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, destroy our health, new studies now show that that we no longer need to worry about dying from them, as the earthquakes they are creating will destroy us all much faster and much sooner.

The massive fracking operations continuing in Oklahoma have been little tempered by the massive increase in earthquakes that has been documented now for years. In a state that throughout recorded history had experienced single-digit earthquakes per year, the numbers of earthquakes now being seen are staggering: Earthquaketrack.com reports today that Continue reading

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The Scandalous Ripoff That Is California’s “FasTrak” Toll Road System

San Bernardino Freeway Traffic with Empty HOV LaneWell, its been awhile since I last wrote about the abomination that is the “FasTrak” pay system that now steals major portions of California highways from taxpayers and awards the privilege of driving upon them to the newly created upper class of drivers who can and do pay sometimes exorbitant fees to a private company under a license from transportation agencies. Near the program’s inception, I described what was in the works in “California’s Metro Express Ripoff” and then last summer, in “California’s New Class System” I wrote about what was happening. Now, almost a year later, there is conclusive proof of the stupidity and absurdity of the program. The photo to the right was taken about 2:30 pm on a weekday afternoon in what is typical San Bernardino Freeway traffic. This section of the eastbound roadway – a portion of Interstate 10 – is just east of East Los Angeles, with Alhambra to the north and Monterey Park to the south. What the photo shows explicitly is totally stopped, bumper-to-bumper traffic in the “regular” freeway lanes, populated by us poor working stiffs, herded among the masses in a painful scene that could have been painted on, movement was so excruciatingly slow. To the left, however, are the two FasTrak HOV lanes, virtually empty. Continue reading

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Gun Lobby Can’t Handle The Truth

Gun safety advocates from States United to Prevent Gun Violence (SUPGV) tried a new tactic in the war against gun violence, with a pseudo sting operation where people who had expressed an interest in purchasing a firearm were led to believe they could do so, but during a sales pitch were told the historical realities of the specific types of weapons they were considering. See the video:

This was conducted in a Manhattan storefront set up to look like a gun shop, so real that it fooled those geniuses from the NRA and something called the The New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, who have had a shit fit that prospective gun purchasers are being told actual facts that could change their minds about the whole thing. In fact, this Big Apple gun group has called on New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to investigate the whole thing, based on their allegations that in filming the video, SUPGV broke a whole slew of laws, including firearms being displayed improperly in the store and the allowing of prospective buyers without licenses to handle firearms.

One problem with that – none of the firearms used or displayed were real. But the NRA guys and the illustrious New York State Rifle and Pistol Association membership, in a blind rage over, you know, real factual information being told to people who thought they

wanted guns, couldn't tell papier mache' from Piper Laurie. In fact, SUPGV had arranged for a NYPD official to be present during filming to assure compliance with any applicable laws.

Even Breitbart.com has stuck its disgusting face into the foray, with more phony non-facts. An article there about the sting used a phony study and phony facts deceitfully alleging that lawful gun use frequently wards of criminal behavior.
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For the record, REAL academic research has found that such instances are so rare to defy accurate measurement and the FBI has stats that show that the ratio of criminal gun homicide to justifiable homicide with a firearm is approximately 37-to-1.

This video has gone viral, with a couple of million views, and hopefully it will have a sobering effect on at least a few people who might reconsider thoughts of facing today’s volatile society while armed with a lethal weapon.

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gop Letter to Iran More Than An Embarrassment, It’s Treason

8 U.S.C. § 953, the Logan Act: Private correspondence with foreign governments.

“Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.”

First, House republicans, without the knowledge of the President of the United States, invite a foreign leader to address Congress. That was a breach of every conceivable aspect of decorum, respect, protocol, and good taste that could be imagined, but no one ever said

that any gop politician has an iota of decorum, respect, sense of protocol, or good taste, and this just proves it.

But now, they have gone too far, and under many interpretation of the Logan Act, numerous republican Senators are guilty of treason.

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Historical Facts? They’ll Write Their Own in Oklahoma!

Facts are just not important to many of the good citizens of the fine state of Oklahoma, and certainly not historical facts. Oklahomans seem to be living in a fantasy world, and state legislators are hard at work to move their state even further from reality. Is this a symptom of a mass psychosis? No, that has a better chance of being cured. Rather, this is due to a skewed view of the United States and the egotistical and absurd belief of absolute American exceptionalism resulting in the mind set that throughout its long and glorious history, this county and its “real” citizens have never done anything “wrong”. This results in the further belief that historians who say differently are lying bastards and that their accounts of history need to be ripped from textbooks and never mentioned in Oklahoma classrooms, especially those advanced placement classes inhabited by the smart kids. Continue reading

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Sorry, But Anti-Semite Kayla Mueller is No Hero!

As international media propaganda overwhelms the airwaves and internet, President Obama has joined with right-wing imperialists and misguided Democrats to ram through Congress a new war authorization bill that, for all the wrong and absurd reasons, assures the US of entry into yet another decades-long ground war in the middle east. This is, regrettably, a popular path to follow, due to the selective “news” fed to a misinformed public.

The US public is outraged by what is seen in the news, as various organizations referred to at times as ISIS, at times as ISIL, and at times as Da’esh, post videos of their captives being mercilessly executed, usually through beheading. But, at the same time, our good friends the Saudis engage in a constant use of beheading, day after day. Continue reading

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