Sunday, August 15, 2021

Welcome 2 America


Friday, August 13, 2021

From Roger Fitch and Our Friends Down under at Justinian

Struggling out of the quagmire

The Roberts Supreme Court Court and its obstructions ... Gerrymanders could see the Republicans take back the House ... Members of the "sedition caucus" to testify before January 6 committee ... Big money behind the claims of election fraud ... Trouble ahead for Trump lawyers ... Roger Fitch, Our Man in Washington, reports 

An "impulsive, mentally unstable and unbalanced individual who suffers from an inferiority complex" -  psychological assessment of Donald Trump provided to Vladimir Putin in January 2015.

"Rating Outlook is Negative ... The failure of the former president to concede the election and the events surrounding the certification of the results of the presidential election in Congress in January, have no recent parallels in other very highly rated sovereigns. The redrafting of election laws in some states could weaken the political system, increasing divergence between votes cast and party representation. These developments underline an ongoing risk of … difficulty in formulating policy and passing laws in Congress…" - Fitch Ratings, July 2021.

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As expected, senate Republicans filibustered the Democrats' signature voting rights act for the usual (racist) reasons, and because of their well-founded expectation that stonewalling reforms will produce enduring one-party government at the next election.

If only the Democrats could carve out an exception for the filibuster, limited to constitutional issues, but that's difficult, due to rats in Democrat ranks. 

Filibusters aside, Biden and his party - with the vice-president's vote - have a working majority in the upper house, but they suffer from two backsliders, West Virginia's plutocrat senator Joe Manchin, and the slippery Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. Sinema is so conservative that an Arizona Republic writer queried why she hasn't joined the Republican Party.

Senate Democrats have additional ideas for getting voting laws through the upper house, but a determined and mischievous conservative majority on the supreme court might still strike down new voting rights laws. 

Since the ascension of Chief Justice John Roberts, the decisions of the court's right-wing majority have increasingly aligned with the agenda of the Republicans who appointed them, in "total war" on congress, evident in Brnovich v DNC, the latest judicial attack on voting rights in the supreme court. 

There's a new book out on the groundwork that the Roberts Court laid for the current Republican assault on voting rights - obstructed throughout American history by the  court - and a vast suite of civil rights laws. A Progressive writer has a damning list of the worst decisions of the Roberts Court since the chief justice's appointment in 2005. 

The supreme court has been blessing gerrymanders since at least the notorious "second" decennial Texas redistricting of 2003 (heard and decided by the court in 2006). 

That was preceded by a Texas Democrat walkout, a tactic deployed again this year. It's a shame Obama didn't act in January 2009 - the last time  Democrats had a filibuster-proof congress - to pass laws preventing such shocking gerrymanders as that of Texas in 2003. 

Now Republicans are on the brink of retaking the house of representatives through gerrymanders that the supreme court effectively approved. Only four Republican-controlled southern states are needed to do it. One hopes that Biden's AG will meanwhile vigorously enforce existing laws abandoned by Trump's AG.

The only place safe for voting rights legislation now is in the state houses, where a newly-blue Virginia has gone from nearly worst, to one of the best.