Why are Republicans Wrong about Everything?


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Jun 24, 2013 - 07:05am PT
Interesting read, rsin, thanks for posting.

Jun 24, 2013 - 07:14am PT
jhedge wrote:

And you know that...how?

You know what he's said to China and Russia? Really?

Would you mind giving the CIA a call, and letting them know what you know? Thanks

Blowing a NOC's cover is wrong, but what Snowden is doing is OK?

No, I don’t know what he said to China and Russia, and neither do you. Don't know what Cheney said or leaked to China and Russia either although we do know that he purposely wanted classified information leaked to the press / public (Plame). Anyway, not sure why you are asking the question.

The media is not doing its job, and hasn’t been for quite some time, so I laud both Snowden and Manning for doing what they did since the media won’t.

My apparently not very clear point was that critics were able to both discredit and prosecute Manning due to the sensitivity of the information released, whereas Snowden brought awareness to the public without, as far as I know, revealing any names or sensitive details.

But given rsin's post above, perhaps this is all a just a smokescreen, or a double bluff, or the XK Red 27 technique in full action, who knows.

Trad climber
Jun 24, 2013 - 03:23pm PT
if naomi is correct in what snowdens intention are
who is controling him,

there is an even greater reason to address the issue than if hes just a whistleblowing hero for the much lauded american ideals

for some reason she forgot to mention it


SF bay area
Jun 24, 2013 - 04:28pm PT

The Internal Revenue Service's screening of groups seeking tax-exempt status was broader and lasted longer than has been previously disclosed, the new head of the agency acknowledged Monday. Terms including "Israel," ''Progressive" and "Occupy" were used by agency workers to help pick groups for closer examination, according to an internal IRS document obtained by The Associated Press

Trad climber
Jun 24, 2013 - 04:43pm PT
ive forgotten now,

just what is the irs trying to determine with these investigations?!?!?!?

isnt it whether or not a group stating its a social advocacy organization is or isnt PRIMARILY involved in political advocacy?

Jun 24, 2013 - 11:18pm PT

Oh, and by the way

Here's what we did in CA by getting rid of the repub vermin


The end of the Cold War and subsequent implosion of the military-fueled aerospace industry in the 1990s sent California on a downward spiral. The state struggled through three economic downturns in two decades, each time emerging with weaker infrastructure and higher debt. A dysfunctional state government in Sacramento ignored structural fiscal issues, relying on gimmicks to pass budgets that were balanced in name only. Bond markets and rating agencies were not fooled, dropping California’s credit rating to the second lowest of the 50 states.

The bottom truly dropped out during the Great Recession when California suffered record unemployment and a housing bust. Median family income declined 11 percent between 2006 and 2010. Prisons became so crowded that the federal judiciary intervened, ordering the release of thousands of inmates. Schools also suffered from overcrowding and teacher layoffs. California’s vaunted higher education system raised tuitions and turned away students.

As the once-bright California Dream faded, politicians became late-night television jokes. Gov. Gray Davis was recalled in 2003 just 10 months into his second term. His celebrity successor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, failed to deliver on his lofty promises of fiscal reform. Frustrated voters turned in 2010 to an unlikely retread, Jerry Brown, derided as “Governor Moonbeam” when he was a young and often unfocused two-term governor in the 1970s and early 1980s.

But lo and behold, Brown has led a remarkable comeback, both for himself and his state. After inheriting a deficit of $27 billion on a general fund of about $90 billion, Brown has turned California around, aided by a rebound in the construction industry and the housing market on which it depends. Early this month he signed a budget that has a surplus of $1.2 billion by Brown’s conservative estimate. The independent Legislative Analyst’s Office, which usually finds gubernatorial estimates too rosy, says the actual surplus will be more than $4 billion.

Brown has good reason to low-ball the surplus. Democrats won a super-majority in both chambers of the Legislature last year and are itching to spend money. Brown calls Sacramento “a big spending machine” and observes that California revenues are always volatile because they are heavily dependent on the state income tax. Brown put a hefty chunk of the surplus into a rainy-day fund to offset any future deficits. He has vowed to keep the budget balanced, a promise he has the power to keep because California governors have line-item veto authority and Brown is far more popular than the Legislature.

Brown, now 75, shares credit for the state’s fiscal turnaround with voters, notes George Skelton, longtime Sacramento columnist for the Los Angeles Times. In 2010, voters freed the Legislature from perennial fiscal gridlock by approving a ballot measure allowing passage of budgets by a simple (rather than a two-thirds) majority.

Last November, the electorate did even more by passing Proposition 30, which raised sales taxes and income taxes on high earners. Brown had promised as a candidate for governor in 2010 that he would not agree to any tax increase without voter approval. When Republicans refused to put a tax-increase proposal on the ballot, Brown did so himself. He gathered the necessary signatures to qualify the measure and then campaigned for it relentlessly, saying that schools needed the money.

After Proposition 30 passed, Brown said the new revenues should be funneled mostly to the state’s poorest school districts, many with large numbers of non-English-speaking students. California has one of the nation’s highest poverty rates, with one in five children (and one in three Latino children) living in poverty, according a study early this year. The Legislature balked but compromised, giving Brown most of what he wanted.

The governor’s willingness to tackle the tough issues has impressed Californians. He has a 51 percent approval rating in a University of Southern California poll and 48 percent approval in a survey by the Public Policy Institute of California. These are high marks for a Golden State politician. Brown is an odds-on favorite to win re-election if he runs in 2014, as most observers expect.

With Brown leading the way, California has on several fronts recovered the progressive footing it claimed in the days of Earl Warren, a visionary three-term governor in the 1940s and 1950s before President Eisenhower appointed him to the Supreme Court.

California was the first state to pass legislation implementing President Obama’s health care law, the Affordable Care Act. The state is also well along in expanding Medicaid, the federal-state program to provide health care for the poor and disabled, and expects to meet the Oct. 1 deadline for setting up online marketplaces known as exchanges, intended to allow individuals and families without health insurance to purchase affordable policies.

Obamacare excludes illegal immigrants, but California public officials, led by Los Angeles County, are prodding Washington for a waiver that will provide preventive care for the state’s estimated 2.6 unauthorized immigrants. Without it, they say, illegals have no choice except to go to county hospitals when they are sick, boosting local costs and taxes.

The attempt to create a truly inclusive health care system echoes the work of Earl Warren, the first big-state governor to advocate government-subsidized health insurance. His plan was defeated in the Legislature after strenuous opposition from the California Medical Association.

In the Warren years and for long afterward, the state was a magnet for Americans seeking a better life. A Life magazine article in 1943, the first year of Warren’s governorship, said that California was “irresistibly attractive to hordes of people,” quoting one of them as saying, “Mister, this is dreamland.”

That dream was beginning to fade when Jerry Brown first took the oath of office as governor more than 30 years later. During the two-term governorship of his father, Edmund. G. “Pat” Brown, from 1959 to 1967, California built universities, freeways and a gigantic aqueduct to transfer water from the state’s water-rich north to its parched south. Pat Brown was succeeded by Ronald Reagan, who preached conservatism while also vastly expanding the state park system and conserving its wild rivers. Jerry Brown succeeded Reagan.

In 1978, midway through Jerry Brown’s governorship, California voters rebelled against soaring property taxes by passing Proposition 13, a state constitutional amendment that still hobbles state and local government spending. Social critics such as Peter Schrag have traced California’s latter-day decline to Proposition 13, which put a lid on property taxes while also imposing perpetual government economizing that resulted in the closing of libraries and contributed to a crumbling infrastructure.

Proposition 13 remains an untouchable guidepost of California politics, but Brown partly circumvented it by winning approval of Proposition 30. To get Californians to raise their taxes, he became, as Business Week recently put it, “Governor Gloom.” Brown cut back on services, from education to medical care, and promised that more cuts would be necessary unless Proposition 30 passed. The strategy worked. As Business Week put it: “Brown scared California straight.”

Perhaps not completely. For all that Brown has accomplished, his state is not out of the woods. The combination of the state tax increase on high earners and the subsequent tax-the-rich levies imposed by the federal government means that those earning more than a million dollars a year face a combined federal-state income tax bill of 52 percent. Brown’s critics say that this will encourage some high-earners to move themselves and their businesses to other Western states such as Nevada and Washington, which have no state income taxes. It’s too early to know if this concern is merited.

But even if they stay put, California still faces fiscal obligations that are hidden in plain sight. The accounting gimmicks used by past legislatures to “balance” the budget created a $35 billion wall of debt as revenues were shuffled from one fund to another. The state owes the federal government $10 billion for unemployment-insurance payments.

California also has the highest public pension debt of any state except Illinois. The teachers’ pension fund alone wants $4.5 billion more a year. As the Economist observed, “This would immediately swallow up this year’s surplus and drain the budget for another three decades.” State Treasurer William Lockyer says that if politicians continue to ignore pension debt, state finances will implode. But his observation is not unique to California; the same could be said for at least 30 other states.

On balance, for the first time in the 21st century, California is thriving. With an improving housing market, reduced unemployment and increased funding for its hard-pressed schools, California once more resembles a golden state. Pat Brown would be proud.

Read it and weep, wingnuts. You've failed again.

Riley Wyna

Trad climber
A crack near you
Jun 25, 2013 - 12:13am PT

I hate to do this but I feel obligated to share, as the story unfolds, my creeping concern that the NSA leaker is not who he purports to be, and that the motivations involved in the story may be more complex than they appear to be.
This is in no way to detract from the great courage of Glenn Greenwald in reporting the story, and the gutsiness of the Guardian in showcasing this kind of reporting, which is a service to America that US media is not performing at all.
It is just to raise some cautions as the story unfolds, and to raise some questions about how it is unfolding, based on my experience with high-level political messaging.
Some of Snowden’s emphases seem to serve an intelligence/police state objective, rather than to challenge them.

a) He is super-organized, for a whistleblower, in terms of what candidates, the White House, the State Dept. et al call ‘message discipline.’ He insisted on publishing a power point in the newspapers that ran his initial revelations. I gather that he arranged for a talented filmmaker to shoot the Greenwald interview. These two steps – which are evidence of great media training, really ‘PR 101′ – are virtually never done (to my great distress) by other whistleblowers, or by progressive activists involved in breaking news, or by real courageous people who are under stress and getting the word out. They are always done, though, by high-level political surrogates.

b) In the Greenwald video interview, I was concerned about the way Snowden conveys his message. He is not struggling for words, or thinking hard, as even bright, articulate whistleblowers under stress will do. Rather he appears to be transmitting whole paragraphs smoothly, without stumbling. To me this reads as someone who has learned his talking points – again the way that political campaigns train surrogates to transmit talking points.

c) He keeps saying things like, “If you are a journalist and they think you are the transmission point of this info, they will certainly kill you.” Or: “I fully expect to be prosecuted under the Espionage Act.” He also keeps stressing what he will lose: his $200,000 salary, his girlfriend, his house in Hawaii. These are the kinds of messages that the police state would LIKE journalists to take away; a real whistleblower also does not put out potential legal penalties as options, and almost always by this point has a lawyer by his/her side who would PROHIBIT him/her from saying, ‘come get me under the Espionage Act.” Finally in my experience, real whistleblowers are completely focused on their act of public service and trying to manage the jeopardy to themselves and their loved ones; they don’t tend ever to call attention to their own self-sacrifice. That is why they are heroes, among other reasons. But a police state would like us all to think about everything we would lose by standing up against it.

d) It is actually in the Police State’s interest to let everyone know that everything you write or say everywhere is being surveilled, and that awful things happen to people who challenge this. Which is why I am not surprised that now he is on UK no-fly lists – I assume the end of this story is that we will all have a lesson in terrible things that happen to whistleblowers. That could be because he is a real guy who gets in trouble; but it would be as useful to the police state if he is a fake guy who gets in ‘trouble.’

e) In stories that intelligence services are advancing (I would call the prostitutes-with-the-secret-service such a story), there are great sexy or sex-related mediagenic visuals that keep being dropped in, to keep media focus on the issue. That very pretty pole-dancing Facebooking girlfriend who appeared for, well, no reason in the media coverage…and who keeps leaking commentary, so her picture can be recycled in the press…really, she happens to pole-dance? Dan Ellsberg’s wife was and is very beautiful and doubtless a good dancer but somehow she took a statelier role as his news story unfolded…

f) Snowden is in Hong Kong, which has close ties to the UK, which has done the US’s bidding with other famous leakers such as Assange. So really there are MANY other countries that he would be less likely to be handed over from…

g) Media reports said he had vanished at one point to ‘an undisclosed location’ or ‘a safe house.’ Come on. There is no such thing. Unless you are with the one organization that can still get off the surveillance grid, because that org created it.

h) I was at dinner last night to celebrate the brave and heroic Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights. Several of Assange’s also brave and talented legal team were there, and I remembered them from when I had met with Assange. These attorneys are present at every moment when Assange meets the press – when I met with him off the record last Fall in the Ecuadoran embassy, his counsel was present the whole time, listening and stepping in when necessary.

Seeing these diligent attentive free-speech attorneys for another whisleblower reinforced my growing anxiety: WHERE IS SNOWDEN’S LAWYER as the world’s media meet with him? A whistleblower talking to media has his/her counsel advising him/her at all times, if not actually being present at the interview, because anything he/she says can affect the legal danger the whistleblower may be in . It is very, very odd to me that a lawyer has not appeared, to my knowledge, to stand at Snowden’s side and keep him from further jeopardy in interviews.

Again I hate to cast any skepticism on what seems to be a great story of a brave spy coming in from the cold in the service of American freedom. And I would never raise such questions in public if I had not been told by a very senior official in the intelligence world that indeed, there are some news stories that they create and drive – even in America (where propagandizing Americans is now legal). But do consider that in Eastern Germany, for instance, it was the fear of a machine of surveillance that people believed watched them at all times – rather than the machine itself – that drove compliance and passivity. From the standpoint of the police state and its interests – why have a giant Big Brother apparatus spying on us at all times – unless we know about it?

"My Creeping Concern that the NSA Leaker Edward Snowden is not who he Purports to be…"

NaomiWolf.orge Here

Sounds good but utter horse sh#t fiction...
If she were a surgeon she would be removing a toe instead of operating on an eye.
Explanation - she is wrong

How does being picked up by the KGB play into her theory?

Snowdown is possibly finding out right now what a real police state does to people ...
His reported laptops are 100 percent assuredly in the hands of the Russian government by now as they already are in the hands of the communist Chinese.

What an absolute idiot ...
I truly hope he is getting a wake up call .

Trad climber
Jun 25, 2013 - 04:39pm PT
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 25, 2013 - 05:01pm PT
Voting Rights Act Section 4 Struck Down By Supreme Court

Posted: 06/25/2013 10:19 am EDT | Updated: 06/25/2013 1:08 pm EDT

The Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act on Tuesday, the provision of the landmark civil rights law that designates which parts of the country must have changes to their voting laws cleared by the federal government or in federal court.

The 5-4 ruling, authored by Chief Justice John Roberts and joined by Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, ruled in Shelby County v. Holder that “things have changed dramatically” in the South in the nearly 50 years since the Voting Rights Act was signed in 1965.

The court’s opinion said it did not strike down the act of Congress “lightly,” and said it “took care to avoid ruling on the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act” in a separate case back in 2009. “Congress could have updated the coverage formula at that time, but did not do so. Its failure to act leaves us today with no choice but to declare [Section 4] unconstitutional. The formula in that section can no longer be used as a basis for subjecting jurisdictions to preclearance.”

The Voting Rights Act has recently been used to block a voter ID law in Texas and delay the implementation of another in South Carolina. Both states are no longer subject to the preclearance requirement because of the court’s ruling on Tuesday.

“Our country has changed, and while any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions,” Roberts wrote.

“There is no doubt that these improvements are in large part because of the Voting Rights Act," he wrote. "The Act has proved immensely successful at redressing racial discrimination and integrating the voting process."

In his bench statement, Roberts said that Congress had extended a 40-year-old coverage formula based on "obsolete statistics and that the coverage formula "violates the constitution."

Congress, the court ruled, “may draft another formula based on current conditions.” But given the fact that Republicans currently control the House of Representatives, many voting rights advocates consider it unlikely that Congress will act to create a new formula.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg issued a wide-ranging dissent on behalf of herself and Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan, justifying the continued vitality of the Voting Rights Act's preclearance provision.

"The sad irony of today’s decision lies in its utter failure to grasp why the VRA has proven effective," Ginsburg wrote. "The Court appears to believe that the VRA’s success in eliminating the specific devices extant in 1965 means that preclear­ance is no longer needed."

The court did not rule on Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, the preclearance requirement itself, which requires those affected states to have changes to their voting laws cleared by the Justice Department or a federal court in Washington, D.C., before they go into effect. Rather, the court ruled that the current formula that determines which states are covered by Section 5 is unconstitutional, effectively eliminating Section 5 enforcement, at least for the time being.

"In the Court’s view, the very success of §5 of the Voting Rights Act demands its dormancy," Ginsburg wrote.

She said in her bench statement that in renewing Section 5 in 2006, Congress "found that 40 years has not been a sufficient amount of time to eliminate the vestiges of discrimination following nearly 100 years of disregard for the 15th Amendment."

The provision has proven "enormously successful" in increasing minority registration and access to the ballot and preventing a "return to old ways," Ginsburg said. Even in jurisdictions where discrimination may not be overt, "subtle methods" have emerged to diminish minority turnout, such as racial gerrymandering.

As for Section 4, Ginsburg wrote that "the record for the 2006 reauthorization makes abundantly clear [that] second-generation barriers to minority voting rights have emerged in the covered jurisdictions as at­tempted substitutes for the first-generation barriers that originally triggered preclearance in those jurisdictions."

"Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, Kagan and I are of the view that Congress' decision to extend the act and keep the formula was a rational one," Ginsburg said.

In a concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas reiterated his belief that Section 5 is also unconstitutional, a position he took in his dissent from the Court's previous encounter with the Voting Rights Act in 2009.

"However one aggregates the data compiled by Congress, it cannot justify the considerable burdens created by §5," Thomas wrote on Tuesday.

The Obama Justice Department, believing the court might strike down Section 5 in the 2009 case, devised a plan to react to the ruling. A Justice Department spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Voting rights advocates condemned the Supreme Court’s ruling.

“The Supreme Court has effectively gutted one of the nation's most important and effective civil rights laws,” Jon Greenbaum, chief counsel for the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said in a statement. “Minority voters in places with a record of discrimination are now at greater risk of being disenfranchised than they have been in decades. Today's decision is a blow to democracy. Jurisdictions will be able to enact policies which prevent minorities from voting, and the only recourse these citizens will have will be expensive and time-consuming litigation.”

“Today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision erases fundamental protections against racial discrimination in voting that have been effective for more than 40 years,” Elisabeth MacNamara, president of the League of Women Voters of the United States, said in a statement. “Congress must act quickly to restore the Voting Rights Act.”

“Today will be remembered as a step backwards in the march towards equal rights,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. “We must ensure that this day is just a page in our nation’s history, rather than the return to a dark chapter."

“The Roberts Court proved again that it will not be deterred by Supreme Court precedent, the realities on the ground in our nation; nor will it defer to Congress even when the legislative branch is granted clear authority by the Constitution to remedy our nation's long history of discrimination against racial and language minorities,” said J. Gerald Hebert of the Campaign Legal Center. “The Court today declared racism dead in this country despite mountains of evidence to the contrary.”

UPDATE: 12:00 p.m. -- President Barack Obama reacted to the Supreme Court ruling in a statement:

I am deeply disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision today. For nearly 50 years, the Voting Rights Act – enacted and repeatedly renewed by wide bipartisan majorities in Congress – has helped secure the right to vote for millions of Americans. Today’s decision invalidating one of its core provisions upsets decades of well-established practices that help make sure voting is fair, especially in places where voting discrimination has been historically prevalent.
As a nation, we’ve made a great deal of progress towards guaranteeing every American the right to vote. But, as the Supreme Court recognized, voting discrimination still exists. And while today’s decision is a setback, it doesn’t represent the end of our efforts to end voting discrimination. I am calling on Congress to pass legislation to ensure every American has equal access to the polls. My Administration will continue to do everything in its power to ensure a fair and equal voting process.

Trad climber
Jun 25, 2013 - 05:04pm PT
everyones buying georgie his drinks tonight

someone should slap that idot president we have now for picking a right leaning justice who has to recruise herself from half of all cases for the next 10 years

Jun 25, 2013 - 05:09pm PT

House Votes To Extend Voting Rights Act 390-33


The 390-33 vote sent to the Senate a bill that represented a Republican appeal to minority voters who doubt the GOP's "big-tent" image.

Voting Rights Act Extension Passes In Senate, 98 to 0


The Senate voted 98 to 0 to renew key provisions of the Voting Rights Act yesterday, permitting the federal government to continue its broad oversight of state voting procedures for the next quarter-century, and allowing Republicans to claim equality with Democrats in protecting minorities' clout at the ballot box.

President Bush Signs Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2006


Today, The President Signed Into Law The Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, And Coretta Scott King Voting Rights Act Reauthorization And Amendments Act Of 2006. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) was designed to restore the birthright of every American - the right to choose our leaders. It has been vital to guaranteeing the right to vote for generations of Americans and has helped millions of our citizens enjoy the full promise of freedom.

So...this bill was extended by a practically unanimous congressional vote 7 years ago, yet the SC struck it down, claiming society no longer needed it.

Doesn't really matter anyway, as the demographic tsunami will render it moot...but it's still the most egregious example of judicial activism and over-reach since Bush v. Gore.


Gold Canyon, AZ
Jun 25, 2013 - 05:58pm PT
someone should slap that idot president we have now for picking a right leaning justice who has to recruise herself from half of all cases for the next 10 years

If she were right leaning, it wouldn't be a problem...


Social climber
So Cal
Jun 25, 2013 - 06:08pm PT

Social climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
Jun 25, 2013 - 08:15pm PT
Dave Kos

Social climber
Jun 25, 2013 - 08:35pm PT
Who da f*#k is EW Jackson?

And why would anyone care what he says at a convention speech?

Now Darrel Issa, he's da man!

Darrell Issa’s credibility is over

How wrong we were. Now it’s clear Issa played us this whole time, thanks to new documents that show the IRS also targeted “progressive” and “Occupy” groups, in addition to Tea Party ones. And if it targeted groups on both sides, it wasn’t really singling anyone out (the only group actually denied tax-exempt status was a progressive one, after all) and the whole scandal falls apart.

It’s not that there were no warning signs. In his zeal to implicate the White House, Issa jumped to conclusions unsupported by evidence. Then he selectively disclosed parts of transcripts that supported his narrative, and threw a fit when Democrats wanted to release the rest, which revealed that the IRS official in charge of the program was a conservative Republican. The whole scandal seemed to be falling apart, and now we know for sure.

Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 26, 2013 - 06:56pm PT
The slow but steady dismantling of America by the Conservatives
They now control 3/4 of the Gov., and are siphoning off the rights of the people and putting big money in charge

John Roberts Shows Cold-Blooded Calculation In His Supreme Court Rulings

Howard Fineman

Posted: 06/26/2013 1:29 pm EDT | Updated: 06/26/2013 1:49 pm EDT

WASHINGTON -- The shrewdest, most manipulative and radical politician in this city isn't the president or a member of Congress. He's the chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, John G. Roberts Jr.

Roberts assured the nation during his 2005 confirmation hearing that he would be an umpire of constitutional law, but instead he has become the cleanup hitter, manager and team owner.

In a now familiar two-step of jurisprudence, the Roberts Court on Wednesday tactically ceded ground it did not regard as crucial -- this time, on two gay rights cases. Cable TV was full of smiling gay rights activists, happy that the Supreme Court had effectively restored same-sex marriage in California and ensured federal benefits for same-sex couples married in the 12 states (and D.C.) that sanction it.

But politically, these tolerant rulings on the country's social fabric deflect attention from the Roberts Court's deeper goal: to remove the federal government as an impediment to corporate, state and local power. In other words, to dismantle a framework of progressive laws and court rulings stretching back to Teddy Roosevelt, the New Deal and the Great Society.

"Roberts has a long-range plan for radical change," said Norman Ornstein, a senior scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. "And he's moving faster than he thought possible when he started eight years ago."

Viewed over a series of years, the major decisions of the Roberts Court exhibit a contrapuntal political rhythm -- and a sharp awareness of how it's all playing.

Roberts may have wanted to be cautious initially, but his eyes grew wide when presented with the Citizens United case. In 2010, he led the court to declare that corporations, like individuals, have free speech rights that bar the government from limiting what they spend independently on campaigns and elections.

The reaction was swift -- and negative.

"I think the chief justice was taken aback a bit," said Ornstein. "I don't think he expected as much criticism as he got."

So even as the court sought ways to limit federal regulation of business and markets, Roberts boldly created a majority to uphold the central provision of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act in the midst of the 2012 campaign.

Court observers figured -- rightly as it turned out -- that Roberts would balance that move with the one he made on Tuesday: writing the opinion that eviscerated the Voting Rights Act and essentially freed the Republican-dominated South from the last vestiges of federal control of the region's election laws.

And then observers figured that once the Supreme Court had lurched to the right on voting rights, it would angle back on gay rights. As his final act in the two-step for this term, Roberts wrote the majority opinion against supporters of California's Proposition 8, but let Justice Anthony Kennedy do the honors in striking down the Defense of Marriage Act.

Roberts' moves in these cases may also have had a personal dimension. Jean Podrasky, his first cousin, lives in San Francisco and is a lesbian and an avid gay-rights supporter. She was present for the oral argument on Prop 8 and now, thanks to her relative, could marry her partner and receive federal benefits.

Where is Roberts headed from here?

For one, expect to see the Supreme Court take up affirmative action again. On Monday, the court by 7-1 sent the University of Texas at Austin's plan back for review under stricter standards. That or another case will be return to the justices, and the betting is that the Roberts Court may well swat it down again.

Having substantially weakened federal spending limits on elections, the Roberts Court's next move may be to end contribution limits to political parties and candidates' campaigns.

Environmental and other business regulation must also be on the agenda. Indeed, the court spent this term, as it has earlier ones, issuing decisions generally favorable to business, at least as judged by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Gay rights won Wednesday. Voting rights lost Tuesday. But in the Roberts era, big money tends to win every time.

Jun 26, 2013 - 07:00pm PT
The conservative justices ruled on VRA as they did because they know it's Game Over for conservatism as a political force. Might as well try to rig elections in favor of repubs for a few more election cycles - demographics are wiping conservatives off the electoral map anyway.

And I'm betting they let Affirmative Action stand - white people will soon need it.
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 26, 2013 - 07:26pm PT
Credit: Dr. F.

Trad climber
Philadelphia, PA
Jun 26, 2013 - 07:38pm PT
I'm just loving those Constitutionalist, Federalist Republicans fuming at the decision to strike down DOMA. Funny how they are so much in favor of States' rights and limited federal government, until they aren't.

As a personal matter, I couldn't give two hoots about gay rights, but it's great to watch the bigots squirm.


Trad climber
Jun 26, 2013 - 09:05pm PT
their just pissed cuz their rights to rob and steal are being cut back

when a family gay member kicks off, the family gets to swoop in and put their now dead blood realitives LOVED ONE out on the curb. steal their possessions.

its how they get even for being offended

rental property owners get in on this as well. knowing the rules they get to exploit the primaries LOVED ONE often and theres nobody who can prevent the theft

they love having jobs where they can inflict as much pain and suffering on the gay persons LOVED ONE as possible. so if their nurses or doctors they wont let the LOVED ONE in to give aid and comfort

wont advise the LOVE ONE in the hall whats going on
cuz their not married, so their not allowed to be there

sometimes if the LOVED ONE begs and pleads they might be let through,
just this once

mabe a second time
if they beg and plead again

its good wholesome family values fun for them

their pissed its going to go away

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