Monthly Archives: May 2009

Conservatron Farce and Tragedy

Way back in 2006 during the Page scandal I wrote that the Republican Party had become a parody of itself. The farce continued over this week as the Conservatrons dished up hyperbole about Sotomayor’s ballyhooed “reverse racism.” What is incredible about this how ably the Conservatrons inserted this “controversy” into the media. Even as former representative Heather Wilson (R-NM) rejects the junior varsity fascism of skatmunchers like Rush Limbaugh on “Real Time”, she still bloviates about how “the question is, will Sotomayor apply the law equally to everyone” thereby keeping alive Limbaugh’s reactionary hooey in a way that is appropriate for respectable company. Because this equals conflict, the superfluous filer feeders in the mainstream media report on it breathlessly.

Thus the Conservatrons win the meme war, but for the rest of us actual Americans, the idea that an accomplished Latina might once have made a jocose statement appropriating broad stereotypes about her ethnicity/culture by stating that a person with her background might reach a better conclusion on an issue than a white man without her life experiences is boring. That’s because we know a variety of people and and get how a person celebrating their own culture does not equate to them hating everyone else. Duh! I know this because I am a wily Jew.

In short, while the Conservatrons are still decent tacticians, their resentment mongering is so impertinent and ugly that no reasonable person takes it seriously. Sadly, this is where the Conservatron tragedy comes in.

Generalissimo Bush and the Conservatrons coup d’etated and fearmongered the reactionary Nixonian/Reaganite conservative ideology well beyond the expiration dates of its ideas. During Conservatisms long nadir (2005-2008) Team Bush used their official power to stall and delay popular positions on the economy, health care, environment, foreign wars etc. etc. Once power finally returned to the Democrats, the vast majority of America’s polity had progressed far beyond the Conservatrons’ politics. The ensuing era of rapid but orderly change is still at the start of its beginnings.

It is no surprise that the shrinking minority of Conservatron dead enders are feeling bewildered as their countrymen lap them in the great 8000 km steeplechase towards modernity. It is doubly no surprise that some of these encrustations turn to violence when the majoritorian political process leaves them so greatly outnumbered. The purposeful inciting of these “left behinds” is the disturbing place where the stressed out hyperbole from the Conservatron echo chamber meets the attacks on Democratic lawmakers in Arkansas or the murder of Dr. Tiller or the creepy venom of last fall’s McPalin rallies that sought to tar the current President of the United States as a terrorist ally. Conservatron commentators are not directly at fault for the violence, but violence is the logical extreme of soft-serve racism that has been the engine of their ideology.  That’s how it shook out forty-one years ago when the Conservatrons first attained power.

Civil War!

First there was Newt and Rush attacking John Cornyn of all people (like he’s some kind of RINO)… now we have Freepers and Michelle Malkin attacking BillO the Clown as being too liberal for not wishing Sotomayor dead.

There’s nothing to analyze here. They are just imploding. Pass the popcorn.

North Korea

I know nothing ever seems like it will happen until it happens, but as much as North Korea has stamped its feet to get concessions in the past, the latest signs are very aggressive and are in the context of Kim Jong Il apparently being almost dead. So, the pretenders to the throne have to show they haaard.

The Koreas, along with Kashmir, are the two most important danger zones in the world. Whatever you think of the war in Afghanistan (I have always supported it), it at least gives us a footprint in the latter zone. We’ve, of course, long been present in Korea and have substantial forces nearby in Japan and other Pacific islands.

But what would we do in the case of total war between the North and South? Would we be more likely to go nuclear because we have fewer troops there than we used to, with so many in Iraq? I don’t know.

But I don’t think you can question that the burden on the military in Iraq—which was never any kind of threat to us—ongoing to this day has made it very hard for us to deal with other more dangerous places, Afghanistan included.

This is what happens when you get into a war/peace dichotomy. Saying you should fight no wars isn’t real. Saying that every war makes sense is stupid. We elect our leaders to be smart… Bush’s failures will be a problem for a long time yet.

Analogy

Is it just me, or have the Republicans been leveling a lot of criticism against Obama by saying what he’s doing is somehow the same as what Bush did.

Such as when Cheney criticizes his war policies, or, as at that link when they compare Sotomayor to Harriet Myers. I’m not sure this is such a good strategy..

Prop 8 Upheld

6-1 upholding the Prop, 7-0 upholding existing marriages. My prediction was pretty good:

There are basically two questions before the Court. First, should the court strike Prop 8. For that, my final on the record prediction is, no, they won’t strike Prop 8, and I’m going to say the vote will be 5-2. Second, Prop 8 apply retroactively to the gay marriages that occurred between the earlier Cal Supreme case and Prop 8. They will say no, those marriages are valid 4-3, the same that ruled previously. There’s a chance this is 7-0 since the law on retroactivity is clear: it must be explicit in the law, and it’s not explicit.

Now I need to read the opinion to see what else it says.

Update I: I think we need to take a look back through some of the older voter initiative constitutional amendments and see if this new decision might revive them.

Update II:

The petitioners in the Marriage Cases asserted that this language was intended and should be interpreted to apply only to marriages entered into in a jurisdiction other than California, but this court unanimously rejected that contention, concluding that the statutory language in question reasonably must be interpreted to apply to marriages performed in California as well as to those performed in other jurisdictions. (43 Cal.4th at pp. 796-801.) In light of that holding, and the background and “legislative” history of Proposition 8 contained in the ballot pamphlet materials relating to that measure, it is clear that the section added to the California Constitution by Proposition 8 — which contains language identical to that found in Family Code section 308.5 — applies both to marriages performed in California and to those performed in other jurisdictions.

* * *

First, as we already have noted, in light of the interpretation of the language of Proposition 22 in the Marriage Cases, supra, 43 Cal.4th at pages 796-800, as well as the history of Proposition 8 itself, there is no question but that article I, section 7.5 ― the section added by Proposition 8 to the California Constitution ― properly must be interpreted to apply both to marriages performed in California and to marriages performed in other jurisdictions.

This would seem to suggest that out of state marriages are invalid. But when? What if they occurred before Prop 8?

Update III:

The opinion goes out of its way to say that the only thing taken away here is the word “marriage” not its substantive rights. In other words, separate but equal.

Update IV:

Werdegar’s concurrence is interesting, but I’m a bit disappointed—I thought she would be the 2nd vote to strike.

Prop 8.

The California Supreme Court announced today that it will issue its opinion in the state constitutional challenge to Prop 8 on Tuesday. A lot has changed since the Court got the case, most importantly Iowa legalized gay marriage and so have a handful of other states in New England.

You’d think that wouldn’t affect the mind of California Supremes. But, they are a very hard to predict bunch and they are not the kind to limit what they consider.

I thought that maybe the advance of gay marriage in other states might sway the justices that I think aren’t in favor of striking down Prop 8 but originally ruled to legalize gay marriage to strike it. Maybe not, but I have another curious idea, which I’ll discuss below.

There are basically two questions before the Court. First, should the court strike Prop 8. For that, my final on the record prediction is, no, they won’t strike Prop 8, and I’m going to say the vote will be 5-2. Second, Prop 8 apply retroactively to the gay marriages that occurred between the earlier Cal Supreme case and Prop 8. They will say no, those marriages are valid 4-3, the same that ruled previously. There’s a chance this is 7-0 since the law on retroactivity is clear: it must be explicit in the law, and it’s not explicit.

Here’s a wrinkle, and I’m surprised I haven’t read this before or anywhere else. It’s probably out there, but just an idea.

The Supremes could rule that, even though Prop 8 is valid, is does not declare that gay marriage is against the fundamental public policy of the state. It just says that only marriage between a man and a woman shall be “recognized.”

Here’s the out: the U.S. Constitution generally requires that states recognize the marriages of other states. The exceptions are where fundamental public policy of the state conflicts. They might then say, hey, all of the gay marriages in Iowa, Vermont, Massachusetts, etc. must be recognized here because the U.S. Constitution language trumps the “recognized” language in Prop 8 and Prop 8 doesn’t unambiguously state the public policy of the state.

That would neuter Prop 8. Sure, people who can’t afford to go back east would still be impacted, but it would essentially moot the debate and would get the tourism lobby on the anti-8 side.

Just an idea. I’ll look and see if this has even been raised.

UPDATE:

Of course it was raised before by Glenn Greewald, about a day after the election. I forgot about the issue of DOMA, which I can’t believe is constitutional. The California Supremes ruling on that would be weird, since I don’t see it raised by the Petitioners, Respondents, Intervenors, or several of the amici curiae whose briefs I looked at.

Does DOMA leave states with the option that the Supremes could invoke? I think so. Will update.

UPDATE II:

Yes. It leaves it up to the states. The Supremes could declare out of state marriages must be recognized, I guess.

UPDATE III:

It would be a miracle. In the original case, the Supremes said treating in state and out of state marriages differently would be difficult to square with the federal constitution. My only counter to that is that that case lays the equal protection groundwork of the Constitution and Prop 8 only carves out an exception limited to its provisions. As such, Prop 8 only says that, to the extent the state has such power, such marriages are not recognized. Since it cannot operate on out of state marriages or prevent the operation of the federal constitution from requiring such out of state marriages in California, except to the extent that it would change the public policy, which it does not do explicitly, then it simply prevents them in state.

I doubt this will be the outcome, but I think this issue has to be addressed. What about people who moved here from Massachusetts during the legal period? Is their marriage now void going forward? It seems hard to uncrack the egg here.

Gotta Go With Wood

I think Obama has to pick Diane Wood. If I could have anyone, she wouldn’t be it for a lot of reasons–first and foremost because I think the last thing we need is another federal appeals court judge on the Supreme Court. But, this is Obama’s first year in his first term and everything is going on. He needs a slam dunk.

Wood gets confirmed with 70+ votes without breaking a sweat.

Californians say, "Dude, Fuuuuuck you!"

Not that anyone voted (I read turnout was around 19%, an historic low), but those who did voted about 2 to 1 against Sacramento’s latest bailout. This time, the bailout was for the current incumbents, hoping that the coming fiscal reckoning wouldn’t come during their term limited lives. Arnold was hoping to pass the buck to Jerry Brown or Meg Whitman.

It didn’t work. Both parties are in big trouble because both caused this. The GOP’s side of the Faustian bargain was to be relegated to the minority, but to keep enough seats to get one or two things come budget time and to be able to vote against any tax increases, while the Democrats run the Legislature and mainly deal with the Governor. In the process the main constituencies of the Democratic party get special attention.

So many of the newspaper articles were full of comments like this.

“They kind of take each issue in a microcosm, rather than relate the decision to prior decisions, or future decisions that they might make,” he said. “Voters don’t think about the consequences of how one thing fits with another.”

Well, the system is set up for that. That shouldn’t be a surprise. But none of our “leaders” has the balls to come out and say we need reform that would limit that mob rule recklessness.

The Governor’s race for 2010 is wide open. Whoever lays out a comprehensive package of real reform will win, and it’s going to have to include in the message that we’re going to have to eat our vegetables too.

Schwarzenfail.

I didn’t support the mob coup against Gray Davis in 2003 that was based on his alleged failure in the power crisis—which was really engineered in 1996 during Pete Wilson’s reign and by Enron traders. I didn’t support his massive failure of ballot measures in 2005, and I certainly didn’t support his reelection in 2006.

But I knew that his election was inevitable due to a combination of public anger due to the power crisis and the pro-Republican wave following 9/11. I knew his reelection was inevitable because his opponent in 2006 was a typical California Democratic Party douchebag hack.

It was not on my list of high priorities in 2006, and I’m glad most Democrats put priority on Congressional races that year, because winning both houses of Congress was simply more important. Mostly this was because Schwarzenegger on the left-right spectrum is genuinely moderate.

But his politics aside he is a massive failure. California’s problems have gone from drastic to cataclysmic during his tenure. Sure the Democratic legislature bears its hefty share of responsibility, but they were able to get all of their members to vote for their agenda. Schwarzenegger couldn’t independently get one vote from his own party.

Neither he nor the Legislature has ever put any real reform (even though that’s what he ran on) before the voters. Instead, they keep putting band aid after band aid in front of us.

Now in the face of the imminent failure, Schwarzenfail releases a budget and a bunch of threats. I’ll have to release 38,000 prisoners and fire 5,000 more workers! Is that your problem, sir, or ours?

It really is that bad.

In some ways this isn’t news, but in others it is still shocking to hear.

Bush/Cheney used torture to build the case for the Iraq invasion and lied to Congress about it.

Can Obama really just let these men walk away from this? I know he has a lot to tackle, and the economy is the priority for the voters. Oh well, I guess there’s no statute of limitation on this kind of thing.

Where's the unquestioning patriotism now?

Have you seen the e-mails going around, talking about secession… how much better off the rest of the country would be without the blue states because they have the military and capitalism and we just have a welfare state and Hollywood?

All of the secession talk just shows you what happens when you punch a bully—he whines.

Seriously, for a party that has wrapped itself in the flag for so many years, to talk about secession is just about the most surreal thing I’ve seen.

Leaked SCOTUS Shortlist?

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/SCOTUS/story?id=7480719&page=1

I’d go with Deval Patrick, Jennier Granholm, or Cass Sunstein.

I’m not interested in diversity by gender or race. I’m interested in diversity by getting someone on there that hasn’t been a judge forever or a law professor. I’m also interested in securing the seat for a long time. Take a physical. Sunstein is on there only because he’s a heavy, otherwise, I favor a non-judge this time.

Shut up.

“These are not scare tactics,” said Assemblywoman Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, who heads the Assembly Budget Committee. “This is real. This is not a drill.”

If that’s true, it’s the mess that has been made of this state by a Cultic Republican party and a Democratic Party that would rather consolidate its power through a few interest groups than actually do anything. Keeping the same broken system in place is the name of the game in California politics.

So don’t be surprised if the voters reject just about every prop in this sham election. Send us something with real reform, until then, no more band-aids.

California: No, No, No, No, No, and No.

Propositions 1A-1F are shams.

They are all behind in the polls. The few people that are paying attention are paying attention because we’re being told to support these laws not because they are going to fix things long term, but because it’s the “best they could do.” We’re sick of it. It’s not going to work.

People recognize the government is broken in California. I think more and more people are coming to recognize that it’s the proposition/initiative system that has broken it. That’s why I almost always vote no on anything, but this time, it would just be enabling the Legislature’s repeated fuckups.

Just say no, no, no, no, no, and no.

This is a stickup: Health Care or Climate Change

According to TPM, some “centrist” Dems have told Pelosi it’s one or the other. She has to pick health care. It will get the economy going again and into a place where people more open. The thing about climate change is that the legislation that enables it is likely to be something that costs seats in Congress. That’s not a reason not to do it, but it’s a reason to do it second. Especially since I think doing it second will pass a stronger bill.

Our civilization is in fact in decline when we have to make these absurd choices, but we do.

Maine is gay.

Maine “legalizes” gay marriage without Courts. Just by legislature.

I’m really starting to wonder now if the California Supremes are going to sustain Prop 8. I’m not sure there’s a principled legal argument for doing so, but I’m not really sure that has ever stopped the California Supreme Court.

As Long as We Are Talking Identity Politcs with the New Justice

How about a Native American? Given the unique and unusual relationship that American Indians have with the Federal government as citizens of various derivations of quasi-separate nations, a Native could provide a valuable perspective to the SCOTUS’ ruminations.

I have no idea if there is an able Native justice out there, but since there will be an element of “just because” to this selection then you might as well go with a Local.

Also, I welcome the inevitable Conservatron hyperventilating and projectile vomit of fnords over whoever Obama selects. Please let them fool themselves into believing that a proxy fight over whatever wedge issues no one cares about anymore is their way out of the wilderness. This is just proof positive that there is no need to take them seriously for now.