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Roberts Court Upholds Mitt Romney’s Individual Mandate—How Obamacare Will Help You

The Supreme Court, with George.W. Bush appointed Chief Justice John Roberts writing the majority opinion, has upheld Obamacare.

The individual mandate was upheld as constitutional. Obamacare was constructed in large part on the individual mandate model Mitt Romney used for health care reform when he was Governor of Massachusetts.

Here is what Mr. Romney said in 2006—

“With regards to the individual mandate, the individual responsibility program that I proposed, I was very pleased that the compromise between the two houses includes the personal responsibility mandate. That is essential for bringing the health care costs down for everyone and getting everyone the health insurance they need…”

Above you see a picture of Governor Romney in Washington today.

Governor Romney is now opposed to what he not long ago very much supported.

Why would anybody believe anything he says?

Many people have legitimate concerns about the powers of government, but this law has now been maintained by a very conservative Chief Justice.

Tea Party anger will not help you when you cannot get care due to a pre-existing condition, or because you have reached a lifetime limit on your health insurance policy.

If you have so far opposed the law, please consider taking a new look at the law in light of the Supreme Court decision.

Here is the White House health care reform website.

Here are the real facts about what Obamacare will do for hard-working Americans—

  • Coverage for young adults. Young adults are allowed to remain on their parent’s plan until their 26th birthday. Up to 2.5 million young adults through age 26 have gained coverage on their parent’s plan.
  • Protection for seniors. The law ensures that we continue to protect seniors’ guaranteed Medicare benefits. In 2011, 32.5 million Medicare beneficiaries received free preventive services like mammograms and colonoscopies and 3.6 million Medicare beneficiaries received a discount on their prescription drugs that averaged over $600.
  • Pre-existing condition coverage. About 50,000 uninsured people with pre-existing conditions have gained coverage through the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan, including people with cancer, hemophilia, and other diseases that blocked them out of the health insurance system.
  • Patients’ Bill of Rights. The Patient’s Bill of Rights will put an end to some of the worst insurance abuses and puts consumers, not insurance companies, in control of their health care. For example, insurance companies will no longer be able to place lifetime limits on coverage, they will be required to cover preventive services like cancer screenings without a copay and they must spend more of your premium dollars on health care costs not administrative costs.
  • Lower costs for small businesses.  Tax credits for small businesses are making it easier for them to provide coverage to their workers. In 2011, 2 million workers in 360,000 firms benefitted from the small business health insurance tax credit.

June 29, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Legal Lessons From Obamacare Decision

Today’s legal lesson from the Supreme Court’s Obamacare decision—

If large numbers of people go around shouting UNCONSTITUTIONAL!!! as loudly as they can, as often as they can, in every place where they can, and for days and months on end—This still does not make what they are yelling about unconstitutional if in fact it is not unconstitutional.

June 29, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Citizens United—People Are Just Going To Have To Decide What They Are Willing To Accept

The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which is well on its way to further corroding people’s confidence in our so-called democracy, is allowing millions and millions of unregulated  dollars into our campaigns.

(Above–Sheldon Adelson. Photo by Bectrigger.)

From the New York Times

“Even in a political season marked by unprecedented levels of political spending, Sheldon Adelson stands alone. In recent days, Mr. Adelson, a billionaire casino owner, and his wife, Dr. Miriam Adelson, gave $10 million to Restore Our Future, a “super PAC” backing Mitt Romney, people with knowledge of the contribution said Wednesday. The move leaves the Adelsons by far the most prolific campaign donors in the country. All told, they have given at least $35 million to pro-Republican super PACs during the 2012 campaign, along with several hundred thousand dollars’ worth of $2,500 checks directly to federal candidates. That is more than twice as much money as the closest competitors for the title, the conservative Texas billionaire Harold C. Simmons and his wife, Annette… In the wake of court rulings and other actions that have largely deregulated the campaign finance system, wealthy donors and corporations are planning to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into this year’s presidential and Congressional elections, mostly in support of Republicans….It has also set off an arms race among Republican candidates for the allegiance of a small group of very rich donors. With a net worth of roughly $25 billion, Mr. Adelson is among the richest of all: In an interview with Forbes magazine this year, he suggested he would consider personally spending as much as $100 million on the 2012 elections.”

Sure.

The facts are out there and people are going to have to decide what they want and what they are willing to accept.

The work of freedom is up to each of us. You can stand by and lose your future to the super-rich as they buy off the political process, or you can decide to fight back.

June 14, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 4 Comments

Supreme Court Allows Strip-Searches Of All Who Are Arrested—Another Conservative Attack On Our Liberties

The five radical conservatives on the Supreme Court have allowed strip-searches to be conducted on any person who is arrested.

From the New York Times

“The Supreme Court on Monday ruled by a 5-to-4 vote that officials may strip-search people arrested for any offense, however minor, before admitting them to jails even if the officials have no reason to suspect the presence of contraband….The procedures endorsed by the majority are forbidden by statute in at least 10 states and are at odds with the policies of federal authorities. According to a supporting brief filed by the American Bar Association, international human rights treaties also ban the procedures. The federal appeals courts had been split on the question, though most of them prohibited strip-searches unless they were based on a reasonable suspicion that contraband was present..”

Conservatives don’t hate activist judges and big government.

They just want to make sure that these things are there to overturn Presidential elections, make sure people of color have a hassle voting, make sure you can’t get health insurance, protect the rich, break up your lawful assembly, and strip search you.

Also, in Texas, the state engages in state-mandated rape of women seeking a fully legal abortion.

We’ve heard all this blather over the years about alleged socialism and about how government is going to come and take away your gun.

And yet—The real threats to liberty come from corporate rule of the nation, fanatical social conservatives, national security concerns on steroids, and from a Republican Party that is little more than a vehicle for the most greedy and mean-spirited in our nation.

Though maybe the greatest threat to liberty of all are those on our side of the aisle who are doing nothing to combat these actions by our domestic foes.

The work of freedom is up to each of us. We can’t count on anybody but ourselves to fight for a just and decent nation.

April 3, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 3 Comments

Iraq Veteran Scott Olsen Wounded By Police At Occupy Oakland—Please Consider Supporting The Occupy Wall Street Effort

Above is a picture of former Marine Scott Olsen after he was seriously wounded by Oakland police yesterday as they attempted to break-up the Occupy Oakland effort.

Mr. Olsen was hit in the head with a projectile of some kind.

The folks who helped bring about this recession with economic crimes and fraud don’t go to jail, but you see above what can happen when you advocate for economic fairness.

YouTube has a video up that strongly suggests police fired so-called non-lethal force into a group of people seeking to assist Mr. Olsen after he was wounded.

The Voice of America reports that Occupy Oakland protestors are not giving up.

Here is how Jon Stewart reported on the situation in Oakland. 

Tea Party events have in many cases treated very well by police. This has been the case even when Tea Party rallies have involved people brandishing guns in public.

Political protestors of all viewpoints should be given a wide latitude. The current Supreme Court has made clear that First Amendment rights are very important.

The Citizens United case was about free speech for political donations of many kinds and from very powerful interests. The Supreme Court has ruled that the Westboro Baptist Church people may shout offensive things at the funeral services of veterans killed in combat.

Free citizens must be allowed to take part in our democracy. Occupy Wall Street supporters do not have the money to buy millions of dollars in campaign ads, or to buy the votes of politicians on both sides of the political aisle.

I support the Occupy Wall Street effort because I’m a hard-working, taxpaying citizen who votes in every election. I want a society where there are good jobs, where everybody pays a fair share of the taxes , and where we show some care for each other.

 Here is the Occupy Wall Street website.

There are Occupy efforts taking place all over the nation. Look around and you may find one near you.

Here is Occupy Houston.

Here is Occupy Galveston.

If there is not one near you, then start one yourself. 

There are Occupy pages all over Facebook.

People have a right to protest and to ask for a fair society.

I’m certain that many police officers feel the very same way. Police officers are everyday working people.

Please take time to consider the Occupy Wall Street effort and please consider lending your support in some way.

October 27, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Will Supreme Court Uphold Access To Health Care Or Will The Court Do Even More Damage To Our Nation?

Nobody knows in the end how the Supreme Court will rule on the Health Care Reform law.

(Above— The Supreme Court. Photo by UpstateNYer.)

Politico has an ideological neutral article on the prospects for the law.

From Politico—

“Chief Justice John Roberts “does not believe the Commerce Clause allows you to do everything and anything,” but he’s not “an adventurer” and therefore might not go so far as to strike down the mandate, according to Charles Fried, a former solicitor general under President Ronald Reagan who testified at Roberts’s confirmation hearings in 2005. “I think there’s a good chance it will be a 6-3 decision in favor of constitutionality,” said Fried, who voted for Barack Obama in 2008……”Other legal experts said all eyes will be on Justice Anthony Kennedy, the most likely swing vote if it really is a 5 to 4 decision. But the constitutionality of the individual mandate — the requirement for everyone to get health insurance starting in 2014 — is a complicated question that might not get decided along predictable ideological lines.”……”Conservative legal scholars say it’s not hard to imagine a scenario where the Roberts court declares that the Obama administration has taken the Commerce Clause too far. “They don’t have to make a stretch to do that. They can just say, `We’ve let the Commerce Clause stretch way beyond its text, and we’re not going to go any further,” said Dave Kopel, an adjunct professor of advanced constitutional law at the University of Denver.”

Read here about the many benefits of the Health Care law. Do you want to go back to lifetime caps on policies and to when you could be kicked off your policy because you get sick? Do you want it to forever be the case that you can be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition?

Of course, we know that in recent years the Supreme Court court has appointed a President in Bush V. Gore, and has significantly undermined democracy with the Citizens United case.

Both Bush V. Gore and Citizens United were decided by a 5-4 margin. In both these cases, Clarence Thomas was in the majority. “Justice” Thomas reached the Court by lying before the Senate and the nation about his conduct involving Anita Hill.

How long until many begin to question the Court’s basic legitimacy?

Hopefully, the Court won’t add denying people health care to the damage it has already done to our poltical and democratic process.

People in the center and on the left have the same option to organize and advocate as was made use of by Tea Party cells across the nation in the 2010 election.

Are we going to have a hopeful future in this country, or are we going to live in a nation where people will forever be denied health care because they can not afford it?

Is the Supreme Court going continue our national descent towards being a second-world nation ruled by an oligarchy, or can at least free citizens have the chance to live decent lives with access to health care?

February 1, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Tree Protest Against Citizens United Ruling—Maybe You Can Do Something More Effective

Above you see a Christmas ornament on my Christmas Tree.

The ornament is of the U.S. Capitol with a copy of the Constitution scrolled around the building.

You light up the ornament by placing a Christmas tree light into the back of the ornament.

I placed a green bulb in the Capitol/Constitution because our nation’s political system is run by big money.

It’s always been this way—But since the terrible Citizens United ruling earlier this year by the Supreme Court, the rule of big money is even worse.

The 2012 campaign is going to be all about big money from often secret sources.

The Citzens United decision allows for unlimited secret money to be donated to political campaigns from corporations and the super-rich.

I’m not certain my protest of making the Capitol and the Constitution the color of money will change much.

It is simply what I could do in the context of my Christmas Tree.

However, there are things we can do to combat the role of big money in our politics.

We can donate money ourselves, discuss issues with friends and family,  run for office, start a blog, contact our elected officials, volunteer  for candidates or causes we support, and do whatever else we feel may be of value.

There are always things we can do. It is up to us to do the work of freedom and democracy.

To the left of the Capitol ornament you see a salmon.

That would be a great movie where the Capitol was attacked by a salmon. I hope somebody makes that movie real soon.

December 16, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Elena Kagan To Be Nominated To Supreme Court—History Of Court More Interesting Than Tedious Confirmation Process

President Obama has named Solicitor General Elena Kagan to be his Supreme Court nominee to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens.

(Above—Although nominated by Richard Nixon in 1970, Harry Blackmun turned out to be a good liberal on the Court. Justice Blackmun served 1970- 1994.)

Here is a CNN profile of Ms. Kagan. The CNN story is text rather than a video.

Is Ms. Kagan a liberal? Her record suggests she might be a liberal on some social issues. Ms. Kagan is opposed to the  “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy that discriminates against gay folks who want to join the military.

Is she a liberal on economic issues that might come before the court? Nobody knows. And since you can hardly get even a Democrat anymore to take aggressively liberal stands on economic questions, I bet we won’t hear much from Ms. Kagan on questions of the regulation of business and the rights of workers.

Some of my friends on the left have expressed concerned that Ms. Kagan is not so liberal.

Let us hope that Ms. Kagan proves to be a person who has empathy for the needs of working people, and who is someone who truly advocates from the bench for the little person in society.

In any case, Supreme Court confirmation battles are tedium defined.

Ms. Kagan will go around and meet Senators at their offices. There will be some hearings. Ms. Kagan will give evasive replies to stupid questions. There will be a long-winded debate on the floor of the Senate.

On the other hand, the history of the Supreme Court is interesting and will teach you something. Below are some links to learn about the history of the Supreme Court and the people who have served on the Court.

Instead of wasting your time with hearings that are likely to make you sleepy, read and learn about the living history of our nation.

All people are capable of understanding interesting and complex things. People just have to decide if they will take the time and make the effort to learn these things.

Here are the links:

The Supreme Court Historical Society has good information on the history of the court and offers many facts.

Here are some important cases in Supreme Court history.

Here’s a list of all 111 Supreme Court Justices to date.

The Oxford Companion To The Supreme Court is a useful reference. This book has brief but useful biographies of each Justice who has served on the court, and has accounts of many cases that have been decided over the years.

Here’s the Supreme Court web home.

Here’s a review of A People’s History of the Supreme Court by Peter Irons.

Here’s a review of The U.S. Supreme Court–The Pursuit of Justice edited by Christopher Tomlins.

May 10, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Justice Stevens Retiring From Supreme Court—Resources To Learn About The Supreme Court

Justice John Paul Stevens will be retiring from the Supreme Court at the end of the current term.

(Above—Justice Stevens in 1976.)

Let’s hope that President Obama picks a liberal to replace Justice Stevens. Let’s hope the President selects relatively young liberal who will serve on the Court for many years to come.

Here is a review of Justice Stevens’ time on the Court from The New York Times.

The article explores–among other things–how Justice Stevens became a leader of the Court’s so-called liberal wing after having been appointed to the Court by President Gerald Ford.

Here is a Huffington Post article on possible replacements for Justice Stevens.

There are resources both online and in books to help you learn about the history of the Supreme Court. It is also so that just by regularly reading a daily newspaper you can learn a lot about the court and about the confirmation battle ahead after President Obama makes his nomination.

Below are some links to learn about the court. It is up to you to know what is going on the world.

Here’s the Supreme Court web home.

Here’s a review of A People’s History of the Supreme Court by Peter Irons.

Here’s a review of the book The U.S. Supreme Court–The Pursuit of Justice edited by Christopher Tomlins.

Here’s a link to learn about some important cases in Supreme Court history.

Here’s a list of all 111 Supreme Court Justices to date.

The Oxford Companion To The Supreme Court is a very useful reference. This book has brief but useful biographies of each Justice who has served on the court, and has accounts of many cases that have been decided over the years.

(Below—William Brennan was a liberal on the Supreme Court. He was a member of the Court between 1956 and 1990. Here is Justice Brennan’s obit from the Washington Post.)

April 10, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

Sotomayor Hearings Would Be Better With Muppets—Transcript Of The Hearings

File:Muppets-FullCast.jpg

Confirmation hearings have begun for Sonia Sotomayor.

Texas Liberal, your blog of record, has the transcripts for these hearings.

Here they are…”Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.”

Want to know what they’ll say tomorrow?

Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

What are the chances Judge Sotomayor will not be confirmed? What are the chances that the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, is not a states rights bigot just updated for the modern day? 

Abortion. Strict construction. Empathy— They will talk and talk and talk. It’s the same thing you’ve seen many times before. And like a wrestling match on TV, the outcome is already determined.

These hearings will take the time of your life, and not even offer a good show in return like we got with the Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas hearings.

I just don’t get how anybody could sit and watch these hearings.   

Above is a picture of many Muppets. Think of how much better the Sotomayor hearings would be with Muppets. The Muppets could testify or they could replace the senators on the committee.  I mean this for real. The hearings would be great with Muppets. It would be best if the Muppets had their own material. But even if the Muppets said the exact things that would be said in the real hearing–That would still be great. I’d watch that.

Here is a good history of The Muppet Show from the Museum of Broadcast Communications.

None of this is to say that the Supreme Court does not matter. It does. Below are a number of Supreme Court reference links.

Here’s the Supreme Court web home.

Here’s a review of A People’s History of the Supreme Court by Peter Irons.

Here’s a review of The U.S. Supreme Court–The Pursuit of Justice edited by Christopher Tomlins.

Here’s a link to learn about some important cases in Supreme Court history.

Here’s a list of all 110 Supreme Court Justices to date.

It’s up to you to learn the things you need to know.

July 13, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 2 Comments

While People Go On About Michael Jackson, Supreme Court Makes It More Difficult For Black Folks To Get Promoted At Work

While people go on about the death of Michael Jackson, an adult who often kept company with children that were not his own, the United States Supreme Court has made it more difficult for black folks to get promoted at work.

In a 5-4 decision , the Court ruled that the city of New Haven, Connecticut could not consider race in the context of an exam the city had used to help determine firefighter promotions.  

( Above—A memorial for Michael Jackson.)   

Here is a story on the case and the Supreme Court’s findings. 

Here is an editorial  on the ruling from the New York Times.

From the editorial—

The new standards announced by the court will make it much harder for employers to discard the results of hiring and promotion tests once they are administered, even if they have a disproportionately negative impact on members of a given racial group….Public employers that use civil service examinations and similar tests will be most directly affected, but the principle announced by the court applies to all employers and all sorts of procedures used to rank and sort potential and current employees….Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, reading a dissenting statement from the bench, said the majority had undermined a crucial civil rights law. “Congress endeavored to promote equal opportunity in fact, and not simply in form,” she said. “The damage today’s decision does to that objective is untold.”

Here is the NAACP viewpoint on this decision. 

Here is the text of the Court’s decision.

What are the odds that the New Haven Fire Department has been an equal opportunity employer over the years?

If people want to line up  and recall the life of a celebrity while a right-wing Supreme Court makes it harder for them to get ahead on the job—I can’t do anything about that. 

Even with a black man as President, many in this nation are eager to reverse the gains of the Civil Rights movement and to undo progress we have made in this nation. 

I can’t decide for others about what they need to be focusing on in life.

( Below–An Associated Press photo of New Haven firefighters celebrating outside the Supreme Court.)

In this photo taken June 29, 2009, Attorney Karen Torre, center, ...

July 1, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Analysis Of Upcoming Sotomayor Debate—You’ll Have To Learn About Supreme Court On Your Own

File:Reagan with Robert Bork 1987.jpg

Below is analysis and a transcript of upcoming debate over the appointment of Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court.

“Blah Blah Blah.”

She’ll legislate from the bench. She’s an activist judge. She’s a liberal.

Blah Blah Blah.

Same stuff every time.

(Above–Robert Bork with Ronald ReaganMr. Bork was, thankfully, rejected for the court.)

President Obama has said he’s looking for a mix of real-life experience and knowledge of the law for the Supreme Court.

It’s seems that this is just what he’s found.   

I’m not saying you should not read about Judge Sotomayor. You should. Here’s a good story to get started.  

Here’s how Business Week magazine sees her record on business issues.

What I’m saying is  that instead of following the moronic debate that will end with Judge Sotomayor being confirmed, one could learn about the history of the court and gain some context beyond the same old junk.  

Here’s the Supreme Court web home.

Here’s a review of A People’s History of the Supreme Court by Peter Irons.

Here’s a review of The U.S. Supreme Court–The Pursuit of Justice edited by Christopher Tomlins.

Here’s a link to learn about some important cases in Supreme Court history.

Here’s a list of all 110 Supreme Court Justices to date.

You won’t learn this stuff in school, on CNN or with a Twitter message. You’ll have to learn it on your own.

In many respects, the best sources remain books, a good daily newspaper and your own hard work.

(Below–The great Chief Justice Earl Warren.)

File:EarlWarren.jpg

May 26, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Navy Wants To Keep Terrorizing Whales With Sonar Blasts

The Supreme Court today heard a case about Navy testing of sonar that may well harm and kill whales and dolphins.

At the moment, these tests off the coast of California are banned by federal court order.

Environmental groups say these sonar blasts sound as loud as a jet engine to whales and dolphins. The Navy says the tests are needed for national security. 

Beyond these issues, the core of the matter seems to be whether the a judge can order the Navy to stop the tests because no environmental impact study has been done by the Navy. The case has implications beyond this specific concern.

Why can’t the Navy just do the study?

I think what we should do is extensively test just how the sonar bombardments sound to whales, and then recreate that noise for Naval test subjects. Maybe some in Navy could volunteer unlike the whales who have no choice in the matter. ( Though I bet that not many would volunteer to have their ears blasted out.)The test subjects could then report just how it sounded and we could make a judgement from that point. 

This National Geographic story discusses possible harm done to Killer Whales because of Navy sonar tests.

And this National Geographic story says whales can be given the bends by such tests.

Here is some good information about many different types of whales.

Here is some history of the Supreme Court. 

October 9, 2008 Posted by | Sea Life | , , , , | Leave a comment