Tuesday ReadsPosted: June 26, 2018
Depressing news . . . the Supreme Court has upheld Trump’s anti-Muslim travel ban. Talking Points Memo:
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Tuesday morning to uphold the most recent iteration of President Donald Trump’s ban on immigrants and refugees from Libya, Iran, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, North Korea, Venezuela and Chad, rebuffing challengers’ arguments that the President’s policy was motivated by the racial animus toward Muslims that he repeatedly expressed in campaign speeches and on social media.Writing for the court’s conservative majority, Chief Justice John Roberts says Trump acted well his authority as president to deny a “class of aliens” the right to travel and immigrate to the United States.
The Constitution’s section on the executive branch’s national security powers, he writes, “exudes deference to the President in every clause. It entrusts to the President the decisions whether and when to suspend entry, whose entry to suspend, for how long, and on what conditions.
The majority decided that Trump’s bigoted attacks on Muslims were irrelevant.
Ginsburg, Kagan, Sotomayor, and Breyer dissented. So it’s looking like Anthony Kennedy will be siding with the right wingers from now on. Sotomayor wrote a powerful dissent, which you can read in full on Twitter. Click to read the rest of the thread.
Another depressing decision reported by NBC News: Supreme Court says California abortion notice law likely unconstitutional.
In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court on Tuesday declared probably unconstitutional a California law that required religiously affiliated pregnancy centers to inform clients about the availability of state-funded services for terminating a pregnancy.
The decision was a victory for a religious group representing church-run crisis pregnancy centers that claimed the requirement violated the First Amendment’s guarantee of free expression by forcing them to convey a message they strongly oppose.
California’s Reproductive FACT Act required licensed medical centers to post a notice advising women about the availability of state-funded programs that provide family planning services including contraceptives and abortion. Non-medical facilities are required to display notices explaining that they are not licensed and cannot provide medical services.
The religiously affiliated centers — around 300 in the state — support childbirth by encouraging women to opt for parenting or adoption. They provide vitamins, diapers, and baby clothes. Some offer ultrasound images. Forcing them to post the notices, they argued, amounted to government-compelled speech.
Yet, Republicans have passed laws that actually force doctors to lie to their patients about the safety risk and psychological impacts of abortions!
Also depressing . . . over the past couple of days since Sarah Huckabee Sanders was politely asked to leave a Virginia restaurant, Trumpists–with the wholehearted support of the mainstream media and even some Democrats–have managed to change the immigration narrative from desperate parents being separated from their traumatized children to concern trolling about “civility” in public discourse.
The entire argument is complete bullshit, but the media eagerly goes along with it–Trump and the Republicans may make blatantly racist statements as much as they like, and Democrats must always err on the side of being “polite” and subservient. I’ll just quote the one I liked best.
Hamilton Nolan at Splinter: This Is Just the Beginning.
Do you think that being asked to leave a restaurant, or having your meal interrupted, or being called by the public is bad? My fascism-enabling friends, this is only the beginning.
One thing that people who wield great power often fail to viscerally understand is what it feels like to have power wielded against you. This imbalance is the source of many of the most monstrous decisions that get made by powerful people and institutions. The people who start the wars do not have bombs dropped on their houses. The people who pass the laws that incarcerate others never have to face the full force of the prison system themselves. The people who design the economic system that inflicts poverty on millions are themselves rich. This sort of insulation from the real world consequences of political and economic decisions makes it very easy for powerful people to approve of things happening to the rest of us that they would never, ever tolerate themselves. No health insurance CEO would watch his child die due to their inability to afford quality health care. No chickenhawk Congressman will be commanding a tank battle in Iran. No opportunistic race-baiting politician will be shunned because of their skin color. Zealots condemn gay people—except for their own gay children. The weed-smoking of young immigrants should get them deported—but our own weed-smoking was a youthful indiscretion. Environmentalist celebrities fly on carbon-spouting private jets. Banks make ostentatious charity donations while raking in billions from investments in defense contractors and gun manufacturers and oil companies. This is human nature. It is very, very easy to do things that hurt others as long as those same things benefit, rather than hurt, you. Self-justification is a specialty of mankind….
“With great power comes great responsibility.” That is the basic idea underlying noblesse oblige, and though noblesse oblige itself is not as good as equality, it looks fantastic compared to what we have today. Today, we have an ignorant billionaire narcissist leading our government, a man surrounded by a pack of enablers who by now have clearly demonstrated that no amount of racism or xenophobia or lies or warmongering or outright corruption will dissuade them from helping the boss do what the boss wants to do. Rather than detail a laundry list of all the Trump outrages, I ask you simply to consider all of the very real human costs that those outrages have already inflicted on human beings in America and abroad. Some of those outrages, like ripping families apart at the border, show their costs immediately; others, like eschewing the fight against climate change and neutering the EPA and mainstreaming white nationalist ideas, will be manifesting their costs for many decades to come. But the costs are real. We are the ones who are suffering and will suffer them. By and large, the people responsible for these decisions will be wealthy and famous and powerful enough to insulate themselves from those costs. Unless we decide to see to it that they must face them.
Please go read the rest. It’s powerful. A few more to check out:
Charles Pierce at Esquire: The Civility Debate Has Reached Peak Stupidity.
Michelle Goldberg at The New York Times: We Have a Crisis of Democracy, Not Manners.
Brian Beutler at Crooked: Shame the Trumpers.
Some good news on the Sarah Sanders front though–it appears Trump is tiring of her. The New York Times notes that Trump waited a long time before defending Sanders on Twitter and that he is beginning to question her job performance.
Even as her vigorous defenses of the president’s misstatements and her own obfuscations during White House briefings have eroded her public credibility, her stock with Mr. Trump has begun to sink.
In recent days, Mr. Trump has asked people privately what they think of Ms. Sanders — an indication, they say, that the press-obsessed president has begun souring on her. He has also told her, before she heads out to the lectern in the briefing room, that he is “going to grade” her televised performances. (People who have heard Mr. Trump make the threat say it is in jest.)
Ms. Sanders has been under a more watchful eye from her boss since the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on April 27, when she remained in her seat during a scathing roasting from a comedian who called her a liar. Mr. Trump has told people in the West Wing that he thought Ms. Sanders should have walked out, as another White House official, Mercedes Schlapp, chose to do in a showy display.
Read more at the NYT.
Bloomberg has an update on the Russia investigation: Mueller Poised to Zero In on Trump-Russia Collusion Allegations.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller is preparing to accelerate his probe into possible collusion between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russians who sought to interfere in the 2016 election, according to a person familiar with the investigation.
Mueller and his team of prosecutors and investigators have an eye toward producing conclusions — and possible indictments — related to collusion by fall, said the person, who asked not to be identified. He’ll be able to turn his full attention to the issue as he resolves other questions, including deciding soon whether to find that Trump sought to obstruct justice.
The rest of the article is just a list of all the Trump associates who have been shown to have Russia ties, but it’s a pretty impressive summary–worth reading.
If you watched Rachel Maddow’s show last night, you know that MNBC now has video from inside a New York City shelter for immigrant children, many of who have been taken away from their parents. The footage was given to Michael Avenatti by a whistleblower, and he says he has more.
Watch the video at MSNBC if you missed it. Also, Reveal (from the Center for Investigative Reporting) has a follow up to their story on immigrant children being given anti-psychotic drugs: Doctor giving migrant kids psychotropic drugs lost certification years ago.
The psychiatrist who has been prescribing powerful psychotropic medications to immigrant children at a federally funded residential treatment center in Texas has practiced without board certification to treat children and adolescents for nearly a decade, records show.
On the Texas Medical Board’s website, though, Dr. Javier Ruíz-Nazario reported he had that specialized certification for treating children and adolescents. However, according to the website, he has not yet updated the board on the status of this board certification as required by its rules.
Ruíz-Nazario’s name appears on various court documents that allege troubling practices at the Shiloh Treatment Center south of Houston, including affidavits in class-action settlement motions in which children claim they were tackled and injected and forced to take pills identified as vitamins that made them dizzy and drowsy.
Many of the records specifically name Ruíz-Nazario as the doctor who prescribed the medication.
So . . . what else is happening? What stories are you following today?