Wednesday, November 30, 2005

House Republicans move to split up the 9th Circuit

Be sure to check out Mike's comments at Mikey Likes It! because we're offering our take on the same issues.

"Target: the 9th Circuit (The Republican war on the judiciary continues)" (The Common Ills):
Note Sander's last sentence, "They are now attempting to destroy the judiciary system, which will have profound implications for the future of this country." (The article's from the latest issue of the magazine and it's not available online at present.) Why note the last sentence? Zachary Coile's "
A quiet move in House to split the 9th Circuit" (San Francisco Chronicle):

A little-noticed provision in the massive House budget bill would fulfill the longtime goal of conservatives to split the San Francisco-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, creating a new 12th circuit appellate court and allowing President Bush to name a slate of new federal judges.
Conservatives long have claimed that the Ninth Circuit is too liberal, and that reputation was reinforced by the court's 2002 ruling that reciting the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools was an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.
But legal observers say the outcome of such a split is likely to be a more liberal court making decisions for California, Hawaii, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands and a more conservative court serving seven other Western states now part of the Ninth Circuit -- Alaska, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Nevada and Arizona.

[. . .]

And who would pack the newly created circuit? (You know the answer.) It's thought that one of the states effected would be Oregon. (We have several members in Oregon.) Oregon hasbeen very active with measures that Bully Boy's Justice Department has opposed. For instance, Oregon's physician-assisted suicide. From CNN's "
Federal judge upholds Oregon assisted-suicide law" (April 17, 2002):

In his ruling, Judge Robert E. Jones criticized U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft for seeking to nullify the state law, saying he "fired the first shot in the battle" and had sought to "stifle" a debate on the matter through a Nov. 6 directive.Jones ordered the federal government to halt any efforts to prosecute Oregon physicians, pharmacists and other health-care providers who participate in assisted suicide of terminally ill patients under Oregon's law.

How bothered is the Bully Boy's Justice Department over this law? When the Ninth Circuit upheld Oregon's law, the Justice Department appealed to the Supreme Court. The case that began as Ashcroft v. Oregon became Gonzales v. Oregon and the Court heard testimony on it in October. (Oral arguments before the Court can be found here.)

C.I. and I were talking on the phone and C.I. brings this up and I had no idea. I asked, "What are you talking about?" I hadn't heard anything about it. This is pretty big and I'm really surprised that I hear it over the phone. I read the main sections of more than one daily paper, I follow the news.

At first, C.I. had to read the article from the San Francisco Chronicle over the phone to me because I still couldn't believe that a) the Republicans would be that sneaky and b) that the national media wouldn't be all over this story.

I know, I should know better when it comes to the national media.

But C.I. has a Bernie Sanders quote at the start and what Congress member Sanders is saying is accurate. They change the rules, they make them up and they cheat. Which is how they could think it was "normal" to try to sneak something like this into a budget bill.

What they can do by playing by the accepted rules, they attempt to force through via covert means. That's today Republican Party.

US Paying Iraqi Media to Publish US-Authored Reports (Democracy Now!):
The Los Angeles Times is reporting the US military is secretly paying Iraqi newspapers to publish American-written articles favorable to the U.S. presence in Iraq. The Times reports articles written by U.S. military "information operations" are translated into Arabic and then placed in Iraqi newspapers with the help of Washington-based defense contractor the Lincoln Group. The articles are presented to an Iraqi audience as unbiased news accounts written by independent journalists. The Lincoln Group's contract is worth up to $100 million dollars over five years. A senior Pentagon official commented : "Here we are trying to create the principles of democracy in Iraq. Every speech we give in that country is about democracy. And we’re breaking all the first principles of democracy when we’re doing it."

The same administration that put Armstrong Williams on the payroll and wanted to start an office to put out false information is now seen to be planting Operation Happy Talk (to use C.I.'s term) stories in the Iraqi press.

Think about that. They lied us into war. The mainstream media won't report reality on Iraq and couldn't if they wanted to because, like Dexter Filkins, they're all stuck in the Green Zone.
They can't walk around. They can't see things with their own eyes.

So who do you really think these stories are for? I'm sure they're partly for Iraqis but I'm willing to bet that they are also for Americans. For the press over there to read from the safety of the Green Zone (some via their translators) and to travel back over here via blowback.

Supreme Court to Hear New Hampshire Abortion Case (Democracy Now!):
And the Supreme Court will hear arguments today that observers expect to shed new light on Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts’ views on abortion. The case deals with a New Hampshire parental notification law that an Appeals court ruled was unconstitutional. The case will be heard as the Senate Judiciary Committee prepares to consider the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito. Twenty years ago, Alito said there was no constitutional right to abortion.

Mike and I both agreed that Ruth was right when she said she was sick of hearing male pundits explain why abortion wasn't an important issue (statistically it hardly ever comes up). I guess if it's not your body at stake, you're a little more willing to cede rights? I don't want to hear another man on TV or on radio tell us how unimportant abortion is, or how the Supreme Court decides so many other issues, or any other nonsense.

I'll applaud Democracy Now! for having women like Kim Gandy come on and speak. But I'm not too pleased with some of the other left media because it wasn't just the mainstream that gave these male pundits their platform.

Roe v. Wade is based upon the right to privacy. Overturn Roe and you're overturning all of our rights to privacy because that is the goal. Conservative "thinkers" have been very clear on that. If they get their way, women will have no say over their bodies (though their husbands, if they're married to men, will). That's all reproductive rights, not just abortion. It will also effect same-sex relations because that's a privacy right as well as Lawrence v. Texas found.
If Lawrence falls, give up any expectation to any form of privacy in your own home for any reason.

All those (presumably straight) male pundits never felt the need to bring up Lawrence. Without Roe's foundation in privacy rights, you've just lost one of the strongest Court arguments for the right to privacy.

The same press that won't explore this (or explore the attempts to split up the 9th Circuit) will take down dictation as Bully Boy goes into more of his nonsense about "stay the course" and about how we have to be over there. We have to be over there, apparently, because he lied us over there. That makes sense, actually. Withdrawing the troops would pull away the one excuse he loves best: whenever his actions are questioned, he wraps himself in the flag and starts whining that tough questions (the core of a democracy) will undermine his mission.

His mission is apparently to see more people die in Iraq.

"Peace Quotes" (Peace Center):
War would end if the dead could return.
Stanley Baldwin