Do You Need A Reason to Vote for Catherine Cortez Masto?

Do you need a reason to get off your couch and head to the polls this fall to cast your vote for Catherine Cortez Masto for U.S. Senate?  Well here’s a good one:

Mitch McConnell told Fox News that he believes the NRA must approve of our next US Supreme Court justice nominee to receive any consideration by a Republican Senate.  The NRA disapproves of Judge Garland’s nomination, therefore, the current Republican majority will not allow his nomination to be brought to the Senate floor for a vote on confirmation.

This utter nonsense has to end.  We need to take the Senate back!  To do that, we need to make sure that Catherine Cortez Masto is elected to replace retiring Senator Harry Reid.  We cannot allow Republican Joe Heck to become Nevada’s next Senator and allow him to rubber stamp replacement of potentially FOUR retiring Supreme Court justices with “Scalia clones.”

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New ‘Pro-Life’ Law Could Literally Kill Utah Women Who Attempt To Obtain An Abortion

— by Ian Millhiser  

CREDIT: AP PHOTO/ALEX WASHBURN
CREDIT: AP PHOTO/ALEX WASHBURN

A new Utah law will subject women to medically unnecessary risk in order to ward off a problem that almost certainly does not exist. It makes a significant new incursion on what remains of Roe v. Wade — at a time when the Supreme Court is signaling that anti-abortion state lawmakers have moved too far. And it will likely either drive up the cost of abortions or cause many clinics to stop performing certain kinds of abortion because they will need to recruit new specialist physicians in order to continue serving all women.

The law, colorfully labeled the “Protecting Unborn Children Amendments,” requires abortion providers who perform “an abortion of an unborn child who is at least 20 weeks gestational age” to administer an anesthetic or analgesic to eliminate or alleviate organic pain to the unborn child.” The law’s supporters claim that human fetuses are capable of feeling pain around the twentieth week of pregnancy, and that this bill will help eliminate that pain.

This claim about fetal pain, however, is scientifically dubious at best. According to a paper published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, scans for electrical activity in fetal brains suggest that “the capacity for functional pain perception in preterm neonates probably does not exist before 29 or 30 weeks.” As the same paper explains, fetal pain awareness “requires functional thalamocortical connections,” yet the brain fibers necessary to allow such connections do not start appearing until “23 to 30 weeks’ gestational age.”

Nevertheless, anti-abortion lawmakers frequently cite the idea that fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks to justify restrictions on reproductive choice.

Utah law typically prohibits abortions around 22 weeks into a pregnancy, when the fetus is deemed viable. Thus, that state’s new law will primarily impact women who seek abortions during a narrow two-week period.

Yet the new law will subject those women to considerable risk. According to the Associated Press, the law will require doctors to either administer general anesthesia or “a heavy does of narcotics”to women impacted by the law. In rare cases, that could lead to a woman’s death. Though anesthesia-related deaths are in decline, approximately 34 patients per million died from anesthetics in the 1990s and 2000s.

And, while deaths are rare, serious complications ranging from nerve damage to “malignant hyperthermia” can result from anesthesia. Anesthesia can also cause long-lasting mental defects. According to Scientific American, studies “suggest that a high enough dose of anesthesia can in fact raise the risk of delirium after surgery,” and that “even if the confusion dissipates, attention and memory can languish for months and, in some cases, years.” (Though it should be noted that these mental side effects are especially likely to occur in elderly patients that are past childbearing age.)

As one doctor told the AP, “you never give those medicines if you don’t have to.” Now, however, thanks to this Utah law, doctors will have to.

That is, of course, unless the courts strike down the Utah law. Under Roe, states gain greater authority to regulate — or even ban — abortions as a pregnancy progresses. Yet, even in the latest stages of pregnancy, the health of a woman seeking an abortion has primacy. Abortion is always permitted “where it is necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother.”

Since Roe, however, the Supreme Court has carved away much of the right protected by that decision. Most notably, in Gonzales v. Carhardt, the Court upheld a ban on a method of abortion that was viewed by many doctors and medical associations as the safest method “for women with certain pregnancy-related conditions, such as placenta previa and accreta, and for women carrying fetuses with certain abnormalities, such as severe hydrocephalus.” Thus, in effect, the Court held that lawmakers could potentially make abortion less safe for many women who seek it.

Even after Gonzales, however, the Utah law is a significant escalation in the war against Roe. AfterGonzales, a woman who sought an abortion was still likely to receive a procedure that, in their doctor’s medical opinion, was the safest legal option — even if the single safest procedure was no longer legal. The majority opinion in Gonzales also claimed that “there is medical and scientific uncertainty” regarding whether to procedure at issue in that case was ever the safest medical option.

The Utah law, by contrast, imposes additional risk on women seeking abortions, despite the fact that there does not appear to be any medical benefits to subjecting a woman to unnecessary
anesthesia or narcotics. It is as if Utah required women to consume a small dose of strychnine before they can receive an abortion. If the dose is small enough, it probably won’t kill the woman, but the state would still be exposing women to a very dangerous chemical without any health-related reason to do so.


This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe. ‘Like’ CAP Action on Facebook and ‘follow’ us on Twitter

BREAKING: The Biggest Legal Attack On Unions In Decades Is Dead

— by Ian Millhiser
SupremeCourtWhen the Supreme Court met last January to hear an aggressive attempt to defund public sector unions, the news looked grim for organized workers. All five of the Court’s conservatives seemed ready to accept the plaintiffs’ legal arguments, a result that would have potentially had catastrophic financial consequences for many unions.

Then Justice Antonin Scalia died, and the anti-union litigants lost the fifth vote they needed to prevail.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court announced the widely expected consequence of Scalia’s encounter with his own mortality. In a single-sentence order, the Supreme Court announced that the judgment of a lower court rejecting this effort to defund public sector unions “is affirmed by an equally divided court.” Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association is dead. A four-decade-old opinion protecting public sector unions shall live to see another day.

Friedrichs was an attack on what are alternatively called “agency fees” or “fair share fees.” As ThinkProgress previously explained,

Unions are required by law to bargain on behalf of every worker in a unionized shop, even if those workers opt not to join the union. As such, non-members receive the same higher wages (one study found that workers in unionized shops enjoy a wage premium of nearly 12 percent) and benefits enjoyed by their coworkers who belong to the union.

Absent something else, this arrangement would create a free-rider problem, because individual workers have little incentive to join the union if they know they will get all the benefits of unionizing regardless of whether they reimburse the union for its costs. Eventually, unions risk becoming starved for funds and collapsing, causing the workers once represented by a union to lose the benefits of collective bargaining.

To prevent this free-rider problem, union contracts often include a provision requiring non-members to pay agency fees.

The purpose of these fees is to ensure that non-members do not get something for nothing; they require those non-members to pay their share of the costs of obtaining the benefits of being in a union.

Prior to Friedrichs, the Court took two incremental steps in the direction of an eventual decision abolishing agency fees. Friedrichs was widely expected to be that decision. Instead, with the Court split 4-4, Friedrichs will have no effect and the Court’s previous precedents permitting agency fees will remain good law, binding on all lower court judges.

Ultimately, however, Tuesdays’ non-decision in Friedrichs only heightens the stakes in the battle to replace Scalia. If Scalia is replaced by a relatively liberal justice, whether that new justice is Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland or someone else, then it is exceedingly likely that agency fees will continue to be legal. Should Scalia be replaced by another conservative, however, then Tuesday’s order will likely provide to be only a brief stay of execution for public sector unions.


This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe. ‘Like’ CAP Action on Facebook and ‘follow’ us on Twitter

4 Reasons Why States Suing to Stop Immigration Actions Stand to Lose Big

Immigration activists demonstrate at the Supreme Court in Washington in support of President Barack Obama’s executive order to grant relief from deportation in order to keep immigrant families together, March 18, 2016. The U.S. Capitol is in the background.

Immigration activists demonstrate at the Supreme Court.
SOURCE: AP/J. Scott Applewhite

 — by Tom Jawetz 

On April 18, the U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments in a lawsuit, United States v. Texas, brought by more than two dozen states challenging an immigration enforcement policy by the secretary of homeland security. If successful, the lawsuit could tear apart millions of American families, while at the same time greatly undercutting the U.S. economy.

Twenty-six states filed a lawsuit challenging the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, initiative along with the expansion of the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, initiative. Under DAPA, DACA, and expanded DACA, certain unauthorized immigrants who have lived in the United States for many years and who either came to the country as children or are the parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents can come forward, register with the government, pass background checks, and request deferred action—a temporary protection from the threat of deportation. With deferred action, such people are also eligible to request permission to work in the country legally. The implementation of both DAPA and expanded DACA has been temporarily placed on hold while the case works its way through the courts.

In suing to freeze DAPA and expanded DACA, these 26 states have chosen to forgo tens of billions of dollars in increased state gross domestic product, or GDP, not to mention the additional earnings of their own residents, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars each year in increased state and local tax revenue. This is significant in part because the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decided that the plaintiff states had standing to bring this lawsuit based upon the district court’s finding that the state of Texas may end up spending “several million dollars” to issue driver’s licenses to some of the people who receive deferred action. In addition to these monetary losses, the plaintiff states are also threatening to tear fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters away from the more than 2.6 million U.S. citizen family members with whom they live in these states. (see Table 2)

Here are four key facts you should know about the states that are suing to freeze DAPA and expanded DACA.

1. The plaintiff states stand to lose at least $91.9 billion in increased state GDP

Nationally, the three deferred action initiatives—DAPA, DACA, and expanded DACA—are estimated to grow the U.S. economy cumulatively by $230 billion over 10 years. The reasons for this are fairly simple. As professional economists and scholars in related fields recently explained in an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court, when unauthorized immigrants gain work authorization and protection from deportation—even temporarily—they are able to find jobs that make full use of their skills and abilities, earn higher wages, and become even more economically productive.

What’s more, individual states can expect to see their economies grow as a result of these initiatives. Together, 18 of the 26 states suing to freeze DAPA and expanded DACA stand to lose an estimated $91.9 billion in increased state GDP over 10 years if the three deferred action initiatives are not fully implemented. And while the original DACA initiative is not under review in United States v. Texas, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision places a cloud over it as well.

ShootingFoot-table1

2. Residents of the plaintiff states stand to lose an estimated $48.4 billion in increased earnings

Because of the enormous economic activity that would be generated by these initiatives, the cumulative earnings of American workers would increase by an estimated $124 billion nationally. In the 18 plaintiff states for which CAP has data, we estimate that implementing DAPA, DACA, and expanded DACA would raise the earnings of these states’ residents by more than $48.4 billion over 10 years.

3. The plaintiff states stand to lose nearly $272 million annually in increased state and local tax revenue

Unauthorized immigrants contribute enormous sums to state and local coffers through taxes:$11.64 billion annually, according to a new report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Full implementation of the three deferred action initiatives would increase state and local tax contributions by unauthorized immigrants by an estimated $805 million each year.

The 26 states that are suing to block DAPA and expanded DACA would stand to gain an estimated $271.7 million annually in state and local tax revenue. Texas leads the way with the nearly $59 million it is estimated to gain each year in such revenue through the implementation of DAPA, DACA, and expanded DACA. (see Table 1)

And it’s not just states and localities that would stand to lose additional tax revenues: The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation studied the budgetary effects of legislation to block DAPA, DACA, and expanded DACA and found that the bill would reduce federal tax revenues by $22.3 billion over a 10-year period, leading to a $7.5 billion increase in the deficit over that same period.

4. More than 2.6 million U.S. citizens live with a DAPA-eligible family member in the plaintiff states

By definition, the parents of American citizens or lawful permanent residents who would be eligible to apply for DAPA have deep roots in the United States. Nearly 70 percent of anticipated DAPA beneficiaries have lived in the United States for at least 10 years, and a full one-quarter have lived here for at least 20 years.

According to an estimate prepared for CAP by the University of Southern California’s Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration, there are more than 6.1 million U.S. citizens around the country who live in the same household as a DAPA-eligible family member. California leads the pack with an estimated 1.8 million individuals, but Texas comes in a close second at nearly 1.1 million. And in the 21 plaintiff states for which CAP has data, there are more than 2.6 million U.S. citizens living with a DAPA-eligible family member.

ShootingFoot-table2

Conclusion

Given the facts presented above, it is little wonder that the largest cities and counties in many of the plaintiff states filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court arguing in support of DAPA and expanded DACA. If the Supreme Court overturns the lower court’s decision and permits these policies to take effect—as it should—not only will the nation as a whole benefit from the implementation of these sensible policies, but the plaintiff states will benefit as well.


Tom Jawetz is the Vice President of Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress.

This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe. ‘Like’ CAP Action on Facebook and ‘follow’ us on Twitter

Supreme Court Takes Up ‘Fundamental Concept of Democracy’ in Voting Case

Supreme Court to decide if states should be required to draw legislative districts based on eligible voters or total populations

— by Nadia Prupis, CommonDreams staff writer

The U.S. Supreme Court is taking up the decades-old issue of “one person, one vote.” The main question is, what does “person” mean? (Photo: Jeff Kubina/flickr/cc)

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday heard a case on redistricting that could have a profound impact on voting and representation nationwide, as it considered the dynamics of the “one person, one vote” principle.

It’s a case that is poised to upend the U.S. voting process and, some critics warn, “make millions of people who live in our communities invisible in our democracy.”

In Evenwel v. Abbott (pdf), a case that emerged from a redistricting debate in Texas, the plaintiffs argue that states should only count eligible voters when drawing legislative district lines, rather than entire populations—an approach that would strengthen Republican strongholds in rural areas, while thinning out representation in urban centers, which have a higher proportion of non-eligible voters, such as non-citizen immigrants, children, and those disenfranchised through felony convictions.

“Everyone deserves fair and equal representation regardless of voting status or age. A ruling in favor of Evenwel would deny us fair representation in government and leave approximately 55 percent of Latinos unrepresented and affect many other groups—eroding Latinos’, Asian-Americans’, and African-Americans’ political power,” said Cristóbal J. Alex, President of Latino Victory Project. “We hope the Supreme Court will uphold the principle of one person, one vote. We should not create a second class of individuals who are subject to laws written by those who are not accountable or truly representative of the people.”

Because the decision in the case could impact nationwide redistricting rules, a ruling in favor of the plaintiffs has the potential to “shift political power from larger areas that are more ethnically diverse and shift them more over to rural areas,” ACLU-Texas staff attorney Satinder Singh told Common Dreams on Monday.

That concern extends to numerous states with large minority populations.

“If changed, we will be moving from a standard that includes all people in the representation process to a scheme that excludes minors, undocumented veterans, and takes away the power given to communities to elect one of their own,” said Chuy Garcia, Illinois’ Cook County commissioner and populist icon.

In a city like Chicago, said Alderman Joe Moore, a ruling in favor of the plaintiffs could “make millions of people who live in our communities invisible in our democracy.”

The Supreme Court first imposed “one person, one vote” in 1964, when it ruled in Reynolds v Sims that the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment requires state legislative districts to be comprised of roughly equal populations, though it gave individual states the power to decide on how they would determine “populations.” Most states leaned toward counting total residents, but a small handful of others only refer to voters.

But through decades of precedent, the court “never clarified what they mean by one person,” Singh said.

Justices have historically used “person” and “voters” interchangeably, he continued. “It’s a fundamental concept of democracy. Ultimately the question they’re going to be deciding is, what does this principle mean?”

It’s a question of representation that has been rejected by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a state federal district court, the U.S. Department of Justice, and ACLU-Texas, among other organizations. In fact, as Richard Hasen writes for SCOTUSblog, the case could be seen as nothing more than an attempt at “taking power away from the states and having the Supreme Court overturn precedent by imposing through judicial fiat a one-size-fits-all version of democratic theory unsupported by the text of the Constitution or historical practice.”

In fact, Hasen writes, the plaintiffs “are seeking to impose a standard which is not supported by the text of the Constitution.”

But the lawsuit has nonetheless climbed the judicial ladder. The plaintiffs, Titus County Republican Party chairperson Sue Evenwel and Montgomery County “party stalwart” Edward Pfenninger maintain that current standards weaken the influence of voices from areas with more registered voters, but smaller populations. Opponents, including Democratic Texas Rep. Marc Veasey and Mexican American Legislative Caucus voting rights counsel Joe Garza, say a redistricting policy that values registered voters over total residents would shut out large chunks of minorities, particularly those who are black or Latino.

“This legal challenge would do great harm to the state of Texas and potentially to other states that have very young populations and a significant number of noncitizen residents,” Veasey told McClatchy on Monday. “For Tarrant County in particular, this could mean that over 100,000 noncitizens would no longer be counted when assigning representation, according to a 2015 Migration Policy Institute report, and 27 percent of the county would be discounted due to be their age, according to the 2014 U.S. Census.”

Garza added, “We would lose seats in Texas—we would lose two districts in the Senate. It is an advantage for the white population.”

The implications of such a decision are far-reaching. In a state like Texas with a high population of Latino and minority voters, strengthening rural votes at their expense could lead to older, white constituents having “an outsize voice at the legislature,” Singh told Common Dreams. “A very small number of people would have a very large voice and would be able to decide things for a state with 30 million people.”

That “would certainly cause some representative issues and is a troubling notion of what democracy is,” he said.


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The ACA is Here to Stay —

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a key provision of the Affordable Care Act. This ruling means that the ACA will remain the law of the land, and millions of people will keep their health insurance. This is an extraordinary victory for all of us who fought so hard to make the ACA a reality!

Unfortunately, the GOP have made it clear that this latest legal attack on the ACA will not be the final attempt to undermine the law or other essential public health programs and services. In the coming months, you can anticipate that the GOP-led Congress will consider drastic funding cuts to Medicaid and community health centers. Congress will also likely try to undermine the ACA in other ways, such as by changing the definition of “full-time worker” from 30 to 40 hours and by repealing a tax on medical devices that provides essential funding for the law.


WhiteHouse

From the White House:

On March 23, 2010, I sat down at a table in the East Room of the White House and signed my name on a law that said, once and for all, that health care would no longer be a privilege for a few. It would be a right for everyone.

Five years later, after more than 50 votes in Congress to repeal or weaken this law and multiple challenges before the Supreme Court, here is what we know today:

This law worked. It’s still working. It has changed and saved American lives. It has set this country on a smarter, stronger course.

And it’s here to stay.

This morning, the Supreme Court upheld one of the most critical parts of health reform — the part that has made it easier for Americans to afford health insurance, no matter where you live.

If the challenges to this law had succeeded, millions would have had thousands of dollars in tax credits taken away. Insurance would have once again become unaffordable for many Americans. Many would have even become uninsured again. Ultimately, everyone’s premiums could have gone up.

Because of this law, and because of today’s decision, millions of Americans will continue to receive the tax credits that have given about 8 in 10 people who buy insurance on the new Health Insurance Marketplaces the choice of a health care plan that costs less than $100 a month.

If you’re a parent, you can keep your kids on your plan until they turn 26 — something that has covered millions of young people so far. That’s because of this law. If you’re a senior, or have a disability, this law gives you discounts on your prescriptions — something that has saved 9 million Americans an average of $1,600 so far. If you’re a woman, you can’t be charged more than anybody else — even if you’ve had cancer, or your husband had heart disease, or just because you’re a woman. Your insurer has to offer free preventive services like mammograms. They can’t place annual or lifetime caps on your care.

And when it comes to preexisting conditions — someday, our grandkids will ask us if there was really a time when America discriminated against people who got sick. Because that’s something this law has ended for good.

Five years in and more than 16 million insured Americans later, this is no longer just about a law. This isn’t just about the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

Today is a victory for every American whose life will continue to become more secure because of this law. And 20, 30, 50 years from now, most Americans may not know what “Obamacare” is. And that’s okay. That’s the point.

Because today, this reform remains what it always has been — a set of fairer rules and tougher protections that have made health care in America more affordable, more attainable, and more about you.

That’s who we are as Americans. We look out for one another. We take care of each other. We root for one another’s success. We strive to do better, to be better, than the generation before us, and we try to build something better for the generation that comes behind us.

And today, with this behind us, let’s come together and keep building something better. That starts right now.

Thank you,

President Barack Obama


And what did all the 2016 Candidates have to say about today’s ruling?  Read their “repeal” themed responses over at the Huffington Post.

Voters Reject Oil Titan Chevron, Elect Progressive Bloc in Richmond, California

Tom Butt elected mayor and slate of progressive candidates all win city council seats after grim battle with corporate power

by Nadia Prupis, Common Dreams staff writer

Members of the Asia Pacific Environmental Network march against Chevron in Richmond, California on August 9. (Photo: Malena Mayorga/Flickr)

A slew of progressive candidates were elected in Richmond, California on Tuesday night in a resounding defeat of corporate power, after a multi-million-dollar opposition campaign funded by Chevron brought national attention to the race but failed to take control of City Hall.

Local politician Tom Butt, a Democrat, was elected mayor with 51 percent of the vote, beating the Chevron-backed candidate, Nat Bates, by 16 points. Richmond Progressive Alliance representatives Eduardo Martinez, Jovanka Beckles, and outgoing  Mayor Gayle McLaughlin also won three of the four open seats on the City Council.

Collectively, those candidates became known as Team Richmond.

In a victory speech from his campaign base, Butt said, “I’ve never had such a bunch of people who are dedicated and worked so hard. It’s far away above anything that I’ve ever experienced.”

The sweeping win in the David-and-Goliath story was seen by many as an excoriation of corporate influence in elections after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.

Uche Uwahemu, who finished third in the mayoral race, said, “The election was a referendum on Chevron and the people obviously made it clear they did not appreciate the unnecessary spending by Chevron so they took it out on the rest of the candidates.”

Chevron spent more than $3 million funding three political action committees that executed an opposition campaign including billboards, flyers, and a mobile screen, spending roughly $72 per voter in hopes of electing a slate of candidates that would be friendly to the oil giant.

Martinez, Beckles, and McLaughlin have all criticized the company and promised to tighten regulations on it. Chevron has an ugly history in the city, particularly in the wake of a large and destructive fire at their refinery in 2012, for which Richmond sued the company.

Butt spent roughly $58,000 on his campaign—a shoestring budget relative to Chevron’s resources.

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Finally, a Republican Who Makes Sense—Sensenbrenner

Rep. Sensenbrenner

Yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder asked a Federal court in the state of Texas to subject the State of Texas to pre-clearance under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.  While the US Supreme Court may have struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, they did not repeal the law as a whole.  That means the remaining sections of the law are in full force and actions can and may be exercised by the Attorney General of the United States.

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI)  told The Hill on Thursday that critics of the Justice Department’s actions related to the Texas redistricting and voting laws were misrepresenting the facts. “The [Justice] department’s actions are consistent with the Voting Rights Act,” he said, noting that Voting Rights Act still allows challenges to changes that would suppress minority voters.

“Increased litigation will be one of the major consequences of the court’s decision as courts will have to litigate more allegations of voter discrimination under Section 2 and whether jurisdictions should be ‘bailed-in’ to pre-clearance coverage,” he added.

Read the full article at ThinkProgress

Texas Judge Forbids Lesbian Woman From Living With Her Partner

In a post at Think Progress last Friday, we once again learn that the REPUBLIBAN’s culture war against the LGBT community is still raging —

By Ian Millhiser on May 17, 2013 at 1:30 pm

Carolyn Compton is in a three year-old relationship with a woman. According to Compton’s partner Page Price, Compton’s ex-husband rarely sees their two children and was also once charged with stalking Compton, a felony, although he eventually plead to a misdemeanor charge of criminal trespassing.

And yet, thanks to a Texas judge, Compton could lose custody of her children because she has the audacity to live with the woman she loves.

According to Price, Judge John Roach, a Republican who presides over a state trial court in McKinney, Texas, placed a so-called “morality clause” in Compton’s divorce papers. This clause forbids Compton having a person that she is not related to “by blood or marriage” at her home past 9pm when her children are present. Since Texas will not allow Compton to marry her partner, this means that she effectively cannot live with her partner so long as she retains custody over her children. Invoking the “morality clause,” Judge Roach gave Price 30 days to move out of Compton’s home.

Compton can appeal Roach’s decision, but her appeal will be heard by the notoriouslyconservative Texas court system. Ultimately, the question of whether Compton’s relationship with Price is entitled to the same dignity accorded to any other loving couple could rest with the United States Supreme Court.


This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe.

Under the Reading Lamp — 4/3/2012

BANKING


When Bankers Rule the World

David Korten, Op-Ed: “The tell-all defection of Greg Smith, a former Goldman Sachs executive, provided an insider’s view of the moral corruption of the Wall Street banks that control of much of America’s economy and politics. Smith confirms what insightful observers have known for years: the business purpose of Wall Street bankers is to maximize their personal financial take without regard to the consequences for others.”


Fed Policy and Inflation Risk

Martin Feldstein, Op-Ed: “During the past four years, the United States Federal Reserve has added enormous liquidity to the US commercial banking system, and thus to the American economy. Many observers worry that this liquidity will lead in the future to a rapid increase in the volume of bank credit, causing a brisk rise in the money supply – and of the subsequent rate of inflation.”

CIVIL RIGHTS


Chris Hedges | Someone You Love: Coming to a Gulag Near You

Chris Hedges, Truthdig Op-Ed: “The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), signed into law by President Barack Obama last Dec. 31, puts into the hands of people with no discernible understanding of legitimate dissent the power to use the military to deny due process to all deemed to be terrorists, or terrorist sympathizers, and hold them indefinitely in military detention.”

ECONOMY


Robert Reich | Whose Recovery?

Robert Reich, Op-Ed: According to an analysis of tax returns by Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Pikkety, the top 1 percent pocketed 93 percent of the gains in 2010. 37 percent of the gains went to the top one-tenth of one percent. No one below the richest 10 percent saw any gain at all. In fact, most of the bottom 90 percent have lost ground. Their average adjusted gross income was $29,840 in 2010.


Desolation Row: Five Pictures of the Future in a Paul Ryan/Mitt Romney America

Richard (RJ) Eskow, Op-Ed: The Romney/Ryan America of tomorrow is more like the science-fiction worlds of H.G. Wells’ Time Machine or Fritz Lang’s Metropolis than it is like the United States, as we know it. The privileged few would be even wealthier than they are today, while the rest of us struggle to survive in a dystonic world of disease, deprivation, and fear. That’s not lefty rhetoric, either. All you have to do is read the budget. What did Romney say about Ryan’s budget? “He is setting the right tone for finally getting spending and entitlements under control.”

ELECTION REFORM


Conservative Wisconsinites Call For Greater Transparency In Outside Election Spending

Scott Keyes, Video Report: With the election just two months away, outside spending groups are already scrambling to pour money into ads both for and against Walker. However, because of a quirk in Wisconsin campaign law, these groups can spend unlimited funds without disclosing where their money is coming from. ThinkProgress spoke with attendees last weekend at the Americans For Prosperity Defending the American Dream Summit in Milwaukee.

ENERGY


A New Energy Third World in North America?

Michael T. Klare, Op-Ed: Eager to escape ever-stronger environmental restrictions and dying oil fields at home, the energy giants were naturally drawn to the economically and environmentally wide-open producing areas of the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America — the Third World — where oil deposits were plentiful, governments compliant, and environmental regulations few or nonexistent.


Steve Horn | Unpacking the Shale Gas LNG Export Boom

Steve Horn, News Analysis: “While the North American shale gas boom continues full-steam ahead, so too does another boom receiving less of the spotlight: the LNG export boom. LNG, shorthand for liquefied natural gas, is gas that’s been condensed into a liquid form by chilling it to approximately −162 °C (−260 °F). That gas is placed in LNG tankers, also known as ‘trains,’ then shipped off to lucrative global markets.”

ENVIRONMENTAL


Jim Hightower | Congress Opts to Keep Poisoning Children

Jim Hightower, Op-Ed: “Yes, we certainly need to cut unnecessary and frivolous federal spending, because…well, because it’s unnecessary and frivolous. So Congress has targeted unnecessary oil subsidies and frivolous tax giveaways to billionaires, right? Uh…no. Instead, our learned solons have chosen to whack the Lead Poisoning Prevention Program.”


FDA Rejects Monumental BPA Ban

Mike Barrett, News Report: BPA has been shown to prompt hyperactivity and depression in young girls, while also being linked to breast cancer in more than 130 studies. Infertility and fertility defects are also caused by BPA exposure. The chemical is used so widely that it has been found in the urine of nearly 93 percent of Americans, with one study finding that eating canned soup can spike urinary bisphenol-A levels by 1,200 percent compared to fresh soup.


Anthony Gucciardi | BPA Makers to Gross $8 Billion Thanks to FDA Rejecting Ban

Anthony Gucciardi, News Report: “Producers of toxic BPA are now boasting $8 billion in sales for 2012 thanks to the FDA rejecting a potential ban on the cancer-linked chemical on March 30th. According to GlobalData, manufacturers will produce 4.7 million metric tons of BPA this year to be dispersed into the daily lives of millions worldwide.”


Illegal Ocean Dumping Persists Despite DOJ Crackdown

Ronnie Greene, News Report: “Under federal and international law, ships must properly dispose of oily wastewater and sludge by passing the waste through an oil-water separator on board, or burning sludge in an incinerator. The ship’s crew must record each transfer or disposal in an ‘Oil Record Book.’ When dumping occurs in international waters, U.S. authorities cannot prosecute the actual pollution because it lies outside their jurisdiction.”


Extreme Weather is the New Normal

Stephen Leahy, News Analysis: “A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released Mar. 28, provides solid evidence that record-breaking weather events are increasing in number and becoming more extreme. And if current rates of greenhouse gas emissions are maintained, these events will reach dangerous new levels over the coming century.”


Anthony Gucciardi | Stealth GMOs Rapidly Consuming Global Food Supply

Anthony Gucciardi, News Analysis: “Obviously there is no room for GMOs in truly healthy food products, which is why it is truly vital that you understand the nature of GMOs and how they are oftentimes hidden in commercial food products. It may very well shock you to know just how prevalent GMOs are within the food supply. It’s truly amazing that modified products continue to go unlabeled despite being linked to organ damage — among a barrage of other conditions — in a prominent review of 19 studies.”

HEALTHCARE


The Best, Most Revealing Reporting on Our Healthcare System

Blair Hickman and Cora Currier, News Analysis: As we wait for the Supreme Court to issue its verdict on the health-care reform law, we rounded up some of the most revealing reporting on the issues. They’re grouped roughly into articles on high costs and those on insurance. The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, and Reuters are some publications who have given their opinion on the subject matter.


Romney Would Lower Health Costs By Asking Patients To Pay More For Their Benefits

Igor Volsky, News Analysis: “Republicans like to claim that exposing people to the true cost of health care — that is, putting more skin in the game — would discourage overtutilizaiton of care and force health care beneficiaries to act more like consumers, shop around, and select the best deal for a given service or treatment. The theory sounds good, but there is very limited evidence that it actually works. After all, insurers have been shifting individuals into high-deductible plans for some time now, but premiums and prices continue to increase. ”

IDEOLOGY


Five Preposterous but Persistent Conservative Myths

Paul Buchheit , Op-Ed: “With the mainstream media in the hands of the mostly conservative wealthy, it’s difficult for average Americans to learn the truth about critical issues. The following five conservative claims are examples of mythical beliefs that fall apart in the presence of inconvenient facts.”


Koch-Funded Reason Institute Trivializes Severity of Bullying Young People Experience

Zack Ford, News Report: Despite acknowledging the technology young people have access to, he completely ignores the significant impact that cyberbullying now has on young people. Last year, the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project found that nine out of ten have witnessed the cyberbullying of their peers. A similar Associated Press-MTV poll found that about half of young people regularly encounter discriminatory slang in their online communications, and 54 percent of them think it’s okay to use such language in their circle of friends because “I know we don’t mean it.”

INTERNET GAMBLING


Robert Reich | Turning America Into a Giant Casino

Robert Reich, Op-Ed: “Organized gambling is a scam. And it particularly preys upon people with lower incomes – who assume they can’t make it big any other way, who often find it hardest to assess the odds, and whose families can least afford to lose the money. Yet America is now opening the floodgates. Organized gambling is a scam. And it particularly preys upon people with lower incomes – who assume they can’t make it big any other way, who often find it hardest to assess the odds, and whose families can least afford to lose the money.”

SUPREME COURT


Robert Scheer | Five Hypocrites and One Bad Plan

Robert Scheer, Truthdig Op-Ed: “The Supreme Court is so full of it. The entire institution, as well as its sanctimonious judges themselves, reeks of a time-honored hypocrisy steeped in the arrogance that justice is served by unaccountable elitism. My problem is not with the Republicans who dominate the court questioning the obviously flawed individual mandate for the purchasing of private-sector health insurance but rather with their zeal to limit federal power only when it threatens to help the most vulnerable.”


Jokes from Justice Scalia Mask Grim Reality of American Health Care

Wendell Potter, News Analysis: “Since Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia clearly isn’t going to take the time to actually read the health care reform law before he decides whether or not it’s constitutional, maybe he and a couple of his buddies on the High Court can catch a screening of ‘The Hunger Games’, the movie about children battling each other to the death in a futuristic America, renamed Panem.”


Dean Baker | The Supreme Scream: Obamacare After the Court Ruling

Dean Baker, Op-Ed: “The conventional wisdom following the oral arguments before the Supreme Court last week is that, at the least, the health insurance mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act is going down. Many observers thought it likely that the Republican-controlled court would strike down the entire bill. Either way, it will be necessary to do some serious rethinking of health care policy.”


The Right’s Stealthy Coup

E.J. Dionne Jr., Op-Ed: “Last week’s Supreme Court oral arguments on health care were the most dramatic example of how radical tea partyism has displaced mainstream conservative thinking. It’s not just that the law’s individual mandate was, until very recently, a conservative idea. Even conservative legal analysts were insisting it was impossible to imagine the court declaring the health-care mandate unconstitutional, given its past decisions.”