Category Archives: Economics

The GOP has weaponized the courts in undermining our democratic institutions

20 GOP attorneys general hand-picked a conservative activist judge known for his political activism from the bench to conspire to overturn the Affordable Care Act. One can fairly say that the process was “rigged” to produce the desired result. Judge Reed O’Connor should be impeached, and the 20 GOP attorneys general held to account for their unethical professional misconduct.

The New York Times reports, In Weaponized Courts, Judge Who Halted Affordable Care Act Is a Conservative Favorite:

In the 11 years Judge Reed O’Connor has been on the federal bench, he has become a favorite of Republican leaders in Texas, reliably tossing out Democratic policies they have challenged.

The state’s Republican attorney general appears to strategically file key lawsuits in Judge O’Connor’s jurisdiction, the Northern District of Texas, so that he will hear them. And on Friday, the judge handed Republicans another victory by striking down the Affordable Care Act, the signature health law of the Obama era.

Judge O’Connor, who was appointed by former President George W. Bush, has been at the center of some of the most contentious and partisan cases involving federal power and states’ rights, and has sided with conservative leaders in previous challenges to the health law and against efforts to expand transgender rights.

No one questions his expertise on the law. But his rulings illustrate the ways in which the federal district courts have become politically weaponized, as Republicans and Democrats alike try to handpick judges they see as ideologically friendly to their cases.

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Republicans Christmas gift to the nation: blowing up America’s health care system

I warned you about The evil GOP bastards’ scheme for a back door repeal of ‘Obamacare’ in the courts when the case was filed back in February:

A part of the GOP’s “tax cuts for corporations and plutocrats” bill back in December was the under-reported repeal of the individual mandate, which didn’t actually repeal the coverage requirement — it only repealed the tax penalty provision.

This was part of the long game the evil GOP bastards play to deny Americans access to affordable health care. By removing the tax penalty, it allowed the state Attorneys General from 20 red states, including Arizona, to file a lawsuit (.pdf) attempting a back door repeal of ‘Obamacare” through the courts, rather than through Congress.

These evil GOP bastards assert the legal sophistry that the individual mandate is now unconstitutional — after the GOP’s malicious sabotage of “Obamacare” in the tax bill – and now the rest of the ACA should fall as part of the GOP’s legal sophistry in court.

These Republican attorneys general went forum shopping to file their lawsuit in a district with a conservative activist judge with a history of  “intensely political” opinions, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor in Fort Worth, Texas.

During the litigation, the Trump administration abandoned the defense of the Affordable Care Act, Trump administration won’t defend ACA in case brought by GOP states, leading to a coalition of Democratic state attorneys general to intervene to defend the Affordable Care Act.

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Saudis Buy Huge Arizona Farmland After Sucking their own Aquifers Dry

Fifteen years ago, the Saudi government told its farmers to grow wheat and paid them 5 times the market price to do so. In a county without a single lake or river, they told farmers to drill as deep as they wanted for water.

Flash forward to 2011: the aquifers were sucked dry. Totally depleted. Bone dry in a country with scant rainfall. What did they do next? The Saudi dairy Almarai came to western Arizona and bought 15 square miles of farmland. They are sucking our aquifers dry by planting alfalfa for export, which requires 4 times more irrigation than wheat.

This is how climate change is bringing competition for water to Arizona, according to a new book, This Is the Way the World Ends: How Droughts and Die-offs, Heat Waves and Hurricanes Are Converging on America. Author Jeff Nesbit says, “This $47.5 million transaction is an example of the Saudi’s efforts to ensure the country’s dairy business as well as conserving the nation’s resources.”
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Season 3 of The Apprentice – White House, episode one: ‘The Wall Brawl’

Season 3 of the alt-reality TV series The Apprentice – White House premiered Tuesday with Donald Trump trying to cash in on the trendy revival of old TV series this season by adding elements of his World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) fake wrestling days. Trump invited Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer over to the White House for some pre-match bluster and braggadocio in an overly contrived episode one: “The Wall Brawl.”

Dana Milbank has the play-by-play. “Let’s get ready to rumble!” Emergency! It’s time for Trump to fabricate another crisis!

Robert Mueller is circling, recessionary clouds are building, and Democrats are rising to power. For President Trump, this can mean only one thing: It’s time to fabricate a new crisis.

And that’s exactly what he’s doing.

Trump summoned Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi to the Oval Office on Tuesday for what was supposed to be a negotiating session about border security. Instead, he used them as props in an impromptu, 17-minute reality-TV show.

ChuckAndNancy

“Look, we have to have the wall,” Trump bellowed at the Democratic Senate and House leaders — seated awkwardly on couches — while the TV cameras rolled. “This is a national emergency. Drugs are pouring into our country. People with tremendous medical difficulty and medical problems are pouring in, and in many cases it’s contagious.”

Emergency! Drugs and contagion!  And then, a threat: “If we don’t get what we want one way or the other. . . . I will shut down the government, absolutely.” The president added: “I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it. . . . I will take the mantle of shutting down, and I’m going to shut it down for border security.”

The Trump Shutdown. Own it.

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Britain’s Brexit brawl leads to a no confidence vote today (Updated)

The Guardian reports, Brexit in chaos as Tory MPs trigger vote of no confidence in Theresa May:

Conservative MPs have triggered a vote of no confidence in Theresa May, plunging the Brexit process into chaos as Tory colleagues indicated they no longer had faith in the prime minister to deliver the deal.

Sir Graham Brady, the chair of the 1922 Committee, has received at least 48 letters from Conservative MPs calling for a vote of no confidence in May. Under party rules, a contest is triggered if 15% of Conservative MPs write to the chair of the committee of Tory backbenchers.

A ballot will be held on Wednesday evening between 6pm and 8pm [11am to 1pm Arizona time], Brady said, with votes counted “immediately afterwards and an announcement will be made as soon as possible”. Sources said an announcement could be made by 10pm [3pm Arizona time].

If she is effectively sacked after the ballot, a contest could take up to six weeks to complete.

On Tuesday night, ministers warned that such a successful challenge would mean that article 50 might have to be suspended.

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