Monday, November 29, 2021

Last Call For Coleman Has To Go

Kansas Democratic House Representative Aaron Coleman was arrested on Saturday, Nov. 27 for driving under the influence.

Douglas County jail records show that he was arrested on I-70 heading westbound by Kansas State Highway Patrol.

He was released on a $250 bond.

“I want to reiterate what I have said in the past: It is clear Representative Coleman is in dire need of help,” House Democratic Leader Tom Sawyer said. “For the sake of the state of Kansas, his constituents, and himself, he should resign and concentrate on getting the help he badly needs. The stress of the legislature is not a healthy environment for someone in this mental state.”

Coleman has represented Kansas’ 37th District in the state House of Representatives for a year.

“Mr. Coleman’s most recent arrest is further evidence that he is not fit to serve in the Kansas House of Representatives and that his continued presence in the Legislature is a disservice to his constituents,” Gov. Laura Kelly said. “He should resign immediately and seek the treatment that he needs. If he does not resign, the Legislature should use its process to remove him from office.”
Kansas Dems keep refusing to expel Coleman from the state legislature as Coleman has repeatedly refused to resign, saying that the people elected him and that he will serve no matter what, accusing his fellow Democrats of hypocrisy for refusing to oust Democratic Rep. Vic Miller over his DUI earlier this year.

It's a mess, and Kansas Dems need to clean house in the House.

Of course, where do I get off saying anything? Kentucky Dems are moribund at best...

Oh well.

If At First You Don't Secede, Con't

Over at the Never Trump clubhouse that is The Bulwark, Kristofer Harrison notes that Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz is cozying up to the Texas Secessionist Movement, and the TSM is definitely getting help from Putin's merry band of white supremacist wackos.

A couple weeks ago Senator Ted Cruz was speaking at Texas A&M University when someone asked him his thoughts on the Texas secessionist movement. He replied that he wasn’t “there, yet.” It is important to understand that the modern secession movement is not a product of Lone Star pride. It’s an idea that has been force fed into the American conservative movement by Russia.

Secession is one of the Kremlin’s “active measures” campaigns: Promote fringe wackos abroad and hope that, eventually, they break something. This may not sound like much of a plan, but it sometimes works. Putin has been openly building his portfolio of wackos for a while. And the wackos have begun breaking things.

The shiny ball that caught Cruz’s attention was The Texas Nationalist Movement (TNM). TNM is Texas’s most prominent secessionist organization. In 2015, TNM attended a St. Petersburg gathering of worldwide extremists organized by Rodina—that’s “Motherland” in Russian—the fascist-adjacent offshoot of Putin’s United Russia party.

That gathering was a safe space where the likes of German Neo-Nazis, the KKK, Greece’s Golden Dawn, and Roberto Fiore (the Italian terrorist responsible for a 1980 bombing in Bologna that killed 85), could gather and praise Putin’s defense of Western (read: “white”) culture. Here, featured on Rodina’s website, is Nate Smith, TNM’s executive director, in attendance. Howdy! Russia’s info warriors were very pleased with his comments at the event. This skulduggery got so bad and Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russians who were working with the Texas secessionist movement in 2016 to—please put down your coffee—spread misinformation about Ted Cruz during the presidential primary in order to help Donald Trump.

There’s a nice symmetry there. Some day when when Hollywood comes calling the film can be titled, “From Victim to Dupe: The Ted Cruz Story.”

One of the nastier conferees at Putin’s 2015 conclave was the Council of Conservative Citizens, a group who was credited by Charleston shooter Dylann Roof in his manifesto for inspiring him to “take it to the real world.”

There’s a white nationalist group called Atomwaffen which venerates Roof as a hero. Atomwaffen was founded by a teenager in Florida using a messaging platform created by a Russian. You can find Roof’s manifesto—along with manifestos from other white nationalist killers—on 8chan, which has been relaunched as 8kun, by two Russians.

Fortunately for us, secessionists aren’t killing people—they’re not “there, yet”—but Putin’s propaganda can be convincing. Casey Michel notes that the fake Russian secessionist “Heart of Texas” Facebook page, which had more likes than the GOP and Democrat Facebook pages combined, organized a rally of white nationalists and AR-15 enthusiasts in downtown Houston in 2017.

Putin invests broadly in his pet extremist wackos. Richard Spencer used to appear regularly on RT where he commented as an expert on everything from Syria to U.S. cultural affairs. David Duke lived in Russia. The circular nature of this web can border on parody: Bringing it full circle to Texas A&M, Duke once rented his Moscow apartment to another American neo-Nazi named Preston Wiginton. Wiginton—a proud Aggie—organized presentations on the Texas A&M campus—the same place where Cruz was asked about secession!—for both Richard Spencer and Russian ultra-nationalist Alexander Dugin, a man who befriended Duke in Russia.

The only way to understand the neo-Nazi mob and the secessionist movement is as Vladimir Putin’s weapons. And Ted Cruz—despite having been on the receiving end of this in 2016—has no problem cozying up to them today
Cruz may be the kind of dork to pick a Twitter fight with Big Bird and lose it publicly, but he's still a GOP US senator in Texas, and that automatically makes him dangerous by default.  Getting chummy with secessionist white supremacist terrorists is a major problem.

Or should be. At this point, nobody seems to care.

The Supreme Sinister Six

As Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus explains in a powerful essay, the next eight months of Supreme Court rulings will almost certainly result in a fundamental change in American rights, rights that will not be coming back in our lifetimes.
Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan Jr., the Eisenhower appointee who became the liberal lion of the Warren Court, had a tradition for introducing every new batch of law clerks to the realities of the institution.

“Brennan liked to greet his new clerks each fall by asking them what they thought was the most important thing they needed to know as they began their work in his chambers,” Seth Stern and Stephen Wermiel write in “Liberal Champion,” their Brennan biography. “The … stumped novices would watch quizzically as Brennan held up five fingers. Brennan then explained that with five votes, you could accomplish anything.”

Brennan, master vote-counter and vote-cajoler, was right — but there is an important corollary to his famous Rule of Five, one powerfully at work in the current Supreme Court. That is the Rule of Six. A five-justice majority is inherently fragile. It necessitates compromise and discourages overreach. Five justices tend to proceed with baby steps.

A six-justice majority is a different animal. A six-justice majority, such as the one now firmly in control, is the judicial equivalent of the monarchy’s “heir and a spare.” The pathways to victory are enlarged. The overall impact is far greater than the single-digit difference suggests.

On the current court, each conservative justice enjoys the prospect of being able to corral four colleagues, if not all five, in support of his or her beliefs, point of view or pet projects, whether that is outlawing affirmative action, ending constitutional protection for abortion, exalting religious liberty over all other rights or restraining the power of government agencies.

A six-justice majority is emboldened rather than hesitant; so, too, are the conservative advocates who appear before it. Such a court doesn’t need to trim its sails, hedge its language, or abide by legal niceties if it seems more convenient to dispense with them.

A conservative justice wary of providing a fifth vote for a controversial position can take comfort in the thought that now there are six; there is strength in that number. Meantime, a court with a six-justice majority is one in which the justices on the other side of the ideological spectrum are effectively consigned to a perpetual minority. They craft dissents that may serve as rebukes for the ages but do little to achieve change in the present. The most they can manage is damage control, and that only rarely.
Follow Ruth Marcus‘s opinions

That is the reality — exhilarating for conservatives, chilling for liberals — as the court, with a membership that has not been this conservative since the 1930s, embarks on what could be its most consequential term in decades. The October 2021 term is the first with six conservatives in place from Day One; the newest, Amy Coney Barrett, was not confirmed until several weeks into the court’s previous term, and the first year for any new justice tends to be a time of settling in.

Now, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who occupies what passes for this court’s center, holds the reins but is no longer firmly in control of his horses. Some of his most conservative justices are champing at the bit. Sometimes he can curb them, but not always; sometimes he is delighted to head in the same direction. And if any five agree, they can go galloping off anywhere they choose. If Roberts isn’t with them, the court’s most conservative member, Justice Clarence Thomas, has the power to assign the majority opinion or write it himself.

“The difference between six and five is exponential,” said Mike Davis, president of the Article III Project, which worked to confirm conservative judges during the Trump years. “With five justices to the chief’s right, they no longer need to compromise with the chief to win. And this means it is much more likely that the court is going to get to the conservative result most of the time."

The justices have defied some earlier liberal predictions of catastrophe, but there’s reason to believe this term may be different — and if not this term, then one not far off.
We're looking at a generational shift on civil, voting, and religious rights, where the country is permanently shifted towards a Christian Dominionist theocracy, where states become fiefdoms without a strong federal government tying them together, where a hopelessly deadlocked Congress, jammed by the GOP is unable to do anything to restore rights, and where people of color and women are afforded scraps of second-class citizenship, rights granted if and only if those rights do not impinge on the desires of white Christian men.
It will be a dark return to Jim Crow, segregation, and misery, where the status quo is enforced by any White man who chooses to take up arms to do so. This court has already destroyed enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. It's about to end Roe and affirmative action. It may end civil rights altogether, and eliminate 95% of federal agencies.
This decade is going to be one of abject enslavement.


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