"'Perverse' Supreme Court Ruling 'Effectively Ensures That Innocent People Will Remain Imprisoned': 'This is radical. This is horrifying. This is extremely scary,' said one public defender. Legal experts responded with alarm Monday to a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court's right-wing majority that could lead to the indefinite imprisonment and even execution of people who argue their lawyers didn't provide adequate representation after convictions in state court. Justice Sonia Sotomayor—joined by the other two liberals on the court—also blasted the majority opinion in Shinn v. Martinez Ramirez, writing in her scathing dissent that the decision is both 'perverse' and 'illogical.' The case involved two men, David Martinez Ramirez and Barry Lee Jones, who are on death row in Arizona. The majority determined that inmates can't present new evidence in federal court to support a claim that their post-conviction attorney in state court was ineffective, in violation of the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which affirms the right to 'the assistance of counsel' in criminal all prosecutions. 'A federal habeas court may not conduct an evidentiary hearing or otherwise consider evidence beyond the state court record based on ineffective assistance of state post-conviction counsel,' Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the majority, adding that 'serial relitigation of final convictions undermines the finality that 'is essential to both the retributive and deterrent functions of criminal law.'"
"The Supreme Court just made it much easier to bribe a member of Congress: A case brought by Ted Cruz is a huge boon to rich candidates and moneyed lobbyists. [...] The Court's decision in FEC v. Ted Cruz for Senate is a boon to wealthy candidates. It strikes down an anti-bribery law that limited the amount of money candidates could raise after an election in order to repay loans they made to their own campaign. Federal law permits candidates to loan money to their campaigns. In 2001, however, Congress prohibited campaigns from repaying more than $250,000 of these loans using funds raised after the election. They can repay as much as they want from campaign donations received before the election (although a federal regulation required them to do so 'within 20 days of the election'). The idea is that, if already-elected officials can solicit donations to repay what is effectively their own personal debt, lobbyists and others seeking to influence lawmakers can put money directly into the elected official's pocket — and campaign donations that personally enrich a lawmaker are particularly likely to lead to corrupt bargains. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) manufactured a case to try to overturn that $250,000 limit, and now, the Court has sided with him. Indeed, now that this limit on loan repayments has been struck down, lawmakers with sufficiently creative accountants may be able to use such loans to give themselves a steady income stream from campaign donors."
I suppose we can expect the current Supreme Court to endorse the Fifth Circuit's radical crackpot ruling that "Administrative Law Is Unconstitutional: Pretty awesome that two malfunctions by the Electoral College can give us Article III appellate judges who think that enforcement of the Code of Federal Regulations is unconstitutional." Or, as Mark Joseph Stern put it: "The 5th Circuit just dismantled the SEC's power to enforce securities law. This decision is beyond radical. It is nihilistic." Robert Kuttner notes: "Here's the broader point. If the Democratic Party had not gotten into bed with Wall Street under Carter, Clinton and Obama, Democrats might have remained the national majority party—and those far-right judges never would have been appointed. Back when the judiciary was more supportive of regulation, the SEC might have closed down private equity before it even gained a foothold by ruling that you can't take over a company using its own assets as collateral. Now, despite Biden's attempt to revive regulatory agencies with assertive public-minded appointees, good Democratic regulators will be hobbled by the sins of bad Democratic presidents that led to even worse Republican ones, and a legacy of reactionary courts."
It's almost funny that the US suddenly threatens to ease some sanctions on Venezuela. "U.S. ties easing of Venezuela sanctions to direct oil supply: HOUSTON/WASHINGTON, March 8 (Reuters) - U.S. officials have demanded Venezuela supply at least a portion of oil exports to the United States as part of any agreement to ease oil trading sanctions on the OPEC member nation, two people close to the matter said. U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday banned U.S. imports of Russian oil in retaliation for the invasion of Ukraine, ramping up economic pressure on a key Venezuelan ally."
It started off looking like a bad night...
"They Are Not Even Pretending Anymore: Democratic leaders are joining with oligarchs to try to permanently destroy the progressive movement. Republicans want a revolution, Democrats want to go to brunch — that's been a concise way to understand American politics, but 2022's primary season has made clear it is not exactly accurate. Democratic leaders don't just want avocado toast and mimosas — they want an outright counterrevolution. Only not against the GOP insurrection — against the Democratic rank and file, and in many cases for the politicians most hostile to the party's (purported) agenda. Last week, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) sounded an important alarm about all this, slamming billionaires and conservative advocacy groups blanketing the airwaves with television ads supporting corporate candidates in this week's pivotal Democratic congressional primaries. But the Vermont senator understated the situation. The perpetrators rigging these elections aren't just meddling oligarchs operating on their own. This call is coming from inside the Democratic house from party leaders, who are at minimum passively condoning the trend, and in many cases actively fueling it with endorsements and its machine."
But then a funny thing happened...
"Dem Voters Flip Off Party Leaders And Their Big Donors: Pennsylvania and Oregon election results show voters rejecting the demands of oligarchs and Democratic elites. If politics lately has seemed a bit like The Empire Strikes Back, then Tuesday night's stunning elections have offered an unexpected jolt of that Return of The Jedi feeling — at exactly the moment when progressives most needed a boost. Heading into pivotal congressional primaries in Pennsylvania and Oregon, Democratic elites and their corporate donors were likely feeling confident that their huge super PAC spending would successfully buy yet more primary victories for corporate-aligned candidates. Indeed, House Democratic leaders planned to spend Wednesday honoring the anniversary of the New Democrat Coalition, which is the official arm of the party's corporate faction. But those football-spiking celebrations now seem premature."
Ryan Grim had much the same story. "Democratic Voters Deliver Stinging Rebuke To Party's Manchin-Sinema Wing: Voters shrugged off an obscene amount of spending from super PACs to send a message to Democrats: Do something." Backed by Republicans and endorsed heavily by the Democratic leadership, those corporate Dems still managed to lose. Fancy that.
Alex Sammon told the same story in "Dem Voters Want Dem Pols Who Do Things: The Joe Manchin wing of the party lost big on Tuesday."
As I write, it's still a nail-biter down in Texas. "Henry Cuellar Is the Perfect Symbol of What's Wrong With the Democratic Party: The runoff with Jessica Cisneros remains too close to call. The actions of Steny Hoyer, Nancy Pelosi, and Jim Clyburn, on the other hand... How far does an incumbent Democrat have to go to lose the endorsement of their party's leadership? That's the question everyone should be asking as Henry Cuellar clings to his razor-thin margin in the Democratic primary runoff election in South Texas. Some things probably fly below the radar, like being the House's third-largest recipient of fossil fuel funding or obstructing his own party's legislative agenda. Does the FBI raiding a candidate's home as part of a probe into shady congressional ties to an autocratic petrostate cross the threshold into insupportability? It does not. If you thought being the House's only anti-abortion Democrat with a firm stance against making Roe v. Wade the law of the land—as the Supreme Court looks poised to strike it down—would be a bridge too far, you would also be wrong. What about allies of said candidate apparently spreading fake news? Wrong again. Having an A rating from the NRA amid a slew of mass shootings, including the slaughter of at least 19 fourth graders at an elementary school not far from his district on the actual day of the election? Incredibly, even that's not enough. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn stuck with Henry Cuellar through it all. As she bopped around cable news shows talking up the party's commitment to abortion rights in the past few weeks, Pelosi's voice could be heard on robocalls that went out to Laredo-area voters yesterday calling Congressman Cuellar a 'fighter for hardworking families' who has 'brought back millions of dollars.' Clyburn recorded one, too." Of course, he's an anti-union guy and the money he "brought back" didn't go into working people's pockets.
Your independent free press: "UK government secretly funded Reuters in 1960s, 1970s: The British government secretly funded Reuters in the 1960s and 1970s at the direction of an anti-Soviet propaganda organization with links to MI-6, according to unclassified documents unveiled Monday. The government used the BBC to conceal funding in making payments to the international news group. 'We are now in a position to conclude an agreement providing discreet Government support for Reuters services in the Middle East and Latin America,' reads a 1969 redacted secret British government document entitled 'Funding of Reuters by HMG,' or Her Majesty's Government"
"Shouldn't Hillary Clinton Be Banned From Twitter Now? Trial testimony reveals Hillary Clinton personally approved serious election misinformation. Is there an anti-Trump exception to content moderation? Last week, in the trial of former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann, prosecutor Andrew DeFilippis asked ex-campaign manager Robby Mook about the decision to share with a reporter a bogus story about Donald Trump and Russia's Alfa Bank. Mook answered by giving up his onetime boss. 'I discussed it with Hillary,' he said, describing his pitch to the candidate: 'Hey, you know, we have this, and we want to share it with a reporter… She agreed to that.' [...] The world has mostly moved on, since Russiagate was thirty or forty 'current things' ago, but the public prosecution of the collusion theory was a daily preoccupation of national media for years. A substantial portion of the population believed the accusations, and expected the story would end with Donald Trump in jail or at least indicted, scrolling for a thousand straight days in desperate expectation of the promised justice. Trump was bounced from Twitter for incitement, but Twitter has a policy against misinformation as well. It includes a prohibition against 'misleading' media that is 'likely to result in widespread confusion on public issues.' I'm not a fan of throwing people off Twitter, but how can knowingly launching thousands of bogus news stories across a period of years, leading millions of people to believe lies and expect news that never arrived, not qualify as causing 'widespread confusion on public issues'?"
I'll let Atrios say this for me, about "Deaths: I always try to emphasize that without Roe (or equivalent), women can't possibly get any appropriate medical care. I mean *any*. I'm a pro-choice extremist generally (meaning, I'm pro-choice), but I really don't think most people understand this. It isn't just about "abortion" as popularly conceived of, it's about any OB/Gyn-related care, and absolutely any care (procedures, treatments) that might, possibly, maybe, impact a zygote. Which is basically all treatment. Certainly criminalizing abortion (medical professionals and patients) unambiguously criminalizes miscarriages which, of course, criminalizes pregnancy!" There's more, but this is right and I'm surprised more people don't understand it.
MaxSpeak, You Listen! "Today in Economic Royalism [...] The disingenuous angle here is CR's failure to state forthrightly her preferred policy: austerity. If we can't fix supply, the only alternative is to claw back families' spending power. Hence we have a back-handed endorsement of the Fed's action to raise interest rates and reduce employment, notwithstanding the fact that there is no case that labor compensation or cash aid to households is behind the inflation spike. Look at it this way. Employment has yet to return to its pre-pandemic level, when there was no inflation to speak of. Why should lesser employment now be the cause of the inflation spike? In the same vein, as Dean Baker has pointed out, consumption spending has not grown more rapidly than its usual pace." And yes, the price-gouging is real.
"DCCC Chair And Rep. Mondaire Jones Flee Blue Districts, A Bright-Red Warning For Democrats: A court-ordered redistricting process nearly pitted Squad member Jamaal Bowman against progressive Jones, but Jones instead is targeting a new open seat in New York City. [...] Underneath the district shuffling and refuge seeking is a dire warning for Democrats: Maloney is the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. His entire job is to make sure that Democrats hold their narrow House majority or else the Biden legislative agenda will be completely dead. When the new lines were released, Maloney's district became one that Joe Biden had carried by 8 percentage points. Jumping into Jones's district gave him just an extra 2-point advantage. The DCCC chair signaling nervousness about his own district is less than confidence inspiring." This is being too kind to Maloney, though, since he was really after creating heat between progressives and getting one to knock the other out for him. Its part of the warfare by the right-wing Democrats against the more liberal wing.
This is a good video by Briahna Joy Gray pointing out that Democrats need to do better to fight Tucker Carlson's lies, because all they're doing now is freaking out and they aren't making their case.
Australia doesn't look ideal, either. For example, "A failure as shameful as robodebt leaves questions only a royal commission can examine: In December 2016, Channel nine's A Current Affair ran a quintessentially A Current Affair story about a welfare crackdown. After the throw from Tracy Grimshaw, Alan Tudge, then human services minister, appeared on screen with a startling message: 'We'll find you, we'll track you down and you will have to repay those debts and you may end up in prison.' This was the government pushback to what was becoming known as the 'robodebt' scandal, a mammoth Centrelink debt recovery system established by the Coalition government a year earlier. 'Whereas we used to have a manual process of checking people's income records on Centrelink with those on the taxation office's database, now we have an automated system, so we can do that very quickly, very rapidly and be able to capture more people,' Tudge said. Three years later, after what can only be described as the gaslighting of anyone who complained or raised the alarm, the government admitted to the federal court that the whole thing was unlawful. Putting it very crudely, the calculations that the government used to assert hundreds of thousands of welfare debts were wrong. It later settled a class action for $1.8bn, which included the owed interest on the debts unlawfully issued to 443,000 people, some of whom were the most vulnerable in the country."
"NSW police afforded new power to search convicted drug dealers without warrant: Drug dealers have been put on notice in NSW, with police given a new power to disrupt the lives of criminals 'every second of the day'." So, even if it's been years since you were busted for drugs, the cops can harass you continuously until they drive you out of your mind. Without a warrant.
In America, there is one bright spot. "Occupy Wall Street activists pay off student debt for nearly 500 Black women at HBCU: Suzanne Walsh, president of Bennett College, at first ignored the email that would lead to the cancellation of nearly 500 overdue bills at her college. After all, she thought at the time, "people just don't reach out and say we can help your students pay off their debts." But the Debt Collective, a union of debtors rallying against consumer debt, wasn't joking. After the initial conversation, the group arranged for the purchase of $1.7 million in unpaid student balances. Then they canceled it. Its elimination means students no longer have to pay off the debt and those who couldn't access their transcripts because of overdue bills now have access to their academic records and the ability to continue their educations. Braxton Brewington, a spokesman for the organization, said they chose Bennett College in North Carolina because Black women on average have higher student loan balances than any other group of borrowers. The debt cleared does not include federal student loans, only money owed directly to the school." If you have some change to spare, these people are worth it. (They do medical debt, too.)
It probably doesn't need to be emphasized that anything he does is bollocks, but "Dinesh D'Souza's new film drives the Big Lie: Here's the truth about 'ballot harvesting': Did libs steal the 2020 election through "ballot harvesting"? Saying no isn't enough to undo all the lies. The Republican "Big Lie" about voter fraud takes root in the fact-free soil of opposite world, where the Oscars are held at Mar-a-Lago and honor Dinesh D'Souza's "documentaries." Here in reality, D'Souza is a convicted felon, his films amount to a lucrative grift operation and should be filed under fantasy, and GOP claims of voter fraud actually seek to distract from their own extensive pattern of rule-rigging, lawlessness and brazen vote suppression. (As for D'Souza, he received a presidential pardon from Donald Trump.) D'Souza's latest work of wishcasting, "2000 Mules," which is much-watched on conservative platforms and can be streamed for the decidedly Trump-inflated price of $29.99, alleges, without merit, that shadowy gangs of liberal nonprofits stole the 2020 presidential election through an elaborate absentee-ballot collection scheme." Apparently D'Sousa thinks that letting someone else drop your ballot envelope into the mailbox or drop-box is the same thing as voting a dozen times. He doesn't want you to know that (a) the vast majority of occasions in which anyone has been caught voting fraudulently, it's been Republicans, and (b) the system weeds out improper ballots easily and no number of them dropped into drop-boxes translates into an elevated number of votes.
"Has Any Writers' Organization Treated A Writer As Badly As SFWA Treated Mercedes Lackey? It reads like a revenge plot: an old writer comes to one of the most important conventions in her field to be honored for her lifetime of work, and is publicly humiliated without the opportunity to clarify what she meant when she confuses two similar terms."
You know, looking at other versions of this picture, I didn't even notice the Triffids and Daleks.
The Chiffons, "He's So Fine"