Opinion | The Hacking of America – – NYT

“That radio fulfilled this promise for as long as it did is the result of decisions made by Mr. Hoover, a Republican who believed that the government had a role to play in overseeing the airwaves by issuing licenses for frequencies to broadcasting companies and regulating their use. “The ether is a public medium,” he insisted, “and its use must be for the public benefit.” He pressed for passage of the Radio Act of 1927, one of the most consequential and underappreciated acts of Progressive reform — insisting that programmers had to answer to the public interest. That commitment was extended to television in 1949 when the Federal Communications Commission, the successor to the Federal Radio Commission, established the Fairness Doctrine, a standard for television news that required a “reasonably balanced presentation” of different political views.”

“. . . .   All of this history was forgotten or ignored by the people who wrote the rules of the internet and who peer out upon the world from their offices in Silicon Valley and boast of their disdain for the past. But the building of a new machinery of communications began even before the opening of the internet. In the 1980s, conservatives campaigned to end the Fairness Doctrine in favor of a public-interest-based rule for broadcasters, a market-based rule: If people liked it, broadcasters could broadcast it.

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan finally succeeded in repealing the Fairness Doctrine — and he also vetoed a congressional effort to block the repeal. The repeal, which relieved licensed broadcasters of a public-interest obligation to represent opposing points of view, made possible a new kind of partisan talk radio. In 1987, there were some 240 talk radio stations in the country; by 1992, there were 900. Partisan cable television followed, as the repeal led also to the rise of MSNBC and Fox News in 1996.”

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Opinion | A Progressive’s Guide to Reclaiming the Constitution – by Jerediah Purdy – NYT

“The centerpiece should be a constitutionalism of strong democracy. Fighting against the vote-suppression efforts of a Republican Party that dominates national politics despite being in the minority in presidential and Senate votes, Democrats are recognizing the extent of disenfranchisement — of former felons, incarcerated people, Puerto Rican citizens and those whose jobs and family responsibilities keep them from the polls on any given Tuesday.

In the mid-1960s, the Supreme Court announced a fundamental right to vote and established the one-person, one-vote rule. But as the court has grown more conservative direction, it has upheld voter-suppression laws, eroded the Voting Rights Act and, in a quietly momentous decision in 1974, held felon disenfranchisement constitutional.”

. . . .    “Progressives are winning important victories on these fronts by electing reformist prosecutors, but constitutional rulings can press change throughout the system, not just in sympathetic cities and states. The core work of the law is organizing and disciplining government’s coercive power, and whether that power reinforces racial and economic inequalities or helps to neutralize them is one of the most basic questions for a legal system.

Fourth is a constitutionalism that respects the rights of noncitizens. Spurred by President Trump’s nativism, a new wave of mobilization and solidarity with migrants has highlighted the extreme legal, economic and sexual vulnerability of millions of undocumented residents and workers.

The courts have long tolerated different treatment of foreigners than of United States citizens and authorized residents. But the family-separation crisis at the border has highlighted the American archipelago of lawlessness that asylum-seekers and unauthorized border-crossers face: little meaningful process, and opaque and seemingly arbitrary decisions with life-or-death consequences. The right to due process of law applies to everyone in the power of the United States government, not just citizens. A progressive jurisprudence would strike down policies like family separation and require a decent, intelligible and transparent process to decide on the rights of noncitizens. It would be more expensive than the present system, but legitimacy is not free.

It may seem like pointless fantasizing to plot progressive rulings when the right is tightening its grip on the courts. But these things change quickly: No one expected Mr. Trump to be appointing justices. And the demographic, generational and ideological changes that are reviving the left may well shape decades of politics.”

DL: Is this a prescription for prayer, or political activism, or visualization clarity. I guess all three.

“Jedediah Purdy is a professor of law at Duke and the author, most recently, of “After Nature: A Politics for the Anthropocene.” ”    I’d like to look at this book. The title makes no sense to me. There is no after nature, just after the garden of eden, we are headed for hell on earth.

Opinion | The Kavanaugh Hearings Are Over. Now What? – by Michael Tomaski – NYT

“But here’s the second and more important reason to give the red-state Democrats a pass here. This battle wasn’t lost last week, and it sure won’t be lost by these red-state Democrats if they vote to confirm. It was lost in 2016.

It was lost by the Democratic Party, the Hillary Clinton campaign, and the courts-oriented grass roots and public-interest groups that didn’t do nearly enough to explain to the Democratic rank and file in 2016 that a Clinton victory would mean a liberal court majority for the first time in 30 years.

I kept waiting and waiting that fall for Ms. Clinton to emphasize this point, or for other prominent figures to say, “Look. You’re not wild about Hillary Clinton? Fine. Are you wild about Roe v. Wade, same-sex marriage, protections for immigrant children, campaign finance contribution limits? Then you’d damn well better vote.”

It never happened. So that’s on them. But honestly, regular voters should have been mature enough to have figured this out on their own. They’re to blame, too.”

Opinion | Kavanaugh Will Kill the Constitution – by Paul Krugman – The New York Times

I have watched almost half of the Brett Kavanaugh hearings. He is a great salesman, and a terrific friend, and listener. But, I think he is too extreme to be on our Supreme Court. As usual, Paul Krugman sharpens my knowledge and analysis. He wrote:
“Remember, Kavanaugh cut his teeth working for the Starr investigation into Bill Clinton — a genuine witch hunt that consumed seven years and tens of millions of dollars without finding any evidence of wrongdoing. And he personally spent years obsessively pursuing crazy conspiracy theories about the suicide of Vince Foster.

Then he spent time working in the George W. Bush White House, which made torture a routine part of policy. In his 2006 confirmation hearing for an appellate court judgeship he declared that he played no role in those decisions. Was he telling the truth? The answer might lie in those thousands of pages of records the Trump administration is refusing to release.

Strange to say, however, he emerged from that experience as someone who believes that presidents can’t be subject to legal investigations.

Meanwhile, Kavanaugh accumulated a record as an appellate judge — one that places him far to the right on everything from the environment, to labor rights, to discrimination. His anti-labor views are especially extreme, even for a conservative.

So who is Brett Kavanaugh? If he looks like a right-wing apparatchik and quacks like a right-wing apparatchik, he’s almost surely a right-wing apparatchik. Which brings us to the coming constitutional crises.”

I was deeply moved by the testimony of three children on day three. One was shot at in Florida by an assault rifle. She pulled a dead student over her body for protection. Kananaugh ruled that assault rifles could not be banned. One was an asthmatic in Maine. Kavanaugh ruled multiple times to role back clean air regulations.

Opinion | Is Clarence Thomas the Supreme Court’s Future? – by Linda Greenhouse – NYT

A month ago, ThinkProgress published an essay by Ian Millhiser with the title “Clarence Thomas Is the Most Important Legal Thinker in America.” I did a double take. How could the estimable Mr. Millhiser sign his name to such an exaggerated claim? But his argument was not that Justice Thomas, who recently turned 70, is winning victories today, but that he is paving the way for victories down the road — and perhaps not all that far down the road. Observing that 20 percent of Trump-appointed appeals court judges are Justice Thomas’s former law clerks, Mr. Millhiser wrote, “Thomas lost the war for the present, but he is the future of legal conservatism.”So no, the court’s future is not already here, not yet. Those of us on the progressive side of the street are unlikely to look back on Justice Kennedy’s final term with nostalgia. But soon enough, we may decide that it was the best we’re going to see for a long time.Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook and Twitter (@NYTopinion), and sign up for the Opinion Today newsletter.Linda Greenhouse, the winner of the 1998 Pulitzer Prize, writes on alternate Thursdays about the Supreme Court and the law. She reported on the Supreme Court for The Times from 1978 to 2008, and is the author of several books.

Opinion | Trump’s Supreme Betrayal – Paul Krugman – NYT

“By now, it’s almost a commonplace to say that Trump has systematically betrayed the white working class voters who put him over the top. He ran as a populist; he’s governed as an orthodox Republican, with the only difference being the way he replaced racial dog-whistles with raw, upfront racism.

Many people have made this point with respect to the Trump tax cut, which is so useless to ordinary workers that Republican candidates are trying to avoid talking about it. The same can be said about health care, where Democrats are making Trump’s assault on the Affordable Care Act a major issue while Republicans try to change the subject.

But I think we should be seeing more attention devoted to the way Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court fits into this picture. The Times had a good editorial on Kavanaugh’s anti-worker agenda, but by and large the news analyses I’ve seen focus on his apparently expansive views of presidential authority and privilege.

I agree that these are important in the face of a lawless president with authoritarian instincts. But the business and labor issues shouldn’t be neglected. Kavanaugh is, to put it bluntly, an anti-worker radical, opposed to every effort to protect working families from fraud and mistreatment.”

David Lindsay: Yes, Bravo. Here is the top comment to enjoy.
Socrates
Downtown Verona. NJJuly 30
As far as a majority of Republican and Trump voters are concerned, the United States Supreme Court is for enshrining Christian Shariah Law, negating the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts and preserving the inalienable right of White Christian Male terrorists to randomly slaughter as many Americans as possible based on their individual mood swings.

The corporate and 1% raping of 99% of America doesn’t really register with these voters.

As long as Republicans wave the slightly veiled neo-Confederate flag of White Spite, these voters are perfectly comfortable with 350:1 CEO:worker pay ratios, the elimination of class action suits, mandated corporate arbitration, the destruction of union/worker rights, the fouling of the water, the air and the land, and the elimination of all common sense regulation that protects consumers, citizens and the non-rich.

Trump and the Grand Old Plantation party know exactly what they’re doing and they’ve been doing it very effectively since 1968 when they began their neo-Confederate Strategy.

The Republican Party is no friend of anyone except the richest Americans.

“If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.” Lyndon B. Johnson

Kavanaugh is for Corporate Shariah Law that reduces Republican voters to Grand Old Peasants.

D for democracy; R for right-wing, Randian radicalism.

Resist.

Reply783 Recommended

He Has Spent Three Decades in Prison. Now Experts Dispute the Evidence. – The New York Times

By Pamela Colloff
July 24, 2018

7 comments
“An influential state commission said the blood-spatter analysis used to convict a former Texas high school principal of murdering his wife in 1985 was “not accurate or scientifically supported” and the expert who testified was “entirely wrong.”

The findings of the Texas Forensic Science Commission, a national leader in forensic science reform, called into question the conviction of Joe Bryan, who has now spent more than 30 years in prison.

Mr. Bryan was the subject of a two-part investigation by ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine in May that questioned the accuracy of the bloodstain pattern analysis used to convict Mr. Bryan, as well as the training of the experts who testify in such cases.

The findings, which were released during a commission meeting Friday, give fresh urgency to the pleas of Mr. Bryan, now 77 and in poor health, for a new trial. Mr. Bryan had been attending a principals’ convention in Austin, 120 miles from where the murder occurred, in the days surrounding the murder. He has always maintained that he was in Austin, asleep in his hotel room, at the time of the crime.”

David Lindsay:
There is a stench in Denmark. Here is a comment I fully endorse:
Ken Smith
Charlotte12m ago
A valid DNA sample is available. A fact based determination can be made as to guilt or innocence. Why on earth does the DA not agree to test it. If one is sworn to seek justice and the truth….do the test.

Reply5 Recommended

Opinion | Ocasio-Cortez Isn’t Spelled C-r-o-w-l-e-y – NYT

“If Mr. Crowley means what he says, his presence on the November ballot is unlikely to have much of an impact since New York’s 14th Congressional District, which covers parts of Queens and the Bronx, is overwhelmingly Democratic. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez has also become extremely well known and popular. But the episode is a grating reminder of the brokenness of the state’s election laws.

New York makes it difficult to vote at nearly every turn. It is one of a minority of states in which there is no early voting, despite a broad push by good government groups and others. Residents must register to vote 25 days before every Election Day — that’s compared with seven days ahead in states like Connecticut and same-day voter registration in states like Colorado.

New York also requires voters who want to change parties to do so more than a year before an election. And it maintains a stockpile of outdated voting machines that have been known to break down, gumming up elections. In 2016, New York City’s Board of Elections wrongfully purged at least 117,000 Democratic voters from the rolls. Reforming the City Board of Elections requires changes to state law.

Jerry H. Goldfeder, a well-known election lawyer, said New York’s election laws are “extremely, uniquely peculiar.”

“They need a total revamping to make it easier for voters to understand, for candidates to run and to make sure the winners reflect the preferences of the voters,” Mr. Goldfeder said.

Fixing this will require action from the State Legislature and the governor. If Democrats win control of the State Senate this November, a unified state government should get it done.”

Advocates From Left and Right Ask Supreme Court to Revisit Immunity Defense – By Alan Feuer – NYT

By Alan Feuer
July 11, 2018

“An array of criminal justice advocates — civil libertarians, a law enforcement organization, even a group run by the industrialist Koch brothers — has joined forces to ask the Supreme Court to reconsider the contentious doctrine of qualified immunity, which permits the authorities to avoid being sued for misconduct even when they violate the law.

In a submission to the high court on Wednesday, the group of advocates cited the now-familiar litany of fatal shootings by police across the country and said that qualified immunity had time and again denied relief to the victims of abuse and had eroded trust in law enforcement officers.

“Official accountability is in crisis,” it said.

In recent years, a broad, bipartisan consensus on many criminal justice issues has started to emerge both in Washington and in many state capitals, but even so, Jay Schweikert, a lawyer for the Cato Institute who helped assemble the coalition behind the petition to the court, said he had never seen a brief as “ideologically diverse” as the one filed Wednesday. Its signatories included the American Civil Liberties Union, the Law Enforcement Action Partnership, the Second Amendment Foundation, and Americans for Prosperity, a political advocacy group run by the Koch brothers.

Twice since 2015, the Supreme Court has issued rulings widely expanding the scope of qualified immunity and paring back the public’s power to sue the police or other law enforcement officials for misconduct and abuse. The decisions have been criticized by criminal justice activists and, on rare occasions, by other judges. Last month, a federal judge in Brooklyn, Jack B. Weinstein, took an unusual swipe at the court’s recent rulings in an order he issued denying immunity to four New York police officers.”

Opinion | We May Be Able to Get Kevin Cooper Off Death Row – by Nicholas Kristof – NYT

“The horror began with a nighttime home invasion and the stabbings of a white family, and was compounded when sheriff’s deputies arrested and framed a black man for murder.

That’s my view, and now after 35 years the wheels of justice in California may finally be creaking into motion. I last wrote about the case two months ago, and there’s a hopeful development: Gov. Jerry Brown seems to be moving toward allowing advanced DNA testing that may correct a gross injustice abetted by the police, prosecutors, judges, politicians and journalists.”