The Good News, The Bad News

Two big stories of the day.

This morning, the chatter was all about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.  There lots of links to her article on Catholicism and criminal justice reform. Check out the commercial that got her the win.

And there’s the awful, awful news that Trump is going to get to nominate another Supreme Court Justice. Ugh. Do you really think that Roe v Wade is in jeopardy? I can’t imagine.

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18 thoughts on “The Good News, The Bad News

  1. It’s nice that the Ocasio-Cortez story is fun for New Yorkers – and I mean that sincerely – but this is a district that Crowley won with 82 percent of the vote in 2016. So yeah, progressive Democrats can win in seats that are 100 percent safe.

    Meanwhile, the Kennedy resignation means that the Supreme Court will almost certainly have a conservative majority for the next 25 years. Kids who are 15 years old today will be 40 by the time it’s even possible to change this. Women’s rights, gay rights, minority rights, including voting rights – all in danger. And the voting rights erosion will mean that it may be longer than 25 years. I’m in my 50s and it could be a factor for the rest of my lifetime.

    1. My guess is that they’ll be able to use the weakening of minority voting rights to undo most of the New Deal Era protections for labor and wealth transfer mechanisms. That’s clearly the goal of the people paying for all of this. I think the end result of that will be another Great Depression, but I may not live to see it.

  2. I do worry about voting rights and of course, abortion. Let’s remember that the judges have to actually decide to hear a case, so they have to find a good case to bring. It is true that there’s a block now, and there’s a shift rightward. but somehow I feel like you can’t undo gay marriage or its not as high a priority. maybe I’m imagining this and its a huge issue in non-blue states.

    This retirement is a big problem. Also lets face it: RGB could go at any time and Breyer wants to retire. I think by the time of the 2020 election, the court may have heard a case about abortion. The Republicans should actually hope it doesn’t happen that soon, because if they do overturn it that quickly, that could be a huge issue in that election.

    That said, I don’t think it will outlaw abortion. I just think it will hand it back to the states. Outlawing abortion will take congress…that’s why it is SO IMPORTANT TO VOTE. and we need to vote in every election.

    one thing I noticed is apparently only 15% of the electorate voted in the primary in NY that AOC won. OK, its a democratic primary, but it seems like it got a lot of attention. WHERE ARE 85% of the electorate?? They are not all in jail or working 20 hours a day. Polls are open in nyc from 6 am to 9 pm, right? What can we do to get people to vote? I really think that’s the only hope.

    It’s a very sad moment in our country. We have to fight back and listen to John Lewis. women and minorities and gay folks are going to bear the brunt of this.

    1. One of our very big problems is low turnout, and primaries tend to be far worse. The turnout tends to be from the nutball fringe of each party – this is part of why those elected tend to either further left than the median Dem or further right than the median Reep. And then they have a hard time playing well with others while in office.

      I am hopeful that ranked choice voting can make a positive difference in this, and am eager to see how it works in Maine. Seems to be effective in Calif city elections (Jean Quan, Breed-Leno race in SF). I voted with single transferable multi-winner elections in Cambridge Mass, and was impressed with how well it got pretty much all shades of opinion onto the city council.

    2. OK, its a democratic primary, but it seems like it got a lot of attention
      It didn’t, that’s how she won. He didn’t take it seriously at all, and she got votes knocking on doors. Almost no media coverage.

      I’m not in that district, but I’m literally walking distance from it, and I pay attention to politics in a disconnected kind of way, and I didn’t know about it at all until a day or two beforehand.

  3. Yes, I do think that Roe v. Wade is in jeopardy. I think it’s pretty silly to say that Griswold is in jeopardy, because I don’t know of any state where the legislature would want to outlaw contraception. Let us note that the states that people of think of as conservative are Protestant, and Protestants have no strong aversion to contraception.

    That said, the Court usually proceeds by chipping away at precedents, not overruling them. Expect to see more state restrictions on abortion upheld, until eventually only the only thing left of Roe v. Wade is the smile.

    1. Many who oppose abortion oppose a number of forms of contraception as “abortifacients”: https://www.nationalreview.com/2016/11/contraception-birth-control-abortion-abortifacients-ella-plan-b-iud-embryo-life/ While legislatures might not want to outlaw all forms of contraception, they might very well want to outlaw many of them.
      Here is this distinction working in practice: https://uhs.nd.edu/insurance-billing/insurance-faqs/faqs-regarding-contraceptive-coverage/

  4. I think Griswold is in jeopardy not for the contraception issue (as you rightfully point out – people are supportive of contraception), but because it established the right to privacy, which is the foundation for abortion and other things. I am a liberal, and I support access to contraception and abortion, but I am sympathetic to the argument that the courts overstepped their bounds in establishing a right to privacy in Griswold. If Griswold goes, then maybe what we need is an amendment to enshrine that right in our Constitution, so that it’s not subject to the whims of 5 people on the Supreme Court.

    1. The right to privacy hasn’t really been extended to anything non-sexual anyway. The Supreme Court has rather strongly declined to extend it to drug use, or assisted suicide, or other types of personal decisions. But I agree with you: there is a good likelihood that the Court, in chipping away at Roe v. Wade as I expect it to do, will drop various dicta suggesting that the right to privacy is a mistaken judicial invention without continuing vitality.

      1. y81 said,

        “The right to privacy hasn’t really been extended to anything non-sexual anyway. ”

        That’s a completely fair point.

        (Try to “privately” engage in large financial transactions, and see what happens once the IRS catches up with you.)

  5. The thing that I think has surprised me to the most is how little Congress has done to stop or even restrain corruption in Trump’s administration. Ross and Pruitt are both acting in ways that a normal Congress would have stopped regardless of party.

  6. Privacy? There’s a right? If there were, would companies like Exactis and Equifax be able to sell data about me (and everyone else?)

    https://www.wired.com/story/exactis-database-leak-340-million-records/

    Aside from the sheer breadth of the Exactis leak, it may be even more remarkable for its depth: Each record contains entries that go far beyond contact information and public records to include more than 400 variables on a vast range of specific characteristics: whether the person smokes, their religion, whether they have dogs or cats, and interests as varied as scuba diving and plus-size apparel. WIRED independently analyzed a sample of the data Troia shared and confirmed its authenticity, though in some cases the information is outdated or inaccurate.

    There are apparently many data firms out there.

    Small bits of data can paint a large picture: http://adage.com/article/privacy-and-regulation/aggregating-data-guard-privacy-vc-s/309068/

    We don’t have privacy. We may not be aware of it, but privacy left the building years ago.

  7. The right to privacy exists vis a vis the government. There is no right to privacy that applies to corporations. Just like the First Amendment – the government is prevented from suppressing your speech (in theory), but not corporations.

    1. California just passed a law that gives users the right to restrict data used by corporations. https://www.wsj.com/articles/businesses-blast-californias-new-data-privacy-law-1530442800

      The bill, which was introduced one week before it was passed and was largely sold as a way to rein in big tech firms, sweeps up a range of businesses. It requires them to offer consumers options to opt out of sharing personal information, and it gives Californians the right to prohibit the sale of their personal data.
      (…)
      One of the rights California consumers now get is the ability to ask data brokers: “Do you have data about me? Have you been selling it? And you can stop them from doing that,” Mr. Ryan said.

      It will be interesting to see if this stands up in court. As it is, due to Europe’s new privacy laws, I’ve received many email notifications from US companies about their new policies.

      Everything is so connected online, it seems it would be more difficult to have multiple competing privacy requirements, than to set a company’s default to the most restrictive requirements.

      At any rate, online, the line between private and government gets blurred. Some US government services use external identity services (private companies that supply data to confirm your identity.)

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