Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Big Cases At The Supreme Court That You Haven’t Heard About

The Supreme Court heard this term’s final day of oral arguments on Wednesday, a day that included a truly ghoulish debate over how states can execute death row inmates. By the first days of July, the justices will depart for their summer vacations. In the weeks in between, they could gut much of the nation’s civil rights law. They could cast many states’ election law into chaos. They could inflame our relations in the Middle East. And they could sentence thousands of Americans to die preventable deaths every year.
Here are major cases the justices are expected to decide by the end of June:

Race Discrimination And Housing

Probably the most undercovered major case this term is Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, a case that could hobble the nation’s ability to combat housing discrimination.

Such discrimination is often very difficult to root out, which is why it persists in the housing sector. A study on behalf of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, for example, found that black and Asian homeseekers are shown or told about 15 to 19 percent fewer homes than whites who have similar credit or housing interests. Similarly, the Federal Reserve determined in 2009 that African Americans are twice as likely as white borrowers to be denied a home loan even when controlling for income and similar criteria. Yet discrimination persists in part because it is difficult to prove in court — banks typically do not produce smoking gun documents announcing that they prefer not to lend money to black people, for example.  READ MORE

Back by popular demand. Long post, but well worth it. The 14 Defining Characteristics of Fascism...If this isn't a wakeup call, nothing is.

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military - Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5. Rampant Sexism - The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

6. Controlled Mass Media - Sometimes the media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security - Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined - Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

9. Corporate Power is Protected - The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed - Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment - Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption - Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections - Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

___Dr. Lawrence Britt

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