June 21, 2022

Posted by orrinj at 6:53 PM


What Is Juneteenth to All Americans? (Tarnell Brown, June 19, 2022, AIER)

During the post-Civil War Reconstruction Era, in the wake of the Thirteenth Amendment, African-Americans were allowed to vote, own property, seek office, use public accommodations, and otherwise enjoy the privileges of fully enfranchised citizens. Unless one was an indigenous native, (and, to a large degree, a woman) this was the closest the nation had gotten to honoring the proposition that all men are created equal. Yet, when Reconstruction ended, many individual states, especially in the South, became fearful of political and economic gains made by former slaves and their kin, and passed restrictive laws such as the Jim Crow statutes that reduced Blacks to second-class citizens at best. Once again, the promise of equality to all was broken, and that is why Juneteenth matters.

It is not necessary to give here a full history of the African-American experience between June 19, 1865 and the present. Most of us know it, or enough of it to understand many of the things that still divide us. Recently, I had the privilege of reviewing an excellent book by Rachel Ferguson and Marcus Witcher, Black Liberation Through the Marketplace. One of the points they made is that the history of Blacks in America is so vastly different from that of the majority, that it is nearly impossible to fit us within the nation's political culture. I agree with that assessment, and yet we are all Americans. I have relatives still alive who tell stories of living under the glare of segregation. And while the Civil Rights Act of 1964 put an end to de jure segregation in the United States, de facto segregation remained. 

For instance, public schools were not integrated in my birth state of Florida until 1970. I was born a scant five years later. I have cousins a decade or so older who remember the first time they entered a classroom with new classmates who did not look like them. This is why Juneteenth matters. It is taken as given among classical liberal thinkers that while we may differ in talent, ability and motivation, all of us are born inherently possessed of certain natural rights which should be protected in equal measure for all. Of course I agree with this, but historically, America has not. It was only in 1967 that Loving v. Virginia afforded the right for couples of mixed races to marry without government interference. The very right to love whom one wished to was proscribed until only 55 years ago, which is eight years longer than I have been alive. This is why Juneteenth matters.

Even now, African-Americans are roughly seven times more likely to be approached by police on suspicion of crime, six times more likely to be arrested, and seven times more likely to be convicted. Some may wish to quibble bias at this, and there are certainly arguments to be had over the role of personal choice vs public policy, but that is for another time and place. What is relevant here is that the cost of this is not borne by the African-American community, as the Institute for Advancing Justice Research and Innovation estimates that the carceral state imposes an aggregate burden on taxpayers of over $1 trillion per year. Once again, this is why Juneteenth matters, and not just to me and my fellow African-Americans.

America is a promise, one that has yet to be met. As July 4 commemorates the initiation of that promise, Juneteenth commemorates the work yet to be done, reminding us all that there are still miles to go before we sleep. 

Posted by orrinj at 5:40 PM



"If a State cannot offer subsidies to its citizens without being required to fund religious exercise, any State that values its historic antiestablishment interests more than this Court does will have to curtail the support it offers to its citizens." 

The State may not discriminate on the basis of religion when it provides money.  And it is precisely universality that guards against Establishment.  

Posted by orrinj at 12:12 PM


Supreme Court rules Maine violated Constitution by excluding religious schools in aid program (Oriana Gonzalez, 6/21/22, Axios)

In the court's opinion, Roberts called attention to a 2020 case where the court ruled that states must allow religious schools to participate in programs that give scholarships to students attending private schools.

"'A State need not subsidize private education,' we concluded, '[b]ut once a State decides to do so, it cannot disqualify some private schools solely because they are religious,'" Roberts wrote, quoting from the 2020 opinion on the case, Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue.

So long as any and every religious school can participate there is--by definition--no Establishment. 

Posted by orrinj at 12:10 PM


France's top court blocks wearing of 'burkini' in Grenoble swimming pools (The Local, 21 June 2022)

Tuesday's court decision - which concerned only the burkini and not the topless ruling or the rules on men's swim shorts -  was "a victory for the law against separatism, for secularism and beyond that, for the whole republic," Interior Minister GĂ©rald Darmanin wrote on Twitter, referring to a law introduced last year to counter Islamist radicalism.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Israel's government collapses, setting up 5th election in 3 years (Patrick Kingsley and Isabel Kershner, 6/21/22,  New York Times)

The final straw was the government's inability last week to muster enough votes to extend a two-tier legal system in the West Bank, which has differentiated between Israeli settlers and Palestinians since Israel occupied the territory in 1967.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Donald Trump plotted fake electors scheme, January 6 panel set to show (Hugo Lowell,  20 Jun 2022, The Guardiuan)

If the 2020 election cycle had been like any other when the electoral college convened on 14 December 2020 and Democratic electors attested to Biden's victory over Trump, that would have marked the end of any post-election period conflict.

But that year, after the authorized Democratic electors met at statehouses to formally name Biden as president, in seven battleground states, illegitimate Republican electors arrived too, saying they had come to instead name Trump as president.

The Trump electors were turned away. However, they nonetheless proceeded to sign fake election certificates that declared they were the "duly elected and qualified" electors certifying Trump as the winner of the presidential election in their state.

The fake electors scheme was conceived in an effort to create "dueling" slates of electors that Pence could use to pretend the election was in doubt and refuse to formalize Biden's win at the congressional certification on 6 January.

And, the select committee will show, the fake election certificates were in part manufactured by the Trump White House, and that the entire fake electors scheme was coordinated by Trump and his top advisers, including former chief of staff Mark Meadows.

"We will show evidence of the president's involvement in this scheme," congressman Adam Schiff, the select committee member leading the hearing alongside the panel's chairman, Bennie Thompson, and vice-chair, Liz Cheney, said on CNN on Sunday.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Kean goes deep green with budget that links climate action with future prosperity (Michael Mazengarb 21 June 2022, Renew Economy)

Kean handed down his first state government budget on Tuesday, and again provided a stark contrast between the Liberal state government and the federal Coalition, showing it understands how cutting emissions and supporting low emissions industries can deliver economic windfalls.

The centrepiece of the NSW's budget commitments for the energy sector is the previously announced $1.2 billion in funding to accelerate the construction of new transmission infrastructure to support the creation of the State's Renewable Energy Zones.

"We are on track to reduce our emissions by 50 per cent by 2030, on 2005 levels, and to achieve net zero emissions by 2050," Kean said.

"These commitments are not just about avoiding more record bushfires, droughts and floods, but also about underwriting our prosperity as our trading partners go to the green goods of the future."

In a world where labor and energy costs are headed to zero, it's impossible to overstate deflationary pressures.