• The Supreme Court of the United States has blocked a lower court’s order requiring the state of Texas to redraw state and congressional districts. The Western District court had ruled that the districts had been gerrymandered — set up deliberately with the intent of discounting the votes of nonwhite citizens in Texas. The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 partisan decision, said, you know, whatever — racial gerrymandering to disenfranchise black and Hispanic voters is totally cool with them. Hey, after all, that’s how those five justices got appointed and approved in the first place, right?
This is just the latest in the ongoing, unbroken string of weird coincidence. As in the disgraceful Shelby County ruling gutting the Voting Rights Act, and in Citizens United, and in every other such decision, it always just happens to turn out that it’s the “pro-life” justices who decide against voting rights for nonwhite citizens and who seek to strike down any limits on corporate power.
It’s just the darnedest thing. After all, these justices were all appointed thanks to a generation of politicized white evangelicals who have insisted that it is their sacred Christian duty to ensure the judiciary is stacked with anti-abortion judges. Yet every one of the judges appointed and supported by this anti-abortion effort has been — unwaveringly — opposed to full and equal voting rights for nonwhite American citizens while also fighting to restore the no-holds-barred unregulated corporatism of the Lochner-era court of the Gilded Age.
Just a weird coincidence, I guess. Just one of those things. I mean — it’s not like the white evangelical political movement that replaced what had formerly been an evangelical religious movement is deliberately trying to deny full equality to nonwhite Americans, right? And just because every result of the religious right has been a boon to corporate power doesn’t mean that this was its agenda all along. Shelby County and Citizens United were just unfortunate, unintended side effects, right?
“We demand judges who will criminalize abortion!”
“How about judges who will demolish voting rights and overturn all limits on corporate power?”
How long does that pattern have to continue before we’re allowed to talk about what it obviously, undeniably means?
• I do not care for our credit overlords — the unelected, unaccountable “credit rating” agencies that play an increasingly large role in all of our lives, jacking up the cost of living for low-income people in every arena. The global crash should have put them all out of business thanks to the terrific job they did “rating credit” before the subprime meltdown.
Much of their business model seems indistinguishable from a protection racket — “Nice credit ya got there, buddy. Shame if anything happened to it.” When your business model involves selling subscriptions to allow people to check for errors in your work, then your business model requires lots of errors in your work. Particularly when you’ve made the grudging correction of such errors yet another revenue stream. Their profession, in other words, involves them not being very good at their job.
And they’re not very good at their job. (See, again, 2008.) Equifax just managed to expose personal data on some 143 million Americans. What kind of data? Everything — names, addresses, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, you name it. After initially trying to charge $30 per person to freeze credit records for those affected — potentially “earning” hundreds of millions from the breach — Equifax has reluctantly agreed to bear some of the cost for its own screw-up. Maybe.
Bonus: Three executives from Equifax may have dumped their company stock after learning of the breach but possibly before that news became public.
As Kevin Drum says, “It’s Time to Regulate the Hell Out of Credit Reporting Agencies”:
The credit reporting agencies have gotten away forever with treating consumers like bothersome children: screwing up their credit records, ruining their lives, making it deliberately difficult and expensive to lock accounts, and making money off the whole thing by offering “insurance” against problems that they themselves cause. Someone in Congress who allegedly cares about ordinary working folks should introduce a bill to regulate the hell out of these folks. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it’s hard to think of any industry that more richly deserves it.
The Equifax data breach created a slew of articles informing us all of what we can do if we’re one of the half of Americans whose data has been exposed. Those articles all follow the accurate-but-still-absurd premise that we’re all, individually, responsible for this — that it’s our job to protect our financial history from credit-rating agencies, and that an ID thief defrauding a creditor is somehow actually stealing from us.
Any article about “What You Can Do After the Equifax Breach” that doesn’t start with torches and pitchforks is missing the point.
• How about another nice little something from Susan Tedeschi? I’m a big fan of this one, written by Tom Hambridge (playing drums here). It seems both loose and as formal as a sonnet.