Friday, May 05, 2017

On Star Wars Day, The Empire struck back

May the Fourth was with somebody but not those of us with pre-existing conditions.

After US House Republicans finally -- barely -- repealed Obamacare, they celebrated with a beer bust.  Hope they got a cut rate on their Bud Lite.  Maybe Keystone Light would have been cheaper, added a little more to the symbolism?

It's not over; the Senate (to hear them tell it) is basically planning on ripping the House bill up and starting over.  That might be good news, it might be bullshit.  Don't mistake Lindsey Graham for the last of the Jedi, despite his skepticism.

“Any bill that has been posted less than 24 hours, going to be debated three or four hours, not scored? Needs to be viewed with suspicion.”

Bernie Sanders thanked Trump for supporting Medicare for All -- something Texas Congressman and still lone 2018 US Senate candidate Beto O'Rouke has yet to express publicly, despite his recent fundraising emails declaring healthcare is a human right -- and promised to quote President Cheetolini on the floor of the upper chamber as the AHCA gets its sausage repacked into something perhaps more edible.

In Austin, The Empire struck back a day early, passing Arizona-style "papers please" legislation (SB4, the anti-sanctuary bill) despite the copious tears of internet sensation Gene Wu and others.  The most cogent analysis came from RG Ratcliffe at Burkablog, who stated simply that the Lone Star business lobby, unable to focus on more than one battle at a time, caved on immigrants rights in exchange for fighting what we still hope will be a winning one on the bathroom bill.

I don't agree, by the way, that the Texas House did the same.  Joe Straus telegraphed anti-sanctuary legislation early in this session,  and the electoral facts are that no Republican who voted against SB4 could be reasonably expected to withstand a primary challenge from his or her right in 2018, and that would produce a Balkanized lower chamber in 2019 looking much like a Senate led by Lav Lord Patrick, which is to say some more conservative Speaker than Straus.  This acknowledges another political reality: Texas Democrats will continue to lose just as hard as always.

There's a long court battle ahead (and it will begin right away) on immigrants rights, and Texas may come out less favorably at the end of it than did Arizona given the Fifth Circuit and Justice Gorsuch and all, but at least there's some precedent that gives hope.   Don't count on any help from Sith Apprentice Sessions at the DOJ.

The good news out of the Lege this week is limited: you probably won't have to get your car inspected any longer, and you might get to smoke a little weed if the doctor says you're sick enough.

So the Resistance/Rebellion needs more heroes, maybe younglings stepping up next year.  Enjoy your Cinco de Mayo anyway, parade or happy hour or no.

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