Friday, May 21, 2010

"Ayn" Rand Paul Opines on BP and Massey Mining: Too Regulated

After his self-inflicted wound, declaring opposition to Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, “Ayn” Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican nominee for the Senate, tried to walk back his remarks by saying he would have voted for the Act. This is a new position. Stoking the fire, Dr. Paul confirmed his extremism with more sophistry, characterizing the explosions in the Massey Mine and BP rig as “accidents happen” even though preliminary reports point to negligence, probably willful and criminal in each instance, coupled with the devastating failure of a lax regulatory regime to prevent corporations from placing profits above appropriate worker safety protocols. He would oppose any increase in the minimum wage based on the groundless right wing talking point that it’s a job killer. Keep digging, Dr. Paul:

The common thread among these corporate CEOs and their champion, Dr. Paul, is (1) corporations know best and can self-regulate; and (2) regulators are the enemy to be kept at arm's length, bought off at the source (MMS), and in Congress, with campaign contributions to ease regulatory burdens. Deep pockets transnationals will push back with threats and dilatory tactics, including endless appeals (Massey) and lawsuits to lock in limited liability (Transocean). These operators and their proxies -- Dr. Paul, James Inhofe, Mary Landrieu, and Lisa Murkowski among them -- are so brash they believe any calamity can be overcome with enough money flowing through Congress, high-powered lawyers, and public relations.

They may be right.

Dr. Rand Paul (Opthalmologist), insistently pressed by Rachel Maddow, still refused to say whether he would have voted for the Civil Rights Act. Instead he clung to the life preserver that he never said he would repeal the law. Pure semantics. One can reasonably infer from what Dr. Paul says that, given the opportunity, he would repeal Title II of the Civil Rights Act. Opponents of laws repeal specific provisions, if they have the votes, without actually repealing an entire law. Amendments give and they taketh away.

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So, the correct question is: If Dr. Paul has no problem with 9 out of 10 sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, what does he propose to do with Title II, the section he is on record as firmly opposing? If given the opportunity, would Dr. Paul vote to repeal Title II of the Civil Rights Act -- Yes or No? (See below, with relevant sections emphasized.) It prohibits discrimination in a place of public accomodation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin. Interestingly, Dr. Paul celebrated his primary victory in a private club. That’s his right. It’s also their right to discriminate against persons on the basis of sex, color, religion, national origin, party affiliation, attire, whatever. Section 2000a(e) provides that:
The provisions of this title shall not apply to a private club or other establishment not in fact open to the public
But not for private commercial establishments serving the public. It's pretty clear and unambiguous:

42 U.S.C. §2000a

(a) All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.

42 U.S.C. §2000a(b)

(b) Each of the following establishments is a place of public accommodation within this title if its operations affect commerce, or if discrimination or segregation by it is supported by State action:

(1) any inn, hotel, motel, or other establishment which provides lodging to transient guests, other than an establishment located within a building which contains not more than five rooms for rent or hire and which is actually occupied by the proprietor of such establishment as his residence.

(2) any restaurant, cafeteria, lunchroom, lunch counter, soda fountain, or other facility principally engaged in selling food for consumption on the premises, including, but not limited to, any such facility located on the premises of any retail establishment, or any gasoline station;

(3) any motion picture house, theater, concert hall, sports arena, stadium or other place of exhibition or entertainment; and

(4) any establishment (A)(i) which is physically located within the premises of any establishment otherwise covered by this subsection, or (ii) within the premises of which is physically located any such covered establishment and (B) which holds itself out as serving patrons of any such covered establishment.

42 U.S.C. § 2000a(c)

(c) The operations of an establishment affect commerce within the meaning of this title if ... For purposes of this section, “commerce” means travel, trade, traffic, commerce, transportation, or communication among the several States, or between the District of Columbia and any State, or between any foreign country or any territory or possession and any state or the District of Columbia, or between points in the same State but through any other State or the District of Columbia or a foreign country.

42 U.S.C. § 2000a(e)

The provisions of this title shall not apply to a private club or other establishment not in fact open to the public, except to the extent that the facilities of such establishment are made available to the customers or patrons of an establishment within the scope of subsection (b).

42 U.S.C. § 2000a-6(a)

Whenever the Attorney General has reasonable cause to believe that any person or group of persons is engaged in a pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of any of the rights granted by this title, and that the pattern or practice is of such a nature and is intended to deny the full exercise of the rights herein described, the Attorney General may bring a civil action in the appropriate district court of the United States by filing with it a complaint (1) signed by him (or in his absence the Acting Attorney General), (2) setting forth facts pertaining to such pattern or practice, and (3) requesting such preventive relief, including an application for a permanent or temporary injunction, restraining order or other order against the person or persons responsible for such pattern or practice, as he deems necessary to insure the full enjoyment of the rights herein described.

42 U.S.C. § 2000a-6(b)

* * *
It shall be the duty of the judge designated pursuant to this section to assign the case for hearing at the earliest practicable date and to cause the case to be in every way expedited.
Owners of private establishments that serve the public cannot discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, or national origin. Title II makes reference to “a place of public accommodation within this title if its operations affect commerce, or if discrimination or segregation by it is supported by State action,” meaning that the federal government’s constitutional authority to enforce civil rights against private and state-backed discrimination is grounded in the commerce clause of the Constitution:

Article I, Section 8, Clause 3:
“[The Congress shall have power] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes;”

This is settled law. It's not an abstraction, as Dr. Paul has tried to insinuate, or a college pow-wow at 2 a.m. in the morning, as dismissed by Senator John Kyl of Arizona. Thousands of racial discrimination lawsuits are filed annually. One of the more notorious involved Denny's restaurant denying or refusing to serve African American patrons. Under Dr. Paul’s worldview, this would be perfectly acceptable. But it’s not. The vast majority of the American people are repulsed by such discrimination and find such parsing views abhorrent. We have moved on, Dr. Paul. And so should you. Either voluntarily, or rejected by the electorate at the polls.

[Update: Citing “exhaustion” “Ayn” Rand Paul has cancelled his appearance with David Gregory on Meet the Press. To quote a fellow libertarian radio host for Dr. Paul, “take a pill and lie down.” Rachel, don't feel bad, no long-winded apologias on your show ... but you might want to stay out of Gregory’s way for a couple of days. Rachel, you’re eeeevil!]

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