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Don’t mess with Texas | ticker VIEWS

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They say “don’t mess with Texas”, but how about when Texas is messing with the U.S?

The two most potent threats to two of the most important constitutional rights – a woman’s right to choose whether or not to bear a child, and the rights of all citizens to vote – are coming from Texas. 

What’s happening in Texas is on the brink of sweeping across the country.

Both issues are at the heart of the political culture of the Democratic Party and its supporters

The right to choose and the right to vote are bedrock beliefs to Democratic voters and Democrats elected to Congress.  They also have wide appeal to independent swing voters, especially in America’s suburbs.  

And both issues are hitting a brick wall in the United States Senate.

The constitutional right to an abortion was established by the Supreme Court in Roe v Wade in 1973. 

The Court held in Roe and subsequent cases that a woman has a right to terminate a pregnancy without undue burdens imposed by the state until the fetus is viable, which is generally placed at 24-28 weeks.

The right to vote without discrimination on the basis of race, colour or previous servitude was enshrined after the Civil War, and further protected by landmark voting rights legislation in the 1960s.

Over the past fortnight, Texas has taken double-barrel aim at both

On abortion, the new Texas law forbids abortions when cardiac activity is detected, which medical experts say is at about 6 weeks of pregnancy, with no exception for pregnancy resulting from rape or incest. 

It also provides, in enforcement of the abortion ban, that any citizen, anywhere in the United States, can sue any abortion provider in Texas, or anyone who assists or facilitates provision of an illegal abortion.  (And a bonus: if your anti-abortion lawsuit is successful, you are awarded a bounty of $10,000.)

It is this Texas law that the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision last week – reflecting Trump’s success in ensuring a solid anti-abortion majority on the court — refused to set aside by issuing an emergency stay to provide orderly argument in the lower courts on whether this new law is constitutional under Roe.

As a result, this law is now in effect in Texas.

Women needing an abortion will have to go to another state where it is legal – if they can.

On voting rights, the Texas legislature joined 14 other US states that have already enacted 30 bills this year to restrict voting further. 

It severely limits absentee voting, and places severe impediments on early voting and mail-in voting. 

The genesis of all this legislation is Trump’s call for the states to prevent the “stealing” of his election – which did not happen – from ever “happening” again. 

The key tactic is to make it harder than ever for poorer, less educated, less affluent voters, and especially voters of colour, from casting their votes

Trump won Texas handily last November, but that clean win wasn’t good enough for Texas Republicans to future proof Texas against dramatically changing demographics. 

Texas is a majority-minority state, with the white population at 40 per cent.

Trump won 52 per cent of the vote in Texas last year, and Republicans hold 55 per cent of the state legislature’s assembly seats and 63 per cent of their US House of Representatives congressional delegation.

No matter: time to protect Republicans even more in a state where they are politically dominant

What’s happening in Texas – the rawest exercise of radical conservatism – may well stick for much of the country. 

The highest institutions of government in the United States are on the verge of failing to protect these fundamental constitutional rights:

  • The Supreme Court will hear and rule on a Mississippi law – which has been stayed pending this case being heard – that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. This case will decide the fate of much of the new Texas statute. The five justices who refused to temporarily halt the extreme Texas law must be seen as likely to overturn Roe and allow states to be ever more restrictive on abortion.  14 states with Republican legislatures and governors have already enacted new abortion restrictions and Florida is poised to join them.  This will mean that the 35% of American women who live in these states will not have the same access to abortion as other American women.
  • Congress will not be able to resolve these issues.  On abortion, House Speaker Pelosi has announced the House will vote on legislation to codify Roe and make access to abortion available on equal terms across the country. While this is politically popular – polling regularly shows that over 60% of the country supports legal access to abortion – there are no Republicans in the House who will vote for abortion.  Similarly, the House has passed massive voting rights legislation, but the Senate’s filibuster, which requires a supermajority of 60 votes to pass it – or 10 Republicans to cross the floor – killed it.  The same fate awaits any abortion rights bill that passes the House.

These are severe outcomes, with no easy remedy. 

Texans are fond of saying, “Don’t mess with Texas.” But Texas is messing with America’s democracy and plunging the country into a political and constitutional crisis. 

World

President Joe Biden surveys catastrophic damage left by Hurricane Ian

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Many homes and businesses lay in ruins amid debris in southwestern Florida

On Wednesday, U.S. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill visited Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian making a direct hit to the state last week.

As many homes and businesses lay in ruins amid debris, the President promised to use the power of the federal government to help the community rebuild throughout the sunshine state.

The President comforted residents alongside Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis—a possible competitor in 2024— as well as joining GOP members of Congress for a tour of some of the hardest hit areas in southwestern Florida.

However, both men agreed to put politics aside for now, instead focusing on helping the community.

Speaking in Fort Meyers, which took the brunt of Ian, Biden said, “Today we have one job and only one job, and that’s to make sure the people in Florida get everything they need to fully, thoroughly recover.”

Hurricane Ian is considered one of the post powerful storms to ever hit the United States.

So far, officials have confirmed that at least 84 people died, including 75 in Florida.

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands are still wait for power to be restored.

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World

North Korea’s five biggest missiles

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North Korea has flown a missile over Japan for the first time in five years

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris did not mince her words when she paid a visit to the demilitarised zone last week.

“In the North, we see a brutal dictatorship, rampant human rights violations and an unlawful weapons program that threatens peace and stability,” she said.

North Korea’s latest missile launch is the latest in a string of tests following Harris’ visit.

U.S. President Joe Biden spoke with Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida following Tuesday’s long-range missile. The pair condemned the test in the “strongest terms,” as they described it as a danger to the Japanese people.

Associate Professor Tilman Ruff from the University of Melbourne believes the threat of nuclear war has increased.

“This is clearly the time of greatest danger of nuclear war since the at least the Cuban missile crisis.”

North Korea has carried out over 30 missile tests this year, as authorities brace themselves for bigger weapon, which could reach the U.S. east coast.

in response to Tuesday’s test, South Korea and the U.S. fired a string of missiles into the East Sea.

5. The Musudan

The Musudan, or the Hwasong-10 is a medium-range ballistic missile, which has an estimated range of more than 4,000km.

The missile was first tested in October 2016 and is believed to be capable of reaching South Korea and Japan.

4. The KN-08

The KN-08 is a long-range ballistic missile, which boasts an estimated range of more than 6,000km.

While North Korea had two unsuccessful tests of this weapon in 2016, it was successfully tested in 2017.

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un inspects his weaponry.

3. The Pukguksong-2

The Pukguksong-2 is a medium-range ballistic missile, which has an estimated range of more than 2,000km.

This is a land-based variant of the Pukguksong-1 weapon, which is submarine-launched.

The missile was first tested in February of 2017 and is believed to be capable of reaching South Korea and Japan.

2. The Hwasong-14

The Hwasong-14 is North Korea’s first intercontinental ballistic missile. It is also one of their most powerful missiles, with an estimated range of more than 8,000km.

The missile was first tested in July 2017 and is believed to be capable of reaching New York.

1. The Hwasong-12

The latest missile test over Japanese territory is understood to be an intermediate-range Hwasong-12.

This ballistic missile has an estimated range of more than 4,500km, and is believed to be capable of reaching the U.S. territory of Guam in the Pacific.

The long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12.

North Korea’s missile tests have risen under the rule of its current leader, Kim Jong-Un. In fact, there have been more test launches this year, than in the previous decade alone.

“If anybody thought that the risk of nuclear war went away with the end of the Cold War, then these current concerns should put an end to any such complacency.”

Associate Professor Tilman Ruff, the University of Melbourne

There are also a range of other weapons in the North Korean inventory, including a nuclear bomb, which is believed to be six times bigger than what the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.

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Business

Rolls Royce CEO slams aviation for failing on climate targets

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Aviation needs to act on net-zero targets, that’s according to the CEO of Rolls Royce

Warren East says the sector needs to move towards bio-fuels like hydrogen and electric aircraft.

Travellers can even look forward to flying on planes that has a gas turbine that’s burning hydrogen.

Speaking at a conference in London, East says transitional technology is the answer that plane-makers are searching for.

Some companies are already looking at sustainable fuels that can offer 80 per cent off carbon emissions across their lifetime.

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