Before the federal-state summit on Corona: the federal government wants the party border

In the afternoon, the Chancellor consults with the country chiefs. It’s about uniform rules – and the question of how much can be celebrated.

Since there are hardly any places to celebrate, young people are looking for alternatives on September 18 in Munich Foto: Sammy Minkoff/imago

BERLIN Reuters/afp | Due to the increased number of corona infections, the federal government advocates stricter rules for celebrations in private surroundings. Meetings in private rooms should be limited to a maximum of 25 participants, according to a federal resolution proposal for the summit with the countries on Tuesday, which the Reuters news agency received. The upper limit in public spaces should be a maximum of 50 people. Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) will consult with the heads of government from 2 p.m. In the round it should be about, among other things, which corona measures apply nationwide and which should be used regionally differently.

The past few weeks have shown that celebrations in family or friends could spread infections, according to the federal paper for the summit. All citizens should therefore critically weigh up whether, how and to what extent private celebrations are “necessary and justifiable with regard to the infection process”. Preferably these gatherings should be held outdoors.

The demands of the federal government are supported by the current situation report of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). On Saturday, the highest value since April was reached with 2,507 new corona infections. Corona cases occur particularly in connection with celebrations in family and friends, it said in the current status report of the RKI.

On Tuesday, the RKI announced that the health authorities in Germany had reported 2,089 new corona infections within the last 24 hours. Since the beginning of the corona crisis, at least 287,421 people in Germany have been proven to have been infected with the Sars-CoV-2 virus (data as of September 29, 00:00 a.m.). According to the RKI, the number of deaths in connection with a corona infection is 9,460. That is 11 more than the day before. Around 254,200 people survived the infection according to RKI estimates.

Söder insists on the “traffic light”

In order to fight the pandemic, the federal government is in favor of a regionally graduated approach. “In the event of a distributed regional outbreak and unclear chains of infection, general restrictions must be reintroduced consistently regionally.” Most recently, federal states with comparatively low corona infection numbers such as Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt viewed stricter measures – such as those in North Rhine-Westphalia or Bavaria – were critical .

Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) warned on Tuesday of increasing numbers of infections. He believes that these fears are correct, said Söder on Tuesday on Bavarian radio. “It will definitely not be an easy autumn and winter.”

Söder expressed himself in a similar way to Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday. Merkel had warned in the CDU presidium, according to party circles, of 19,200 new infections every day at Christmas if the development continued as it was before.

Söder demanded to act wisely. “If you act a little more cautiously now, you will have less damage and problems afterwards.” Before the deliberations of the Prime Minister’s Conference with Merkel on Tuesday afternoon, he again promoted a “Corona traffic light” that would result in restrictions when switching to yellow or red the affected counties. The nationwide uniform “Corona traffic light” is intended to trigger a mechanism for protective measures that is dependent on the number of infections.

Karliczek warns of problems in schools

City Council President Burkhard Jung (SPD) supported the Passauer Neue Presse on Tuesday the advance of Söder. “A traffic light creates initial orientation for people. That’s good, ”said the Mayor of Leipzig.

Like Söder, Jung also advocated linking the traffic lights with nationwide uniform corona rules. The federal and state governments would have to agree “what happens when the limit of 20, 30, 40 and 50 infections per 100,000 inhabitants is exceeded”. At the moment there is “still too much confusion”. A nationwide plan with certain measures for the respective infection numbers creates “acceptance without stirring up fear”.

Jung also called for the federal states to be given “freedom to make decisions”. The regulations on wearing masks in public places or on upper limits for private celebrations should be proportionate. Where there are hardly any infections, such restrictions would not be accepted, warned the president of the German Association of Cities.

Federal Minister of Education Anja Karliczek (CDU) warned before the federal-state conference that everything must be done to ensure that the regular school operation can continue. Karliczek told the editorial network Germany that the numbers of students in quarantine are still manageable. But it doesn’t have to stay that way. Karliczek argued, among other things, that students and teachers can be tested as quickly as possible in suspected corona cases. She hoped that the rapid tests “will soon be widely available,” said the minister.


Warning strikes in local public transport: Unfortunately, it has to be

Trade unions and climate activists are putting pressure on for better working conditions in local public transport. That’s a good thing.

First stay in the depot: Ruhrbahn trams in North Rhine-Westphalia Photo: dpa

If buses and trains don’t run because of a strike, that’s anything but nice. Well-functioning local public transport is extremely important for millions of people. If it doesn’t work, it becomes annoying or expensive when the taxi is inevitable. Not everyone can switch to a car or bike. But: Precisely because public transport is indispensable for many, the warning strikes by employees on this Tuesday are right and important.

Only if the employees in the local public transport have good working conditions is there an option to shift more traffic to buses and trains. Because someone has to keep things running and drive the vehicles, even at night and on weekends.

The average age of the workforce is high, and many employees will be retiring in the coming years. The need for personnel is great in order to maintain the status quo. If the offer is to be expanded, it is huge – and can only be covered with good working conditions and better pay.

This is clear to the activists of Fridays for Future and a number of environmental and youth associations who have expressed their solidarity with the warning strikers. Your support is important to the workers and their union. Apart from the fact that the activists are absolutely right with their request that local public transport must be strengthened for climate reasons. You also make a big contribution to ensuring that the mood does not turn against the strikers. Because there are many passengers and observers who have no understanding at all for a warning strike in Corona times.

Justified claim

Only: In view of the persistent public employers, the employees have no other choice than to do everything in their power to defend their interests. The corona crisis creates facts at many points. If the people in public transport don’t want to be checked off too quickly with their concerns, they have to do something now.

The displeasure of abandoned passengers should be directed against the public employers instead of the strikers. They are not even ready to talk about a nationwide harmonization of vacation days, for example. Verdi wants to begin gradually standardizing the working conditions for employees. That is a legitimate claim.

Because it is not understandable that some have 26 days vacation and the other 30 days. Or that a bus driver in Brandenburg has a starting salary of just under 2,100 euros, but in Baden-Württemberg it is almost 3,000 euros. As long as the public employers refrain from even talking about possible nationwide standardization, there must be further pressure. That climate activists and trade unionists build this together is the right way.


Search for a repository: Bavaria doesn’t want any garbage

The Federal Agency for Final Storage finds several regions in Germany to be suitable for nuclear waste storage. But Bavaria is already fighting.

Not here! Nobody wants to store nuclear waste with them Photo: Thomas Trutschel / photothek / imago

Markus Söder does not rumble. Despite all the skepticism with which the CSU boss reacts to the interim report on the search for a repository, he is reluctant when he and his Environment Minister Thorsten Glauber appear before the press on Monday. There is “no total blockade” and one does not duck away either. “What we just want is fairness,” says Söder. The motto should not be: “Preferably everything to Bavaria, they have benefited from nuclear energy once.” All of Germany ultimately benefited from it.

Eight million Bavarians are affected. Even urban areas are included in the selection. The Prime Minister’s greatest point of criticism: If you want to discuss this on such a broad scale, the question remains why Gorleben is being excluded from the outset. After all, it is the best-explored location.

According to the report, more than half of the area of ​​Germany should be suitable for the final storage of nuclear waste. Gorleben, which until recently had been designated as the site for final disposal, was excluded.

In Lower Saxony the reactions fluctuate between amazement, triumph and worry. “Gorleben was the symbol for a nuclear policy that worked out existential decisions without specialist expertise in the back room,” said Prime Minister Stephan Weil. He congratulated the resistance movement and rejected – without naming a name – the criticism from Bavaria: “The prerequisite for the success of this selection process is that everyone obeys the rules and no country thinks it could steal out of this discussion.”

Both the BUND and “Ausgestrante” and the Citizens’ Initiative Environmental Protection Lüchow-Dannenberg e. V. find that there is still a lack of transparency and real say. “We don’t trust the BGE,” explained Andreas Riekeberg from the Asse II coordination group. He speaks of a “participation farce”. The Lower Saxony Greens also partly support the criticism: “Gorleben must not repeat itself,” demands state chairwoman Anne Kurau. Several areas in Lower Saxony are still in the running. Including a clay deposit near Gorleben, only the salt dome is out.


Final storage of nuclear waste: 194,157 possible square kilometers

Over half of Germany is geologically suitable as a location for a nuclear waste repository. The selection should be negotiated transparently.

Where is the journey going in the future? Castor transport in Dannenberg, November 2011 Photo: Anemel / imago

At least the taz is lucky: the ground under Berlin’s Friedrichstrasse is not suitable for safely storing German nuclear waste for a million years. This emerges from a map that the Federal Association for Final Storage (BGE) published on Monday in its long-awaited “Interim Report Sub-Areas”. Anyone who wants to can see on the interactive overview whether their region could possibly become the location of the German nuclear repository.

At least 194,157 square kilometers, 54 percent of the area of ​​Germany, come into question. These 90 “sub-areas” now form “the starting point for further work in the location selection process”, according to the BGE. From now on, a site for a nuclear repository for 10,500 tons of highly radioactive waste should be seriously sought on these areas – and possibly a second storage facility for around 300,000 cubic meters of medium and low-level waste from the Asse mine. Gorleben, which has previously been designated as a repository, is not listed under the suitable locations.

The areas with sufficient formations of clay, salt or crystalline, which the BGE defined after a three-year data analysis, extend over large parts of northern, southern and eastern Germany (see map). So there is enough space underground, “Germany is blessed with all host rocks,” said BGE managing director Steffen Kanitz.

A large underground mine is to be built, at least 300 meters and no more than 1,500 meters below the surface. The “host rock” must be at least 100 meters thick. From 2050 onwards, the hot, dangerous and highly radiating waste that was previously in interim storage facilities at the nuclear power plants will be disposed of there. How, when and in which containers the final disposal should take place is still unclear.

The report names the various advantages and disadvantages of the rock types: There are 12 suitable areas in the clay with a total area of ​​131,000 square kilometers. The rock hardly lets gases, liquids and radiating particles through – but loses this barrier function when it is very hot. A clay repository would have an underground area of ​​10 square kilometers.

Huge blue bins in a hall, next to it (about a third as high as the bins) is a person in a smock)

They have to be stored permanently: Castor containers in the interim storage facility of the Brunsbüttel nuclear power plant in 2016 Photo: Maria Feck / laif

In salt, a mine would be only 3 square kilometers, there are 162 suitable locations on 36,000 square kilometers. (The locations can overlap.) The advantage: Salt is impervious to water and gases, dissipates heat well and can close cracks in the rock itself. Disadvantage: Ingress of water would be a problem that radioactive particles can escape. And crystalline, including granite, is solid, well protected against water and heat – but it has problems with jagged structures.

For the assessment, the BGE first eliminated regions that are unsuitable because of mining, volcanism or young groundwater. In the second step, the regions that did not meet the minimum requirements such as depth, extent and rock thickness were screened out. And in a third step, “geological assessment criteria” were taken into account, such as the reaction of the rock to the heat from the storage containers and the long-term stability of the rock.

With the report of the BGE, the search for a repository begins in earnest. In mid-October, the report is to be debated at a “specialist conference” in Kassel and then at three further conferences with the public. Later on, the BGE will decide which areas on the surface are to be investigated more closely. Then at least two areas should also be explored underground. According to the “Location Selection Act”, the Bundestag and Bundesrat should decide on a location in 2031. According to this, the repository should be ready by 2050 – however, many experts expect delays along the way.

Only bad solutions

Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) praised the process and stated that “the prerequisites for the safest possible repository are met”. Greenpeace nuclear expert Heinz Smital contradicted this. When it comes to the storage of nuclear waste, there are no good solutions, “only bad and even worse” solutions, and the process will remain difficult and conflict-prone. Jochen Stay from the anti-nuclear initiative “broadcast” criticized it in a similar way. Instead of real involvement of the people affected, there is only a “pseudo-participation”. “The BGE decides for itself whether it wants to take the objections to its own results seriously or not,” he said. In addition, Stay criticizes the fact that the criteria by which the remaining locations are measured in the further process are not weighted. “This means that there is a risk that in the end it will not be the location that is most suitable, but the one that has the smallest power in the Bundestag,” said Stay.

For an orderly procedure, the federal government needed more effort, demanded the “national monitoring committee” (NBG), which should accompany the search for a repository and make it transparent. There is a lack of money so that the NBG can solve its tasks and “close a transparency gap”.


Comments from AfDler: Impoverished from the right

EX-AfD spokesman Christian Lüth stands out again: with fascist sayings and violent fantasies. The group is now giving notice without notice.

Reporter Thilo Mischke did research for Pro Sieben on the right margin Photo: Pro Sieben

BERLIN taz | For years, anyone who observed the AfD journalistically could not get past one man: Christian Lüth, first press spokesman for the radical right-wing party, then its parliamentary group. Lüth, who quickly had a reputation among journalists for not being particularly reliable, often radiated something semi-silky – there was a lot of alcohol involved, as well as boastfully smoked, fat cigars, short messages at inappropriate times and lewd sayings.

In the AfD, however, Lüth always managed to take the side of those who won the party within the party. In particular, he got on well with Alexander Gauland, who had long been the power factor in the party and parliamentary group. Where Christian Lüth, who came from the FDP to the AfD, stood politically in the spectrum of his party, however, often remained unclear.

A documentary entitled “German, Right, Radical”, which is due to run on ProSieben on Monday evening, could now contribute new insights. It shows a conversation that a “high-ranking AfD functionary” had with the right-wing Youtuber Lisa Licentia in February in a bar in Berlin-Mitte, ProSieben filmed it secretly. “The worse Germany is doing, the better for the AfD,” says the party official.

Portrait man

Christian Lüth at a press conference of the AfD in 2018 Photo: Reiner Zensen

ProSieben does not mention his name. The time but has revealed that it is Lüth, then still press spokesman for the parliamentary group. Information from the taz confirms this. “There is no reason to research the time to doubt, ”says ProSieben filmmaker Thilo Mischke of the taz. Which can be seen as confirmation.

Right impoverishment theory

Accordingly, Lüth spreads a kind of right-wing impoverishment theory: The AfD must ensure that the Federal Republic is worse off, because the party benefits from it. “That’s why we have to come up with a tactic between: How bad can it be for Germany? And: How much can we provoke? ”Finally, violent fantasies come into play. When asked whether it would be in his interest that more migrants come, Lüth replied: “Yes. Because then the AfD is better. We can still shoot them all afterwards. That’s not an issue at all. Or gas, or whatever you want. I do not care!”

Is Lüth saying what he really thinks in a conversation with someone who appears to be like-minded? Does he want to impress a young, right-wing woman with fascist sayings? Or is it both? Lüth’s motivation remains unclear. However, it is not the first time that he has made such statements.

Most recently, Lüth described himself as a “fascist” in a Whatsapp chat with a young woman and praised his “Aryan” descent – with reference to his alleged grandfather, a naval officer who was a submarine commander in World War II and an iron man Cross was awarded. However, it became known shortly afterwards that Lüth is not so closely related to this man, whom he is said to have raved about elsewhere: the officer was probably only Lüth’s great-uncle.

This whole affair cost Lüth his post as spokesman for the AfD parliamentary group in April. But the AfD had not kicked him out so far: Lüth was on leave, a new use was sought. You couldn’t let such a long-serving man plunge into nothing, you heard so far when you asked the parliamentary group for reasons. But that no longer applies. The faction board unanimously decided on Monday to terminate Lüth. At the same time, numerous MPs had submitted a similar urgent motion for the afternoon session. However, the decision of the parliamentary group’s executive committee is sufficient for a termination.

Lüth was controversial in the parliamentary group from the start; some of the MPs did not want to make him their spokesman. Cocky, unsound, not reliable – those were the estimates back then. But Gauland prevailed in the end. He had worked as a party spokesman for the AfD since 2013, before that he worked for two FDP members of the Bundestag and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation in Honduras. There he was already noticed by problematic statements, showed understanding for the coup in the Central American country and judged that a “return to the rule of law and the constitution” was now possible.


Nomination for the Supreme Court: The Quiet Revolution

Amy Coney Barrett is not an isolated case: In the almost four years of his tenure, Trump has permanently reshaped US law.

Protests in the Supreme Court against Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination Foto: reuters/James Lawler Duggan

Yes, Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court is disturbing. Donald Trump’s proposal aims to radicalize the US Supreme Court conservatively. With her Christian fundamentalist views, Barrett makes it all the more painful to feel the void the death of the feminist icon Ruth Bader-Ginsburg has left. But Barrett’s nomination is only one small, if prominent, piece in a large puzzle.

When Barrett says that the wording of the US Constitution (from 1787 and in spirit) outweighs the decisions the Supreme Court has passed since then, that could mean the overturning of landmark judgments. The desegregation of 1954 is not, according to all reason, one of them. But the constitutionality of abortion, enshrined in the legendary Roe vs. Wade from 1973, should be up for discussion with a constitutional judge Barrett.

Same-sex marriage, judgments against discrimination based on gender or skin color will not be sacrosanct for Barrett, at least not if you measure them against their previous statements. Not to mention Obama Care, the first general health insurance for all Americans.

Amy Coney Barrett is the third Trump nomination for the Supreme Court and her name is now known worldwide. But who are Roderick Young or Cory Wilson known? Young is the 161st federal district court judge to be appointed by Trump. Wilson is number 53 on the list of judges in one of the 13 federal appeals courts. There are also two judges at the Federal Court for International Trade. More than 30 further legal confirmations from Trump are still pending in the US Senate. And the Republican-dominated Senate still has time to approve more judges, including Amy Coney Barrett.

Beyond his Twitter rage, beyond his lies and beyond the subtle threat of not leaving the White House voluntarily, Trump has calmly, radically and sustainably reshaped the judiciary in the USA in the almost four years of his tenure. On February 1, 2017, as one of his first acts, Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to succeed the deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia; later followed by Brett Kavanaugh.

Of the roughly 800 federal judgeships across the country, 218 have now been appointed by Trump. For the most part, like Amy Barrett, they are often young, dynamic, reactionary federal judges. You speak right for life – well beyond Trump’s term in office. This is the real tragedy of the conservative revolution in US legal policy.


Violence in the end of the terrain: In the headlock of the security guards

Thousands protest in the Rhenish lignite mining area. Police forces injured several coal opponents during occupation.

Activist: Inside the Orange Fingers march on a dirt road towards Kreyenberg Photo: dpa

KEYENBERG taz | With applause from the surrounding residents, 150 people with golden mouth and nose masks left the “Keyenberger Hof” on Sunday morning. It is the last “demo finger” from Ende Terrain who is still on the road in the Rhenish lignite mining district this morning.

The activists had been occupying the old inn since Saturday noon. They had left the camp near Keyenberg past police chains and a cavalry squadron, crossed a forest and a stream and reached the empty inn.

A total of 3,000 coal opponents responded to the call from Endegebiet to the Rhineland this year to block fossil fuel infrastructure and demand an immediate coal stop.

Last year 6,000 came. For the climate justice movement, the mobilization is still a success. All other climate camps and mass actions of civil disobedience fell victim to the pandemic this year.

Largest coal mine in Europe

Keyenberg, Lützerath and four neighboring villages are likely to fall victim to RWE. Despite the sealed phase-out of coal in 2038, the electricity producer plans to continue expanding the Garzweiler opencast mine. The largest coal mine in Europe has devoured over a dozen villages in the past few decades. Anyone who drives through the lignite area comes through ghost villages and has to take detours because roads no longer exist.

With the occupation of the inn in Keyenberg, Endegebiet wants to focus this year on the demolition of the villages. The contacts between climate activists and local residents are close. In June they occupied a street together. On Saturday afternoon, Yvonne Kremers brings cake to the occupied inn on a tray. Kremers has lived in Keyenberg for 18 years and is involved in “All Villages Remain”.

She wears a yellow coat – yellow is the color of the resistance of the villages. And they haven’t given up on that yet. Kremers does not want to speak of the “main enemy” when it comes to RWE. But nobody gets electricity from the energy company here. “Moving away is out of the question for me,” says Kremers, who runs a riding school in town. “But the fact that RWE is gradually buying all the houses and businesses here makes village life very sad.”

The narrow streets of Keyenberg reflect this impression. In the windows of the brick houses the shutters are half or all down, many buildings are empty. On some window sills there are flower pots with yellow pansies or chrysanthemums. “RWE is trying specifically to destroy social places and to split the village community,” says the end of the terrain spokeswoman Ronja Weil.

RWE has bought the inn

At the end of 2019, RWE bought the inn, stopped serving and took away the last bar from the Keyenbergers. “This place symbolizes how life is to be destroyed here,” says Weil. That is why he was revived today.

Squatting is a new form of action in the repertoire of climate activists. “It was important for us to ask the question of ownership,” says Ende site spokeswoman Paula Eisner. “All over the world, villages are being destroyed in order to secure the profits of the corporations.” This, and Keyenberg, Lützerath and the other villages, shows the injustice of capitalist economic activity.

In order to allow the campaign weekend to take place despite Corona, Endegebiet has put an enormous amount of organizational effort into it. Instead of one big camp, there were 9 small ones, and the 14 demo fingers were correspondingly smaller. It’s easier for the police to stop small groups.

Nevertheless, several fingers made it into the Garzweiler mine, the Weisweiler coal-fired power plant and the Lausward gas-fired power plant on Saturday. Until late in the evening, activists kept getting onto the tracks, to the demolished edges of opencast mines and onto a gas pipeline.

In contrast to the blockades that sometimes lasted all night, the police usually cleared the activists within a few hours. In Garzweiler, activists and press representatives had a violent encounter with 30 security employees of the energy company. The men ran up to the intruders, kicked them between the legs and shouted “Camera off!”

A works security officer tore a journalist to the ground and put him in a headlock. Another they threatened to cut the tape of his camera with a knife. RWE spokesman Matthias Beigel says: “Nobody has the right to get in here, not even the press.” It’s about security – including that of the press. To what extent the violence and the obstacle to reporting should contribute to the security of the press, he did not explain.

Activists and parliamentary observers used video to document cases of disproportionate police violence on Twitter. The “colored finger”, in which physically handicapped people walk, was attacked with police dogs without a muzzle. The “green finger” was beaten by police officers on the train – on the videos you can see officers hitting people lying on the ground.

Two journalists were injured in an eight-hour police cauldron. The officers had sprayed pepper spray on the demonstrators from horseback. A horse shied away, the photographer and the reporter almost fell under their hooves. The reporter was apparently hit – she came to the hospital with a double broken rib.


Election of judges at the Federal Constitutional Court: more cooperation, less conflict

The Federal Constitutional Court is not as competitive as the US Supreme Court. In addition, the terms of office are not as epochal.

The mood at the Federal Constitutional Court is somewhat more pleasant Photo: Uli Deck / dpa

In Germany, too, there are occasional discussions about the election of judges for the Federal Constitutional Court. But as a rule they do not concern the general public as much as the successor to the late judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the USA is now.

The importance of the dishes is similar. The Federal Constitutional Court has the last word on many politically controversial issues, because it measures laws against the constitution, which we call the Basic Law. The US Supreme Court is – in addition to its role as the highest specialized court – a kind of constitutional court. He too can control the legislature.

However, the Federal Constitutional Court is always balanced. Half of the judges are elected in the Bundestag and half in the Bundesrat with a two-thirds majority. That means that the big blocs (CDU / CSU, SPD and increasingly also the Greens) have to come to an agreement. This means that more moderate lawyers are chosen who are also acceptable for the other camp.

Rare event with long-term effects

In the USA, on the other hand, the president nominates the judges according to his own taste, who then have to be confirmed by the Senate (equivalent to the German Bundesrat). If the president belongs to the same party as the majority in the Senate, he can successively appoint several judges with the same basic convictions, thus significantly shifting the direction of the court. It used to be even more difficult, but since 2017 a 60 percent majority is no longer required in the Senate. The simple majority that the Republicans currently hold is sufficient.

Since there are only nine judges on the Supreme Court and they are elected for life, judge elections are also a relatively rare event with a very long-term effect. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, for example, was in office for 27 years. In contrast, eight judges each work in the two senates of the Federal Constitutional Court, a total of 16. That is also long, but not so epoch-making.

Cooperative style

The electoral process also corresponds to a more cooperative working style at the Federal Constitutional Court. There it is usually possible to pass judgments unanimously or with a large majority, while at the Supreme Court votes are now more often based on party preferences. Therefore the reputation of the Supreme Court is not (anymore) as high as that of the Karlsruhe judges.


Trump’s candidate for the Supreme Court: an ultra-conservative Catholic

Donald Trump nominates Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. She rejects Obama’s health care reform and abortions.

Sent into the race: Donald Trump and Amy Coney Barrett in the White House on Saturday Photo: Alex Brandon / ap

NEW YORK taz | Donald Trump has fulfilled the wildest dreams of his supporters. On Saturday he nominated Amy Coney Barrett as his candidate for the Supreme Court. The president called the judge “a woman of remarkable intellect and character” and “one of the most gifted legal minds in our nation.” He also thought it appropriate to extol her as a “deeply devoted mother.”

If the Republican majority in the Senate confirms Barrett – what it looks like – the court will get a solid, conservative majority of six to three for the first time in decades. That is enough to overturn or undermine numerous reforms: from the rights of women, immigrants and minorities to social benefits and the Obamacare health care reform. At the same time, it will anchor the highest legal authority in the country, on whose table all contested political projects will eventually end up, well beyond the next presidency. Because the office is for life and Barrett is only 48.

Trump was in a hurry to fill the position vacated by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The 87-year-old died on Friday of the previous week after a long illness. According to information from her family, she had recently dictated a last will to her granddaughter Clara Spera: “My greatest wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is in office.”

But Trump already promised in his first election campaign in 2016 that he would fill the courts with conservatives who are critical of “Roe versus Wade”. The 1973 landmark ruling gave women in the United States the right to have an abortion. For fundamentalist evangelicals, whose votes Trump needs in November, the abolition – or at least hollowing out – of “Roe versus Wade” is an obsession. With Barrett, Trump could announce the success of the legal crusade that the Republicans in Washington have been preparing for decades. In the past four years he has changed the judicial landscape with the nomination of more than 200 federal judges – including two for the highest court. Regardless of upcoming elections, these judges can determine the direction the country will take in the future. Trump’s judges are young (average age at the nomination: 48 years), the majority white (85 percent) and right-wing.

With the Barrett nomination in the rose garden of the White House, the US president tried to achieve a certain non-partisan gesture. But just a few minutes later, in a communiqué, he described his move with the same words that he also used in the election campaign. In this Barrett is “crucial to make America great again”.

From the other end of the spectrum

As the successor to the left-liberal “RBG”, Barrett would benefit from the fact that the deceased paved the way for women to the top of power. But politically and legally it comes from the extreme other end of the spectrum. Law professor and current appellate judge Barrett is a member of the same conservative Federalist Society as the five conservative men who are already on the Supreme Court. The members of this group claim that they interpret the constitution as it is supposed to have been meant at the end of the 18th century. Barrett calls herself a “textualist” and an “originalist”. The self-determination of women over their bodies, equal rights for homosexuals and the protection of the right to vote for African-Americans did not occur in the minds of the founding fathers. When they wrote their constitution, women had no say in politics and black men and women were slaves.

The Catholic Barrett belongs to the arch-conservative group of charismatic Christians “People of Praise”. And is also one of the lawyers in the anti-abortion group “Faculty for Life”. Freedom of religion is more important to her than the protection of special rights.

After the death of the seriously ill Bader Ginsburg, the Democratic Party asked the Senate to wait until the next president took office before nominating a successor. The Democrats reminded the Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell that he himself refused to even hear Obama’s candidate to succeed the late Judge Antonin Scalia in the 2016 election year. McConnell argued at the time that the Supreme Court could not be replaced so close to the elections. Scalia died eight months before the 2016 elections, Bader Ginsburg just six weeks before the upcoming elections.

To McConnell and almost all other Republicans, positioning the Supreme Court to the right is more important than the slogan that they themselves issued years ago. Currently, only two Republican Senators are considering not voting on the Supreme Court before the election. Even without these two, Republicans have enough votes to confirm Trump’s judge.

Democrats lack a strategy

The Democratic Party, which a few days ago was optimistic about the upcoming elections, has had its back to the wall since the death of “RBG”. The party does not yet have a political strategy to prevent Barrett’s confirmation in the Senate. Your presidential candidate Joe Biden only appeals to the “conscience” of the Republican Senators. Other democrats are threatening to increase the number of members of the supreme court in the future (a step that is controversial in democratic ranks).

Left groups and civil rights organizations warn that Barrett’s affirmation jeopardizes many rights and makes overdue reform projects a seemingly unreachable distance. With a solid conservative majority in the court, the financial influence of corporations over politicians will grow, if no support for environmental and climate policy is to be expected, the gun lobby can prepare for long-term support from the very top and will become outdated institutions from the early years of USA originated – like the Electoral College, which elects the US President – will remain untouched.

The Republicans in the Senate want to start the Barrett hearings on October 12th and confirm them a few days before the November 3rd elections. If it works, she could have a say in Obama’s most important reform project, health care reform, just a week after the elections. In the year of the pandemic, which has already cost more than 200,000 lives in the US, it could cost millions of people health insurance. And if the result of the presidential election is challenged in court – which can be assumed – Barrett, as judge, would also have a say in the decision of the next president of the USA.

Despite their opposition to Barrett, the Democrats must adopt a more cautious tone towards her than they did when Trump was last nominated for the Supreme Court. Unlike Brett Kavanaugh, who was not a good exponent of his own cause in the face of rape allegations, Barrett has a winning demeanor. With this, and with cleverly chosen answers and omissions, the lawyer already impressed in 2017 when she was nominated to an appeals court.

On Saturday, she came to the ceremony with her husband and seven children – including two adopted children from Haiti. The only faux pas: The youngest child, who has Down syndrome, did not come on stage for the final group photo with the president and his wife.


Actions by Ende Ende in the Rhineland: At dawn to the blockade

Despite Corona, Endegebiet is again blocking the lignite mine in the Rhineland this weekend. RWE employees act aggressively.

Activists of the orange finger from Ende Terrain at the action in Garzweiler on September 26th Photo: David Young / dpa

GARZWEILER taz | “That doesn’t help,” the policeman says to his colleague, “retreat!” There are only two of them, he gets back into the police car, slams the door and they drive away. The 200 people in the white painters’ suits can continue their way undisturbed on the small country road in the dark. Your destination: Garzweiler, the largest open-cast coal mine in Europe, a good 30 kilometers southwest of Düsseldorf.

From the camps, which this year are small and decentralized in the Rhenish lignite mining area due to the corona hygiene measures, several demonstration trains set off on Saturday morning, September 26, well before sunrise. As in every autumn or late summer since 2015, the climate activists from Endegebiet have again called for actions of massive civil disobedience in the Rhineland this year.

Around 3,000 activists are there – half as many as last year, but still many in view of the corona pandemic and the cold rainy weather. About half of them use the darkness in the early morning hours and leave between four and six in the morning. As has already been tried and tested in the end of the terrain campaigns, the activists have divided themselves into “demo fingers” of 200 people named after colors.

With sunrise and the closer the demo trains get to the coal mine and power plants, the balance of power between police officers and activists changes. The blue-purple finger, which had come unnoticed by train from the camp to the Frimmersdorf train station, is accompanied on the Landstrasse from seven o’clock by a helmeted hundred. A few minutes later, however, the breakthrough came at a fork in the road: Around a hundred activists ran past the officers into a field, scrambled through a ditch, ran across wet grass and bushes towards the coal mine. The officers fail to stop them. A good hundred people slide down the steep embankment into the coal mine.

At the bottom they are stopped by a police chain and around 30 security employees from the coal company RWE. RWE employees in the orange safety vests also attack press representatives aggressively. They pull a journalist to the ground and put him in a headlock. They try to take away the cell phone from others, press them, run after them and try to kick them between the legs.

“We have house rights here and you turn off the camera immediately,” one of them shouts. In some places the police intervened. RWE spokesman Matthias Beigel says: “Nobody has the right to penetrate here, not even the press.” It’s about security.

Successful blockades, but also police violence

The activists from the blue-purple finger of Ende Terrain are finally surrounded by the police and cannot get any closer to the lignite excavators, but they have achieved one goal: The excavators are at a standstill.

At ten o’clock in the morning the alliance at the end of the terrain reports various other successes. Another finger has reached the Weisweiler coal-fired power station, another at the Lausward gas-fired power station. The fact that the activists are also targeting gas infrastructure is new: natural gas is presented far too often in public discourse as a climate-friendly alternative to coal – a “dirty lie”, says the alliance’s spokeswoman Kim Solievna. “It’s insane to invest billions in natural gas, pipelines and fracking ports instead of renewable energies. We’re here to expose natural gas as a climate killer. ”During the extraction, storage and transport of fossil fuels, a lot of climate-hostile methane is released into the atmosphere.

In addition to reports of success, activists also report police violence. In Cologne-Ehrenfeld, helmeted police officers with batons got on a train and hit the activists.

Another demonstration, the golden finger, tries to break out of Camp Keyenberg around noon on Saturday. Most of the activists, however, are quickly pushed back into the camp by the police, including mounted officers. There is an arrest and the finger cannot start for the time being. The village of Keyenberg is one of the six villages that are about to fall victim to the expanding open pit.

A total of 14 fingers should be on the move in the Rhenish lignite mining area at this end of the terrain campaign weekend. Many of the activists are equipped with sleeping bags, sleeping mats and tins. You are preparing to spend the night on rails or in open-cast mines.