Equal Justice Under the Law

UPDATED BELOW:

That’s the inscription on the front of the Supreme Court building.  No, seriously.  The part right beneath it where it says “But Some Are More Equal Than Others” may as well be chiseled in now, under a no-bid contract  by Halliburton.  The court, whose rampantly corporatist wing wouldn’t even exist without its heretofore most ridiculous decision, Bush v. Gore, went ahead and cemented the fascist gains of that revolting and audacious overreach yesterday, providing the money shot for the typically graphic right-wing porno movie we’ve been forced to watch ever since.  Now, certain fictitious “people,” who are just the same as you and me except for the fact that they never die, can never be imprisoned, rake in billions every quarter, and can loot the federal treasury at will, have finally been rescued from their oppressed position in society, unlike, say, lesbian Moms who would like to marry.  Anatole France, who spoke of the “equal” rights of the poor and rich to sleep outside and beg for bread, must be fairly astonished.  The rich he was talking about could at least, in a pinch, be beheaded.  Not so JPMorgan Chase and Exxon.

I remember my annoyance, but certainly not surprise, at the coverage of the Roberts and Alito confirmations, when the media reliably threw up a smokescreen over the proceedings by dwelling on debates about abortion and the Nuclear Option, with their always feigned credulity about what Bush was really up to.  All of them, of course, are but the gaudy creations of undeserved constitutional favoritism and the absurd extensions thereof enacted by the right-wing politicians they so cravenly fawned over, and one could hardly expect them to think, when they are so handsomely paid not to.  But Roberts’ record as a corporate lawyer was rife with arguments in favor of corporate personhood, and revealingly bereft of any of the irrelevant and non-remunerative culture war garbage that the Republicans have pointed at for years as they systematically looted the treasury and silenced normal Americans.  Everyone knew that controversial and scary 5-4 decisions would fall like rain as soon as these Opus Dei lunatics were sworn in, but the media carefully avoided telling anybody what kind they would be.

Well, now we know.  Kiss my ass, Operation Rescue, it’s drill, baby drill.   It’s astonishing, really, but not when you know any of them, that the cultural right ever fell for such a flagrant bait and switch.  They’ve been deceived and duped for so long that they’ve come to like it, and the corporatist wing of their chosen party has cleverly given lip service to their kooky hobby horses to advance an entirely unrelated agenda they are, happily, too dumb to contemplate.  Losing and endless wars are sold as religious crusades, spring training for the muscular Jesus, while the profiteers laugh all the way to the bank.  Dick Cheney’s lesbian daughter may never be able to get married, but with the kind of trust fund Papa racked up during the Bush years, who cares?  Probably the most intelligence-insulting part of this abominable decision was the part that equated unions and corporations, as though a party that had spent 100 years hating and attempting, quite successfully, to eliminate unions, considered the vestigial remains of those once-threatening populist organizations any sort of equal to multibillionaire, multinationalist, and world-dominating corporations.

Suppressing laughter, the Court pretended to worry that corporations like Nike were vanishing into obscurity because their pitiful, rights-deprived “voices” were being shouted down.  Citibank, the poor thing, didn’t stand a chance against the unseemly advantages of welfare mothers (what welfare?) and foreclosed homeowners.  Exxon lay prostrate before the arrogant dictates of “eco-terrorists,” and the helpless cries of United Health were drowned out amid the maelstrom of desperate diabetics’ howlings in emergency rooms.  Finally warming to its historic role of defending the powerless against the inevitable depredations of the powerful, the new Supreme Court stepped boldly into the breach yesterday.  Grandma’s $25 donation would no longer be allowed to shout down Goldman Sach’s billions.  ”I have a dream,” Clarence Thomas no doubt thought, as he added in his stupefying concurring opinion that even the scanty disclosure requirements the decision left intact might subject religious bigots to, well, bigotry.

Justice Stevens, whose full-throated and uncharacteristically vocal dissent is probably the last gasp of Democracy as envisioned by the Founders in a debate that was decided for us long ago, and, barring some actuarially unlikely development,  won’t be writing for the Court much longer , had this to say in his conclusion:

At bottom, the Court’s opinion is thus a rejection of the common sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self government since the founding, and who have fought against the distinctive corrupting potential of corporate electioneering since the days of Theodore Roosevelt.  It is a strange time to repudiate that common sense.  While American democracy is imperfect, few outside the majority of this Court would have thought its flaws included a dearth of corporate money in politics.

Nyeah, nyeah, nyeah, you old hippie, was Justice Kennedy’s reply yesterday morning, albeit worded somewhat differently, of course.

Back in the days of Bush and the now-defunct Air America Radio, now-Senator Al Franken had a song he played, to the tune of “Hang on Sloopy,” called “Hang on Stevens,”  which implored  the aging Justice not to tip over before Bush was gone.  Stevens did his part, by the skin of his octogenarian teeth, and did again today, valiantly.  Sadly, it’s too late.

Karl Rove’s “math” turned out to be right on the, uh, money.

UPDATE: This morning, the  Oregonian applauded the Court’s decision as a victory for “free speech.”  This brought on a massive backlash from KPOJ.  Thom Hartmann’s wife unilaterally cancelled their Oregonian subscription, based on that and the paper’s fanatical (and lucrative) stance against 66 and 67, and a slew of callers did the same.  Thom, who was out of town when Louise made the decision, lauded it later on his show.  The front page wrapper about 66 and 67 sent my brother racing to the post office to get his ballot in.


57 Comments

  1. sysprog says:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0073631/quotes

    Bartholomew: Corporate society takes care of everything. And all it asks of anyone, all it’s ever asked of anyone ever, is not to interfere with management decisions.

    Rollerball (1975)

  2. Excellent essay.

    Corporatism is alive and well in this country. In fact, after yesterday’s SCOTUS decision – It “IS” this country.

    • cocktailhag says:

      The AP put out a “winners and losers” piece that emphasized, ad nauseam, that unions would get to spend, too, and missed the point in other ways as well, and the Oregonian, again taking its talking points from Nike, editorialized that it was a victory for the First Amendment. Sheesh.

      • I know. David Gregory said the same thing this morning about the unions also being “big winners” in this deal. The unions have been beaten down so badly since the days of St. Ronnie that they have very little left in their coffers for campaign financing. For every dollar of union election financing, there are one hundred dollars of corporate funds.

  3. Casual Observer says:

    Hell of a week to stop sniffing glue, Haggie.

  4. nailheadtom says:

    Somewhere in that mishmash of metaphors is an idea, right? That, in the oh so humble opinion of CH, the US Supreme Court, or at least the majority of it, made a bad decision, is that what happened? Evidently, the journalistic indoctrination that you supposedly received was in the hopefully now defunct classrooms of the James Joyce Institute of Incomprehensible Composition, where the rest room graffiti quotes Allen Ginsberg and John Berryman and the Walter Duranty Lounge is the center of campus life. It must be remembered, however, that the descent into irrelevance, triviality and mendacity of the media that you daily bemoan in your tortured prose is a product of just that psuedo-education. Or, are intellectual titans like Keith Olbermann, Naomi Wolf and yourself the result of the subjugation of academia by the “rich” and “corporations”, who have extended their evil influence everywhere, including the very thought processes of their opposition. How do we know that the germs of your ideas and techniques weren’t the result of a secret program developed by Exxon to make left-wing thinking look even goofier than it already was?

    • dirigo says:

      Show us your truck, dude …

    • cocktailhag says:

      Did you read the decision? Of course not. The dissent had precedent, original intent, and practical arguments on its side, the majority had only its convictions. I actually read the thing, unlike you, and I don’t consider 5-4 decisions from this court legitimate, because they aren’t. Two of the justices were installed by a President who LOST THE ELECTION and was placed in office by the SAME COURT.
      Scalia is a rabid ideologue and a religious nut who lacks judicial temperament, and Thomas is a porn-addicted, embittered half wit. Why do you think they had Kennedy write the decision?
      If you’re going to argue, it helps to have an argument.

  5. timothy3 says:

    Probably the most intelligence-insulting part of this abominable decision was the part that equated unions and corporations ….

    Yeah, that was particularly pathetic. Here’s a good quote from Yglesias

    Politicians will still be free, of course, to have feisty debates about which party is more to blame for the budget deficit, about who loves the pledge of allegiance more, about who’s more determined to pretend that there won’t be bailouts after the next financial panic, etc.

    And

    Palin: If there is a threat at all that perhaps I represent, it is that the average, everyday, hard-working American, that their voice is going to be heard, and their — what our voice is saying right now is, we’re telling the federal government, and we’re telling the elites who think that they are — can and should call all the shots for all the rest of us. Trust us in that we know what our federal government’s role is supposed to be in our lives, it’s supposed to be minimal.

    O’Reilly: But that sounds logical. That doesn’t offend me.

    http://crooksandliars.com/david-neiwert/populism-its-all-right-wing-rage-the
    If so, then I guess the reaction by these two to this decision will be to–what?–embrace it. O’Reilly again: “But that sounds logical. That doesn’t offend me.”

    • The Heel says:

      Thanks, Tim,
      I almost pissed my pants laughing when watching the P movie (pun inteded).

      I had to double check if she really said that – and she did. Makes me feel so much better about my grammatical fuckups that the hag enjoys so much lambasting me for (you should hear what I have to endure). My excuse is that English is my second language. What is hers?
      Anyway, my favorite part is when this O’Reily nerd is talking like some kind of godfather (think DeNiro) to her and is, in what appears as if he tries to hypnotize her, urging her to accept leadership of her “wingnut-grass-root-teabag” movement…. “YOU want to lead this movement…No!,…YOU want to lead them…” – that was brilliant. Seriously brilliant. The absolute highlight is the glow in her face. That cute, sexy little retarded Jesus bimbo, bless her heart, looks like a 4 year old on Christmas.

      Thanks. That made my day right there. Now I am seriously tempted to donate to her presidential campaign. Can you imagine the SRI (satire return on investment)?

      Wish you all a great weekend. The sun is back out in California. I guess I need to smoke some pot and drink a few coldies in the not so distant future. Cheers, it’s all good :)

  6. sysprog says:

    Joy Reid found a “Tea Party” founder who says that he isn’t going along with the Republican party line on all this and who says that the Republicans are betraying the spirit of true conservatism.

    * * * * *

    http://teaparty.org/aboutus.html

    A Word From The Founder;

    Dale Robertson is a man of courage and conviction, a rare commodity in today’s topsy-turvy world. Dale, is the Founder of the modern day Tea Party and also President of TeaParty.org

    Dale Robertson, a public speaker, a family man with a wife and 5 children, has lead Tea Party rallies across America from its inception.

    [...]

    * * * * *

    Joy-Ann “Joy” Reid :

    http://blog.reidreport.com/2010/01/supco-campaign-cash-decision-reactions/

    Republicans are celebrating the ruling that will open the floodgates to unlimited corporate spending on campaigns, and to the buying up of whatever remaining real estate is left on the souls of our members’ of congress. But the GOP may not be on the same page with the tea partiers (at least not ALL of them) on this one. [...]

    I just got this statement from Dale Robertson, founder of TeaParty.org (Rubio may want to take note, since he’s the immediate past titular head of the Tea Party, until Scott Brown knocked him off):

    “I have a problem with that. It just allows them to feed the machine. Corporations are not like people. Coroporations exist forever, people don’t. Our founding fathers never wanted them; these behemoth organizations that never die, so they can collect an insurmountable amount of profit. It puts the people at a tremendous disadvantage.”

    Robertson added that his distaste for the buying up of politicians is bi-partisan. “The Republicans adn the democrats are both playing this game.” But he also had this comment that the Republicans looking to co-opt the tea party movement might want to pay attention to:

    “You’ll have people who say their conservatives but they’re not. They’re just oligarchs, and we pay dearly as Americans.”

    Is it just me, or is it not so smart for the GOP to be so exuberant about a decision that so clearly rewards big corporations at a time when most Americans, and the tea party movement in particular (and on which the Republicans are counting for their very political lives,) are enraged, not just about big government, but also about big banks and big corporations they feel are getting a better deal than the average Joe. And if other elements of the tea party movement come out in favor of the decision, what does that say about how authentic a grassroots movement they represent?

    Meanwhile, I also interviewed Robertson about that infamous sign he held at a tea party rally, which was recently altered on the group’s website. What he had to say might surprise you. Stay tuned…

    - – Joy-Ann “Joy” Reid

    * * * * *

    • cocktailhag says:

      Ah, the Teabaggers are turning out a little hard to handle. The Republicans aren’t used to such impertinence from their followers. Pass the popcorn.

  7. dirigo says:

    Scene: Rome and the neighborhoods. Enter a company of mutinous Citizens, with staves, clubs and other weapons …

    SECOND CITIZEN

    Soft! Who comes here? Worthy Menenius Agrippa, one that hath always loved the people.

    MENENIUS

    Where go you with bats and clubs?
    The matter? Speak, I pray you.

    FIRST CITIZEN

    Our business is not unknown to the senate. They have had inkling this fortnight
    what we intend to do, which now we’ll show them in deeds.

    MENENIUS

    Why, masters, my good friends, mine honest neighbors,
    Will you undo yourselves?

    FIRST CITIZEN

    We cannot, sir. We are undone already.

    MENENIUS

    I tell you, friends, most charitable care
    Have the patricians of you.

    FIRST CITIZEN

    Care for us? True, indeed. They ne’er cared for us, yet suffer us to famish,
    and their storehouses crammed with grain; make edicts for usury,
    to support usurers; repeal daily any wholesome act established against the rich;
    and provide more piercing statutes daily to chain up and restrain the poor.
    If the wars eat us not up, they will, and there’s all the love they bear us.

    MENENIUS [Low Laugh, as if to himself]

    Either you must
    Confess yourselves wondrous malicious,
    Or be accused of folly. I shall tell you
    A pretty tale. It may be you have heard it;
    But since it serves my purpose, I’ll venture
    To stale’t it a little more.

    FIRST CITIZEN

    Well, I’ll hear it, sir, yet you must not think to fob off disgrace
    with a tale. But, an’t please you, deliver.

    MENENIUS

    There was a time when all the body’s members
    Rebelled against the belly, thus accused it:
    That only like a gulf it did remain
    In the midst of the body, idle and unactive,
    Still cupboarding the viand, never bearing
    Like labor with the rest, where other instruments
    Did see and hear, devise, instruct, walk, feel,
    And mutually participate, did minister
    Unto the appetites and affection common
    Of the whole body. The belly answered -

    FIRST CITIZEN
    Well, sir, what answer made the belly?

    MENENIUS

    Sir, I shall tell you. With a kind of smile,
    Which ne’er came from the lungs, but even thus –
    For, look you, I may make the belly smile
    As well as speak. It tauntingly replied
    To th’ discontented members, the mutinous parts
    That envied his receipt, even so most fitly
    As you malign our senators, for that
    They are not such as you.

    FIRST CITIZEN Your belly’s answer! What?

    MENENIUS

    Your most brave belly was deliberate,
    Not rash like his accusers, and thus answered:
    ‘True is it, my incorporate friends,’ quoth he,
    ‘That I receive the general food at first,
    Which you do live upon; and fit it is,
    Because I am the storehouse and the shop
    Of the whole body. But, if you do remember,
    I send it through the rivers of your blood
    Even to the court, the heart, to th’ seat o’ th’ brain;
    And through the cranks and offices of man,
    The strongest nerve and small inferior veins
    From me receive that natural competency
    Whereby they live. And though that all at once’ –
    You, my good friends! This said the belly, mark me –

    FIRST CITIZEN Aye, sir; well, well …

    MENENIUS

    ‘Though all at once cannot
    See what I deliver out to each,
    Yet I can make my audit up, that all
    From me do back receive the flour of all,
    And leave me but the bran.’ What say you to’t?

    FIRST CITIZEN

    It was an answer. How apply you this?

    MENENIUS

    The senators of Rome are this good belly,
    And you the mutinous members. For examine
    Their counsels and their cares, digest things rightly
    Touching the weal of the common, you shall find
    No public benefit that you receive
    But it proceeds or comes from them to you,
    And no way from yourselves. What do you think,
    You, the great toe of this assembly?

    FIRST CITIZEN

    I the great toe! Why the great toe?

    CORIOLANUS/ I,i
    Shakespeare

    • Kelly Canfield says:

      Why the great toe? ‘Cause all the other little piggies were taken.

    • A clever sophistry, to be sure. Show me the senate, Roman or otherwise, which is as well equipped for largesse as this:

      And through the cranks and offices of man,
      The strongest nerve and small inferior veins
      From me receive that natural competency
      Whereby they live.

      Bellies share, senates hoard. Their natures differ, and the one is therefore not a fit simile for the other.

      • dirigo says:

        Oh gee, WT, (and again, not to quibble with you, or undercut your point on rhetorical grounds) that’s all well and good, but: the play’s the thing.

        I’ve learned in performance study to appreciate lines in a script as guides to action, particularly in Shakespeare; and so my interest in posting the excerpt from Coriolanus was to show an action (or at least a prelude to same) which, within this week’s news flow, might be useful, or amusing (Coriolanus gets his in the end). Nothing more, nothing less.

        Whether the Bard was engaging in sophistry – well, I’m not sure, when we talk about dramatic goals; but that’s something to chew over in our slippers, while nursing a brandy in the literary club lounge.

        • Oy! God, I hate to be taken seriously when I’m trying to make a joke. In any event, Menenius is the sophist here, not Shakespeare. And hey, I thought I was in the lounge. I had a drink in my hand, didn’t I?

          Obviously, comedy ain’t my thing, but the play — I do get the play. Honestly.

          • dirigo says:

            It’s funny (I think) that in this strange, disembodied give and take, we’re all prone to miss the joke, or, alternatively, take ourselves too seriously.

            So, sorry about that.

            I was sweeping backstage when I responded. You bumped into a light stand. Let’s go back into the lounge.

            Oh wait! – I’ve got to get my slippers. I left them on the set.

          • The lean and slippered Pantaloon. Not me, unfortunately. At least, not the lean part.

  8. rmp says:

    Two things:

    First,in my last post I implied that the Supreme Court decision was not as earth shaking as everyone seemed to be saying and writing. My gut, which is usually right, said what Glenn Greenwald posted today, but I had no facts or constitutional understanding to say much in my post to back up my gut. Glenn showed once again why he is the best blogger on the Internet covering politics.

    Second, I hardly ever watch Conan O’Brian, but I did watch his final show tonight. I’m sure his final serious remarks are already on YouTube although I haven’t looked for them. They were humble, gracious, heartfelt and far better than I ever expected even though Conan is a writer. He blamed no one and thanked everyone. Sure wished some of the RWAs and money-grubbers had enough of a heart to learn humility and compassion. It would do them and our entire nation a lot of good.

    • rmp says:

      HuffPo already has a transcript of Conan’s words:

      Conan O’Brien’s Heartfelt Final Words For NBC And His Fans
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/22/conan-obriens-heartfelt-f_n_433954.html

    • cocktailhag says:

      I disagreed utterly with Glenn today. The one point he sort of conceded, that corporate personhood was BS, was the only valid point he made. The rest conformed to his 1st amendment views, but left open the FACT that corporations have powers not available to the rest of us. That is indefensible garbage, in my humble opinion. Worse, he denounced the activism that would invalidate 100 years of law, when corporate personhood only dates to 1886. What’s the difference? This is not “outcome based,” but simply another overreach based on thin air, that naturally empowers the few over the many. Money is property, not speech, and corporations are creations of the state, not people.
      The breadth of the decision belies any observance of Stare decisis.

      • rmp says:

        These words from Glenn is what I was mostly referring to:

        “I’m also quite skeptical of the apocalyptic claims about how this decision will radically transform and subvert our democracy by empowering corporate control over the political process. My skepticism is due to one principal fact: I really don’t see how things can get much worse in that regard. The reality is that our political institutions are already completely beholden to and controlled by large corporate interests (Dick Durbin: “banks own” the Congress). Corporations find endless ways to circumvent current restrictions — their armies of PACs, lobbyists, media control, and revolving-door rewards flood Washington and currently ensure their stranglehold — and while this decision will make things marginally worse, I can’t imagine how it could worsen fundamentally.”

      • rmp says:

        What I was also trying to say in my last post is that too many ads can turn voters off rather than on. Candidates can run on “I am not beholden to money to represent you and when corporations have spent that much money trying to defeat me (or keep me from tossing out an incumbent) that shows you how much they fear me.” The tactics can be turned against them especially if transparency is mandatory so that the people immediately know who is funding the ads and how much they are giving the opposition.

        Some CEOS and corporations, not too big to fail ones, also want to be seen as good citizens. Check out this:

        CEOs Push Congress On Public Financing Of Campaigns
        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/22/ceos-push-congress-on-pub_n_433610.html

        • cocktailhag says:

          Glenn wrote again today on the subject, and is in his usual smarty-pants mode that he gets in at times like these. True, none of the justices attacked the concept of corporate personhood, or money equalling speech, but that just shows how far off the deep end constitutional law has gotten by following a couple of wrong-headed decisions.
          This decision invalidates whatever legislative fixes have been made to correct the problem; and further cements bad law into settled law. The argument that “it couldn’t get any worse” is speculative at best. Now a lobbyist can credibly walk into a Senator’s office, or even the Oval Office, and say, “Do X, or I will spend whatever it takes to defeat you.”
          If corporations hadn’t gotten so large, this might not be such a problem, but when they literally make billions every quarter, it definitely is.
          I suppose if we enforced anti-trust laws, media ownership laws, or still chartered banks state by state, things would be different, and their speech would not be so overwhelming and anti-democratic. But we don’t, and it is.

  9. meremark says:

    -
    Friday Poem January 22, 2010

    Ormesby Psalter

    East Anglican School, c. 1310

    The psalter invites us to consider
    a cat and a rat in relationship
    to an arched hole, which we
    shall call Circumstance. Out of

    Circumstance walks the splendid
    rat, who is larger than he ought
    to be, and who affects an expression
    of dapper cheer. We shall call him

    Privilege. Apparently Privilege has
    not noticed the cat, who crouches
    a mere six inches from Circumstance,
    and who will undoubtedly pin

    Privilege’s back with one swift
    swipe, a torture we can all nod at.
    The cat, however, has averted
    its gaze upward, possibly to heaven.

    Perhaps it is thanking the Almighty
    for the miraculous provision of a rat
    just when Privilege becomes crucial
    for sustenance or sport. The cat

    we shall call Myself. Is it not
    too bad that the psalter artist
    abandoned Myself in this attitude
    of prayerful expectation? We all

    would have enjoyed seeing clumps of
    Privilege strewn about Circumstance,
    Myself curled in sleepy ennui,
    or cleaning a practical paw.

    by Rhoda Janzen

    from Poetry, January 2007

    -

  10. On the substance of the matter at issue, I’m compelled to say that I agree with Glenn, not the Hag. Of course, as Glenn himself admits, the practical consequences are going to be dire indeed. The country has gotten itself into a right mess, and principles which in the long run are beneficial can in the short run empower the scum of the earth.

    Which is what we’ve got now. The Hag is certainly right about that. If anything the poetry of the situation is even darker than she paints it. What’s needed, in my opinion, is not a desperate agreement to suspend principle, but an awakening among the people. Maybe it won’t come, no matter how long we wait. If so, the dark ages are already upon us, and we should try to save what we can in the hope of a better age to come.

    • dirigo says:

      Interesting that the justices themselves are so tongue-tied when they actually have to speak.

      What’s that all about?

      http://www.slate.com/id/2242208/

      • Dirigo, this one’s for you. It’s a don’t worry, be happy moment, but it’s real nevertheless.

        Consider yourself suborned by a modest viral marketing campaign, courtesy of the glummest advocate for optimism that you’re ever likely to encounter:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ds8ryWd5aFw

        • dirigo says:

          I’ll take five pounds of prosciutto, five of soppressata, and a pound of provolone if you throw in the CD.

        • meremark says:

          -

          WT, that vid is so over-my-head high-falutin’ that I don’t know what ‘to consider’ myself.

          [ Anecdote ALERT: ] The video visual stimulus fleshed me back to sawdust-strewn butcherie business a la Fanueil Hall Market meat-ups, in Boston’s North End — the mostly Italian-speak section of town, where I once taught ‘college.’ Namely: North End Community College; and a course in Astrology How-To for (a total of) seven over-70 widows in Catholic-black garb and lace grief-veils, (think: Jackio O. at JFK’s Mass), looking like a matriarchy of The Sopranos, or something, who held NO interest for How To stargaze and instead intoned every class session with an inquisition of me for star gossip, insisting to hear my secret insights to the blackmailable vices and lurid venality of City Hall &ssorted pols and town grandees. I felt damned if I do and unemployed if I don’t. Then, after class, I’d head over to Durgan Park and drink Irish whiskey y’know — buy the pints. [End ALERT. As you were.]

          Not knowing what else to make of it … I suppose I am rightly ‘suborned.’

          But what I was going to say, re: Dirgo’s “WTF?,” is simply that according to wikipedia according to Dahlia Lithwick’s ouevre ‘fascism is fine.’ Accordingly she’s trashing Stevens at Slate — don’t go there. THAT‘s WTF! “?”

          -

          • dirigo says:

            I could be suborned into buying good Italian cold cuts almost anywhere; and I know they’re available in the North End of Boston, but not necessarily in – say – Houston, Texas.

            Certain markets have their limits.

            Whatever Lithwick’s underlying point, I am always struck by examples of gross inarticulateness on the part of some of our highest officials. I saw this many times during my reporting days.

            So here we have, apparently, these justices issuing their rulings on “free speech,” and, as they “take the stage” to read their opinions in that big marble temple of jurisprudence in our nation’s capital, they are revealed as … well, poor speakers.

            I hear a bell ringing.

          • meremark says:

            -
            ‘ringing bells’ are said to be tolling. Tolls indicate a bridge ahead.

            I see WT’s operatic ante and distill it to this YouTube ditty of hell’s bells and tolls of crossing … the bridge at Styx River, this could be ….

            -

          • dirigo says:

            Shades of J.J. Cale mebbe … grinding good. Darker too.

        • The Heel says:

          WT, Thank you for this.
          Those are the moments when I miss Europe the most ;)

  11. DCLaw1 says:

    This issue can be viewed through (at least) two paradigms, both of which are valid from a globally human standpoint: (1) the legal/constitutional; and (2) the moral/functional.

    Legally and constitutionally, the majority decision is valid, although not inescapably so. The dissent also makes worthy points, and as most 5-4 decisions go, the issue is highly complex and indeed something on which reasonable minds can disagree (as opposed to those things that are blatantly illegal and reprehensible, yet are declared to be matters of polite disagreement). After familiarizing myself with the decision and the dissent, I actually tend toward the majority opinion, at least as regards the First Amendment principles at stake.

    Morally and functionally, however, there is absolutely nothing wrong in protesting that this decision – while it may be constitutionally and legally defensible – enables the further engineering of our society by business and industry into a state of passive consumption and political near-powerlessness. Hence the Anatole France quote that never seems to lose its relevance, and which bears repeating once again:

    The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets or steal bread.

    Familiar to many a lawyer is the struggle to maintain recognition and appreciation for the non-legal aspects of events, the moral and practical thrust of policy and law. When government has so often been used as a cudgel with which the powerful and wealthy beat back the restively disempowered, we must never succumb to the temptation to view legal normalcy as moral virtue.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Well put. But given the justices involved and the circumstances under which the case was taken, it is clear that they were on the same ideological mission they were on in Bush v. Gore, plain and simple. Had “Citizen United” (love that cynically false moniker…) been say, a gay rights group, how would they have decided? Even from a constitutional standpoint, did the founders have the British East India Company in mind when they drafted the bill of rights?

  12. dirigo says:

    Free speech in action.

    Which speaker caused the repug-o-meter to peg beyond the red zone?

    http://harpers.org/archive/2010/01/hbc-90006418

    • rmp says:

      I watched the video WT provided and see the essence of life: food, music, friends, family, community and love. Then your link dirigo spins me back to American reality. Granted the Italians love opera, but what human, except those scarred by war, power and violence, wouldn’t want the former and dump the latter. The essence of our current political challenge, is finding ways to help selfish, guarded, cold hearts turn into compassionate warm ones.

      Easy to write, still not impossible to do. We have to change enough to have majority vote power in elections which could greatly reduce the power of the Corporate Communists. Or as DCLaw1 put it, stop the “engineering of our society by business and industry into a state of passive consumption and political near-powerlessness.”

      • rmp says:

        My framing, STUFF STUFF, BRING ON LOVE.

        • dirigo says:

          Sands is wasting his time, in so far as the torture issue is debated on television.

          Thiessen, the good ol’ boy spokesman, will pacify people who want to accept a plea bargain on torture.

          They want to be passive, safe, and guilt-free.

          Thiessen is the same sort who sells the latest kitchen gizmos, dent-proof pots and pans, and mortgages to unqualified buyers.

          Heck of a job!

          In his world, it’s all of a piece: Move around the objections and close.

          Close. Close. Close.

          Intricacies of law and moral tenets are irrelevant.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-AXTx4PcKI

          • rmp says:

            The word legislator or representative does not describe the congress critters we have now. They are salesmen, sorry salesperson just doesn’t work for me. Maybe we could use seller for a gender neutral word. “My seller just asked me for more money and promised that he would keep those damn terrorists off all planes because he has a bill of goods that he just put together to persuade his fellow sellers to back.”

  13. meremark says:

    -

    oh woe is me. I worked up a 3000-word head of steam in one ginormous comment from morning ’til now … and lost it all in a finger-twitch and an eye-blink. You all are probably grateful, yet I’m crushed — it’s always disheartening — although by dint of precautions, losing my fuming words is rarer these days. This time was a shakedown-cruise problem on my New Year’s-new laptop.

    - -

    Here is the long story synopsis. dammit the power’s gone out of it.

    Internet writers plead with MASSmedia to out and roust rightwing Republican fascism. First point is: Save the breath — the MASSmedia itself is the biggest korporate concern; MASSmedia IS the fascist beast, and the GOP is the tiny tail at the butt, wagging along in afterthought.
    Hardly anyone wastes time pleading with Bush41/Norquist/Newt/Rove to covert from their despotic fascism — it’s futile. So the same goes for reasoned discourse with MASSmedia, a hundred times worse the despot — the leading proponent of bleeding lives, the diabolical bloodthirsty boob tube. Broadcasting is intrinsically one-way dictation; they can’t hear us now, or ever; might as well talk to the sand.

    We canNOT use MASSmedia to belay and defeat rightwinger (‘Republican’) fascists.
    The MASSmedia ARE the fascists.

    Including CNN (as in dirigo’s excerpt, which touched off my tirade), all Pay TV channels (where monthly subscription fees supply ALL the funding of fascism, evidenced by both ‘cable TV’ and ‘rightwing rampage’ starting together, 1975, and advancing in parallel unison), and the co-opted networks ABC CBS NBC (fatefully assimilated by the ‘must carry’ clause), ditto PBS by contagion, and also C-Span (serving soundbites for the cable-operator hands that feed it). Of course all radio broadcasting is fascism saturation. Rash Lamebrain, premier, is the designated driver. of fascism.

    MASSmedia is a ‘korporate (body) politic’ — the Totalitarian View Party. Democrats and Republicans, and either one of the two so-called ‘Parties,’ can be members enrolled in the TV Party, and pay extortion ‘dues’ (buying ad time), in good standing to get ‘elected.’

    Political creeds as ‘beliefs’ (in ‘principles’) is simply an issue of mind control. As developed in the 1930s, coincident with the invention of ‘psychology’ and ‘psychiatry’ institutions and academic specialty Subjects. Also ‘wireless’ (broadcasting) became prevalent then, more simultaneity reinforcement, same as a chicken/egg phenomenon. Mind control was instated and practiced and explained and refined through Bernays (progenitor, who at first called it ‘propaganda’) to Goebbels to Allen Dulles to the CIA to television broadcasters and thus into everything, inculcated as “the American dream” — entirely a fable, totally fabulous, all a surreal illusion. In the korporate model, where tyranny is called ‘capitalism’ and every ‘belief’ and ‘principle’ is renamed in reverse, (so ‘surreal’ is called ‘reality’ and vice versa), is as Orwell presaged and described. The most renowned, notorious (and seminal) exhibition of mind control was 1938′s ‘War of the Worlds’ broadcast causing mass-hypnotized panic and riot.

    One of the refinements in the methods and techniques of mind control is commonly called ‘good cop, bad cop.’ The manner of it is to set up a strawman, a weak opposition to the specific idea which is intended that ‘control’ is going to make be the ‘thinking’ in the target mind. An arranged ‘set up’ in a similar manner is, for example, solitary chess, where one (person’s) mind controls both the white pieces and the black pieces; and in it, the single mind predetermines or chooses or reaches the result, (and perhaps those three mental ‘options’ are the same thing: volition, ranging in shades between conscious and subconscious), of which side wins.

    The manner of it in MASSmedia is to ‘set up’ a strawman ‘liberal bias’ (or ‘bad cop’) which the target mind learns of and thinks to avoid, by adopting with trust (faith, belief) the opposite or antithesis, and so being embraced by and embracing (‘good cop’) the opposition of ‘liberal bias.’ The complex explanation of a central control (mentality) supplying and informing ‘both sides’ in a staged ‘debate’ as a ruse, goes to show how and why that the korporatocracy (or ‘CIA’ a.k.a. ‘The Company’), same as operates broadcasts to instill fascism, also sets up and operates Thom Hartmann and Air America and PBS, and more, as a strawman ‘opposition’ broadcasting (limited) ‘liberal’ ‘progressive’ beliefs/principles/ideas, which then the fascism can ‘play against’ and ‘debate’ to the foregone conclusion of ‘winning’ (in control of) people’s hearts and minds.

    The same situation — a central mentality operating both sides of a staged ‘opposition’ — also involves a complex explanation to show that it is Democrats and Republicans, (especially complicated to explain to a person who is mentally ‘attached to’ and favoring one side or the other which he or she ‘believes’ in); both sides operated by one ‘mind’ or ‘mentality’ and korporate MASSmedia is that central mentality operating Dems and Reps, libs and cons, and has been for sixty years, (see the names in the lineage, above).

    MASSmedia itself, proper, IS the fascism. Dems and Reps are its agents, the pawns being operated. Toward a probably preset result of one ‘side’ winning and one ‘side’ losing. (‘Side’ set in quotes to signify it is not truly two sides, because it is only one idea: mind control authority tyranny.)

    - -

    So such wordiness abbreviates the ton o’ text that I lost by accidental erasure earlier, and is supposed to be the preamble context for my comment in Thom’s blog Chat Room about the ruling of the Supreme Kangaroos. Here, scroll to Jan.21st, 2:13 pm.

    And the same context provides the ‘one-stop’ general understanding which accommodates this next observation as well, (being prepared to think of Geo Soros as a pawn for fascism), said recently by a credible source:
    http://www.waynemadsenreport.com/

    For WMR subscribers: here is the network — at the top – Soros, extend that to Huffington, DKos, Move On, and Democratic Underground (others too, but too puny to mention). Then take this down the rabbit hole further — Brad Blog, Harper’s (Scott Horton – one of Nixon’s Watergate attorneys), Raw Story (Larissa Alexandrovna and her boyfriend 9/11 “truther” Kyle Hence) — go further down the warren hole to a guy named Brett Kimberlin (Velvet Revolution/Justice Through Music) and a pal of his named Cody Shearer (check out his twin sister also). Somewhere above all these actors is likely a guy named Cass Sunstein. This is just the tip of the iceberg — it gets better, much better. Google Kimberlin and Dan Quayle (Quayle was right about this one). If you don’t begin to vomit, you’re already asleep!

    The ‘Cass Sunstein’ name featured in a brainquake ‘announcement’ last week, referenced and interpreted in multiple commentaries, including Greenwald, who many here look to:
    Obama confidant’s spine-chilling proposal: Cass Sunstein has long been one of Barack Obama’s closest confidants. Often mentioned as a likely Obama nominee to the Supreme Court, Sunstein is currently Obama’s head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs where, among other things, he is responsible for “overseeing policies relating to privacy, information quality, and statistical programs.”

    It winds up being a small world after all, and the “central mentality” is comprised of an amazingly small number of persons — the same names regularly reappear where large effects are traced back to their source.

    I intend to extend this with additional notes of personal experiences and ideas … just, not now, it’s sleepy time.

    • cocktailhag says:

      You’re right, of course. No policy, however beneficial (or disastrous) has a chance if the media doesn’t like it; the George Bush “election” and the Iraq war being just two important examples. Sadly, the media just loved both, and look where it got us. I see it again on supposedly “liberal” MSNBC, where Chris Matthews has fallen in love with Scott Brown, just as he did with Bush, then briefly with Obama…. Besides the overarching goals of these giant monopolies, they have a lot of shallow simpletons working for them who no longer have to be told what to do. (At FOX they still have memos, but that’s because the “Talent,” like the audience, is even dumber, and have to have the words pinned to their rain slickers, so they don’t forget…)
      Sorry about your computer troubles; nothing is so frustrating as watching hours of time and thought vanish into the ether, and then discovering, once again, that the brain is such a leaky vessel when trying to recall it all. Sweet dreams.

    • dirigo says:

      Sadder still, meremark, a whole new level of inquiry has opened on torture and Gitmo. Naturally, Thiessen will soon be ahead of the story, with answers for everything during his next national television interview …

      http://harpers.org/archive/2010/01/hbc-90006368

      http://harpers.org/archive/2010/01/hbc-90006395

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