Posts Tagged democracy
Mark Ruffalo and Bernie took a walk through the Brooklyn, New York school yards where Bernie grew up, and talked about his childhood, why he got involved in the Civil Rights Movement and how those experiences translated into his life in politics and this movement. (Directed by Matthew Cooke)
Last week, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died at the age of 79 in some luxury resort in West Texass. He did not pay to stay at that luxury resort owned by John B. Poindexter, a Texas native and decorated Vietnam veteran who owns Houston-based J.B. Poindexter & Co., a manufacturing firm with seven subsidiaries and a combined annual revenue of nearly $1 billion. Poindexter told The Washington Post that Scalia was not charged for his stay, something he described as a policy for all guests at the ranch.
“I did not pay for the Justice’s trip to Cibolo Creek Ranch,” Poindexter wrote in a brief email Tuesday. “He was an invited guest, along with a friend, just like 35 others.”
A friend, indeed.
One of Poindexter’s companies was involved in a case that made it to the high court. Last year, the Supreme Court declined to hear a case involving an age discrimination lawsuit filed against one of these companies, court records show.
Is it just mere coincidence that a year later we see a Justice of that very same court invited to the luxurious home/ranch of the owner of the company involved in a case which the Supreme Court refused to hear?
Nothing about who Scalia was suggests that it could be a mere coincidence. What is for certain, however, is that it constitutes a conflict of interest.
Interesting to note is that this was not the first time Scalia acted unethically (that we know of). In 2004, he joined then-Vice President Richard B. Cheney on a hunting trip while Cheney was the subject of a lawsuit over his energy task force, and in response to calls that he sit out the case, Scalia issued a highly unusual 21-page argument explaining why he refused to do so.
While judges have to file financial disclosure statements, including reporting of gifts they receive and disclosing when someone who is not a relative gives them “transportation, lodging, food, or entertainment” worth a certain amount (see 1978 Ethics in Government Act passed in the wake of the Watergate scandal), there is really no one who enforces that. And while every other federal judge below the Supreme Court and the decision about whether or not they should be recused from cases where there could be a potential conflict of interest is potentially subject to the review of a higher judge or other judges on his court, no one reviews the decision of a Justice and thus Supreme Court justices essentially become the final arbiters of whether or not to recuse themselves from cases that may constitute a conflict of interest.
Why am I bringing this up on the day of Antonin Sacalia’s funeral? Because while much of the mainstream press was quickly lining up to offer glowing commemorations of his career as a public servant and brilliant man, I want to be sure that Scalia’s destructive judicial legacy is not completely whitewashed.
“He was an extraordinary individual and jurist, admired and treasured by his colleagues”… Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr said in a statement confirming Justice Scalia’s death. “His passing is a great loss to the Court and the country he so loyally served.”
No it is not. Antonin Scalia’s death is great news and this nation’s salvation. He did not serve this country loyally. On the contrary, he used and abused his position in the highest court of the land to align himself with power, against the powerless.
Scalia was a contemptible human being who once during oral arguments in a pivotal affirmative action case suggested that African American students might belong at less rigorous schools than their white peers, and that perhaps the University of Texas should have fewer black students in its ranks.
He decided his cases based on what the Catholic church preaches about women and reproduction.
He repeatedly and casually equated LGBT and its advocates to apologists for incest, rape, bestiality, child pornography and murder.
He has been nothing but an antagonist to social justice ever since he took seat on that bench/ivory tower of his. Heck, his last official act was denying a stay of execution.
Scalia’s death is not a loss to this nation or the Supreme Court. Scalia was the disease that’s been gnawing and eating away at our Democracy like a malignancy. His death is our salvation as a nation.
And that is what I have to say about him on this day of his funeral.
May he rest in the hell he believed in so much and which he created for others during his short time in this world.
In a gesture full of respect and concern for the American people, Paul Ryan – Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick – gave said American people the finger by announcing that he would only release two years worth of his tax records to the public; the same amount of years that Governor Romney has released.
In reality, of course, Romney has only released his 2010 tax return and even those were missing half the information. He has also only given an estimate on his 2011 taxes – which he plans to fully publish (read: after his attorneys and PR folks fix and redact it) before the election.
This is a clever move. By stating that he will only release two years of taxes, “just like the Governor”, he is moving the focus of Romney’s taxes and his refusal to release more than two years, onto the broader debate of candidates releasing tax returns. This way, no one can accuse Romney of trying to hide anything because, after all, it was merely policy by his campaign to not release anyone’s tax returns beyond two years – not just Romney’s.
But the bigger problem that irks me is the attitude. The arrogance and the audacity to give the voter base such a condescending response.
“Here you go America. Stick this in your pipe and smoke it. I ain’t releasing shit to you. You can take it or leave it.”
This was a huge bird he flipped because by saying he will only release two years of tax returns Paul Ryan is basically behaving in the same condescending manner as Ann Romney when she said “you people” got all the info you need to crown us president and presidentette of this kingdom.
Ryan is basically telling us to go and shove it and be happy with whatever information he thinks we need to know and which he is willing to throw our way – and go vote for him already, dammit.
This kind of behavior is typical for Romney and his elitist, exploitative rich buddies who own football teams and elevators for their cars and have nothing but dangerous policies in mind with sinister outcomes.
They seem to think of the American people, the people they are working for and who put them in charge, as this nuisance; as this inevitable, annoying, pestering entity they have to unfortunately go through to get to what they really want to do: turn America and this government into nothing but tools to further causes that are detrimental for 99% of the population and ultimately the whole world.
Don’t think for one second that Europe’s economy going belly up had nothing to with the economic meltdown in the US.
The United States is Not a Corporation You Raid
Who do Romney and Ryan really think they are?
And what country do they think they are running for?
The United States is an idea, it is a vision -it is about democracy, autonomy and freedom. It is about tolerance and respect. It is about equity. It is about creating something above yourself for the greater good of everyone. Our Founding Fathers ran way from those shackles of the mind, soul and pocket to create a society in which all men are equal and can prosper and lead dignified lives. Not one in which a few enrich themselves at the expense of everyone else, ripping apart what they have, to suck the juice from the carcasses. That is not what America is.
It is not some company you raid and whose employees (i.e. the voting population) you discard and take away power from to obscenely enrich yourself and then insult them by calling yourself American and a patriot but them traitors and un-American for wanting access to health care, a job, an education, clean water to drink and clean air to breathe.
Mitt Romney is not a good American. He dodged military service with a deferment taking him to Paris. He has accounts invested who knows where around the world as though he were hedging his bet on the USA and he has a business career based not upon creating and growing domestic industry but in bankrupting companies and laying off its employees, sucking up their retirements and pensions to then line his own pockets.
Capitalism relies on markets and supply and demand, not bankrupting companies, mass layoffs and creating monopolies. Social drawinism is not capitalism. Vulcher capitalism is not capitalism.
Mitt Romney is not a patriot, he is a traitor. He is a parasite. Nothing in his business or personal life and choices suggests otherwise.
So… no more tax returns you fuckers. That is what Ryan’s response means. Nothing more and nothing less.