Posts Tagged economic injustice
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.
It is becoming increasingly more evident that regular folks in this country, you know, your average taxpaying, working middle-class stiff, the ones that are keeping this economy and country, really, going – from their occupations as teachers, in the service industry to non-profit work etc., do not matter very much.
I said it before and I say it again, but for the one percent that run this country, middle class folks seemingly are nothing more than readily sources of warm bodies when you need to engage in another war for profit under the guise of security.
They are a a source of tax revenue to support and underwrite the 1%.
If, as a one percenter, they have done a good job choosing the two lousy candidates for them and then giving them the illusion that they have a “choice” on the day they go out and cast a vote (see Citizens United) then they are a “vote” to help “elect” your candidate and if you have done a really good job, as Republicans have with their voter base, you not only give them the delusion that they have a choice between candidates but you actually get them to vote for the very candidate, and thus against their own self-interest, you put on the ballot.
Everytime there is a cut in government spending, the middle class and the poor, of course, have to make sacrifices and see the programs and policies that benefit and protect them slashed and reduced, not the wealthy and thus the architects of our economic system that keeps the wealthy tax exempt under the guise that they are “job creators” while repeatedly requiring that cuts to government spending (because of lost revenue due to those tax exemptions) come from those very middle class protecting programs.
While the white collar criminals of Wall Street and the banking system got bailed out instead of imprisoned for the crimes they committed, poor people, and thus Wall Street’s direct and indirect victims, are sent to jail for essentially being poor.
And when our so-called leaders and politicians open the doors to let America “in” for a night of celebration, laughter good times and appreciation, the only ones invited to the table, literally, are members of the 1%.
It is, after all, no coincidence that the yearly White House Correspondent’s Dinner (WHCD) resembles a Hollywood red carpet event and that everyone in that event, except those serving food and beverages, are members of the one percent.
It is sad to know that the average American is not on the President’s radar even when he decides to decide to hang out with the public.
Instead of inviting over some of those hard working average American citizens, the ones that did the grunt work and got him elected, to shake hands with and thank them for their truly thankless jobs and positions and pressure in society, he instead surrounds himself with top members of the elite cracking jokes.
It is ironic that on the one hand we’ve got the Occupy Wall Street movement, with demands for equity and relief for the middle class, the 99%, – an event and movement the President and his wife endorse, while on the other hand any event of any significance in this country, including this Dinner, is hosted and populated by the wealthy and privileged, the 1% only.
The 99% only seem to matter in as much as they make for great talking point or otherwise help score political points and not because anyone really actually cares about changing the current paradigm, the current dysfunction with respect to structural exploitation and institutionalized greed in this country that have allowed the 1% to accumulate more wealth than the rest of us combined.
There are thousands of people who dedicate every day of their lives to not only public service but to their townships, counties, states and communities in general – one way or another. They are the backbone of America, they are the people the President allegedly works for and leads. They are the ones who, through their hard work, such as teachers, champion the very causes this Dinner is to honor and uphold – yet the only ones who once again get to benefit from all this, even if just in a celebratory manner, are rich people; the 1% – literally – as everyone at that dinner is a millionaire – without exception, because otherwise who could afford something like $50,000 a plate just to get in?
Not that I don’t love the outrage about economic injustice for us poor, hard working middle class folks when it’s politically expedient and all but it’d be nice if the actual American people – you know, the 99% – such as the journalists meant to be holding the US government to account, the non-profit workers, the public servants, the researchers, activists and just the people on the ground who work everyday on these issues for Americans without anyone paying much attention to them – were, once in a while, invited to the table and celebrated by our leaders, instead of actors, reality TV stars and models – who neither represent the American people, nor have contributed in any meaningful way to the political and social world they are in,
Speak of being out of touch. Romney is not the only one.
Money begets money and at the end of the day, when all the political talking points and phony strategizing to supposedly empower the 99% have been made, rich people still only take care of and intermingle with their own.
All this talk about empowering the 99% and leveling the playing field are just that: rhetoric. No one really means it and The White House Correspondent’s Dinner is the best example to the point.
The United States would be a very different place if everyone cared about inequity when there wasn’t a presidential election in which appearing to care about inequity could score political points.