Soylent Green Isn’t People. Corporations Are.
Now That Corporations Are People, Can They Marry Each Other? What If They’re Gay?
Tales of the absurdity that is America.
You cannot help but feel amused/perplexed/incredulous/angered/frustrated/ready-to-pack-your-bags-and-move-to-another-country by events the past week in America.
After the “stunning upset” Republican Scott Brown (I like to remind him he is a Republican; he seems not to want to tell anyone) pulled off on Tuesday, taking a Senate seat that has been a stronghold of the Democratic Party for fifty-six years, we kind of thought that would be “it.” Alas, we were wrong. But don’t feel bad – even the New York Times didn’t see Brown coming, when, just a week earlier, it asked if Florida’s Marco Rubio would be “The first senator from the Tea Party?” But the Times shouldn’t feel bad either. Robert Menendez, the chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee didn’t see Brown coming either. Which is a complete failure of leadership.
Speaking of failures of leadership, millions — and I mean millions upon millions of Americans — are out of work, poor, and impoverished. Six million Americans receiving food stamps report they have no other income. And yet Jay Leno decides he doesn’t want his job, he wants someone else’s – and takes it, forcing a $45 million dollar severance package into Conan O’Brien’s hands. Now, I like Conan O’Brien, and have never cared for Leno, I’m just saying, only Wall Street’s bankers have golden parachutes that large.
Speaking of Wall Street, it turns out we were all wrong. Soylent Green isn’t people. Corporations are.
The Supreme Court Thursday announced their decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the now-landmark ruling that overturns decades — if not centuries — of campaign spending limits on corporations. Because, you see, SCOTUS ruled that corporations are essentially people, and money is speech. So the question becomes, if corporations are people, can they marry? And if they can marry, and they’re gay (10% of people are!) then will they have enough money to buy their way into obtaining marriage equality for the rest of us? And, how big a wedding will they throw?
The real losers here are of course the American citizen, and democracy. The real winners here are corporations, especially media companies, who will gain big time from all the cash poured into ads. In a perverse way, the SCOTUS ruling might actually even save journalism — all the money being spent on ads (“free speech”) by corporations will actually help the newspaper industry. Will this be the beginning of a new-found romance with the dead tree newspaper? Or will 20% of Americans stick with the Apple tablet? And why couldn’t Air America hold on a little longer? Surely they would have survived with all that ad revenue on its way.
The questions don’t stop there. If corporations are people, can they vote? Do they have to be 18 to do so? And, if health care reform ever passes, will they want to scrap their own policies and help us put back the public option? If the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and soon to be Yemen (assuming Joe Lieberman gets his wish – or until the “counterterrorism and development aid money” Secretary of State Clinton announced Thursday runs out,) continue to grow, and we need more soldiers and re-instate the draft, will we see Citigroup on the front lines? Or, just Blackwater? Maybe threat of a draft is what it will take to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and quell talk of “kicking that can down the road,” and “separate but equal showers.”
Of course, the greatest question — and anyone with an imagination can answer this — is, if money is speech, does he who hath the most money speak loudest? Do actions still speak louder than words? And does he who speaks last have the last laugh?
It is always amusing to think of Charlton Heston, the man who played Moses, and the man who was an active supporter of the Civil Rights Movement — before he flip-flopped and became a conservative and president of the NRA — screaming, “Soylent Green is people!” Regardless of which way his political affiliations blew, Heston surely stirred public anger.
And public anger feels truly broader this week than any time I can remember. This is not the one-shot-deal public anger, but a wide-spread segment of fed-up Americans from the left and the right who all thought they were getting one thing and got another — and that other thing generally has been the shaft.
What I’m seeing is a total upheaval from where America was just a few years ago, to now.
The lunatic fringe that is now referred to as “Tea Party Americans,” by the man who lost the RNC Chairmanship, Saul Anuzis, may have been the most vocal in their frustration with America (although, it’s with an America that never existed – nor was meant to, but I digress,) but fast and furiously, there are others.
Progressives on the left are abandoning their president with as much vehemence as Conservatives on the right refused to accept him — or his birth certificate.
Pam Spaulding said it well: “We told you so, Dems – so can the Netroots play ball now that the smart folks fouled out?”
Speaking of the Netroots against the machine, “Activist Americans” (I made that up, feel free to use it, Saul) are pulling their money out of everywhere. HRC seems to be losing members and cash so quickly it had to pretend it was Macy’s and have a One Day Sale Thursday — “true story.” (I put “true story” in quotes because I just can’t let go of Pat Robertsonâ€™s disgusting, â€˜Haiti made a â€œpact with the devilâ€ â€“ â€œtrue storyâ€â€˜ statement from last week.)
It’s not only HRC that’s seeing its money go elsewhere, Arianna Huffington & Co. is urging Americans — activist or not — to show Wall Street banks the door, and to put their money into smaller, neighborhood banks. (Not a bad idea.)
HRC’s and Big Banks’ plight is really yet more evidence of the turning away from the establishment by Americans. I’m seeing more and more grassroots organizations forming than you can imagine. Which is great, and I truly believe — be it the “Tea Party Americans” or the thousands of activist Facebook groups or LGBTQ activist groups forming all across the country — America is in an upheaval it has not seen since the 1960s.
But forget about Wall Street being too big to fail. America has gotten too big to manage. If only our predecessors could have foreseen the unintended consequences of Manifest Destiny. In fact, we wouldn’t have “Tea Party Americans,” because we never would have had Sarah Palin seeing Russia from her house – she would have been in Russia.Â Cries from Texas to secede would have been in Spanish – and from Mexico.
Of course, those nine candidates running for everything from governor to state senator in the Vermont Independence Day Party, calling for their state to secede, probably are speaking English.
So, where’s all this unbridaled populism going?
In, “Is It Time for Civil Disobedience?,” David Mixner reminds us that it is. He writes,
“Let us take charge of our own struggle and stop letting our oppressors decide where we do battle. Now is the time for principled leaders in the LGBT community with great values who are committed to non-violence to step to the fore. Those leaders must be able to articulate to America the great gifts we bring to this nation if it can just lay down its fear and anger. We can only make America a better country.”
In “Soylent Green,” Heston’s character learns the evil, ugly truth, that “Soylent Green is people.” In the past week, we’ve all been faced with an evil, ugly truth: our leaders and our institutions have failed us. The very direction our county is about to turn to is in play, and we need to jump in and move it left. If the Supreme Court believes that corporations are essentially people, and money is speech, once the Boies/Olson Prop 8 trial ends and ultimately (regardless of who wins) gets to the Supreme Court, do we really believe they will rule in our favor?
Who knows. With the upsets and absurdities we’ve seen recently, everything is in play. We need to push even harder. When Scott Brown won, I wrote,
How much time and money has every politician, strategist, and blogger on the left spent licking a finger and putting it up in the air to see which way the Republican wind machine is blowing?
I say itâ€™s time to blow back.
It is time to blow back. Too much is at stake to not — or to move to another country.
This piece was first published, under the title, “Now That Corporations Are People, Can They Marry Each Other? What If They’re Gay?” at The Bilerico Project.
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Dominion Wins ‘Blockbuster Victories’ Against Fox News – Last Legal Issue Will Be Decided by a Jury: Report
Dominion Voting Systems won what are being called “blockbuster victories” Friday afternoon when a judge ruled the company suing Fox News for $1.6 billion in a major defamation lawsuit had met its burden of proof that Rupert Murdoch‘s far-right wing cable channel had repeatedly made false statements.
The final, and likely greatest legal issue Dominion will have to prove will be actual malice. That issue will be decided in a jury trial, Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric M. Davis ruled Friday, according to Law & Crime.
Unlike previous cases, Fox News will reportedly not be able to argue the on-air statements its personalities made were opinion.
CNN legal analyst and Brookings senior fellow Norm Eisen calls Friday’s decision a “huge win for Dominion on their summary judgment motion against Fox News.”
READ MORE: Capitol Police Issue Warning Over Possible Trump Protests ‘Across the Country’
“Dominion won partial summary judgement that what Fox said about them was false! Now they just have to prove actual malice and damages,” Eisen says. “Meanwhile Fox’s motion was totally denied.”
Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, an MSNBC contributor adds: “Dominion’s evidence Fox made false statements with reckless disregard is as strong as any I’ve seen.”
The judge was very clear in his ruling.
“While the Court must view the record in the light most favorable to Fox, the record does not show a genuine issue of material fact as to falsity,” Judge Davis wrote. “Through its extensive proof, Dominion has met its burden of showing there is no genuine issue of material fact as to falsity. Fox therefore had the burden to show an issue of material fact existed in turn. Fox failed to meet its burden.”
READ MORE: ‘Propaganda Network’: Media Reporter Says Dominion Filing Exposes Fox News as ‘Void of the Most Basic Journalistic Ethics’
Attorney and MSNBC host and legal analyst Katie Phang points to this key passage in Judge Davis’ ruling.
Dominion has won the argument on the issue of falsity, meaning that as the Court funds below, “it is CRYSTAL clear that none of the Statements relating to Dominion about the 2020 election are true.” pic.twitter.com/7lKEspN0WI
— Katie S. Phang (@KatiePhang) March 31, 2023
Court watchers and news junkies are familiar at this point with the massive legal filings Dominion has made in which it exposed how Fox News knowingly made false statements regarding the 2020 presidential election. Those filings, each hundreds of pages, also detail internal Fox News communications and bombshell conversations between the company’s top personalities, executives, and even Chairman Rupert Murdoch.
Image of Rupert Murdoch via Shutterstock
RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
Capitol Police Issue Warning Over Possible Trump Protests ‘Across the Country’
The U.S. Capitol Police and the Senate Sergeant at Arms on Friday jointly issued a statement warning they “anticipate” Trump protests across the country. The statement is not time-specific, and it states it has no information on “credible threats,” but some Democratic offices are allowing staffers to work from home Friday and Tuesday.
“The Sergeant at Arms and United States Capitol Police (USCP) anticipate demonstration activity across the country related to the indictment of former President Trump. While law enforcement is not tracking any specific, credible threats against the Capitol or state offices, there is potential for demonstration activity. USCP is working with law enforcement partners, so you may observe a greater law enforcement presence on Capitol Hill,” the statement reads.
“The SAA and USCP are monitoring the potential nationwide impacts to Senate state offices,” it adds.
The House Sergeant at Arms was conspicuously absent from the statement. Speaker Kevin McCarthy has control over that office.
READ MORE: Trump Trial Could Go Well Into the 2024 Election – Or Possibly Even Past It: Former Prosecutor
Additionally, Axios is reporting, “several House Democrats are allowing staffers to work from home as a safety precaution,” noting that “the memory of Trump supporters ransacking the Capitol on Jan. 6 is still fresh on the mind.”
U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) is allowing staff to work from home for safety reasons. She told Axios, “I don’t ever want to see a Jan. 6 again.”
“I’ve been in the Trump hate tunnel, Donald Trump has gone after me, and quite frankly I don’t have security. I don’t have entourages.”
She’s not the only Democrat to raise concerns.
“Much of the language from the former President and his devotees is similar to what inspired Jan. 6th,” U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips said. “I’m concerned about safety for my colleagues and my staff.”
READ MORE: ‘Lighting the Match’: Marjorie Taylor Greene Blasted for Off the Rails Rant Defending Trump
Meanwhile, House Republicans are issuing full-throated support for Trump and calling for protests.
U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who was called out by name in a six-page letter Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg sent to Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan Friday morning, announced she will be in New York on Tuesday to support Trump when he is arraigned. She has posted several tweets since Trump was indicted.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy issued a statement Thursday seemingly designed to gin up rage and action in the MAGA base.
“Alvin Bragg has irreparably damaged our country in an attempt to interfere in our Presidential election. As he routinely frees violent criminals to terrorize the public, he weaponized our sacred system of justice against President Donald Trump. The American people will not tolerate this injustice, and the House of Representatives will hold Alvin Bragg and his unprecedented abuse of power to account.”
Image by Elvert Barnes via Flickr and a CC license
Trump Trial Could Go Well Into the 2024 Election – Or Possibly Even Past It: Former Prosecutor
Donald Trump, and all of America, could spend the next 18 months – or longer – engrossed in Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s trial of the ex-president, and that could bring the trial close to Election Day.
That’s according to a former prosecutor in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office, Charles Coleman, who is now a civil rights attorney and MSNBC legal analyst.
Asked by MSNBC’s Chris Jansing, “How long typically might a case like this take?” Coleman offered a two-tiered answer.
“A case like this is usually going to take a year or a year and a half,” Coleman said.
That could be through September of 2024.
READ MORE: ‘Lighting the Match’: Marjorie Taylor Greene Blasted for Off the Rails Rant Defending Trump
“Wow,” a surprised Jansing replied. “So it’s going right up into the campaign.”
“Absolutely,” agreed Coleman. “But it’s important to understand I said a case ‘like this.’ This particular case, I expect may take longer because I am anticipating a number of different legal maneuvers by Donald Trump’s defense team.”
That theoretically means into October of 2024, or longer.
“I do see motions to dismiss at a number of different terms, more likely than not to the point that the judge probably will ultimately end up admonishing them and telling them stop filing motions to dismiss. I think that that’s going to happen,” Coleman explained.
“I’ve said before, and I’ll say again, I do believe that we are going to see an attempt to try to change the venue, in this case outside of somewhere in the five boroughs. All of that is going to extend the time deeper and deeper into election season.”
READ MORE: Manhattan DA Unleashes on Jim Jordan With Stern Warning: You May Not ‘Interfere’ With Trump Prosecution
Reuters agrees, reporting Friday morning, “any potential trial is still at minimum more than a year away, legal experts said, raising the possibility that the former U.S. president could face a jury in a Manhattan courtroom during or even after the 2024 presidential campaign, as he seeks a return to the White House.”
And because “Trump’s case is far from typical,” Reuters notes, his trial could extend “past Election Day in November 2024.”
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