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Soylent Green Isn’t People. Corporations Are.

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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 Robertson’s disgusting, ‘Haiti made a “pact with the devil” – “true story”‘ 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.  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 it’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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News

Dem Wants Probe Into Allegations of Congress Members Drinking During Contempt Hearing

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House Oversight Republicans held a contempt of Congress hearing for Attorney General Merrick Garland while lawmakers allegedly were drinking alcohol and acting “pretty ugly” during Thursday night’s proceedings. Now, they are the ones accused of behavior “embarrassing to our institution” by Ranking Member Jamie Raskin (D-MD), who wants an investigation.

“Members of the panel ultimately advanced a contempt of Congress resolution against Attorney General Merrick Garland on a party-line vote, but the far more striking takeaway was the personal attacks and theatrics lobbed between lawmakers in both parties — as Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) struggled unsuccessfully to gain control for more than an hour,” Politico reported Friday, adding: “both Republicans and Democrats acknowledged some members had been drinking that evening.”

Who was drinking remains a secret.

“A House Republican described the hearing as ’embarrassing’ and ‘a four -alarm dumpster fire,'” Axios reported. “The session quickly devolved into chaos, with Democrats blasting the GOP for postponing the hearing so several members could visit former President Trump’s trial and Republicans heckling them in response.”

One Democrat during the hearing spoke up.

READ MORE: Why Alito’s ‘Stop the Steal’ Flag Story Just Fell Apart

Ranking Member Raskin “said it was ’embarrassing to our institution’ and that he ‘constantly’ instructs his members to maintain a ‘high level of dignity and respect and decorum.'”

“We have some members in the room who are drinking inside the hearing room … who are not on this committee,” alleged Rep. Melanie Stansbury (D-NM).

The Hill adds that Congressman Raskin said, “I didn’t see the drinking,” and that “the gentlelady from New Mexico, Melanie Stansbury raised it, she said there are members drinking in the room, and that’s something that is worth investigating if there was in fact drinking taking place.”

One unnamed House Republican told Axios, “This place is so stupid.”

The evening’s events quickly took a bad turn when U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), violating decorum, interrupted Ranking Member Raskin barely 30 seconds into his remarks.

Watch below or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Partisan Insurrectionist’: Calls Mount for Alito’s Ouster After ‘Stop the Steal’ Scandal

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OPINION

Why Alito’s ‘Stop the Steal’ Flag Story Just Fell Apart

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Justice Samuel Alito’s defense for why there was a “Stop the Steal” flag flying at his Alexandria, Virginia home three days before Joe Biden’s inauguration, ten days after the January 6, 2021 insurrection, just fell apart.

The entire justification for a sitting U.S. Supreme Court justice with lifetime tenure who refuses to recuse himself from cases including ones related to the 2020 election, which ethics experts and U.S. Senators say he is obligated to do so, is a dispute with a neighbor, according to The New York Times‘ original reporting, and a Fox News reporter.

Critics say his defense doesn’t justify flying a U.S. flag upside down, a symbol of the Stop the Steal movement used by insurrectionists.

In brief, Fox News’ Shannon Bream reports Justice Alito “told me a neighbor on their street had a ‘F— Trump’ sign that was within 50 feet of where children await the school bus in Jan 21. Mrs. Alito brought this up with the neighbor.”

“According to Justice Alito, things escalated and the neighbor put up a sign personally addressing Mrs. Alito and blaming her for the Jan 6th attacks,” Bream wrote. She added Alito “says he and his wife were walking in the neighborhood and there were words between Mrs. Alito and a male at the home with the sign. Alito says the man engaged in vulgar language, ‘including the c-word’,” which prompted Mrs. Alito to hang the American flag upside down as the insurrections did on January 6.

RELATED: ‘Partisan Insurrectionist’: Calls Mount for Alito’s Ouster After ‘Stop the Steal’ Scandal

Court watchers and critics have called into question Alito’s judgment. Senate Democratic Judiciary Chairman Dick Durban has called for the Justice to recuse himself from all cases related to the 2020 presidential election, NBC News is reporting.

Critics are asking if Justice and/or Mrs. Alito’s response to an alleged dispute with neighbors was appropriate, but now Justice Alito’s telling of events is being called into question entirely.

Aaron Fritschner, Deputy Chief of Staff for U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), says no school children would have been waiting for school buses at the time the Alito’s flag was photographed upside down, because schools had moved to virtual learning during the COVID pandemic at that time in the area the Alitos reside.

Further calling into question Justice Alito’s claims, CNN’s Holmes Lybrand, a former fact-checker for The Weekly Standard, reports none of the Alitos’ neighbors remember the alleged dispute the justice recounted.

“I spoke with some of Justice Alito’s neighbors who said they remember the American flag being flown upside-down at his home but didn’t recall any neighborhood drama surrounding it,” Lyband reports. “Each neighbor I spoke with reiterated multiple times how kind and well-liked the Alitos are.”

In its report that broke the story, The New York Times noted, “The half-dozen neighbors who saw the flag, or knew of it, requested anonymity because they said they did not want to add to the contentiousness on the block and feared reprisal.”

READ MORE: Trump Appears to Violate Gag Order After Judge Threatened ‘Incarceration’

 

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OPINION

Alito Tells Fox News Story Behind His Home’s ‘Stop the Steal’ Flag but Critics Unconvinced

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Editor’s note: The spelling of Fox News host Shannon Bream’s last name has been corrected.

Justice Samuel Alito on Friday appeared to compound concerns over the bombshell New York Times report revealing a flag associated with the January 6 insurrection and the “Stop the Steal” movement was flying at his house just before Joe Biden was inaugurated and while the Supreme Court was reviewing a 2020 election case.

Alito, whose far-right positions including writing the majority opinion in the Supreme Court case overturning Roe v. Wade, have infuriated and frustrated the left, once again has found himself the subject of apprehension over his impartiality and grasp of ethical norms.

In a rare move, the embattled justice, who now faces strong calls for his ouster, spoke immediately to the news media to address those issues, and revealed the story behind the decision to fly the “Stop the Steal” flag at his home.

Confirming again it was his wife who put the flag up, Alito seemed neither remorseful nor cognizant of the great ethical and credibility violation that act represented.

RELATED: ‘Partisan Insurrectionist’: Calls Mount for Alito’s Ouster After ‘Stop the Steal’ Scandal

“I spoke directly with Justice #Alito about the flag story in the NYT,” Fox News host Shannon Bream reported late Friday morning via social media. “In addition to what’s in the story, he told me a neighbor on their street had a ‘F— Trump’ sign that was within 50 feet of where children await the school bus in Jan 21. Mrs. Alito brought this up with the neighbor.”

“According to Justice Alito, things escalated and the neighbor put up a sign personally addressing Mrs. Alito and blaming her for the Jan 6th attacks,” Bream continued.

“Justice Alito says he and his wife were walking in the neighborhood and there were words between Mrs. Alito and a male at the home with the sign. Alito says the man engaged in vulgar language, ‘including the c-word’,” she wrote. “Following that exchange, Mrs. Alito was distraught and hung the flag upside down ‘for a short time’. Justice Alito says some neighbors on his street are ‘very political’ and acknowledges it was a very heated time in January 2021.”

The Bulwark’s Bill Kristol chastised Bream, noting she got Alito’s side of the story without “trying to see how it compares with the accounts and recollections of others involved. If only the anchor had the resources of a ‘news’ channel to seek out the truth!”

Some critics responding to Bream’s report say Alito’s explanation doesn’t make their perception of his actions — or his wife’s – any more reasonable.

Former George W. Bush administration official Christian Vanderbrouk commented, “Sam Alito is unapologetic for desecrating an American symbol as part of a neighborhood feud.”

READ MORE: Why Are One in Five GOP Voters Still Voting for Nikki Haley Over Donald Trump?

“Interesting claims by Alito,” attorney Robert J. DeNault remarked. “Not sure it’s reasonable to think any person would react to a neighbor disagreeing — even crassly or rudely — over Trump by hanging an American flag upside down. Does not feel credible to contend Alito’s upside flag was divorced from MAGA symbolism.”

“Alito speaks to Fox about New York Times report, continues to attribute it to his wife, but does not explain why his wife’s reaction to a ‘fuck Trump’ sign and being insulted was to hang an American flag upside down in the days after Jan. 6.” observed CNN’s Edward-Isaac Dovere. “Suburban neighborhood disputes happen all the time – over lawn care, noisy children, Christmas lights… all sorts of things. Not many instances of an escalated response being a now very politicized symbol of military distress.”

“Friendly reminder the entire GOP and Fox News is screaming on practically a daily basis that Judge Merchan needs to recuse because of the work his adult daughter separately does,” national security attorney Brad Moss offered. “But yeah, this is no biggie.”

READ MORE: ‘Long History of Playing Games’: Biden Campaign Shuts Down Trump’s Tantrum

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