Connect with us

Soylent Green Isn’t People. Corporations Are.



Supreme Court

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.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.


Embattled Trump-Appointed DHS Inspector Was Given Phones of Secret Service Agents in July, Raising ‘New Questions’: Report



Senior Secret Service leadership confiscated the cell phones of 24 agents and handed them over to the embattled Trump-appointed Inspector General of the Dept. of Homeland Security as he was launching his criminal investigation into the deleted text message scandal. The Secret Service, DHS, and former Trump officials at the Pentagon have been under fire after the IG, Joseph Cuffari, belatedly revealed texts from January 5 and 6, 2021, had been deleted.

“The agency handed over the phones ‘shortly after’ a July 19 letter was sent by Inspector General Joseph Cuffari’s office,” NBC News reports.

“The revelation that Cuffari’s office has had access to the phones since late July or August raises new questions about the progress of his criminal investigation into the missing text messages and what, if anything, the public may be able to learn about communications between agents on Jan. 6, 2021,” NBC adds.

READ MORE: Trump-Installed DHS Inspector General Who Ignored Text Deletions Violated ‘Prohibition on Unethical Conduct’: Report

Cuffari reportedly learned in December of 2021 that the cell phones of Secret Service agents directly involved in protective operations on the day of the insurrection, had been wiped and text messages deleted. He did not report this to Congress until July of 2022, despite his staff taking action.

CNN, however, has reported Cuffari actually learned of the deleted texts in May of 2021, which if accurate would mean he waited more than a year to inform Congress. Nor did he inform the National Archives, which is required by law to retain those records.

Cuffari has been seen by some as covering for Trump loyalists. His own staff is calling for his firing.

“Department of Homeland Security (DHS) watchdog staff recently called on President Joe Biden to remove their boss, Inspector General Joseph Cuffari, according to a blistering letter obtained by the Project On Government Oversight,” POGO reported last week. “‘The highest priorities of an inspector general are integrity and independence,’ states the letter. ‘IG Cuffari and his inner circle of senior leaders have fallen short in these areas time and time again.'”

READ MORE: ‘Coverup of Treason’: Trump-Appointed IG, Under Investigation, Knew of Missing Secret Service and DHS Texts Far Earlier

In April of 2021 The Washington Post reported Cuffari “blocked investigations proposed by career staff last year to scrutinize the [Secret Service’s] handling of the George Floyd protests in Lafayette Square and the spread of the coronavirus in its ranks, according to documents and people with knowledge of his decisions.”

Noted political scientist Norman Ornstein, who sits on the POGO board, in late July called the situation a “coverup of treason.”

POGO, he wrote, “has been calling for a long time for the resignation of DHS IG Joseph Cuffari. He sat on the information of missing texts from the top DHS ‘acting’ officials, put there by Trump to do his bidding. Stinks to high heaven. Coverup of treason.”



Continue Reading


DOJ Demands Return of Emails Peter Navarro Sent From Private Account for Government Business



The Department of Justice is seeking a court order to compel Peter Navarro to return government documents he took after leaving the Trump administration.

Investigators are seeking the return of emails he sent while working on the White House coronavirus response, which they say were sent from a private account for government business to discuss ventilators, activating National Guard units, and the use of hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 treatment, reported CNN.

“There is no genuine dispute of fact that Dr. Navarro used at least one unofficial email account to conduct official business, that those records are the property of the United States, and that Dr. Navarro has refused to return the records to the United States. Indeed, his counsel has expressly admitted as much,” wrote Justice Department lawyers.

“Because Dr. Navarro remains in possession of property that belongs to the United States,” the lawyers added, “this Court should issue a writ of replevin requiring Dr. Navarro to return what he wrongfully continues to possess.”

READ MORE: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton fled his home to avoid being served with subpoena, court record says

The National Archives discovered the emails were missing after the DOJ sued Navarro earlier this year in a records dispute related to a House investigation.

Continue Reading


Fox News Host Claims ‘Whites Are a Minority in California’ So Dems Want ‘On-Ramp’ for Undocumented Immigrants to Vote



Fox News personality Jesse Watters is making undocumented claims about undocumented immigrants and voting in California, the nation’s most-populous state, along with false claims about voter ID and precisely which race is the majority in the Golden State.

“Didn’t Democrats say that Blacks were incapable of handling an ID to vote?” Media Matters reports Watters, who has been criticized numerous times for racism. said Monday on Fox News’ “The Five.”

That’s false.

READ MORE: Fox News Promotes Provocateur Who Called for ‘Kill Shot’ Against Dr. Anthony Fauci

“Many Americans do not have one of the forms of identification states acceptable for voting,” the ACLU says. “These voters are disproportionately low-income, racial and ethnic minorities, the elderly, and people with disabilities.  Such voters more frequently have difficulty obtaining ID, because they cannot afford or cannot obtain the underlying documents that are a prerequisite to obtaining government-issued photo ID card.”

That’s very different from falsely claiming Black Americans are “incapable of handling an ID.”

Watters went on to say, “But, I guess illegal aliens are perfectly capable of having a state-issued ID to use it for welfare.”

That too is false.

Undocumented immigrants are almost exclusively ineligible for federal government welfare programs.

READ MORE: Critics Blast Top US Conservative Think Tank President for Applauding Italy’s Election of ‘Neo-Fascist’ Prime Minister

“What I think is going on here is, right now, whites are a minority in California. Hispanics are the majority race in that state,” Watters claims.

Depending on your definition, that’s false, according to the U.S. Government.

Those who reported being “white alone or in combination” with another race is listed as 54.6% for California for the actual 2020 Census. “White alone” is listed as 41.2%.

“Hispanic or Latino” is listed as 39.4% of the population in California. “Not Hispanic or Latino” is listed at 60.6%.

“And white Democrat politicians like Gavin Newsom see the writing on the wall and they’ll do anything they can to cling to the political machine,” Watters claimed. “Now, this looks like an on-ramp to voting, if I was just being suspicious. But, being suspicious has made me very, very successful.”

The segment began with “Judge’ Jeanine Pirro saying “Liberal states and cities from coast to coast putting illegal immigrants over their own residents.” Pirro was lamenting a bill Newsom signed into law she says that will allow “illegal immigrants to acquire a government-issued state ID.”

Just before the 2016 election Watters did a man-on-the-street segment in New York City’s Chinatown and for nearly five minutes engaged in racist, anti-Asian, and downright offensive behavior. Vox’s Libby Nelson put it this way: “Fox News fit an impressive number of offensive Asian stereotypes into 5 minutes.”

Watch below or at this link.


Continue Reading


Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.