Day: December 19, 2010

Justice Antonin Scalia And Separation Of Powers Seminar To Congressional Conservatives Headed By Michele Bachmann: An Egregious Conflict Of Interest! :(

Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, one of the most controversial members of the House of Representatives, one of the leaders of the Tea Party Caucus in the House, and infamous for outrageous statements and actions and for promoting political confrontations, has now gone beyond the pale.

She has decided that members of Congress should take “courses” on the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights, all designed to promote the “conservative” interpretation of these sacred documents.

Anyone serving in Congress should be expected to KNOW these documents by heart, and should NOT be promoting a distorted view of these documents, as Michele Bachmann and her ilk have been doing for years already! And to allow the Tea Party Movement, with its distortion of history and reality, to be the so called “cosponsor” of this series of seminars is even more outrageous!

But it gets worse, as Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, the most conservative member of the Court in the past hundred years, and a promoter of “originalism”–the concept that every legal decision should be based only on 1787 and the Constitutional Convention, with no consideration of modern times or changes in the 223 years since 1787–has agreed to give the first seminar on “separation of powers”!

Does not Justice Scalia realize that “separation of powers” means just that, and that therefore, it is inappropriate for him to be trying to influence or in any other way involve himself with actions of the legislative branch? ๐Ÿ™

The Supreme Court is supposed to be non-political in nature, but apparently if a conservative such as Scalia wishes to be political, that is alright. And if Justice Clarence Thomas’s wife wishes to become involved in a pressure group that could theoretically have an influence on future cases before the Court, that apparently is fine! ๐Ÿ™

But imagine if Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Sonia Sotomayor, or Elena Kagan were to lecture to a liberal Democratic group or advocate a modernist view to people on Capitol Hill, you can be assured there would be moves to impeach them as having violated “separation of powers”!

This is the double standard, the hypocrisy, of conservatives, Republicans, and the Tea Party Movement, who all claim to be “holier than thou”, when they are engaged in clearcut violations of the Constitution by what they are doing, and what Justice Scalia has agreed to do!

But then, Justice Scalia, as brilliant as he is recognized to be, is also an extremely arrogant man! That sums it up! ๐Ÿ™

The Roberts Supreme Court: Back To The Gilded Age And The 1920s! :(

New evidence is now available indicating that the Supreme Court headed by John Roberts, the 17th Chief Justice, since 2005, has become the most pro business Supreme Court since the 1920s and the earlier Gilded Age, both periods in which corporations were given license to run amuck over small business, labor, and consumers in their mad dash for maximum profits and exploitation! ๐Ÿ™

The Citizens United case in January, allowing unlimited corporate contributions in political campaigns, upending a century of regulatory laws on that subject, is just the most obvious case.

But with a five member majority, with two appointments by Ronald Reagan, one by father George H W Bush and two by son George W. Bush, the Supreme Court now has demonstrated that 61 percent of the time, they favor big business, as compared to 46 percent in the last five years under Chief Justice William Rehnquist, and 42 percent in all the years since Earl Warren became Chief Justice in 1953.

The Chamber of Commerce and other business groups have been able to get a sympathetic ear from the Supreme Court in greater percentages as the years go by, and this is another troubling piece of evidence, shown by many legal scholarly analyses, that the concept of “an equal day in court” for everyone is really a myth! ๐Ÿ™

What is emerging is the disturbing reality of a growing oligarchy which wins the day in the courts and in the Congress so often that the idea of a “land of opportunity” and the “American dream” is more than ever, for almost everyone, except a small elite, a total distortion of reality! ๐Ÿ™

Buyer’s Remorse: Second And Third Thoughts On Tax Deal Between Barack Obama And The GOP! :(

The tax legislation negotiated between President Barack Obama and the Republican leadership this week has had much reaction from all sides of the political spectrum, and it has been a long week of serious reflection on the value of the arrangement.

Originally, the author called this a “Pearl Harbor” event, and then was swayed by many commentaries that called it a sign of bipartisanship, and switched his view to support.

Upon further reflection this weekend, and after a great discussion with my son David, who has worked on Capitol Hill or with people on Capitol Hill for the past four and a half years, I must now express what I call second and third thoughts on the agreement, and withdraw my support of the deal, sorry to say! ๐Ÿ™

While bipartisanship is important as a concept, it is unrealistic to expect that there will be any truthful cooperation between the GOP in the House and the growing Republican minority in the Senate with President Obama.

What it comes down to is that the wealthy received a continuation of a tax cut which is what has created the tremendous national debt growth since 2001. What was the so called “Bush tax cuts” are now the “Obama tax cuts”! ๐Ÿ™

While it is true that unemployment compensation was allowed to be extended for another 13 months, the reality is what will happen in a year when unemployment will still be very high, and the Republicans in the House will refuse to promote a bill that will extend it? ๐Ÿ™

What will those millions of people, many of them middle aged or older, with little education, no money to do job training, already losing their homes, unable to support their families on minimum wage jobs if they could get them, be expected to do to survive? Are the Republicans going to give a damn what happens to these families, including single mothers with children, and not just minorities, but millions of whites as well, when they now argue that many people on unemployment compensation don’t want to work? ๐Ÿ™

What about the reality that the so called “99ers” do not get any extension at all now, and apparently never will, and will be living on the streets, or in their cars if they are not dispossessed? What about the harm being done to millions of children who are victims of this economic mess? ๐Ÿ™

Beyond the unemployment compensation issue, by lowering the Social Security tax by two percent for two years, the Social Security system is being harmed, and when Obama calls for a return to the original 6.2 percent tax for Social Security in 2012, the Republicans will call it a tax increase and work to prevent it, therefore undermining the whole social safety net that Social Security represents. ๐Ÿ™

It is clear that if it is left up to the Republican Party, the social safety net represented by Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid will be destroyed over time, and that will make the country even more stratified, whereby by 2050, half the wealth of the nation will be in the hands of the top one percent, instead of the present 24 percent, brought about by the massive tax cuts to the wealthy since 2001! ๐Ÿ™

Also, supposedly the government is committed to prevention of increase of the national debt, but has now agreed to legislation which will add nearly a trillion to the debt, which the GOP will blame on Obama in 2012.

So while Charles Krauthammer might say that Obama has improved his chances of winning a second term in 2012 by making this deal, the question is even if that were to be true, what is most important is NOT whether any person wins the Presidency in 2012 (although Obama would be the best choice available), but how it affects the welfare of the American people for the long term!

While obviously the liberal Democratic base cannot expect to win all that they want to occur, for Obama to have alienated them to the point that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid absented themselves from the signing ceremony for the tax deal, while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was present, is disturbing!

Has Obama made a deal with the “devil” and turned against the “angels”? It could be that is the case! ๐Ÿ™

Of course, some might say in refutation, that Obama wanted to avoid pain and suffering for the unemployed and for middle class taxpayers, but it seems more than ever that by what he agreed to, he may just have delayed the pain and suffering, and wounded the Social Security system and the social safety net to boot! ๐Ÿ™

It may very well be that the long range effect may be more harmful than the short term gain, whatever it might be seen as being! ๐Ÿ™

Sad Ending On DREAM Act: “The American Dream” Denied To Young Illegal Immigrants Who Wish To Contribute To The Only Nation They Know! :(

A very sad development yesterday in the US Senate was the denial of an opportunity for young illegal immigrants who were brought to this country as babies or very young children, and never have done anything illegal, but are being denied the right to move toward citizenship by pursuing college or entering the military.

These children are not lawbreakers, even if their parents are, and they have no memory of their former homeland. They have been discriminated against, and just wished to pursue the “American dream” that we hear so much about, but the Republicans in the Senate, except for three courageous souls, refused to allow such an opportunity.

The only three Republicans who voted in favor of cloture to end the filibuster by their party on the proposed DREAM Act were Richard Lugar of Indiana, Robert Bennett of Utah, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

However, since the vote, with four Senators not present, was 55-41, we must also look at the five Democrats who voted against the DREAM Act–Kay Hagen of North Carolina, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, and Jon Tester and Max Baucus of Montana. These five Senators did not show reasonable justification for their votes, and should rightfully be condemned for their vote.

With this defeat, and with the reality of GOP control of the House of Representatives for the next two years, and fewer Democrats in the Senate as well, it is unlikely that the DREAM Act or anything similar to it will have any fortune in the next few years.

But the battle for immigration reform, including giving opportunities to children who have done no wrong except being born to the “wrong” parents, will continue, and with the growing Latino population in this country, eventually human rights and civil rights will come to these deserving children of illegal immigrants!