Tuesday, June 26, 2012

POLITICS: Our Supreme Court Has Five Rubes, Five Flat Earthers, Or Five Ideologues—Your Choice

There's plenty of Supreme Court watching going on these days, particularly with the Affordable Care Act—commonly know as Obamacare—awaiting a ruling later this week. But one of today's rulings sums up the regrettable fact that five our current Supreme Court justices are either total rubes, bona fide flat-earthers, or embarrassing ideologues.

In the case of American Tradition Partnership v. Bullock, the state of Montana's 100 year old law prohibiting corporations from making "an expenditure in connection with a candidate or a political party that supports or opposes a candidate or a political party" was struck down by the homunculi majority on the Supreme Court. The people and state of Montana passed the law in 1912 after the corporate abuses of the Gilded Age made it abundantly clear that businesses with seemingly unlimited funds would use as much money as needed to buy the votes of politicians at the local, state, and national level. You know—the same gripe President Teddy Roosevelt made against the Robber Barons when he busted up corporate control of America. Kind of like the world we live in now, no?

In 2010, the Supreme Court ruled in the Citizens United case that corporations could make unlimited donations to any political campaign or candidate because—get this—money is the same as speech. If anyone can show me where in the Constitution the Founders equate money with free speech, I'll buy you an indulgent dinner at the fine dining establishment of your choice. Of course, I'll win that bet every time—because there's NOWHERE in the Constitution that the Founders make the semi-retarded assertion that money is somehow the same as speech. If they believed such a thing, those educated, elite, wealthy, land-owning men of the 1780s would have included that key fact in the Constitution, don'tcha think?

What 2010's Citizen United 5-4 ruling did was allow the 1% (aka The Robber Barons) to donate unlimited amounts of money to political campaigns and outside organizations—effectively buying politicians with gross amounts of money and with the full backing of the Supreme Court. In 2012, a big election year, we can already see the wonders of Citizen United at work: a wealthy gambling man from Las Vegas named Sheldon Adelson donated more than $22 million to a handful of Republican candidates in the course of about six months. I bet that is exactly what the Founding Fathers imagined when they ensured freedom of speech in the First Amendment—they simply forgot to include the part about speech meaning the same thing as money.

But here's where the rube/flat-earther question comes in with Justices Roberts, Alito, Thomas, Scalia, and Kennedy: in their original 2010 Citizens United ruling, the justices claimed that "independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption."

Read that again: "independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption."

Are these guys total rubes? Either these five sages of the court have NEVER even glanced at American history of the past century (highly unlikely, of course), or they are all belong to some weird association that believes the earth is flat and that the emails they receive from a representative of a prince from Gambia who has half a million dollars ready to send to them if only they will email their bank information and a few thousand in processing fees.

No, the odds are very good that these five justices are simply ideologues that believe the moneyed and powerful really should make the key decisions for our country—kind of like the feudal system that worked out so well for Europe a four or five hundred years ago. 

Want to see another great example of the willfully ignorant rube in action?

Will we have to wait twenty years for a decrepit Chief Justice John Roberts to appear before the Senate to admit that he was wrong to think that excess amounts of money donated by corporations to politicians actually did "give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption"? Roberts ain't no rube, and he ain't no flat-earther either. But he's an ideologue alright. Unfortunately, his adherence to an utterly feudal 16th century sense of noblesse oblige and laissez faire economics is more important than our belief in the tenants of the U.S. Constitution. But don't fret—Roberts' apology will be broadcast world wide in 2032. And then we'll all feel vindicated, right?

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