Random Awesomeness: The Making Alan Moore Cry Edition

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If/Then FAIL

I am guessing that Amazon didn’t score very high on the SATs, based on the following email it sent me early this morning:

Dear Amazon.com Customer,

As someone who has purchased or rated Lego Rock Band, you might like to know that The Bachelor: The Videogame will be released on June 8, 2010.  You can pre-order yours by following the link below.

The Bachelor: The Videogame The Bachelor Videogame
Warner Bros

Price: $29.99

Release Date: June 8, 2010

Platform: Nintendo Wii

Product Description
The quest for love doesn’t have to end after the show’s final rose. Now, you can experience the excitement of the TV show in your very own adventure and compete for the affections of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette! It’s up to you to make an impression that will leave your suitor with only one option…to offer you the final rose!

“As you have purchased Lego Rock Band, logic clearly dictates that you or perhaps the 10 year old boy for whom you bought Lego Rock Band must also be foaming at the mouth to play a video game based on a reality show where a bunch of crazy drunk whores fight over a giant douchenozzle…”

“… I Ain’t Holding Back Anymore!!”

Okay, so whenever we discuss examples of racism, bigotry, whathaveyou in the TEA movement, we are invariably told (a) that liberals/the MSM are making it up, (b) that these are just a few “bad apples” who don’t really represent what real TEAfolk stand for, (c) that liberals/the MSM are making much ado about nothing, and/or (d) that liberals/the MSM are the REAL racists/bigots/whathaveyou.

My point, as I have raised again and again, is how the non racists/bigots in the TEA movement can justify standing with such people?

Well, here is a bigger question:  How can ANYONE in the TEA movement condone acts of violence? As reported at length in the Charlottesville Daily Progress here, Federal and local authorities are investigating a severed gas line at the home of U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello’s brother, discovered the day after Tea Party activists posted the address online so opponents could “drop by” and “express their thanks” for Perriello’s vote in favor of health care reform. From the Daily Progress:

Two members of the conservative Tea Party groups in Danville and Lynchburg posted the home’s address online Monday, mistakenly believing it belonged to the congressman. The home actually belongs to Bo Perriello, the congressman’s older brother.

The local FBI field office and the Albemarle County fire marshal are investigating the incident. Police have stepped up patrols in the area as well.

Albemarle County spokeswoman Lee Catlin confirmed that county authorities are investigating an incident at Bo Perriello’s home in cooperation with the FBI, but she said she cannot comment on the specifics because it is an ongoing investigation.

“The Fire Marshal’s Office is conducting the investigation in cooperation with the FBI,” Catlin said. “While officials are not willing to characterize the exact nature of the incident because of the ongoing investigation, it did not involve an immediate threat to occupants of the residence. Officials are taking the incident very seriously and conducting a vigorous investigation. Additional details will be released as the investigation continues.”

M.A. Myers, a spokesman with the FBI’s Richmond field office, confirmed that the agency is “aware” of the severing of the gas line at Bo Perriello’s house.

“At this point, all I can really confirm is that we are aware of that situation,” he said.

Danville Tea Party leader Nigel Coleman was one of the two activists who posted Bo Perriello’s address online Monday.

“This is Rep. Thomas Stuart Price Perriello’s home address,” Coleman wrote Monday. “… I ain’t holding back anymore!!”

According to the Danville Register & Bee site, when Coleman learned that the address actually belonged to the congressman’s brother, he responded on a blog: “Do you mean I posted his brother’s address on my Facebook? Oh well, collateral damage.”

Coleman told The Daily Progress today that he is “shocked” and “almost speechless” at the possibility that someone would sever the propane line to Perriello’s brother’s house.

“I obviously condemn these actions,” he said. “I would hope that people aren’t thinking about doing anything crazy. We just wanted people to get close to the congressman and have their voices heard. Violence is not going to answer anything. I’m a little shocked and amazed.”

Coleman added that he is not certain that the incident is related to the posting of the home’s address. “Of course, we don’t know this is a related event,” he said.

Really? Coleman “a little shocked and amazed” that someone took him up on his suggestion? Are you fucking kidding me with this shit? Seriously – “Collateral Damage?” What brave new sort of asshole ARE you?

What the hell did you THINK would happen? At BEST, it never crossed your mind that what you were doing was clearly inciting angry and frustrated people to take action, action that very well could injure the people at THE ADDRESS YOU POSTED WITHOUT BOTHERING TO VERIFY WHO LIVED THERE.

At worst, you CLEARLY knew what you were doing, and now want to give us the coy, finger in the mouth “Oopsie! I’m a bad widdle boy!” schtick.

And I suppose now is when a bunch of apologists will flood out, claiming that (a) liberals/the MSM are making this up, (b) that these are just a few “bad apples” who don’t really represent what real TEAfolk stand for, (c) that liberals/the MSM are making much ado about nothing, and/or (d) that liberals/the MSM are the REAL terrorists.

…I’m waiting…

h/t to Mark Potok at the SPLC Blog (which will, I am sure, render MY whole post invalid to those who think that the SPLC is some sort of radical fringe group).

"Sorry I Cut Your Gas Line - I Thought You Were Someone Else" Scones

1 2 3 4 – Wait, What Exactly ARE You Fighting For?

I have posted several times about the fracturing of the Teabaggers disgruntled Libertarians self-proclaimed patriots angry mob Glenn Beck followers Crazy Palin Supporters Oath Keepers John Birch Society New Minutemen Ayn Rand Wankers TEA movement thing, as well as what I perceive to be the inherent problems of the “movement,” ranging from miseducation to willful hypocrisy to bigotry. One element, however, that I have not addressed very much is the apocalyptic hysteria.

Well friends, that time has come.

Yesterday’s New York Times contained a very interesting article on the TEAbaggery. And yes, after much internal debate, I have decided to refer collectively to the whole lot (lot = [Teabaggers disgruntled Libertarians self-proclaimed patriots angry mob Glenn Beck followers Crazy Palin Supporters Oath Keepers John Birch Society New Minutemen Ayn Rand Wankers TEA movement thing]) as TEAbaggery. They picked the name (no really Mom, they did) and I like it so there you go. Nomenclature aside, I have culled some of the more alarmist/jaw-dropping quotes from the article for us to discuss.

Who joins the TEAbaggery? Primarily people who are fed up and/or afraid and either don’t know or are unable to articulate why.  Also, a lack of prior education on government/politics/civics is good, as is a poor voting record.  Then the angry and fed up, either by divine luck or shrewd marketing, stumble upon the likes of Ron Paul and Glenn Beck. At this point, the proto-baggers receive an “Education” about what the Constitution *really* means and how those vague and ill-defined feelings of being shafted are *really* the pure spark of Constitutional Love.

The[ local TEAgroups] are frequently led by political neophytes who prize independence and tell strikingly similar stories of having been awakened by the recession. Their families upended by lost jobs, foreclosed homes and depleted retirement funds, they said they wanted to know why it happened and whom to blame.

That is often the point when Tea Party supporters say they began listening to Glenn Beck. With his guidance, they explored the Federalist Papers, exposés on the Federal Reserve, the work of Ayn Rand and George Orwell. Some went to constitutional seminars. Online, they discovered radical critiques of Washington on Web sites like ResistNet.com (“Home of the Patriotic Resistance”) and Infowars.com (“Because there is a war on for your mind.”).

Many describe emerging from their research as if reborn to a new reality. Some have gone so far as to stock up on ammunition, gold and survival food in anticipation of the worst. For others, though, transformation seems to amount to trying on a new ideological outfit — embracing the rhetoric and buying the books.

And this:

Most of the people [at a TEA gathering in WA state] had paid only passing attention to national politics in years past. “I voted twice and I failed political science twice,” said Darin Stevens, leader of the Spokane 9/12 Project.

Until the recession, Mr. Stevens, 33, had poured his energies into his family and his business installing wireless networks. He had to lay off employees, and he struggled to pay credit cards, a home equity loan, even his taxes. “It hits you physically when you start getting the calls,” he said.

He discovered Glenn Beck, and began to think of Washington as a conspiracy to fleece the little guy. “I had no clue that my country was being taken from me,” Mr. Stevens explained. He could not understand why his progressive friends did not see what he saw.

But what *exactly* do they think is so wrong?  Well, depends on who is talking, apparently. And a lot of the “fear” seems to be grounded in fantasy and fearmongering.

At a recent meeting of the Sandpoint Tea Party, Mrs. Stout presided with brisk efficiency until a member interrupted with urgent news. Because of the stimulus bill, he insisted, private medical records were being shipped to federal bureaucrats. A woman said her doctor had told her the same thing. There were gasps of rage. Everyone already viewed health reform as a ruse to control their medical choices and drive them into the grip of insurance conglomerates. Debate erupted. Could state medical authorities intervene? Should they call Congress?

WorldNetDaily.com trumpets “exclusives” reporting that the Army is seeking “Internment/Resettlement” specialists. On ResistNet.com, bloggers warn that Mr. Obama is trying to convert Interpol, the international police organization, into his personal police force. They call on “fellow Patriots” to “grab their guns.”

People are more willing, he said, to imagine a government that would lock up political opponents, or ration health care with “death panels,” or fake global warming. And if global warming is a fraud, is it so crazy to wonder about a president’s birth certificate?

“People just do not trust any of this,” Mr. [Richard] Mack said. “It’s not just the fringe people anymore. These are just ordinary people — teachers, bankers, housewives.”

Well, what are they going to do about it? I don’t know that THEY really know.

Tea Party leaders say they know their complaints about shredded constitutional principles and excessive spending ring hollow to some, given their relative passivity through the Bush years. In some ways, though, their main answer — strict adherence to the Constitution — would comfort every card-carrying A.C.L.U. member.

But their vision of the federal government is frequently at odds with the one that both parties have constructed. Tea Party gatherings are full of people who say they would do away with the Federal Reserve, the federal income tax and countless agencies, not to mention bailouts and stimulus packages. Nor is it unusual to hear calls to eliminate Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. A remarkable number say this despite having recently lost jobs or health coverage. Some of the prescriptions they are debating — secession, tax boycotts, states “nullifying” federal laws, forming citizen militias — are outside the mainstream, too.

But it sure seems that the end goal is going to require a LOT of ammo.  Many people appear to be fear/hoping for an armed “rebellion” – a desire that is both created and fed in an extremely irresponsible manner by people who should know better.

Mr. Beck frequently echoes Patriot rhetoric, discussing the possible arrival of a “New World Order” and arguing that Mr. Obama is using a strategy of manufactured crisis to destroy the economy and pave the way for dictatorship.

Politicians courting the Tea Party movement are also alluding to Patriot dogma. At a Tea Party protest in Las Vegas, Joe Heck, a Republican running for Congress, blamed both the Democratic and Republican Parties for moving the country toward “socialistic tyranny.” In Texas, Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican seeking re-election, threw his support behind the state sovereignty movement. And in Indiana, Richard Behney, a Republican Senate candidate, told Tea Party supporters what he would do if the 2010 elections did not produce results to his liking: “I’m cleaning my guns and getting ready for the big show. And I’m serious about that, and I bet you are, too.”

When Friends for Liberty held its first public event, Mrs. Stout listened as Richard Mack, a former Arizona sheriff, brought 1,400 people to their feet with a speech about confronting a despotic federal government. Mrs. Stout said she felt as if she had been handed a road map to rebellion.

And when you have highly visible media darlings (Beck) or elected officials with the non-stop ranting.  IF YOU LISTEN TO ME AND REPEAT WHAT I SAY PEOPLE WILL THINK YOU ARE SMART AND PATRIOTIC AND COOL! RED DAWN IS COMING! SOCIALISM IS GOING TO GAY MARRY YOUR GRANDMOTHER TO ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS! GET READY TO SHOOT YOUR GUN BECAUSE THAT IS A SUPER COOL WAY TO BEHAVE AND TOTALLY JUSTIFIED BY THE CONSTITUTION AND WARRANTED BY THE FACTS! So is it really any surprise when people actually *believe* that Red Dawn is coming and they need to stockpile the weapons and canned goods? Or worse still, they believe based on what they have been told by these “authority” figures that it is perfectly acceptable to threaten violence against elected officials?

One local group represented at Liberty Lake was Arm in Arm, which aims to organize neighborhoods for possible civil strife by stockpiling food and survival gear, and forming armed neighborhood groups.

Also represented was Oath Keepers, whose members call themselves “guardians of the Republic.” Oath Keepers recruits military and law enforcement officials who are asked to disobey orders the group deems unconstitutional. These include orders to conduct warrantless searches, arrest Americans as unlawful enemy combatants or force civilians into “any form of detention camps.”

Gazing out at his overwhelmingly white audience, Mr. Mack felt the need to say, “This meeting is not racist.” Nor, he said, was it a call to insurrection. What is needed, he said, is “a whole army of sheriffs” marching on Washington to deliver an unambiguous warning: “Any violation of the Constitution we will consider a criminal offense.”

The crowd roared.

Not long ago, Mrs. Stout sent an e-mail message to her members under the subject line: “Revolution.” It linked to an article by Greg Evensen, a leader in the militia movement, titled “The Anatomy of an American Revolution,” that listed “grievances” he said “would justify a declaration of war against any criminal enterprise including that which is killing our nation from Washington, D.C.”

Mrs. Stout said she has begun to contemplate the possibility of “another civil war.” It is her deepest fear, she said. Yet she believes the stakes are that high. Basic freedoms are threatened, she said. Economic collapse, food shortages and civil unrest all seem imminent.

“I don’t see us being the ones to start it, but I would give up my life for my country,” Mrs. Stout said. She paused, considering her next words. “Peaceful means,” she continued, “are the best way of going about it. But sometimes you are not given a choice.”

Now, I will admit that I am not above mocking individual TEAbaggers, whether it be for their signage or their bigotry or whatever, but I have said all along that they are inexcusably being led to this insanity. My biggest problems with these shenanigoats are the irresponsible greedy fuckos who fan this crazy for their own commercial gain.

And don’t think for a second that what they are doing isn’t serious and seriously scary. In case you are not convinced, let me end with this quote:

As the [TEA] meeting ended, Carolyn L. Whaley, 76, held up her copy of the Constitution. She carries it everywhere, she explained, and she was prepared to lay down her life to protect it from the likes of Mr. Obama.  “I would not hesitate,” she said, perfectly calm.

You Misspelled "Glenn Beck"

I’ll Put My Cookies Where Your Mouth Is…

So, we’ve have seen the ‘Impeach Obama’ bumper stickers. Every time I see one, I am seized with the urge to tuck a mini-Constitution under the windshield. People understand that this is not England, right? Impeachment does not equal Vote of No Confidence. You can’t just demand the removal of an elected executive (or justice) because they offend thine eye.

Yet we see this over and over and over again. And for some, a bumper sticker just isn’t a large enough stage for the ignorance behind the sentiment.

Because I Said So!!!

You can read here about this expensive display of stupidity here, but I will break it on down for you.  This billboard is currently up along highway 41 in Oshkosh, WI and is under contract to stay up for 6 months at a cost of $1,000.00 per month. The sign was paid for by an unnamed company represented by one Tom Wroblewski. Mr. Wroblewski, when asked about the sign, informed talkingpointed that Washington politics are bad for small businesses (and let me point out that my very small business is doing just fine, thank you very much and STFU because you don’t talk for me). Which is nonresponsive enough, but isn’t the best part.

Wroblewski went on to say – here it comes – that despite the clear and unambiguous directive to IMPEACH OBAMA, he’s not suggesting Obama committed an impeachable offense.

Which leads me to throw down this tasty gauntlet.  If anyone can tell me, (1) with specificity and explicit references to the Constitution and (2) impeachment law and (3) based on ACTUAL REALLY REAL FACTS, exactly *why* Obama should be impeached, I will send you a batch of homemade cookies. You may choose the type – and yes, I will even put green jellybeans and judgment in them if you so elect.

Grassroots Gold Mine

“If there is any profit, the money will go toward furthering the cause of conservatism.”

Sherry Phillips, Tea Party Nation founder, on the whopping $549 it will cost a person just to get into the Teabaggin’ Clustersnuggle.  From today’s NYTimes. Note that Phillips also refused to discuss the reported $100,000.00 (yes, one hundred thousand dollars) that Palin is receiving to preach fist pump spew garbled homilies hopefully just show up speak. WTF people?

A hundred grand can do a LOT of *real* good. Hell, $549.00 can do a lot of good. You know, the kind of good that doesn’t involve shelling out one’s hard-earned dollars to be crammed in a hotel with a bunch of confused and angry white people who are being scammed by money-grubbing opportunists into thinking that the soggy chicken kiev they are eating is chock full of tasty patriotism. All while certain people are making BUCKETS and BUCKETS of money off of you.

WHY?

How ‘grassroots’ is that?

Couldn’t YOU do so much more with your money? Seriously, even if charity isn’t your thing, then for the love of whatever you consider holy, KEEP your dollars and either spend them on yourself and your loved ones, or donate it to a REAL candidate of YOUR choice.

And yes, I know that not all TEAfolk are white, angry, and confused. Likewise, I know that not all white, angry, and confused people are TEAfolk. But I think we can all agree that the TEA functions aren’t exactly a shining example of irenic diversity.

You can read more about the quickly disintegrating “organized” total TEA whatever here or you can read more of my mockery on the subject of teabaggery, Palin or other such shenanigoats by pretty much picking a post at random.

No thanks. I'm married.

Citizens United v. FEC: The Moral High Road to Corporate Dominance

“It is not judicial restraint to accept an unsound, narrow argument just so the Court can avoid another argument with broader implications. Indeed, a court would be remiss in performing its duties were it to accept an unsound principle merely to avoid the necessity of making a broader ruling. Here, the lack of a valid basis for an alternative ruling requires full consideration of the continuing effect of the speech suppression upheld in Austin.”  J. Stevens, Citizens United v. FEC.

No. Judicial restraint would be refusing to hear a case on the grounds that the arguments presented were unsound and there is no clear and compelling argument presented for judicial intervention in the legislative process.

I.  INTRODUCTION

Last week SCOTUS handed down Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Long LONG story short, this case involved a challenge to the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (you may know this as the McCain/Feingold Campaign Reform Act. For the sake of brevity, I will refer to it hereinafter as BCRA), specifically to U. S. C. §441b, which prohibits corporations and unions from using their general treasury funds to make independent expenditures for speech that is an “electioneering communication” or for speech that expressly advocates the election or defeat of a candidate.

To put this in perspective, SCOTUS has previously determined that restrictions on corporate spending to support or oppose political candidates were kosher, Austin v. Michigan Chamber Of Commerce, 494 U.S. 652 (1990) and upheld numerous provisions of BCRA in McConnell v. Federal Election Commission, No. 02-1674 (Decided December 10, 2003), including the provisions that limited spending by corporations and unions.

In January 2008 Citizens United, a nonprofit corporation, released a “documentary” bashing Hillary Clinton.  Citizens United’s intent was to run the video on cable television via video-on-demand 30 days prior to the primaries. Citizens United also put out tv ads promoting the documentary on regular and cable television. Citizens United then filed a declaratory judgment action (effectively an action that asks a Court to determine the rights of a plaintiff, sometimes indistinguishable from an improper request for an advisory opinion) and requested injunctive relief proclaiming that it was not subject to the restraints of §441b. In its claims for relief, Citizens United made a number of arguments pertaining to a narrow construction of the statute in addition to the generic claims that the statute itself was broadly unconstitutional. NB:  this is a standard approach – one ALWAYS sets up a blanket assertion of fundamental unconstitutionality to balance out the more narrow – and realistic – unconstitutional as applied arguments.

SCOTUS, in a jaw-dropping example of sua sponte policy making by the conservative arbiters of judicial restraint, ignored all the narrowly drawn arguments and determined that this case could only be decided on large-picture 1st Amendment grounds, coyly found that Citizens United had not waived any such arguments, and then proceeded to overrule long-standing precedent and determine that corporations have the right to engage in unlimited and unfettered political spending in the guise of free speech.

To say this decision came as a shock is an understatement. Most people thought this was just a quirk of a case, and one that would be decided on very narrow grounds thus having scant little impact on future political speech activity. Not so much. For those of you who like to torture yourselves, you may read the opinion here in its 180+ page glory, including the very eloquent, if stunned and horrified, dissent penned by Stevens. For those of you that don’t feel like engaging in such an endeavor would be a good use of your time – or may be likely to increase your rage level beyond the range of acceptable – I will give you a quick and dirty summary of WHY the conservative wing of the Supreme Court, the so-called bastion of judicial deference, decided that it had to go all judicial activist on the collective ass of the citizenry. Bottom line? Because it is *GOOD* for us.

II.  SUMMARY.

A.  Support of Candidate A and Attacks on Candidate A’s Opponents Are Two Legally Distinct Activities.

“[B]y definition, an independent expenditure is political speech presented to the electorate that is not coordinated with a candidate.” In other words, the majority insists that there is a meaningful and substantive difference between giving a bazillion dollars to Candidate A to get him/her elected and spending a bazillion dollars to get Candidate A’s opponent defeated. First, if we were a multi-party country, this argument might actually have some (very little) merit. However, as we are inarguably a two-party system, money spent to defeat Candidate B is inherently money spent to elect Candidate A.

Think of it this way:  Leno want the Tonight Show back from Conan.  Wal-Mart, being generally evil, wants Leno to get the Tonight Show. Under the Citizens United theory, Wal-Mart cannot give Leno more than $2,400 to assist him in his jackassery.  However, Wal-Mart can spend unlimited amounts of money to get Conan to leave.  What, praytell, is the substantive distinction here? Is SCOTUS trying to pretend that tanking Conan doesn’t necessarily promote Leno? Or, and this is my thought, is SCOTUS simply being difficult and insinuating that Congress set up this false distinction, so they will have to live with it?

Either way, I cry bullshit on this line of reasoning.

B.  There is No Principled Way to Distinguish Between “Media” Corporations and “Other” Corporations.

Basically, EVERY argument of principles/moral/philosophy/religion/politics boils down to this simple diametric:  ‘slippery slope’ v. ‘de minimus.’  In other words, unspeakable horrors will/may result v. you’re making a mountain out of a molehill.

Here the majority engages in the long-favored rhetoric of those adhering to an unprincipled argument – insist, instead, that the other approach would result in greater lack of principles down the road. Bait and switch – NICE! What the majority “fears” on this issue is that the provisions of BCRA at issue, if left unmolested, would prohibit “…[i]nternet sources, such as blogs and social networking Web sites, …[from] provid[ing] citizens with significant information about political candidates and issues” as the language of section 441b “…would seem to ban a blog post expressly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate if that blog were created with corporate funds.”  [NB: As Steven’s dissent rightly points out at fn 31, these provisions are expressly inapplicable to print media; so unless your blog is spoken word, the majority’s alarmist potentials do not apply.]

The majority further insists that under the current law, Congress could theoretically ban showings of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Because “[a]fter all, it, like Hillary, was speech funded by a corporation that was critical of Members of Congress. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington may be fiction and caricature; but fiction and caricature can be a powerful force.”

Really? So now Congress, in addition to attempting to limit campaign contributions, is also necessarily attempting to limit obviously protected free speech?

Come on

C.  Not Allowing Corporations Free Rein To “Speak” Is an Infringement on OUR First Amendment Rights.

Warning – this may nauseate you.

The majority additionally asserts that their decision to grant the full unfettered political speech rights of a U.S. human citizen to corporations is to protect US – the U.S. citizens.

When Government seeks to use its full power, including the criminal law, to command where a person may get his or her information or what distrusted source he or she may not hear, it uses censorship to control thought.  This is unlawful. The First Amendment confirms the freedom to think for ourselves.

So yes, restrictions on a corporation’s ability to spend a kabillion dollars to get its favored candidate elected infringes on our 1st Amendment rights to hear them “talk.”  And why does this suck for us? Because, apparently, corporations are inherently good and all-knowing (ummm…does this mean they are God?). The majority gives the following as ‘support’ for its rape-stand of an argument:

The Government has “muffle[d] the voices that best represent the most significant segments of the economy.”  McConnell, supra, at 257–258 (opinion of SCALIA, J.).

And “the electorate [has been] deprived of information, knowledge and opinion vital to its function.” CIO, 335 U. S., at 144 (Rutledge, J., concurring in result).

By suppressing the speech of manifold corporations, both for-profit and non-profit, the Government prevents their voices and viewpoints from reaching the public and advising voters on which persons or entities are hostile to their interests. Factions will necessarily form in our Republic, but the remedy of “destroying the liberty” of some factions is “worse than the disease.”  The Federalist No. 10, p. 130 (B.Wright ed. 1961) (J. Madison).

Factions should be checked by permitting them all to speak, see ibid., and by entrusting the people to judge what is true and what is false. The purpose and effect of this law is to prevent corporations, including small and nonprofit corporations, from presenting both facts and opinions to the public.

D.  The Dissent’s Concerns Are De Minimus Because Corporations Can Spend to Influence Already

Just in case, or perhaps it is their usual response to liberal slippery slope arguments, the majority observes that its actions are really not that big of a deal and will likely not result in some sort of Atwoodian policorporodystopia because corporations already have the ability to buy their candidate.

“Even if §441b’s expenditure ban were constitutional, wealthy corporations could still lobby elected officials, although smaller corporations may not have the resources to do so. And wealthy individuals and unincorporated associations can spend unlimited amounts on independent expenditures.”

But never fear, actual living breathing human people, for SCOTUS assures us that “[t]he fact that speakers may have influence over or access to elected officials does not mean that these officials are corrupt.”

III.  CONCLUSION

So, what does this opinion mean? And what the hell do we do?

Well, it means, quite simply, that SCOTUS has greatly expanded the constitutional rights of a corporate “person.”  So now, in addition to simple and logical “rights” like ability to bring or defend a judicial action, a corporation now enjoys rights that seem necessarily tied to human existence and experience.

And yes, it does open the door for rampant corruption. Or, if you prefer, takes what was a very open, regulated, and transparent “window” and just gives the whole damn building to Wal-Mart. And yes, that may well be histrionic, but it simply illustrates my point that ALL things are either a slippery slope or de minimus. And when it comes to corporate involvement in elections, yes, I tend to fall on the slippery slope side.

Because a corporation simply is NOT a U.S. Citizen in the same way that you or me or my child or Bill Gates or my odd-bird neighbor is a U.S. Citizen. A corporation does NOT in any way whatsoever have the same interests at stake in a political election – its interests are SOLELY economic. A corporation cannot get laid off, get sent to war, go to prison, get married, have a family, get an education, go on welfare, get a divorce, retire, collect social security, be born or die.

And it is utterly offensive to everything on which this country was founded to suggest that a corporation is fundamentally ‘the same’ as a human U.S. citizen.

So, if you feel the same way, start contacting ALL your elected officials NOW and insist that they get on the ball with a Constitutional Amendment. Check here or here for more information. And check out the video in my previous post on this matter for more information.

Dear Pat Robertson/Random Awesomeness

The SFL Random Awesomeness of the Week Award goes out to Lily Coyle of Minneapolis for the elegantly ghost-written letter to Pat Robertson from Satan, found here in the Star Tribune:

Dear Pat Robertson,

I know that you know that all press is good press, so I appreciate the shout-out. And you make God look like a big mean bully who kicks people when they are down, so I’m all over that action. But when you say that Haiti has made a pact with me, it is totally humiliating. I may be evil incarnate, but I’m no welcher. The way you put it, making a deal with me leaves folks desperate and impoverished. Sure, in the afterlife, but when I strike bargains with people, they first get something here on earth — glamour, beauty, talent, wealth, fame, glory, a golden fiddle. Those Haitians have nothing, and I mean nothing. And that was before the earthquake. Haven’t you seen “Crossroads”? Or “Damn Yankees”? If I had a thing going with Haiti, there’d be lots of banks, skyscrapers, SUVs, exclusive night clubs, Botox — that kind of thing. An 80 percent poverty rate is so not my style. Nothing against it — I’m just saying: Not how I roll. You’re doing great work, Pat, and I don’t want to clip your wings — just, come on, you’re making me look bad. And not the good kind of bad. Keep blaming God. That’s working. But leave me out of it, please. Or we may need to renegotiate your own contract. Best, Satan

LILY COYLE, MINNEAPOLIS

H/T to the ever awesome Lawyers, Guns and Money .

Holy Crap: Ted Haggard Begs For Our Forgiveness

Ted Haggard was here last week, begging for our forgiveness. No really, people. Ted Haggard was HERE as in HERE – East Tennessee. Apparently, some local church paid Ted and the Mrs. to come and speak to them. Well, they paid Ted to come and beg for forgiveness; Mrs. Ted spoke about said forgiveness, which you may also read about in the book she just recently “wrote.”

Ted’s speech was very Christmas Sweater-y. In fact, Glenn Beck is going to be really pissed when he finds out that Ted is totally stealing his redemption schtick. And as we all know, Glenn Beck will mock your miscarriage on his radio show, so imagine what he will do to poor Ted.

And yes, I DO mean “poor Ted.” I find people that insist that homosexuality is “wrong” to be sad and generally loathsome. That said, I have some sympathy for Ted (due in large part to Alexandra Pelosi’s documentary) and wish very much that he had the ability to accept himself as he is. Which OF COURSE does not absolve him of all the damage that he has done; but neither does it cost us anything to acknowledge his suffering.

Yes, he is responsible for perpetrating many ills and fanning much bigotry in the name of religion. But it would also serve us well to remember that this is a man who hates what he is.  And while he personally is responsible for his perpetuation of hate and fearmongering, we must also recognize that he is also the product of such hate and fear.

You see, I believe that people are not born bigots. I believe that bigots are created. Unlike the bigots who believe that people “choose” to be gay, I do not believe that people “choose” to become bigots – although I do believe that at some point they do choose to continue being bigots. But in some unfortunate cases, people are so insulated in their bigotry that their hate and fear is affirmed by everyone and everything in their life at every turn. Like Ted.

Ted and Mrs. Ted both suggest that true Christians should not be so judgmental, but at no point does anyone even suggest that Christians should rethink the whole rejection thing. Forgiveness and redemption – but absolutely no mention of acceptance. And Ted so firmly and absolutely believes that being gay is wrong, that it is something he can choose or reject, that “choosing” acceptance is almost entirely impossible.

Ted considers his “sin” of being gay so awful and so great that he is going around the country begging the forgiveness of any and every judgmental fuck who attends a church that has paid Ted to come and beg for forgiveness.

Pardon me, but I think there is something very sick and very sad about this.

Here are some experts from the KPT Times-News article:

In 2005, Haggard was listed by Time magazine as one of the top 25 most influential evangelicals in America. He is the founder of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colo., which at the time of his crisis had 14,000 members.  In 2006, Haggard resigned from all of his church leadership positions after admitting to soliciting a male prostitute for sex and methamphetamine. “I need to know, are you willing to forgive me?” Haggard asked the congregation. His question was met with applause.

He described the crisis as a “moral failure involving sex and drugs.” “There’s incredible shame and pain, and in this Internet age, nothing ever goes away,” he said. “There’s not time, nor is there distance because of the Internet.” Haggard noted that the Lord will always forgive our sins, but people here on Earth aren’t always so forgiving. He added that the forgiveness he has received, especially from people close to him, created an atmosphere in which he could be healed. It’s a lesson that everyone can learn from, he added.

Haggard said, “When the crisis happened she (his daughter) said ‘I am so relieved. I have always seen you as so perfect. Now I can relate to you.’ Before, people thought so highly of me that when they met me they’d be disappointed. Now they think so poorly of me when they meet me they’re relieved.” Gayle Haggard said that when she was told about her husband’s involvement in a drug and sex scandal, she felt as if her life — which she described as perfect to that point — was over. She’d lost her husband, the dignity of her children, and the church she loved.

She added, “We’re really missing it when we think that Christianity is about our own righteousness. I love the way Martin Luther says we’re at the same time saints and sinners. When Ted and I were pastoring we tried to be as compassionate and merciful as we knew how to be — as much as we understood. But what we did not know was what it felt like to be the person who needed mercy and compassion, until we walked through this.”

Haggard noted that Jesus died on the cross for a reason, and the reason is all around us every day. “We all equally need the Lord,” he said. “That’s not to minimize my sin. My sin is great and severe. I need all of the blood of Jesus that’s available to me, and there’s an adequate amount available. But so do all of us.”

Sad. So freaking sad. How can you love something that utterly rejects who you are? Worse still – how can you continue to promote and support such a stance, when there really are other options?

Burning Shame Award, Part II

Well, it was bound to happen. TF has been toppled from his/her throne of crazy. Check out the following back-to-back comments by the cleverly-named “Your Funny” in response to a local paper’s alarmist bullshit about Islam:

“or nuke-em all and let God sort-em out”

Your Funny | 12/8/2009 – 8:30 AM –

“time for us to deport all finatical muslims who believe we are all infidel’s and should be be-headed,close and tighten our boarders,and stop these oil-wars.Afghanistan: Hope we get out of their.!! since war and invasion is all they know.The British tried to settle Afghanistan,the Russians tried,neither could do it. don’t know if we can either..”

Your Funny | 12/8/2009 – 8:27 AM

The Lady's Not For Burning

STAY KLASSY!!!

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