Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Week In a Nutshell

There is a lot going on this week in the news, almost too much to keep track of. Let's just run through it real quick.

Here's Tristero at Hullabaloo, commenting on this week's Supreme Court decision that corporations are people and can donate to politicians just like the rest of us:
Editorial in today's NY Times:
With a single, disastrous 5-to-4 ruling, the Supreme Court has thrust politics back to the robber-baron era of the 19th century. Disingenuously waving the flag of the First Amendment, the court’s conservative majority has paved the way for corporations to use their vast treasuries to overwhelm elections and intimidate elected officials into doing their bidding.

Congress must act immediately to limit the damage of this radical decision, which strikes at the heart of democracy.

Let me see if I have this straight. The latest Supreme Court ruling will permit previously unavailable millions, if not tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars to be spent on American politics. And the Times is calling on the direct beneficiaries of all this spanking new cash to limit their own access to it. Not Gonna Happen

Proposition 8 is on trial in California.
Over the past two weeks, the plaintiffs have sought to prove through experts and personal testimony that the gay-marriage ban harms gays and was motivated by hatred toward them. On Thursday, they introduced testimony from a backer of the ban, Hak-Shing William Tam, who said he thought legalizing gay marriage would lead to legalizing prostitution and sex with children. Defense Set to Press Gay-Marriage Case

And tell me, are Brangelina going to break up, or what? We need to know.

And here, an excerpt from the Democrats' talking points after they failed to fight for their 60/40 majority in Massachusetts:
It is mathematically impossible for Democrats to pass legislation on our own.

Dem Talking Points: We're Screwed!

And there's this story, which is fading in the national consciousness as we approach the moment where we learn exactly what is in Lindsay Lohan's sex video.
The confirmed death toll from Haiti's devastating earthquake has risen above 150,000 in the Port-au-Prince area alone, a government minister has said.

Communications minister Marie-Laurence Jocelyn Lassegue told AP the count was based on bodies collected in and around the capital by state firm CNE.

Many more remain uncounted under rubble in the capital and elsewhere, including the towns of Jacmel and Leogane. Haiti capital earthquake death toll 'tops 150,000'

This week we started learning how China hacked into Google -- apparently there is a bug in Internet Explorer that let them do it:
Last week, Google traced the sabotage back to China and says the break-ins were part of a pattern of cyber-attacks on human rights activists who criticize China.

"It's very difficult to tell whether or not these are really Chinese government officials," said Larry Clinton, president of Internet Security Alliance. "More likely they are people who have a loose affiliation with the Chinese government." Hack Attacks Test Google's Link to China

And the one everybody's talking about, are Jay and Conan still friends?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The gravity of the crime against the Constitution committed by a gang of 5 right wing judicial outlaws on our Supreme Court

Having so grossly abused its jurisdiction by presuming to decide a question expressly WAIVED by the petitioner in the Court below (p 12), this rogue Supreme Court ruled for the FIRST time that NO corporation can be constrained from unlimited influence over our elections. And even assuming that the Court intended the decision to only apply to American corporations, the Court expressly DECLINED (pp 46-47) to reach the question of whether foreign ownership stakes in American corporations should likewise be given carte blanche to put their thumbs on the scales of our democracy.

Thus, until Congress FURTHER acts (and it must, though it could not have escaped the attention of The Supreme Court 5 that the current Republican minority has vowed to obstruct ANYTHING of consequence that Congress might try to pass), there is now nothing to constrain foreign nationals, even our most sworn enemies, from usurping what even the most die hard Tea Bagger takes as an article of faith, that the rights of citizenship of this country are ONLY for Americans. This must be construed, within the four corners of our Constitution, as deliberately and knowingly exposing the United States of America to harm in the interim, by giving "aid and comfort" to our enemies (Constitution Article 3, section 3), should our enemies now wish to take advantage of this unprecedented and rash decision. In simple Constitutional terms . . treason!!

The fact is that we now live in a world of giant transnational corporations, with allegiance to NO sovereign government, let alone our own, sworn only to exploit the most vulnerable and desperate workers they can find in any country of the world. How does The Supreme Court 5 propose parsing which of these extra-national legal artificialities should be allowed to corrupt our democratic election process? Apparently in their minds, all of them.

January 25, 2010 8:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, Americans believe free speech rights are universal.

Foreigners can come here and say whatever they want.

We're known for that.

I don't think Jay and Conan are still friends.

The last possibility of that disappeared last week when Jay went on the air and told America that no one should "blame Conan" for the whole thing because Conan is a good "family man."

Anyway, Jim's right, it was a notable week.

He missed a few milestones, however.

here's the rest of the story:

1. Obama announced a proposal for breaking up and regulating large banks. In response, the stock market, both here and abroad, spent the remainder of the week going south.

2. The U.N.'s IPCC conceded that its report on melting glaciers was not based on peer-reviewed research, and likely wrong, after it was questioned by scientists in India. While not quite as pervasive as the East Anglia CRU scandal, the new incident again reminds that leading scientists in the climatology field have abandoned objectivity for advocacy.

3. The annual pro-life march on the Supreme Court marked the anniversary of Roe v Wade. While the crowd was not larger than usual, commentators from all sides of the political spectrum noted the youth of the crowd. Over half were younger than thirty.

The pro-life position is now held by the majority of Americans and the enthusiasm to save babies is highest among the young.


Many perceive that it was a bad week for Dems but, actually, it wasn't. They got a wake up call that only cost one Senate vote. They have a chance to restore their prospects before November by moving toward moderation and pragmatism.

So the Dem party may well have dodged a bullet.

The real losers were liberals and other socialists. They had convinced the Dem Party to go left, young man.

That's over.

January 25, 2010 9:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

However, Anon, the fascists and the lunatic right wing have gained an important victory with the Supreme Court decision.

It is interesting to see how much wiggle-room the loonies give themselves in supporting a decision that actually erodes democracy by allowing the plutocracy to have the power to determine the outcome of democratic elections.

I always thought that was a cherished "conservative" belief: the "sacredness" of democratically elected government. Giving the Plutocrats the power to determine the outcome of elections by spending millions and millions of dollars to elect their mouthpieces ("The Chair recognizes the Senator from ExxonMobil")seems contrary to the concept of popular decision-making and voting.

January 25, 2010 11:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you overrate the power of the media.

Assuming others aren't completely excluded from media outlets, a scenario pretty unlikely in the internet age, just outspending is not going to determine any race.

The Massachusetts race exemplifies this. Coakley had a huge money advantage and blanketed the airwaves with negative ads in the last week, all to no avail. The more she spent, the further she sunk in the polls.

There are very wealthy corporations every spectrum of the political rainbow, btw.

January 25, 2010 11:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marion Berry, a Democratic representative from Arkansas, said he will retire after seven terms, making him the 12 Democrat leaving a seat open this November. John McCain won Berry's district in the 2008 presidential election, an indication that Republicans will have a strong shot at filling the spot.

"The message coming out of the Massachusetts special election is clear: No Democrat is safe. In the aftermath of Scott Brown's victory this past week, it has become evident to Democrats that to run for reelection in this toxic political environment is to ensure defeat at the ballot box in November," said National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Ken Spain.

January 25, 2010 1:20 PM  

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