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Thursday, October 27, 2016

One of the few fun revelations from the trove of Clinton presidential documents released in the last month came from a meeting that took place in the last days of the 42nd president’s time in office.

“Scalia rigged the election for Bush because they had to have control of the judiciary to continue this neutering of the federal government,” Clinton advisor Paul Begala said, according to notes kept by speechwriter Jeff Shesol.

Begala hasn’t taken credit for this comment. But whether he said it or not, I’d guess this master communicator would be dismayed by how prophetic that thought was.

George W. Bush wasn’t able to get his personal lawyer Harriet Miers confirmed to the nation’s highest court. But by replacing William Rehnquist and Sandra Day O’Connor with John Roberts and Samuel Alito, the 43rd president enabled a series of 5-4 decisions that have rapidly transformed our republic in favor of corporations.

The Minnesota Law Review looked at the voting records of all the people who have sat on the Court for the last 65 years and found that the two justices most likely to vote in favor of business are — you guessed it — Roberts and Alito. In exchange for helping Bush win the presidency, Scalia got two justices even more eager than himself to gnaw away at the ability of the government to temper the power of monied interests.

“You follow this pro-corporate trend to its logical conclusion, and sooner or later you’ll end up with a Supreme Court that functions as a wholly owned subsidiary of Big Business,” Elizabeth Warren said last year.

And with every decision, the Court looks more and more like a franchisee of Koch Industries.

This week, the Court ruled on McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission (FEC), a case that considered whether or not a rich donor’s rights were being limited by being allowed to give “only” a total of $3.5 million in one election, because of the remaining limits placed on the number of federal candidates one donor can “support.”

But think about how much money is being spent on all the elections! Justice Antonin Scalia argued.

“When you add all that — add — when you add all that up, I don’t think $3.5 million is a heck of a lot of money,” he said in the oral arguments last year.


The average engineer, with a four-year undergraduate degree and a professional graduate degree, will earn $3.5 million — in a lifetime.

In what world does fairness require that one person be able to spend more “speech” in one election than our most highly trained workers will earn in four decades of work?

How about a post-Citizens United world, where corporations and unions can contribute to SuperPACs with a limit of “Whatever the f*ck they want,” as The Daily Show‘s Jon Stewart noted.

And guess who created this post-Citizens United world?

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  • Mortalc01l

    I think Elizabeth Warren might be smarter than all of congress combined.

    She’s spot-on, though, isn’t she? The USA is now just a “company town” owned and operated by big business. We have to live by their rules, accept their appointed leaders, breathe their increasingly deregulated air and drink their freaking fracked water.

    Time for a revolution boys and girls.

    • Bill Thompson

      The revolution is at hand it is called the voting booth, now the Democrats need to do their civic duty and vote in the upcoming midterm election. While the house has been effectively gerrymandered until the year 2001 the Senate is still up for grabs, although a longshot but if the people vote this catastrophe could be avoided.

      • CPAinNewYork

        One of the strangest things is that despite all the clear arguments that the GOP is screwing the middle class and the poor, those classes still vote for the conservative candidates. I’ve known some of those people personally, in Florida. They proudly proclaim that they’re “conservative”, as if that is a badge of honor.

        They’re usually intelligent people, but for some reason they don’t have the brains to vote for their own financial self interest.

        Very strange.

        As for the “revolution”: I think that one is coming, but it won’t be at the polls, as you feel. I think that it will be a violent reaction against the plutocrats. It will be bloody and will usher in a bunch of bastards that will be worse than the scum that we have now.

        Bad times are coming.

        • wifenum2

          They do not know any better. They vote what their parents have voted….I don’t believe there will be any blood but I do feel that things needs to change in order for us to be compete with the rest of the world. There probably needs to be less disparity between the classes like in Japan. In Japan the man that runs the airlines makes on par with the highest paid pilot. Lots of times that is less for administration than the pilot. Not lots but some less : the importance being not more.

    • Susan Dean

      To say nothing of having to shop in the “company store,” where so many products are made by Koch Industries.

      • WilliamFreimuth

        Wasn’t the guillotine invented to be the most merciful way the French could think of ……to lop-off the heads of the aristocracy?

        I might suggest … needs sharpening.

        Looks like a lesson of history…..repeating itself….No?
        Well, if they don’t know their history, maybe it’s what they deserve.

      • Bill Thompson

        Reminiscent of the Pullman town where the Pullman Coach workers shop at the Pullman store, the children went to the Pullman school, and their apartments were owned by the pullman company to which they paid their rent to the Pullman real estate office. At the end of the week the people had no money and could never in their lifetimes move or make a change in their jobs. This is where it got before people rose up and unions were born.

        • Susan Dean

          Pullman was just what I was thinking of. Or, remember the old Tennessee Ernie Ford song?

          “You load sixteen tons and what do you get?
          Another day older and deeper in debt.
          St. Peter, don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go,
          I owe my soul to the company store.”

  • itsfun

    Isn’t this the same court that said obamacare is legal?

    • wifenum2

      Yes, but it also means that the we all that our the 99% who are not wealthy will have to be proactive against this and other issues.

    • Allan Richardson

      That was a sop. They also ruled that states could “opt out’ of the part of Obamacare that protects the most powerless among us. That last part was to protect the funeral industry.

    • Joe Dents

      Yes, because it was a gift to the insurance companies, more customers.

    • Douglas Johnson

      Barely, and they put in a codicil about medicaid that was supposed to trash it. Fortunately the law was so badly needed that the public took it without medicaid even in the deep red states.

  • underledge

    It is time for “Dexter” to come out of retirement!

    • Ford Truck

      I agree. The problems with the Supreme Court could be fixed with a couple $1 bullets!!

      • wifenum2

        Then we would be a rogue nation. Who really wants that. It would mean that some of us might be taking bullets.

        • Mark Forsyth

          Yeah! Afterall,it’s so much better to have the people die from abject poverty,poison air and water,and perverted food than to have them risk a bullet for a better life.

          • wifenum2

            Makes no sense to me with the terrible amount of people who die every year from not necessary violence. Have you ever been a victim of that type of violence. Impulse reactions to something someone cannot control so they get a gun and kill someone? Do you live in a really big city? Are you a woman who combined with domestic violence nearly always gets the short end of life and dies? Did not think so…are you a solution to the problem of poverty, poisoned air and water? & rotten food? I try to be by eating healthy for myself…

          • Mark Forsyth

            Glad that you take care of yourself,I do too.What will you do when you have been completely disenfranchised and your vote has been rendered useless.I agree with your comment on unnecessary violence but what will you do when it becomes necessary?Taking your vote is mere steps away from taking your life.I don’t say these things to elicit a response from you but rather to offer something for your consideration.

        • Douglas Johnson

          We are already a rogue nation. When the justices have resumes as lobbyists and wives still active in lobbying, it is time for some judicious pruning.

  • WilliamFreimuth

    This one is being used a lot……but when it comes to the problem of Climate Change and the pending election of Deniers in ’16, we are cooked.

    “it’s very hard to get anyone to understand something when their salary depends on them not understanding it” Upton Sinclair ‘the Jungle’.

  • tjcole

    Scalia and that swine Alito have done more harm to our nation and democracy than all the Mafia Gangsters Combined..!
    TJ Maffei Colatrella aka TJ Cole..

  • Mark Forsyth

    Fucking fascists on the Supreme? Court bench and the bastards couldn’t pass a polygraph denying it!

  • Jim Myers

    I always thought George the Second was placed in the White House in order to transfer Trillions of Dollars to the Military-Industrial Complex.

    It looks like that was only the tip of the iceberg.

    Trillions of Dollars just wasn’t enough to satisfy his Masters.

    They want it all.

  • Douglas Johnson

    Cliven Bundy is funny and worthy of an LOL, but Bush’s theft of the election and subsequent packing of the supreme court is a catastrophe and not at all funny.