08 September, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

Yay, just what we need - more corporate control over politicians:
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear an important case. You've probably heard about the litigation, but you may not have heard about the potential consequences. E.J. Dionne Jr. argues today that it "could surrender control of our democracy to corporate interests."

This sounds melodramatic. It's not. The court is considering eviscerating laws that have been on the books since 1907 and 1947 -- in two separate cases -- banning direct contributions and spending by corporations in federal election campaigns. Doing so would obliterate precedents that go back two and three decades.

The full impact of what the court could do in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission has only begun to receive the attention it deserves. Even the word "radical" does not capture the extent to which the justices could turn our political system upside down. Will it use a case originally brought on a narrow issue to bring our politics back to the corruption of the Gilded Age?

Citizens United, a conservative group, brought suit arguing that it should be exempt from the restrictions of the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance law for a movie it made that was sharply critical of Hillary Clinton. The organization said it should not have to disclose who financed the film.

Instead of deciding the case before it, the court engaged in a remarkable act of overreach. On June 29, it postponed a decision and called for new briefs and a highly unusual new hearing, which is Wednesday's big event. The court chose to consider an issue only tangentially raised by the case. It threatens to overrule a 1990 decision that upheld the long-standing ban on corporate money in campaigns.

Where's all that outrage about "activist judges" when you need it? Oh, right - it's only "activist" when the court's giving brown people more rights.

Michael Dorf has a good column up at FindLaw for those of you who want a better sense of what's going on here.

Speaking of racist gits who only get upset when they think a librul's doin' it, check out this asshole Tennessee mayor and his dumbfuckery:
Johnny Piper, the mayor of Clarksville, TN, recently forwarded an anti-Muslim email urging all “patriotic Americans” to protest a U.S. Postal Service stamp that commemorates an Islamic holiday. Piper’s email falsely claims that the creation of the Eid stamp was ordered by President Obama. In fact, the stamp was first issued in 2001, during the Bush administration. It was reissued in 2002, 2006, 2007 and 2008. Nevertheless, Piper is defending his email:

“I don’t see any reason why it would be inappropriate,” Piper said.

Of course not, Johnny. Lying racist xenophobes who only freak out over stamps when a Democrat's in office never do. Myself, I think the good citizens of Tennessee deserve a sharper crayon in their box. I mean, if it took you eight years to notice this terrible stamp and you're completely unaware of the fact that the current President ordered no such thing created, what else are you missing?

Still, this dumbshit's almost smarter than Minnesota's governor, who demonstrates his strategic genius here:

Tim Pawlenty apparently has a new rule. When the United States either goes to war with or invades another country, we or they depending on where you live, never lose. Sorry Tim but reality has a way of biting that sort of revisionist history right in it's ass. I would say why didn't John King bother to point out that obvious fact to you, but we are talking about John King here...lol. That man hasn't found a Republican he couldn't give a softball interview to since he made Wolf Blitzer's show Sunday into more of a joke than it was before he took it over.

KING: [snip]

Is it time for the United States to pull almost all of its troops from Afghanistan?

PAWLENTY: No. I recently returned from my fourth trip to Iraq and my second trip to Afghanistan. The administration has defined the mission in Afghanistan as to to disrupt and destroy the Taliban and Al Qaida and other terrorist forces that represent a threat to the national security interests of the United States.

We need to make sure that mission is successful. And the rule needs to be, when the United States goes to war, the United States wins, and so we need to make sure we do those things to complete that mission successfully, and that includes putting more troops into Afghanistan if needed.

Um. Tim. I hate to break this to you, buddy, but you can't win wars just by making a rule, and "win at all costs" is a formula for disaster. It means you're not willing to beat a prudent retreat when the war you thought you'd be able to win proves otherwise. If you want to be the President when you grow up, you need to crack open the Sun Tzu.

The stupid, it burns. It burns almost as badly as the stupid in Kentucky:
A new Research 2000 poll released by Daily Kos shows that only a slight majority — 51 percent — of Kentuckians believe President Obama was born in this country. Twenty percent said they think he was born elsewhere, and 29 percent said they weren’t sure.
You will be so shocked to know that a 55% majority of whites still can't believe the President was born in the United States. But I'm sure every one of them is not a racist, and they all have a black friend to prove it.

In other news, it looks like Keith Olbermann is preparing for battle:

Keith Olbermann has put out a plea for information about Beck's own background in outrageous remarks. Of course, all he probably needs to do is go through the C&L archives on Beck for everything he needs.

Still, what Olbermann -- and everyone else wondering how to fight back from this latest round of right-wing viciousness -- should focus on is the inordinate number of times that Beck has simply promoted extremist ideas and memes straight out of the most fringe elements of the American far right.

If you've ever wanted a comprehensive list of Beck's insanity all gathered in one spot for easy reference, C&L's provided a good start. Just make sure you're prepared for a loooonnnggg list of unmitigated insanity.

And, finally, today is the day Obama makes his big scary indoctrination speech to the kiddies. You can read the full horror in advance. Ed Brayton polishes up the crystal ball:

Prediction: The right wing loonies who threw a hissy fit over this will respond in one of two ways.

A. Continue to rant like nutballs. Or,

B. Claim a victory because they forced Obama to change his speech and take out all the political indoctrination they hallucinated would be in there in the first place.

I'm plumping for C. All of the Above. But B's first out of the starting gate (h/t):

Though one of the most vocal critics will now let his children watch Barack Obama's back-to-school speech today, Jim Greer is spinning it as we predicted he would. He believes the White House changed the speech:

Mr. Greer has no evidence that the White House had a different speech last week than the one they posted yesterday. He has no copy of any "indoctrination" speech. His belief that he did is not sustainable, certainly not in a court of law. He'd be thrown out of a court of law. But this isn't a courtroom; it's television.
And outlets like CNN are more than happy to give him a national media platform from which to proclaim a victory he never won.

All the while, American discourse just keeps getting dumber...

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