July 5, 2010

"[T]he Roberts court demonstrated its determination to act aggressively to undo aspects of law it found wanting, no matter the cost."

The NYT gives its opinion of the Supreme Court's just-concluded Term:
[T]he tone and posture of the court’s conservative majority made clear that it is not done asserting itself in redefining campaign finance laws, the rights of corporations, national security powers and the ownership of guns....
Much of this is the familiar hand-wringing over Citizens United. The editors admit that a lot of what happened isn't so bad, but it must be bad. It's the Roberts Court. So:
Still, the problematic decisions continue to leave us worried about upcoming terms, where more decisions about fundamental rights await. In the last month alone, majorities on the court said gun ownership was a fundamental Second Amendment right that applies to states and cities, while reducing the First Amendment rights of those who try to pacify terrorist groups. 
Notice the big flip that's taken place in the last year or so. Liberals worry about constitutional rights getting in the way of legislation, and conservatives have cozied up to the notion of unwritten rights. For that to happen, everyone has to stop focusing on the right of privacy. Isn't it odd?
If Elena Kagan is confirmed, her first task will be to keep her pledge and help the court realize that judicial modesty actually means something.
There's no other reference in the editorial to "judicial modesty" or Elena Kagan so I'm not sure what Kagan said that's being interpreted as a pledge by the new Justice to go in there and school the oldsters about what something really means. But everyone who has any sophistication about law knows that the Constitution trumps legislation and the question is the scope of constitutional rights. The nominees aren't asked to say — nor would they say —  that they will interpret rights narrowly so that more legislation will survive or, conversely, that they will interpret rights expansively and nullify democratic decisionmaking. They're all asked to say and they all promise to say exactly what the rights really are and to enforce those rights despite pressure to allow the democratic choice to prevail and despite their own preferences about what ought to be legislated.

But the New York Times must, on schedule, wind up its readers about the conservatives on the Supreme Court. It's all such tedious sophistry.

105 comments:

AlphaLiberal said...

Nowhere in the US Constitution are corporations given (select) rights of human beings. This is an artificial construct by con's to in the rights, but not the responsibilities, of corporations.

If corporations are to have the rights of human beings they should have the same obligations, same tax treatment, same legal risks of humans.

For starters, there should be a death penalty for corporations when they kill people through reckless disregard. Companies like Massey Energy or BP.

Good line from the ed:
A decision can become an aberration, it turns out, if the court’s conservatives never agreed with it in the first place.

AlphaLiberal said...

To be clear, the Roberts Court goes far beyond the Constitution in giving corporations and unions the same rights as people.

Chase said...

Here's where the Times editorial falls apart: They do not - because they cannot - show how ANY of the decisions they cite violate the Constitution. And their acknowledgment of Roberts correctly saying that precedents completely respected would still give us segregation is mumbled into, but that took 60+ years.

Worst editorial in the last year - Are these children writing thses things at the Times?

Quayle said...

Alpha Lib, good morning.

One person has a right to speak.

Two people have rights to speak

The two people submit to the state a one page document incorporating their mutual arrangement, and now those two people don't have rights to speak?

Constitutionally, how does that work exactly?

Especially when the New York Times Co. apparently does have rights to speak.

Your intellectual structure on this is hash.

Jason said...

Wow, alpha libtard. That's quite an assertion.

So given that the NY Times is a corporation, and not a natural person, it has no right to freedom of the press.

Are you sure you want to continue your stupid argument down that blind alley?

Ann Althouse said...

It's one thing for individuals acting alone to have rights, but if they still have rights when they group together to act, then their power might threaten the power of government.

Michael said...

Alpha: And unions?

Chase said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Expat(ish) said...

I've never met a modest dean. It's like finding a quiet actor. Theoretically possible but unlikely. So we know she will get along and go along and lobby, because that is what Dean's do. Be interesting to see if she is successful - my money is on No, but I sold Apple at $96 so what do I know.

-XC

mesquito said...

It's one thing for individuals acting alone to have rights, but if they still have rights when they group together to act, then their power might threaten the power of government.

Uh, is this a bad thing?

Chase said...

Alpha,

You know full well that the term corporation doesn't need to be spelled out in the Constitution. A corporation is a willful gathering of people. It's not slavery. Therefore it should have the right to free speech. Just because it has the ability to proclaim that speech in more venues because of greater resources doesn't take away that right. You may personally hate corporations in theory and fact, but nothing prevents that gathering of persons who are not involved in illegal or seditionary acts from keeping their First Amendment rights.

'Citizens' was completely correct on the Constituional merits. It is appalling and shamefully dishonest when the Obama Administration encoourages emotional hatred of corporations and refuses to face the Constitution head on.

You really need to get out more and stop taking your opinions from leftists and corporate haters like Howard Zinn and Krugman - both are discredited from being too loose with the facts.

buster said...

The effect of Citizens United has already been demonstrated. The unions spent $10 million trying to defeat Blanche Lincoln.

Expat(ish) said...

@Ann on corp's threatening gov't.

Can you cite any example in history of that being true?

Or do you mean a political party as opposed to a gov't?

When what was good for GM was good for America the power of the (then much smaller) government was infinitely bigger.

WalMart is *still* unable to charter a dang bank, and it is the largest and (arguably) most economically powerful company in the country's history.

I'm not saying there isn't an example, just that I can't think of one.

Contra-examples abound. Obviously.

-XC

PS - I am not thinking of Unions or political parties as corp's.

Paco Wové said...

"...while reducing the First Amendment rights of those who try to pacify terrorist groups."

I guess I haven't been paying attention... which decision are they referring to here, whose 1st amendment rights have been reduced, and how?

Ralph L said...

AL, read the First Amendment. It prohibits Congress from restricting speech--it doesn't specify whose.

DKWalser said...

...Notice the big flip that's taken place in the last year or so. Liberals worry about constitutional rights getting in the way of legislation, and conservatives have cozied up to the notion of unwritten rights. For that to happen, everyone has to stop focusing on the right of privacy. Isn't it odd? ...

That's not quite accurate. At least it's not based on cases discussed in this post. Those cases all concerned written rights -- they're enumerated in the 1st and 2nd Amendments.

While conservatives have had many disagreements with the Court over the years, most of these have been over the Court's discovery of rights in the hazy smoke wafting over the Constitution and the Court's creating an unwritten hedge around the Constitution to protect constitutional rights from being violated. I'm not aware of any conservative complaints over the Court's enforcement of provisions and rights that are part of the written Constitution.

Quayle said...

"It's one thing for individuals acting alone to have rights, but if they still have rights when they group together to act, then their power might threaten the power of government."

Right. If you want to throw around resources to influence some issue, congress wants to make sure you have nowhere else to throw it but at them.

It is called a stranglehold monopoly on power.

HDHouse said...

Quayle said...
"Especially when the New York Times Co. apparently does have rights to speak.
Your intellectual structure on this is hash."

Well there is more to Quayle's quote but this snipet should give you an idea of where the express train is headed.

Yes the Times has a right to speak...it is called ..something of the....press...freedom...that's it...freedom of the press. Yes. I think it is in the bill of rights. Gosh Quayle...talk about brain/mush/hash....are you any relationship to Dan?

Let me know if the hammer of judicial activisms strikes your liberty bell...

Chase said...

...while reducing the First Amendment rights of those who try to pacify terrorist groups."

Talking about American -chartered organizations that give money and advice to terrorist groups. The Times wants you to think such groups are helpful in some way to combatting terrorism.

Again, the Times avoided actually addressing the Constitutionality of the decisions it derides in the editorial because the Times CANNOT defend it's opinion with the actual Constitution.

Are you going to let the Times pull the wool down over you reyes on this?

Chase said...

...while reducing the First Amendment rights of those who try to pacify terrorist groups."

Talking about American -chartered organizations that give money and advice to terrorist groups. The Times wants you to think such groups are helpful in some way to combatting terrorism.

Again, the Times avoided actually addressing the Constitutionality of the decisions it derides in the editorial because the Times CANNOT defend it's opinion with the actual Constitution.

Are you going to let the Times pull the wool down over your eyes on this?

Hagar said...

It's one thing for individuals acting alone to have rights, but if they still have rights when they group together to act, then their power might threaten the power of government.


The Democratic Party
The Republican Party
Common Cause
The Sierra Club
Moveon.org
Etc., etc,, etc.
?

lucid said...

After decades as a subscriber to the NYT, I gave it up about 5 years ago.

Its smug, simple-minded self-rigteousness and narrow-mindedness make it unreadable.

If you want to understand the attitude of self-importance and pompous self-satisfaction that the Times is really about, just watch the TV ad that they have been running endlessly for years now--the one where the guy--hilariously--says that he is fluent in three sections.

As though reading the Times made you important and accomplished. Ha.

It would be good for the country if the Times were to disappear or at least be fully displaced by the Wall Street Journal.

This displacement actually seems to be in the process of happening.

Chase said...

I believe that Ann was being sarcastic in her remark.

gk1 said...

I don't think the lefties heart is in this battle. Their flaccid defense that union's should be immune to the same interpretation of this ruling as corporate america
pretty much gives the game away. Democratic cheeleaders = Good. Globochem = Bad. Its pretty much that simple to them.

Quayle said...

"Yes the Times has a right to speak...it is called ..something of the....press...freedom...that's it...freedom of the press."

Press? Hum? Press? Is that a different kind of corporate entity type? I guess I missed that part in Advanced Business Associations.

HDHouse said...

Chase said...
"You know full well that the term corporation doesn't need to be spelled out in the Constitution. A corporation is a willful gathering of people. It's not slavery. Therefore it should have the right to free speech."

That is utter bullshit. So tell me this Chase....I vote as a registered voter and speak as a citizen with unabridged rights. I gather with some friends and go to the school board meeting as a "corporation of sorts....your gathering for want of a better term". Unless we speak in unison there will be a spokesperson so to speak for the collective "all". The matter is then put up for a vote but we don't vote as a block, thus getting one vote as the "gathering" but individually. So how is it that an individual (of age) is defined by his right to vote, his individual liberties, freedom of speech being one of many and all conferred on the "individual" NOT the gathering of individuals.

That would, in fact, overflow the well. I would have my individual rights and then a second helping of the pie as part of the gathering and if someone wanted to pass a law on corporations, I could just scream that I am an individual..

The person is defined by the vote, among other things and there are no super voters (1 + the gathering vote)and one set of free speech per person...unless of course you are for an activist court that will confer rights on any matter of gatherings even if it means overriding a law previously thought constitutional.

Chase said...

Let me know if the hammer of judicial activisms strikes your liberty bell...

Hate it - Roe v. Wade is at the top of the list. The Robert's Court decision in 'Citizens' is the opposite of activism. The decision was Constitutionally sound, no matter how much the President and his lemming followers dishonestly try to twist it.

Sorry, but overturning a Congressional law that seeks to restrict a clear Constitutional right - such as Freedom of Speech - will NEVER be "activist", no matter how much liberals want to be dishonest in the use of language to deceive people into thinking so.

Got anything else?

Pastafarian said...

Althouse said: "...and conservatives have cozied up to the notion of unwritten rights."

Really?

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Is that the unwritten right you had in mind? I'll go back and re-read your post, visit the links, etc. -- I must have missed something.

I can see how you'd call out conservatives for hypocrisy for going along with incorporation; but look at the text. It doesn't require incorporation -- it's "baked in the cake". This right shall not be infringed, by anyone at any level of government, period. That's what it says. It doesn't say "Congress shall make no law"; if it did, then you'd have to worry about incorporation. It says flatly that it will not happen, ever.

Why 4 of the conservative justices decided to use incorporation is a mystery to me.

HDHouse said...

@ Quayle...

Wow. Nice job cornering the market on ignorance there.

lucid said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pastafarian said...

Alpha said: "If corporations are to have the rights of human beings they should have the same obligations, same tax treatment, same legal risks of humans."

Yeah! If corporations have in income, then they should have to pay taxes on it.

No more of this "zero corporate tax" stuff that we currently have.

What's that? Did you just say that corporations pay income tax? The deuce you say!

But I do like Alpha's suggestion that only those who could be sentenced to death should have freedom of speech. Convicted murderers, in other words.

Corporations can't be drafted into the military either, Alpha. You forgot to trot that one out. So apparently you think that freedom of speech should be meted out only to able-bodied males between 18 and 24 years of age.

Chase said...

Nice try again HD, but your twisted logic is Bullshit. Voting rights and and the amount of Freedom of Speech are not the same thing.

Listen, I'm not going to play. Freedom of Speech is what it is. I am thankful that the Robert's Court rightly showed that it cannot be restricted on the unpopular group or politically correct enemy of the day.

Enjoy the panties twist.

HDHouse said...

@Chase... to enter your little kingdom of debate requires the opponent to abandon all hope ye who enters here..

to get where you think the constitutionally correct decision leads, one first had to make up out of while cloth, the novel concept that corporations are people in and of themselves _ NOT just made up of people but some sort of super mixture of flesh and blood, concrete, wires, desks...welll whatever...and then back into the idea that since a corporation is people that it NOT THEY, has rights.

Makes me hope that when an individual lets a corporate speak for it that the membership, in turn, gives up their personal free speech rights in submission to the corporation..

And yes, I have plent. Bring on your best cheese so to speak or I'll, yet again, beat you like a rented mule.

lucid said...

And BTW--
The NYTimes is no less self-interested as a corporation and economic institution than is General Motors or Exxon or BP.

Why should they be free to have political speech that serves their own corporate and economic interests when other companies cannot?

rhhardin said...

I stopped writing one-liners about NYT editorials. They're already so bad that it's not possible to top them.

Chase said...

`

The MOST laughably twisted part of the entire New York Times editorial cited above:

We do not argue that precedent must be worshiped and upheld at all costs. If that were the case, as Justice Roberts noted, segregation would still be legal and minimum-wage laws unconstitutional. But when the Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954 overturned Plessy v. Ferguson from 1896 and outlawed segregation, it came after many years of relentless legal efforts against Jim Crow by Thurgood Marshall and many others. It was clear that the legal landscape was changing.

Do you realize that the New York Times today placed itself in favor of segregation continuing for another 90 years after the Civil War until the "legal landscape" caught up?

LOL!!!!!!!!!

Chase said...

But HD, I love your beatings!

Slow down a bit - I'm also typing too fast.

I'm afraid I couldn't make sense of a couple of your sentences. Not a criticism of what you're saying, I just think you're typing too fast.

JAL said...

while reducing the First Amendment rights of those who try to pacify terrorist groups.

I'm with some of the other folks above -- what does THAT mean?

Who is trying to "pacify terrorist groups?"

"Nice kitty, nice kitty ..." said Roy ... Like that?

Or is it more "we must take care of the widows and orphans [of the suicide bombers and terrorists] and if anything just happens to be left if it goes into the General Fund of the Blow the Infidels Up Group, well.... We don't know a thing about that [!!111!1])

Editorials aren't signed, are they. Too bad, we could check the name against the JournoList folks when Breitbart and Althouse get the archives.

lucid said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chef Mojo said...

@HDH

Well, that's quite a conundrum, isn't it? NYT is a corporation. It's also the Press. So how do you sort that out. Either you believe free speech is restricted to individuals or you don't. Can't have it both ways. If speech rights are restricted for corporations, then it means ALL corporations, no matter how small, large or what they do.

But let's say that you're right, and the Constitution can restrict the free speech rights of corporations, excepting those corporations that embody the Press.

So, what about corporations that have the Press as a subsidiary? Are they exempt from free speech restrictions? Is GE exempt because of it's ownership of NBC?

Or if the Press has a non-Press corporate subsidiary? Do the Red Sox get a break because they're part owned by the New York Times Group? Where does it start and end, HDH?

What about individual officers of the corporation and shareholders? If they have investments in the Press, do they get a pass that they can then pass on to their respective corporation? If the corporation itself invests in the Press, thus becoming part owners of a Press, don't they then qualify, in fact, as being the Press.

Kinda makes your head spin, don't it, HDH?

rhhardin said...

giving corporations and unions the same rights as people.

That was a big discussion when collective bargaining came up.

If individuals don't have the power to force somebody else to bargain with them, how do they get the power by joining forces?

The side of law lost.

Richard Epstein podcast goes into it, on the rule of law in general.

lucid said...

@HDHouse

Your argument is ridiculous. Who do you think corporations are if not the people who run them? They are, in a non-legal sense, simply groups of people banded together in a particular way for a particular puorpose.

Just like a newspaper or cable operator or magazine or book publisher.

If you really wanted to limit free speech to individuals acting solely as individuals, then we would only be free to speak in our own voices to those who are physically present. Every other form of speech--including this blog post--is enabled by corporate functions.

But self-righteous, cocksure lefties like alfalfa-blib are willing to use the law and the force of government to limit the speech of those with whom they disagree.

They stand in the traditions of censors throughout history--only those whom I approve of may speak.

chr1 said...

It will be fun to watch how, during a time of potential economic crisis and disaster, the full weight of the Dems (tax and spend tax and spend) new liabilities are realized by the public.

You can't Krugman your way out of that.
Hopefully this will sink in to every pocketbook.

May they tear themselves apart with DADT, or eventually become deaf to voters under the endless, moralistic drumbeat of environmentalism (the new Western secular religion).

Is the NY Times out of the ideological fetal position yet?

JAL said...

When I allow myself some humor I think it hilarious that the political side who is all about "liberty and justice for all" finds it necessary to control Every.Friggin.Thing in our lives these days.

Salt in our ketchup?

Funny how the "privacy" thingey plucked from the vapors of the swamp in DC doesn't apply to much of anything else.

The Founding Fathers are turning over in their graves.

The cost, NYT, is the restoration of the basic freedom of conscience found in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America which has been nannied and smeared away because the left does not believe the "workers" know what they are doing and how to live.

The government is to "secure the Blessings of liberty" not control their dispensation.

lucid said...

@Chef Mojo---eloquently and precisely stated. What I was trying to say, but better argued.

Big Mike said...

Very interesting posts by Alpha and HDHouse. I wonder, do they recognize why the US is a wealthier country than just about every other one on the face of the earth? Do they think those dirty rotten corporations they despise so much have something to do with that? Or perhaps they believe that every so often a Republican is elected president and waves a magic wand, then hides it from the Democrats when they take the presidency?

Balance. There is always a need to balance the power of the corporations against the power of the unions. The public employee unions in New Jersey, California, and now Illinois show us what happens when unions are not balanced by corporations.

There are no money trees. I don't think our system is perfectly equitable in all things at all times, but when we maintain balance the US does quite well overall.

Big Mike said...

It's all such tedious sophistry.

May I ask, then, Professor, why you bother reading the NYT? Don't you get enough tedious sophistry from the essays you grade?

damikesc said...

HD, you've yet to explain why SOME corporations have rights while others do not. Rights cannot be offered in a haphazard manner. Do ALL GE affiliates have free speech protection, or just NBC? If GE sells NBC, do they also forfeit their rights? Does that mean rights can literally be bought?

Alex said...

Last I checked the Constitution did not spell out which type of group got special protections. It did not say ONLY a news organization had free speech. It did NOT say corporations, unions or other assemblages were prohibited from free speech. I suspect this is the reasoning of the Roberts majority.

miller said...

I don't see how the "Press" is The New York Times. Given how some want to keep speech at the individual level, then everyone is free to run his/her own printing press and speak freely, but corporations do not have this right, including corporations such as The New York Times. They are a corporation & thus as a corporation do not have the right to free speech.

It's all so clear. Freedom of Speech and Press are individual rights.

Next you'll be telling me corporations cannot keep and bear arms, but only individual people can.

Beth said...

I know nothing about constitutional law. That's obvious.

I do know that right now, we are experiencing what it means for corporations to be citizens. BP has shut down press and citizen access to any area even remotely deemed to be affected by oil, and our tax-payer funded police and sheriffs are kowtowing to the corporation. We can all feel better not seeing ugly images of oiled birds and beaches, and knowing the corporations run things. Have no doubt at this point, BP is calling the tune for the Coast Guard, the White House, the whole fucking thing. But hey, corporations are people, too.

The next time freedom is threatened by tyranny, we can send out a corporation to fight it. That'll work.

Paul Zrimsek said...

I do know that right now, we are experiencing what it means for corporations to be citizens.

The rest of us are talking about corporations having First Amendment rights. What are you talking about?

damikesc said...

Um, beth, BP has no power to limit access unless they own the land.

So, uh, who IS able to keep the press out?

Hint: he's the President

AllenS said...

Beth,

The problem is Obama. The police and the Coast Guard do not take orders from BP.

AllenS said...

Also, wasn't the current BP originally called British Petroleum?

Chef Mojo said...

@Beth:

That's just stupid talk.

BP hasn't shut down press access to the Gulf. The Government has. BP couldn't shut it down if it tried. However, the press, as it is today, has been colluding with the Government in order to protect the Administration from political damage. Notice how all the news about the spill has dropped off the front pages? It's not for lack of news, that's for sure.

As far as fixing the problem? Really. Who you gonna call? Obama? He's proven that he is not up to the task; not by a long shot.

BP? Well, they've got the means to try to fix it, and they have been trying. It's in their interest to fix it.

The Gulf spill situation is what happens when the Press has a stake in Government, and thus actively conspires to protect the Government from negative PR.

Beth said...

Mojo,

You're so delightfully naive.

When the police turn people away, they are carefully saying "BP doesn't want you filming that" or, "Sorry; BP rules!" This is corporatism, and our government lackeys, GOP and Dems alike, are on their knees to them. Yes, it's our government enforcing the press ban, but they're hand in hand with BP. I don't there is any sense that citizens' interests exist apart from corporate interests anymore, and the oil leak is just one illustration of that truth.

Beth said...

Mojo, I just realized what you are arguing: you think the PRESS is keeping the oil story out of the news. Sweet Jesus. I guess you'll swallow anything if it involves believing ill of the libuhrul press.

http://tiny.cc/krzho

The Coast Guard has restricted press access across the Gulf.

AllenS said...

Look! Over there! Bush, Cheney, BP and all of their oil buddies!

lucid said...

Ok, Beth--give it up. You live in Madison, SF, Hyde Park, or the Upper West Side. You work in a non-profit, as a teacher, or are a graduate student in the humanities or social sciences or social services. You generally think profits--especially those of other people that likely pay your salary--are immoral and obscene.

How many did I get right? Not that there is anything wrong with the above...

Try this link for what the press is not reporting:
http://cnsnews.com/news/article/68895

JAL said...

Beth -- I have been wondering how you have been doing.

I am sorry things are going so slowly / badly for you guys.

I have to agree with the other commenters though. It is Barack Obama (his administration) who calls the shots.

Don't you remember?

He's the boot on the neck. BP are the bad guys.

Using BP's name for stuff it has NO control over gives the president plausible deniability -- which in your case, seems to be working.

Think about it.

The President of the United States has chosen now, for what 72 days? not to, by executive order, overrule the EPAs massive limitations on oil content in sea water.

A simple suspension of that would have allowed the filtering of sea water to have taken place much more rapidly. I have seen on the web that there is a huge -- huge -- tanker on its way in hopes that the ban will be lifted when it gets here.

The impact on the Gulf cleanup would have been HUGE if it had been put into service AFAP, instead of diddling.

Barrack Obama is using BP.

As POTUS he can use a stroke of the pen to fix this. THEY are not.

Use that good brain of yours.

@ Beth The Coast Guard has restricted press access across the Gulf.

And who is Commander in Chief of the US Coast Guard?????

JAL said...

lucid -- part right.

But Beth lives in New Orleans.

Chef Mojo said...

@Beth:

Since when has a corporation or government official EVER been able to stop the press when the press really wants to pursue a story? The entire Bush 43 administration was 8 years of the press pounding away without mercy. There was nothing that was going to stop them getting the stories out. The NYTs leaked intelligence and pretty much stomped on Bush's head every day for 8 years. The press sued for access to photograph caskets returning from overseas to the Dover mortuary. They sued the Administration every chance they could in order to get the story!

Now? Not so much. Where are the lawsuits, Beth? Where is that no-holds-barred reporting? Where's the guerilla journalism that was so celebrated on the left? Where are the investigative reporters digging into BP's political connections? Where are the intrepid reporters rooting out the corruption, the hideous mistakes and general incompetence of Obama's people?

I mean, really. Beyond Anderson Cooper whining on CNN about the mean BP and Government types keeping the press away from the story, what the hell has the press done but collude with the powers that be?

The corruption is fetid, and it includes BP, the Government and the Press.

I'm naive? Jeebus.

JAL said...

@ JAL As POTUS he can use a stroke of the pen to fix this. THEY are not.

I mean BP cannot.

lucid said...

Lefties are always acting in their own economic self-interest. Most of them are paid by taxes that the governmnet collects from other people. Thus, they always want the government to do more, have more power, tax more, go into deficit more--because it means more money for them (money that is taken away from other people).

C'mon Beth, HDHouse, Alfalfa
Blib--own up.

Where does your money to live come from?

The government or a profit-earning entity like a corporation or your own business?

I'll bet your income is paid by taxes collected by a government or a grant made by government or other organization, or you are a student or a dependent.

That is why you argue the way you do--it is in your own economic self-interest.

virgil xenophon said...

The problem with Beth is that she's part of the uptown/"university area" "silk-stocking" lefty crowd, psychic-politically-speaking--even if financially middle-class. This is the crowd that allied itself with the black project vote to elect "progressive" "Black-Creoles" (the 1st "Black" Mayor of N.O., "Dutch" Morial wasn't called ""Dutch" because he wore wooden shoes) against the white middle and working class. For that looong-time lefty crowd to admit of short-comings in Obama is to think the unthinkable. It would be the same as admitting that the very essence of their being was flawed. They're "all in" with Obama sink or swim. You'll NEVER hear complaints about the Gulf spill clean-up efforts and Obama's name in the same breath--EVER. TRUST ME.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

If Elena Kagan is confirmed, her first task will be to keep her pledge and help the court realize that judicial modesty actually means something.

So her first task will be to vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

At least the times had the decency to publish this as an opinion piece, rather than trying to slip it into the 'straight' news, where most of their opinions go.

lucid said...

@Virgil

The web site Democratic Underground has actually posted new rules prohibiting most criticism of Obama. You can only say nice or "contructive" things about him.

We really need Obama to be a one-term president. If he somehow gets re-elected in 2012, then there is a good chance he will get to make a third Supreme Court appointment.

And that would be a politcal, cultural, and economic disaster.

The Repubs better nominate someone who can win.

Chase said...

Hey, I disagree with Beth's characterization of BP-in-control but she is no thoughtless high society liberal. Beth is a real person, a teacher who lives a real life and is far more thoughtful and uncondemning in her expressions than most commenters here. She has always when she disagreed with me treated me with respect, even better than I treated her. I know she doesn't need my help, but back off the mischaracterizations of her.

And while we're at it, garage, Alpha, and HD are decent people too (especially when they agree with me), just wrong- in my opinion - on numerous issues. They have all, like Beth, commented on non-political posts here with often fascinating cultural insights and knowledge. Save the name calling for the Moby's (Jeremy, et al) and public figures of the opposite political persuasion than you.

Chase said...

Contrast the Los Angeles Times Editorial on the Robert's Court vs the one we're talking about in the New York Times.

Here's the LA Times on the 'Citizens United case: One can disagree with the decision — as we did — and still note that it continued a tradition of the court imposing the strictest scrutiny on laws challenged on 1st Amendment grounds.

That's adults writing.

The Times is specious, written by children from Manhattan, oblivious to both the actual viability and text of the Constitution and the reality of daily life in the other 98% of America.

Chase said...

Contrast the Los Angeles Times Editorial on the Robert's Court vs the one we're talking about in the New York Times:

One can disagree with the decision — as we did — and still note that it continued a tradition of the court imposing the strictest scrutiny on laws challenged on 1st Amendment grounds.

One editorial was written by adults.

The other - the one written as if by petulant children with no connection to reality - is in the New York Times.

gk1 said...

Still waiting for our resident lefties to make a coherent argument of how or why corporations like the NYTimes should have unfettered free speech, while GlobochemHaliburtonDoeChemical INC. do not. Just feeble jabs at BP then, huh?

virgil xenophon said...

Chase you don't read very closely, do you? I'm well aware Beth is a school-teacher, which is why the "even if financially middle-class" qualifier was inserted. We're talking political state-of-mind, here. And your reading-comprehension SAT scores were what?

SMGalbraith said...

Great, corporations don't have rights, only individuals?

I'm headed to Staples to grab a new printer and monitor. Since Staples has no rights, they can't stop me from taking their property, can they?

Who's with me?

Along the way, let's get the government to shutdown MSNBC and Keith Olbermann. Since GE doesn't have any rights, we can just shut the place down.

AllenS said...

Don't even think about it, Galbraith. BP will have you arrested.

lucid said...

@Chase

Read what I wrote, not what you think I said. I didn't call anyone a name (except maybe Alfalfa Blib, which is pretty gentle name-calling).

What I did do is to make an argument about motivations.

I pointed out that the self-righteousness of these libs is actually a concealment for their own narrow economic self-interest. Their self-rightousness masks selfishness.

I am arguing that they are narrowly self-interested in what they believe because (I am guessing--apparently correctly in Beth's case) that their income comes from the government via taxes collected from for-profit activity.

And that therefore, their disdain for profit-making enterprises is hypocritical and their approval of all things that expand government power, control, and activity is self-interested--because their income derives from activities mandated by the government.

So, of course they justify higher taxes, more stimulus, higher deficits, and more government control--because that is where they get their income.

And they disparage profit-making individuals and organizations because it is in their self-interest to demonize and demean those whom they wish to exploit and appropriate from. They wish to imply that profit-making individuals have no moral right to keep their money.

I am sure Beth is a perfectly nice person. That is not the point here, and it is not an argument about the topic at hand.

SMGalbraith said...

Don't even think about it, Galbraith. BP will have you arrested

I thought they had no rights? Dammit.

Y'know, if critics of the ruling would simply argue that the standard for the government to meet to limit the free speech rights of corporations can be lower than that for individuals and that the state has a compelling state interest to limit their speech, that'd be fine. Use the compelling state interest standard not this spurious no rights claim.

To argue corporations have no rights is silly. And also very revealing into the mindset of the left. E.g., if corporations have no rights, the government can simply seize their property at any time.

Big Mike said...

@Beth, regardless of what the police and Coast Guard say, BP does not own the law enforcement agencies and is not the entity restricting press access. The Obama administration has totally screwed up the response to Deepwater Horizon, and they are trying to cover up.

The Dutch skimmer serves as a metaphor. It took ten weeks -- seventy days! -- before the Coast Guard and the EPA would condescend to permit trials of it in the Gulf. The Dutch offered its use while the Deepwater Horizon rig was still on fire! Why did Obama turn it down? Why is EPA kvetching over the purity of the water it discharges. EPA's rules prefer 100% dirty over 99% clean?

This is not "Obama's Katrina" -- this is way worse than that.

Sometimes, Beth, you offer up insights that really help me refocus my thoughts. But in this case you are simply being mentally lazy and you've got to get past the mantra of corporations ba-a-a-a-d, Democrats go-o-o-o-o-o-d in order to figure it out.

Michael said...

Beth: I spent a couple of years down your way and I have the deepest sorrow over what is happening to the residents of the Gulf, particularly the Louisiana Gulf.

I have noted that the press is very slowly moving on. The president dusted his hands off after his triumph of the BP escrow. To him, that is that. Slowly, slowly the urgency has dissolved. The only hope is that the oil moves further south along the Florida coast where a different demographic resides. The press and the president have decided they have had enough with carping whining rednecks, coon asses and asian-ass fishermen.

Chase said...

virgil said:

And your reading-comprehension SAT scores were what?

I am certain that they were not as high as yours, my friend.


lucid,

I believe in a general sense that your argument about the blindness of those paid by the government is surely valid for many. However, I don't believe that tying it to an individual commenter without evidence of the hypocrisy your decrying is the best use of your argument.

Chase said...

. . . and that should have read "you're".

I really need to slow down.

virgil xenophon said...

Michael/

A very concise--and dead-on accurate summation/encapsulation--of the situation on the Gulf Coast. Notice Obama talks only of "recovery/restoration" now. He's given up; is waaayy beyond the "prevention" stage now. Restrictions on the press? Let's not look too closely at steps not taken, shall we? Truth be told, the entire Gulf coast from Mobile to the Texas border is terra incognita to most of America--especially from New Orleans West--which is a working coast of marshlands/bayous populated by local residents, not holiday vacationers. And even the sandy beaches from Mobile thru Biloxi to New Orlens are visited mainly in the summer by denizens of N.O. and the northern parts of Miss/Ala to escape the heat as winters are usually too cool for vacationing sunbathers from the north.

Almost everyone from northern/midwestern states west of the Miss. R. vacations on the Texas/Mexican Gulf Coast, while those East of the Miss R. to western Pa to to the west coast of Fla., and those further east head mostly to Fla's eastern coast.

Thus because of all of the above most Americans do not have the same sense of connection to--empathy for--that part of America and regard it as relative unimportant despite the fact that ONE THIRD (1/3) of ALL seafood in America comes from Louisiana's waters as does ONE THIRD (1/3)of domestic oil production.

Remember when, shortly after Katrina, gas prices shot briefly to $5/gal in Atlanta because of damage to oil refineries in La. and the gas pipelines across the Miss. R which transmitted oil & gas to the east coast? And the "evil" V.P. Cheney was criticized for diverting resources to fix both in order to insure refined gas to the east coast. Without Louisiana the East Coast sees $5/gal gas. But for Obama, that's a feature, not a bug. Besides, nothing but red states with Elephants in control down there, right? Not to worry. No hurry....

Beth said...

Big Mike,

Where do you find "Democrats gooood" in my comments? I'm coming to believe both parties are owned lock, stock and barrel by corporate interests. Both. Not the GOP, but both.

Beth said...

Um, beth, BP has no power to limit access unless they own the land.

Good observation. So why do our police and Coast Guard (i.e., government agencies) take their orders from BP? It's in the interest of BP, and our government, to limit the access of press and the public.

Beth said...

The press has not moved on, Michael, certainly not the local press. They're being kept out of the airspace, off the beaches, away from the marshes; when they charter a boat, the Coast Guard comes alongside and tells them to leave.

This is a serious, and alarming, turn of events.

Beth said...

Big Mike, in Louisiana, police can work off-duty details in uniform, using department vehicles. They are on BP's payroll as well as their local department's, and they're enforcing BP's rules. The Coast Guard, through Thad Allen, has basically bent over and spread 'em for BP. I don't know if he has Stockholm Syndrome, or simply works with BP officials day in and day out. It took more than a month for him to appear at a press briefing with a Coast Guard logo on the podium, instead of BP's.

Obama has moved on, Biden came down last week and delivered a canned script about being wowed by all the resources being thrown at this thing - after walking into the CG office, with about 100 people, none of whom work on the weekend. Wow. Big fucking deal there, Joe. Who could ask for more than that?

The press blackout benefits all of them, and harms us. That's the corporate-government nexus. Some citizens are bigger than others, I guess.

Beth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Big Mike said...

Sometimes, Beth, you offer up insights that really help me refocus my thoughts.

And there you go doing that again.

Of course both parties are indebted to corporate interests. Elections run on money and money has to come from somewhere. Both receive money from corporations hoping to influence legislation and regulations that will affect their businesses. Republicans used to supplement that with numerous small contributions, mostly received from very religious social conservatives. Democrats supplement it from unions and from fat cats known as limousine liberals.

FWIW my own take is not that BP owns the Obama administration, but that the Obama administration simply doesn't care enough about ordinary people. The administration should have taken the lead from Day 1, first by accepting the Dutch offer of the super skimmer and their expertise, second by telling BP that they had until the US Navy could prepare a suitable explosive device for sealing off the breach and move it to the Gulf to seal the breach themselves, third by fast-tracking the creation of the berms that Bobby Jindal (and Alabama, if I understand correctly) want to build to safeguard the wetlands, fourth, well I'm sure that real experts -- which the Obama administration has left to BP to engage -- would come up with a fourth, fifth, sixth, etc.

And I didn't know that about the Louisiana police being able to remain in uniform off duty. You guys might want to have the legislature reconsider that next time they're in session.

And I really am sorry about what's happening to you down there.

virgil xenophon said...

Appropos of what I said previously about the likes of Beth and her crowd up-thread, I notice that despite her criticism of "The Feds" she has not pursed her lips to utter the word "Obama" in the same breath with her criticisms. Oh, she at least mentions Biden--but he's small potatoes and a convenient sacrificial lamb. Beth and her crowd didn't invest their entire psychic beings--their very inner core-- to Biden, but rather to Obama. They've quaffed deeply of the kool-aid; of the snake-oil salesman/charlatans "hopey-changeness" like a starved 90lb Muskie hitting the hook going full-tilt boogie. Or like Louisianans and the nation 60 yrs ago buying/drinking Dudley Leblanc's "HADACOL" like it was going out of style. The likes of Beth and half of uptown New Orleans are STILL so far in the tank for Obama they've formed a molecular bond with the inner-lining of the tank itself..

Pastafarian said...

Actually, I agree with Beth, to a certain extent.

It does appear that there's an unholy alliance of corporations and government in suppressing coverage of this disaster.

Now, I don't think it's all corporations; just a few, like BP (one of Obama's biggest campaign contributors), GE/NBC, the New York Times, etc.

And I don't see the GOP involved in suppressing coverage of Obama's Catrina.

So it's collusion between the Democrat-controlled government and their corporate allies (mostly companies involved in the make-believe green economy, and media corporations).

Obama's made BP into a public bogeyman, but what has that really amounted to? Some vague promise to pay some money to someone (presumably the government) that they would have had to pay anyway. Hell, he even snowed some people so thoroughly that they thought he was being unfair to Beyond Petroleum.

And in the meantime, George Soros has invested billions of dollars in a Brazilian oil company; within days of this rig blowing up. I wonder what he knew that the rest of us didn't? What a cagey investor.

Almost makes you pine for the sweet innocent days of Dick Cheney and Haliburton, doesn't it, Beth?

dennisr2 said...

Hello, Beth.

I am a frequent reader of this blog but an infrequent commenter. Please help me understand your position a little better. Please explain the connection between the Citizens United decision and BP's behavior today (as you describe it). Recall that Citizens United was decided only in 2009.

First, would the "authorities" be actively engaged today in suppressing news coverage of the spill had the Supreme Court decided differently?

Second, if there is active suppression of the press along the Gulf coast, why isn't the New York Times up in arms about it?

Thanks.

rhhardin said...

tedious sophistry

A banal truth contains more genius than the works of Dickens, Gustave Aymard, Victor Hugo, Landelle. With these latter a child, surviving the universe, would not be able to reconstruct the human soul. With the former, he could. I presume that he would not sooner or later discover the definition of sophism.

- Lautreamont

lucid said...

There is no logic, reason, or coherence to Beth's argument. BP controls the NYTimes as well as the federal government and the US military. This is the level of the left's argumentation. It is simultaneously ignorant and delusional. But it is also commonplace among libs.

Beth is determined to demonize the corporations whose work, energy, and activity produces the tax dollars that pay her salary.

Michael said...

Beth: I am sure that the Times Picyaune is still on top of the story and will stay on top. A very good newspaper, actually. I mean the MSM, the nightly news on CBS and NBC and CBS. They are bored silly with the coon asses and rednecks and they have deep deep empathy for the few second and third string reporters who remain in the region. It's over as far at Obama and the rest of the non south is concerned. Sorry.

Revenant said...

Beth,

What is your basis for thinking that keeping the press out of the cleanup area somehow serves *corporate* interests at our expense? What interest of BP's does it serve?

Consider that BP's core interest is to clean up the spill and stop the leak, quickly and competently. Every second they fail to do that, they lose money. The government's interest, on the other hand, is for people to THINK that the government is getting the spill cleaned up, and the leak stopped, quickly and competently. It doesn't actually matter if they're really doing this or not -- so long as people think they are, they can avoid the people's wrath.

In short, BP's interest is to fix the problem. The government's interest is for you to think they're fixing the problem. Of those two interests, which is served by a press blackout?

SDN said...

"Pacify? You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

Sorry, NYT, but giving aid and comfort to the enemy is NOT a protected right.

DaveW said...

I'm about as far from being an O-Bot as you can get. Beth is correct.

There is an unholy alliance between the Obamites and BP. Both have an interest in keeping the bad news about the oil spill out of the media.

Last night, for the first time tar balls washed up on Texas beaches. We've been very lucky, with such a massive spill I never would have dreamed we'd escape so long. But now it's here.

There was a story in the paper about a local freelance photographer that took some pictures of the BP refinery that is within about 10 miles of my home. He stopped to get a coffee at a local store and had 2 police cars show up to question him. Before it was over he had local police, some guy identifying himself as DHS, and BP security all questioning him and looking through his photos.

That's not the only story like that, even CNN has run stories complaining about the administration keeping them away from the damaged areas.

This is how we lose our rights. Back during the days after 9/11 it seemed obviously reasonable that we didn't want to allow just anyone to drive around taking pictures of our refineries and nuke plants, that sort of thing.

Now that seemingly reasonable idea is being used by a company in trouble and a corrupt/inept administration to hide the worst environmental catastrophe in U.S. history.

Beth said...

Hi Big Mike,

I always enjoy talking with you; you're good at the kind of back and forth that keeps a conversation honest and on track.

FWIW my own take is not that BP owns the Obama administration, but that the Obama administration simply doesn't care enough about ordinary people.

I agree; this whole oil thing is a distraction from his own agenda. But I still think BP owns a lot more of his attention than plain citizens do.

Even our local pols are walking a careful line; Vitter was pushing the liability limit in the Senate the whole time he's caterwauling for more federal help. Suddenly, conservatives aren't so opposed to using tax dollars instead of private dollars, when it means confronting their corporate donors.

Beth said...

virgil - I wrote "Obama has moved on" in the same sentence about Biden. So stop lying.

Big Mike said...

Suddenly, conservatives aren't so opposed to using tax dollars instead of private dollars, when it means confronting their corporate donors.

One would have to be a very far out there conservative not to expect to use federal money to respond to a major emergency, and it the present Gulf oil spill doesn't qualify as a major emergency then Katrina didn't either and all those complaints about FEMA, Brown, and Bush have to come off the table.

The way to deal with this seems obvious to me. First of all, as I said earlier, Obama should direct the Navy in his capacity as CinC to prepare an explosive charge to seal the breach. I understand that explosives are a standard way to seal off a gusher on land and no one has challenged their efficacy underwater. Then he publicly informs BP that they have until the Navy can position the charge to completely shut down the flow.

Secondly, the US should declare a zone so many yards offshore and inform BP that any oil that makes it past that line will be cleaned up by the US government -- at BP's expense. (Sort of like a municipality mowing someone's yeard when the grass gets above 8" tall -- and sending him the bill.)

Finally, the US should tell BP to compensate the commercial fishermen under some mildly unreasonable assumptions, e.g., that they matched their maximum catch from any time in the past four years.

They get it done or we get it done, but they pay either way.

When people cut corners on safety it's usually because they underestimate the downside risk. BP needs to be educated on just how big that downside risk can be.

And I don't think $20B begins to cover it.

Oh, one last thing. I think the idea that keeps surfacing of using a nuke to seal the breach is another of the Obama administration's false choices. The US military is quite capable of putting a significant fraction of a kiloton where it wants to put it (within centimeters) using conventional explosives.

virgil xenophon said...

Sorry Beth--but not a "lie"--just a careless omission--the sort I gigged chase about--hoisted on my own petard I am. But see, even though chase was mildly nasty to me in his comments ("back-off") in defending you I didn't accuse him of purposefully "lying"--just of the sins of omission. And I STILL don't think I've mis-characterized you--as witnessed by your testy reply. Sensitive aren't we?

Beth said...

Big Mike,

I don't know enough about the nuke option to be enthused. I'm going to see what the folks over at The Oil Drum say about that.

I'd been enthusiastic about sand berms, but now I'm less so. The dredges draw the sand from the very area they're trying to build up, for one thing. And having a berm in one place means pushing the oil somewhere else, with added momentum.

I can't fathom why there have not been skimmers and trawlers out there all along; they're less photogenic and politicians can't pose alongside them as effectively, I suppose. The dredges just sound good. Hell, hay bales would soak up surface oil.

I am in Kentucky for the week, attending a family reunion. I'm up in the lodge now, reading news, and see that tar balls have reached Lake Pontchartrain. I can't stand thinking about it.

Big Mike said...

@Beth, the nuke option keeps coming up in various blogs -- supposedly the old Soviet Union used tactical (low yield) nukes to seal up runaway gushers, but who knows whether they're even telling the truth? The whole thing smells a bit smoky to me, and a nuke set off close to the sea floor in the Gulf strikes me as being likely to cause tsunamis on the Mexican, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida gulf coasts, not to mention some of the Caribbean islands and absolutely the wetlands at the mouth of the Mississippi (not to mention New Orleans itself).

I'm more sanguine about the berms than you are, because even if all they do is divert the oil they can still protect the marshy areas -- beaches can be cleaned no matter how many ugly tar balls wash ashore.

Big Mike said...

And enjoy the reunion!