Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Assclowns of the Week #82: Leave Corporations Alone, They’re People! edition

Well, you can’t say it’d been a banner week for Democrats. In about a week and a half, a Republican had won Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat, the Supreme Court (1) ruled that corporations are just plain folk like you and me, Jim DeMint succeeded in forcing Obama to withdraw a qualified nominee to head the TSA, Joe Biden’s son decided not to run for his dad’s seat and… Well, you get the picture.

Fortunately, Republicans (10) will be Republicans and they can always be counted upon for their neverending assclownery regardless of the fortunes of the opposition party. There was James O’Keefe (2) for re-creating Watergate as done by the Three Stooges; there was Fox “News” (9) for undergoing some real pain in reporting the event and SC Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer (5) for likening the poor to stray animals.

So let’s log on and wail, wail and wail some more for, O, the humanity and much, much more!

10) The Republican Party

Until the Supremes ruled that politicians could grab as many bribes much well-meaning, unconditional campaign love as they could from corporations, the GOP was pretty cash-strapped. More underfunded than the Democrats, they were pretty desperate for loot. How desperate? Well, lemme tell ya…

It came out this week that the GOP latched on to the 2010 census by sending out a flyer disguised as the official census form and asking people for money. RNC spokeswoman Sarah Sendak said, “The document clearly indicates that it is an RNC mailer. The purpose of this document is to gather Republican opinion from across the country and raise a little money.” Uh huh. Well, explain this, Sarah:
The letter was sent in plain white envelopes marked "Do Not Destroy, Official Document." Labeled "2010 Congressional District Census," the letter uses a capital "C," the same as the Census Bureau. It also includes a "Census Tracking Code. The letter makes a plea for money and accompanies a form asking voters to identify their political leanings and issues important to them. There are no disclaimers that participation in the GOP effort is voluntary; participation in the government census is required by law."

This is sort of reminiscent of the GOP fastening itself like a bunch of blood-starved ticks to the astroturfing Tea Party movement and getting tons of money in donations from people thinking they were actually the tea partiers. The implied threat of legal action is also reminiscent of illegal Republican boat people warning legal immigrants not to come to the polls or they’d get arrested for voter fraud.

In fact, the GOP and the way it disguises itself with the ingenuity and prolificity of James O’Keefe to seduce unwary voters is kind of reminiscent of a succubus.

9) Fox “News”

Remember all those times when Fox “News” jumped at stories that really didn’t exist, such as James O’Keefe breathlessly reporting that an ACORN worker had murdered her husband?

Remember all the breathless pronouncements about Barack Obama not being an American citizen, that he was Muslim, unpatriotic, a Communist, giving terrorist fist jabs to his wife? Remember all the times when Rupert’s rat hordes were wrong or twisting facts simply because they didn’t wait long enough to get context?

Well, let it not be said that Fox Fraudcasting doesn’t learn its lessons because when they reluctantly reported on the O’Keefe story last Tuesday, they quickly came to the conclusion that the extralegal exploits of their hero of last September needed “more context.” OK, here’s your context, Tim: Your network’s hero and the other three stooges were arrested for trying to bug a US senator’s office. And, inspirationally, Fox wasn’t the only faction to see the light regarding Pimpgate and find context, as our next winner shows.

8) The Salt Lake County Republicans

On February 4th, the 21st century’s answer to Superfly was to be the keynote speaker at the Salt Lake County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day fundraising dinner. As of the night of O’Keefe’s arrest, they still had the announcement up. But by Wednesday, the website had been scrubbed of any reference to O’Keefe and he was disinvited and now they’re scrambling for a new keynote speaker. Maybe Sarah’s free if she’s not shooting wolves from a helicopter. Hey, how about Chuck Colson?

What a profile in courage. Thankfully, the Utah Republicans woke up and realized that O’Keefe didn’t represent their own Watergatesque legacy or that Abraham Lincoln would’ve been horrified to learn that one of his own was trying to bug a US Senator’s office. Or maybe they were worried that the fallout would cost them campaign contributions by having their fallen hero speak.

But I’m sure it was primarily all about Lincoln and the party’s purity. Yeah, that’s what it was.

7) Laura Ingraham

My suspicion is that every time Laura Ingraham speaks in public, people have to light a match afterwards. Witness Ingraham saying on Fox,
You know when it looked really ridiculous is when President Bush was standing so graciously next to President Obama and President Clinton at the White House. He couldn’t have been more gracious, he couldn’t have been more kind, couldn’t have been more generous. After everything they’ve said about him and after all the times they’ve trashed him in the past several months, that shows you the character of that man. And I think that’s why a lot of people in these polls are now saying, “Well, maybe that Bush guy wasn’t quite as bad as we thought.”

Really? Several recent polls have shown that Bush’s job approval ratings (and how an unemployed guy can have job approval ratings is anyone’s guess) have hardly risen from the low 20’s when he left office.

But, hey, maybe our economy isn’t in such bad shape, after all, because Bush managed to stand next to President Obama for several minutes without picking his nose, choke on a pretzel or say anything stupid.

No word, yet, on whether Fox has decided that President Clinton, also in attendance, is similarly not “quite as bad as we thought.”

6) Harold Ford, Jr.

Last Sunday, Harold Ford, Jr. penned an op-ed piece for the NY Times that has to be read to be believed. I’d already written about it that day but this particular bit of assclownery deserves a revisit.

Now, mind you, Ford’s running against incumbent Kirsten Gillibrand in New York’s upcoming Democratic senate primary. So what’s Merrill Lynch’s vice chairman’s remedy for our economic ills? Cut taxes for bailed out, well-compensated, SCOTUS-protected billionaires! Forget health care legislation (which the Democrats, in the wake of Scott Brown’s victory, already have)! A spending freeze during a recession-depression! Immigration reform! Oh, and in case I forgot, tax cuts for guys like me!!!

How bad does Bob Corker look now, ya’ll?

5) SC Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer

White-collar conservatives flashing down the street
Pointing their plastic finger at me.
They're hoping soon my kind will drop and die.
- Jimi Hendrix, “If 6 Was 9.”

South Carolina Lt. Governor Andre Bauer made the grade this past week for suggesting that maybe we should stop feeding the poor since, like stray animals, they tend to “breed”, which is a lot less hateful an idea than job and career training. How do pus-flecked pieces of shit like Andre Bauer continue to cover South Carolina with glory week after week?

But Bauer neglected a whole host of other uses and remedies for the poor. Such as sterilization. Oh, wait. How about using them as human billboards? Been there, done that (No, that isn’t a spoof site. These clowns are for real). We could get rid of them using homeless repellents such as feces. Oops. The Canadians already beat us to it. We could turn them on to geophagy. Nah, the Haitians are way ahead of us. So what does that leave? Hey, here’s an idea!

Bum Fights to the Death on PPV and Lieutenant Governor Michael Vick. Huh, huh???

4) Kellogg, Brown and Root

Last September, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Jamie Leigh Jones, a former KBR employee who had been gang-raped by her male coworkers four days after arriving in Iraq. The lower court ruled that Jones’ sexual assault, downplayed by KBR as a common workplace injury, was in no way related to the contract she signed with the company. This allowed Jones to walk past the arbitration process and to proceed directly to a civil suit. Well, guess what? KBR is now appealing to the corporate-friendly SCOTUS to overturn the ruling simply to ruin her credibility.

They’re likening Jones to a self-promoting glory-hound, despite the fact that she was raped in 2005 and took until 2007 for her to deliver testimony to the House Judiciary Committee. It was so sensational not because Jones made it so but because it was done by employees of a Cheney company subsidiary that’s gobbled up billions in contracts in Iraq and because the company’s self-centered, misogynistic heartlessness in the matter made it even more sensational.

Sigh. So many women to rape, abuse and imprison, so much accountability to duck, so little time.

3) The British Government

Or, more specifically, how can the British Government be so dumb as to follow George W. Bush on the path to ruin and scandal even after years of strenuous objections from their top legal advisors?

In an eerie mirror of our own Bush-era government, the Chilcot Inquiry in Whitehall this week revealed that the highest levels of the British government went to war with Iraq in spite of its own senior Foreign Office legal counsel and Attorney General Lord Goldsmith warning them repeatedly that doing so in violation of international law and a UN Security Council Resolution would be tantamount to “the crime of aggression.” At one point, when presented with a recommendation not to proceed with the blatantly illegal invasion, #10 Downing Street asked, “Why has this been put in writing?”

The dissenting documents in question were kept from the British public and remain so to this day for vague if not mysterious reasons. Some of the memos were written by Sir. Michael Wood, then the top legal advisor in the Foreign Office who informed Jack Straw that “to use force without Security Council authority would amount to a crime of aggression.” Straw brusquely replied, “I note your advice but I do not accept it.”

When pressured by then Prime Minister Tony Blair and then Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to come with his own legal opinion on the matter, Lord Goldsmith gave them a wavering, tacit opinion that while an invasion would be kinda, sorta legal, it might not stand up to legal inquiry. By February ’03, Straw wrote to Lord Goldsmith to come up with a legal strategy “which coincides with our firm policy intention.” In other words, fixing the facts around the policy. When hopes for a second UN Resolution authorizing military action faded, Goldsmith was summoned to Downing Street and pressured for a “yes or no” answer. Days later, Goldsmith had “a better view” of an invasion of Iraq.

This sounds a lot like the situation on our side of the pond in which a desperate “VP” Dick Cheney, then Halliburton’s president of federal contract procurement, went to Langley to pressure CIA intelligence analysts into telling him only what he wanted to hear about Iraq’s WMD program and simply wouldn’t listen to contrary intelligence. The only difference is that none of the Bush administration’s top legal advisors had the balls to stand up to Bush and Cheney to tell them an invasion was equally illegal, including John Ashcroft. Instead, our fucking shysters were telling the President how we could legally torture innocent people.

So why had the “Great British” decided to follow George W. Bush and Dick Cheney down the primrose path of war crimes? Well, which two countries would benefit the most from a takeover of Iraq’s oil and natural gas fields?

Sidebar: The United Kingdom had lost 179 troops during their illegal misadventure in Iraq.

2) James O’Keefe & Co.

James has been a pioneer in the use of new media to drive these kinds of important stories. He will discuss the role of new media and show examples of effective investigative reporting. - The Pelican Institute

There’s an old saying that it’s always darkest before the dawn. And coming after a horrid week and a half for progressives and liberals, along comes Pimp Daddy James O’Keefe and friends.

O’Keefe and three other upstanding young conservatives were caught doing the Watergate time warp when they disguised themselves as telephone workmen and began monkeying with Sen. Mary Landrieu’s phones, apparently with the intention of bugging them. Sen. Landrieu, it ought to be mentioned at this time, is a member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, meaning that a plausible federal case could be made for domestic espionage and possible terrorist activities. The four were caught when a Landrieu staffer pointed them to the GAO office on the 10th floor and when the security guard asked them for ID… Well, this is sort of how the exchange went moments before their arrest:

Homer: "Hello, my name is Mister Burns, I believe you have a letter for me." P.O. Worker: "Ok, Mr. Burns, what's your first name?" Homer: "I don't know..."

Robert Flanagan’s father happens to be an acting US Attorney and has different counsel than the other three, meaning that we could be looking at a plea bargain followed by a Perry Mason moment of catharsis.

Stan the Man Dai is the coauthor of the Penis Monologues and whose biography includes “serv(ing) as the Operations Officer of a Department of Defense irregular warfare fellowship program.” Lindsay Beyerstein of Majikthise also turned up this gem:
Stan Dai spoke about torture and terrorism at a CIA event in Langley, VA last June, according (to) this event program I found online. Get this, according to the flier, Adam Brandon, the press secretary of FreedomWorks (Dick Armey's town hall mob outfit) was on the same program.

You got it. A guy who dressed up as a phone repairman to bug the phone lines of a sitting Democratic United States Senator who also happens to be on the Homeland Security Committee and a teabugger who wrote dialogue for a penis lectured the Central Intelligence Agency at their headquarters about torture and terrorism.

Joe Basel, another co-conspirator, is just a small time right wing journalist who nonetheless, as with George W. Bush, loves to have his picture taken with little black kids, if his Facebook page is any indication (Oh, it’s him, alright. James O’Keefe and Stan Dai and Hannah Giles are among his BFF’s but not Robert Flanagan. Maybe that’s why he has separate counsel.).

Rep. John Kline (R-Watergate), who co-sponsored a bill to laud James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles, the Earl Holliman and Angie Dickinson of their generation, for their work on ACORN is understandably embarrassed by the news.

1) The Supreme Court

Money talks, according to the Supreme Court. Apparently, so does bullshit.

Last Thursday, the Supreme Court in Citizens United vs The Federal Election Commission ruled that US corporations are persons and are therefore entitled to spend as much cash as they please on political activities. In overturning 104 years of legal precedent, the high court decreed that said entities have the right to make our electoral system even more corrupt than it already is.

The SCOTUS overturned a DC District court ruling that Citizens United violated McCain-Feingold by trying to release a movie about then Senator Hillary Clinton called Hillary: The Movie, largely a pack of lies made during the New York Senator’s presidential campaign. The Supreme Court’s five right wingers thought that and the money used to fund such a Swift-Boating project was an exercise of free speech since corporations are persons just like us.

Clarence Thomas, typically, not only joined the majority he even said the ruling didn’t go far enough and that this was just “the first step.” While the ruling was technically limited to US corporations, it didn’t bother to distinguish between such and foreign entities that merely have papers of incorporation filed in the United States or exclude US corporations such as Halliburton headquartered abroad, corporations benefitting from federal tax exempt status.

Yet Thom Hartmann and others remind us that the Supreme Court never ruled in 1886 that corporations were ever given personhood under the 14th amendment (which was originally enacted by Congress to empower slaves) but that an offhanded comment by a Justice was inserted into the ruling later by court reporter J.C. Bancroft Davis, a former railroad president. Therefore, by even a less-than-strict interpretation of the actual ruling, corporations are as much natural persons as oil derricks.

The under-funded Republican Party, which stands to benefit from this more than Democrats, immediately began bellying up to the trough when the Supreme Court yelled “Sou-eeee!” House Minority Leader John Boehner said, “Sunshine really does work if you allow it to.”

But not for vampires and corrupt Republicans it does.


At January 27, 2010 at 6:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The rumblings about what the SC would do have been in the air for a couple of years, I think, but it's still a slap in the face to every working stiff in America.

Fie on those corrupt bastards!

Well done, JP.

Ms Wilberforce


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