I don't even know what to say about this. It's so bizarre, so utterly out in wingnut-land that I'm not sure how to describe it, other than to say it could possibly be the weirdest segment I've ever seen Glenn Beck do.
I could only think of this when he was stroking that bunny while the chain saw was blasting. And this was on during the afternoon here when little kids might see it?
What Anthony Weiner said of Michele Bachmann applies to Glenn Beck: he is clearly not in touch with the mother ship.
On a scale of 1 to 10 for loathsome traits and comments, Justice Scalia rated about an 8 on mine. Chief Justice Roberts scored a 9. But two things happened which boosted Scalia to a 10 and come quite close to me thinking he should just be impeached because he's clearly not an objective or clear thinker.
First, let's remember that he will be teaching all the new teabagger freshmen their Constitution 101 course, courtesy of Michele Bachmann. That would be just great if he actually understood the Constitution.
Q: In 1868, when the 39th Congress was debating and ultimately proposing the 14th Amendment, I don't think anybody would have thought that equal protection applied to sex discrimination, or certainly not to sexual orientation. So does that mean that we've gone off in error by applying the 14th Amendment to both?
SCALIA:Yes, yes. Sorry, to tell you that. ... But, you know, if indeed the current society has come to different views, that's fine. You do not need the Constitution to reflect the wishes of the current society. Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn't. Nobody ever thought that that's what it meant. Nobody ever voted for that. If the current society wants to outlaw discrimination by sex, hey we have things called legislatures, and they enact things called laws. You don't need a constitution to keep things up-to-date. All you need is a legislature and a ballot box. You don't like the death penalty anymore, that's fine. You want a right to abortion? There's nothing in the Constitution about that. But that doesn't mean you cannot prohibit it. Persuade your fellow citizens it's a good idea and pass a law. That's what democracy is all about. It's not about nine superannuated judges who have been there too long, imposing these demands on society.
Scalia's comments, to be fair, have to be taken inside his frame, which is that the Constitution is an original document and not a living document. Therefore, if it was not an issue at the time of its writing, the fact that it is an issue now does not mean the 14th amendment applies. If the 14th amendment were to be interpreted in the frame of a living Constitution, then it would surely apply to gender and sexual orientation.
Still, what he's saying here is that women do not enjoy protections under the 14th amendment. He's also quite clearly signalling which way he would rule on the Proposition 8 case and other rulings with regard to same-sex marriage, since they've been declared unconstitutional under the equal protection clause.
I have major difficulties with his interpretation. Exactly who would be considered a "person" under the 14th amendment? If his remarks are to be taken literally, then what he's saying is that women are not to be considered persons or citizens (the two words used in that clause). Who does that leave? Men and corporations, evidently. Does that mean that gay men can marry but lesbians can't? What if someone married a corporation? Would they have spinoffs as children?
Okay, those questions are ridiculous but then, so is Scalia. This man is one vote of NINE deciding whether our democracy lives or dies, and he routinely rules for its death, while bragging that he doesn't even need to read the briefs because the issues are so clear. Yes, really.
That clip at the top was from a forum conducted on March 23, 2010. It will give you a sense of his arrogance and his flippant attitude toward those who dare to challenge his interpretation of the Constitution's meaning, particularly with regard to the 14th amendment.
I know having an opinion isn't grounds for impeachment, but is utter disrespect for the country and over half the population grounds? If so, let's do it.
A postscript directly to Justice Scalia: Thanks for not showing up for the State of the Union address. It's good that you're skipping it, because it proves just how deep your disrespect for the voters of this country really is. Stay away. Far away.
Since August, Campaign Solutions has made millions from Republican campaigns for candidates running on the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
Hudson's annual financial disclosures show that he owns a sizable chunk of Campaign Solutions, Inc., a Republican consulting firm that worked this election cycle for John Boehner, Michele Bachmann, John McCain, and a whole host of other GOP candidates who've placed the purported unconstitutionality of health care reform at the center of their political platforms. Since 2003, according to the disclosures, Hudson has earned between $32,000 and $108,000 in dividends from his shares in the firm (federal rules only require judges to report ranges of income).
As one of only thirteen investors, I'm certain this year will be a bang-up year for him, dividend-wise. Just have a look at their client list.
I'm not a big fan of playing the judicial activist/judicial bias card. But in this case, it seems clearly warranted. This judge stands to make a bundle of profit via his 1/13th investment in Campaign Solutions. Campaign Solutions profited much from the 2010 midterm elections and candidates who ran on the repeal of the health care law. It's not all that much of a leap to think maybe there's just a teeny, tiny bit of bias there.
He should have recused himself then, and he should be investigated to see if he has any other 'investments' that might have prejudiced his ruling.
Sarah Palin's still pushing hard on her "drill baby drill" mantra hard, especially in terms of the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, which she can barely wait to open up for drilling and a new pipeline. She went on Greta Van Susteren's show on Thanksgiving Day to criticize "the extreme politicians over on the left who want to buy into those extreme environmentalists who claim that there's no way you can responsibly develop a plot of land that was set aside for oil and gas development" -- particularly President Obama:
SARAH PALIN: Well, Obama needs to get up here. If he has as much time as he has on his hands to take all these vacations, maybe he should vacation in ANWR. At least fly over it, Mr. President, or play -- you know, play golf or do what he does. This is a national security need. This is -- there's that inherent link between security and our own domestic development. I think it's inexcusable that our president won't come up here and look at it.
Does anyone know what Palin's talking about here? Earlier this summer, Republicans tried attacking Obama for taking a vacation, until the WaPo pointed out that Obama at that point had taken far fewer days of vacation than his predecessor, the inimitable proprietor of the Lazy W Ranch in Crawford:
Obama has embarked on nine "vacations" since taking office, bringing his total days off to 48. Some of those trips lasted a day and some, like his Christmas holiday in Hawaii, more than a week.
By comparison, Bush had visited his ranch in Crawford, Tex., 14 times at this point in his administration and spent 115 days there.
Indeed, FactCheck found that Obama also took less vacation time than the revered Saint Ronnie, too -- though more than those lazy liberal Democrats, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.
Indeed, the wingnuts of the wingnutosphere have insisted on referring to it as Obama's "vacation" in India. They were helped along in this by Glenn Beck, who described the trip as "$2 billion for ten days so [Obama] can go see the festival of lights."
BECK: All on the heels of his wife's lavish trip to Spain, now our president is planning another lavish trip. And our dollar is losing value and the Chinese are warning us. The media again is missing it. The bickering today back and forth about how many hundreds or maybe -- maybe billions of dollars this is going to cost to insure the president's security but no one is asking, "Wait a minute, it could cost up to $2 billion to make sure he's safe? Then why is he -- has he seen the Grand Canyon?"
You will be relieved to know that SCOTUS did exempt itself from the federal judges' ethics code a few years ago, so that Justice Alito is not actually breaking any laws -- only the public trust in impartiality. (By the way, one of my friends was a secretary at the federal courthouse in Philly where Alito was a judge, and her boss referred to him even then as "that right wing a**shole."). (Via Think Progress.)
Supreme Court Justice Samuel Anthony Alito, Jr. said his involvement with a conservative fundraiser was "not important" after being confronted by a Think Progress blogger Tuesday night.
At a fundraising event for the right-wing magazine American Spectator, Lee Fang of Think Progress asked Alito why he thought it was appropriate to attend such a highly political fundraiser.
"It's not important that I'm here," Alito reportedly told Fang.
"You also helped headline this same event two years ago, obviously helping to raise political money as the keynote," Fang shot back, only to receive the same response from Alito before he walked away. "It's not important."
The American Spectator fundraising event featured Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele, Republican Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN), US Chamber of Commerce board member William Walton, and major Republican donor Paul Singer.
According to the Code of Conduct for United States Judges, a justice should not "solicit funds for, pay an assessment to, or make a contribution to a political organization or candidate, or attend or purchase a ticket for a dinner or other event sponsored by a political organization or candidate."
In 2009, Alito also headlined a fundraising dinner for the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, which funded the conservative journalist James O’Keefe and Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell. Alito is reported to have helped the institute raise $70,000.
Alito was nominated to the Supreme Court of the United States by President George W. Bush in October 2005 to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. He has served on the court since January of 2006.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. On the eve of midterms elections that could make him House Speaker, John Boehner announced, "This is not a time for compromise." His lieutenant Mike Pence (R-IN) echoed that line, declaring that with a new Republican majority "there will be no compromise" with President Obama and the Democrats. Of course, with their record-setting use of the filibuster, unprecedented obstruction of presidential nominees, and unified no votes on almost every major piece of legislation, the past performance of Congressional Republicans is a guarantee of future results.
Even before Barack Obama took the oath office, Republicans leaders, conservative think-tanks and right-wing pundits were calling for total obstruction of the new president's agenda. Bill Kristol, who helped block Bill Clinton's health care reform attempt in 1993, called for history to repeat on the Obama stimulus - and everything else. Pointing with pride to the Clinton economic program which received exactly zero GOP votes in either House, Kristol in January 2009 advised:
"That it made, that it made it so much easier to then defeat his health care initiative. So, it's very important for Republicans who think they're going to have to fight later on on health care, fight later on maybe on some of the bank bailout legislation, fight later on on all kinds of issues.."
And so, as the table above reveals, it came to pass.
On issue after issue, even when President Obama extended his hand, Republicans showed him the back of theirs. Despite dedicating 40% of the $787 billion stimulus package to tax cuts (making it, as Steve Benen noted, the "biggest tax cut ever"), Obama got no GOP votes in the House and only three in the Senate. Months of painful concessions to supposedly moderate Senate Republicans only served to produce a watered-down health care bill - and no GOP support.
Time after time, President Obama could count the votes he received from Congressional Republicans on the fingers (usually the middle) of one hand. The expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP) to four million more American kids earned the backing of a whopping eight GOP Senators. (One of them, Arlen Specter, later became a Democrat.) Badly needed Wall Street reform eventually overcame GOP filibusters to pass with the support of just three Republicans in the House and Senate, respectively. This summer, it took 50 days for President Obama to get past Republican filibusters of extended unemployment benefits and the Small Business Jobs Act. As for the DISCLOSE Act, legislation designed to limit the torrent of secret campaign cash unleashed by the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling, in September Republican Senators prevented it from ever coming to a vote.
And when they weren't showing up to vote no on President Obama's initiatives, Senate Republicans blocked voting altogether.
Evidently John Boehner thinks this election is in the bag already, since he's promising plum committee slots to GOP candidates in embattled districts.
Two Republican House candidates in the last day have announced that House Minority Leader John Boehner has promised them valuable committee assignments.
Rep. Charles Djou of Hawaii was promised a seat on the Appropriations Committee and Vicky Hartzler, running against Armed Services Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), was promised a spot on the panel that oversees the military.
What other promises has Boehner made, I wonder? I think Michele Bachmann was making noise about wanting the chairmanship of the Financial Services committee awhile back. She should have to answer now about whether that promise was made. Gingrich certainly seemed to say that back in 2009, anyway.
I think Republicans may be counting their chickens before they come home to roost. Or something.
Over a year before the GOP "Pledge to America" demanded permanent tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans costing $700 billion over the next decade, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) fretted, "We're running out of rich people in this country." But as it turns out, anecdotes and polls alike reveal that the rich themselves support letting the Bush tax cuts expire for those families earning over $250,000. Of course, that should come as no surprise, given that they voted with their wallets for Barack Obama.
As reported recently, millionaires like Garrett Gruener ("I'm rich: tax me more") and billionaires like Bill Gates and his father ("I have a very clear recollection of the days when we took for granted an income tax rate on the highest earners of 90%, 70%, at times when our country was just motoring along in very good style") made personal pleas for letting upper income tax rates return to their slightly higher, Clinton-era tax rates. But citing data from a Quinnipiac poll this spring, the Wall Street Journal concluded:
They may be an eccentric minority, or (in the view of conservatives) a lunatic fringe. But a Quinnipiac University poll this year showed nearly two-thirds of those with household incomes of more than $250,000 a year support raising their own taxes to reduce the federal deficit.
Asked "Do you think - raising income taxes on households making more than $250,000 should or should not be a main part of any government approach to the deficit," 64% of respondents whose household income topped $250,000 answered yes. That's the same percentage of affirmative responses from families earning under $50,000.
But it's not just opinion polls showing more affluent Americans willing to put their money where their mouths are. When it really mattered most - the 2008 presidential election - upper income voters chose the man who said he wanted their tax rates to go back up.
As reflected in the table above, exit polls revealed that Barack Obama beat John McCain 52% to 46% among those earning over $200,000 annually. In 2004, the same group overwhelmingly backed George W. Bush over John Kerry by 63% to 35%.
The Tea Party "leadership" as Disney villains. Clockwise from top left: Sarah Palin, Dick Armey, Michele Bachmann, Glenn Beck, and Sharron Angle (as Cruella deVille). Click image above for larger; original house of villains here.