Links 1/22/12

Ohio dairy farm coddles cows with . . . waterbeds? USA Today (hat tip Buzz Potamkin)

Is this really fun for all the family? The giraffe hunters who pay £10,000 to shoot the gentle giants with guns and bows for sport Daily Mail (hat tip reader Diogenes). If I had any mojo, I’d have every tourist hunter in Africa have all their bad deeds come back on them 10x.

WIND POWER WITHOUT THE BLADES: BIG PICS Discovery (hat tip Martha R)

Documentary examines how toxic water at the nation’s largest Marine base damaged lives Washington Post

Hollywood regroups after losing battle over anti-piracy bills Los Angeles Times

Uproar after Jewish American newspaper publisher suggests Israel assassinate Barack Obama Haaretz (hat tip reader 1 SK)

On US Education: It’s the Socioeconomic Segregation, Stupid Common Dreams (hat tip reader Vicky)

Maine’s Tea Party Governor: ‘Slash Health and Human Services or I’ll Close Schools’ Common Dreams (hat tip reader Aquifer)

Keiser Report: Sinking Ship In Credit Sea (hat tip Philip Pilkington). Second half of the interview is with NC guest poster and former regulator Chris Cook on the oil market.

$1 Million Dollar Prize! Can You Find Someone Who Holds the View That Steve Rattner Rants Against In the NYT? Dean Baker

Showtime at the Apollo Maureen Dowd, New York Times. Oh, she’s on her marks again.

Left to Obama: Time for constitutional amendment against Citizens United Washington Post. A zillion readers sent this to me. As much as Citizens United is awful, I don’t see a constitutional amendment as doable, and it will sap energy from winnable fights.

Michael Kinsley And The Phantom Menace Paul Krugman

How to address apparent racial disparity in the consumer bankruptcy system Jean Braucher, Credit Slips

Hazard Insurance With Its Own Peril Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times

Reuters IFR: Bankers decry Fed’s secrecy in Maiden Lane auction Capital Markets & Securitization

The Muppet Show. Gonzo – Workin’ at the Car Wash Blues You Tube (hat tip reader furzy mouse). I’m clearly not up on the Muppets. I didn’t realize they went for tongue in cheek subversiveness. Now if they have any Kurt Weill productions, I’ll really be impressed.

Antidote du jour:

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130 comments

        1. aletheia33

          as we know, this is already the case in some of our prisons, where some of our corporations contract for labor. trouble is, u.s. convicts aren’t quite as manageable and teachable as rural chinese youth. i’m sure they’re working on that little problem though.

          1. LeonovaBalletRusse

            It’s the Angola Penitentiary Plantation model for the nation. Investors in for-profit prisons should remove their money from the system and hang their heads in shame.

            It’s time to name names involved in this atrocious slave racket.

      1. Abelenkpe

        We need global unions to counter the efforts of multinational corporations that have been pitting workers in different countries against one another.

  1. alink

    … “You don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist.” joe once said.
    so joe was chosen by obama to show the jews that they may kill him if his action arent friendly enough. but to say out loud this option is dangerous.

  2. Richard Kline

    So Yves, I’d thought about sending that Haaretz article to you for links and didn’t get to it; glad someone else did. —And find a _single_ mention of this in the US press; nada. Not a coincidence that the Israeli media does a better job of covering the issue.

    The statements involved weren’t a ‘joke.’ They weren’t a rant. The guy was seriously proposing, in print, that the Mossad assassinate Obama, or by extension any other American President, if said President acted seriously contrary to Israeli interests of the moment. This was a policy discussion, if of a low order. That isn’t just unbelievable, it’s criminal. But to me, it was more that that: it was revelatory of the mindset at work in the policy circles addressed, as in, “We can and will kill anybody who gets in our way.” Because that is the operative policy applied elsewhere in the world by those in on that discussion.

    I strongly suspect the day will come when Israel does something like this proposed because that is the manner in which policy is not pursued over there. An attack on an American operation, more likely false-flagged but quite possibly overt. An assassination. Something really flagrant. Is that a certainty? Could I prove that? No and no. But the motivation is there. The vast, real _disjunction_ between American and Israeli interests is there. Despite bizarre, shared rhetoric of ‘common goals’ the actions of Israel are deeply inimical to any near-term and long-term interests of state of the USA; so push will likely come to shove.

    Well we are here reminded again the mindset of too many on the other side of that relationship: “Just kill him if he’s a problem for us.”

    1. Skippy

      I’m surprised, your surprised?

      Skippy… when you create a state with explosive milk canisters… well? BTW that logic extends…eh.

    2. ambrit

      Mr. Kline;
      Just break out the Ouija Board and ask the shades of John Ball and Count Bernadotte what they think about that idea.
      What’s surprising is that this ‘idea’ was allowed to go public in the first place. That’s the telling bit.

      1. skippy

        http://mondoweiss.net/2010/07/some-israelis-celebrate-what-bernadottes-murder-achieved.html

        Larry Derfner has a great piece in the JPost laying out the hypocrisy of Israel’s extolling terrorists while condemning Palestinians when they do the same. It’s a wonderful argument, but for me what leaped out was the Bernadotte bit. Consider, that Count Bernadotte, who saved Jews from the Nazis during the war, wanted to internationalize Jerusalem, as Herzl had promised it would be, and get the Palestinian refugees back to their homes, and more equitably divide historical Palestine than the division created by the armistice. Well Bernadotte was killed; and as you can see in this piece, some Israelis love it that he was killed. And of course we are still dealing with the injustice of the resulting arrangement.

        Skippy… the fact that a German made MP40 was the device that instituted the act of murder, is epic irony.

      1. dearieme

        It would seem that he assumes that MOSSAD have failed to lay their hands on Obama’s genuine birth certificate.

    3. Dave of Maryland

      Mossad’s idea is different from Obama’s self-assertion, that he can murder anyone, anywhere, anytime he wants to? Mob bosses live in constant fear of their lives. The Israeli government is a mob. The US government is a mob. It’s 1929 and Chicago all over again. Why bother to vote? Sit tight and watch the bullets fly.

      Put 9-11 down as a false flag as well. The final nail in that coffin was when it was pointed out that the demolition should have left a 200 foot high mound of debris, but in fact there was virtually no debris whatsoever. After the towers fell, the site was empty, right down to the still standing tridents. Which we know were originally at ground level. What happened? My guess: Super high strength microwaves. Star Wars itself.

    4. Up the Ante

      “The vast, real _disjunction_ between American and Israeli interests is there. ”

      That it probably is, but the Israelis have been chiding us Americans for giving our money to Chinese slave labor employers and their globalists, right ?

    5. LeonovaBalletRusse

      This makes the 9/11 theories about Mossad’s involvement in a “false flag” attack quite plausible. In short, it appears that there is “nothing they won’t do.”

  3. Richard Kline

    Re: Citizens United, constitutional amendments are incredibly hard, and I’m not keen on that at _this_ particular moment. I’d see a better holding action as passing legislation direcrly contrary to that ruling and pusing to re-argue it before the Court. Yes, nothing different might come out of it. Public pressue does have an impact, however, and the Court needs to feel it. Five justices were egregiously, historically, absurdly wrong in their opinions, and we should force them, at the very least, do go through a do-over. And again after that as necessary.

    The problem with an Constitutional Amendment is that if ths Justices are corrupt, as some of them are now if in some instances only from the neck up, they can find a way to rig it. What we need are contervailing rulings out of the Court. I’d rather not wait sixty years as in Vessey vs. Ferguson, no. So the Court needs to go back and re-learn just what is the source of authority in this country, rich bought fools in sinecures or the citizenry. Political agitation is the way to go, in my view.

    1. tom allen

      I’m not sure that it will sap energy, either. I could argue as well that setting a huge goal to work toward will motivate us in the intervening battles.

      Right now all that’s being asked is a click of the mouse on a petition.

      1. aletheia33

        FYI, we are being asked to do far more than click a mouse.
        from the website of Public Citizen:
        http://democracyisforpeople.org/get-involved.php

        here’s an excerpt, from our instructions (should we wish to accept this mission…not sayin’ we do so wish). please forgive the length, this is simply to document the current effort without judgment regarding the issue of sapping energy. it is well launched already in vermont with many signatures and people getting involved (of course, it’s vermont), and i believe some big city councils nationwide have passed resolutions. that takes more than mouse clicks.

        CITIZENS UNITED V. FEC ACTION TOOLKIT
        TAKE A STAND FOR DEMOCRACY! Help us overturn Citizens United v. FEC
        Recommended Activities
        There are lots of ways you can get involved in reclaiming our democracy and stopping a corporatocracy!
        The very first thing you can do is share this information with your family, friends and colleagues:
        •Send them a link to The Story of Citizens United v. FEC video along with a personal note about why you think it’s important to watch at http://www.storyofcitizensunited.org
        • Give them a copy of this toolkit. • If you’re on a social network like Facebook, Twitter, etc. or if you have your own blog, post a link to the film.
        Next, expand your audience to include people outside your inner circle:
        • Engage in conversation about these issues with random people you meet– with the person sitting next to you on the train or plane, the person who cuts your hair, people in your yoga class, and other parents on the playground.
        Don’t worry about being an expert or knowing all the answers! You can always direct people to the additional resources on page of this toolkit. You’ll probably find that every time you talk about the issues you feel more confident.

        Are you ready to step it up? We recommend individuals and local groups start with the following activities to help build public and political support for a constitutional amendment:
        • Petition at public events. Petitioning is a great way to demonstrate public support for the amendment to Congress and the media. It is also an excellent organizing tool – a way to engage fellow citizens on the issue. Go where people in your community congregate, such as festivals, candidate town hall meetings, farmer’s markets, demonstrations, local group meetings, shopping malls, or subway stops. If you’re looking for ideas, check your local newspaper for a calendar of upcoming community events. For more information, see page 8 and the sample petition in the Appendix.
        •Spread the word via local media. Not everyone reads The New York Times or watches Fox
        News, but many do read the letters to the editor of their local newspaper. With a single letter to the editor or opinion piece you can reach hundreds or thousands of people in your own community. This also builds public awareness about and support for a constitutional amendment, and lets others know how and with whom to get involved locally. Local radio talk shows are another great option, if there are any in your area. For more information, see page 11.
        • Host an event to educate and inspire others in your community. Who doesn’t love a party? You could invite people and groups you already know; people who signed the petition at local events; groups who might make good allies; or the general public. Public Citizen can help you publicize your event to our supporters in your area. For more information, see page 13.
        • Encourage local/state groups to get on board. Either by urging them to pass resolutions or, more simply, sign onto a local coalition statement, this activity will further build public awareness of and support for a constitutional amendment. For more information, see page 15 and the sample resolution in the Appendix.
        • Organize a local demonstration or media event to raise public awareness about the
        Citizens United v. FEC ruling. The possibilities for locations and types of events are almost limitless. You could demonstrate in front of a corporate chain that poured money into the recent elections, hold a rally in front of your state capitol building, or organize a town hall meeting. For more information, see page 17.
        • Contact your members of Congress and ask them to take the “Pledge for Democracy.” We need to get more members of Congress on board. After all, they are OUR representatives and we are their bosses! If your members of Congress haven’t done so yet, urge them to pledge support for a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision. For more information, see page 19….
        Gathering Signatures for a Petition
        Petitioning in your community is an excellent way to build support for a constitutional amendment. It’s also simple and easy to do!
        Hundreds of thousands of people have signed petitions for a constitutional amendment to restore fair elections. That’s a fantastic start, AND we need many more voices to be powerful enough to take our democracy back from corporations.
        Here are some tips:
        1. How to Petition: We’ve all been approached by people with clipboards asking us to take a moment to listen to their cause and sign on if we support it. Think about the last time you stopped- what was it about the petitioner that persuaded you to lend your support?….

        and so on…..
        re: sapping of energy, i’ve heard it said that without expecting success necessarily at the stated goal, it is a good way to raise awareness, foster debate, focus attention on whatever the issue is… that this happened with the ERA campaign and was very positive even though it did not succeed. did the EPA effort sap energy better spent elsewhere? what do y’all think?

    2. aletheia33

      so richard kline, do we have to choose one or the other? would a couple of years of loud outcry and political agitation for an amendment, along with a few other things that people are not going to shut up about any time soon (or are they?), hurt in sending the needed message to the corrupt justices?

      if the movement doesn’t grow big enough to engage in both an amendment process and a whole lot more, does the question whether to focus on that or something else really apply?

      won’t occupy continue to spread in its rhizomey (thanks lambert strether!) way, sprouting up everywhere with every kind of action? does it ever have to stop being that? will working on an amendment stop that?

      throwing out these questions for discussion by those who are far better informed, experienced, and politically savvy than i am.

    3. Lambert Strether

      As far as the Court… If one wished to tackle something as politically impossible as a Constitutional Amendment, why not tackle the theft of election 2000?

      Argue that since the current membership of the court was enabled by Bush v. Gore, and Scalia wrote that decision to select a President who would pick court members who were ideologically aligned with him, no decision made by the Court that follows the appointment of the first post-Bush v. Gore is legitimate. That not only takes care of Citizens United, it rolls back a lot of other “enabling” decisions.

      Sure, never happen — though maybe a real lawyer can turn this germ of an idea into something real — but if you’re going to set your heart on something unattainable, why not go big?

      Of course, I can just hear the Ds arguing that since we’ve got some of our guys on there now, everything is OK….

      1. Ms G

        . . . or why not start with more recent events and petition for the repeal of the Indefinite Detention of Americans Act? I was wondering why America was sleeping when that went through but then woke up to protest the PIPA/SOPA legislation.

        1. Lambert Strether

          I don’t accept narratives of D weakness. The Ds are fighting hard for what their owners want, which, conveniently enough, is what they want. Unfortunately, the same people who own the Ds also own the Rs, just like Starbucks also owns Seattle’s Best, so you can have the burnt stuff or the slightly less burnt stuff. Branding, cultural markers, tribalism… That’s what passes for electoral politics these days.

      2. Procopius

        Oh! Oh! And a pony! Don’t forget the pony! Just a reminder about how egregious Roberts was in getting his hands on this case to advance his agenda, Dahlia Lithwick wrote a superb description of the whole process. Why haven’t Democrats been screaming about “activist judges?” Never mind, I know already.

    4. Dave of Maryland

      Prolonged impotence results in ever grander, ever more unlikely solutions. Obama himself rode one of those waves. (“We’re so desperate, we’ll even elect that black guy!”) Four years later and the presidential election is now a busted flush.

      If amendments are what it takes to get any change at all, then there will be amendments. Just about the first one on everyone’s list is a call for a new constitutional convention. Which very nearly came to pass a century ago over the mess in the Senate. Those calls were not specific to the Senate, and have never been rescinded.

      1. JTFaraday

        Are we sure that calling a constitutional convention in near-fascist America is the right thing to do?

        I would have other reservations about that right now– not least of which is that not only do contemporary Americans not have a coherent philosophy of governance but we can’t even discuss our collective incoherent differences–but I’ll leave it there.

        1. aletheia33

          @ jt faraday, “not only do contemporary Americans not have a coherent philosophy of governance but we can’t even discuss our collective incoherent differences”

          wasn’t this pretty much the situation at the time of the first constitutional convention? wasn’t that part of the point of having it? to somehow find a way to work out the differences with discussion rather than war? (and even though the matters not resolved did lead to war in 1860?)

          1. JTFaraday

            So we should have another one sided conversation in which New York financiers and Southern slavers sell us down the river to Foxconn?

          2. JTFaraday

            As far “the rest of us” are concerned, just look at the grand freakout that ensues any time there is the teeniest, tiniest implication that fellow citizens holding some distinct ideas could work together even on goals they might share— as was the case here when Stoller and Greenwald were so audacious as to merely suggest that Ron Paul was advancing (some) goals progressives claim to have– never mind work through the differences to come to a new national consensus.

    5. Lambert Strether

      Who funds Move to Amend? I’ve looked, and can’t find out.

      And I have to say that after the masterful bait and switch operation that MoveOn helped to implement in 2008, I’d be very suspicious of anything they recommended or supported. Just saying.

      UPDATE Adding, check out this from Bill Black: Criminogenic Environments, Bubbles and Financial Crises . A substantial part of the 1% are in fact criminals; fraud is a felony. Black prosecuted over 1000 felonies successfully in the S&L crisis, and this crisis is 70 times larger, so do the math.

      I’m tempted to argue that any calls for reform must begin with prosecuting the big fish (the small fish are prosecuted all the time) because otherwise we have elite impunity, just as in a Banana Republic, and if we have elite impunity, we don’t have the rule of law, and if we don’t have the rule of law, then isn’t an effort to amend the Constitution just a diversion? It’s like trying to cure a brain tumor by teaching the patient how to play the violin. Not that playing the violin isn’t a worthy goal, and in fact good for the brain, but…. Priorties!

      1. Carla

        Move to Amend (www.movetoamend.org) is completely grassroots organization. I fund MTA to the degree that I can, and also organize, strategize, and demonstrate with them. Froze most parts of my anatomy in 9 degree weather in Cleveland on Jan. 20 protesting the 2nd anniversary of Citizens United in a joint demonstration with Occupy Cleveland. MTA is non-partisan and has not been co-opted by anyone. Please don’t mention it in the same sentence with MoveOn.

        Yves, you say this will sap energy from other battles. What other battle is worth fighting when American democracy has been shredded and stuffed into the highest bidder? For the first time since I started reading NC, I find your point of view absolutely incomprehensible.

        1. Lambert Strether

          On MTA funding, I’m looking at their website. I don’t see 501(c)3 boilerplate anywhere (despite the claim that contributions are tax deductible). I looked at the About, Contribute, Contact, Learn More, and FAQ pages, and I don’t see a list of funders, and I don’t see a statement to the effect that “we are entirely funded by grassroots contributions from people like you.” There is a reference to “our bookkeeper” on the Contribute page. Well, whose bookkeeper? If I’ve missed what I’m looking for, feel free to give me the link.

          I don’t doubt that MTA accepts grassroots contributions. However, if we think back to the 2008 campaign, we can think of at least one campaign organization that billed itself as being grassroots that also accepted huge contributions from, for example, Goldman Sachs. And that organization ran a massive and successful bait and switch operation, based in part on its grassroots image, that diverted a lot of energy and preyed on any number of trusting souls. So I’m definitely in “trust but verify” mode on any organization that claims to be grassroots but at the same time seems to have murky funding sources. And all of this is easy to address with a few changes to the website, so far as I can tell. And I’d rather be wrong!

          On diversion of energy, Carla, my UPDATE and your comment seem to have been posted at more or less the same time, so I’m making a point there that you haven’t had time to respond to.

          1. Carla

            I copied and pasted the following from the “Contribute” page of the MTA web site:

            “If you would prefer to mail your tax deductible contribution, please make out your check to:

            Democracy Unlimited
            Attn: Move to Amend
            P.O. Box 610
            Eureka, California 95502

            Remember to put “Move to Amend” in the memo blank so that our bookkeeper can properly record your generous donation. Democracy Unlimited is the fiscal sponsor of Move to Amend. 100% of your donation will go towards the Move to Amend campaign.”

            The organizations that founded and support the MTA can be found at:

            http://www.movetoamend.org/organizations

            The Democracy Unlimited web site notes:

            “Democracy Unlimited does not accept any corporate or government funding. Democracy Unlimited is a California unincorporated association, but it is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization. All donations are tax-deductible.”

            More about Democracy Unlimited at http://www.duhc.org

            Thank you, Lambert for pointing that all of this is not as obvious as it should be, and I will suggest to the folks at MTA that it be clarified.

            Regarding the criminality of the banksters, you won’t get an argument from me, and I consider Bill Black to be a hero for constantly pointing this out.

            On the other hand, like Prof. Black, I was around before the financial system “blew up.” The big lies of corporate personhood and money as “speech” were destroying democracy the and had been doing so for decades. Citizens United only made blatantly obvious the corrupting power of big money and multinational corporations in a so-called “democratic” republic.

            I wonder if Bill Black supports the Move to Amend…and I’m still hoping to win you and Yves over.

            1. Lambert Strether

              Thanks, and I agree that the wording should be clarified. If a contribution to MTA is really a contribution to DUHC, which as I read it is what makes the contribution tax exempt, then the MTA site should say that explicitly; we shouldn’t be making assumptions based on a mailing address and how a book keeper handles the checks. No knock on DUHC, at all, but this really is murky and should be clarified before somebody a lot less friendly than me makes an issue out of it.

          2. aletheia33

            not to interrupt the discussion, just in case this would be useful info, here’s bernie’s first release on his filing of the amendment back on 12/8/11, which includes quotes endorsing it from public citizen, people for the american way, and center for media and democracy (whose funding allegiances i do not know).

            Sanders Files ‘Saving American Democracy Amendment’ (from Sanders website):

            http://sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/news/?id=d4a61731-be04-4b9a-95b9-7fdba12febd2

          3. Ms G

            Carla — I still don’t see any information about who’s who at this organization. Do you have links to the list of the Board of Directors and Executive Staff? All that information should be available to the public if it is a legitimate 501(c)(3). It is also information that the organization would have provided in its IRS990 Form, which it is required to submit as a 501(c)(3). Thanks in advance for the additional info.

    6. Clonal Antibody

      Mark Schmitt @TNR had an article on this – The Wrong Way to Fix Citizens United

      Is there any way to correct for the damage Citizens United has wrought? There’s little chance that the Supreme Court will reverse course, not before at least one of the five Justices in the Citizens United majority is replaced. Faced with that reality, a handful of organizations have begun to push for an amendment to the Constitution to reverse Citizens United. On Tuesday, the country’s best-known campaign finance reform group, Common Cause, joined the amendment movement, proposing to place initiatives on the ballot in several states calling on Congress to pass such a constitutional amendment. Unfortunately, this is not only a futile project, but an idea that poses a danger to the cause.
      .
      .
      .
      By reinforcing the misconception that nothing can be done about the current condition of money in politics until the Constitution is amended, the amendment movement would undermine progress on other solutions, including public financing, improvements in corporate governance to give shareholders more say in political contributions, disclosure improvements, and better enforcement of existing laws by both the Federal Election Commission and the Internal Revenue Service. If it were possible to pass an amendment through Congress and get it ratified by 38 states, it would also be possible to enact full public financing—the optimal solution—at both the federal and state level.
      .
      .
      .
      .
      Further, “corporate personhood,” while a significant focus of Justice John Paul Stevens’ dissent in Citizens United, is not actually the key to the decision. Lawrence Lessig points out in his recent book, Republic, Lost, that the Court reached its decision in Citizens United “not because it held that corporations were ‘persons’ and for that reason, entitled to First Amendment rights. Instead, the opinion hung upon the limits of the First Amendment.” The Court’s true error was in its narrow definition of corruption. Whether it comes from individuals or corporations, the Court held, independent political spending, not coordinated with a campaign, had little potential for quid pro quo corruption, and thus was protected by the First Amendment. But quid pro quo is not the only kind of corruption there is. The general dependence of elected officials on donors and outside supporters (such as this election’s Super PACs), Lessig argues, creates a broad and unspecific corruption. It results, for example, in members of Congress hesitating to regulate financial firms simply because they spend so much time with financial executives and rely on them for their campaigns.

      A broader view of corruption would permit some regulation not only of corporate political spending, but also of spending by individuals. We can’t know for sure, but most of the notable Super PAC funding in the 2012 primaries seems to have come from wealthy individuals, such as casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, on behalf of Newt Gingrich, or Jon Huntsman Sr., on behalf of the recently departed candidate Jon Huntsman Jr. And in the case of privately held corporations such as Koch Industries, it really doesn’t matter much whether the Koch brothers contribute from their personal fortunes or from the corporate treasury they control. Restricting only corporations, while it would undo the specific legal change wrought by Citizens United, would actually do little to change the wild west culture of money in today’s politics.

      It’s corruption, not “corporate personhood,” that needs to be at the center of our efforts to change the post-Citizen’s United world of money in politics. The way out would be to build a public and legal case for a broader and more accurate concept of corruption, starting from Lessig’s framework, while continuing to expand workable and constitutionally secure reforms such as public financing.

      1. PunchnRun

        The Angry Bear seems to have the same theme here. http://www.angrybearblog.com/2012/01/beginning-of-end-of-citizens-united.html. With links to this article in Truthout: http://www.truth-out.org/problem-citizens-united-not-corporate-personhood/1326497162.

        The closely reasoned proposition is that Citizen’s United was actually not about corporate personhood, but was a “finding of fact” about the damage or lack thereof to the political process resulting from the use of private or corporate money in political campaigns. One of their conclusions was that the finding of fact was flawed because no evidence in that regard was considered. Another was that a Constitutional amendment about corporate personhood is irrelevant and will not effect change in use of corporate money in political campaigns.

        They propose instead that Congress currently has Constitutional authority under Article I to explicitly remove campaign funding rules (and any other factors affecting the conduct of elections) from the Court’s scope. Since legislation requires only a simple majority in a single session (forgetting about cloture rules in the Senate for at least the sake of argument), there is no need for an amendment, indeed focusing on the amendment process as the primary alternative forestalls the legislative process and will allow further damage.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        My God, these people are disgusting.

        This is the same Mark Schmitt of the Roosevelt Institute who is in charge of the Campus Network which took Peterson money to produce a document under the name of millennials advocating entitlement reform. So as we outlined in several posts, the Roosevelt Institute gave FDR’s name to support Peterson propaganda at a discount price, and Schmitt was in the center of it (senior people at Roosevelt told me he wrote major sections of the final document).

        He’s a great one to go on about corruption. But I guess all he cares about is electoral corruption, not think tank corruption.

    7. Clonal Antibody

      Also another article by Kent Greenfield – Professor of Constitutional Law at Boston College – How to fix ‘Citizens United’

      But as the denunciations of Citizens United peak this weekend, it’s useful to keep in mind that the biggest problem with corporate power was not created by the Supreme Court. The key flaw of American corporations is that they have become a vehicle for the voices and interests of an exceedingly small managerial and financial elite — the notorious 1 percent. That corporations speak is less a concern than for whom they speak and what they say. The cure for this is more democracy within businesses — more participation in corporate governance by workers, communities, shareholders and consumers. If corporations were themselves more democratic, their participation in the nation’s political debate would be of little concern and might even be beneficial.

      1. Carla

        This is really not about Citizens United. The Move to Amend is about more than a century of “law” that grants more and constitutional rights intended for actual persons to corporate persons. AND it’s about decades of “law” equating money with speech.

        After you fight every battle–for voting rights, fair housing, clean air and water, safe working conditions, universal healthcare, campaign finance reform, financial reform, and gain incrementally here and there, but ultimately watch your society get poorer and poorer, your hard-won civil and reproductive rights evaporating in front of you, your population turning into serfs before your eyes, your neighborhoods destroyed, your educational system in ruins, and a major Republican candidate for President proposing child labor as a solution to some of these problems, you start to think, maybe we’re not going to be able to fight this one battle at a time.

        Corporations are NOT people. Money is NOT speech. http://www.movetoamend.org.

      2. Carla

        “That corporations speak is less a concern than for whom they speak and what they say. The cure for this is more democracy within businesses — more participation in corporate governance by workers, communities, shareholders and consumers. If corporations were themselves more democratic, their participation in the nation’s political debate would be of little concern and might even be beneficial.”

        Clonal, I’m trying to figure out what planet your antibody lives on…

        Political rights are the province of human persons, not artificial legal entities, no matter how benign those entities might consider their purposes to be.

        Please take note of Lenova’s comment about the Supremes below. The Church (or any church) — another artifical legal entity.

        1. JTFaraday

          There is some merit to the position that Citizens United is only one piece to the campaign financing picture. Citizens United is *very* new. We got where we are entirely *without* it, thus repealing it only gets you so far.

          I think the point is to not start thinking that repealing CU addresses the problem of *dependent* political representatives in its entirety–which it doesn’t. A comprehensive approach to campaign financing doesn’t even address that issue in its entirety.

          There is no campaign financing legislation you can write, for example, that would eliminate the influence wielded by teh ubiquitous Treasury Boyz from Goldman Sachs or the Fed Chairman on the inhabitant of the Oval Office. Arguably, such technical expertise is needed in the Oval Office, but with experts like these–or even allegedly “cleaner” replacements– you may as well not even have a Presidential figure head.

          So, frankly, I don’t think your hostility is warranted and I think it kind of sucks that you can’t seem to handle Clonal Antibody’s attempts to present a more comprehensive picture of a multifaceted problem.

  4. BobS

    “Just kill him if he’s a problem for us.”

    1949 – Kim Koo, Korean opposition leader
    1950s – CIA/Neo-Nazi hit list of more than 200 political figures in West Germany
    to be “put out of the way” in the event of a Soviet invasion
    1950s – Chou En-lai, Prime minister of China, several attempts on his life
    1950s, 1962 – Sukarno, President of Indonesia
    1951 – Kim Il Sung, Premier of North Korea
    1953 – Mohammed Mossadegh, Prime Minister of Iran
    1950s (mid) – Claro M. Recto, Philippines opposition leader
    1955 – Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India
    1957 – Gamal Abdul Nasser, President of Egypt
    1959, 1963, 1969 – Norodom Sihanouk, leader of Cambodia
    1960 – Brig. Gen. Abdul Karim Kassem, leader of Iraq
    1950s-70s – José Figueres, President of Costa Rica, two attempts on his life
    1961 – Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier, leader of Haiti
    1961 – Patrice Lumumba, Prime Minister of the Congo (Zaire)
    1961 – Gen. Rafael Trujillo, leader of Dominican Republic
    1963 – Ngo Dinh Diem, President of South Vietnam
    1960s-70s – Fidel Castro, President of Cuba, many attempts on his life
    1960s – Raúl Castro, high official in government of Cuba
    1965 – Francisco Caamaño, Dominican Republic opposition leader
    1965-6 – Charles de Gaulle, President of France
    1967 – Che Guevara, Cuban leader
    1970 – Salvador Allende, President of Chile
    1970 – Gen. Rene Schneider, Commander-in-Chief of Army, Chile
    1970s, 1981 – General Omar Torrijos, leader of Panama
    1972 – General Manuel Noriega, Chief of Panama Intelligence
    1973-83 – Various Tupamaros in Uruguay (at behest of US)
    1975 – Mobutu Sese Seko, President of Zaire
    1976 – Michael Manley, Prime Minister of Jamaica
    1980-1986 – Muammar Qaddafi, leader of Libya, several plots and attempts upon his life
    1982 – Ayatollah Khomeini, leader of Iran
    1983 – Gen. Ahmed Dlimi, Moroccan Army commander
    1983 – Miguel d’Escoto, Foreign Minister of Nicaragua
    1984 – The nine comandantes of the Sandinista National Directorate
    1985 – Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, Lebanese Shiite leader (80 people killed in the attempt)
    1991 – Saddam Hussein, leader of Iraq
    1993 – Mohamed Farah Aideed, prominent clan leader of Somalia
    1998, 2001-2 – Osama bin Laden, leading Islamic militant
    1999 – Slobodan Milosevic, President of Yugoslavia
    2002 – Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Afghan Islamic leader and warlord
    2003 – Saddam Hussein and his two sons
    2011 – Muammar Qaddafi, leader of Libya

    * Washington Post, June 27, 1993

    Taken from Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II
    by William Blum

    1. Dirk

      How about JFK who refused to give nuclear weapons to a certain country? His immediate successor did so gladly.

    2. neo-realist

      How about Bobby Kennedy? In the wake of the assassination, a witness to the escape of possible conspirators was bullied into changing her account by an LAPD officer trained by the CIA.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        OSS-CIA-MI5-MI6-Mossad: Whatever it takes to RUIN independence of the United States of America and a three-branched federal Government of/by/for the People, according to the Constitution of the United States.

  5. Hugh

    Re the Haaretz story:

    Title 18, Part I, Chapter 41, § 871: Threats against President and successors to the Presidency

    (a) Whoever knowingly and willfully deposits for conveyance in the mail or for a delivery from any post office or by any letter carrier any letter, paper, writing, print, missive, or document containing any threat to take the life of, to kidnap, or to inflict bodily harm upon the President of the United States, the President-elect, the Vice President or other officer next in the order of succession to the office of President of the United States, or the Vice President-elect, or knowingly and willfully otherwise makes any such threat against the President, President-elect, Vice President or other officer next in the order of succession to the office of President, or Vice President-elect, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

    1. ohmyheck

      Thanks for that, Hugh, since I’m sure many of us were wondering. Question— Since he didn’t write “Barack Obama” explicitly, by name, does this still apply? I would like to think so.

    2. Vicky

      Thanks for this. I figured that the first amendment didn’t include advocating the assassination of anybody, let alone the president. So arrest them! I’m waiting.

    3. Dave of Maryland

      So our Big Guy sends a drone and blows the guy up. End of story. What are the Israelis going to do? Invade us? Give us our money back? Go all nuclear on us?

      Hey, lookie: If I was the president and I was named in this way and I had already said I could blow anyone away, I’d move this fool to the top of my to-do list.

    4. Susan the other

      We don’t mess around with this stuff. Ambrit is right (above). The tell is that this actually was published. It could be a flushing. What is the purpose of making this suggestion? Well, let us count the ways: To frighten those with this looney intention; to send some signal to Iran; to create an opportunity to beg for forgiveness; to open up an argument; to put a spotlight on various factions. Maybe some kind of set up to be used against Israel since we are at odds with them on so many levels. Who knows. But for sure, this crap cannot be simply forgiven. Oh that was a little naughty. Please don’t do that again.

  6. tom allen

    Fascinating story on wind power. Basically, using a cattail-shaped model (quiet, frictionless, beautiful) instead of a turbine. Really a genius idea, if it works out. :-)

    “The carbon-fiber stalks, reinforced with resin, are about a foot wide at the base tapering to about 2 inches at the top. Each stalk will contain alternating layers of electrodes and ceramic discs made from piezoelectric material, which generates a current when put under pressure. In the case of the stalks, the discs will compress as they sway in the wind, creating a charge.”

    1. craazyman

      I had an idea for of an ocean sail power farm, with beautiful billowing sails pulling around a circular track like a merry-go-round, half a mile wide.

      I figure it would be 500 megawatts at least, no matter which way the wind blows. There would be a control platform with generators in the middle, where the operators would live, like on an oil rig

      At an energy conference once I tried to describe it to an engineer, who politely humored me, promoting its aesthetic appeal over spinning blades. Otherwise I have no engineering skills or access to test capital, so it will have to stay in my imagination, like most things.

      But I know it could work. :) And it would be beautiful.

      1. aletheia33

        @craazyman, don’t give up! write up your idea and search out people of like mind. there are a lot more of them now, and their numbers are growing apace. they’re all on the interweb sharing and working out their ideas. you’ll get a receptive hearing.

      2. Birch

        I’m a sucker for lighter-than-air craft.

        http://www.magenn.com/

        A tethered blimp that spins in the wind, with a generator in the middle. You can get the thing 1000 feet up or more, where the winds are much stronger and more consistent than nearer the ground. The tether cable brings the electricity back to Earth.

      3. Dave of Maryland

        As admiral Nelson would tell you, ships at sea need a lot of attention. A storm comes along, they’ve got to be at right angles or they’ll sink.

        1. craazyman

          I am not only an amateur economist, I’m an amateur engineer too.

          The guys on the control platform would have a lot to do in rough weather!

          I think it would be a fun and sort of prestigious job to be a sail farm captain. And you could never run aground.

          1. jcrit

            What a wonderful idea. I was thinkng along the lines of a land-based sail on a flexible carbon-fiber mast that would bend in the wind and pull on a generator cord, much like a lawn mower cord, only the generator would just accumulate the energy through a flywheel. Slow but sure on a nice, windy day.

        1. Susan the other

          Makes me think, Crazy. What if there were a floating axle with some kinda differential gear functioning as a turbine in the center so that each end could rotate in the opposite direction and be pulled by its own sail. So that this device didn’t have to go anywhere. It could just sit there and spin out electricity.

          1. craazyman

            thats it. would probly be easier to do it on land and you could get the same effect, but it would be more fun to be out on the water as Wind Farm Captain on the rig about 10 miles offshore, up in a control room with 360 degree view of the sails.

            You could probably go fishing or swimming and drink beer on calm days. Or just sit out in the sun and tan. Or even play putt-putt golf if there was room. and I think there would be if I were designing it.

    2. Dave of Maryland

      Before we get all happy, they should build a few and put them out in the wind.

      They will not be “silent”. The wind will make a noise as it passes among the “hairs”. (That’s kind of what they look like: Bosley for the men of your town.)

      They might make a pleasant sound, like the wind in the willows, or it might be hard and abrasive, like the wind in mountain passes, or it might (probably will be) something else altogether.

      Whatever the initial sound, it could very likely be fine-tuned to make it more pleasant.

      1. Susan the other

        I was taken by the beauty of the design too. Wind and wave stalks. And it seems so obvious – it has to be genius. I took note that this field of windstalks is being done in Masdar, an auto-free city in Abu-Dhabi. I like the auto-free part as well. Piezoelectricity seems like too tiny a spark to capture and collect. I guess not. That these stalks could be engineered to be pleasant sounding is also an astonishing idea.

      2. PunchnRun

        Or we could mount our own sound-making devices, letting it sound like anything we can come up with.

    3. Rex

      Wind stalks. Very elegant and cool. I hate to be a downer, but the engineer in me thinks the tall tapered carbon fiber stalks would be extremely expensive to manufacture and assemble. Then the piezo-electric generator thingies would also be extremely expensive, hard to couple into the structure and probably not very efficient. In a strong wind, with the maximum energy that could be tapped, I would think the stalks would see a fairly constant stress and the piezo energy comes from changes, not constant force.

      Energy magic is nice, but I am very skeptical that this idea can have any kind of practical economics.

      1. Up the Ante

        Come, come, son, who on this planet imagines the wind being the definition of steady all the time ?

  7. Aquifer

    On a lighter note, which one is that penguin, Romney or Gingrich? (don’t mean to insult penguins …)

  8. DC Native

    The “Israel First” crowd needs a one-way ticket to Israel. Goodbye! If you include “Israel Firsters” like Wolfowitz and Feith, these folks are more dangerous than al-Qaeda could ever dream of.

    Israel’s leadership is absolutely NOT America’s pal, and if it weren’t for “Israel First” money flooding Congressional offices, Israel would probably be seen in the same way we tend to look at Pakistan; a dangerous, nuclear-armed nation that is more of a strategic liability than an asset.

    Campaign finance reform needs to be Issue #1. Until we finance elections with public money (and ONLY public money), any group of folks – domestic OR foreign – will be able to literally purchase influence and impose their policies of choice on 300,000,000+ Americans. This nonsense absolutely has to stop.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Everybody with “dual citizenship” in Israel and the U.S.A. should be forced to choose which country they claim exclusive citizenship of.

      Would George Washington have permitted dual citizenship by the original citizens of the United States? Would the signers of The Declaration of Independence?

      You cannot serve two masters. Certainly NO officer of our Government should be allowed to have any passport but ONE: that of the U.S.A. This means that such as Joe Lieberman, most “dual citizenship” Agents within or connected with “Homeland Security” and any policy-making institution, as well as the treacherous authors of the “Project for a New American Century,” can emigrate to the “State of Israel” right now. They are ipso facto Agents of a Foreign Power.

      The above are NOT good for the Jews of America, especially those whose ancestry goes back to Colonial times, patriotic Americans fully.

  9. Vicky

    In re: Adler and his assassination idea: the paper printed it. Where is Homeland Security? Knocking down doors, putting him and everyone who works there on a no-fly list, investigating all of the subscribers for aiding and abetting? No? No? Well, knock me down. I guess only muslims are subject to terrorism laws.

  10. Dirk

    Re the electricity producing “stalks”. Why not hang them upside down from the bottom of piers and docks to make electricity from tidal and river flows?

    1. aletheia33

      the linked article mentions a project envisioned to submerge a device in the ocean to gather energy from ocean flows.

  11. Lambert Strether

    Pravda’s headline “Left to Obama….” strikes me as more prescriptive than descriptive. I can see why chinless wonder Fred Hiatt would want to construct a narrative for 2012 where MoveOn is part of “the left” that’s pushing The Droner into doing what he really wants to do… And sucking up a lot of citizen energy for an amendment that will never happen is a two-fer… But does anybody take the Post seriously any more?

  12. Mike

    The race of the lawyers suggesting how to file seems far more relevant than the implication that nasty white lawyers are taking advantage of black people. The biggest disparities are in the South where there are likely to be a large black pool of BK lawyers to choose from.
    African Americans are very fond of using services from within the community wherever possible.
    But no, lets just run with the eternal meme of “downtrodden black folks”. At what point does racism cease to be the answer for everything?

  13. Willie

    On NCLB and Charter Schools. What’s not mentioned and that which should be applauded is that youth that are violent or
    disruptive of all other students’ learning can be kicked out of charter schools and cannot be ejected from public schools.

    Is Marvin Bush still profiting off of his exclusive license to sell the NCLB testing material to public schools?

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Willie, very good question. What investigative reporter will go after Marvin Bush, and every other member of the Bush Dynasty that has profited from Bush Agents in Government?

  14. Eureka Springs

    As long as the conversation about amending the constitution is defined/described as ending corporate personhood it will be clear to the powers that be that the pawns still refuse to see the whole chess board. In fact they aren’t even trying.

    As I see it in “whole board” terms there are two reasons to want to end corporate personhood.. Liability issues and or political contribution issues… which I call bribes.

    Reversing Cit U would still leave us mired in a bribed pay to play political system. The vast majority of OWSers are already trapped rather than liberated by many of their own slogans. Ending Citizens United alone would simply lower the cost of a corrupt oligarch controlled system. Try explaining this in person among OWS groups today or in pertinent web conversations and one will quickly see the bot phenomenon in play. They simply won’t pause to consider the myopic hypnosis they are in… Which now argues for a new bribed system instead of trying to end it once and for all.

    And I really do wonder just how many Americans would want a complete end to corporate personhood in the “liabilities” department? I suspect the consensus would be much lower. If this is not addressed among so many groups.. the massive billionaire corporate MSM PR machine will eat OWS et al for lunch.

    That said, I am very curious, Yves, what you see as winnable fights in our midst?

    1. Praedor

      I have an easy answer to your “liability” question: Elimination of the “Limited Liability Corporation”. No more limited liability. The law should clearly state that ANY act by a corporation that leads to injury, loss of life, pollution, etc, there is NO limited liability on the part of the corporate officers. First, the costs of clean up, the payment of injured parties in court settlements, etc, comes out of the corporate officers personal accounts. When those are wiped out, the corporation itself will pay whatever the settlement amount is. If that fully drains the cash/assets of the corporation, then so be it. It needed to go away for its actions.

      You also make every manager who had any part in making the decision that led to loss of life, injury, pollution, etc, criminally liable too. From the top of the corporate ladder down to the people on the spot, ALL directly and 100% liable for their actions.

      There you go.

        1. Procopius

          This all really goes back to Santa Clara County vs Southern Pacific Railroad in 1886, when the Clerk of the Supreme Court inserted a statement in the headnote of the case that corporations had the same rights as people. It was not even in the verdict of the justices, but it’s been used as binding precedent ever since. I saw passing reference to the fact that it was exposed as a fraud in the 1920s, but by then the Supremes were so captured by the Trusts that they embedded it in concrete. That’s what we need to change, and I’m pretty sure that could be done by legislation. Trouble is, Mitch McConnel will fight like a tiger to prevent that.

  15. Willie

    “After a week in which their anti-piracy legislation got derailed by the full force of the Internet lobby…”

    I AM THE INTERNET LOBBY. SO ARE YOU.

    The L.A. times more so than most newspapers is bought and sold by Hollywood that purchases huge amounts of advertising in their pulp and electronic editions.

    I prefer to be called the “First Amendment Lobby”

    As an American citizens, any place that I choose to speak is a “free speech zone”, whether it be on the taxpayer funded and built internet, a street corner,
    a coffee house or wherever.

    It feels good to win one. I called my representitive’s office and spoke with a pleasant and interested aid.
    Then I called and wrote to my sellout senators’ offices – Feinstein and Boxer and got the voicejail option telling me how important my call was.

    Craigslist has an excellent page detailing all the ways and tools to communicate to your representitve.

    http://www.craigslist.org/about/SOPA

    “Californians please note: among the remaining PIPA co-sponsors are craigslist’s and the SF Bay Area’s own Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) 202-224-3841, and SoCal’s Barbara Boxer (D-CA) 202-224-3553

    Boxer/Feinstein PIPA Sponsorship demoralizes Daily Kos, Ready To Dump Dems
    Feinstein: “Filtering the Internet Does Not Violate Free Speech”
    Raging Grannies Open Letter to Diane Feinstein
    Say Nopa to Sopa (Robert X Cringley)

    Corporate supporters of Senate 968 (PIPA) and HR 3261 (SOPA) demand the ability to take down any web site (including craigslist, Wikipedia, or Google) that hurts their profits — without prior judicial oversight or due process — in the name of combating “online piracy.”

    http://www.craigslist.org/about/SOPA

  16. Mark

    re: Dean Baker

    I’m not an economist but I think it worthwhile to read the comments section on Baker’s original post and his follow up. Both Robert Waldmann and Nick Rowe make some very strong arguments suggesting that Baker and possibly Krugman are wrong about gov’t debt.

  17. Susan the other

    Toxic Water at Camp Lejeune NC. This military base, a Marine base, is not the exception. It is the rule. It is a problem in every state. The toxins the military uses and improperly disposes of are causing health problems everywhere. Cleanup is a massive undertaking. Just look at all the hapless cleanup efforts at Hanford in Washington State. This pollution has been accumulating since 1941. And according to the article, the military, as often as not, now simply ignores disposal protocol. Why am I not surprised? The bigger question is why don’t we demand that environmental cleanup begin with the military? They could start with their own bases and move on from there to other toxic situations. Including nuclear. We need to mobilize the entire military. The problem is overwhelming.

  18. Adam

    Oh yeah, the Muppets, especially in their incarnation on the primetime “Muppet Show,” was a terrifically subversive expression of counterculture. Henson was a big dirty hippie, and even Sesame Street, was hugely subversive as a kid’s show because of its multi-racial cast and eponymous setting in an urban, rather than suburban, environment. This choice was extremely controversial at the time. Reactionary critics at the time railed that kids should be sheltered from such environments; of course never mind the lower class kids who actually lived in urban environments at the time, and who might deserve an educational kids show too.

    Here’s a quote from the Museum of the Moving Image’s exhibit on the “Muppet Show”:

    “The production aired during a six-year period that was punctuated by social, economic, and political turmoil. Between 1976 when The Muppet Show made its debut and 1981 when the series signed off, the nation faced an array of challenges: from a domestic oil shortage and crushing economic recession to a Mideast hostage crisis and ongoing social unrest—over black civil rights, feminism, gay liberation, and more. In this turbulent era, nonsense emerged as a potent artistic style and relevant mode of social discourse. Many of the silly and seemingly nonsensical sketches on The Muppet Show contain subversive messages about an array of topics. The skits challenged established notions about gender, race, and sexual identity; defied ideas of central control and hegemonic authority; and raised issues of normalcy and abnormalcy, identity and difference, and monstrosity versus “freakishness.” Unpacking the subversive nature of the ostensibly harmless fun of The Muppet Show demonstrates the social, political, and cultural sense that is paradoxically encoded in its nonsense…”

    1. neo-realist

      Didn’t Sesame Street and the Electric Company presage the Muppets in terms of using multi-racial characters and an urban setting?

      1. Adam

        That’s what I meant when talking about Sessame Street. Henson created Sesame Street before the Muppet Show — but my point was he brought the same subversive impulses to Sesame, even though it was a kid’s show.

    2. ambrit

      Dear Adam,
      And don’t forget the first couple of episodes of Saturday Night Live. Henson and crew manned a Muppet Wall that was too radical for that walking insult to the Great White North, the producer of SNL. (PS I thought that joke about Michaels wife was really good.)

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      patricia, seems Obama was sucking up to The Man, but that wasn’t good enough. I guess they’re done with him.

  19. nihil obstet

    “The Muppet Show” is the best TV series ever, beating out “The Wire” in its multi-level signifying. The paragraph quoted by Adam above is spot on. In addition, you’d have to say that it’s incredibly inventive and absolutely delightful. Great music — Ray Charles became the musical director in the second season. It’s the only show that I watch over and over.

  20. Hugh

    I was meaning to add to my previous comment on the Haaretz article by bringing up Bradenburg v. Ohio (1969) which remains the defining precedent on free speech. The per curiam desicion was written back at a time when opinions were still relatively short. The relevant bit is this:

    Freedoms of speech and press do not permit a State to forbid advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.

    It is First Amendment protected speech to advocate the violent overthrow of the US government or to say Congress should be hanged for treason or with Shakespeare, “let’s kill all the lawyers” because none of this speech is likely to lead to “imminent lawless action.” But in this case, Adler advocated the murder of the US President in the context of dealing with Iran. Now we are currently in a period of heightened tension with Iran so you can argue that the imminence test is met. The murder of a US President is lawless action (not general but specific in nature), and Adler was clearing inciting such action. So although Adler subsequently apologized, his speech, in fact, isn’t protected under Brandenburg and looks actionable under Title 18 §871. Whether Justice will move against Adler though is another question. It is an election year after all and this Administration has already shown that it can ignore rampant (Wall Street/torture) lawbreaking when it wants to.

  21. George

    I read the many comments a few days ago on the Foxconn/iPad thread.

    I was shocked at the use of ‘slave’ to describe the employees, as that abuse of the language lead to conclusions that were not in the interests of the Foxconn employees.

    There are only two relevant questions : Are the employees free to leave their jobs? Would those employees be better off if no one bought Foxconn telephones?

    The answers are ‘Yes, they are free to leave” and ‘No, they would be worse off”.

    I just finished reading B. Ehrenreich’s “Nickeled and Dimed”. The life of a low-end worker in the US is very hard. But the life of a low-end worker in China is very much harder, and Foxconn seems to be a desired job, just like Walmart is here in the US.

    I think Walmart is not nice guys, as their profits so clearly come out of the food and health care budgets of their workers. Foxconn is at least that bad.

    But their workers are not being coerced by either Walmart or Foxconn. Bamboozled, as Ehrenreich describes how Walmart prevents workers from negotiating for pay, but not coerced. The environment does that.

    US middle-class cannot substitute their judgments for the people on the ground, in their lives. The life of a worker on the farm or an itinerant laborer in China is considerably worse than Foxconn’s jobs. Itinerant laborers live in much worse conditions and receive worse pay, for example. You know that must be true, or the employees would leave.

    1. F. Beard

      The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered. Proverbs 11:25

      Apple could have been very generous with those workers and SPLIT the profits of cheap labor with the cheap labor.

      And now Steve Jobs is dead at 56. Penny wise, pound foolish?

      We should warn our entrepreneurs that our system is fascist so they won’t deluded into self-righteousness.

    2. Jim Sterling

      Agree that “slave” is hyperbole, but all you’ve succeeded in proving is that the obligation of the ethical employer (or of the ethical society) is not over when the workers are “free” and are choosing their lousy jobs because the others are lousier. This kind of thinking has been the failure of liberalism, and the basis of socialism’s critique of it, since the nineteenth century. (there’s nothing new about “neo-liberalism”)

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