Michael Doyle reports for McClatchy Newspapers: "During his 2005 Senate confirmation hearing, Roberts assured lawmakers that he would strive to achieve more unified court decisions. He further insisted that 'judges have to have the humility to recognize that they operate within a system of precedent' that binds the court."
The Supremes Have Opened the Floodgates
Senator Russel Feingold writes for CounterPunch: "he Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC has opened the floodgates to corporate money in federal campaigns in ways we haven’t seen for nearly a century. While for decades corporations have been able to set up special accounts, called PACs, to accept contributions and spend them on political activities, they have not been allowed to spend money from their vast corporate treasuries in connection with federal elections. Citizens United v. FEC has changed all that."
Grayson: Fight Now or ‘Kiss Your Country Goodbye’ to Exxon, Wal-Mart
Sahil Kapur writes for The Raw Story: "Responding to the Supreme Court's ruling Thursday to overturn corporate spending limits in federal elections, progressive firebrand Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) immediately highlighted a series of moves to 'avoid the terrible consequences of the decision.'"
US Government for Sale
Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Matt Corley, Benjamin Armbruster, Zaid Jilani, Matt Duss, and Alex Seitz-Wald write The Progress Report for Think Progress: "Yesterday, in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court held that 'the constitutional guarantee of free speech means that corporations can spend unlimited sums to help elect favored candidates or defeat those they oppose.' The activist 5-4 decision struck down a 63-year-old ban that ensured corporations may not use their enormous profits to support or oppose candidates. The ruling 'declared unconstitutional a large portion of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform act passed in 2002.' Ian Millhiser of the Center for American Progress Action Fund observed, 'Today's decision does far more than simply provide Fortune 500 companies with a massive megaphone to blast their political views to the masses; it also empowers them to drown out any voices that disagree with them.' Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), who is already pushing legislation to rectify the Court's decision, warned, 'The law itself will be bought and sold. It would be political bribery on the largest scale imaginable.' 'The Supreme Court has thrust politics back to the robber-baron era of the 19th century,' the New York Times writes today."
Haiti and Toxic Waste
Mitchel Cohen writes for CoutnerPunch: "Two decades ago, the garbage barge, the Khian Sea, with no place in the U.S. willing to accept its garbage, left the territorial waters of the United States and began circling the oceans in search of a country willing to accept its cargo: 14,000 tons of toxic incinerator ash. First it went to the Bahamas, then to the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Bermuda, Guinea Bissau and the Netherlands Antilles. Wherever it went, people gathered to protest its arrival. No one wanted the millions of pounds of Philadelphia municipal incinerator ash dumped in their country."
Revisiting The Shock Doctrine in the Wake of Haiti Disaster
Naomi Klein writes for Common Dreams: "Despite all the successful attempts to exploit the 2004 tsunami, memory also proved to be an effective tool of resistance in some areas where it struck, particularly in Thailand. Dozens of coastal villages were flattened by the wave, but unlike in Sri Lanka, many Thai settlements were successfully rebuilt within months. The difference did not come from the government. Thailand's politicians were just as eager as those elsewhere to use the storm as an excuse to evict fishing people and hand over land tenure to large resorts. Yet what set Thailand apart was that villagers approached all government promises with intense skepticism and refused to wait patiently in camps for an official reconstruction plan. Instead, within weeks, hundreds of villagers engaged in what they called land 'reinvasions.'"
To offer some, Laura Flanders of GRIT TV asks Monika Kalra Varma, director of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights, Melissa Harris-Lacewell, Princeton professor, Nation contributor, and author of Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought and James Perry, executive director of the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center and candidate for mayor of New Orleans.
Why Obama Is Now (Finally) Getting Tough on Wall Street
Robert Reich writes on RobertReich.org: "Obama is now, finally, getting tough on Wall Street. Today he's giving his support to two measures critically important for making sure the Street doesn't relapse into another financial crisis: (1) separating the functions of investment banking from commercial banking (basically, resurrecting the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act) so investment banks can't gamble with insured commercial deposits, and (2) giving regulatory authorities power to limit the size of big banks so they don't become 'too big to fail,' as antitrust laws do with every other capitalist entity."
The Bernanke Conundrum
Paul Krugman comments for the New York Times: "A funny thing happened on the way to the Bernanke confirmation: the vote in Massachusetts turned an easy coronation into a tough fight. And this isn’t one of those cases where everyone who knows something is on one side. Look at two of my favorite econobloggers: the very judicious Calculated Risk says “We can do better”, while Brad DeLong says, 'Don’t block Ben.'”
Bernanke Wants Even More God-Like Powers for the Federal Reserve
Jim Hightower writes for AlterNet.org: "Here's a story that reads like the script of an old B-grade monster movie -- and it would be comic, were it not so serious. The monster is named "The Fed," a hydra-headed creature with enormous and destructive power, which it exercises from within the misty confines of a marble cavern that is unapproachable by commoners."
Losing the Health Care Battle Is Not an Option
Bill Boyarsky writes for Truthdig.com: "Just pass the damn thing. If the health care bill fails, President Barack Obama’s legacy could be limited to the failing war in Afghanistan. Worse yet, many thousands more Americans will die because they don’t have adequate medical care."
Defense Secretary Robert Gates Confirms Blackwater in Pakistan
Jeremy Scahill reports for The Rebel Report: "In an interview with the Pakistani TV station Express TV, Defense Secretary Robert Gates confirmed that the private security firms Blackwater and DynCorp are operating inside Pakistan. “They’re operating as individual companies here in Pakistan,” Gates said, according to a DoD transcript of the interview. 'There are rules concerning the contracting companies. If they’re contracting with us or with the State Department here in Pakistan, then there are very clear rules set forth by the State Department and by ourselves.'”
CIA and Intelligence Community Mythologies
Melvin A. Goodman comments for Truthout: "It is time for serious soul-searching regarding the role of the CIA and the intelligence community. Last month's operational and intelligence failures led to the deaths of seven CIA officers in Afghanistan and might have resulted in nearly 300 deaths on a Northwest Airlines plane headed for Detroit."
After Massachusetts: Will Democrats Heed Call From Left, Unions for Populist Agenda?
Art Levine writes for In These Times: "From union leaders like the AFL-CIO's Richard Trumka to progressive advocates at the Campaign for America's Future, the lessons from the Massachusetts shellacking are crystal clear: the need to push ahead with a strong populist agenda, including healthcare reform and jobs creation, instead of kow-towing to corporate interests and center-right Democrats with weak proposals that only fuel voter anger."
Paul Krugman Leads Liberal Revolt
Andy Barr writes for Politico.com: "Paul Krugman’s announcement that he is near to 'giving up' on President Barack Obama is fueling a new round of liberal revolt. Like many influential voices on the left, The New York Times columnist and Nobel Prize-winning economist has not been shy to voice his disapproval with some of the president’s specific policy initiatives over the past year. But in the wake of a devastating surprise loss in the Massachusetts Senate special election, and with prospects of health care reform growing dimmer by the hour, Krugman and others liberals are charging Obama with failing to lead."
Parkinson's Tax Proposals Move Forward
Christopher Renner reports in the Kansas Free Press: "After giving Secretary of Revenue Joan Wagnon and Governor Parkinson the cold shoulder last week, the Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee appear to have had a change of heart on Wednesday and introduced the tax bills they had declined to introduce last week: Governor Parkinson's 1% sales tax increase and increasing the cigarette and tobacco tax to national levels."
Tiller Stalker: Ex-AG's Crusade Against Kansas Abortion Doctor Revealed In New Complaint
Justin Elliott reports for Talking Points Memo: "In a new ethics complaint that alleges large-scale abuse of office, the former attorney general of Kansas is accused of dispatching staff to record license plates of women entering George Tiller's abortion clinic, getting records from a motel where patients stayed, and obtaining state medical files under false pretenses, then retaining them after his term as AG was over and repeatedly lying about it in court."
Recommended Audio: The Science on "Fetal Personhood" Hasn't Changed
Lynn Paltrow writes RH Reality Check: "According to PersonhoodUSA, one of the reasons Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided is that the Court did not have available to it the 'well-known facts of fetal development.' ... Today, on the thirty-seventh anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we thought it would be valuable to fact check that claim."
Chairmen Sending Mixed Signals on ‘Don’t Ask’
Chris Johnson reports for the DC Agenda: "Even if President Obama includes a ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal as part of his upcoming defense budget request, the language could be yanked by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.). President Obama is being pressured to include a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal as part of his upcoming defense budget request to Congress, but the response from two key Democrats to such a proposal could hinder any change in the law."
Children Speak for Same Sex Marriage
Sarah Wildman writes for the New York Times: "LAST month, advocates and opponents of same-sex marriage packed the New Jersey State House in Trenton, supporters in blue, opponents in red. Near the end of the day, Kasey Nicholson-McFadden took the microphone. 'It doesn’t bother me to tell kids my parents are gay,' he said in a clear voice. 'It does bother me to say they aren’t married. It makes me feel that our family is less than their family.'”
The (In)dispensable Public: Public Opinion Mainly a Prop for Corporate Press
Janine Jackson writes for Extra!: "Opinion poll reporting can be misleading, in this case by presenting a narrow range of options that sidesteps what evidence suggests is the majority view-that U.S. troops should withdraw from Afghanistan. But reporting of opinion polls is misleading in a more fundamental way, in its implication that elite media give a principled hoot about what the public wants.In practice, corporate media's regard for the public and its opinions is wholly rhetorical and instrumental; even the definition of who constitutes the public seems endlessly fungible."
When the Media Is the Disaster: Covering Haiti
Rebecca Solnit writes for TomDispatch.com: "Soon after almost every disaster the crimes begin: ruthless, selfish, indifferent to human suffering, and generating far more suffering. The perpetrators go unpunished and live to commit further crimes against humanity. They care less for human life than for property. They act without regard for consequences."
FCC Takes on the Future of Journalism
Josh Stearns writes for SavetheNews.org: "Today the Federal Communications Commission announced a new national initiative to examine the 'future of media and the information needs of communities in a digital age.' Word of this new project leaked last fall when the FCC hired Steve Waldman, the co-founder, president and editor-in-chief of Beliefnet.com, the largest multi-faith Web site for religion and inspiration. However, it was unclear at the time what shape the FCC-backed project would take."