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The Supremes led by Justice Alito writing for the majority found in favor of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber company on a narrow interpretation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 disallowing years of gender discrimination in which the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company underpaid one Lilly Ledbetter on average around $6000 per year less than her male counterparts doing the same work.The fascist majority on the court (fascism being defined as the seamless merging of government and corporate interests) ignore the human consequences of their actions as they support the corporate ethics that seem to say screw the workers just line my pockets with silver and gold.

The Supremes had an opportunity to do the right thing, to send the right message to corporate greed mongers that they let slip right through their fingers.

Even more egregious was the joining of this decision by Justice Thomas, the least ethical of the fascist majority and one who allegedly engaged in sexual harassment himself, as he flip flopped on his own decision to support the employee position when the discrimination lasted for periods of months or years as it did in this case. I guess Mr. Justice Thomas finally found a place where harassment and abuse have found a home. Bully for you Mr. Justice. Or should I say Mr. Injustice?

This decision, while not unexpected given the current makeup of the Supreme Court, is ugly. By supporting greed over people, narrow interpretation over ethical concerns, I fear for the future of this nation.

Just as an aside, and I am only speculating on this one, but it is highly possible that Ms. Ledbetter, a southerner, has been voting Republican (if she votes at all) and, by doing so, simply dug her own grave in this case. Wouldn’t that be ironic. Since 1980 the electorate has made it a practice to vote against its own economic interests–another proof for the fact that there is no intelligent design in the universe or, perhaps just no intelligence.

So now we can live with the consequences of the influence of the far right wing, the perfect marriage of government and corporate interests, for some time to come.

clipped from news.findlaw.com
(AP) – WASHINGTON-The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday limited workers’ ability to sue employers for pay discrimination that results from decisions made years earlier.
The court, in a 5-4 ruling, said that employers would otherwise find it difficult to defend against claims “arising from employment decisions that are long past.”
The case concerned how to apply a 180-day deadline for complaining about discriminatory pay decisions under Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Lilly Ledbetter sued Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., claiming that after 19 years at a company plant, she was making $6,000 (�‚�4,440) a year less than the lowest-paid man doing the same work.
Ledbetter claimed the disparity existed for years and was primarily a result of her gender. A jury agreed, but an appeals court overturned the verdict because she had waited too long to begin her lawsuit.
The decision broke along ideological lines, with the court’s four liberal justices dissenting.

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Clipped from Atlantic Online, this story references Alberto Gonzales’ sinister involvement in the March 2004 warrantless eavesdropping program even after the program was declared unlawful by then AG John Ashcroft, himself no constitutional bargain.The whole article is worth the time to read as it outlines the hubris of the Bush administration as they flaunt the law and the constitution for their own gain.

The bonus is that this administration has a mere 606 days left to spread its brand of authority. Of course, what I fear most, given the recent saber rattling at Iran, including sending a large Navy task force to the Persian Gulf to intimidate the Iranians into giving up their nuclear program. As Bush readies for one more military incursion in the Middle East we must ask how much more war can we take before we lose all that makes America the envy of the world? We are rapidly sliding down the path to isolation from the rest of the world, and to what purpose? The mythical enemy is not Osama Bin Laden, although I have no doubts that he is a really bad guy, rather, the enemy, as Pogo (the comic strip character central to the old Walt Kelly daily strip) once remarked “is us!”

clipped from www.theatlantic.com

E very day that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is allowed to remain in office is corrosive to constitutional governance and an invitation to further politicization of the Justice Department.

That is the main lesson of former Deputy Attorney General James Comey’s astonishing revelations on May 15 about Gonzales’s sinister involvement in a March 2004 effort to continue a then-secret warrantless eavesdropping program after it had been declared unlawful by then-Attorney General John Ashcroft and his subordinates.
Meanwhile, the May 14 resignation of Paul McNulty, Comey’s successor as deputy attorney general, further depleted the ranks of principled professionals in the demoralized department, which Gonzales has been filling with inexperienced political hacks. In the words of Arlen Specter, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s senior Republican, as long as Gonzales is in charge, “it’s embarrassing for a professional to work for the Department of Justice.”

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Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales testified last week that the effort was limited to eight U.S. attorneys fired since June, and other administration officials have said that only a few others were suggested for removal.

If, as reported in the Chicago Tribune, the number of federal prosecutors suggested for dismissal was closer to 26 than the mere 8 that were fired, did Attorney General Gonzales lie to Congress when he testified under oath that the effort was limited to the 8 that were fired since June?

Why would the Justice Department withhold documents from the public if they were telling the truth on this matter? Does the Bush administration have so little respect for the democratic process that they simply do whatever they see fit?

I would argue that the Bush White House understands executive power as being more or less without limits, subject to little more than fiat which places the administration and all of its power outside the realm of responsibility to the governed. This is the very arrogance that inspired Thomas Jefferson (cribbing extensively from John Locke) to write–“When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

When the king acts outside the bounds of civility and against the best interests of the governed it is within the bounds of politics to sever the ties that bind one to the sovereign.

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Jefferson begins his list of grievances against George III with the following words: “He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.”

In this scandal ridden White House, George II “has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. ” His support for AG Gonzales, Karl, Rove, Paul Wolfowitz and Margaret Spellings at the DoED, each a Bush appointee and each deeply mired in scandal that are not in any meaningful way “he most wholesome and necessary for the public good,” smacks of an arrogance that is beyond all reason.

William Shakespeare puts these words in the mouth of Richard III:

Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace,
gave no delight to pass away the time,
Unless to see my shadow in the sun
And descant on mine own deformity:
And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover,
To entertain these fair well-spoken days,
I am determined to prove a villain,
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.

I think they fit in George W. Bush’s mouth as well.

clipped from www.chicagotribune.com
WASHINGTON —
The Justice Department considered dismissing many more U.S. attorneys than officials have previously acknowledged, with at least 26 prosecutors suggested for termination between February 2005 and December 2006, according to sources familiar with documents withheld from the public.
Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales testified last week that the effort was limited to eight U.S. attorneys fired since June, and other administration officials have said that only a few others were suggested for removal.
In fact, Gonzales’ former chief of staff, Kyle Sampson, recommended more than two dozen U.S. attorneys for termination, according to lists compiled by him and his colleagues, the sources said.
They amounted to more than a quarter of the nation’s 93 U.S. attorneys. At least 13 of those known to have been targeted are still in their posts.
When shown the lists of firing candidates late Wednesday, Sen. Charles Schumer
said they “show how amok this process was.”

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So I guess the ALDHS would classify Thomas Jefferson as a terrorist! Such rhetoric must stem from the complete lack of understanding of limited constitutional government. In any case, such labeling and name calling has no place in the American democracy.

The article went on to say:

If I’m not mistaken, the idea that government, if not kept in check, will become corrupt and abusive was first made popular in this country by our founding fathers, not a bunch of terrorist anarchist groups. This was the very reason for the implementation of the United States Constitution! In fact even Section 35 of the Alabama Constitution warns of this danger is it declares, “the sole object and only legitimate end of government is to protect the citizen in the enjoyment of life, liberty, and property, and when the government assumes other functions it is usurpation and oppression.”

The Alabama.gov site continues, “Most of these groups operate around larger urban areas and colleges/universities… Some are focused on issues such as World Trade, International Debt, and military involvement in foreign cultures… The theme is always the same. Big [government] is bad. Rich are using the poor to stay rich. Our government in particular is using its power immorally.”

In short, if you oppose gun control, taxes, military intervention, most of our national debt being held by foreign nations, or just a large federal government, you might be a terrorist!

The very idea that those who value their personal rights and liberties are being labeled terrorists by the State of Alabama is not only absurd and egregiously offensive, it completely contradicts the ideals our federal and state governments were founded on! The people of Alabama should be outraged!

These Alabama.gov pages can be reached by visiting the Alabama Homeland Security TAP Course, clicking on “Domestic Terrorists”, and then on “Anti-Government Groups”.

clipped from www.chrisbrunner.com
The Alabama Department of Homeland Security (ALDHS), established in June of 2003, has recently constructed a website that defines Domestic Terrorists as those who oppose gun control and a strong federal government.
Under the heading “Anti-Government Groups”, the site displays a flag that is widely considered one of the first symbols of American patriotism and reads, “In general, these terrorists claim that the U.S. government is infringing on their individual rights, and/or that the government’s policies are criminal and immoral. Such groups may hold that the current government is violating the basic principles laid out by the U.S. Constitution…”
While Anarchism is defined by a lack state control and Communism is a maximization state control, two polar opposite concepts, the page that follows reads, “Anarchists groups are the 21st Century’s version of left wing or communist groups of the last. Anarchists believe that any government or organization that has power over others

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The debate is an ancient one. Where does sovereignty rest? Is the sovereign concept embedded in the voice and actions of the leader(s) (the crown) of nation-states or does sovereignty rest in the voice of the people and/or the elected representatives of the people.The Bush White House opts, it seems to me, for the former. As President, Bush acts as if he is “The Sovereign.” In terms that Carl Schmitt, a problematic German political philosopher and one that has been strangely adopted by both the right and the left, proposes: “that people will only be responsible for what they are if the reality of death and conflict remain present.” In Schmitt’s view, the sovereign is the agent of state control over the lives of citizens even to the extent of control over life and death. Schmitt’s posture, adopted by Giorgio Agamben, places sovereign power in a state of exception so that life itself, under the control of the sovereign, becomes bare–not subject to sacrifice yet able to be killed without the killer charged with or guilty of homicide. Not only is the sovereign, in these terms, above the law, he is the law. The sovereign holds power because he wears the crown which grants him the power of life and death over all of the subjects of his sovereign power.

As Bush prepares to veto the legislation funding troops in Iraq that contains a non-binding withdrawal timetable, Bush places himself in the position of agent of control over life and death without regard to the will of the electorate. While the Constitution of the United States affords the executive with the power of the veto pen, that power in itself creates the exception and fuels the debate as to where sovereignty rests. The checks and balances embedded in the Constitution act as a check on both imperial sovereignty and on popular sovereignty often making for a cumbersome political exchange.

Bush no longer enjoys a rubber-stamp Congress. The present Congress was elected as an expression of the electorate’s frustration with the war in Iraq. The Congress is acting as the elected voice of the electorate, placing the Congress on the other side of the debate–that sovereignty rests on the voice of the people and is expressed through their elected representatives.

As Americans the stakes here are quite high. The choice is really between the absolute power of the executive and the combined power of the people to self-govern. What is looming is a constitutional crisis, something that George W. Bush has engaged in more than once. Personally, I feel much safer not trusting absolute power to the King, especially to George W. Bush, who, over and over, has demonstrated poor judgment in office. But Bush isn’t alone on this score. During the Watergate scandal while prosecuting a very unpopular war, Richard Nixon plunged the nation into a similar Constitutional crisis over issues of executive privilege–an issue of power and control.

Just as an aside, it is ironic that “Democrats said the bill was on track to arrive on the president’s desk on Tuesday, the anniversary of Bush’s announcement aboard the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln that major combat operations in Iraq had ended.

“The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on Sept. 11, 2001, and still goes on,” Bush said on May 1, 2003, in front of a huge “Mission Accomplished” banner.”

Perhaps Mr. Bush needs to rethink his posture on Iraq; perhaps listening to the people for a change might be invigorating.

clipped from news.yahoo.com
WASHINGTON –
President Bush
next week is expected to receive, and swiftly reject, legislation ordering U.S. troops to begin coming home from
Iraq
this fall. The veto could fall on the fourth anniversary of the president’s Iraq “victory” speech.
The House on a 218-208 vote Wednesday passed a $124.2 billion supplemental spending bill that contains the troop withdrawal timetable. The Senate was expected to follow suit Thursday.
The legislation is the first binding challenge on the war that Democrats have managed to execute since they took control of both houses of Congress in January.

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clipped from harpers.org
The leading newspaper in the Spanish-speaking world, Madrid’s El Pa’s, puts the blame squarely on the National Rifle Association and reproduces a photograph of Charlton Heston brandishing a rifle. “[C]ontrol measures,“ writes that paper, ”are systematically challenged by an abusive interpretation of the Second Amendment—which was written before there was a National Army or National Guard—says that, ‘A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep
and bear arms shall not be infringed.’”
In France, Le Monde calls the event a typically American tragedy, highlighting President Bush’s condolence message which incorporated a defense of firearms. “There is no reason to be shocked, since the American chief executive is supported by a party that in 2004 wentas far as refusing to re-approve the prohibition on sales of assault rifles put into place in 1994 by a Congress with a Democratic majority under Bill Clinton.”

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Read these couple of clips from the foreign press is a difficult task. The critique of our national response to the VT shootings, to the gun culture in general is disturbing. And these are our friends. Imagine what the enemies of the United States must think?I think it is shameful that in times of great tragedy our nation becomes the laughing stock for the rest of the world. My dear old grandmother used to mumble the following ethical pronouncement whenever she decided one had done something of which one ought not be proud, “What you did you did yourself and what you did yourself you are responsible for.” This was her translation from Polish and her grasp of English was not so hot, but the meaning was clear even to my ten year old ears when I first heard her speak these words. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR ACTS, FOR YOUR ACTIONS. In my personal life I have honored those sentiments and granny has been gone nearly 30 years. When I read the international response to America as a Cowboy nation obsessed with guns I am ashamed to say that my country’s leaders fail to follow my grandmother’s advice.

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Yesterday the United States Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, upheld the national ban on a midterm method of ending pregnancies sometimes referred to as partial birth abortion. The decision clears the way for states to pass new laws designed to discourage women from having abortions.

Of course President Bush could not keep silent on this one. In a statement issued by the White House, Bush welcomed the decision. “The Supreme Court’s decision is an affirmation of the progress we have made over the past six years in protecting human dignity and upholding the sanctity of life,” he said. “Today’s decision affirms that the Constitution does not stand in the way of the people’s representatives enacting laws reflecting the compassion and humanity of America.”

Somehow, Bush relates the notion of life to the sacred. But has Bush analyzed with any precision what sacred really means? We can look to the work of Giorgio Agamben (1998) as he writes about Homo Sacer (Sacred Life) in the following terms. The sacred is found in a double state of exception between the unpunishability of killing and the exclusion from sacrifice. Agamben’s analysis rests on a snippet from Pompeius Festus from the treatise On the Significance of Words in which Festus writes: The sacred man is the one whom the people have judged on account of a crime (this man has been excluded from the community). It is not permitted to sacrifice this man (to offer him up to the gods), yet he who kills him will not be condemned for homicide (he may be executed by the state without subjecting the executioner to the crime of murder). Agamben understands the sacred (sacer) then to take the form of this double exception both from the human and the divine sphere of influence, from the profane and the ‘religious’ spheres. The fact that sacrifice is taboo for homo sacer is another way of saying that what already belongs to the gods cannot be offered up to those very same gods and so is excluded from sacrificial consideration. At the same time, the homo sacer is included within the community as he/she takes the form of being able to be officially killed. “Life that cannot be sacrificed and yet may be killed is sacred life (Agamben. 1998, p. 82). Sovereignty lies at the crossroads of this double exception.

The sovereign sphere is the sphere in which it is permitted to kill without committing homicide and without celebrating a sacrifice, and sacred life–that is, life that may be killed but not sacrificed–is the life that has been captured in this sphere (Agamben, 1998, p. 83).

Bush trivializes the sacred when he speaks about upholding human dignity and the sanctity of life. What is really happening here is that the sovereign makes the choice to create an exception for women, to exclude women that opt for termination of pregnancy, to cause those women to become homo sacer. In the case of abortion, this amounts to a minority of religious zealots dictating policy while the rest of us stand by watching. What is being sacrificed here is precisely the sacred, that very quality Bush is so ready to protect. The Bush/Roberts court, by creating the exception that creates homo sacer effectively perpetrates a violence at the crossroads of the profane and the divine that is subtractive of both the profane and the divine.

Justice Ginsburg called the decision alarming. She argued as follows:

It “cannot be understood as anything other than an effort to chip away
at a right declared again and again by this court,” she said.

She said this dispute was about how, not whether, abortions would be
performed during the second trimester. Despite Kennedy’s talk of
“promoting fetal life,” the ban on the procedure “targets only a method
of abortion,” she said. “The woman may abort the fetus, so long as her
doctor uses another method, one her doctor judges less safe for her.”

She also called the decision demeaning to women. It “pretends” to protect
them “by denying them any choice in the matter,” she said.

Justice Ginsburg, in referencing the court’s desire to “chip away” at Roe v. Wade scolds the majority for ignoring precedent of over 40 years. If we are a nation of laws, then precedent must rule. I seem to recall that the conservatives yell most loudly about activist courts that simply rewrite the law to suit their needs. It seems that the Bush/Roberts court is turning down the road of activism…but, of course, it is activism that the radical right agrees with so no hue and cry from them now.

Justice Ginsburg’s remarks could also be considered in the light of Agamben’s view of homo sacer. By denying women choice the court excludes women from the process, creating an exception that stands at the crossroads and, therefore, falls within the power of the sovereign to dictate. This is a disturbing development in the democratic experiment called the United States.

References

Agamben, G. (1998). Homo Sacer: Sovereign power and bare life (D. Heller-Roazen, Trans.). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

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