By Ralph Nader And Robert Weissman
The Wall Street Journal Opinion, February 11, 2010 The Nader Page.
February 16, 2010
Last month, by a vote of 5 to 4, the U.S. Supreme Court gave carte
blanche to the world’s largest corporations to spend unlimited sums of
money to support or oppose candidates for elected office. Big Business
domination of Washington and state capitals will now intensify.
The case of Citizens United portends dire consequences for the nation’s
constitutional premise of “we the people,” not we the corporations. Our
constitution, at its origins and through all of its amendments, makes no
mention of corporate entities, only human beings and their government.
For 120 years, it was not Congress but the Supreme Court that expanded
the definition of “persons” to include for-profit corporations for the
purposes of applying constitutional protections. For 30 years, the court
has granted First Amendment speech protections to corporations as
Last week, while the UK Court of Appeal was shining a spotlight on the case of Binyam Mohamed, ordering details of his torture by US agents to be revealed to the public, Binyam himself — a British resident, subjected to “extraordinary rendition” and torture, who was released from Guantánamo last February — was thinking about someone else.
Binyam was thinking about Omar Khadr, the Canadian citizen, who was just 15 years old when he was seized after a firefight in Afghanistan in July 2002, and who now faces a trial in the much-criticized Military Commission trial system that was ill-advisedly resuscitated and revived by the Obama administration and Congress last summer. I have written extensively about Khadr’s case (and would be delighted if you checked out one of my favorite articles here), and was dismayed when Attorney General Eric Holder announced in November that Omar Khadr would face a trial by Military Commission.
With almost a decade under its belt, our multi-front war on a vaguely defined notion of terrorism targeting never-really-defined enemies across the world and here in the newly rephrased ‘homeland’ has come to define the state of our nation. Even the meager limitations on presidential powers of the last six decades have in effect been nullified and replaced with a newly declared and interpreted authority mirroring those of past emperors and kings, and of any classic authoritarian regimes’ rulers. One look at the last decade’s successfully won legal arguments on behalf of the executive, the presidency, is enough to establish the common theme that ‘the war on terror is global and indefinite in scope, and that it effectively removes all traditional limits of wartime authority to the times and places of imminent or actual battle.’
Whether it is illegal domestic eavesdropping or unlawful detention and torture, these newly claimed and boldly practiced presidential entitlements rely on one factor, and that is the extraordinary claims of presidential war-making power. Here is a perfect example of the new permanent wartime presidency in action; boldly, loudly, and unfortunately thus far successfully: Continue reading →
There has been much talk expended over the years on the degree to which the media—and hence culture—is central to maintaining the capitalist system. Leading the charge have been Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman, so much so that they now more resemble sainted objects than social/political analysts, but then this is nothing new for the left, who unfortunately for the most part are happy to let others do the thinking for them.
The problem for the ‘rest of us’ is that Chomsky et al speak the private language of the professional academics that is ironically also the source of the very problem they write about. I am not faulting Chomsky and co’s analysis, the problem is that to some degree it contradicts what people think out here in the real world.
I couldn’t resist posting this article. I know it’s nothing new to our readers and commenters here at Boiling Frogs, but I thought maybe, just maybe, a few Obama backers who still hold on to their ‘Man of Supposed Changes’ will end up here and get to read it. You know who I’m talking about; right? The blinded ignorant Obama groupies who’ve been vehemently defending his booboos. Those who in the beginning whined about giving the man a chance since he had been in office for only 10 days, then 20 days, then 50 days, then 100 days… Those who later made lame excuses such as ‘what do you expect, he inherited this mess from Bush-Cheney and is trying hard to clean it up.’ The ones who are still busy bashing the long-gone Bush-Cheney-Rove cabal, rather than facing their own ‘man.’ Let’s rub their noses hard in the following article, and demand that they add their man’s picture to the same Bush-Cheney-Rove cabal…