Friday, June 22, 2007

Friends in high places: Conservative Republican Supreme Court protects corporate greed.

Several recent decisions from the conservative Republican Supreme Court have accomplished what slick Dick Cheney and lobbyist Jack Abramoff were unable to do.

Dominated by the Far-Fetched Four, i.e. Roberts, Alito, Thomas, and Scalia, the conservative Republican Supreme Court has handed down decision after decision that hurt working families who try to protect themselves against corporation greed.

The Far-Fetched Four and their conservative compatriots have undermined public safety and have protected and promoted corporate greed by throwing out verdicts against tobacco companies and automakers and shielded various industries from various forms of liability.

How can anyone justify being "conservative" with justice?

David G. Savage, LA Times 06/21/2007 Read Article: LA Times

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

More on Abu Ghraib. Gen. Antonio Taguba questions integrity of Rumsfeld and honesty of Bush.

David Usborne of the UK’s Independent reports that Major General Antonio Taguba, the two-star Army General who led the first military investigation into human rights abuses at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison, has “bluntly questioned the integrity of former US Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld” for misleading Congress and “downplaying his own prior knowledge of what had happened” at Abu Ghraib.

Usborne also reports that Taguba says, Pres. Bush also "had to be aware" of the atrocities despite saying at the time of the scandal that he had been out of the loop until he saw images in the US media.


Conservative press says, Insurance Cost-Shifting by Allstate, Nationwide and State Farm must stop!

Well it’s about time. Liberals have been saying this for decades. Now, conservative media, which usually turn a blind-eye to corporate greed, are starting to take notice.

Recently, New Orleans CityBusiness criticized Allstate, Nationwide and State Farm for selling as much as 95% of all federal flood insurance policies. Allstate, Nationwide and State Farm Considering are "raking in unearned profits at the expense of taxpayers" by shifting wind damage costs to the federal government.

CityBusiness argues, the “Multiple Peril Insurance Act” will lift the burden from property owners who now have to hire lawyers, engineers and adjusters to prove to insurers that wind, not water, caused damage. CityBusiness acknowledges that the proposal isn’t a complete fix to the problem, but it should make it harder for insurers to rip off or scam taxpayers.

Maybe so, but insurance companies own the legislature and will likely tighten their grip on government if the both houses of the legislature become Republican. In time, they’ll beat the system

Editors, New Orleans CityBusiness, 06/18/2007

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Good Guys Win. Federal Judge Orders FEMA to Stop Abrupt Cutoff of Rental Aid

The Bush administration doesn’t care about the Katrina-Rita Diasporas; that much is painfully clear. But, U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan apparently does.

Berrigan, who was a Clinton appointee, ordered FEMA to stop cutting off low-income rental assistance to Katrina-Rita hurricane victims without giving them advance written notice and letting them know they have a right to a hearing.

In her ruling, Berrigan states that FEMA appears to treat plaintiffs as "gnats to be brushed away." The ruling also states, "FEMA has been created by Congress and the President to serve the needs of citizens at their darkest hours, which for some citizens are being now measured in terms of years." Susan Finch, New Orleans Times-Picayune 06/16/2007 Read Article: New Orleans Times-Picayune


Sunday, April 22, 2007

Stamping Out Injustice

You can measure the worth of system of government by the degree to which it meets the needs of ordinary people. People should come first, not institutions, nor ideas, nor heritage for that matter, but ordinary people.

Ordinary people and whole communities in Louisiana endure unemployment/ poverty, poor wages, social exclusion, pandemic inequalities and courts that operate on a system of “checkbook justice.”

Louisiana is asked to worship oil companies, labor for wages that are below the national average, and tolerate an educational system that’s designed for the corporate elite. Louisiana's judicial system is hand picked to protect the corporate elite. Federal judges make it clear that ordinary people are not welcome. Our houses of worship are political pulpits for the “have-mores”

That’s the shameful but stark reality in Louisiana.


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Liberty as seen by Percy Bysshe Shelley...

Liberty and freedom are natural rights that all men share by virtue of their humanity. Natural rights have no artificial boundaries or nationalities. Here are Percy Bysshe Shelley's thoughts on liberty.


The fiery mountains answer each other;
Their thunderings are echoed from zone to zone;
The empestuous oceans awake one another,
And the ice-rocks are shaken round winter’s zone
When the clarion of the Typhoon is blown.
From a single cloud the lightning flashes,
Whilst a thousand isles are illumined around,
Earthquake is trampling one city to ashes,
An hundred are shuddering and tottering; the sound
Is bellowing underground.
But keener thy gaze than the lightning’s glare,
And swifter thy step than the earthquake’s tramp;
Thou deafenest the rage of the ocean; thy stare
Makes blind the volcanos; the sun’s bright lamp
To thine is a fen-fire damp.
From billow and mountain and exhalation
The sunlight is darted through vapour and blast;
From spirit to spirit, from nation to nation,
From city to hamlet thy dawning is cast,—
And tyrants and slaves are like shadows of night
In the van of the morning light.

Percy Bysshe Shelley, Posthumous Peoms (1824).

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

All humanity is free and equal: Thoughts of John Milton

In 1660s, when the English monarchy was restored and the Republican government ended, John Milton was concerned with both how monarchists would treat the English people and how the English people would face their descendants. Here are Milton’s thought:

“But admitt, that monarchy of it self may be convenient to som nations, yet to us who have thrown it out, received back again, it cannot but prove pernicious. For [the] kings to com, never forgetting thir former ejection, will be sure to fortifie and arme themselves sufficiently for the future against all such attempts heerafter from the people: who shall be then so narrowly watch’d and kept so low, [as that besides the loss of all thir blood, and treasure spent to no purpose,], that though they would never so fain and at the same rate of thir blood and treasure, they never shall be able to regain what they now have purchasd and may enjoy, or to free themselves from any yoke impos’d upon them. nor will they dare to go about it; utterly disheartn’d for the future, if these thir highest attempts prove unsuccesfull; which will be the triumph of all tyrants heerafter over any people that shall resist oppression; and thir song will then be, to others, how sped the rebellious English? to our posteritie, how sped the rebells your fathers?”

[From John Milton, The Ready and Easy Way to Establish a Free Commonwealth (1660).]

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Pseudo-Founding Fathers & Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas

Make yourself sheep and the wolves will eat you." -- Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790).

Like other of the Enlightenment, Franklin echoed Voltaire, “that generous Maxim, that ’tis much more Prudence to acquit two Persons, tho’ actually guilty, than to pass Sentence of Condemnation on one that is virtuous and innocent.—Zadig, chapter 6, p. 53 (1749, reprinted 1974).

Contrast the real Founding Fathers, like Franklin and Paine, with the unnamed pseudo-Founding Fathers whom Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas claim would rather execute the innocent than risk letting the guilty go free.

By a 6-to-3 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that execution of the mentally retarded is cruel and unusual punishment. The three dissenting Justice who favored execution of the mentally retarded: Justice Rehnquist, Justice Thomas, and Justice Scalia.

Voltaire & established authorities...

"It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong." -- Voltaire -

Voltaire (1694—1778) was the son of a notary, was born at Paris and was educated at the Jesuit Collège Louis-le-Grand. French philosopher and author, whose original name was Arouet. One of the towering geniuses in literary and intellectual history, Voltaire personifies the Enlightenment.