Sunday, October 26, 2008

More On The Big Heist

Beat the Press Archive The American Prospect: "The Post Misleads Readers on the Bailout, Yet Again" :

Many school teachers, autoworkers, and plumbers do not like the idea of paying higher taxes so that the incompetent executives at major financial institutions can continue to collect their multi-million dollar paychecks. But, that is exactly what is happening as Congress voted to "spread the wealth around" by redistributing tax dollars from ordinary workers to some of the very richest people in the county.

Yeah, we know about the limits on executive compensation. But these limits are a joke, that's what all the experts said. People who read the Washington Post know that the limits on executive compensation are a joke because the Post ran a very good article (after the passage of the bailout) telling readers that the limits on compensation are a joke.

Since everyone knows that the limits on executive compensation are a joke, why did the Post tell readers in an article on the potential bailout of insurers that the banks who received government money "also must accept limits on executive compensation."

The reality is that these bailouts are being structured to be a massive transfer of wealth to the very richest people in the country. It is not supposed to be the media's job to conceal this fact from the public.

--Dean Baker
Posted by Dean Baker on October 25, 2008 9:22 AM

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Presidential Election and the Latest on Vote Suppression Efforts

The Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays just played a great series, and last night, in the seventh game, the Rays won the right to go to the World Series. The series was a close, but fair, contest. Let's hope our own Presidential election, which looks like it may be close as well, will also be fair.

On that issue, here's a must-read article by Robert Kennedy, Jr. and Greg Palast, in Rolling Stone Magazine: Block the Vote: Rolling Stone. It's good to see we don't always have to go to the UK to get decent investigative news reports on our own Presidential election. We just have to look harder.

....In state after state, Republican operatives — the party's elite commandos of bare-knuckle politics — are wielding new federal legislation to systematically disenfranchise Democrats. If this year's race is as close as the past two elections, the GOP's nationwide campaign could be large enough to determine the presidency in November. "I don't think the Democrats get it," says John Boyd, a voting-rights attorney in Albuquerque who has taken on the Republican Party for impeding access to the ballot. "All these new rules and games are turning voting into an obstacle course that could flip the vote to the GOP in half a dozen states."


ACORN Voter Fraud Hoax: A Case of Projection?

Now here's more on the Presidential election, from the Guardian in England (as I've said here, it seems we have to go to the other side of the Atlantic to get the best reports on our own election): Brad Friedman: The Republican voter fraud hoax Well, some of the real story is also being reported right here in the USA, though not as widely as the ACORN hoax story. The important story, for example, does indeed appear in the current edition of Rolling Stone, Block the Vote: Rolling Stone, an article by Greg Palast and Bobby Kennedy, Jr. To their credit, the New York Times and CBS News(see links in the excerpt below) have actually also reported a bit of the real story.

The Republicans/FOX News have been disseminating their ACORN voter fraud story to distract attention from the main story, in what is sort of the political and journalistic version of "projection."

[The Acorn fraud story] is all a hoax. All of it.But it's been an effective one, as it's served to distract from very real concerns about tens of thousands of voters who have been illegally purged from the voting rolls in dozens of states, as the New York Times reported in a remarkable front page investigative story. That story followed a report the week before from CBS News detailing still more wholesale purges of voting rolls in some 20 states.That will be the November surprise, when thousands, if not millions show up to vote only to find they are no longer welcome to do so and are forced to vote on a "provisional ballot" which may or may not be counted.These real concerns of election fraud, such as voting roll purges, electronic voting machines that don't work and so much more that actually matters, have been obscured by the smoke and mirrors and sleight of hand of the Republican party's phoney Acorn voter fraud charade.And where they can, they'll parlay it all into new photo ID restrictions at the polls (knowing full well that some 20m, largely Democratic-leaning voters don't own the type of ID they'd need to jump over that next Republican hurdle.)Yet, with all of the unsubstantiated, wholly bogus claims of voter fraud being carried out by Democrats, there remains at least one case of absolutely ironclad, documented, yet still-unprosecuted case of voter fraud that, for some reason, Republicans don't much like to talk about.We can only wonder why.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

More on Connecticut's Same-Sex Marriage Decision

Here's another good article by Hofstra Law Professor Joanna Grossman, this one on the recent Connecticut Supreme Court's same-sex marriage decision: FindLaw's Writ - Grossman: And Connecticut Makes Three: The State's Highest Court Declares Same-Sex Marriage Ban Unconstitutional.

....Connecticut's ruling is similar to the ones in Massachusetts and California, though in subtle ways it is also stronger. Connecticut's civil union law did grant same-sex couples identical rights and benefits to married couples, unlike California's domestic partnership law, which had one tangible difference. And Connecticut's ruling on constitutional sufficiency is marginally stronger than that of Massachusetts, since it came as part of a fully-litigated controversy rather than as an advisory opinion. But these distinctions are minor; it's fair to treat all three of these cases as standing for the same principle: When it comes to marriage, separate is not equal.

The civil union operates as a pragmatic step toward marriage equality - one that secures tangible benefits for same-sex couples despite the present political climate. Polls often show majority support for civil unions, but not for same-sex marriage. Despite the practical benefits, however, the stigma and second-class nature inherent in an alternative status is inescapable. That is a reality that Massachusetts, California and, now, Connecticut have rightly faced up to - and acknowledged with rulings ensuring the name of marriage is accessible to all.

It's hard to know how many states must recognize same-sex marriage before we have a critical mass, but three is a good place to start.

For information about Massachusetts divorce and family law, see the divorce and family law page of my law firm website.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

We Must Watch The BBC To Learn About Our Own Presidential Election

Our American corporate media is still busy spewing Wall Street's propaganda, which is responsible for helping to sell the Great Heist (a/k/a "the bailout") which the Wall Street banking community and its friends in the White House have succeeded in forcing upon a reluctant Congress.

Now it is clear that Congress, in almost complete unanimity, has struck out on three of the most important issues during the Bush Years: 1) Patriot Act, 2) Iraq War authorization, and 3) the bailout for banks. It must be depressing and lonely to be one of the handful in Congress, such as Vermont's Representative Bernie Sanders or Wisconsin's Senator Russ Feingold, who were smart and decent enough to take the lonely, principled position in opposition to each of these wrong moves. It is no coincidence that those few who turned out to have been right on those previously wrongly decided issues are the same ones who have correctly opposed the corporate/bank welfare legislation now.

And it will hardly be any consolation once these few courageous politicians who were right on those other issues are eventually judged by history to have been right again on this latest issue. It is hard to make good judgments and look ahead when the media is so caught up in the government and Wall Street propaganda of the present.

Naturally, this same American corporate media, whose normal modus operandi is to pass off as actual news the many warmed-over press releases from the government, whether on the economy or on war or on almost anything else, despite the huge credibility problems of this government, is now completely ignoring one of the most important news stories of our time. That important news is the greatest unreported story about the current Presidential campaign - the fact that Obama may lose the election due to Republican efforts to reduce, block, or eliminate vast numbers of poor voters in many states, in order to throw the election to the Republicans. Of course, our Republican administration would not be sending out press releases to ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, and FOX on all of that.

So once again, just like in 2000 and 2004, we have to go overseas, to the BBC, to get this important news, even though the news comes from an American, Greg Palast, the greatest living investigative reporter in this country. Here are the reports as recently broadcast by the BBC:

BBC Report, by Greg Palast, Part One

BBC Report, by Greg Palast, Part Two

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Connecticut Finds Right to Same-Sex Marriage - Joins Massachusetts and California

In a long-awaited decision, the Connecticut Supreme Court yesterday joined the highest courts of California and Massachusetts in creating, or recognizing, a right of same-sex marriage on state constitutional grounds. As in those other courts, the decision was a close 4-3. See the news here: Connecticut Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage - The Boston Globe. The majority opinion of the court is here, and the three separate dissenting opinions are here, here and here.

(By Michael Levenson and Andrew Ryan)

Connecticut became the third state to legalize same-sex marriage today in a 4-3 decision by the state Supreme Court.

In an 85-page decision issued at 11:30 a.m., the court struck down a law barring same-sex marriage, ruling that the state had "failed to establish adequate reason to justify the statutory ban."

The justices noted in the majority opinion that they recognized "as the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court did in Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health … that 'our decision marks a change in the history of our marriage law.' "

The case, Kerrigan v. the state Commissioner of Public Health, was brought by eight same-sex couples who were denied marriage licenses by the Madison town clerk. They argued that the state's civil union law was discriminatory and unconstitutional because it established a separate and therefore inherently unequal institution for a
minority group. Citing equal protection under the law, the state Supreme Court

"In accordance with these state constitutional requirements, same sex couples cannot be denied the freedom to marry," said the majority opinion, which was written by Justice Richard N. Palmer.


For information about Massachusetts divorce and family law, see the divorce and family law page of my law firm website.