One of the biggest lies and biggest cons ever perpetrated on the American public has been the Republican claim they are for small government. According to some popular novels and movies (The Grifters) you cannot con an honest person. Maybe. It does seem that some people easily fall into the big con because they want to believe. Evidence bounces off the true believers, but that does not mean rational people have no affect at all. It is why in the age of the internet, things that happened on Tuesday are already old news, the rational community frequently feels like throwing a shoe at their TV. Despite modern technology and the power of the Tweet, change throughout history has been a Sisyphean struggle. Liars, charlatans, those entranced by overly romanticized heroes, cults of personality, deeply ingrained dogma and cultural myths are intangibles, but they wear better than granite. Dogmatists don’t throw up their arms one day and say, oops, ya got me, I’m a liar, I’m delusional. Rational empirical thought tempered by compassion is the truly long war. It will probably outlast us all. Republicans Embrace Big Government and Unckecked Power – Michigan’s ‘Emergency Manager Law’ Epitomizes State-Level ‘Shock Doctrine’ and As Wisconsin’s attack on workers spreads to other states, so does the historic uprising that began in Madison. I am truly amazed at where some of the power comes from in the war on the middle and working classes – from the middle and working class. Some of them have joined forces with the plutocracy to take away even more of their power, the loss of which they complain about incessantly.
The tendency to perceive others as “us versus them” isn’t exclusively human but appears to be shared by our primate cousins, a new study led by Yale researchers has found.
In a series of ingenious experiments, Yale researchers led by psychologist Laurie Santos showed that monkeys treat individuals from outside their groups with the same suspicion and dislike as their human cousins tend to treat outsiders, suggesting that the roots of human intergroup conflict may be evolutionarily quite ancient.
“One of the more troubling aspects of human nature is that we evaluate people differently depending on whether they’re a member of our ‘ingroup’ or ‘outgroup,'” Santos said. “Pretty much every conflict in human history has involved people making distinctions on the basis of who is a member of their own race, religion, social class, and so on. The question we were interested in is: Where do these types of group distinctions come from?”
Its an interesting paper and their general conclusion may be right, but I don’t think this one study, all on its own, proves the case. One of the reasons it would not seem to be cut and dry is the capacity for humans to be influenced by culture or nurturing. Suspicions of strangers in general, is usually socially approved parenting, but gender, race and other prejudices seem to be taught.
Probably because of some persistent pockets of naive neurons, that remain unscathed by modern life, I consider the corruption of the SCOTUS in the 21st century shocking, Chamber Of Commerce’s Top SCOTUS Litigator Admits Justices Give Special Treatment to Chamber
While the Chamber of Commerce has recently tried to downplay the favorable treatment it receives from the Supreme Court, its own top lawyer admitted a few years after Roberts joined the Court that the justices give his client special treatment:
Carter G. Phillips, who often represents the chamber and has argued more Supreme Court cases than any active lawyer in private practice, reflected on its influence. “I know from personal experience that the chamber’s support carries significant weight with the justices,” he wrote. “Except for the solicitor general representing the United States, no single entity has more influence on what cases the Supreme Court decides and how it decides them than the National Chamber Litigation Center.”
Phillips’ confession, and the Posner study’s conclusion, corroborates other data showing the Roberts Court’s favoritism towards corporate interests.
In our three branch system of democracy, each branch is supposed to serve its part of a system of checks and balances. In reality the SCOTUS is the ultimate check. It has no oversight per se. Justices can be impeached for bad behavior, but what constitutes bad behavior is not clear on doing the bidding of special interests. Unless there is proven some quid pro quo for a ruling. Impeachment guidelines are defined in Article II, Section 4: “The president, vice president and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Samuel Chase was the only Justice ever impeached, but he was acquitted. Justice Abe Fortas voluntarily resigned when he was found to be a paid consultant to a convicted criminal. Quite a few lower federal court judges have been charged with crimes, like bribery and corruption, and impeached. The SCOTUS seems to be largely and unfortunately, self policing in regards to ethics.