don’t tread on me corporate america, old iron gate wallpaper, pets are better than facebook

Many pop political slogans become blurred with time. I was probably still wishing I was tall enough to drink from the adult water fountain the last time I had not heard the term judicial activism. Judicial activism could not be a phantom. Such a phenomenon did exist. Conservatives said so. As is very often the case their complaints were more about projection and playing the victim card. They’ve been using an old tort lawyers trick for at least half a century – be the first to make an accusation, accuse your opponent of being guilty of an act of which you are the actual guilty party. It puts your opponent on the defensive. Most of you have either done it yourself on a smaller scale or seen someone do it. Want to know in concrete terms, with examples and nauseating regularity, what judicial activism on speed is. Just become a John Roberts SCOTUS watcher. How a Corporatist Supreme Court Cabal Joined Forces With Right Wing and Kochs to Quietly Sell Out Our Democracy

In 2010, Scalia was a featured participant in the Koch brothers’ annual political retreat, joining assorted billionaires and GOP operatives as they plotted strategy and raised money for defeating Democrats. And this January, when tea party Republicans marched triumphantly into Washington to take their seats in Congress, they were welcomed by Scalia, who presented a constitutional tutorial to the newly minted partisans.

In 2008 and 2010, Alito lent his supreme prestige to the fund-raising efforts of the right-wing, anti-Democrat mag, American Spectator. He served as chief draw and keynote speaker at the group’s 2008 fund-raiser, where he regaled wealthy funders with Joe Biden jokes. In 2009, he headlined a fundraiser for the Koch-backed Intercollegiate Studies Institute(which boasts the right-wing video trickster and criminal activist James O’Keefe among its alumnae). Also, in 2010, Alito was the chief sparklie at a high-dollar event for the Koch-funded Manhattan Institute.

Thomas, too, has put his judicial imprimatur on the Koch boys’ annual plutocratic political gathering. He addressed their 2008 getaway at a Palm Springs resort, apparently enjoying four days there on the tab of the Koch-funded Federalist Society. He also is closely tied to the Heritage Foundation, which is richly financed by the Kochs. In 2009, he was the featured draw at a fundraiser for the group, which often takes part in Supreme Court cases–and which employed Thomas’ wife, Ginny, from 2003-2007, paying her $686,000 that the justice “inadvertently omitted” from his financial disclosure filings. In addition, Thomas is corruptly entangled with Dallas real estate billionaire and right-wing political funder Harlan Crow.

Coincidence that the radical conservative cabal -Roberts. Alito. Kennedy. Scalia. Thomas – have ruled in favor of corporations against the right of average people to sue for corporate theft and malfeasance. A coincidence the conservative cabal have ruled against any law that tries to take a little of special interests money out of elections. With every major ruling it is as though they have looked at a wish list of America’s most powerful corporate malefactors and wrapped up their gifts of judicial activism with a big red bow. That much hated supposed bastion of liberalism – the NYT did an analysis of the Robert’s Court for the 2010-2011 term and said the hallmark of the Roberts Court is “defending free speech.” Sure if you are a corporation or some nebulous special interests group the SCOTUS made your day. They ruled that money does indeed equal free speech. The more money you have the more speech – via any form of media – you can buy. In a society in which he who yells the loudest wins most debates, that means Rupert Murdoch, the Koch brothers gets more speech and more influence over what the public hears. More speech plus more influence equals more power. Who buys into this math of authoritarianism most. The teahadists and the conservatarians. The people who like to wear those don’t tread on me t-shirts and give a lot of lip service to freedom.

All government is bad. That makes for a concise inexpensive bumper sticker and that is about all. On the other hand a healthy distrust of the expansion of government powers is probably wise. The first proposition, that government, any government – which includes food inspections, Medicare, air traffic control etc – contains a clear implication. The five conservative justices on the SCOTUS understand that implication very well. The less power government has the more power welded by corporations. Nowhere in this equation are the rights of the people.The choice America is being offered – though never said out loud – the choice is between elected representatives looking out for your rights and private corporations. The new generation of conservatarians want us to believe it is corporate America we can trust with our rights. Bank of America, Goldman-Sachs, Massey Energy, Microsoft or Exxon will look out for your free speech, your right to petition, your right to assembly, the freedom of the press better than government will. It might be a choice between lesser evils in light of our current dysfunction Congress, but corporate America has given no reason whatsoever that it can be trusted to be a better guardian of our rights. Try wearing a don’t tread on me t-shirt to a broad meeting of one of the Fortune 500.

old iron gate wallpaper

Wanderlust from Thinklab on Vimeo.

The story that goes with the video –Quit Your Job, Buy a Camera, Travel the World. Not an option for most of us, but a makes a nice Sunday daydream.

Study: Pets Give Us the Same Warm Fuzzies That Friends Do

Researchers from Miami University and Saint Louis University set out to test whether a person can really lean on his or her pets to “fulfill one’s social needs” — that is, to feel connected and in control of one’s life. A growing literature in psychology has already shown that among the elderly or the very ill, caring for a pet can help stave off loneliness and even improve physical health. But can pets bolster mental health among people who aren’t already feeling isolated from other humans? That was the question the researchers set out to test.

While pets have some huge advantages over humans and it might not be all that much of a plus, at least the vast majority of people are house trained.

Humanity edges a little closer to the Singularity – Cookie-Baking Robot