ethics

A Video From Protect Our Elections: Justice Thomas and False Statements

From ProtectOurElections.org,

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January 24, 2011- Today, we asked the Justice Department to bring criminal charges against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas for making false statements on his Financial Disclosure forms every year since 2003 by falsely swearing under criminal penalty that his wife Virginia had no income. Justice Thomas signed these forms under oath after certifying that the information in them was true and accurate.

Virginia Thomas worked at the Heritage Foundation from 2003 through 2007 and earned at least $120,000 each year according to the foundation’s Form 990s. She is now working for Liberty Central in a paid position according to its CEO Sarah Field. Last Friday, Common Cause wrote to the Administrative Office of the Courts about this matter as was reported by the Los Angeles Times on Saturday.

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On a different, yet perhaps not too dissimilar a note, check out their call for the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the use of secret money to influence elections. And remember, Common Cause has called into question whether Justice Thomas and Justice Scalia were ethically challenged by their involvement in the Citizens United ruling -- a ruling that Virginia Thomas may have benefited from:

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Justice Thomas' wife also may have directly benefitted from her husband's vote in Citizens United. In the months leading up to the decision, Virginia Thomas founded conservative organization Liberty Central, which used $500,000 in undisclosed money to support Republican candidates in the 2010 midterm elections. In addition, for several years Thomas failed to list hundreds of thousands of dollars his wife earned from the conservative Heritage Foundation on Supreme Court financial disclosure forms.

Federal law requires a judge to "disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned," or when "his spouse…has a financial interest in the subject matter in controversy…or any other interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding," says Common Cause. Neither Scalia nor Thomas did so in Citizens United.

In these kinds of cases, the law asks: Would a reasonable person who was aware of the situation question Scalia and Thomas's impartiality in the Citizens United case?

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This looks like it certainly bears further investigation, and may help answer the question whether our Supreme Court Justices are above the law, or servants of it.

Another Chance for Journalists to Navel-gaze

The International Press Institute is holding a World Congress in Vienna and Bratislava on September 11-14, 2010. The title of their congress is “Thinking the Unthinkable: Are We Losing the News?” It appears to be yet another hand-wringing event where journalists talk to journalists about journalism.

Suffering, Police State, and the Ditching of Unhappiness

Promoted. Originally posted 2009-01-24 16:09:45 -0500. -- GH

When I was a young, broke but care-free philosopher in the University of Arkansas, hanging out with poets, working at a red-neck bar for beer money, and fancying myself a writer, I worried a lot. The bar had a big red button behind the counter, right above a double-barrel, twelve gage shot gun. I was told it was loaded with rock salt. Pressing the red button killed the juke box and called the cops. I only had to use those bar-back tools once, then promptly quit.

Fair Fines and Flatulence Taxes for the Half-Glass Empty Class

I'm so happy I found this haven for lost diaries... Again, I posted this at the KOS and watched it slide down the great orange slopes. Again, it was rescued, and praised by a few diligent readers there. And, again, I bring it to you. Thank you for being here.

"I guess it depends if you're a half-glass empty guy or a half-glass full guy."
—George W. Bush

Ever get a parking ticket when you were a half-glass empty guy? Or maybe you were a full-glass full guy, in Bernie Madoff's old neighborhood, and you've had some million dollar months? A $100 equals a tenth of a grand a month, one ten-thousandth of a million. If you make $50,000 a year (a little above the median), that ticket is 0.024% of your monthly income. If you make $12 million  per year, it's 0.0001%, approximately 240 times less than the median American's unhappiness over the same violation.

A flat tax would be more fair than a flat fine. At least with flat income taxes, we'd all be paying the same percentage of our income.

Dwindling tax revenues force governments to look for ways to balance their budgets. Draconian nose amputations are showing up in emergency rooms all over America. More are on their way. Regressive taxes are just worsening the pain on the lowest earners.

Quintessential Climate Change: A Call For Action

"Climate" is a word with several definitions. From Answer.com, here's the dictionary definition:

  1. The meteorological conditions, including temperature, precipitation, and wind, that characteristically prevail in a particular region.
  2. A region of the earth having particular meteorological conditions: lives in a cold climate.
  3. A prevailing condition or set of attitudes in human affairs: a climate of unrest.

For additional clarity (at risk of exceeding "fair use" restrictions), here's the thesaurus listing:

  1. The totality of surrounding conditions and circumstances affecting growth or development: ambiance, atmosphere, environment, medium, milieu, mise en scène, surroundings, world.
  2. A prevailing quality, as of thought, behavior, or attitude: mood, spirit, temper, tone.

So, to truly address "climate change" in today's world, should we not address both functional definitions -- namely, not just the meteorological but also the social/political?

The Devil Quotes Scripture: The GOP's Damning Hypocrisy

 

 

"Gaeity" is a term denoting joyful exuberance or merriment, but in the hands of today's Republican party, I would not be surprised to find it reinterpreted to a bastion of misleading and negative connotations almost as confusing as the definition and use of the word gay. The "Party of Moral clarity" has demonized the use of any word, term or action that could even hint at homosexuality in order to key into the knee-jerk prejudice of millions of "Christian" voters everywhere. (Note that I put quotes around "Christian" -- I can't duly insult those who actually practice the teachings attributed to Christ, when I'm only targeting those who simply claim to.) Whenever I hear GOP leaders or pundits screech about a "homosexual agenda" and accuse someone of being gay as though it is a crime against humanity (unlike torture, or melting the flesh off children), I wonder why nobody asks them to clarify.