Permit me to explain my reluctance to endorse. As the All-Powerful, Benevolent Deity I have a certain responsibility to non-partisanship among my constituents. Of course, I do prefer those among you who are moral, kind, compassionate, good and gracious. I have, however, noticed a certain tendency for these qualities to be diminished upon entering office. Next time around I intend to tinker a bit with the mix, and see if I can make My creation a bit more consistent. The first batter is always lumpy.
The problem is that in times past I did intervene in elections. When Moses and Korach were, in a sense, running against each other, I took clear sides. So certain was I of the proper outcome that I resorted to the simple expedient of having the ground swallow Korach and his cohorts. That severely cut into their base. Some people thought this an extreme form of censorship, but I believed it was unworthy of the Ruler of the Universe to simply stuff ballots. If I am going to endorse, it will be in biblical measure. I don’t do leaflets. I do pronouncements. (For those of you who have not read My book in a while, check the 16th chapter of Numbers.)
There were times when I was sorely tempted to raise My right hand for a candidate for office. A parade of villainy has passed before My all seeing eye, but I left the choice up to you. Some of the people whom I most favored – dear old honest Abe comes to mind – had to win on their own. I could have delivered a key county or two. But Korach’s indignant plea as he caromed off the canyon wall reminded me that I tend to push a bit too hard. Moses had some electoral deficits – a speech impediment, a certain impatience, and an alien upbringing – but he probably could have carried the pivotal Sinai districts even without My help.
So please, I ask you in My Name – don’t use My Name. You haven’t any idea whom I endorse. I don’t tote up church attendance like a celestial accountant and award the election to the one with the best record. I see inside hearts, remember? Watch out. While I am very, very patient, sometimes I snap. When I do decide to turn My countenance to you, if you have been tossing My name around like a cheap ticket to the Oval Office, I could be very put out. You don’t want that, trust Me. Just ask Korach.
By: David Wolpe, Rabbi of Sinai Temple, Los Angeles; The Washington Post, June 6, 2011
Once again the United States Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts has shown the nation it will always favor corporations over people even if it means conjuring new law out of thin air. Like Citizens United, the recent 5-4 ruling in AT&T’s favor gutting the power of consumers to file class-action lawsuits against giant corporations tips the scales of justice against the people and renders the enormous power of corporations even more enormous.
When I first heard about the case, AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion there was little doubt in my mind that the Gang of Five — John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, and Clarence Thomas would figure out a way to ignore Supreme Court precedent and again apply their judicial activism in service to the corporations, and by extension, to the oligarchy they apparently believe the “founders” intended.
It’s kind of funny when we see Republican presidential candidates like Mitt Romeny, Tim Pawlenty, and Newt Gingrich pandering to the “little guy” denouncing “elites” who are trampling on their rights only to remain mute on the fact that their beloved Republican Supreme Court never, ever rules in favor of the “little guy.”
The Republican president Ronald Reagan gave us Scalia and Kennedy; the Republican president George Herbert Walker Bush gave us Thomas; and the Republican president George W. Bush gave us Roberts and Alito. This cabal has shown over and over again where its true loyalties lie, not to “the law,” not to “the Constitution,” not to “calling balls and strikes,” but to a 21st century version of corporate feudalism. This new corporate feudalism that the High Court is determined to thrust on the nation is even more exploitative than the earlier brand of Medieval feudalism because it is absent noblesse oblige.
The serfs toiling on the corporate plantation can only continue to pay Chase and Bank of America for their underwater mortgages, ExxonMobil and Chevron for their $4 a gallon gas, and AT&T, Comcast, T-Mobile and the rest for the privilege of communicating in a modern society. And if the serfs seek redress the High Court will slap them down before they can get anything substantial off the ground. With Citizens United placing a stranglehold of corporate power over our state, local, and federal system of elections, we cannot turn to our political “leaders” for redress, we can’t turn to the courts, and we certainly can’t turn to trying to morally persuade sociopathic non-human entities called corporations — so where does that leave us?
In the current context of unrestrained corporate dominance it’s unconscionable that the Obama administration has not done more to blunt its disastrous effects. The Justice and Treasury Departments, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Internal Revenue Service, etc. could be doing a hell of a lot more in bringing balance to the equation of corporations versus people. The administration’s lagging performance in holding Wall Street accountable is well known, but it won’t even lift a finger to block grotesque mergers like the one between Comcast and NBC Universal, and AT&T and T Mobile. In all these mergers and acquisitions it’s always the consumers and the employees who lose, while the CEOs and a select few of shareholders and financiers make out like the bandits they are.
Nothing illustrates the corruption rampant in Washington more than the recent resignation of Federal Communications Commission member, Meredith Attwell Baker, a Republican who Obama appointed to show how “bipartisan” he can be, who is now going to work as a lavishly paid shill for the very industry she was supposedly “regulating.” Ms. Baker will now make the big bucks serving Comcast/NBC Universal after she voted for the merger of Comcast and NBC Universal. Sweet. And few in the Beltway see anything unsavory about it.
Our political leaders, our Supreme Court, our captains of industry and finance, are so out of touch it’s going to be a long, long time before ordinary working people see any relief. All of our institutions, political, economic, even religious, social, and cultural, all of them, are failing the people miserably in pursuit of the Almighty Buck. The cunning game of appointing young ideologues to the bench has paid off handsomely for the corporate power structure. Someone should tell those people running around in tri-cornered hats and talking about the “founders” that it might be wise to save an ounce of their collective wrath for the Republicans who have appointed five Justices who are trampling on individual freedoms in service of corporations.
By: Joseph A. Palermo, The Huffington Post, May 15, 2011