Tag Archives: Clarence Thomas

Radical RAND: The Truth About GOP Hero Ayn Rand -a repost,a republican idol?


socialsecurityposter1I have to say, I do not usually read articles from Maureen Dowd, nor do subscribe to most of her comments but this one about ayn rand grabbed my attention …and is still relevant as 2018 begins

by Maureen Dowd

… Indeed, the most remarkable thing about Ayn Rand’s reach on the right is how unremarked-upon it most often is.

Ayn Rand — Russian empire, founder of the mid-century Objectivist movement, putative philosopher, writer of the novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and the inspiration for a small but intensely devoted band of acolytes — has been enjoying a resurgence of late on the American right. The cultural capstone to this resurgence arrived last week with the release of a filmed adaptation of the first third of Atlas Shrugged, independently financed by a wealthy devotee of Rand’s work and pitched explicitly at the Tea Party demographic. FreedomWorks, one of the central organizations in that movement, rolled out a massive campaign to encourage audience attendance and to push the film into as many theaters as possible. The 2011 CPAC conference held the world premiere of Atlas Shrugged’s trailer, and the conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation hosted an advanced screening of the film. This marketing tactic is understandable. The opening line of Atlas Shrugged — “Who is John Galt?” — has appeared again and again on signs at Tea Party protests across the nation. The Tea Party builds the theme of “Going Galt” into its rhetoric — a reference to the strike of industry titans organized by the hero of the novel. Glenn Beck praises Atlas Shrugged regularly on his various shows, and even held a panel dedicated to asking if Rand’s fiction is finally becoming reality. The Economist reported several sharp spikes in sales of Atlas Shrugged since 2007. And according to the Ayn Rand Institute, sales of the novel hit an all-time annual record that year, then reached a new record in 2008, with possibly another peak in 2009. By all accounts, Ayn Rand is now one of the central intellectual and cultural inspirations for the base of the Republican Party.

RAND’S INFLUENCE ON GOP:

“For over half a century,” says Jennifer Burns, a recent biographer of the novelist, “Rand has been the ultimate gateway drug to life on the right.” And with good reason. Besides her prominence in the Tea Party’s intellectual and cultural lexicon, some of the Republican Party’s leading lights have cited Rand by name as an inspiration. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) said she was the reason he entered public service. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) called Atlas Shrugged “his foundational book.” Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is an avowed fan and quotes extensively from Rand’s novels at Congressional hearings. His father Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) told listeners that readers ate up Rand’s Alas Shrugged because “it was telling the truth,” and even conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas references her work as influence in his autobiography — and apparently has his law clerks watch the film adaptation of The Fountainhead. The phenomenon holds amidst the right-wing media as well: Rush Limbaugh called her “brilliant,” Glenn Beck’s panel on Rand featured the president of the Ayn Rand Institute Yaroom Brook, and Andrew Napolitano enthusiastically recounted a story in which his college-age self introduces his mother to Rand’s The Virtue of Selfishness. John Stossel and Sean Hannity have name-dropped her as well. Going further back, Alan Greenspan — former chairman of the Federal Reserve and a fierce advocate of free-market ideology — is an acolyte of Rand’s thinking and knew her personally, and Rand was also dubbed the unofficial “novelist laureate” of the Reagan Administration by Maureen Dowd. Indeed, the most remarkable thing about Ayn Rand’s reach on the right is how unremarked-upon it most often is.

RAND’S PHILOSOPHY:

The philosophy, such as it was, which Rand laid out in her novels and essays was a frightful concoction of hyper-egotism, power-worship and anarcho-capitalism. She opposed all forms of welfare, unemployment insurance, support for the poor and middle-class, regulation of industry and government provision for roads or other infrastructure. She also insisted that law enforcement, defense and the courts were the only appropriate arenas for government, and that all taxation should be purely voluntary. Her view of economics starkly divided the world into a contest between “moochers” and “producers,” with the small group making up the latter generally composed of the spectacularly wealthy, the successful, and the titans of industry. The “moochers” were more or less everyone else, leading TNR’s Jonathan Chait to describe Rand’s thinking as a kind of inverted Marxism. Marx considered wealth creation to result solely from the labor of the masses, and viewed the owners of capital and the economic elite to be parasites feeding off that labor. Rand simply reversed that value judgment, applying the role of “parasite” to everyday working people instead. On the level of personal behavior, the heroes in Rand’s novels commit borderline rape, blow up buildings, and dynamite oil fields — actions which Rand portrays as admirable and virtuous fulfillments of the characters’ personal will and desires. Her early diaries gush with admiration for William Hickman, a serial killer who raped and murdered a young girl. Hickman showed no understanding of “the necessity, meaning or importance of other people,” a trait Rand apparently found quite admirable. For good measure, Rand dismissed the feminist movement as “false” and “phony,” denigrated both Arabs and Native Americans as “savages” (going so far as to say the latter had no rights and that Europeans were right to take North American lands by force) and expressed horror that taxpayer money was being spent on government programs aimed at educating “subnormal children” and helping the handicapped. Needless to say, when Rand told Mike Wallace in 1953 that altruism was evil, that selfishness is a virtue, and that anyone who succumbs to weakness or frailty is unworthy of love, she meant it.

PAUL RYAN’S AYN RAND BUDGET:

Given that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is the lead architect of the GOP’s 2012 budget plan, his own devotion to the ideas of Atlas Shrugged and its author are worth noting. Conservative columnist Ross Douthat has dismissed the connection as Ryan merely saying some “kind words about Ayn Rand,” which simply isn’t a plausible characterization given what we know: Ryan was a speaker at the Ayn Rand Centenary Conference in 2005, where he described Social Security as a “collectivist system” and cited Rand as his primary inspiration for entering public service. He has at least two videos on his Facebook page in which he heaps praise on the author. “Ayn Rand, more than anyone else, did a fantastic job of explaining the morality of capitalism, the morality of individualism,” he says. All of which reflects a rather more serious devotion than a few mere kind words. So it should come as no surprise that Ryan’s plan comports almost perfectly with Rand’s world view. He guts Medicare, Medicaid, and a whole host of housing, food, and educational support programs, leaving the country’s middle-class and most vulnerable citizens with far less support. Then he uses approximately half of the money freed by those cuts to reduce taxes on the most wealthy Americans. By transforming Medicare into a system of vouchers whose value increases at the rate of inflation, he undoes Medicare’s most humane feature — the shouldering of risk at the social level — and leaves individuals and seniors to shoulder ever greater amounts of risk on their own. But if your intellectual and moral lodestar is a woman who railed against altruism as “evil” and considered the small pockets of highly successful individuals to be morally superior, it’s a perfectly logical plan to put forward.

AlterNet 8/2011

100,000 Demand Thomas Recusal


Because of you, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas got 100,000 messages last week telling him to do the right thing.
We carried those 100,000 messages to the court’s front door in a petition demanding that Justice Thomas disqualify himself from the big health reform case that will be decided by June.
Health Care for America Now and The Other 98% went to the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., and delivered a 334-foot long petition demanding that Thomas recuse himself because of his blatant disregard for legal ethics.
Click here to view a one-minute video of the delivery.
Justice Thomas’s wife has been employed as an agitator on behalf of conservative groups hostile to health reform. He has also been involved socially and politically with groups militantly opposed to the law.
Many who signed the petition are lawyers and retired judges, government officials and prosecutors. They are disgusted and appalled that Justice Thomas doesn’t see how he’s hurting the reputation of the Supreme Court.
Our 100,000 voices are trying to tell Justice Thomas to do the right thing and avoid ruling on a case that has already put more than $600,000 in the Thomases’ bank account.

We aren’t giving up.

Thank you for your support.
Will O’Neill

Health Care for America Now

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has significant conflicts of interest -Affordable Health Care Act


U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has significant conflicts of interest that make it impossible for him to render a fair, impartial decision in the health care case being reviewed by the Court.  Political groups determined to repeal or overturn the Affordable Care Act have been filling Thomas’s family bank account for years. His wife Virginia has been a crusader in the campaign to defeat the law. She has raised money and taken money from organized efforts to kill health reform.

 It’s time for Clarence Thomas to recuse himself – join our letter to Associate Justice Thomas TODAY. click on link below http://healthcareforamericanow.org/page/m/3560d829/5131405c/333fe647/786f0c2e/746129166/VEsH/

 Justice Thomas personally has aligned himself with political activists and organizations dedicated to thwarting the new health care law. He spoke at a secret conclave run by the billionaire Koch Brothers to raise funds for organizations like Americans for Prosperity. Seventy-four members of the House of Representatives have even taken the highly unusual step of requesting that Justice Thomas remove himself from participation in deliberations on the Affordable Care Act.

 If Justice Thomas fails to recuse himself, it will threaten the integrity of the entire Supreme Court.

It’s time to send Clarence Thomas a message: recuse yourself.

In Solidarity,
Melinda Gibson
 Health Care for America Now

Investigat​e Clarence Thomas & Restore Ethics on the Supreme Court


Nearly 45,000 activists have already signed our petition urging a DOJ investigation into Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas‘ ethics violations. Please add your name now and help us get to 60,000 signers by the end of this week!    WWW.PFAW.ORG

New research by our allies has shed more light on the controversy over Justice Thomas’ failure to disclose his wife Virginia’s income on important judicial disclosure forms. The research shows that Justice Thomas knew enough about how to fill out the forms that he generally recorded his wife’s employment and earnings until 1997, when for some reason he just stopped. Since then, until recently correcting the forms, Thomas failed to disclose more than $1.6 million of his wife’s earnings, primarily from the ultraconservative think tank the Heritage Foundation.

This is just the latest revelation into why an ethics investigation of Justice Thomas is so needed, and why I am asking that you sign our petition to support calls by Rep. Louise Slaughter and her colleagues for the U.S. Judicial Conference to recommend the Justice Department launch an investigation now.

WWW.PFAW.ORG

Thanks! And after you sign, please help spread the word.

— Michael

Original Message:

Join the call for a Justice Department investigation into Clarence Thomas’ ethics violations.

Efforts to hold Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas accountable for ethics violations just jumped to the next level.

A group of 20 House Democrats led by Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) are now pushing for a Justice Department investigation into Justice Thomas’ possible serious violations.

Please sign our petition supporting the call for an investigation now.

The letter Rep. Slaughter and 19 of her colleagues sent was to the Judicial Conference of the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts. It urges the Judicial Conference follow the law and refer the matter of Justice Thomas’ non-compliance with the Ethics in Government Act to the Department of Justice.

Various reports have raised concerns about Justice Clarence Thomas’ seemingly flagrant disregard for important disclosure requirements under the Ethics in Government Act of 1978. Justice Thomas failed to disclose his wife’s earnings on judicial financial disclosure forms on which he was required to do so. And there are questions about his acceptance of gifts from interests with significant stake in several Supreme Court cases.

The Supreme Court’s very legitimacy and the public’s trust in the institution are under threat if Justices do not strictly adhere to ethical standards. It’s incredibly important that Justice Thomas’ violations are not ignored and that he be held accountable.

Hold Justice Clarence Thomas accountable — take action to support a DOJ investigation now!

Many of you have stood with our previous work to call out Justice Thomas for his conflicts of interest and the appearance of impropriety his actions have created. This is a significant escalation in those ongoing efforts, and it’s very important that you continue to stand with us.

After you sign, please help spread the word and recruit more Americans to this cause.

Thank you for your activism and your unyielding commitment to fair and just courts — the American Way.

Sincerely,

Michael Keegan, President

Tell Clarence Thomas to Recuse himself!


Nearly 25,000 people have already signed on to this action, giving it an incredible start. Help us keep it going.

Be part of the growing number of Americans demanding that Justice Thomas acknowledge the conflict of interest presented by his family’s professional, paid involvement in efforts to fight and now repeal a law that could soon come before the Supreme Court.

Tell Justice Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from future Supreme Court cases involving the health care reform law.>>       www.pfaw.org

Thank you for your support and your activism.

— Ben

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Original Message:

Dear People For Supporter,

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, already in hot water over failing to report his wife’s income on judicial disclosure forms, is now being called on by 74 members of Congress, led by Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York, to recuse himself from hearing cases on the health care reform law.

It’s really pretty simple. Justice Thomas’ wife Ginni has earned hundreds of thousands of dollars working for and leading groups that have repealing health care reform as one of their chief goals. And considering challenges to the health car law are expected to make it to the Supreme Court, how could that not be a major conflict of interest?

Rep. Weiner and his colleagues are absolutely correct that Justice Thomas should recuse himself.

Click here to sign on to their letter to Justice Thomas and we’ll deliver the names to Rep. Weiner.   >> www.pfaw.org

Challenges to the health care reform law have been largely unsuccessful, but two judges have ruled at least one part of the bill unconstitutional, making it very likely that the challenge will make its way to the Supreme Court.

The court challenges to health care reform are really more political than legal, and the tortured logic used by the judges who have ruled it unconstitutional ignores the text and history of our Constitution, as well as firmly established case law going back to the Supreme Court of the early 1800s. Despite right-wing Supreme Court justices’ willingness to contort the law to suit their ideology – see the their controversial decisions in Bush v. Gore and Citizens United v. FEC, both of which had Justice Thomas in the majority – most legal experts agree that the health care reform law is perfectly constitutional and under no real threat of being ruled otherwise. But outcomes aside, the Thomas family’s profits from efforts to repeal health care reform clearly mean that Justice Thomas should not hear and decide cases about that law.

Ginni Thomas is now a lobbyist, advertising herself to potential clients interested in health care reform as someone with the “experience and connections” to get the job done. Justice Clarence Thomas should honor his office by acknowledge this obvious conflict of interest and recusing himself.

Don’t wait another minute to speak up — add your name to Rep. Weiner’s letter now. www.pfaw.org

— Ben Betz, Online Communications Manager

Here’s the text of the letter:

Dear Justice Thomas:

As an Associate Justice, you are entrusted with the responsibility to exercise the highest degree of discretion and impartiality when deciding a case. As Members of Congress, we were surprised by recent revelations of your financial ties to leading organizations dedicated to lobbying against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. We write today to respectfully ask that you maintain the integrity of this court and recuse yourself from any deliberations on the constitutionality of this act.

The appearance of a conflict of interest merits recusal under federal law. From what we have already seen, the line between your impartiality and you and your wife’s financial stake in the overturn of health care reform is blurred. Your spouse is advertising herself as a lobbyist who has “experience and connections and appeals to clients who want a particular decision — they want to overturn health care reform. Moreover, your failure to disclose Ginny Thomas‘s receipt of $686,589 from the Heritage Foundation, a prominent opponent of health care reform, between 2003 and 2007 has raised great concern.

This is not the first case where your impartiality was in question. As Common Cause points out, you participated in secretive political strategy sessions, perhaps while the case was pending, with corporate leaders whose political aims were advanced by the [5-4] decision on the Citizens United case. Your spouse also received an undisclosed salary paid for by undisclosed donors as CEO of Liberty Central, a 501(c)(4) organization that stood to benefit from the decision and played an active role in the 2010 elections.

Given these facts, there is a strong conflict between the Thomas household’s financial gain through your spouse’s activities and your role as a Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. We urge you to recuse yourself from this case. If the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision is to be viewed as legitimate by the American people, this is the only correct path.

We appreciate your thoughtful consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

ANTHONY D. WEINER

Call your Member of Congress

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