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Simple question. When did Justice Scalia visit your house?

What? Never?

What about Justice Thomas, Justice Alito or any of the other Supreme Court members?

Again, never? Don’t feel bad. They never have been to my house either.

Here’s a little hint: Don’t wait up for them. They’re not coming. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not ever . . . unless you’re rich.

And that is the point.

Some Justices may be able to resist the allure of money and moneyed people. Justice Scalia was not one of those. He delighted in hanging with the rich and famous.

SunSentinel, 2/15/16: CREEK RANCH, Texas
When Texas millionaire John Poindexter invited Justice Antonin Scalia to his remote ranch near the Mexican border, it was for a private party with about 35 other guests, a weekend of hunting and sightseeing on his painstakingly restored and cultivated 30,000-acre spread.

Are you a Texas millionaire? Do you own a “painstakingly restored and cultivated 30,000-acre spread”? Do your friends? If not, no need to wonder why Justice Scalia never paid a visit.

(Despite the proximity to Mexico, it’s doubtful whether any non-celebrity Mexicans were among the guests, either.)

Poindexter became concerned and went to (Scalia’s) room, which has its own outdoor fire pit and a wall of windows overlooking the 22-room adobe ranch hotel, a lake and surrounding peaks of the Chinati Mountains.

It was Scalia’s first visit to the storied ranch, and his death is already becoming part of the lore at Cibolo Creek, a site steeped in Southwest history and frequented by what Poindexter’s consultant George Van Etten called “a lot of Hollywood people and captains of industry.”

Guests have included Mick Jagger, Julia Roberts, and Tommy Lee Jones.

Poindexter said he invited Scalia to the ranch on the suggestion of a mutual friend, a lawyer, who came with Scalia.

He declined to identify the lawyer or any of the other guests, except to say that they were “very substantial business people,” but not big names in politics.

“There is no political angle here,” he said. “It was strictly a group of friends sympathetic to the justice’s views.”

See, it’s like this. There was no political angle. Just people who were sympathetic to Scalia’s political views.

These rich people had plenty of time to express their political views to a sympathetic jurist, who would be ruling on cases of great financial importance to these rich people.

Of course, a man like Scalia would not be swayed by such ex parte communications. The common ethics rule goes something like this:

A judge shall not initiate, permit, or consider ex parte communications, or consider other communications made to the judge outside the presence of the parties or their lawyers, concerning a pending or impending matter.

If a judge inadvertently receives an unauthorized ex parte communication bearing upon the substance of a matter, the judge shall promptly notify the parties of the substance of the communication and provide the parties with an opportunity to respond.

Clearly, the Honorable Justice Scalia would scrupulously avoid any hint of unethical behavior (though what is the purpose of meeting a group of people “sympathetic to the justice’s views”?)

Scalia engendered criticism in the past over his choice of partners on hunting trips. In 2001, he went on a pheasant hunting trip with the dean of a Kansas law school who was the lead attorney in two cases that were about to come before the Supreme Court.

And in 2004, he went duck hunting with then-Vice President Dick Cheney — flying with him on a plane that served as Air Force 2 — while the high court was considering a case that challenged the secrecy of an energy task force led by Cheney.

Is Scalia so rude as not to know how to say “Thank you” to his benefactors?

Scalia simply enjoyed killing ducks and flying Air Force 2, and hey, what’s the good of being a judge if you can’t accept gifts from the plaintiffs who come before you?

“I spent quite a bit of time talking to him — about nothing official, just pleasantries: Texas scenery, outdoors, what life is like in Washington,” Poindexter said. “He didn’t come to have a long conversation about jurisprudence.”

Right. You invite a leading Supreme Court justice for a free weekend, to hobnob with “substantial people” who have similar views, and then you talk about Texas scenery.

Sounds reasonable.

Then there was Justice Thomas joining Scalia at the trough:

When the conservative financier Charles Koch sent out invitations for a political retreat in Palm Springs later this month, he highlighted past appearances at the gathering of “notable leaders” like Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court.

A leading liberal group, Common Cause, filed a petition with the Justice Department on Wednesday asking it to investigate whether Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas should have recused themselves in the case, involving Citizens United, because of their attendance at past retreats organized by the conservative financier Charles Koch, whose company operates a foundation that is a major contributor to political advocacy groups.

You remember Citizens United, don’t you? That’s the case in which Scalia ruled that “money is free speech, and the more free speech the better.”

Apparently, rich people are entitled to more free speech than other people, so they can spend all they want to sway elections.

Although Scalia may have been one of the more blatant flouters of normal judicial ethics, he was not unique:

At the Supreme Court, conflicts of interest are just a day at the office

Justice Samuel A. Alito’s sister is a high-powered labor attorney who represents management in disputes with workers. Justice Elena Kagan’s brother, a teacher at an elite public school in New York, has protested the school’s admissions process because of low minority enrollment. And Justice Stephen G. Breyer’s son co-founded a tech company that broadcasts civil court proceedings.

Does having relatives involved in labor disputes, affirmative action battles and cameras in courtrooms affect how Supreme Court justices decide cases and manage their institution? They say no, and we’re supposed to take them at their word.

But is “trust us” really good enough for the nation’s highest court?

A confluence of recent events has made the Supreme Court the most powerful, least accountable public institution in the country. It is time to make the justices more accountable to the American people.

In spite of this vast power, the justices have little accountability. Not only do they decide for themselves when to recuse themselves from cases in which they have conflicts; they also aren’t bound to a code of ethics the way the rest of the federal judiciary is.

They can decide how much information on investments and travel to release in their annual financial disclosure reports, and they determine when and where people can demonstrate near their building.

Unlike the consensus required to make changes in Congress, the Supreme Court is largely in charge of its own rules — and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. himself could usher in most of the vital changes needed, including tightening requirements on recusals, requiring the justices to adhere to the Code of Conduct for U.S. judges, posting disclosure reports online, providing advance notice for public appearances and permitting live audio and video in the courtroom.

Will the Supreme Court of the United States ever adopt the ethics rules by which all other judges in America are bound?

My prediction: Not with Roberts or any other conservative as Chief Justice. By nature, liberals are more tuned to fairness and ethics — that’s what makes them liberals — so we probably will have to wait until then.

There is a blog that addresses the issue: http://fixthecourt.com/ You absolutely should read it and keep it at ready access.

Meanwhile, do you see why laws always seem to benefit the rich at the expense of the rest of us?

Not only are the politicians bribed with campaign contributions and promises of well-paying jobs, and the media are bribed via ownership, and the economists are bribed by contributions to their universities, but the Supreme Court itself is bribed by conflict-of-interest.

Yes, it always has been this way, and yes, both parties are subject to this bribery at your expense, but does that make it O.K.?

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty

 

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Ten Steps to Prosperity:
1. Eliminate FICA (Click here)
2. Federally funded Medicare — parts A, B & D plus long term nursing care — for everyone (Click here)
3. Provide an Economic Bonus to every man, woman and child in America, and/or every state a per capita Economic Bonus. (Click here) Or institute a reverse income tax.
4. Free education (including post-grad) for everyone. Click here
5. Salary for attending school (Click here)
6. Eliminate corporate taxes (Click here)
7. Increase the standard income tax deduction annually Click here
8. Tax the very rich (.1%) more, with higher, progressive tax rates on all forms of income. (Click here)
9. Federal ownership of all banks (Click here and here)

10. Increase federal spending on the myriad initiatives that benefit America’s 99% (Click here)

The Ten Steps will grow the economy, and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and you.
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10 Steps to Economic Misery: (Click here:)
1. Maintain or increase the FICA tax..
2. Spread the myth Social Security, Medicare and the U.S. government are insolvent.
3. Cut federal employment in the military, post office, other federal agencies.
4. Broaden the income tax base so more lower income people will pay.
5. Cut financial assistance to the states.
6. Spread the myth federal taxes pay for federal spending.
7. Allow banks to trade for their own accounts; save them when their investments go sour.
8. Never prosecute any banker for criminal activity.
9. Nominate arch conservatives to the Supreme Court.
10. Reduce the federal deficit and debt

No nation can tax itself into prosperity, nor grow without money growth. Monetary Sovereignty: Cutting federal deficits to grow the economy is like applying leeches to cure anemia.
1. A growing economy requires a growing supply of dollars (GDP=Federal Spending + Non-federal Spending + Net Exports)
2. All deficit spending grows the supply of dollars
3. The limit to federal deficit spending is an inflation that cannot be cured with interest rate control.
4. The limit to non-federal deficit spending is the ability to borrow.

THE RECESSION CLOCK

Recessions begin an average of 2 years after the blue line first dips below zero. A common phenomenon is for the line briefly to dip below zero, then rise above zero, before falling dramatically below zero. There was a brief dip below zero in 2015, followed by another dip – the familiar pre-recession pattern.
Recessions are cured by a rising red line.

Monetary Sovereignty

Vertical gray bars mark recessions.

As the federal deficit growth lines drop, we approach recession, which will be cured only when the growth lines rise. Increasing federal deficit growth (aka “stimulus”) is necessary for long-term economic growth.

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Mitchell’s laws:
•Those, who do not understand the differences between Monetary Sovereignty and monetary non-sovereignty, do not understand economics.
•Any monetarily NON-sovereign government — be it city, county, state or nation — that runs an ongoing trade deficit, eventually will run out of money.
•The more federal budgets are cut and taxes increased, the weaker an economy becomes..

Liberals think the purpose of government is to protect the poor and powerless from the rich and powerful. Conservatives think the purpose of government is to protect the rich and powerful from the poor and powerless.

•The single most important problem in economics is the Gap between rich and the rest..
•Austerity is the government’s method for widening
the Gap between rich and poor.
•Until the 99% understand the need for federal deficits, the upper 1% will rule.
•Everything in economics devolves to motive, and the motive is the Gap between the rich and the rest..

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY