Est. 1995

Tag: Corruption

Freedom Over Fascism

Americans value our freedoms – including our freedom to elect leaders who govern in our name. Multiple grand juries of Americans have indicted the former MAGA President for his criminal conspiracy to defraud, deny, and overthrow the will of the people. Yet MAGA Republicans cheer him on and want to overturn our legal system to allow him to get away with it, while they take away our freedoms and rule for the wealthy few. We must come together to ensure all involved are held accountable, so we can protect our country and our freedoms.

At least four members of the most corrupt Supreme Court in American history have decided to help Trump delay his trial for trying to overthrow the government of the United States.

Just like in 2000, when five Republicans on the Court ignored Al Gore’s probable (later found to be definite) win in Florida to put Bush in the White House, today’s Court is doing as much as they can to help Trump win this November.

As we reckon with this infuriating news, we must keep loudly insisting that the federal trial take place – and do so urgently, before the election. We cannot feed the cynicism and storyline that Trump and his co-conspirators will never be held accountable, as that would lend credence to and cover for their demands for this outcome. As legal expert Norm Eisen said:

“Let’s be clear: there is still time to have a trial, and Department of Justice policy does not prohibit the scheduling of one during an election. The Supreme Court must decide as quickly as humanly possible after oral argument so that Trump can at last be judged by a jury of Americans.”

Also, we must strike from our vocabulary the phrase “SCOTUS decided” or “the Supreme Court ruled.” This provides cover to the corrupt individuals on that court – put there at the behest of billionaires to do their bidding. It is also an implicit condemnation of the three justices who take their roles and oaths seriously.

Make no mistake: these actions are a continuation of MAGA’s criminal conspiracy to take away our freedoms that we’ve been beating back for years. It is vital that we not merely respond to specific legislative atrocities and judicial assaults in isolation, but instead expose the throughline connecting these attacks from SCOTUS to the House of Representatives to state legislatures to the billionaires and corporations financing all of them.

With gratitude to our colleagues at Democracy Defense Project (DDP), here are talking points for how to convey not merely what’s happening but why it matters and what we must demand comes next:

  • Despite a total lack of legal precedent and universal rejection by lower courts, the MAGA Justices on the Supreme Court decided to hear Trump’s claims of absolute presidential immunity.
  • By agreeing to entertain the fiction that presidents are free to commit crimes, these justices are further delaying voters’ most basic right: to have a ruling on and justice for the criminal conspiracy to silence their voices.
  • No court has ever recognized presidential immunity from criminal prosecution. Former presidents have never been allowed to engage in criminal conspiracies unpunished.
  • The August 2023 indictment by a grand jury of everyday Americans lays out the clear criminal conspiracy: It alleges that Trump and MAGA Republicans tried to overturn the 2020 presidential election by every means available, including violence because they knew they had lost.
  • It shows how they organized false presidential elector slates, pressured state officials to disregard their Constitutional oaths, and attempted to enlist Vice President Mike Pence to alter the election results.
  • It demonstrates that they were responsible for the January 6 attack to take away our freedom to vote and seize power to rule for the wealthy few.
  • The MAGA Republicans who schemed and covered up for Trump are still in power and must be held accountable. Trump and MAGA Republicans continue to endanger our country and harm our lives and livelihoods by deliberately spreading lies, breaking laws, and encouraging violence.
  • The Supreme Court must conduct this hearing and rule quickly so that, at last, a jury of Americans can weigh the facts of the case and determine the consequences of Trump’s criminal conspiracy to overthrow the 2020 election.

The Freedom Over Fascism Toolkit has been updated with this guidance, under the Presidential Immunity Hearing section. We encourage you to share this resource widely.

In solidarity,

Anat and the Research Collaborative and ASO Communications teams

Download (PDF, 3.35MB)

The Crisis of Monopoly

Cell phone service that costs $15 a month in France or $12 a month in Australia bills out at an average of $61.85 per month in the United States. High-speed broadband that’s a bit over $31 a month in France or $36 in Germany (for higher speeds and better reliability than almost anywhere in the United States) averages nearly $70 per month in the US. Similar metrics are found with pharmaceuticals, airfares, and medical costs, among dozens of other product and service categories. Why is this? Monopoly.

The average American family pays an annual “monopoly tax”—in additional costs for pretty much everything—of around $5,000, according to economist Thomas Philippon. And things are steadily getting worse as monopolistic concentrations continue to tighten their grip on every American industry from banking to telecom to food.

Monopoly (using the term in its broadest sense, to include everything from a single company controlling a market to a half dozen companies working in a cartel-like fashion) is why working people’s pay hasn’t gone up since 1982 when President Ronald Reagan’s Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice stopped enforcing the anti-monopoly laws. The rich have gotten fabulously richer since then. Consumers, when harmed or ripped off, have largely been stripped of their legal powers to hold businesses accountable. America now lags behind other countries in innovation, which is why (as one small example) we have the highest pharmaceutical and healthcare costs in the world.

The crisis of corruption is deep and covers every known strain from political, media, business, sexual, moral, and economic. Whatever particular variant is eroding the American way of life, the common denominator is that all serve as a marker of collapse, decay, and rot within the systems, institutions, and organizations that are vital to the sustainment of American society.  ~Steve Schmidt

Our streets are filled with guns, our schools have been stripped of books and school supplies, and our food is so deficient in nutrients (vegetables today have about half the nutrients they did in 1950) that we are experiencing a malnutrition-induced obesity epidemic.

Because of monopolies, billionaires pay lower tax rates than you do, and the nation’s largest companies not only usually pay no taxes at all but also get billions every year in subsidies funded with your tax dollars. So many families have fallen out of the middle class that this country is experiencing epidemics of suicide, opioid addiction, and divorce. Our defense budget is bloated, while our returning soldiers find it harder and harder to get jobs or services.

Although it’s almost never discussed in our highly monopolized media, monopoly is why right-wing radio and TV are found in every nook and cranny, every town small and large across America, while progressive media is marginalized. It’s why our politics are broken and foreign governments have been able to manipulate our elections and seize control of so many of our politicians.


Cancer and Monopoly

Leonard Leo’s In Trouble

Dark money goon Leonard LeoLeonard Leo, everybody’s favorite dark money goon, is under scrutiny: Politico reported that  Washington D.C. Attorney General Brian Schwalb has launched an investigative probe into his sinister network of nonprofit groups.

The Lever has reported extensively on Leo’s shady shenanigans. From stacking the Supreme Court to bankrolling climate denial, eviscerating abortion protections, and championing the right to discriminate, the man truly does it all. But he might finally be starting to get his comeuppance. The probe follows increased media scrutiny and comes after a progressive watchdog group filed a complaint against Leo with the attorney general and the IRS.

Best known as Donald Trump’s White House “court whisperer,” Leo played a behind-the-scenes role in the nominations of all three of the former president’s Supreme Court justices and promoted them through his multi-billion-dollar network of nonprofits. Trump chose his three Supreme Court picks, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, from a list drawn up by Leo. More recently, Leo was the beneficiary of a $1.6 billion contribution, believed to be the biggest political donation in U.S. history.

It’s unclear what the scope of the investigation will be, or how much power the attorney general has to halt Leo’s influence. But hopefully, the move will bring increased scrutiny to the outsized power Leo holds over the conservative legal movement. At the very least, maybe it’ll make him sweat.

D.C. Attorney General is probing Leonard Leo’s network

Crows Of A Feather

Clarence Thomas’ benefactor is directly tied to a disastrous new Supreme Court ruling that will strip environmental protections from millions of acres of precious wetlands.

Despite being caught in a swirling corruption scandal, the Supreme Court continues to rule on cases and issue far-reaching decisions that shatter years of precedent to rewrite the country’s laws. For the moneyed interests who have spent big to financially influence the courts, this is very much according to plan. One of the court’s latest bombshell rulings shows just how handsomely the effort is paying off.

Late last month, in a 5-4 ruling on the Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency case, the Supreme Court dramatically narrowed the scope of the 1972 Clean Water Act in an act of judicial activism so brazen, even the Donald Trump-appointed Brett Kavanaugh accused the court of “rewriting” the law and failing to “stick to the text.”

To do so, Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the majority, simply disposed of the statute’s deliberately broad coverage of wetlands that are “adjacent” to “waters of the United States,” redefining that word as meaning “adjoining” — a different word with a different meaning — and claiming that only wetlands with a “continuous surface connection” to protected waters were covered by the Clean Water Act. Environmental groups say it will take away protections for more than half of the country’s 118 million acres of wetlands.

The point, Schneck explained, was to create what Politico termed an “ecosystem of support” that would encourage them to be bolder in their judicial activism. Sometimes that would benefit the benefactors by opening the door to imposing their personal, regressive social vision on others. Sometimes it would benefit them by directly assisting their personal business interests, as it has in the Sackett case, which will make it easier for Crow’s companies and other real estate developers to disrupt and damage wetlands without legal or regulatory challenge.

That decision — widely criticized for its linguistic games and overturning of long-standing precedent — is directly tied up in the corruption scandal that has embroiled Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in particular.

Clarence Thomas’ Billionaire Benefactor Tied To SCOTUS Bombshell

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