Supreme Court











Here is another chapter from Russ Kick’s classic bite-size Disinformation book 50 Things You’re Not Supposed to Know, published in 2003.

For more on Russ Kick, check out his website, The Memory Hole.

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GavelIn order to guard citizens against the whims of the King, the right to a trial by jury was established by the Magna Carta in 1215, and it has become one of the most sacrosanct legal aspects of British and American societies. We tend to believe that the duty of a jury is solely to determine whether someone broke the law. In fact, it’s not unusual for judges to instruct juries that they are to judge only the facts in a case, while the judge will sit in judgment of the law itself. Nonsense.

Juries are the last line of defense against the power abuses of the authorities. They have the right to judge the law. Even if a defendant committed a crime, a jury can refuse to render a guilty verdict. Among the main reasons why this might happen, according to attorney Clay S. Conrad:

When the defendant has already suffered enough, when it would be unfair or against the public interest for the defendant to be convicted, when the jury disagrees with the law itself, when the prosecution or the arresting authorities have gone “too far” in the single-minded quest to arrest and convict a particular defendant, when the punishments to be imposed are excessive or when the jury suspects that the charges have been brought for political reasons or to make an unfair example of the hapless defendant …




David R. Jones, Esq., President and CEO, Community Service Society of New York, at Huffington Post: I’ve always been particularly contemptuous of conspiracy theories, whether it’s U.N. sponsored black helicopters, the dangers…




CATHERINE RAMPELL writes on the NY Times’ Economix:

Following the Supreme Court decision implicitly granting corporations the right to free speech (by determining that political spending is a kind of speech), a corporation has decided to take what it believes to be “democracy’s next step”: It is running for Congress.

With more than a twinge of irony, Murray Hill Incorporated, a liberal public relations firm, recently announced that it planned to run in the Republican primary in Maryland’s 8th Congressional District.

Here is the company’s first “campaign” ad:



This political media are all over this story. Here’s the Huffington Post’s take on it:

With the Supreme Court Justices sitting right in front of him, President Barack Obama unloaded in his State of the Union address on this past week’s ruling qualifying corporations as having the rights of citizens and opening the “floodgates” to their political donations.

“Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests – including foreign corporations – to spend without limit in our elections,” Obama said. “Well I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people, and that’s why I’m urging Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to right this wrong.”

There was some strong applause from members of Congress — with both sides of the chamber rising to their feet with applause. The Justices — all there except Scalia and Thomas — sat in silence (as is their custom), but at the beginning of the exchange, Justice Alito [on the far left] can be seen shaking his head and mouthing words that seem to resemble “not true.”



Long-time friend of disinformation Doug Rushkoff always has great insight on cultural matters. This considered essay following the Supreme Court’s controversial decision last week permitting corporations to finance political parties is one…



This may be the one time I can say I don’t think Olbermann is guilty of bombast. He recently abandoned the long, special comment format on his show and instead makes two nightly “quick comments” (because I think even his core audience was getting tired of the long-winded tirades) but if there’s a reason to get worked up, it’s this. I know disinfo.com visitors have plenty to say and I’m curious to hear your thoughts on KO’s special comment “U.S. Government for Sale”:


This is why we need more action from the Obama administration on this. The recent disastrous Supreme Court decision on campaign financing will make 2009 seem like child’s play to these people….


Aaron Cynic at Diatribe Media: Yesterday, the Supreme Court handed electoral politics over to corporations, who will undoubtedly spit in the court’s face and sue it for not giving them their right…