Oliver Stone And Peter Kuznick: The United States “is The Roman Empire” [interview]

As Oliver said, the Democratic Party has lost its bearings today and tramples the legacy of Roosevelt and Wallace, and post-Cuban Missile Crisis John Kennedy. It now stands for surveillance; it stands for the tripling of the troops in Afghanistan; it stands for kowtowing to bankers. We would like to think the Democrats are progressive, but under the Clintons and Obama, they have devolved into more efficient managers of the American empire. They do not challenge the empire. Republicans are crude. Republicans try to impose the empire by force. Obama is smarter. He knows he can also impose the empire by deception (Stone: soft words). So he has figured out the way to institutionalize Bush policies and make them a permanent feature of American life. That is why Bushs press spokesman, Ari Fleischer, recently said we are living through Bushs fourth term. This is not true in certain aspects of domestic policy, but it is sadly close to the mark on foreign policy.

United States Steel Corporation : Workers and employers face off at Supreme Court

In the other, an employee aims to limit the ability of private-sector unions to sign up members. It would constitute a significant blow to the labor movement were the court, split 5-4 between Republican and Democratic presidential appointees, to rule against the unions in both cases, legal experts say. During the term that begins October 7 and ends in June, the nine-member court, led by Republican-appointed Chief Justice John Roberts, also will consider President Barack Obama’s “recess appointments” to the National Labor Relations Board and take up the issue of whether workers at a steel plant should get paid for the time it takes to change into safety gear. Despite the current federal government shutdown, the court is scheduled to function normally until at least October 11, the court said on Thursday. Among the 47 cases the court has already agreed to hear, 28 involve or affect business interests, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the main group representing corporate America before the court. The court can be expected to accept about 70 cases per term. In the last term, which ended in June, the Chamber received a favorable outcome in 14 of the 18 cases in which it filed friend-of-the-court briefs, prompting progressive legal groups to renew complaints that the court has become too pro-business. It’s a statistic that concerns Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, the largest labor federation in the country. “The Supreme Court we have is the best friend that corporate America has ever had,” he told Reuters in an August interview. It’s a categorization that both the Chamber and lawyers who represent businesses dispute. “There are areas of the law in which business interests prevail, but it isn’t because of any systematic pro-business bias,” said Kannon Shanmugam, a lawyer with the Williams & Connolly law firm. Shanmugam warned against concluding the court has a growing interest in labor issues because, he noted, they all deal with quite separate legal questions. UNION CASES Taken together, the two organized labor cases raise significant questions about union power, Harvard University Law School Professor Benjamin Sachs said.