|Progressive Calendar 07.07.09||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Tue, 7 Jul 2009 04:18:05 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 07.07.09 1. Bicking v Rybak 7.07 9:30am 2. NWN4P vigil 7.07 4:45pm 3. LRT boondoggle 7.07 5:30pm 4. FMLN/El Salvador 7.07 6pm 5. RNC court watch 7.07 6pm 6. Dead poets soc/f 7.07 6:30pm 7. Amnesty Intl 7.07 7pm StCloud MN 8. Coldwater moon 7.07 7pm 9. Friese/peak oil 7.07 7pm 10. Single payer 7.08 10:30am 11. Citizen jury 7.08 11am 12. Cuba send-off 7.08 6pm 13. Kip/health care 7.08 7pm RiverFalls WI 14. Reid Wilson - Court & corporate political spending 15. Thom Hartmann - Fascism coming to a court near you 16. NY Times - Pure overreach 17. Chris Hedges - The crooks get cash while the poor get screwed 18. Clancy Sigal - Brit natl health service: simple, sensible & civilized 19. ed - Extraordinary (bumpersticker) --------1 of 19-------- From: Dave Bicking <dave [at] colorstudy.com> Subject: Bicking v Rybak 7.07 9:30am Hearing on Mayor Rybak Campaign Violation to be Held on Tuesday, July 7 Evidentiary hearing, Dave Bicking vs. R.T. Rybak for Mayor campaign Tuesday, July 7, 2009 9:30 am First floor courtroom, MN Office of Administrative Hearings, 600 N. Robert St., St. Paul (just north of I-94) Dave Bicking invites the public and the press to attend a public Evidentiary Hearing regarding the Complaint he has filed against the R.T. Rybak for Mayor campaign. The Complaint alleges that the Rybak campaign has violated MN Statute 211B.02 by listing Green Party City Council member Cam Gordon as a supporter, without prior written permission to do so. During the Evidentiary Hearing, both parties will present witnesses, documents, and arguments before a panel of three Administrative Law Judges, in a manner similar to a courtroom trial. Within 14 days, those judges will issue an opinion as to whether the law was violated, and, if so, the penalty to be imposed. Possible penalties are a fine of up to $5000 and/or referral of the case to the County Attorney for criminal prosecution as a misdemeanor. Penalties are based on the seriousness of the offense and on the willfulness of the violation. The lawyer hired by the Rybak campaign, Greg Merz of Gray, Plant, Mooty, has indicated that he will call R.T. Rybak to testify in person. Bicking will be appearing without a lawyer, and plans to call three witnesses, and offer documents which he believes show conclusively that the Rybak campaign violated the law. He says, "So far, I have seen no evidence from the Rybak campaign that gives any indication that they had Cam´s prior written permission to be listed as a supporter. It appears to me that the hearing will be mostly about the seriousness of the violation and the penalty that would be appropriate." Dave Bicking filed the Complaint on May 12, 2009. The next day, Cam Gordon signed a statement giving permission to be listed as a supporter of the Rybak campaign. In a public statement issued the following day (and entered into evidence by both parties), Gordon made clear that he had told the Rybak campaign that he would not make an endorsing decision until after the May 9 Green Party endorsing meeting. In addition, on March 23, Gordon asked the mayor´s campaign to remove his name from their website, saying in an email also entered into evidence that he had asked "not to be publicly listed as a supporter until after the Green citywide endorsing meeting on May 9." Even though Gordon´s name was removed from the website, the campaign continued to distribute the literature with Gordon´s name on it for another month. Bicking says, "This is a serious violation of the law. Mayor Rybak made a big deal of his claim that he had the historic support of all 13 City Council members. Such perceived unanimity, early in the campaign season, could well have discouraged other potential candidates. Indeed, I think that was the intention. It harmed the Green Party to be seen as supporting the DFL candidate, even before potential Green candidates could have come forward for consideration. That is exactly why Gordon wished to withhold any potential endorsement until later." Bicking points out that this Complaint only deals with the events before the Complaint was filed on May 12. Dave Bicking is a candidate for City Council in Ward 9, endorsed by the Green Party. He clarifies, "This is an individual action, though I have been encouraged by others. It is not done on behalf of or with the consultation of Cam Gordon or his campaign, or the Green Party itself, or any other mayoral campaign." Bicking will make available all documents in this case upon request. --------2 of 19-------- From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net> Subject: NWN4P vigil 7.07 4:45pm NWN4P vigil every Tuesday. Corner of Winnetka and 42nd Avenues in New Hope. 4:45 to 5:45 PM. All welcome; bring your own or use our signs. --------3 of 19-------- From: joan [at] metrostability.org Subject: LRT boondoggle 7.07 5:30pm [ed head] Central Corridor Community Summit II Tuesday, July 7 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. Central Corridor Resource Center 1080 University Ave W., St. Paul Summit II Goals Review and affirm work of the Summit I and Community Statement Introduce Community Summit Vision and Principles for Sign-on Spoken word artists Deborah Torraine, Tou Saiko Lee and Tish Jones will present Summit II Principles Take action toward creating written agreement(s) among governmental entities, community members, businesses, and organization to coordinate efforts and hold everyone accountable. To be successful, the light rail line must not only improve mobility, but must also serve as a catalyst to strengthen and enhance existing and future neighborhoods, workforces and businesses along the line. Community Summit, March 7 & 8, 2009 The Community Summit welcomes all community members, small business owners, organizations, and elected officials. Light Supper will be served at 5:30 p.m. Community Summit convenes at 6:00 p.m. For more information, contact: Carol Swenson, District Councils Collaborative of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, 651.249.6877 or carol [at] dcc-stpaul-mpls.org [These things are often con-jobs by developers drooling for millions of dollars of our public money. Slick. Professional. Love 'em and leave 'em. The city gets left with the bill and the wreck. Be on guard. -ed] --------4 of 19-------- From: Cherrene Horazuk <cherrene67 [at] gmail.com> Subject: FMLN/El Salvador 7.07 6pm Join us for this exciting event on July 7th! Breny Herrera, a leader of the FMLN from El Salvador will be in Minneapolis to talk about the FMLN's electoral victory. El Salvador 2009 Victory Tour Featuring Breny Massiel Herrera FMLN Women's Secretariat July 7, 2009, 6 pm At the Center for Changing Lives 2400 Park Ave S, Minneapolis Free & open to the public Celebrate the triumph of the left in El Salvador! At this event Ms. Herrera will share the story of the FMLN's victory in the 2009 presidential elections. She will speak about the broad coalition of unions, feminists, and students that came together with the FMLN to oust 20 years of extreme right-wing rule in El Salvador. She will provide a first hand account of how the people mobilized and organized to overcome a dirty fear campaign backed up by the threats of US Republican Congressional Representatives and defend their votes against an institutionalized system of electoral fraud. After centuries of violent inequality and repression, a dozen years of armed struggle against a brutal, U.S.-backed military, and two decades of rule by the right-wing ARENA party, the Salvadoran people elected the first progressive president in their country's history on March 15th, 2009. President Mauricio Funes of the FMLN took office on June 1, bringing El Salvador into a growing community of Latin American nations seeking to chart an independent economic and political course. Join us to learn about the platform, plans, and strategy of the new FMLN government - and what WE can do in the U.S. to support the strengthening of REAL democracy in El Salvador! Salvadoran food will be for sale at the event! Event sponsored by CISPES and FMLN Committee of MN More background info on the speaker, Breny Herrera: http://www.cispes.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=571&Itemid=51 --------5 of 19-------- From: Do'ii <syncopatingrhythmsabyss [at] gmail.com> Subject: RNC court watch 7.07 6pm RNC Court Watchers are in need of participants to help with organizing court information, documentation and etc. RNC Court Watchers Meetings are every Tuesday, 6 P.M. at Caffeto's. Below is announcement for our meetings. Preemptive raids, over 800 people arrested, police brutality on the streets and torture in Ramsey County Jail. Police have indiscriminately used rubber bullets, concussion grenades, tasers and chemical irritants to disperse crowds and incapacitate peaceful, nonviolent protesters. The RNC-8 and others are facing felonies and years in jail. We must fight this intimidation, harassment and abuse! Join the RNC Court Solidarity Meeting this coming Tuesday at Caffetto's to find out how you can make a difference in the lives of many innocent people. Caffetto's Coffeehouse and Gallery (612)872-0911 708 W 22nd Street, Minneapolis, MN 55405 Every Tuesday @ 6:00 P.M to 7:00 P.M participate and help organize RNC court solidarity. For more information, please contact: rnccourtwatch [at] gmail.com THE PEOPLE UNITED WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED! --------6 of 19-------- From: patty <pattypax [at] earthlink.net> Subject: Dead poets soc/film 7.07 6:30pm A couple weeks ago we had a salon on "dead poets and their poetry." So, to continue this topic, we will show the film, Dead Poet's Society, starring Robin Williams, Tuesday, July 7th. Pax Salons ( http://justcomm.org/pax-salon ) are held (unless otherwise noted in advance): Tuesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Mad Hatter's Tea House, 943 W 7th, St Paul, MN Salons are free but donations encouraged for program and treats. Call 651-227-3228 or 651-227-2511 for information. --------7 of 19-------- From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net> Subject: Amnesty Intl 7.07 7pm StCloud MN Saint Cloud Area Amnesty International meets on Tuesday, July 7th, from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the St. Cloud Public Library, 1300 W. St. Germain, Saint Cloud. For more information contact Jerry Dirks, 320-251-6491 or jerry.dirks [at] gmail.com. --------8 of 19-------- From: Susan Martinson <seasnun [at] gmail.com> Subject: Coldwater moon 7.07 7pm COLDWATER FULL MOON WALK Tuesday, July 7, 2009 The Blessing Moon 7 pm at Coldwater Spring July's Full Moon is considered the Blessing Moon, a period of energy before the hard work of harvest. A time to honor the Spirit of Nature. Directions: From Hwy 55/Hiawatha in south Minneapolis, turn East (toward the Mississippi) at 54th Street, take an immediate right (South) ½-mile past the parking meters, through the cul-de-sac and the gates. Follow the curvy road left & then right down to the pond, next to the great willow tree. --------9 of 19-------- From: David Shove <shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu> Subject: Friese/peak oil 7.07 7pm South Side Energy Commons Presents Jon Friese: Peak Oil & Energy Descent: the Extinction of Petroleum Man What Peak Oil is. What impact it will have on your life. July 7, Tuesday, 7pm Center School 2421 Bloomington Av S Mpls We will attempt to answer: What is "peak oil"? Does it mean the global oil supplies are getting low? Are we running out of oil? Does that mean we are running out of energy? If 80% of all goods and services including agriculture depend on oil, how might peaking of oil supplies affect modern life? Is this a BIG DEAL?, or NO big deal? Who says so? What do they know? Can we trust them? Assuming the "Peak Oil" people even know what they are talking about, what do they mean EXTINCTION of Petro Man? This sounds alarmist. Can tar sands, coal, nukes, ethanol, renewable energy and high tech solutions can save the American way of life? What about splitting atoms to make hydrogen fuel? There's nearly an infinite amount of hydrogen. The experts are working on this. They will think of something. Won't they? Jon Freise is a software engineer volunteering with the Twin Cities Energy Transition Working Group seeking a way to a low carbon future. He has spent the last several years studying peak oil and the impact it will have on our lives, economy, and way of life. Questions? Call or email Lynne Mayo LLEN [at] usfamily.net 612-722-7356 --------10 of 19-------- From: Joel Albers <joel [at] uhcan-mn.org> Subject: Single payer 7.08 10:30am July 8th: UHCAN-MN News Conference, wed, 10:30 am, Schneider Drug (on 3800 university ave SE across from KSTP and near I 280, mpls, 55414). The theme is: 1. the crucial need for a single- payer health care system 2. OUR criteria for a "public Medicare option" (one that will emerge into SP) and 3. the need for a state single-payer option. Speakers so far include: Congressman Keith Ellison (his staff), Mike Cavlan, Joel Clemmer (MN Health Plan bill for SP), Tom Sengupta (pharmacist, small business owner), and Bernie Hess (UFCW labor union). Open to endorsing organizations which gets your organization on the press release etc, and entitles you to send a speaker to it. --------11 of 19-------- From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at] driscollgroup.com> Subject: Citizen jury 7.08 11am KFAI - 90.3FM-Minneapolis/106.7FM Saint Paul and STREAMING at <http://www.KFAI.org> WEDNESDAY, JULY 8 11:00AM THE CITIZEN JURY and ELECTION REFORM The Jury is IN. The Citizens Jury, that is, on Election Recounts. After the longest recount in Minnesota history ultimately giving Senator Al Franken a 312-vote victory margin over Norm Coleman, near universal kudos for the integrity of the recount process and the judiciary that decided the challenge nevertheless left open the question of how and who conducts Minnesota elections, counts its ballots, especially absentee ballots, triggers recounts and the tedious work that was left to county and state elections officials, let alone the State Canvassing Board and subsequent court trials and appeals. The Citizens Jury - part of the Minneapolis-based Jefferson Center for New Democratic Processes - is touted as "an opportunity for a microcosm of Minnesota's voters to examine and evaluate the recent recount in Minnesota, along with other recounts, and report on their findings. Not only will the Citizens Jury's views be made available to the general public, but the final meeting of the project is scheduled so that the Citizens Jury will be able to report its findings to a national meeting of Secretaries of State held in Minnesota July 17 and 18, 2009. We should have most of its findings available for discussion on July 8th, along with a larger discussion of election reform initiatives passed with broad support by the DFL-dominated Legislature last session, but vetoed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty. TTT's ANDY DRISCOLL and guest co-host TTT Capitol Correspondent MARTIN OWINGS will talk with election advocates and Citizens Jury chairs about the latter's Recount report and last session's reform initiatives and why we ended up with nothing. GUESTS: JOHN HOTTINGER, former MN State Senate Majority Leader, co-chair, Citizens Jury REP. LAURA BROD, R-New Prague, Lead Republican on MN House election issues MIKE DEAN, Executive Director, Common Cause Minnesota AND YOU! CALL 612-341-0980 CAN'T GET US OVER THE AIR? STREAM TTT LIVE and LATER --------12 of 19-------- From: Minnesota Cuba Committee <mncuba [at] gmail.com> Subject: Cuba send-off 7.08 6pm Pastors for Peace/Venceremos Brigade Send-off Program 6:00 - 9:00 pm, Wednesday, July 8 St. Albert the Great Church 2836 33rd Avenue South Minneapolis Foods of Cuba, program, entertainment $10:00 admission; no one turned away for lack of funds Refreshments (mojitos, beer, wine) will also be available Entertainment will include the Afro-Caribe drum group and Rene Thompson dance studio Keynote speaker, Ellen Bernstein, staff of Pastors for Peace, has traveled to Cuba 60 times since the 1990s and recently led the Cuba trip of the Congressional Black Caucus in April 2009. She is also the author of *Healthcare in Cuba.* Pastors for Peace and the Venceremos Brigade are holding the send-off program for the 15 Minnesotans and other volunteers from the U.S. and Canada who will challenge the immoral and illegal U.S. blockade and travel restrictions against Cuba. The program will help raise money for the Minnesota school bus that will be joining the caravan. Volunteers have spent the last several weeks painting the bus with a colorful mural conveying its humanitarian mission. Nationally, Pastors for Peace expects to collect 100 tons of humanitarian aid during a two-week caravan that will converge in McAllen, Texas before traveling on to Cuba. They intend to deliver school buses, construction tools and materials, educational supplies, medicines and medical supplies gathered in communities throughout the U.S. and Canada. The Venceremos Brigade will also be bringing humanitarian aid and will join voluntary work brigades while they are in Cuba. This will be the 20th travel challenge for Pastors for Peace and the 40th for the Venceremos Brigade. www.minnesotacubacommittee.org gregklave [at] msn.com mncuba [at] gmail.com --------13 of 19-------- From: Thomas R. Smith <thosmith [at] spacestar.net> Subject: Kip/health care 7.08 7pm River Falls WI HEALTH CARE REFORM EXPERT TO SPEAK IN RIVER FALLS Twin Cities health care expert Kip Sullivan will address the future of health care reform in the US at the River Falls Public Library on Wednesday, July 8 at 7 p.m. Sullivan, a long-time health care reform advocate and community organizer, will discuss the history of health insurance in the US, ideas currently being proposed to reform our health care system, and how citizens can get more involved in decision-making. Sullivan has written one of the most comprehensive critiques of the current system, The Health Care Mess: How We Got Into It and How We¹ll Get Out of It. He is currently a member of the steering committee of Physicians for a National Health Plan. This talk will take place in the upper level community room of the River Falls Public Library, 140 Union Street. It is sponsored by Healthy Wisconsin - River Falls. Admission is free and open to all. For more information call 426-5118. --------14 of 19-------- Court Opens Door to Possibility of Corporate Political Spending by: Reid Wilson Tuesday 30 June 2009 Campaign finance watchdogs are concerned that a little-seen order issued on the Supreme Court's final day could lead to tens of millions of corporate dollars being spent on television advertising - an ad blitz candidates would have difficulty countering. On Monday, instead of ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the court issued a rare order for further arguments on the case. The suit sought to test whether corporate contributions to a documentary slamming then-presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton should have kept it from being distributed during the campaign. The case will be expanded, with lawyers for both parties asked to file briefs answering whether the court should overturn two other landmark suits. One of those suits was Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, the 1990 decision in which the Supreme Court upheld Michigan's right to prohibit corporations from using money to support or oppose candidates. The other, McConnell v. FEC, upheld the constitutionality of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) over the objection of petitioner Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). By seeking new arguments on those cases, campaign finance watchdogs said, the court is poised to make a substantial ruling that could have wide-reaching consequences. "The court, at the very least, is considering reversing more than 100 years of campaign finance precedent prohibiting corporate spending," said Paul Ryan, associate legal counsel at the Campaign Legal Center. "It would be a pretty large step, and remarkable step, for the court to overturn a century of public policy." Specifically, the high court is seeking new arguments on Section 203 of BCRA, which regulates electioneering communications and prohibits corporations from running so-called issue advertisements. "The court is seeking to address a fundamental issue in campaign finance law, and that is whether corporate money can be used for certain types of political advertising," said Jan Baran, a partner at Wiley Rein LLP who published a guidebook for corporations on election law. Baran called the court's move "a significant order." Overturning that ban would presumably allow corporations to begin spending money on political campaigns, either in support of or opposition to a candidate. It would be the first time since Congress banned corporate political expenditures in 1947. If the Supreme Court does overturn either case, the effects on political campaigns will be dramatic, said Marc Elias, a partner at Perkins Coie who served as general counsel on Sen. John Kerry's (D-Mass.) 2004 presidential campaign and who is heading legal efforts for Democrat Al Franken in the disputed Minnesota Senate contest. "The ban on corporate spending on federal elections is at the center of our current campaign finance system," he said. "If that were to change it would radically alter the system that we have." The court is substantially different today than it was even in 2003, when McConnell was decided. With the retirement of former Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who voted with the five-justice majority to uphold BCRA, the court may have shifted against reformers. "It was thought that Justice O'Connor was the deciding vote who tilted the court in favor of campaign finance reform, and once she left and Chief Justice [John] Roberts joined the court, there's been some expectation that the balance of power was going to shift against campaign finance reformers," said Rob Kelner, who heads Covington & Burling's Election and Political Law division. "This new order seems to point in that same direction," added Kelner, who has argued against BCRA before the court. The court's order asks both parties to specifically address whether justices should overrule either or both Austin and McConnell, and election law experts are torn as they try to read the tea leaves. "I don't think the court would have ordered this type of argument if there wasn't a chance, if not a likelihood, of at least five justices thinking these cases should be overruled," said Baran, who has argued against some finance measures before the Supreme Court. Still, said Baran: "They've been flip-flopping all over the place." "You could see the glass half-empty or half-full," Elias said. "If there were five justices ready to [overturn Austin and McConnell], they would have done so." But even hearing the case is an unusual step that worries Ryan, the prominent campaign finance reform backer. "We have a long line of precedents, Supreme Court decisions upholding these restrictions," he said. "I'm hopeful that there are still some open minds on the court." Those on both sides see Justice Anthony Kennedy, long the swing vote on controversial cases, as the fulcrum on which the cases will rest. And that, in the end, could be the tipping point against reformers: Unlike O'Connor, who joined the majority in the McConnell decision, Kennedy dissented from majority opinions upholding bans in both earlier cases. The re-argument is scheduled to take place Wednesday, Sept. 9. That could have an impact on the confirmation process of Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama's nominee to fill a vacant seat on the high court. Sotomayor's confirmation hearings are scheduled to begin July 13, and Democrats in the Senate could push for a final vote on her nomination before they leave for August recess in order to have a full complement of justices. Given her past experience on the New York City Campaign Finance Board, Sotomayor is likely to have something to say on the case. --------15 of 19-------- Fascism Coming to a Court Near You Corporate Personhood and the Roberts' Court by Thom Hartmann Published on Monday, July 6, 2009 by CommonDreams.org As the 1983 American Heritage Dictionary noted, fascism is: "A system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism." Get ready. Last year a right-wing group put together a 90-minute hit-job on Hillary Clinton, and wanted to run it on TV stations in strategic states. The Federal Election Commission ruled that the "documentary" was actually a "campaign ad" and thus fell under the restrictions on campaign spending of McCain-Feingold, and thus stopped it from airing. (Corporate contributions to campaigns have been banned repeatedly and in various ways since 1907 when Teddy Roosevelt pushed through the Tillman Act.) Citizens United, the right-wing group, sued the Supreme Court, with right-wing hit man and former Reagan solicitor general Ted Olson as their lead lawyer. This new case, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, presents the best opportunity for the Roberts Court to use its five vote majority to totally re-write the face of politics in America, rolling us back to the pre-1907 era of the Robber Barons. As Jeffrey Toobin wrote in The New Yorker ("No More Mr. Nice Guy"): "In every major case since he became the nation's seventeenth Chief Justice, Roberts has sided with the prosecution over the defendant, the state over the condemned, the executive branch over the legislative, and the corporate defendant over the individual plaintiff. Even more than Scalia, who has embodied judicial conservatism during a generation of service on the Supreme Court, Roberts has served the interests, and reflected the values, of the contemporary Republican Party." And the only way the modern Republican Party can recover their power over the next decade is to immediately clear away all impediments to unrestrained corporate participation in electoral politics. If a corporation likes a politician, they can make sure he or she is elected every time; if they become upset with a politician, they can carpet-bomb her district with a few million dollars worth of ads and politically destroy her. And it looks like that's exactly what the Roberts Court is planning. In the Citizens United case, they asked for it to be re-argued in September of this year, going all the way back to the 1980s and re-examining the rationales for Congress to have any power to regulate corporate "free speech." As Robert Barnes wrote in The Washington Post on June 30, 2009, "Citizens United's attorney, former solicitor general Theodore B. Olson, had told the court that it should use the case to overturn the corporate spending ban the court recognized in Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, as well as its decision in 2003 to uphold McCain-Feingold as constitutional." The setup for this came in June of 2007, in the case of the Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right To Life, in which the Roberts Court ruled that the FEC couldn't prevent WRTL from running ads just because they were a corporation. "A Moroccan cartoonist," Justice Scalia opened his opinion with his usual dramatic flair, "once defended his criticism of the Moroccan monarch (lse majest being a serious crime in Morocco) as follows: 'I'm not a revolutionary, I'm just defending freedom of speech. I never said we had to change the king-no, no, no, no! But I said that some things the king is doing, I do not like. Is that a crime?'" "Well," Scalia wrote, "in the United States (making due allowance for the fact that we have elected representatives instead of a king) it is a crime, at least if the speaker is a union or a corporation (including not-for-profit public-interest corporations)... That is the import of 203 of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA)." The idea of Congress passing laws that limited corporate "free speech" was clearly horrifying to Scalia. He went after the 1990 Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce case, in which the MCC was limited in their "free speech" in a political campaign because they were a corporation. "This (Austin) was the only pre-McConnell case in which this Court had ever permitted the Government to restrict political speech based on the corporate identity of the speaker," he complained. "Austin upheld state restrictions on corporate independent expenditures," and, God forbid, "The statute had been modeled after the federal statute that BCRA 203 amended..." The Austin case, Scalia concluded his opinion with four others nodding, "was a significant departure from ancient First Amendment principles. In my view, it was wrongly decided." Scalia also quoted at length from opinions in the Grosjean v. American Press Co case, "holding that corporations are guaranteed the 'freedom of speech and of the press, safeguarded by the due process of law clause of the Fourteenth Amendment,'" and from the 1986 Pacific Gas & Elec. Co. v. Public Util. Comm'n of Cal. case: "The identity of the speaker is not decisive in determining whether speech is protected"; "[c]orporations and other associations, like individuals, contribute to the 'discussion, debate, and the dissemination of information and ideas' that the First Amendment seeks to foster." The bottom line, for Scalia, was that, "The principle that such advocacy is 'at the heart of the First Amendment's protection' and is 'indispensable to decision making in a democracy' is 'no less true because the speech comes from a corporation rather than an individual." Continuing to quote from a plurality opinion in Pacific Gas, Scalia "rejected the arguments that corporate participation 'would exert an undue influence on the outcome of a referendum vote'; that corporations would 'drown out other points of view' and 'destroy the confidence of the people in the democratic process..." He even quoted an opinion in the Grossjean case, writing that "corporations are guaranteed the 'freedom of speech and of the press...safeguarded by the due process of law clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.'" The Fourteenth Amendment, which says that no "person" shall be denied "equal protection of the laws," was promulgated after the Civil War to free the slaves. But corporations have long asserted that because it says "person" rather than "natural person" it included giving, in 1868 when the Amendment was ratified into law, full Constitutional rights under the Bill of Rights to corporations. (Corporations are, at law, known as "artificial persons" and humans are "natural persons" - both have to have some sort of "personhood" in order to pay taxes, sue and be sued, etc.) As Scalia wrote in his opinion in FEC v. Wisconsin Right To Life: "...FECA was directed to expenditures not just by 'individuals,' but by 'persons,' with 'persons' specifically defined to include 'corporation[s].'" Chief Justice Roberts weighed in, too, in the main decision. It's a fascinating decision to read - and search for occurrences of the word "corporation" - and here's one of Roberts' more convoluted observations in defense of corporate free speech rights: Accepting the notion that a ban on campaign speech could also embrace issue advocacy would call into question our holding in Bellotti that the corporate identity of a speaker does not strip corporations of all free speech rights. It would be a constitutional 'bait and switch' to conclude that corporate campaign speech may be banned in part because corporate issue advocacy is not, and then assert that corporate issue advocacy may be banned as well, pursuant to the same asserted compelling interest, through a broad conception of what constitutes the functional equivalent of campaign speech, or by relying on the inability to distinguish campaign speech from issue advocacy. Bottom line - corporate free speech rights are Real Rights that Must Be Respected. Justice Souter wrote a rather frightening dissent (this was a 5-4 decision, with the usual right-wing suspects on the "5" side): "Finally, it goes without saying that nothing has changed about the facts. In Justice Frankfurter's words, they demonstrate a threat to 'the integrity of our electoral process, which for a century now Congress has repeatedly found to be imperiled by corporate, and later union, money: witness the Tillman Act, Taft-Hartley, FECA, and BCRA. "McConnell was our latest decision vindicating clear and reasonable boundaries that Congress has drawn to limit 'the corrosive and distorting effects of immense aggregations of wealth,' and the decision could claim the justification of ongoing fact as well as decisional history in recognizing Congress's authority to protect the integrity of elections from the distortion of corporate and union funds. "After today, the ban on contributions by corporations and unions and the limitation on their corrosive spending when they enter the political arena are open to easy circumvention, and the possibilities for regulating corporate and union campaign money are unclear. "The ban on contributions will mean nothing much, now that companies and unions can save candidates the expense of advertising directly, simply by running 'issue ads' without express advocacy, or by funneling the money through an independent corporation like Wisconsin Right To Life." Sounding almost depressed, Souter closed his dissent with these words: "I cannot tell what the future will force upon us, but I respectfully dissent from this judgment today." The attempt of corporations (and their lawyers, like Roberts was before ascending to a federal court) to usurp American democracy is nothing new, as David Souter well knew. Fascism has always been a threat to democracy. In early 1944 the New York Times asked Vice President Wallace to, as Wallace noted, "write a piece answering the following questions: What is a fascist? How many fascists have we? How dangerous are they?" Vice President Wallace's answers to those questions were published in The New York Times on April 9, 1944, at the height of the war against the Axis powers of Germany and Japan: "The really dangerous American fascists," Wallace wrote, "are not those who are hooked up directly or indirectly with the Axis. The FBI has its finger on those... With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power." "American fascism will not be really dangerous," he added in the next paragraph, "until there is a purposeful coalition among the cartelists, the deliberate poisoners of public information..." Noting that, "Fascism is a worldwide disease," Wallace further suggested that fascism's "greatest threat to the United States will come after the war" and will manifest "within the United States itself." In his strongest indictment of the tide of fascism the Vice President of the United States saw rising in America, he added: "They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection." Finally, Wallace said, "The myth of fascist efficiency has deluded many people. ... Democracy, to crush fascism internally, must...develop the ability to keep people fully employed and at the same time balance the budget. It must put human beings first and dollars second. It must appeal to reason and decency and not to violence and deceit. We must not tolerate oppressive government or industrial oligarchy in the form of monopolies and cartels." As Wallace's President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, said when he accepted his party's renomination in 1936 in Philadelphia: "...Out of this modern civilization, economic royalists [have] carved new dynasties.... It was natural and perhaps human that the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control over government itself. They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction.... And as a result the average man once more confronts the problem that faced the Minute Man...." Speaking indirectly of the fascists that Wallace would directly name almost a decade later, Roosevelt brought the issue to its core: "These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America. What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power." But, he thundered in that speech: "Our allegiance to American institutions requires the overthrow of this kind of power!" In just a few months, we may again stand at the same crossroad Roosevelt and Wallace confronted during the Great Depression and World War II. Fascism is rising in America, this time calling itself "compassionate conservatism," and "the free market" in a "flat" world. The point of its spear is "corporate personhood" and "corporate free speech rights." The Roberts' Court's behavior - if this prediction of their goal for this fall is accurate (and it's hard to draw any other conclusion) - now eerily parallels the day in 1936 when Roosevelt said: "In vain they seek to hide behind the flag and the Constitution. In their blindness they forget what the flag and the Constitution stand for." Thom Hartmann (thom at thomhartmann.com) is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program The Thom Hartmann Show. www.thomhartmann.com His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People: A Call To Take Back America," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class and What We Can Do About It," and "Cracking The Code: The Art and Science of Political Persuasion." His newest book is Threshold: The Crisis of Western Culture. --------16 of 19-------- Pure Overreach Will Supreme Court allow unlimited corporate contributions to election campaigns? Editorial ><http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/05/opinion/05sun2.html?_r=2>http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/05/opinion/05sun2.html?_r=2 Published: July 4, 2009 With a little-noticed order last week, we fear the Supreme Court has set the stage for dismantling the longstanding ban on corporate spending in elections for president and Congress. If those restrictions are overturned, it would be a disaster for democracy. The justices considered a case this term about an election-year documentary made by opponents of Hillary Clinton. The issue was whether the film could air in the 60 days before an election, a period during which the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law imposes particularly strict limits on election-related communication. The case would have been easy to resolve on narrow grounds. Instead, the court declared that on Sept. 9 it would hear arguments on whether Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce Â an important campaign finance precedentf rom 1990 Â and parts of a more recent case should be overruled. Austin upheld a law prohibiting corporations from spending their money to elect particular candidates. The Supreme Court rightly pointed out that corporations, as opposed to individuals, benefit from special laws, including tax advantages, that assist them in accumulating large amounts of money. The ban on their spending is needed to prevent the political process from being overwhelmed and corrupted. The Supreme Court has upheld the restriction repeatedly. The court's new order is also deeply troubling procedurally. The question of overruling Austin was so much not a part of the Hillary Clinton film case that the parties now have to brief it Â submit fully researched arguments to the court Â for the first time. This is pure judicial overreach. The feverish pace is also disturbing. The court has ordered that the arguments take place even before the new term starts. The parties, and interested citizens who want to submit friend-of-the-court briefs, will have only a short time to parse enormously complicated issues. The most troubling part of the court's action is the brave new world of politics it could usher in. Auto companies that receive multibillion-dollar bailouts could spend vast sums to re-elect the same officials who hand them the money. If Exxon Mobil or Wal-Mart wants something from a member of Congress, it could threaten to spend as much as it takes to defeat him or her in the next election. It is a nightmare vision, but based on how the justices have come down in past cases, there may well be five votes for it to prevail. --------17 of 19-------- The Crooks Get Cash While the Poor Get Screwed by Chris Hedges Monday, July 6, 2009 TruthDig.com Common Dreams Tearyan Brown became a father when he was 16. He did what a lot of inner-city kids desperate to make money do. He sold drugs. He was arrested and sent to jail three years later for dealing marijuana and PCP on the streets of Trenton, N.J., mostly to white kids driving in from the suburbs. It was a job which saw him robbed at gunpoint and stabbed in the chest. But it made him about $1,400 a week. Brown, when he got out after three and a half years, was done with street life. He got a job as a security guard and then as a fork lift operator. He eventually made about $30,000 a year. He shepherded his son through high school, then college and a master's degree. His boy, now 24, is a high school teacher in Texas. Brown would not leave the streets of Trenton but his son would. It made him proud. It gave him hope. And then one morning in 2005 when he was visiting his mother's house the cops showed up. He saw the cruiser and the officers standing on his mother's porch. He hurried down the block toward the home to see what was wrong. What was wrong was him. On the basis of a police photograph, he had been identified by an 82-year-old woman as the man who had robbed her of $9 at gunpoint a few hours earlier. The only other witness to the crime insisted the elderly victim was confused. The witness told the police Brown was innocent. Brown's friends said Brown was with them when the robbery took place. "Why would I rob a woman for $9" he asks me. "I had been paid the day before. I had not committed a crime in 20 years. It didn't make any sense." He was again sent to jail. But this time he was charged with armed robbery. If convicted, he would be locked away for many years. His grown son and his three young boys would live, as he had, without the presence of a father. The little ones-11-year-old twins and a 10-year-old-would be adults when he got out. When he met with his state-appointed attorney, the lawyer, like most state-appointed attorneys, pushed for accepting a plea bargain, one that would see him behind bars for at least the next decade. Brown pulled the pictures of his children out of his wallet, laid the pictures carefully on the table in front of the lawyer, looked at the faces of his children and broke down in tears. He shook and sobbed. It was a hard thing to do for a man who stands nearly 6 feet tall and weights 210 pounds and has coped with a lot in his life. "I didn't do nothing,' " he choked out to the lawyer. He refused the plea bargain offer. He sat in jail for the next two years before getting a trial. It was a time of deep despair. Jail had changed since he had last been incarcerated. The facilities were overcrowded, with inmates sleeping in corridors and on the floor. The gangs taunted those who, like Brown, were not affiliated with a gang. Gang members knocked trays of food to the floor. They pissed on mattresses. They stole canteen items and commissary orders. And there was nothing the victims could do about it. "See this," he says to me in a dimly lit coffee shop in downtown Trenton as he rolls up the right sleeve of his T-shirt. "It's the grim reaper. I got it in jail. I was so scared. I was scared I wouldn't get out this time. I was scared I would not see my kids grow up. They make their own tattoo guns in jail with a toothbrush, a staple and the motor of a Walkman. It cost me $15, well, not really dollars. I had to give him about 10 soups and a package of cigarettes. On the street this would be three or four hundred dollars." Under the tattoo of the scythe-wielding, hooded figure are the words "Death Awaits." He had a trial after two years in jail and was found not guilty. The sheriff's deputies in the courtroom said as he was walking out that they "had never seen anything like this." He reaches into his baggy jeans and pulls out his thin brown wallet. He opens it to show me a folded piece of paper. The paper says, "Verdict: Defendant found not guilty on all charges." It is dated Jan. 31, 2008. But innocence and guilt are funny things in America. If you are rich and guilty, if you have defrauded banks and customers and investment firms of billions of dollars, as AIG or Citibank has, if you wear fancy suits and have degrees from elite universities that cost more per year than Brown used to make, you get taxpayer money. You get lots of it. You maintain the lavish lifestyle of jets and spas and million-dollar bonuses. You live a life of unchecked greed and have too much in a world where most have too little. If you are moral scum in America we take care of you. But if you are poor, if you are, say, Tearyan Brown and African-American and 39 years old with four kids and no job and you live in the inner city, you are in trouble. No one comes to help you. You don't get a second chance. This is what being poor means. Brown found that life had changed when he got out. He had lost his job as a fork lift operator. And there were no new jobs to be found. He had faithfully paid child support until his arrest but, with no income, he could not pay from jail and now he was being hauled into court by the state every few weeks for being in arrears for $13,000. The mother of his three youngest boys goes to court with him. She explains that he paid regularly while he had work. She explains that when she works on the weekends Brown takes the kids. She asks that he be forgiven until he can get a job and begin paying again. But there are no jobs. "I would not be in arrears in child support if I had not been incarcerated for something I didn't do," he says. "I will never get above ground owing $13,000. How can I pay $120 a week when I don't have a job?" Brown lives on $200 a month in food stamps and $40 in cash. Welfare will pay his apartment for another four months. He is barely making it. I ask him what he will do when he loses the rent subsidy. "I'll be homeless," he says. "My son says come down to Texas," he adds. "Start a new life with me. But what about my three little boys? I can't leave them. I can't leave them in Trenton. They need a father." Brown works out every day. He does calisthenics. He is a vegetarian. He volunteers at a food pantry. He attends the Jerusalem Baptist Church with his little boys. "They are church kids," he tells me proudly. "They are pretty much raised by the church." He is trying to keep himself together. But he lives in a world that is falling apart. The gangs on the streets of Trenton carry Glock 9-millimeter pistols and AK-47 assault rifles. When the Trenton police stop a car or raid a house filled with suspected gang members they approach with loaded M-16s. A local newspaper, The Trentonian, reports the daily chronicle of crime, decay and neglect. The lead story in the day's paper, which Brown has with him, is about a young man named James Deonte James, whose street name is "Lurch." James was charged in the death of a 13-year-old girl during a gang shooting. He is reputed to be a "five star general in the Sex Money Murder set of the Bloods street gang." In another story an ex-con and reputed mobster, Michael "Mickey Rome" Dimattia, was arrested in his car after a woman behind the wheel was seen driving erratically. "Mickey Rome," dressed in a black bathrobe with a red scarf around his neck, was found to be wearing a bulletproof vest, with three guns stuck in his waistband, and had a crack pipe, crack cocaine and prescription pills in his pockets. He had been convicted in 1990 of killing a 17-year-old boy with a shotgun blast to the head. He served less than three years for the murder. A feature story on Page 4 of the paper is about a man with AIDS who raped his girlfriend's son 55 times and infected the boy with the virus. The boy was 9 when the rapes took place. "There are thousands more guns out there than when I was on the street," Brown says. "It is easier to buy a gun than get liquor from a liquor store." He says he rarely goes out at night, even to the corner store. It is too dangerous. The desperation is palpable. People don't know where to turn. Benefits are running out. More and more people are out of work. "You see things getting worse and worse," he says. "You see people who wonder how they are going to eat and take care of themselves and their kids. You see people starting to do anything to get food, to hustle or rob, to go back to doing things they do not want to do. Good people start doin' bad things. People are getting eviler." He pauses. "All things are better with God," he says softly, looking down at the tabletop. He is reading a book about the Bible. It is about Jesus and God. It is about learning to trust in God's help. In America that is about all the poor have left. And when God fails them, they are on their own. 2009 TruthDig.com Chris Hedges writes a regular column for Truthdig.com. Hedges graduated from Harvard Divinity School and was for nearly two decades a foreign correspondent for The New York Times. He is the author of many books, including: War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning, What Every Person Should Know About War, and American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. His most recent book, Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle, will be out in July, but is available for pre-order. --------18 of 19-------- Britain's National Health Service: Simple, Sensible and Civilized by Clancy Sigal Sunday, July 5, 2009 Los Angeles Times Common Dreams A former NHS patient has some advice for Americans skeptical of single-payer, government-run healthcare: You'll get over it. For the first couple of years I lived in Britain, I was an illegal immigrant from the United States, visaless with an expired passport and looking over my shoulder all the time. Even so, from the very first day I arrived at Victoria Station in London, suffering from bronchitis, I was accepted in the NHS - the national health scheme, we called it - no questions asked and no ID required. After I'd become a legal resident, I asked my doctor why he had taken me, almost literally off the boat, with so little fuss. Weren't foreigners a drain on his time and the National Health Service? He shrugged. "If you come here with a contagious disease, we don't want you infecting the rest of us. So of course we give you medical care. Purely selfish on our part." For three decades I used and, being of a hypochondriacal nature, exploited the British medical system without paying a farthing except for the taxes taken out of my wages as a working journalist. And that single-payer, socialistic, government-run, bureaucratized, heavily used, nationalized health system served me - and 50 million others - very well. In need, I saw many doctors, with no money ever changing hands. There was nothing to sign, hardly any papers to shuffle. My primary-care physician ran his "surgery," his office, with the help of only one receptionist whose job it was to arrange appointments. My doctor's waiting room in his storefront office was by American standards shockingly casual, even a trifle seedy. In what was then a rigid class society, the waiting room was also a lesson in democracy where duchesses and dustmen, old and young, rich and poor, waited their turn. It wasn't perfect. There was the occasional misdiagnosis, crowded hospital ward, sleepy student nurse. But it worked. It was all free, including specialists, and I came to believe that healthcare is a right, not an entitlement I had paid for. This "free" part sometimes puzzled my visiting American friends. When they got ill in London, I'd send them to my doctor, who would smile bemusedly when offered money. Did they appreciate this? Hardly. "Your doctors," they'd say, "can't be much good, can they?" Is this too rosy a picture of single-payer, government-run healthcare? Maybe. Over the years, an underfunded, over-bureaucratized, increasingly privatized NHS has in some areas turned into a shadow of its former vibrant self. Perhaps I was lucky to arrive so soon after World War II, when a traumatized, bomb-weary public was in no mood to revisit a prewar history of medical deprivation and the humiliation of means testing. Slowly, over time, by argument and debate, a consensus had been achieved, by Conservatives and Labor alike, that, in the words of Edward VIII as Prince of Wales when he first saw the grinding poverty of the unemployed, "something must be done." Recently, the American Medical Assn. responded with skepticism to President Obama's plea for healthcare reform. In Britain, too, the massed ranks of the medical profession at first fought bitterly against a "socialized" service covering all from cradle to the grave. But Labor's health minister, a firebrand from the mining valleys, Aneurin Bevan, brought them into line with a mixture of enticements and threats. The NHS was, and is, a classically English compromise, in which individual doctors are independent contractors paid by the government according to the number of their patients. Doctors are free to remove patients from their list, and patients are free to go elsewhere. Once ideology was laid aside and the system got working, it was actually quite simple. Once launched, in an astonishingly short time, a matter of a year or so, the NHS was accepted by even its worst enemies - the doctors and the Conservative Party - as indispensable and a civilized way of dealing with life, illness and death. Does that sound so awful? 2009 Los Angeles Times Clancy Sigal is a writer and former BBC broadcaster who lives in Los Angeles. --------19 of 19-------- ---------------------------------- Extraordinary rendition the rich ---------------------------------- ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments vote third party for president for congress now and forever Socialism YES Capitalism NO To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8
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