Progressive Calendar 03.03.10
From: David Shove (
Date: Wed, 3 Mar 2010 00:32:35 -0800 (PST)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   03.03.10

   more items for 3.03:
1. No nukes! Call! 3.03
2. Hiawatha power  3.03 11am
3. ENP/Dolan       3.03 6:30pm

4. Alisa Gravitz   - The top 10 reasons we don't need more nukes
5. Stephen Lendman - America's Supremes: Court over Constitution

--------1 of 5--------

From: PRO826 [at]
Subject: No nukes! Call/e 3.03 [any time during the day]

URGENT NO NUKES - Action Alert,
call MN Senators Wed -  VOTE NO on S.F. 355

S.F. 355, a bill for Nuclear power plant certificate of need issuance
prohibition elimination will be voted on this Thursday, March 4 Call or
email and tell the committee members TOMORROW (Wed) and tell them to VOTE
NO on this bill.

The MN Senate Energy Utilities, Technology and Communications Committee
held a hearing today and heard testimony on S.F. 355, (Koch) Nuclear power
plant certificate of need issuance prohibition elimination. Testimony was
given in favor of the bill by The Office of Energy Security - MN
Department of Commerce - State and Local Government Affairs - Nuclear
Energy Institute, MN Sensible Energy Solutions, Energy and Elections
Policy - MN Department of Commerce, MN Pipe Trades Association, MN
Building Trades, Westinghouse - PaR Nuclear Dept., Cameco US (uranium
supplier), U of M College of Continuing Education - Geologist, and a
packet provided by Federated Coops.

In opposition to the bill were the MN Environmental Partnership, United
States Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, Prairie Island
Indian Community, Red Wing City Council, and myself from the West Metro
Global Warming Action Group.

As noticed from the lists above, the groups opposed to new nuke plants
were outnumbered considerably as those who were in favor espoused that
nuclear energy as clean, cheap, abundant, and safe.

Please call or email the MN Senate Energy Utilities, Technology and
Communications Committee members and insist that they vote no on S.F.

Below the contact information for the committee members is my testimony.
Please feel free to check out the Nuclear Page at _www.wmgwag.org_
(  for more information.  Other sources are:
_www.beyondnuclear.org_ ( ,
_ (  (Public
Citizen), and _www.nonukes.org_ ( .

Minnesota Senate Committees
Energy, Utilities, Technology and  Communications Committee

Chair: Yvonne Prettner  Solon
= 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Room G-9 St. Paul, MN
55155-1606 651.296.7593

Vice Chair - John Doll
_sen.john.doll [at] senate.mn_ (mailto:sen.john.doll [at]
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Capitol Building, Room  G-9
St. Paul, MN 55155-1606

Senator Julie A. Rosen (R) District 24
_sen.julie.rosen [at] senate.mn_ (mailto:sen.julie.rosen [at]
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
State Office Building, Room  109
St. Paul, MN 55155-1206

Senator Ellen R. Anderson (DFL) District 66
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Capitol Building, Room  120
St. Paul, MN 55155-1606

Senator Jim Carlson (DFL) District 38
_sen.jim.carlson [at] senate.mn_ (mailto:sen.jim.carlson [at]
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Capitol Building, Room  G-9
St. Paul, MN 55155-1606

Senator Kevin L. Dahle (DFL) District 25
_sen.kevin.dahle [at] senate.mn_ (mailto:sen.kevin.dahle [at]
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Capitol Building, Room  320
St. Paul, MN 55155-1606

Senator D. Scott Dibble (DFL) District 60
_sen.scott.dibble [at] senate.mn_ (mailto:sen.scott.dibble [at]
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Capitol Building, Room  111
St. Paul, MN 55155-1606

Senator Michael J. Jungbauer (R) District 48
_sen.mike.jungbauer [at] senate.mn_ (mailto:sen.mike.jungbauer [at]
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
State Office Building, Room  121
St. Paul, MN 55155-1206

Senator Amy T. Koch (R) District 19
_sen.amy.koch [at] senate.mn_ (mailto:sen.amy.koch [at]
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
State Office Building, Room  131
St. Paul, MN 55155-1206

Senator Rick E. Olseen (DFL) District 17
_sen.rick.olseen [at] senate.mn_ (mailto:sen.rick.olseen [at]
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Capitol Building, Room  G-24
St. Paul, MN 55155-1606

Senator Sandy Rummel (DFL) District 53
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Capitol Building, Room  323
St. Paul, MN 55155-1606

Senator David H. Senjem (R) District 29
_sen.david.senjem [at] senate.mn_ (mailto:sen.david.senjem [at]
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
State Office Building, Room  147
St. Paul, MN 55155-1206

Senator Kathy Sheran (DFL) District 23
_sen.kathy.sheran [at] senate.mn_ (mailto:sen.kathy.sheran [at]
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Capitol Building, Room  G-24
St. Paul, MN 55155-1606

Senator Dan Sparks (DFL) District 27
_sen.daniel.sparks [at] senate.mn_ (mailto:sen.daniel.sparks [at]
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Capitol Building, Room  317
St. Paul, MN 55155-1606

Senator Ray Vandeveer (R) District 52
_sen.ray.vandeveer [at] senate.mn_ (mailto:sen.ray.vandeveer [at]
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
State Office Building, Room  107
St. Paul, MN 55155-1206

MN Senate Testimony by the West Metro Global Warming Action Group, Inc.

Madam Chair and Committee members,

Hello, my name is Danene Provencher and I am representing the West Metro
Global Warming Action Group from the west suburbs. My intent today, with
my testimony, is to dispel some of the myths being used to market nuclear
energy as clean, cheap, abundant, and safe, and that it results in no
carbon footprint.

The issue of nuclear power being used as an answer to fight global warming
has led our organization into researching the pros and cons of nuclear
energy. Please allow me to address some of our concerns:

    1.  Nuclear energy is not  clean.

Though the actual emissions of a nuclear power plant do not directly emit
CO2, there is much concern about the toxicity of the spent fuel rods
without any storage solutions, the by product of plutonium which has a
half-life of 376,000 years according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
website, which cannot be safely stored, nor does any country have a
permanent storage solution at this time.

Also the presence of radioactive materials during the mining stages,
producing uranium tailings have sickened communities due to lack of proper
cleanup and have contaminated their drinking wells, along with the
potential hazards of transporting radioactive materials in all phases of
nuclear manufacturing.

As one of many examples, according to an April, 2004 report by the General
Accounting Office, the U.S. will spend, in 2002 dollars, over $7 billion
through 2070 to clean up a former uranium enrichment plant in Paducah,
Kentucky.  [] and a most recent
example is the shutdown of the Vermont Yankee reactor by a vote of 26-4 by
the VT Senate due to the toxic tritium leaks in their groundwater.

    2.  Nuclear Power has a greater carbon footprint than renewable
energy. Based on an Energy Policy study by Professor Benjamin K. Sovacool
- It should be noted that nuclear power is not directly emitting
greenhouse gas emissions, but rather that lifecycle emissions occur
through plant construction, operation, uranium mining and milling, and
plant decommissioning, and The Oxford Research Group projects that if the
percentage of world nuclear capacity remains what it is today, by 2050
nuclear power would generate as much carbon dioxide per kWh as comparable
gas-fired power stations, as the grade of available uranium ore decreases
(Barnaby and Kemp, 2007a, b).

    3.  Nuclear energy is not cheap.  Based on research from Public
Citizen, the nuclear power industry continues to be dependent on
taxpayer's handouts, despite the promise of over 50 years ago of energy
"too cheap to meter"

.  From 1947 through 1999 the nuclear industry was subsidized by over $115
billion in direct taxpayer subsidies.  Including Price Anderson
limitations on nuclear liability, the federal subsidies reached over
$145.4 billion.  Federal government subsidies for wind and solar only
totaled $5.7 billion over the same period.  Additional taxpayer subsidies
for the management of radioactive wastes and reactor decommissioning add
to further cost.  Assuming that all of the $54.5 billion in nuclear loan
guarantees being sought by the current administration in the 2011 budget
are successful, the industry will provide less than one percent of the
nation's current electrical generating capacity.  Replacing the existing
fleet of 104 reactors which are expected to shut down by 2056 could cost
about $1.4 trillion. Add to that another $500 billion for a 50% increase
above current nuclear generation capacity to make a meaningful impact on
reducing carbon emissions. This means the U.S. would have to start
bringing a new reactor on line at a rate between once a week to once a
month for the next several decades.

    4.  Nuclear energy is not guaranteed to be abundant.  According to the
U.S. Energy Information Administration, our country supplies only 8% of
uranium used in U.S. reactors.  The rest is purchased from foreign
countries, some of who may not be reliable friends, such as the Russian
Federation, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan.

    5.  Nuclear power is not safe. If nuclear power were safe, Congress
would not have needed to enact the "Price-Anderson Act" in 1957, which
established liability limits for damages that utility companies must pay
in the event of a nuclear power plant disaster. Any damages above the
liability limits would be paid by taxpayers.  This public policy decision
was explicitly acknowledged by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case entitled
Duke Power Company v. Carolina Environmental Study Group, Inc. where the
court stated, " [T]he potential liability dwarfed the ability of the
industry and private insurance companies to absorb the risk". [S]pokesmen
for the private sector informed Congress that they would be forced to
withdraw from the field if their liability were not limited by appropriate
legislation.  Congress responded in 1957 by passing the Price-Anderson Act

Nuclear power needs liability limits under the Price-Anderson Act,
renewable energy does not.

Also, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has much to say about the
vulnerabilities and lack of security of nuclear power plants from acts of

6.  Nuclear power is not needed.  The U.S. can meet 100% of its energy
needs by renewable energy resources as stated in the Scientific American
Magazine (Nov.  2009) and also Dr. Makhijani's book, Carbon-Free and
Nuclear-Free:  A Roadmap for U.S.  Energy Policy (2007).]

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to provide these facts and I
hope you will consider them in your decision and continue to uphold the
moratorium on building any new nuclear power plants. Danene Provencher,
board member, _www.wmgwag.org_ (

--------2 of 5--------

From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at]>
Subject: Hiawatha power 3.03 11am

MIDTOWN POWERPLAY:  High-Voltage Community Clash
KFAI - 90.3FM-Minneapolis/106.7FM Saint Paul and STREAMING at

TTT revisits Xcel Energy's continuing push to place electrical substations
in the Hiawatha corridor and high-voltage lines over the Midtown Greenway.
Despite reams of testimony and several "Friend of the Court" briefs being
filed in what's called a contested case, Xcel persists in its claim that
additional capacity is needed in this area of the city. The guardians of
that recessed corridor of walking and biking trails along the old railroad
right-of-way north of Lake Street through the heart of South Minneapolis
to the Mississippi, the Midtown Greenway Coalition (MGC), essentially say,
Prove it.

The MGC cites Minnesota's rules and regulations for determining such need
before the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) issues the OK for erecting
towers adjacent to and crossing the Greenway and stringing high-voltage
lines to a proposed substation at Hiawatha. Lake Street businesses believe
additional power capacity is absolutely essential, but they can see why
Greenway folks - backed by their neighborhood members in Phillips
(including Little Earth), Corcoran, Seward and Longfellow neighborhoods,
among other friends, insist that, if the line is built, it could go
underground just as easily as overhead.

The issues and emotions run deep. More than simple aesthetics, public
safety issues are in dispute as the the formal Draft Environmental Impact
Statement issued in January will be dissected and commented on in coming
weeks before going before the PUC, then, most likely, to a contested case
hearing before Administrative Law Judge Beverly Jones Heidinger once

TTT's ANDY DRISCOLL and LYNNELL MICKELSEN talk with a couple of the
principals in the legal and policy clash that has thus far consumed well
over a year of public and coalition/neighborhood time and angst.

 TIM SPRINGER - Executive Director, Midtown Greenway Coalition
 PAUL ADELMANN - Xcel Energy Community Relations Manager for City of

Other Information Links for the Curious:
Midtown Greenway's Grid Expansion Page
Xcel Enrgy's Hiawatha Project site
Public Utilities Commission Xcel Project site


--------3 of 5--------

From: jwilson [at]
Subject: ENP.Dolan 3.03 6:30pm

Comrades and Freinds of the Edgertonite National Party:

Just a friendly reminder that the next meeting is Wednesday, 3 March 2010
at 6:30 PM at the Bad Waitress, 2 E. 26th St., Minneapolis, MN, and you
are cordially invited!

Perhaps we can discuss the Dolan reappointment as part of the meeing....
Please come!

Sincerely, John Charles Wilson National Chirman, ENP

--------4 of 5--------

The Top 10 Reasons We Don't Need More Nukes
by Alisa Gravitz
Published on Monday, March 1, 2010 by

Many of President Barack Obama's domestic priorities seem intractably
stuck in partisan gridlock, but one of his recent State of the Union
proposals appears to be moving ahead quickly: taxpayer-backed loan
guarantees for so-called "safe, clean, nuclear power plants".

The Energy Department has already announced a new $8.3 billion loan
guarantee for new nuclear plants in Georgia, and Energy Secretary Steven
Chu is using Facebook to explain why the administration believes nukes are

"No single technology can provide all of the answers," Chu says. "We need
nuclear power as part of a comprehensive solution".

No way. While it's certainly true that our energy needs require a
diversity of solutions, nuclear power shouldn't be in the mix. Solar,
wind, and geothermal power, combined with energy efficiency, can overcome
our reliance on fossil fuels, provide energy security, and mitigate the
climate crisis. Here are the top 10 reasons why we shouldn't build any
more nuclear reactors:

1. Nuclear waste -- The waste from nuclear power plants will be toxic for
humans for more than 100,000 years.  It's untenable now to secure and
store all of the waste from the plants that exist.  To scale up to 2,500
or 3,000, let alone 17,000 plants is unthinkable.

Nuclear proponents hope that the next generation of nuclear plants will
generate much less waste, but this technology is not yet fully developed
or proven.  Even if new technology eventually can successful reduce the
waste involved, the waste that remains will still be toxic for 100,000
years.  There will be less per plant, perhaps, but likely more overall,
should nuclear power scale up to 2,500, 3,000 or 17,000 plants.  No
community should have to accept nuclear waste site, or even accept the
risks of nuclear waste being transported through on route to its final
destination.  The waste problem alone should take nuclear power off the

The proposed solution a national nuclear waste storage facility at Yucca
Mountain is overbudget and won't provide a safe solution either.  The
people of Nevada don't want that nuclear waste facility there.  Also, we
would need to transfer the waste to this facility from plants around the
country and drive it there - which puts communities across the country at

2. Nuclear proliferation - In discussing the nuclear proliferation issue,
Al Gore said, "During my 8 years in the White House, every nuclear weapons
proliferation issue we dealt with was connected to a nuclear reactor
program."  Iran and North Korea are reminding us of this every day.  We
can't develop a domestic nuclear energy program without confronting
proliferation in other countries.

Here too, nuclear power proponents hope that the reduction of nuclear
waste will reduce the risk of proliferation from any given plant, but
again, the technology is not there yet.  If we want to be serious about
stopping proliferation in the rest of the world, we need to get serious
here at home, and not push the next generation of nuclear proliferation
forward as an answer to climate change. There is simply no way to
guarantee that nuclear materials will not fall into the wrong hands

3. National Security - Nuclear reactors represent a clear national
security risk, and an attractive target for terrorists.  In researching
the security around nuclear power plants, Robert Kennedy, Jr. found that
there are at least eight relatively easy ways to cause a major meltdown at
a nuclear power plant.

What's more, Kennedy has sailed boats right into the Indian Point Nuclear
Power Plant on the Hudson River outside of New York City not just once but
twice, to point out the lack of security around nuclear plants.  The
unfortunate fact is that our nuclear power plants remain unsecured,
without adequate evacuation plans in the case of an emergency.  Remember
the government response to Hurricane Katrina, and cross that with a
Chernobyl-style disaster to begin to imagine what a terrorist attack at a
nuclear power plant might be like.

4. Accidents - Forget terrorism for a moment, and remember that mere
accidents - human error or natural disasters - can wreak just as much
havoc at a nuclear power plant site.  The Chernobyl disaster forced the
evacuation and resettlement of nearly 400,000 people, with thousands
poisoned by radiation.

Here in the US, the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island in 1979
triggered a clean-up effort that ultimately lasted for nearly 15 years,
and topped more than one billion dollars in cost. The cost of cleaning up
after one of these disasters is simply too great, in both dollars and
human cost - and if we were to scale up to 17,000 plants, is it reasonable
to imagine that not one of them would ever have a single meltdown?   Many
nuclear plants are located close to major population centers.  For
example, there's a plant just up the Hudson from New York City.  If there
was an accident, evacuation would be impossible.

5. Cancer -- There are growing concerns that living near nuclear plants
increases the risk for childhood leukemia and other forms of cancer - even
when a plant has an accident-free track record.  One Texas study found
increased cancer rates in north central Texas since the Comanche Peak
nuclear power plant was established in 1990, and a recent German study
found childhood leukemia clusters near several nuclear power sites in
Europe. [What's a little leukemia in order for our ruling-class vermin to
get a few more yachts or high-priced whores for their evil-besotted
useless lives? So good numbers of us die writhing in pain - who gives a
damn about us? - it's all for THEM, the glorious ever-wonderful THEM. -ed

According to Dr. Helen Caldicott, a nuclear energy expert, nuclear power
plants produce numerous dangerous, carcinogenic elements.  Among them are:
iodine 131, which bio-concentrates in leafy vegetables and milk and can
induce thyroid cancer; strontium 90, which bio-concentrates in milk and
bone, and can induce breast cancer, bone cancer, and leukemia; cesium 137,
which bio-concentrates in meat, and can induce a malignant muscle cancer
called a sarcoma; and plutonium 239.  Plutonium 239 is so dangerous that
one-millionth of a gram is carcinogenic, and can cause liver cancer, bone
cancer, lung cancer, testicular cancer, and birth defects.  Because safe
and healthy power sources like solar and wind exist now, we don't have to
rely on risky nuclear power.

6. Not enough sites - Scaling up to 17,000 - or 2,500 or 3,000 --  nuclear
plants isn't possible simply due to the limitation of feasible sites.
Nuclear plants need to be located near a source of water for cooling, and
there aren't enough locations in the world that are safe from droughts,
flooding, hurricanes, earthquakes, or other potential disasters that could
trigger a nuclear accident.  Over 24 nuclear plants are at risk of needing
to be shut down this year because of the drought in the Southeast.  No
water, no nuclear power.

There are many communities around the country that simply won't allow a
new nuclear plant to be built - further limiting potential sites. [They
could just be taken over by martial law... -ed] And there are whole areas
of the world that are unsafe because of political instability and the high
risk of proliferation.  In short, geography, local politics, political
instability and climate change itself, there are not enough sites for a
scaled up nuclear power strategy.

Remember that climate change is causing stronger storms and coastal
flooding, which in turn reduces the number of feasible sites for nuclear
power plants.  Furthermore, due to all of the other strikes against
nuclear power, many communities will actively fight against nuclear plants
coming into their town.  How could we get enough communities on board to
accept the grave risks of nuclear power, if we need to build 17, let
alone, 17,000 new plants? [A: permanent county-wide martial law. -ed]

7. Not enough uranium - Even if we could find enough feasible sites for a
new generation of nuclear plants, we're running out of the uranium
necessary to power them.  Scientists in both the US and UK have shown that
if the current level of nuclear power were expanded to provide all the
world's electricity, our uranium would be depleted in less than ten years.

As uranium supplies dwindle, nuclear plants will actually begin to use up
more energy to mine and mill the uranium than can be recovered through the
nuclear reactor process.   What's more, dwindling supplies will trigger
the use of ever lower grades of uranium, which produce ever more
climate-change-producing emissions - resulting in a climate-change catch

8. Costs - Some types of energy production, such as solar power,
experience decreasing costs to scale.  Like computers and cell phones,
when you make more solar panels, costs come down.  Nuclear power, however,
will experience increasing costs to scale.  Due to dwindling sites and
uranium resources, each successive new nuclear power plant will only see
its costs rise, with taxpayers and consumers ultimately paying the price.
[Well, but, WE don't count. -ed]

What's worse, nuclear power is centralized power.  A nuclear power plant
brings few jobs to its local economy.  In contrast, accelerating solar and
energy efficiency solutions creates jobs good-paying, green collar, jobs
in every community. [Promotes democracy - dangerous to the aristocracy.

Around the world, nuclear plants are seeing major cost overruns. For
example, a new generation nuclear plant in Finland is already experiencing
numerous problems and cost overruns of 25 percent of its $4 billion
budget.  The US government's current energy policy providing more than $11
billion in subsidies to the nuclear energy could be much better spent
providing safe and clean energy that would give a boost to local
communities, like solar and wind power do.  Subsidizing costly nuclear
power plants directs that money to large, centralized facilities, built by
a few large companies that will take the profits out of the communities
they build in.

9. Private sector unwilling to finance - Due to all of the above, the
private sector has largely chosen to take a pass on the financial risks of
nuclear power, which is what led the industry to seek taxpayer loan
guarantees from Congress in the first place.

As the Nuclear Energy Institute recently reported in a brief to the US
Department of Energy, "100 percent loan coverage [by taxpayers] is
essential ... because the capital markets are unwilling, now and for the
foreseeable future, to provide the financing necessary" for new nuclear
power plants.  Wall Street refuses to invest in nuclear power because the
plants are assumed to have a 50 percent default rate.  The only way that
Wall Street will put their  money behind these plants is if American
taxpayers underwrite the risks.  If the private sector has deemed nuclear
power too risky, it makes no sense to force taxpayers to bear the burden.

And finally, even if all of the above strikes against nuclear power didn't
exist, nuclear power still can't be a climate solution because there is

10. No time  - Even if nuclear waste, proliferation, national security,
accidents, cancer and other dangers of uranium mining and transport, lack
of sites, increasing costs, and a private sector unwilling to insure and
finance the projects weren't enough to put an end to the debate of nuclear
power as a solution for climate change,  the final nail in nuclear's
coffin is time.  We have the next ten years to mount a global effort
against climate change.  It simply isn't possible to build 17,000 - or
2,500 or 17 for that matter - in ten years.

With so many strikes against nuclear power, it should be off the table as
a climate solution, and we need to turn our energies toward the
technologies and strategies that can truly make a difference:  solar
power, wind power, and energy conservation.

Distributed by Minuteman Media
Alisa Gravitz is executive director of Green America.

--------5 of 5--------

America's Supremes: Court Over Constitution
by Stephen Lendman
February 26th, 2010
Dissident Voice

[A catalog of the Court v. Democracy. -ed]

On October 13, 1932, in laying the Supreme Court Building's cornerstone,
Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes said: "The Republic endures and this is
the symbol of its faith". The words "Equal Justice Under Law" adorn its
west facade. Facing east is the motto "Justice, the Guardian of Liberty".
Since the Court's 1789 establishment, these words belie its decisions,
arguments, and "supreme" allegiance to power, not "We the people".

Since its founding, privilege always counted most in America. The
prevailing fiction then and now is that constitutional checks and balances
restrain government, the founders having created an egalitarian country
free from wealth and poverty extremes common most elsewhere.

Like today, wealthy 18th century colonialists had vastly disproportional
land holdings; controlled banking, commerce and industry; assured its own
ran the government and courts; and the supreme law of the land, then and
now, deters no president, sitting government, or Supreme Court from doing
what they wish.

>From inception, America was always ruled by men, not laws, who lie,
connive, misinterpret and pretty much do what they want for their own
self-interest and powerful constituents. In 1787, "the people" who
mattered most were elitists. The American revolution substituted new
management for old. Everything changed but stayed the same under a system

. the illusion of democracy; today the best one money can buy; even
"better" now with unfettered corporate spending and two-thirds of federal
judges from or affiliated with the extremist Federalist Society (FS); it
advocates rolling back civil liberties; ending New Deal social policies;
opposing reproductive choice, government regulations, labor rights and
environmental protections; and subverting justice in defense of privilege;
current SCOTUS members from or affiliated with FS include Chief Justice
John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, and Clarence
. a powerful chief executive at the top; a virtual dictator in times of
. a bicameral Congress with a single senatorial member able to thwart the
will of the majority;
. a committee system run by power brokers;
. one vulnerable to lobbyist interests;
. staggered elections to assure continuity;
. a one-party state with two wings, vulnerable to corruption; and
. a separate judiciary with power to overrule Congress and the Executive,
and at times does.

The Constitution's "We the People" opening words are meaningless window
dressing. So is Article I, Section 8 stating:

"The Congress shall have power to provide for (the) general welfare of
the United States" - the so-called welfare clause applicable also to the
Executive and High Court.

The record shows otherwise - decades of permanent wars, repressive laws,
rampant crime, unsafe streets, injustice, political corruption, dishonest
police, racketeering labor officials, corporate fraud, raging unaddressed
social problems, rare efforts to change things, and since the 1970s,
virtually none.

The notion of "government of the people, by the people and for the people"
is bogus on its face. People don't govern directly or through
representatives. They are governed by the rich and well-born, movers and
shakers, wheeler dealers, power brokers, a Wall Street crowd looking after
themselves at the expense of most others. It's how America always worked,
including the High Court, established under the Constitution's Article III

"The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such
inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and

Congress is explicitly empowered to regulate the Court, but, in fact, the
Court often controls Congress, freely using what's called "judicial
review," even though it's unmentioned in the Constitution and the founders
didn't authorize it.

The concept derives from Article VI, Section 2 saying the Constitution,
laws, and treaties are the "supreme Law of the Land" and judges are bound
by them. Also from Article III, Section 1 saying judicial power applies to
all cases, implying judicial review is allowed. Under this interpretation,
appointed judges literally have power to annul acts of Congress and
presidential decisions - though nothing in the Constitution explicitly
allows this.

The famous 1803 Marbury v. Madison decision was defining. As articulated
by Chief Justice John Marshall, it established the principle of judicial
supremacy, meaning the Court is the final arbiter of what is or is not the
law. He set a precedent by voiding an act of Congress and the President,
and put a brake on congressional and presidential powers - except that
Executives are only constrained to the degree they wish, able to take full
advantage of Article II, Section 1 stating:

"The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States
of America," and Article II, Section 3 stating:

"The President shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed,"
omitting that they lawlessly make them through Executive Orders,
Presidential Directives, and other means, including George Bush claiming
"Unitary Executive" powers, what Chalmers Johnson called a "ball-faced
assertion of presidential supremacy dressed up in legal mumbo jumbo".

However, no constitutional wording explicitly permits this. Yet Congress
and the High Court rarely override the Executive, so effectively he's
empowered with vast, frightening authority, including as
commander-in-chief of the military, an autonomous capacity in peace but
dictatorial during war.

With some ingenuity, Executives have sovereign power. Congress is mostly a
paper tiger, and the High Court usually upholds presidential authority.
But if it wishes, it can make laws it wants by judicial rulings.

Notable Court Decisions

. in Fletcher v. Peck (1810), the law of property rights was stabilized,
especially contracts for the purchase of land; it was one of the first
times the Court ruled a state law unconstitutional;

. in Dartmouth College v. Woodward (1819), the Court held that private
corporate charters were contracts, and as such, were protected by the
Constitution's Article I, Section 10 Contract Clause including among other
provisions that:

.No State shall (make any) Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts.;.

. in McCulloch v. Maryland (1819), the Court ruled that a state can't tax
a bank branch established by an act of Congress;

. in Gibbons v. Ogden (1824), the Court upheld the supremacy of the United
States over the individual states in the regulation of intestate commerce;

. in Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857), the Court ruled that black slaves and
their descendants had no constitutional protections; could never become US
citizens; that Congress had no power to prohibit slavery in federal
territories; slaves couldn't sue for redress and their freedom; and as
chattel property, they couldn't be taken from owners without due process;

The decision was never overruled, but in the 1873 Slaughter-House Cases,
the Court held that the 14th Amendment annulled part of it by making all
native born Americans citizens by birth.

. in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), the Court affirmed segregation in public

. in Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad (1886), the Court
granted corporations personhood under the 14th Amendment with all accruing
rights and privileges but none of the obligations;

The case and Court ruling involved a simple land dispute, unrelated to
corporate personhood. After the decision, the Court reporter, JC Bancroft
Davis, wrote it in his "headnotes". The Court allowed it to give
corporations the same rights as people, but their limited liability
absolved them of the obligations, empowering them to become the dominant
institution of our times, able to control Congress, the Executive, and win
numerous other favorable Court decisions.

Of all High Court rulings, this was the most far-reaching and harmful. It
gave corporations unchecked powers, let them grow to oligarchic size,
operate outside the law, and subvert the general welfare.

. in Lochner v. New York (1905), the Court held that a "liberty of
contract" was implicit in the 14th Amendment's due process clause,
rejecting a New York law limiting the number of hours a baker could work
for reasons of health; calling it "unreasonable, unnecessary and arbitrary
interference with the right and liberty of the individual to contract," it
was one of the Court's most controversial decisions during the Lochner era
from 1897-1937, when numerous laws regulating working conditions were
invalidated in favor of property rights;

. in Korematsu v. United States (1944), the Court ruled Franklin
Roosevelt's Executive Order (EO) 9066 constitutional, ordering the
internment of Japanese Americans during WW II; Korematsu challenged his
conviction for violating the EO; in 1984, the US District Court for the
Northern District of California ruled in his favor, Judge Marilyn Patel

"there is substantial support in the record that the government
deliberately omitted relevant information (including military
justification) in provided misleading information in papers before the
court" that was critical to the Supreme Court's decision.

. in Bush v. Gore (2000), the Court overruled the majority vote to make
George Bush president; it overrode Florida's Supreme Court, halting the
state recount on the spurious grounds that it violated the 14th
Amendment's Equal Protection Clause, an implausible argument but it held;
it was the first time ever in US history that the Court reversed the
popular will, installing its preferred candidate instead; months later,
when it was too late to matter, a media-sponsored National Opinion
Research Center tabulation of all uncounted votes showed Gore won Florida
and was elected president; he knew it all along but didn't contest;

. in Watters v. Twombly (2007), the Court prevented states from regulating
national bank subsidiaries just as the subprime crisis erupted;

. in Regents of the University of California v. Merrill Lynch (2008), the
court denied restitution from Enron's collusion and defrauding investors;
in Arthur Andersen v. United States (2005), it absolved Enron's partner in
crime ruling jury instructions "failed to convey the requisite
consciousness of wrongdoing" because jurors were told to convict Andersen
if it had an "improper purpose," even if it thought it was acting legally;
of course, Andersen knew the law, knew it acted illegally, but thought it
could get away with it and did;

. in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the Court sided with the gun
lobby saying even though they're "aware of the problem of handgun violence
in this country". constitutional rights necessarily (take) policy choices
off the table;.

. in Exxon Shipping v. Baker (2008 - 19 years after the Exxon Valdez
spill), the Court reduced the original $5 billion punitive damage award to
$500 million; this and earlier cases lowered the bar for future
malfeasance settlements, the Court nearly always siding with business,
giving fraudulent and negligent companies wide latitude to endanger the
public and get away with it;

. in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010), the Court
ruled that the government can't put limits on corporate spending in
political elections as doing so violates First Amendment freedoms, legal
"political speech," according to Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the
5-4 majority.

The decision overruled Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce (1990),
restricting corporate political spending on the notion that "(c)orporate
wealth can unfairly influence elections," and McConnell v. Federal
Election Commission (2003), upholding part of the Bipartisan Campaign
Reform Act of 2002 (the McCain-Feingold Act) restricting corporate and
union campaign spending.

In its January ruling, the Court set a precedent, but does it matter given
the political power of big money, past failures to curb it, and Professor
John Kozy saying:

"Expecting the Congress, most if not all of whose members reside deep in
corporate pockets, to eliminate that influence can be likened to expected
the rhinovirus to eliminate the common cold. Corporate money (in large or
smaller amounts) is the diseased life-blood of American politics; it
carries its cancerous spores to all extremities".

As for the Court, Kozy cited Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes' Lochner
dissent, saying "the Court has taken its task to be the
constitutionalization of a totally immoral, rapacious, economic system
instead of the promotion of justice, domestic tranquility, the general
welfare, and the blessings of liberty".

However, as HL Mencken observed, Holmes was no "advocate of the rights of
man (but rather) an advocate of the rights of lawmakers. (Under his
judicial philosophy), there would be scarcely any brake at all upon
lawmaking, and the Bill of Rights would have no more significance than the
Code of Manu (referring to discrimination against women in Hindu

Of course, the same observation applies throughout Court history with past
civil libertarians far outnumbered by supporters of the established order
and big money that runs it. For every William Brennan and Thurgood
Marshall there have been dozens of John Jays (the first chief justice),
Roger Taneys, William Howard Tafts, Scalias, Burgers, Rehnquists, and

Even liberal Republican Earl Warren, as California Attorney General,
supported interning Japanese Americans during WW II, despite later writing
the unanimous Brown v. Board of Education decision as Chief Justice as
well as supporting other progressive rulings. Under Lyndon Johnson,
however, he also chaired the Warren Commission cover-up of Jack Kennedy's
assassination, saying:

". there may be some things that would involve security. This would be
preserved but not made public," even though the public has a right to know
as a democratic state's final arbiter.

The Commission took testimony in secret, later publishing sanitized
versions two months after the Warren Report. It prompted critics like
Sylvia Meagher in her landmark book titled, ."Accessories After the Fact"
to rebut the Commission's findings, largely based on evidence it
published. It excluded everything deemed sensitive and called Lee Harvey
Oswald the lone assassin, a conclusion very much in dispute with growing
evidence to prove it.

Michael Parenti calls the Supreme Court an "autocratic branch" of
government. Its members are appointed, serve for life, and have great
power for good or ill, nearly always supporting institutions of power,
including corporate America. Even during the 1930s, "the Supreme Court was
the activist bastion of laissez-faire capitalism" until public and White
House pressure got it to accept New Deal legislation.

Post-1960s courts, however, reverted to form:

making it harder to prove discrimination;
weakening Miranda rights,
diluting Roe v. Wade;
giving child abusers more rights than victims;
weakening unreasonable searches and seizures;
turning a blind eye to illegal surveillance;
reinstating the death penalty in 1976;
supporting economic inequality by upholding laws reducing welfare and
other rulings against the disadvantaged;
granting more executive power to the president;
siding with business against labor and victims of corporate fraud and
harmful products;
ignoring the separation of church and state by granting religious
organizations tax exemptions;
ruling in Buckley v. Valeo (1976) for a federal law limiting campaign
contributions, but saying money influencing elections is constitutionally
protected speech, and candidates may give unlimited amounts to their own
campaigns; and
numerous other pro-business, pro-state power rulings.

As for unfettered political spending, Ralph Nader's comments were
unsurprising, saying "The Supremes Bow(ed) to King Corporation," further
weakening a fragile democracy and deeply corrupted electoral process. With
Washington already corporate occupied territory, it's debatable what more
they need do. But they:

can now directly pour (unlimited) amounts of corporate money, through
independent expenditures, into the electoral swamp already flooded with
corporate campaign PAC contribution dollars. Without (shareholder)
approval, (they) can reward or intimidate people running for office at the
local, state, and national levels.

The Court saying "Government may not suppress political speech based on
the speaker's corporate identity" means influence depends on the ability
to buy it. The public is more than ever left out. The electoral process is
further corrupted, and the notion of free, fair, and open elections is
fanciful, absurd, and the reason many voters opt out.

Nader supports a grassroots effort for a constitutional amendment to end
corporate personhood and get big money out of politics. Also vital are:

publicly funded elections;
independent parties and candidates;
repeal of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), empowering corporations
through easily manipulated touchscreen electronic voting machines,
replacing them with hand-counted paper ballots, administered by
independent civil servants; and
numerous other reforms to turn sham elections into real ones.

Most important is:

America's growing repressiveness;
its abandonment of the rule of law, due process, and judicial fairness for
society's most disadvantaged;
its bogus democracy under a homeland police state apparatus;
permanent war agenda;
growing denial of civil liberties and constitutional freedoms;
letting social services erode when they're most needed during growing
economic duress; and
the High Court's acquiesce propelling America toward tyranny unless an
aroused public intervenes to stop it. So far, there's not a hint of it in

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. Contact him at:
lendmanstephen [at] Also visit his blog site and listen to The
Global Research News Hour on Mondays from
11AM-1PM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished
guests. All programs are archived for easy listening. Read other articles
by Stephen, or visit Stephen's website.


   - David Shove             shove001 [at]
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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