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Jack White
01-23-2010, 07:00 AM
I suppose everyone knows by now that the Supreme Court
has ruled that a Corporation is a "PERSON".

Doe this mean that Lockheed-Martin Aircraft can
run for president and Walmart for vice-president?
Maybe Citibank as Secretary of Treasury?

Jack

Ed Jewett
01-23-2010, 07:30 AM
The ruling opens the door for all sorts of mayhem. Consider what the recipients of the tax-fueled trillion-dollar bailout can do. Consider what has happened in money-laundering of narco-dollars and other trans-national criminal activities. "This legislation has been brought to you by ____." Consider that the national security state apparatus already has its own venture capital firm. Consider how economic warfare is handled by software-driven fiddling-and-diddling. Consider how that security state already has the ability to know, sense, analyze and communicate communications in real time, and that their surveillance has been ruled off-limits to judicial review. :creep:

Peter Lemkin
01-23-2010, 08:39 AM
I suppose everyone knows by now that the Supreme Court
has ruled that a Corporation is a "PERSON".

Doe this mean that Lockheed-Martin Aircraft can
run for president and Walmart for vice-president?
Maybe Citibank as Secretary of Treasury?

Jack

The statement I heard that sums it up best, IMO, was "worst Supreme Court decision since the Dread Scott decision". :five: Halliburton for Secretary of War - I mean Defense. Now there is not much reason for the average person to contribute ANY money to ANY campaign, as the Corporations can spend all they want [and they basically have most of OUR money] - so they will choose the government.....I think that IS the definition of fascism and with this Court ruling we now, IMO, officially have sanctioned it. How nice :dancing:

Peter Lemkin
01-23-2010, 09:05 AM
AMY GOODMAN: We begin our show today looking at yesterday’s landmark Supreme Court ruling that will allow corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money to elect and defeat candidates.


In a five-to-four decision, the Court overturned century-old restrictions on corporations, unions and other interest groups from using their vast treasuries to advocate for a specific candidate. The conservative members of the Court ruled corporations have First Amendment rights and that the government cannot impose restrictions on their political speech.


Writing the majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy described existing campaign finance laws as a form of censorship that have had a, quote, “substantial, nationwide chilling effect” on political speech.


In the dissenting opinion, Justice John Paul Stevens described the decision as a radical departure in the law. Stevens wrote, quote, “The Court’s ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the nation.” Stevens went on to write, quote, “It will undoubtedly cripple the ability of ordinary citizens, Congress, and the States to adopt even limited measures to protect against corporate domination of the electoral process.”


To talk more about this ruling, we’re joined by Jamin Raskin. He’s a professor of constitutional law at American University and a Maryland state senator. He is the author of several books, including Overruling Democracy: The Supreme Court vs. The American People.

Professor Raskin, welcome to Democracy Now! Talk about the significance of the Supreme Court’s ruling.

JAMIN RASKIN: Good morning, Amy.

Well, we’ve had some terrible Supreme Court interventions against political democracy: Shaw v. Reno, striking down majority African American and Hispanic congressional districts; Bush v. Gore, intervening to stop the counting of ballots in Florida. But I would have to say that all of them pale compared to what we just saw yesterday, where the Supreme Court has overturned decades of Supreme Court precedent to declare that private, for-profit corporations have First Amendment rights of political expression, meaning that they can spend up to the heavens in order to have their way in politics. And this will open floodgates of millions, tens of millions, hundreds of millions of dollars in federal, state and local elections, as Halliburton and Enron and Blackwater and Bank of America and Goldman Sachs can take money directly out of corporate treasuries and put them into our politics.

And I looked at just one corporation, Exxon Mobil, which is the biggest corporation in America. In 2008, they posted profits of $85 billion. And so, if they decided to spend, say, a modest ten percent of their profits in one year, $8.5 billion, that would be three times more than the Obama campaign, the McCain campaign and every candidate for House and Senate in the country spent in 2008. That’s one corporation. So think about the Fortune 500. They’re threatening a fundamental change in the character of American political democracy.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about President Obama’s response? He was extremely critical, to say the least. He said, “With its ruling today, the Supreme Court has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics…a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans.” Yet a number of especially conservatives are pointing out that there was—that President Obama spent more money for his presidential election than anyone in US history.

JAMIN RASKIN: OK, well, that’s a red herring in this discussion. The question here is the corporation, OK? And there’s an unbroken line of precedent, beginning with Chief Justice Marshall in the Dartmouth College case in the 1800s, all the way through Justice Rehnquist, even, in First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, saying that a corporation is an artificial creation of the state. It’s an instrumentality that the state legislatures charter in order to achieve economic purposes. And as Justice White put it, the state does not have to permit its own creature to consume it, to devour it.

And that’s precisely what the Supreme Court has done, suddenly declaring that a corporation is essentially a citizen, armed with all the political rights that we have, at the same time that the corporation has all kinds of economic perks and privileges like limited liability and perpetual life and bankruptcy protection and so on, that mean that we’re basically subsidizing these entities, and sometimes directly, as we saw with the Wall Street bailout, but then they’re allowed to turn around and spend money to determine our political future, our political destiny. So it’s a very dangerous moment for American political democracy.

And in other times, citizens have gotten together to challenge corporate power. The passage of the Seventeenth Amendment in 1913 is a good example, where corporations were basically buying senators, going into state legislatures and paying off senator—paying off legislators to buy US senators, and the populist movement said we need direct popular election of senators. And that’s how we got it, basically, in a movement against corporate power.

Well, we need a movement for a constitutional amendment to declare that corporations are not persons entitled to the rights of political expression. And that’s what the President should be calling for at this point, because no legislation is really going to do the trick.

Now, one thing Congress can do is to say, if you do business with the federal government, you are not permitted to spend any money in federal election contests. That’s something that Congress should work on and get out next week. I mean, that seems very clear. No pay to play, in terms of US Congress.

And I think that citizens, consumers, shareholders across the country, should start a mass movement to demand that corporations commit not to get involved in politics and not to spend their money in that way, but should be involved in the economy and, you know, economic production and livelihood, rather than trying to determine what happens in our elections.

AMY GOODMAN: This is considered a conservative court, Jamin Raskin, but isn’t this a very activist stance of the Supreme Court justices?

JAMIN RASKIN: Indeed. The Supreme Court has reached out to strike down a law that has been on the books for several decades. And moreover, it reached out when the parties to the case didn’t even ask them to decide it. The Citizens United group, the anti-Hillary Clinton group, did not even ask them to wipe out decades of Supreme Court case law on the rights of corporations in the First Amendment. The Court, in fact, raised the question, made the parties go back and brief this case, and then came up with the answer to the question that the Court itself, or the five right-wing justices themselves, posed here.

There would have been lots of other ways for those conservative justices to find that Citizens United’s anti-Hillary Clinton movie was protected speech, the simplest being saying, “Look, this was pay-per-view; it wasn’t a TV commercial. So it’s not covered by McCain-Feingold.” But the Court, or the five justices on the Court, were hell-bent on overthrowing McCain-Feingold and the electioneering communication rules and reversing decades of precedent.

And so, now the people are confronted with a very serious question: Will we have the political power and vision to mobilize, to demand a constitutional amendment to say that it is “we, the people,” not “we, the corporations”?

AMY GOODMAN: Jamin Raskin, we want to thank you very much for being with us, professor of constitutional law at American University’s School of Law and a Maryland state senator.

Magda Hassan
01-23-2010, 09:57 AM
In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations should be treated the same as "natural persons", i.e. humans. Well, in that case, expect the Supreme Court to next rule that Wal-Mart can run for President.
The ruling, which junks federal laws that now bar corporations from stuffing campaign coffers, will not, as progressives fear, cause an avalanche of corporate cash into politics. Sadly, that's already happened: we have been snowed under by tens of millions of dollars given through corporate PACs and "bundling" of individual contributions from corporate pay-rollers.
The Court's decision is far, far more dangerous to U.S. democracy. Think: Manchurian candidates.
I'm losing sleep over the millions — or billions — of dollars that could flood into our elections from ARAMCO, the Saudi Oil corporation's U.S. unit; or from the maker of "New Order" fashions, the Chinese People's Liberation Army. Or from Bin Laden Construction corporation. Or Bin Laden Destruction Corporation.
Right now, corporations can give loads of loot through PACs. While this money stinks (Barack Obama took none of it), anyone can go through a PAC's federal disclosure filing and see the name of every individual who put money into it. And every contributor must be a citizen of the USA.
But under today's Supreme Court ruling that corporations can support candidates without limit, there is nothing that stops, say, a Delaware-incorporated handmaiden of the Burmese junta from picking a Congressman or two with a cache of loot masked by a corporate alias.
Candidate Barack Obama was one sharp speaker, but he would not have been heard, and certainly would not have won, without the astonishing outpouring of donations from two million Americans. It was an unprecedented uprising-by-PayPal, overwhelming the old fat-cat sources of funding.
Well, kiss that small-donor revolution goodbye. Under the Court's new rules, progressive list serves won't stand a chance against the resources of new "citizens" such as CNOOC, the China National Offshore Oil Corporation. Maybe UBS (United Bank of Switzerland), which faces U.S. criminal prosecution and a billion-dollar fine for fraud, might be tempted to invest in a few Senate seats. As would XYZ Corporation, whose owners remain hidden by "street names."
George Bush's former Solicitor General Ted Olson argued the case to the court on behalf of Citizens United, a corporate front that funded an attack on Hillary Clinton during the 2008 primary. Olson's wife died on September 11, 2001 on the hijacked airliner that hit the Pentagon. Maybe it was a bit crude of me, but I contacted Olson's office to ask how much "Al Qaeda, Inc." should be allowed to donate to support the election of his local congressman.
Olson has not responded.
The danger of foreign loot loading into U.S. campaigns, not much noted in the media chat about the Citizens case, was the first concern raised by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who asked about opening the door to "mega-corporations" owned by foreign governments. Olson offered Ginsburg a fudge, that Congress might be able to prohibit foreign corporations from making donations, though Olson made clear he thought any such restriction a bad idea.
Tara Malloy, attorney with the Campaign Legal Center of Washington D.C. says corporations will now have more rights than people. Only United States citizens may donate or influence campaigns, but a foreign government can, veiled behind a corporate treasury, dump money into ballot battles.
Malloy also noted that under the law today, human-people, as opposed to corporate-people, may only give $2,300 to a presidential campaign. But hedge fund billionaires, for example, who typically operate through dozens of corporate vessels, may now give unlimited sums through each of these "unnatural" creatures.
And once the Taliban incorporates in Delaware, they could ante up for the best democracy money can buy.
In July, the Chinese government, in preparation for President Obama's visit, held diplomatic discussions in which they skirted issues of human rights and Tibet. Notably, the Chinese, who hold a $2 trillion mortgage on our Treasury, raised concerns about the cost of Obama's health care reform bill. Would our nervous Chinese landlords have an interest in buying the White House for an opponent of government spending such as Gov. Palin? Ya betcha!
The potential for foreign infiltration of what remains of our democracy is an adjunct of the fact that the source and control money from corporate treasuries (unlike registered PACs), is necessarily hidden. Who the heck are the real stockholders? Or as Butch asked Sundance, "Who are these guys?"
We'll never know.
Hidden money funding, whether foreign or domestic, is the new venom that the Court has injected into the system by its expansive decision in Citizens United.
We've been there. The 1994 election brought Newt Gingrich to power in a GOP takeover of the Congress funded by a very strange source.
Congressional investigators found that in crucial swing races, Democrats had fallen victim to a flood of last-minute attack ads funded by a group called, "Coalition for Our Children's Future." The $25 million that paid for those ads came, not from concerned parents, but from a corporation called "Triad Inc."
Evidence suggests Triad Inc. was the front for the ultra-right-wing billionaire Koch Brothers and their private petroleum company, Koch Industries. Had the corporate connection been proven, the Kochs and their corporation could have faced indictment under federal election law. As of today, such money-poisoned politicking has become legit.
So it's not just un-Americans we need to fear but the Polluter-Americans, Pharma-mericans, Bank-Americans and Hedge-Americans that could manipulate campaigns while hidden behind corporate veils. And if so, our future elections, while nominally a contest between Republicans and Democrats, may in fact come down to a three-way battle between China, Saudi Arabia and Goldman Sachs.
http://www.alternet.org/story/145354/the_supreme_court_just_handed_anyone%2C_including_ bin_laden_or_the_chinese_govt.%2C_control_of_our_d emocracy?page=entire

Bruce Clemens
01-23-2010, 04:07 PM
I suppose everyone knows by now that the Supreme Court
has ruled that a Corporation is a "PERSON".

Doe this mean that Lockheed-Martin Aircraft can
run for president and Walmart for vice-president?
Maybe Citibank as Secretary of Treasury?

Jack Precisely. This decision further illustrates the cynical charade that the "Democratic Process" has become. That is why I became a Principled Non-Voter years ago. But this decision really doesn't change what we already have in this country- just look at who was running our government last administration:
Bush, Condi = Big Oil, Cheny = Haliburton, Rumsfeld = KBR, etc.etc... Put 'em all together and we have the mess we are in now all over the world.

This administration? Banking. Any wonder our entire economic system is being destroyed and rebuilt in someone else's image? No different than what our foreign policy has done to other people for the last 10 years.

It doesn't matter whether corporations are limited in their influence in elections or not because these days no election matters. We get what we are given and the "democratic process" is one of the circuses that our hidden emperors bestow on the us to keep us thinking we are free.

Below I've copied an "open letter" I wrote years ago under a pseudonym,
(explained here... http://www.deeppoliticsforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1245)

which addresses this issue. Some may not agree with some of my points or conclusions but I appreciate the respect we all show each other here even if there is disagreement.

Dear Candidates,

This campaign season has done me in. Here is one voter who will not be casting a vote for your opponent. Nor for you. And I am now to the point where if I were running for office I wouldn’t even vote for myself. After years duly doing my duty as a citizen in a democracy (we no longer have a Constitutional republic), I have now officially become an ex-voter. I began voting thinking it would make this country better. Then I voted to try to preserve the good things about this country. Then I voted thinking it could change the way things were going. When I saw that wasn’t working, I voted to make a statement. When I realized no one was listening, I voted just because it is a right I thought I should exercise regardless of the fact that nothing, nothing ever changed. I have finally come to grips with what I have been sensing for a long time: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is, well, you know.

Please understand, this is absolutely not due to “voter apathy”. I am so not apathetic about this issue. I'm making this decision after deep reflection, study, and conversation with many people whose opinions I respect. Now I'll feel sorry for the people who I’ll see on Election Day wearing those smiley “I Voted!” stickers. People with those stickers are people who have not yet learned that by voting they are endorsing not a candidate that is the lesser of two evils but a system which is evil in itself. A system which places the legal monopoly of the use of lethal force in the hands of what amounts to the biggest gang.

So if, as a voter, my candidates, issues, and belief system carry the day, I get to impose those views on others legally. If they don’t, I get others’ views imposed on me legally. In either case I don’t consider myself a winner. By participating in the voting process I’m endorsing that kind of system. The only way I can make a statement against that kind of system is by not participating in it. Author Thomas Di Lorenzo makes the point that because the American Government has abdicated any responsibility to the Constitutional limitations on the power of government and today blatantly ignores those limitations, it's downright traitorous to vote.

Beyond the principled arguments for abstaining from voting come a multitude of practical ones:

There is no real choice. The two parties, Dumb and Dumber, are so indistinguishable as to be mirror images. The Republicans are growing government faster today than any Democrat of only a few years ago.

You can't vote for anything important. Did you have the opportunity to vote not to go to war? Can you vote tomorrow to bring the troops home Wednesday? Did you have a say in who was appointed as the new head of the Federal Reserve? To stop printing unbacked currency? Can you vote to decide how much tax you are forced to pay? How about the gun confiscations that government did in New Orleans after Katrina? The Patriot Act? Did you have a chance to vote to keep that from happening? Can you vote to stop wasting $30 billion every year on a failed “war on drugs”? No, the government continues to operate as it has for at least 90 years, unilaterally, in its own interest. And every two years it allows us to go through a charade it calls an “election” to keep the masses thinking they are in control.

Election accuracy is highly suspect. They are increasingly fraught with miscounting, mistakes, ineptitude, and downright fraud:

In 2004, a worker at a Toledo, Ohio, election office found 300 completed absentee ballots in a storage room more than a month after the vote. At least half hadn't been counted, and they affected the result of at least one local contest... In 1998, former congressman Austin Murphy of Pennsylvania, a Democrat, was convicted of absentee-ballot fraud in a nursing home, where residents' failing mental capacities make them an easy mark. Three companies -- Diebold, ES&S and Sequoia -- control 80 percent of the nation's voting and tabulating machines. These companies that we entrust with our franchise operate without public oversight. The software in machines of all three companies are proprietary, and when voters faced with surprising election results have sued to examine the machines, elections officials have claimed they are prohibited by contract from allowing inspection.

Yet with all these reasons to not vote, taking the final plunge into principled abstention is not easy. When I broached the subject with my wife she gave me a response that is not uncommon: “But, you must vote, if for no other reason than to make a statement.” But what kind of statement is it to continuously engage in an exercise in futility that is useless at best and may even be fraudulent? Isn't it a much louder and more thought provoking statement to answer the inevitable question that comes on election day from friends and co-workers, “Did you vote yet?” by saying that you no longer believe in voting? Isn't that a good conversation starter?

William Conger has created what he calls the Anti-Electorate Manifesto. It goes something like this:

We, the Anti-Electorate, do not believe there is a need for "strong leadership" in government.
We are not drawn to "intellectual" authorities and political "heroes."
We are not impressed with titles, ranks, and pecking orders – politicians, celebrities, and gurus.
We do not struggle for control of organizations, social circles, and government.
We do not lobby the State for favors or permission to control those with whom we disagree.
Rather, we advocate freedom.
By its very nature, the State does not.
Exercise your right to say "No" to the warfare-welfare system.
Refuse to vote. Then tell your friends why.

Opting out of the political system entirely is a very liberating feeling. After all, if politics is so good, why do so many people suffer because of it? Butler Schaffer points out that politics managed to kill off some 200,000,000 of our fellow humans in the 20th century alone. With our Constitution and bill of rights securely in place and a free and unfettered market to drive the economy we'd all be just fine. From that point on voting for stuff can only make things worse.

So whats my non-political answer to the futility of politics? How about voting in the only way that really matters- with your dollars. If we foster a society where all interactions are voluntary and based on the bedrock libertarian tenets of no force and no fraud, the market will provide everything we are voting for today. Except corrupt politicians and “leaders” who dictate what we are allowed to do and say and think. And the only way we can bring about such a society is through individual action, activism, evangelism, and the “in-activism” of not endorsing a coercive political process by not participating in it. Just like you can't eat yourself thin or spend yourself wealthy, you sure as hell can't vote yourself free.

Sincerely,
Cato Craft

Peter Lemkin
01-23-2010, 04:16 PM
Murdock's corporation for FCC Director and appointing Press Secretary!
It's over folks...unless the spineless Congress passes legislation to thwart this...and NOW...all over....pack and report to the nearest Corporate prison camp for slave labor....avoid being beaten up while being forced there....

Adele Edisen
01-24-2010, 12:08 AM
If corporations are "persons", are they also citizens? Can they vote?

If they are also citizens and can vote, how are they going to put their masses into a voting booth?

Maybe the next Supreme Court decision will make corporations US citizens, or maybe they will just get rid of the whole voting process for everyone...??

And where did the "Gang of Five" go to their respective law schools, or did they go to law school at all???

Humor me, please.

Adele

Magda Hassan
01-24-2010, 12:40 AM
If corporations are "persons", are they also citizens? Can they vote?


No, they can't actually vote but they sure can buy plenty of them. Unlimited.

Jack White
01-24-2010, 03:37 AM
Doug Horne's view, from Jim Fetzer:

.........

Jim Fetzer
The "Beginning of the End" of the First Amendment?

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This message was sent to me for posting by Doug Horne, INSIDE THE ARRB, Vols. I-V (2009):

Message:

I find the position taken by Cass Sunstein in his 2008 paper on the danger he perceives from those who espouse conspiracy theories not only reprehensible, but quite alarming.

His proposals that the U.S. government should not only infiltrate groups that allege conspiracies as the explanations for various historical events, but actively disrupt their communications---and that the U.S. government should also counter their claims through the use of third-party surrogates---are particularly alarming, when they come from a Harvard liberal who is described as a friend of Barack Obama. When one considers that he was subsequently appointed as the Head of Information in President Obama's administration, the positions he expressed in his 2008 paper are downright alarming.

I would have expected such attitudes from the previous administration---from Dick Cheney or George W. Bush---but to hear these proposals made by a liberal law scholar, who is now a member of the Obama administration, is downright alarming.

What Mr. Sunstein is advocating is a return to the situation prevalent in the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s, in which Army intelligence had penetrated virtually every anti-war group that opposed the conflict in Vietnam. Civil liberties meant nothing to the establishment during the Vietnam conflict, and apparently, if Mr. Sunstein has his way, we will soon return to that climate of active government surveillance and infiltration. (Perhaps we are already there now, and this is the first open acknowledgment of it.)

If the courses of action proposed by Mr. Sunstein in his 29-page paper were to be implemented, it would constitute a crushing blow to First Amendment rights, and could usher in the beginning of a police state in the nation that for years has prided itself as "the world's leading democracy."

I will speak here only of the JFK assassination, with which I am familiar, as a former government official, historian, and author. Sunstein apparently has the arrogance to assume that any and all conspiracy allegations about the JFK assassination that posit any government involvement (in either the murder or in a coverup)are incorrect; from this breathtaking and unproven assumption, he proceeds to advocate disruption and suppression of any such views. I know, from my former role as a government official on the staff of the ARRB (from 1995-1998), that there is overwhelming evidence of a government-directed medical coverup in the death of JFK, and of wholesale destruction of autopsy photographs, autopsy x-rays, early versions of the autopsy report, and biological materials associated with the autopsy. Furthermore, dishonest autopsy photographs were created; skull x-rays were altered; the contents of the autopsy report changed over time as different versions were produced; and the brain photographs in the National Archives cannot be photographs of President Kennedy's brain---they are fraudulent, substitute images of someone else's brain.

I would like to pose a question for Mr. Sunstein: if a medical coverup of JFK's assassination were proven---and I believe I have done so in my 2009 book "Inside the Assassination Records Review Board"---do you believe those facts should be made public, or do you believe those conclusions should be supressed and/or discredited in the interests of "institutional integrity?"

What is at stake here really is trust in the government, but not in the way that Mr. Sunstein sees it. If, for example, the Zapruder film of President Kennedy's assassination was altered immediately following his assassination to hide certain facts about the shooting (i.e., evidence of shots from the front), does Mr. Sunstein (and the administration he serves) believe that evidence related to the film's alteration (while in the hands of the government) should be released 46 years later, or suppressed? This is no mere hypothetical question. My FOIA request for CIA records pertaining to the Zapruder film's apparent alteration remains unanswered---indeed, unacknowledged---over four months after I submitted it in September of 2009. President Obama came into office promising to show a new respect the Freedom of Information Act and all FOIA requests. Now that I have learned about Mr. Sunstein's attitude about those who allege conspiracies, I am wondering anew why I have not yet received a response to my FOIA request.

Sunstein's 2008 article amounts to an assault on First Amendment rights, and in fact has created a cloud over the White House. The mere fact that this man holds the position of Chief of Information in the Executive Branch casts doubt upon the credibility of the U.S. government, and threatens to make President Obama's professed respect for the FOIA process ring hollow.

Cass Sunstein should resign immediately, and President Obama should publicly renounce the positions taken in Sunstein's 2008 paper. I do not want to live in a United States of America where the government infiltrates groups who criticize past government actions, and uses third-party surrogates to attempt to discredit their views. President Kennedy was not afraid of the free marketplace of ideas, and in 1962 said: "A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people." I hope that the Obama administration is not afraid of the American people, or of our right to know, or of our ability to discern truth from falsehood. Retaining Cass Sunstein in his current position sends the wrong message.

Cass Sunstein, I say: "RESIGN NOW."

Doug Horne
Former Chief Analyst for Military Records,
Assassination Records Review Board

Myra Bronstein
01-24-2010, 08:44 AM
...I think that IS the definition of fascism and with this Court ruling we now, IMO, officially have sanctioned it. How nice :dancing:

Good point Peter.

"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." - Benito Mussolini.

This is the most surreal episode imaginable. And it should dispel any doubts about the position of the US on the fascist continuum.

Myra Bronstein
01-24-2010, 09:05 AM
AMY GOODMAN: We begin our show today looking at yesterday’s landmark Supreme Court ruling that will allow corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money to elect and defeat candidates.
...
Well, we need a movement for a constitutional amendment to declare that corporations are not persons entitled to the rights of political expression. And that’s what the President should be calling for at this point, because no legislation is really going to do the trick.
...


Great show. I like the fact that he's moved past the surreal shock to prescribe the antidote: a constitutional amendment. Which gives us yet another opportunity to observe that Obama is all lip service when it comes to looking out for people. He'll continue to harumph about the horrible decision but not DO anything about it. 'Cause the fact is that aside from rhetoric he's no different from Bush 43.

Well, it still tells us what we need to do about it. Press for a constitutional amendment.

Myra Bronstein
01-24-2010, 09:12 AM
In addition to pushing for a constitutional amendment, isn't it theoretically possible in the US to recall supreme court justices?

Dawn Meredith
01-24-2010, 04:45 PM
In addition to pushing for a constitutional amendment, isn't it theoretically possible in the US to recall supreme court justices?

I have not ever heard of this, Myra. Impeachment is the only ave. that I am aware of and we will not see THAT happening.

Great letter from Douglas Horne, also Bruce C. on opting out of voting.

I know that several here already do not vote for these reasons and I struggle with this myself because if we all just cease voting then we will end up with Sarah Palin. Obama's response to this horrendous decision by the gang of five was the first sign of hope I have seen from him in a very long time. But talk is cheap. Let's see if he continues to stand by his anti-conspiracy creep.

Thus far this admin. is a re-run of W's miserable eight years. Can anyone show me any demonstrable "change"?

Dawn

Peter Lemkin
01-24-2010, 05:33 PM
Thus far this admin. is a re-run of W's miserable eight years. Can anyone show me any demonstrable "change"?

Dawn

Style only - in substance, NO!!!!!!

I'm afraid both the Yankees and the Cowboys have joined forces with Darth Vader Mengele Hitler Stalin Bush Caligula Kahn Tojo Walker Dulles Shackley Hunt Hughes Himmler Farben Xe Halliburton Northrop GE Enron Citicorp BSE BCCI Nugan-Hand Goldman-Sachs etc. et al. ad nauseum Corp. :bandit:

Ed Jewett
01-24-2010, 07:27 PM
Bruce, somehow I missed your "entry" to DPF so let me extend now and here a hearty welcome. I too stopped voting some years ago, probably for similar reasons. I'd guess there are three elements with which some of us look at the range of topics covered here and elsewhere: 1) the simple, deep and detailed research to figure who did what to whom; 2) the ongoing monitoring of the world and news and op-ed to see what's going down now; and 3) having some discussion with someone somewhere as to what can be done about it. Many of the founders and principals at DPF are heavily into category #1 and, to a large extent, I'm not qualified to do much but read, try to follow along, and wash their coffee cups so they can keep working. My personal orientation tends to category #2, because of my initial interest in news, documentary film, and the like. Increasingly, I am moving into category #3 if only for my children and theirs. I don't hold out much hope for changing or stopping the inexorable trends we see through politics, petitioning, or -- alas -- even civil disobedience. There is something to be said for a discussion at the small-group local interpersonal level for figuring out how to sustain, survive (and I don't refer to militia-based survivalism) and thrive in a world gone mad and dominated by others. Category #3 is a topic for a different thread, even a different web site, as I'm not sure it's one in coherence with the intent and focus of the DPF founders. Even Category #2 might be outside the normal realm except as it pertains to the same sinister inputs, modes and methods. At any rate, welcome... Any meaningful, respectful discussion is valid because it is apparent that the powers that be don't even want us to know, read or discuss anything except that which meets with their approval.

Myra Bronstein
01-24-2010, 08:22 PM
Bruce, somehow I missed your "entry" to DPF so let me extend now and here a hearty welcome. I too stopped voting some years ago, probably for similar reasons. I'd guess there are three elements with which some of us look at the range of topics covered here and elsewhere: 1) the simple, deep and detailed research to figure who did what to whom; 2) the ongoing monitoring of the world and news and op-ed to see what's going down now; and 3) having some discussion with someone somewhere as to what can be done about it. Many of the founders and principals at DPF are heavily into category #1 and, to a large extent, I'm not qualified to do much but read, try to follow along, and wash their coffee cups so they can keep working. My personal orientation tends to category #2, because of my initial interest in news, documentary film, and the like. Increasingly, I am moving into category #3 if only for my children and theirs. I don't hold out much hope for changing or stopping the inexorable trends we see through politics, petitioning, or -- alas -- even civil disobedience. There is something to be said for a discussion at the small-group local interpersonal level for figuring out how to sustain, survive (and I don't refer to militia-based survivalism) and thrive in a world gone mad and dominated by others. Category #3 is a topic for a different thread, even a different web site, as I'm not sure it's one in coherence with the intent and focus of the DPF founders. Even Category #2 might be outside the normal realm except as it pertains to the same sinister inputs, modes and methods. At any rate, welcome... Any meaningful, respectful discussion is valid because it is apparent that the powers that be don't even want us to know, read or discuss anything except that which meets with their approval.

Ed, This is a thought provoking post. I love your summary. And I hope that DPF is a place for "having some discussion with someone somewhere as to what can be done about" current problems. Speaking strictly for myself, I'd like to be more focused on solutions and action and strategy. Even if the odds of success are slim I think sustained effort is important, if for no other reason than to keep our souls from withering.

Peter Lemkin
01-24-2010, 09:00 PM
http://freespeechforpeople.org/

:heeeelllllooooo:

"American citizens have repeatedly amended the Constitution to defend democracy when the Supreme Court acts in collusion with democracy's enemies, whether they are slavemasters, states imposing poll taxes on voters, or the opponents of woman suffrage. Today, the Court has enthroned corporations, permitting them not only all kinds of special economic rights but now, amazingly, moving to grant them the same political rights as the people. This is a moment of high danger for democracy so we must act quickly to spell out in the Constitution what the people have always understood: that corporations do not enjoy the political and free speech rights that belong to the people of the United States."

- Professor Jamin Raskin, constitutional law expert at American University's Washington College of Law and Maryland state senator

Myra Bronstein
01-24-2010, 09:14 PM
http://freespeechforpeople.org/

:heeeelllllooooo:

"American citizens have repeatedly amended the Constitution to defend democracy when the Supreme Court acts in collusion with democracy's enemies, whether they are slavemasters, states imposing poll taxes on voters, or the opponents of woman suffrage. Today, the Court has enthroned corporations, permitting them not only all kinds of special economic rights but now, amazingly, moving to grant them the same political rights as the people. This is a moment of high danger for democracy so we must act quickly to spell out in the Constitution what the people have always understood: that corporations do not enjoy the political and free speech rights that belong to the people of the United States."

- Professor Jamin Raskin, constitutional law expert at American University's Washington College of Law and Maryland state senator

Yes.

Yes. And if this is not done is it logical to conclude that the constitution is no longer a living breathing document? And if the constitution is no longer a living document, then...

Peter Lemkin
01-24-2010, 09:24 PM
...I think that IS the definition of fascism and with this Court ruling we now, IMO, officially have sanctioned it. How nice :dancing:

Good point Peter.

"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." - Benito Mussolini.

This is the most surreal episode imaginable. And it should dispel any doubts about the position of the US on the fascist continuum.

Beam me up Scotty....NOW!...Scotty!!!!!!........
US on the fascist continuum - (I'd say dead ahead at 'warp' speed....):captain::dancing2:

Peter Lemkin
01-24-2010, 09:31 PM
http://freespeechforpeople.org/

:heeeelllllooooo:

"American citizens have repeatedly amended the Constitution to defend democracy when the Supreme Court acts in collusion with democracy's enemies, whether they are slavemasters, states imposing poll taxes on voters, or the opponents of woman suffrage. Today, the Court has enthroned corporations, permitting them not only all kinds of special economic rights but now, amazingly, moving to grant them the same political rights as the people. This is a moment of high danger for democracy so we must act quickly to spell out in the Constitution what the people have always understood: that corporations do not enjoy the political and free speech rights that belong to the people of the United States."

- Professor Jamin Raskin, constitutional law expert at American University's Washington College of Law and Maryland state senator

Yes.

Yes. And if this is not done is it logical to conclude that the constitution is no longer a living breathing document? And if the constitution is no longer a living document, then...

......then the whole 'thing' (show, deal, gig, megillah) is dead as Jack Kennedy was by 12:35 pm 11/22/63.....and, not by coincidence, by some of the same forces.......

Myra Bronstein
01-24-2010, 09:34 PM
http://freespeechforpeople.org/

:heeeelllllooooo:

"American citizens have repeatedly amended the Constitution to defend democracy when the Supreme Court acts in collusion with democracy's enemies, whether they are slavemasters, states imposing poll taxes on voters, or the opponents of woman suffrage. Today, the Court has enthroned corporations, permitting them not only all kinds of special economic rights but now, amazingly, moving to grant them the same political rights as the people. This is a moment of high danger for democracy so we must act quickly to spell out in the Constitution what the people have always understood: that corporations do not enjoy the political and free speech rights that belong to the people of the United States."

- Professor Jamin Raskin, constitutional law expert at American University's Washington College of Law and Maryland state senator

Yes.

Yes. And if this is not done is it logical to conclude that the constitution is no longer a living breathing document? And if the constitution is no longer a living document, then...

......then the whole 'thing' (show, deal, gig, megillah) is dead as Jack Kennedy was by 12:35 pm 11/22/63.....and, not by coincidence, by some of the same forces.......

Yeah. Or dead as a...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vuW6tQ0218

:ridinghorse:

Peter Lemkin
01-24-2010, 09:37 PM
Some are fighting back!
http://www.movetoamend.org/ :congrats:

On January 21, 2010, with its ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are persons, entitled by the U.S. Constitution to buy elections and run our government. Human beings are people; corporations are legal fictions. The Supreme Court is misguided in principle, and wrong on the law. In a democracy, the people rule.
We Move to Amend.
We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United, and move to amend our Constitution to:
Firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.
Guarantee the right to vote and to participate, and to have our votes and participation count.
Protect local communities, their economies, and democracies against illegitimate "preemption" actions by global, national, and state governments.
Signed by 36,998 and counting . . .

Myra Bronstein
01-24-2010, 09:46 PM
Some are fighting back!
http://www.movetoamend.org/ :congrats:

On January 21, 2010, with its ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are persons, entitled by the U.S. Constitution to buy elections and run our government. Human beings are people; corporations are legal fictions. The Supreme Court is misguided in principle, and wrong on the law. In a democracy, the people rule.
We Move to Amend.
We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United, and move to amend our Constitution to:
Firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.
Guarantee the right to vote and to participate, and to have our votes and participation count.
Protect local communities, their economies, and democracies against illegitimate "preemption" actions by global, national, and state governments.
Signed by 36,998 and counting . . .

Excellent! Thanks for the link Peter.

I hope it's not a false flag.

Just in case I wouldn't put all eggs in that basket. I couldn't help but notice certain names there: Thom Hartman, Howard Zinn. Yet there are trustworthy ones too (Lori Price).

The powers that be certainly anticipated a backlash so it's logical to assume they are already taking measures to neutralize it.

There needs to be swarms, decentralization, so that if one is false flag others continue to move forward.

Peter Lemkin
01-24-2010, 10:00 PM
Some are fighting back!
http://www.movetoamend.org/ :congrats:

On January 21, 2010, with its ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are persons, entitled by the U.S. Constitution to buy elections and run our government. Human beings are people; corporations are legal fictions. The Supreme Court is misguided in principle, and wrong on the law. In a democracy, the people rule.
We Move to Amend.
We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United, and move to amend our Constitution to:
Firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.
Guarantee the right to vote and to participate, and to have our votes and participation count.
Protect local communities, their economies, and democracies against illegitimate "preemption" actions by global, national, and state governments.
Signed by 36,998 and counting . . .

Excellent! Thanks for the link Peter.

I hope it's not a false flag.

Just in case I wouldn't put all eggs in that basket. I couldn't help but notice certain names there: Thom Hartman, Howard Zinn. Yet there are trustworthy ones too (Lori Price).

The powers that be certainly anticipated a backlash so it's logical to assume they are already taking measures to neutralize it.

There needs to be swarms, decentralization, so that if one is false flag others continue to move forward.

No, its the real deal and those are real names signing it. I just heard someone on the internet name another ten other such sites....its a revolution [I hope!]

Myra Bronstein
01-24-2010, 10:11 PM
Some are fighting back!
http://www.movetoamend.org/ :congrats:

On January 21, 2010, with its ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are persons, entitled by the U.S. Constitution to buy elections and run our government. Human beings are people; corporations are legal fictions. The Supreme Court is misguided in principle, and wrong on the law. In a democracy, the people rule.
We Move to Amend.
We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United, and move to amend our Constitution to:
Firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.
Guarantee the right to vote and to participate, and to have our votes and participation count.
Protect local communities, their economies, and democracies against illegitimate "preemption" actions by global, national, and state governments.
Signed by 36,998 and counting . . .

Excellent! Thanks for the link Peter.

I hope it's not a false flag.

Just in case I wouldn't put all eggs in that basket. I couldn't help but notice certain names there: Thom Hartman, Howard Zinn. Yet there are trustworthy ones too (Lori Price).

The powers that be certainly anticipated a backlash so it's logical to assume they are already taking measures to neutralize it.

There needs to be swarms, decentralization, so that if one is false flag others continue to move forward.

No, its the real deal and those are real names signing it. I just heard someone on the internet name another ten other such sites....its a revolution [I hope!]

Ok, good. You understand my point about the need for a decentralized approach though?

If people would please post links or other info on related activism then we'll compile them... somewhere so we'll have a handy list of resources. Maybe in a sticky.

Ed Jewett
01-24-2010, 10:21 PM
Bruce, somehow I missed your "entry" to DPF so let me extend now and here a hearty welcome. I too stopped voting some years ago, probably for similar reasons. I'd guess there are three elements with which some of us look at the range of topics covered here and elsewhere: 1) the simple, deep and detailed research to figure who did what to whom; 2) the ongoing monitoring of the world and news and op-ed to see what's going down now; and 3) having some discussion with someone somewhere as to what can be done about it. Many of the founders and principals at DPF are heavily into category #1 and, to a large extent, I'm not qualified to do much but read, try to follow along, and wash their coffee cups so they can keep working. My personal orientation tends to category #2, because of my initial interest in news, documentary film, and the like. Increasingly, I am moving into category #3 if only for my children and theirs. I don't hold out much hope for changing or stopping the inexorable trends we see through politics, petitioning, or -- alas -- even civil disobedience. There is something to be said for a discussion at the small-group local interpersonal level for figuring out how to sustain, survive (and I don't refer to militia-based survivalism) and thrive in a world gone mad and dominated by others. Category #3 is a topic for a different thread, even a different web site, as I'm not sure it's one in coherence with the intent and focus of the DPF founders. Even Category #2 might be outside the normal realm except as it pertains to the same sinister inputs, modes and methods. At any rate, welcome... Any meaningful, respectful discussion is valid because it is apparent that the powers that be don't even want us to know, read or discuss anything except that which meets with their approval.

Ed, This is a thought provoking post. I love your summary. And I hope that DPF is a place for "having some discussion with someone somewhere as to what can be done about" current problems. Speaking strictly for myself, I'd like to be more focused on solutions and action and strategy. Even if the odds of success are slim I think sustained effort is important, if for no other reason than to keep our souls from withering.

Thank you, Myra. I've sent more than one e-mail to Magda speaking to my very positive impressions of this place and its founders and being desirous of having you all over for a good dinner with libation of choice and good music to facilitate such interaction, the latest impetus having been Charles Dargo's recent (and continued) demonstration of moral/cognitive leadership and direction. I've also fantasized about a conference or an online conference, recognizing the costs and difficulties in same.

I agree that the emphasis should be on "solutions, action and strategy."

I've tried to have such conversations face-to-face and online, but most folks are too bummed out, or in depression, or in denial, or don't see the need, or the reason for my intensity, or haven't (and won't) read the kinds of information I read. I am also recently energized because I've just finished reading "Resistance and Contemplation" by the author of "JFK and the Unspeakable". Elsewhere, as you all have already discovered and I am increasingly cognizant of, before you can have meaningful dialogue, you have to fend off or weed out intrusion and ignorance and mal-intent.

There's that old saying "There is no place just like this place anywhere near this place... so this must be the place."

Bruce Clemens
01-24-2010, 10:40 PM
Ed, thank you for the kind welcome. I too feel honored to "clean up the dishes" for the ladies and gents on this forum who are contributing so much. I have learned more about the real world from what you all do here than 17 years of education and 30 years in the work force has ever provided.

I am still struggling as to what, if anything, meaningful an individual can do to turn this around. But this place at least gives me encouragement; there are other fellow travelers on this journey.

Best,
Bruce

Magda Hassan
01-24-2010, 11:23 PM
There is the possibility if there is enough momentum behind this that the whole concept of ''Corporate Personhood' could be put to the test and found wanting. That would be nice :rock:

Adele Edisen
01-25-2010, 03:43 AM
In all of this it seems to me that basic definitions should be made as to "person", "citizen", "voter", "corporation", "union", "group", and so on.

When comparing a definition of a "person" as a biological organism of the human species who is mortal, and created by the merging of genetic materials from two other human beings*, then to try to ascribe such definitions to a cinstructred entity created for the legitimate and sole purpose of doing business and making profits, say, seems absolutely ridiculous.

A "corporation" may exist for centuries or for forever, if need be; it may never cease. It is clearly not a biological organism. It only exists as a document of incorporation for its legal existence. The physical aspects of a corporation may be land, buildings, machinery, and intellectual properties of ideas, formulas, and products it may manufacture, etc., just to throw out some examples.

Such physical things cannot think, nor vote. Human beings can perform such actions. They are the only ones who can function in a democracy to govern themselves.

Since corporations, as documents of incorporation or as physical entities even, cannot, corporations cannot have the same rights of Freedom of Speech guaranteed by the Bill of Rights because they cannot think nor speak. Speech is clearly a form of human communication through the medium of spoken or written llanguage.

Corporations may employee persons as managers and other employees, and somwe managers or owners or shareholders may functioin as representatives of a corporationm, but they are not "the": coirporation itself.

John Kowalski
01-25-2010, 04:30 AM
Since getting elected in the US is tied very closely to how much money a candidate can raise, as compared to the candidate's opponent, and with this new ruling by the supreme court which will allow corporations and other organizations to pour even more money into an already bloated process, perhaps Americans should not have elections, instead they should auctions; instead of voting, they should count the money raised by each candidate, the one with the most money wins. This is pretty well what has been happening anyways.

Ed Jewett
01-25-2010, 04:50 AM
Yes, John... w.g., Massey has been buying judges in the coal wars in WV.

It's been said, too, that all politicians should be required to wear suits like race car drivers with the decals of their sponsors.

http://www.thespywhobilledme.com/.m/the_spy_who_billed_me/WindowsLiveWriter/CorporateContentandthePresidentsDailyBri_30B/NASCAR%20driver%5B3%5D.jpg


"Employees of corporations are handling sensitive government responsibilities in the Intelligence Community, including analytical products that are incorporated into our nation’s most important and sensitive document, the President’s Daily Brief. Thanks to outsourcing, for-profit companies have the American president’s ear on a daily basis and their words carry the weight of the combined intelligence agencies of the United States. The possibilities for manipulating politics on a global scale are unprecedented and chilling.

The President’s Daily Brief is a summary and analysis of national security issues that requires the President’s immediate attention and that the National Intelligence Director presents to the President each morning.
Across the board, US government intelligence agencies are now highly dependent upon the staff of companies for critical national security functions. Corporate intelligence professionals from companies such as Lockheed, Raytheon, Booz Allen Hamilton, SAIC and others are thoroughly integrated into analytical divisions throughout the Intelligence Community, including the Office of the Director of National Intelligence which produces the final document of the President’s Daily Briefing, based upon analytical products created by the Intelligence Community. It would be hard to find an analytical product that does not have contractor involvement in some way, shape, or form."

Magda Hassan
01-25-2010, 05:02 AM
Yes, John, I've always been gobsmacked at the amount of money wasted in elections in the US, though I am sure it is seen as a good investment by those paying, and it seems to amount to purchasing the office in much the same way as one would purchase a rank in the military in the old days :ridinghorse: (or maybe still?) It is clear that there needs to be major overhaul of elections funding. No donations by individuals or organisations. Equal public funding and air time for all candidates.

But the position of corporate personhood has wide ranging appalling ramifications for all of society. I recommend everyone watch 'The Corporation' if you haven't already done so. It is available in our DPF You Tube channel.

Peter Lemkin
01-25-2010, 10:08 AM
The Supreme Court hasn't changed much in the last 225 odd years: "Those who own the country ought to govern it." - John Jay, 1st Chief Justice U.S., 1787 :shot:

Bruce Clemens
01-25-2010, 12:45 PM
It's not just a U.S.issue. If I remember my business courses at all, the corporation is an internationally recognized creation that removes personal liability from the people making decisions. Now it's the fault of the "corporate entity" if something turns out smelly. "Corporate assets" can be seized, corporations "punished" while the real, living, breathing individuals calling the shots get away unscathed. Sometimes even getting bonuses!

We willingly accept statements such as "The U.S. and Pakistan are having high level talks..." without a thought...We should be interpreting that as "A few people with massive power (maybe elected, maybe not) from the U.S. and Pakistan are deciding the fate of millions of others with or without their consent..."

In the same vein the now universal acceptance of corporate entities allows them to be thought of as the responsible parties in decisions that affect us all- removing and isolating the real individuals behind them.


This conversation brought to mind another thread I recalled going through some time ago:
http://www.deeppoliticsforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1344&highlight=dun+bradstreet

...where it was brought out that individuals can be legally made into corporations! Alice in Wonderland, it is...

Magda Hassan
01-25-2010, 01:11 PM
That's right Bruce, corporate personhood is not just as US problem it is global and that was an extremely interesting thread wasn't it? Seeing is believing.

Peter Lemkin
01-25-2010, 03:40 PM
Since getting elected in the US is tied very closely to how much money a candidate can raise, as compared to the candidate's opponent, and with this new ruling by the supreme court which will allow corporations and other organizations to pour even more money into an already bloated process, perhaps Americans should not have elections, instead they should auctions; instead of voting, they should count the money raised by each candidate, the one with the most money wins. This is pretty well what has been happening anyways.

on eBay?:bandit:

Jan Klimkowski
01-25-2010, 07:02 PM
The writer Ambrose Bierce's definition was as relevant in 1911 as it is in 2010:


Corporation, n. An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility.

John Kowalski
01-25-2010, 08:29 PM
Magda, I saw The Corporation, excellent documentary on the psychopathic nature of corporations and I too would recommend it to anyone who has not already seen it.

Is there no end to the relentless pursuit of power that Corporate America seeks? Perhaps their ultimate goal is to overturn every piece of legislation that forces them to act in a decent and humane manner.

John Kowalski
01-25-2010, 08:34 PM
Since getting elected in the US is tied very closely to how much money a candidate can raise, as compared to the candidate's opponent, and with this new ruling by the supreme court which will allow corporations and other organizations to pour even more money into an already bloated process, perhaps Americans should not have elections, instead they should auctions; instead of voting, they should count the money raised by each candidate, the one with the most money wins. This is pretty well what has been happening anyways.

on eBay?:bandit:

Why not, it will save the voters, I mean the bidders, a lot of time and the government a lot of money. eBay will be happy too, they can get a cut on every auction, soon eBay lobbyists will be lobbying the congress to reduce the congressional term from two years to one.

John Kowalski
01-25-2010, 08:57 PM
The Supreme Court hasn't changed much in the last 225 odd years: "Those who own the country ought to govern it." - John Jay, 1st Chief Justice U.S., 1787 :shot:

Interesting that you mention 1787, the year that the constitution was created. At that time, the problem was government. The convention participants wrestled with the problem of how to contain the power of government so that it would not dominate the people.

Something was missing then, that exists today, that was never dealt with
in 1787. That is the power that the wealthy have. In 1787, America had wealthy people, but the amount of power they wield today, and their ability to affect the outcome of elections through the control of the media and the financing of elections is today much greater than it was in 1787. While Washington did not lead Americans in the fight for independence just to give the country over to all of the people, and that the country was to be run by the wealthy and educated people, I do not think that he and the other delegates foresaw the amount of control that the wealthy would have today. Had the situation that exists today been present during that convention, I think (or would like to think) that the delegates would have had to find ways to check the power of wealthy, to ensure that they did not dominate the government, the same way they put checks on the power of the government.

Does anyone think it is time for another constitutional convention?

Peter Lemkin
01-25-2010, 09:44 PM
The Supreme Court hasn't changed much in the last 225 odd years: "Those who own the country ought to govern it." - John Jay, 1st Chief Justice U.S., 1787 :shot:

Interesting that you mention 1787, the year that the constitution was created. At that time, the problem was government. The convention participants wrestled with the problem of how to contain the power of government so that it would not dominate the people.

Something was missing then, that exists today, that was never dealt with
in 1787. That is the power that the wealthy have. In 1787, America had wealthy people, but the amount of power they wield today, and their ability to affect the outcome of elections through the control of the media and the financing of elections is today much greater than it was in 1787. While Washington did not lead Americans in the fight for independence just to give the country over to all of the people, and that the country was to be run by the wealthy and educated people, I do not think that he and the other delegates foresaw the amount of control that the wealthy would have today. Had the situation that exists today been present during that convention, I think (or would like to think) that the delegates would have had to find ways to check the power of wealthy, to ensure that they did not dominate the government, the same way they put checks on the power of the government.

Does anyone think it is time for another constitutional convention?

(minus the racist **** about the Native Americans): When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing taxes on us without our consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:


For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

Ed Jewett
01-25-2010, 11:50 PM
Is there no end to the relentless pursuit of power that Corporate America seeks?

http://lgo.mit.edu/blog/drewhill/files/blackhole.gif

Ed Jewett
01-26-2010, 04:01 AM
[QUOTE=Peter Lemkin;15752]

Does anyone think it is time for another constitutional convention?


Absolutely. See the previously noted web sites promoting an amendment. But here's the possible outcome...

First, the massive surveillance program already in existence, which can record, link, comprehend and analyze all communications in real time, will know when we are planning it and who's coming and what the agenda will be shortly after we hit "enter" on the PC ...

Second, because that establishment is closely allied with the corporatocacy, the corporations and media will be mitigating against it almost immediately, and it will be cognitively infiltrated [yes indeed, COINTELPRO'ed] and otherwise driven to obliteration, subsumed or broken into tiny pieces and scattered to the wind.

The discussion about what to do about it all was hinted at elsewhere. Personally, the idea that resonates for me, subject to further learning, experience and input, is withdrawal -- coitus interruptus -- and the establishment of some kind of discreet, small, parallel resilience at a local level, perhaps integrated in some way with staves and musick.

[ http://www.google.com/#hl=en&source=hp&q=%22with+staves+and+musick%22&aq=f&aql=&aqi=&oq=&fp=ba0a4630ce98f7da ]

Ed Jewett
01-26-2010, 04:02 AM
Democracy in America Is a Useful Fiction

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/democracy_in_america_is_a_useful_fiction_20100124/

Posted on Jan 24, 2010

By Chris Hedges
Corporate forces, long before the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/a_supreme_victory_for_special_interests_20100121/), carried out a coup d’état in slow motion. The coup is over. We lost. The ruling is one more judicial effort to streamline mechanisms for corporate control. It exposes the myth of a functioning democracy and the triumph of corporate power. But it does not significantly alter the political landscape. The corporate state is firmly cemented in place.
The fiction of democracy remains useful, not only for corporations, but for our bankrupt liberal class. If the fiction is seriously challenged, liberals will be forced to consider actual resistance, which will be neither pleasant nor easy. As long as a democratic facade exists, liberals can engage in an empty moral posturing that requires little sacrifice or commitment. They can be the self-appointed scolds of the Democratic Party, acting as if they are part of the debate and feel vindicated by their cries of protest.
Much of the outrage expressed about the court’s ruling is the outrage of those who prefer this choreographed charade. As long as the charade is played, they do not have to consider how to combat what the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Sheldon_S._Wolin) calls our system of “inverted totalitarianism.”
Inverted totalitarianism represents “the political coming of age of corporate power and the political demobilization of the citizenry,” Wolin writes in “Democracy Incorporated.” Inverted totalitarianism differs from classical forms of totalitarianism, which revolve around a demagogue or charismatic leader, and finds its expression in the anonymity of the corporate state. The corporate forces behind inverted totalitarianism do not, as classical totalitarian movements do, boast of replacing decaying structures with a new, revolutionary structure. They purport to honor electoral politics, freedom and the Constitution. But they so corrupt and manipulate the levers of power as to make democracy impossible.
Inverted totalitarianism is not conceptualized as an ideology or objectified in public policy. It is furthered by “power-holders and citizens who often seem unaware of the deeper consequences of their actions or inactions,” Wolin writes. But it is as dangerous as classical forms of totalitarianism. In a system of inverted totalitarianism, as this court ruling illustrates, it is not necessary to rewrite the Constitution, as fascist and communist regimes do. It is enough to exploit legitimate power by means of judicial and legislative interpretation. This exploitation ensures that huge corporate campaign contributions are protected speech under the First Amendment. It ensures that heavily financed and organized lobbying by large corporations is interpreted as an application of the people’s right to petition the government. The court again ratified the concept that corporations are persons, except in those cases where the “persons” agree to a “settlement.” Those within corporations who commit crimes can avoid going to prison by paying large sums of money to the government while, according to this twisted judicial reasoning, not “admitting any wrongdoing.” There is a word for this. It is called corruption.
Corporations have 35,000 lobbyists (http://www.chiff.com/society/lobby.htm) in Washington and thousands more in state capitals that dole out corporate money to shape and write legislation. They use their political action committees to solicit employees and shareholders for donations to fund pliable candidates. The financial sector, for example, spent more than $5 billion on political campaigns, influence peddling and lobbying during the past decade, which resulted in sweeping deregulation, the gouging of consumers, our global financial meltdown and the subsequent looting of the U.S. Treasury. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America spent $26 million last year and drug companies such as Pfizer, Amgen and Eli Lilly kicked in tens of millions more to buy off the two parties. These corporations have made sure our so-called health reform bill will force us to buy their predatory and defective products. The oil and gas industry, the coal industry, defense contractors and telecommunications companies have thwarted the drive for sustainable energy and orchestrated the steady erosion of civil liberties. Politicians do corporate bidding and stage hollow acts of political theater to keep the fiction of the democratic state alive.
There is no national institution left that can accurately be described as democratic. Citizens, rather than participate in power, are allowed to have virtual opinions to preordained questions, a kind of participatory fascism as meaningless as voting on “American Idol.” Mass emotions are directed toward the raging culture wars (http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/addicted_to_nonsense_20091129/). This allows us to take emotional stands on issues that are inconsequential to the power elite.
Our transformation into an empire, as happened in ancient Athens and Rome, has seen the tyranny we practice abroad become the tyranny we practice at home. We, like all empires, have been eviscerated by our own expansionism. We utilize weapons of horrific destructive power, subsidize their development with billions in taxpayer dollars, and are the world’s largest arms dealer. And the Constitution, as Wolin notes, is “conscripted to serve as power’s apprentice rather than its conscience.”
“Inverted totalitarianism reverses things,” Wolin writes. “It is politics all of the time but a politics largely untempered by the political. Party squabbles are occasionally on public display, and there is a frantic and continuous politics among factions of the party, interest groups, competing corporate powers, and rival media concerns. And there is, of course, the culminating moment of national elections when the attention of the nation is required to make a choice of personalities rather than a choice between alternatives. What is absent is the political, the commitment to finding where the common good lies amidst the welter of well-financed, highly organized, single-minded interests rabidly seeking governmental favors and overwhelming the practices of representative government and public administration by a sea of cash.”
Hollywood, the news industry and television, all corporate controlled, have become instruments of inverted totalitarianism. They censor or ridicule those who critique or challenge corporate structures and assumptions. They saturate the airwaves with manufactured controversy, whether it is Tiger Woods or the dispute between Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien. They manipulate images to make us confuse how we are made to feel with knowledge, which is how Barack Obama became president. And the draconian internal control employed by the Department of Homeland Security, the military and the police over any form of popular dissent (http://www.commondreams.org/views01/0119-05.htm), coupled with the corporate media’s censorship, does for inverted totalitarianism what thugs and bonfires of books do in classical totalitarian regimes.
“It seems a replay of historical experience that the bias displayed by today’s media should be aimed consistently at the shredded remains of liberalism,” Wolin writes. “Recall that an element common to most 20th century totalitarianism, whether Fascist or Stalinist, was hostility towards the left. In the United States, the left is assumed to consist solely of liberals, occasionally of ‘the left wing of the Democratic Party,’ never of democrats.”
Liberals, socialists, trade unionists, independent journalists and intellectuals, many of whom were once important voices in our society, have been silenced or targeted for elimination within corporate-controlled academia, the media and government. Wolin, who taught at Berkeley and later at Princeton, is arguably the country’s foremost political philosopher. And yet his book was virtually ignored. This is also why Ralph Nader, Dennis Kucinich and Cynthia McKinney, along with intellectuals like Noam Chomsky, are not given a part in our national discourse.
The uniformity of opinion is reinforced by the skillfully orchestrated mass emotions of nationalism and patriotism, which paints all dissidents as “soft” or “unpatriotic.” The “patriotic” citizen, plagued by fear of job losses and possible terrorist attacks, unfailingly supports widespread surveillance and the militarized state. This means no questioning of the $1 trillion in defense-related spending. It means that the military and intelligence agencies are held above government, as if somehow they are not part of government. The most powerful instruments of state power and control are effectively removed from public discussion. We, as imperial citizens, are taught to be contemptuous of government bureaucracy, yet we stand like sheep before Homeland Security agents in airports and are mute when Congress permits our private correspondence and conversations to be monitored and archived (http://topics.nytimes.com/topics/reference/timestopics/subjects/s/surveillance_of_citizens_by_government/index.html). We endure more state control than at any time in American history.
The civic, patriotic and political language we use to describe ourselves remains unchanged. We pay fealty to the same national symbols and iconography. We find our collective identity in the same national myths. We continue to deify the Founding Fathers. But the America we celebrate is an illusion. It does not exist. Our government and judiciary have no real sovereignty. Our press provides diversion, not information. Our organs of security and power keep us as domesticated and as fearful as most Iraqis. Capitalism, as Karl Marx understood, when it emasculates government, becomes a revolutionary force. And this revolutionary force, best described as inverted totalitarianism, is plunging us into a state of neo-feudalism, perpetual war and severe repression. The Supreme Court decision is part of our transformation by the corporate state from citizens to prisoners.
Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize-winning correspondent, writes a column published every Monday on Truthdig. His latest book is “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.”
http://www.truthdig.com/images/eartothegrounduploads/AP_supreme_court_corporate_america300.jpg Original: AP / Charles Dharapak

A Progressive Journal of News and Opinion. Editor, Robert Scheer. Publisher, Zuade Kaufman.
Copyright © 2010 Truthdig, L.L.C. All rights reserved.

Peter Lemkin
01-26-2010, 08:57 AM
Response to Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC.

CONTACT: Susan Greenhalgh, (917) 796-8782
DATE: January 21, 2009
FOR RELEASE: Immediate
Free Speech for People

PUBLIC INTEREST GROUPS CONDEMN SUPREME COURT'S RULING ON CORPORATE MONEY IN ELECTIONS

CALL FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO OVERTURN COURT DECISION

"Free Speech Rights Are For People, Not Corporations"

WASHINGTON, DC – A coalition of public interest organizations strongly condemned today's ruling by the US Supreme Court allowing unlimited corporate money in US elections and announced that it is launching a campaign to amend the United States Constitution to overturn the ruling. The groups, Voter Action, Public Citizen, the Center for Corporate Policy, and the American Independent Business Alliance, say the Court's ruling in Citizens United v. FEC poses a serious and direct threat to democracy. They aim, through their constitutional amendment campaign, to correct the judiciary's creation of corporate rights under the First Amendment over the past three decades. Immediately following the Court's ruling, the groups unveiled a new website devoted to this campaign.

See Free Speech for People.

"Free speech rights are for people, not corporations," says John Bonifaz, Voter Action's legal director. "In wrongly assigning First Amendment protections to corporations, the Supreme Court has now unleashed a torrent of corporate money in our political process unmatched by any campaign expenditure totals in US history. This campaign to amend the Constitution will seek to restore the First Amendment to its original purpose."

The public interest groups say that, since the late 1970s, a divided Supreme Court has transformed the First Amendment into a powerful tool for corporations seeking to evade democratic control and sidestep sound public welfare measures. For the first two centuries of the American republic, the groups argue, corporations did not have First Amendment rights to limit the reach of democratically-enacted regulations.

"The corporate rights movement has reached its extreme conclusion in today's Supreme Court ruling," says Jeffrey Clements, general counsel to www.freespeechforpeople.org and a consultant to Voter Action. "In recent years, corporations have misused the First Amendment to evade and invalidate democratically-enacted reforms, from elections to healthcare, from financial reform to climate change and environmental protection, and more. Today's ruling, reversing longstanding precedent which prohibits corporate expenditures in elections, now requires a constitutional amendment response to protect our democracy."

In support of their new campaign, the groups point to prior amendments to the US Constitution which were enacted to correct egregiously wrong decisions of the US Supreme Court directly impacting the democratic process, including the 15th Amendment prohibiting discrimination in voting based on race and the 19th Amendment, prohibiting discrimination in voting based on gender.

"The Court has invented the idea that corporations have First Amendment rights to influence election outcomes out of whole cloth," says Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. "There is surely no originalist interpretation to support this outcome, since the Court created the rights only in recent decades. Nor can the outcome be justified in light of the underlying purpose and spirit of the First Amendment. Corporations are state-created entities, not real people. They do not have expressive interests like humans; and, unlike humans, they are uniquely motivated by a singular focus on their economic bottom line. Corporate spending on elections defeats rather than advances the democratic thrust of the First Amendment."

"With this decision, the Court has abandoned its usual practice of adjudicating non-constitutional claims before constitutional ones, a radical departure that indicates how far the Roberts Court may be willing to go in order to serve the powerful 'business civil liberties' agenda," says Charlie Cray, director of the Center for Corporate Policy. "While the immediate effect is likely to be a surge in corporate cash in election campaigns, this could also signal the beginning of a sustained attack on the rights and ability of everyday people to govern the behavior of corporations, which, if successful, could effectively eviscerate what's left of American democracy."

“American citizens have repeatedly amended the Constitution to defend democracy when the Supreme Court acts in collusion with democracy's enemies, whether they are slavemasters, states imposing poll taxes on voters, or the opponents of woman suffrage,” says Jamin Raskin, professor of constitutional law and the First Amendment at American University’s Washington College of Law. “Today, the Court has enthroned corporations, permitting them not only all kinds of special economic rights but now, amazingly, moving to grant them the same political rights as the people. This is a moment of high danger for democracy so we must act quickly to spell out in the Constitution what the people have always understood: that corporations do not enjoy the political and free speech rights that belong to the people of the United States."

For more information on the constitutional amendment campaign, see
http://www.freespeechforpeople.org

Peter Lemkin
01-26-2010, 04:18 PM
An Amendment to Preclude Corporations from Claiming Bill of Rights Protections

SECTION 1. The U.S. Constitution protects only the rights of living human beings.

SECTION 2. Corporations and other institutions granted the privilege to exist shall be subordinate to any and all laws enacted by citizens and their elected governments.

SECTION 3. Corporations and other for-profit institutions are prohibited from attempting to influence the outcome of elections, legislation or government policy through the use of aggregate resources or by rewarding or repaying employees or directors to exert such influence.

SECTION 4. Congress shall have power to implement this article by appropriate legislation.

More on why we need to revoke corporate constitutional privileges
(a.k.a., corporate personhood)
An Amendment to Reverse Buckley v. Valeo and Dominance of Wealth in Electoral Politics

SECTION 1. For the purposes of providing all citizens, regardless of wealth, a more equal opportunity to influence elections, public policy and run for public office; of furthering the principle of “one person, one vote” and preserving a participatory and democratic republic; as well as the purpose of limiting corruption and the appearance of corruption, we the people declare the unlimited use of money to influence elections incompatible with the principle of equal protection established under the Fourteenth Amendment.

SECTION 2. The Congress shall have the power to set limits on contributions and expenditures made to influence the outcome of any federal election.

SECTION 3. Each state shall have the power to set limits on contributions and expenditures made to influence the outcome of elections in that state.

SECTION 4. The power of each state to set limits on contributions and expenditures shall extend to all elections in that state, including initiative and referendum elections, as well as the power to lower any federal limits for the election of members of Congress to represent the people of that state.

SECTION 5. Congress shall have power to implement and enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Possible additions/strengthening of Section 1:
Equal protection under the law shall not be abridged or denied on account of wealth, religion, sex, or race.
Include ban on corporate spending within this Amendment, rather than in separate one (see below).
Thanks to Derek Cressman for drafting this Amendment

We've published many article addressing the need to overturn or negate Buckley v. Valeo (see It's Time to Overrule the Supreme Court) and on the need to reverse First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti.
An Amendment to Create a Constitutional Right to Vote

If it seems strange to you that we are calling for an amendment to establish something you thought we already had, you may want to read this article first.
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION 28

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States regarding the right to vote.
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States:
SECTION 1. All citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, shall have the right to vote in any public election held in the jurisdiction in which the citizen resides. The right to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States, any State, or any other public or private person or entity, except that the United States or any State may establish regulations narrowly tailored to produce efficient and honest elections.
SECTION 2. Each State shall administer public elections in the State in accordance with election performance standards established by the Congress. The Congress shall reconsider such election performance standards at least once every four years to determine if higher standards should be established to reflect improvements in methods and practices regarding the administration of elections.
SECTION 3. Each State shall provide any eligible voter the opportunity to register and vote on the day of any public election.
SECTION 4. Each State and the District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall establish and abide by rules for appointing its respective number of Electors. Such rules shall provide for the appointment of Electors on the day designated by the Congress for holding an election for President and Vice President and shall ensure that each Elector votes for the candidate for President and Vice President who received a majority of the popular vote in the State or District.

SECTION 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
The above resolution was introduced by U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Illinois).

Peter Presland
01-28-2010, 05:41 PM
This thread seems appropriate for the following piece by By David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru

It doesn't address the recent 'Citizens United' decision on election funding in depth but it does cover a lot of ground on a gaggle of similar 'representative government destroying' decisions of the present Supremes. I found it posted here (http://just-another-inside-job.blogspot.com/2010/01/greatest-threat-to-america.html)


They despise America’s democracy and its fundamental freedoms more than any terrorist group in the world.

They have destroyed American democracy and its fundamental freedoms more ruthlessly and effectively than any terrorist group in the world.

They have sanctioned the murders of more Americans than any terrorist group in the world.

They loathe people of different races and/or religions.

They punish the innocent, but take extraordinary measures to protect the guilty.

They operate in shadowy black disguises.

They are known to the FBI, the CIA, the NSA and the Department of Homeland Security, yet none of these agencies have made the slightest effort to stop them.

They are Antonin Scalia, John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, the four white racists and one self-loathing African-American who currently comprise the “conservative” majority on the United States Supreme Court.

Before readers dismiss these opening paragraphs as mere hyperbole, they should examine some of the Supreme Court’s more egregious rulings.

This court endorsed the random drug testing of public school students who are not even suspected of abusing drugs, which means that thousands of innocent children across America are dragged from their classrooms everyday, ordered to reveal personal medical information, and forced to urinate as strangers listen to them doing so—intrusions into personal dignity and privacy that Scalia has described as “minimal.”

In addition, people arrested for certain crimes can be compelled to provide a sample of their DNA to government authorities, even though they have not been tried or convicted. Yet, in the case of District Attorney’s Office v. Osborne, the Supreme Court ruled that persons convicted of crimes have “no constitutional right to obtain postconviction access to the State’s evidence for DNA testing,” even though that testing could establish their innocence.

In other words, a system that claims people are “innocent until proven guilty” now requires people to provide DNA and/or other bodily fluids to prove their innocence, yet does not require the government to provide DNA evidence that could exonerate a wrongfully convicted person, even though a wrongful conviction means that the real perpetrator is free and potentially committing more crimes.

This judicial hypocrisy is sickening beyond belief, and it’s tragic that karma isn’t more rapid and righteous, because nothing would be more satisfying than seeing Scalia, Roberts, Kennedy, Alito and Thomas entombed in the worst of America’s prisons, subjected to gang violence and forcibly sodomized on a daily basis, begging their attorneys to obtain the DNA evidence that could free them, only to be told that the “State” has refused to provide it.

The racism of the Supreme Court has been apparent throughout its history, from the now infamous Dred Scott decision, which threatened to expand slavery throughout the United States, to Plessy v. Ferguson, which gave constitutional blessing to the segregationist doctrine of “separate but equal.” And Scalia, Roberts, Kennedy, Alito and Thomas have continued this shameful tradition, in the cases of Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle and Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education, by endorsing the racial resegregation of public schools. And, in an act of judicial callousness that insulted the memory of those who struggled and died during America’s civil rights movement, some of these so-called “justices” even defended their racist “opinion” by citing Brown v. Topeka, the landmark 1954 case that endorsed the desegregation of public schools.

Also, by upholding racial segregation in Plessy, the court essentially declared that African-Americans were second-class citizens. What followed from 1896, when Plessy was decided, until the civil rights era of the 1960s was a sordid history of lynchings, beatings and other injustices directed primarily against African-Americans, as well as the denial of their most fundamental rights, including the right to vote, which supposedly had been guaranteed with the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment in 1870.

In Employment Division v. Smith freedom of religion came under attack when the court ruled that the government no longer had to prove it had a “compelling reason” to interfere with one’s religious practices. When the United States Congress attempted to restore this “compelling reason” requirement via the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), the court voided much of it on the grounds that Congress had exceeded its authority.

Three current members of the court - Scalia, Kennedy and Thomas - and two former members - O’Conner and Rehnquist - bloodied their hands, and (if there is such a thing as justice) damned themselves for all time, when they supported the coup of 2000 in the case of Bush v. Gore. Thanks to this corrupt decision, which illegally placed a sadistic, inept, venal and mendacious cabal of war criminals into the White House, thousands of Americans, and tens of thousands of Iraqis, have died in a war that was based upon nothing but lies.

But Scalia, Kennedy and Thomas were not satisfied with the partial destruction of democracy wrought by Bush v. Gore, particularly since democracy appeared to be restored during the 2008 presidential election. So, joining with Alito and Roberts, they decided to destroy it completely, along with most of the Bill of Rights, in the recent case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission by striking down laws that once limited the amount of money corporations could contribute to political campaigns.

Now corporations are free to buy and sell politicians like trading cards, and, since they control the bulk of the “mainstream” media, they can also ensure that any political messages contrary to theirs are unheard.

In other words, freedom now only belongs to those wealthy enough to afford it.

Although the Citizens United ruling is deplorable and deserving of contempt, it is not surprising. The unified Republican opposition to health care reform has already demonstrated how the bulk of America’s politicians are controlled by special interest groups. The fact that many Democrats refused to endorse any health care reform proposal that included a “public option” for people unable to purchase health insurance in the private sector further illustrates how corporate influence has already transcended party lines.

What Scalia, Roberts, Kennedy, Alito and Thomas undoubtedly hope to accomplish by Citizens United is to purge the few politicians actually devoted to serving the public interest. Now these politicians will either succumb to the whims of their corporate masters, or find limitless amounts of money being provided to their political opponents.

In a nation of millions, it seems almost obscene that five biased, bigoted, corrupt, unethical and agenda driven idiots in black robes can destroy an entire system of government. And it is certainly contrary to what the Supreme Court was supposed to be.

When the federal court system was created, a debate ensued over whether federal judges should be elected or appointed. It was ultimately decided that they would be appointed to lifetime tenures, removable only through death, retirement or impeachment. The hope was that federal judges would be immune from political party influences, act in accordance with the law, and protect the rights of racial, religious and political minorities, since they did not have to raise money in election campaigns or appease the majority in order to win the popular vote.

Unfortunately this hope was quixotic. The five so-called “justices” who weakened democracy in Bush v. Gore, and the five who destroyed it in Citizens United were all appointed by Republican presidents. In fact, Bush’s vice-president Dick Cheney was even Scalia’s “hunting buddy.” So it was not surprising when they ignored legal precedent and common sense to ensure that corporate rights and profits supplanted individual rights and needs.

Even conservative columnist David Broder acknowledged that the Citizens United ruling “extended itself far beyond what was necessary” and “may well be the best news Republicans have received since the 2000 ruling in Bush v. Gore.”

In law schools throughout America, Supreme Court opinions are dissected and analyzed as though they were commandments from Mount Sinai. But during my journey through the legal profession, I came to realize that there was nothing logical, analytical or esoteric about these opinions, and that many of them were inspired by pure evil.

Being legally trained, I have often been reluctant to acknowledge this reality. Attorneys, after all, are supposed to deal in facts, not in suppositions. But, given the cases I have cited in this article, the harm they have caused, and the harm they will cause, I believe there is enough evidence to conclude that Scalia, Roberts, Kennedy, Alito and Thomas are perhaps the most despicable, conscienceless and evil individuals to ever disgrace the United States Supreme Court, and the biggest threat to democracy and the Bill of Rights in the history of the United States.

James Madison, one of America’s founding fathers, once said, “We are free today substantially, but the day will come when our Republic will be an impossibility . . . because wealth will be concentrated in the hands of a few. And when the day comes, when the wealth of the nation will be in the hands of the few, then we must rely on the best elements in the country to readjust the laws of the nation to the changed conditions.”

Some of the best elements in America did try to readjust the laws to minimize the potential for corporations to use their vast financial resources to purchase political influence. Unfortunately five of the worst elements in America - Scalia, Roberts, Kennedy, Alito and Thomas—have ensured (with apologies to Abraham Lincoln) that the government of the corporations, by the corporations, and for the corporations will cause the government of the people, by the people and for the people to perish from the earth.

Myra Bronstein
01-28-2010, 07:35 PM
An Amendment to Preclude Corporations from Claiming Bill of Rights Protections

SECTION 1. The U.S. Constitution protects only the rights of living human beings.
...

Great summary Peter. Thanks.

And Barack Bush's "solution" proposed in the SOTU is insufficient. It's not enough to keep "foreign" corporations from buying candidates. We need to keep all corporations from buying candidates. We need nothing less than an amendment to the consitution IMO. Not the watered down faux remedy Barack is talking about.

David Guyatt
01-29-2010, 09:21 AM
http://www.truthdig.com/images/eartothegrounduploads/AP_supreme_court_corporate_america300.jpg

Now that Ed, is truly very funny.... :rock:

Peter Lemkin
01-29-2010, 10:27 AM
An Amendment to Preclude Corporations from Claiming Bill of Rights Protections

SECTION 1. The U.S. Constitution protects only the rights of living human beings.
...

Great summary Peter. Thanks.

And Barack Bush's "solution" proposed in the SOTU is insufficient. It's not enough to keep "foreign" corporations from buying candidates. We need to keep all corporations from buying candidates. We need nothing less than an amendment to the consitution IMO. Not the watered down faux remedy Barack is talking about.

No legislation will do - it could only be a band-aid on a gaping wound about to go gangrenous. I don't even think any legislation could shut-out foreign corporate money. They'd just get American subsidiaries, holding-companies or purchase majority shares in US corporations....or other means best known to the Criminal Class. Nope - Amendment to the Constitution ONLY. Problem is we have about the most apathetic lump of Sheeple at this point - more worried about their pocketbooks and survival [by design, this] than things political and unaware that the second controls the first. Obama is Bush Light in blackface, I'm sorry to say. He is such a disappointment and I held up little to no hope for him...and STILL find myself disappointed in him. May he awake and find his morality. I doubt it. Perhaps if the People lead, he'd follow...but we have no leaders among the People now. All assassinated or marginalized one way or another. Were King alive today we could turn things around fast. But they do shoot people like that and will do so next time, as well.......

Magda Hassan
01-29-2010, 10:37 AM
Obama is Bush Light in blackface, I'm sorry to say.
I don't think of him as 'light'. That connotes for me that he is 'less' or not as harmful as Bush. As we can see it continues to roll on regardless and is more like Bush 3. I like to think of brand Obama as 'New Improved Bush'. Though I like the contrast with the rest of your description :girl:

Ed Jewett
01-29-2010, 08:24 PM
I think Peter's point about needing to just 'survive' is valid. Protest and non-violent massed energy isn't likely when jobs are missing, cash is disappearing, etc. And while I'd like to think that amendment is an answer, the forces against amendment have the upper hand because of the decision, and because they have bought Congress on K Street. The ideas of renunciation and withdrawal in Sharp's 198, disobedience ... to, as one fellow put it, "give up entirely trying to cooperate in any way with whatever they are doing, planning, requiring, legislating, or otherwise bringing to your doorstep and see if you can coalesce a few friends and neighbors into a viable conversation about sustainability, life after the collapse, local-ness, how to grow food, and who on earth should moderate that discussion".

Peter Lemkin
01-30-2010, 12:45 AM
I think Peter's point about needing to just 'survive' is valid. Protest and non-violent massed energy isn't likely when jobs are missing, cash is disappearing, etc. And while I'd like to think that amendment is an answer, the forces against amendment have the upper hand because of the decision, and because they have bought Congress on K Street. The ideas of renunciation and withdrawal in Sharp's 198, disobedience ... to, as one fellow put it, "give up entirely trying to cooperate in any way with whatever they are doing, planning, requiring, legislating, or otherwise bringing to your doorstep and see if you can coalesce a few friends and neighbors into a viable conversation about sustainability, life after the collapse, local-ness, how to grow food, and who on earth should moderate that discussion".

But one of their main motivations to remove everyone's security, money, savings, equity, etc. was TO CONTROL THEM WITH INSECURITY - instead of a social security system, we have an asocial insecurity system! We can't let the bastards win!

Magda Hassan
01-30-2010, 01:01 AM
But one of their main motivations to remove everyone's security, money, savings, equity, etc. was TO CONTROL THEM WITH INSECURITY - instead of a social security system, we have an asocial insecurity system! We can't let the bastards win!
Absolutely Peter. And I think that is another reason that there is no universal health care system there also. " What if I get sick?" is a real fear for more reasons than just health outcomes in the US. It can mean loss of income, bills, homelessness, bankruptcy, debts of $100,000s. Contract jobs, hourly pay jobs, if there are jobs at all. Short term high rental. Impossible mortgages. Every society should be able to guarantee housing, health care, education and jobs/income support as an absolute minimum. It is not difficult. If 3rd world under resourced/financed nations like Cuba can any one can.

Ed Jewett
01-30-2010, 01:46 AM
I don't disagree with you, Peter, and we will do what we can with what we have where we are to prevent them winning. In the interim, and whether we lose or succeed, we have to provide our own social security within the immediate surround of family, tribe and community (hopefully enlisting them for their assistance and support).

Peter Lemkin
01-30-2010, 02:43 AM
I don't disagree with you, Peter, and we will do what we can with what we have where we are to prevent them winning. In the interim, and whether we lose or succeed, we have to provide our own social security within the immediate surround of family, tribe and community (hopefully enlisting them for their assistance and support).

Well, the communes of the 60s and 70s are mostly gone - except some that revolve around [to me] strange religious or 'new age' ideas. I know of only a precious few towns/communities of a more normal/abnormal sort that have a positive/progressive spirit - but they all have problems with making a living. I like the 'idea', but find it hopelessly [or almost hopelessly] idealistic and not likely to happen - less so for me far away - to find such a community. I'm running out of time, as well. If I sound 'down', I am....just lost my job in this time of recession - and for my political beliefs too - not my work, which was highly commentated. Survival looks iffy now.

Ed Jewett
01-30-2010, 02:54 PM
I don't disagree with you, Peter, and we will do what we can with what we have where we are to prevent them winning. In the interim, and whether we lose or succeed, we have to provide our own social security within the immediate surround of family, tribe and community (hopefully enlisting them for their assistance and support).

Well, the communes of the 60s and 70s are mostly gone - except some that revolve around [to me] strange religious or 'new age' ideas. I know of only a precious few towns/communities of a more normal/abnormal sort that have a positive/progressive spirit - but they all have problems with making a living. I like the 'idea', but find it hopelessly [or almost hopelessly] idealistic and not likely to happen - less so for me far away - to find such a community. I'm running out of time, as well. If I sound 'down', I am....just lost my job in this time of recession - and for my political beliefs too - not my work, which was highly commentated. Survival looks iffy now.


Ah, Peter... been there, done that ... and I wish you well. What I speak of is not a commune in reality so much as simply making the best of it in concert with what few others we can find near us (in real space, or virtual)... our children and grand-children, our lovers, friends, co-workers in spirit. I have studied this issue of employment in depth -- I have plenty of books that I can recommend -- and it seems to be perpetual work. I share your journey, having lost more than one job due to 'political' views or approaches, but we keep moving on. I dropped to the bottom and back, being supported by other until I could finally find my feet through disability and disability payment to the point where I am somewhat able to do much more. Our personal and collective creativity may provide an answer. More later, but in the interim, a small gift:

If you haven't got a penny, A ha'penny will do;
If you haven't got a ha'penny.
God bless you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crqmozdzl9o&feature=player_embedded# (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crqmozdzl9o&feature=player_embedded) music video (tip of the cap to Solari), Sting, Soulcake

Peter Lemkin
01-21-2011, 08:05 PM
JUAN GONZALEZ: Today marks the one-year anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The ruling lifted a 63-year-old ban prohibiting corporations, trade associations and unions from spending unlimited amounts of money on political advocacy. A number of national and local organizations are planning rallies across the country today to protest the decision.

On Thursday, the watchdog group Common Cause filed a petition with the Justice Department urging it to investigate whether Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas should have recused themselves from the case last year because of a conflict of interest. Common Cause alleges that both justices were paid guests at exclusive gatherings organized by Koch Industries, where conservative business leaders and elected officials secretly strategized around elections. The justices were among those who provided the critical votes in the 5-4 ruling, a ruling that has prompted an unprecedented flood of corporate expenditures on electoral campaigns over the last year.

AMY GOODMAN: Bob Edgar is the president of Common Cause and a former congressman from Pennsylvania. He’s joining us now from Washington, D.C.

Welcome to Democracy Now! What are you doing today about Citizens United? I mean, it was handed down by the Supreme Court.

BOB EDGAR: Well, as you know, Amy, we filed a petition with the Justice Department to have them investigate Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas in terms of conflict of interest. You’ll recall that just one year ago, by a five-to-four vote, the Supreme Court, believing that corporations are people, voted to give them the ability to dip into their corporate treasuries and spend that on independent expenditures on campaigns. Over the course of this year, we’ve discovered that Justice Scalia, in 2007, and Justice Thomas, in 2008, attended a special workshop seminar sponsored by the Koch brothers, who run the second-largest private industry in the United States, and it just seemed odd to us that these two justices would have their way paid to this special conference and then, on the Citizens United case, which could have been decided on just the very narrow grounds of the issues that were brought before the Court, decided to break that open and end a ruling that had been in place for over 60 years to prevent corporations from dipping in and playing politics.

Our concern is that the Citizens United case has exponentially increased the amount of money that is being spent on campaigns. It, further, is putting corporate interests above the public’s interest, and it needs to be reversed. We’re working with groups who think that it’s possible to get a constitutional amendment. We think that’s in the long term. We’re working with others who believe that changing the makeup of the Court would help to reverse this awful decision. If Sandra Day O’Connor had still been on the Court, this decision would have been five to four in the other direction. So it’s a very narrow decision.

We think the Justice Department ought to investigate the conflict of interest. Remember that the Justice Department was on the side of the people against the final decision that came down. And Eric Holder, as a lawyer, has a responsibility to investigate conflicts of interest. If they do find that there is fire where we see smoke, then he has the responsibility of asking the Solicitor General to go to Justice Roberts, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and ask them to investigate and see whether there are any remedies. And what we’re really asking is that they vacate the Citizens United decision and that Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas recuse themselves from working on that decision.

One final thing, Justice Thomas is of particular concern to us. His wife, Virginia Thomas, was the leader of something called Liberty Central. That was an organization formed to work on behalf of ultra-conservative political leaders, mostly Republicans, and she appeared in the newspaper as saying that she believed that that group could make a difference, and they could take corporate money for the first time in recent memory. We think that particular conflict of interest should have been acknowledged by Justice Thomas and that there really is an interest there where she is benefiting from something that her husband was the deciding vote on.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, Bob Edgar, to a lot of people, this seems like a longshot complaint that you’re filing here. What are the—currently, the regulations in terms of among federal judges, in terms of conflicts of interest and recusing themselves from particular cases, as far as you know? And who monitors that?

BOB EDGAR: Well, unfortunately, the justices monitor their own behavior, and there are not clear procedures. If you’re sitting on a regular federal bench, there are rules and regulations about recusing oneself. But at the Supreme Court level, they sometimes choose to ignore that. I’m very proud of Justice Kagan, who has recused herself on issues that she was only narrowly related to because she was the Solicitor General. And there are instances where the justices have stepped forward and have been courageous and voluntarily recused themselves.

But we think that particularly Scalia and Thomas need to recognize the appearance of impropriety. Here is two of the justices going to a partisan, political, conservative seminar and then coming back to the Court and voting on something that was discussed at that seminar. So, we hope that as a result of our putting this before the Justice Department, putting it out in the media, that it will put enough pressure on the Court to clean up their procedures and make sure that as we move forward on some very difficult issues, that the justices will in fact act in the public’s interest and not on the interest of narrow special interests, as we think happened in this case.

AMY GOODMAN: Bob Edgar, can you explain more just who Charles and David Koch are and their significance in funding the Tea Party and in the massive amounts of money that have gone into elections?

BOB EDGAR: Well, Charles and David Koch have, for 30 years, been at the heart of funding ultra-conservative operations across the country—think tanks and candidates—to try to get government controlled and operated for corporate interests as opposed to the public’s interest. And there’s a great deal of information out there about the Koch Industries. The New Yorker had an important review.

Just next week, some of us are going out to Palm Springs, because they are having another one of their special seminars, and we’re just going to have a silent witness that what they are doing is not in the best interest of the nation. They are funding and fueling an effort to take power even further away from average, ordinary citizens and place it in the hands of the wealthy, place it in the hands of corporate interest. And they have just been very destructive in our political process—along with others. There’s a whole host of moneyed interests that are fueling our campaigns. You know, very few of your listeners believe that before the Citizens United case a year ago, that corporations didn’t have power, that labor unions didn’t have power in Washington. This simply opens up the possibility for excessive power, and it’s all funded by these two brothers.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And could you quantify some of the impact already of the Citizens United case, in terms of how it’s already affected the most recent elections?

BOB EDGAR: Well, in this most recent election, corporations were able to invest in targeted districts, and we saw the House go from Democrat to Republican. And in large measure, attack ads, TV commercials, that were for and against particular candidates, for the first time in history could be paid for by the Chamber of Commerce and by corporations. And because Congress didn’t step in and successfully pass what was called the DISCLOSE Act—and that’s another story—the DISCLOSE Act would have given all of us the opportunity, first, to know who was making those contributions, but secondly, would have prohibited foreign corporations from investing, which they now can do. Federal contractors, big Boeing Vertol, could get a large defense contract and now take some of that money and spend it on political campaigns. And we saw an exponential rise in how much money was spent in just this midterm.

One of our big fears is, what’s going to happen in the 2012 election? Suppose a rogue corporation decides they want to get involved in politics, and they want to, on day one, put a billion dollars behind a particular candidate. There’s nothing that anyone can do about that, because the Supreme Court has said corporations are people, they’re covered under the freedom of speech provisions of the Constitution, they can do that. We think, at Common Cause, that that is a mistake, and we’ll just see the exponential increase of this. There was a humorist who suggested that Congress people wear uniforms like race car drivers and have patches on it that show BP and Exxon and healthcare industry and insurance companies, so that you could actually see how much money is flowing into the system. While that is a humorous thought, it has some reality in it.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, hasn’t it already been said that President Obama hopes to raise over a billion dollars for the 2012 presidential election?

BOB EDGAR: Well, I’m glad you raise that. Common Cause, working with a whole bunch of other groups, are interested in public financing. We installed that in Arizona, Maine and Connecticut. We worked very hard in the last Congress to try to get it passed for the House and Senate, to allow for small contributions to be made, but for elected officials to voluntarily not take any special interest money.

There is a presidential public financing system, which is broken. It was broken in the '08 election. And we're rather disappointed that the White House has not earlier come out with a reform of the presidential public financing system. And now we’re caught in a situation where it’s rumored that next week the House of Representatives, as its second act, will bring up the repeal of the presidential public financing system. We think that system has to be repaired. We think it was broken in '08 and needs to be fixed for the 2012 election. But we would like to see some leadership out of the White House and leadership out of the Congress to renovate and reform and improve the presidential public financing system that has been in place for a long time, make the money adequate, make the timing of giving the public financing out to those candidates who voluntarily accept the system. Let's get on with making it happen, so that we don’t have a rush to raising these billions of dollars for political campaigns, including the presidential campaign.

AMY GOODMAN: Former congressman Bob Edgar, we want to thank you very much for being with us, president and CEO of Common Cause.