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Posts Tagged ‘Constitution’

Unequal Protection: Part I: Corporations Take Over

Truthout

Tuesday 15 March 2011

by: Thom Hartmann, Berrett-Kohler Publishers | Serialized Book

Chapter 1: The Deciding Moment?

The first thing to understand is the difference between the natural person and the fictitious person called a corporation. They differ in the purpose for which they are created, in the strength which they possess, and in the restraints under which they act.

Man is the handiwork of God and was placed upon earth to carry out a Divine purpose; the corporation is the handiwork of man and created to carry out a money-making policy.

There is comparatively little difference in the strength of men; a corporation may be one hundred, one thousand, or even one million times stronger than the average man. Man acts under the restraints of conscience, and is influenced also by a belief in a future life. A corporation has no soul and cares nothing about the hereafter….

—William Jennings Bryan, in his address to the
Ohio 1912 Constitutional Convention

Part of the American Revolution was about to be lost a century after it had been fought. At the time probably very few of the people involved realized that what they were about to witness could be a counterrevolution that would change life in the United States and, ultimately, the world over the course of the following century.

In 1886 the Supreme Court met in the U.S. Capitol building, in what is now called the Old Senate Chamber. It was May, and while the northeastern states were slowly recovering from the most devastating ice storm of the century just three months earlier, Washington, D.C., was warm and in bloom.

In the Supreme Court’s chamber, a gilt eagle stretched its 6-foot wingspan over the head of Chief Justice Morrison Remick Waite as he glared down at the attorneys for the Southern Pacific Railroad and the county of Santa Clara, California. Waite was about to pronounce judgment in a case that had been argued over a year earlier, at the end of January 1885.

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Geezerpower

September 9, 2010

With the 9th. Anniversary of 911 Current U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan are reaching 95,000, more than we have in Iraq. We are leaving the Worlds largest embassy, Fortress America, in Iraq and currently working on a similar one in Pakistan, while boasting of 737 military bases worldwide.

As the frogwater becomes noticably warm, the AIPAC oriented congress along with a senate that is directly tied to the shadow government quietly acquiecse to eternal war and the invasion of Iran.

All this because of a war that was started based on a lie; weapons of mass destruction, the same reason that is being used for Iran. and implemented by accusations of terrorists in airliners flying into the World Trade Center buildings WTC 1 & WTC 2.

As many folks now believe the official story of the collapse of the buildings was fabricated and promoted by the NIST, it is important that there be an open and independent investigation to analyse the overly abundent evidence that there was more to it than airplanes, Al Qaeda, building fires and gravity.

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Earlier this year, Republican Party chairman Michael Steele admitted that the GOP has engaged in Southern Strategy politics: employing racial, anti-minority code language and fear-mongering as a means of energizing the party’s white Christian base.

This is a fact. The Southern Strategy is real, though it’s no longer exclusively “southern.”

There’s no disputing its widespread use. Come to think of it, for Steele to “confess” to the the GOP’s use of the Strategy makes it seems as though it was previously a secret. It wasn’t. Fact: the Republican Party routinely tweaks white fear, paranoia, prejudice and resentment in order to win votes and score political points at the expense of demonized minority groups. They engage in stereotyping and misinformation and they rarely, if ever, use the “n-word” these days, though they might as well. After all, as the Strategy goes, blacks and minorities aren’t voting Republican anyway, so… let fly.

And it works. So well, in fact, that it’s still actively used on AM talk radio and on Fox News Channel as a ratings-grabber, not to mention as a recruitment tool for the various tea party groups. If you can effectively convince the majority race that they’re being somehow victimized by the significantly smaller minority, you have a seriously powerful (and clearly immoral) psycho-weapon in your arsenal.

This year has to be some kind of high water mark for white antagonism against minorities, and evidence that the Republicans, along with the array of far-right apparatchiks, don’t really have a serious agenda for governing to sell or, for that matter, anything of value to say. And so they do this. They continue to tap into a mother lode of white majority self-pity and inchoate rage as a form of spackle over the gaping holes in their ridiculous policy arguments.

Take a good look at the big stories of the last several months — the stories that have been driven by the far-right machine, injected into the mainstream and subsequently debated by the rest of the country — partly as a result of the far-right’s money, loudness and tenacity, and partly because these arguments are too obnoxious and outrageous, and therefore too irresistible, to avoid. I’ve been hearing a lot about August being “crazy month,” but the crazy topics have spanned the entire summer and beyond.

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Dispatch From Guntopia

Cliff Schecter

Best-selling author, public-relations consultant, pundit, bon vivant

Posted: April 19, 2010 03:31 PM

This morning, on the 15th Anniversary of the Oklahoma City mass murder, I drove from Washington, D.C. across the 14th Street Bridge to get on the George Washington Memorial Parkway and attended an “open carry” gun rally at Fort Hunt, Virginia.

On my way, I passed the Holocaust Museum, where a deluded Neo-Nazi, in a final act of vengeance for having been born, chose to spray bullets into the flesh and bone of a security guard whose only crime was trying to earn a paycheck. Off in the distance, you could almost see the Pentagon, where John Patrick Bedell wreaked havoc after being declared mentally unfit to possess a firearm by the state of California — because he simply bought one with no questions asked at a Nevada gun show. Bedell took advantage of the gun-show loophole to shoot those serving our country at the Pentagon, because of his hatred for it.

Finally, we arrived at Fort Hunt, to see a bevy of mostly middle-aged white men compare the United States of America to Nazi Germany, the Ku Klux Klan and a slave-state (among other niceties) while carrying assault weapons and dressing like they were auditioning for the remake of Red Dawn. A highlighted speaker was Mike Vanderboegh (seen in the video just below), an Alabama militia leader who most infamously encouraged his followers to throw bricks through the windows of local Democratic Parties.

In a very different reality, Tom Mauser, whose son was gunned down in the Columbine massacre, and families of those murdered at Virginia Tech, today called on our leaders to lead on an issue where 86% of gun owners (including 69% of NRA members) agree with the rest of us, according to known liberal Frank Luntz: That we MUST close the gun show loophole. We must do more to stop criminals, terrorists and the mentally unfit from getting their hands on weapons that kill.

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Daniel Tencer | Raw Story | Sunday, Dec 27th, 2009

Obama ‘giving his generals a little too much leeway’

Congressman Dennis Kucinich says President Barack Obama ought to fire the generals who publicly aired their views on the war in Afghanistan during this fall’s deliberations on a troop surge.

The Ohio Democrat known for his anti-war views said there is “no question” that the president was pressured by the military into approving a 30,000-troop surge.

“Some of [Obama’s] generals made remarks publicly, which is unheard of,” Kucinich told Russia Today. “Generals are subordinate to the Commander-in-Chief. When generals start trying to suggest publicly what the president should do, they shouldn’t be generals anymore. That’s the way it works. And frankly, President Obama, who is a good man, has given his generals a little too much leeway.”

Kucinich also said that the Constitutional mechanism for declaring and waging war, which gives authority over the issue to Congress, has been eroded by successive presidencies that have not seen fit to ask Congress for permission for military campaigns abroad.

“We’ve had a series of presidents who have basically taken the initiative to go to war and hadn’t really checked with Congress,” Kucinich said. “Richard Nixon prolonged a war in Vietnam and he did so when many efforts were made by members of congress to cut off funds.”

Kucinich has tabled a resolution in Congress that calls for a vote on a withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.

The following video was broadcast on Russia Today, December 23, 2009.

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Living Up to Our Constitution — Part III

Firedoglake- By: Cynthia Kouril Saturday November 28, 2009 5:00 pm

I recently attended the Second Annual “Living Constitution” Lecture at the Brennan Center for Justice. The keynote speaker this year was Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and his topic was “Living Up to Our Constitution.”

Sen. Whitehouse identified four ways in which we live up to the Constitution, I am excerpting some of the best bits and breaking them into four separate posts for your contemplation this holiday weekend.

Part Three
Defending Our Courts

The third way in which we live up to our Constitution, is by upholding our court system. Sen. Whitehouse points out that the right to a day in court is guaranteed to us by the Constitution. His concern is that this Constitutional right is under assault by corporate defendants.

The Constitution mandates respect for the process that allows [injured plaintiffs] to stand up for their legal rights. Trial by jury is established in Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution, and by the Sixth and Seventh Amendments. The Constitution promises a “day in court,” however annoying that day might be to the corporate defendant.

-Snip-

For years, business interests, operating through the Chamber of Commerce and other “law reform” outfits, have mounted a public relations campaign against the civil justice system. Their tale is that discovery costs, juries, and punitive damage awards are all out of control, allowing unscrupulous plaintiffs’ lawyers to hold corporations hostage and extort massive settlements in a litigation lottery that frustrates public policy. Their goal is to make corporate defendants seem the victims, justifying mandatory binding arbitration (often with systematically biased arbitrators), caps on damages, restrictive readings of statutes of limitations, and heightened pleading standards.

How many times have you heard GOP talking points blaming the high cost of medical care on “trial lawyers”? How many times have you heard some winger shouting down the house about “tort reform”? Do you know what tort reform is? Pups, this is code for taking away your right to go to court if you are injured by a doctor’s malpractice, or a defective product, or the negligence or recklessness of another person or corporation.

FAUX News’ pundits rant and rave about out of control jury awards, but they always manage to skip over the part where there would have been no award of damages UNLESS THE DEFENDANT WAS FOUND TO HAVE DONE SOMETHING WRONG. In the guise of trying to fix some of the unintended consequences of the class action lawsuit rules, Big Corpa would take away the right to redress which goes back before the Constitution, before the Magna Carta, all the way back to before there was an England, back when that island was composed of smaller Anglo-Saxon kingdoms and established the practice of weregeld. The term originates from the Middle English word “were” meaning “man” (think “werewolf”) and the Saxon word “geld”, “gilt” or “geldt” meaning “money”. The concept was also used throughout the Scandinavian world and the Germanic world from at least the end of the Roman Empire. This has been a fundamental human right for millennia.

We live in a world where corporations are allowed (ahem) free speech rights in the form of large campaign contributions and soft money advertising campaigns, even if the views expressed are directly contrary to the views of their shareholders. Sen. Whitehouse rightly points out that the only branch of government where an ordinary citizen has any hope of making their plea in front of a decision maker who is not bought and paid for with campaign contributions, is before the jury box.

Corporations would be only too happy with a world in which their every contact with government officials – Presidents, governors, federal and state senators and representatives – every contact is with individuals and institutions who have been rendered supple to their interests by the emollient effect of corporate contributions. Against this lubriciously accommodating world stand the hard square corners of the jury box, filled with ordinary Americans, whose views you tamper with only at your legal peril, and before whom the mightiest corporation stands equal with its most humble and voiceless victim; where each party has equal opportunity to put its case to a group of our peers; where the status quo can be disrupted; where the comfortable can be afflicted and the afflicted find some comfort, all under the shelter of the law.

We stand up for the Constitution when we stand up for our courts.

Related posts:

  1. Living Up to Our Constitution – Part II
  2. Living Up to Our Constitution – Part I
  3. On Constitution Day, Celebrate the Rights of People (Not Corporations)
  4. FDL Book Salon Welcomes David Owen, Green Metropolis: Why Living Smaller, Living Closer, and Driving Less are the Keys to Sustainability
  5. Harry Reid Re-opens the Senate Floor to Amendments, but Promotes Unconstitutional Bills of Attainder on “Constitution Day”

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Overshadowed by Tea Party Movement, the Christian Right Scrambles to Claim It Isn’t Racist

By Adele M. Stan, AlterNet. Posted September 22, 2009.

The Tea Party movement has the juice as the religious right is on the wane. Survival may mean joining up, but that presents an image problem for Christians.

At the religious right’s Values Voter Summit this weekend, some of the air seemed to have gone out of the balloon.

Gathering at the Omni Shoreham in Washington, 1,800 activists and their leaders seemed resigned to being subsumed by the broader Tea Party movement, or rendered irrelevant by it.

This year’s conference, sponsored by the political affiliate of the Family Research Council, emphasized matters important to Tea Party leaders: freedom was linked with free enterprise; ominous were warnings offered about a march to socialism; global warming was said to be a good thing; and taxes were deemed to be too high and largely misappropriated.

But these messages did not receive nearly the degree of enthusiasm from attendees as the traditional religious right decrees against abortion and same-sex marriage. And despite efforts to tread carefully on issues of race, one of the biggest laugh lines of the conference was the racially charged parable told by Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., about the circumstances faced by Republicans in Congress, which he compared to having to play a ball thrown by a monkey.

Yet religious right leaders, who have long played to racial resentment, seem alarmed at how the overt racism of some of the Tea Partiers could harm their own movement — decades in the making — of politicized Christian evangelicals and conservative Catholics.

Even as some conference speakers sent coded racial messages, others cautioned the troops to extreme discipline on matters of race in their messaging, “lest we cast our movement,” in the words of conference closer, the Rev. Harry Jackson, “… in a way that will cause people to think that we’re something that we’re not.”

Make no mistake: The religious right is not going away. Evangelical churches still offer an unparalleled organizing tool for right-wing political operatives. But in the wake of the September 12 march on Washington, it’s clear there’s a new, big beefy kid in town: the Tea Party movement.

In many ways, the greater American culture has moved beyond the religious right. During its 30 years of existence, the religious right has failed to significantly move public opinion on legalized abortion, and it is losing its war on gay rights, even if it enjoys occasional, even major, victories on that front (as it did with Proposition 8, the 2008 California ballot measure that struck down same-sex marriage, which had been legalized by the courts).

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