The U.S. Supreme Court decision to refuse to hear our case concerning Section 1021(b)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which permits the military to seize U.S. citizens and hold them indefinitely in military detention centers without due process, means that this provision will continue to be law. It means the nation has entered a post-constitutional era. It means that extraordinary rendition of U.S. citizens on U.S. soil by our government is legal. It means that the courts, like the legislative and executive branches of government, exclusively serve corporate power—one of the core definitions of fascism. It means that the internal mechanisms of state are so corrupted and subservient to corporate power that there is no hope of reform or protection for citizens under our most basic constitutional rights. It means that the consent of the governed—a poll by OpenCongress.com showed that this provision had a 98 percent disapproval rating—is a cruel joke. And it means that if we do not rapidly build militant mass movements to overthrow corporate tyranny, including breaking the back of the two-party duopoly that is the mask of corporate power, we will lose our liberty.
On May 2, 2014 Vermont became the first state to call for a convention to amend the U.S. Constitution to reverse the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which precipitated a flood of cash into politics. These were overwhelming votes, and there was bipartisan support.
Are you tired of merely complaining about government corruption? Here’s your chance to do something. I just donated a significant amount of money to the SuperPac Kickstart campaign created by Lawrence Lessig, a tireless leader in the election reform movement. Listen to his 5-minute presentation and then ask yourself, “Isn’t this what I’ve been waiting for?” Please . . . PLEASE listen to this message and consider joining this movement. This approach has real potential to change the way Washington works. You’ll need to get past the dark irony that it will take money to beat money. The battle cry is “Mayday”–our government is going down in flames. Become a proud player in this effort.
The media is now hammering on U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s recent misreporting of the facts of a case involving the EPA. It was a glaring error, indeed. As reported by the Associated Press:
The mistake in Scalia’s opinion concerned one section of about a page and a half in which he contended that the EPA was again asking for the authority to weigh costs against benefits in determining how large a reduction in emissions it mandates… Scalia went on to say the case “is not the first time EPA has sought to convert the Clean Air Act into a mandate for cost-effective regulation.” He cited as authority the high court’s 2001 decision in Whitman v. American Trucking Associations, in which the court said that such an analysis was not allowed under a section of the landmark anti-pollution law. The author was Scalia. The problem is that it was the trucking group, not the EPA, that wanted the agency to use a cost-benefit analysis.
Scalia’s recent gaffe pales in comparison to Scalia’s repeated claim that he decides cases based on “textual originalism.” Scalia’s purported theory was was shown to be incoherent and self-serving in a comprehensive article by Judge Richard Posner of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. In that article, Posner makes an airtight case that Scalia has bungled the legal analysis of dozens of cases. According to Posner, “originalism” is essentially a reckless embodiment of the confirmation bias. Judge Posner’s critique goes even further, however, accusing Justice Scalia of repeated disingenuous interpretations of the cases in order to attempt to lend credence to his pet theory.
I appreciate that the news media has caught Justice Scalia on a slipshod piece of writing. If only the media would now take the time to look at Scalia’s much larger and much more dangerous claim that he is dutifully following the directives of the nation’s Founders when he is actually carrying water for the Chamber of Commerce.
I just learned about another excellent organization dedicated to restoring the democracy: WOLFPAC. Here’s the mission:
Our Ultimate Goal:
To restore true, representative democracy in the United States by pressuring our State Representatives to pass a much needed 28th Amendment to our Constitution which would end corporate personhood and publicly finance all elections in our country. There are only 2 ways to amend the Constitution. (1) Go through our federal government (2) Go through our State Legislators via an amendments convention of the states.
Wolf PAC believes that we can no longer count on our federal government to do what is in the best interest of the American people due to the unfettered amount of money they receive from outside organizations to fund their campaigns. We point to the failure of the Disclose Act as rock solid evidence that this would be a total waste of our time, effort, and money. We also point to the recent decision by the US Supreme Court to not even hear a case filed by Montana claiming it did not have to abide by Citizens United, as proof that state legislation is not a sufficient measure to solve this problem. We believe that we have no choice but to put an amendment in the hands of our State Legislators, who are not, at this moment in time, completely blinded by the influence of money and might actually do what 87% of the country wants…take away the massive influence that money has over our political process.
Another point that echoes my own greatest concern. How many issue should we focus on? Answer: One.
Step 5: Demand
Make every election in the United States from now until this problem is solved a one issue election. If the influence of money in politics is at the root of all other issues in our country we must start voting like it. We will inform the public by running television commercials, radio ads, social media, internet ads, and using the media platform of the largest online news show in the world, The Young Turks. As we get more and more states to call for a convention with the purpose of getting the influence of money out of our election process we will identify these states on our interactive map so that the public can click on each state and read the legislation themselves.
Here is the “Elevator Pitch”:
Wolf PAC “Elevator Pitch” – Memorize it!
(if you say something out loud 7 times it sticks)
We have determined that we need an amendment to our Constitution to reduce the massive influence money has over our political process because nothing else will be strong enough. Montana already tried State Legislation and that didn’t work (The Supreme Court overruled them) We don’t want a Supreme Court ruling that can be overturned depending on who is sitting on the bench. Once you realize that an amendment is needed to restore a Free and Fair election system in the US then it’s a simple equation; there are only two ways to get an amendment, one is through Congress, but they are literally the source of the problem so that’s not a realistic option. The only other way to do it is to call for an amendments convention.
It’s important to remember that a convention would only be a place to propose ideas or amendments somewhere other than Congress. Anything proposed would still need to go out of that convention and be ratified by 75% of our State Governments. Our Founding Fathers put this avenue of a convention into our Constitution specifically in case there came a time when our federal government ever became unresponsive to the will of the people. Welcome to 2014, that is exactly where we are. We must ensure that elections are free from the corrupting influence of money, and fair enough so that any citizen can run for office.
I’m overwhelmed by the large number of folks who have taken the time to write “happy birthday” to a guy who rants so much on FB. My page is here – all readers of DI are welcome to send me a Friend Request. Thank you so very much. It is fun to think that I’ve just completed an ellipse around the sun. That’s a long way to travel. It’s great to be alive and it’s great to have a wide open future. I’ve got a lot I’d still like to accomplish and I’m not slowing down.
OK, since you haven’t tuned me out yet, here’s my birthday fantasy: All of us should make a LOT of noise in the coming year, making it our quest to CONSTANTLY remind politicians that we can’t have any meaningful discussion on ANYTHING at all until we ban private money from the campaign system. Thanks to the warped values of the Supreme Court majority, this will need to be a Constitutional change, so it’s time to get started. Therefore, please write and call your federal and state representatives and insist that they need to take steps to implement clean elections and to undo the damage of Citizen’s United and its progeny.
I keep thinking back to what I was taught in grade school about why the United States was supposedly special. Back then, it wasn’t because we had a big military or because Americans were somehow born special. It was because the founders crafted a system that made it possible for the governed to have a significant voice in their own government. We celebrated that with a national holiday, the Fourth of July. That dream is mostly gone now–we can see the steady stream of government actions where big money thwarts the will of the people–and it’s time to get things back on track. Please join any good organization that makes this quest part of its mission. Common Cause, Public Citizen and Represent.us are possibilities.
Together, let’s shame our politicians into doing what they need to do in order that our national conversation and our national priorities are shaped by good ideas and not by money, certainly not by the big money of an elitist few.
Is this too much to ask for my birthday, that this country practices what it preaches?