What happened to Canada? It used to be the country we would flee to if life in the United States became unpalatable. No nuclear weapons. No huge military-industrial complex. Universal health care. Funding for the arts. A good record on the environment.
But that was the old Canada. I was in Montreal on Friday and Saturday and saw the familiar and disturbing tentacles of the security and surveillance state. Canada has withdrawn from the Kyoto Accords so it can dig up the Alberta tar sands in an orgy of environmental degradation. It carried out the largest mass arrests of demonstrators in Canadian history at 2010’s G-8 and G-20 meetings, rounding up more than 1,000 people. It sends undercover police into indigenous communities and activist groups and is handing out stiff prison terms to dissenters. And Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper is a diminished version of George W. Bush. He champions the rabid right wing in Israel, bows to the whims of global financiers and is a Christian fundamentalist. The voices of dissent sound like our own. And the forms of persecution are familiar. This is not an accident. We are fighting the same corporate leviathan.
“I want to tell you that I was arrested because I am seen as a threat,” Canadian activist Leah Henderson wrote to fellow dissidents before being sent to Vanier prison in Milton, Ontario, to serve a 10-month sentence. “I want to tell you that you might be too. I want to tell you that this is something we need to prepare for. I want to tell you that the risk of incarceration alone should not determine our organizing.”
A slew of articles on Monsanto are going through my Facebook page. Thought I'd pass along a few at the bottom of this one, which is six or seven months old, but the saga is now developing meaning for WA state residents while we fight Monsanto to keep our wheat GMO labeled--and better yet, free from GMOs. This is a compelling reason to create a Community Bill of Rights, among others.
NaturalSociety Note: This article is from July 26, 2011.
Hungary has taken a bold stand against biotech giant Monsanto and genetic modification by destroying 1000 acres of maize found to have been grown with genetically modified seeds, according to Hungary deputy state secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development Lajos Bognar. Unlike many European Union countries, Hungary is a nation where genetically modified (GM) seeds are banned. In a similar stance against GM ingredients, Peru has also passed a 10 year ban on GM foods.
Vital Activism: Monsanto Declared Worst Company of 2011
Almost 1000 acres of maize found to have been ground with genetically modified seeds have been destroyed throughout Hungary, deputy state secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development Lajos Bognar said. The GMO maize has been ploughed under, said Lajos Bognar, but pollen has not spread from the maize, he added.
Unlike several EU members,GMO seeds are banned in Hungary. The checks will continue despite the fact that seek traders are obliged to make sure that their products are GMO free, Bognar said.
During the invesigation, controllers have found Pioneer Monsanto products among the seeds planted.
The free movement of goods within the EU means that authorities will not investigate how the seeds arrived in Hungary, but they will check where the goods can be found, Bognar said. Regional public radio reported that the two biggest international seed producing companies are affected in the matter andGMO seeds could have been sown on up to the thousands of hectares in the country. Most of the local farmers have complained since they just discovered they were using GMO seeds.
With season already under way, it is too late to sow new seeds, so this years harvest has been lost.
And to make things even worse for the farmers, the company that distributed the seeds in Baranya county is under liquidation. Therefore, if any compensation is paid by the international seed producers, the money will be paid primarily to that company’s creditors, rather than the farmers.
Explore More: Monsanto Declared Worst Company of 2011 Anti-Monsanto Articles Surpasses 80,000 Facebook Shares, Among Most Shared in 2011 France Takes Stand Against GMOs, Monsanto Despite End of Ban Monsanto Worst Company of 2011 Declaration Posted on Reuters, Yahoo, and More Busted: Monsanto Abusing Illegal Workers in ‘Slave-Like’ Conditions Poland Joins Ranks of Grassroots Anti-Monsanto Activism
Please see Events page: Paul Cienfuegos is speaking in Shelton on Feb 11, and we encourage hearing him address the importance of a Community Bill of Rights, particularly in light of coal trains and possible XL Pipeline, threatening health and environment locally.
See WA bills for details on the hearing for Bring Our Billions Home, Feb 2 at 10 am at the Capitol. Legislative contacts, talking points and quotes are included.
Thank you to all of you who sent emails, called and testified for the WIT bill. We have done great so far! Now there is more to do:
We are on a short Deadline. The Senate Financial Institutions, Housing and Insurance Committee must pass out of committee SB 6310 establishing the Washington Investment Trust by next Wednesday, Feb 1st and the House Business and Financial Institutions Committee must pass out of committee HB 2434 establishing the Washington Investment Trust by next Thursday, Feb 2nd .
Our focus needs to be on those reps and senators on the committees that have not committed. We think it is worth it to contact Republicans if you wish, but focus on the Democrats, the support will most likely come from the Democratic side. Those committee members names and emails are below.
If you call urge them to vote yes, to save the state, counties, and cities millions of dollars in debt service costs, help students, keep money in Washington State and create jobs. The Legislative hotline is 1-800-562-6000. The hotline is not available on Sunday, so call on Monday or call their office number.
Put “Yes on SB 6310, The Washington Investment Trust” in the Subject line if you email the Senate committee members.
In the Senate Committee contact:
Steve Hobbs D firstname.lastname@example.org (360) 786-7686
Mary Margaret Haugen D email@example.com (360) 786-7618
Don Benton R firstname.lastname@example.org (360) 786-7632
Joe Fain R email@example.com (360) 786-7692
Steve Litzow R firstname.lastname@example.org (360) 786-7641
Put “Yes on HB 2434, The Washington Investment Trust” in the Subject line if you email the House committee members.
In the House Committee contact:
Troy Kelley D email@example.com (360) 786-7890
Christopher Hurst D Christopher.firstname.lastname@example.org (360) 786-7866
Jamie Pedersen D email@example.com (360) 786-7826
Barbara Bailey R firstname.lastname@example.org (360) 786-7914
Vincent Buys R Vincent.email@example.com (360) 786-7854
Cary Condotta R firstname.lastname@example.org (360) 786-7954
Joel Kretz R email@example.com (360) 786-7988
Ann Rivers R firstname.lastname@example.org (360) 786-7850
FYI Here is a rebuttal to Jim McIntire’s, the Treasurer, objections. This refutes his three main points.
Hey Folks – The coal companies are bearing down hard on the Northwest. There are now 6 active coal export proposals in Oregon and Washington and possible expansions in Canada amounting to well over 100 million tons of coal on its way to Asia to be burned should these proposals become reality. Trains headed to Cherry Point, just north of Bellingham and to Canada will have to use the same tracks that Amtrak uses in our county. These tracks are very near to Olympia’s source for potable water. Coal cars are open and lose a lot of dust in transport. The Cherry Point proposal alone would add 20 trains per day to the system if the export terminal is fully built out (48million tons a year).
Think about pollution in excess of tolerances, especially for children ages 6 and under. WA Physicians for Responsibility has written blistering reviews which have been used in Bellingham's fight. The pollution comes back at us a second time when the coal is burned in Asia...
This is a very bad deal for our community, for the Northwest, for our planet. Please come to this forum to learn what you can do to help stop this. And stop it we will!!
Spread the word…
The Coal Hard Truth Forum
Learn more about protecting Olympia from 20 mile and half long coal trains per day! Learn about a proposed dirty coal export project that would dramatically affect our community and potentially our water supply, and how you can help prevent it from happening.
When: Monday, Feb. 13, 7pm - 9pm
Where:Olympia Center - 222 Columbia St NW, Olympia - Multipurpose Room A
What are the risks if the largest coal company in the world - Peabody Coal - is allowed to transport up to 48 million tons of coal through Thurston County on rail to send to Asia? Join us on Feb. 13th.
You'll learn about:
·The regional picture of coal use and the health impacts of coal ·The specifics of Peabody Coal and SSA Marine’s proposed coal mega-port in Whatcom County ·Potential threats from coal dust, traffic and emergency service delays, diesel exhaust and threats of global warming pollution ·What you can do to stop this coal export proposal!
Cleveland, Ohio (January 26, 2012) – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today called for the immediate enactment of policies to reverse a disturbing rise of poverty rates in Cuyahoga County.
“‘America is back,’ said President Obama at the State of the Union address. We are seeing good signs, like the steel mill ArcelorMittal expanding capacity thanks to resurgence in the auto industry. But for many of our friends and neighbors we cannot wait; we need jobs NOW,” said Kucinich.
A new report (PDF) highlights the expansion of poverty in our community. According to a study by Case Western Reserve University, the poverty rate in Cuyahoga County is now 17.9% and 75% of Cuyahoga County suburbs experienced an increase in poverty rate.
“We must reverse this trend. We need to do everything we can to encourage job growth and enact policies that help Ohioans weather this economic storm. Wall Street, not workers, created this problem and workers should not have to bear the brunt of this burden. In the immediate term we need to protect those struggling economically by protecting and strengthening programs that provide immediate help like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and unemployment insurance.”
Congressman Kucinich recently introduced legislation that would impose transparency on the Federal Reserve and create millions of good paying jobs. The National Emergency Employment Defense (NEED) Act, HR 2990, would create millions of jobs maintaining the basic infrastructure on which American relies every day. The bill would allow the federal government to correct crippling national deficiencies in infrastructure maintenance and education nationwide by spending money into circulation without increasing the national debt or causing inflation. It would incorporate the Federal Reserve within the United States Treasury, establish fiscal integrity, and reassert Congressional sovereignty.
Whereas, EGT, a joint venture led by multinational grain giant Bunge, had originally agreed to hire union Longshoremen when accepting millions in taxpayer funds to build a huge new grain exporting terminal at the Port of Longview WA, but once the terminal was built, has now tried to void its contract and refused to hire ILWU labor; and
Whereas, EGT has managed to get enough scab grain across picket lines into the new terminal that EGT appears poised to load a ship soon in violation of their agreement with the port; and
Whereas, a solidarity caravan of thousands of union members and community activists – endorsed by ILWU Locals 10 and 21, the S.F. and Cowlitz County (Longview) labor councils and many others – is being organized to support our brothers and sisters in Longview, for an emergency mass protest when requested to do so; and
Whereas, according to Long shore & Shipping News, within a month, the empty grain ship will be escorted by armed U.S. Coast Guard vessels and helicopters, from the mouth of the Columbia River to the EGT facility; and
Whereas, this is the first known use of the United States military to intervene in a labor dispute on the side of management in 40 years – not since the Great 1970 Postal Strike when President Nixon called out the Army and National Guard in an (unsuccessful) attempt to break the strike; and
Whereas, the use of the armed forces against labor unions is something you might expect to see in a dictatorship or police state but never in a free and democratic society; and
Whereas, ILWU international President Bob McEllrath has stated: “ILWU’s labor dispute with EGT is symbolic of what is wrong in the United States today. Corporations, no matter how harmful the conduct to society, enjoy full state and federal protection while workers and the middle class get treated as criminals for trying to protect their jobs and communities”;
Therefore be it Resolved, that Railroad Workers United condemns any and all use of the United States military to provide an armed sea and air escort for the empty grain ship, which is due to call at the new EGT grain terminal, Port of Longview, Washington, to load scab grain for export to Asia; and
Be it further Resolved, that RWU join with allies in other cities on the West Coast to participate in any press conferences and demonstrations that are organized to denounce this use of the military to intervene in a labor dispute on the side of the foreign-owned “Wall Street on the Waterfront”; and
Be it finally Resolved, that RWU circulate this resolution to all rail unions, and urge our labor leaders to take a strong stand against this brazen assault, by a foreign corporation and our own government on the labor rights and civil liberties of our brothers and sisters in the ILWU. An assault on their labor rights is an assault on ours.
Adopted by the RWU Steering Committee January 24th, 2012
We'll start posting articles on the Coal Tar Sands-Trans Canada project and plan to do some radio shows to learn what is happening in BC with lawsuits.
Yesterday a summary of an article Sarah vanGelder is publishing in the Feb. issue of YES magazine, applauded Obama's rejection of the proposed Keystone Pipeline project. Obama did not wrap up the US commitment to Trans-Canada re: the Pipeline; he merely declined to sign off on the proposed route thru Nebraska. That in no way suggests he will ultimately not sign on to a proposal following his re-election. Or proposed re-election. I do not trust his word in any way, with re: to "clean energy" projects like this one. I do believe Dr James Hansen, however, when he warns this project, upon its completion, will mean the end to any possible turning around climate change. And we know Athabascan natives are dying in large numbers from cancer directly linked to this project. I wish we could post the photographs of what was beautiful boreal forest, that now looks like Mars-scape, not one living thing as far as the eye can see, flat and dead. The size and scope of this disaster is difficult to imagine.
Jan. 19 (Bloomberg) -- TransCanada Corp.'s $7 billion Keystone XL oil pipeline still will move ahead with an alternate route after President Barack Obama's decision to deny a permit, investors, public officials and analysts say.
Obama blamed congressional Republicans yesterday for imposing a deadline on his decision, which he said left no time to approve the project. His administration invited TransCanada to reapply, an overture the Calgary-based company promptly said it would accept.
Denying the permit pushes a final decision on the pipeline into 2013, safely past this year's presidential election. John Stephenson, who helps manage $2.7 billion for First Asset Management Inc. in Toronto, said he bought 350,000 shares yesterday as TransCanada fell the most in 18 months.
"This is clearly the biggest infrastructure project on the continent, and once the election is settled, we believe it will be approved," Stephenson said in an interview. "All the waffling just gives people an opportunity to trade around it."
TransCanada today said it may build U.S.-only pipeline segments, which don't require federal approval, and apply later for permission to connect the pipeline to Canadian oil sands and complete Keystone XL as originally proposed.
Yesterday's decision by the State Department was praised by environmentalists and was decried by the U.S. oil and gas industry and Republican presidential candidates and lawmakers, who had pushed Obama to approve the project as a way create jobs.
Obama acted before a Feb. 21 deadline Congress set after he postponed a decision to allow for a review of of a revised route through Nebraska. TransCanada said the 1,661-mile (2,673- kilometer) project would carry 700,000 barrels of crude a day from Alberta's oil sands to refineries on the U.S. Gulf of Mexico coast, crossing six states and creating an estimated 20,000 jobs.
Obama called Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who told the president Canada will seek to diversify its energy exports after Keystone was rejected. Harper "expressed his profound disappointment" with the Keystone decision, according to a statement from his office.
Currently, 99 percent of Canada's crude exports go to the U.S., a figure that Harper wants to reduce in his bid to make Canada a "superpower" in global oil markets. Canada this month began hearings on a proposed pipeline from the oil sands to the British Columbia coast, where it could be shipped to Asian markets.
Bring friends, neighbors who can attend daytime hearings, to learn more about the WA State Bank. See the Resources page on our website, with many Power Points and articles on WA State Banking Project site, and the National State Bank website.
Did you know that there is no State Bank in Washington? Instead our State government chooses to bank with Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Chase.
Small businesses in Washington are in desperate need of credit. But due to the recession, loans from the Small Business Administration have declined.
The proposed Washington Investment Trust (H.B. 2434 & S.B. 6310) can change all that. By keeping our public funds here in Washington State, instead of giving it to out-of-state banks, we can put our capital and interest to work creating jobs, building infrastructure, and encouraging small business growth here at home!
Wednesday afternoon January 25 at 1:30 pm, there will be a public hearing on Senate Bill 6310 in Senate Hearing Room 2 in the Cherberg Senate Building. Then on this Thursday morning January 26 at 8 am, there will be a public hearing on House Bill 2434 in the House Hearing Room B which is in the John L. O'Brien Building. We need a strong showing of public support, so please attend the hearings, and sign in as in favor of the bill. You may also testify at either or both of these important hearings; if you bring written comments, please bring 20 copies to have enough for all committee members and staff.
If you can't attend (or even if you can), please call or email your representatives and senator encouraging them to vote in favor of the bill.
Call the Legislative Hotline: 1-800-562-6000. They willl get your message to the correct legislator even if you don't know who that is when you call.
Please also write to the Governor (http://www.governor.wa.gov/contact/) and the State Treasurer, Jim McIntire (James.McIntire@tre.wa.gov) in favor of the bill.
If you are interested in tracking the bill you can do it here on the legislative website.
Below is some information about the WA Investment Trust that you may find helpful and informative.
Brian L. Gunn State Committee Man / PCO 31st LD Democrats http://31stdistrictdemocrats.org/ 253-334-8614 ________________________________________________________________________
The mission of the Washington Investment Trust is to utilize Washington's depository assets in ways that afford most efficient use of taxpayer revenues and public resources for the benefit of the people and economy of the state.
The Washington Investment Trust may:
(a) Facilitate investment in, and financing of, public infrastructure systems that will increase public health, safety and quality of life, improve environmental conditions, and promote community vitality and economic growth;
(b) Assist students who are in need of additional low-cost student loans in order to finance the cost of higher education; and
(c) Leverage Washington's financial capital and resources, and work in partnership with financial institutions, community-based organizations, economic development organizations, guaranty agencies, and other stakeholder groups.
What would this mean for Washingtonians?
1) A Public Bank in Washington State would make credit available for small business loans.
It is estimated that a Public Bank in Washington could generate roughly an 8.2% increase in lending (about $2.6B in new lending activity) due to bank participation loans.
2) A Partnership Bank can offer low-interest financing for homeowners and businesses.
Imagine having a credit card at 6% interest. How about offering zero-interest loans as community equity loans for public infrastructure?
3) A Public Bank would help create and retain jobs.
It is estimated that a Public Bank could help create or retain 7,400-10,700 additional small business jobs in Washington.
4) A Public Bank would generate new revenue.
A Public Bank could generate dividends for the Washington State starting in year 3, and a bank capitalized at $100M and conservatively run could pay total accumulated dividends to the state's General Fund of $71M after 10 years, $206M after 20 years, $382M after 30 years, and $675M after 40 years.
5) A Public Bank would lower debt costs for local governments.
A public bank can get access to low-cost funds from the regional Federal Home Loan Banks. It can pass this savings on to local governments when they buy debt for infrastructure investments. The banks can also provide Letters of Credit for tax-exempt bonds at lower interest rates.
6) A Public Bank would strengthen local banks
The Bank of North Dakota's charter is clear. One of its goals is to be helpful to and to assist in the development of [North Dakota banks]... and not, in any manner, to destroy or to be harmful to existing financial institutions. By purchasing local bank stock, partnering with them on large loans, and providing other support, public banks strengthen small banks in an era when federal policy encourages bank consolidation.
Notice: This event, previously scheduled for January 20th, has been postponed due to inclement weather. It will be rescheduled.
PLEASE see Actions: What you Can Do to Legalize Democracy "Get the Money Out of Politics!" Street Theater, Speakers, Musicians in front of the Federal Court in Tacoma
When: Friday, January 20, 2012 Time: Events begin at 2:30 PM and goes til 6:00 pm;
Evening event will be VERY moving; starting at about 5:30 at the Courthouse
bring a small flashlight if you have one, or a candle in a jar [if it's not raining] Where:
Beginning at the Fireman's Park, 9th and A Streets, Tacoma, and proceeding to the Federal Courthouse, 1717 Pacific Ave.
Take the 15th St. exit off of 705; go right on 15th then immediate left on A to 9th.
Move to Amend Olympia, Occupy Tacoma, Involved Democracy, League of Women Voters of Tacoma-Pierce County, Washington Public Campaigns, Sustainable Tacoma-Pierce, People for Peace Justice & Healing, United for Peace of Pierce County.
Mark your calendars! This is a National Day of Action, involving 80 cities across the US.
The rally will be used to introduce the language of the Amendment ending Corporate Personhood and Money As Speech.
Two years ago this month, five Supreme Court justices, sworn to uphold the Constitution, voted to make democracy illegal. The infamous Citizens United decision removed all limits on independent spending for political purposes. As a result too many of our representatives are unresponsive to the people and instead are beholden only to the corporate dollars that got them elected.
We the People have to fight back!
Move to Amend Olympia is co-hosting with Occupy Tacoma a powerful event to GET THE MONEY OUT OF POLITICS. We will unveil the "We the People" Amendment, setting forth once and for all that Corporations Are Not People and Money Is Not Speech!
The closing is "an incredible closing event in lights that will dazzle the human spirit," promises Linda Frank of WA Public Campaigns.
Jan 20th is the second anniversary of the devastating Supreme Court Citizens United decision that enables special interests -- including foreign governments -- to sway elections with money. Articles abound as to how that happened with the recent GOP Iowa Caucuses.
Guest Speakers confirmed for January 20th between 4 and 5:30 pm:
Rainey, Corporate Power in the 1930’s and today, with the impact of Citizens
Riki Ott, marine toxicologist, author, co-Founder Move to Amend, Director,
Mello, Tacoma City Council
McNeil, Veterans for Peace, Occupy 'Hood
Gibbs, Move to Amend, Olympia
Nyberg, Washington Public Campaigns
Spencer Barrett, Allen AME Church
Rep. Mark Miloscia, Federal Way, and candidate for the
State Auditor position
Adam Kline, 37th Legislative District, SJM 8007, abolishing Corporate
Mike Collier, Former US Congressional candidate,
former chair Micah project of First
Join us, and invite friends and neighbors!
Times of the events are as follows:
2:30 Procession from Fireman’s Park at 9th and A Streets
3:30 Street Theater Events
4:00 Special Guest Speakers: See list above
5:30 The Luminescent Human Chain, connecting the Government to the People
If you've wondered about the history of Supreme Court decisions leading up to Citizens United, attend the workshop in the afternoon on January 17th at UWT. This information will also be woven into the evening workshop on January 19th at the St Leo Church.
The Evolution of “Corporate Personhood” Tuesday, January 17th, 12:30-2 pm UW Tacoma, Carwein Auditorium Sponsored by UWT Ethnic, Gender and Labor Studies Facilitators: Francesca Carreras-Velez, Occupy Tacoma & Molly Gibbs, Move to Amend, Olympia
Citizens United: Explanation and Critique Thursday, January 19th, 12:30 – 2:00 pm Sponsored by UWT Ethnic, Gender and Labor Studies UW Tacoma, Carwein Hall Facilitator: Brian Gunn, Involved Democracy
Citizens United: Why We “Occupy the Courts” Thurs, January 19th, 7:00 pm St Leo Church 710 So 13th, Tacoma Presenter: Dr. Riki Ott, Ultimate Civics; marine toxicologist, author, co-founder of Move to Amend
The "We The People" Amendment Section 1 [Corporations are not people and can be regulated]
The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons only.
Artificial entities, such as corporations, limited liability companies, and other entities, established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state shall have no rights under this Constitution and are subject to regulation by the People, through Federal, State, or local law.
The responsibilities and privileges of artificial entities shall be determined by the People, through Federal, State, or local law, and shall not be construed to be inherent or inalienable.
Section 2 [Money is not speech and can be regulated]
Federal, State and local government shall regulate, limit, or prohibit contributions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own contributions and expenditures, for the purpose of influencing in any way the election of any candidate for public office or any ballot measure.
Federal, State and local government shall require that any permissible contributions and expenditures be publicly disclosed.
The judiciary shall not construe the spending of money to influence elections to be speech under the First Amendment.
Nothing contained in this amendment shall be construed to abridge the freedom of the press.
Occupy Tacoma, Involved Democracy, League of Women Voters (Tacoma-PC), Washington Public Campaigns, Sustainable Tacoma-Pierce, and others
January 11, 2012 Contact: MtAOly@gmail.com
For Immediate Release (360) 412-1519
To Overturn US Supreme Court Decision:
Local Groups Call Masses to the Streets of Tacoma
The US Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United ruled that corporations are people and that they can give unlimited amounts of money to political candidates. Move to Amend Olympia and numerous groups in Tacoma present “Get the Money Out of Politics” on the second anniversary of that decision -- January 20th.
Beginning at 2:30 pm, at Fireman’s Park (corner of South 9th and A Streets.), hundreds of marchers including Supreme Court Justices and corporate robots will parade through downtown Tacoma behind a 30-foot banner of the Bill of Rights heading toward the Federal Courthouse.
At 4:00 “We the People” speakers, elected officials, and musicians arrive in front of the Courthouse. Dr Riki Ott, the woman who fought the Exxon oil spill, will cite gains in the movement to amend the Constitution. Ott will rally the crowd to work toward overturning the disastrous Citizens United decision, which enables unlimited foreign and multinational money to buy our elections.
See details on four workshops and guest speakers at www.MovetoAmend.org, as well as the “We The People” amendment, which will restore power to the electorate.
“Right now our government is not ‘of, by and for the People,’” said Martin Nyberg of the Tacoma Chapter of Washington Public Campaigns. “Until we Amend the Constitution so that the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United is overturned, multinational corporations and extreme wealth will continue to hold their boot to the neck of the People and the popular will.”
Terri Baker, President of the League of Women Voters of Tacoma-Pierce County wrote, “I love the fact that people are finally mad enough to be uncomfortable. I’ve been wondering for the last ten years just how bad it had to get before people would act.”
In a stirring closing event, hundreds will create a human chain from the Courthouse to Occupation Park, to visually emphasize that government must be connected to We the People.
As the Legislature struggles to solve another budget crisis, the call has come from many to reform state government. While state spending per capita on vital public services is at a 25year low, state government spending per person as a share of personal income has shrunk23% over the last fifteen years, and state support for higher education is at an all time low,there is no doubt that public confidence requires a constant attention to ways to create a more efficient and effective state government.
But lost in this discussion of “reform” is any debate about the most critical structural reform that our state should be considering: our outdated, special interest protecting tax code that swells state coffers in the good times and squeezes vital public investments, like access to higher education, in the bad times.
If government needs to be reformed, than the mechanism that funds that government should also be part of that conversation particularly since our state is funded by a tax system unique from virtually every other state in the union. We believe that our tax code cries out for holistic reform. It is a system that is biased against startup businesses struggling to make a profit. And, of course, it is highly regressive – ranked as the 50th most regressive tax system in the country according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.
Very simply, in a state economy that has shifted from manufacturing to services, the current tax code no longer reflects the best or most equitable way of maintaining essential public investments like schools, colleges, environmental protection, and services for the most vulnerable.
A stable and effective tax code should provide three things:
1. Adequacy of revenue – The tax code should provide the revenue necessary to fund the legal obligations established in law.
2. Revenue stability – The tax code should provide adequate resources in good times and in bad, and should not be substantially more volatile than overall economic performance.
3. Tax Fairness – The system should be fair to all citizens and businesses.
I would suggest that everyone get a copy of Jeff Clements new book, Corporations Are Not People; Why They Have More Rights Than You Do and What You Can Do About It. It is due on bookstore shelves very soon and I know that it can be ordered. He covers a lot of these issues. Jeff is a Boston Lawyer and co-founder of Free Speech For People.
I think that we will always run into the "lawyers" who will say that our proposed amendment is not constitutional. My first comment is the if we put it in the constitution, then it is constitution. The Supreme Court does not get to rule on its constitutionality.
The other part of this question regards if corporations have rights or not. And a related question thrown out is if we eliminate CP, corporations will not be able to be sued or to sue. Point out that corporations existed long before CP and that they have always been able to sue or be sued. The ability to be sued or to sue is a power which comes from the state law in the state in which they are chartered. In Oregon, where I live, it is in our Revised Statutues 60.077. Powers in general and it says
(1) Unless its articles of incorporation provide otherwise, every corporation has perpetual duration and succession in its corporate name. (2) Unless its articles of incorporation provide otherwise, every corporation has the same powers as an individual to do all things necessary or convenient to carry out its business and affairs, including without limitation, power to: (a) Sue and be sued and complain and defend in its corporate name;
and then it goes on to say what else a corporation can do. These state laws will not be invalidated with the end of corporate personhood. Reminder that corporate personhood comes from the federal courts; the existence and the rules of existence come from the state. That which is state is a policy, not a right. Only the US Constitution contains rights and it does not speak to corporations. That has always been in the province of state policy making.
As another example, which I am sure is similar elsewhere, Portland's City code or charter (I forget which) defines a corporation as a person. What does that mean? Does the city have the ability to gives personhood rights to corporations? No they don't but for purposes of corporations operating in Portland, the laws which apply to people shall also apply to corporations. Not the rights, the law. Law is a policy statement; rights are stated in the Bill of Rights and cannot be legslated away.
CANDLELIGHT VIGIL ON JANUARY 11, 2012 NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION AGAINST GUANTANAMO
Participate in the candlelight vigil at the Jackson Federal Building, 2nd Avenue between Madison and Marion, downtown Seattle 5:00-6:00 p.m, on Wednesday, January 11th.
Sponsors: Washington State Religious Campaign Against Torture (WSRCAT),National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT), Amnesty International-Group 4, Amnesty International, USA, Western Washington Fellowship of Reconciliation, Code Pink, American Civil Liberties Union-Washington (ACLU-WA). Additional co-sponsors are being added.
January 11 is the 10th anniversary of the arrival of prisoners at Guantanamo.
We join with others across the country in this National Day of Action Against Guantanamo.
We refuse to be silent in response to the continuation and hardening of the regime of indefinite detention without charges or trial most clearly represented by Guantanamo prison and the recent passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Guantanamo is a symbol of a decade of damage to human rights and to the rule of law. We refuse to be silent about the illegitimate military commissions used to try some suspects held at Guantanamo prison. We refuse to be silent about the failure to hold accountable those responsible for torture and cruel treatment at Guantanamo and elsewhere.
JOIN US AT THE FEDERAL BUILDING ON JANUARY 11TH !
For further information: *Washington State Religious Campaign Against Torture (WSRCAT) http://stopustorture.blogspot.com/ *Rob Crawford (WSRCAT): 206-463-5653 *http://www.nrcat.org/ National Religious Campaign Against Torture *Amnesty International USA's Day of Action website *Also, Sara Schmidt, Regional Field Organizer: SSchmidt@aiusa.org; or Larry Ebersole, Area Coordinator: email@example.com *American Civil Liberties Union-WA: Summer Robinson: firstname.lastname@example.org *https://www.facebook.com/events/342940329049422/
← TOMORROW: City Council to Vote on Resolution Opposing United States Supreme Court Citizens United Ruling
NY City Council Passes Resolution Declaring that Corporations Are Not People Posted on January 4, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 4, 2012
CONTACT: Mary Tek, Coordinator
212-341-9509 / email@example.com
City Council Passes Resolution Declaring that Corporations Are Not People
NEW YORK, NY — The Progressive Caucus of the City Council commends today’s passage of a resolution opposing the United States Supreme Court Citizens United decision, which gave corporations the same First Amendment rights as people. Progressive Caucus Members Brad Lander, Melissa Mark-Viverito and Steve Levin sponsored this resolution, with the entirety of the Progressive Caucus as co-sponsors. We thank Speaker Christine Quinn for her leadership on this important issue.
As our support of this resolution demonstrates, restoring confidence in government and strengthening democratic participation is a core principle of the Progressive Caucus. We believe that corporations should not share the same rights as people, that unlimited and unreported corporate donations meant to sway the electoral process should not be considered freedom of speech, and that the government should regulate the raising and spending of money by corporations intended to influence elections. We cannot allow corporate money to manipulate our democracy.
As Justice John Paul Stevens recognized in his dissent in the Citizens United decision, “corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires. Corporations help facilitate and structure the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their ‘personhood’ often serves as a useful legal fiction. But they are not themselves members of ‘We the People’ by whom and for whom our Constitution was established.”
The Progressive Caucus supports this sentiment and urges Congress to take action to protect our democracy against corporate control and return the election process to the people.
There is much to like in the National Employment Defense Act (NEED) introduced by Representative Dennis Kucinich on September 21, 2011. For one thing, it includes a mechanism for transforming the national debt back into what it should have been all along—a debt-free national money supply composed of non-interest-bearing government-issued notes. The Act also contains the seeds of what could be a viable cure for credit crises, in the form of a national monetary authority empowered to create money and advance credit to banks. The terms and conditions for these advances are not specified, but assuming they are at reasonable rates and are equally available to all banks on demand, the system could prevent the bank liquidity crises and remedy the tight credit conditions we are experiencing today.
Where the NEED Act seems to go awry is in the attempt to impose a 100% reserve requirement on the banks, and to force banks to turn over the proceeds of their existing loans to the federal government. This money is already a liability on the banks’ books; it is owed to somebody else. Requiring it to be paid again to the federal government would be a form of double jeopardy that could bankrupt the banks.
That said, the Act has potential. Bills are usually modified before they get passed, and this one contains some creative solutions that are worth developing.
“Fractional Reserve” Lending Is an Obsolete Model
The NEED Act assumes that banks create money “out of thin air” by “fractional reserve” lending, and that this practice is fraudulent and unfair. To remedy this, the Act would establish an independent U.S. Monetary Authority that had the sole power to create “new” money and inject it into the economy. Before banks could lend, they would be required either to borrow the money from the U.S. Monetary Authority, or to issue interest-bearing securities, or to raise capital from their earnings or from their investors (Sec. 402(1)(e)).
The NEED Act would also require banks to turn over the proceeds from their existing loans to the federal government. The Act provides at Sec. 402(a)(2):
OUTSTANDING CREDIT- Any asset [or loan] of a depository institution that results from credit extended against . . . [deposits in transaction accounts] shall, as of the effective date—
(A) be a liability of the depository institution to the Federal Government; and
(B) as the outstanding balance is repaid pursuant to its terms, shall be paid over to
the Federal Government.
Montana’s Supreme Court has issued a stunning rebuke to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010 that infamously decreed corporations had constitutional rights to directly spend money on ‘independent expenditures’ in campaigns.
The Montana Court vigorously upheld the state’s right to regulate how corporations can raise and spend money after a secretive Colorado corporation, Western Tradition Partnership, and a Montana sportsman’s group and local businessman sued to overturn a 1912 state law banning direct corporate spending on electoral campaigns.
“Organizations like WTP that act as a conduit for anonymously spending by others represent a threat to the political marketplace,” wrote Mike McGrath, Chief Justice of the Montana Supreme Court, for the majority. “Clearly the impact of unlimited corporate donations creates a dominating impact on the political process and inevitably minimizes the impact of individual citizens.”
The 80-page ruling is remarkable in many respects. Throughout, including in a lengthy dissent by a state Supreme Court justice who felt Montana was dutibound to abide by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the Montana Court attacked the thinking behind the Citizens United decision and the impact of big money in political culture, including the notion that corporations are deserving of the same political speech rights as citizens.
The following post, from Mark Jensen contains informative links, and the Wiki link defining an "imperial presidency" both from perspectives of those who have a strong concern about it; and from those who see it differently, are worth reading.
[December 31, 2011, must be regarded as one of the darkest days in the history of the American Republic. -- On that day the president of the United States signed into law a bill that suspends the Bill of Rights. -- President Barack Obama attached a signing statement (full text below) that made the specious argument (http://www.ufppc.org/us-a-world-news-mainmenu-35/10773/ ) that NDAA 2012 "solely codifies established authorities." -- He said he does not "agree with everything" in the law and added and promised that "my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens. Indeed, I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a Nation. My Administration will interpret section 1021 in a manner that ensures that any detention it authorizes complies with the Constitution, the laws of war, and all other applicable law." --