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How the Supreme Court Made the U.S. Government Illegitimate

9:12 pm in Uncategorized by Dennis Trainor Jr

Originally Posted at PopularResistance.org

(Note: this is an episode clip. The full show will air on Monday, June 9)

Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in McCutcheon V. FEC, the court struck down a limit on how much cash an individual could give to all federal candidates during an election cycle.

In the 5-4 decision, the majority of justices on the Roberts court ruled that individuals could buy elections. Or, in the words of Chief Justice Roberts, “government regulation may not target the general gratitude a candidate may feel toward those who support him or his allies, or the political access such support may afford.”

In the dissenting opinion, Justice Stephen Bryer did not hold back in voicing the disgust felt by an overwhelming majority of Americans (if not by a majority of Supreme Court Justices) in writing that the majority’s “legal analysis is faulty: It misconstrues the nature of the competing constitutional interests at stake. It understates the importance of protecting the political integrity of our governmental institutions. It creates a loophole that will allow a single individual to contribute millions of dollars to a political party or to a candidate’s campaign.”

Furthermore, the dissenting opinion offered up this gem:

“Taken together with Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission today’s decision eviscerates our Nation’s campaign finance laws leaving a remnantincapable of dealing with the problems of Democratic legitimacy that those laws were intended to resolve.” (Emphasis mine)

If we don’t have laws that empower us to deal with the problems of Democratic legitimacy, is our government legitimate?

That question, among others, in one I put to my guests on this week’s Acronym TV.

Christina Tobin is the founder and chair of Free & Equal. She has a long history of supporting ballot access, having gathered and defended over 1 million signatures for the Green Party, Constitution Party, Republican Party, Democratic Party, Libertarian Party, Socialist Equality Party and independents. Free & Equal Elections Foundation is a non-partisan grassroots organization, whose mission is to shift the power back to the individual voter through education. Their motto, “More Voices, More Choices.”

Daniel Lee is a lifelong activist. He serves on the national leadership team for the group Move to Amend, which is a coalition of hundreds of organizations and hundreds of thousands of individuals committed to social and economic justice, ending corporate rule, and building a vibrant democracy; Move To Amend is calling for an amendment to the US Constitution to unequivocally state that inalienable rights belong to human beings only, and that money is not a form of protected free speech under the First Amendment and can be regulated in political campaigns.

State of Union

Open Letter To President Obama: Fiscal Cliff Solved. You’re Welcome.

8:14 pm in Uncategorized by Dennis Trainor Jr

cross posted from Acronym TV

Dear President Obama,

Congratulations on your electoral victory.

In defeating the grandfatherly Ken doll with the heart of a blood sucking vampire squid and his religiously radical running mate who claimed that a child conceived in the act of rape is a blessing from God, you might not want to gloat too much. To use a sports analogy, you did not so much win as the other guy lost. Even so, you never in your entire life have to run for public office again. What a weight off of your shoulders that must be!

So forgive me for being obtuse, but now that you have nothing to lose, why do you –- in the guise of this Grand Bargain you are talking about — want to author a plan that will gut social security, Medicare, and unemployment benefits while simultaneously protecting corporate welfare? That hardly seems like a bargain; that seems more like theft.

If you ditch this grand bargain idea of yours and adopt some of the principles outlined in the extraordinary document entitled The 99%’s Deficit Proposal, you will expose just how little our elected officials serve our interests. You will enjoy a popular support like never before — and even if you make a few enemies with the Wall Street crowd, who cares? Remember, you never have to run for office again.

Ditch The Grand Bargain and commence with Operation Trojan Horse!

  • On taxes: A tax of ½ percent on the sale of stocks bonds and derivate, is much less than the tax we pay on underwear, and yet this speculation tax would raise about $800 billion over the next decade. Want to add a trillion to that? Tax capitol gains at the same rates as income? Why should the profits from stocks that Mitt and Ann had to sell just to scrape by in college be taxed at a lower rate than the guy working construction to get himself through college?

 

  • On Social Security:  We can have a fully funded social security for its 75-year planning period if we removed the outdated cap on wages subject to the social security tax of $107,000.  Tax all wages and social security is fully funded. No bargain. No debate. You’re welcome.

 

  • On Medicare and Medicare: Dude, you don’t want to go down in history as undoing Medicare, do you? How about we cut the waste in Medicare and Medicaid. The for-profit middle man health insurance industry has created a pervasive culture of -– as Ralph Nader points out — over diagnosed, over-treated and erroneous or unnecessary procedures that come with a price tag in the hundreds of billions of dollars per year.

A single-payer, full Medicare for all system would cut present administrative costs in half. Canada’s system, which allows patients to freely choose their doctor and hospital, covers everyone for half of the $9000 per capita that Americans will pay this year. Our system leaves 50 million people uncovered of whom 45,000 will die this year alone due to lack of coverage, according to a peer-reviewed study by Harvard Medical School researchers.

You supported single-payer, President Obama, before your meteoric ride through the corrupted electoral process. But you’re done with that now. No more elections. So ditch your grand bargain and lead us to a grand new deal: one that reverses the decades long upward re-distribution of wealth. Don’t bargain with the elites who want to take away food stamps from 47 million Americans, and drive even more than the into poverty — a group that now numbers 30% of Americans now and yet shockingly, was not courted at all in the election cycle.

The effect of your Grand Austerity bargain will be this: more and more people will realize that graphs showing the wealth divide will continue to widen, their debt load will continue to grow and once the American Dream is revealed as a hoax, our streets will look like those of Spain, Greece, or worse. While I know you have a rainy day plan for this potential outcome in the form of a hyper-militarized police force and constitution busting laws like the NDAA in place, I don’t want to believe that that is part of your grand bargain.

There has been a class war going on in this country for decades, waged by the elite against the rest of us.

Now that you no longer have to raise money from those blood sucking vampire squids ever again, we are asking, President Obama, which side are you on?