Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A new American Hero: the Whistle-Blower

No matter how crazy it may seem, we in the military will try to follow orders, but in the face of years of failure, we fail to adapt.
Your words and your actions have to match or your intentions make no difference. And that's one of the things we (in the US Military) fail to grasp. - Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis
 Listen to the story of our newest American Hero, Lt. Colonel Daniel Davis on 'To the Point', from KCRW  in . After eleven years in Afghanistan, we still don't see an end in sight, it is past time to leave. Now it is just a training ground for US Troops, and a paycheck for the war profiteers.

Read the full story at the New York Times.
“How many more men must die in support of a mission that is not succeeding?“ Colonel Davis asks 
From Armed Forces Journal:
“No one expects our leaders to always have a successful plan,” he says in the article. “But we do expect — and the men who do the living, fighting and dying deserve — to have our leaders tell us the truth about what’s going on.” 
When it comes to deciding what matters are worth plunging our nation into war and which are not, our senior leaders owe it to the nation and to the uniformed members to be candid — graphically, if necessary — in telling them what’s at stake and how expensive potential success is likely to be. U.S. citizens and their elected representatives can decide if the risk to blood and treasure is worth it.
Likewise when having to decide whether to continue a war, alter its aims or to close off a campaign that cannot be won at an acceptable price, our senior leaders have an obligation to tell Congress and American people the unvarnished truth and let the people decide what course of action to choose. That is the very essence of civilian control of the military. The American people deserve better than what they’ve gotten from their senior uniformed leaders over the last number of years. Simply telling the truth would be a good start.
“For Colonel Davis to go out on a limb and help us to understand what’s happening on the ground, I have the greatest admiration for him,” said Representative Walter B. Jones, Republican of North Carolina

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Corporations Are Not PEOPLE, and money is not SPEECH!

Corporations Are Not People

by: Thom Hartmann, Truthout | Book Review

(Image: Berrett-Koehler Publishers)
"Corporations Are Not People"
Jeffrey D. Clements

Donate to Truthout to receive a copy of "Corporations Are Not People," this week's Progressive Pick.
Most Americans don't realize that the idea that "corporations are people" and "money is speech" are concepts that were never, ever considered or promoted or even passed by any legislature in the history of America. Neither were they ever promoted or signed into law by any president - if anything, the opposite, with presidents from Grover Cleveland in 1887 to Barack Obama in 2010 condemning them.
And Congress and the executive branch are the two of the three branches of government that are elected by the people, and thus the only two to which the founders of this country and the framers of the Constitution gave the right to create laws.
The Supreme Court is so much not supposed to create law, that Article 3, Section 2 of the Constitution even says that it must operate "under such Regulations as the Congress shall make."
Nonetheless, as I pointed out in 2001 in my book "Unequal Protection: How Corporations Became People," the Supreme Court itself has invented, out of whole cloth, the doctrines of corporations as people and money as speech.
Now comes into our political milieu a new and significant contribution to the literature of "corporate personhood" (available directly from Truthout).  Jeff Clements, a former assistant attorney general for Massachusetts, has written a brilliant and very accessible guide to the 2010 US Supreme Court Citizens United decision, how it came about and what can be done about it.
Most interestingly, Jeff's book also tracks the rise of corporate power over the past 40 years since Lewis Powell wrote his infamous memo to his friend and neighbor, who was the head of the US Chamber of Commerce - which led to everything from the Federalist Society to the Heritage Foundation.
Clements suggests that the modern revival of the doctrine of corporate personhood, which first appeared back in 1819 in the Dartmouth case, reached its 19th-century zenith with a misunderstood Santa Clara County, California, decision. It came into full flower in 2010 with the Citizens United ruling, which was, in fact, a direct child of that 1973 memo by Powell and subsequent corporate and Republican implementation of his recommendations.
"Corporations Are Not People" is accessible, readable, and fascinating. It's the book you want to hand to your co-worker or brother-in-law when they start spouting corporate drivel that they heard from Limbaugh or Romney.  It's a nice, tight summary of the modern application of this doctrine, with a quick overview of its history, particularly its contemporary implications.
And Jeff hasn't just written a book.
With his friend and colleague John Bonifaz, he's co-founded - one of a half-dozen or so very accessible and well-done efforts to build grassroots support for a constitutional amendment that repudiates the notion that corporations are people and that money is speech.
As the movement grows to take back our rights under the Constitution from the transnational corporations that have hijacked them (and taken our legislators captive), "Corporations Are Not People" (with a foreword by Bill Moyers) will become an increasingly important handbook to the movement. It brilliantly makes the case for us all to recite the mantra, "Corporations are not people, and money is not speech!" and then to do something about it.
Don't just get one copy from Truthout- you will want to be passing this book around to everybody you know!
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