Curing the cancer of the body politic

WTP Amendment

OpEdNews Op Eds, February 6, 2019
https://www.opednews.com/articles/Curing-the-cancer-of-the-b-by-Greg-Coleridge-Activist_Anti-democratic_Awareness_Cancer-190206-98.html

Monday was World Cancer Day. Its aim is to unite people around the world to raise awareness and education about the disease and to pressure individuals and governments to take action.

We all know individuals who have or have had cancer – loves ones, friends, maybe ourselves. A friend of mine died from cancer over the weekend. My father died 30 years ago from brain cancer, contracted from who knows where. Maybe it was from inhaling toxic chemicals when he worked at the BF Goodrich Company in Akron – which may have also resulted in my birth defect. Goodrich used many toxic chemicals in the manufacture of rubber products and was one of the first corporations to develop vinyl chloride, a known cancer-causing chemical.

The rapid growth of abnormal cells that lead to malignant cancerous tumors triggered by exposure to chemicals, radiation or viruses can be devastating, Surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and hormone therapy are among the treatments, which have become more effective over time. Early detection is critical, especially to address tumors that spread, or metastasize, throughout the body, which are fatal.

Elimination of an entire malignant tumor is the ultimate quest of any treatment. No legitimate doctor would only, for example, remove some cancer cells when others could just as easily be cut out since remaining cells will simply divide and spread. Of course, sometimes if the cancer has spread too widely and deeply with no chance of its removal without causing great harm to the body, treatments are simply to extend life for a short period.

In no way to minimize the bodily effects of cancer – physically, mentally and emotionally – but cancer exists in other forms in our society, and is just as deadly if not aggressively treated.

The increasing power of corporations which is causing ever-greater harms to every aspect in our nation is among the destructive forms of cancer to our body politic – to the people of our country who collectively constitute the ultimate rulers – at least on paper as reflected by the first three words of the our Constitution’s Preamble: We the People.

This increasing power or rule by corporations over people, policies and the fate of a livable planet itself originates from court decisions by activist Supreme Court Justices who decreed over that last two centuries that corporations should be anointed with the same unalienable constitutional rights as human beings. Rights intended exclusively for human persons under the Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment (which was written to guarantee equal protection for freed black slaves) have been hijacked by corporations to apply to them. The Constitution’s Contracts and Commerce Clauses have been perverted too – abused and misused to escape prior abilities of people and our elected representatives to protect our own and the health, safety and welfare of our communities.

Human rights have been trumped by corporate rights. The cancer this has caused to our society has not been limited to one part of the body politic, but rather has metastasized throughout our society. Corporate rule in politics, economics and culture extends to media, music and money; to elections, education and employment; to transportation, trade and telecommunications; to food, fashion and faith, to wellness, work and water; to information, incarceration and immigration; and, among many other arenas, to climate, campaigns and, yes, even to cancer.

Corporate constitutional rights is destroying healthy, human, self-governing individual and community cells. Our democratic republic is on life support.

Just as World Cancer Day raises awareness of cancer – its early symptoms, its impact and its treatment – and advocates for individual and governmental action, the same applies to the political cancer of corporate constitutional rights.

We must be aware of its forms and the harms they cause to the body politic. It’s not enough to simply point out the anti-democratic corporate perversion of First Amendment free speech rights and the resulting harmful influences from the subsequent flood of corporate money into elections. We must be aware of all of the perversions and subsequent harms, many of which were were pointed out long ago in Why Abolish All Corporate Constitutional Rights by the Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy (POCLAD).

Relatedly, it’s not enough to simply take action seeking treatment to a sliver of the corporate constitutional rights tumor that is threatening what remains of our democratic republic (to the extent “democracy for all” ever existed in the first place).

Ending corporate constitutional rights must be complete. The grassroots movement Move to Amendis organizing for a constitutional amendment to end all never intended constitutional rights. Its We the People Amendmentwill soon be reintroduced in the new session of the U.S House of Representatives. Hundreds of organization support this effort and hundreds of communities have enacted municipal resolutions or ordinances following citizen-driven ballot initiative campaigns.

Every other group addressing this concern are only taking a scalpel to a sliver of the corporate constitutional rights tumor. Doctors who cut out, irradiate or treat in other ways only a portion of a malignant cancerous tumor only guarantees its later reappearance, which can be more widespread. “Doctors of democracy” can’t afford to make this fatal constitutional amendment mistake.

Ending some corporate constitutional rights (i.e. First Amendment “free speech”) as proposed by other amendment solutions such as HJR2, seems on the surface to be easier, but to do anything less than complete abolition — as Move to Amend is working for — will result in an ultimately terminal patient. That’s where our democratic republic is rapidly headed unless we extend our awareness and action of cancer from the physical form to the political.

The 2019 theme of World Cancer Day is “I am an advocate and I will speak up.” This should apply to ending all corporate constitutional rights.

Be an advocate.

Speak up.

And act up with Move to Amend.

Greg Coleridge is Outreach Director of Move to Amend. He previously worked for more than three decades with the American Friends Service Committee in Ohio where he educated, advocated and organized on a range of justice, peace, environmental and democracy issues — including helping coordinate Move to Amend activities in the Buckeye state. 

He is the author of Citizens over Corporations: A Brief History of Democracy in Ohio and Challenges to Freedom in the Future (2003), writer of the documentary CorpOrNation: The Story of Citizens and Corporations in Ohio (2003), and contributed several articles to the anthology Defying Corporations, Defining Democracy – A Book of History and Strategy (2001). He currently maintains and distributes via email a weekly REAL Democracy History Calendar and Monetary History Calendar. 

Greg is a Principal with the Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy (POCLAD) and Advisor to the American Monetary Institute (AMI). He previously served an elected term on the national governing board of Common Cause.

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Cleveland Heights Democracy Day Public Hearing

MLK day Lorain County conference calls for resolution of international crises

By Jordana Joy jjoy@morningjournal.com @MJ_JordanaJoy on Twitter
Lorain Morning Journal

In honor of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, several northeast Ohio religious and community leaders conducted a news conference presented by the Interfaith Ministries of Lorain County and the International Council for Urban Peace, Justice and Empowerment on local and international crises plaguing communities.

The main topic of discussion at the Lorain Public Library System South Lorain Branch2121 Homewood Drive, was centered around the humanitarian crises in Yemen and on the U.S.-Mexico border as a way to honor the universal justice that King spoke of near the end of his life.

“We keep him in a dream, we keep Dr. King in a dream,” said Imam Paul Hasan, head of the Interfaith Ministries of Lorain County in reference to a speech King gave on economic justice. “Dr. King was talking about things that they really didn’t want him to talk about, so soon as Dr. King began to talk about the universality of the struggle, then Dr. King became a problem.

“So what we wanted to do today was talk about the universal connection between Americans and our struggle in this country, with young African Americans who are self-destructing in our community. There’s no justice in our particular community.”

Panelists called for the end of U.S. financial and military support of Saudi Arabia in an effort to end the war against Yemen.

Additionally, panelists called for asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico borders to be reunited with their families and “should not be political pawns and treated inhumanely,” the release said.

Panelist Mark Jaffee, who is religious director of Agudath B’nai Israel Synagogue1715 Meister Road in Lorain, said the United States also feared security issues when Jewish Europeans sought refuge before and during the Holocaust in the 1930s and 1940s.

By the time the federal government obtained proof of genocide, millions already had been killed, Jaffee said.

“Talking bigotry, talking about extreme paranoia, it’s like I’m talking about today,” he said.

Panelist Greg Coleridge, of Move to Amend, said humanitarian crises stem from moral, democratic, economic, environmental and militarized crises as well.

“(Climate change) is getting worse and much more migration is taking place and how are we gonna respond?” Coleridge asked. “Right now, we’re responding militarily by the end of a gun and through tear gas being directed at men, women and children.”

In finding ways to look onward and upward locally, Lorain City Schools CEO David Hardy Jr. said speaking up about things that matter, like education.

“If we think about things in our world that matter today, there’s nothing really no more pressing of an issue than two things: the health and well-being of people and the education and outcomes of those in our lives,” Hardy said.

However, with state reports stating that only 1.1 percent of Lorain Schools graduates are adequately prepared for a career or college after graduation, Hardy said there is plenty that needs to be done.

    Move to Amend interviews

    Conducted in Des Moines, Iowa on December 6.

    7 minutes

     

    18 minutes

    Round 2 of tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations

    More Monahan March pictures

    Round 2 of tax cuts for the super wealthy and corporations passed the House. Call your Senators. People power must counter the power of corporations and super wealthy via their political campaign “donations” — which are more like political investments — and damn profitable ones. This will continue and we’ll be on the defensive — responding, reacting and resisting — forever and ever so long as corporations possess inalienable constitutional rights of persons AND as long as money spent in elections is protected as First Amendment free speech. Did I say forever and ever? Yup. Forever and ever. That is until we end it via the We the People Amendment abolishing corporate constitutional rights and money as free speech. So what are we waiting for?

    https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/10/03/under-cover-kavanaugh-republicans-passed-huge-tax-cuts-wealthy

    #WethePeopleAmendment

    #MovetoAmend

    https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/10/03/under-cover-kavanaugh-republicans-passed-huge-tax-cuts-wealthy

    Free speech math

    Money-is-Free-Speech-SHUT-UP

    Several conservative websites are abuzz over the charge that there were protesters at the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination hearings this week. Several individuals claim they saw individuals who had been arrested for speaking out inside the hearings being handed cash outside the hearing on the street.

    One of the eyewitnesses claimed that he spoke to one of the protest organizers who confirmed giving money to those arrested to pay court fines. It could also have been to compensate the individuals for taking off work. Either way, the conclusion was that the Kavanaugh protests weren’t legitimate.

    Opposition to Kavanaugh, of course, is quite legitimate by many people for any reasons. A recent ABC/Washington Post poll shows Kavanaugh having the third-lowest support of any nominee to the Supreme Court in the poll’s history.

    There are also legitimate questions about how legitimately objective if confirmed Kavanaugh would be if Donald Trump is indicted on any number of possible charges under the Mueller investigation. Kavanaugh was, after all, Trump’s choice. Though not atop the list of candidates recommended by the Federalist Society, he just so happened to be the only candidate with a solid record of opposing Presidents being prosecuted while in office. Just a coincidence no doubt.

    It’s not a stretch to conclude that those who support Kavanaugh are the most upset about the “paid protesters” at the hearings.

    But there’s a huge double standard here.

    Kavanaugh’s record is clear in questioning the constitutionality of political candidate contribution limits, limitations affirmed in the Buckley v Valeo 1976 Supreme Court decision. Kavanaugh also is a big fan of the 2010 Citizens United v FEC Supreme Court case. Both cases legitimize political campaign spending as being equivalent to political free speech (i.e. money equals speech).

    Kavanaugh has also expressed openness to foreign “dark money” political spending. In a 2011 case, Blumen vs FEC, he wrote an opinion upholding a ban on foreign political spending to candidates and campaigns. His opinion, however, excludes foreign spending on “issue ads” (i.e. political ads designed to influence an election without explicitly supporting or opposing any candidate), which can originate from corporations, wealthy individuals and even foreign governments. The sanctioning of foreign-funding of such ads is extremely troubling at a time when U.S. intelligence agencies and others claim Russians were involved in influencing the 2016 elections.

    What’s the point of all of this, especially as it relates to paid political protesters?

    Simple. As in simple math. Call it “free speech math.”

    If “money equals speech” (A = B), then “speech equals money” (B = A).

    Translation: protesters who speak out should be paid.

    If corporations and the super wealthy can bankroll political attack ads (many of which are done without knowing the sources of the funding, thus the moniker “dark money”), then why the heck can’t protesters be paid for, well, exercising their free speech? During the Kavanaugh hearing. During city council meetings. When protesting on the street. The list is endless. Makes just as much sense as money being defined not as property but as political free speech!

    The same people who are outraged about paying people to protest at the Kavanaugh hearing (who all show their faces and will reveal their identities when paying fines) should be much more outraged about the flood of money in our political system which has has been constitutionally shielded by previous Supreme Courts as protected “free speech.” These huge amounts of political cash amount to legalized bribery and results in the drowning out of the voices of the vast majority of people who aren’t investing in political campaigns. The magnitude of the two different forms of “paid speech” isn’t remotely close.

    Those who proclaim that paying protesters isn’t legitimately democratic should not only more loudly assert but take action against the ever-growing tsunami of political money from corporate entities and the super duper wealthy flooding our political system as a massive threat to whatever is left of our democratic republic.

    Which it is.

    Which is why the solution in the short run is to oppose Brett Kavanaugh.

    Move to Amend (MTA) supports a constitutional amendment to end political money defined as free speech and corporations in all their forms being anointed with constitutional rights (what many call “corporate personhood.”)

    MTA has sent an Open Letter to every member of the Senate stating its objections to his confirmation. MTA has also prepared a questionnaire for US Senators to ask focused on his beliefs about corporate constitutional rights. Forward it to your Senators and request they ask Kavanaugh for his responses.

    Please do all you can to oppose the Brett Kavanaugh nomination…whether you’re paid to do it or not.