The U.S.-led war against Iraq began 20 years ago yesterday. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians and thousands of U.S. soldiers died or were severely injured.
There are multiple ways to look at what happened in the past and current lessons to be learned. One perspective is reflecting on the Iraq war through a democratic lens.
Here are 20 “democratic” reflections.
1. Wars and democracy rarely go together. Wars throughout history, including the Iraq war and occupation, were largely about military, political and/or economic power projection – expanding or protecting empires, including controlling resources – by one or both sides of the conflict. The goal is not to promote “freedom” or “democracy,” despite the fact that the 2003 U.S. action was named “Operation Iraqi Freedom.” Efforts by the U.S. to impose its version of “democracy” was a “democratic disillusionment.”Read more
Hale v. Henkel, probably one of the most cited cases (over 1,600 times), was decided by the United States Supreme Court on this day, in 1906.
...117 years later, Hale v Henkel keeps granting Corporations an ill-gotten right to privacy.
As we all know, Corporations are not mentioned anywhere in the U.S. Constitution, but thanks to the rulings of activist Supreme Court Justices, Corporations hijacked the Constitution and Rights that were intended only for individuals. Hale v Henkel is a prime example.
In this case, the SCOTUS established the power of a federal grand jury engaged in an investigation into corporate misconduct to require the corporation in question to surrender its records.
"An order for the production of books and papers may constitute an unreasonable search and seizure within the Fourth Amendment. While a search ordinarily implies a quest by an officer of the law, and a seizure contemplates a forcible dispossession of the owner, still the substance of the offense is the compulsory production of private papers, whether under a search warrant or a subpoena duces tecum, against which the person, be [an] individual or corporation, is entitled to protection."
March 9, 2023
By Greg Coleridge
The Norfolk Southern Corporation train derailment and subsequent hazardous chemical release into the air, water and land in and beyond East Palestine, Ohio are the inevitable result of multiple anti-democratic realities in the U.S. Many are interconnected and are the same for the roughly 1000 train derailments per year, most recently in Michigan.
Private ownership of railroads
Norfolk Southern Corporation's record earnings in 2022 led to huge salaries for its top managers and stock buybacks and dividend payouts benefiting speculators and investors. Necessary investments have not been made in technology upgrades and worker safety as the corporation prioritizes maximizing profits over public safety and sustainable business practices. "Since the North American private rail industry has shown itself incapable of doing the job, it is time for this invaluable transportation infrastructure - like the other transport modes - to be brought under public ownership," concludes the Railroad Workers United. Interstate highways are publicly owned. Railroads were under federal control during WWI. Railroads in many other nations are publicly owned and, therefore, publicly accountable.
No community rights
Local public officials have few legal tools to protect the health, safety and welfare of their residents - especially conditions in any way related to interstate commerce. Communities possess little authority to control material - including trash, chemicals, nuclear waste - coming into or even passing through their jurisdictions by trains or trucks if that material can be defined as "commerce." The Constitution's Commerce Clause (Article I, Section 8) gives power to Congress and the President to "regulate commerce"among the several states." While states have at least some ability under certain conditions to push back against "commercial material" in their states if they can redefine it as dangerous, localities have no rights. East Palestine officials weren't even notified the derailed Norfolk Southern train was carrying vinyl chloride, ethylhexyl acrylate and other highly toxic chemicals since federal law doesn't classify those chemicals as "high hazardous."
A subcommittee of the full House Judiciary Committee held a hearing last week on the “Weaponization of the Federal Government.” Two panels discussed the “politicization of the FBI and DOJ and attacks on American civil liberties.” It rehashed old grievances about how Trump and others were treated by the two agencies over the last few years.
If exposing and ending “weaponization of the government” is the target, then the Judiciary Committee should take aim at the single biggest culprit: corporations.
Black/African American History observances this month will acknowledge people and events deserving to be remembered in the past and supported in the present in the quest for justice, and peace for all African Americans.
December 29, 2022
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Move to Amendment’s Statement of Values has included since our founding in 2010, “political and economic independence.” Specifically, we’re committed to raising a majority of our modest budget from individuals with the rest from small (often family) foundations.
Maintaining political and economic independence allows us to educate, advocate and organize disconnected from partisan politics or the quid pro quos, influences, compromises or co-optations linked to corporate, political, big foundational or super wealthy funders – or their respective front groups.
Being economically independent from the centralized sources of economic wealth means one stark reality:
We are absolutely accountable to and dependent on our supporters like you, Greg, to provide us with the time, skills and basic funding we need to continue.
We're still over $10,000 short of our end-of-year goal of raising $48,000. Every dollar you contribute will be matched up to that amount through midnight.Read more
The East India Company was founded on this date in 1600. It was chartered (i.e. licensed) by the British Crown to trade in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia and later with East Asia. It eventually became the largest corporation on earth.
East India Company flag, 180
The company achieved not only its main purpose of facilitating economic trade (involving spices, tea, silk, opium… and slaves). It was also given the authority to colonize and rule. The corporation was in essence the government over large parts of India that extended British imperialism with the capacity to administer laws and collect taxes. It had its own army that was twice the size of the British force to enforce laws and to quell popular uprisings.
On this "corporate rule" anniversary, please make a New Year’s resolution to (re)commit to working together to affirm our rights over corporate "rights." Start by generously contributing to our end-of-year financial match drive. We urgently need to reach our goal to start 2023 on a strong footing.
Hi, I'm Thom Hartmann – author and progressive political commentator. Many of you know me from my nationally syndicated radio show, the Thom Hartmann Program.
I'm also a longtime supporter of Move to Amend! Please join with me in supporting their work to pass a Constitutional amendment to end “corporate personhood” and get big money out of politics by becoming a monthly donor.
We are under no illusions. Amending the U.S. Constitution is enormously challenging.
It’s only been done 27 times before, including the first 10 (the Bill of Rights) all at once. It’s perceived as not as important or urgent as working on (insert here scores of options).
The reality is a large majority of our current problems and crises will not be fundamentally solved simply by having better elected officials passing better laws, enacting better regulations or making better executive decisions. Not when the foundational rules of our society (which our constitution defines) favor corporate rights over human rights and permit the political voices of those with money to drown out the voices of most of us.
That's why changing/amending the U.S. Constitution is inescapable. We must democratize our ground rules. U.S history shows that fundamental constitutional change only happens alongside fundamental cultural change – that is, educating and organizing to challenge both the credibility and inevitability of the status quo, as well as the necessity to form a broad grassroots movement for structural change – to make what seems impossible to be accepted as necessary and inevitable.
Here’s a sampling of what we’ve accomplished together this year and cumulatively at the end of 2022 toward these ends:Read more