hearts and minds

August 21, 2014

Snake Oil at the Roadshow in Madison in September

Why is Wisconsin Move to Amend endorsing, without any qualification or reservation, the”roadshow” slipping in to Mad-town on Sept. 6? Why is Wisconsin Move to Amend endorsing a “roadshow” which is being sponsored by national Money Out – Voters In, an organization in which national Move to Amend is NOT a member? The national Money Out – Voters In coalition enthusiastically endorses, without any reservations or qualifications, SJR 19, the DNC endorsed proposed Constitutional Amendment, but national Move to Amend does not endorse that proposal.

One glaring and fatal defect in the MOVI endorsed proposal is that it omits, and fails to establish that a corporation does not have the Constitutional rights of a person. That is a core, essential principle of our Movement to Amend. That principle is absolutely necessary to establish democracy. A democratic republic is one in which the people (not corporations) are sovereign, and in which persons (not artificial legal entities like corporations) have equal unalienable rights. Another glaring and fatal defect is that the bill, SJR 19, is an election year ploy, not a serious way to establish government that is of, by, and for the people, rather than government that is by and for the corporations and the super-rich. It is also an effort to distract and confuse the people, and to reduce our growing Movement of the People to a partisan wedge issue, with one corporate controlled party standing for a return to the legalized bribery and corruption of government that already existed in spades before 2010, and a plea to “let the people’s voices be heard” (drowned out by all the corporate lobbyists), while the other party claims to defend “freedom of speech” and the Constitution. Proponents and opponents of SJR 19 were established on their predictable “appropriate” party-line sides of the partisan great divide back in May when this initiative to compromise and derail our Movement began. National Move to Amend does NOT endorse SJR 19, and has clearly stated, for the record, that the proposed Amendment must itself be amended to correct its serious omission and defects before they will consider endorsing or supporting it.

There are all kinds of arguments and excuses made for endorsing the corporate approved SJR 19, but national Move to Amend clearly does not buy, and is not fooled by those arguments and excuses made to justify negotiating with yourself, and unilaterally compromising your principles at the very first “opportunity” without even getting a single little concession in return for surrendering before the fight even begins. Other organizations – like the sponsors of this “roadshow” – may swallow this corporate offered bait and switch, hook – line and sinker, but national Move to Amend has the wisdom to stick to its principles. So why the hell has the Wisconsin branch of Move to Amend said absolutely nothing in it’s promotion and publicity for this “National Roadshow” that is critical about this woefully defective proposed amendment, and nothing about our Movement’s position on this proposal?

My clear and insistent question, which we should all ask, is, “Why has the current leadership of the Wisconsin branch of Move to Amend, promoted this compromising organization’s ‘roadshow’, and encouraged MTA members and others on its email list, to enthusiastically attend and join this event, without informing us that national Move to Amend is not a member of the “National Roadshow” sponsoring MOVI coalition, and that the amendment proposed by the sponsoring organization is deeply flawed, and is NOT endorsed by Move to Amend?”

On August 20, a broadcast email written and distributed widely using the Wisconsin Move to Amend address and letterhead, announced and promoted “The National 28th Amendment Roadshow is coming to Madison!”. It’s pertinent to recognize the context of this announcement from WIMTA. This traveling “National Roadshow” was being simultaneously and profusely promoted by the MOVI organization, and also by individual MOVI member organizations, in direct conjunction with those organizations’ explicit unqualified, enthused endorsement of the DNR proposed SJR 19. The “National 28th Amendment Roadshow” was sponsored by the national MOVI organization, and during the summer of 2014, their “Roadshow” was clearly intended and employed by national MOVI to promote unqualified public support for SJR 19, the DNC proposed amendment. It is important for us to know who in WIMTA is responsible for this particular sentence which appeared in that August 20 WIMTA announcement publicizing “The National 28th Amendment Roadshow is coming to Madison!”:
“The ‘National Roadshow’ is endorsed by Move to Amend …”.
Note that this assertion in the actual text of the WIMTA broadcast email includes a hyperlink to the national Move to Amend web site. So there is no mistaking that WIMTA is telling everybody that national Move to Amend is endorsing this MOVI sponsored “Roadshow”. This assertion is at least misleading and misrepresents the relationship, or lack of relationship, of national Move to Amend with the MOVI coalition and it’s position with regards to the proposed 28th Amendment. This assertion flatly contradicts my understanding that national Move to Amend is NOT a member of national MOVI, and that national Move to Amend does NOT endorse the unqualified support by national MOVI and it’s “National Roadshow”for the DNC sponsored SJR 19 amendment proposal.

Publicizing and promoting this “National Roadshow” was an opportunity (completely and inexcusably missed by the current leadership of the Wisconsin branch of Move to Amend) to inform the people that:

(a) the sponsoring organization (MOVI) endorses the amendment proposed by SJR 19 and the DNC without any criticism; and
(b) the amendment proposed by SJR 19 and this sponsoring organization has omitted the core principle of our Movement to Amend – that corporations must not have the unalienable Constitutional rights of a person; and
(c) National Move to Amend and the Wisconsin branch of Move to Amend urge that we the people inform our legislators and (more importantly) each other that the amendment proposed by SJR 19 must itself be amended to clearly and explicitly establish that corporations and other artificial legal entities do not have Constitutional rights, in order to gain the endorsement of Move to Amend; and
(d) Move to Amend instead endorses the amendment proposed by HJR 29, the We the People Amendment.

Are everyday people in the grassroots Movement to Amend in Wisconsin being misinformed and misled by those in Mad-town who claim to be leading our Movement?

If so, this has happened before here, five years ago, when the insular Madison based leadership of the only Wisconsin organization affiliated with the Single Payer Alliance decided to sit on its hands during the health care crisis debate during 2008-2010; declined to intervene or even voice a mild objection when grassroots single payer proponents were systematically excluded from discussion panels and community forums throughout Wisconsin supposedly examining solutions to the health care crisis; outrageously presented on its web site the anti-single payer health care news-feed from the Kaiser Corporate Foundation; and (when pressed) actually admitted they would endorse “whatever health care bill the Congress can pass”. This little group of self-appointed progressive/liberal “leaders” blatantly but quietly, and without public announcement, betrayed their bonds with both the Single Payer Alliance and Physicians for a National Health Program, and completely abandoned the single payer grassroots proponents and activists throughout Wisconsin. They walked away from the struggle, right at the most critical time, rather than seize the opportunity and fulfill their responsibility. They turned their coats without openly and honestly informing single-payer supporters or the people of Wisconsin in general of their change-of-heart. They left us without the leadership they had promised to provide with integrity to organize and inform the people about the real, proven solution to the health care crisis.

You may think that the “Affordable Care Act” is the best we could have gotten at the time, and you may think that it was better to get that than nothing. I am not arguing that point here (altho I certainly could, and so could many others more knowledgeable than I). What I am saying is that the small Madison based organization which sought the mantle of leadership in Wisconsin for Medicare for All, and which sought and obtained affiliation with national PNHP and the national Single Payer Alliance, betrayed the principles of that Movement; betrayed the commitments to the national organization with which it was affiliated; and betrayed the people at the most critical time; when it silently slipped its traces and abandoned its role and the core principle of “Everybody In – Nobody Out”, without even announcing publicly that the leadership had decided to change its mind and join the call for “the robust public option” … or whatever Congress and corporate power was eventually willing to give them.

Is that betrayal being replayed now in Wisconsin with Wisconsin Move to Amend?
I am afraid it is sure looking like it.

“Declaration of Independence from Corporate Rule”

P.S. If you’ll do a google search for “movetoamend”, you’ll see an ad at the very top of the stack. The ad is placed by another organization which (like MOVI, the coalition of which it, too, is a member) enthusiastically and without reservation endorses the divisive, compromised, partisan SJR 19 proposed amendment. That organization used the words “move to amend” (even though their name is “free speech for people”) in order for google to intercept people looking to link up with and learn about Move to Amend. Just a little internet trick, doncha know. (Google, as you may already be aware, has recently been outed as a corporate contributor to ALEC, which is a stubborn advocate for corporate rule.)

It occurred to me how that trick (to divert people from Move to Amend, to a way-too-quick-to-compromise organization of lawyers) seems exactly parallel to the sudden and late blooming corporate funded group calling itself “Healthcare for America Now” which managed to confuse and sidetrack a lot of everyday people (as well as media professionals) during the managed debate five years ago about a solution to the health care crisis, who were trying to contact the real Medicare for All advocacy organization which had named itself “Health Care Now” years earlier. A whole lot of people who were around and interested then still do not know that those are two very different organizations, with different funding sources and very different values and goals.


  1. Really good questions…it is not surprising but disheartening.

    Comment by Marjie T — August 21, 2014 @ 7:35 am | Reply

  2. Even though Madison is NOT being true to the cause, we here in Green Bay will not be hoodwinked! We clearly state in all our lit/info that Corporations ARE NOT PEOPLE AND MONEY DOES NOT EQUAL FREE SPEECH! This will be on the November ballot in Green Bay. Thank you for this very informative article.

    Comment by Kathy L — August 21, 2014 @ 7:54 pm | Reply

  3. On a tangent (I hope not too far), there is this story:
    “Burger King Flips Obama the Bird; BK, Warren Buffet, Greg Mankiw, Barry Ritholtz, Mish on Corporate Tax Inversion “Fairness”
    Read more at http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2014/08/burger-king-flips-obama-bird-on.html

    The philosophy that says corporations are persons is having a lot of cognitive dissonance when it comes to taxing those persons.

    My suggestion is to eliminate both the corporation (limited liability) and replace the income tax and all hidden fees with one sales tax (and a big prebate to keep it fair).
    Everyone is then responsible for their activities. If they don’t want to pay taxes, they can stop buying things and grow their own food or barter with friends.

    The entire idea of “limited liability” and “income” is based on enslaving poor people to rich people and keeping it that way.
    A big sales tax is a lot less regressive than a dead planet.

    Comment by Dan C. — August 26, 2014 @ 11:11 am | Reply

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