Racial Disparity + Police Brutality + Mass Incarceration = Violation of Human Rights + Intimidation + Individual and Community Impoverishment and Disenfranchisement
first researched and published in Feb. 2005; updated in Dec. 2014
The USA now imprisons a higher percentage of her people than any other country on earth. This distinction, acquired around the turn of the 21st century, is largely due to a huge escalation in incarcerations caused by drug law enforcement. The escalation is not due to increased use of illegal drugs. It is a result of the so-called ‘War on Drugs’ waged selectively and with markedly different tactics in different communities, since the 1980’s. (more…)
The following essay was written and completed in the days preceding the sudden unexpected death of Judge Antonin Scalia. So I dedicate this essay (and another one, previously composed) to his outrageous memory. Judge Scalia described himself as a “textualist” – one who believes that “[it] is the law that governs, not the intent of the lawgiver”. Judge O.W. Holmes described textualists as those who say, “We do not inquire what the legislature meant, we ask only what the statutes mean.” With respect for the scholarship of Judge Scalia, I submit the following accidentally timely essay, and one other directly relevant, certainly more important essay, each of which catch me employing truly “textualist” argument, such as was professed by Judge Scalia. (Scalia himself clarified that “textualism should not be confused with so-called strict constructionism, which brings the whole philosophy into disrepute. I am not a strict constructionist, and no one ought to be.”) Read it only if you can appreciate the irony of someone like me honoring the spirit of Antonin Scalia. Both of them are direct, concise, easy reading. And the one that follows, below, is also light-hearted.
You don’t have to be a rabid strict constructionist; you don’t have to believe that the wealthy, slave-owning, colonial “founding fathers” were invariably righteous and wise; you don’t have to believe that each word of the Constitution is sacrosanct and infallible; in order to be able to credibly refer to the actual text of the U.S. Constitution, and thus shed useful light on a question of Constitutional law that is terribly important to all of us.
Is there truth in the legal theory that a corporation possesses the unalienable rights of a person, which are explicitly protected by the Constitution of the United States? Does the Constitution confer the rights of a “person”, or of “the people”, upon artificial legal entities we now know as “corporations”? What exactly does the U.S. Constitution consider to be a “person”? If corporations possess the Constitutional rights of a “person”, then corporate power rules our lives and our future. If, on the other hand, the people are sovereign in our government, and only the people have Constitutional rights, then we the people, in compliance with our Constitution, have full legal authority to determine the rules and the policies that organize and shape our lives. (more…)
A court in Argentina ruled that an orangutan is a “non-human person” and as such has inherent rights. A court in New York ruled that a chimpanzee does not have any rights, and is not a “person” in the meaning of the U.S. Constitution. [http://www.care2.com/causes/landmark-ruling-an-orangutan-is-a-non-human-person-with-rights-says-argentina.html] The ruling against chimps comes in the nation whose corrupted supreme Court has ruled without justification that corporations are “persons” in the meaning of the U.S. Constitution.
On the historic occasion of Independence Day and Juneteenth, 2014, with honor and deep respect for the U.S. Constitution, the Gettysburg Address, the Abolition of Slavery, the Equal Rights of all Persons, and the Planet of our birth which has nurtured life and beauty for so long, here is submitted a statement of truth bearing importantly on the evolution and development of government that is of, by, and for the people. May we today be equal to the great task now before us of ensuring that that government shall not perish from the earth. And may we also, and thereby, become equal to what is likely the most dangerous challenge that humankind has ever faced thus far during our entire existence on Earth – a challenge that we ourselves have created, through technology and civilization – the consequences of our own cleverness and industry.
The right of the people to keep and bear arms is an inalienable right that is explicitly supported by our U.S. Constitution. All Americans should also recognize that the people – not corporations – are sovereign in a democratic republic, and only “the people” (not corporations) possess inalienable Constitutional rights, including the right to keep and bear arms.
Voting rights are basic to all human rights. Violations of voting rights are violations of the core principles of democracy, and of government that should be of, by, and for the people. Violations have become more widespread in the USA than just the states that were originally listed in the landmark, and essential 1965 Voting Rights Act, which was so (tragically) belatedly enacted to finally enforce the basic human rights provisions of the 14th and 15th Amendments a century after those Amendments were ratified.
Corporations and the super-rich now control both political parties, and all three branches of government in the USA, both state and federal. The two parties have established and enforced rules and legislation, which give them an exclusive monopoly, but which also prevents the people from obtaining government that represents and serves us best, even though we the people should be sovereign in a democratic republic. The two party lock permits complete corporate control of government simply because all that extremely rich and powerful corporations and individuals (and their associations) have to do is control those two parties. And that is exactly what they do.
“Corporations v. Persons : The Struggle that Will Define the 21st Century”
Actually, the struggle is even more serious than that.
It is corporations v. life as we have come to know it on Planet Earth.
It is corporate rule v. democracy and a bright future.
The central objective of “Move to Amend” is to amend the U.S. Constitution to establish that:
(1) Corporations do not have Constitutional rights – a corporation is not a person in the meaning of the U.S. Constitution; and
(2) Bribery will no longer be legalized in the USA – Money used to influence government policy, actions, officials, and elections is not protected as “free speech” and can be regulated.
Certain groups and individuals have attached to this Movement of the People, while simultaneously diluting and compromising it by instead asserting that the objective is to “defeat citizens united” and to “get money out of politics”. They seek to return to the status quo and restore certain inadequate “campaign finance reforms” that existed prior to 2010. That objective can do no more than return America to the corruption, the legalized bribery, and the corporate control of government that already prevailed then, and had long been frustrating our best efforts. (more…)
A Note of Respect and Gratitude to Debbie O’Dell Seneca, President Judge Emeritus of the Washington County, PA. Court of Common Pleas, for her Ruling in a Case involving Damages Suffered by Families due to “Fracking” (Extraction of Natural Gas) done by a Corporation:
Please accept my congratulations for your recent courageous ruling that a corporation does not possess Constitutional rights, and for asserting that, if corporations could claim Constitutional rights, then corporations would become a “… legal fabrication superior to the law that created and sustains it”.
I share with many people a deep concern about the struggle that will define the 21st Century – Corporations v. Persons. I have studied and, from time to time, written about this struggle for more than a decade, and a little over two years ago I finally felt impelled to personally dig into the tap root of the problem and closely examine an underlying question: “What, specifically, is in the U.S. Constitution that would allow a Supreme Court Justice to conclude that a corporation legitimately possesses the rights that are defined there as being the rights of a person?” I found an answer that has been overlooked for too long, and to our peril.
A proposed Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (1) to establish that a corporation is not a person, in the meaning of the Constitution, and (2) to establish that money is not equivalent to Constitutionally protected speech, and (3) to protect the sovereignty and the unalienable rights of the people under this Constitution.
One of the two key citations in the Constitution bearing on whether a corporation is a ‘person’ under the Constitution is the 14th Amendment, which contains four sentences employing the word “person[s]” – (the two sentences that constitute section 1, and the opening sentences in each of sections 2 and 3). The 14th Amendment was cited in the preface to an 1886 Supreme Court case. This preface was later exploited to massively rewrite corporate law using the unjustifiable legal theory that a corporation is a Constitutional ‘person’.
Is there any truth in the legal theory that a corporation possesses, by authority of the U.S. Constitution, any of the inherent, unalienable rights of a person? (more…)
Wisconsin has abolished the death penalty longer than any other government in the world. Wisconsin blazed the trail and set the unwavering example that has since inspired the entire so-called civilized world. Wisconsin is no longer alone in that world. Wisconsin is now entirely encircled by states (Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, and Canada) in which the death penalty has also been abandoned. Sixteen states no longer use the death penalty. Membership in the European Union is open only to countries that have abolished capital punishment. Today, 140 countries no longer impose the death penalty. And in December of 2012 the United Nations General Assembly will be voting on an unprecedented resolution to urge the worldwide abolition of the death penalty. Where will Wisconsin and the United States of America stand on that resolution?
What is Occupy Wall Street and the growing Global Occupation all about? In three words, I’d suggest that in the United States it’s about, “Wake Up, America!” It is up to the 99 percent to get up, stand up – take back our rights, our lives, the future, and all that we cherish.
“Who are the leaders of this protest demonstration and what are their demands?”
Have you ever wondered what possessed members of the supreme Court to determine that a corporation is a “person”, according to the Constitution? Which passages in the U.S. Constitution (including Amendments) could certain supreme Court Judges have construed to support their determination (in contrast to common understanding and general usage) that a corporation possesses the rights that are explicitly defined for a “person” in the Constitution? Having researched and written about the consequences of this determination several times over the last decade, I became interested and finally compelled to get to this root of the problem. And so I once again studied the Constitution and its Amendments. But this time, I searched in particular for an answer to the question of how in the world anyone can conclude that a corporation possesses the specific Constitutional rights that are described there as belonging to a “person”.
I began by locating and highlighting certain words in the text (such as “corporation”, “company”, “person[s]”, “citizen[s]”, and “people”). Then I studied the context in which those words appear. My search was productive, with results that were startling, informative, and actually simple to comprehend and to share with you. https://clydewinter.wordpress.com/2015/11/19/666-word-proof-that-a-corporation-is-not-a-person/
My ol’ huntin’ partners, Sid D. Complex and Jesse B. Simple, and I were enjoying a couple beers together this Spring. Jess had just boggled my mind with one of his astute observations on the human condition. So I was trying to appear calm, and in full possession of my faculties while feeling more than usually uncertain and unbalanced.
Sid handled the silence that followed by deftly changing the subject. ‘Know what?’ inquired Sid. ‘The word “Person(s)” appears in the U.S. Constitution 22 times. And that same word pops up 27 times in the Constitutional Amendments (which averages once per Amendment). I know because I counted. But, the word “corporation(s)” doesn’t appear even once in the U.S. Constitution or in any Amendment. What the hell is all this noise about the Supreme Court declaring that a corporation is a person? That’s just plain nuts. A corporation doesn’t bleed, it can’t have kids, a corporation ain’t a person, anybody knows that.’
Smart-as-a-whip Jess came right back, without even pausing to take a deep breath or whet his whistle. (more…)
The “Citizens United Inc. v. Federal Elections Commission“ ruling in the first month of 2010 represents “Strike Three” called against the U.S. Supreme Court.
Probably the same sort of person who is not certain what the future holds for her family, or who worries at times about the fine print in whatever health insurance policy currently “covers” them.
There are 3 serious consequences of the huge mistake or betrayal made by “public option” spokespersons, exemplified locally by Wisconsin Citizen Action, and nationally by Move-On, among others, when they declared that the single-payer solution was “off-the-table”. (more…)
In Ozaukee County, Darcy McManus got 44 percent of the votes from the 23 percent of those registered who voted. Therefore, long-time District Attorney Sandy Williams will be the new Branch 3 Circuit Court Judge here. Ozaukee residents might be interested to learn about an earlier but unsuccessful candidate for election to be the Ozaukee/Washington County District Attorney, one Leland Stanford. Name sound familiar? (more…)
On Tuesday April 7, 2009 for the first time in thirty years, voters will have a choice in a contested election for judge for our Ozaukee County Circuit Court, which is the first stop in the judicial system for civil and criminal legal matters under state law. I urge that you help get out the vote for Darcy McManus. I have several reasons.
According to a story from long ago, a big man named Solomon was empowered to decide which woman was the mother of a child they each insistently claimed. In apparent frustration, he announced he would cleave the infant in two with a sword and give half to each woman. One woman immediately relinquished her claim to the baby, saying, “Give her the living child and in no wise slay it.” Solomon awarded her the baby, declaring that only the real mother would love her child so much as to give it up in order to save its life. The story is still told (Bible: 1 Kings 3), and it is asserted that this judicial decision demonstrated Solomon’s surpassing wisdom and cemented his reputation.
Actually, the convincing testimony came from the other woman, not from the tearful plea of the first to speak, don’t you agree? (more…)
The STATEWIDE, COUNTY, REGIONAL, and MUNICIPAL offices to be elected in contested elections in Ozaukee County in the April 7, 2009 Spring Election are shown in very condensed, convenient, voter-friendly format here:
Let’s spotlight two cases where the U.S. Supreme Court legislated from the bench and violated common sense and our shared values. Next we’ll see what our state legislators have (or have not) done recently to arrest and restrain the government corruption that resulted. We’ll look at where the problem is most festering. And there is one important legislative step that is needed right now. Let’s get er done. By the way, there’s a scoop here, too, with news of three grassroots candidates for election to the state legislature, working to expose and unseat some of the very worst of the “Public Enemies” to be described below.
The recent Wisconsin Supreme Court election holds great portent for the integrity, impartiality, and independence of the judiciary, not only in Wisconsin, but throughout the country, in both federal and state systems. Anonymous phony issue ad groups have dominated recent Supreme Court elections and appointments. These groups have found a loophole that defeats and makes a mockery of laws intended to prevent the courts from becoming partisan political battlegrounds, and intended to prevent big moneyed interests from determining who can become a judge in America. (more…)
The April Fool 2008 Wisconsin Supreme Court election campaign was publicly conducted as an anti-criminal crusade. The contest was framed as between a law-and-order challenger and a liberal, criminal coddling incumbent. But honest, intelligent people across the political spectrum who have closely observed recent Supreme Court elections know that the real contest was about something else.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court election Tuesday, April 1, pits incumbent Justice Louis Butler against challenger Judge Michael Gableman in a critically important election. But it’s being smeared with distortions and misrepresentations. And secretive groups with very deep pockets threaten to take control of justice.
Do you know whether your state legislators voted (or intend to vote) to protect the integrity, independence, and impartiality of the Wisconsin Supreme Court and its decisions? This brief article has answers.
Sid. D. Complex was skinning and butchering the deer carcass that had frozen while hanging in his shed, when I stopped by for a visit, and that perennial sheepshead champ, Jess B. Simple, was being careful not to needle him for his procrastination.
“So,” I opened, deftly avoiding controversy, “who d’ya wanna see win the elections this year?”
The Wisconsin state Assembly budget proposal cuts needed services while simultaneously increasing the state deficit, compared with the Senate budget proposal. The Assembly increases taxes on individuals, at the same time it disdains an opportunity to save Wisconsin businesses and individuals over one billion dollars annually while mounting a significant reform to correct the health care crisis. (more…)
When citizens in Ozaukee County go to the polls this November, we will be confronted with three issues of historic importance. We will be asked whether Wisconsin should install and use the death chamber here. We will also be asked to cast an up or down vote on a proposed Amendment to our state Constitution that would prohibit granting basic rights to civil unions other than government-approved marriages. And we will be asked to decide, by a non-binding referendum, whether we support America waging war “throughout the world … until … terrorism is eliminated and citizens of all countries can be assured of their safety… ”.
A recent editorial in this paper labeled young Benjamin Stibbe of Grafton a “serial killer” and urged that he be imprisoned and never permitted to walk the streets again. That term is generally used to apply to an individual who commits by his own hand or direction, intentional, pre-meditated murder of a number of innocent, unsuspecting victims. The crime charged against Mr. Stibbe doesn’t come close to that. And life without parole would be an excessive and unwise (not to mention impossible) sentence, for several reasons.
“That ain’t a bad way to open the bow hunting season.” I was admiring the nice deer my ol’ buddy, Sid D. Complex, had just cleanly killed. “How much you judge it’ll dress out to?” That was the wrong way to phrase my question.
“Don’t ask me about judges.” Sid was annoyed. “I’m tired of hearing about judges. I steer clear of ‘em. I don’t know any, and don’t care to. How ‘bout you? Who you voting for to join the club with all those liberals in the Supreme Court?”
In the midst of another dry and dusty growing season, my ol’ buddy, Sid D. Complex, dropped by looking like he needed something wet and frosty. “I haven’t talked with you about that big new gas pipeline since gun deer season a couple years ago”, said Sid. “The power company put the pipeline across your place. How’d it go? I recollect you didn’t like that easement they were pushing.”
“No, I sure didn’t, Sid, and a lot of other designated victims didn’t, either. Nobody was trying to stop the pipeline. Let’s be clear about that. But there were problems before construction even began. One was with the compensation they were offering and the fact that the appraisals done by the utility did not even comply with state law that’s meant to protect your rights when your property is taken by eminent domain.
“Another problem was with the terms of the easement document. You won’t believe the scam they’re trying to pull, and how they’re doing it.
“Outside The Box” was an arresting and moving display at the Cedarburg Cultural Center of “Artwork by Prisoners in Wisconsin Correctional Institutions”.
America now imprisons a higher percentage of her people than any other country on earth. This recently acquired dubious numero uno distinction is due largely to a huge escalation in the number of incarcerations for drug violations. The escalation is not due to increased use of illegal drugs. It is due to the ‘war on drugs’ waged selectively and with varied tactics in different communities since the late 1980’s.
I attended the entire day and a half long inquest into the death in police custody of 20-year-old Mequon resident Matthew Sheridan, and was perhaps the only person who did so who was neither a friend or family member, nor a police officer, nor paid or required to be there. I was the ‘public’ referred to in the term ‘public inquest’. I heard the evidence presented to the jury, and I had never met any of the people who caused or were affected by this tragedy. But I was not a disinterested observer. Two months ago I had written in this column about Matthew’s demise. Because of that involvement, I am compelled to comment on the inquest.
50th ANNIVERSARY COMMEMORATIVE ESSAY – Awarded first place in the national essay contest sponsored by the NAACP in the open, adult division.
A tribute to the generations that struggled for, the legal team that formulated, and the democratic principles that were represented in the most important Supreme Court decision of the 20TH century.
. The significance for educational opportunity and survival.
. The historical importance of the decision to reject segregation.
. Opposition to, and supporters of the struggle, and victories.
. Problems not solved and yet requiring our attention.