SpeakOut is Truthout's treasure chest for bloggy, quirky, personally reflective, or especially activism-focused pieces. SpeakOut articles represent the perspectives of their authors, and not those of Truthout.
Momentum to free elections from corporate influence is growing. This afternoon, Maine became the 13th state to call for a constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The resolution passed overwhelmingly with a 25-9 vote in the Senate and a 111-33 vote in the House, which included five Republican supporters in the Senate and 25 in the House.
The State Legislature's resolution reads in part, "United States Supreme Court rulings, beginning with Buckley v. Valeoand continuing through Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and others, disproportionately elevate the role of wealthy special interests in elections and diminish the voices and influence of ordinary Americans."
After six weeks of testimony — sometimes dramatic, sometimes data-driven, but consistently disturbing in its findings — the plaintiffs in the historic Floyd v. City of New York trial finished presenting the liability portion of their case. CCR and its co-counsel (from Covington & Burling LLP and Beldock, Levine & Hoffman LLP) will present additional witnesses during the remedies phase, but for now, it is the city's turn to try and counter the massive evidence presented of the NYPD's unconstitutional stop-and-frisk policy.
Testimony last week was mostly from NYPD officials in positions responsible for oversight of officer conduct. The theme that emerged over and over was one of a department apparently unwilling or uninterested in ascertaining whether stops are lawfully conducted. On Wednesday, Lou Reiter, our police practices expert, commented on the lack of supervision of stops throughout the NYPD, saying "it's like everybody sticks their head in the sand."
This video is an excerpt from the documentary, American Autumn: an Occudoc -- rent it or own it today. Go here.
The question of whether persons convicted of a crime should be imprisoned or not is now increasingly influenced by economic interests. While prisons have long tended to be located in rural communities because of the availability of cheap land, this trend has accelerated in recent decades as a result of lobbying by rural officials. With declining economic prospects in many of these communities, many local leaders have come to view prisons as their best hope of economic opportunity through the jobs that are generated. In practice, this has not proven to be beneficial to these areas, but nonetheless rural legislators continue to seek such opportunities. Perhaps not coincidentally, many of these officials are also strong supporters of harsh sentencing policies. -- Marc Mauer
Most weeks there's more Internet-related news than people can handle.
Given the constant flux, we at Free Press are taking a stab at listing, every week, the top five things you need to know about developments impacting Internet freedom.
Here's our first shot. Be nice....
Life, as lived, moment to moment, in the corporate/consumer state, involves moving between states of tedium, stress, and swoons of mass media and consumer distraction. Therein, one spends a large portion of one's economically beleaguered life attempting to make ends meet and not go mad from the pressure and the boredom. Where does a nebulous concept such as freedom even enter the picture, except to be a harbinger of an unfocused sense of unease...that all too many look to authority to banish?
Finding a balance between anxiety and freedom is not something that comes easy to us.
Ordinary taxpayers are subsidizing exorbitant executive pay at the corporations leading the push for austerity in the budget debate, according to a new report by the Institute for Policy Studies and Campaign for America's Future.
The report is the first to put a price tag on the tax breaks specific corporations have enjoyed from a loophole that allows unlimited deductions for executive stock options and other "performance-based" pay. It focuses on corporate members of Fix the Debt, a lobby group that is calling for "shared sacrifice" while quietly advocating for cuts to Social Security and more corporate tax breaks.
The Whistleblower Defense League is a nationwide group of experienced trial attorneys who have assembled to defend the principles of our democracy. The American people have an absolute right to know the truth about their government and the damaging influence of corporate wealth. Our forefathers did not fight for us to live in the fearful shadows of a darkened constitution, but in the brave light of freedom.
Criticism without action is the country of the weak. If the issue is not one of vision, but of limited resources, then the WBDL is available...
In the aftermath of the Boston marathon bombings, we have a lot of questions that need answering. But are we asking the right ones?
Code Pink, Backbone Campaign, and dozens of supporters escorted protestors costumed as George W. Bush & Dick Cheney into the hands of the Dallas police who gladly arrested the duo. The arrests took place during a ceremony just a few hundred yards away where five living U.S. presidents and thousands of others participated in the dedication of the younger Bush's presidential library.
The protestors serving as stand-ins for Bush and Cheney were identified as Gary Egelston, a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War (Bush) and Dennis Trainor, Jr, documentary director of American Autumn: an occduc and creator of Acronym TV. Photojournalist Bill Perry was also arrested. All three were charged with Misdemeanors and released after 13 hours in custody.
Some of the media scribes who attended the dedication ceremony on April 26 for the George W. Bush $250 million Library and Museum on the Southern Methodist University campus in Dallas, TX commented that there was not one word mentioned about Iraq.
Most of us know why, including the 2008 and 2012 Republican conventions in which there was no mention by the party's leadership of George W. Bush's Iraq legacy. Or much, if anything, of number 43.
There are, of course, exceptions. Most notably Karl Rove whose George W. Bush adulation included his recent proposal to chisel his former boss's image on Mount Rushmore. Rove no doubt was yearning for those halcyon days when photo ops maintained the facade of a commander-in-chief in thoughtful poses such as the one that lined up the profile of George W. Bush with the four presidents' likenesses that are etched into South Dakota's Mount Rushmore.