103603588_163ca3c991_m.jpgIn a week when Barry The Privacy Slayer took time off from fluffing for the most reactionary Dem in Congress to drive a stake through the Fourth Amendment, I could understand progressives who felt like giving up. The good news is that despite our corrupt political culture and the ambitious Federal "leaders" who manipulate us so they can better serve megacorp Power, we can still win. And across the country – in urban and rural areas, "Red" and "Blue" regions – we progressives are winning. Here’s a round-up of good news from Maine, Philadelphia, California, Humboldt County and Texas, and the tiny town of Felton in Santa Cruz County. Together, we can win — and force our "leaders" to follow.

What’s the good news from Maine? Alternet knows: Maine Jury Says It’s Legal to Protest an Illegal War

The good news, which [the Bangor Daily News] reported on April 30, is that six peace activists were acquitted on charges of criminal trespass for failing to obey a police request that they abandon their sit-in outside U.S. Sen. Susan Collins’ office in the Margaret Chase Smith Federal Building in Maine.

The defendants, Doug Rawlings, Henry Braun, Jimmy Freeman, Dud Hendrick, Rob Shetterly and Jonathan Kreps — dubbed the Bangor Six — were arrested in March 2007 for protesting Bush’s proposed troop escalation and Collins’ continued support of funding for the war. According to Rawlings, "Our case was pretty simple: We argued that we believed we had a right and an obligation to stay in that federal building until Collins heard us out and agreed that the war is not only immoral but illegal under international law." Specifically, they based their defense on the First Amendment’s "right of the people … to petition the Government for redress of grievances," and their belief that the war is being pursued in defiance of Article VI of the Constitution ("all treaties made … under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby"), the Nuremberg Principles and the Geneva Conventions.

After a two-day trial in Penobscot County Superior Court, a jury of 12 citizens agreed and brought back a verdict of "not guilty."

Though Judge Michaela Murphy explicitly instructed the jury to set aside their feelings about the war and only deliberate on the evidence presented during the trial, she did allow jurors to consider whether or not the defendants believed that they had the "license and privilege" to consciously choose to break Maine law because they thought international law was being violated. The jurors decided unanimously that the protesters did, in fact, believe they had that right.

W00t! Now that’s citizen empowerment – the power we local jurors have. The bad news, as the article points out, is that the MSM ignored the whole thing. Of course, the MSM also ignores "jury nullification".

Jury nullification is any rendering of a verdict by a trial jury, acquitting a criminal defendant despite the defendant’s violation of the letter of the law. This verdict need not disagree with the instructions by the judge concerning what the law is, but may disagree with an instruction, if given by the judge, that the jury is required to apply the law to the defendant if certain facts are found.

Although a jury’s refusal relates only to the particular case before it, if a pattern of such verdicts develops in response to repeated attempts to prosecute a statutory offense, it can have the practical effect of disabling the enforcement of the statute. "Jury nullification" is thus a means for the people to express opposition to an unpopular legislative enactment.

[snip]

Jury nullification is a de facto and traditional power of juries, not normally disclosed to jurors by the system when they are instructed as to rights and duties.

Of course, our corporate-owned MSM ignores most of what the Framers taught us — but we don’t need the megacorps to know our own history.

"I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet imagined by man by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution."

-Thomas Jefferson, 1789 letter to Thomas Paine

What’s the good news from Philadelphia? Well, the birthplace of the Constitution still has a lot to teach us — and our Senators — about freedom from corporate masters.

He’s Taking Law Into His Own Hands To Help Broke Homeowners Trouble Is, He Is the Law; Philly’s Sheriff Green Doesn’t Do Foreclosures, to Lenders’ Dismay

PHILADELPHIA — Sheriff John Green has spent 37 years in law enforcement. But these days he’s best known around town for the law he won’t enforce.

With the economy soft and thousands of Philadelphians delinquent on their mortgages, Sheriff Green this spring refused to hold a court-ordered foreclosure auction. His move raised eyebrows on the bench and dropped jaws among lenders and their attorneys, who accuse him of shirking his duty to enforce legal contracts.

It also prompted a sweeping, court-endorsed deal, scheduled to go into effect next week, that aims to help homeowners avoid foreclosure. Even as Congress moves forward with a federal plan that could insure up to $300 billion in refinanced mortgages, Mr. Green’s unilateral approach has pushed Philadelphia to the leading edge of local responses to the national crisis

What a lovely way to carry on the legacy of the Boston Tea Party.

What’s the good news from California? Remember how the ex-steroid abuser ex-serial groper Hummer-loving "environmentalist" Governor Ahhnuld wanted to fluff Big Ag by using the light brown apple moth as a Trojan Bug to overthrow California’s strict environmental laws? Ahhnuld’s power grab — declaring a "State of Emergency" to suspend law and regulation — was a textbook Shock Doctrine play.

Only problem for Governor Anschluss and Big Ag was that California’s people and their local represenatives rebelled. Everyone from Santa Cruz enviros to State Senators/Representatives to UC Davis entomologists came out to oppose the "reasons" for California Ag Secretary A.G. Kawamura’s daft plan to repeatedly spray urban and suburban areas with an untested pesticide to control a bug which may or may not be a risk to Ag.

The fact that Secretary Kawamura had earlier boasted to Santa Cruz pesticide activists that the LBAM spray was just the beginning of urban spraying prolly didn’t help Ahhnuld’s Shock Doctrine attempt.

And on Thursday, Secretary Kawamura and the USDA called the whole thing off. All of a sudden, the "emergency" spraying wasn’t needed after all. People power and the precautionary principle defeated Arnold, the USDA, and corporate Big Ag.

That’s great news: California people power strong enough to defeat Big Ag is strong enough to defeat anything else the megacorps try.

The good news from Humboldt County/Texas? After nearly twenty years of struggle and forest occupation and litigation, the Maxxam corporate raiders who took over Pacific Lumber and liquidated employee pensions and much of the Headwaters Forest were driven out of Humboldt County in Federal Bankruptcy Court. The jobs and trees and community Maxxam destroyed may never return — but the survivors have a chance to rebuild their lives without corporate raiders liquidating their world to service far-off bond holders.

The good news from Felton, CA? Locals took back their water system from California American Water: a megacorp that was trying to snap up our public water for private profit.

What’s the good news in your neck of the woods?

[people power image: M.a.c.a.r.o.n.i.]

Kirk Murphy

Kirk Murphy

terrestrial obligate aerobe with endoskeleton (bony) and bilateral symmetry.

chordate, bipedal, warm-blooded, mammalian, placental (origin), opposable thumbs.

not (yet) extinct.

indigenous habitat: California Live Oak.

current habitat: Central California Coast (most northerly aspect).... 'northwest of the new world, east of the sea'

potential habitats: all potential habitats critically endangered (due to global climate change).

ailurophilic - hence allergic rhinitic.

contact: kirkmurphy@gmail.com

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