04 Sep 2011

Labor Day Reflection: Time for Americans to Participate in Power

The stark realities of the American economy show the political and economic elites sending the country in the wrong direction, destroying the strongest economy and world history. The American people know better and could rule better than the elites. It is time for Americans to organize and mobilize to take power, http://october2011.org.

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22 Aug 2011

October2011.org Urges People to Join Tar Sands Protests

The Stop the Pipeline!-The Tar Sands Action ongoing in Washington, DC deserves the support of all of us. The protest has gotten the attention of the White House as they mistreated protesters arrested on the first day.  President Obama would have liked to quietly approve the pipeline but climate activists

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27 Jul 2011

The Sentencing of Tim DeChristopher Highlights the Conflict Between the People and Corporate-Government

Tim DeChristopher’s statement before sentencing brought out the corruption caused by corporatism and how the rule of law is twisted to protect corporate law breakers and their government cohorts. It highlighted the important role played by civil disobedience in shaping the rule of law to end legalized injustice. Finally, he let the judge know that a lengthy sentence for him would not intimidate others, nor would the intimidate Tim DeChristopher.

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20 Jul 2011

Tim DeChristopher’s Battle for Justice Is Our Battle

Tim DeChristopher is facing 10 years in prison in a sentencing hearing next Tuesday. His crime — he used civil disobedience to stop an illegal sale of oil and gas leases. After he stopped the leasing by falsely bidding on the lands, the Interior Department determined what was known before the sale — it was illegal. Yet, the government wants a harsh sentence to send a message to those who would join him in stopping illegal government action, ironically claiming we have to uphold the rule of law.

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12 Jul 2011

Has U.S. Foreign Policy Ever Been Such a Mess?

Obama’s war policy is a mess — multiple wars that are unwinnable and that the U.S. cannot get out. His wars a symptom of a failing empire. The people of the United States need to lead the country out of the quagmire of empire.

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06 Jul 2011

Is a Broader Peace Movement Here? One That Can Really Stop U.S. Militarism?

For too long Americans who oppose war have been powerless to stop or end wars. Now, we are seeing the way forward — bringing all Americans who oppose war, no matter what their political philosophy on other issues, to work together to end war. Such a movement is being born — join it.

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03 Jul 2011

A Question for Reflection on the 4th of July: Is the United States a representative democracy or a mirage democracy?

Ask yourself — does your government represent your views? Do the people you vote for represent your views? Who does U.S. democracy represent-the peoples interests or campaign donors profits?

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21 Jun 2011

October 2011 Movement to Global Allies: American Empire Obstacle to Peace and Justice at Home and Abroad

This open letter to democracy and justice movements around the world expresses solidarity with them, recognizing that “our revolution is your revolution” because U.S. empire blocks the changes sought by people around the world. October2011.org pledges to take over Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC beginning this October6, 2011 and staying to end corporatism and militarism.

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14 Jun 2011

Tahrir Square Coming to Freedom Plaza, Washington, DC This October

It is time for Americans who oppose wars and corporate domination of government to mobilize. Join us as we bring Tahrir Square to Washington, DC’s Freedom Plaza this October. Sign up and spread the word. www.October2011.org.

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10 May 2011

In Two Steps Obama Can Reduce The Influence Of Secret Donations in 2012

(1) Enforce Existing Laws

(2) Require Contractors to Report Contributions

By Kevin B. Zeese

The 2012 presidential election promises to have the most anonymous campaign donations in U.S. history. Unless the Obama administration acts, unknown corporate and wealthy interests will fund massive advertising campaigns against and for candidates but the voters will not know who they are or their real agenda. The Obama administration can prevent this further corruption of U.S. democracy by taking two steps, neither of which requires action by Congress.

Step One: Enforce Existing Laws

In the 2010 mid-term elections we saw the evolution of a new form of campaign funding that violated the disclosure requirements of the Federal Election Campaign Law (FECA) by illegally using non-profit organizations to hide campaign donations.

The new approach was masterminded by Karl Rove and former Republican Party leaders through American Crossroads GPS. They created a non-profit organization under 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code – organizations that are not supposed to be primarily involved in elections – and used it to raise tens of millions in anonymous donations. In total, nearly $150 million was spent by these (c)(4) groups leaving voters in the dark as to the personal interests of the donors. We can expect that amount to more than double in 2012 if existing laws are not enforced. Indeed Rove has announced his group alone intends to raise $120 million for 2012.

While the Citizen’s United decision allowed unlimited donations by corporations and individuals, it did not allow anonymous donations. The federal election law requires that donors be identified. In order to do an end-around this requirement some political operatives have set up non-profit organizations to hide donor identities. This not only violates FECA but IRS regulations as well. The Department of Justice has the authority to enforce criminal violations of FECA even without action by the Federal Election Commission.

The Obama administration can end these illegal secret donations by announcing an investigation of organizations that took this approach in 2010. The DOJ should appoint a special prosecutor to remove the issue from partisan politics, subpoena documents and witnesses before a grand jury. Such an investigation should also put donors on notice: if a donor knows that the purpose of the non-profit is to avoid campaign finance disclosure requirements than they can also face criminal prosecution. Donors who wanted to keep their names out of campaign finance reports will want to keep their names off of grand jury subpoenas and certainly out of an indictment.

A coalition of advocacy groups have come together as CampaignAccountabilityWatch.org, to fight back against Rove and others, such as the Chamber of Commerce, American Crossroads GPS and American Future Fund, to make sure that they do not violate campaign finance laws in the upcoming election as they have done in the past. Last week Campaign Accountability Watch sent letters to 40 U.S. Attorneys along with more than 12 thousand signatures of citizens urging prosecution of these organizations for illegally using non-profit front groups to violate FECA during the 2010 elections. Our simple request to U.S. Attorneys, the Department of Justice and the Obama administration: enforce existing law.

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