Thursday, December 30, 2010

Some commentary from Congressman Hall

Read here as Congressman John Hall (NY-19) speaks truth to power about the fascist direction of American politics. Hopefully, he will stay engaged in the fight for democracy.

In an interview this week, Rep. John Hall (D-NY), who lost his seat in the mid-term elections, told the New York Observer that he sees a threat to American democracy in the court's ruling.

"I learned when I was in social studies class in school that corporate ownership or corporate control of government is called fascism. So that's really the question -- is that the destination if this court decision goes unchecked?"

The Citizens United decision upended decades of campaign finance regulation, allowing corporations, unions and other groups to spend unlimited amounts on political campaigns without having to identify themselves. In a decision split along ideological lines, the court ruled that restrictions on spending amounted to a violation of First Amendment rights. Others have challenged the notion that corporations and other organizations have the "personhood" needed to be granted constitutional rights.

Hall was a key player in efforts to mitigate the effects of the Citizens United decision. He backed the DISCLOSE Act, which would have required groups to identify themselves when campaigning. Hall added provisions to the bill limiting the ability of foreign corporations to spend money on US elections. But, after passing the House, the bill was defeated by filibuster in the Senate.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Why is Obama giving Bush torturers a free pass?

This is a very disturbing article, one which calls into question the Obama Administration's promise to abide by the rule of law.

An excerpt:

....Judge Baltasar Garzón—a world-renowned jurist who had initiated previous prosecutions of war crimes and had publicly said that former President George W. Bush ought to be tried for war crimes—to decide whether to pursue the case against the six former Bush officials. That June—coincidentally or not—the Spanish Parliament passed legislation narrowing the use of "universal jurisdiction." Still, in September 2009, Judge Garzón pushed ahead with the case.

The case eventually came to be overseen by another judge who last spring asked the parties behind the complaint to explain why the investigation should continue. Several human rights groups filed a brief urging this judge to keep the case alive, citing the Obama administration's failure to prosecute the Bush officials. Since then, there's been no action. The Obama administration essentially got what it wanted. The case of the Bush Six went away.

Back when it seemed that this case could become a major international issue, during an April 14, 2009, White House briefing, I asked press secretary Robert Gibbs if the Obama administration would cooperate with any request from the Spaniards for information and documents related to the Bush Six. He said, "I don't want to get involved in hypotheticals." What he didn't disclose was that the Obama administration, working with Republicans, was actively pressuring the Spaniards to drop the investigation. Those efforts apparently paid off, and, as this WikiLeaks-released cable shows, Gonzales, Haynes, Feith, Bybee, Addington, and Yoo owed Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton thank-you notes.