1998 – “Oprah Winfrey vs. The Beef People” airs on PBS Newshour
“Texas cattle producers sued Oprah in 1998 for “defaming” hamburgers and beef by discussing mad cow disease on her program. Texas is 1 of 13 states with “food disparagement acts” that make it easier for food corporations to sue their critics, including journalists and authors, for libel. They also allow for punitive damages and attorney fees. Oprah was accused of “whipping up anti-beef ‘lynch mob'” against beef, which resulted in a drop in beef prices. Food libel laws are meant to silence and intimidate — denying human beings first amendment free speech rights.
Oprah won her case in court — no doubt due, in part, to her ability to hire the very best lawyers.
2012 – Occupy the Courts campaign, organized by Move to Amend
On the 2nd anniversary of the Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court decision, Move to Amend affiliate and partner groups connect with local Occupy groups and other organizations to hold mass actions at federal court buildings across the nation, educating about and protesting the Citizens United decision and calling for a constitutional amendment to end corporate personhood and money as speech.
2018 – Article, “Citizens United vs. United Citizens: The Showdown of the Century” published
“When the US Supreme Court decided in favor of the plaintiff in the Citizens United case on January 21, 2010, did the five justices who supported it know that their decision would open the door to a fascist state within six short years? In large part, Citizens United caused a minority of voters, aided by the Electoral College, to elect a real live major international corporation in the form of Donald Trump as President. The fusion of government and corporate rule is complete.”
2019 – Article “A new Supreme Court is poised to take a chunk out of MLK’s legacy” published
“One is called the ‘child of the storm.’ Another is ‘the crown jewel.’ The third was dubbed ‘the voice of justice.’
“They are the three great laws of the civil rights movement: the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the 1965 Voting Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act of 1968.
“A new conservative bloc on the Supreme Court though may soon treat them as something else: outdated ‘racial entitlements’ that need to be put back in their place.”
2010 – Citizens United v. Federal Elections Committee [558 U.S.310] Supreme Court decision (this is the 10th Anniversary)
Supreme Court overturns most provisions of McCain-Feingold legislation that restricts corporate money in federal elections and reverses a hundred-year precedent of Congressional authority to regulate federal elections. The decision merely expands already existing constitutional “rights” to spend money in elections.
2010 – Move to Amend national campaign is launched
Multi-racial and inter-generational outside-the-beltway grassroots organization begins. It seeks a 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The amendment would abolish all never-intended inalienable constitutional rights for corporate entities (corporate “personhood”) and to end the doctrine that money is equivalent to free speech.
2017 – Women’s March – global marches to promote human rights, etc.
“The Women’s March was a worldwide protest on January 21, 2017, to advocate legislation and policies regarding human rights and other issues, including women’s rights, immigration reform, healthcare reform, the natural environment, LGBTQ rights, racial equality, freedom of religion, and workers’ rights. The rallies were aimed at Donald Trump, immediately following his inauguration as President of the United States, largely due to statements and positions attributed to him regarded by many as anti-women or otherwise offensive. It was the largest single-day demonstration in U.S. history.The first planned protest was in Washington, D.C., and is known as the Women’s March on Washington.” Source: Wikipedia
1890 – The United Mine Workers Association (UMWA) was founded in Columbus, Ohio
The UMWA sought to improve the lives of miners through reduced work hours, higher wages, and improved mine safety conditions. In 1894, Ohio Mine Worker president John McBride stated, “All honest, ardent advocates of labor’s cause that corporate power, when aided and abetted by the judicial, executive and military arm of the state and national governments can and will override the rights of our people and oppress wage workers, regardless of the efforts of organized labor, as now constituted and directed, to prevent it… By entering into politics we can free ourselves from the chain of slavery.”
1973 – Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision
The Supreme Court rules that state statutes against abortion are vague and infringe on a woman’s 9th and 14th Amendment rights (to privacy). Abortion is legalized in the first trimester of pregnancy. (410 U.S. 113, 1973)
1964 – 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution enacted
Poll taxes, which were used to keep Blacks and others from voting in some states, are abolished. “The right…to vote…shall not be denied…by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.”
2018 – Published article, “CFPB Drops Investigation Into Payday Lender That Contributed To Mick Mulvaney’s Campaigns”
“Mick Mulvaney’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) quietly closed an investigation into a payday lender headquartered in Mulvaney’s home state Monday. The company previously donated to the former congressman’s political campaigns.
“Payday lender World Acceptance Corporation announced in a press release Monday that it received a letter from the CFPB stating that the financial watchdog had closed its nearly four-year investigation into the company’s marketing and lending practices. The company, which is headquartered in South Carolina, has given at least $4,500 in campaign donations to Mulvaney, who represented South Carolina in the House for six years before becoming President Donald Trump’s budget director last year.
“The CFPB declined comment on World Acceptance Corporation’s press release. The investigation followed a 2013 report by ProPublica and Marketplace that found World Acceptance Corporation issued loans that were ‘deceptively expensive’ and packaged with “nearly useless insurance products” while trapping borrowers in a ‘debt cycle.’”
1965 – Death of Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
“Lobbyists are the touts of protected industries.”
1910 – Birth of “Granny D” — grandmother who walked across the U.S. for campaign finance reform
Doris Haddock achieved national fame when, between the ages of 88 and 90, she walked across the continental United States to advocate for campaign finance reform. Granny D walked over 3200 miles, starting on January 1, 1999 in California and ending in Washington, DC on February 29, 2000. She touched tens of thousands of people — calling on the public and Congress to press for legislation that would curb private and corporate money in elections and to expand public financing of elections.
1993 – Death of Thurgood Marshall, civil rights advocate and Supreme Court Justice
As legal counsel for the NAACP, he argued 32 cases, before the U.S. Supreme Court, prevailing in 29 of them — most of them civil rights related. One of them was Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (347 U.S. 483, 1954), which invalidated state-enforced racial segregation in the public schools.
2012 – Petaluma, CA City Council passes a resolution calling for a reversal of the Citizens United decision
Concerned democracy activists across the nation worked on such actions following the 2011 Citizens United decision. The lack of real democracy, however, predates Citizens United by more than a century. Modifying or even reversing the Supreme Court decision would not return the country to a democratic nirvana, because that reality did not exist. Creating real democracy will begin with overturning the doctrines of corporate personhood and money as speech that have been in force far longer than Citizens United.
1907 – Tillman Act enacted, corporate contributions illegal
This was the first legislation passed by Congress in the United States prohibiting monetary contribution to national political campaigns by corporations.
2016 – Washington Ballot Measure Approved for November Election
The Secretary of State’s Office for Washington State Elections certified Initiative 735 for the ballot today. I-735 will ask Washington voters to decide this November whether to join sixteen other states in calling for their state legislature and Congress to propose an amendment that makes clear that constitutional rights belong to human beings only and that money is not protected speech, effectively overturning the controversial decision in the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
“We are inspired by the tremendous efforts by our Washington volunteers in the WAmend Coalition and the people of Washington State who made this ballot measure a reality! This represents an overwhelming rejection of the Supreme Court’s expansion of corporate power,” said Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, National Director of Move to Amend. “Voters in Washington have the opportunity to join a growing movement of people from all walks of life rejecting the overwhelming influence of big corporations in politics, and demanding a genuine democracy that is accountable to We the People, not wealthy interests.”