REAL Democracy History Calendar: July 30 – August 5

July 30

2015 – “Jimmy Carter: The U.S. is an ‘Oligarchy with Unlimited Political Bribery” published article
“Now [the United States is] just an oligarchy, with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or to elect the president. And the same thing applies to governors and U.S. senators and congress members. So now we’ve just seen a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect and sometimes get favors for themselves after the election’s over.”
https://theintercept.com/2015/07/30/jimmy-carter-u-s-oligarchy-unlimited-political-bribery/

2016 – Original publication of “Million-Dollar Donors in the 2016 Presidential Race” article in The New York Times
“In a stark departure from previous elections, most of the money this cycle is flowing not into the campaigns, but into outside groups like “super PACs” and other political organizations that are allowed to raise unlimited amounts of money from wealthy individuals, labor unions and corporations.”
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/us/elections/top-presidential-donors-campaign-money.html?_r=0

July 31

1965 – Birth of J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter fantasy series
Some claim Rowling has one of the greatest imaginations. But her fantasies pale in comparison to those of Supreme Court justices who have claimed legal documents (corporations) possess unalienable constitutional rights equal to human beings. Now that’s an imagination!

2009 – Committee for Economic Development submits brief to U.S. Supreme Court in opposition to Citizens United v. FEC
The Committee for Economic Development of The Conference Board (CED) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, business-led public policy organization that delivers well-researched analysis and reasoned solutions to our nation’s most critical issues.

From their brief to the Supreme Court:
“In this amicus curiae brief, CED seeks to counteract the assumption that corporations want more leeway to spend money on political campaigns. To the contrary, the business leaders who serve as CED’s trustees believe that a decision striking down the ban on corporate electioneering expenditures would severely harm corporate interests…

“Businesses would not welcome such a regime because it would expose corporations to corrupt shakedowns for political money. Corporations would face intense pressure to provide indirect financial support for candidates to attract the attention of, and avoid retribution from, elected officials. Corporate electioneering would harm public confidence in business, fueling the perception that large corporations secure unfair advantages by purchasing political influence. Yet each corporation would be helpless to get out of the political game, fearful of losing out in the economic marketplace to competitors that were willing to play ball.” http://www.fec.gov/law/litigation/citizens_united_sc_08_ced_supp_brief_amici.pdf

August 1

1999 – Publication of “Treatise on Constitutional Law: Substance and Procedure” by Ronald D. Rotunda and John E. Nowak
The U.S. Supreme Court is “the most powerful court the world has ever known.” However, the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions of WTO, NAFTA, TPP, TTIP and TISA can supersede decidions of the highest national courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, and there is no appeal.

August 2

1924 – Birth of James Baldwin, Birth of James Baldwin, U.S. novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic
“Words like
 ‘freedom,’ ‘justice,’ and ‘democracy”’ are not common concepts;
 on the contrary, they are rare.
 People are not born knowing what these are. It takes enormous,
 and above all, individual effort 
to arrive at the respect for other people 
that these words imply.”

2010 – Are the Corporate Money Floodgates About to Open? by Suzy Khimm
After waiting on the sidelines, Best Buy, Target, and other companies are diving into the campaign finance free-for-all.

“In the months immediately following the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, corporations seemed to be sitting on the sidelines instead of delving directly into the campaign finance free-for-all that the decision opened up. Instead, it was labor unions that leapt to take advantage of the lifted restrictions, outspending corporations on independent campaign ads by nearly threefold in the first six months of 2010. But now there’s mounting evidence that some of the nation’s most visible and powerful corporations have entered the fray…”
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2010/08/citizens-united-target-best-buy

August 3

2009 – A Call to Democratize Money article published this month by Greg Coleridge
“Centuries before corporate ‘personhood’ rights, even [before] the US Constitution, a privileged few and their business corporations were usurping the power of sovereignty, of decision-making authority in one pivotal arena – with profoundly undemocratic, unjust, and violent consequences. That arena was, and is, the creation of money.

“The privatization or corporatization of money is not simply one more single-issue assault on the right of citizens to self-rule. Its profound impacts on economic and ecological systems are as consequential as those wrought by corporate constitutional rights and demand its separate understanding, analysis, and prescription.”

Coleridge is a Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy (POCLAD) principal.
http://poclad.org/BWA/2009/BWA_2009_AUG.html

2016 – Death of former Republican Congressman Steven LaTourette from Ohio
“Politics is being directed by a bunch of rich people who you can count on two hands who have an inordinate impact of the direction of government.”

August 4

1967 – Federation of Southern Cooperatives Chartered
Five major civil rights organizations developed economic cooperatives throughout the South — mostly farming and supply and marketing co-ops, but also credit unions, housing co-ops and worker co-ops. The Federation still operates today – an example of economic democracy.

August 5

1876 – Birth of Mary Ritter Beard, historian and women’s rights movement activist
“At no time, at no place, in solemn convention assembled, through no chosen agents, had the American people officially proclaimed the United States to be a democracy. The Constitution did not contain the word or any word lending countenance to it, except possibly the mention of “We the people” in the preamble….When the Constitution was framed no respectable person called himself or herself a democrat.”

1934 – Birth of Wendell Berry, US novelist, poet, environmental activist, cultural critic, and farmer
“A corporation, essentially, is a pile of money to which a number of persons have sold their moral allegiance. It can experience no personal hope or remorse, no change of heart. It cannot humble itself. Its single purpose is to become a bigger pile of money.”

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