REAL Democracy History Calendar: August 8 – 14

August 8        

1996 – International Dairy Foods Assn. v. Amestoy court decision

US Court of Appeals, Second Circuit overturns Vermont law requiring the labeling of all products containing bovine growth hormone. The right not to speak inheres in political and commercial speech alike and extends to statements of fact as well as statements of opinion.”  http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-2nd-circuit/1210635.html

August 9        

1949 – Death of Edward Thorndike, U.S. psychologist   

“An adult who ceases after youth to unlearn and relearn his facts and to reconsider his opinions is a menace to a democratic community.”

2000 – Five Women arrested at Pentagon for “Act of Nonviolent Love” in Nagasaki protest at Pentagon

August 9 is the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan. Nonviolent civil disobedience is a tactic to raise awareness of issues and problems and, if strategically done by sufficient numbers at the right time and place, can prevent or end unjust, violent or undemocratic actions by governments or corporations.

2013 – “Corporate Constitutional “Rights” Harm Small Business” by Laura Bonham article posted

“Time and again, large corporations have gone to court to assert their rights over the rights of small businesses. In nearly every case, the Court has sided with the large corporations…

“Small businesses find themselves in the same position when it comes to our First Amendment “right” to participate in the electoral process….

“Big corporations have used the Fourteenth Amendment due process and equal protection clauses to oppose tax and other public policies meant to protect local communities, and to bypass local planning codes designed to encourage small business and strengthen local economies in forcing construction of chain stores against the will of the community. They have used Fourth Amendment search and seizure rights to avoid subpoenas for unlawful trade and price fixing, and to prevent citizens, communities and regulatory agencies from stopping corporate pollution and other assaults on people or the commons.  Modern corporate personhood rights have deleterious effects on small businesses and the communities on which we depend.

“It is clear that when large corporations have special privileges of limited liability to protect commerce and inherent rights under the Constitution, those rights and privileges are used to smash the rights of the people, including the owners of small businesses. Small businesses would do well to get behind efforts to amend the Constitution to clearly state that corporations are not entitled to inherent human rights and that money is not protected political speech so we may enjoy, in the future, a more level playing field in which to do business. Learn more at MovetoAmend.org and join me in endorsing this at https://www.movetoamend.org/motion

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2013/08/09/corporate-constitutional-rights-harm-small-business

August 10

1943 – Birth of Richard Grossman, co-founder of the Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy (POCLAD, http://www.poclad.org)        

“Sovereignty is in our hands now…when the people running a corporation assume rights and powers which the sovereign had not bestowed or when they assault the sovereign people, this entity becomes an affront to our body politic. And like a cancer ravaging a human body, such a rebellious corporation must be cut out of our body politic. “

2013 – “For Freshmen in the House, Seats of Plenty” published article

“Representative Andy Barr, a Republican from Kentucky with little experience in the intricacies of Wall Street, was among the lucky House freshmen to secure a seat on the powerful Financial Services Committee.

“Now, half a year into his first term, he has emerged as a telling example of why the panel is sometimes called “the cash committee” — a place, critics say, where there are big incentives for freshmen to do special favors for the industry…

“One industry lobbyist, who asked not to be named because client matters are supposed to be confidential, said his political action committee was sizing up all of the Financial Services Committee freshmen as it tried to determine who could best help deliver on the industry’s agenda.

“’It is almost like investing in a first-round draft pick for the N.B.A. or N.F.L.,’ the lobbyist said. ‘There is potential there. So we make an investment, and we are hopeful that investment produces a return.’”

2020 – “The Undoing Of Illusions: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix” posted article

“All I’m ever writing about here is the undoing of illusions. The undoing of illusions about what’s happening in the world, the undoing of illusions about the media, the undoing of illusions about society, the undoing of illusions about ourselves. If you’re a lover of truth, it’s all the same to you.

“The world isn’t happening the way most people think it is happening. Maturity is learning and understanding the multifaceted, multi-leveled ways in which this is the case.”

August 11                  

1919 – Founding of the Green Bay Packers professional football team

The Green Bay Packers were founded by Curly Lambeau and George Whitney Calhoun. The Packers are now the only publicly owned company with a board of directors in American professional sports. The private National Football League (NFL), in fact, will not allow community ownership of any other football team.

2011 – Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney on corporations and people

Famously declared on this date at the Iowa State Fair, “Corporations are people, my friend.”

August 12

1861 – “Proclamation 85—Proclaiming a Day of National Humiliation, Prayer, and Fasting” signed by President Abraham Lincoln

“Whereas when our own beloved country, once, by the blessing of God, united, prosperous, and happy, is now afflicted with faction and civil war, it is peculiarly fit for us to recognize the hand of God in this terrible visitation, and in sorrowful remembrance of our own faults and crimes as a nation and as individuals to humble ourselves before Him and to pray for His mercy–to pray that we may be spared further punishment, though most justly deserved; that our arms may be blessed and made effectual for the reestablishment of law, order, and peace throughout the wide extent of our country; and that the inestimable boon of civil and religious liberty, earned under His guidance and blessing by the labors and sufferings of our fathers, may be restored in all its original excellence:”

https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/documents/proclamation-85-proclaiming-day-national-humiliation-prayer-and-fasting

[Note: We need another one of these today given the growing violence, injustices and intolerance toward one another and the earth that threatens, among many realities, the ability to create real democracy with prayer/reflection based on whatever religion or ethical conviction one follows.]

1890 –  “Tree That Owns Itself,” article in Athens Weekly Banner

“I, W. H. Jackson, of the county of Clarke, of the one part, and the oak tree … of the county of Clarke, of the other part: Witnesseth, That the said W. H. Jackson for and in consideration of the great affection which he bears said tree, and his great desire to see it protected has conveyed, and by these presents do convey unto the said oak tree entire possession of itself and of all land within eight feet [2.4 m] of it on all sides.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree_That_Owns_Itself

“Can a tree have rights?

It might seem strange that a tree can own anything, let alone itself, but there is actually some legal precedent. Although they usually take a back seat to animal rights, plant rights have been discussed in several countries around the world.”

2014 – “New York Teachers Union Rips Corporate Ties of Common Core” article published

“Teachers are playing up the corporate ties behind the controversial Common Core K-12 standards for math and English. British company Pearson PLC has a $33 million contract with the state to administer the assessment tests in public schools; the company is also running teacher training tests.

“Public education, not private profits,” the crowd chanted, led by New York State United Teachers union president Karen E. Magee, according to the Times-Union.

“Magee said that teachers understand the needs of their students more than a testing company, and held up a copy of a contract with the state and Pearson and ripped it up as the crowd chanted, “shred it, shred it.”

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/08/12/new-york-teachers-union-rips-corporate-ties-of-common-core/

2021 – “Meet the Censored: Paul Jay” posted interview

“Matt Taibbi: Is the result of this kind of censorship going to just drive audiences to big corporate news agencies? And if that’s the case, what can people do about that? What’s going to happen to alternative news, if there’s a double standard?

“Paul Jay: Let’s back up one step. Why do they allow alternative media? The financial class, the billionaire class, the state, and so on. Why is there even an alternative media in the United States? Because on the whole it’s marginal, and as long as it’s marginal, it’s acceptable. Because democracy in the United States, in my mind, it’s a complicated thing. There really is a kind of democracy, that’s mostly for elites.

“There’s a need to keep up a kind of facade of democracy. And maybe facade is too strong a word, because it’s not like there are no democratic rights. You still can go to a court, there is a jury, people can sue, they win sometimes, the odd progressive gets elected. There’s some there there, and it’s worth defending that, but there’s a facade that this democracy really allows dissenting voices. As long as they’re marginal, okay. So the more the big tech companies control this score, the better they can make sure that stuff stays marginal.”

https://taibbi.substack.com/p/meet-the-censored-paul-jay?

August 13

1920 – Adoption of “Declaration of the Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World,” the Principles of the Universal Negro Improvement Association

 “After fighting World War I, ostensibly to defend democracy and the right of self-determination, thousands of African-American soldiers returned home to face intensified discrimination, segregation, and racial violence. Drawing on this frustration, Marcus Garvey attracted thousands of disillusioned black working-class and lower middle-class followers to his Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA).” 

Twenty-five thousand delegates from around the world attended the month-long convention in New York City, where this document was adopted.

“Preamble

“Be It Resolved, That the Negro people of the world, through their chosen representatives in convention assembled in Liberty Hall, in the City of New York and United States of America, from August 1 to August 31, in the year of Our Lord one thousand nine hundred and twenty, protest against the wrongs and injustices they are suffering at the hands of their white brethren, and state what they deem their fair and just rights, as well as the treatment they propose to demand of all men in the future.

“We complain:

“1. That nowhere in the world, with few exceptions, are black men accorded equal treatment with white men, although in the same situation and circumstances, but, on the contrary, are discriminated against and denied the common rights due to human beings for no other reason than their race and color.

We are not willingly accepted as guests in the public hotels and inns of the world for no other reason than our race and color.

“2. In certain parts of the United States of America our race is denied the right of public trial accorded to other races when accused of crime, but are lynched and burned by mobs, and such brutal and inhuman treatment is even practiced upon our women…

“4. In the southern portion of the United States of America, although citizens under the Federal Constitution, and in some States almost equal to the whites in population and are qualified land owners and taxpayers, we are, nevertheless, denied all voice in the making and administration of the laws and are taxed without representation by the State governments, and at the same time compelled to do military service in defense of the country.”

Full list of 54 complaints, demands and proclamations at http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5122/

2015 – Don’t Be Fooled by the Political Game: The Illusion of Freedom in America, by John Whitehead, constitutional and human rights attorney

“Being a citizen in the American corporate state is much like playing against a stacked deck: you’re always going to lose.

“The game is rigged, and “we the people” keep getting dealt the same losing hand. Even so, most stay in the game, against all odds, trusting that their luck will change…

‘We are living in a fantasy world carefully crafted to resemble a representative democracy. It used to be that the cogs, wheels and gear shifts in our government machinery worked to keep our republic running smoothly. However, without our fully realizing it, the mechanism has changed. Its purpose is no longer to keep our republic running smoothly. To the contrary, this particular contraption’s purpose is to keep the corporate police state in power. Its various parts are already a corrupt part of the whole.”

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2015/08/dont-be-fooled-by-the-political-game-the-illusion-of-freedom-in-america.html

2018 — “Ralph Nader, on Corporate Speech: The activist criticizes the A.C.L.U. for its support of corporate free speech,” letter to the editor

“A case can be made against regulations prohibiting companies from providing critical price information to consumers. But it has been difficult to understand why the A.C.L.U. supported the notorious Citizens United case with an amicus brief. Citizens United allows unlimited political contributions by corporations for or against candidates for elective office.

“More inexplicable was the group’s support for the carcinogenic tobacco industry’s advertisements as protected free speech.

“For decades the A.C.L.U. has fought for corporate personhood. Corporations are not people, Mr. Cole.”

August 14

1935 – Social Security Act enacted

This act provides old age insurance for the mostly White workforce of certain industries, excluding domestic and agricultural workers, who are mostly non-white.

1958 – Death of Mary Ritter Beard, U.S. historian

“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.”

1995 – “A Call to Citizens: Will Real Populists Please Stand Up” article in Nation magazine by Ronnie Dugger, Alliance for Democracy co-founder         

“We are ruled by Big Business and Big Government as its paid hireling, and we know it. Corporate money is wrecking popular government in the United States. The big corporations and the centimillionaires and billionaires have taken daily control of our work, our pay, our housing, our health, our pension funds, our bank and saving deposits, our public lands, our airwaves, our elections and our very government. It’s as if American democracy has been bombed. Will we be able to recover ourselves and overcome the bombers? Or will they continue to divide us and will we continue to divide ourselves, according to our wounds and our alarms, until they have taken the country away from us for good?

 “Over 6000 people responded [to the article calling for the creation of an Alliance for Democracy], 2500 joined, and more than 55 local Alliances were formed nationwide. In late 1996 delegates from 30 states convened in Texas hill country and the Alliance for Democracy was founded.”

http://www.thealliancefordemocracy.org/about.html

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