News

Speakers at Democracy Convention

We are excited to provide the following list of confirmed speakers, session leaders, and artists at the 2011 Democracy Convention. This listing will be expanded and otherwise updated in advance of the convention:

HUMANIST: Touchscreen voting machines leave a paperless trail in districts where the polls do not match the results

January 1, 2004
Michael I. Niman
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Manipulating election votes, the act of stealing an American election, used to sound far fetched. While many people weren't always confident that voters would make fully informed decisions, it was always assumed that each vote would at least be counted. Then came Florida--and the whole quaint notion of elections got tossed out the window. The final 2000 election recount showed that George W. Bush didn't win but he came close enough to move in for the kill.

HARPER'S: A citizens' guide to hacking the 2004 election

April 1, 2004
Brendan Koerner
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That serious problems plague our new, computerized voting machines--on which 29 percent of U.S. voters are poised to cast their votes in November--has been apparent ever since $3.9 billion in federal funding for the machines was made available in 2002, in the aftermath of Bush v. Gore. In the years since, report after report has cautioned that the machines lack the security and robustness necessary to withstand the assaults of hackers or unscrupulous technicians. But no one seems likely to stop the rollout of the machines, more than 50,000 of which have been purchased by states.

NATION: How the 2004 election could be stolen

August 16, 2004
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On November 2 millions of Americans will cast their votes for President in computerized voting systems that can be rigged by corporate or local-election insiders. Some 98 million citizens, five out of every six of the roughly 115 million who will go to the polls, will consign their votes into computers that unidentified computer programmers, working in the main for four private corporations and the officials of 10,500 election jurisdictions, could program to invisibly falsify the outcomes.

SOJOURNERS: The e-voting system is dangerously vulnerable to fraud

September 1, 2004
David Batstone

Florida, 2000 presidential election—the vote count long will be recalled as a low point in U.S. democratic politics.

The hue and cry of electoral corruption and a stolen election compelled the U.S. Congress to act. Boldly, it committed $3.9 billion in matching federal funds to assist states in the transition toward digital voting systems. Here, under the flag of the Help America Vote Act, was the answer for hanging chads.

Remarkably, about 30 percent of the electorate—50 million voters or so—will submit a ballot in the coming November elections using paperless machines. Be worried. The e-voting system in place is dangerously vulnerable to fraud.

WSJ: Diebold security flaws emerge as electronic voting spreads

October 25, 2004
Anne Marie Squeo
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THE HANGING CHADS and lost ballots of the 2000 presidential-election debacle made it seem a foregone conclusion that modernized, electronic-voting machines would be widely embraced the next time around. And so they will be. But paranoia about stolen elections and security flaws has made Nov. 2 a make-or-break event for the fledgling industry and its biggest player, Diebold Inc.

NYT: North Carolina's election machine blunder

January 18, 2005
Adam Cohen
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The November election may feel like ancient history, but it is still going on in North Carolina. The state has been unable to swear in an agriculture commissioner because a single malfunctioning electronic voting machine lost more ballots than the number of votes that separate the two candidates. The State Board of Elections, the candidates and the public are sharply divided on how to proceed. The mess North Carolina finds itself in is a cautionary tale about the perils of relying on electronic voting that does not produce a paper record.

SALON: Princeton University study demonstrates how Diebold's machines can be hacked

September 13, 2006
Brad Friedman
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Having reported extensively on the security concerns that surround the use of electronic voting machines, I anxiously awaited the results of a new study of a Diebold touch-screen voting system, conducted by Princeton University. The Princeton computer scientists obtained the Diebold system with cooperation from VelvetRevolution, an umbrella organization of more than 100 election integrity groups, which I co-founded a few months after the 2004 election. We acquired the Diebold system from an independent source and handed it over to university scientists so that, for the first time, they could analyze the hardware, software and firmware of the controversial voting system.

NYT: The largest tester of electronic voting machines banned from testing after they failed to prove that they conducted all of the required tests

January 4, 2007
Christopher Drew
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A laboratory that has tested most of the nation’s electronic voting systems has been temporarily barred from approving new machines after federal officials found that it was not following its quality-control procedures and could not document that it was conducting all the required tests.

The company, Ciber Inc. of Greenwood Village, Colo., has also come under fire from analysts hired by New York State over its plans to test new voting machines for the state. New York could eventually spend $200 million to replace its aging lever devices.

SEATTLE TIMES: Foreign electronic voting systems similar to the US systems are suspected of being tampered

March 25, 2009
Greg Gordon
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WASHINGTON - The CIA, which has been monitoring foreign countries' use of electronic-voting systems, has reported apparent vote-rigging schemes in Venezuela, Macedonia and Ukraine and a raft of concerns about the machines' vulnerability to tampering.

Appearing last month before a U.S. Election Assistance Commission field hearing in Orlando, Fla., a CIA cybersecurity expert suggested that Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and his allies fixed a 2004 election recount, an assertion that could further roil U.S. relations with the Latin leader.

MONKS and MURRAY: Is the Supreme Court Determined to Expand Corporate Power?

August 25, 2009
Robert Monks and Peter Murray

One of the phrases bandied about during the confirmation hearings for Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the United States Supreme Court is “judicial activism” – a tendency of judges to use the cases they decide to implement their own notions of public policy. Of course, all recent Supreme Court nominees have steadfastly denied any shred of judicial activism and have uniformly maintained that the proper role of a judge, even a Supreme Court Justice, is to apply existing law, whether Constitutional, statutory or precedent, to the facts of the case before him or her. No one has been more outspoken against the evils of judicial activism than Chief Justice Roberts.

Now it appears that the Chief may be undertaking a bit of judicial activism of his own. The case is Citizens United v. FEC. The conservative group that sponsored Hillary: The Movie just before the Democratic primary is seeking to avoid or roll back the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance law that prohibits the use of corporate funds to influence elections. Chief Justice Roberts and his conservative Supreme Court majority are getting ready to use Citizens United as the vehicle to overrule established precedent (and overturn carefully drafted legislation) and grant business corporations a constitutional right to use their funds to participate in political debate, not only on public issues, but even in the election of candidates to office. Such a move would be judicial activism on a grand scale!
 

NICHOLS: Feingold Fears Lawless Court Ruling

January 12, 2010
John Nichols
More than one hundred years ago, after a 1904 president race that saw big life insurance companies pour money into the project of electing Republican Teddy Roosevelt, the defeated Democratic candidate, Judge Alton Parker, raised the question of whether presidents and congresses would simply be bought by corporations seeking policies that favored their interests.
 
"The greatest moral question which now confronts us is: Shall the trusts and corporations be prevented from contributing money to control or aid in controlling elections?" declared Parker.
 
More Info: 

John Nichols is the Washington Correspondent for The Nation magazine. He is president of the Liberty Tree Foundation. This article originally appeared in the Nation Magazine here...

WASH POST: On pins and needles ahead of Citizens United

January 14, 2010
Dan Eggen

News conferences were scheduled and telephone briefings were penciled in, but Washington advocacy groups were disappointed yet again Wednesday: The Supreme Court did not issue its long-awaited decision on campaign finance laws.

 

This is a vigil of the kind to be found only in Washington. Legal groups, political parties and court-watchers have been waiting for months to learn whether the high court will uphold a ban on corporate spending on elections, or if instead it will open the gates to unlimited donations from well-financed companies and unions.

 

More Info: 

This article originally appeared in the Washington Post, here...

WRN: Move to Amend sees “Pearl Harbor for American democracy"

January 25, 2010
Bob Hague, Wisconsin Radio Network
Last week’s controversial Supreme Court ruling has some calling for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Madison attorney Ben Manski says the decision, which is expected to allow corporate and union money to pour into political campaigns, was itself based on a precedent which gives corporations the same rights as individuals.
 
“This decision enshrines the rights of corporations above the rights of the people to govern ourselves,” says Manski. “The majority essentially decided that cortporations have the same rights as flesh-and-blood human beings.”
 
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GRANT: Voters of both parties object to Supreme Court activism

January 26, 2010
Bill Grant

If anything can unite Americans across party and ideological lines, it should be the arrogant and unprecedented Supreme Court ruling that corporations are “persons” with all the protections and rights of the Constitution.

In a case trumped up by the court itself, five activist judges reversed 100 years of precedent to allow unlimited, special-interest money to be spent in our local, state and federal elections.

Corporations are now free to spend unlimited money on behalf of a candidate they favor, or against one they wish to silence. No grassroots organization will ever be likely to raise enough money for their candidate to compete on a level playing field.

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This report originally appeared in the Grand Junction Sentinel here...

Daily Sentinel: Voters of Both Parties Object to Supreme Court Activism

January 26, 2010
Bill Grant
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If anything can unite Americans across party and ideological lines, it should be the arrogant and unprecedented Supreme Court ruling that corporations are “persons” with all the protections and rights of the Constitution.

In a case trumped up by the court itself, five activist judges reversed 100 years of precedent to allow unlimited, special-interest money to be spent in our local, state and federal elections.

MANSKI AND GRAVES: Amend the Constitution to rein in corporations

February 12, 2010
Ben Manski and Lisa Graves

You just lost the heart of your citizenship, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court.

 

In Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission, five justices asserted: “By taking the right to speak from some and giving it to others, the government deprives the disadvantaged person or class of the right to use speech to strive to establish worth, standing and respect for the speaker’s voice.”

 

The “disadvantaged person” they reference is, unbelievably, the corporation. In law-speak, this means that as “persons,” corporations now wield constitutional protections against government regulation of elections.

More Info: 

Ben Manski is the executive director of the Liberty Tree Foundation and a practicing attorney, and Lisa Graves is the executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy and former deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy under Attorneys General Janet Reno and John Ashcroft. They are members of the executive committee of MovetoAmend.org and can be reached at pmproj@progressive.org.

MCLARTY: Fighting corporate power in the wake of the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling

February 13, 2010
Scott McLarty

Democracy and fair elections in the US are in grave danger.  What are we going to do about it?

More Info: 
Scott McLarty is national media coordinator for the Green Party of the United States, which does not accept corporate contributions.  He lives in Washington, DC.
 
More Resources:
Interview with Jan Edwards in Multinational Monitor magazine, October/November 2002 
Move To Amend (sign the petition)
Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County (DUHC)  If you need help with actions against corporate personhood or if you have ideas, contact DUHC at 707-269-0984

MANSKI: Supreme Court's decision creates an American crisis

February 13, 2010
Ben Manski

Unhinged. Absurd. Outrageous.

That's how you could describe the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in “Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission.” Unfortunately, the decision was much, much worse than that.

How much worse?

You might have some idea if you've ever found yourself facing foreclosure on your home; or worked at a company that was downsizing and laying people off; or enrolled in a college where the tuition keeps doubling; or faced salary freezes year after year, even while the cost of living rises.

Most of us know how those things feel. It's the feeling of losing control over your destiny.

More Info: 

Ben Manski is executive director of the Liberty Tree Foundation, an Institute for Policy Studies associate fellow and a member of the executive committee of Move to Amend: The Campaign to Legalize Democracy.

MANSKI - MCCABE - GRAVES: 'Overrule the Court' Rally in Madison

February 16, 2010

About 200 people came to the state Capitol in Madison to say "No!" to the Supreme Court's ruling invalidating all legal limits on corporate spending in elections.

C.L. COOK: Interview with Riki Ott of Campaign to Legalize Democracy

February 22, 2010
C.L. Cook, Gorilla Radio

Last month, the United States Supreme Court ruled; 2nd Amendment rights must be applied fully to corporations. Corporations , you may recall, are not faceless, conscienceless business entities, but are "living" entities, entitled under law to many of the rights accorded to humans. so it has been the many long years since the idea to manufacture, whole cloth from the language of the law the power to, if not creat life itrself, then the ability to incorporate within a business or common concern the privileges known to the living. Until recently, those privileges fell short of the Free Speech provisions of the American Constitution; but no more.

More Info: 

C.L. Cook is a Victoria, B.C. based activist, radio host, writer and editor.
Gorilla Radio website here...

UCONN: Students call for reforms over 'corporate personhood'

February 23, 2010
Jay Polansky

Think of the name of your favorite corporation. Then add a “Mr.,” “Mrs.” or “Ms.” before it.

As a result of a recent United States Supreme Court decision, corporations have been granted free speech – a key right of personhood – creating contention in the campus and political communities.

“This egregious decision turns back the clock on over 60 years of precedent,” said Jenn Hatch, a ConnPIRG associate, in a press release.

More Info: 

Jay Polanski is a student at the University of Connecticut.

MURPHY: Locals look to organize movement to abolish corporate personhood

February 23, 2010
Myles Murphy

A recent Supreme Court decision extending the rights of corporations has some locals and grassroots organizers concerned.

"There's a little buzz around the country about this Supreme Court decision," said Wes Brain of Southern Oregon Jobs for Justice, one of the organizers of a public meeting Thursday billed as a chance for Ashlanders to "join the movement to abolish corporate personhood" in the wake of the decision.

In January, the U.S. Supreme Court overruled a lower court's decision not to allow advertising and distribution of a 90-minute movie criticizing Hillary Clinton during the 2008 Democratic primary campaign. Before being overturned, an earlier court said the movie must be regulated like a campaign ad.

More Info: 

This article originally appeared in the Ashland Daily Tidings

HIGHTOWER: Fighting the Subversion of Our People's Sovereignty

February 24, 2010
Jim Hightower

As you've probably heard, corporations are now "people" — humanoids that are equivalent to you and me. This miraculous metamorphosis happened on Jan. 21. Accompanied by a blinding bolt of lightning, and a terrifying jolt of thunder, five Dr. Frankensteins on the Supreme Court threw a judicial switch that endowed these pulseless paper entities with the human right to speak politically.

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National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be - consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.

MoveToAmend.org

FreeSpeechForPeople.org

FixCongressFirst.org

KORTEN: 10 Ways To Stop Corporate Dominance Of Politics

February 25, 2010
Fran Korten

The recent US Supreme Court decision to allow unlimited corporate spending in politics just may be the straw that breaks the plutocracy’s back. Pro-democracy groups, business leaders, and elected representatives are proposing mechanisms to prevent or counter the millions of dollars that corporations can now draw from their treasuries to push for government action favorable to their bottom line. The outrage ignited by the Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission extends to President Obama, who has promised that repairing the damage will be a priority for his administration.

MANSKI AND GRAVES: Corporations are People Too

March 2, 2010
Ben Manski and Lisa Graves

In Citizens United v. FEC, five justices on the U.S. Supreme Court have decided that corporations are free to invest in the outcomes of elections, and that the federal government must shelter them against the will of the people.

As far as those five justices are concerned, their decision is final. It is not. There is a higher authority on whose bench every U.S. citizen serves: We the People. The Constitution is our national charter and belongs in our stewardship; the courts, corporations, and all the instruments of government must give way to the American people.

The Citizens United majority clothed its decision in the language of our First Amendment: Corporations belong to a class of “disadvantaged persons” entitled to free speech rights.

More Info: 

Ben Manski is executive director of the Liberty Tree Foundation and practices law with Manski Law & Communications, LLC. He is on the executive committee of MovetoAmend.org.

Lisa Graves is the executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy, the publisher of SourceWatch.org and PRWatch.org. She was deputy assistant attorney general at the Department of Justice and is on the executive committee of MovetoAmend.org

OTT: The Corporations Are Coming! The Corporations Are Coming!

March 16, 2010
Riki Ott

Alaska-Colorado-California-Oregon-Washington -- Three-plus weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court threw out limits on corporate spending in political campaigns in Citizens United v. FEC, an ABC News/Washington Post poll found that 80% of Americans oppose the Court's ruling, including 65% who "strongly" oppose it. A whopping 72% want legislative action to overrule the Court and reinstate the campaign limits.

More Info: 

Riki Ott and David Cobb are national spokespeople for The Campaign to Legalize Democracy (www.movetoamend.org), a coalition of national and grassroots groups calling to amend the Constitution to abolish the legal doctrine that allows corporations to claim constitutional rights. Ott is a survivor of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Her story of personal and community healing is shared in Not One Drop: Betrayal and Courage in the Wake of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill (Chelsea Green, 2008) (www.ultimatecivics.org). Cobb is a principal with the Program on Corporations Law & Democracy (www.poclad.org) and Campaigns Director for Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County (www.duhc.org). He can be reached directly at 707-269-0984 or david@duhc.org.

NEW YORK TIMES: Bay Area Emerges as Center of Nonprofit Journalism

April 10, 2010
Frances Dinkelspiel

In its ten months of existence, California Watch, an offshoot of the Center for Investigative Reporting, which is located in Berkeley, has placed 21 stories with the San Francisco Chronicle. One of those stories, on seismic safety in California’s public colleges and universities, was distributed to more than 80 news outlets, Robert Rosenthal, the center’s executive editor, said.

It has become one of the most prominent examples of the Bay Area’s new growth industry: the non-profit news organization.

As regional newspapers have shed reporters over the years — a recent count said there are now 500 journalists covering news compared with 900 a few years ago — non-profit news groups have stepped in to cover the gap.

More Info: 

Original article here...

ROTHSCHILD: Corporations Aren't Persons

April 10, 2010
Matthew Rothschild

ON FEBRUARY 16, ABOUT 200 people gathered on the steps of the Wisconsin state capitol. “It’s fitting that we stand out in the cold,” said Mike McCabe, executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

“That’s where the Supreme Court has left us.”

He was referring to the court’s recent decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which granted corporations the right to spend unlimited funds on so-called independent expenditures to influence the outcome of elections. The crowd heartily agreed with McCabe. Signs said: “No Corporate Takeover of Elections,” “Free Speech, Not Fee Speech,” “Money Is Not Speech, Corporations Are Not Persons.” And a chant went up: “Overrule the Court.”

Ben Manski, executive director of the Liberty Tree Foundation, drew the crowd in with a historical analogy.

More Info: 

Matthew Rothschild is the editor of The Progressive magazine.

More information on Move to Amend here.

STVERAK: Investigations and explanations – two journalism tasks where nonprofits can thrive

April 14, 2010
Jason Stverak

The newspaper industry is struggling. According to a March 2010 report from the Pew Research Center’s annual Project for Excellence in Journalism, the American newspaper industry has lost $1.6 billion in annual reporting and editing capacity since 2000. In the last three years, the newspaper industry has cut thousands of full-time reporting and editing jobs.

The rapid decay of traditional for-profit news media is not because the public is less hungry for news. Indeed, the Pew study shows that Americans are avidly interested in news. What has changed is that Americans for the most part aren’t willing to pay for news, mostly because they believe they can get all the news they want without paying for it.

So how will America fill the growing void in journalism as traditional for-profit media models fail?

More Info: 

Original article here...

CASPER STAR_TRIBUNE: University of Wyoming needs to explain why it banned Ayers

April 15, 2010

We understand the University of Wyoming's reluctance to discuss litigation against it. Bill Ayers' threat of a lawsuit for not being allowed to speak on campus will likely become a reality this morning when it's filed in federal court in Cheyenne.

But UW has a broader responsibility to explain to the public why it has banned Ayers. This action is much different than what happened earlier this month, when the UW Social Justice Research Center rescinded its invitation to Ayers to speak at a conference on education.

That decision was made by the center's director, Francisco Rios, over security concerns. News that the former radical-turned-education professor was coming to Laramie prompted hundreds of e-mails and phone calls to UW officials expressing outrage that someone with Ayers' past was invited to the university. According to Rios, some people made threats of violence. Others said they would stop donating money to UW.

More Info: 

Original editorial here...

JUNEAU EMPIRE: Alaska students protest tuition hikes

April 16, 2010
Pat Forgey

College students were quick to protest proposed tuition hikes Thursday, after University of Alaska President Mark Hamilton called for increases far exceeding the rate of inflation, citing the economic outlook and tight state budgets.

Under university policy, the president must present the tuition proposal for the year beginning in fall of 2012, with a decision on the proposal expected at the Board of Regents meeting in September of this year. That meeting will be held in Juneau.

Student government leaders quickly announced opposition to the increase, and raised questions about whether it was needed. They held a rally Thursday at the campus in Juneau.

Tyler Preston, student body president at UAS, said the increase was too big, and not sufficiently explained.

"Mostly our problem comes from the lack of transparency or understanding of where the money is going to be going," Preston said.

More Info: 

Original article here...

DOBBIN: Rebuilding democracy, from the community up

April 19, 2010
Murray Dobbin

As many writers and activists have declared for some time now, Canadians -- and citizens in all English-speaking developed countries -- are facing a crisis in democracy. Another way of putting it is that we face a democratic deficit. That term harkens back to a book written 35 years ago called the Crisis in Democracy, commissioned by the Trilateral Commission (TLC), an international neo-liberal forum of CEOs, former and current heads of state and free market academics. The crisis they were talking about was different. As Samuel Huntington, a prominent American neo-liberal wrote in the book, there was "an excess of democracy." Too many people were asking governments for too many things -- and, even more dangerous, beginning to believe they were entitled to them.

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Original article here...

LERNER: Chicago’s $1.3 Million Experiment in Democracy

April 20, 2010
Josh Lerner, Megan Wade Antieau

On Chicago's far north side, citizens are taking democracy into their own hands. Through the first "participatory budgeting" experiment in the United States, residents of Chicago's 49th Ward have spent the past year deciding how to spend $1.3 million in taxpayer dollars. Over 1,600 community members stepped up to decide on improvements for their neighborhoods, showing how participatory budgeting can pave the way for a new kind of grassroots democracy, in Chicago and beyond.

Chicago may seem an unlikely site for participatory democracy, given the city's famous patronage system and lack of transparency in public finances. Faced with this system, community groups end up competing for budgetary scraps—an exhausting struggle. But frustration with backroom dealing is in part what makes Chicago and the United States ready for new ways of managing public money.

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Josh Lerner is co-director of The Participatory Budgeting Project, a resource organization that has advised Alderman Joe Moore throughout the 49th Ward’s participatory budgeting process.

Megan Wade Antieau, a writer and ward resident, has served as a community representative in the 49th Ward Participatory Budget, working with other residents to transform community input into budget proposals.

Original article here...

ROTHSCHILD: Corporations Aren't Persons

April 20, 2010
Matthew Rothschild

ON FEBRUARY 16, ABOUT 200 people gathered on the steps of the Wisconsin state capitol. “It’s fitting that we stand out in the cold,” said Mike McCabe, executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

“That’s where the Supreme Court has left us.”

He was referring to the court’s recent decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which granted corporations the right to spend unlimited funds on so-called independent expenditures to influence the outcome of elections. The crowd heartily agreed with McCabe. Signs said: “No Corporate Takeover of Elections,” “Free Speech, Not Fee Speech,” “Money Is Not Speech, Corporations Are Not Persons.” And a chant went up: “Overrule the Court.”

More Info: 

Matthew Rothschild is the editor of The Progressive magazine.

RECLAIM DEMOCRACY: ACLU shifts stance on campaign spending, needs to go further

April 22, 2010

Since 2003, the organization Reclaim Democracy has pushed the ACLU to rethink its claim that money = speech regarding investments in political campaigns and its position equating corporate communications with free speech, beginning when the ACLU took Nike Corporation's side in the infamous "corporate right to lie" dispute (Nike v Kasky).

More Info: 

Original report from Reclaim Democracy here...

THE NATION: 'The Cleveland Model': Democracy, Community, and Economic Vision

April 26, 2010
Gar Alperovitz, Ted Howard & Thad Williamson

Something important is happening in Cleveland: a new model of large-scale worker- and community-benefiting enterprises is beginning to build serious momentum in one of the cities most dramatically impacted by the nation's decaying economy. The Evergreen Cooperative Laundry (ECL)--a worker-owned, industrial-size, thoroughly "green" operation--opened its doors late last fall in Glenville, a neighborhood with a median income hovering around $18,000. It's the first of ten major enterprises in the works in Cleveland, where the poverty rate is more than 30 percent and the population has declined from 900,000 to less than 450,000 since 1950.

"I never thought I could become an owner of a major corporation. Maybe through Evergreen things that I always thought would be out of reach for me might become possible."

More Info: 

Original article here...

CASPER STAR-TRIBUNE: Federal court rules at-large elections violate Native American voting rights

April 30, 2010
Tom Morton

Fremont County must stop using its existing at-large system to elect commissioners because it violates the Voting Rights Act by diluting the strength of the Indian vote, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

Instead, county officials must submit a voting plan to the court by June 30 to create five districts in the county so residents on the Wind River Indian Reservation can better achieve fair representation on the five-member commission, U.S. District Judge Alan Johnson wrote.

The ruling comes more than three years after a nine-day bench trial in February 2007 before Johnson in which five enrolled members of the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes stated their case against Fremont County, its commissioners and the county court clerk.

Three weeks ago, attorneys for the Indians asked the Denver-based 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to force Johnson to make a decision.

The 102-page opinion did just that.

More Info: 

Original article here...

VLAHOS: Return Our Weekend Warriors

May 3, 2010
Kelley B. Vlahos

If George W. Bush – notorious for skipping his Texas Air National Guard drills during the Vietnam War – were in the Guard today, he’d be up in the air without a propeller.

That’s because today’s National Guard has become virtually indistinguishable from the nation’s active-duty forces in the war zone. The majority of these so-called part-time soldiers have served combat duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, with many– if not most – deployed more than once.

As of April 24, 622 members of the Guard have been killed [.pdf] in the two-front war since 2001. Forget the whole bit about “weekend warriors” – reservists have become indispensable to the ongoing overseas operations since Bush himself launched the country into war nine years ago.

More Info: 

Original article here...