General

Community Wireless Resources

October 1, 2010

Free Press

www.freepress.net/communityinternet

Description: Provides legislative updates and searches for community networks in your area.

MuniWireless

http://muniwireless.com/

Description: Home base for anyone interested in the municipal wireless movement. Portal for news and information on projects around the world.

Adopt a resolution to protect Wisconsin's Guard

May 11, 2010

Please download this sample resolution and bring it to our organization, local government, union, faith community, business -- you name it -- and get them to put their name on record in support of Wisconsin's National Guard.

www.democracysquare.org/files_public/WI Guard Resolution Letter.doc

Monitor Provisional & Absentee Ballot Processing

November 5, 2009
Emily Levy

Provisional ballots are not counted on election night, but must first go through a qualification process to determine whether or not the voter was eligible 1) to vote at all, and 2) to vote in all races on the ballot that was cast. . . . Observing this process can increase the chances that it is conducted fairly, in part by providing a deterrent to biased decision-making.

Ruckus: A Call for Nonviolent Direct Action

October 30, 2009

The Ruckus Society has developed an election-focused action toolkit you'll want to check out. As they say on their website:

Become an Election Integrity Activist on Election Night

October 7, 2009
What Can an Election Integrity Activist Do On Election Night?

Bev Harris of Blackbox Voting has put out a brief educational video about what citizens who want to ensure election integrity can do. She tells you exactly what to look for and video on Election Night to protect the count. You can take some easy steps to minimize election machine voter fraud.

Your help is needed. Thousands of citizens can ensure a fair election if they get active and involved in working for election integrity.

Analyses of Participatory Democracy Elsewhere

October 1, 2009

Argentina
www.linesofflight.net/work/rosario_pb_columbia.pdf
Learning Citizenship and Democracy Through Participatory Budgeting: The Case of Rosario, Argentina, by Josh Lerner and Daniel Schugurensky. Analysis of the pedagogical dimension and educational effects of participatory budgeting.

Australia
Active Democracy: Citizen Participation in Decision Making
www.activedemocracy.net
Description: Run by Lyn Carson at University of Sydney, this is an interesting collection of mostly Australian case studies and links.

United Kingdom
WE Power
www.powerinquiry.org

Local Democracy Associations and Organizations

September 30, 2009

 

America Speaks

www.americaspeaks.org

Description: A nonprofit organization that develops tools and provides consulting on achieving greater citizen input into public decision making.

 

  Chicago Area Participatory Economics Society

www.chicagoparecon.org
Description: The Chicago organization dedicated to public education on democratic economic models.  Based on "parecon" or participatory economics. 

 

Local Democracy News Sources

September 29, 2009

Inter Press Service News Agency -- The Word From the Street: City Voices
http://ipsnews.net/new_focus/cityvoices/index.aspDescription: Stories from around the world about local struggles against neoliberalism.

The International Budget Project
http://www.internationalbudget.org/
Newsletter with lots of updates on participatory budgeting and other participatory democracy programs.

Direct Legislation Resources

September 28, 2009

February 8, 2006: Council Ordered To Address Iraq Issue
Description: A judge orders city council of Watertown, Wisconsin to decide whether it will vote on a resolution to withdraw US troops from Iraq or let it proceed to referendum. The judge found it a legislative matter and proper for the council to consider. Advisory referenda are proper subjects for direct legislation.

 

Voter Bill of Rights

September 26, 2009

From unreliable electronic voting machines and millions of uncounted ballots, to partisan election officials and 10-hour waits at the polls, it is clear that our electoral system is in dire need of an overhaul. To build a more just, secure, and robust democracy, please support the following 10-point Voter Bill of Rights:

1. Pass a Constitutional Amendment Confirming the Right to Vote

Democratizing Education Network (DEN)

September 25, 2009

The Current Crisis in Higher Education

Over the past year, campus-based organizers have staged a series of significant mobilizations across the Unites States, including (but not limited to) antiracist rallies, massive antiwar demonstrations, sit-ins and building occupations, labor strikes (by both grad unions and staff), student strikes and boycotts, and Tent State Universities.

PROGRESSIVE STATES NETWORK: Trade and the States

July 29, 2009
A Stateside Dispatch Report

As we have written in the past, states have increasingly taken action to stop global trade deals from undermining state authority and state regulations that protect consumers, workers and the environment.

In recent weeks, the debate has heated up over the need to institutionalize the voice of states and protect state authority within trade negotiations. Just last week the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) passed a resolution asking the White House to commit its trade office to avoiding preemption of state authority. The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade also recently held a hearing on the issue of strengthening state voices within the trade negotiation process.

Tips for Effective Guard Home Petitioning

July 29, 2009
Leah Bolger
  1. Provide good training to your petition gatherers. Make sure they can explain the basic legal argument of the campaign. Give them info sheets and FAQs.
  2. INSIST that signers print. Consider making blocks for each letter to help people be legible. Because this is not a ballot measure petition, you do not need a signature.

SAVE THE NEWS: Toward a National Journalism Strategy

July 20, 2009
From Saving the News: Toward a National Journalism Strategy

"Journalism is a public good. As a society, we all benefit from quality news and information. But like many public goods, journalism has always been heavily subsidized. The subsidy model that prevailed for the past century — advertising-supported journalism — appears to be dying. If current trends continue, America could soon embark on an unprecedented social experiment by becoming the first advanced democracy to leave wide sectors of society and entire geographic regions without a fully functional, professional press. We are venturing into uncharted territory."

Wisconsin National Guard Petition

June 22, 2009

Please help the Wisconsin campaign by circulating this petition (PDF):

Wisconsin Guard Petition

CCFS: Free Speech Organizing Toolkit

June 19, 2009

The Free Speech Organizing Toolkit is designed to provide campus leaders and free speech supporters with the tools to work with higher education leaders to remove impediments to a marketplace of ideas on their campus.

This valuable toolkit was produced by the Center for Campus Free Speech. The Center acts as a clearinghouse of information, provides specialized support to campuses, and connects concerned educators, administrators, lawyers and students into a national network. The Center draws advice and guidance from a group of leaders in the higher education and legal communities.

Democratizing Education Charter

June 16, 2009

Adopted at the 2005 Democratizing Education Convention in Madison, Wisconsin:

  1. Full Public Funding for Public Higher Education
  2. Free Access to Higher Education and Abolition of Tuition
  3. Affirmative Action to End Institutionalized Racism and Sexism
  4. Full Recognition of the Right of Students and Workers to Organize
  5. Democratic Self-Government of Higher Education
  6. Service to the Public Welfare, Not Corporate Profits
  7. Free Speech and Academic Freedom
  8. Debt Forgiveness of Student Loans
  9. Civic Education for a Democratic Society
  10. Education, not war. Schools, Not Jails

Latest News fom the Department of Defense

June 2, 2009

For the latest news regarding deployments, activation numbers, casualties, and more, direct from the horse's mouth, see: http://www.defenselink.mil/Releases/

Latest News fom the Department of Defense

June 2, 2009

For the latest news regarding deployments, activation numbers, casualties, and more, direct from the horse's mouth, see: http://www.defenselink.mil/Releases/

National Guard Legislation

June 1, 2009

State legislation designed to end National Guard deployments to Iraq and/or Afghanistan and to reform state National Guard law . . .

- 2009 Session -

Note: Legislation is also pending in Alaska, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Campaigns are also underway in California, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and Washington D.C..

Maryland:

HB907
http://mlis.state.md.us/2009rs/billfile/hb0907.htm

SB501
http://mlis.state.md.us/2009rs/billfile/sb0501.htm

Bring the Massachusetts' National Guard Home Fact Sheet

April 22, 2009

BACKGROUND

There are 8000 Soldiers and Airmen in the Massachusetts National Guard, serving in Air Force and Army units, in both combat and support roles.

Deployments: More than 6,500 Massachusetts National Guard Soldiers and Airmen have been mobilized into federal service since 9/11/2001, and more than 5,300 of those served overseas.

Six Massachusetts National Guard soldiers were killed in action in this period.

Countless numbers of Massachusetts National Guard soldiers were wounded in action or sustained injuries, many requiring life-long treatment.

There will be countless Hidden Wounds of War i.e. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in the years ahead. (see Mass. report)

CENTER for CAMPUS FREE SPEECH: Guide to Student Activity Fees

March 31, 2009

The Center for Campus Free Speech releases there Guide to Student Activity Fees - a primer on the legal issues involved in creating and managing a student activity fee system.

Student fee systems are used by students across the country to provide the resources for a wide variety of out-of-classroom activities.

Students fund everything from service organizations to advocacy to educational forums and guest speakers. They debate and learn about critical issues like multiculturalism, the environment, education policy, conflicts in the Middle East and religion. They learn new skills and create change on major problems the world faces.

Student activity fees give involved students the resources to create a vibrant marketplace of ideas on campus.

STUDY GUIDE: Benson Scotch on war powers, defense policy, and the National Guard

March 22, 2009

RESTORING THE RULE OF LAW WHERE IT MATTERS MOST:

The new debate over war powers, defense policy,
and the National Guard

This study memo–maybe more dependent on computer literacy than on a knowledge of Latin legal maxims–consists of three features: The author’s narrative, documents or parts of documents integrated into the syllabus for easy reference, and links to the full texts of these documents as well as to other documents.

Many, many thanks to Ben Manski of the Liberty Tree Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Law School for creating this opportunity for dialogue.

CEPR: Dropping the Ax: Illegal Firings During Union Election Campaigns

March 9, 2009

This report, by John Schmitt and Ben Zipperer of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, updates an earlier report from January of 2007, which found a steep rise in illegal firings of pro-union workers in the 2000s relative to the last half of the 1990s. It updates the index of the probability that a pro-union worker will be fired in the course of a union election campaign, using published data from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). It also takes into consideration the increase in card-check organizing campaigns that began in the mid-1990s and adjusts the index for this factor.

Guide for starting a "Guard Home!" campaign in your state

March 9, 2009
Joy First & Leah Bolger

“Bring the Guard Home! It’s the Law.” is a national movement of state campaigns to end the unlawful overseas deployment of our National Guard. There are active campaigns in over 20 states working with state legislators to pass laws that will help keep our National Guard units from being sent to Iraq, and prevent future deployments that are not legal. With this legislation, the states can begin to reassert their historic national defense responsibilities and to honor the Constitution's genius for distributing power over issues of war and peace. This campaign can also help to bring an end to an occupation that has caused incredible suffering and death for untold numbers of innocent people.

The Legal Basis

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

January 26, 2009

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples

 

Adopted by General Assembly Resolution 61/295 on 13 September 2007     

Call for a Wisconsin Wave of Resistance

February 14, 2011

the WISCONSIN WAVE against Corporatization and Austerity and for Democracy and Shared Prosperity

We recognize the rising Wisconsin wave of resistance to corporatization and austerity and call on our fellow Wisconsinites to join it.

WILLIAMSON and ALPEROVITZ: Community Stability and the Challenge of Climate Change

May 3, 2010
Thad Williamson and Gar Alperovitz

Additional Information: 

Community-Wealth.org, a project of the Democracy Collaborative at the University of Maryland.

Rebuilding America's Communities: A Comprehensive Community Wealth Building Federal Policy Proposal

April 27, 2010

From the report's introduction:

Fostering community wealth in today’s economy requires going beyond a traditional federal government “service delivery” mode of operation to develop programs that connect capital with low-income communities. Largely unnoticed in the media, over the past few decades, there has been a steady build-up of new forms of community-supportive economic enterprises.

Forty years ago, there were fewer than 200 employee-owned companies in the United States. The community development finance industry did not yet exist. Likewise, few community development corporations (CDCs) and no significant community land trusts existed. State public pension funds did not employ economically targeted investments.

Additional Information: 

community-wealth.org, a project of the Democracy Collaborative at the University of Maryland.

John Bonifaz and Laura Flanders on the Corporate Supreme Court

April 15, 2010
John Bonifaz and Laura Flanders

GRIT tv host Laura Flanders takes up the topic of the Supreme Court, corporate power, and the Citizens United ruling. Guest John Bonifaz, the director of Free Speech for People discusses the results we're already seeing from that ruling, how it impacts corporations, unions, and real flesh-and-blood people, (including how it has already impacted our thinking) and what needs to be done. Bonifaz explains how we can amend the Constitution to reclaim our first amendment, and the kind of popular movement that will be required to do it. He describes what people are doing at the local level in their free time to advance this agenda. (Discussion begins at 10:22)

Additional Information: 

Originally posted here by David Swanson of After Downing Street.

Spring 2010 issue of Justice Rising: Grassroots Solutions to Corporate Domination

April 13, 2010

The Spring 2010 issue of Justice Rising (.pdf), the quarterly newsletter of Alliance for Democracy, is entitled: Courts and Corporations vs. Our Common Good, and takes on the Supreme Court's recent Citizens United decision and the growing popular movement to guarantee free-speech rights for people and not for corporations.
Justice Rising offers a thematic guide for everyone dedicated to ending corporate rule and establishing true democracy, and can be dowloaded as a full newsletter or as individual articles.

Individual pages from this issue:

01 Courts & Corporations v. Our Common Good by Jim Tarbell

Additional Information: 

Documentary Beyond Elections takes a look at grassroots democracy in the Americas

March 31, 2010

Traveling from Venezuela's Communal Councils to Brazil's Participatory Budgeting, from Constitutional Assemblies to grassroots movements, recuperated factories to cooperatives across the hemisphere, Beyond Elections takes us on a journey across the Americas, to attempt to answer one of the most important questions of our time: What is Democracy? The two excerpts below give an introduction and discuss Brazil's participatory budgeting process.

Beyond Elections Part I: Introduction

Additional Information: 

The Beyond Elections documentary here...
U.S. Participatory Budgeting Network here...

ZEPERNICK: On the history of corporate personhood and a strategy for overturning it

March 31, 2010
Mary Zepernick


Mary Zepernick, of the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy and Womens International League for Peace and Freedom delivered a history of corporate personhood and observations on the need for ending all corporate appropriation of personhood rights through a Constitutional amendment to the organizers of a panel discussion on the Supreme Court's Citzens United Discussion. The organizing groups included North Bridge Alliance for Democracy joined with Concord Carlisle League of Women Voters, Concord CAN, and the Carlisle Climate Action Network.

Additional Information: 

Mary Zepernick is the Director of POCLAD (Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy).
Move To Amend is pushing forward with the Constitutional amendment Ms. Zepernick refers to.

PERLSTEIN: 'Bomb Power' examines roots of Imperial Presidency

March 14, 2010
Rick Perlstein

One day last November, I spent the morning at Garry Wills's elegant brick home along the main street of Evanston, Illinois, pondering the Promethean scale of presidential power in the atomic age. Wills's startling new book, Bomb Power (Penguin Press, $28), argues that the prototype of the modern president is not Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, or Ronald Reagan. It's General Leslie Groves—the administrator of the Manhattan Project, which Wills says was the inadvertent template for today's secret government and imperial presidency. And his reasoning will scare the hell out of you.

Additional Information: 

Original review here...
Bomb Power by Garry Wills

SCOTCH: Legal memo on Wisconsin Safeguard the Guard Act

March 13, 2010
Benson Scotch

Memo to the Wisconsin Assembly Committee on Veterans and Military Affairs
Re:
2009 Assembly Bill 203
You have asked for my views about the validity and enforceability of AB 203, and I am happy to respond to this request. Please note that I am not a member of the Wisconsin Bar, and the comments I offer relate solely to the United States Constitution and laws as well as conventional rules and practices relating to statutory construction.

Additional Information: 

Benson Scotch is retired attorney living in Montpelier, Vermont, and is general counsel to “Bring the Guard Home—It’s the Law!” Ben is a former executive director of the Vermont ACLU, former Chief Staff Attorney of the Vermont Supreme Court, and former staff counsel to Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Constitution Subcommittee. Ben is a 1956 graduate of Yale College and a 1961 graduate of Harvard Law School. He served in the United States Army from 1956 to 1958.

EDUCATION FOR ALL COALITION: Resources for March 4 Day of Action to Defend Public Education

February 21, 2010

Resources provided by Education For All Coalition members and coordinating affiliates. We’ve also included flyers, and with each flyer you’ll find a BLANK TEMPLATE version for you to utilize for your own specific purposes.

Free Speech Organizing Toolkit – A helpful handbook on your Free Speech Rights with an emphasis on educational institutions, provided by The Center for Campus Free Speech.

Guide To Occupying Buildings – A help informational guidebook on how to make occupying a building a success.

CANNING AND REINSBORO: Re: Imagining Change: How to Use Story-based Strategy to Win Campaigns, Build Movements, and Change the World

February 13, 2010
Patrick Reinsborough and Doyle Canning

What is "story-based strategy"? The people at smartMeme explain:

Storytelling has always been central to the work of organizers and movement builders. Narrative is the lens through which humans process the information we encounter, be it cultural, emotional, experiential, or political. We make up stories about ourselves, our histories, our futures, and our hopes.

...

Additional Information: 

Other SmartMeme resources for story-based organizing:

Re:Imagining Change (60 page full color booklet) (.pdf) A resource guide to smartMeme's story-based strategy approach providing tools, analysis, case studies and inspiration to change your campaign, your community and your world.

Re:Imagining Change (60 page printer-friendly black and white booklet) (.pdf)

Story-based Strategy Campaign Model Chart providing a step-by-step method for applying the story-based strategy approach to planning a campaign and taking creative action.

And more...

NICHOLS & MCCHESNEY: The Media Revolution that Will Begin the World Again

February 5, 2010
John Nichols & Robert W. McChesney

The founders of the American experiment were even by their own measures imperfect democrats. But they understood something about sustaining democracy that their successors seem to have forgotten. Everyone agrees that a free society requires a free press. But a free press without the resources to compensate those who gather and analyze information, and to distribute that information widely and in an easily accessible form, is like a seed without water or sunlight.

Additional Information: 

The article is excerpted from John Nichols and Robert McChesney's new book The Death and Life of American Journalism and appeared in the January 25, 2010 edition of The Nation. Nichols is president of the Liberty Tree Foundation; McChesney is a member of its board of advisors.

MANSKI: The Essence of the Corporation

January 11, 2010
Ben Manski
Liberty Tree Journal
Additional Information: 

Ben Manski is an attorney with Manski Law & Communications, LLC, and the editor of the Liberty Tree Journal. He is also a member of the Speak Out! speakers bureau: http://www.speakoutnow.org/

PRICE: Milwaukeeans vs. the Privatization Pandemic

December 6, 2009
Todd Alan Price

"In the 21st century countries that out educate us today will out-compete us tomorrow.” Thus spake President Obama in announcing that his administration would award a total of $4 billion to states demonstrating seriousness of commitment to education reform. Imagine that that tired mantra, some fifteen years after NAFTA and the outsourcing of the U.S. manufacturing, service, and information economies, is a proclamation still being rolled out as a constructive commentary on the state of education and pretext, in the name of reform, for ending its public character.

Additional Information: 

Todd Alan Price is Associate Professor of Educational Foundations and Inquiry at National-Louis University in Chicago, Illinois. He teaches in Illinois and in Wisconsin. In 2009 he was the Wisconsin Green Party candidate for State Superintendent of Public Instruction. He is a Liberty Tree Associate.

MANSKI: Public Radio's Week in Review

December 4, 2009
Joy Cardin and Ben Manski

Liberty Tree Fellow Ben Manski is a regular guest on, "The Week in Review," Wisconsin Public Radio's Friday morning weekly news debate show. Every week, policy-makers and politicos field questions from host Joy Cardin and her callers on a wide array of timely state, national and international topics.

Hear Ben Manski on public radio on January 15th:
http://clipcast.wpr.org:8080/ramgen/wpr/jca/jca100115c.rm

BACON: A constitutional right to an education

November 29, 2009
David Bacon

Is there a “constitutional right to education”?

Legal scholar and civil rights advocate Erwin Chemerinsky says there is. “There has to be a right to education in the Constitution,” he declares, “and equal protection is a Constitutional imperative.”

But according to Chemerinsky, this right has been fundamentally undermined by the Supreme Court. With the retirement of Justice David Souter, and the posible retirement in the next few years of Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and John Paul Stevens, the role of the court in defending the right to education will be thrust into the national spotlight. What role might their replacements play in guaranteeing education to American children, and reversing the conservative momentum of the last three decades?

COBB: The Case Against Judicial Review

November 15, 2009
David Cobb

for POCLAD.org

"Judicial Review" is not a term familiar to most Americans, but it should be. The concept is a profoundly important operational underpinning of the United States legal system. Anyone working to make this country a more peaceful, just, ecologically sustainable, and democratic place should be eager to examine this basic doctrine.

Additional Information: 

David Cobb is a Liberty Tree Fellow and a member of the POCLAD Board.

SHUMAN: Localization is way to redefine globalization

November 5, 2009
Michael Shuman

Location:
Madison, Wisconsin

The Capital Times

Additional Information: 

Michael H. Shuman is author of "The Small-Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition" and a keynote speaker at the Future Cities 2009 Conference this weekend in Madison. For more information on the conference, visit www.FutureCities2009.org.

http://host.madison.com/ct/news/opinion/column/guest/article_02d13201-bb85-5717-89fc-8b3c24467098.html

BURNS: The strategy behind the Guard Home movement

October 14, 2009
Steve Burns

"Bring the Guard Home - It's the Law!" is a national campaign, now active in more than 20 states, that is raising a legal challenge to the Federal Government's use of our National Guard troops for deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Wisconsin, the campaign is promoting AB 203, a bill in the Wisconsin state assembly which would give the Governor the authority to examine the legality of any federal order for deployment of the Wisconsin National Guard and to challenge in court any orders determined to be unlawful.

Additional Information: 

Steve Burns, Outreach Director
Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice

SWANSON: A Second Bill of Rights

October 11, 2009
David Swanson

This is the second of three excerpts from Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union (Seven Stories Press) by David Swanson published here by the kind permission of the publisher. David Swanson is a member of Liberty Tree's Board of Advisors

In places where we are not already protected, or where we have been shown to be vulnerable over the last eight years or before, legislation and amendments can be used to expand our existing rights and establish entirely new ones. All of our rights, new and old, should be properly protected by placing violations of them in the criminal code.

1. The Right to Vote

FIRST VIDEO: Who Decides About War?

October 3, 2009

Location:
Georgetown Law School

You don't have to wait any longer: The initial video is in from Who Decides About War?, the National Conference on War Powers, Law, and Democracy. This exciting conference took place on October 2nd and 3rd at the Georgetown School of Law, and featured over one hundred participants from 18 states.

Participants included veterans, military family members, journalists, lawyers, law students, professors, and other advocates of a more democratic, peaceful system of national defense.

SWANSON: Who SHOULD Decide About War?

October 3, 2009
David Swanson

Location:
Georgetown Law School

Remarks at http://whodecidesaboutwar.org conference

Who actually does: the media, weapons companies, the permanent government, presidents (including simply by decreeing a "war on terror", through misspending, lying, simply acting, signing treaties), political parties, culture (the one Biden lives in, in which Israel's sovereign right to attack Iran is uncontroversial), soldiers who obey illegal orders and the culture that leads kids to that place.

Who should decide: we the people of the world, through democratically created and enforced international and national and state laws.

FRIEDMAN: Democracy's Gold Standard

September 14, 2009
Brad Friedman

Last March, the country's highest court found that secret, computerized vote counting was unconstitutional. Unfortunately, the country was Germany, and the Constitution violated by e-voting systems was the one that the U.S. wrote and insisted Germans ratify as part of their terms of surrender following WWII.

Paul Lehto, a U.S. election attorney and Constitutional rights expert, summarized the German court's unambiguous, landmark finding:

"No 'specialized technical knowledge' can be required of citizens to vote or to monitor vote counts."
There is a "constitutional requirement of a publicly observed count."

WADE: When Will Your Neighbor Join the Movement?

September 2, 2009
Megan Wade

For POCLAD's By What Authority?

"In Americas mass resignation represents a public manifestation of a private loss, a decline in what people think they have a political right to aspire to - in essence, a decline of individual political self-respect on the parts of millions of people."
---Lawrence Goodwyn, The Populist Moment

Do you ever wonder why everyone around you isn't screaming in outrage? How do they go on with their lives as though the earth isn't burning, as though wars are not being waged across the globe, as though people's lives aren't harmed by mass injustices every day?

Additional Information: 

References:
Lawrence Goodwyn, The Populist Moment: A Short History of the Agrarian Revolt in America. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978.
Richard O. Boyer and Herbert M. Morais, Labor's Untold Story. Pittsburgh: United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America, 2003 [1955].

--------------------------
Megan Wade works with Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County (DUHC), PO Box 610, Eureka, CA 95502-0610. Website: www.DUHC.org

PRICE: Ohio. Birthplace of Charter Education ... and Opposition to It

June 30, 2009
Todd Alan Price

As Ohio education reformers aim ahead toward the new century and prosperity through remaking of the public school system, the Obama administration reform plan takes us back to the “choice,” “free market,” and “small government” mindset of the 1980s, of the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush:

Executive order 12803 issued by President George H. W. Bush, April 30, 1992: Sec. 3. Privatization initiative: To the extent permitted by law, the head of each executive department and agency shall undertake the following actions:

Additional Information: 

Todd Alan Price is author of The Myth and Reality of NCLB: Public Education and High Stakes Assessment. He is a Liberty Tree Associate.

BERNE: The Showdown at Schottenstein

June 22, 2009
Geoff Berne

On May 1, 2009, Michigan's Board of Education, like boards in most of the other states across the U.S., issued a resolution "recognizing that teachers are vital to the very fabric of our society" and declaring the week of May 4-8 Teacher Appreciation Week.

Additional Information: 

In Part II of this Counterpunch series, Liberty Tree Associate Todd Alan Price reports on his interviews with key players in the battle to which Ted Strickland has dedicated his governorship, to rebuild Ohio public education and stave off the charter phenomenon.

Antiwar Radio interviews Ben Manski

June 18, 2009

Antiwar.com's Scott Horton interviews Ben Manski, Executive Director of Liberty Tree. They discuss the Bring the Guard Home! campaign that, "seeks to end the illegal use of national guard units deployed abroad, the historical U.S. change from a republican system of state militias to an imperial army, and the reassertion of state control over the guard."

Additional Information: 

To listen to the interview, go to http://antiwar.com/radio/2009/06/12/ben-manski/

Update on Efforts to Block Deployment of National Guard Troops to Iraq and Afghanistan

May 29, 2009

KBOO's public affairs host William Seaman interviews Dan Handelman about the campaign to keep Oregon's National Guard troops from deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan ... how close is the vote in the Oregon House and Senate on legislation aimed at challenging the federalization of the Oregon Guard? Also in the conversation by telephone is national campaign coordinator, Ben Manski, with an update on other state campaigns challenging guard deployments.

Additional Information: 

The interview can also be found at http://kboo.fm/node/14360

LETNAR CERNIC: Corporate abuses require stronger international, national legal regimes

May 14, 2009
Jernej Letnar Černič

The US government published in February 2009 its decision that it will not renew its contract with the private security corporation formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide. Such a decision comes as no surprise given the allegations of killing 17 civilians by Blackwater guards, coupled with the Iraqi government's refusal to extend Blackwater's operating license. This case, however, opens again a number of conundrums relating to legal accountability for corporations and its employees for human rights violations. In short, how do we provide effective legal remedies to victims for human rights violations by or involving corporations? This comment therefore briefly explores the weaknesses of the current framework for corporate accountability for human rights.

Additional Information: 

Jernej Letnar Černič, JURIST HOTLINE
Researcher, Institute for European, Constitutional,
International Law and Law of Economics

http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/hotline/2009/05/corporate-human-rights-abuses-require.php

CHIEF COUPER: Seven Seeds for Policing

May 5, 2009
David Couper

David Couper was a leader in the movement toward community policing. He wants to see seven seeds planted in the field of policing--leadership, knowledge, creativity, problem solving, diversity, control of force, and community policing. He is the former police chief of Madison, Wisconsin (1972-1993) and is now an Episcopal priest. This presentation was given in 1994.

In my over 30 years of police service, I have seen some changes of which I am proud, specifically, the higher education levels of police recruits and the larger number of women and minorities in police departments. At the same time, I confess that all I hoped for did not happen.

Additional Information: 

The original transcript from FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin,The.

Democratizing Defense: A Discussion from the Liberty Tree Journal

May 1, 2009

A former congresswoman, a radio host, a military spouse, and a historian make up the participants of this Forum’s discussion on “Democratizing Defense.”

Stacy Bannerman is a prominent contemporary anti-war activist whose husband is an active duty member of the National Guard. We connected with Bannerman on the Troops Home Now! Tour of 2006, which Liberty Tree co-sponsored.

Paul Buhle is a historian, a veteran of the 1960s era SDS, and a mentor to the new SDS. Buhle is also known as a widely published cartoonist and author.

VIDEO: Manski, Farsetta, Alexander Gray on Extending Democracy

May 1, 2009

Location:
Madison, Wisconsin

Founded in 1909 as La Follette's Weekly, on May 1-2, 2009, The Progressive magazine celebrated its 100th anniversary with a major conference and festival. Major speakers included Robert Redford, Amy Goodman, Naomi Klein, Barbara Ehrenreich, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and the editorial staff of the Progressive Magazine. Liberty Tree's Ben Manski, together with various members of Liberty Tree's Board of Directors and Board of Advisors -- John Nichols and Robert McChesney, among them -- also spoke at this exciting event. Following is Ben Manski's contribution:

Barack Obama's War: Afghanistan's Failing Army

April 22, 2009
Ben Swales

Dear friends,

I am writing to you from Guardian Films; we are the film making arm of the Guardian Newspaper. Today, in time with President Obama's new strategy for the Afghan war, Guardian Films released a short video that documents the progress of the US army's training of the Afghan army. I have included a link to the video on the Guardian website, and would greatly appreciate it if you would watch the video, and embed a link to the video on your websites.

Additional Information: 

See the movie at http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2009/mar/27/obama-afghanistan-military

GuardianFilms
King Place
90 York Way
London
N1 9GU
Tel: 00 44 203 353 2910 (direct line)
Email: b.a.swales@gmail.com
Website: www.guardian.co.uk/guardianfilms

Center for Campus Free Speech: Facts Still Count

April 13, 2009
Megan Fitzgerald

Campus Free Speech proves with its new report, Facts Still Count, that David Horowitz's recent books are not honest in their criticisms of campuses and faculty. The Center for Campus Free Speech is affiliated with the Democratizing Education Network, and a great source of information regarding important academic freedom and campus free speech issues.

As part of the Free Exchange on Campus Coalition, Campus Free Speech has just released a new report: Facts Still Count.

Additional Information: 

You can read the report at http://www.democracysquare.org/files_public/Facts_Still_Count.pdf
Campus Free Speech can be found at http://campusspeech.org
Campus Free Speech page on Protecting academic Freedom: http://www.campusspeech.org/abor

CCR: Restore. Protect. Expand The Constitution: Amend the War Powers Resolution

April 9, 2009

Executive Summary

At the heart of American constitutional democracy is the concept of checks and balances: limits on the reach of each branch of government so that none can act unilaterally or exercise power without accountability. The power to initiate warfare, because of its grave and potentially long-term consequences for the entire republic, is rightly assigned to the entire Congress under the American system, rather than to the President, a single individual. Wisely, the Constitution provides that the decision to go to war should be debated thoroughly and openly in Congress, rather than carried out by a secretive order, on the judgment of one person.

Additional Information: 

centerforconstitutionalrights
666 Broadway, 7th floor, New York, NY 10012
Phone (212) 614-6489 Fax (212) 614-6422
ccrjustice.org

Wisconsin votes for immediate withdrawal!

April 4, 2009
Ben Manski

George Bush recently defended Donald Rumsfeld on the basis that responsibility for matters of war and peace are his and his alone, saying, "I'm the decider and I decide what's best." On April 4, the people of Wisconsin begged to differ.

Voting in the tiny villages of the North Woods and the Door Peninsula, in the regional urban centers of Madison and La Crosse, and in the small cities that are the heart of this heartland state, three-fifths of voters cast ballots for immediate withdrawal from Iraq. Wisconsin voted "no" to the occupation, and as importantly, "no" to Bush's self-elevation from presider to decider. Small town America voted, and the world sat up and took notice.

The Roots of the Campaign

How did it happen?

Additional Information: 
A version of this article appeared in the Summer 2006 issue of Green Pages

Ben Manski is a Fellow with the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution. Manski is a Wisconsin attorney, and provided legal counsel to the Wisconsin troop withdrawal campaign.

Manski: From Liberty to Empire -- The Demise of American Defense

April 1, 2009
Ben Manski

All you have to do is remember that anti-imperialism is only another name for old-fashioned Americanism, and all will be clear to you. An American who has a settled body of convictions . . . who with his inherited ideas has an inherited courage, an inherited love of equality and justice . . . why, he is a natural born anti-imperialist, and it is simply his Americanism that makes him think and act as he does . . . .
~ New York Evening Post, May 3, 1902

Additional Information: 

Ben Manski is a Wisconsin attorney and the editor of the Liberty Tree Journal.

NICHOLS, MCCHESNEY: The Death and Life of Great American Newspapers

March 18, 2009
John Nichols and Robert W. McChesney

reprinted with permission from The Nation

Communities across America are suffering through a crisis that could leave a dramatically diminished version of democracy in its wake. It is not the economic meltdown, although the crisis is related to the broader day of reckoning that appears to have arrived. The crisis of which we speak involves more than mere economics. Journalism is collapsing, and with it comes the most serious threat in our lifetimes to self-government and the rule of law as it has been understood here in the United States.

Additional Information: 

Read the Original article

John Nichols is president of the Board of Directors of the Liberty Tree Foundation. Robert McChesney is a member of Liberty Tree's Board of Advisors. Together with Josh Silver, they cofounded the media reform organization, Free Press.

NICHOLS, MCCHESNEY: The Death and Life of Great American Newspapers

March 18, 2009
John Nichols and Robert W. McChesney

reprinted with permission from The Nation

Communities across America are suffering through a crisis that could leave a dramatically diminished version of democracy in its wake. It is not the economic meltdown, although the crisis is related to the broader day of reckoning that appears to have arrived. The crisis of which we speak involves more than mere economics. Journalism is collapsing, and with it comes the most serious threat in our lifetimes to self-government and the rule of law as it has been understood here in the United States.

Additional Information: 

Read the Original article.

John Nichols is president of the Board of Directors of the Liberty Tree Foundation. Robert McChesney is a member of Liberty Tree's Board of Advisors. Together with Josh Silver, they cofounded the media reform organization, Free Press.

COLERIDGE: Keeping Public Assets Public

March 13, 2009
Greg Coleridge
Reprinted from By What Authority?

The dominant culture does not look kindly on most "public" systems. From housing to hospitals, schools to sewers, parks to prisons, or water to welfare, publicly owned or run systems are frequently portrayed as inefficient, ineffective, expensive, and/or dangerous. "Public" is dark, drab, cold, and old.

The word "private," by contrast, brings forth images of modern, clean, efficient, cheap, and safe. The corporate media, think tanks, and many elected officials perpetually tout the supposed benefits of "private" societal institutions.

But what is "public" and "private" when applied to government and economy? Are existing municipally operated systems best kept under public control or should they be "privatized"?

Additional Information: 

This article was written by Greg Coleridge of the Program on Corporations Law and Democracy for their newsletter, By What Authority?
See it in its original here: http://www.poclad.org/?pg=By_What_Authority&show=b090301.txt

MARYLAND ASSEMBLY: Testimony on National Guard

March 4, 2009

Location:
Maryland General Assembly, Annapolis, Maryland

The Maryland Senate Education Health and Environmental Affairs Committee held a hearing on SB 503 on March 4, and the House Health and Government Operations Committee held a hearing on HB 907 March 11. Click below to read testimony that was presented at these hearings.

Introductory Overview Testimony:
Steve Lane

Legal Testimony:
Ben Scotch
Jim Klimaski

Additional Information: 

PowerShift 2009 - Democratizing Our Universities to Confront Climate Change

March 1, 2009

PowerShift 2009 - Democratizing Our Universities to Confront Climate Change from Patrick St John on Vimeo.

"Democratizing Our Universities to Confront Climate Change" was a workshop held at PowerShift 2009, in Washington, DC. The speakers are Ben Manski of Liberty Tree and Meaghan Linick-Loughley and Atlee McFellin of New School University.

Additional Information: 

Conference website: http://www.powershift09.org/

NICHOLS: Special Report on the 2008 Elections

November 5, 2008
John Nichols

This victory alone is not the change we seek. It is only the chance for us to make that change.
And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. ~ Barack Obama
<

~ NOVEMBER 5, 2008 ~

Additional Information: 

John Nichols is the Washington correspondent for The Nation magazine.
He is also a member of the Liberty Tree Board of Directors.

Advancement Project: Several Battleground States Not Prepared for Voter Turnout

October 9, 2008

Our recent Action Alert on fighting shortages of volunteers and voting machines focuses on the election officials and administrators of particular states that have been identified as likely problems. Advancement Project has released a poignant study detailing the failures of 7 specific swing states that will not have adequate capacity in terms of voting machines and volunteers to meet the expected record voter turnout for the upcoming Presidential election. Their release of this information follows....

SEVERAL BATTLEGROUND STATES NOT PREPARED FOR VOTER TURNOUT

Additional Information: 

For more information, feel free to contact Sabrina Williams (202/728-9557 or 305/904-3960) or Tia Gordon (202/728-9557 or 202/906-0149)

MANSKI: The New U.S. Democracy Movement

October 9, 2008
Ben Manski

Around the world, Americans are often maligned as self-serving, ignorant, and conservative. Yet Americans are generally a progressive people.

Public opinion research tells the story:

  • Most Americans favor creating a federal universal single payer health care system.
  • Most support trade policies based not on property rights, but human rights, environmental protection, and popular sovereignty.
  • Majorities believe that the U.S. should not act as the “world’s police force,” and large majorities support the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.
  • Americans, by and large, believe that access to quality education is a basic right, and are willing to raise taxes to pay for it.

Additional Information: 

This article was written for Movement Vision Lab. Click here for the original edition.
~ Ben Manski is a Wisconsin attorney and the executive director of Liberty Tree

Brennan Center for Justice: Voter Purges

September 30, 2008
Myrna Pérez

Voter suppression most often comes in the form of keeping voters from showing up at the polls or perhaps providing faulty information on how to process an absentee ballot, etc. A greater disenfranchisement might be the voters who dutifully present themselves at their polling place, only to be told that they have been removed from the voter rolls.

Additional Information: 

Myrna Pérez is counsel for the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, focusing on a variety of voting rights and election administration issues including the Brennan Center’s efforts to restore the vote to people with felony convictions. Prior to joining the Center, Ms. Pérez was the Civil Rights Fellow at Relman & Dane, a civil rights law firm in Washington, D.C. A graduate of Columbia Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Ms. Pérez clerked for the Honorable Anita B. Brody of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and for the Honorable Julio M. Fuentes of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Making Voting Work: An Analysis of Military and Overseas Citzen Voting

September 15, 2008

The most recent effort by Making Voting Work looks into perhaps the most tragic of uncounted voting demographics--troops overseas. Many states have offered excuses again and again about not being able to make the absentee ballot process work for due to failures in the military postal system. The most recent report of Military Overseas Voting Project.

GLOBAL GREENS: Sustainable Cities Declaration

May 4, 2008

We, the representatives of green parties from more than 80 countries at the Global Greens Congress 2008 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, agree the following declaration for the development of sustainable cities.

Additional Information: 

For the original, see http://www.globalgreens.org/

Your Time Is Up, Mr. President -- the National Guard Is Coming Home

February 5, 2008
Karen Dolan and Ben Manski

Guess what, Mr. President? Your authority to keep state National Guard troops in Iraq has expired. So says a new bill introduced this week to the Vermont Legislature by Rep. Michael Fisher and Sen. Peter Shumlin. It is supported by 30 of their colleagues.

"It is clear that the mission that Congress authorized no longer exists," said Fisher. "Unless Congress grants a new authorization, the Vermont Guard should revert back to state control." The Vermont bill states:

Additional Information: 

Karen Dolan is a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C., and a contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus. Ben Manski is a Wisconsin attorney and the executive director of the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution.

Liberty Tree Panel at Claim Democracy Conference

November 1, 2007
Brandon Lacy Campos, David Cobb, and Patrick Barrett

Click here to view the video:

2007 Claim Democracy Conference

Measure T Bans Corporate Campaign Financing

September 3, 2007
Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap

In 2006, Humboldt County, California, became the latest, and largest, jurisdiction to abolish the legal doctrine known as “corporate personhood.”

Measure T was successful because our all-volunteer campaign came together to pass a law that bans non-local corporations from participating in Humboldt elections. The referendum, which passed with 55 percent of the vote, also asserts that corporations cannot claim the First Amendment right to free speech.

By enacting Measure T, Humboldt County has committed an act of “municipal civil disobedience,” intentionally challenging “settled law.” But voters also recognize that Measure T is an act of common sense. We polled our community and found that 78 percent believe corruption is more likely if corporations participate in politics.

Additional Information: 

See more articles from the Fall 2007 issue of Yes Magazine and learn about what other communities are doing to stand up to corporate power.
Learn more about Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County and Measure T.

We are on the offensive: Make the most of it!

December 31, 2006
Ben Manski

Manski responds to Independent Politics News' question, "How can progressives get off of the defensive in 2006?"

What a change from four years ago. We're finally off the defensive. Impeachment talk has moved from beer halls to the halls of Congress. Opposition to the war is widespread. Confidence in the federal government is at historic lows. And the diverse strands of the broad progressive movement have begun to come together toward common, not cross, purposes.

Additional Information: 

Ben Manski is a Fellow with the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution. He was coordinator of the No Stolen Elections! campaign, and is a former co-chair of the Green Party of the United States.

This article originally appeared in the Independent Politics News.

VIDEO: Building a Democracy Movement in the USA

December 28, 2006
Ben Manski, David Cobb, Juscha Robinson, and Pabitra Benjamin

Check out this short video from "BUILDING A DEMOCRACY MOVEMENT IN THE UNITED STATES", a workshop by Liberty Tree Fellows Benjamin, Cobb, Manski, and Robinson, one of about 100 sessions at the 2006 Midwest Social Forum. The video is a production of On the Earth Productions, a media production company dedicated to informing the public about important ethical, environmental and political issues that affect our every-day lives.

Additional Information: 

To download the video, click here.

For information on the Midwest Social Forum, click here.

To check out On the Earth Productions, click here.

Campus Organizer's Guide to Democratizing Education

December 21, 2006
Eric Prindle

An organizing guide for students, faculty, staff, and community members interested in promoting democracy in higher education, and a higher education system in service to a democratic, inclusive, society.

Additional Information: 

Please download this 20-page pdf-format guide by clicking here.

The 2006 Mid-term Elections: Change or Continuity?

December 4, 2006
Patrick Barrett

Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution

ACS Paper: Preserving and Expanding the Right to Vote: Ranked-choice Voting

December 3, 2006
David Cobb, Patrick Barrett and Caleb Kleppner

In this American Constitution Society white paper, Liberty Tree Fellows Patrick Barrett and David Cobb join Caleb Kleppner of Election Solutions in making the case for ranked-choice voting.

Summary:

The most widely used voting system in the Unites States, plurality voting, allows for a candidate that the majority opposes to be elected. While perhaps the most notable example of this occurred in the Florida presidential election in 2000, this situation happens not only on the federal level but in state and local elections as well.

Additional Information: 

The Barrett, Cobb, Kleppner ACS white paper is located on the American Constitution Society website here.

Z Magazine interviews Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap about Measure T

December 2, 2006

Last June voters in Northern California’s Humboldt County approved a ballot initiative that banned non-local corporate money in elections. The referendum, dubbed Measure T, also rejected corporate personhood, the legal doctrine that grants corporations the same rights and protections as persons. Measure T’s passage represents the most explicit challenge to corporate “rights” and political power in the country at this time.

Video from the Local Democracy Convention

December 1, 2006

Want to know more about participatory budgeting? Taking on City Hall? Home rule? Rebuilding New Orleans? Municipal foreign policy? Ballot initiatives?

Interested in local democracy?

This footage from the 2006 Local Democracy Convention is for you! Short video clips are available for viewing on YouTube, and full length, edited DVDs documenting the major panels, keynote talk, and some workshops are available for order from Liberty Tree.

To order a DVD, please send a check for $10 (postage included) to Liberty Tree, P.O. Box 260217, Madison, Wisconsin 53726-0217.

Check out the following 3-8 minute video clips online:

Keynoter: Gar Alperovitz 05:57

Additional Information: 

Thank you to On the Earth Productions (Karen Chin, Todd Price, Ginger Price, Sarah Grace Turner), Brazen Video (Luciano), and WYOU Community Cable (Eric Allin) for their filming and editing help.

The Local Democracy Convention took place September 27-October 1, 2006, in Madison, Wisconsin. For more information on the convention, see http://www.LocalDemocracy.org

For more information on Liberty Tree's Local Democracy Program, click here.

Understanding Student Unionism: A Canadian Perspective

November 1, 2006
Evan Thornton at the Democratizing Education Convention, Madison, Wisconsin

To place the Canadian student movement in context, I want to start with a brief overview of the national affiliations on a typical Canadian campus, which I hope will help give an idea of the significant difference in the nature of the challenge faced by Canadian student organizers compared to their U.S. counterparts.

Faculty and Academic Staff:

Starting with teaching staff, the campus will typically have unionized Faculty Association that are affiliated nationally with the Canadian Association of University Teachers CAUT which represents 48,000 teachers, librarians, researchers and other academic professionals. In its own words CAUT is:

Additional Information: 

Evan Thornton is an associate of the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution, and director of University Watch. Thornton has three decades of experience in campus organizing, first as a student union organizer, then with labour, and most recently as director and editor of University Watch.

Uwatch.ca is an independently incorporated, non-profit donor-financed organisation largely run by volunteers committed to the vision that universities ought to be transparent institutions serving in the public interest. It is also intended as an umbrella organisation linking various stakeholders, including interested private citizens, community groups, students, student governments, agencies, think tanks, and so on.

Participatory Budgeting: From Porto Alegre, Brazil to the U.S.

September 1, 2006
Mike Menser and Juscha Robinson

Throughout the U.S. left, but in particular among those groups participating at the first U.S. Social Forum and the global justice movement more generally, “participatory democracy” is a phrase one encounters in all kinds of different movements and organizations, from anti-war meetings and environmental justice organizations, to direct action affinity groups, to community-sponsored agriculture outfits, international solidarity organizations and prison abolitionists. It is certainly a central feature of the solidarity economy.

Additional Information: 

Frequently Asked Questions about the AUMF, National Guard, and Guard recall

August 1, 2006
Benson Scotch, legal counsel to the Vermont authors

Q-1. Aren’t questions of war and peace exclusively within the province of the federal government?

A. In general, the Congress and the President share war powers under the Constitution. The states do have some powers with respect to their national guards, but Congress has whittled away at the scope of these powers, particularly after 1903, when The Dick Act was passed creating the rudiments of the present dual system of joint state and federal National Guards.

Manski, Dolan: Has Your Town Declared Peace Yet? Tired of being ignored by the feds, citizens pass city laws declaring peace.

June 16, 2006
Ben Manski and Karen Dolan

The heartland spoke; the world listened. On April 5, 2006, hundreds of newspapers across the globe, from Italy’s Il Manifesto to the Los Angeles Times, shared a similar headline: “Wisconsin votes for troop pullout.”

One day earlier, citizens in 32 Wisconsin cities, towns, and villages had cast ballots for immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Voters in tiny villages in the North Woods and the Door Peninsula, in the regional urban centers of Madison and La Crosse, and in the small cities that are the heart of the Badger State, sent a clear message. As Green Party activist Steve Burns told newspapers, the vote meant that “opposition to the war [has] become the majority sentiment,” winning over communities that had voted for George Bush only months earlier.

Additional Information: 

For the original, please see http://www.yesmagazine.org/article.asp?ID=2699

David Cobb: 'The New Voting Rights Movement' and 'Fighting The Corporate Takeover'

January 3, 2005
David Cobb

The Brad Blog at www.bradblog.com

INTRODUCTION {by Winter Patriot}: We are thrilled to announce that David Cobb will be with us for some live blogging on Saturday morning [late Saturday morning in the East, early Saturday morning in the West]. As most of you probably know, Mr. Cobb represented the Green Party in the 2004 Presidential 'Election'. He has indicated that he wishes to blog about two subjects, and he has sent us some very interesting links and text. So there's plenty to absorb before Mr. Cobb takes the hot seat as the first live blogger of the weekend.

Mr. Cobb's first subject:

Additional Information: 

To read the archive of the full blog post, visit http://www.bradblog.com/archives/00001550.htm

The Citizen's Election Assessment Hearing

January 2, 2005
David Cobb

Testimony of David Cobb before the Citizen's Election Assessment Hearing

Distinguished members of this Citizen's Election Assessment Hearing,

My name is David Cobb. I was the 2004 Green Party candidate for President of the United States . I am proud that my campaign demanded the recount in Ohio which helped shine a light on the outrageous voter suppression, allegations of intentional fraud, and reports of widespread voting machinery and technology failures.

I currently serve as a Fellow for Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution (www.libertytreefdr.org) and as Projects Director for Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County. (www.duhc.org).

ISTHMUS: WI tech leaders get little help from Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce

September 18, 2014
Marc Eisen
news photo

This is a problem.

The state's most powerful business voice has conspicuously little contact with Wisconsin's rising technology industry.

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, which claims more than 3,500 businesses as members, brags that "the success of the WMC government relations team in projecting and accomplishing a proactive business agenda has been second to none."

Well, yeah. On the surface, WMC has never been stronger. The support WMC has thrown to small-government, pro-business Republicans has paid off big time, to say the obvious.

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

MILWAUKEE JOURNAL-SENTINEL: Walker falling far short of promise to create 250,000 new jobs

September 12, 2014
James B. Nelson

Perhaps the most important number coming out of the state's July jobs report is this: 29,437.

That's how many jobs Wisconsin employers would have to add each month for the remaining five months of the year in order for Gov. Scott Walker to achieve his top campaign promise --  creating 250,000 private-sector jobs by the end of his four-year term.

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

WKOW: WMC head: Don't ban state subsidies to companies that outsource jobs

September 12, 2014
Greg Neumann

MADISON (WKOW) -- The top executive at Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) says a proposal being considered by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) to ban financial awards for companies that outsource state jobs should be approached with caution.

"We don't want taxpayer funds going to subsidize the movement of jobs elsewhere," said Kurt Bauer, WMC Chief Executive Officer.  "Having said that, it is the political season and we think its not maybe the best time to establish a policy that maybe, ultimately, comes back to bite us as far as job creation and job attraction."

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

CAP TIMES: Wisconsin Supreme Court hears Act 10 case involving their biggest financial backers

November 12, 2013
Jack Craver
news photo

If the Wisconsin Supreme Court does not rule in Gov. Scott Walker’s favor by reinstating the entirety of Act 10, the governor’s signature law that restricts public sector collective bargaining, it's likely a small group of very wealthy people will feel ripped off.

The court is considering a ruling by a Dane County Circuit Court judge last year that key parts of the law were unconstitutional.

The four justices who make up the Supreme Court’s conservative majority owe their positions largely to the help of Republican Party allies, notably Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state’s largest business group.

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

WPR: Manski versus Halpern on the Occupy Movement

October 12, 2011
Joy Cardin

After seven, it's this week's Big Question: Do you support or oppose the Occupy Wall Street movement? Joy Cardin gets two answers to that question. Guests:

- Ben Manski, Executive Director of Liberty Tree
- Daniel Halper, Deputy Online Editor, The Weekly Standard

Listen in here: http://www.wpr.org/cardin/index.cfm?strDirection=Next&dteShowDate=2011-10-12+06%3A00%3A00.0

AP: Protests Against Wall Street Spread Across US

October 4, 2011
Chris Hawley

NEW YORK - Protests against Wall Street entered their 18th day Tuesday as demonstrators across the country show their anger over the wobbly economy and what they see as corporate greed by marching on Federal Reserve banks and camping out in parks from Los Angeles to Portland, Maine.

MJS: WI leads nation in cuts to public education

September 6, 2011
Jason Stein

Madison - Wisconsin leads the country so far in cuts to state aid for schools, a new report shows.

The study by the liberal Center for Budget and Policy Priorities looked at the 24 states where the budget data is available.

Wisconsin cut school aid by $635 per pupil this year, topping other states including New York, California and Ohio, according to the report. Over the past four years, the state's annual aid to schools is down $776 per pupil after adjusting for inflation, putting Wisconsin at fourth in the country so far in cuts.

The Isthmus previews the Democracy Convention

August 23, 2011
Judith Davidoff

The timing could not be better, but organizers say plans for this week's Democracy Convention in Madison were set before Gov. Scott Walker's introduction of his collective bargaining bill and the ensuing protests that led some to compare the uprising in Wisconsin to democratic rebellions in Egypt and Tunisia.

Voter Intimidation and Surveillance In Wisconsin

August 6, 2011
Noise of Rain

Imagine that you are a new voter. Perhaps you aren't too clear on all the rules, the picture I.D. thing, even what you are supposed to do in the voter's booth. But by God, you're going to do it. You are going to become a voter! And you do. You accept a ride to the polls in a van driven by Wisconsin Jobs Now as part of their GOTV campaign in your underrepresented neighborhood. You are not letting the rightwing pundits, politicians and policies silence your voice. You are a Voter!

Ten Candidates File Suit as 'Massive Improprieties, Tampering' Seen in Shelby County, TN, Election

August 27, 2010
Brad Friedman

While barreling westward across the Great Plains yesterday, I received an urgent text message from Bev Harris of the non-partisan election integrity watchdog organization BlackBoxVoting.org. She and Susan Pynchon, an election integrity advocate from Florida Fair Elections Coalition, had traveled to Shelby County (Memphis), Tennessee, following reports of massive voter disenfranchisement during the state's August 5th elections.

She and Pynchon have been in the county, on behalf of a number of the candidates affected by the apparent disaster for the last two weeks.

NOLAN: The Top Ten Universities for Student Debt

August 24, 2010
Hamilton Nolan

For-profit" colleges have come under fire for saddling students with big debts in exchange for dim job prospects. But what about "real" colleges? They're pushing huge debts on students, too. We crunched the numbers to find the worst (NYU).

More Info: 

Denver Direct: Monahan Brothers reach Denver in march against corporate personhood

July 15, 2010

The Monahan Brothers stopped in Denver last week on their coast-to-coast march against corporate personhood and corporate control of our government and politics. The local blog Denver Direct had this report and video:

CALIFORNIA WATCH: Emerging nonprofit journalism ventures set sights on education

June 8, 2010
Louis Freedberg

One of the more interesting questions in the burgeoning nonprofit journalism landscape is the extent to which new reporting ventures will focus on one area of coverage, or, like California Watch, will cover a range of topics.

A slew of nonprofit ventures focusing on health and health policy reporting have sprung up in the last few years, mostly underwritten by foundations with a specific interest in health and health policy issues.

ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Supreme Court refuses to stop Arizona Clean Elections law

June 2, 2010
Alia Beard Rau

 

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a one-sentence denial to an emergency request to halt the matching-funds portion of Arizona's publicly funded Clean Elections program. Within hours, the attorneys representing matching-funds opponents asked the high court to reconsider.

ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION: Town wanting to opt out of Voting Rights Act draws rebuke

June 2, 2010
April Hunt

Sandy Springs, the first Georgia city to try and bail out of of the Voting Rights Act, on Wednesday drew its first public rebuke, a Fulton County Commission resolution scolding its efforts.

The resolution opposing Sandy Springs' request carried no legal weight, but it sharply defined the differences between the county and a city that incorporated four years ago, with the latter claiming its residents are not receiving proper attention and service from the former and then seeking to be relieved from federal oversight of elections.

BOSTON GLOBE: Massachusetts House passes National Popular Vote bill

June 2, 2010
Boston Globe

The Massachusetts House has approved a bill intended to ensure that the winner of the presidential election is determined by the national popular vote and not by the Electoral College system.

The House voted 114-35 this afternoon for the National Popular Vote bill, sending it to the Senate.

Under the proposed bill, all of the state's electoral votes would be awarded to the candidate who receives the most popular votes nationally. Supporters are trying to get such bills enacted in states across the nation. Once states possessing a majority of the electoral votes (or 270 of 538) have enacted such laws, the winner of the popular vote would be assured a majority of the electoral votes, no matter how the votes fall in other states.

More Info: 

OAKLAND LOCAL: What's IRV? Civic organizations to educate public on new system

June 1, 2010

As Oakland follows in the footsteps San Francisco took six years ago and switches to ranked-choice voting for this November's election, a diverse pool of organizations are heading voter education campaigns to boost county outreach efforts.

The city of Oakland is paying the Alameda County Registrar of Voters $146,000 to administer a heavily media-based campaign that includes mailers, brochures and videos, according to city clerk LaTonda Simmons. However, foreseeing that the county’s campaign will not reach all demographics, some community groups are – or plan to begin – spreading the word about the new system that allows voters to rank up to three candidates in order of preference and eliminates separate run-off elections.

MARIN INDEPENDENT JOURNAL: Newspaper relaunches as nonprofit

May 26, 2010
Rob Rogers

A consortium of West Marin writers, thinkers and scientists has purchased the Point Reyes Light, hoping to turn the Pulitzer Prize-winning weekly paper into one of a handful of newspapers run by a nonprofit corporation.

"We have created a new model, a hybrid for-profit/nonprofit entity that I think can save a lot of small-town newspapers around the country," said Mark Dowie, a former publisher of Mother Jones magazine and journalism professor at the University of California at Berkeley who serves on the governing board of the new corporation.

The Marin Media Institute, a newly created nonprofit, will operate the paper through the auspices of the Point Reyes Light Publishing Co., a low-profit limited liability company chartered under Vermont law.

More Info: 

Original article here... http://www.marinij.com/ci_15168989

ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION: Civil rights coalition targets voter verification

May 25, 2010
Péralte C. Paul

A group of civil rights advocates, led by the American Civil Liberties Union, are seeking a permanent injunction blocking Georgia's citizenship voter verification requirements, arguing in a federal court Monday that it targets and discriminates against minorities.

Monday's hearing before a three-judge federal panel comes days after Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue named the state GOP's general counsel as a special attorney general to sue the Justice Department to obtain approval of the contentious measure.

The civil rights advocates, which also include the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, filed suit in October of 2008 on behalf of Jose Morales, a Cherokee County man and a naturalized U.S. citizen.

More Info: 

Original article here... http://www.ajc.com/news/civil-rights-coalition-targets-534504.html
ACLU - Voting Rights http://www.aclu.org/voting-rights
Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights http://www.lawyerscommittee.org/
Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund http://www.maldef.org/

BUSINESSWEEK: Bill aimed at limiting Louisiana law clinics dies

May 20, 2010
Sonia Smith

A Senate committee scuttled a bill Wednesday aimed at shuttering the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic that critics say would have hampered operations at all the state's law clinics.

The measure would have prohibited university law clinics that get state funding from suing individuals for damages, taking government agencies to court or making constitutional challenges.

Republican Sen. Robert Adley told the Senate Commerce Committee that Tulane accepts around $45 million in state money each year and yet runs a environmental law clinic that runs jobs out of the state by suing industry and government agencies.

More Info: 

Original article here...
This issue was the subject of an earlier alert: Law clinics under attack http://www.democracysquare.org/LA_MD_law_clinics_under_attack

More News:
A strike against oil-spill lawsuits http://motherjones.com/rights-stuff/2010/05/strike-against-oil-spill-law... http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNLJ.jsp?id=1202458112680&Chemical_a...
Chemical association escalates attack on Tulane over law clinic http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNLJ.jsp?id=1202458112680&Chemical_a...
Panel derails law clinic bill http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/94371459.html?index=1&c=y

MURRAY: Eastern Michigan students celebrate tuition freeze

May 20, 2010
Dave Murray

Eastern Michigan University students celebrated their school’s decision to hold the line on tuition and fees hikes at an all-campus picnic Thursday, and gathered for a photo — with a message.

EMU photographer Randy Mascharka took the shot from the roof of the Ypsilanti campus’ Student Center.

Eastern President Susan Martin told me last month that she knows the university is taking a risk by not asking students for more money at a time when state aid could be slipping and busing expenses continue to rise.

WASHINGTON POST: Virginia Governor cuts wait times for felons wanting voting rights

May 20, 2010
Rosalind Helderman

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) announced today that he is reducing the time that must pass, from three years to two, before a nonviolent felon who has completed his sentence can apply to have his voting rights restored. McDonnell also pledged that his office will act on those requests within 60 days after receiving information from the felon, courts and other agencies.

McDonnell said the new process is designed to speed reintegration into civil society for felons who have completed their sentences. He said the goal was to create the "fastest and fairest" process in modern Virginia history.

KOULISH: Public-private "immigration control complex" threatens democracy

May 18, 2010
Robert Koulish

Efforts to control undocumented immigrants challenge some of American democracy’s most basic precepts. At bottom, such efforts deal with the almost unresolvable struggle in democratic society: to locate people (most of whom are of color) who are unidentifiable for lack of records or documents without creating an apartheid police state.

The new Arizona law SB 1070 makes it a criminal offense to be an “illegal alien”— and mandates local police to identify and arrest unauthorized immigrants. In a border state like Arizona the loose legal standard of “reasonable suspicion” which some insist will restrain police power, actually translates into racial apartheid against all Latinos.

More Info: 

Robert Koulish is a visiting senior fellow at the Center for American Politics and Citizenship at the University of Maryland

Original article here... http://voices.washingtonpost.com/political-bookworm/2010/05/immigrations...

COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW: Non-Profit Investigative Journalism to the Rescue?

May 14, 2010
Jill Drew

At a story meeting for California Watch, the nonprofit investigative news startup, employees sit around a conference table as Robert Salladay, the organization’s senior editor, begins to describe the findings of a six-month investigation by one of his state capital reporters. “It gives me chills,” Salladay tells the group. “Each paragraph could be its own story.” Robert Rosenthal, the founder of California Watch, peers over his glasses at an open laptop, then nods in agreement. “The reporting is so amazing,” he says.

More Info: 

Jill Drew is a 2009-2010 Encore Fellow at Columbia Journalism Review. She was an associate editor at The Washington Post until August 2009. For nine of her fourteen years at the newspaper, she was assistant managing editor for financial news.
Original article here... http://www.cjr.org/feature/the_new_investigators.php?page=all

AP: Maryland ends prison-based gerrymandering

May 10, 2010
Kathleen Miller

Urban lawmakers across the country say their counterparts in rural areas have gotten an unfair advantage from an unlikely group: prisoners.
Now, lawmakers in Maryland are changing that by having inmates counted as residents of where they last lived — typically urban centers — not the rural areas where they're often imprisoned. Nine other states are considering similar legislation. Advocates say the way inmates are tallied when redrawing election maps has skewed how people in all areas are represented in Congress, legislatures and other elected offices.

More Info: 

Original article here... http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5ibKTibpywBNKUVww_zR9Rd...

Read more about prison-based Gerrymandering at the Prison Policy Initiative website http://www.prisonpolicy.org/

LIU: Manski Wins Democracy on Campus

May 6, 2010
Alexander J. Liu

Making the drive up to the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point once again on Monday, pro-democracy advocate and attorney Ben Manski returned to the campus he had visited in his college career. Only this time the faces had changed, but the message was the same. At 8 p.m. in the Dreyfus University Center’s Theatre, Manski delivered a multimedia presentation on “Winning Democracy,” in the hopes that it would inspire students to do just that.

“I hope that I helped to broaden some perspectives about what other students are doing around the world: what they’ve done in recent generations, that it wasn’t all just in the 60’s. I’m a little bit older, but in my generation student activists, we accomplished a lot,” said Manski. “In my experience, when people think big, they dream big and they work to accomplish those big goals. They sometimes succeed, and if you don’t try at all, then they’re not going to happen and that’s not acceptable.”

More Info: 

Original article here...

PROVIDENCE JOURNAL: Rhode Island students rally against tuition hikes

May 6, 2010
Alicia A. Pina

Despite tuition increasing 46.6 percent over the last five years, professors and students at the Community College of Rhode Island say there are fewer services and not enough spots for even the mandatory core courses.

Jim Brady, the college’s outgoing student body president, said the situation — particularly the tuition hikes that don’t seem to have an end at all three of the state’s higher education institutions — is “completely disgusting” and counterproductive to helping the state build a 21st-century work force.

A call-to-action rally at the community college’s Knight Campus Wednesday afternoon was the first of several planned events to let the General Assembly know “enough is enough.” A petition is also circulating and a march to the State House is in the works.

AP: Democracy Now! files suit over RNC arrests

May 5, 2010
Steve Karnowski

MINNEAPOLIS — Amy Goodman, host of the syndicated "Democracy Now!" news program, and two of her producers filed suit against the cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis and other defendants Wednesday over their arrests while covering the 2008 Republican National Convention.

The three were among an estimated 40 to 50 journalists who were arrested covering street protests at the convention in downtown St. Paul, along with about 800 demonstrators and bystanders.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Minnesota, alleges that authorities violated the First Amendment freedoms of Goodman, her producers and other journalists by interfering with their right to gather news.

Goodman's daily program airs on over 750 radio and TV stations in North America.

More Info: 

Original article here...

Video of the arrest of Democracy Now! producer Nicole Salazar:

 

STEVENSON: This education is ours, so act like it

May 5, 2010
Sam Stevenson

Want to travel back in time? Drive 80 miles east to Milwaukee, park on Downer and Kenwood and walk a block west. Complementing the anachronistic architecture crowding around, the tenor of student body activism pulsating across the UW-Milwaukee campus could easily fool the most well-informed Madisonian into thinking he or she had traveled to another era, one where college students fought hard to protect and nourish their education.

The impassioned and fair demands made by UWM students last March precipitated last Thursday’s revealing panel discussion with embattled UWM Chancellor Carlos Santiago. Previously, UWM’s participation in a national day of action in defense of higher education on March 4 met a rude end when administrative officials called in police to break up a passionate though peaceful demonstration. Campus and city police aggressively targeted students with pepper spray and physical violence in an effort to neutralize vociferous demands for an audience with Santiago.

More Info: 

Sam Stevenson is a graduate student in public health.

Original article here...

BURNS: Tuition-hike roundup for April 2010

May 3, 2010
Steve Burns

According to a new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, at least 28 states have implemented cuts to public colleges and universities and/or large increases in college tuition to make up for insufficient state funding, and four more states have proposed cuts but have not yet carried them out. Full report here...

Vermont: A proposal to raise University tuition by 4.8 percent brought an angry response by the state's Governor, Jim Douglas, who called the increase "excessive, and an unfair burden on struggling Vermont families." Under the proposal, tuition at Vermont State Colleges would rise 4 percent. Read more...

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...

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...

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.

More Info: 

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...

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.

More Info: 

Original article 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...

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...

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...

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.

Green Policy Conference

Date: 
June 1, 2005 - 1:00pm

Location

Madison, WI

The Green Institute, the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution and the Havens Center sponsored a conference at the University of Wisconsin in Madison to discuss officeholder coordination, education and assistance.

For more information, read the full report at the Green Institute's Website or visit the Green Policy Conference website

Frances Moore Lappé in Madison

Date: 
November 5, 2007 - 1:15pm

Location

Barrymore Theatre
2090 Atwood Ave
Madison, WI

A public talk by FRANCES MOORE LAPPÉ on her new book, "Getting a Grip." Followed by a fundraising reception for Liberty Tree.

Community Action Meeting in Santa Fe, NM ~ Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap of Move To Amend to Facilitate ~ 6-8:30pm

Date: 
May 5, 2010 - 11:00pm - May 6, 2010 - 1:30am

Location

Unitarian Church
107 West Barcelona Road
Santa Fe, NM 87505
THIS MEETING STARTS AT 6pm AND ENDS AT 8:30pm. APOLOGIES FOR WEBSITE PROBLEMS THAT INDICATED OTHERWISE. Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, Executive Director of Democracy Unlimited - a founding coalition partner of the Campaign to Legalize Democracy/Move To Amend - will be in Santa Fe, New Mexico on Wednesday, May 5th for a community action meeting. The forum will focus on how residents of Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico can join the national movement against Corporate Personhood.

UW Together Part II: Unite For Students at the Capitol

Date: 
October 17, 2011 - 12:30pm - 3:30pm

Location

Wisconsin State Capitol; 411 South Hearing Room Madison, WI

Last month, the Center for Equal Opportunity launched an attack on the students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, trying to pit Badger against Badger to further their partisan goals. However, we resisted, we united, and we stood together in support of the holistic admissions practices at UW-Madison, reminding the CEO that we're more than our scores!

Now, our defense continues as Representative Stephen Nass (R-Whitewater) has invited the CEO to the Capitol for a closed hearing to waste time they should be spending working on job creation or lowering the cost of higher education scrutinizing our legal admissions practices at UW-Madison.

Digital Media Conference: Social Movements & Digital Revolutions

Date: 
October 21, 2011 - 7:00am - October 22, 2011 - 5:30pm

Location

Lesley University Cambridge, MA

To register and for more information: http://www.digitalmediaconference.org/2011/

 --> Liberty Tree Fellows Sarah and Ben Manski are invited participants on the conference's "Mega Panel" on Saturday at 12:30pm.

April 29th March for Peace, Justice & Democracy

From: 
April 29th Organizing Committee
What's happening: 

Too much is too wrong in this country. We have a foreign policy that is foreign to our core values, and domestic policies wreaking havoc at home. It's time for a change:

  • No more never-ending oil wars!
  • Protect our civil liberties & immigrant rights.
  • End illegal spying, government corruption and the subversion of our democracy.
  • Rebuild our communities, starting with the Gulf Coast.
  • Stop corporate subsidies and tax cuts for the wealthy while ignoring our basic needs.
  • Act quickly to address the climate crisis and the accelerating destruction of our environment.

Aug. 10, Benton Harbor Michigan: March to protest corporate takeover of city

From: 
Rev. Edward Pinkney, Benton Harbor, Michigan
What's happening: 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010, 11:00 am

City Hall, 200 E. Wall Street (49022)

All will march to Jean Klock Park to
protest Harbor Shores and Whirlpool's
hostile takeover of the city. 

Everyone is invited.  For info contact
Rev. Edward Pinkney, 269-925-0001,
banco9342@sbcglobal.net

Background: Benton Harbor, Michigan, is the center of a fightback against corporate power and control as the people of the city organize to oppose a corporate takeover of public land, their much-beloved Jean Klock park, for conversion to a privately owned golf course and lakefront development called Harbor Shores. Executives of the Whirlpool corporation, which is based in the city, are behind the effort to redevelop the land over strong public opposition. The struggle has been led by the Rev. Edward Pinkney, who has continued to speak out despite efforts by city officials to silence him, including a local judge's sentence of 3-10 years in prison that was later overturned as a violation of Rev. Pinkney's free-speech rights.

Bring the Guard Home!

From: 
Liberty Tree
What's happening: 

The debate over the Iraq War changed last week in a simple, but profound way. A bill introduced on Tuesday in the Vermont State Legislature declares that the 2002 federal authorization to call up the State National Guard has expired, and would set in motion steps to recall members of the Vermont Guard. Rep. Michael Fisher, lead sponsor of the Vermont bill says that:

It is clear that the mission that Congress authorized no longer exists. The President has no current or permanent legal authority to keep Guard members in Iraq. The Governor as Commander-in-Chief of the Vermont National Guard should take necessary steps to bring them home.

In addition to the Vermont legislation, sponsored by Rep. Michael Fisher and Senate President Pro-Tempore Peter Shumlin, legislators in Minnesota, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island plan to sponsor similar National Guard legislation in the current legislative session.Legislators in six other states, notably Maryland, Maine, and Wisconsin are working on the issue and considering following suit.

In recent years, twelve state legislatures and over 300 communities have passed resolutions protesting the Iraq War and calling withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. This new legislation is something very different. This legislation actually ends the deployment of the Guard from Iraq.

News media from public radio, to CBS News, to Pacifica and AlterNet have already picked up the story. This new campaign to inject some democracy into our system of national defense is building.

  • Intrigued?

Please take a moment to read more. We've provided you with a copy of the Vermont legislation itself, an FAQ, media reports, and several articles by Liberty Tree's Ben Manski and IPS' Karen Dolan. Just go to our resources page at: http://www.LibertyTreeFDR.org/guard.php

  • Compelled?

Once you are done reading, it's time for action. Please see below for what you should do.

California statewide mobilizing conference against the privatization of public education

From: 
Organizers of March 4 actions to defend public education
What's happening: 

An all-day conference on April 24 at Santee Education Complex: 1921 South Maple Avenue, Los Angeles, bringing together schools, student organizations, labor unions, committees, coalitions, and parent and community organizations across the state with a call for involvement from all education sectors – Pre-K-12, Community College, CSU, UC, and Adult Education. The conference is intended to follow on the massive March 4 actions in California and natiowide to defend public education.

The organizers write:

The future of public education in this state - particularly for the working class and communities of color, who are being hit especially hard by the cuts - depends on our ability to unify and push forward the struggle in defense of public education.

The purpose of this Statewide Mobilizing Conference is therefore both simple and extremely urgent: to democratically discuss and decide on a unifying political platform and plan of action capable of bringing together schools, student organizations, labor unions, committees, coalitions, and parent and community organizations across the state to deepen and push forward this powerful and broad movement that shook the state and the country on March 4th.

We ask activists, organizations, and mobilized schools across the state to put their full organizational capacity into helping us collectively to build and promote this conference. We ask for maximum participation from all education sectors – Pre-K-12, Community College, CSU, UC, and Adult Education - and regions, and from all organizations of workers, teachers, and students, and we extend the invitation to all mobilized schools and organizations across the country. Get your union, student government or parent-teacher organization to endorse, attend, and participate in the conference.

The decision to call for this conference was made at the Statewide Mobilizing Conference of October 24th, 2009, where over 800 people from all of the sectors of public education decided together to call for the March 4th Strike and Day of Action in defense of public education.

California statewide mobilizing conference against the privatization of public education

From: 
Organizers of March 4 actions to defend public educationc
What's happening: 

An all-day conference on April 24 at Santee Education Complex: 1921 South Maple Avenue, Los Angeles, bringing together schools, student organizations, labor unions, committees, coalitions, and parent and community organizations across the state with a call for involvement from all education sectors – Pre-K-12, Community College, CSU, UC, and Adult Education. The conference is intended to follow on the massive March 4 actions in California and natiowide to defend public education.

The organizers write:

The future of public education in this state - particularly for the working class and communities of color, who are being hit especially hard by the cuts - depends on our ability to unify and push forward the struggle in defense of public education.

The purpose of this Statewide Mobilizing Conference is therefore both simple and extremely urgent: to democratically discuss and decide on a unifying political platform and plan of action capable of bringing together schools, student organizations, labor unions, committees, coalitions, and parent and community organizations across the state to deepen and push forward this powerful and broad movement that shook the state and the country on March 4th.

We ask activists, organizations, and mobilized schools across the state to put their full organizational capacity into helping us collectively to build and promote this conference. We ask for maximum participation from all education sectors – Pre-K-12, Community College, CSU, UC, and Adult Education - and regions, and from all organizations of workers, teachers, and students, and we extend the invitation to all mobilized schools and organizations across the country. Get your union, student government or parent-teacher organization to endorse, attend, and participate in the conference.

The decision to call for this conference was made at the Statewide Mobilizing Conference of October 24th, 2009, where over 800 people from all of the sectors of public education decided together to call for the March 4th Strike and Day of Action in defense of public education.

Don't Let Missouri End Secular Public Higher Education!

From: 
American Association of University Professors, UMKC Chapter
What's happening: 

The Missouri House passed HB 213, the "Emily Brooker Intellectual Diversity Act," on April 12.

The bill (now S 848) is now before the State Senate.

Most notable is the bill's explicit protection of "the viewpoint that the Bible is inerrant" (infallibility as interpreted by ultra-conservatives). The Act would legally empower fundamentalist students claiming infallibility to file grievances against non-fundamentalist instructors and have them disciplined for "lack of respect" or "viewpoint discrimination." That is, they can be disciplined for rejecting the infallibility of
ultra-conservative tenets (creationism replaces evolution in the life sciences, gay rights are excluded from law and social work curricula, programs in Black Studies, Women's Studies, and Labor Studies are eliminated, etc.).

Law Clinics Under Attack

From: 
Center for Campus Free Speech
What's happening: 

The New York Times recently wrote an article on a new legislative attack on academic freedom.[1] In two states, Louisiana and Maryland, legislators have introduced bills to restrict the cases and clients that law clinics at public universities can take on. These bills come hot on the heels of two high profile public interest lawsuits filed by clinics at the University of Maryland and Tulane.

Law clinics provide important hands-on training for law students at public universities across the nation. Challenges to the academic freedom of these law clinics are not new. Research from Professor Robert R. Keuhn at St. Louis University found that more than a third of faculty at law clinics expressed fears about university or state reaction to their casework and a sixth had turned down unpopular clients because of these fears.[2] But the two bills currently being considered are the first time that legislators have directly tried to restrict the opportunities afforded law students through these clinics. Both of these bills have been introduced at the behest of industries that have recently been the targets of lawsuits from public law clinics.

In Maryland the state senate tacked a provision onto a routine budget bill threatening millions of dollars of funding for the University of Maryland if its law clinic did not disclose information about its clients and finances. While our allies in Maryland were able to get the state assembly to remove this amendment, some of these provisions appear to have been reinserted in the final draft bill.

In Louisiana, State Senator Robert Adley has introduced a bill to prevent public law clinics from litigating against government entities, corporations, or individuals unless approved by the state legislature. The bill, being promoted by oil and gas companies, comes on the heels of a suit from the law clinic pushing for better enforcement of the Clean Air Act.

Both of these bills are attempts by powerful interests to restrict what amounts to course content and take control of those decisions out of the hands of faculty members. This legislation shows us that while Horowitz and his Academic Bill of Rights may have fallen out of style with the opponents of the academy, the attack on the free exchange of ideas is not over.

Law Clinics Under Attack

From: 
Center for Campus Free Speech
What's happening: 

UPDATE: The bill pushed by the Louisiana chemical industry to restrict the activities of Tulane University's law clinic has died in a Senate committee. More here...

The New York Times recently wrote an article on a new legislative attack on academic freedom.[1] In two states, Louisiana and Maryland, legislators have introduced bills to restrict the cases and clients that law clinics at public universities can take on. These bills come hot on the heels of two high profile public interest lawsuits filed by clinics at the University of Maryland and Tulane.

Law clinics provide important hands-on training for law students at public universities across the nation. Challenges to the academic freedom of these law clinics are not new. Research from Professor Robert R. Keuhn at St. Louis University found that more than a third of faculty at law clinics expressed fears about university or state reaction to their casework and a sixth had turned down unpopular clients because of these fears.[2] But the two bills currently being considered are the first time that legislators have directly tried to restrict the opportunities afforded law students through these clinics. Both of these bills have been introduced at the behest of industries that have recently been the targets of lawsuits from public law clinics.

In Maryland the state senate tacked a provision onto a routine budget bill threatening millions of dollars of funding for the University of Maryland if its law clinic did not disclose information about its clients and finances. While our allies in Maryland were able to get the state assembly to remove this amendment, some of these provisions appear to have been reinserted in the final draft bill.

In Louisiana, State Senator Robert Adley has introduced a bill to prevent public law clinics from litigating against government entities, corporations, or individuals unless approved by the state legislature. The bill, being promoted by oil and gas companies, comes on the heels of a suit from the law clinic pushing for better enforcement of the Clean Air Act.

Both of these bills are attempts by powerful interests to restrict what amounts to course content and take control of those decisions out of the hands of faculty members. This legislation shows us that while Horowitz and his Academic Bill of Rights may have fallen out of style with the opponents of the academy, the attack on the free exchange of ideas is not over.

NYU Strike: Speak up for the right to unionize!

From: 
Liberty Tree Democratizing Education Program
What's happening: 

At issue is the right of campus workers to organize a labor union. Graduate workers at New York University (NYU) are entering their second month on strike. NYU management refuses to recognize, much less negotiate with, the union - the Graduate Student Organizing Committee (GSOC).

Please Attend Oregon's Legislative Hearings ~ March 11, 2009

From: 
Portland Peace and Justice Works
What's happening: 

Exciting news, Guard Home Campaign supporters

The hearing for the measures to keep Oregon's Guard in Oregon, HB 2556 and HR 4 will be held this coming Wednesday, March 11 at 3 PM in the State Capitol. The tentative hearing room that's scheduled holds 50 people--let's see if we can make them get a larger room! Please RSVP if you plan to attend the hearing so we can relay the information to the administrator of the Rules Committee on how many people are expected to attend.

Please note that the hearing will likely be limited in time, and so not everyone will be able to testify; visible support (via Guard Home Buttons) is just as important!

State Preemption of Community Cable

From: 
Hear Us Now Consumers Union
What's happening: 

" Telephone and cable companies want to dominate Internet connections to the home. If they get state legislatures to help them block competition, like they just did in Pennsylvania, these companies would no longer have an important incentive to build their networks to connect the underserved.

Help support community wireless networks by taking action in your state. Find your state below and take action now! 


If you live in:

AL, AK, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MO, MN, MS, MT, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NV, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, RI, SC, SD, TN, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV or WY . . .

Your state is in jeopardy of creating roadblocks to community wireless networks."

Support Benton Harbor leader now!

From: 
Rev. Pinkney Support Committee
What's happening: 

Benton Harbor, Michigan, burst onto the national news in June of 2003 when hundreds of unemployed African American young people rose up in anger after a 28 year old resident, Terrance Shurn, died as a result of police action. This was only the latest of a plague of incidents of racial violence and police brutality over many years. In 2004-2005 Rev. Pinkney and his organization, BANCO, exercised their democratic rights by working in a successful recall campaign against a person who did not represent the community's interests, a corrupt city commissioner backed by the Whirlpool Corporation, the largest employer in the area. Then, in an attempt to circumvent the will of the people, the vote was overturned by a local judge. In a further outrage, Rev. Pinkney was arrested on vote fraud charges. He faces a possible sentence of 20 years.

Take the Voters Pledge for Peace

From: 
VotersforPeace.US
What's happening: 

It is important for elected officials to know that a large number of Americans are no longer willing to vote for candidates who support wars of aggression and who fail to take active leadership to end the occupation of Iraq. Across the political spectrum, independents, Democrats, Greens, Republicans, and Libertarians, are increasingly saying, 'Bring the Troops Home Now!'

The Voters Peace Pledge is an effort to count, organize and make visible this emerging anti-war voting block and to speak with a united voice of conviction which candidates and incumbent politicians CANNOT AFFORD TO IGNORE. Imagine headlines saying 2 million have pledged to vote for peace candidates in 2006! A March, 2006 poll showed that tens of millions of Americans agree with the Peace Pledge. Voters For Peace is committed to get the word out to legislators, the media and the general public that peace voters will not be taken for granted in future elections. Voters For Peace urges you to take a clear stand and let politicians know they cannot take your vote for granted but instead have to earn your vote. Please sign the following pledge.

"I will not vote for or support any candidate for Congress or President who does not make a speedy end to the war in Iraq, and preventing any future war of aggression a public position in his or her campaign."

Urge on Vermont: Bring the Guard home!

From: 
Democratizing Defense Network
What's happening: 

The movement to bring home the National Guard is growing.  State representatives and senators in Minnesota, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island have joined Vermonters in drafting and introducing legislation to keep their state Guard units where they belong.  With the latest news out of Iraq and Washington D.C. -- that the troop escalation has failed to end the violence and that the Bush administration will attempt to issue additional call up orders for Guard units this summer and fall -- the time is ripe for state action to keep the Guard in the United States.

This campaign began earliest in Vermont, and it is in Vermont that the effort has made the most progress.  The Vermont Senate held hearings on the legislation last month.  The Vermont public is debating the issue.  Media outlets from the Topeka Capital Journal to CBS national news to the Houston Chronicle have covered the debate.  For the first time, Americans are becoming aware of the illegality of National Guard deployments to Iraq.  The Vermont debate is educating all of us; we are learning that:

  • The President may only call the Guard into National Service after Congress has granted him/her that authority; otherwise, the Guard remain under the command of state officials.
  • The 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force in Iraq (2002 AUMF) was the act of Congress under which National Guard call ups for deployment to Iraq have occurred until now.
  • The 2002 AUMF set a clear mission for the invasion of Iraq, and that mission is over.  Saddam Hussein and Iraq are no long a threat to the United States or the region (if they ever were), and the UN Security Council resolutions on which the 2002 AUMF was based are no longer relevant.
  • Some state elected officials are willing to stand up and defend the constitutional guarantee of a federal government of limited and enumerated powers, a military designed for national defense and not empire, and a government of laws and not of men!

All of this is already coming to light with a simple legislative push that doesn't even challenge the unconstitutionality of the war itself, or challenge the deployment of the Guard for purposes other than those spelled out in the Constitution.  All this legislation says is, "Federal government, we're not even telling you that your laws are unconstitutional, we're just insisting that you to obey your own laws."  Is that such a radical thing to ask?  Let's find out.

Voters For Peace 'Cancelled Check' Campaign

From: 
Voters for Peace
What's happening: 

The purpose of the Cancelled Check Campaign is to divert votes and dollars from pro-war candidates. We want to send a message to candidates and incumbents that peace voters will not be taken for granted. At the same time, we want those dollars that could have gone to a pro-war candidate to instead go to a person or organization that is working for peace.

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