Monday, January 25, 2010

Corporate Citizens???

Corporate Citizens?, More like a Corporate State
On Thursday the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Citizens United V FEC that in short states that corporations are people/citizens and thus, can not be censored; they have first amendment rights to free speech. Corporations (which include labor unions and not for profit corporations) can fund political speech/ads/films/events without any limit or censorship, save the FEC limits to directly giving to candidates.
I am making my way through the 183 page decision.. .[ for those of you who want to read it]

As I said this Fall at the Constitution Day event, if corporations are given the same rights as citizens, they also need to be given the same responsibilities. For instance, they need to be making decisions not just with their own self interest in mind (read: profit) but with the public good in mind. Perhaps using this mindset, we might not have had people mortgaged over their means with interest only mortgages because the mortgage brokers would have thought about the consequences and impact on the community five years out when the balloon payment hit, and could not be paid. Likewise the development and sale of derivatives might have been curtailed.
But, for a court which the majority are suppose to be strict constructionalists and not judicial activists, this decision is more than activist it remakes our Republic into a Corporate State.

Here is Chris Hedges view on this situation:

The above is from: Blogging-for-America with some minor changes

Friday, January 22, 2010

Anniversary of Roe V Wade

Today is the anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision, Roe V Wade in 1973. It is a very interesting opinion--it helps to articulate the concept of right to privacy that everyone uses, those who value this opinion and those who are working to reverse this opinion. Section VIII reads as follows (italics and bold, are mine):

The Constitution does not explicitly mention any right of privacy. In a line of decisions, however, going back perhaps as far as Union Pacific R. Co. v. Botsford, 141 U.S. 250, 251 (1891), the Court has recognized that a right of personal privacy, or a guarantee of certain areas or zones of privacy, does exist under the Constitution. In varying contexts, the Court or individual Justices have, indeed, found at least the roots of that right in the First Amendment, Stanley v. Georgia, 394 U.S. 557, 564 (1969); in the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 8-9 (1968), Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 350 (1967), Boyd v. United States, 116 U.S. 616 (1886), see Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438, 478 (1928) (Brandeis, J., dissenting); in the penumbras of the Bill of Rights, Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. at 484-485; in the Ninth Amendment, id. at 486 (Goldberg, J., concurring); or in the concept of liberty guaranteed by the first section of the Fourteenth Amendment, see Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390, 399 (1923). These decisions make it clear that only personal rights that can be deemed "fundamental" or "implicit in the concept of ordered liberty," Palko v. Connecticut, 302 U.S. 319, 325 (1937), are included in this guarantee of personal privacy. They also make it clear that the right has some extension to activities relating to marriage, Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1, 12 (1967); procreation, Skinner v. Oklahoma, 316 U.S. 535, 541-542 (1942); contraception, Eisenstadt v. Baird, 405 U.S. at 453-454; id. at 460, 463-465 [p153] (WHITE, J., concurring in result); family relationships, Prince v. Massachusetts, 321 U.S. 158, 166 (1944); and childrearing and education, Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510, 535 (1925), Meyer v. Nebraska, supra.

This right of privacy, whether it be founded in the Fourteenth Amendment's concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action, as we feel it is, or, as the District Court determined, in the Ninth Amendment's reservation of rights to the people, is broad enough to encompass a woman's decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.

While it gives women bodily autonomy in the right to decide whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term, the right is a finite one. She may only make the decision on her own during the first trimester, during the second and third trimesters she needs to seek medical opinions,which can trump hers. Further along in the section, Justice Blackmun writes:
On the basis of elements such as these, appellant and some amici argue that the woman's right is absolute and that she is entitled to terminate her pregnancy at whatever time, in whatever way, and for whatever reason she alone chooses. With this we do not agree. Appellant's arguments that Texas either has no valid interest at all in regulating the abortion decision, or no interest strong enough to support any limitation upon the woman's sole determination, are unpersuasive. The [p154] Court's decisions recognizing a right of privacy also acknowledge that some state regulation in areas protected by that right is appropriate. As noted above, a State may properly assert important interests in safeguarding health, in maintaining medical standards, and in protecting potential life. At some point in pregnancy, these respective interests become sufficiently compelling to sustain regulation of the factors that govern the abortion decision. The privacy right involved, therefore, cannot be said to be absolute. In fact, it is not clear to us that the claim asserted by some amici that one has an unlimited right to do with one's body as one pleases bears a close relationship to the right of privacy previously articulated in the Court's decisions. The Court has refused to recognize an unlimited right of this kind in the past. Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11 (1905) (vaccination); Buck v. Bell, 274 U.S. 200 (1927) ( sterilization).

We, therefore, conclude that the right of personal privacy includes the abortion decision, but that this right is not unqualified, and must be considered against important state interests in regulation.

For those of you who have never read the decision you may find it, and the dissent here:

IMHO, We have a LOT of work to do to have women recognized as full individuals capable of making decisions throughout their lives, on their own, with full bodily autonomy. Without this ability, we are not seen as individuals.

Friday, January 15, 2010

NYS Select Committee Directs NYS Senate to Expel or Censure Monserrate. We need to call our State Senators for their vote in this matter--IMHO, he should be expelled. Domestic Abuse should not be swept under the rug--Domnestic Abuse is a very serious crime.
Urge your Senator, as I did mine, Senator Larkin to vote for Monserrate's expulsion. The NYS Senate needs to send the message that domistic violence is not acceptableto the women and men of NYS.

To find your senator and e-mail him:
To See Senate committee's full report:

Thursday, January 14, 2010

To help Haiti

Besides the regular Red Cross, Unicef, etc. groupos which aid in emergencies here are two women's groups that you may donate to to help Haitians:
•Madre – works with community based Haitian women’s organizations, will be helping women in crisis, needs: water tablets, antibiotics, medical supplies, also distributing food & clean water asking for: donate $$ or supplies, call for more info 212-627 0444

•Quixote Center – long term grassroots organization working in US & Haiti, works w/ women’s groups & is sending earthquake aid