Conservatives Opposed To Rule Of Law, Our Constitution And Good Education

This post originally appeared at Speak Out California
Conservative leader and former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich writes about the California court ruling that children – even home-schooled children – must be educated by credentialed teachers, saying it is an example of “Judicial Supremacy.” In his article he quotes a Wall Street Journal editorial calling the ruling a “strange new chapter” in the “annals of judicial imperialism.” Later in the piece he writes,

The decision represents yet another case of a special interest — in this case, the education unions and bureaucracy — using the courts to get what they can’t get through the popular vote.
This is yet another example of judicial supremacy: Rule by an out-of-control judiciary rather than the will of the people. It joins court rulings such as the removal of “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance on a long list of usurpations of the freedom and self-determination of the American people.

Lets take a moment to examine what Gingrich is really complaining about here.
Here’s how the American system of law and justice is supposed to work: We have a Constitution and we have laws that we are all supposed to follow by mutual agreement. And we have in place a judicial system for interpreting our Constitution and laws, again by mutual agreement. So when there is a dispute we take that dispute to the courts, and the judges rule according to the Constitution and laws. And then we agree to follow their rulings.
Newt Gingrich and the conservatives complain that this is “Judicial Supremacy” and “judicial imperialism.” Wow, this sounds pretty bad! But look at the meaning of these negative-sounding words. Isn’t “Judicial Supremacy” really just another way of saying that we agree to follow “rule of law?” When Gingrich uses language that casts a negative frame on the concept, isn’t he undermining public respect for the rule of law? Gingrich and other conservatives are happy enough with our American system when it works in their favor but when it rules against their agenda they launch another anti-government screed.
This post is not written in opposition to home or private schooling, but to point out the importance to all of us that we all operate under the same set of agreed-upon rules. At least in California, another agreed-upon rule is that our children should receive the best possible education. Article 9 of our California Constitution states that a good education is “essential to the preservation of the rights and liberties of the people.” The wording at the beginning of Article 9 is as follows:

A general diffusion of knowledge and intelligence being essential to the preservation of the rights and liberties of the people, the Legislature shall encourage by all suitable means the promotion of intellectual, scientific, moral, and agricultural improvement.

To this end Article 9 describes how California will manage a system of free, public schools. And Article 9 makes it clear that to this end our children deserve qualified, “credentialed” teachers.
Once again, We, the People of California have decided that a good education is “essential to the preservation of the rights and liberties of the people.” This is what we want. Just what is it that Gingrich and other conservatives want instead if it doesn’t involve qualified teachers providing education to our state’s children?
Click to continue.

Moon And The Republicans

Please watch this video about the Reverend Sun Myung Moon and his organization’s political influence with the Republicans. This is an important story. Moon, for example, owns the Washington Times. Front groups set up by his organization have been receiving millions of tax dollars from the Bush Administration.

Online Videos by Veoh.com

And definitely get the new book on Moon, Bad Moon Rising, by John Gorenfeld

Defending the Constitution

A very good op-ed in the Washington Post, Mickey Edwards – Dick Cheney’s Error, defending the Constitution and democracy. But reading it, I have to wonder where this guy has been for seven years?

It is Cheney’s all-too-revealing conversation this week with ABC News correspondent Martha Raddatz. On Wednesday, reminded of the public’s disapproval of the war in Iraq, now five years old, the vice president shrugged off that fact (and thus, the people themselves) with a one-word answer: “So?”
“So,” Mr. Vice President?
[. . .] When the vice president dismisses public opposition to war with a simple “So?” he violates the single most important element in the American system of government: Here, the people rule.

Someone should wash Carville’s mouth out with soap

“Mr. Richardson’s endorsement came right around the anniversary of the day when Judas sold out for 30 pieces of silver, so I think the timing is appropriate, if ironic,” Mr. Carville said, referring to Holy Week. Link

Carville is a mercenary, and he’s a specialist in the kind of personal-loyalty racketeer politics that the Bush machine also specializes in. Whenever possible he’ll double-cross the majority of rank and file Democrats in order to cut a deal, in the same way that the Bush administration is always willing to betray Republican principles for the sake of a little graft. To Carville everything is deals and payoffs, so when Richardson dared to defy the family that had made him, Carville decided he was a traitor who must be smeared. Thank God that Richardson has more smarts than the average gangbanger.
Carville’s lovely wife, Mary Matalin, is part of Dick Cheney’s inner circle. Why would anyone ever trust the guy? Whoever washes his filthy mouth out should also swab it for second-hand Cheney semen.

Obama Endorses the McCain Brand

I’m still stuck in the Atlanta airport, where they have CNN on. I just heard Senator Obama say that the country needs a little more “straight talk” right now, and that Senator McCain is a true American hero.
I think the second part is a great thing to say, but I have to wonder if Sen. Obama understands that “straight talk” is McCain’s brand? He just reinforced McCain’s campaign slogan to the country.
This is just as bad as Senator Clinton saying the other day that McCain is ready to be President and Obama isn’t.

Stuck in Atlanta 24 Hours – Airline Says Too Bad For You

My flight from Washington DC to Atlanta landed late. The connection to San Francisco still wasn’t due to take off for a few minutes but the airline (AirTran Airways) didn’t hold it.
So I go to the counter and ask what I can do? They only have one flight to San Francisco a day, and the next one is in 24 hours.
Can I get on another airline? Try Orbitz, she says.
Can you get me a room? She gives me an 800 number of a discount service.
Can I get some food? There are concession stands in the airport.
Too bad for you. We’ve already got your money and you’re on your own.
There is nothing I can do, they already have my money.
Welcome to the New America. Welcome to the You’re On Your Own (YOYO) society. Welcome to corporate domination. Did you know that it used to be illegal for airlines to treat their customers like this? But now it is expected.
We, the People used to be in charge. We set up the legal, financial and physical infrastructure that enables corporations to serve our interests. You know, that pesky “We, the People” thing. Why else would we have set up corporations except to serve us?
But now it is the other way around. Now the corporations are in charge of us. A select few grew fabulously wealthy from the system we set up to serve all the people, and have used that wealth to manipulate the system to bring all the benefits to themselves at the expense of the people.
When are we going to do something about it?
(Note – the airline employees were not nasty, considering who they have to work for and the policies they have to work under. They seemed resigned to having to tell people this stuff. That’s another part of this system — if you want to have enough money to feed your kids and pay the rent (but not get health care) you’re forced to serve the corporation, and be their agents in telling people “too bad.” There is a harm that comes to people from being compelled to treat others this way. And if you think you have too much integrity to do that, well we can find someone in India who is hungry enough.)

Take Back America – Tuesday

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This was originally posted at Speak Out California
I am at the Take Back America conference in Washington DC. This is an annual gathering of a couple of thousand progressives. You see lots of familiar names and faces here, people you see on TV and in magazines. Just five minutes ago I was saying “Hi” to Arianna Huffington. Earlier today I said Hi to Jesse Jackson…
I was thinking about why people do this. I don’t mean the overnight flight with a three-hour layover in Atlanta. (But really, why did I do that?)
I mean, being a progressive is not a big-money gig. So I am attending these great panel sessions and the speakers are very sharp, productive people, who speak very well, and who have dedicated their lives to helping other people. Yes, some make pretty good money, but nothing at all like they could make out there in the corporate world.
Trust me, nobody does this for the money.
I was watching one particularly good speaker yesterday. She was very good, very persuasive, interesting to listen to… and I thought, “I used to do this for products.” Now I can’t do this for products. Something inside of me will not let me.
It is about being a citizen. In a morning session today Taylor Branch was talking about lessons from the civil rights movement. One thing he said resonated with me. He said, “Citizens in a democracy are all supposed to have an equal share in that democracy, so we ought to act like it.” We all have a duty, a responsibility to be involved in bettering our country, and to work to stop the wrongs we see.
That’s why.

Obama’s Speech

I watched Senator Obama’s speech today from the press room at the Take Back America conference. I’ll comment on it later. Right now I”ll only say that I believe this was one of the great speeches of American history. But maybe more than a speech. Maybe a change event.

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama
“A More Perfect Union”
Constitution Center
Tuesday, March 18th, 2008
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

“We the people, in order to form a more perfect union.”
Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America’s improbable experiment in democracy. Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.
The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation’s original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least twenty more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations.

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From Take Back America – Monday

This was originally posted at Speak Out California
I am at the Take Back America conference in Washington DC.
One common discussion here at Take Back America is that conservative economic policy chickens are coming home to roost. Another phrase I am hearing is Wild West Banking. People here are talking about the big story in the news right now: an economic and financial crisis that some economists are saying is the worst since the depression.
For decades, as conservative economics increasingly led to lower wages, loss of pensions and health insurance, and general “you’re on your own” economic insecurity many people have been using up their savings while other people turned to borrowing to make up the difference, taking out second mortgages or running up credit cards.
Meanwhile the financial system, increasingly deregulated, cooked up riskier and riskier schemes — like loaning money to people and companies to use to make their payments on their existing debt.
Now we appear to be reaching the limit of people’s ability to borrow. And when people and companies have been borrowing to meet their payments this can mean a collapse. When people can’t pay the mortgages the financial companies aren’t receiving their payments. So they can’t make their payments, and the companies they aren’t paying can’t make their payments. Think of this as a spiral of debt extending from the overextended consumer at the bottom to the biggest financial companies at the top. Now that spiral is beginning to “unwind.”
This is happening because of so many years of conservative government focused on deregulating and on protecting the interests of the corporations and the wealthy instead of protecting the interests of the public from the moneyed interests. This is what conservatives do. A while back I wrote a very short post titled Republicans and Economics:

…there was a REASON that Americans were loath to elect a Republican into the government for an entire generation after the Great Depression: They remembered.

But eventually the public forgot, and the moneyed-interests used their money to again become the dominant voice in the public discussion. They used this dominance to persuade people to dislike unions, accept 401Ks as alternatives to pensions, and all the rest of the things that have led to another economic crisis. But even many of my progressive readers didn’t understand what I meant. So I had to add an update,

Previous generations REMEMBERED. There was nothing to add. Over time people have forgotten how Republican economics caused the depression, and how they fought every single program that helped the people at the expense of the wealthiest and the powerful corporations. (And in fact led to the prosperity that the wealthiest and corporations enjoyed since.)
But now people do not remember how concentration of wealth, corporations preying on citizens, anti-union policies, etc. LED TO the economic collapse.
The depression was ended by pro-union policies, redistributive taxes, REGULATIONS on businesses and the fuinancial sector, and an understanding that We, the People run the government, and the reason we have corporations is for OUR benefit, not just the benefit of the few.
Over time, as I said, people forgot. And here we are again.

How do we help the public understand what is happening and how conservative policies are responsible?
Click to continue

Today’s Financial Crisis Post – Get Out Of Money Market Funds!

For years and years and years people have been saying that Americans are taking on too much debt. The government has been borrowing too much. People are using credit cards too much. Second mortgages used for consumption are too much debt. There is too much corporate and financial system debt.
Debt has been fueling the growth we have been seeing for some time. It fueled the housing bubble. And now with the housing bubble bursting the debt bomb might also be exploding.
You might be hearing about problems on Wall Street and with the big financial firms. You might be hearing about the mortgage market having problems.
Well today you’ll be hearing about big financial firms having serious trouble. Over the weekend a number of things happened. The big firm Bear Stearns basically went under and the government helped JP Morgan buy them for $2 a share. And the Federal Reserve did an emergency rate cut last night, with another expected tomorrow.
Asian stock markets are way down, and when the markets open this morning there are fears that it will drop.
Part of what happened with Bear Stearns is there was a “run.” People were worried that the company would go under and asked for their money. And Bear Stearns didn’t have it. This means that other people will be wondering if their money in other firms is also at risk, and might be asking to get it out. This might be what happened over the weekend.
If you have any money in money-market accounts, move it into federally insured bank accounts. You can lose money if it is in these accounts. You shouldn’t have any money anywhere that is not federally insured until this thing blows over. Federally. IF, if we are looking at a systemic problem the private insurance companies will also be affected.
Have I mentioned that you shouldn’t have any money anywhere that is not federally insured right now?