Tag Archives: civil rights

GOP “Dismatle Medical Coverage”

Paul Ryan (politician)

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You need to hear this: Republican Budget Chairman Paul Ryan just announced a radical scheme that, according to Reuters’ reporting, would “effectively dismantle the way most Americans receive medical coverage,” leading “most companies to drop their employer-sponsored plans.”

That’s right. Apparently Republicans’ plan to end Medicare and raise health care costs on seniors, while protecting tax breaks for

Big Oil and billionaires, wasn’t enough. Now they are going after health care for middle class workers.

We can’t let this stand. As we enter the final stretch before tomorrow’s critical midnight Federal Election Commission deadline, we are just $87,102 shy of our $1.5 Million grassroots goal. We must have the immediate resources to call out Republicans for their latest attack on the middle class.

Chip in $3 or more before the Federal Election Commission (FEC) deadline Midnight Tomorrow and your donation will be triple-matched by a group of committed House Democrats.

We cannot let Tea Party Republicans repeal President Obama’s health reform law and impose a radical plan that shifts costs onto the middle class and puts more Americans at the mercy of insurance companies.

The Washington Post is already reporting on our action plan to call out Republicans’ latest scheme:

“…the DCCC plans to go on the offensive in the districts of 50 House Republicans, pressuring them to say whether they agree with Ryan’s latest designs on the health care system.”

With your generous support we’ll hold Republicans accountable for their reckless proposals to sell out the middle class.

Contribute $3 or more before Midnight Tomorrow and your donation will be triple-matched.

Grassroots Democrats have beaten their wrongheaded plans back once, and we can do it again — but only if we have the resources we need to get our message out. Please chip in right now >>

Robby

Robby Mook
DCCC Executive Director

P.S. We’re just 24 hours away from the critical FEC deadline and only $87,102 shy of our $1.5 Million grassroots goal. Please contribute today and we’ll triple the impact of your gift >>


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Filed under Bills, Campaign 2012, Uncategorized

List of Demands by #OCCUPYWALLSTREET

Occupy Wall Street – Official Demands  UPDATED SEPT 28TH 2011 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Occupy Wall Street
The Sovereign People’s Movement, represented nationally through the people occupying the various Liberty Square locations across this great country, have laid out and democratically submitted and are currently voting on the list of following Demands to then be distilled into one Unified Common demand of the people.

Special Note!!!  Read this before you comment or vote of comment!

This document is a living breathing document updated daily but solely based on the votes for the items included within it.

This is how it works:  After reading the list of publised proposals, if you have a point that is not already proposed that you would like added, simply submit it in the comments section at the bottom.  The Suggestions are added to the ballot found Here so that they can be voted on by the people. This may take up to 72 hours for our legal team to dedupe and combine to exixting demands due to overlapping proposals.

Proposals remain on this official page as long as the vote maintains a 2/3 majority.

You may vote once per IP address and view the current results Here  Proxying IP addresses in attempt will not work, so do not attempt it.

If you disagree with any of the items below, or think they should not be included please click Here to voice your vote and lobby among your friends and contacts to drop the majority below 2/3 majority. Do not add it in the comments section.

Vote HERE for Proposed Demands to be included in a The Formal Occupy Wall Street Document below.

Proposed Demands

 

1. Eliminate Corporate Rights as Persons          

Click Here to Vote to Include

 

Revise the intrepretation of the famous 1886 case where the U.S. Supreme Court supposedly ruled that corporations are “persons” having the same rights as human beings based on the 14th Amendment, which was intended to protect the rights of former slaves. As most lawyers know, the Supreme Court made no such decision. In the case in question – Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company, the court itself never rules on personhood. A court reporter by the name of J.C. Bancroft Davis (a former railroad president) snuck that “ruling” into the books.

 

What most people don’t know is that after the above-mentioned 1886 decision, artificial persons were held to have exactly the same legal rights as we natural folk. (Not to mention the clear advantages corporations enjoy: they can be in several places at once, for instance, and at least in theory they’re immortal.) Up until the New Deal, many laws regulating corporations were struck down under the “equal protection” clause of the 14th Amendment–in fact, that clause was invoked far more often on behalf of corporations than former slaves. Although the doctrine of personhood has been weakened since, even now lawyers argue that an attempt to sue a corporation for lying is an unconstitutional infringement on its First Amendment right to free speech. ( Nike v. Kasky.)


2. Repeal of the Patriot Act              

Click Here to Vote to Include in Demands


“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” — Fourth Amendment to the Constitution

Forty-five days after 9/11, Congress passed the USA PATRIOT Act without reading it. This new law was supposed to protect you from terrorism, but it has really left you unprotected against lawless federal agents. The Patriot Act contains numerous violations of the Fourth Amendment. It gives federal agents vast new powers that have been abused to investigate innocent Americans.

Vote Here

 

 

3. Forced Acquisition of the Federal Reserve for $1Billion USD by the US Congress             

Click Here to Vote to Include in Demands

No Congress, no President has been strong enough to stand up to the foreign-controlled Federal Reserve Bank. Yet there is a catch – one that President Kennedy recognized before he was slain – the original deal in 1913 creating the Federal Reserve Bank had a simple backout clause. The investors loaned the United States Government $1 billion. And the backout clause allows the United States to buy out the system for that $1 billion. If the Federal Reserve Bank were demolished and the Congress of the United States took control of the currency, as required in the Constitution, the National Debt would virtually end overnight, and the need for more taxes and even the income tax, itself. Thomas Jefferson was concise in his early warning to the American nation, “If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issuance of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”

Article I, Section 8, Clause 5, of the United States Constitution provides that Congress shall have the power to coin money and regulate the value thereof and of any foreign coins. But that is not the case. The United States government has no power to issue money, control the flow of money, or to even distribute it – that belongs to a private corporation registered in the State of Delaware – the Federal Reserve Bank.

Learn More about How Congress has the Right to Take control over the Federal Reserve Here:  How to Gain Control over the Federal Reserve

 

4. Restructure Campaign Finance Legislation

Click Here to Vote to Include in Demands

Proposal One: Ban corporate donations to political campaigns while limiting individual campaign donations to $100.
Background:Corporations in the U.S. exercise an inordinate amount of influence over the government. The amount of corporate money in elections makes it virtually impossible for people want to serve the public’s interests to be viable candidates. Lowering the individual maximum donation to $100 ensures that the rich won\’t simply buy elections. This demand is offered in order to eliminate the rich’s dominance of elections and subsequent effect on public and foreign policy. America has never had a popular democracy. It began as a country controlled by a handful of white land-owning men. Throughout its history, gains were made in achieving some level of democracy to American citizens. The age of rule by an elite 1% (a tiny minority) can be forced to an end soon.The majority of the American population sees the U.S. as a reasonably fair country and as a popular democracy. This demand challenges that assertion. America is a corporate democracy and it will be eye-opening to many people to witness how undemocratically big business and their political flunkies will fight to deny popular democracy even though those are the values that the elites have professed for so long. This demand forces them to put up or shut up on their fucking principles. The public will support restructuring of campaign finance as the tiny minority has recently collapsed the economy, wasted resources, and destroyed millions of lives in it pursuit of its wars for its own narrow interest. In the past they have been able to point to relatively high wages, a relatively high standard of living, and increasing growth (regardless of the reason) as reasons to uphold the status quo, but these conditions are deteriorating and people are again searching for a remedy. Taking away the tiny majority’s ability to buy every election will usher in popular democracy and with that new policies that may affect all issues and grievances moving forward.</span></p>
more donations to a single person that is seeking or has a position in congress that exceeds $5,000 (five thousand) dollars within the time period of 1 (one) year. And no donations exceeding $25,000 (twenty-five thousand) to a single group, PAC, or super PAC within the time span of 18 (eighteen) months. Also, when a donation is made the persons employer must be listed. And if 25% (twenty-five) of all employees of the stated company donate to the same person or group then the company will stand to be investigated as to whether it is giving its employees the money and</p>

All members of all governments, Federal, state or local, must remain free of influence from outside factors.&nbsp; Lobbyists must remain at arm’s length and not be allowed in any way to provide free meals, trips or gifts of any kind to any politician.&nbsp; All contact must be in written form to prevent influence peddling.

 

 

5. Forgive Student Loan Debt and re construct the education system          

Click Here to Vote to Include in Demands


Redraft education financing legislation.  Lower educational expenses for students instead of raising tuition costs.  Pull money form the “WAR” system to refund education and continuing education.


6.  End the War on Drugs          

Click Here to Vote to Include in Demands

The war on drugs has been going on for more than three decades. Today, nearly 500,000 Americans are imprisoned on drug charges. In 1980 the number was 50,000. Last year $40 billion in taxpayer dollars were spent in fighting the war on drugs. As a result of the incarceration obsession, the United States operates the largest prison system on the planet, and the U.S. nonviolent prisoner population is larger than the combined populations of Wyoming and Alaska. Try to imagine the Drug Enforcement Administration erecting razor wire barricades around two states to control crime and you’ll get the picture.

According to the U.S. Dept of Justice, the number of offenders under age 18 imprisoned for drug offenses increased twelvefold from 1985 to 1997. The group most affected by this propensity for incarceration is African-Americans. From 1985 to 1997, the percentage of African-American young people put in prison increased from 53 to 62 percent.

Today, 89 percent of police departments have paramilitary units, and 46 percent have been trained by active duty armed forces. The most common use of paramilitary units is serving drug-related search warrants, which usually involve no-knock entries into private homes.

Because this is a Movement by the People and For the People, We are accepting proposals below in the Comments Section to be added to this formal list of Demands.  Our Legal team will review and formalize those that are selected by a vote of 2/3 majority by the movement.  Please remember you are only voting to include the available Demands into the Formal Demands Document


7. Free Education Kindergarten Through College  

 Click Here to Vote to Include in Demands

Currently Accepting proposals for actual plan


8. National Repeal of Capital Punishment

Click Here to Vote to Include in Demands

Currently Accepting proposals for actual plan


 

9.  Equal rights for women

Click Here to Vote to Include in Demands

Judge Antone Scailia has stated, and the Supreme Court has reinforced on numerous occasions, that women, by the virtue of the fact that the founding fathers did not specifically use the terms woman, women or female in the Constitution, are not recognized as having the same rights as men.  In a statement last year in Oregon, Judge Scailia specifically addressed this issue and stated that if the founding fathers wanted it, they would have included women in the Constitution.  We want equal rights to men, including equal pay, equal benefits and equal standing under all laws and in all courtrooms where it has been proven in study after study, women are regularly denied their rights.  This does not have to be an issue that requires a Constitutional Amendment, this can and should be ruled on immediately by SCOTUS and deemed to be the law of the land which may not be revoked or overturned by order of the court.  Further, there must be an Amendment to the Constitution insuring these rights and all states must also include these rights in state constitutions.

 

10.  Office of the Citizen

Click Here to Vote to Include in Demands

Corruption begins at the local level.  The FBI and the DOJ refuse to investigate matters of local corruption when it is their sworn duty of the Federal government.  State and local governments work hand in hand thwarting any investigations of corruption, and do not investigate.  Courts must be investigated for the evidence of local corruption, including drug dealing, protection of criminals, etc. It has been shown that 60% of police readily falsify police reports at the behest of higher ups. Repeated calls, filings in writing, and personal visits produce no investigation, even when evidence is given to them.  Where there have been investigations, it almost always produces a guilty verdict, but those investigations are few and far between and usually limited to situations where those peddling their influence did not share with others in slush funds.  Most of the time it is the public who gathers the evidence leading to prosecution, not the FBI or DOJ.  We want complete investigations of all allegations of corruption, including those allegations at local and state level.  No citizen should be placed in the dangerous situation of having to investigate crimes and collect evidence.  That is the job of the government and one it does not do.  The office of the citizen must be fully funded before funds may be allocated for any department supporting  war, engaging in war or spying, either internally or externally.

11.  The United States must sign and ratify all human rights agreements with all other countries

Click Here to Vote to Include in Demands

Human rights should be the right of everyone, inside and outside our borders.  When the US knowingly engages in, or allows others to engage in torture, that is a violation of everyone’s human rights, not just the target.  We want prosecutions for torture, not only of government officials, but those who commit this heinous crime on others within the US.

12.  Rights of victims must take precedent in courts.

Click Here to Vote to Include in Demands

Courts in the US not only allow, but expect that human rights will be violated in certain types of cases.  Mental torture is the tool of many sleazy attorneys who intimidate both victims and witnesses. This must end now and the rights of the victim upheld.   We want all Bar Associations investigated and the hold they have on judicial nominees removed.  All judges should hold bench for limited terms and must be subject to ongoing judicial review and all hearings involving judicial reviews must be held in public to insure that human rights as well as Constitutional rights have not violated.  Judicial immunity must be removed, or at best, limited.  Victim blaming  must be limited and strictly investigated before it can be used as a defense.  Rape kits must be provided at no cost to victims claiming rape and any police officer who does not photograph all crime scenes shall be deemed incompetent to act as an officer of the law and shall be removed from duty without possibility of reinstatement in any police department in the country.  Falsified police reports shall also result in immediate removal and barring from any future law enforcement position.  All court rooms must insure that all proceedings are videotaped and that video tapes of all proceedings are given to all plaintiffs, their attorneys, all defendants and their attorneys within at the end of each hearing and without delay and prior to leaving the courtroom.  Videotapes of the judges, to include their desk tops and computer screens, must also be made available.
5.Restitution for previous wrongdoing by courts and police.
Restitution by the US government of property of victims of violence seized by the courts must be made at 100% of value on the date victimization first occurred plus a fine of not less than `100% of that value be imposed on both the court ordering the property removal and the person who benefited from that removal.  All courts must furnish the cases and this restitution is retroactive for the lifetime of the court.  Courts are given no more than 5 business days to produce all files.   Any file not produced or shown to have been tampered with will result in immediate removal from office or employment of any person who had direct contact with that file.

13.  Prosecutions of the guilty

Click Here to Vote to Include in Demands

We want indictments and prosecutions of all crimes committed by banks, brokerage firms and insurance companies.  We want a clear message sent to the entire financial industry, this will no longer be tolerated.  All financial industry executives who had even the remotest of connection to the collapse of our system, must be prosecuted.
Those who are or have been involved in torture, whithersoever dispersed around the globe, weather personally or directing it’s use,  must be prosecuted for their crimes.

Voting Access to all Demands For Inclusion Into the Formal Document may be done HERE.

 

Legal evaluation in reviewing and formalizing this document is provided pro-bono by law-international.orglaw-international.org



 

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Filed under Campaign 2012, Federal Reserve, Wall Street

#OCCUPYWALLSTREET Tactical Briefing Tuesday, September 13, 2011 6:40 PM From: “Adbusters Magazine”

#OCCUPYWALLSTREETPosters by Kevin VancioHey you jammers, dreamers, patriots and revolutionaries out there,

What will happen this Saturday when thousands of us descend on Lower Manhattan and start walking towards Wall Street?

If the police try to stop us, how will we respond?

This is what happened in Madrid last month when the Spanish government tried to stop people from gathering in the Puerta del Sol, site of the people’s encampment:

“All day long, 300 police officers kept the square hermetically sealed off, even closing the Sol metro station – one of the largest and most important in the city … When the protesters realized they couldn’t take the square, they quickly dissolved into a dozen side-streets and regrouped on a number of key locations … For hours now, protesters have been blocking all the main traffic arteries in the city center … Tens of thousands of indignados have brought Madrid to a complete standstill in a spontaneous and defiant bid to reclaim Puerta del Sol … The mass protest is now reported to be headed back towards Sol for a second time, in another attempt to take back the square.”
Jérôme E. Roos

If the police block us temporarily from occupying Wall Street, then let’s turn all of lower Manhattan into our Tahrir Square. Let’s sing our songs in the lobby of Goldman Sachs and in Chase Manhattan Plaza; let’s wave our signs outside the SEC and the Federal Reserve; let’s convene our people’s assemblies around the Charging Bull statue at Bowling Green … and if need be, let’s set up our encampments in nearby Battery Park and other places until we’re ready to walk into Wall Street again …

Anything can and will happen this Saturday. That’s the beauty of it! Ultimately, the only thing that matters in how many of us turn up eager to be a part of a spontaneous creative swarm and determined to bring the financial fraudsters to justice.

Bring signs, flowers, food and a revolutionary mood … and a commitment to absolute nonviolence in the Gandhian tradition.

for the wild,
Culture Jammers HQ

PS.

The S17 meme is rumbling all over the world now … Milan, Madrid, Valencia, London, Lisbon, Athens, San Francisco, Santander, Madison, Amsterdam, Los Angeles and now Algeria and Israel are all on board! Could this be the beginning of a new global economic order?

occupywallstreet.org / occupywallst.org / Reddit / Facebook


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D.C. Encampment, Monsanto March,Oct. 6, 2011, to Stop the Machine.”

Thousands to Set Up Protest Encampment in Washington, D.C.

“Stop the Machine! Create a New World! is a clarion call for all who are deeply concerned with injustice, militarism and environmental destruction to join in ending concentrated corporate power and taking direct control of a real participatory democracy. Beginning on October 6 in Washington, D.C. we will encourage a culture of resistance – using music, art, theater and direct nonviolent action – to take control of our country and our lives. It is about courageously resisting and stopping the corporate state from destroying not only our inherent rights and freedoms, but also our children’s chance to live, breathe clean air, drink pure water, grow edible natural food and live in peace. We are the ones who can create a new and just world. Our issues are connected. We are connected. Join us in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 6, 2011, to Stop the Machine.”

October2011.org

Join or Organize a Millions Against Monsanto Action in Your Town or City for World Food Day

Thanks to all those who answered our call to action the following events are planned in cities across the nation on World Food Day (10/16/2011) the OCA’s Millions Against Monsanto Day of Action. If you don’t see your city listed and are planning an event or want to plan an event please contact us.

NOTE: If you do not have a Facebook account, you can still view the events by clicking the links.

[AZ] Phoenix Rally

[AZ] East Valley

[AZ] Queen Creek, Educational Event – more info to come

[CA] San Francisco Rally

[CA] Pleasanton, Rally in front of Safeway Corp Headquarters – more info to come

[CA] San Diego Rally

[CA] Los Angeles Rally

[CA] Santa Cruz Rally

[DC] Rally

[FL] Ocala Rally

[FL] Tampa Bay Tabling

[HI] North Kohala (Big Island) – more info to come

[ID] Boise, Veteran’s Memorial Park – more info to come

[IN] Evansville Rally

[IA] Iowa City Rally

[MN] Bemidji, Rally

[MO] Kansas City, Rally and Flash Mob

[MO] St. Louis, Rally at Monsanto Headquarters – more info to come

[NY] Montauk (Long Island), Tabling at Farmers Markets – more info to come

[NY] New York City Rally

[NC] Asheville Rally

[NC] Raleigh Rally

[OR] Eugene Rally

[TX] Austin Rally

[TN] Memphis Rally

[UT] Rally

[WA] Federal Way (near Tacoma), Educational Event – more info to come

[WI] Racine Rally

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Filed under Campaign 2012, Food Freedom

We can’t Let the Tea Party Win !

Are these people for real?

  • Rick Perry says Social Security is a “Ponzi scheme” and “monstrous lie.”
  • Michele Bachmann joked that God sent Hurricane Irene to warn against federal spending. Aren’t jokes supposed to be funny?
  • Eric Cantor says disaster relief must be offset with other spending cuts.

Republicans pander to the far right daily with ludicrous statements and attacks on President Obama. And these statements motivate Tea Party voters like nothing else. It’s not enough to criticize them – we need to fight back with a strong August FEC showing – 48 hours away.

We’re still $45,000 short, and a shortfall now is more than a red line on a budget. Every dollar we don’t raise is a dollar we can’t use to fight Republicans. So, if you believe in Social Security, workers’ rights, and helping the middle class, I need you to act right now:

Your $5 contribution before our midnight Wednesday FEC deadline will help put the Tea Party in the history books – and keep it out of Washington.

Defeat the extreme GOP. We can't let the Tea Party win. Help us win August. Goal $45,000  Deadline: 48 hours. Contribute

They’ll have outside help – Karl Rove and the Koch Brothers will make sure of that.  If we don’t all stand together now, they will gain an edge – and we saw in 2010 what happens when they do. That’s why we have to win August.

They’ve got their Big Oil benefactors. We’ve got half a million grassroots donors. And if our grassroots donors give just $5 each, we’ll have what it takes to win August – and keep fighting on the ground, on the air and online.

Your $5 before our Wednesday FEC deadline will help us reach our $45,000 goal – and keep our momentum going strong.

Perry, Bachmann and Cantor don’t speak for me – and I know they don’t speak for you. Let’s hit this August goal and show them just how wrong they are.

Sincerely,

Guy Cecil

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and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

 

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President Obama has heard you loud and clear!

From the Presente.org team

Dear Maggie,

President Obama has heard you loud and clear!

Just yesterday–on the heels of nationwide events criticizing his immigration policy–the administration announced reforms to his deportation policy–reforms that could help keep 300,000 out of deportation proceedings and stop the deportation of many young men and women eligible under the DREAM Act.1

This amazing turnabout would not have happened without Presente.org members like you who have been writing, calling and chipping in to media campaigns calling the President out on this. Thank you for your activism.  We will closely moniter this new policy to ensure our voices are heard during its implementation.

But our work is NOT done. President Obama is still sticking by his dangerous S-COMM policy–a highly criticized law that forces police officers to act like immigration officials, puts countless immigrant families at risk and tears hundreds of thousands of families apart.  Yesterday’s announcement also does little to help the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants who are not currently in deportation proceedings.2

As long as S-COMM is still on the books, the administration will continue ripping our families apart–something he explicitly promised would not happen during his campaign in 2008.

So while we are pleased that some DREAMers may be saved from senseless deportation, we cannot forget about the millions of others who are still caught in a broken and unjust system–a system Obama has the power to fix by ending S-COMM.

Can you call the White House today? Thank them for taking a step in the right direction and helping the DREAMers but make sure they know that S-COMM needs to end. 

http://act.presente.org/call/scomm_wh/

While these problems remain, Presente members will continue to elevate the voices of the Latino community, mobilizing online and in our communities until justice becomes the law of the land

Thank you for making this possible and continuing to join in this fight.

Thank you and ¡adelante!

Favianna, Laurie, Felipe, Roberto, Carlos and the rest of the Presente.org team

P.S. This is a step forward, but we still have a long way to go. Will you support Presente.org’s work with a donation of $5, $10, or $20 to help us ensure that the deportations truly stop, and that harmful programs like S-Comm don’t continue?

References:

1. “New Policy On Deportations Allows Some Non-Criminal Undocumented Immigrants To Stay,” Huffington Post, 8/18/11
http://huff.to/pnYcC8

2. “Secure Communities Nets Immigrants For Minor Offenses: Report,” Huffington Post, 8/19/11
http://huff.to/pv6xgV

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Filed under Bills, Immigration

Constitution of the United States Bill of Rights

The following is a transcription of the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution. Called the “Bill of Rights”, these amendments were ratified on December 15, 1791. Each amendment’s title is linked to a set of detailed annotations presented on the Findlaw website.

  1. Freedom of Speech, Press, Religion and Petition
  1. Right to keep and bear arms
  1. Conditions for quarters of soldiers
  1. Right of search and seizure regulated
  1. Provisons concerning prosecution
  1. Right to a speedy trial, witnesses, etc.
  1. Right to a trial by jury
  1. Excessive bail, cruel punishment
  1. Rule of construction of Constitution
  1. Rights of the States under Constitution

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  1. Freedom of Speech, Press, Religion and Petition Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

TOP

  1. Right to keep and bear arms A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

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  1. Conditions for quarters of soldiers No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

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  1. Right of search and seizure regulated The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

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  1. Provisons concerning prosecution No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.

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  1. Right to a speedy trial, witnesses, etc. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

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  1. Right to a trial by jury In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

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  1. Excessive bail, cruel punishment Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

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  1. Rule of construction of Constitution The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

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  1. Rights of the States under Constitution The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

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The Controlled Substances Act and Rescheduling Marijuana

By:Jon Gettman  HighTimes

Marijuana is regulated under federal law by way of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). This, however, is a complicated proposition.

First, it may seem odd to many to discover that marijuana is actually regulated under current federal law.

 Second, while these federal regulations are exceedingly strict they have not prevented various states from implementing their own regulations, which are sometimes contradictory.
In more simple terms, the medical use of marijuana is prohibited under federal law but permitted under many state laws. Non-medical use of marijuana is prohibited under federal law but tolerated, by way of mild sanctions and/or sentencing policies, in almost every state.

The CSA categorizes controlled substances into five schedules, each with specific provisions regulating a substance’s manufacture and distribution, and effectively its use. Schedule I drugs are the most tightly controlled and are only available for research purposes. The other four schedules are distinguished by various levels of what the law refers to as “potential for abuse” and “dependence liability.” Cocaine, for example, has a much greater abuse potential than Valium; consequently Cocaine is a Schedule II drug and Valium is a Schedule IV drug.

Unlike Cocaine and Valium, Schedule I drugs have no accepted medical use in the United States and they have the highest potential for abuse compared to other scheduled substances.

Marijuana is a Schedule I drug. This too is a complicated proposition. Marijuana clearly has an accepted medical use in the United States, one recognized by the American Medical Association and 16 states, for example. Marijuana also clearly has a much lower potential for abuse then other Schedule I drugs, such as Heroin, or even Schedule II drugs like Cocaine.

When Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act in 1970 they recognized that marijuana did not meet the criteria for a Schedule I or II drug. But they also weren’t quite sure what to do about it. The National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse was created to study the issue, and the Nixon Administration asked Congress to place marijuana in Schedule I until this Commission could meet, study the matter, and make some recommendations. Eventually this Commission recommended that marijuana be decriminalized throughout the United States, and many states responded.

Over the last 40 years most states have opted out of federal marijuana prohibition in one fashion or another. Some states no longer arrest people for possession of small amounts of marijuana, and issue citations or summons instead, punishing the infraction with a fine. Other states have conditional discharge policies, granting probation and expunging the individual’s record after a period of good behavior. Most other states, while retaining significant sentences in statute, in practice sentence most first time offenders to probation.

When it comes to the medical use of marijuana, 16 states now permit such use under state law and some even permit cultivation, distribution, and sale for medical use. These state medical marijuana laws provide legal and reliable access for patients with serious medical conditions but also, in many cases, generate significant tax revenue for state governments.

There have been three attempts to change the scheduling of marijuana under federal law. NORML launched the first attempt in 1972, and in what became an epic legal process this groundbreaking effort was finally rejected in federal court in 1994. This author, with the support of HIGH TIMES, launched a second attempt in 1995, arguing that marijuana did not have the abuse potential to qualify for Schedule I status. This effort ran into a roadblock in federal court in 2001; because the plaintiff was not personally affected by the government’s refusal to reschedule marijuana the action did not qualify for intervention by the federal courts. In response, this author, again with the support of HIGH TIMES, organized a coalition of advocacy groups and patients, The Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis (CRC), and filed a new rescheduling petition in 2002.

Efforts to change the status of a substance regulated by the CSA must pass through the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The process, while lengthy, is fairly straightforward. Petitioners compile scientific evidence to support their request and file it with DEA, which then sends it to the Department of Health and Human Services for review, which then sends back a review and their recommendation. The DEA then studies the issue further and publishes their decision. After the final DEA decision is published, members of the public can challenge the decision before an Administrative Law Judge or take the matter to federal court.

However, the DEA’s response to the current action is to do nothing. Having received the necessary report from HHS, which, unsurprisingly, was not favorable to rescheduling, the DEA has taken no further action. Indeed, they have taken no further action for years. Consequently, the CRC filed a suit in Federal Court on May 23 accusing the government of unreasonable delay and asking the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to compel the DEA to take formal and final action on this rescheduling petition.

The issue here is not whether the DEA decides to reschedule marijuana in response to the CRC petition; indeed they are likely to decide to retain marijuana in Schedule I. The issue here is making a formal decision that allows all interested parties due process. In other words, once the DEA takes final action all interested parties, whether the CRC, other advocacy groups, or even medical marijuana states, can challenge the federal prohibition of marijuana in the federal Courts. Judging from their refusal to act on the CRC petition, this is something the administration clearly wants to avoid.

Marijuana’s medical use is now accepted by 16 states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington) as well as the District of Columbia. Each has a stake in challenging marijuana’s status under the Controlled Substances Act.

 Relief sought from the Court of Appeals would enable states with medical marijuana laws to expedite efforts to change marijuana’s status under federal law and narrow the widening gap between state and federal law. For example, Washington Governor Chris Gregoire has expressed interest in having all the states that allow medical marijuana to ask the federal government to reclassify the drug. If the Court of Appeals grants the relief requested by the CRC, Washington and other medical marijuana states would have the opportunity to seek rescheduling now in expedited proceedings, rather than wait years for a new rescheduling action to ripen.

The members of the Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis include the American Alliance for Medical Cannabis, Americans for Safe Access (ASA), California NORML, the Drug Policy Forum of Texas, HIGH TIMES, Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center (Cooperative), the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), New Mexicans for Compassionate Use, Oakland Cannabis Buyers Cooperative, and Patients Out of Time.

Jon Gettman is a long time contributor to HIGH TIMES.  A former National Director of NORML, Jon has a Ph.D. in public policy and regional economic development and consults with attorneys, advocates, and non-profits on cannabis related research and public policy issues.  On October 8, 2002,  along with a coalition of organizations, he filed a new petition to have cannabis rescheduled under federal law.  This column will track that petition’s progress.

 

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Here comes another NAFTA with Korea!

Did you know that over the coming weeks Congress is slated to pass the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KorUS FTA) that would be the largest trade deal since the passage of North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)? NAFTA devastated livelihoods for millions of peasants, family farmers, and workers in Mexico, the U.S., and Canada while allowing corporations to make exorbitant profits.

Now is the time to tell your U.S. Representatives and Senators that we need to learn from the mistakes of the past, not repeat them.

The Economic Policy Institute reports that KorUS FTA will destroy at least 159,000 American jobs.  The Korean Peasants League projects that the KorUS FTA would decrease South Korean agricultural production by 45 percent, and make nearly half of South Korean family farmers lose their livelihoods (despite rice production being protected). And, passage of this trade agreement may also contribute to even more far-reaching land grabs as South Korean corporations purchase and lease land in Africa and Asia to safeguard against the looming threat of food insecurity. Other bilateral free trade agreements on the horizon, such as those with Colombia and Panama, are just as troubling.

Grassroots International ally and grantee, the National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC) has taken a strong position against the KorUS FTA, and is working in solidarity with the Korean Peasants League in a campaign to oppose the trade deal. Both organizations are members of Grassroots’ partner the Via Campesina, and are working in concert with hundreds of unions and organizations in both countries to stop this trade deal.

Take action today in solidarity with peasants, family farmers, and workers both here in the U.S. and in Korea by urging your members of Congress to vote no on the KorUS FTA.

Thank you for standing up for food sovereignty and global justice! Sincerely,
Nikhil's Aziz' signature

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A Good Day for Illinois !

 

Today is a good day for our state.

At a ceremony in Chicago, Governor Pat Quinn signed into law a bill creating civil unions for couples, including gay and lesbian couples, in Illinois. The Governor acted after the law was adopted by the Illinois House and the Illinois Senate last month.

Contact Governor Quinn to express your thanks for signing this measure into law.

The ACLU has been working on this legislation since it was first conceived in 2006. Over the years, we have played a key role in writing the legislation, conducted polling in support of the bill, orchestrated a comprehensive grassroots program to encourage legislators to vote for the bill and deployed members and leaders of the organization to lobby members in Springfield.

Read the ACLU statement on today’s historic activity on our website. We are grateful to the Governor for moving Illinois one step further on the road to full equality.

Take a moment to thank Governor Quinn for making this historic legislation the law of the Land of Lincoln.

Sincerely,
Mary Dixon
Mary Dixon
Legislative Director

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