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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Minnesota Campaign Finance Disclosure Law Withstands Challenge

Category: US Politics
Posted: 10/29/10 17:26, Edited: 10/29/10 17:47

by Dave Mindeman

Minnesota's model on campaign finance disclosure has apparently been given the green light by the US Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court has refused to block a Minnesota law requiring disclosure of corporate political spending. The high court without comment turned away a request for an injunction from Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life.

This was a request for an immediate injunction. The lawsuit will continue but the Supreme Court is allowing the law to stand during the legal procedures and obviously means it will be in affect for the forseeable future.

Within the Citizens United ruling, the US Supreme Court cited the need for disclosure as part of the unlimited spending ability of corporations. Free speech without identifying who is speaking is unrestricted babble without accountability. We need to know who is funding these outside groups so that we can make a "free speech" evalution and exercise our own free speech rights to respond.

Minnesota managed to get a disclosure law passed despite working through a Governor who probably regrets signing the bill already.

There are very few other states that have such requirements and that secrecy has allowed corporations to toss around their secret money in any manner they choose.

This may be another reason that Minnesota has managed to withstand this corporate funded tidal wave that encompasses the nation.

Yet another reason that the progressive roots of Minnesota still leads the way.
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We Do Not Accept Torture

Category: US Politics
Posted: 04/20/09 12:34, Edited: 04/20/09 12:40

by Dave Mindeman

With the release of the torture memos, the feelings of revulsion about what was done in our name during the Bush administration increases. It is a helpless feeling to know that the current administration will not seek legal remedies for this distortion of American justice.

Obama has a full plate..that is certainly true. Prosecuting the wrongs of the past 8 years could tie up the Justice Department for years. But, still, it feels wrong to do nothing.

Well, there is still something we can do.

Impeach Judge Jay Bybee.

Jeremy Scahill, in the Huffington Post, gives us the means to make our point.

He points to a Slate article by Yale Law Professor, Bruce Ackerman (Ackerman was on this in January already):

"Jay Bybee is currently sitting on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. As assistant attorney general in President George W. Bush's Justice Department, he was responsible for the notorious torture memos that enabled the excesses at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and other places. While John Yoo did most of the staff work for Bybee, Yoo was barely 35 years old -- and his memos showed it. They not only took extreme positions; they were legally incompetent, failing to consider many of the most obvious counterarguments. Bybee was 49. He was the grown-up, the seasoned jurist. He had been a law professor and had served as associate counsel to President Bush. When he was promoted to head the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, he became the final judge of legal matters within the executive branch. Yet his opinion on torture was so poorly reasoned that it was repudiated by his very conservative successor, Jack Goldsmith."

And he references the New York Times:

[The] investigation should start with the lawyers who wrote these sickening memos, including John Yoo, who now teaches law in California; Steven Bradbury, who was job-hunting when we last heard; and Mr. Bybee, who holds the lifetime seat on the federal appeals court that Mr. Bush rewarded him with.

These memos make it clear that Mr. Bybee is unfit for a job that requires legal judgment and a respect for the Constitution. Congress should impeach him. And if the administration will not conduct a thorough investigation of these issues, then Congress has a constitutional duty to hold the executive branch accountable. If that means putting Donald Rumsfeld and Alberto Gonzales on the stand, even Dick Cheney, we are sure Americans can handle it.

Now, we aren't going to get at Dick Cheney...we aren't going to try Donald Rumsfeld.... Congress either doesn't have the stomach for it or are afraid of the fallout.

But we can impeach Jay Bybee. He provided the legal basis for horrible actions by the United States. And he is now part of our judiciary....our interpreters of the law. That cannot stand.

The California Democratic Party has a petition. But this is something we should all participate in. The impeachment of Jay Bybee can be a symbol that says...

"We do not accept torture."

Sign the petition.
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Short Takes on the News

Category: US Politics
Posted: 12/16/08 06:27

by Dave Mindeman

Secret Service Slow?

Maybe it's just me? Although, I had to smile at the visual of Bush dodging shoes, doesn't it seem a little odd that this guy had the time to throw a shoe, take off his other one, and throw that one, too? Where was the Secret Service? They are defending their actions based on "pre-screening" thoroughness, but it makes me a little uncomfortable that the response time seemed a little too long.

Coleman Hiring Lawyers

...and not just any lawyers. These guys are top of the line, white collar crime specialists. Norm's bank account is getting tapped pretty heavily. Mortgage problems, legal problems, recount problems. Norm must be starting to wonder about Kazeminy....with friends like this.....well, you know.

Unallot Travel Time?

With all the talk about budget cuts, why is Governor Pawlenty on a trade mission to Israel? Maybe I'm naive but I don't foresee any big Minnesota export uptick happening in Tel Aviv.

Obama's Green Team

The introduction of the cabinet level environmental team by Obama looks very, very good. His pick of Steven Chu as Energy Secretary is an impressive outside the box pick and should reverse the Bush administrations lackadaisical treatment of global warming. The new designate for EPA, Lisa Jackson, is a little more controversial. She may be more pragmatic on enforcement than I'd like, but she comes from New Jersey and so she has plenty of experience with polluters.

Star Tribune Gutted?

Exactly what will the Tribune look like going forward? Nick Coleman and Katherine Kersten columns are out? Yet, we still have Sid Hartman? Sheesh. I'm not sure what a profitable business model looks like in the newspaper world. A lot of people think that subscription news like MPR and its endless membership drives may be it. I complain about the state of journalism today, but I still have a lot of respect for reporters. They have a tough job and should be paid well.... but right now, good journalists may be going the way of the dinosaur. Funny, but there is certainly no shortage of tabloids at the grocery check out.....

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