Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Get Money Out of Politics: The Push for a Constitutional Amendment

Thanks to the landmark Citizens United Supreme Court decision in early 2010, the US political landscape has changed forever... or at least for now. The Citizens United decision struck down campaign finance reform and opened the flood gates of secret campaign contributions by corporations and people.

Millions of dollars in donations from right-wing organizations like Karl Rove's American Crossroads fueled the Tea Party uprising in the fall 2010 elections, but that was just the beginning. The 2012 presidential race is the big enchilada. American Crossroads and its sister nonprofit Crossroads GPS announced that they plan to raise and spend $240 million in 2012, according to the Huffington Post.

Progressive Democrats of America has been fighting this corporate takeover of American government. Consequently, it was heartening to read a recent Huffington Post article about the push to pass a Constitutional Amendment to get money out of American politics.

Here is the proposed amendment...

"No person, corporation or business entity of any type, domestic or foreign, shall be allowed to contribute money, directly or indirectly, to any candidate for Federal office or to contribute money on behalf of or opposed to any type of campaign for Federal office. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, campaign contributions to candidates for Federal office shall not constitute speech of any kind as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution or any amendment to the U. S. Constitution. Congress shall set forth a federal holiday for the purposes of voting for candidates for Federal office."

Here is an excerpt from the Huffington Post article...

Money has bought our politics. Only we the people can take it back. But, HOW?

I have asked a professional lobbyist and a series of Constitutional scholars. They tell me that it will require a large, unrelenting, organized group aligned around a Constitutional Amendment to Get Money Out of politics.

So here is a draft of an Amendment and here is a petition to start the movement.

Read the Amendment and add your signature.

Our goal is to get a large, unrelenting, organized group to sign on to a petition asking our politicians to ban money in politics. If we can get it big enough, we can use my show on MSNBC as a platform to force this issue to the center of next year's Presidential debate. Without you I am just a talking head. With you we are 100,000 American s for Justice.

So join us, at

For the rest of the article, click here.

For more background about Get Money Out, click here.

Locally, watch for news and meetings related to PDA Tucson's Clean Elections and Corporate Personhood issue organizing teams.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Next Economic and Social Justice IOT Meeting

We will meet on Sat., Oct. 8, from 10 AM till noon in the Conference Room of the Connelly Construction Building at 320 W. Alturas St., Tucson, AZ 85705.

Alturas St. is several blocks north of Grant Rd., and the address is just east of Oracle Rd. 

See you then!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Check Out this 8-Minute Film on the Public Banking Alternative

Please share this video with other intelligent, concerned folks who know something is desperately wrong with our financial system. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Feasibility Study for State-Owned Bank Passes in California

The California legislature has passed a bill authorizing a feasibility study for a state-owned bank.  It is presently awaiting Gov. Brown's signature.  Here's a link to an article on the event:
Bravo!  This is a step in the right direction!

Monday, September 12, 2011

'Under Arpaio' a 'must see'

Under Arpaio, a new documentary film by Tucson's own Pan Left Productions is definitely a must see movie.

The film by J.M. Aragon aired on Saturday to a packed house at the Salt of the Earth Labor College's first class of the fall semester.

I have been in Arizona long enough to have a general knowledge of Arpaio's dastardly deeds-- the neighborhood sweeps for illegal aliens [his terminology], the racial profiling, the tent city jails in the desert, the chain gangs, the pink underwear, the bologna sandwiches, and the investigations of Arpaio that never go anywhere.

But I was shocked by what I didn't know-- murder and torture (on video tape) inside the Maricopa County Jail; trumped up traffic charges to back up police stops (thanks to SB1070); intimidation, arrest, and detention of elected officials (including several members of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors) and others who challenge his authority or tactics; destruction of evidence by the Sheriff's office; and millions of dollars in lawsuits brought against him.

Aragon and co-producer Mary Charlotte Thurtle have created a chilling documentary by weaving together interviews of Latino activists who have been targeted by Arpaio; interviews of lawyers and family members of prisoners who were murdered by Sheriff's deputies inside the jail; surveillance video from the Maricopa County jail; videos of traffic stops as they happen; and Arpaio's speeches.

The big questions that I came away with are: Why isn't Arpaio in jail? Who votes for this guy? Has anyone been tortured and murdered in the Pima County Jail?

The current version of Under Arpaio is a director's cut, according to Aragon. During the next few months, he will be showing the film to small audiences around Tucson and raising funds for broader distribution. He plans to have a larger viewing at The Loft in the future.

It is a marvelous film, which deserves national attention. This film made me glad I don't live in Maricopa County. Here's the trailer.

Reprinted from the

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Today is the 6-month point since Fukushima Daiichi started to melt down, becoming the largest nuclear disaster in history, surpassing Chernobyl in radioactive emissions.

This article: “Remembering “3/11”, is about engaging the lessons to be learned from the Fukushima Daiichi. These three outstanding citizens are pointing out how America is NOT yet learning from the tragedy in Japan.

Good and not-so-good news have been streaming in since then. On the positive side, Germany, one of the world's largest economies, keeps on track with its renewed goal of phasing out its reactors. They are actively replacing them with wind and solar power, and improvements in energy savings through increased efficiency. Their solar energy has now surpassed their hydro/dam energy output. See the facts on: Renewable Energy World

According to this Reuter’s article, China is ramping up its wind and solar commitment to replace some of its coal and nuclear plants.

Many other countries are re-thinking their energy options. Portugal has reached about 50% renewable energy in about a decade of judicious commitment so far. This investment will be one of the actions that will bring Portugal out of its economic slump.

Amidst this, our U.S. President and much of our political infrastructure, has become more entrenched in the U.S. commitment to nuclear energy. For every dollar the U.S. puts into this failed outdated technology, we will only get 4 kilowatt-hours of electricity (kWhe). This misspent dollar, if invested wisely instead, will yield about 7 kWhe of wind power or 33 (!) kWhe of energy savings through efficiency improvements. Energy saved negates the need to produce energy.

President Obama and many of our Congressmen/women also are promoting use of coal and natural gas fracturing (fracking) energy. The costs of these options are also much higher than a wise blend of renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements.

Say yes to renewables and energy savings through efficiency,
No nukes, no coal, no fracking, no kidding!

written by: Russell Lowes, PDA Tucson, IOT on Climate and Environment

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Arizona Redistricting Meeting Friday Sept 9

The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission will hold an official meeting in Tucson on Friday September the 9th.

Time: 3 p.m.
Place: Viscount Suite Hotel Conference Room
4855 E. Broadway

Agenda: Maps for the Congressional and Legislative districts will be presented with a lot of time scheduled for discussion. The agenda scheduled time is over 4 hours. More details can be seen at:

The next 10 years will be affected greatly by the final new lines. The goal, among the 5 other mandated criteria, should be to increase the number of competitive legislative districts (currently 3 of 36). The Congressional districts will go from 8 to 9. Questions will be allowed at the end of the meeting; this is a chance to see the process in action and is one of a series of meetings scheduled throughout the state. Do come if you can, even if only for a part of the meeting.

Rick Graap
Coordinator: Clean/Fair Elections IOT