Money is NOT Speech bumper sticker
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My guest today is progressive political activist and frequent OpEdNews contributor, The Pen. Welcome back to OpEdNews, PEN. I understand there are some dramatic developments happening right now on the overturning Citizens United front. What can you tell us?
PEN: This morning we celebrate one of our biggest policy advocacy victories ever, and about the most momentous issue of our generation, repudiating the corrupt Citizens United Supreme Court decision. In California, Governor Jerry Brown has issued a proclamation allowing the CA legislature to put the Overturn Citizens United Act on the November ballot. This is what is known as a Voter Advisory Measure, which will give the People of California an opportunity to speak out on whether the Constitution should now be amended to clarify that money is NOT speech, and that corporation are NOT people. And, I should add that this is the first time in almost 30 years that such a provision has made it onto the California ballot.
JB: Why is this such a big deal?
PEN: It's because this will lead directly to a massive turnout of voters who really care about getting the big special interest money out of our elections, and result in the election of the very NEW members of Congress we will need to initiative the real constitutional amendment to make this happen, plus the state politicians who will be required to ratify it. Some people ask, "How will we ever get two/thirds of Congress to do such a thing?" By speaking out, damn it. And damn if we didn't do it here.
The reason this happened is that thousands of our participants, and with all the other activist groups we were coordinating with, pumped thousands and thousands of fax petitions into each successive committee stage in the CA Senate and Assembly, all real people speaking their hearts in real time. We are told they had never seen anything like it. In the first committee, all of the Democrats not only voted for the measure, they immediately signed on themselves as cosponsors. And ultimately, California Governor Jerry Brown himself even commented on the "enthusiastic support" behind this.
JB: That is encouraging. What's happening on the national front? Are we making progress there, too?
PEN: Big time.
Title for upcoming film on Citizens United
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JB: Good to hear; tell us more!
PEN: Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed the latest markup of S.J.Res.19, centered on the money is not speech issue, though it also expressly gives a nod to clarifying that, for the purposes of spending money to influence elections, corporations do not have any of the rights of real people, and in particular, in the case of wealthy people, that their spending can be regulated by Congress to keep our elections fair and balanced.
By the way, we don't mind at all co-opting the dishonest languaging of the right wing for our own purposes. That's also exactly what we are doing with our new feature film project, Citizens United, The Movie, not a documentary, but a narrative story film, where we will reclaim the concept of a united citizenry, the REAL people, not some astroturf artificial conduit for a handful of billionaires to drown out the voices of the rest of us with their money.
JB: That's music to my ears, PEN! What else?
PEN: And this last Tuesday, a parallel joint resolution (H.J.Res.119) with the same language as S.J.Res. 19, was introduced in the US House, and it already has 108 cosponsors as of this moment. All the Democrats need to do is go to the American people, and say en masse, "Elect more Democrats so we can pass this thing." They'll mop the floor with the Republicans from coast to coast, including the heartland, that's just how much popular support, non-partisan support, there is for this thing. And if Republican politicians think that that they can cling to their big money undisclosed donors, they will we swept away.
The latest new one click, fax petition action page has a special button on it, that tells you if your own House member is a cosponsor yet or not. If they are not a cosponsor submit the action page to tell them to get with the program. If they are already a cosponsor, submit the action page to THANK them, and our server will automatically do a simple edit on the fly of the fax petition to convert it into a thank you message.
Cosponsor H.J.Res.119 Action Page: http://www.peaceteam.net/action/pnum1187.php