Betreff: The corporate war against regulation is almost won.
Von: Don Maisch
Datum: Mon, 24 Jan 2005 10:31:44 +1100


I try to keep this list solely "on topic" but the dismantling of the 
US Federal government's
regulatory system, founded in 1934 by Roosevelt's "New Deal" should
be the No 1 news story everywhere - for it will effect us all,
especially for countries, such as Australia that were stupid enough
to have signed "Free Trade Agreements" with the Bush administration.
As regulations on environmental and worker protections are removed
for the benefit of US corporations what will be the effect on similar
regulations in countries that are tied to the US via various trade
agreements?

Once the corporate state is fully realized in the US with the planned
destruction of the regulatory state where will the contagion spread
next?

Will stricter regulations elsewhere be considered as a "restraint on
trade" allowing US businesses to take action through the courts to
sue - and therefore force removal of said regulations? Of course
they will.

Relevant reading about the corporate world's 70 crusade to overturn
the "New Deal" is "The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of
Profit and Power" by Joel Bakan.

Interesting times indeed!

Don Maisch

Two articles follow....


Courting Disaster
By Glenn Scherer
Grist Magazine

Saturday 22 January 2005.

William G. Myers III is George W. Bush's choice for a lifetime
position on the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. That court's
jurisdiction covers three-quarters of all federal lands, in nine
Western states where contentious battles rage over energy, mining,
timber and grazing.

Unlike most judicial nominees, Myers has never been a judge.
Instead, his qualifications include decades as a paid lobbyist and
lawyer to the coal and cattle industries. In his recent position as
the Bush Interior Department's chief attorney, Myers tried to give
away valuable federal lands to a mining company and imperiled Native
American sacred sites. "His nomination is the epitome of the
anti-environmental tilt of so many of President Bush's nominees,"
says Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).

Democrats aggressively blocked Myers' appointment with a
filibuster in 2004. So when his nomination lapsed at the end of this
past congressional session, many legal experts assumed it was dead,
along with the nominations of nine other judicial candidates that
were blocked by Senate Democrats for their extremist ideology,
industry ties and/or ethical problems. But on Dec. 23, while
Americans were distracted by the holidays, the president gave his
corporate backers (especially those in the energy and mining
industries) a Christmas present: He announced his intent to
renominate seven of the filibustered candidates, including Myers.
(The other three were given the option of being renominated, but
withdrew themselves from consideration.)

"Renomination on this scope and scale of so many judges who the
Senate has refused to confirm has never happened before," says Glenn
Sugameli, senior legislative counsel for Earthjustice, a nonprofit
public-interest law firm. Noting that Congress has already confirmed
204 of Bush's appointees, Sugameli asserts, "President Bush is trying
to convert the Senate into a rubber stamp that will confirm 100
percent of his judicial nominees. That is what is really at stake
here."

Also at stake is the future of the U.S. environment. While much
attention over natural-resource protection is focused on the
executive and legislative branches of government, most decisive
battles for the environment are won or lost in the judicial branch.
And with Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist fighting
cancer, and three other justices in their 70s or 80s, the president
may have the chance to fill up to four Supreme Court vacancies with
right-leaning anti-environmentalists.

But as important as those nominations are, Bush's nominations to
the lower federal courts are as crucial to the environment. While the
Supreme Court takes on less than 100 cases per year, the circuit (or
appellate) courts hear more than 40,000 appeals annually and set most
legal precedents that become the law of the land.

There are currently 37 federal judicial openings, with 15 of
those on the circuit courts of appeal. For the environment, some of
the key open judgeships include three vacancies on the District of
Columbia Circuit (the court that hears most environmental cases
involving executive-branch regulatory agencies such as the Interior
Department, the U.S. EPA, and the Army Corps of Engineers), as well
as seven vacancies on the West's 9th Circuit.

"In many ways, the courts are more important than either Congress
or the executive-branch agencies," says Patrick Parenteau, professor
of environmental law and director of the Environmental and Natural
Resources Law Clinic at the Vermont Law School. "Congress may enact
the laws, but it does so in very broad, sweeping terms. It is the
courts that interpret, apply, and enforce the statutes." Without the
courts, such landmark legislation as the Clean Air and Water Acts
could have been stillborn, he says. "If you don't have courts and
judges willing to take a strong stand, those laws never take effect
on the ground. They don't change how things are done. The courts give
teeth to environmental laws."

President Bush, however, seems intent on extracting those teeth.
And one of his key strategies for doing so is to pack the federal
courts with right-wing extremists. The likely result could be one of
the most heated Senate battles over judicial nominations ever, with
some experts predicting the struggle will be a defining moment of
Bush's second term.

Taking Care of Business

Perhaps the most disturbing trend in Bush's judicial appointees
is their increasingly common links to industry. More than a third of
Bush appointments to appellate courts and the U.S. Court of Federal
Claims during his first term - 21 of 59 nominations since 2001 - have
worked as lawyers or lobbyists for the oil, gas, and energy
industries, according to a new investigation by the Center for
Investigative Reporting. Three of these energy industry-linked Bush
nominations have been made to the critically important 9th Circuit
(with one confirmed so far), another nominated but not confirmed to
the D.C. Circuit Court, and four confirmed to the little-known Court
of Federal Claims, which deals with "takings" property claims made by
developers and industry against the government. "The placement of the
nominees suggests an administration strategy of nominating
corporate-friendly judges in circuits where they will make the
greatest impact," notes CIR. "In many cases, these same corporations
and industries are also major campaign contributors to the Bush
administration and the Republican Party."

Sheldon Goldman, a political science professor at the University
of Massachusetts at Amherst and expert on the history of the
nominating process, notes that reliance on special-interest lobbyists
to fill prime posts on the federal bench has been rare under past
presidents, and he raises questions about the Bush justices' ability
to be "fair-minded and objective." Goldman reveals in a 2003
Judicature journal article that 9.6 percent of Bush district-court
appointments had come from large law firms with 100 or more lawyers,
of the type that represent large corporations, while the percentage
was just 2 percent under Jimmy Carter, 6.2 percent under Ronald
Reagan, and 6.6 percent under Bill Clinton. Of recent presidents,
only Bush Sr. recruited a slightly higher percentage of appointees
from large law firms, coming in at 10.8 percent.

But Roger Pilon, vice president for legal affairs and director of
the ultra-right Cato Institute's Center for Constitutional Studies,
denies and downplays such industry ties. "Twenty-one out of 59
judicial nominees had close ties to mining and other extraction
industries? It is factually nonsense," he says. "And even if it were
true, so what?" Pilon contends that just because judicial nominees
lobbied or lawyered for big business and big polluters, that's no
reason to think that, once appointed, they will show bias toward
their old clients and against the environment. He calls such thinking
"Marxist class-analysis claptrap."

But obviously the National Association of Manufacturers thinks
otherwise. This powerful business lobby is about to launch a
multimillion-dollar campaign to aid the White House in its bid to win
approval for its judicial nominations, reports the Los Angeles Times.
The head of the association, former Michigan Gov. John Engler (R), a
longtime friend of the president, implied in his Times interview that
the appointment of federal justices is important to business, partly
because of judges' roles in civil liability cases. (Such cases might
include corporations being held liable for oil spills, damaged
fisheries, toxic waste-causing cancers or birth defects, etc.) It's
expected that pressure from the association's powerful members, such
as General Motors, might force the reversal of some Democratic
senators who fought Bush's most egregious corporate-connected
nominees in his first term.

All of this strife over judicial nominations seems to challenge
the old stereotype of an impartial U.S. judiciary. And indeed, a new
study shows that political party affiliation does make a difference
when it comes to the environment and judges. The study, by the
nonpartisan Environmental Law Institute, looked at 325 federal trial
and appellate court rulings between 2001 and 2004 concerning the
National Environmental Policy Act, a foundation of U.S. environmental
law that requires all federal agencies to take into account the
impact of their actions on the environment.

It found that a plaintiff with pro-environmental goals had less
than half the chance of success before a Republican-appointed judge
(a 28 percent success rate) than before a Democratic appointee (59
percent success rate). Conversely, plaintiffs with pro-development or
industry goals were successful only 14 percent of the time before
Democratic appointees, but 58 percent of the time before Republican
appointees.

The GOP judges' anti-environmental stance has grown more
pronounced under Bush. Of the 23 NEPA cases heard by the president's
appointees, only four were decided in favor of the environment -
that's 83 percent of cases decided in favor of industry, a marked
decline from the already poor environmental success rate scored with
nominees of past Republican presidents. (The report does note,
however, that the Bush judges have served for such a short time that
more data will be needed to fully affirm this trend.)

The NEPA study "may or may not show bias on one or both sides,"
notes Sugameli. "But what it does clearly show is that who sits on
the courts matters. It makes a difference, and affects people's
ability to breathe clean air, drink clean water, and to enjoy special
places."

Law and Disorder

Bush appointees, though relatively new to the federal bench, are
already attempting to reinterpret landmark environmental decisions
and change the way the statutes apply. In defiance of precedents and
the public interest, the 9th Circuit's Richard R. Clifton in a
dissenting opinion would have allowed a national-forest timber sale
to go forward despite an environmental group's injunction to stop the
sale. Meanwhile, the 5th Circuit's Edith Brown Clement and Charles
Pickering (both Bush appointments) have joined in a dissenting
opinion that would have allowed a commercial and residential
development in Texas, despite the risk to listed endangered species
living on the site.

But as troubling as this initial erosion of environmental
statutes might be, and as damaging as it could eventually become to
specific locales and species, worse may lie ahead. Though individual
judges can do severe environmental harm, higher courts can still
overturn their decisions. Now, though, some ultra-conservative
Republican-appointed judges are working to challenge the very
constitutionality of environmental law. And new Bush nominations to
the appellate courts and Supreme Court could provide the majorities
needed to achieve that goal.

"The most important long-term issue before the U.S. Supreme
Court, and the lower courts, is New Constitutionalism," says
Sugameli. This extreme anti-regulatory philosophy, also called New
Federalism, has been refined by corporations, right-wing think tanks,
and the ultra-conservative Federalist Society. Born in the Reagan
era, New Federalism opposes big government, and especially the
intrusion of the federal government into state and local public
services and economic and regulatory matters, according to the Cato
Institute web site.

New Federalism would repudiate a broad interpretation of the U.S.
Constitution's Interstate Commerce Clause, upon which much of federal
environmental law is based. Until the 1930s, this clause was used
primarily to regulate trade between states. But from Franklin
Roosevelt's New Deal era to the present day, judges have interpreted
the clause as granting Congress the power to regulate business with
regard to wage and hour limitations, health and safety and the
environment.

Some Bush nominees, however, say Congress has no authority to
enact such measures. William G. Myers, for example, has argued in
amicus briefs submitted to the Supreme Court that federal clean-water
and endangered-species safeguards are unconstitutional. The Cato
Institute's Roger Pilon agrees: "The Endangered Species Act is
utterly unconstitutional," and so are the Clean Air and Water acts
"for the most part," he asserts. "The commerce power was written to
ensure the free flow of commerce among the states," period.

Destroy that constitutional foundation and you deny Congress the
authority to provide most environmental protections, thereby causing
the entire federal environmental regulatory structure as it exists
today to collapse. It is a radical strategy that, if successful,
would shred the safety net of federal laws that has safeguarded the
environment for more than 30 years, and which Americans have come to
take for granted. Pilon urges that this safety net be replaced with a
patchwork of state environmental laws, an approach whose utter
failure helped prompt the creation of the federal EPA by Richard
Nixon in 1970.

New Federalism doesn't stop there. Anti-regulatory judges - led
by right-wing Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence
Thomas - also want to severely limit public access to the courts. In
particular, they would like to outlaw most citizen lawsuits, thereby
barring nonprofit environmental groups from launching cases against
polluting industry, uncontrolled development, and unresponsive
government.

Pilon contends, along with many Bush nominees, that environmental
groups do not have "standing" - that is, they are not directly harmed
(as an individual might be) by environmental damage, so they have no
right to sue. Conservatives also say that neither environmental
groups nor individuals have a right to sue when private industry
damages the commons - public lands or waters owned by all of us. If a
polluter harms the commons, they say, only the government has the
right to sue. And if the government fails to act, the public's only
recourse would be to vote out the unresponsive officials.

Barring access to courts is antithetical to democracy, says
Sugameli. It biases the system against nonprofit citizen's groups and
in favor of businesses. It is also prejudicial. "There is no question
that corporations will continue to be able to go to court whenever
they don't like an environmental protection," he says. "But there is
a serious question as to how much citizens will continue to be able
to go to court when they feel that environmental laws are protecting
corporations and not people."

Bush conservatives have hit upon still another strategy for
attacking the environment: property rights. If Scalia and Thomas were
to be joined on the Supreme Court by like-minded Bush-appointed
justices, they would have the majority needed to set precedents
giving industry privileged private-property rights. "For at least 25
years, since President Reagan, the property-rights movement has
asserted that property ownership is absolute and enshrined in the
Constitution," says Jay Feinman, a professor at Rutgers University
School of Law and author of Un-Making Law. That movement sees
property rights as a core value of democracy, trumping the authority
of Congress to make laws reducing pollution or preserving natural
resources. When the government wants to protect air quality,
wildlife, or wetlands, the movement contends, it must pay for all
profits lost in the forsaking of economic activity, which industry
leaders have cleverly - if erroneously - labeled "takings."

This very broad definition of property rights, based loosely on
the 5th Amendment of the Constitution, has been repeatedly asserted
by conservative Republican judges on the federal bench, and
especially by Bush appointees. Myers has taken the extreme view that
property rights should receive the same level of constitutional
scrutiny as free speech. "What we've seen in the Bush administration
is appointees who come out of this property-rights movement and have
ties to industry, and who we can expect to advance the cause to
undermine government regulation," says Feinman.

Going Nuclear

With Republican control over the executive and legislative
branches of government nearly total, Bush's second term will likely
be defined by a struggle to solidify control over the judiciary. Two
of the best predictors of the probable intensity of that struggle
will be the willingness of the Senate to ignore its own time-honored
judicial appointment-approval rules, and the extremism of Bush's
nominees for open judgeships.

In 2004, conservative Republican senators, angry over Democratic
resistance to Bush appointments, began threatening to change Senate
rules that would prohibit the blocking of judicial appointments
through filibusters. The new rule would do away with the required 60
votes needed to approve judges and replace it with a simple majority
vote. "This is called the nuclear option by its proponents, because
even they recognize that such a move would blow up the Senate, ending
all chance for cooperation on any issue," says Sugameli.

As the 2005 congressional session got under way this month,
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) set the stage for this
"nuclear war" by announcing that he will seek approval in February
for an unnamed Bush judicial nominee. If Democrats filibuster that
nominee, he says, then the nuclear option could come into play,
reports the Associated Press.

Richard Epstein, a conservative law professor at the University
of Chicago, is critical of the nuclear option but doesn't think it
would "blow up" the Senate. "What is important is that the same rules
apply to a Republican president and Congress as to a Democratic
president and Congress," says Epstein. Democrats are hopeful that
Frist will not dare launch the nuclear option, especially since Sen.
John McCain (R-Ariz.) has come out against it, citing the
divisiveness it would cause.

As for the extremism of Bush's second-term nominees, his
renomination of the seven candidates already blocked by the Senate
doesn't bode well for the environment. Among them are such
property-rights extremists as Myers and Janice Rogers Brown, who was
nominated to the D.C. Circuit and opposed by 35 national and state
environmental groups. Brown has declared that the Supreme Court's
1937 decision upholding the New Deal as constitutional "marks the
triumph of our own socialist revolution." And her extreme views on
property rights caused her to claim that private property is now
"entirely extinct in San Francisco" and that the city is implementing
a "neo-feudal regime."

As for the Supreme Court, "All the indications are that the
people being looked at to fill those vacancies [should they arise
during Bush's second term] would include many with very extreme
positions," says Sugameli. Bush could also try to elevate either
Scalia or Thomas, his two favorites and the two most
anti-environmental justices, to the chief justice position.

Bush's lifetime appointments to the federal courts - most of whom
seem to be intentionally selected because of their youth - will shape
and dominate environmental jurisprudence for many decades to come.

Right Young Things

Parenteau believes that the right-wing judicial strategies being
pressed by the Bush administration amount to a corporate coup d'etat
in which private special interests trump the public good and
democracy. "It is probably not hysterical to characterize our
situation as a constitutional crisis, because I feel that the
majority values of this country are still strongly in support of
strong laws protecting the environment. But what is happening is that
those laws are being picked apart, dismantled, and deceptively,
stealthily, slyly undermined. I think that our government's checks
and balances are breaking down," as corporations gain a death grip on
all three branches of government.

Sitting Supreme Court Justice David Souter has long warned
against the judicial use of constitutional arguments to invalidate
Congress's authority to regulate commerce - a tactic that could
negate environmental, public-health, labor, minority, and women's
civil-rights protections in one massive strike. New Federalism is not
new, he contends, but will march America back to the Lochner era of
the courts, which lasted from the post-Civil War period until
Roosevelt's New Deal.

Joseph Lochner was a New York baker whose corporate right to
force employees to work 60-hour weeks was upheld by the Supreme
Court. For seven decades, the courts maintained a laissez-faire
attitude about business practices, ruling that the economic sphere
was off-limits to congressional regulation, and that private
property, especially corporate private property, was sacrosanct. That
era's policies spurred political and corporate corruption, spawning
the Robber Baron industrialists, a yawning gap between rich and poor,
civil unrest, labor strikes and riots, bomb-throwing anarchists, two
presidential assassinations, fierce government repression, genocide
against the American Indians, and the near extinction of the American
buffalo. It was an era whose gross human injustices were only
reversed by New Deal reforms.

In the face of a kind of Lochner-era redux, environmental groups
have little recourse, Feinman fears. "Other than opposing judicial
nominations, we have a real problem here. We can't just wait for the
next election, or defeat a bill in Congress. With the judiciary, we
are dealing with a matter of constitutional law. Once high courts
rule in an area, there is nothing that can be done by executive
action, or by legislation, to change things. That's the end of the
story. We could see a rollback of environmental law as part of a much
broader rollback of government protection of the public interest.
Once again, what is good for General Motors is good for the U.S.A."

"Maybe the Cuyahoga River has to burst into flame again,"
concludes Parenteau, referring to a pivotal outrage in 1969 that
helped launch the environmental movement in the following years. The
United States may need to see drastic climate shocks, or Bhopal-scale
tragedies, before the public becomes determined enough to reverse the
Bush administration's judicial excesses. The political and social
shape that such a rebellion might take - and how long it might take
to emerge - is anyone's guess.
--------

Glenn Scherer is an author and freelance journalist whose stories
have recently appeared on Salon.com, TomPaine.com, and other
publications. He is former editor of Blue Ridge Press, a syndicated
environmental commentary service in the Southeast.

-------

The Robber Barons' Party: Let's Bring Tea
by Thom Hartmann

They're staging a celebration of their power in Washington, DC,
where they help write the majority of legislation and hold captive
all but a very few of our nation's legislators. The television
networks they own are showing the party in all its pomp and
ceremony. The newspapers and magazines they own are telling us
what a fine time is being had by all in Washington, DC. The radio
stations, networks, and talk show hosts they own are reassuring us
that they know what is best, that all will be well, that "freedom is
on the march."

Every generation, it is often said, must relearn the lessons of
history. This generation is getting a crash course.

Shall we have a government of, by, and for We, the People? Or
shall we be governed by a powerful elite made up of the
super-rich, multi-national corporations, and well-paid shills who
do their bidding?

It seems that the shift from FDR's vision of We the People to
Reagan's vision of corporate governance has only happened in the
past thirty years - when Reagan, in his first inaugural address,
declared war on We the People by saying: "Government is not the
solution to our problem. Government is the problem."

But it's really a battle that's gone back to 1762, when
Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote "The Social Contract," and directly
challenged - for the first time in nearly two thousand years - the
idea that people must be governed by a powerful father-figure
King, Pope, or Feudal Lord.

"Man was born free," Rousseau opened his book with, "and he is
everywhere in chains." Those chains, he suggested, were forged by
a belief that people's inherent nature was weak and evil, and people
were incapable of governing themselves. Rousseau - and, following
him, Jefferson, Madison, Washington, Franklin, and others among
our nation's Founders - rejected the belief that society would
disintegrate without kings, popes, or rule by a rich elite.

But the need for an all-powerful ruling elite was a notion that was
strongly ingrained in the mind of the Western World at the time of
our founding.

Thomas Hobbes, one of history's most eloquent spokesmen for the
Reagan/Bush/Imperial type of worldview, wrote in his 1651
magnum opus "Leviathan," that without a strong and iron-fisted
ruler, "in every man is enemy to every [other] man...."

"In such condition," Hobbes added, "there is no
place for industry, because the fruit thereof is
uncertain: and consequently no culture of the
earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities
that may be imported by sea; no commodious
building; no instruments of moving and removing
such things as require much force; no knowledge of
the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no
letters; no society; and which is worst of all,
continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the
life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and
short."

Thus, without a powerful father figure ruler, Hobbes suggested, "it
may be perceived what manner of life there would be, where there
were no common power to fear..."

Liberty, Hobbes believed, was a dangerous thing. It produced
misery.

Liberty, Rousseau asserted, was necessary for the fulfillment of
human potential, and could bring about a paradise on earth.

The Founders of our nation and Framers of our Constitution
rejected Hobbes and embraced Rousseau. But how, they asked, to
achieve that liberty?

The solution was found in flipping seven thousand years of history
on its head. Instead of people being ruled in the Hobbesian fashion
by kings, popes, or the rich (feudalism/fascism), they set up a
form of government wherein the people themselves rule, through
elected officials answerable solely to the voters.

But even in the day of the Founders, not everybody agreed.

The early Federalists largely shared Hobbes' point of view, as John
Adams often pointed out in his letters to Thomas Jefferson and
others. When the Democratic Party became corrupt during the
1900s, they embraced it. When the reformist Republican Party -
brought to national prominence by Lincoln - degenerated into the
party of the rich and the well-bred after Lincoln's death, it
embraced it. Other than the misgivings of Dwight D. Eisenhower,
the Republicans have held this view ever since the great split of
1772 when the reformers left the party over a platform battle and
set out to form the populist and progressive movements.

Thus, we see, the real battle here is between those who believe that
free people can govern themselves - and have the right to keep out
powerful interests that would corrupt government - and those who
believe that a powerful father-figure is necessary for governance,
the people should be kept largely in ignorance, the rich know best,
and that We the People will only behave well when, as Hobbes
wrote, there is "a common power to keep them all in awe."

Today's real battles in Washington, DC, and in state capitols across
the nation are not just about privatizing Social Security, or
turning Medicare into a feeding trough for the big pharmaceutical
and insurance companies.

They're not only about drilling for oil in the Arctic while refusing
to increase fuel efficiency standards for cars, doing away with the
$100,000 tax break for purchasers of SUVs, or opening millions
of acres of wild lands to loggers, miners, and developers.

They're not even about Bush putting one of the nation's worst
polluters in charge of the Department of Energy, an
insurance-industry mogul in charge of HHS and its Medicare
program, or his appointing the former assistant director of the
Cato Institute's Project on Social Security Privatization as
Associate Commissioner for Retirement Policy at the Social
Security Administration. These are just symptoms.

Today's real battles in the halls of government are about the
survival of democracy itself.

Of course, conservatives aren't going to say so quite as bluntly.
Ronald Reagan had to reassure the American people that he wasn't
going to run us into debt and then turn our nation over to the
multinational corporations. In his first inaugural, he had to add,
"Now, so there will be no misunderstanding, it is not my intention
to do away with government. It is, rather, to make it work-work
with us, not over us; to stand by our side, not ride on our back."

But who was that "us" Reagan spoke of?

Clearly it wasn't recipients of what conservatives call the
"socialist" Social Security or Medicaid programs. It wasn't those of
us who are pleased to have the protection of unionized police and
fire departments, public roads, clean air and water, safe food and
drugs. It wasn't the people who had fallen on hard times as their
jobs were shipped overseas and they found themselves in
unemployment lines or needing government assistance to get back
on their feet.

Reagan's "us" - as history clearly shows - was the feudal/fascist
corporate elite. As was George H. W. Bush's "us." And many of Bill
Clinton's DLC's "us." And, so ostentatiously today, George W. Bush's
"us."

As we view today's ostentatious celebration of the corporate
takeover of our government, We the People are faced with an
historic challenge. As Franklin Roosevelt said in 1936, as the
result of "new uses of corporations" a "new royalty" has emerged in
America.

"It was natural and perhaps human," Roosevelt said, "that the
privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for
power, reached out for control over Government itself. ... And as a
result the average man once more confronts the problem that faced
the Minute Man."

And, as in the days of the Minute Man, today we find inspiration in
the Boston Tea Party-like effort of Barbara Boxer to challenge the
Ohio vote, or her principled stand, along with John Kerry and
Robert Byrd, against the confirmation of Condoleezza Rice.

The Founder's ideals - although under siege - are still alive in
America.

They live on in the many Americans who support progressive
causes with contributions, send letters to the editors of their local
papers, make calls to talk shows, attend protest rallies,
pamphleteer by email, correspond with their elected
representatives, and support progressive candidates for office.

They live on with those who mourn George W. Bush's coronation,
who turn their back on him and his policies, who daily work for
social justice, equality, and a world at peace.

But democracy will only survive in this nation if people like you
and me continue to stand up, speak out, and keep bringing tea to the
party.