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tv   [untitled]    June 15, 2011 6:00pm-6:30pm PDT

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all right good evening i'm in for tom hartman here in washington d.c. and here's what's coming up tonight on the big picture it's a huge victory for wisconsin governor scott walker after his union busting bill got a stamp of approval from the state's highest court so what does all this mean for was tonsils public workers and more importantly believe or movement here in america and the grand jury hearings in the wiki leaks case continues today so what will the justice department dig up against julian assange and is it a all part of
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a larger war against whistleblowers. all you need to know this a major development in the wisconsin labor battle lasting last night yesterday evening as governor scott walker's union busting bill is now the law of the land so what exactly happens now although a lower court did decide to block a walker's budget repair bill from going into effect the wisconsin supreme court yesterday evening decided to overturn that ruling effectively making it completely illegal for state workers in wisconsin to collectively bargain now don't forget that we're talking about was sconce and here this is the birthplace of collective bargaining rights now while this is is in fact a major blow to the workers' rights movement we should be surprised after all the deciding judge in the high court's forty three ruling was none other than justice
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david prosser a familiar name since he was the same guy who conveniently won a reelection after twelve thousand missing votes mysteriously turned up so what does all of this mean for the future of labor rights in wisconsin and more importantly the rest of the country. well here to answer that question is andy crowe he's a reporter with mother jones magazine and we thank you so much for being here. to break down for me what happened what exactly took place in the decision and how did the other court's ruling get overturned so quickly so last month a district court judge said that the wisconsin republicans in the legislature violated a long standing open meetings that you got to give notice you got to let the public know you're meeting on these issues well it was god the supreme court just ruled that those lawmakers in fact didn't break that rule and that the lower judge was instead trying to make policy or break policy with their decision now one comment i
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want to read to you the the president of the songs on a.f.l.-cio released a statement yesterday where he said he called this ruling an affront to our democracy and that quote this is just one more indication that wisconsin republicans do not believe in a functioning sounds john walker see inclusive of checks and balances i have to say i mean we have a republican governor we have a conservative. judge or a majority of conservative judges on the bench republican lawmakers in in the state senate working together on this what does that say about checks and balances in this country well it says that the republicans at least of wisconsin don't really have been interested in checks and balances and they certainly don't have any interest in the voice of the people the voice of workers organized labor in a state that you said he was fighting bob with the lead this is the birthplace of collective bargaining rights for public unions and the republicans are just tossing out you know decades worth of history with this decision in this this legislation that originally went after bargaining i mean is this a blow to the labor rights movement or could there be some sort of silver lining in
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all this we're still dealing with a recall about ok it is a blip without a doubt collective bargaining you're knocking off the main pillar for labor but there are a lot of silver linings in this you have to recall battles those are going to be taking place in july and august so we're going to see possibly a change of the majority in the wisconsin senate. we're also seeing those just incredible outpouring of support wisconsin right now there's this there's this tent city outside the capitol called i have water available right exactly and you know people thought in february march this uprising was going to be brief people were going to be pissed off and they were going to go home they haven't gone home they have stayed there they've kept fighting they're fighting every bill the republicans pushed through so there are a lot of silver a lot is going to think it's a new movement in wisconsin and i guess what can we expect to see in terms of the broader battle for the labor rights movement across america do we see any other states taking this on is this is this spreading in any sort of positive way i mean i know that you've come on this program to talk a lot about the various developments what should repeat in paying attention next
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well you know there are there are efforts already under way under way in michigan in ohio it was constant as well you know it was announced in the a.f.l.-cio followed a lawsuit a federal lawsuit today challenging the constitutionality of walker's bill there are similar challenges in ohio and you also have this grassroots movement i think you know the electoral angle is the big one no are the senators in wisconsin who support this bill going to get tossed out is governor jon case in ohio who passed an even tougher bill is he going to get tossed out his popularity is rock bottom right now so there are a lot of pieces of play or there's a lot of blowback to this and i wonder if you know we're obviously approaching an election year the campaigns are getting going for the white house as well as local races do you see any sort of shift a broad shift within the the american people sort of moving away from these ideas where you know unions are bad i mean we're in tough time going on the times people are unemployment continues to soar a lot of americans are out of work the housing bubble has in it continues to hurt
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this country do you see a shift in. possibly people finding more sympathy with the labor movement and not sort of seeing it as this big wedge divide issue you know these union thugs that are you know cutting off the barrier of the deals that nurses right exactly. i think you have seen some sympathy as well and it's not sympathy it's a bit of. labor it's not that labor can still get people fired up and get them in the streets and kind of reenergize the working class i mean you know if they'll see oh had a big nationwide rally which was you know the to restore the american middle class and i think you know if there's anything right now amidst all the bad news about jobs and economic growth that is the silver lining in a new car to me it's that you know if the middle class is getting screwed over by politicians you know they're not going down without a fight all right we're not going down without a fight i'm sure you'll be tracking this for us in the days and weeks to come thank you so much that was and you all right now regular viewers of this program know
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that tom has been huge on the story from day one and right after stop walker fired the opening shots in his assault on labor tom expose what's really been driving the war against i'm an american middle class take a look. you may think what's happening across this country like scott walker in wisconsin to strip rights from working people and give multibillion dollar tax breaks to corporations and something new it's not it actually was started more than one hundred years ago by the stroke of one man's. his name was john chandler bancroft davis i tell a story in the first chapter of my book on equal protection. it eight hundred eighty six bancroft was the court reporter for the united states supreme court and he was on the he was on the job while that court was hearing arguments in a case called santa clara county versus the southern pacific railroad although at the time the chief justice moore's interim equate thought it was just about
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a simple boring tax issue that case would ultimately redefine america forever it wasn't for that case scott walker wouldn't even be governor now because corporate money couldn't have helped him get elected the case centered on whether or not the the corporation the southern pacific railroad owed santa clara money six years' worth of unpaid property taxes again it just all really monday and extra ultimately the court let stand a lower california court decision because they said it was the state of california is issue not a federal as you case closed not a constitutional debate you can read online on the web site supreme court itself nothing in there about corporations being able to elect governors but here's where everything went a little crazy. as one of the six defenses in the case the southern pacific railroad made an unusual argument they tried to argue that personhood rights under the fourteenth amendment passed just twenty years earlier after the civil war to
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grant slaves full citizenship and equal protection under the law that those rights should also apply to corporations why because corporations had always been called artificial persons under the law but humans had always been called natural persons and the fourteenth amendment only says to any person so the railroad said that to tax them differently in one county than in another was the same as saying that a black person could be free in the north but a slave in the south. in this case chief justice waite explicitly told the lawyers for the southern pacific railroad that his court would not rule on the issue of corporate personhood and they ought to move on with their arguments but a year later the chief justice was mortally ill with congestive heart failure after the case was decided and the case as i said was not did not decide that corporations have rights as persons and the core reporter jacey bancroft davis was
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a very wealthy and powerful man some of the former governor of massachusetts former president of the new newburgh new york railroad and apparently good buddies with all the other railroad billionaires keep in mind at that time these guys were the bill gates's of their day they were literally the richest men in the world. now one of the things that supreme court reporters do in addition a chronicle in the case is to write a cliff notes version of the case the short summary has no legal standing whatsoever it's just there to make it easier for lawyers to find in the future when they're looking for a case it's called i had no bizarrely in this case mr davis the court clerk decided to take a bit of poetic license and his while the case did not decide the corporations or persons in fact if anything it rejected the notion for the fifth time in as many years than croft in his cliff notes version in his the his head no he wrote quote the defendant corporations are persons within the intent of the clause in section one of the fourteen but out of the constitution the united states which forbids
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a state to divide any person with it has jurisdiction equal protection of the law end quote and with that simple headnotes something that isn't legally even binding bancroft incorporated poor or not a judge i don't like that official slipped into the supreme court's record full constitutional rights personhood for corporations this despite the fact that the chief justice specifically said his court would not address the matter and despite the fact that every previous supreme court decision had explicitly denied those same rights to corporations and by the time bank john challenger bankruptcy it was published that ed note a year later for the world to see chief justice wait was dead but bankruptcy so he couldn't object but bankruptcy a single sentence in that had no it has no legal authority as enabled corporations to use personhood claims to constitutional rights to wage war against unions
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against the middle class and even against our politicians that they didn't that they don't like for over one hundred twenty years culminating in the citizens united decision before the supreme court doesn't. and with the help of republicans like scott walker all around the country these corporations are now claiming the absolute right to buy and sell politicians and to write laws the benefit them and screw you and me scott walker may be the face of this effort today but the first culprit was that rather obscure court reporter j.c. bancroft davis but with the stroke of his quill undo the intentions of our founders and sucked the nation down the road to corporatocracy please help us spread the truth about what really happened in a painful court case in one thousand nine hundred six and to put an end to corporate personhood and bus stop this ruthless takeover of our democracy. are all coming out of the case against the one n.s.a. whistleblower crumbles the obama administration steps up its probe of the wiki
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leaks more details after the break. twenty four seven live streaming news towns like to tell you about the ongoing financial hurricane unlimited three high quality videos for download. and stories you may never find on mainstream news. from the. political. person more on our team doctor just. for. fun.
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well forty years ago this week the new york times began publishing the pentagon papers leaks by a courageous whistleblower who wants to expose the mishandling of a war for the greater good of this country and today daniel ellsberg is revered by many as a hero but those who follow in his footsteps the modern whistleblowers more likely than ever it seems to face prosecution now there's a case of thomas drake the n.s.a. official who exposed waste and corruption in his agency all in the wake of nine eleven in return he was labeled as an enemy of the state charged under the espionage act with a threat of thirty five years behind bars now his trial to get the irony in all this his trial was set to begin on this very same day that the pentagon papers came out or decades ago now until the justice department's case against him unraveled
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suddenly last week but that's the great case seems to be falling apart the obama administration seems to be ramping up its espionage investigation of wiki leaks namely bradley manning and julian assange and just a few hours ago a blogger named david house testified before a grand jury just a few miles away here in virginia about his ties to bradley manning and wiki leaks all part of a larger program for potential us to look at espionage act violations among other violations and the obama administration's probe on leakers so are we really in the middle of some sort of a war against whistleblowers here or is that just a bunch of coincidences well for more on this i'm joined by justin reda the homeland security director at the government accountability project and steven cohen he's the executive director of the national whistleblower center he's also the author of the book the whistleblowers handbook very aptly titled thank you so much both of you for being here to leave the shit ain't you stephen if i can start with you if you're one of the nation's foremost experts in this in this area you've been practicing. in law and dealing with the whistle blowing cases for nearly three
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decades in your experience how has this administration. faired in contrast to other administrations when it comes to cases of whistleblowing prosecution and i would like to preface this by stating that we all remember candidate obama in two thousand and nine or or in two thousand and eight said that you know whistleblowers are important this is an important role that they serve for democracy obviously fare you well i've been representing national security was blowers for years they were always accused of leaking but rarely if ever are they prosecuted or indicted unfortunately decide ministration has ramped that up and has indicted and investigated whistleblowers at a rate probably unseen since the nixon administration and say i was i've been around since the reagan bush clinton bush again and this is been the most of the criminal prosecution of people don't understand is it's
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a chilling effect you indict one whistleblower you will silence thousands. and how does one guy defend themselves against the justice department with their unlimited resources it's a tough row to hoe it's one thing being fired and blacklisted which is usually enough to create a chilling effect but the threat of criminal prosecution you know what's happening no one's going to blow the whistle on all these national security issues torture you know lies about weapons of mass destruction legal contracting billions and rip offs there is so much money in national security and you spear among the employees and just went to someone who is working very closely on the tom strait case and also a former whistleblower yourself what's your reaction has his apartment gotten more difficult to get when it comes to leaking information absolutely bush harassed whistleblowers unmercifully i had to deal with being placed under criminal
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investigation for to the state bars in which i'm licensed as an attorney and put on a no fly list but i was never indicted and i was never prosecuted whistleblowers now face not only their regular regular calley ation of getting fired and having their security clearances polled but they actually face jail time and going to prison for the rest of their lives as in the time great case i would say it's not just square since nixon i think president obama has been worse than all prior presidents combined in terms of going after so-called leakers who were often than not are whistleblowers and doing so is particular bird peculiarly pernicious under the espionage act because it paints them as being traitors and turncoats when in fact they were trying to help their country and i thought they were supposed to be more laws protecting whistleblowers in this day and age how do we get around that is that the there's the famous and infamous national security exception to the
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whistleblower protection act so they pass a law protecting all federal employees but lo and behold they. exempt intelligence agencies so they put him in a trap and those employees have almost nowhere to go yet they're often sitting on the biggest scandals and it has to be fixed and even if i can go back i mean isn't there sometimes a valid case to be made for protecting national security interests i mean could there's an individual necessarily have all of the information to know whether the unilateral action of leaking certain from nation could or couldn't put americans at rest absolutely and that's called the first amendment of the united states and a well established balancing test where you have to balance the public right to know with the government's interest in secrecy take the drake case for instance what's the real legitimate secrecy interest in someone blowing the whistle on a billion dollar fraud of taxpayer money that's where the government goes running
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from the first amendment they they use these criminal prosecutions to xscape the standard first amendment balancing test it's our position that test should be applied in civil and criminal cases and that's the only way the first amendment is is a factual aid so that's where it sat but so you had an employee just can't unilaterally expose secrets but they have a first amendment right that must be recognized in the courts and by the executive and that's i think why you see this taken prosecutions when when we were blowing the whistle on the f.b.i. crime lab when clinton was president they investigated our whistleblowers for leaks but they stopped short and i think it was a recognition that what these whistleblowers were doing at first amendment protection and ultimately was serving the public interest but now we see it almost like a knee jerk reaction whistleblower investigate whistleblower criminal and that's
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just wrong and just like with the attention that the thomas case has gotten in the new yorker's written about this there's a lot more media attention to this looking. he has gotten decent media attention do you see any sort of shift in the obama administration's you think that they have me stop going after whistleblowers so severely now that there's been more focus on this issue i certainly hope that there is a shift it was an uphill battle to get the attention on the trade case until very recently in terms of the obama shift i'm afraid it's part of a an expansion of the secrecy regime and really a backdoor way to get an official secrets act which we don't have in this country so i would hope what was clearly a loss for the obama administration in the drake case would curb the enthusiasm about going after whistle were under the espionage act i am not confident that that will happen because i do see it as part of
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a larger expansion appropriator agenda of secrecy and thinking very briefly do you agree is that a larger expansion of agree there or secrecy at center there's retaliation in various federal agencies now just not national security we're fighting some cases in the f.d.a. the cases in the army corps of engineers so there's been a pushback on whistleblowers and we are pleading for public's award to get behind the whistleblowers and try to make it right thank you both so much for your time i mean it's sad that this is happening but even more sad and ironic that it's happening forty years after the pentagon papers came out on with think that we would have all the little bit from from those years anyway thank you both so much for your time thank you very much all right well the justice department's a war against whistleblowers was blown wide open last year when we can thanks released its cache of classified military and state department documents and it was then that tom offered his take on what we can actually meant for the world at large and how julian songe is changing absolutely everything take
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a look at the top of the show we discuss the wiki leaks revelation that president obama actively prevented the prosecution of bush officials for. torture a show of complacency toward war crimes by the sitting u.s. president this is something we would never have known about if we keep leaks wasn't around just like we would never have known about our government using diplomats to spy on world leaders including allies in clear violation of international law who would know about the secret war in yemen conducted by the u.s. as a result of the deaths of civilians in that country we would never have known the truth behind the two thousand and seven incident in iraq the left to reuters journalists dead at the hands of a u.s. apache helicopter attack are we better off knowing these things some may argue no but those are the same people who wouldn't want to know the truth presented to the pentagon papers or the truth about watergate the same people who attacked wiki leaks today they believe it's unpatriotic to reveal secrets they forget the truth
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even if it presents the u.s. government in a negative light is still worth knowing as the promise of a free press in this country the man behind the truth telling his julian son someone has become somewhat of an international man of mystery his whereabouts at any given time are unknown but one thing that is known he has a vision and that vision pages change the world for the better looking at his writings it's clear what motivates a saw each in two thousand and seven he wrote a piece in titled the united what of america in which he examined corporate structure and how it is intrinsically authoritarian his piece is even more poignant after the supreme court's citizens united decision that pretty much ended our government over to corporate rule in a songes words that corporate rule looks like this these are the characteristics of a corporation suffrage the right to vote does not exist except for land holders
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shareholders and even their voting power is in proportion to their ownership all executive power flows from a central committee. female representation is almost a no. there's no divisions of powers there's no fourth the state no press there are no juries and innocence is not presume. failure to submit to any order can result in instant exile there is no freedom of speech no fright of association love is forbidden without state approval. it's starting to sound like something you know that we've heard just and as the economy is centrally planned there is pervasive surveillance of movement and electronic communications the society is heavily regulated and this regulation is in force to the group degree many employees are told when where and how many times a day they can go to the toilet this is corporate america we're talking about there
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is almost no transparency and something like the freedom of information act is unimaginable. the corporate state the state has one party opposition groups unions are banned surveilled or marginalized whenever and wherever possible. this is the path our country is on as corporations play a bigger and bigger role in politics thanks to our supreme court and this is what julius songe is standing up against it's the secrecy that exists within corporate rule it's a threat to democracy is the threat to freedom assad is the world's whistleblower occupation that used to be respected and applauded in america there haven't been adversarial journalists in this country since woodward and bernstein and jack anderson back in the seventy's whatever happens to a such whatever the end game is the can of worms is already open copycat sites are popping up around the globe secrets revealed from south america to africa so even
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if he's picked up by interpol and rots in prison or simply spends the rest of his life jumping around the globe out of touch with the league has changed the way the world works for all corporations and governments if you have nothing to hide that you have nothing to worry about but for everyone else the secrets will be revealed transparency now rules the day as a sonship itself has stated the aim of wiki leaks is to do the cheve just reform around the world and do it through the mechanism of transparency. and i support is about. all right well coming up it's still not clear what exactly our objective is in the middle east will our president paint a clearer picture. with twenty four seven live streaming news tells what to do about the ongoing financial power of unlimited free high quality videos for download. and stories you never find on mainstream news. so you
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can listen to the. posts on our team don't rush to stand. by and welcome back to the big picture i'm lucy kalf note in for tom hartman this evening now coming up in this half hour as the war in libya heats up congress is
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turning up the heat on president obama the white house claims that it is not breaking the law by waging war in libya but our lawmakers really going to buy that answer meanwhile what about all those other present regimes the body count piles up in syria and rain is a white house going to continue to turn a blind eye there. well let's go ahead and add the libyan war to the long long long list of things that obama and house speaker john boehner do not exactly see eye to eye on now one day after the house voted to cut off funding for military operations in libya the speaker warned obama of skating on thin legal ice but keeping american forces involved in libya for nearly three months without congressional approval now boehner is not alone and suffering from libya for t.v. today a barn.


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