FREE SPEECH ZONE | First things first

I am flabbergasted. President Obama is pressing Congress to temporarily surrender the automatic termination of the Bush-era tax cuts for the rich, in favor of some across the board tax breaks and economic provisions that would give ¾ of these breaks to the top 1%, and which, by eliminating his own Making Work Pay credit will mean that the poor will pay more taxes, not less. Why did our President feel the need to offer estate tax breaks for the rich as an additional deal sweetener? Free Speech ZoneThe Free Speech Zone offers a space for contributions from readers, without editing by the TC Daily Planet. This is an open forum for articles that otherwise might not find a place for publication, including news articles, opinion columns, announcements and even a few press releases. No wonder so many Republicans are gleeful about the way that the President is reaching out to them. Continue Reading

FREE SPEECH ZONE | Sad clouds hang over St. Thomas Law graduation

UPDATED 6/29/2010 Clouds hung over the St. Thomas School of Law graduation on May 8, 2010, in more ways than one.  The University of St. Thomas Law School held its graduation ceremony at Orchestra Hall, a few blocks from their campus.  So most of the celebrants parked at the campus and walked the few blocks to Orchestra Hall.  They thus got an opportunity to pass by our anti-torture demonstration at the northwest corner of Orchestra Hall.  Although many attending the graduation seemed intent on ignoring the signs, some seemed surprised and at least one graduate voiced his approval, saying he had recently completed a paper on torture.  The protest focused on the actions of Professor Robert Delahunty, pictured above, who walked quickly by and did not seem happy to be reminded of his past.        Robert Delahunty is currently a professor at St. Thomas University School of Law, teaching courses on Constitutional Law and on Conflict Resolution.  However, prior to becoming a law professor at UST, Delahunty worked in the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice, for President George W. Bush.   After 9-11, when people high in the Bush Administration needed legal cover for their decisions to depart from the Geneva Conventions and other international treaty law, to conduct “extraordinary renditions” (kidnappings) to “black sites” and “enhanced” or “harsh” interrogations (considered torture by most legal scholars), they turned to their OLC lawyers to produce what they hoped would be a “golden shield” for their illegal actions.  John Yoo and Robert Delahunty co-authored some of the early memos that served as the cornerstones to “legalize” the Bush Administration’s orders. Continue Reading

FREE SPEECH ZONE | “Your actions are consistent with the highest standards of the traditions of civil disobedience”

Thanks to you friends that have been wondering how the recent trespassing case against four Twin City residents, including myself turned out.  The defendants were Sister Kate McDonald, Geri Eikaas, Steve Clemens, and Roger Cuthbertson. The simple answer is that we got off pretty easy. I always celebrate this type of result. Alliant Techsystems wasn’t on trial, except in a figurative way. Alliant Tech still gets to do its thing without restriction. If we are making any progress at all in turning around the military culture, it is at a glacial pace. Continue Reading

Protest on the ice at the mansion of United Health Group’s CEO, Stephen Hemsley

On Saturday morning, 12/19/09, eight of us met at the intersection of Shoreline Drive and Ferndale Road West, about ¾ mile from the 7.8 million dollar mansion of United Health Group CEO Stephen Hemsley.  We had to spend some time at this location waiting for everyone to find their way to this meeting place.  So we put up some of our banners and talked to passers by. Continue Reading