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Legal, yes - but a hostile takeover of our government nevertheless

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The governance of our nation has been ripped from the hands of the people and it will now rest largely in the hands of narrower and vastly more powerful corporate interests. We've sadly watch the diminishment of democracy in our nation for many years now, the popular uprising that elected President Barack Obama not withstanding. Yesterday's Supreme Court action seemingly comes as one large exclamation point to the process of corporate poltical consolidation.

As the lights dim on popular self-governance, a political process so cherished by President Abraham Lincoln and memorailized in his words at Gettysburg --

"We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

-- let us reaffirm our commitment to the cheished values, embedded in our Constitution. Let us not give up in a worthy historic struggle to keep democracy alive.

The Other Winner on Tuesday

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There were two winners in the special election in Massachusetts this week. One of them, Senator-elect Scott Brown, arrived in Washington today and will soon take his seat in the U.S. Senate. The other winner comes from just up I-95 from Brown’s hometown of Wrentham, Massachusetts: Maine Senator Olympia Snowe.

Last summer, Snowe was the last Republican to leave the negotiating table when the Senate Finance Committee was drafting its bill. She had several concerns about the legislation, but chief among them was the public option, which is now no longer an option in any scenario. It was always a mistake to move forward without Snowe, and among all of Majority Leader Harry Reid’s mistakes, this was the greatest. Not only would Snowe have been insurance against the whimsies of Joe Lieberman and the principles of Ben Nelson, Snowe always brings something to the table that the others do not: the “bi-partisan” label.

Will the right oppose the court's blatant judicial activism?

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For years the political right has condemned what it calls "judicial activism," meaning virtually any ruling that defends the little guy against larger state or corporate interests, especially any ruling that overturns a precedent to offer such protection.

Mother Jones' David Korn now asks if the political right will be consistent and speak out against the precedent upsetting and potentially democracy crippling ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court today.

We'll wait with him.

Meanwhile, President Obama, back when he was senator from Illinois, seemed to understand what the nation would be getting in a Justice Roberts' led court.

Explaining his vote against the Roberts nomination, then-Senator Obama noted that Roberts "has far more often used his formidable skills on behalf of the strong in opposition to the weak."

A new Haiti: The building codes of justice

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Occasionally, I listen to C-SPAN radio’s "Washington Journal" in the morning. It features call-ins from ordinary citizens that range from the brilliant and insightful to the ridiculous and insulting.

A few days ago, I was driving my car when a caller commented on U.S. aid to earthquake-devastated Haiti. The discussion had described the catastrophe on the ground, so the caller was not ignorant of the situation. Nonetheless, she said, “We’re sending aid to Haiti, but we need it a lot more aid here. We need it more here.” I was so stunned I almost went off the road. “We need it more here? More than people who are starving, homeless and injured without any medical care? More than people who have just lost everything they have in life, including loved ones?”

Priest turns pauper

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As the blockbuster show, "American Idol," has begun its 9th season this week, a new show this spring on the BBC is its polar opposite:

An Anglican priest turns pauper: A new BBC series to show clergyman living without money for eight months in return to "the simple life."

The priest, Peter Owen Jones, will be begging for food and shelter, bartering his skills for scraps and living off his own produce.

Jones previously presented the BBC series "Around The World In 80 Faiths." The new show "How To Live A Simple Life" will be broadcast in the spring.

Women answering ëa beautiful interior call from God'

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Kansas City - St. Joseph Bishop Robert W. Finn is bringing a new liturigical solemnity to NCR's home diocese.

To highlight an example, Finn, while showing support for women religious, personally welcomed new postulants last month into a traditional congregation, the Benedictines of Mary Queen of Apostles.

During a Jan. 6 ceremony, highlighted in the local diocesan paper, Finn, in the course of a Pontifical Solemn High Mass, personally received four postulants, each dressed in a bridal gown, by cutting their hair. The act symbolized the women's rejection of the way of the world and their response to what Finn described as "a beautiful interior call from God."

We wish the women and the bishop well.

So is what is left of democracy now dead in America?

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For as long as I can remember, virtually all of us have wailed against the power of special interests in our political process. Translated, what has upset us is that money talks in politics, it talks so loudly that our politicians become virtual slaves to those who control it and channel it into their elections campaigns.

Consider now the power of our corporations and the clout they already have in politics today. It is now going to grow considerably.

The U.S. Supreme Court today overturned a century-old restriction on corporations using their money to sway federal elections. This has the potential of being one of the most significant rulings in decades.

If you think that special interests, and, in this instance, well financed corporate interests, have had too much sway in U.S. politics hang on.

In his dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens, wrote: "The court's ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions around the nation."

Looking for loved ones in Haiti

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The Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti left massive destruction and widespread uncertainty. An unknown number of people remain missing, with estimates ranging from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands.

What is certain is people around the world await word on loved ones. Are you searching for a family member or friend? Search this list to connect.

CNN's iReport page: http://haiticrisis.cnn.com/

The Red Cross: http://www.familylinks.icrc.org/wfl/wfl_hti.nsf/DocIndex/locate_eng?opendocument

Google Person Find: http://haiticrisis.appspot.com/

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