The Myth of Community Rights: Self-Governance has a Corporate Ceiling

August 20, 2015

Even as hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) has spread rapidly in communities across the United States, there’s a sense that communities are gaining traction to stem this tide. But the reality on the ground—despite news headlines—says otherwise.

For example, in New York in 2014, the state’s highest court ruled that communities could use local zoning ordinances to ban hydraulic fracturing for shale gas. Six months earlier, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned a state law that stripped zoning authority away from communities regarding the siting of gas wells. And in Kentucky, the state Supreme Court ruled that a pipeline corporation couldn’t use eminent domain authority to take private property for a pipeline carrying frack gas through the state.

While on the surface it may look like the courts are finally beginning to fix the power imbalance between energy corporations and communities, the basic relationship between corporations and communities remains untouched by these rulings.

'Only human beings have constitutional rights;' Q&A with Move to Amend's David Cobb

August 14, 2015

David Cobb, a Texas lawyer and activist who ran on the Green Party line for president in 2004, says the only way to get the unprecedented about of money out of politics is a constitutional amendment that spells out out that money is not speech and corporations aren’t people.

Cobb, a national spokesperson for the Move to Amend campaign, will be speaking in Spokane on Tuesday. He spoke with the Inlander about how the time is ripe for change, how Donald Trump’s rise signals positive developments for American politics, where Bernie Sanders falls short and why he’s optimistic about his seemingly quixotic goal.

Shadow Puppets: Outside Groups Pulling the Strings in 2016 Election

August 10, 2015

Ostensibly independent groups reported to have close ties to a candidate account for 96 percent of total outside fundraising.

Representing a "fundamental shift in how presidential campaigns are funded in the United States," so-called shadow campaigns are already dominating the 2016 election cycle, according to a new study issued Tuesday by the Brennan Center for Justice.