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Hear Bill Moyers NARRATE "the Secret Government" in this video [best viewed with broadband] a history of Federal secrecy.
He then described Colonel House's account of his third meeting with Woodrow Wilson: It was an evening several weeks later, when he had been paying me a . . . visit, that I said to Mr. Wilson as he rose to go: "Governor, isn't it strange that two men who never knew each other before should think so mmuch alike?"
He answered: "My dear fellow, we have known each other all our lives. By their third meeting, Woodrow Wilson was completely under Colonel House's control, and in total agreement with his views." -- Arthur Howden Smith, The Real Colonel House, George H. Doran Co, New York, 1918, pp. 94-5.
1907 - 1911 -- "By the turn of the century J.P. Morgan was already an old hand at creating artificial panics. Such affairs were well coordinated. Senator Robert Owen, a co-author of the Federal Reserve Act (who later deeply regretted his role), testified before a Congressional Committee that the bank he owned received from the National Banker's Association what came to be known as the "Panic Circular of 1893." It stated: "You will at once retire one -third of your circulation and call in one-half of your loans. . . ." [House Banking and Currency Committee Hearings on H.R. 7230, 75th Congress, March 2 and 19, 1938, p. 214)
Historian Frederick Lewis Allen tells in Life magazine of April 25, 1949, of Morgan's role in spreading rumors about the insolvency of the Knickerbocker Bank and the Trust Company of America, which rumors trigered the 1907 Panic. In answer to the question: "Did Morgan precipitate the panic?" Allen reports:
" Oakleigh Thorne, the president of a particular trust company, testified later before a congressional committee that his banks had been subjected to only moderate withdrawals ... that he had not applied for help, and that it was the [Morgans'] 'sore point' statement alone that had caused the run on his bank. From this testimony, plus the disciplinary measures taken by the Clearing House against the Heinze, Morse and Thomas banks, plus other fragments of supposedly pertinent evidence, certain chroniclers have arrived at the ingenious conclusion that the Morgan interests took advantage of the unsettled conditions during the autumn of 1907 to precipitate the panic, guiding it shrewdly as it progressed so that it would kill off rival banks and consolidate the preeminence of the banks within the Morgan orbit.
The "panic" which Morgan had created, he proceeded to end almost single- handedly. He had made his point. Frederick Allen explains: "The lesson of the Panic of 1907 was clear, though not for some six years was it destined to be embodied in legislation: the United States gravely needed a central banking system. ..."
The man who was to play the most significant part in providing America with that central bank was Paul Warburg, who along with his brother Felix had immigrated to the United States form Germany in 1902. They left brother Max (later a major financier of the Russian Revolution) at home in Frankfurt to run the family bank (M.N. Warburg & Company).
Paul Warburg married Nina Loeb, daughter of Solomon Loeb of Kuhn, Loeb and Company, America's most powerful international banking firm. Brother Felix married Frieda Schiff, daughter of Jacob Schiff, the ruling power behind Kuhn, Loeb. Stephen Birmingham writes in his authoritative Our Crowd: "In the eighteenth century the Schiffs and Rothschilds shared a double house: in Frankfurt. Schiff reportedly bought his partnership in Kuhn, Loeb with Rothschild money.
Both Paul and Felix Warburg became partners in Kuhn, Loeb and Company.
In 1907, the year of the Morgan-precipitated panic, Paul Warburg began spending almost all his time writing and lecturing on the need for "bank reform." Kuhn, Loeb and Company was sufficiently public spirited about the matter to keep him on salary at $500,000 per year while for the next six years he donated his time to "the public good."
Working with Warburg in promoting this "banking reform" was Nelson Aldrich, known as "Morgan's floor broker in the Senate." Aldrich's daughter Abby married John D. Rockefeller Jr. (The current Governor of New York [ at the time of this writing, Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller] is named for his maternal grandfather.)
After the Panic of 1907, Aldrich was appointed by the Senate to head the National Monetary Commission. Although he had no technical knowledge of banking, Aldrich and his entourage spent nearly two years and $300,000 of taxpayers' money being wined and dined by owners of Europe's central banks as they toured the Continent "studying" central banking. When the Commission returned from its luxurious junket it held no meetings and made no report for nearly two years. But Senator Aldrich was busy "arranging" things. Together with Paul Warburg and other international bankers, he staged one of the most important secret meetings in the history of the United States. Rockefeller agent Frank Vanderlip admitted many years later in this memoirs:
"Despite my views about the value to society of great publicity for the affairs of corporations, there was an occasion, near the close of 1910, when I was as secretive – indeed as furtive – as any conspirator. ... I do not feel it is any exaggeration to speak of our secret expedition to Jekyll Island as the occasion of the actual conception of what eventually became the Federal Reserve System. [Vanderlip, Frank, "Farm Boy to Financier," Saturday Evening Post, February 9, 1935, p. 25]
The secrecy was well warrented. At stake was control over the entire economy. Senator Aldrich had issued confidential invitations to Henry P. Davidson of J.P. Morgan & Company; Frank A. Vanderlip, President of the Rockefeller-owned National City Bank; A. Piatt Andrew, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury; Benjamin Strong of Morgan's Bankers Trust Company; and Paul Warburg. They were all to accompany him to Jekyll Island, Georgia, to write the final recommendations of the National Monetary Commission report.
At Jekyll Island, writes B.C. Forbes in his Men Who Are Making America: "After a general discussion it was decided to draw up certain broad principles on which all could agree. Every member of the group voted for a central bank as being the ideal cornerstone for any banking system."
Warburg stressed that the name "central bank" must be avoided at all costs. It was decided to promote the scheme as a "regional reserve" system with four (later twelve) branches in different sections of the country. Those present knew that the New York bank would dominate the rest, which would be marble "white elephants" to deceive the public.
Out of the Jekyll Island meeting came the completion of the Monetary Commission Report and the Aldrich Bill. Warburg had proposed the bill be designated the "Federal Reserve System," but Aldrich insisted his own name was already associated in the public's mind with banking reform and that it would arouse suspicion if a bill were introduced which did not bear his name. However, Aldrich's name attacked to the bill proved to be the kiss of death, since any law bearing his name was so obviously a project of the international bankers.
When the Aldrich Bill could not be pushed through Congress, a new strategy had to be devised. The Republican Party was too closely connected with Wall Street. The only hope for a central bank was to disguise it and have it put through by the Democrats as a measure to strip Wall Street of its power. The opportunity to do this came with the approach of the 1912 Presidential election. Republican President William Howard Taft, who had turned against the Aldrich Bill, seemed a sure-fire bet for re-election, until Taft's predecessor, fellow Republican Teddy Roosevelt, agreed to run on the ticket of the Progressive Party. August Hecksher, Woodrow Wilson; A Biography (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1991) P. 238-239.
On July 20, 1911, the New York press announced the opening of Wilson headquarters at 42 Broadway. McCombs in an interview indicated that a nationwide drive would be organized, based on the support of Princeton alumni. Wilson was unhappy with the publicity and told a reporter that there was in effect "no campaign." The office would merely take care of answering mail and disseminating information. But that summer and fall two figures entered the Wilson circle, far more serious in what they implied for his political fortunes than the establishment of any campaign headquarters.
The first was a tall, hatchet-faced Tennesseean who had come to New York to make his way as a businessman. William Gibbs McAdoo was no ordinary businessman, however. ...
[The 1954 edition of the Encyclopedia Americana, vol. 18, p. 4]: McAdoo, William Gibbs, American cabinet officer: b. near Mariett, Ga., 31 Oct. 1863 ... Descended from a distinguished Southern family, ... Was educated at the University of Tennessee, admitted to the bar in 1885 ... practiced law in Chattanooga till 1892, when he came to New York and opened a law office. In 1898 he formed a law partnership with Mr. William McAdoo (...no relation) who in 1910-1930 was chief city magistrate, and had been assistant secretary of the Treasury under President Cleveland. The partnership was disolved in 1903. ...... In 1902 he organized the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad Companuy and raised 4 million dollars to connect New York City with New Jersey by tunneling under the Hudson River. ... McAdoo's company completed the project; the first tunnel being completed on March 8, 1904, and three more being finished in the next five years ... McAdoo also began participating in activities of the Democratic Party, and supported Woodrow Wilson in the 1910 gubernatorial campaign in New Jersey. He became vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee in 1912 and following Wilson's election to the presidency became secretary of the Treasury, March 6, 1913.]
Heckscher, cont., p. 238-239: "He [McAdoo] met Wilson at Princeton in 1909, and the two got on well from the start. Wilson counted on him for practical advice, and by the summer of 1911 he was rivaling McCombs for first place in the direction of the embryonic, undeclared campaign. McAdoo was cool while McCombs was subject to wild swings of mood; unshakable where McCombs was easily discouraged; discreet where McCombs was talkative. Above all McAdoo was ambitious for both Wilson and himself. This strangely compounded man would play a leading role in the Wilson administration, dreaming of being his successor. More astonishing, given McAdoo's age (he was only seven years younger than Wilson), he became Wilson's son-in-law.
The second recruit was very different from McAdoo and even more important in the long run. In that autumn of 1911 a wealthy Texan was staying at the Gotham Hotel in New York, a pause in the trek that took him annually from his home in Austin to the watering places of Europe. Edward Mandell House had always been interested in politics, as a behind-the-scenes participant but not as a candidate. ... as he noted in an unpublished autobiography, "my ambition has been so great that it has never seemed to me worth while to try to satisfy it." A successful businessman, he kept an office which he rarely visited, preferring to have the important men of his day in Texas – the politicians, lawyers, editors, educators – come to talk with him on the shaded verandah of his spacious home. .....
Colonel House had stood aloof from the [William Jennings] Bryan [populist Democrat] movement, awaiting the day when he could play a prominent part in nominating a Democratic candidate more to his liking. In 1910 .... he began to consider the rising star of Woodrow Wilson. A meeting of the two was arranged at his hotel in mid-November 1911. They talked for an hour. The Colonel decided Wilson was the man to serve.
"Never before have I found both the man and the opportunity," he noted shortly afterwards, and added, with what could only be described with a condescending air, "I think he is going to be a man we can advise with some degree of satisfaction."
Of the Protocols themselves little need be said in the way of introduction. The book in which they are embodied was published by Sergyei Nilus in Russia in 1905. A copy of this is in the British Museum bearing the date of its reception, August 10, 1906. All copies that were known to exist in Russia were destroyed in the Kerensky regime, and under his successors the possession of a copy by anyone in Soviet land was a crime sufficient to ensure the owner's of being shot on sight. The fact is in itself sufficient proof of the genuineness of the Protocols. The Jewish journals, of course, say that they are a forgery, leaving it to be understood that Professor Nilus, who embodied them in a work of his own, had concocted them for his own purposes.
Mr. Henry Ford, in an interview published in the New York WORLD, February 17th, 1921, put the case for Nilus tersely and convincingly thus: "The only statement I care to make about the PROTOCOLS is that they fit in with what is going on. They are sixteen years old, and they have fitted the world situation up to this time. THEY FIT IT NOW." Indeed they do!
The word "Protocol" signifies a precis gummed on to the front of a document, a draft of a document, minutes of proceedings. In this instance, "Protocol" means minutes of the proceedings of the Meetings of the Learned Elders of Zion. These Protocols give the substance of addresses delivered to the innermost circle of the Rulers of Zion. They reveal the converted plan of action of the Jewish Nation developed through the ages and edited by the Elders themselves up to date. Parts and summaries of the plan have been published from time to time during the centuries as the secrets of the Elders have leaked out.
The claim of the Jews that the Protocols are forgeries is in itself an admission of their genuineness, for they NEVER ATTEMPT TO ANSWER THE FACTS corresponding to the THREATS which the Protocols contain, and, indeed, the correspondence between prophecy and fulfillment is too glaring to be set aside or obscured. This the Jews well know and therefore evade.
The presumption is strong that the Protocols were issued, or reissued, at the First Zionist Congress held at Basle in 1897 under the presidency of the Father of Modern Zionism, the late Theodore Herzl. There has been recently published a volume of Herzl's "Diaries," a translation of some passages which appeared in the JEWISH CHRONICLE of July 14, 1922.
Herzl gives an account of his first visit to England in 1895, and his conversation with Colonel Goldsmid, a Jew brought up as a Christian, an officer in the English Army, and at heart a Jew Nationalist all the time. Goldsmid suggested to Herzl that the best way of expropriating the English aristocracy, and so destroying their power to protect the people of England against Jew domination, was to put excessive taxes on the land. Herzl thought this an excellent idea, and it is now to be found definitely embodied in Protocol VI!
The above extract from Herzl's DIARY is an extremely significant bit of evidence bearing on the existence of the Jew World Plot and authenticity of the Protocols, but any reader of intelligence will be able from his own knowledge of recent history and from his own experience to confirm the genuineness of every line of them, and it is in the light of this LIVING comment that all readers are invited to study Mr. Marsden's translation of this terribly inhuman document. And here is another very significant circumstance.
The present successor of Herzl, as leader of the Zionist movement, Dr. Weizmann, quoted one of these sayings at the send-off banquet given to Chief Rabbi Hertz on October 6, 1920. The Chief Rabbi was on the point of leaving for HIS Empire tour of H.R.H., the Prince of Wales. And this is the "saying" of the Sages which Dr. Weizmann quoted: "A beneficent protection which God has instituted in the life of the Jew is that He has dispersed him all over the world." (JEWISH GUARDIAN, Oct. 8, 1920.) Now compare this with the last clause of but one of Protocol XI. "God has granted to us, His Chosen People, the gift of dispersion, and from this, which appears to all eyes to be our weakness, has come forth all our strength, which has now brought us to the threshold of sovereignty over all the world."
The remarkable correspondence between these passages proves several things. It proves that the Learned Elders exist. It proves that Dr. Weizmann knows all about them. It proves that the desire for a "National Home" in Palestine is only camouflage and an infinitesimal part of the Jew's real object. It proves that the Jews of the world have no intention of settling in Palestine or any separate country, and that their annual prayer that they may all meet "Next Year in Jerusalem" is merely a piece of their characteristic make-believe. It also demonstrates that the Jews are now a world menace, and that the Aryan races will have to domicile them permanently out of Europe..
'That which we must say to the crowd is -- We worship a God, but it is the God that one adores without superstition.
'To you, Sovereign Grand Inspectors General, we say this, that you may repeat it to the Brethren of the 32nd, 31st and 30th degrees -- The Masonic religion should be, by all of us initiates of the high degrees, maintained in the of purity of the Luciferian doctrine.
'If Lucifer were not God, would Adonay whose deeds prove his cruelty, perfidy, and hatred of man, barbarism and repulsion for science, would Adonay and his priests, calumniate him?
'Yes, Lucifer is God, and unfortunately Adonay is also God. For the eternal law is that there is no light without shade, no beauty without ugliness, no white without black, for the absolute can only exist as two Gods: darkness being necessary to light to serve as its foil as the pedestal is necessary to the statue, and the brake to the locomotive.
'In analogical and universal dynamics one can only lean on that which will resist. Thus the universe is balanced by two forces which maintain its equilibrium: the force of attraction and that of repulsion. These two forces exist in physics, philosophy and religion. And the scientific reality of the divine dualism is demonstrated by the phenomena of polarity and by the universal law of sympathies and antipathies. That is why the intelligent disciples of Zoroaster, as well as, after them, the Gnostics, the Manicheans and the Templars have admitted, as the only logical metaphysical conception, the system of the two divine principles fighting eternally, and one cannot believe the one inferior in power to the other.
Lucifer Rising -- http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/2002/carl-teichrib/lucifer.htm
Part 1: "[LUCIFER] Light of the World"
"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!" —Isaiah 14:12
"LUCIFER, the Light-bearer! Strange and mysterious name to give to the Spirit of Darkness! Lucifer, the Son of the Morning! Is it he who bears the Light…Doubt it not!" —Albert Pike, preeminent Masonic authority, Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, p. 321.
Unknown to those who only watched 2010, there was a major difference between the motion picture and the novel. Eerily, the book contained a section titled "Lucifer Rising." In Clarke's Lucifer Rising story line, the hydrogen atmosphere on the planet Jupiter is ignited. The ensuing new "little" sun is dubbed "Lucifer" and illuminates the earth with its light. The result: darkness no longer existed. Fear, suspicion, and crimes of the night disappear. Mankind has become illuminated through the light of Lucifer.
To occultists and New Agers, the symbology of Arthur C. Clarke's writing was unmistakable. Lucifer, the "light bearer" shines his knowledge (occult "truth") upon all humanity, chasing away fear and ignorance, and providing mankind with the opportunity to discover his own intellect. ...
While Arthur C. Clarke helped to perpetuate the occult view of Lucifer, the source authority on the subject of the fallen angel is the Bible. According to Ezekiel, Lucifer was an anointed cherub created by God, he was gifted with wonderful musical abilities, and was adorned with beautiful gemstones. He was also a creature of intelligence, possessing memory and a will–and pride. Scripture makes it clear that he led an angelic rebellion against God, attempting to become "like the Most High" (Isaiah 14). In response God condemned Lucifer, along with those angels who had chosen to follow him in disobedience, and removed them from their exulted heavenly positions. Lucifer–an eternal being–is now named Satan, the devil, the king of death, and the god of this world. Scripture warns us about Lucifer's current obsession: to twist God's word, to lead souls to spiritual death, and to assail his wrath against earth's inhabitants–those whom Christ died for.
While Christianity views Lucifer as the personification of evil, the esoteric teachings of the occult and the New Age movement embrace him as an agent of intellectual and spiritual freedom. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, the "mother" of the New Age movement and modern occultism, taught in her Secret Doctrine that Lucifer was "higher and older than Jehovah, and had to be sacrificed to the new dogma" of the Church. She further expressed in her "great work" that Satan, under different god-names, is really an allegory of "Good, and Sacrifice, a God of Wisdom." Blavatsky believed that Satan was the only god of earth, "is one with the Logos," and is the "cosmic reflection of God."
... Blavatsky also equated Lucifer with Jesus Christ. This thinking is partially derived from various mystical interpretations of God's Word. In Revelation 22:16 Jesus is called the "bright and morning star," and in Isaiah Lucifer is referred to as the "son of the morning" (the NIV also says "son of the dawn"). Mystically and astrologically speaking, the bright and morning star is Venus, which, in the teachings of occult schools, is symbolically Lucifer. And in the solar cults, the morning star is frequently referred to as the Sun, or "son" of the morning, and "son of god." According to Blavatsky's esoteric theology, "Lucifer is divine and terrestrial light, the `Holy Ghost' and `Satan,' at one and the same time…" Her Secret Doctrine further stated,
"And now it stands proven that Satan, or the Red Fiery Dragon, the "Lord of Phosphorus," and Lucifer, or "Light-Bearer," is in us: it is our Mind–our tempter and Redeemer, our intelligent liberator and Saviour from pure animalism. (Vol. 2, p. 513) ."
For a time the Theosophical Society published Lucifer magazine, a monthly periodical which proclaimed the inverted doctrine of Lucifer coming to redeem humanity. In the February, 1917 issue of Theosophy, the publication of the United Lodge of Theosophists in Los Angeles, an article reprinted from an early edition of Lucifer magazine gives a detailed account of Theosophical creation: "And, when God said: "Let there be light," Intelligence was made and light appeared. Then, the Intelligence which God had breathed forth, like a planet detached from the Sun, took the form of a splendid Angel and the heavens saluted him with the name Lucifer.
Intelligence awoke and it fathomed its own depths as it heard this apostrophe of the divine Word, "Let there be Light." It felt itself to be free, for God had commanded it so to be, and it answered, raising its head and spreading its wings, "I will not be Slavery." ... God then unloosed from his bosom the thread of splendour which held back the superb spirit, and as he watched him dive into the night, cutting in it a path of glory, he loved the child of his thought, and smiling with a smile ineffable, he murmured to himself: "How fair a thing was this Light!" . . . Perhaps Lucifer, in plunging into the night, drew with him a shower of Stars and Suns by the attraction of his glory?
In 1823, Samuel Russell established Russell and Company for the purpose of acquiring opium in Turkey and smuggling it to China. Russell and Company merged with the Perkins (Boston) syndicate in 1830 and became the primary American opium smuggler. Many of the great American and European fortunes were built on the "China" (opium) trade.
One of Russell and Company's Chief of Operations in Canton was Warren Delano, Jr., grandfather of Franklin Roosevelt. Other Russell partners included John Cleve Green (who financed Princeton), Abiel Low (who financed construction of Columbia), Joseph Coolidge and the Perkins, Sturgis and Forbes families. (Coolidge's son organized the United Fruit company, and his grandson, Archibald C. Coolidge, was a co-founder of the Council on Foreign Relations.)
William Huntington Russell ('33), Samuel's cousin, studied in Germany from 1831-32. Germany was a hotbed of new ideas. The "scientific method" was being applied to all forms of human endeavor. Prussia, which blamed the defeat of its forces by Napoleon in 1806 on soldiers only thinking about themselves in the stress of battle, took the principles set forth by John Locke and Jean Rosseau and created a new educational system. Johan Fitche, in his "Address to the German People," declared that the children would be taken over by the State and told what to think and how to think it.
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel took over Fitche's chair at the University Of Berlin in 1817, and was a professor there until his death in 1831. Hegel was the culmination of the German idealistic philosophy school of Immanuel Kant.
To Hegel, our world is a world of reason. The state is Absolute Reason and the citizen can only become free by worship and obedience to the state. Hegel called the state the "march of God in the world" and the "final end". This final end, Hegel said, "has supreme right against the individual, whose supreme duty is to be a member of the state." Both fascism and communism have their philosophical roots in Hegellianism. Hegellian philosophy was very much in vogue during William Russell's time in Germany.
When Russell returned to Yale in 1832, he formed a senior society with Alphonso Taft ('33). The secretive Order of Skull and Bones exists only at Yale. Fifteen juniors are "tapped" each year by the seniors to be initiated into next year's group. Some say each initiate is given $15,000 and a grandfather clock. Far from being a campus fun-house, the group is geared more toward the success of its members in the post-collegiate world.
The family names on the Skull and Bones roster roll off the tongue like an elite party list -- Lord, Whitney, Taft, Jay, Bundy, Harriman, Weyerhaeuser, Pinchot, Rockefeller, Goodyear, Sloane, Stimson, Phelps, Perkins, Pillsbury, Kellogg, Vanderbilt, Bush, Lovett and so on.
William Russell went on to become a general and a state legislator in Connecticut. Alphonso Taft was appointed U.S. Attorney General, Secretary of War (a post many "Bonesmen" have held), Ambassador to Austria, and Ambassador to Russia (another post held by many "Bonesmen"). His son, William Howard Taft ('87), is the only man to be both President of the United States and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
But just what is the at-will employment doctrine, and what does it mean for employees?
In most states, the at-will doctrine is part of common law, meaning that it derives from court decisions, not from laws passed by the legislature. It holds that employees who do not have a verbal or written contract of employment for a definite term of employment can be terminated without notice for any or no reason.
It sounds simple, but it's not.
For starters, federal law, namely the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), governs securities industry arbitrations. The federal courts, interpreting the FAA, have consistently held that arbitrators may award money for wrongful termination of a securities industry employee, even if the claim would be thrown out in court under the at-will doctrine.
Even if the at-will doctrine applied in a case, it would not negate numerous anti- discrimination laws. In every jurisdiction, federal and state law protects at-will employees against adverse employment action on the basis of race, color, sex, age, national origin and disability.
Many states and municipalities also prohibit discrimination based on things such as sexual preference, positive HIV/AIDS tests, marital/family status, arrest record, genetic carrier status, military and jury service, and a host of other status or conduct categories. Other local laws prohibit or limit AIDS and drug testing, and polygraph analysis.
So-called whistle-blower laws may protect employees who report wrongdoing or who refuse to engage in unlawful conduct. If your office is closed, plant-closing laws may cover you. Did your boss snoop on you? You may have a claim under federal and state wiretap laws.
Other legal doctrines may protect you as well. Did the firm put nasty language on your U-5, which prevented you from getting a job? You may have a defamation claim or a claim for tortious interference with prospective business relations.
The common law in many states provides for a “promissory estoppel” exception to the at-will doctrine. For example, if the firm promised you a certain benefit, say stock options, as an inducement to join or stay at the firm, the firm may not be able to fire you for no reason just before the options vest. State wage laws may also allow you to recover unvested contributions to deferred compensation plans.
The point of all this is not that you should automatically assert a claim against your employer. Rather, don't give up hope just because the firm claims you were an at-will employee.
William A. Jacobson, Esq., a partner with Kaplan & Jacobson Inc. in Providence, R.I., represents securities industry employees in employment disputes.SEE ALSO At-Will History.
By Dean Ritz, Published July 1, 2003
When is silence not golden? When it supplants people's authority by allowing corporations to remain silent on factual information, protected by the doctrine of negative free speech. Negative free speech is a Supreme Court expansion of the free speech provision of the First Amendment; it is a right to be free from forced association with a particular expression of speech. This legal existence has significant implications for social justice activists and serves to illustrate how the law is used to promote a narrow conception of democracy and human self-governance.
We find the origins of negative free speech in court battles over state laws intended to promote a diversity of views on issues of public concern. Two laws and the subsequent court battles over their constitutionality are worth noting. The first is a 1973 Florida state law that granted political candidates the right to equal newspaper space to respond to criticism of their record by a newspaper, often called "right of reply" statutes. The second is a 1980 administrative law passed by the California Public Utilities Commission that mandated access to the billing envelopes of the Pacific Gas & Electric Company for use by a ratepayer's organization; if the utility company took a stance on an issue of ratepayer concern and distributed that stance in billing envelopes then ratepayers should have equal access to voice their divergent opinion. The Miami Herald Publishing Company successfully challenged the Florida law in the US Supreme Court, and the Pacific Gas & Electric Company successfully challenged the Commission's administrative law. Both corporate victories helped establish the right not to speak negative free speech -- as a First Amendment protection.
In numerous cases, US courts at all levels affirm informational diversity as one of the intentions of the First Amendment -- the more voices, the better it is for a democracy. These good intentions have led to some decisions antithetical to democracy, such as the equation of money with speech (thus granting constitutional protection to corporate spending for political purposes) and the doctrine of negative free speech -- particularly when it causes the withholding of factual information of public interest.
The federal courts permit some legislation to infringe upon constitutional liberties, inventing the doctrine of strict scrutiny as a tool to determine whether or not a particular piece of legislation will be "allowed" to do so, or whether it should be struck down. Strict scrutiny requires that the government prove a compelling public interest is being served. For example, a law that prevents people from falsely yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater is allowed to restrict freedom of speech because that particular expression of speech poses an imminent threat to public safety (e.g., a human stampede can cause injury and death), and public safety is a compelling state interest. The second prong of the test asks whether or not the legislation implements a "narrowly tailored means" to satisfy the compelling state interest. To continue with our "Fire!" example, a law that forbids all speaking inside a theater may be applauded by those bothered by others who talk during performances, but it is far too broad to meet the ompelling interest of public safety. Outlawing a falsely shouted "Fire!" is suitably narrow. Legislation is deemed unconstitutional if it fails either part of this test of strict scrutiny.
The Supreme Court applied strict scrutiny to both the Florida and California laws, decided that they failed the test, and overturned them. The Court noted the laws in question depended upon the content of speech; it was only in those cases where there was opposition to corporate speech that citizen access to the corporate-controlled communication channels was required. In Florida, this was space in the same newspaper that had printed criticism of a political candidate. In California, this was in the billing envelopes the corporation sent out to utility customers. In both cases the corporations claimed their free speech rights were violated because they were being forced to associate with speech the corporations did not endorse.
The Supreme Court hypothesized that if these laws remained on the books, the only way for the corporations to avoid the association with disagreeable speech would be for them not to publish any controversial speech at all. Thus the Court concluded that these laws impeded the informational diversity that the First Amendment seeks to foster and placed an undue burden upon corporate speakers. The Court thereby decided these laws infringed upon the fundamental liberty of free speech. Applying the test of strict scrutiny, the Court saw neither a compelling state interest being served nor a suitably narrow means of achieving whatever interests that state did possess. Thus both the Florida and California laws were revoked, and negative free speech became a new tool in the corporate fight against the potential for human self-governance.
There are two other assumptions of note in these Supreme Court decisions. First, the Court made no distinction based on who was speaking; that is, corporate speech and that of humans were considered equal before the law. Second, even a highly regulated company like a public utility warrants the same speech protections as a less or lightly regulated company. These assumptions magnify the impact of negative free speech because they remove from citizen authority the ability to distinguish between speakers, thereby creating the circumstances for conflicting claims over rights. This particular point is well illustrated by the 1996 federal Court of Appeals case of International Dairy Foods Association v. Amnestoy.
At the heart of this case were conflicting claims to the human right of free speech by humans and corporations. As readers of constitutional cases know, the framing of a case substantially determines whose rights, and thus whose interests, shall triumph: the right of human beings to be informed of factual information or the corporate claims to negative free speech? Current Supreme Court doctrine holds that both reside in the First Amendment protection of freedom of speech. International Dairy Foods concerns a Vermont labeling law that sought to provide factual information to consumers, enhancing their ability to make informed purchasing decisions.
THE PRODUCTS IN THIS CASE . . . CONTAIN OR MAY CONTAIN MILK FROM rBST TREATED COWS. . . . The United States Food and Drug Administration has determined that there is no significant difference between milk from treated and untreated cows. It is the law of Vermont that products made from the milk of rBST-treated cows be labeled to help consumers make informed shopping decisions.
The law required that dairy products produced by cows treated with genetically engineered recombinant growth hormone (rBST) be labeled as such. The labeling technique detailed in the law was simple: either producers of affected products would add a blue rectangle to their packaging or retailers would affix a blue dot to the package. The Vermont merchant would also post a sign in their store defining what that blue symbol meant to the purchaser:
A closely related collection of dairy industry corporations appealed the law. The Monsanto Company, the producer of the only FDA-approved rBST product, filed an amicus brief. Their lawyers claimed the statute violated the corporations' negative free speech rights of the First Amendment. But the court recognized that the human beings who were to be the beneficiaries of this factual information were also making claims upon the First Amendment -- specifically the right to be well informed.
The court decided on behalf of the dairy corporations, agreeing with their lawyers' claims that the statute required them to make involuntary statements in violation of their First Amendment rights. The court then failed to see any substantial state interest as being served by the labeling law. Unlike food additives, rBST is not directly added to food but rather added to dairy cows. "[T]he state itself has not adopted the concerns of the consumers; it has only adopted that the consumers are concerned. Unfortunately, here consumer concern is not, in itself, a substantial [state] interest." Ideologically speaking, the court presumed that consumers had no interests other than curiosity, which is inadequate justification to pass a law restricting corporate speech. The court decided that the knowledge of how products are produced - including such unsavory production practices as child labor and environmental damage resulting from production process -- is beyond the authority of its citizens' demands and not of legitimate concern for the purpose of labeling laws.
The Court of Appeals recognized this power of law to influence ideology and thus public consciousness. If mere human concern alone were sufficient to compel corporations to label products with details on how a product was produced, then it is reasonable to infer that any and every request for informational disclosure could be justified. So the Court of Appeals used the law to temper such human expectations and ideals:
Although the Court is sympathetic to the Vermont consumers who wish to know which products may derive from rBST-treated herds, their desire is insufficient to permit the State of Vermont to compel the dairy manufacturers to speak against their will. Were consumer interest alone sufficient, there is no end to the information that states could require manufacturers to disclose about their production methods. For instance, with respect to cattle, consumers might reasonably evince an interest in knowing which grains herds were fed, with which medicines they were treated, or the age at which they were slaughtered. Absent, however, some indication that this information bears on a reasonable concern for human health or safety or some other sufficiently substantial governmental concern, the manufacturers cannot be compelled to disclose it. Instead, those consumers interested in such information should exercise the power of their purses by buying products from manufacturers who voluntarily reveal it.
The Court of Appeals, because of its limited definition of "safety," did not recognize any legitimate safety issue because the FDA had already determined there were no health or human safety issues related to the use of rBST in dairy cows. In the end, basing their opinion on "sound science," i.e., that what the FDA does not know (or tell us) cannot hurt us --the court struck down the Vermont labeling law.
International Dairy Foods decided that humans do not have the right to even know where rBST is used. And inconveniently for consumers, the Monsanto Company's filing of lawsuits against two Vermont dairy producers, and their threats of legal action against two thousand others, effectively prevent the public from knowing where rBST is not used. This arrangement grants corporations the right to silence people's right to know, thwarts the concept of "enlighten[ing] public decision-making in a democracy," and denies citizens the ability to "exercise the power of their purses" as the Court of Appeals cynically suggested would be a viable alternative to the labeling law.
The dissenting opinion of Justice Leval took a different tack on this case. He recognized that the labeling law dealt with factual information, not opinion. The judgment arising from facts comes from the reader, not the speaker of the facts. This factual information is exactly the kind of information that citizens have a right to request, and the government has the legal capacity to procure an answer. He wrote:
"[T]he true objective of the milk producers is concealment. They do not wish consumers to know that their milk products were produced by use of rBST because there are consumers who, for various reasons, prefer to avoid rBST. . . . In my view, the interest of the milk producers has little entitlement to protection under the First Amendment. The case law that has developed under the doctrine of commercial speech has repeatedly emphasized that the primary function of the First Amendment in its application to commercial speech is to advance truthful disclosure -- the very interest that the milk producers seek to undermine."
In other words, consumers have a legitimate right to know factual information, and manufacturers do not have a legitimate grant of authority to remain silent. Compared to the majority opinion, this dissent reflects a very different understanding of citizen sovereignty and self-governance, in particular that citizens possess an authority superior to those of their corporate creations. It also reflects an understanding that the case represents a conflict over authority, not a conflict over rights. This issue of authority deserves additional attention as it widens the scope of ethical investigation in thinking about the corporate claims to free speech rights in the specific context of this case, and claims to any human rights in general.
In theory, a government should provide for the safety of its citizens and for keeping the peace. Towards fulfilling these responsibilities, citizens tacitly accept the need for an enforcement "branch" of government, populated by the police and military. Additionally, these state responsibilities are considered valid justification for laws that infringe on constitutional rights. The recurring questions for self-governing people are whose safety, whose peace, and who is being forced by police power to be peaceful? In International Dairy Foods we can see that it is safety for corporate markets and that citizens do not have the sovereignty to demand that police power instead be used to ensure that self-governing people be well informed in order to be effective in their practice of self-governance. Here the police power was applied to keep people uninformed.
International Dairy Foods represents rivalrous claims upon the First Amendment: the corporate claim upon the right not to be associated with certain speech versus the human right to be informed. It calls attention to the immoral arrangement of granting human rights --those few recognized in the Constitution -- to corporations. And this arrangement calls attention to a presumption that people and corporations have equal claims to rights, and thus are equal in the eyes of the law and of the courts. Ignoring this arrangement and its presumption perpetuates the ideology that conflicting claims upon the Constitution by human beings and corporations must be settled on the merits of individual conflicts of rights, whereas the whole conflict could be settled swiftly by conferring upon human beings sole claim to all constitutional and human rights. By this arrangement, conflicting rights claims by human beings and corporations would not be possible, and human beings would recover a sovereignty in practice now asserted only in US mythology.
As we can see, framing the International Dairy Foods case as one of conflicting claims to rights insures that many fundamental issues regarding democracy and self-governance will not be dealt with. Should commercial speech receive any constitutional protections? Is it rational to believe that corporations engage in any speech other than commercial speech (a crucial point to make regarding corporate claims to a "right to lie")? Why do states fail to grant legal force to citizen concerns not sanctioned by regulatory agencies like the FDA and EPA? The largest question is ignored as well: should corporations possess any constitutional rights at all?
International Dairy Foods Association v. Amestoy failed to address any of these issues. The federal Court of Appeals instead framed this case as one of conflicting claims to the same right, and thus it only had to decide whose claim was superior and thus triumphant. The rule of law presumes that such conflicts can be impartially resolved but alas, that is a myth. The framing of this case imposes a distinct partiality, a bias perpetuating corporate ideology, and eliminating issues of legitimate concern for a self-governing people. Activists and lawyers should not shy away from these issues, as their public discussion will raise our standards and demands for democracy in the United States.
Dean Ritz is the editor of the anthology "Defying Corporations, Defining Democracy" from the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy. He is the co-producer of the Montana Public Radio show "Ethically Speaking." A print version of this article is available in the summer 2003 issue of POCLAD's newsletter, "By What Authority."
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