[Editor’s note: I wrote this piece two years ago just after the terrible SCOTUS decision in Citizens United. I’m re posting it today in order to include the excellent video by Thom Hartmann “The Truth About the Original Tea Party” Bob Higgins] Updated (originally posted 2/17/10)
The Washington Post’s Dan Eggen reports this morning on the results of a WaPo/ABC News poll which shows Americans to be “overwhelmingly” opposed to the recent SCOTUS decision to allow corporations to spend unlimited amounts of cash in election campaigns.
“Eight in 10 poll respondents say they oppose the high court’s Jan. 21 decision to allow unfettered corporate political spending, with 65 percent “strongly” opposed. Nearly as many backed congressional action to curb the ruling, with 72 percent in favor of reinstating limits. The poll reveals relatively little difference of opinion on the issue among Democrats (85 percent opposed to the ruling), Republicans (76 percent) and independents (81 percent).”
Americans have always been distrustful of corporations and their ability to exercise power and control over public affairs.
Ever since Elizabeth I created the East India Company in 1600, corporations have been a pain in the public neck. Her royal act to protect the monetary interests of wealthy members of her court, parliament and herself created a company that would, over the course of two centuries, grow in power to rival many of the worlds nation states.
A legal fiction, corporations exist solely to protect the oligarchy from the results of their risky behavior in the search for ever greater profit. Incorporate and pass the risk on to someone else, creditors, taxpayers, anyone but those involved in the scheme itself.
Businessmen of the time, as today, were and are, infinitely more comfortable operating in an environment devoid of risk to their profits, unless of course they are operating on someone else’s money, (taxpayers) in which case nearly any risk can be accepted; “it’s public money, double down and toss the dice boys.”
Cross Posted at FilmAnnex
It will offer small consolation to the long term unemployed in the US to know that much of the rest of the world is suffering from the same problem. The International Labor Organization (ILO) reported late last month that more than 1.1 billion people were either unemployed or underemployed and living in the clutches of poverty.
While there may be some truth to the old saw that “misery loves company” and the discovery that there are a billion people in the boat may be somehow weirdly comforting, you have to wonder how long the dinghy will dally on the surface before behaving more like an anchor.
It’s also unsettling to realize just how long the unemployment lines are and how many people have applied for the job you so desperately need. With 1.1 billion people waiting the line will stretch around the globe 25 times so you’re not likely to get home for lunch.
Read more at FilmAnnex
Honduran Police Burn Community to the Ground
Homes, churches, schools, and crops all destroyed as the post-coup government continues to side with wealthy plantation owners over the country’s organized farmers.
Watch this video from: The Real News and know this: If these hideous crimes against working people can be committed in Honduras by police and military units likely trained and supported by US dollars they can be committed here.
Economic collapse, debt crisis, gas and food prices through the roof, no jobs, terror in the streets, endless wars and the destruction of all societal safety mechanisms? These are the gifts being offered by the ever expanding modern industrial society.
But there’s more. After the capitalist class has gambled away the wealth of the country and squandered another generation of our youth in their wars for resources and empire they will force you to pay the bill.
They’re working on it now, night and day wrangling over the republican manufactured debt crisis, they are preparing the complete destruction of the middle class and the total privatization of all government functions where everything will be paid for at the company store at several times the price.
You will be called on to tighten your belt, to pull yourself up by your bootstraps, to make a greater sacrifice for your country except that your country will have become a wholly owned subsidiary of a consortium of stateless and soulless corporations.
They will come for your land, your homes, your meager wealth, using the tools, the police, even the army of the government that they bought, co-opted and finally seized. And finally having taken everything they want they will simply dispose of you, disappeared, dead, it doesn’t matter, as long as you are gone and they have room to ride their horses and cruise their yachts.
They will keep those who are acceptably docile to work in their mills and fields and to guard the remainder who show signs of resistance in their camps and prisons and maintain continued docility among a slave labor class.
Watch the video, prepare for the future.
More on the rape of Rigores and related stories:
[Editor’s note: The Supreme Court decision in Citizens United was the worst decision by the court since those of Dred Scott v. Sandford and Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company, the latter of which established the ridiculous idea of corporate person-hood in US law. The origins of corporate person-hood are explored in the excellent essay linked below from William Myers. Bob Higgins]
The Santa Clara Blues: Corporate Personhood versus Democracy
By William Meyers
What Corporate Personhood Is
Corporate Personhood is a legal fiction. The choice of the word “person” arises from the way the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was worded and from earlier legal usage of the word person. A corporation is an artificial entity, created by the granting of a charter by a government that grants such charters. Corporation in this essay will be confined to businesses run for profit that have been granted corporate charters by the States of the United States. The Federal Government of the United States usually does not grant corporate charters to businesses (exceptions include the Post Office and Amtrak).
Corporations are artificial entities owned by stockholders, who may be humans or other corporations. They are required by law to have officers and a board of directors (in small corporations these may all be the same people). In effect the corporation is a collective of individuals with a special legal status and privileges not given to ordinary unincorporated businesses or groups of individuals.
Obviously a corporation is itself no more a person (though it is owned and staffed by persons) than a locomotive or a mob. So why, in the USA, is a corporation considered to be a person under law?
Corporate personhood is the idea (legal fiction, currently with force of law) that corporations have inalienable rights (sometimes called constitutional rights) just like real, natural, human persons.
That this idea has the force of law both resulted from the power and wealth of the class of people who owned corporations, and resulted in their even greater power and wealth. Corporate constitutional rights effectively invert the relationship between the government and the corporations. Recognized as persons, corporations lose much of their status as subjects of the government. Although artificial creations of their owners and the governments, as legal persons they have a degree of immunity to government supervision. Endowed with the court-recognized right to influence both elections and the law-making process, corporations now dominate not just the U. S. economy, but the government itself.
Sarah Palin, is calling for sacrifice on the part of the working people of Wisconsin.
That was my first laugh this morning, a derisive laugh but many days start that way for news junkies. So much of what I read and see over morning coffee drives a growing cynicism and an anger that smolders beneath the surface and slowly grows.
The issues driving the crowds of people in Cairo and Tunis, in Benghazi and Bahrain are the same as those smoldering and now threatening to rise in flames in Wisconsin.
The widening gulf between those who hold all the wealth in our various societies, those who manipulate the strings of power and the mass of people who produce that wealth with their sweat and labor, has widened to a point that has become intolerable even among the normally complaisant. (more…)
The LA Times reported yesterday that former astronaut Harrison Schmitt was forced to step down as New Mexico’s energy “czar” due to his refusal to cooperate with a state mandated background check.
Schmitt who did one term in the Senate (1977-1983) and was placed in charge of the Republican Candy desk, is a staunch denier of ethnocentric climate change and has equated environmentalists with communists.
And you thought both sides of the equation had to balance?
No other information was available on why Schmitt was so shy, maybe he’s hiding more than climate data or maybe he’s just stubborn.
New Mexico’s governor, Susana Martinez, thought that Schmitt would make a great partner in dismantling the forward looking environmental policies pushed through during Bill Richardson’s tenure, but now…. not so much.
Have a climate change problem? Put a solid denier in charge of environmental policy. No more problem. (more…)
Barack Obama our “hope and change” guy, elected to return the reins of government to the people, has apparently seen the light. He has discovered that the best way to acquire the billion dollars or whatever he will need to gain a second term is to bring major business contributors into the White House and share office space with them.
Sitting on the opposite side of a giant partners desk just installed in the oval office will be Chief of Staff, former J.P. Morgan Chase executive William Daley and GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt who will be Chairman of the new Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.
“It may be a bit crowded at first,” said a presidential spokesperson, “but if it becomes uncomfortably cramped the President has agreed to share Joe Biden’s office in the Executive Office Building.” (more…)
Tom Delay and his lawyer are making piteous crying noises over Tom’s conviction in Texas for money laundering.
I think the prosecution made their case admirably, hence the conviction and jail sentence.
I for one, and I’ll take odds that there are many others, will thoroughly enjoy the sight of the “Hammer” in an orange jump suit or whatever prison fashion calls for in the Lone Star State.
Justice though, is never perfect, and it’s just possible that his peers acted in error and convicted poor Tom because they saw him cavorting in tight red pants on “Dancing With The Stars.”
The judge saw it too, hence the long sentence.
Fight Citizens United by Filtering Out False Political Advertising
The mid term elections of 2010 have been memorable for sheer goofiness as well as for the corporate funded blanket of ugly, false and misleading political advertising that has been lowered over the public airwaves. With the addition of a mountainous heap of money provided by greedy plutocrats, election cycles have become national holidays from reason and sanity that fall between their mates, Halloween and Thanksgiving.
I have little trouble tuning out most of this detestable crud, knowing as I do that it’s filled with half truths, distortions and bold faced lies. In this sense the supreme court’s licensing of corporate political advertising in campaign ads is little different from the every day advertising for goods and services that absorb a large percentage of air time on nearly every channel.
I’m not a believer, I don’t buy disposable mop heads that promise to revolutionize my life, or small sheets of fabric to place in the dryer to protect myself from static cling. The hundreds of millions that corporate America is spending on this election is wasted on me and on anyone else who doesn’t believe that signing up for a “free” credit report will improve your credit or that tax protection and relief ads which promise to negotiate with the IRS will actually do anything but empty your pockets more efficiently. (more…)
This is a re-imagined Donald Duck cartoon remix constructed using dozens of classic Walt Disney cartoons from the 1930s to 1960s. Donald’s life is turned upside-down by the current economic crisis and he finds himself unemployed and falling behind on his house payments. As his frustration turns into despair Donald discovers a seemingly sympathetic voice coming from his radio named Glenn Beck.
Will Donald’s feelings of disenfranchisement lead him to be persuaded by his radio’s increasingly paranoid and divisive rhetoric? Or will our favorite Disney duck decide that this voice is not actually on his side after all? Watch and find out! (more…)
The real issue in this case concerns how, not if, the appellant may finance its electioneering. Citizens United is a wealthy nonprofit corporation that runs a political action committee (PAC) with millions of dollars in assets. Under the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA), it could have used those assets to televise and promote Hillary: The Movie wherever and whenever it wanted to. It also could have spent unrestricted sums to broadcast Hillary at any time other than the 30 days before the last primary election. Neither Citizens United’s nor any other corporation’s speech has been “banned,” ante , at 1. All that the parties dispute is whether Citizens United had a right to use the funds in its general treasury to pay for broadcasts during the 30-day period. The notion that the First Amendment dictates an affirmative answer to that question is, in my judgment, profoundly misguided. Even more misguided is the notion that the Court must rewrite the law relating to campaign expenditures by for-profit corporations and unions to decide this case. (more…)
In an essay at Huff Post yesterday, ” Obama’s Critics Are Dead Wrong” Frank Schaeffer wrote:
“Before he’d served even one year, President Obama lost the support of the easily distracted left and engendered the white hot rage of the hate-filled right. But some of us, from all walks of life and ideological backgrounds — are sticking with our president. Why? Because he is succeeding. Obama’s critics from the left and right are going to be proved dead wrong.
We Obama supporters still trust our initial impression of him as a great, good and uniquely qualified man to lead us.
Obama’s steady supporters will be proved right. Obama’s lefty critics will be remembered as easily panicked and prematurely discouraged at best and his critics on the right will be remembered as nothing but shriveled hate mongers.”
I’m wildly ambivalent about Frank’s post. I don’t know what he intends with the use of “lefty” here, but I’m a liberal, I’m disappointed with the rate of progress of the Obama administration, I’m not panicky nor easily distracted and I agree and disagree with Schaeffer at the same time.
Did Obama and the Dems get dealt a bad hand? Yes. They were dealt what Bud Abbot told Lou Costello was a “fliddly diddly” as Bud claimed the pot. “What’s that?” Lou said. “No two cards alike,” said Bud as he raked in the chips. (more…)
Linda McMahon, the billionaire running for a US Senate seat in Connecticut on the uninformed idiot program initiated this election cycle by the Teabagger wing of the GOP says that the minimum wage should be reviewed.
This woman, who hauls in about 50 million bucks a year from her business of parading large, steroid ridden guys in bikini underwear around a “wrestling” ring, while talking adolescent trash in theatrically loud gravelly voices thinks that $7.75 an hour may be overly generous.
She wasn’t sure what the minimum wage actually is nor could she say whether or not she had any employees who were paid the minimum.
Her level of knowledge of America’s workforce, including her own employees dovetails quite nicely with that of other Teabagger candidates in the race, some of whom are at this moment staring intently at monkeys, watching for evolutionary change. (more…)
[Editor’s note: Today’s morning mail included the article below by Zach Carter at CFAC. It included some wonderfully revealing graphics and charts showing which members of congress are benefiting from the financial rape of America and the destrucion of our middle class by the Sauronic villains of Wall Street.
Crony Capitalism: Wall Street’s Favorite Politicians
By Zach Carter
A full 90 members of Congress who voted to bailout Wall Street in 2008 failed to support financial reform reining in the banks that drove our economy off a cliff. But when you examine campaign contribution data, it’s really no surprise that these particular lawmakers voted to mortgage our economic future to Big Finance: This election cycle, they’ve raked in over $48.8 million from the financial establishment. Over the course of their Congressional careers, the figure swells to a massive $176.9 million.
The complete list of these Crony Capitalists is below, along with the money they pulled in from Big Finance, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics (opensecrets.org). The career data goes back to 1989. Of the 69 House members who voted with Wall Street on both the bailout and financial reform, 60 are Republicans, while nine are Democrats. All 21 Senators who voted with Wall Street on both issues are Republicans, and Republicans raked in over 90 percent of the total campaign contributions. [At right above] is a chart showing Wall Street’s total contributions to this crowd for the 2010 cycle, by political party:
And here’s one showing total Wall Street contributions over the course of their careers:
Read the rest at Crony Capitalism: Wall Street’s Favorite Politicians | OurFuture.org.
In my experience the same Republicans who preach so loudly about fiscal responsibility and living within ones budget are nearly always at the front of the line at the great American public appropriations buffet. They address the cameras with carefully powered faces twisted into expressions of shock and concern, their mouths dripping with pecuniary piety and repeat the same mantra over and over again.
They accuse the Democratic Party of being the party of “tax and spend” and pontificate about the way they will save America by cutting taxes on the wealthy, cutting services to those who need and deserve them, then, with open grasping palms, flee into the back rooms with their lobbyist masters and grovel for their cut of the loot.
Response to Jason Linkins: Colbert’s Congressional Act Panned By Reporters
“The media came in today bound and determined to make their narrative — “OUTRAGE! Stephen Colbert addresses Congress ‘in character'” — stick, and thus far they have managed to keep it up despite the fact that it’s not, as they say, “true.” Jason Linkins Huffington Post.
What’s the beef? That Colbert addressed this collection of some of our most venal characters in character? That a comedian addressed congress? That for a few minutes someone injected a bit of truth laced with satirical wit into our hallowed lower chamber of mendacity? (more…)
Bill Maher’s latest effort is brilliant and fuunnny. Go read it.
I would like to put the obscenely wealthy in the Super Dome, just pack them in, and have them listen to a recording of Bill Maher reading this post on a continuous loop for eternity.
Well at least a couple of days, without bathroom breaks or refreshments.
What a wonderful read, it should be set to music, I’d like to be able to hum along
Bill Maher: at HuffingtonPost