Republicans, led by the vocal charge of former presidential candidate Mitt Romney have been saying corporations are people, too.
Then in 2010, the Supreme Court with its ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, determined that corporations are persons, entitled by the U.S. Constitution to exercise their freedom of speech to buy elections and run our government.
In my mind, it's human beings that are people and corporations are strictly legal entities. And now it comes down to the distinction. Because if corporations are people, I want them treated that way.
If I make a series of bad, irrational or even questionable actions as an individual I can be deemed a threat to myself or others. I can be forced to appear in court and prove my competency or I can be institutionalized or made to report to a conservator. My rights can be taken away from me.
Using the Citizen's United ruling, can't we, as a stock holder (meaning someone with a vested interest in the well-being of the "individual) or purchaser of a company's product, petition the court and make them appear before a judge and prove to be competent enough to avoid supervision? Can you imagine the competency hearings that could spur on?
Outrageous, of course. That's taking the ruling way too far. But didn't the Supreme Court do the same thing?
They gave corporations the right to make donations large enough to sway elections and therefore impact my well-being. So why can't the shoe be put on the other foot? Just think about it for a minute.
The reason there's local courts is to handle local issues, violations of laws. There are state Supreme or Superior courts to review those when justices may have made a mistake. There's Federal Appeals courts to review possible mistakes by Superior Courts. And there's the Supreme Court to review those possible misrulings. What happens when the Supreme Court makes a mistake? They can be guilty of that just as easily as any other court.
Well, like with your iPhone, we have an app for that.
MovetoAmend.org has been created to put some sanity back in America after the egregious Citizen's United ruling. They want to see it change -- recent elections have proven we need to take steps to protect our votes and now. MovetoAmed makes the argument is that with unlimited corporate money in the election process individuals rights are being trampled.
Remember Orwell's 1984 with big brother looking over our shoulder. We scoffed. Then come 2013 and Snowden's revealing the vast big brother of the NSA. It became reality.
So if you think corporate takeovers of this country isn't possible, you're naive.
Dissenting Justice Stevens wrote:
". . . corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires. Corporations help structure and facilitate the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their 'personhood' often serves as a useful legal fiction. But they are not themselves members of “We the People” by whom and for whom our Constitution was established."
~Supreme Court Justice Stevens, January 2010
The video below demonstrates how we CAN and MUST take corporate and special interests out of political campaigns. It's really a hopeful few minutes, definitely worth a look-see.
Net neutrality is a dead man walking. The execution date isn't set, but it could be days, or months (at best). And since net neutrality is the principle forbidding huge telecommunications companies from treating users, websites, or apps differently — say, by letting some work better than others over their pipes — the dead man walking isn't some abstract or far-removed principle just for wonks: It affects the internet as we all know it.
Okay, so how does that affect me? Are we facing a shutdown or what?
Not a shutdown -- but the Internet super highway is about to erect toll booths.
We obviously have net neutrality at the moment. Because of it I don't have to wait longer for one site to download than another. Competition as to the fastest provider, Google, FireFox, Yahoo, AOL -- it's pretty much the same. I have choices, but I don't have to pay more or less to use one over the other.
But for how long?
Not much, if the court goes the way it's leaning. And that's going to mean big changes -- subtle at first, but costly over the long run for we, the consumers. At the same time, it'll ring up obscene profits for the telecoms.
First, this opens the door to fees charged you for data uploads, downloads and speed of access. We had those once and net neutrality pretty much did away with those.
Then let's say you like to visit your favorite site. If they don't pay a fee, it may take longer to download them than another similar site and you might go away to their competition. Or our carriers may instill a surcharge on us to be downloaded at a faster speed or more available to some search engines than others.
This is a real threat. Let's say you like to get your up to the minute sports scores from ESPN.com. They may be deep pocketed enough to pay a large fee not to speed up their delivery, but to slow down full access for other sports reporting outlets by making usury demands for their accessibility and availability.
And don't forget the door this opens to advertising revenues. If you're already tired of the ads embedded in many video clips, how about having to watch one before you can open every one of your emails? Texts. Tweets. Instagrams.
Also, telecom providers will, if this law changes, make it harder for reuse and access to news and information. That might hurt Rand Paul in his speech stealing endeavors, but it also hurts small independents who need to rely on major news gathering outlets to bring you timely and complete stories. Rebroadcast of clips and even some YouTube entries may become impossible.
We're not talking about copyrights, though they are affected. We're talking about the potential for locations like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram and YouTube to charge fees for numbers of tweets sent or received, messages posted or even accessed. They can start institution of levels - The Gold level allows unlimited access while Silver allows less posts or comments and the most costly, ala carte pricing.
...companies like AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, and others declared a war on the internet’s foundational principle: that its networks should be “neutral” and users don’t need anyone’s permission to invent, create, communicate, broadcast, or share online. The neutral and level playing field provided by permissionless innovation has empowered all of us with the freedom to express ourselves and innovate online without having to seek the permission of a remote telecom executive.
But today, that freedom won’t survive much longer if a federal court — the second most powerful court in the nation behind the Supreme Court, the DC Circuit — is set to strike down the nation’s net neutrality law, a rule adopted by the Federal Communications Commission in 2010.
This is something that we all need to watch. We've been blessed with net neutrality for some time now. And we can't afford to lose it. It's a freedom that should be as dear to us as the first amendment -- freedom of speech.
As we saw with the striking down of the Citizens United case, individuals rights are being trumped by big business and political committees fronting for specific special interests. This could soon hit us all. Our favorite sites could be forced into financial hardship or even worse, extinction.
Senate Republicans today blocked a vote on the nomination of Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.) to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
If the Republicans couldn't slip much lower, they found a way. They have voted to block the nomination of Congressman Mel Watt. His background is impeccable. He's been dealing with the housing market for over 20 years. He introduced the prohibit preditory lender act before the housing crash. Had it been adopted it could have prevented the housing/financial crisis. He's worked against risky mortgage loaning.
The Senate voted 56 to 42 to proceed to a vote on Watt's nomination -- shy of the 60 votes required to end debate.
The delaying tactic was the latest episode in a contentious series of battles over President Obama's nominees and could pave the way for a renewed effort by Democrats to change the chamber's rules. They have the votes to do that. It's the so-called nuclear option.
Watt's a guy who is independent and will continue to work hard for us.
So what's the reason the Republicans have stopped his nomination?
The reason is he's a victim of obstruction for obstruction sake.
Despite being knowledgeable and capable, he's failed the standard GOP litmus test. Is he Republican? No. Is he a good ol' boy? No. Is he white? No. Three strikes and you're out.
Senator Elizabeth Warren backed him vociferously as you'll see below. Perhaps that, as much as his being Black and a Democrat killed his nomination. The most influential woman on Capitol Hill is Hillary Clinton. The most feared is Elizabeth Warren.
Washington is fighting. Nothing too new there. Call it almost business as usual. Republicans and Democrats not seeing eye-to-eye. No big deal.
But this time it's gone a bit farther, and for the first time in 17 years we have a shutdown. But that's not too earth-shattering. It's happened before and will probably happen again. What's the concern?
The concern is that Big Business relies on the GOP to protect them. To fight all regulations and allow them to run wild in the streets. In return the Republicans are given money for their campaigns. It's a vicious cycle and one that costs the middle class both fair representation and money.
What has changed and the president made it clear in his Thursday meeting with titans of big business in a private White House meeting, is in the recent past, there was a spokesperson for the GOP, someone who represented their unified party.
That no longer exists -- it's like trying to negotiate with a foreign government in the middle of a civil war. Who really represents the country -- or in this case, the party?
We know who it isn't. It's not John Boehner. It also isn't Mitch McConnell who wasn't even allowed to speak after the closed door session with the leaders of both houses in the Oval Office.
On appearances, there's Senator (Rafael Cruz) running the House of Representatives, and a small faction of the House majority party. At the same time he's being shunned in his own chamber, the Senate. His objective appears to be destruction of the United States. Total anarchy. It's the asylum being run by the insane inmates and there's no one to negotiate with. Certainly nobody sane.
Under this uncertainty, Big Business can't thrive. So they're switching beds. They're leaving the comfort of their money stuffed Republican mattresses and coming over to sleep with the Democrats. It's an uneasy alliance at best, but until the Repubs can get their House in order, the certainty, and the will of the people, is being represented by Obama and the Democrats.
Here's how PBO put it to CNBC's John Harwood. It's the same dire warning "O" gave big business. The first day of the government shutdown, the market dropped. The second, a day after meeting with the president, the market's crashing big time. So fear has gripped Wall Street. It should ripple and reach the Republicans soon -- or they won't have two nickels to rub together come next election. It seems this assessment is enough to leave more than the president "exasperated."
The Republicans, led by the Tea Party are truly biting the hand that feeds them.
In a good chess match, moves are calculated and made in advance of your actual turn. If you don't think ahead to the consequences of your actions, you can find yourself walking into traps. I think the shallow-minded, living-in-the-past, GOP party has moved themselves into "check" position. They're at the very least, on the run and soon may be boxed in totally with their king being captured. Checkmate. Game over.
Why? Where have all the pawns gone who are supposed to protect their leader?
They're scurrying for cover because they're soon to be broke. And lack of reelection money is a stronger motivation for Congress than loyalty. After all, Congress is bought -- thanks to the SCOTUS' Citizens United ruling.
Pretty much once you're elected, you do big business's bidding, strike down any regulations or taxes on them and your re-election coffers will fill with big bucks from big business. You save their asses and they'll kiss yours, with cash.
Now comes the shutdown. That's what the GOP forced upon us. How's that going to effect things? Terribly if your in the Grand Old Party!
We all know the meaning of the term insanity, doing the same thing over again and again expecting different results.
Well then what do you call this, Rube Goldberg insanity?
Follow the rolling ball. The Republicans have now shut down congress. That hurts big business. Big business is where the donors come from who overwhelmingly favor the GOP. And with the shutdown, the stock and bond markets drop precipitously, could even crash. That means these investors in the Republican puppets in government will face huge losses and devaluations. That leaves less discretionary money available to back political candidates-- especially the ones who caused them all this hardship. The result of that is underfunded campaigns for the Republicans with a few exceptions. That will cause more competitive races. Big business and rich investors rely on the stocks and bonds markets to go up, not down. They're not as crazy as congress. They'll vote (make political contributions) in their own best interest -- and that now is trending toward hurting the Republicans.
So who's really doing what to whom -- and "getting" it without the aid of Vaseline as Maine's Governor LePage recently said:
It only makes sense that the GOP-caused shutdown is having an effect. Just the fear of it happening yesterday caused the market to drop nearly a full percent, the highest single-day drop in over two years. And with the budget ceiling fight around the corner and the shutdown currently in effect, the market's going to dive. and with it, profits and net equity value for companies. Those are the hands that feed these bottom-feeders.
So Rube Goldberg-like or butterfly effect outcome, the Republicans are scratching their own names off of the donors lists for political contributions. The Republicans are costing their backers millions, if not billions. Good businessmen know what you do to a division or product that's costing you money -- you amputate it. Or ship it overseas. (Is there any country out there willing to take these losers?)
See how that feels, GOP. You've knee-capped your own legs . Tough going, isn't it? If you walk the walk like you talk the talk, you'll be ambling around in circles for a long time to come.
Moses supposedly wandered for forty years -- the GOP is determined to start a similar walk -- and with them, it could turn out to be much more of a Bataan Death March.
You all know what a big fan I am of protections for we little guys/gals. Wall Street, thanks to the GOP, have had their Mr. Toad's Wild Ride at our expense. Well, stepping up to the front of the line to protect us from further abuses and hopefully further bailouts, are two unlikely allies. Not that either alone wouldn't be of great marquee value but when old school meets new school, you've really got something quite formidable. Perennial wild card, Sen. John McCain and consumer protection expert, Sen. Elizabeth Warren have begun their mission -- the new Glass-Steagall Act. Not too long ago, I wrote about it as well as posted Senator Warren's kind response.
So it was with great relish that I heard that she had taken on the talking heads over at CNBC recently and gave them a schooling. So much so that CNBC demanded YouTube take down the video of Senator Warren's smack-down on SQUAWK BOX claiming it was violating copyright.By the time the video was removed, it had already gone viral. The damage was done. Here's a HuffPo report on it.
Now, if you want to see the entire banned segment, you can. CNBC has reversed itself after it's public shaming and the video is back up on YouTube. We have it here for your listening and viewing pleasure.
Senator Warren has never been better. Please enjoy:
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Laffy did a wonderful piece on Senator Warren yesterday. Please check it out here if you haven't seen it yet. We have a true fighter for us up in Senate.
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