Archive for corporate Amercia

Warren: "Soon you'll have a Supreme Court that is a wholly owned subsidiary of big business."

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supreme court justices corporate

Senator Elizabeth Warren is worried about our very corporate Supreme Court. She's worried that they will rule in favor of Hobby Lobby, just as they decided in favor of Citizens United. And that decision has been a disaster.

To quote one of my favorite analysts, Dahlia Lithwick at Slate, SCOTUS will rule on "whether the religious rights of a for-profit corporate entity allow it to refuse to provide for employees insurance that would include certain forms of birth control. In so doing, the court may now be forced to reckon with the question of whether the same corporate personhood that includes the right to free speech also encompasses rights to religious conscience. In other words, Corporate Personhood is back! And this time, it’s got God on its side."

Case by case, this Supreme Court is, indeed, out to legalize corporate personhood.  Conservative extremists have spent decades shaking their political pom poms to cheer zygote personhood.  What next, hypocrisy personhood? But when it comes to actual people personhood, American citizen personhood, voting rights personhood, women's and gay rights personhood, they scurry off to Faux ChristianLand where Fox News [sic] feeds them their next "my belief system trumps reality" talking points.

And now these same zealots are (incredibly) being given credibility by the highest court in the U.S.A.

The following email from Senator Warren landed in my inbox today. As is made painfully obvious by K.C. Boyd's weekly "Upchucks" guest posts here at TPC, the separation of church and state is narrowing daily. This growing trend is serious and is endangering our dwindling democracy. We need to organize our voices and protest immediately, loudly, clearly, and constantly.

Bolding is mine:

Laffy,

Hobby Lobby doesn't want to cover its employees' birth control on company insurance plans. In fact, they're so outraged about women having access to birth control that they've taken the issue all the way to the Supreme Court.

I cannot believe that we live in a world where we would even consider letting some big corporation deny the women who work for it access to the basic medical tests, treatments or prescriptions that they need based on vague moral objections.

But here's the scary thing: With the judges we've got on the Supreme Court, Hobby Lobby might actually win.

The current Supreme Court has headed in a very scary direction.

Recently, three well-respected legal scholars examined almost 20,000 Supreme Court cases from the last 65 years. They found that the five conservative justices currently sitting on the Supreme Court are in the top 10 most pro-corporate justices in more than half a century.

And Justices Samuel Alito and John Roberts? They were number one and number two.

Take a look at the win rate of the national Chamber of Commerce cases before the Supreme Court. According to the Constitutional Accountability Center, the Chamber was winning 43% of the cases in participated in during the later years of the Burger Court, but that shifted to a 56% win-rate under the Rehnquist Court, and then a 70% win-rate with the Roberts Court.

Follow these pro-corporate trends to their logical conclusion, and pretty soon you'll have a Supreme Court that is a wholly owned subsidiary of big business.

Birth control is at risk in today's case, but we also need to worry about a lot more.

In Citizens United, the Supreme Court unleashed a wave of corporate spending to game the political system and drown the voices of middle class families.

And right now, the Supreme Court is considering McCutcheon v. FEC, a case that could mean the end of campaign contribution limits – allowing the big guys to buy even more influence in Washington.

Republicans may prefer a rigged court that gives their corporate friends and their armies of lawyers and lobbyists every advantage. But that's not the job of judges. Judges don't sit on the bench to hand out favors to their political friends.

On days like today, it matters who is sitting on the Supreme Court. It matters that we have a President who appoints fair and impartial judges to our courts, and it matters that we have a Senate who approves them.

We're in this fight because we believe that we don't run this country for corporations – we run it for people.

Thank you for being a part of this,

Elizabeth

scotus supreme court koch smaller

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Bernie Sanders: You can't fix the economy simply by shredding the safety net

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GOP it's not about you

What oh what would we Progressives do without Bernie Sanders? In today's Los Angeles Times, he wrote an op-ed laying out in very clear detail how to make wise choices about how to fix the economy.

Sanders, thankfully, is a member of a budget panel composed of Democratic, Republican and independent Senate and House members doing what they can, supposedly, to avoid another GOP government shutdown.

Senator Sanders explains how to move forward (as opposed to the same old backward, destructive GOP ideas), and how we managed to go from healthy surpluses to (unnecessary) deficits.

He reminds us that by the end of President Clinton's presidency, we had a a $236-billion surplus, and that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicted a 10-year budget surplus of $5.6 trillion, meaning we could have erased the national debt by 2011.

Too bad Republicans screwed that up.

And of course, they're blaming President Obama for the horrible outcomes of their horrible policies and horrible obstruction. Here's how it really went down:

  • GW Bush's Afghanistan and Iraq wars were not paid for.
  • Those wars cost us up to $6 trillion.
  • Those wars were put on our national credit card.
  • Bush signed Congress's costly prescription drug bill.
  • That costly prescription drug program was not paid for either.
  • Bush and Congress gave big fat tax breaks to the wealthy and big corporations.
  • As a result, revenue went down.
  • The 2008 recession, caused by the deregulation of Wall Street, also caused revenue to drop.
  • Big fat surpluses turned into big fat deficits.

tadaa3Now gather 'round kiddies, because it's Hypocrisy Time!

Yay

Interestingly, today's "deficit hawks" in Congress — Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and other conservative Republicans — voted for those measures that drove up deficits. Now that they're worried about deficits again, they want to dismantle virtually every social program designed to protect working families, the elderly, children, the sick and the poor.

In other words, it's OK to spend trillions on a war we should never have waged in Iraq and to provide huge tax breaks for billionaires and multinational corporations.

booo

Sanders goes on to say that austerity doesn't work, because it clearly hurts those who are already suffering.

Instead of talking about cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, we must end the absurdity of corporations not paying a nickel in federal income taxes. [...]

At a time when we now spend almost as much as the rest of the world combined on defense, we can make judicious cuts in our armed forces without compromising our military capability.

He also thinks it would be a swell idea if Congress members started, you know, listening to the American people, especially because so many polls show that we don't want cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

In fact, according to a recent National Journal poll, 81% do not want to cut Medicare at all, 76% do not want to cut Social Security at all, and 60% do not want to cut Medicaid at all. Other polls make it clear that Americans believe that the wealthiest among us and large corporations must pay their fair share in taxes.

So, Republicans (and even some Dems), how about paying more attention to us, the voters, instead of trying to grab it all for yourselves? It's not about you. It's about all of us. It's about We the People.

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"I haven't noticed liberals stocking up on guns, ammo. Which has more faith in our democracy, the left or the right?"

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gun nut 2

Today's L.A. Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:

Re "'Right wing' doesn't equal 'terrorist,'" Opinion, April 23

The American right wing is filled with people who have a visceral reaction to the changes taking place in this country. Many are angry that a black man is president, that immigrants live among them, that gays may be allowed to marry, that their gun ownership may be limited and that "elitist" liberals write laws.

Jonah Goldberg thinks it was outrageous initially to entertain the possibility that the Boston bombing was a right-wing plot. The attack occurred on Patriots' Day in a city known for its political liberalism. Ignoring the possibility of right-wing involvement would not only have been ignorant but also a disservice to national security.

Thomas Bailey

Long Beach

***

Goldberg's effort to paint the 1920s as a conservative paradise by skewering an FDR speech had the benefit of pointing me to the president's magnificent 1944 State of the Union address. It shows how thoroughly the "spirit of fascism" that prevailed in the 1920s, in the form of "unregulated free market corporatism," has returned to America.

As FDR noted, America after the Depression understood that "necessitous men are not free men."

It was this understanding that for decades gave us the greatest prosperity for the greatest number.

Now, "Reagan revolutionized" Americans seem to believe that "government-regulated, unarmed corporations are not free people." It is this understanding that has given us the current era of the greatest prosperity for the fewest number — an echo of the 1920s.

Richard S. Marken

Los Angeles

***

Goldberg makes some good points about the left's demonizing of the right, but the examples he lists pale in comparison to the red-baiting of the last 100 years. "Left wing" doesn't mean "communist." And I haven't noticed any liberals stocking up on guns and ammo.

Which has more faith in our democracy, the left or the right?

Frank J. Gruber

Santa Monica

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VIDEO: Rep Hank Johnson rips into ALEC on House floor

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Keep ripping, :

Congressman Hank Johnson, who represents the eastern suburbs of Atlanta in the U.S. House of Representatives, talks about the "American Legislative Exchange Council," which influences state legislatures to pass pro-corporate legislation, including "Stand Your Ground" laws.

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VIDEO: ALEC and the Circumventing of Our Democracy

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My buddy Lee Camp nails it again. Warning: Strong language, so lower the volume at work.

Corporate profiteering, circumventing government, legislating a woman's uterus, privatizing prisons, opposing climate change legislation, privatizing schools, destroying workers' rights, taking away voting rights, tax breaks for the wealthy...  ALEC does it all! Weee!

What if there were a secret organization of right-wing corporate titans who were deciding the laws of the land? Well, no such thing really exists. ...Or does it?

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VIDEO: "Leave my company alone!"... "We both screw people for money." Sound familiar?

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"I will not let myself become emotionally involved in business."

"... I'm like a robot. I didn't do it."

Any of this remind you of WillardCorp?

ADDED:

Vivian: You don't actually have a billion dollars, huh?
Edward: No. I get some of it from banks, investors… it's not an easy thing to do.
Vivian: And you don't make anything…
Edward: No.
Vivian: … and you don't build anything.
Edward: No.
Vivian: So whadda ya do with the companies once you buy 'em?
Edward: I sell them.
[Viv reaches for his tie.]
Vivian: Here, let me do that. You sell them.
Edward: Well, I… don't sell the whole company, I break it up into pieces, and then I sell that off, it's worth more than the whole.
Vivian: So, it's sort of like, um… stealing cars and selling 'em for parts, right?
Edward: [sighs exasperatedly] Yeah, sort of. But legal.

H/t: Sully for the transcript.

It's fundraising time, so PLEASE CONSIDER DONATING so we can keep posting:

You can donate at any time by using the PayPal donate buttons in the sidebar or below, or if you need a snail mail addy, feel free to email thepoliticalcarnival@gmail.com.

In addition, if anyone wants to sponsor us for three months with an ad in the sidebar, please email Paddy. Since it’s an election year, any ad will be getting increased views.

Please, though, never forget that we truly appreciate you guys with or without the donations. Every single day.

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www.InternetRoadblock dot CorporateInterests

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A friend of mine has made me aware of a new and looming 1% vs the 99% battle. Follow the bouncing ball, because this story has many moving parts:

I love Susan Saladoff for reminding us that the word "reform" does not necessarily equal "good." And I love Stephen Colbert's line about a jury of a corporation's peers consisting of twelve other corporations, like Jack in the Box or Burger King.

But the point was, "Hot Coffee"-- the film on how the corporations, through "tort reform" arbitration clauses, funding right wing judges (destroying the evil lefties)-- are trying to limit access to the courts for civil cases, thus curtailing our 7th Amendment right. Here is a link to what a hypocridiot Rick Santorum is on the tort "reform"issue.

Now let's see how ICANN fits into all this, and the bogus last-minute push by a few corporate interests that are trying to derail it. What is ICANN, you ask?

ICANN's Wiki:

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is a non-profit corporation... that was created on September 18, 1998, and incorporated on September 30, 1998[1] to oversee a number of Internet-related tasks previously performed directly on behalf of the U.S. government by other organizations, notably the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), which ICANN now operates.

Please go to the Wiki for much more information.

On to how corporations are trying to limit our freedoms as they pertain to ICANN.

Internet addresses will be undergoing a big change by adding to the usual .com, .org and .net dot extensions. You’ll eventually be able to "dot" just about anything, like .apple and .book.

In the GOP's case, I would suggest .OnePerCent or .gasbag.

In Elizabeth Warren's case, it would be something like .PresidentialNominee2016. But I digress...

Regarding these new domain names, the usual pesky corporate troublemakers (in this case, ANA, or Association of National Advertisers, that represents about 400... corporations) are none too thrilled and like things just the way they are:

Brad White, a spokesman for Icann, in an emailed statement said the nonprofit corporation appreciates NTIA’s [National Telecommunications and Information Administration, a Commerce Department arm that advises the president on information policy] “support of Icann’s multi-stakeholder model.”

General Electric Co., Johnson & Johnson and Coca-Cola Co. are among more than 40 companies that have joined with the Association of National Advertisers to oppose the expansion, saying it will increase costs for companies, confuse customers and create new risks of Internet fraud.

Broadening access to the Internet is a good thing, as is access to our courts. And as many of us, specifically those actively interested in or involved with the Occupy movement know, the usual special interests continue their quest to stack the deck in their favor with no regard to the impact it has on the rest of us.

Here is an article on why ICANN should go forward, and more about the corporate interests putting up roadblocks:

Their only new claim is that they have the ear of powerful people in the United States government, including Senator Jay Rockefeller.

In effect, U.S. corporate trademark interests are openly admitting that their participation in the ICANN process has been in bad faith all along. Despite the multiple concessions and numerous re-dos that these interests managed to extract over the past 6 years, they are now demanding that everything grind to a halt because they didn’t get exactly what they demanded — as if no other interests and concerns mattered and no other stakeholders exist. What they wanted, in fact, was simply to freeze the status quo of 1996 into place forever, so that there would be no new competition, no new entrepreneurial opportunities, no linguistic diversification, nothing that would have the potential to cause them any problems. [...]

To its everlasting credit, the U.S. Commerce Department, the official governmental contractor and supervisor of ICANN, has not caved in to the cynical corporate obstructionism. They realize what is at stake. Assistant Secretary of Commerce Lawrence Strickling is responsible and intelligent enough to understand what an unmitigated disaster it would be to pull the plug on 15 years of work. [...]

If ICANN blinks, if it deviates from or delays its agreed and hard-fought policy in the slightest way, the coup d’etat succeeds. Everyone in the world then concludes that a few corporate interests in the United States hold veto power over the policies of the Internet’s domain name system.

Corporations don't want change--they want to protect their supremacy, which in this instance means only a Latin alphabet for URLs with no competition from the little guy willing to move forward and use the new ones.

Just one more example of We the Corporations vs. We the People. Maybe one day we'll get a jury of non-corporate peers to come up with a final verdict of Not People.

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