Archive for corporate America – Page 2

“This event is emblematic of how corporate money undermines our democracy"

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corporate money america

Why hasn't this big, corporate money, corporate influence event already been canceled, especially after this from the Los Angeles Times: "AT&T wields enormous power in Sacramento"?

No other single corporation has spent more trying to influence legislators in recent years. It dispenses millions in political donations and has an army of lobbyists. Bills it opposes are usually defeated.

Here's a press release that just came my way:

Sec. of State Candidate Cressman Urges Lawmakers to Cancel This Weekend’s “Speaker’s Cup” Pebble Beach Fundraiser

Lawmakers Get Schmoozed By Lobbyists, Corporate Titans

Senate cancelled similar fundraiser in wake of Sacramento scandals

Sacramento, CA –

California Secretary of State candidate Derek Cressman today blasted lawmakers attending the Speakers Cup Weekend in Pebble Beach this weekend, saying the golf-and-schmooze event embodied everything that is wrong with politics in a state where three lawmakers were recently suspended from the Senate for corruption.

Cressman today called on Assembly Speaker John Perez to cancel the event, just as Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg had recently cancelled a Senate golf fundraiser with corporate interests.

Cressman, who is running on a platform of transparency and reducing the influence of corporate money, said the Pebble Beach event was just a legal version of the bribery and influence-peddling in the Golden State that has made headline news across the country in recent months.

“This event is emblematic of how corporate money undermines our democracy,” said Cressman. “Corporations like AT&T use campaign contributions to elect corporate Democrats who then deliver legislation that boosts their profits at the expense of California consumers,” he said.

“Frankly, it seems AT&T has California by the calls.”

As an example, Cressman pointed to SB 1161, authored by Senator Alex Padilla to deregulate phone service provided over Internet lines. Consumer advocate Mark Toney of The Utility Reform Network called it “the most anti-consumer bill ever introduced in California.” AT&T likes the bill so much that it has made a similar version a “model bill” of the American Legislative Exchange Council, better known as ALEC. ALEC is an organization that connects state legislators with corporate and right wing organizations that is best known for promoting the Stand Your Ground law implicated in the Florida shooting of Trayvon Martin.

Senator Padilla has received at least $108,732 from telecommunication interests, including $43,395 from AT&T and it’s employees during his time in the Senate.

Overall, AT&T has given California legislators $2,336,468 since 2006.

Cressman wants to get corporate money out of California politics by overturning the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC that struck down bans on corporate campaign spending under the reasoning that corporations should be considered people with constitutional rights. “AT&T is not a person and it shouldn’t be allowed to buy our elections,” said Cressman. He has led a national movement to place questions on the ballot giving voters the chance to call for a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court. SB 1272, to be voted on in the California Senate Elections Committee on April 21st, would place such a measure on the statewide ballot in November.

AT&T has consistently been able to block legislation to remove monthly fees that it charges consumers to have an unlisted phone number, a basic privacy protection that reportedly nets telecom firms upwards of $50 million per year.

In another instance of telecommunications influence, just last week Senate bill SB962, which was sponsored by Senator Mark Leno in response to the high rate of stolen smartphones, would have forced electronics manufacturers to install a shut-off function in all smartphones failed in the state Senate. The so-called “kill switch” legislation would have required companies to manufacture smartphones with technology that would make them inoperable when not in the owner’s possession.

AT&T has lobbied heavily against the bill.

Note: Edited to correct error in original release.

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Former "naive, abandoned" Republican now calls them "narrow-minded, brainwashed, war-minded"

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Republican BS smaller

In one of today's Los Angeles Times letters to the editor, a former Republican minces no words about how her party failed her. Elizabeth Warren mentioned a few of the worst corporate conservatives in my previous post, "Soon you'll have a Supreme Court that is a wholly owned subsidiary of big business."

On a more positive note, did I mention that more and more Americans are discovering the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare?

Re “Health law's winners in plain sight,” Column, March 23
I was a loyal Republican for 30 years, yet once I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, every health insurance company told me “no coverage.”

This was my wake-up call — knowing my party had abandoned me when I needed it most.

I am now an independent, and so proud that someone empowered the people to stand up to the big corporate healthcare companies.

How can we consider ourselves proud Americans when we abandon our own people because of a chronic disease? How can we allow corporate America to write our laws?

How do we allow our representatives to sign a pledge to the wealthiest people, forgetting the majority? I am ashamed that I ever was naive enough to consider myself a Republican; I find them narrow-minded, brainwashed and war-minded.

Laura Mellody
Riverside

bam***

A few years, ago one of my sons was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. Since he was out of work, my wife and I were paying $475 a month for his insurance.

We were afraid to change policies because of his preexisting condition, so we continued with that setup until the Affordable Health Care Act took hold.

Then we were able to get rid of what we learned to be an inferior policy and acquire a preferred provider — for considerably less money. God bless you, Mr. President.

Greg Lewis
Chatsworth

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WI GOP fast-tracks "dark money" bill in midst of "John Doe" campaign finance violations probe

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citizens united check republic Koch brothers dark money

By now you've probably heard of dark money. I've written about it often. It is when nonprofits spend money on elections by exploiting loopholes in campaign finance disclosure laws. In other words, they don't reveal who their donors are, but use their wealth to influence election outcomes by funding "issue ads." Thank you, Citizens United.

Here's how Rachel Maddow described the practice:

...Millions and millions of dollars, hundreds of millions of dollars, that are intentionally made difficult to trace, funneled to networks that build networks that you can disown when you want to, if you want to.

In that particular segment of her show, she was describing how the Koch brothers operate.

Now we get to see how Republican legislators in Wisconsin operate, or as I like to call it, Dark Money Central.

Via PRWatch.org:

A proposed bill that would keep the public in the dark about the sources of money in Wisconsin elections could also make it easier for dark money groups to coordinate with candidates, an issue of particular salience given the ongoing "John Doe" probe into alleged campaign finance violations in the state. [...]

And most importantly, it could open the door to direct candidate coordination with issue ad groups, potentially undermining what remains of Wisconsin campaign finance law. Prosecutors in the John Doe campaign finance probe are reportedly pursuing a theory of illegal coordination between independent "issue ad" groups and the Walker campaign during the 2011-2012 recalls. [...]

Wisconsin courts have held that if a group is coordinating on issue ads with a candidate, their spending -- regardless of whether it includes express advocacy -- can be considered a contribution, which under Wisconsin law encompasses both cash donations and the giving of anything of value.

If those "contributions" exceeded donation limits and were not reported to the state elections board, the group running coordinated issue ads would be violating election law.

And that is the whole reason for the bill. It would change the "political purpose" definition which would also end up changing the interpretation of "candidate contributions."

Nothing new here, just your typical GOP approach: If you can't get what you want honestly and openly, cheat, lie, defraud, slither, smear, steal, and/or hide.

what's the big secret

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Money in politics out, people in: "It's We the People, not It the Money."

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money in politics citizens united corporations

"Money is the root of all evil." Well, maybe, maybe not, but that classic quote sure applies when it comes to politics.

As I was watching The Stephanie Miller Show on Free Speech TV (which I highly recommend), this most excellent video from 2012 came on (Free Speech TV doesn't air commercials. Instead, viewers are treated to all kinds of recorded segments informing us about clean energy, common sense gun safety measures, and equal rights, among other things):

Represent.Us:

Published on August 2, 2012

It will take millions of people to defeat billions of dollars. Join us at www.unpac.org!

Super PACs and special interests have turned our politicians into money junkies only out for their next fix. We have to fight back before this becomes the new normal in American politics.

Please share this video with your friends and family.

Sadly, this is the new normal in politics thanks to the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision. Way to go! America first!

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Appeals court decision, written by Bush appointee, rules against #Obamacare contraception coverage mandate

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church state Religion and Politics

Just the other day I posted about a column written for the Los Angeles Times by Michael Hiltzik: What next? Ruling that corporations can pray? Brace yourselves:

SCOTUS will get to decide if corporations can impose their own religious beliefs on their employees, AKA a giant conscience clause. What's left of separation of church and state could become a distant memory.

Michael Hiltzik's column in the Los Angeles Times rightly states, "The implications of granting corporations the right to free expression of religion are horrific."

Today Roll Call has just added to my jitters. Next stop, Supreme Court:

A federal appeals court has ruled the contraception coverage mandate in the Affordable Care Act violates the free exercise of religion.

The ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit adds to the debate about a provision that factored heavily in the 2012 presidential election and comes amid an effort by President Barack Obama to fill three open slots on the powerful D.C. Circuit with his own nominees. Senate Republicans are blocking those picks, which has Democrats considering whether to use the “nuclear option” to install Obama’s judges.

If there was ever a question about why judicial picks are important, and why elections matter, this should put that to rest.

By the way, the decision was 2-1 and was written by Janice Rogers Brown, an appointee of GW Bush.

I rest my case.

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What next? Ruling that corporations can pray? Brace yourselves.

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separation of church and state 2

The Supreme Court's Citizens United decision has thrown a huge wrench into what's left of our democracy by allowing corporations to have the same rights as people to have their voices heard, giving them the ability to spend all the money they want on political campaigns, which of course gives them undue influence over our elections.

Now we have a new, very problematic issue to worry about: SCOTUS will get to decide if corporations can impose their own religious beliefs on their employees, AKA a giant conscience clause. What's left of separation of church and state could become a distant memory.

Michael Hiltzik's column in the Los Angeles Times rightly states, "The implications of granting corporations the right to free expression of religion are horrific."

He sounds the alarm loudly on the expansion of corporate "personhood," which would give them "the legal right to fire workers 'for engaging in all manner of activities that may not conform to the religious code of the company’s owners, including using contraceptives or terminating a pregnancy, becoming pregnant out of wedlock, or marrying a person of the same sex.'”

gulp

The Obama administration arguably gave too much away when it offered religious groups a way around meeting the contraception mandates of the Affordable Care Act for their secular arms, such as hospitals that serve secular communities and hire staff without regard to religious affiliation. We're seeing a steady encroachment of religious dogma into medical treatment [...]

Giving corporations the status of religious beings would do more than inject religion into the workplace. It would take the community out. Nothing is more threatening to religious freedom than the imposition of religious orthodoxy in places where it doesn't belong. That's the issue that will soon come before the Supreme Court. Brace yourselves.

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Climate Deniers Threaten the Lives of Our Children

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climate change children

Your Daily Dose of BuzzFlash at Truthout, via my pal Mark Karlin:

As BuzzFlash reported on September 13, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)...  is widely expected to issue a stern report about the dangers of ignoring human-caused climate change. [...]

But, as an article in the Guardian UK reports, it is the children of the planet who are going to suffer the most as a result of the current placation of global industry in regards to reversing global warming:

Children will bear the brunt of the impact of climate change because of their increased risk of health problems, malnutrition and migration, according to a new study published on Monday. And food prices are likely to soar as a result of warming, undoing the progress made in combating world hunger.... [...]

Unicef estimates that 25 million more children will suffer malnourishment because of climate change, with a further 100 million suffering food insecurity, where they and their families are on the verge of running out.... [B]abies and small children are more likely to die or suffer heatstroke because they find it difficult to regulate their body heat. [...]

UNICEF argues that, although children are more vulnerable to the effects of global warming, they have been largely left out of the debate. [...]

Many of them will be, in the not distant future, collateral damage to the profit margins of corporations who recklessly and criminally endanger future generations.

Please read the entire post here.

climate change Jack and Jill

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