Archive for corporations are people too

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

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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

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

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"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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If Corporations Are People, Too, So Are Chimpanzees. New Scopes Monkey Trial

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A lot lately has been made over the slippery slope quickly approaching the Supreme Court. In the first quarter of next year, they will hear arguments over religious freedoms guaranteed "we the people" and now seemingly "we the corporations" of America as it relates to healthcare. That is surely to be a wonderful case to watch and their June decision will be landmark level.

But before SCOTUS takes up that battle which will help define corporations status as "people", there's some other monkey business to be heading to the courts. Did I say monkey? I meant to say, "chimp." And now that I think about it, what follows might give the true meaning of a monkey court.

In a string of landmark cases to be filed this week, four chimpanzees will fight for the right to retire to humane sanctuaries. Stop snickering. This is real.

It seems chimps are people too, my friend. And if that's the case, it must mean that evolution is real as well. Think about it. Is this the next Scopes Monkey Trial?

Chimpanzee client

Here's the story of the law suits that are being waged.

A man named Pat Lavery and his wife had first came across Tommy the chimpanzee ten years ago. At the time he was believed to be around 16 years old and was a long time veteran of the entertainment business. Who doesn't like a show biz vet? So the Laverys took Tommy in along with other members of the Chimpanzee family. They sheltered them, fed them, and took care of them.

That was going smoothly until last Monday when Lavery discovered that Tommy, the chimpanzee to whom he has extended his hospitality and an endless supply of bananas for the last decade, had sued him in New York’s Supreme Court.

The Daily Beast picks up here:

The first-of-its-kind lawsuit seeks a writ of habeas corpus, a legal tool used to challenge a person’s imprisonment or detention. It demands Tommy’s immediate release from “illegal detention” and transfer to any of the seven refuges that form the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance—making the 26-year-old chimp the first non-human animal to demand legal rights under common law.

Look, as I prefaced, if a corporation that can't breath, eat, give birth, swing on a vine or peel a banana can be considered a person, why not a chimp?

Acting on Tommy’s behalf is The Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP), an organization on a mission to have animals recognized in law not just as “things,” but as “persons” with the right—among others—to “bodily liberty.”

Lest you think Tommy's alone in feeling his rights have been infringed upon,

Tommy’s lawsuit, in which the animal is named as a petitioner represented by the NhRP, is the first of three such cases being filed in New York county courts on behalf of four chimps.

The lawsuit claims:

“Chimps are autonomous, they self-determine their own lives, they are extraordinarily social, self-aware beings—behaviors and characteristics that qualify them as persons with a fundamental right to freedom.”

This really boils down to what does a chimp know, feel, smell, sense and experience. If you subscribe to Darwin's theory, they are endowed with all those abilities. We know that Corporations don't contain any of those. Their inanimate. But with a chimp, there seems to be some recognized qualities to their existence which makes you want to give out a Tarzan yell.

Chimpanzees possess a sense of self that developmentally emerges in a manner similar to humans and is highly stable over time. They recognize themselves in mirrors and on television and can use a flashlight to examine the interiors of their own throats in a mirror. Adult chimpanzees recognize photos of themselves as youngsters,” the papers state, citing affidavits from multiple scientists.

Like humans, chimpanzees have a concept of their personal past and future and suffer the pain of not being able to fulfill their needs or move around as they wish,” the court papers state, adding: “Like humans, they experience the pain of anticipating never-ending confinement.

Show me one corporation that experiences those feelings.

I'm not going so far as the suggest chimps qualify for Obamacare, but they do qualify to be treated humanely. And that's what this is all about.

So Mitt Romney and SCOTUS with your Citizen's United finding, you might want to pay special attention to these upcoming chimp cases. As you approach hearing the corporations arguments for religious freedoms, consider Tommy's case could ultimately be kicked up to your court on appeal, or a banana peel. If you give corporations religious rights, what's next? Will you determine whether Tommy's eligible to demand Kosher only foods. Oh, and let's not forget these show biz chimps were paid when employed. Maybe they qualify for social security and unemployment benefits.

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VIDEO: Jeb Bush wishes Romney, who "dumped needs of America's workers while pocketing profits," were president

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corporations are people romney

Jeb Bush wishes Romney were president (there's that Bush intellect we all know and mock), even though "his campaign wasn't the best." (Gee, ya think?)

"It breaks my heart he's not there. He didn't run... His campaign wasn't the best, but he would have been a really fine president."

Many disagree, as you can see below. More L.A. Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:

Re "Romney criticizes Obama," March 4

So Mitt Romney still believes the president won reelection by giving "gifts." The very people who are so against government social programs are the reason much of this spending exists.

Wages buy less than they did decades ago. The federal minimum wage is stuck at an outdated level. Companies have replaced their better-paid full-time workers with cheaper, part-time employees. Benefits like health insurance and retirement are more rare.

The cost of healthcare, food and shelter have become a taxpayer-funded burden for millions of working Americans. The 47% that Romney referred to as not paying federal taxes while reaping government rewards will just continue to grow unless employers are forced to pay decent wages and benefits.

Romney and his ilk have gotten rich by dumping the social service needs of America's workers while pocketing the profits.

Ernest Salomon

Santa Barbara

***

In his interview with Fox News journalist Chris Wallace, Romney said he underestimated how important the president's healthcare program would be to lower-income voters. His wife admits that she and her husband were "blindsided" by the passion of Obama's supporters.

It sounds as if the Romneys are having trouble coming to grips with the fact that in this age of unprecedented inequality, those of us who aren't as privileged as they are appreciate a bit of help.

Rich Eames

Los Angeles

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Dear Republicans, you've got fail!

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fail

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

Re "Time to grow up, GOP," Opinion, Jan. 15

Jonah Goldberg accurately describes some of the Republican Party's problems, but he is deluding himself if he truly believes its main issue is that it isn't doing a good job of persuading Americans.

The real problem for the Republican Party is the extreme ideological views of its core constituencies. The religious right believes God is on its side; economically conservative Republicans believe in failed policies of deregulation and trickle-down tax rules; climate-change deniers believe global warming is a hoax; the GOP money establishment maintains that giving money to politicians is free speech rather than legalized bribery; and the gun-rights wing is opposed to any sensible measures on firearms.

The problem is not that Republicans haven't done a good job of persuading but rather that their views are unpersuasive.

Michael Asher

Valley Village

***

Goldberg expresses his frustration that conservatism is not connecting with the masses. Could it be because many Americans rely on the basic government safety nets that the conservatives want to eliminate? And when the religious right hijacked the GOP, it turned off moderate conservatives.

Goldberg doesn't address these issues, but they are a big part of the reason voters have turned away from the GOP. And until the party realizes that the demographic changes in this country don't favor Republicans, it will continue to lose national elections.

Mike Lockridge

Mission Viejo

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VIDEO-- How to overturn Citizens United: Drive in a carpool lane with a corporation and get ticketed

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Savor this one while you can, because you and I both know it's going to get thrown out of court. There was this guy, see, and he got ticketed for driving alone in a California carpool lane. But he says there's no way he was alone, see, because he had his corporation papers with him right there on the front seat, and as we all know...

"Under the law, a corporation is a person."

Via NBC:

He waved his corporation papers at the officer, he told NBCBayArea.com, saying that corporations are people under California law. [...]

Frieman, who faces a traffic court on Monday, plans to tell the judge that this isn’t about carpool lanes; it’s about corporate power.

"I'm just arresting their power and using it for my service to drive in the carpool lane," he told NBC Bay Area's Jean Elle.

University of San Francisco law professor Robert Talbot says Frieman’s argument may not hold up because it steers too far from the intent of carpool lane laws.

Intent inschment. The law allows corporations to be people when it comes to donating to greedy politicians, so it should apply here.

If not, then it's time to dump Citizens United, the terrible SCOTUS ruling that got us into this mess in the first place.

But admit it, isn't corporate personhood fun when it works for the average citizen?

UPDATE:

tweets citizens united carpool lane

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Video- Citizens United Obama film to air on TV

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How do you fight against this shit, all propped up by more money than most of us will see ever? Hopefully the only people it will reach will be those who already believe this crap. Via Politico. THIS is why Supreme Court Justices matter.

Citizens United has struck a deal with a dozen television stations to run its hour-long film featuring voters disaffected with President Barack Obama, sending the Republican critique of the incumbent into tens of millions of homes in the lead-up to Election Day, the group’s officials told POLITICO.

The Hope and the Change” directed by Stephen Bannon, who made the Sarah Palin movie “The Undefeated,” was first unveiled last month and it aired during the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

The movie’s wide release — backed by a large advertising campaign behind it — was part of the goal of the Citizens United court case that was decided in 2010 by the U.S. Supreme Court and helped to dramatically alter the landscape for political donations by allowing the unfettered flow of corporate cash into campaigns.

“This (the court case) is why I did ‘Citizens United,’” David Bossie, the group’s president said. “This would have been a criminal act under McCain-Feingold before my court case.”

 
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