Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Righting Wrongs by Writing Rights

Corporate dominance of the political process was foretold by the recent Supreme Court decision, Citizens United v. FEC, in which corporations got the go ahead to spend unlimited amounts of money to back the candidates of their choice or to influence legislative outcomes. With that monumental error of lapsed judgment, the SCOTUS turned the tatters of our Representative Republic into an official Corporate Kleptocracy.

The problems attributable to corporate influence—and now, dominance—over our society are systemic, pernicious, deeply ingrained, and difficult (but not yet impossible) to overcome. These problems will, however, become more intractable as corporations flex their newfound political muscles and test the potential of the gift handed to them by the Supreme Court.

Restoring political power to the people won’t be easy, but, for the moment, at least, it’s still possible. Fran Korten’s Yes! Magazine article, republished by AlterNet, lists some specific ways to put the brakes on corporate ability to sway political decision-making processes. Even better, Quinn Hungeski suggests, on his AlterNet blog, that maybe it’s time to reintroduce some of the old laws that once governed corporations.

Not to be relegated to a lonely corner of the room, John Nichols, writing for (also republished by AlterNet), recounts how Maryland Congresswoman Donna Edwards assumed a leading role in calling for a Constitutional amendment to preserve the people’s ownership of our government and our elections, but Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig, political activist and founder of Creative Commons, thinks that a Constitutional Convention is the better way to go.

Among the things that must be done immediately, if not sooner, to reverse the bad policy decisions coming from career politicians acting on behalf of corporate lobbyists are to make the necessary Constitutional corrections to ensure that political power resides with the people, and to implement procedures that guarantee fair elections at all levels of government. These are the logical starting places from which many other needed corrections will follow.

To all those politicians—professional or otherwise—who think that the smart bet is to curry favor with the corporations, I’ll say only this: Think again, dumbasses! Have you forgotten that every corporation’s primary goal is to cut costs and trim expenses to bolster the bottom line? How long do you think your job is going to last once corporations realize they no longer have to pretend they operate in a democracy? When they decide that you can be of no further use to them, your job is history.

But, hey, you can take solace in the fact that your job won’t be outsourced to a third-world country. It will simply cease to exist.

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Structuring the News

Do televised news reports often leave you baffled? This video shows the probable reasons why.

When TV news seems pointless, vague, confusing, irrelevant and incomplete, and it often leaves you scratching your head and wondering what that was all about, now you know why; there’s an app a formula for that. If you want fair and balanced news you can trust, you’ll have to make your own (or watch Jon Stewart on Comedy Central).

Many thanks to novelist Timothy Hallinan for bringing this one to my attention. Oh, and Tim shares a few of his ideas on how to effect some meaningful changes to our dysfunctional government at Murder is Everywhere.

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