How can we limit corporate influence on government?    

On January 21, 2010, with its ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are persons, entitled by the U.S. Constitution to buy elections and run our government. This ruling over ruled 100 years of precedent and almost all campaign finance laws and laws limiting the influence of money in politics. The corporations are mainly interested in short term profits, and those interests often conflict with the interests of individuals, communities, states and nations.

Because of their unlimited funds, corporations can legally bribe officials and buy elections to influence policy, and because election campaigns cost so much, to lawmakers, the will of the people is not as important as the will of the corporations. As a result, government often acts to benefit corporations and at the expense of the public.

Over the years, giant corporations have continued to consolidate their power and control of our political system, our media, our educational system, our economy, our public institutions and even over the non-profit sector and our leisure and entertainment. We are no longer a Democracy, we are a corporatocracy.

Move To Amend, believes that “We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling and other related cases, and move to amend our Constitution to firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.” https://movetoamend.org/events/eugene-or-move-amends-northwest-regional-democracy-convergence

In 2014 at the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference, Thomas Linzey, executive director of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), began his speech by saying “We are screwed in all kinds of senses if we keep doing what we’re doing and don’t change course.” He said that the Constitution, and essentially all of the laws, are made to protect the corporations not the people. The laws consider the environment as property to be exploited, and the corporation’s rights to make profits often supersede the rights of the workers, or of the communities that are effected by exploitation.

“When they began to confront the corporations that were affecting them, both corporate and governmental officials told them that they couldn’t do anything – that they were helpless to protect their communities from being fracked, drilled, drained and destroyed.”

“Those officials informed them that only the state and federal government had the right to adopt laws governing those industries, and that, if a community did pass a law, that they would be sued for violating the corporation’s “constitutional rights.” Further, they explained that the community could then be held liable not just for the cost of the corporation’s lawyers, but also for potential future corporate profits lost as a result of the law’s adoption.” – See more at: http://www.occupy.com/article/local-lawmaking-call-community-rights-movement

ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council) is supposed to be a non profit organization but it’s main purpose is political. They lobby for corporations, they create “model laws” and get them passed in every state in the nation. ALEC meets in secret with the rich and powerful and with corporate lobbyists and executives, and they don’t think that any of their meetings are subject to any freedom of information act disclosures.

ALEC introduces about a thousand laws each year and they have about a 20% success rate. The type of laws ALEC passes are pro privatization, anti democratic (voter suppression laws), they are anti union, they are pro gun (Stand Your Ground), and anti consumer (laws limiting liability and limiting the ability of consumers to sue corporations for harming them), and  ALEC is anti Immigrant. Any corporation that wants to increase their profits at the expense of the public will find an ally in ALEC, and if they don’t already have a model law doing what that corporation wants, they will work with them to make a new law. ALEC is even against the right of States to determine what is good for the State. The Koch Brothers have worked through ALEC to limit States ability to limit fossil fuels and encourage renewable energy.

ALEC counts more than 2,000 state lawmakers among its members and says 80 former members now represent their states in Congress. There are 300 private-sector members, including trade groups, corporations, policy organizations and non-profits.

Oregon Senate Bill 633, which was drawn up by ALEC and has been introduced in 19 other states to benefit corporate interests like Monsanto at the expense of local control of what we grow and eat. It is called the Oregon Monsanto Protection bill because it prevents county and local governments from passing any laws that affect seeds or the products of seeds, and it prevents localities and counties from regulating GMO seeds and products.

To learn more about ALEC go to the website ALEC Exposed at: http://www.alecexposed.org/wiki/ALEC_Exposed

For a very comprehensive report watch Bill Moyers, The United States of ALEC, 56 min. http://billmoyers.com/episode/full-show-united-states-of-alec-a-follow-up/

Jim Hightower, in his Hightower Lowdown, said “The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is promoted as a “trade deal” that will benefit 11 Pacific Rim nations (Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam) that endorse this agreement and allow the possibility of China, Indonesia, Russia, and other nations to come in. However, only five out of the 29 chapters of the TPP address traditional trade concerns. The remaining 24 chapters are aimed at enhancing corporate protectionism, giving multinational corporations new means of escaping accountability to national governments, and by extension to us, the people.”

“The lack of transparency in the creation of this “partnership” highlights the awareness on the part of the White House and the proponents of the “partnership” that an informed public would never give consent to having their rights to “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness (which I read to mean the right to physical and emotional/mental well being)” violated, and in some cases, completely nullified to increase the profits of already engorged multinationals. While the U.S. Congress is denied access to documents, the 600 participants invited to help write the agreement were chosen by the 16 Industry Trade Advisory Committees, mostly corporate executives.” See the Hightower Lowdown, August 2013, Volume 15, Number 8. http://www.hightowerlowdown.org/node/3402#.UhpjvOChDzJ

 

 

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About altruist1

I am a raging progressive and a writer. I received Bachelors degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Arts with a Secondary teaching certificate and a minor in Physics. I taught for about ten years, then did various jobs including welding,fabrication and traffic engineering, and am now retired. I am interested in science, energy, the environment, and architecture.
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