Our country is no longer controlled by, and for, We the People, but instead by, and on behalf of, international banking and multinational corporate interests. While the gradual, almost imperceptible takeover of our government by this corporate fascism has been evolving by design for many decades, it is a coup d'etat nonetheless and has been disastrous for the vast majority of Americans. This blog is an exploration and discussion of how this occurred, and the damage it has done to our democratic processes.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Biggest Challenge of Our Time

Protester's sign at Occupy the Courts in Washington D.C.
Why the courts? Because frankly folks, that’s the scene of the crime. Corporate personhood and money equals political speech are court-created doctrines. We the people never decided it; our elected representatives didn’t decide it; ordinary people like me and you never decided it. The court created these doctrines and it’s going to take a movement to overturn it.” --- David Cobb, Move to Amend and an organizer of Friday’s Occupy the Courts protests.
In September a couple of years ago, I explored in a post how the Roberts Court obliterated the Constitution through corporate favoritism. I predicted -- which wasn't really that difficult -- how "big money in politics already subverted our democratic processes before [that election] year, but that [it would] seem like pennies-in-a-bucket when the steamroller of millions of corporate dollars start inundating the media with attack ads and influence peddling -- all designed to adversely influence your opinion to support their views and their candidates." Today's two-year anniversary of that inane and horrible Supreme Court decision, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, was the focus of yesterday's nation-wide network of protests called, collectively, Occupy the Courts. I was a part of the demonstration in Washington D.C., and although it was not as cold as last year's rally that observed the even colder and callous reasoning of that treasonous decision, it was still a brisk and windy day. 
Thom Hartmann speaking at Occupy the Courts
The D.C. event included many skits, street theater, and speeches by David Cobb, former presidential aspirant for the Green Party, along with Thom Hartmann, who initiated my journey of realizing the destabilizing and destructive nature of corporate personhood and the resultant corporatocracy we live under today due to this. 
The crowd was slightly larger than last year's event, but unlike a year ago the Capitol Police and Park Police were prominent and very visible. I interpret this to be a positive sign; the Occupy movement has created 
awareness and fear within those corporatists who have overtaken our government over the last thirty years, and especially within this century.  
I follow a friend's blog, aptly called "The Rant" by Tom Degan, and even before the realization of the near-collapse of the investment banking sector I expressed my doubts and frustrations about our country's burgeoning corporatocracy. The following reprint of a comment I posted on Mr. Degan's blog on September 9, 2008, which I highlighted in my very first post on No Corporate Rule, is worth repeating: 
"Tom, like you, I used to be firmly in the Democratic camp each and every election cycle, just knowing that if only the Democrats could retain power, all our social and political problems would be worked on, and would finally get solved. But, decade-after-decade, the same problems continued to persist. They actually got worse, not better. Aside from a Republican revolution that oversaw a dismantling of much of the New Deal era's strides to put society on a more equal footing, even when Democratic control was firmly in place the slide continued towards further degradation of human rights, and citizen needs, in favor of corporate and moneyed interests.

I, too, sincerely hope I'm wrong in my opinion about Senator Obama. I truly do. But the evidence is irrefutable. Thankfully, in 2002, which is the year Thom Hartmann's remarkable Unequal Protection came out, I picked it off the bookstore shelf and only intended to take a quick glance, but then couldn't put it down. I immediately bought it, and read it - more like absorbed it. Since, I've done extensive reading and research concerning corporate personhood through other areas, such as POCLAD.

That day things really started to crystallize for me. I understood that our problems weren't unsolvable through democratic action; they were only resisted by corporate entities that held far more power and influence than I did as a voter, and an agenda that was antithetical to mine, and most Americans. I learned that although I had the protections and rights granted to me through the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, so did, underhandedly, multinational corporate and banking interests. Just as important, it became apparent that our elected officials, from both parties, were in the corner of their corporate benefactors; not mine, or yours, or any of the other millions of middle or working class people in this country. When I made that connection, I mean when it finally hit me like a ton of bricks, I understood that a slow-motion coup d’état had taken place right under our noses. It didn't take troops and tanks rolling through the streets; all it took was time and incremental steps. It worked, and sadly, most of America is oblivious to the fact that it happened. They know 'something's wrong' but they haven't figured it out. It was the most covert takeover of a people in history.

I'll probably never return to the Democratic Party, but it could happen. If, through some miracle, they adopted the same stance in their official party platform that the Green Party has regarding the elimination of corporate personhood, then I'll come back. The 'Greens' unabashedly call for 'legislation or constitutional amendment to end the legal fiction of corporate personhood.' This, Tom, would be the real panacea to true reform, and the return of our country to We the People. Without this, we're just pissin' in the wind."
I feel even more passionately about what I wrote that day then ever before. The benefit of hindsight has allowed me to know that the corporatists continue to whittle away at the rights only natural persons were granted through our Bill of Rights; only natural persons, those made of real flesh and blood, deserve the protections our forebearers recognized as natural law. The infusion of corporate money is shattering records this primary season, and we're already experiencing how Citizens United has effectively allowed corporations, domestic and foreign, to leapfrog over our democratic ideals and to the forefront of our constitutional protections. As these transgressions against democratic ideals continue; as each passing year brings us precariously closer to entering the throes of a fascist authoritarian regime, the stakes become higher and the threats loom larger.
Until corporate personhood dies and is buried, preferably through a constitutional amendment, we're only fooling ourselves if we think the normal recourse for democratic change will solve the problem. It won't. The last four years have shown us this, and if history is a reliable teacher, the next four years -- no matter who is in office -- will certainly prove this. It's time to think real change. Otherwise, as I said almost four years ago, we're certainly just pissin' in the wind -- and we'll deserve everything that blows our way. 


Anna Van Z said...

It's clear to me that we do not have anything but the decaying vestiges of a democracy. A tattered, fraying PR stock image of *democracy* that Gov-Corp holds up to the world, but which is so thin and transparent now that everyone in the world - except the most uninformed, fanatical, or deluded simpletons - sees through it.

I wonder if anyone who glanced at the coverage of this on msm websites (what little there was) asked themselves why American citizens - we the people - were not even allowed to access a public government building which they paid for, and which exists (theoretically) to serve them. A government which employs a militarized police state to keep the rabble away from its edifices, as if the people had no business there.

This kind of shit is why there was an American revolution in the first place, but that doesn't seem to dawn on the programmed "average citizen" of today.

Twilight said...

You were ahead of the curve, J'sG!

Over the past few weeks I've become completely disgusted, disillusioned about the whole political scenario here. Can hardly bring myself to read the sruff I used to pounce upon each day.

I agree with everything you've written, but, logically, what chance is there of a constitutional amendment?

It would take too many politicians with that rare commodity INTEGRITY to make such a thing a possibility. Are there enough such people? I don't see them - only a handful are brave enough and honest enough: Kucinich, Sanders fronting the few.

Jefferson's Guardian said...

Anna, as I've said and repeated more times than people probably care to hear, we don't live in a democratic republic any longer. This country has truly been apprehended by forces that have kept small vestiges of democracy intact (i.e., maintaining a deceptively favorable and attractive impression that free elections, for example, still exist), but in the final analysis have hijacked our electoral processes, our supposedly freely and democratically elected representatives, and our government. And your observation about the militarized police-state has become increasingly more apparent to me. Each time I go into D.C., I see another example of this trend.

Twilight, I may have been ahead of the curve, but there were always many who were making these same observations -- and connections -- way before me. One prominent person who comes to mind is Ralph Nader. He's been speaking about the devastating effect of this corporatocracy on democracy, albeit not always using this exact term, for many decades. Obviously, he's been marginalized by the corporate mainstream media because of this -- just like others who have challenged the rising corporate-state.

Like you, I find myself disenchanted and totally fed up with the situation, also, but I also realize that things will (eventually) improve. I take solace in my yoga practice, and remind myself that I'm here to help enact that change. It'll be a long and hard fight, but it's something we'll all need to persevere through. We really have no other choice. Do we?

PFL0W said...

We need to get Citizens United overturned, absolutely, but we also, then, need to get "campaign contributions" killed. Until we do, the wealthy and corporations will still get their big, ugly, corrupting money into our election system and so own our representatives, their legislation and so, our laws and ultimately our government.

We have to get ALL the big money out.

Mo Rage
The blog

PFL0W said...

For what it's worth, Bernie Sanders and Dennis Kucinich, for starters, are on the people's side on this issue. It's something.

Mo Rage
The blog

Anna Van Z said...

Mo, you are so right. Our election process needs to be 100% publicly financed, like how the rest of the developed world does it. A limited period for campaigning - very limited. Then, elections. And we need to get rid of the current mess of private corporations providing the machines and the programming for electronic voting equipment. Absolutely unacceptable. And NO voting equipment that can't leave a paper trail if needed!

S.W. Anderson said...

I'm with you on so much of what you put forth in a fine post. Yes, we need to get Citizens United overturned. We need to get the concepts of corporations are people and money is speech thrown out for good. Those concepts aren't nibbling at the edges of democracy; they're daggers pushing into the heart of it.

Where I get off your bus is in voting green instead Democrat. But understand this. I don't oppose the Greens' agenda at all. If the Green Party could win, I might well support its candidate over the Democratic candidate. The obvious problem is, that's just not going to happen. So, a vote for the Green candidate, or any other (or a nonvote) increases the chance we'll wind up with another Bush-grade abomination in the White House.

I understand your dissatisfaction with the Democratic Party and share it to an extent. Still, it seems more doable to me to try to reform the Democratic Party than to hope a third party will somehow overtake it. That could happen some day, but in the here and now there's a pressing need to not end up with a Romney, Gingrich or Santorum as president.

BTW, do the Greens have a ballot line in all 50 states?

Jefferson's Guardian said...

Mo Rage, I agree, it's a very large and complicated undertaking. But, if I'm not mistaken, the proposed amendment by Bernie Sanders includes a provision for disallowing corporate contributions in our electoral processes. This would include, or should include, a fully and totally public-funded system.

Thanks for visiting NCR!

Anna, I totally agree. Like my books, I want my ballots to be made from paper.

Mr. Anderson, I know you don't agree with me, and that's certainly your prerogative. You just have a lot more faith in the system than I do. You're still on the "Reform" bus, whereas I got off a long time ago.

By the way, I haven't advocated for the Green Party. I was only relating what I said almost four years ago during the previous presidential election cycle; namely that the Greens openly declared (and still do) their distaste for corporate personhood, and would pursue the end of it.

Tom Harper said...

Citizens United is the reason behind these unlimited corporate contributions. But that decision is not related to the secret/anonymous donations that are drowning the political process. The Federal Election Commission is responsible for this lack of disclosure.

Citizens United had no effect on the already-existing disclosure laws. The FEC "reinterpreted" those laws to make them so toothless and full of loopholes as to be non-existent.

As bad as these unlimited corporate contributions are, I think it's even worse that people can make anonymous contributions and keep hiding under their rocks. The public doesn't even get to find out who it is that's purchasing elections right out from under them.

While we're vilifying the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, we also need to publicize and vilify the FEC for basically nullifying disclosure laws.

Dave Dubya said...

As disgusted as I am with Dems, they at least have a token few who wish to represent the people. I completely understand the futility of voting for them for the most part.

As we needed Stalin to defeat Hitler, we need a lesser-of-evil party to oppose neo-fascist corporatist republicanism. I think the Dems require a massive uprising by the people for them to listen. We need rallies of people under the banner, "Reform elections now, end money as free speech, or you never get my vote again".

As long as we the people remain sheeple, we allow them to steal our country.

Jefferson's Guardian said...

Tom Harper, thanks for the great points, but there's one in particular that keeps bothering me...

"I think it's even worse that people can make anonymous contributions and keep hiding under their rocks. The public doesn't even get to find out who it is that's purchasing elections right out from under them."

I've also thought the biggest danger was money flooding our election processes through corporations. But now, after watching a documentary on Netflix the other evening, I'm not so sure. A point was made how the CIA flooded the campaign coffers of opponents to Manuel Noriega, in an attempt to unseat him, prior to the U.S. invasion of Panama. It made me question, because of Citizens United, what's to stop them from doing the same thing here?

Dave Dubya, as I mentioned, I got off the Democratic bus awhile ago. It's as corrupt and beholden to corporate money as the Republican Party. The best that can be hoped for, by voting a Democratic ticket, is getting Republican-Lite. I don't drink lite beer and I don't vote for political parties that position themselves right-of-center. Both leave a bad taste in my mouth.