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Are you on Michael Moore’s Mailing List?

In my weekly notice from one of my favorite film directors, he discussed the new release on DVD (and Blu-Ray) of his last documentary, ‘Capitalism: A Love Story’ , and suggests all the places it is available. Oddly enough, one of those places is Wal-Mart, prompting this longish diatribe:

The fact that Wal-Mart is carrying this movie — a movie that specifically exposes Wal-Mart’s past practice of taking out secret “dead peasant” life insurance policies on its employees and naming itself as the lone beneficiary should the employee meet an “untimely” early death — well, my friends, need you any further proof that Corporate America is so secure in its position as the ruler of our country, so sure of its infallible power that, yes, they can even sell a movie that attacks them because it poses absolutely no threat to them?

A sane person would think that Wal-Mart would never carry “Capitalism: A Love Story” because it’s simply not in their best interests to inform their customers of their shady past. After all, many Wal-Mart stores wouldn’t carry “Bowling for Columbine” back in 2003. That was *Kmart* I went after (for selling the ammo to the Columbine killers)! But I guess that was too Mart-y close for Wal-Mart — so no DVDs were allowed of that film on the shelves of some of the world’s biggest retail chain’s stores (the movie studio estimated that cost them $2.5 million in sales).

But seven years later, it’s a new day in America. The corporate coup is complete. Corporations like Wal-Mart now call all the shots, write all the laws, pay off almost all the congressmen and essentially (along with the other Fortune 500 companies and Wall Street) rule the nation. They’ve helped to eliminate consumer choice and the free market while convincing you they are all for “free enterprise” and the “U.S.A.”

More importantly, they’ve snuffed out any criticism or opposition. They’ve even co-opted liberals, like the people who made the wonderful documentary, “Food, Inc.” The last half-hour of this movie includes — I kid you not — an homage to Wal-Mart as the filmmakers swoon over this kinder, gentler company that has decided to — bless them! — put an organic food counter in their stores! Thank you, Wal-Mart! Kumbaya! (And hey, granolaheads, don’t forget to flash a smile on the way out of the store at the “greeter” who can’t afford to see a doctor.)

Yes, Wal-Mart, by selling “Capitalism,” is saying to me: “Go ahead Mike and expose us all you want! Hahahhaha! We’re so convinced that the public has either been dumbed down or made numb enough to not give a lick about whatever it is you’re saying about us and capitalism. We can sell a million of these and it won’t make a damn bit of difference about our ability to rule the world. So knock yourself out, big guy! Hehehehehehe. Go ahead and put your little movie on our shelves. It will never start a revolution.”

Or so they think.

But what if they’re wrong?

But what if they are wrong? They may not be, but perhaps they ARE wrong and we will return consumer choice and end the control of the country by Corporations.

So buy the movie at Wal-Mart… then RETURN IT. Heeheehee.

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(Thanks to Peace Train)

Cartoon(s) of the Week

The Supreme Court caught the cartoonists’ attention this week.

First, Jack Ohman in The Oregonian:

…or The Alito Elite.

– and –

Ted Rall, who turns up all over the web:

We are all looking for corporate identities… the Supreme Court has given us a whole new category of citizenship!

My comment to the Supreme Court: Corporations Are Not People

I have personally created several corporations in my time, and never once have I thought any of them to be separate “people” – if I had I would have been granting myself more than the “one man, one vote” concept of our Constitution and all related laws.

Now we have the Supreme Court allowing Corporations (and, yes, Labor Unions – also not separate “people”) the ability to spend unregulated amounts of money on elections… because they are “people” within the law.

This is scary. In his weekly radio address, President Obama said:

“This ruling opens the floodgates for an unlimited amount of special interest money into our democracy. It gives the special interest lobbyists new leverage to spend millions on advertising to persuade elected officials to vote their way — or to punish those who don’t.

“I can’t think of anything more devastating to the public interest. The last thing we need to do is hand more influence to the lobbyists in Washington or more power to the special interests to tip the outcome of elections.”

(You can get all of Obama’s comments in his weekly address HERE.)

I believe one of the main issues that the Conservatives have claimed to have brought to the Supreme Court is the idea that they do not make law, but only interpret the Constitution.

Well, they have not only made law here, they have overturned laws that have served us well since the Teddy Roosevelt Administration in 1907 – 102 years. During that century-plus, the law was updated, improved, added to by both Democrats and Republicans and made consistently better, all in an effort to guarantee our citizens (ie: human beings not organizations) the absolute power of “one man, one vote” without overpaid arm bending and potential blackmail by corporate interests.

So what do we do with a law-making Supreme Court that clearly has a majority of its members firmly planted in corporate pockets? Dahlia Lithwick, in Slate, has called the Supreme Court’s action The Pinocchio Project – they have turned the concept of the corporation into a “real, live boy.” Justice Stevens, in his partial dissent, commented that the Framers of the Constitution kept a “cautious view of corporate power” – something the current Supreme Court seems to be not only uncautious of but supportive of.

Can Congress create law to overturn this decision? I don’t know. What we need is the unlikely event that will throw the Court’s majority back to a more centrist (or, dare I say it, more progressive) majority. Remember, Justice Earl Warren, who brought a truly Constitutional view of Civil Rights to the Court in the 50s and 60s, was a Conservative Republican when appointed. There is the odd chance that a right-leaning Justice will actually see the error that was made here and turn the Court around.

It’s possible. It’s unlikely.

Quote of the Day

“With its ruling today, the Supreme Court has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics. It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans… That’s why I am instructing my Administration to get to work immediately with Congress on this issue. We are going to talk with bipartisan Congressional leaders to develop a forceful response to this decision.”

= President Barack Obama

… and will Congress stand up to the unfortunate decision of the Supreme Court?

Here’s another view of today’s Supreme Court mind smasher…

This is a clip from a longer article by Glenn W. Smith. It is worth reading the whole thing.
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U.S. Supreme Court Makes Corporations Supreme, People Mere Monkeys

If you had any doubt about the corruption that has infected the very bloodstream of American politics, look at today’s ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court said corporations can spend unlimited amounts to influence the outcome of elections.

I’m gonna repeat my sad joke: we are approaching the time when there will be “corporate creationists” so convinced of the divine status of the corporate life-form that they will deny vehemently that corporations evolved from human beings. Americans, we are the new monkeys.

Ask yourself this question. If you had to persuade your community about political opinion X, but corporations opposed your view, would you stand a chance knowing that their “political speech” was worth much more than your political speech? The answer is obvious. Mere people have been thrown on the scrap heap. The U.S. Supreme Court is lifting corporations to the top of the evolutionary ladder.
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Corporate Overlords Victorious

Wink wink. Nudge nudge. The humor is depressing!

Go visit our friends at Fried Green Al Qaidas for even more of this unfortunate humor. Here’s a clip for now:

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In what can only be described as rockin’ good news for our corporate overlords, the Supreme Court today ruled that henceforth from this day on there will no longer be Kremlin-like restrictions on the amount of money corporations may spend for the election or defeat of a political candidate. The decision finally puts to an end years of brutal repression of America’s most important citizens, at long last restoring free speech to those who truly have only their own best interests at heart.
“So many of our citizens seem to have forgotten that corporations are people, too,” Chief Justice Roberts said when announcing the 5-4 decision. “And as people they have certain inalienable rights, such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of political power. Because what is economic power without political power? An empty shell, that’s all, hardly what five of us on the court would call freedom. All over the world it’s so easy to see, people everywhere just want to be free.”
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Courts Roll Back Limits on Spending in Election Law

From the NY times…will this have a negative effect on the next Presidential campaign. Here’s a clip, but I encourage you to read the whole article:
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Even before a landmark Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance law expected within days, a series of other court decisions is reshaping the political battlefield by freeing corporations, unions and other interest groups from many of the restrictions on their advertising about issues and candidates.
Legal experts and political operatives say the cases roll back campaign spending rules to the years before Watergate. The end of decades-old restrictions could unleash a torrent of negative advertisements, help cash-poor Republicans in a pivotal year and push President Obama to bring in more money for his party.
If the Supreme Court, as widely expected, rules against core elements of the existing limits, Democrats say they will try to enact new laws to reinstate the restrictions in time for the midterm elections in November.
“It will be no holds barred when it comes to independent expenditures,” said Kenneth A. Gross, a veteran political law expert at the firm of Skadden Arps in Washington.
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Why didn’t Obama consider Diplomacy in Afghanistan?

This Tuesday Obama is supposed to announce his decision on troops and Afghanistan (the last guess I heard was 30,000 as opposed to the 40,000 the General asked for) and we will once again see our middle-east  battle commitment increase.

But is there a reason why the President didn’t turn the problem over to the State Department for a negotiated solution? Sherwood Ross in OpEdNews writes an extended article on why diplomacy wasn’t even considered. here’s a clip:

Afghanistan is valued today for the oil and gas pipelines the U.S. wants built there, no matter what other reasons Obama gives.

“In the late 1990s,” writes Washington reporter Bill Blum in his “Anti-Empire Report,” “the American oil company, Unocal, met with Taliban officials in Texas to discuss the pipelines” Unocal’s talks with the Taliban, conducted with the full knowledge of the Clinton administration”continued as late as 2000 or 2001.” Adds Paul Craig Roberts writing in the December Rock Creek Free Press of Washington, D.C., the U.S./U.K. military aggression in Afghanistan “had to do with the natural gas deposits in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.” Roberts explains:

“The Americans wanted a pipeline that bypassed Russia and Iran and went through Afghanistan. To insure this, an invasion was necessary. The idiot American public could be told that the invasion was necessary because of 9/11 and to save them from ‘terrorism,’ and the utter fools would believe the lie.” The war, Roberts continued, is to guard the pipeline route. “It’s about money, it’s about energy, it’s not about democracy.”

So, if this is indeed WHY we are there, how long can it last?

In January, a Defense Department report stated “building a fully competent and independent Afghan government will be a lengthy process that will last, at a minimum, decades,” The Nation magazine’s Jonathan Schell reports (Nov. 30). So far from defeating the Taliban are Allied forces that US military contractors “are forced to pay suspected insurgents to protect American supply routes,” Aram Roston writes in the same issue. “It is an accepted fact of the military logistics operation in Afghanistan that the US government funds the very forces American troops are fighting.” In fact, an American executive there told Roston, “The Army is basically paying the Taliban not to shoot at them. It is Department of Defense money.”

It is Corporate concern which controls the decision making here…xnd, of course, we travel farther into deficit spending by pouring money into Afghanistan (and Iraq, which we are NOT remotely out of, yet.)

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs has stated that it costs about a million dollars per year for each deployed US soldier, beyond the expense of training and maintaining a security force. You can do the math: there are 180,000 troops in Afghanistan and Iraq right now… add another 30,000 and we are spending $210,000,000,000.00 per year (that’s just on those troops active in the mid-east… we are also paying for the pentagon, all our worldwide bases, all the equipment we use worldwide, health recovery by the veteran’s Administration for soldiers who come back wounded… not to mention the costs for those who come back dead.) The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost 768.8 billion dollars so far and by the end of this fiscal year, the price tag will approach one trillion dollars.

It’s not even a number that most people can even conceive of!

Ross goes on to say that…

“…in all the recent debate in Washington, who has heard a word of concern for the impact of escalation on the suffering civilian populations of Afghanistan and Pakistan?

“ ‘Our military demands ever more troops,’ Veterans Speaker Alliance’s founder Paul Cox said at an Oakland, Calif., rally, last week with Barbara Lee, the only member of Congress to vote against the initial Afghan aggression. ‘Meanwhile, our economy is in the toilet, health care costs are out of control, and we can’t afford to educate our children. But somehow, there’s always money for war.’ Rep. Lee called for putting ‘this stage of American history—a stage characterized by open-ended war—to a close.’ “

Barbara Lee, Dennis Kucinich, Bernie Sanders and a few others represent a very tiny segment of The Congress, both Representatives and Senators, who would push to get us out of the middle east as warriors.

Unless America rises up to support such a massive withdrawal, this will never even be a remote possibility. Ongoing warfare is our Heritage and our Curse.