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Friday, 22 January 2010 01:25

Answer to Supreme Court Corporate Control of Politics Decision: We are, Together, the Change

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By Mark Karlin

Take a tip from Gandhi if you are feeling dismayed and helpless by the 5-4 Supreme Court decision to officially let corporations buy candidates and elections: We are the change.

We thought that by voting for Barack Obama, the lobbyists, big banks, and corporations that pull the strings on Capitol Hill would be given the boot, but instead they got a warm embrace and a couple trillion of our tax dollars.

As we know on BuzzFlash, progressives are caught in a heated bout of infighting, while Republicans with a lopsided minority on Capitol Hill run the place as if they are the majority party, while feeding propaganda to the masses that they are pickpocketing -- and claiming that the calamity we face (because of past GOP rule) is all due to "liberals."

Dick Durbin, Assistant Majority Leader in the Senate, said a few months back that the banks control Capitol Hill. And so do the global corporations, such as EXXON/Mobil that last year recorded the highest quarterly profit in history.

Thom Hartmann, our colleague and friend, wrote the definitive book on corporate personhood and governance, "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," and we've interviewed him on BuzzFlash about the topic, and talked informally several times.

It's hard for many Americans to understand how we arrived at a Supreme Court decision (with the politically charged 5-4 split), because the subject of corporate governance appears so abstract and distant to many Americans.  It's like carbon monoxide: you don't necessarily see it in action on corporate-owned TV, but it's toxic just the same.

The reality is that America is trillions of dollars in debt and the corporations have ready cash to control the politicians; the global corporations are in much better financial shape than most nations (except for China perhaps), and the sovereign countries have become largely subservient not to the will of the people, but to the will of multi-national corporations.  Look at Wal-Mart; they are practically our State Department in "Communist" China.

Chief Justice Roberts has a 100% voting record in favor of corporations.  That is an institutional structure he reveres, as compared to the will of the people. If ever there were an oppressive force afoot in America, it's not the government; it's the corporations that we perpetuate by spending our consumer dollars on their products, most of which we don't need.  We, through our dollars, give them and the big banks their power.

That's one major reason BuzzFlash has struggled to develop a Progressive Marketplace to slowly develop an alternative economy that supports progressive economic and social justice and celebrates progressive culture.  Not all our products yet meet that goal because we need more readers to move from purchasing from big corporations to buying liberally, supporting progressive small publishing houses, start-up eco-companies, and Fair Trade (living wage) organizations.  We're still selling many things from major publishers, because we have to survive -- and the short-term outlook is very tough. But our goal is to work in collaboration with our readers to have progressive "non-big-corporate-buying" support progressive journalism and advocacy.  That is why BuzzFlash is advertising free. We are a unique 10-year-old model that survives on borrowing, grit, and stomach acid.

With progressive media like Air America ceasing operations, it is all the more important for liberals to stop thinking that media sponsored by corporate advertising means that there is no need to financially support non-corporate (and no advertising) progressive media.  Remember, the corporations receive their power from us, in the form of the money we spend on their products and the profits that result from that consumer behavior.

BuzzFlash has been offering an alternative for 10 years. It's been a constant, ulcer-inducing struggle.  Most progressive sites have already turned to corporate advertising -- with one major progressive site marketing their name-branded "affinity" credit cards! -- and you can believe corporations wouldn't be paying for those ads if they didn't lure buyers in or add luster to their brand.

The Supreme Court decision of January 21st is a direct outcome of a legal decision out of California in the latter part of the 1800s.  Hartmann does a brilliant job of tracing the noxious impact on democracy of giving corporations the rights of people.

I read in a commentary the other day that the White House should stop thinking about "right" vs. "left" divisive terminology.  What we the people want to simply know is "whose side are you on?"

We know whose side the Republican justices of the Supreme Court are on, and it's the side of global corporate governance.

We the people must rise up and reclaim our democracy. We must reclaim it from the grassroots.