Are corporations people? And is it their birthright to buy elections?

Continuing our conversation from a few days ago on corporate personhood, I thought that I’d pass along this new video from Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig’s organization Fix Congress First. The piece is entitled, “Are corporations people?”

And, speaking of the stranglehold that corporations have on the American electorate, did you happen to see that our President seems to now be backtracking on his recent statements about Wall Street bonuses being “obscene” and “shameful”? Yup, it seems as though he’s had a change of heart. Now, according to the President, who spoke to the folks at Bloomburg News yesterday, he doesn’t “begrudge” the individuals who are receiving multi-million dollar bonuses. In his own words, it’s just “part of the free market system.” (And, clearly we wouldn’t want to interfere with the free market system… unless, of course, it’s to pour in billions of American tax-payer dollars.) The whole thing is disgusting, and one can only imagine the sudden change in position has to do with the upcoming 2010 elections, and garnering the support of Wall Street firms for Democrats… And, with that, I give you this clip from economist Paul Krugman:

…The planned overhaul of US financial rules prompted Standard & Poor’s to warn on Tuesday it might downgrade the credit ratings of Citigroup and Bank of America on concerns that the shake-up would make it less likely that the banks would be bailed out by US taxpayers if they ran into trouble again.

The point is that these bank executives are not free agents who are earning big bucks in fair competition; they run companies that are essentially wards of the state. There’s good reason to feel outraged at the growing appearance that we’re running a system of lemon socialism, in which losses are public but gains are private. And at the very least, you would think that Obama would understand the importance of acknowledging public anger over what’s happening.

But no. If the Bloomberg story is to be believed, Obama thinks his key to electoral success is to trumpet “the influence corporate leaders have had on his economic policies.”

We’re doomed.

If our generation had an ounce of gumption, and if we weren’t all scared shitless, we wouldn’t be reading blogs right now, but smashing windows… Mark my words, change is never going to happen, unless we the people start scaring them more than they scare us.

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  1. Brackinald Achery
    Posted February 10, 2010 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    Mark my words, change is never going to happen, unless we the people start scaring them more than they scare us.

    When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.

    You sure do love that Jefferson!

  2. Posted February 10, 2010 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, as far as slave-holding and fucking founding fathers go, he was one of the best.

  3. Kevin T
    Posted February 11, 2010 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Obama never fails to disappoint.

  4. KT
    Posted February 11, 2010 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Info on the Fair Elections Now Act:

    The bipartisan Fair Elections Now Act was offered last Congress, and was offered again this year by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Arlen Specter (R-PA), and Reps. John Larson (D-CT) and Walter Jones (R-NC).

    Under this legislation, congressional candidates who raise a threshold number of small-dollar donations would qualify for a chunk of funding—several hundred thousand dollars for House, millions for many Senate races. If they accept this funding, they can’t raise big-dollar donations. But they can raise contributions up to $100, which would be matched four to one by a central fund. Reduced fees for TV airtime is also an element of this bill. This would create an incentive for politicians to opt into this system and run people-powered campaigns.

  5. KT
    Posted February 11, 2010 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Get involved here:

  6. Curt Waugh
    Posted February 11, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    The reelection rate of incumbents is well over 90%, as high as 98% in the house in some years.

    Yeah, they’re so scared.

    Make no mistake, term limits are an abomination – as the Michigan legislature so clearly shows us. But this is ridiculous.

  7. kjc
    Posted February 11, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Moyers has libertarian journalist Nick Gillespie and liberal law professor Larry Lessig talking about Citizens United.

    gotta say i wasn’t impressed with either one of them.

  8. Ed
    Posted February 11, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the Moyers link. I’ll check it out tonight over dinner. (We’re having our traditional potato skins a few days late.)

    I also agree that term limits are bad. If we have good politicians who do a good job of looking after our interests, they should stay in office. The key, as Lessig says, is getting the money out. Money does win elections, and politicians aren’t doing our business when they’re chasing corporate donations. Lessig may have done a poor job with Bill, but he’s right about the Fair Elections Act.

  9. genericreg
    Posted February 12, 2010 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Until corporations can be sentenced to prison (or death?) for their criminal wrongdoings, they should not be given the same rights as those of us who have to stay on the straight and narrow. Wait a second – CEOs are in charge of corporations. CEOs get big bonuses for no work. Perhaps CEOs should get big bonuses for taking on the responsibility of prison (or death!) when their corporations destroy the country in the various ways that corporations do.

  10. Edwardo
    Posted February 12, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Permalink


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