Hobby Lobby – a Case of Corporate Rights vs. Human Rights

The Hobby Lobby ruling by the Supreme Court today is illustrative of just how urgently we need to pass the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution as well as an amendment to abolish corporate “personhood” and money as “speech.” This ruling graphically displays the need for these two constitutional amendments as it empowers corporations’ so-called “personhood” while ignoring the actual personhood of 51% (!) of the population. It demonstrates how far the current court is willing to go to enshrine corporate constitutional rights while emboldening religious fanatics and stomping on the human rights of women. It is the perfect example of religious oppression and tyranny masquerading as religious “freedom” and the corporate 1% using any excuse to minimize costs and maximize profits.

The radical religious right has infested the Supreme Court in addition to Congress in the persons of particularly Samuel Alito, who wrote the majority opinion, and Antonin Scalia, who in turn were enabled by the other right-wing male members of the court. What is unbelievable is that the anti-abortion fanatics like Hobby Lobby have now gone after birth control, revealing their hypocrisy regarding abortion given the fact that birth control prevents abortions, which is no surprise to those of us who have always known their agenda. They are not the least bit interested in “life,” caring nothing for the lives of women, only feigning angst for non-viable zygotes, gametes, and fetuses because what they are actually interested in is invading and negating women’s bodily sovereignty, privacy, autonomy, and agency so that women have no freedom or control over their lives.

The attitude of fundamentalist fanatics is not only sexist, but male supremacist; women are seen as nothing more than sexual commodities, brood mares and chattel whose bodies are property to be allocated and controlled. These Christian fascists think they have the right to dictate to women their most intimate decisions about their bodies and their sexuality, an outrageous discrimination against only females as women are the only persons who use prescription birth control or need abortions and because procedures like vasectomies for men are not excluded. Their goal of female enslavement and bondage through forced childbearing is abundantly clear.

As Ginsburg warns, this decision will be applied broadly and open the floodgates for corporations to claim all kinds of exceptions to abiding by the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, whether it be certain procedures such as pap smears, mammograms, or even denying women equal pay. If it’s ok to discriminate against women in one way, why wouldn’t it be in another? This is just the beginning in terms of lawsuits to give corporate “persons” the right to openly discriminate against real female persons, an expansion of rights for artificial entities stolen from our Bill of Rights intended for natural persons, and these kinds of rulings will continue until we pass a 28th and a 29th amendment to the Constitution to end discrimination based on sex and to end corporate personhood and money as speech.

NOW, AAUW, and PDA are among the groups working for the passage of the ERA.  To speak out about Hobby Lobby, go to:

Undo Hobby Lobby!  and #JointheDissent on Twitter.

For more info see:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/01/us/hobby-lobby-case-supreme-court-contraception.html?_r=0

http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/10-blistering-highlights-justice-ruth-bader-ginsburgs-hobby-lobby-dissent?akid=11975.950734.0rtxF9&rd=1&src=newsletter1008624&t=5

Net Neutrality: A First Amendment Right

Net Neutrality is a First Amendment right issue and fundamental to a democracy that is supposed to be of the PEOPLE, by the PEOPLE, and for the PEOPLE.  We cannot allow the FCC to adopt rules that allow corporations to exercise ever more control by imposing a “pay to play” mentality on Internet use.  If the new pay-for-priority rules are allowed to stand, it will allow Internet Service Providers to discriminate against smaller users, impose new fees, and even proscribe content.See: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/15/fcc-net-neutrality_n_5331278.html and http://www.salon.com/2014/05/15/fcc_passes_proposal_to_create_rules_on_net_neutrality_in_a_3_2_vote/

It may surprise some to know that it is the DEMOCRATS on the FCC who, while questioning the repercussions and noting the public outcry, have voted for this rule.  We are living in an ever more Kafkaesque world where what actually is true is the opposite of what appears to be true. While proclaiming his support of Net Neutrality, President Obama appoints a former telecom lobbyist to the FCC, who in turn vows to protect Net Neutrality, while doing precisely the opposite.This dark irony is intensified by the fact that Wheeler replaces the former FCC Chair, Michael Powell (a Clinton appointee), who now works for NCTA (National Cable & Telecommunications Association) in a corporate/governmental revolving door so typical of corrupt Washington politics.

The FCC ruling is another clear expansion of corporate rule and related to the abuse of the Bill of Rights by the application of the fallacious legal doctrines of corporate “personhood” and money as “speech.”  If net neutrality is destroyed, we lose our last bastion of free speech and free press:  the free and open Internet.  We must not allow this to happen.  In order to have true Net Neutrality, broadband needs to be reclassified as telecommunications and the Internet as a public utility so it may be appropriately regulated and big cable and telecom companies don’t monopolize and control it.

It’s Time to Defend Net Neutrality: Tell the FCC What you Think of its Proposed Regulations

Stop the Secrecy!

Legalize Democracy!

Move-to-Amend’s “Legalize Democracy” video now can be seen on YouTube. Watch it to learn the history of why we are in the situation we are in with regard to corporate rule and the subversion of our democracy at: http://youtu.be/O2-q-RBiWhk

We CAN and we WILL pass a constitutional amendment to abolish corporate “personhood” and money as “speech!”

BREAKING NEWS: Wikileaks Leaks the TPP Environmental Chapter!

Today in the wee hours of the morning Wikileaks leaked the text of the environmental chapter of the ultra-secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership.  It is every bit as bad as expected, allowing corporations to exploit and degrade natural resources without consequence.  See: 

http://wikileaks.org/tpp-enviro/

The Sierra Club, World Wildlife Fund, and the Natural Resources Defense Council have analyzed it.  For their analysis, see:

TPP Environmental Chapter Analysis

We reiterate our opposition to the TPP and to FAST TRACK legislation, which has now been introduced into the Senate (S 1900) and the House (HR 3830).   Congress has constitutional authority over trade agreements and Fast Track is an attempt by the executive branch to evade Congressional oversight and is a subversion of the democratic process and a nullification of checks and balances put into place by Hamilton in order to avoid just this type of scenario.

We ask everyone to call her or his congress member at 202/225-3121 and OPPOSE FAST TRACK!  Also go to:  http://www.stopfasttrack.com/

New York Times and the Guardian Calling for Clemency for Snowden

Both the Guardian  and the New York Times published editorials this week calling for Obama to offer Snowden clemency! (See also the Huffington Post for a good synopsis). This is much-heralded news by the activist community for whom Snowden has become a cause celebre for civil liberties and right to privacy and for much of the public who recognize him as a whistleblower and consider him a hero and a patriot.

Snowden’s revelations have resulted in extensive outrage and worldwide demonstrations and have brought the issue of the surveillance state into the light of day so that it can finally be examined and debated by the public.  We at OCV are very grateful to him for this selfless act.  Our position is that Snowden not only did our nation and the world an incredible service, and that he not only should not be charged with a crime, he should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, earning it far more than Barack Obama, and that his leaking of governmental and corporate malfeasance in the face of such personal risk reveals his principled character and high-minded motives. This stands in stark contrast to the utter lack of scruples evidenced by NSA officials such as James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, who told bold-faced lies to Congress, denying what we now know to be true:  that we have been subjected to widespread surveillance that has vacuumed up all manner of electronic data on all Americans and that heads of state, allies, and foreign governments have been spied upon as well.

Exposing intrusive, unconstitutional, and even criminal activity of renegade agencies and corporations SHOULD NOT BE A CRIME, nor should these entities be able to operate in secret, while citizens have no privacy.  This is a reversal of the way a democratic society should function, where the citizenry have a constitutional right to privacy while the government has a duty to be transparent and open. But surveillance is a given in a country whose democracy has been subverted as has ours by corporate interests like Booz Allen Hamilton  who receive government contracts for cybersecurity and whose personnel are cycled through the Washington revolving door and are essentially getting corporate welfare to spy on the very citizens who pay the taxes that pay their salaries.

Chris Hedges, who formerly reported for the New York Times as an investigative reporter, calls an ultra-secret government run by Wall Street and the corporate criminal class an inverse totalitarian state in his book, “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt,” as we are now living in a country where the corporate world is running the government, enabled by a Supreme Court which has ruled corporations are “persons” and money is “speech.”

From Wikipedia:

“In Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt  by Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco, inverted totalitarianism is described as a system where corporations have corrupted and subverted democracy and where economics trumps politics. In inverted totalitarianism, every natural resource and every living being is commodified and exploited to collapse and the citizenry are lulled and manipulated into surrendering their liberties and their participation in their government by excess consumerism and sensationalism.”

Much has been made of the recent brouhaha tech giants Google, Microsoft, Apple, and others have made of the back-door penetration of their networks by the surveillance state (see Tech Industry Leaders Recent Meeting with Obama), but this is mere posturing, as their interest is in their bottom line, certainly not the privacy of consumers or users of the Internet and their products. Google has been building psychological profiles of its users for some time: http://www.alternet.org/google-using-gmail-build-psychological-profiles-hundreds-millions-people and there is Hidden Corporate Cash Behind America’s Out-of-Control National Surveillance State .

Chris Hedges was let go from the New York Times because of his unswerving devotion to reporting the truth and we sincerely hope that this editorial is a sign that the New York Times is becoming more willing to risk speaking truth to power and covering issues important to the 99%.  It is our fervent wish that Snowden’s revelations continue to cause a ripple effect throughout all levels of our society and that it results in government and corporate surveillance being heavily curtailed and monitored so that we can again live in a freer, democratic state wherein our civil liberties and right to privacy are respected as inviolable human rights.

BREAKING NEWS – MORE TPP LEAKS!

Just yesterday, Wikileaks again released secretive TPP text from the Salt Lake City talks.  See:

http://wikileaks.org/Second-release-of-secret-Trans.html

After four long years of secrecy and arm-twisting in TPP “negotiations” (more like bullying), the US Trade Representative in league with corporate elite is attempting to coerce other nations to sign against their own national interests for the benefit of the 1%!  Congress needs to assert its authority and end this global debacle.

Tell Congress4Years Is Enough!

How Does the Corporation Offend Thee? Let Me Count the Ways

The country is in a terrible state and we activists are run ragged trying to deal with endless permutations of corporate abuse and government corruption, running around like the proverbial headless chicken after all the assaults on our civil liberties, human rights, the environment, workers’ rights, the social safety net, women’s rights, a free and open Internet, and on and on.  There is, however, one overarching source of these problems which encompasses all the others, ties them together, and once one understands its significance, explains what otherwise would be an overwhelming array of separate, disparate, insoluble predicaments over which we might throw up our hands in despair.

Regardless of the concern, all of them are traceable back to the corporate “personhood” abuse of our system and subversion of our democracy.  Take any issue you like from foreign policy to food production and we can see how the corporate world has monopolized and controlled it for the purpose of amassing enormous wealth at the rest of our expense.  How has it managed to do this? By utilizing the misbegotten legal doctrines of corporate “personhood” and money as “speech” that came in through the back door by way of the Supreme Court’s being taken over by some old corporate attorneys back in 1886.  This precedent, set by what was actually a clerk’s summation of the Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad case, has been wreaking havoc ever since.

Let me give you an example.  Pretend for a moment that you are a poor, beleaguered billionaire who owns a pharmaceutical company and say you have this nifty new drug you want to foist on the public and there are all these pesky regulations that require you to actually test it first to make sure that it doesn’t cause birth defects, cancer, or premature death.  What do you do?

Well rather than wring your hands in desperate frustration, you get to work and go out and lobby congress, bribe some politicians, buy a few elections in key districts, gobble up some tv stations and start disseminating disinformation about how safe and wonderful and life-enhancing it is, place some corporate shills in some key agencies like the FDA, get a few judges in your pocket, corrupt some research, patent some human genomes, challenge whatever laws or regulations may be on the books or slipped through congress that are cramping your go-getter, capitalist style and go to court under the commerce clause and argue that your “right” to make obscene profits off of people’s suffering is being hampered, and voila, you’ve got your drug approved!

If all of that doesn’t work, go to court on the basis of corporate “personhood” and argue that your “rights” under the Bill of Rights have been infringed upon and that you should be compensated by the taxpayers for all your pain and suffering at outrageously being required to actually do business legitimately!  That will show those do-gooders and bleeding hearts that corporations are people too and your feelings are mightily hurt!

Now if we actually had a free press rather than a corporate-owned press, journalists could challenge this kind of propaganda and corruption, but once again, because of corporate rule and undue influence allowing them to dictate and even write many laws, impact policies of government agencies, not pay taxes, get government subsidies (i.e. corporate welfare) so they can amass billions, these corporations, owned by the 1%, can buy up all the news media they like and monopolize the message and go to court endlessly and challenge every law, regulation, and restriction until they get what they want. Case in point:  the Koch Bros. are trying to buy the Tribune now (in addition to elections and politicians).  As if Rupert Murdoch controlling the flow of information were not enough!

The corporation has been allowed to run amok, enabled by an increasingly corrupt government, becoming so enmeshed, that more and more the corporate world and government are indistinguishable from one another. In addition, the press has been taken over by the 1% and commandeered to be nothing more than corporate copywriters dispensing its pre-approved messaging, rather than doing its job of challenging and exposing this merger and sabotage of our democratic process.

Corporate “personhood” is the root cause of how nothing is working any more, like it did when FDR was President for instance, because it is a cancer that has metastasized throughout our entire political system and mortally infected it by eliminating all the safeguards and checks and balances on the abuse of power.  It is as if the immune system has been disabled so that there is no longer any effective response to the opportunistic disease of corruption–a system that was previously capable of throwing off illness is no longer healthy enough to do so.

The patient has succumbed and is in its death throes unless we intervene and pass a Constitutional amendment to restore our democracy by excising corporate “personhood” and money as “speech,” the only remedy to this dire situation.  We can no longer afford to offer the patient palliative relief by chasing symptom after symptom (though that billionaire big pharma owner would love us to do so).  We must go for the all-out cure because democracy is all-but-dead and our Constitutionally-protected right to a government of, by, and for the PEOPLE, not the CORPORATION, is null and void if we do not.

There may be a plethora of problems, but fortunately the solution is elegantly simple:  stop chasing the symptoms and attack the root cause of corporate “personhood.”

“We the People Amendment” (House Joint Resolution 29) Introduced Today by Congressman Rick Nolan

Wisconsin Representative Rick Nolan introduced House Joint Resolution 29 today, for which Move-to-Amend has been garnering grassroots support  over many years.  The “We the People Amendment” is a simple, clear, unequivocal statement that corporations are not “persons” and money is not “speech,” in alignment with the intent of the U. S. Constitution, which does not recognize corporate “rights,” assigning rights only to human persons. Indeed, the Constitution does not even mention corporations and the framers were very aware of the abuses that could be done by corporations, instruments then of the 1% as they are today; hence their conspicuous absence from the founding documents.

Because of the 1886 Supreme Court clerk’s decision to include the misbegotten concept of corporate “personhood” in the header of the Southern Pacific Railroad v. Santa Clara County decision, we have been subjected to 127 years of corporate abuse of our Bill of Rights, as they have claimed first, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and 14th amendment rights in order to subvert our democracy and circumvent laws passed for the protection of the rights and freedoms of the citizenry.  We must reclaim our fundamental, sovereign, exclusive Constitutional rights and end corporate rule.  Call your congressperson today and urge him or her to vote for the “We the People Amendment”!!  For more information, go to:

https://movetoamend.org/wethepeopleamendment