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Corporate Corruption (21)
CCFC members all over the country are organizing local screenings of Consuming Kids. A screening is the perfect way to raise awarenss about the commercialization of childhood and to connect with other local parents and activists. To find out how you can host or attend a screening, please visit http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/events/consumingkids.html
By Brooke Jarvis
What’s the issue that unites the occupiers and the city they’re occupying? Getting corporate money out of politics.
On December 3, just two days before Occupy L.A. was evicted by police, the General Assembly of the occupation passed a unanimous resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to end corporate personhood.
Today, the City Council of Los Angeles also voted, also unanimously, for a resolution making the same appeal.
So what’s this issue that's uniting occupiers and the city they’re occupying? Corporate personhood is the legal concept that underpins rulings like the Supreme Court's 2010 decision in Citizens United v the Federal Election Commission; it means that corporations are considered people under the law, with the constitutional right of free speech. Since the courts have also defined money as constitutionally protected speech, the upshot is that corporations are empowered to spend unlimited amounts of money trying to influence the political process.
In order to reverse Citizens United—and a long line of other rulings supporting corporate rights over human ones—the resolutions passed by Los Angeles and Occupy L.A. call for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution clearly stating that corporations are not people and money is not speech.
It’s little surprise that Occupy, a movement that wants our nation’s decisions to be made by the 99% instead of the 1%, supports a constitutional fix for the problem of corporate influence on politics. In its first official statement, the flagship occupation in New York’s Zuccotti Park declared, “no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power.” The assembly included in a list of grievances the fact that corporations “have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.” Other Occupy sites have also called for constitutional checks on corporate power, and slogans calling for the end of corporate personhood and the overruling of Citizens United are common sights on protesters’ signs.
By Matt Taibbi
Rolling Stone Magazine
Have been meaning to write about this, but I’m increasingly amazed at the overall lack of an uproar about the possibility of the government approving another corporate tax repatriation holiday.
I’ve been in and out of DC a few times in recent weeks and one thing I keep hearing is that there is a growing, and real, possibility that a second “one-time tax holiday” will be approved for corporations as part of whatever sordid deal emerges from the debt-ceiling negotiations.
I passed it off as a bad joke when I first saw news of this a few weeks ago, when it was reported that Wall Street whipping boy Chuck Schumer was seriously considering the idea. Then I read later on that other Senators were jumping on the bandwagon, including North Carolina’s Kay Hagan.
This is what Hagan’s spokesperson said:
Senator Hagan is looking closely at any creative, short-term measures that can get bipartisan support and put people back to work. One such potential initiative is a well-crafted and temporary change to the tax code that encourages American companies to bring money home and put it towards capital, investment, and–most importantly–American jobs.
For those who don’t know about it, tax repatriation is one of the all-time long cons and also one of the most supremely evil achievements of the Washington lobbying community, which has perhaps told more shameless lies about this one topic than about any other in modern history – which is saying a lot, considering the many absurd things that are said and done by lobbyists in our nation’s capital.
Company is arguably the most masterful at limiting how much it pays
By David Kocieniewski
New York Times
General Electric, the nation’s largest corporation, had a very good year in 2010.
The company reported worldwide profits of $14.2 billion, and said $5.1 billion of the total came from its operations in the United States.
Its American tax bill? None. In fact, G.E. claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion.
That may be hard to fathom for the millions of American business owners and households now preparing their own returns, but low taxes are nothing new for G.E. The company has been cutting the percentage of its American profits paid to the Internal Revenue Service for years, resulting in a far lower rate than at most multinational companies.
Its extraordinary success is based on an aggressive strategy that mixes fierce lobbying for tax breaks and innovative accounting that enables it to concentrate its profits offshore. G.E.’s giant tax department, led by a bespectacled, bow-tied former Treasury official named John Samuels, is often referred to as the world’s best tax law firm. Indeed, the company’s slogan “Imagination at Work” fits this department well. The team includes former officials not just from the Treasury, but also from the I.R.S. and virtually all the tax-writing committees in Congress.
While General Electric is one of the most skilled at reducing its tax burden, many other companies have become better at this as well. Although the top corporate tax rate in the United States is 35 percent, one of the highest in the world, companies have been increasingly using a maze of shelters, tax credits and subsidies to pay far less.
People Giant Corporations of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union Pig Trough, establish Justice Perpetual Bailouts, insure domestic Tranquility Passivity, provide for the common defence Bewilderment, promote the general Welfare Sense of Cynicism and Helplessness, and secure the Blessings of Liberty Socialism for the Rich to ourselves and our Posterity Key Executives, do ordain and establish this Constitution Version 2.0 for the United States of America ...
Of the banks, by the banks and for the banks.
On a related note, a reader sent me the following:
If the Declaration were written today, how would Jefferson phrase it? A reader speculates . . .
TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES:
CONCERNING THE RIGHTS OF THE PEOPLE OF THE
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for the people to renounce the political bands which have connected them with their government, and to reclaim among the powers of the earth, the equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to that renunciation.
By Lynn Thomasson and Michael Tsang
Executives at U.S. companies are taking advantage of the biggest stock-market rally in 71 years to sell their shares at the fastest pace since credit markets started to seize up two years ago.
Insiders of Standard & Poor’s 500 Index companies were net sellers for 14 straight weeks as the gauge rose 36 percent, data compiled by InsiderScore.com show. Amgen Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Sharer and five other officials sold $8.2 million of stock. Christopher Donahue, the CEO of Federated Investors Inc., and his brother, Chief Financial Officer Thomas Donahue, offered the most in three years.
Sales by CEOs, directors and senior officers have accelerated to the highest level since June 2007, two months before credit markets froze, as the S&P 500 rebounded from its 12-year low in March. The increase is making investors more skittish because executives presumably have the best information about their companies’ prospects.
George Washington's Blog
Huffington Post notes:
A state judge on Thursday ordered former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy to pay nearly $2.9 billion to shareholders who sued over a massive accounting fraud that nearly sent the rehabilitation chain into bankruptcy.The judgment is very good for America.
Because the current incentive for high-level corporate people is to commit fraud. Even if they are caught and go to jail, they'll be rich when they get out.
Hitting the crooks in the wallet is the only thing which will motivate people not to rip off their shareholders, the taxpayers and the American treasury.
As Paul Volcker says, the incentive systems at financial firms are broken.
Faking results and omitting inconvenient truths in scientific research is more widespread than originally thought, a study suggests.
By Richard Alleyne
More than two-thirds of researchers said they knew of colleagues who had committed "questionable" practices and one in seven said that included inventing findings.
But when scientists were asked about their own behaviour only two per cent admitted to having faked results.
By Greg Palast
Screw the autoworkers.
They may be crying about General Motors' bankruptcy today. But dumping 40,000 of the last 60,000 union jobs into a mass grave won't spoil Jamie Dimon's day.
Dimon is the CEO of JP Morgan Chase bank. While GM workers are losing their retirement health benefits, their jobs, their life savings; while shareholders are getting zilch and many creditors getting hosed, a few privileged GM lenders – led by Morgan and Citibank – expect to get back 100% of their loans to GM, a stunning $6 billion.
The way these banks are getting their $6 billion bonanza is stone cold illegal.
I smell a rat.
Stevie the Rat, to be precise. Steven Rattner, Barack Obama's 'Car Czar' - the man who essentially ordered GM into bankruptcy this morning.
March 31, 2009
This is a revealing film about how the people who own and control corporations use their wealth and power to get whatever they want, regardless of the damage to society or human life as a whole. It's all about power and money and everything else be damned. Fact is over 100 million people are on psychotropic pharmaceuticals and it's no accident! Learn what is behind the whole sick reality.
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