15 Mar

Truth Out Today, March 15, 2011

Tuesday 15 March 2011

Unequal Protection, Part I: Corporations Take Over
Thom Hartmann, Berrett-Kohler Publishers: “In 2003, when the first edition of this book came out, I was invited to address about two hundred students and faculty at a New England law school. I asked for a show of hands ‘among those of you who know that in 1886 in the Santa Clara County versus Southern Pacific Railroad case, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that corporations were entitled to constitutional rights?’ Every hand in the room went up. (And then they got an earful.)”
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Class Warfare, the Final Chapter
Michael Pirsch, Truthout: “There is overwhelming evidence that we are entering the final chapter of class warfare in the US. Today, in the ‘public arena,’ it is forbidden to say class warfare, and many citizens do not regard themselves as working class. The assault on language comes compliments of the propaganda apparatus, which includes: public relations, marketing, corporate media and the entertainment industry, universities, think tanks and so on. Its purpose is to distract our attention from serious matters so we can focus on trivial matters – usually involving consuming.”
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Japan Confronts Multiple Crises as Death Toll Rises
David Jolly and Mark McDonald, The New York Times News Service: “The threat of radiation exposure from a deepening crisis at Japan’s stricken nuclear plants intensified the dislocation and fear sweeping the nation. The third reactor blast in four days on Tuesday morning at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Station pushed up radiation levels in the air over Tokyo, where some residents made plans to leave the city while others began to buy and stockpile food, water, candles and batteries. Shelves at grocery stores were stripped bare. Prime Minister Naoto Kan went on national television to implore people not to panic. The government ordered all 47 prefectures in Japan to begin making radiation-level test results public twice daily and to alert national authorities quickly if they detect elevated levels.”
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Truthout’s Yana Kunichoff on Democracy Now!: “Bahrain Is No Longer an Independent Country”
Democracy Now!: Interview with Truthout’s Yana Kunichoff on the ground in Bahrain discussing the protests.
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Comparative Suffering: Iceland vs. Ireland
Paul Krugman, Krugman & Co.: “Given the wild excesses Iceland’s bankers indulged in a few years ago, how many people thought that a real G.D.P. comparison of Iceland, Ireland and the Baltic nations today would look like this?”
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Will General Electric Get Whacked for the Catastrophic Failure of Its Nuke Plants in Fukushima?
Dave Lindorff, This Can’t Be Happening: “GE, the company that boasts that it ‘brings good things to life,’ was the designer of the nuclear plants that are blowing up like hot popcorn kernels at the Fukushima Dai-ichi generating plant north of Tokyo that was hit by the double-whammy of an 9.1 earthquake and a huge tsunami.”
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News in Brief: Iowa Considers Criminalizing Undercover Videos of Farm Animal Abuse, and More …
Iowa lawmakers want to criminalize videos of animal abuse; Japan’s greatest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl; South Sudan leaders claim northern government trying to install puppet government; and more …
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Nick Turse | How the Tiny Kingdom of Bahrain Strong-Armed the President of the United States
Nick Turse, TomDispatch: “The unmistakable crack-crack-crack of gunfire then erupted, and most of the men scattered. Most, but not all. Video footage shows three who never made it off the blacktop. One in an aqua shirt and dark track pants was unmistakably shot in the head. In the time it takes for the camera to pan from his body to the armored vehicles and back, he’s visibly lost a large amount of blood. Human Rights Watch would later report that Redha Bu Hameed died of a gunshot wound to the head.”
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Japan Bracing for Nuclear Meltdown
Suvendrini Kakuchi, Inter Press Service: “Desperate efforts by the government to avoid the looming nightmare of a nuclear meltdown in tsunami damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plants, 240 kilometres north of Tokyo, have brought no relief to the public who face the possibility of another explosion that could spew deadly radiation across the country.”
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Eugene Robinson | Nuclear Power, on the Brink
Eugene Robinson: “Nuclear power was beginning to look like a panacea – a way to lessen our dependence on oil, make our energy supply more self-sufficient and significantly mitigate global warming, all at the same time. Now it looks more like a bargain with the devil…. The cascading sequence of system failures, partial meltdowns and hydrogen explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was touched off by a once-in-a-lifetime event: the most powerful earthquake in Japan’s recorded history, which triggered a tsunami of unimaginable destructive force. It is also true that the Fukushima reactors are of an older design, and that it is possible to engineer nuclear plants that would never suffer similar breakdowns. But it is also true that there is no such thing as a fail-safe system. Stuff happens.”
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Massive Protest in Wisconsin Shows Walker’s Overreach
Lindsay Beyerstein, The Media Consortium: “About 100,000 people gathered in Madison, Wisconsin to protest Gov. Scott Walker’s new anti-collective bargaining law. The state Senate hurriedly passed the bill without a quorum last Wednesday.”
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Salary Ceiling, a Lever for Change
Herve Kempf, Mouvements (Translation by Leslie Thatcher): Herve Kempf writes about a new old idea slowly making headway in European Left political circles – the maximum allowable income (MAI). He quotes expert Patrick Viveret, “In a society where the sole scope for the imagination is imagining having and owning, the MAI is perceived as a restriction on freedom. A real campaign is necessary to convince people of its utility: first of all, it must be shown that there is already a ceiling on income for the vast majority of the population.”
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The New Normal
Award wining cartoonist, Clay Bennett, looks at our new normal state.
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The Tsunami of Lies About Nuclear Power
Read the Article at BuzzFlash

Anonymous Hackers Release Bank of America Emails
Read the Article at The Guardian UK

Sen. Bernie Sanders: Deficit Reduction Requires Shared Sacrifice
Read the Article at BuzzFlash

Red Alert: Radiation Rising and Heading South in Japan
Read the Article at Stratfor

Al Franken: “They’re Coming After the Internet”
Read the Article at Politico

Letter to My Fellow Michiganders
Read the Article at

Corporate Profit Margins at 18-Year High Signal Bigger Dividends
Read the Article at the San Francisco Chronicle

Click here for more BuzzFlash headlines

The real battle that Wisconsin represents is who is going to control government in America: corporations or people?

That is why BuzzFlash called attention to a Guardian UK article yesterday with the headline: “Scott Walker’s real agenda in Wisconsin: The Republican governor’s budget plan would open the state up to a corporate-asset grab not seen since robber baron capitalism.”

So, it’s no surprise that the San Francisco Chronicle on Sunday reported, “Record earnings fueled by the highest profit margins since 1993 are giving executives more leeway than ever to boost dividends as the bull market enters its third year.”

If corporations need tax breaks to generate jobs, then why are they not creating a large number of jobs in the US when they are announcing record profits? That is because the purpose of corporations, as we have mentioned before, is to increase profits and disburse them to senior staff and shareholders, not to bolster employment.

In order to accomplish this goal, corporations need to control government laws and regulations. One strategy that they have used to successfully accomplish this goal is bullying through a sense of legal entitlement called corporate personhood. This has ramifications far beyond the devastating electoral impact of the Supreme Court Citizens United decision.

Literally, no author in America knows more about the evolution of the concept of corporate personhood in the United States than Thom Hartmann.

Truthout/BuzzFlash is extraordinarily proud to be running weekly installments of Hartmann’s prescient book: “Unequal Protection: How Corporations Became ‘People’ – and How You Can Fight Back.” Receive it with a minimum contribution to Truthout/BuzzFlash or read the weekly installments.

If you want people to decide the direction of our democracy, instead of corporations, then “Unequal Protection” is the book to read.

Mark Karlin
Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout

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