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Posts Tagged ‘Corporations’

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I’m sitting here at my desk watching the oil droids hack away at the blowout preventer in preparation for the “cap” portion of the “cut and cap” procedure, which, contrary to what I’m hearing on cable news, is intended to do something other than stopping the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. In fact, this latest solution isn’t a solution for stopping the flow of oil at all. The oil will continue to gush from the well, only now BP will be able to more effectively harvest some of the oil — a more reliable version of what they were doing with the riser insertion tube for the better part of last month.

Good for them. So they can resume drinking their milkshake between now and August when, we hope, the relief well will be completed. At which time, corporate milkshake drinking will carry on via more conventional methods.

And why not? It’s the free market after all. As I watch these robots slice the riser from the blowout preventer and read the news about lakes of oil moving towards the coasts of Florida, I’m wondering who to blame for this. The list is long, but, in part, I blame anyone who bought into the lines: “government is the problem” and “the era of big government is over.” It’s been systematic deregulation and the elevation of free market libertarian laissez-faire capitalism that have wrought this damage and allowed potentially destructive corporations to write their own rules and do as they please.

Does anyone seriously believe that BP has suddenly become a philanthropic venture interested in doing whatever it takes — sparing no expense — to make the Gulf region whole again? It will do the absolute minimum necessary to weasel its way through this crisis. Not a red cent more.

Last week, while the “top kill” procedure was failing, BP continued its effort to fight regulations in Canada mandating relief wells for every offshore rig. Simultaneously, Rayola Dougher, a lobbyist with the American Petroleum Institute laughed off the notion of requiring relief wells here in America.

Dougher said on MSNBC, “That would be — that would really make it unviable [sic]. I couldn’t even imagine such a suggestion.” A relief well costs around $100 million. That would cut into revenues and so — nope.

This is one of many reasons why Robert Reich’s plan makes sense at this point. Temporary receivership. Despite the political peril involved in such an endeavor, the government should take over BP, its manpower and assets, and eliminate the corporate revenue motive from the capping and cleanup process. BP has proved itself incapable of tackling this job with the best interests of Gulf coast livelihoods and the marine environment in mind, and so they ought to lose their privileges to operate in the Gulf of Mexico for a while.

After all, the nature of any corporation is to mitigate losses and increase revenues. Keep the shareholders as happy as possible, spend the least amount of money necessary, hire the best lawyers to avoid paying punitive fines and get back to drilling and selling oil for profit. This is what corporations do.

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Bill Moyers: “Let’s Face It, Two Political Parties; Equal Opportunity Hypocrites”

Crooks & Liars- By Heather Saturday Feb 06, 2010 2:00pm

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Bill Moyers smacks the Democrats and Republicans for sucking up to corporate lobbyists at their retreats and Mitch McConnell for the hypocrisy of his statement on the Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court ruling.

BILL MOYERS: Everybody’s been talking about that Republican retreat last weekend, where President Obama engaged his opponents in a give and take. But what you may not know is that it was organized by something called the Congressional Institute. Nice highfalutin civic bunch, you might deduce from its name. Turns out the Congressional Institute is funded by corporate contributions and run by top Republican lobbyists. There are fourteen members on its board–twelve are registered lobbyists. And the contributors to the Congressional Institute read like a who’s who of corporate America. Among its benefactors have been General Motors, Lockheed Martin, Time Warner, UPS. The institute’s chairman lobbies for among others, Goldman Sachs, B.P., Health Net and AHIP. That’s the trade group for the health insurance industry that fought tooth and nail against the public option and brought the White House to its knees.

Now if any Democrats out there are gloating over this, I’m not finished. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee also had a cozy little retreat last weekend at a Ritz-Carlton resort in Miami Beach, which boasts “sumptuous marble baths,” a spa, and a two million dollar art collection. The website Politico.com reports that in addition to prominent Democratic senators there were plenty of representatives from industries the Democrats regularly attack when they wear their populist hat: the American Bankers Association, the tobacco giant Altria, the oil company Marathon, several drug manufacturers, and the defense contractor Lockheed Martin, as well as Heather and Tony Podesta — two of the biggest corporate spear carriers on K Street and two of the biggest Democrats in town. Very, very intimate. And very, very politically incestuous.

One final note: after the Supreme Court handed down its decision two weeks ago, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the leader of Senate Republicans, praised it from the senate floor. He dismissed the notion that the decision might allow a flood of foreign money to influence our elections. Now we learn from TalkingPointsMemo.com that Senator McConnell has received substantial funds from a subsidiary of a big foreign defense contractor that’s currently being investigated by the Justice Department for bribery. Senator McConnell has been quite good to that subsidiary — this year alone he’s requested seventeen million dollars in earmarks for its Louisville facility. Yes, the sun, and the dollar signs, shine bright in Senator McConnell’s old Kentucky home.

Let’s face it, two political parties; equal opportunity hypocrites.

That’s it for the Journal. Go to our website at PBS.org and click on Bill Moyers Journal. You can read Dr. Margaret Flowers’ letter. You’ll also learn how your state’s laws will be affected by the recent Supreme Court decision. We’ll also link you to websites where the debate rages on.

That’s all at PBS.org.

I’m Bill Moyers. And I’ll see you next time.

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If and when health care reform finally passes, we will have successfully ameliorated only half of the crisis. The treatment half. The next step has to be focused upon doing something about the poisoned filth we’ve collectively nicknamed “food.” Without any real changes in how our food is produced, the health care system will continue to bloat and fall apart. Not unlike the insides of an average American body.

Corporate agribusiness has invested nearly $1.2 billion (and growing) on lobbyists — more money than even the defense lobby. Naturally, much of this lobbying has been aimed at deregulating how food is processed and manufactured, as well as how corporate agribusinesses raise and process livestock. It’s an industry that’s entangled in everything from Big Tobacco to human trafficking and illegal immigration.

Most recently, and speaking of poisoned filth, you may have watched as Rick Berman was eviscerated by Rachel Maddow on MSNBC a few weeks ago. In case you missed it, Berman’s Center for Consumer Freedom is financed by corporate agribusiness, among others, and tasked with deceiving the public about everything from high fructose corn syrup to transfat, mercury levels in fish, obesity issues, food labels, and tobacco laws. CCF is all about confusing the public by muddying scientific fact and skewing the debate onto ridiculous tangents to the point where it’s difficult to tell the difference between what’s healthy and what’s crap. It’s Glenn Beck’s rodeo clown strategy applied to food.

The consequence for you and me, of course, is that the food is becoming increasingly toxic, both in terms of what goes into our bodies, and in terms of how deregulation and deception is hurting the economy. What good is health care reform if we’re still being fed poison? What good is an economic recovery if big business is still gaming the system?

Here’s a perfect example of what they’re getting away with. In Ohio next week, voters will be voting on a ballot measure known as Issue 2.

As I’m sure you’re aware — and I’ll spare you the gruesome videos — corporate farms maximize profit by packing as many animals into ridiculously tight spaces. Imagine being forced to live out your life in the equivalent of a high school gym locker. While confined and unable to move, the animals are injected with a variety of hormones, antibiotics and other medications. Medications designed for animals, not humans. They’re force-fed grains laced with pesticides and other chemicals. And when they’re not eating chemically-tainted grain, they’re often fed the remains of other animals — old or sick animals that aren’t shoved through the system and turned into food for humans (we often share food with, you know, our food). The list of atrocities is lengthy, but the end result is that a variety of unhealthy, possibly deadly toxins and diseases wind up, unannounced, on our mouths.

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