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Corporate Fascism

Occupy Wall Street could actually use a demand that is straight-forward and would have broad support. Accomplishing this would give the OWS movement credibility and moral connectivity. The demand should be one that is concrete and would advance the OWS agenda while morally isolating its opponents. The best demand for this purpose would be:

A constitutional amendment that would eliminate any of the benefits of the Bill of Rights from accruing to corporations, and simply state that the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights only accrue to natural born persons is exactly the kind of demand that OWS needs to make.  It is a simple demand, and one that, if acted upon would dramatically change the political landscape by allowing all kinds of limits on corporations.  Such an action is a precondition for dismantling incipient corporate fascism before it takes root.

Any one who opposed that would so clearly isolated themselves that they would be committing political suicide. Also, such an amendment would have concrete results, for example, overturning Citizens United.

I like the catchy name Demand Zero, too.

So much for power to the people.  Seems like it is power to the biggest corporations:

BitTorrent Case Judge Is a Former RIAA Lobbyist and Pirate Chaser

Less than a week after her investiture ceremony, U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell laid down a landmark verdict that will make it easy for copyright holders to send cash demands to people they suspect of copyright infringement. Many people called the decision into doubt, and the revelation that Judge Howell previously worked as an RIAA lobbyist and as the Managing Director of a pirate-chasing outfit hints at a conflict of interest.

Last week, the freshly appointed U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell gave copyright holders carte blanche to continue their profitable settlement schemes. This verdict weakens the position of thousands of alleged BitTorrent users, some of whom may be completely innocent.

Despite opposition from ISPs and consumer rights groups who described the tactics as “extortion,” Howell decided in favor of the copyright holders. An extremely unfortunate precedent to say the least, and this is confirmed by lawyer Robert Cashman who represents several defendants in similar cases.

I couldn’t have said it better myself, William Greider writing in The Nation::

The End of New Deal Liberalism
William Greider
January 5, 2011

Political events of the past two years have delivered a more profound and devastating message: American democracy has been conclusively conquered by American capitalism. Government has been disabled or captured by the formidable powers of private enterprise and concentrated wealth. Self-governing rights that representative democracy conferred on citizens are now usurped by the overbearing demands of corporate and financial interests. Collectively, the corporate sector has its arms around both political parties, the financing of political careers, the production of the policy agendas and propaganda of influential think tanks, and control of most major media.

OK so US corporations are hiring the same firm that massacred civilians in Iraq. Apparently, Monsanto likes firms that kill unarmed civilians. Why is that?

Jeremy Scahill reports in the latest issue of The Nation that subsidiaries of the mercenary firm Blackwater were hired by biotech giant Monsanto spy on animal rights and environmental activists.

Documents uncovered by Scahill are a chilling reflection of the overlap between so-called “domestic terrorism” and “eco-terrorism” with the broader global political climate in which mercenary armies like Blackwater exist. It is also a reminder of of how the recent “eco-terrorism” intelligence bulletin in Pennsylvania is part of systemic problem.

An excerpt:

One of the most incendiary details in the documents is that Blackwater, through Total Intelligence, sought to become the “intel arm” of Monsanto, offering to provide operatives to infiltrate activist groups organizing against the multinational biotech firm…

Is it even legal for a private firm to infiltrate organizations that it doesn’t like? IANAL, but it seems like some laws were broken. If this is legal, than something is really, really messed up with the American legal system. The union-busting Pinkertons were eventually stopped, and Blackwater is a very dangerous organization, right up there with the Pinkertons in their heyday, and they need to be stopped, too.

Alternate title: “I really like commentators like Mitch Wagner.”

These are disturbing trends, convergence, again. One extremely important item to note is that corporations and governments both are synergistically creating the environment in which freedoms evaporate.

US government throwing free speech under the bus

Mitch Wagner

What do these three, apparently unrelated stories, have in common? American attorneys general pressured Craigslist to block ads for adult services. The US is trying to extend draconian copyright protections worldwide. And politicians and corporate journalists are banding together to exclude Wikileaks from a proposed federal shield law protecting journalists. These actions are part of a trend limiting free speech to those with government and corporate protection, not the common people like thee and me.

And from the wikileaks blog, there’s a quick link to Glen Greenwald’s blog, with the text:”Obama’s ‘Putinization’ of America must be stopped. I don’t think that is quite right: America is exporting it ‘Putinization’ drive. Instead of heavy-handedly killing journalists a la Putin, it is engaging in a smear campaign, in Sweden.

This should make everyone very angry at BP.  Hopefully not so angry that they would pick up a hammer and take it to the nearest BP station and knock a hole in their pumps, or burn down a BP station or anything revolutionary like that.  Those actions would be wrong.

In any case, here is a news reporter being denied access to a beach because a BP hired security guard (not a policeman) thinks the press should be kept away from the beach:

http://www.wdsu.com/video/23877252/index.html

Just so everyone knows, here’s a list (from Googlefinance)  of who is at the helm at BP while it suppresses our constitutional rights:

Read More

Link to video regarding the murders in El Salvador, of those who have opposed Pacific Rim’s Gold Mine development in Cabañas.   When the video was made, only one person had been killed.  Now, three anti-mining activists have been killed, and it is very difficult to make a case that these deaths have been unrelated to the mining interest.

Hat Tip: Mining Monitor

Sign the Petition to have his death fully investigated.

See also:

http://voiceselsalvador.wordpress.com/2009/12/24/more-threats-following-the-ramiros-assassination/

http://voiceselsalvador.wordpress.com/2009/12/27/the-assassinations-continue-in-cabanas/

Here’s a story at truthout about the many environmental activists who have been killed in El Salvador, apparently opposing the interests of Pacific Rim Mining is dangerous for your health:

Anti-Mining Activists Killed in El Salvador

Tuesday 29 December 2009

by: Amy Goodman | Democracy NOW!

On Saturday, thirty-two-year-old Dora “Alicia” Recinos Sorto was shot dead near her home. She was eight months pregnant, carrying her two-year-old son. Sorto and her husband were both active members of the Cabañas Environment Committee, which has campaigned against the reopening of a gold mine owned by the Vancouver-based Pacific Rim Mining Company.

Last week, Ramiro Rivera Gomez, the vice president of the Cabañas Environment Committee, was shot dead by heavily armed men despite having been under twenty-four-hour police protection. Another anti-gold-mining activist, Marcelo Rivera, from a nearby town was kidnapped and murdered in June.

And what is really necessary right now is for these murders to be investigated, not just on a superficial level of trying to find, you know, the gunmen, but really going beyond that to investigate the intellectual authors behind these murders. They are very systematic. They are very targeted. And what we’ve seen—you know, as you mentioned, with Ramiro Rivera, he was under twenty-four-hour police protection. So the people who are responsible for this, who are calling the shots, or who are making this happen, must have a pretty extensive amount of financial resources or institutional resources. And so, it’s going beyond just chalking this up to common crime or gang-related violence.

But those executives of Pacific Rim Mining live far from the world in which those who oppose them are killed:

World Headquarters of Pacific Rim Mining:

Toll Free: 1-888-775-7097
Tel: (604) 689-1976 Fax: (604) 689-1978
E-mail: general@pacrim-mining.com
#1050 – 625 Howe Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6C 2T6

#105 – 3545 Airway Drive, Reno, NV
USA 89511
775-852-5888 (phone)
775-852-0323 (fax)

Directors:


Catherine McLeod-Seltzer (Chairman)

Catherine McLeod-Seltzer has enjoyed a broad and successful career in the mining industry, including co-founding and/or directing numerous successful mining ventures such as Arequipa Resources, Francisco Gold, Miramar Mining, Peru Copper, Bear Creek Mining, Stornoway Diamonds, and Kinross. Catherine brings an extensive knowledge of mining finance and public relations as well as her exceptional reputation and network of industry contacts to Pacific Rim’s Board of Directors.

Thomas C. Shrake (President and CEO)

As President and CEO of Pacific Rim, Tom Shrake oversees Pacific Rim’s technical programs and project acquisitions, and implements the Company’s objectives and strategies. Tom is a veteran explorationist and mine-finder, holding senior positions in the past with Gibraltar Mines and Placer Dome amongst others. Tom has numerous ore deposit discoveries to his credit, including the Lomas Bayas and Fortuna de Cobre deposits in Chile. Tom has his finger on the pulse of the mining industry and his market savvy is a strong balance to his technical expertis

William Myckatyn (Lead Director)

Home telephone: 250-620-3626

Home Address:

6741 Millar
Horsefly, BC V0L 1L0

Bill Myckatyn is the co-founder of Quadra Mining Ltd. and the former President of Dayton Mining Corporation (a predecessor company of Pacific Rim). Amongst his previous career roles, Bill was the President and CEO of Gibraltar Mines, and stewarded the company’s $550 million CAD takeover by Westmin Resources in 1996. Bill is a mining engineer with extensive technical and management experience in mining development and operations.

Anthony Petrina

Home telephone: 604-987-4704

Home Address:

2330 Lloyd Ave
North Vancouver, BC V7P 2P5

Now retired, Tony Petrina has a wealth of experience in the mining industry. His 32-year career with Placer Dome included the roles of President, Vice-Chairman and CEO. Mr. Petrina was also a Director of Arequipa Resources and his expertise was integral in helping the company manage the takeover by Barrick

David Fagin

David Fagin lends his extensive experience in mining and finance to Pacific Rim’s Board as the Chair of the Audit Committee. David is the former COO of Homestake Mining Company and is currently a director of a number of mining and exploration companies, and of various mutual funds of the T. Rowe Price Group.

Officers:
Thomas C. Shrake, President and CEO
Catherine McLeod-Seltzer, Chairman
Steven Kraus, CFO
Barbara Henderson, VP Investor Relations
William Gehlen, VP Exploration
Ronda Fullerton, Corporate Secretary

Senior Technical Staff: David Ernst, Chief Geologist

Transfer Agent: Computershare Trust Company of Canada

1-800-564-6253

caregistryinfo@computershare.com
Auditors: PricewaterhouseCooperc, LLP
Vancouver, British Columbia

As covered at wikileaks, some internal documents from WHO have been leaked.  Apparently WHO has gone out of the public health business and has become a lobbying agency for big pharma:

Analysis of unreleased WHO Expert Working Group draft reports

This is a confidential pharmaceutical industry trade association dossier about the WHO Expert Working Group (EWG) on R&D Financing.

The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA; “Big Pharma”) gave its members 4 documents: a non-public draft report of the WHO EWG and a non-public Comparative Analysis done by the working group, the IFPMA Overview of the EWG Comparative Analysis, and IFPMA summary slide on the EWG Draft Report.

The compilation of documents shows the influence of “Big Pharma” on the policy making decisions of the WHO, the UN body safeguarding public health. These confidential documents were obtained by the drug industry before their public release to WHO member states (scheduled to be released May 2010). The document also illustrates that the WHO expert group was highly responsive to industry lobbying — a result that public health groups had feared since early 2009, when the expert group met with the industry, but refused to meet with public health groups known to be industry critics.

The likely audience for these documents include countries, public health policy makers, civil society, industry, academia, media, patients and the general public.

Journalists can contact Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO: chanm@who.int and Malebona Precious Matsoso, WHO Director, Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property: matsosom@who.int

According to our source, the English version of the final report of the EWG with its recommendations is expected to be released to member state countries this week.

Now the critical question: Will this story be covered by the media, or will this be yet another manipulation by IFPMA, be swept under the rug again…?

It appears that two Senators (Bernie Sanders of Ohio and Sherrrod Brown of Vermont) are questioning the ACTA, and in particular they have a clue that it is about much more than counterfeiting.  If you care about your rights and freedoms, call your Senator now, and urge that the ACTA not be put on a special “fast-track.”   The fast-track would give the US Trade Representative the power to negotiate the provisions without any substantive debate in the Senate.  The point I would make is this: the process has been profoundly tainted, as stakeholders, other than large corporations, have not had the chance to comment on or even been privy to the major provisions of the ACTA.  Of particular importance are the internet enforcement mechanisms, depriving citizens of rights such as due process.  The process of this tainted process cannot help but be itself tainted.

Senators Begin Questioning ACTA Secrecy
from the this-ain’t-the-transparency-we-were-promised dept

Despite some sweet talk from Hollywood about how important ACTA and its secret negotiations are to America (and, once again, no, the secrecy is not at all “normal,” as some industry lawyers would have you believe), it looks like some Senators are finally beginning to question how ACTA is being handled. Senators Bernie Sanders and Sherrod Brown have sent a letter to US Trade Rep Ron Kirk asking for ACTA documents to be made public. The letter points out that “the public has a right to monitor and express informed views on proposals of such magnitude” especially considering that “there are concerns about the impact of ACTA on the privacy and civil rights of individuals, on the supply of products under the first sale doctrine, on the markets for legitimate generic medicines, and on consumers and innovation in general.” The letter also takes on the bogus claims of state secrets in protecting ACTA documents:

We are surprised and unpersuaded by assertions that disclosures of basic information about the negotiation would present a risk to the national security of the United States, particularly as regards documents that are shared with all countries in the negotiations, and with dozens of representatives of large corporations. We are concerned that the secrecy of such information reflects a desire to avoid potential criticism of substantive provisions in ACTA by the public, the group who will be most affected by the agreement. Such secrecy has already undermined public confidence in the ACTA process…. We firmly believe that the public has a right to know the contents of the proposals being considered under ACTA, just as they have the right to read the text of bills pending before Congress.”

Unfortunately, these are just two Senators. Supporters of ACTA likely have many more who will blindly fight to keep ACTA secret and get it approved with little or no substantive input from those it will impact most.

Here’s the post which describes certain provisions of the ACTA which were leaked on wikileaks, along with a leak to one of the first leaks covered there.  Doesn’t sound like this “Treaty” has anything to do with counterfeiting…a lot to doing away with due process, and a lot more with deputizing private corporations to exercise de facto legal authority to act a judge jury and executioner in a variety of legal fora, all protected from meaningful public scrutiny…

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