TooMuchOnline: Billionaires have every right as citizens to advocate whatever public policy stance and vision they choose. But, in a deeply unequal America, these billionaires don’t just have rights. Their immense fortunes give them enormous power, more than enough to dominate, not just advocate.
Why can’t more people see the wreck coming? The billionaires and their foundations have polluted the political process. They've undermined, with their largess, the independence of institutions that ought to be protecting the public interest.
The billionaire foundations lavish grants on research groups and think tanks to "study" the programs they fund. They ladle still more millions to TV networks for programming and to news organizations for reporting.
And with regards to education, taxpayers still fund more than 99 percent of the cost of K–12 education. Private foundations should not be setting public policy for them either. That's plutocracy, that's not democracy.
Center for Media and Democracy
From the ALEC website: "The mission of the American Legislative Exchange Council is to advance the Jeffersonian principles of free markets, limited government, federalism, and individual liberty, through a nonpartisan (cough-cough * clear throat) public-private partnership of America's state legislators, members of the private sector, the federal government, and general public."
Through the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council, global corporations and state politicians vote behind closed doors to try to rewrite state laws that govern your rights. These so-called "model bills" reach into almost every area of American life and often directly benefit huge corporations. Through
the ALEC, corporations have "a VOICE and a VOTE" on specific changes to the law that are then proposed in your state.
On July 13, 2011, the Center for Media and Democracy unveiled a trove of over 800 "model" bills and resolutions secretly voted on by corporations and politicians through the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). These bills reveal the corporate collaboration reshaping our democracy, state by state.
ALEC bills, which largely benefit the organization’s corporate members, have been introduced in legislatures in every state—but without disclosing to the public that corporations previously drafted or voted on them through ALEC.
Before their publication of this trove of bills, it has been difficult to trace the numerous controversial and extreme provisions popping up in legislatures across the country directly to ALEC and its corporate underwriters.
The Center for Media and Democracy obtained copies of the bills after one of the thousands of people with access shared them, and a whistle-blower provided a copy to the Center for Media and Democracy .
They have analyzed and marked up the bills and resolutions to help readers understand what the bills do, beyond the PR in the names of bills. They shared them to help the public identify the legislation in their state and the wide extent of the agenda to rewrite our rights by the corporations that bankroll ALEC.
These bills and resolutions reach into almost every area of American life: worker and consumer rights, education, the rights of Americans injured or killed by corporations, taxes, health care, immigration, and the quality of the air we breathe and the water we drink. Only by seeing the depth and breadth and language of the bills can one fully understand the power and sweep of corporate influence behind the scenes on bills affecting the rights and future of every American in every single state.
EXAMPLE: Bills to Create Tax Loopholes or Affect Budgets (Explore the whole website)
Other Tid Bits
As an aside: On TV this morning I just a commercial advertising "payday loans" for $7.98 a week for $200 at the Dollar Loan Center. Isn't that about 207% APR? But their website (DontBeBroke.Com) says "Our rates are among the lowest in the industry." Isn't this "usury", and doesn't it prey on the poor, and isn't this illegal (as in loan-sharking), and isn't this because the Republicans refuse to reform the financial industry? I say NATIONALIZE THE BANKS! (please sign my petition)
More American Poor - "More Americans fell below the poverty line last year, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released Tuesday. The nation's poverty rate rose to 15.1% in 2010, up from 14.3% in 2009 and to its highest level since 1993. Last year marked the third year in a row the rate increased. All told, 46.2 million people are considered in need. In addition, real median household income (or as in a combined total household income) last year was $49,445 (i.e. a husband and wife or two room-mates each earning an average of $24,722 a piece.) - - - this was a 2.3% decline, the Census Bureau reported." News Flash - The Republicans created welfare.
Also: From the New York Times: "In the Republican candidates’ debate on Aug. 11, when asked if they would support a plan with $10 of spending cuts for $1 of tax increase, every candidate declined to support that plan. But with federal revenues at a 60-year low, every serious budget analyst knows that revenues must be increased to stabilize the nation’s finances, not just in dollar terms, but as a share of gross domestic product." News Flash - It's common knowledge that the Republicans won't tax the rich or large corporations fairly.
Also: From the Social Security Administration website: Ponzi Schemes vs. Social Security - "Social Security is and always has been either a pay-as-you-go system or one that was partially advance-funded. Its structure, logic, and mode of operation have nothing in common with Ponzi schemes or chain letters or pyramid schemes." News Flash - The Republicans are trying to sell a "private" Social Security fund.
This is interesting: https://www.facebook.com/RedneckPartyInternational (Check out the info page) "We are Working Folk's Grassroots answer to the Tea Party. We unite for ALL."
The best of the rest: Missing CEO found after 20 Years, facing $100 million in unpaid taxes - Found at Grand Cayman Island in the Caribbean (Wouldn't that have been the very first place one would look?) A typical corporate CEO doing his civic and patriotic duty...dodging taxes. Who do the Republicans represent? You guessed right.
Corporate America on 911
You know who they are. Their names are emblazoned on sports stadiums, and painted across Formula-1 NASCARs. Their names grace the sides of the tallest skyscrapers all across America and around the world. Their name are blasted all over the home-run fences in all the major and minor league ball parks...including Pee Wee parks. They advertise their names in and out of buses and on taxis, tall billboards, and inside every flier imaginable. Their names permeate and infest every space and segment of our society with their advertisements, encouraging us to buy their goods and services, to earn profits to enrich a handful of corporate CEOs and a few on their board-of-directors. Corporate America...they are just like many of our politicians and almost all of the Republican talking-heads, who hide their greed behind a false mask of patriotism.
Corporate America don't sacrifice for the good of the country, they only take for themselves. They never sacrifice, the pain and cost is always passed on to us.
If corporate America had really wanted to pay a tribute to the 2,983 lives lost on the tenth anniversary of 911, they could have sponsored a one or two hour special on TV and refrained from advertising their products in commercials. They could have offered to pay all the medical bills for the first responders. They could have paid for the rebuilding of ground zero and paid for the monument in Pennsylvania, and made sure to not have taken any credit at all.
But instead, they might just make a tax-deductible charitable contribution (and will want all the glory for their "generosity"). Instead, they profit. Bankers profiting from the death of other bankers on 911. That's how despicable the banks are...they eat their own. That's how despicable corporate America is...they've always found a way to profit from death. They didn't need a war half way around the world, just a few victims here at home in America.
And so on 911 they advertise their goodies, commemorative mementos made in China, stuff that they want us to buy. But the dead and injured won't see any of the royalties or profits. They'll just absorb all of the losses.