Corporatocracy Has Replaced Democracy in America

Corporations are notAfter seeing this infographic quoting Chris Hedges, it really hit home and I was able to focus clearly on how much we have morphed into a full-fledged Coporatocracy.

Corporatocracy is a term used as an economic and political system controlled by corporations or corporate interests. Corporatocracy means being ruled by an oligarchy of corporate elites through the manipulation of a formal democracy. After the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizen’s United case, the morphing of the America into a Corporatocracy is complete.

“Fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.” – Benito Mussolini

Our nation’s most wealthy individuals (1%) are the ones who hold prominent positions in our new Corporatocracy. Through their corporations and political action groups they control the process of determining our nation’s economic and political policies. What we have now is outright worship of obscene profits and power for those who have purchased all the politicians, and who control every facet of our once nearly free society.

Corporations don’t care about helping America succeed. Corporations exist solely for profit, not public good. If the government stands in the way of their profit potential, they can legally purchase new politicians through unlimited, undisclosed campaign donations. If the salaries of their employees stand in the way higher profits, they’ll eliminate them because they are willing to send millions into poverty just to appease an economic system that values wealth at the top over all else.

We now live in a system full of collusion, corruption, and oppression by the extremely wealthy (1%) and their bought-and-paid-for political puppets who enable this unrestrained greed of corporate and financial titans (i.e. bank bailouts, excessive pay for CEOs).

Our government has become a subsidiary of industry.

“The cancer eating America alive right now is a Corporatocracy where cozy relationships between the power elite dictate policy for the 99%. Americans must surgically remove the corporate cancer from government through direct action and the voting booth, and cultivate new leaders from within the movement. When the people lead, our leaders will have no choice but to follow.”  – Carl Gibson


  • Huffington Post: The Corporatocracy is the 1 Percent by Carl Gibson
  • Corporatocracy, Corporatism, Fascism By Jim Kirwan
  • Wikipedia

Constitution – What It Doesn’t Say

Constitution HeadingAs I was working on another post reference the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution, it got me to thinking about what people “think” is in our Constitution, but in reality, is not. Kind of what people think about the Bible and who wrote it and/or what it says. So the following is my collection of favorite misconceptions of what the Constitution says.

Let’s start with the biggie:

America is a Christian Nation (God and Religion).

In today’s highly volatile political environment we have seen the rise of political parties aligning themselves with various religious groups and pounding the drum that America is a Christian nation as our Founding Fathers intended in the Constitution. If this is true, all we have to do is read the Constitution and see how often the Founding Fathers used the words “God,” or “Creator,” or “Jesus,” or “Lord.” Except for one notable instance, however, none of these words ever appear in the Constitution, neither the original nor in any of the Amendments. The notable exception is found in the Signatory section referring to the date : “Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven.“ Obviously, the use of the word “Lord” here is not a religious reference, but the common way of expressing the date in those times. The lack of any these words does not mean that the Founding Fathers were not spiritual people, but that they believed the new government should not involve itself in matters of religion.

James Madison, the father of both the Constitution and the First Amendment, consistently warned against any attempt to blend endorsement of Christianity into the law of the new nation. And as president, John Adams signed (and the U.S. Senate approved) the 1797 Treaty with Tripoli, which reassured that Muslim nation that “the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”

Actually, religion makes only one direct and obvious appearance in the original Constitution that seems to point to a desire for some degree of religious freedom. That appearance is in Article 6, at the end of the third clause: “[N]o religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” This statement is simple and straight-forward, and applies to all offices in the entire United States, both state and federal. The clause simply means that no public position can be required to be held by any one of any religious denomination.

“Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”

This phrase is commonly attributed to the Constitution, but it comes from the Declaration of Independence. Seven simple words which put into law our inherited right to live, be free and be happy. But wait. The 5th Amendment does protect our rights to “life, liberty and property” but not happiness.

“Of the People, By the People, For the People”

This phrase is commonly attributed to the Constitution, but it comes from the Gettysburg Address.

Political Parties

There is no constitutional basis for the two-party system, it is just the way politics developed. Many of our founders didn’t even want political parties to arise at all.
Political parties are such a basic part of our political system today that many people might assume the Constitution must at least mention parties in one way or another… but there is absolutely no mention of political parties anywhere in the Constitution. Not until the Jackson and Van Buren administrations (1830’s) did organized parties really take hold in the American political system.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal”

This phrase is commonly attributed to the Constitution, but it comes from the Declaration of Independence.

America is a Democracy

That’s right, democracy is actually unconstitutional within the great American democracy. In fact, the word “democracy” is never even mentioned in the Constitution. Technically speaking, the United States of America is a federal representative democratic republic, not a democracy. What’s more, although the States are allowed a fair deal of flexibility in how they conduct their affairs, changing their form of government is explicitly prohibited. Article 4, Section 4 of the Constitution contains the “Guarantee Clause,” which states that “the United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government.” No, this doesn’t mean that Mitt Romney is automatically president (get it … Republican Form of Government), rather it means that the federal government shall ensure that all state governments function on the basis of electing individuals to represent constituents in a deliberative manner. Any other form of government, be it a direct democracy or a tyrannical dictatorship, are forbidden and the federal government has the power to prevent alternative forms of government from taking shape.

And finally, my favorite.

The Pledge of Allegiance

The Pledge of Allegiance of the United States is an expression of fealty to the federal flag and the republic of the United States of America, and formally adopted by Congress as the pledge in 1942. The official name of The Pledge of Allegiance was adopted in 1945.

The Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892 by the socialist minister Francis Bellamy (1855-1931). It was originally published in The Youth’s Companion on September 8, 1892. Bellamy had hoped that the pledge would be used by citizens in any country.

In its original form it read:

“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

In 1923, the words, “the Flag of the United States of America” were added. At this time it read:

“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

In 1954, in response to the Communist threat of the times, President Eisenhower encouraged Congress to add the words “under God,” creating the 31-word pledge we say today. Bellamy’s daughter objected to this alteration. Today it reads:

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

I hope you have enjoyed learning a little more about these common misconceptions of what the Constitution actually says or incorrect references to the Constitution as the source of popular comments.

Library of Congress (

The Preamble Tells Us What Our Founding Fathers Intended

Constitution PreambleThe Preamble to the United States Constitution is a brief introductory statement of the fundamental purposes and guiding principles which the Constitution is meant to serve. It expresses in general terms the intentions of our founding fathers as they constructed the Constitution.

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Understanding the Preamble. The Preamble can be broken down into many phrases, all of which are very important for understanding the purpose of the United States Constitution. While anyone can bend or twist words to meet their purpose, I believe the following are the most commonly held interpretations of these phrases:

We the people: This phrase means all the citizens of the United States of America. Even though the Constitution was written by some of the most well-educated men of the new country, the rights given under the document were given to all American citizens.

In order to form a more perfect union: The previous government was based on the Articles of Confederation, which created a loose confederation of sovereign states and a weak central government, leaving most of the power with the state governments. The need for a stronger Federal government soon became apparent. When the Framers wrote the Constitution, they felt that they were making a new government that would be a better way to govern the country.

Establish justice: The reasons why there was Revolution against England were still important to the American citizens, so they wanted to make sure that they would have justice under the Constitution.

Insure domestic tranquility: One of the main reasons why the Constitutional Convention was held was because of Shays’ Rebellion. This was an uprising of farmers in Massachusetts against the state for having to repay war debts. Citizens were worried with the keeping peace within the country’s borders.

Provide for the common defense: There was still a chance of being attacked by other countries. No individual state had the power to defend itself against attacks. Because of this, the Framers knew that it was important for the states to defend the nation together.

Promote the general welfare: This phrase meant that the well-being of the citizens would be taken care of as well as possible by the Federal government.

Secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity: The point of this phrase in the Preamble, and the constitution as a whole was to help protect the country’s hard-earned rights for liberty against unjust laws, and freedom from a tyrannical government.

Do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America: This last phrase of the Preamble is a powerful statement saying that the people made this document, and the people give the country its power.

Sources: Library of Congress (,,

ObamaCare Sign-Ups

Obamacare signupsObamaCare Health Care Reform is structured to be implemented over a period of time, beginning in 2010. Many of the protections, reforms and taxes are already enacted. Some of the biggest changes goes into effect in 2014:

  • Insurance purchased on the health insurance exchange goes into effect.
  • The Individual Mandate: There is a tax starting at 1% of your income or $95 and raising to 2.5% of your income or $685 by 2016 for individuals. For a family, it’s capped at $285 in 2014 and rises to $2,085 by 2016. It cannot exceed these amounts. This helps pay for emergency and future coverage you may need. The tax penalty is paid on your tax returns. This is a “tax” not a “mandate”.
  • Tax credits, tax breaks and help with up-front costs are available to those struggling to pay for insurance.
  • You can no longer be denied for pre-existing conditions.
  • The ACA takes measures to prevent all types of discrimination in regards to your right to health care. Factors such as pre-existing conditions, health status, claims history, duration of coverage, gender, occupation, and small employer size and industry can no longer be used by insurance companies to increase health insurance premiums.
  • No Annual dollar limits on coverage.
  • The only factors that can affect premiums of new insurance plans starting in 2014 are your income, age, tobacco use, family size, geography and the type of plan you buy.  This applies to all plans sold through your State’s health insurance marketplace.
  • All new plans sold must include Ten Essential Health Benefits.
  • Congress must shop on the health insurance exchanges.
  • Pharmaceutical companies are subject to a new tax.
  • ObamaCare Medicaid Expansion expands coverage to 15.9 million low-income individuals (The supreme court ruling has given states the opportunity to opt-out of Medicaid expansion).
  • Employers will be able to shop on the health insurance exchanges for employee insurance.
  • There is a new tax on medical devices.
  • Insurance companies are taxed based on their market share.
  • Small Business Employers can shop for employee coverage on the health insurance exchange.


Koch Brothers Connection To Shadowy State Policy Network Exposed

Koch Brothers 2Last Friday Jane Mayer, a journalist at the New Yorker, dropped a bomb on the Koch machine by exposing the State Policy Network (SPN). The SPN is a well oiled machine put together to ensure the Kochs’ – and other free market fundamentalists – political aspirations are achieved throughout the country at the state level. The original appeared online at the New Yorker Blog.

Is IKEA the New Model for the Conservative Movement?

In every state in the country, there is at least one ostensibly independent “free-market” think tank that is part of something called the State Policy Network— there are sixty-four in all, ranging from the Pelican Institute, in Louisiana, to the Freedom Foundation, in Washington State. According to a new investigative report by the Center for Media and Democracy, a liberal watchdog group, however, the think tanks are less free actors than a coordinated collection of corporate front groups—branch stores, so to speak—funded and steered by cash from undisclosed conservative and corporate players. Although the think tanks have largely operated under the radar, the cumulative enterprise is impressively large, according to the report. In 2011, the network funneled seventy-nine million dollars into promoting conservative policies at the state level.Tracie Sharp, the president of the S.P.N., promptly dismissed the report as “baseless allegations.” She told Politico, “There is no governing organization dictating what free market think tanks research or how they educate the public about good public policy.”

But notes provided to The New Yorker on what was said during the S.P.N.’s recent twenty-first-annual meeting raise doubts about Sharp’s insistence that each of the think tanks is, as she told me, “fiercely independent.” The notes show that, behind closed doors, meeting with some eight hundred people from the affiliated state think tanks, Sharp compared the organization’s model to that of the giant global chain IKEA.

At the annual meeting, which took place in Oklahoma City this past September 24th through 27th, Sharp explained what she called The IKEA Model. She said that it starts with what she described as a “catalogue” showing “what success would look like.” Instead of pictures of furniture arranged in rooms, she said, S.P.N.’s catalogue displays visions of state policy projects that align with the group’s agenda. That agenda includes opposing President Obama’s health-care program and climate-change regulations, reducing union protections and minimum wages, cutting taxes and business regulations, tightening voting restrictions, and privatizing education. “The success we show is you guys,” she told the assembled state members. “Here’s how we win in your state.”

Sharp went on to say that, like IKEA, the central organization would provide “the raw materials,” along with the “services” needed to assemble the products. Rather than acting like passive customers who buy finished products, she wanted each state group to show the enterprise and creativity needed to assemble the parts in their home states. “Pick what you need,” she said, “and customize it for what works best for you.”

During the meeting, Sharp also acknowledged privately to the members that the organization’s often anonymous donors frequently shape the agenda. “The grants are driven by donor intent,” she told the gathered think-tank heads. She added that, often, “the donors have a very specific idea of what they want to happen.” She said that the donors also sometimes determined in which states their money would be spent.

The S.P.N. operates as a tax-exempt nonprofit, allowing it to take tax-deductible contributions that it does not have to publicly disclose. According to the study by the Center for Media and Democracy, the donations include more than a million dollars run through the organizations DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund, which serve to erase the donors’ names, operating, as Mother Jones put it, like a “dark-money ATM for the conservative movement.” Numerous wealthy conservative individuals and foundations pass money through those two groups. In addition, according to the Center for Media and Democracy study, corporate donors to the S.P.N. have included many of America’s largest companies, such as Facebook, Microsoft, A.T. & T., Time Warner Cable, Verizon, Philip Morris and Altria Client Services (both subsidiaries of Altria), GlaxoSmithKline, Kraft, and funds from various entities linked to the fossil-fuel billionaires Charles and David Koch. Melissa Cohlmia, the director of corporate communication for Koch Companies Public Sector LLC, told me, “We think State Policy Network is a worthy organization that is focused on creating more opportunity for everyone, thereby making people’s lives better.”

Asked about the IKEA model and her contention that each state’s think tank was an independent entity, free to pursue its own scholarly research, Sharp answered with a prepared statement. In it, she stressed that “State Policy Network is a 501(c)3 service organization dedicated to providing state-based, free-market think tanks with the academic and management resources required to run a non-profit institution. Because we are legally and practically organized as a service organization (not as a franchise), each of the 64 state-based think tanks is fiercely independent, choosing to manage their staff, pick their own research topics and educate the public on those issues they deem most appropriate for their state.”

The statement went on, “Every think tank, however, rallies around a common belief: the power of free markets and free people to create a healthy, prosperous society. They eschew a top-down DC-centric approach to running peoples’ lives.”

Lisa Graves is the executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy (which discloses many of its own donors, including one grant from the Open Society Institute, funded by the liberal billionaire George Soros). “Perhaps surprisingly, I would agree with Sharp’s analogy that S.P.N. is like an IKEA catalogue, where its state affiliates reproduce the same bad policies across the country,” Graves said, when I reached her in Madison, Wisconsin. Many of these legislative measures “divert Americans’ tax dollars away from our state public institutions and into the coffers of out-of-state, and even out-of-country, for-profit corporations, enriching C.E.O.s and Wall Street speculators at the expense of working families,” she said.

Graves conceded that “Sharp’s claim that the states’ think tanks are independent is true as a legal matter.” Still, she said, “in practical terms, the Center for Media and Democracy has documented how these groups have promoted … carbon-copy claims, identical language, and distorted statistics, differing only through the state label placed at the top of a particular report.” Far from being independent, “they are intensely subservient to the wishes of the most powerful few.” But she did draw one distinction between S.P.N. and IKEA. Because, she contends, the bills that S.P.N. backs divert millions of taxpayer dollars from government to the private sector, “they are hardly cheap.”

 Reposted from