Posts Tagged ‘corporations’

Tories to Tax Dancing

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

(The prudish townsfolk from Footloose approve of this new legislation.)

The Copyright Board of Canada has initiated new fees to play recorded music at large gatherings, like weddings and parties. If there’s fewer than one hundred people, the fees start at $9.25 per day.  400 guests will cost $27.76.  And get this… if dancing is involved that fee doubles to $55.52.

What an asinine load of horse manure. Why would the crowd’s reaction to the music being played have any impact on the royalties owed?

Not that artists are likely to see a dime from this new tax. Nope, any money reaped is sure to go squarely into the hands of recording industry executives, helping them to fund another round of ludicrous litigation against the entire population.

On the bright side, it’s crap like this that is fueling humanity’s uprising against corporate rule. A few more encroachments might be all it takes for society to snap, forever ousting these cronies from power.

Canadian Pharma-biz Novartis Bullies UK Rivals

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

If you are a frequent visitor to my blog, you’ll have noted that I’m quick to hop on the soapbox to decry corporatism whenever I can. Your probably like… ‘there goes Rick again, lambasting the very institutions our modern societies depend upon to survive. Doesn’t he know we’d die off without them?’

Well, yes, dear reader, I know that corporations are not without their merit, and I am aware that competition and innovation in the business world are great things. So, just to be clear, know that I am not anti-capitalism nor am I anti-business. Instead, understand that I am anti-corporatism, and therein lies the distinction. (more…)

Corporations Against Corporatism

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a massive right-wing lobbyist group which fosters the collusion between global corporations and state politicians to vote behind closed doors, rewriting state laws that govern all Americans. (more…)

Poverty in the World’s Richest Country

Sunday, December 25th, 2011

The Grinch is alive and well in America. Only instead of stealing presents from under the tree, modern day Scrooges have been pilfering the pockets of entire populations.

In his latest article, Les Leopold unveils 6 sneaky ways corporate elites function as reverse Robin Hoods, stealing from the poor to give to the rich:

1 in 2, have fallen into poverty or are scraping by on earnings that classify them as low income. 1 in 5 American children live in poverty. What’s going on here? You would think we were a poor country.  But we’re not. We’re filthy rich, but the money is hidden away by the 1 percent while poverty rises all around.

Just how are the richest of the rich getting away with the greatest robbery of all time? Leopold breaks it down for us:

1. Productivity continues to rise but the 99 percent doesn’t share in the benefits. The productivity lines and wage lines have pulled apart so that trillions of dollars that once went to the average American are now going almost entirely to the super-rich.

2. Large corporations pay next to nothing in state and local taxes. A recent joint report reveals that 265 large corporations avoided $42.7 billion in taxes from 2008 to 2010.

3. Money that should go toward the common good pours into the pockets of the 1 percent. The overall tax rate for the super-rich has plummeted from 70% to less than what the average secretary pays.

4. The biggest corporations are sitting on a mountain of cash, yet they refuse to invest more than $1 trillion in cash because of the lack of consumer demand.

5. Hedge funds have over $1.917 trillion in misused investment capital. Most of this speculative capital serves no broader economic or social purpose, jumping in and out of the markets in nanoseconds using high-speed automatic trading techniques that extract hidden taxes from the rest of us.

6. Many of the 1 percent cheat on their taxes. The tax revenues lost in the U.S. are estimated to be $337 billion a year according to a November report by the Tax Justice Network.

So there you have it. While the rest of us are sipping our egg nog and enjoying the company of our friends and family, behemoth businesses are tirelessly enriching the wealthy few while systematically crushing the middle and lower classes.

Santa might be tempted to give these corporate fatcats a well-deserved lump of coal in their stockings, but they’d probably just use it as a tax write off.

Corporations Seeking Immunity for Rape, Torture, Genocide

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Imagine what can happen when international corporations are no longer liable for committing heinous crimes against humanity. It’s a scary premise for any entity, let alone some of the world’s most influential and vehemently greedy institutions.

Yet that is precisely what is being ruled on right now in the US, where a split decision is due to be settled in the Supreme Court.

The case centers around Shell Oil subsidiaries that colluded with the Nigerian government to torture and execute individuals protesting against the companies’ oil exploration. Plaintiffs filed suit in a US district court under the Alien Tort Statute, which empowers federal courts to hear cases by “an alien” bringing a civil suit for wrongs committed “in violation of the law of nations.”

Last year, while ruling on the Citizens United bill, the Supreme court found the First Amendment does mean Corporations are considered people, opening the doors for unlimited political spending by business entities. Now, this same ruling might make international corporations financially liable for their actions.

Of course, given how much clout these mega-conglomerates yield, it won’t come as a huge surprise to see the Supreme Court affording corporations all the pros of personhood while shielding them from any cons – like facing repercussions for using mass murder as a business tactic.

Whatever comes of this ruling, it certainly shows us the direction the pro-corporatism people want to take our world. It is far more profitable when businesses get all the benefits the government offers, while at the same time skirting any accountability and shirking all responsibility to the world in which they exist.

This is why populist movements, like #occupy, are so essential. The pro-business side will continue to tirelessly and systematically stack the cards in their own favor at the expense of everyone else. Unless we fight tooth and nail right now, the hill we’re climbing towards a more just civilization could very well grow into a mountain right under our feet.

Corporatist Network Exposed – How the 1% Rule

Monday, October 24th, 2011

The 99% of the world who’ve been getting the shaft by today’s system now have a definitive target on which to set their sights, thanks to a team of Swiss mathematicians.

An analysis of the relationships between 43,000 transnational corporations has revealed that a relatively small group of companies, mainly banks, control a disproportionate power over the global economy.

The team found that a core of 737 companies (mostly financial services companies) control almost 80% of the global economy. See #occupy haters? The world is controlled by just a few corporations!

To get a better understanding of what this corporatist network can look like, check out the excellent visualization tools available at theyrule.net. There you can delve into the US’s ruling class and explore the inner workings of the American oligarchy.

One of the criticisms of the Occupy movement is that most of the protesters who are speaking out against corporations are clearly consumers of corporate products themselves.

But the issue shouldn’t be about whether or not we need corporations. Instead, the discussion should be what kind of relationship with corporations do we want to have?

In the not so distant future, we won’t be so dependent on corporations like we are today. We’ll have the means to produce our own energy with residential renewable solutions. We’ll be able to grow our own food in automated greenhouses. And we’ll manufacture whatever products we need with our very own 3D printers.

Yet, until this day arrives, we will need corporations around to provide us with the stuff we need to live. We can’t simply get rid of them without devastating consequences. But that doesn’t mean we have to endure the tyranny of corporatism.

Instead, we can hold these international businesses accountable to the people. Treat corporations like part of the public commons. Make these big businesses a shared resource, necessary for our world to function, but kept on a very tight leash for our security.

Now that the face of our foe has been exposed, there’s nothing left to do but declare all out war. It’s time to take the power back and usher in a more just civilization for everyone, not just the lucky ones.

Transport Workers Union To Help Occupy Wall Street

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Just twelve days in, and the movement to hold bankers and corporations accountable to the public is picking up some serious momentum. A massive organization – New York’s Transit Union - just voted to help the movement to Occupy Wall Street. With tens of thousands of members, the activists on Wall St. can expect a surge in bodies, come Friday at 4pm.

Like freedom fighting figurehead Michael Moore believes, the revolution ignited on Wall St. will spread like wildfire. Moore describes the “army of Americans who are just waiting for somebody to do something”, and because of the demonstrations in New York, “the something has started.”

If your wondering why the so-called 99% are so upset, we can turn to eloquent words of wisdom from the man himself – Noam Chomsky:

The banks are bigger and richer than before with corporate profits reaching record levels, and unemployment is about the level of the Great Depression – I mean real unemployment. These people are saying, let’s blame the culprits and the institutions behind them – fiscal policies like taxation, rules of corporate governance, deregulation – it does set in motion a vicious cycle that is getting worse and worse.

If you walk down the streets of New York you can see very serious poverty and phenomenal wealth side by side, very much like a Third World country. Meanwhile, infrastructure is collapsing, schools are collapsing and all that keeps this cycle going.

And one factor contributing to these problems are the big money interests, which have been allowed to undermine democracy. Chomsky:

Each [presidential] candidate spends over US $1 billion. Where does that money come from? A lot of it comes from financial institutions. What gave Obama the election were primarily financial institutions’ contributions. They preferred him over McCain, they expected to be paid, and they were. It has become increasingly difficult to distinguish between elected officials and concentrated capital.

So, unless you are in the 1% who benefit the most from our distorted distribution of wealth and power – and face it, you’re not! – you should be out there protesting too. Get out there and let your voice be heard. Take to the streets and be part of a movement for greater social justice, because that is what democracy looks like!

Take the Money Out of Building Weapons

Friday, September 16th, 2011

In Egypt, Syria, Libya, Bahrain and many other nations, civilians are being violently subjugated by their governments. The western media will sometimes report on these quashed uprisings, but a pressing question usually remains unasked – where do these tyrants get their modern weaponry?

For the most part, the tools of dissident suppression – rifles, tanks, bombs and gunships – aren’t being made domestically. Instead, they’re being imported from any of the world’s international arms dealers, most of whom will transact with anyone that has the cash.

Of course, corner any of the corporations that build these weapons, or any of the politicians who deal with despots, and it is unlikely they will admit any wrongdoings. I mean, come on, who could possibly have conceived that an armor plated vehicle with bulletproof tires and a mounted Gatling gun might be used for human rights violations.

But why would you expect anything other than crooks and cronies running the arms business? When there is billions of dollars changing hands, you just know it’s going to attract all kinds of scumbags.

And that brings us to a simple solution to this problem. In fact, this idea has so much potential that it wouldn’t just prevent the Defense Industry from arming tyrants, it would actually eliminate one of the primary reasons we even have war on earth.

Enough building it up. Here’s the proposal:

A 100% tax on all profits earned from manufacturing the weapons of war.

BLAM! Take that, Military Industrial Complex. You can design and sell all the weapons you want, but don’t expect any more lucrative deals. Now we’ll see if “building democracy”, “fighting terrorists”, and “protecting civilians” is really all that important to the war-mongers when there’s far fewer profits to be made.

Super-Duper PAC is Super-Duper Scary

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

(Corporations are bad, mmmkay? More on this after a word from our sponsors.)

As you probably know, US corporations and other organizations can donate unlimited sums of cash in support of their political agendas, thanks to the Citizens United decision of 2010.

Now, as described above by Cenk Uygur of the Young Turks, a new motion is in place to allow a ‘Super-Duper PAC’, which can raise unlimited outside money a la Citizens United, only with politicians doing the fundraising themselves.

If this decision passes, which is quite likely considering how far gone the US already is, then Americans will be one step closer to having a political system where corporations and special interests can directly purchase politicians with their unlimited purse-strings.

Chilling.

US Losing Unions, China Gaining Them

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

(No, no, no… you can’t wear white after a labor day protest!)

As union busting legislation creeps into American politics, the world’s soon-to-be superpower – China – has seen increasing trends towards unionization. The Independent’s Johann Hari describes China’s atrocious working conditions:

Deaths from overwork are so common in Chinese factories that they have a word for it: guolaosi. China Daily estimates that 600,000 people are killed this way every year, mostly making goods for us.

In 2009 the US National Labour Committee sent Chinese investigators undercover there. On the first day a teenage worker whispered to them: “We are like prisoners here.” The staff work and live in giant factory-cities that they almost never leave. Each room sleeps 10 workers, and each dorm houses 5,000. There are no showers; they are given a sponge to clean themselves with.

A typical shift begins at 7.45am and ends at 10.55pm. Workers must report to their stations 15 minutes ahead of schedule for a military-style drill: “Everybody, attention! Face left! Face right!” Once they begin, they are strictly forbidden from talking, listening to music, or going to the lavatory. Anybody who breaks this rule is screamed at and made to clean the lavatories as punishment. Then it’s back to the dorm.

It’s the human equivalent of battery farming.

Fortunately, the indomitable human spirit refuses to be caged like cogs in a machine. Collectivist action has been growing across the Sleeping Dragon. Hari:

Across 126,000 Chinese factories, workers have refused to live like this any more. Wildcat unions have sprung up, organised by text message, demanding higher wages, a humane work environment, and the right to organise freely. Millions of young workers across the country are blockading their factories and chanting, “There are no human rights here!” and, “We want freedom!”

Last year, the Chinese dictatorship was so panicked by the widespread uprisings that it prepared an extraordinary step forward. It drafted a new labour law that would allow workers to form and elect their own trade unions. It would plant seeds of democracy across China’s workplaces.

This year Chinese workers have risen even harder to demand a fair share of the prosperity they create. Now company after company is making massive concessions: pay rises of over 60 per cent are being conceded. Even more crucially, officials in Guandong province, the manufacturing heartland of the country, have announced that they are seriously considering allowing workers to elect their own representatives to carry out collective bargaining after all.

A positive sign indeed. More power to our fellow freedom fighters in China.