Am I stoned?



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The Media

  • 5 corporations control majority of US media (down from 50 in 1983)
  • Mass Media Sources, 2002:
    • 92% white
    • 85% male
    • Where party affiliation identifiable, 75% Republican
    • Predominantly conservative/centrist

Lobbying

  • Approximately 40,000 lobbyists (11,781 full-time)
  • Estimates of return on lobbying range from $28 to $212 for every $1 spent (higher values more likely)
  • Return on campaign contributions for elections for the most politically active companies = $760 per $1 spent

Lobbying/Campaign Contributions

  • Koch brothers spent over $400 million (2012)
  • All single issue ideological groups combined (e.g., pro-choice, anti-abortion, feminist and consumer organizations, senior citizens, etc.) = less than $100 million (2012)
  • Lobbying groups spent 3.2 billion in 2014

Political Spending Corporations vs. Labor

  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent $85 million on Congressional elections (2012); $85 million on lobbying in 2015
    • CEO Tom Donahue highest-paid corporate trade group chief
  • AFL-CIO and SEIU (two largest labor unions) spend $6 million combined

Top-Spending Industries, 2014

  • Pharmaceutical industry - $230 million
  • Business Associations - $163 million
  • Insurance industry - $151 million
  • Oil and gas industry - $141 million
  • Computers/Internet - $140 million
  • Electric utilities - $122 million

Lobbying/Campaign Contributions

  • Richest 0.01% of American voters account for over 40% of political contributions
  • Koch brothers spent over $400 million
  • All single issue ideological groups combined (e.g., pro-choice, anti-abortion, feminist and consumer organizations, senior citizens, etc.) = $76.2 million
  • Lobbying promotes international non-cooperation/isolationism

Pharmaceutical Industry

  • $230 million dollars spent on lobbying in 2014

Drug Company Malfeasance

  • The pharmaceutical industry is the biggest defrauder of the federal government, as determined by payments made for violations of the federal False Claims Act (FCA)
    • Accounted for 25% of all FCA payouts between 2000 and 2010
    • Defense industry – 11%
  • Has paid out almost $20 billion in civil and criminal penalties over the last 20 years

Lobbying

  • Agribusiness/oil industry lobbying dwarf environmental lobbying
  • Active lobbying (new laws, not enforce existing laws or fund existing programs)
  • “Lobbying for lethargy” (maintain status quo)

Corporate Influence Leads to Large Taxpayer Subsidies to Polluting Industries

  • Mining - $3.6 billion/yr
  • Nuclear power - $10.5 billion/yr
  • Coal - $8 billion/yr
  • Ranching (grazing on public lands) - $52 million/yr
  • Timber (below cost sales of national forest trees) – approx. $350 million/yr
  • Oil and gas - $550 million/yr

U.S. Supreme Court Decisions

  • Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010): Corporations can effectively be treated as persons
    • No limits on campaign spending
    • Not persons when it comes to liability for causing harm to the environment or the public’s health
  • 196 donors contributed nearly 80% of money raised by super-PACs in 2011

U.S. Supreme Court Decisions

  • McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission (2014): abolishes limit on amount any individual can contribute to federal candidates in a two-year election cycle

Will Rogers

    • “We have the best Congress
    • money can buy.”

Privatization of Public Services

  • Water
  • Roads
  • Public schools
  • Child support enforcement
  • Military
  • Others
  • Iraqi reconstruction, disaster capitalism

The Decline of Democracy

  • True democracy demands an informed citizenry (education), freedom of the press (media), and involvement (will, time, money)
  • “Information is the currency of democracy”
    • Thomas Jefferson

Colonial Exploitation

  • Cecil Rhodes (Rhodesia, Rhodes Scholarship, DeBeers Mining Company):
  • “We must find new lands from which we can easily obtain raw materials and at the same time exploit the cheap slave labour that is available from the natives of the colonies. The colonies would also provide a dumping ground for the surplus goods produced in our factories.”

Colonial Exploitation

  • Winston Churchill (speaking in favor of RAF’s “experimental” bombing of Iraqis in 1920s, which killed 9,000 people with 97 tons of bombs):
  • “I am strongly in favor of using poisoned gas against uncivilized tribes to spread a lively terror…against recalcitrant Arabs as an experiment”

Colonial Exploitation

  • Christopher Columbus’ log entry upon meeting the Arawaks of the Bahamas:
  • “They…brought us…many…things…They willingly traded everything they owned…They do not bear arms…They would make fine servants…With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.”

The US: Rogue Nation

  • History: Native Americans, slavery, current excesses, disparities and injustices
  • Co-opting Nazi and Japanese WWII scientists
  • Minimum 277 troop deployments by the US in its 225+ year history

The US: Rogue Nation

  • Since the end of WWII, the US has bombed:
    • China, Korea, Indonesia, Cuba, Guatemala, Congo, Peru, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Grenada, Libya, Panama, Afghanistan, Sudan, Yugoslavia, and Iraq


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