Friday, February 25, 2011

Collective Bargaining and the Constitution

The First Amendment to the US Constitution gives us the right to petition the government for redress of grievances.  How else will the common man do that without a labor union?  Therefore, unions are guaranteed in the US Constitution. 

Whatever Governor Walker is doing in Wisconsin is unconstitutional. 
Will DFA pay for a court trial to take it to the Supreme Court?  Or is the Supreme Court currently stacked with philosophically pro-corporate, anti-populist justices that it would surely rule against organized labor. 

In addition, the Citizen's United Supreme Court decision ruled that only Corporations AND labor unions can give unlimited support to political candidates.  That leaves labor unions the ONLY force that can balance the purchase of elections.  And Governor Walker would like to skew the balance in favor of corporations. 

Sunday, February 06, 2011

A Wall of Separation Between Corporation and State

The Tea Party advocates told me that the Constitution protects capitalism.  That perplexed me.  I have read the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights several times and couldn't recall seeing anything about capitalism.  As a matter of fact, I carry a copy of the Constitution with me like a Christian will carry a Bible.  I can't say that I am a great Constitutional scholar, but I have a pretty good familiarity with it.  

I contended that I never saw anything about capitalism.  The closest thing I could imagine is the right to own private property.  They responded that this right IS capitalism, but the founding fathers just didn't have that word yet.  I again contended that capitalism means buying low and selling high, which is not at all the same as the right to own private property.  They disagreed, and affirmed that it is the same.  

So I looked up the word Capitalism: an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision for profit, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market. 

The first real capitalists were the Dutch East India Company founded 1602.  They used capital for investment, but no one ever used the word Capitalism until it was coined in 1867 by Karl Marx in his book co-written with Engels, Das Capital.  The meaning Marx gave it was using capital (money) to buy commodities to sell for profit.  That seems pretty simple to me and confirmed my contention that capitalism is not the same as the right to own property.  There is no right in the Constitution to own property for profit.  Although the founding fathers assumed that shops and businesses would conduct commerce everywhere in the new Republic, they found no reason to guarantee the right to free enterprise or the right to make profits. 

That's why I believe we need to amend the Constitution to guarantee Constitutional rights only to human persons, as well as making election financing answerable only to the Public for which they will be elected.  These together will make a Wall of Separation between Corporation and State.  

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Ft. Bragg, CA, declines corporate personhood

Here's the resolution that Alliance for Democracy members from the Mendocino County (CA) chapter submitted to the Fort Bragg City Council on January 24:
WHEREAS, the 1885 US Supreme Court erroneously gave corporations the rights of persons under the 14th Amendment, and;
WHEREAS, over the succeeding 125 years, corporate-friendly Supreme Court decisions have expanded these so-called “corporate personhood rights” to overturn municipal, state and federal laws enacted to curb corporate abuses; thereby rendering local governments ineffective in protecting their citizens against corporate harms to the environment, to health, to workers, to independent business, to local and regional economies, and;
WHEREAS, giant corporations have also used these corporate personhood rights to spend billions of dollars to influence government through lobbying, campaign contributions, ownership of the mass media, and massive advertising and public relations efforts, and;
WHEREAS, this massive corporate political impact has overwhelmed the voice of common citizens, crippled municipalities' ability to benefit local residents, and undermined people's faith in democracy, and;
WHEREAS, the current US Supreme Court is on a path of to eliminate any restrictions on corporate campaign contributions, and;
WHEREAS, municipalities and citizens across the nation are joining with the Campaign to Legalize Democracy to call for an Amendment to the US Constitution to Abolish Corporate Personhood;
THEREFORE, be it resolved that the City of Fort Bragg, California, hereby calls on our legislators to call for an Amendment to the US Constitution to Abolish Corporate Personhood and return our democracy, our elections, and our communities back to America’s human persons and to thus reclaim our sovereign right to self-governance."

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Suggestions to raise government revenues

From the founding of our nation up until the establishment of income tax, our country supported itself primarily with tariffs. The real death blow to our national income from tariffs came with NAFTA, CAFTA, FTAA, et al.

Now that the flawed theory of unregulated markets has been shown to be a major contributing aspect of our economic failure, it seems logical that we should reinstitute some tariffs. However, this time we should take advantage of the technology and index labor, health, environment and pension costs.
Here is how it would work: Specific jobs would be assigned a labor index. For example a production seamstress in India earns 10 cents an hour while a production seamstress in the U.S. earns $10 per hour. The import labor index factor into the U.S. could be something like -- 100. That way, the cost of labor would be equal in both countries. Similar index factors could be applied for health, environment and pension costs.

The end result would be a leveling of these variable costs between different countries and thus create no incentive or advantage for corportions to export manufacturing plants. At the same time, we should experience an increase of income from a reivieved tariff program.

Terry Sneller 1/17/11