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Last night former Green Party candidate David Cobb spoke at the Pawtucket Public Library on the topic of corporate personhood. Mr.Cobb is an organizer for Move to Amend, a citizen’s response to the Citizen’s United decision that, in layman’s terms, says corporations are people just like you and me. Really big people. Who speak money as a first language.
Cobb is a lawyer, and did review the history and uses of corporations, pointing out that all of the 13 original colonies were corporations. He outlined the balances and regulations that would bind a corporation to the public good. Including an expiration date.
I like that, seeing as people have expiration dates it’s tough to compete with Immortal Persons.
I have to get to work, so more later. Here’s a Supreme dissent from Citizens United posted on the Move to Amend home page…
“. . . corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires. Corporations help structure and facilitate the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their ‘personhood’ often serves as a useful legal fiction. But they are not themselves members of “We the People” by whom and for whom our Constitution was established.”
~Supreme Court Justice Stevens, January 2010
David Cobb warmly praised Occupy for bringing the issue of economic justice for ordinary citizens, the 99%, to the debate. He drew a Venn diagram showing that this issue unites the Occupation and the Tea Party. Having attended 3 Town Halls and heard considerable hostility toward the president, ‘illegals’ and the unemployed, I am not so optimistic about finding common ground. I tried to do this with people who saw accessible health care as not only expensive, but a moral threat. Still, it does not serve We the People to be fighting each other over crumbs when concentration of wealth and power allow a few to walk off with the whole cake.
Equal opportunity does not sprinkle down from an Invisible Hand. We have to defend the right to a basic, decent public life from private profiteers. Like pulling weeds, it never ends.
I like how the headline on the article linked below cites only “tax increases” as the problem with next year’s budget. While there are some issues with taxes that will affect the middle class, the real issue are staring us right in the face in the text of the article: spending cuts and tax breaks for the wealthy. If we let the Bush tax breaks for the wealthy expire, we would have $221 billion dollars to put toward other things. $221 billion dollars, folks. You could take half of it and put it toward economic stimulus and jobs, and put the other half toward the national debt, and that would go a long way to working on our problems and preventing another recession. So ignore the right-wing propaganda headline, and click on to read about the real problems: Looming Tax Increases Could Prompt Recession Next Year: Accounting Today.
Alternet has more:
TED curator Chris Anderson seemed most concerned that “business managers and entrepreneurs would feel insulted” by some remarks about income inequality.
We’ve long heard complaints that TED is elitist. The annual conference in California costs $7,500 to attend and is nearly impossible to get into, even for those who can afford the price tag; it is widely considered to be “unofficially invite-only.”
Once upon a time you could be fairly certain that investing the time, money, and effort required to earn a four-year degree would allow you to land a good job with medical/dental/vision benefits, a retirement plan, and paid vacation time. In the event of a bad break, you could count on being covered by worker's comp and unemployment insurance. While you may never get rich, you'd be comfortable, with no trouble financing a new car or qualifying for a mortgage.
The article linked below captures many facets of the complicated beast known as psychiatry under the influence of corporate pressure from Big Pharma. In particular what struck me were the descriptions of how colleagues of Irving Kirsch, whose research exposes that antidepressants on the whole are no more effective than placebo, have been ostracized and dressed down for supporting him.
I could go on for days with shop talk about how as a therapist I approach my clients and their use of pharmaceuticals for mood stabilization. My overall philosophy is to tread cautiously in those waters, and to support patient education and self-leadership. I help clients do what they want to do after they have educated themselves as best they can about all of the relevant issues.
Anyway, for those who can stand to have the curtain pulled aside and to look directly at this beast of an issue: Why Antidepressants Are No Better Than Placebos.
Before I was a nurse, I was an Emergency Medical Technician, and later, the OSHA nurse in one of my jobs.
One day I was working in the community, and asked to deal with a situation. A man who lived in a building thought he was exposed to some floor-stripping chemicals used in a renovation. The man was a veteran who suffered from terrible migraines and he had to avoid noise and fumes. He wanted to know what chemicals he was smelling in the hallway, so he could talk to his doctor. Everyone was hesitating, possibly worried about liability.
It seemed simple enough to me. I said there had to be a Material Safety Data Sheet as OSHA required. So–give it to him.
I remember the look of gratitude on the man’s face, and I was sorry he even had to ask more than once for what was a simple, reasonable and just request. I had assumed that it was a settled legal precedent that public safety is more important than institutional or corporate immunity from consequences.
Of course, I was wrong about that. Corporations can get away with wiping out entire towns. But Pennsylvania takes it to a whole new level. Never mind no MSDS or OSHA, they have passed a doctor gag rule that can financially ruin any doctor who discloses the names of the chemicals that are poisoning their patients. Fracking– mining for natural gas, is a dirty process.
The law grants physicians access to information about trade-secret chemicals used in natural gas drilling. Doctors say they need to know what’s in those formulas in order to treat patients who may have been exposed to the chemicals.
But the new law also says that doctors can’t tell anyone else — not even other doctors — what’s in those formulas. It’s being called the “doctor gag rule.”
Talk about an industry-friendly law. A mining company has the right to release chemicals into the air and water, but a doctor can lose everything if she tells her patients what they were exposed to…
Plastic surgeon Amy Pare practices in suburban Pittsburgh where she does reconstructive surgeries and deals with a lot of skin issues. She tells me about one case, a family who brought in a boy with strange skin lesions.
“Their son is quite ill — has had lethargy, nosebleeds,” Pare says. “He’s had liver damage. I don’t know if it’s due to exposure.”
The family lived near natural gas drilling activity, and there was some concern that the boy may have been exposed to some of the chemicals being used. Producing natural gas is a pretty industrial process and gives off a lot of fumes. It uses a lot of chemicals to open wells to get the gas flowing.
Pare’s first step was to figure out what chemicals the drillers were using. But that information isn’t easy to get. In this case, Pare says, the patient’s family had a good lawyer who helped them find out what kind of chemicals the gas company was using.
“If I don’t know what [patients] have been exposed to, how do I find the antidote? We’re definitely not clairvoyant,” she says.
Someone has to stand up for public health, even when corporations claim that ‘proprietary trade secrets’ are at risk. We’re not talking about the Colonel’s secret recipe here, we’re talking about chemicals that go into the air and water.
A gag-rule so severe is a disincentive for doctors to care for their patients.
It’s better if the law creates a disincentive for mining corporations that use dangerous chemicals.
Or maybe the chemicals are harmless, like they claim?
I remember that the man who asked for the MSDS sheet was grateful to get it and we heard no more about it. Take the gag off the doctors and shine some light on industry. Sunlight is healthy.
Dick Van Dyke did it for Kent Cigarettes and Cheer Detergent, and Kmareka has decided it, too, will do some advertising. Without advertising it will be increasingly hard to keep Kmareka viable. With advertising, we plan to grow the site and make it do more of what it already does — call attention to underreported, neglected, and marginalized issues in the media, and allow for thoughtful conversation on topics related to health and health care, social justice, corporate influence, income inequality, nutrition, the environment, and last but not least, humor. We hope the ads are not too intrusive, and that the income generated will be good for the site overall.
And in case you want to go for a little ride in the Way Back machine, check this out: Cigarette Commercial late 1960′s Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore – YouTube.
Three case studies are presented as examples of the complex problems married clients bring to the therapist. [These clients have approved the use of their real names because they are exhibitionists.]
Case History 1.
Jacob and Leah sit side by side on a couch. To the experienced eye the couple’s body language reveals tension and stress. Jacob gazes into the distance while Leah shrinks into the cushions. Rebecca, Jacob’s other wife, squats on the floor. Rebecca is rending her garment, one thread at a time. The steady plinking noise punctuates the session. It’s very irritating.
The handmaids, Bilhah and Zilpah are outside in the parking lot watching the kids.
Leah to Jacob—“I know you never really loved me. You resent it that my father tricked you into marrying me? Well how do you think I feel? I was fruitful and bore you sons and Rebecca couldn’t stand it. She gave you her maidservant to lie with. That’s cheating.”
Rebecca to Leah— “You should talk about cheating. You found a mandrake root and wouldn’t give me any unless I sent Jacob to lie in your tent. I think you were on mandrake all along.”
Leah to Rebecca— “I had to give Jacob my maidservant to lie with to get even with you. Now I hardly ever see him. Why couldn’t you just accept that you’re barren?”
Jacob to Wives— “Why can’t we all just get along?”
Case History 2.
Tamar has occupied an armchair on one side of the room. Her expression is aggrieved and defiant. Judah sits as far away as possible, his expression unreadable because he has veiled his face. He is wearing dozens of small protective amulets that rattle when he moves.
Tamar– “Every day I ask G–d why I was forced to marry into this family. It’s not my fault that Judah’s son, my first husband Er, got smote. And Onan– he was even worse. I still have a burn mark from when the lightning struck. And don’t even ask about PTSD–I was right next to him in bed. I know they were your sons, Judah, but fair’s fair. I should have been married to the youngest when he grew up. Instead you would have left me at my father’s house to wear widow’s weeds until menopause. If I hadn’t dressed up like a prostitute and stopped you on the way to sheep shearing I’d be childless today.
I want a brother or sister for your twins. How come you shun my tent? I think it was pretty generous of me to overlook the fact that you tried to have me burned to death.”
Judah–“Wife, let me put this in terms you can understand. It’s the bottom of the ninth, you already have two strikes. Third strike and I’m out. I’m the coach of this game and it’s the dugout for you.”
Case History 3
Solomon comes to the therapist’s office alone. He looks very tired. He had arranged some sessions of individual therapy before scheduling couple’s therapy with his wives–
“When I was younger, I really liked to party. Even if I didn’t, some things are expected of the King of Israel. I’m married to Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. Some nights I can’t even remember their names. For instance, I’m married to three sisters named Jun, Jen and Jeun. And my first wife, Pharaoh’s daughter, is a real drama queen. I thought she’d mellow out but she’s still jealous as a cat. I think she’s been gossiping with some of my Edomite wives because my scouts report armed troops on the border and they’re getting intelligence from someone on the inside. It’s hard to establish trust when you have 1,000 wives, most of whom are from enemy tribes. I can’t seem to please any of them these days.”
Despite the challenges these tough cases present, the therapist can resolve all conflicts using simple rules based on the wisdom of millenia. It’s fortunate that traditional marriage has not changed in the last
3,000, 6,000, since Adam and Eve served dinosaur eggs at their wedding brunch. Though some complain that it’s hard to find room for all the cattle a bride brings to her husband’s family, mere convenience should not justify experimenting with an institution that has remained changeless through the ages and has served men so well.
(For more details on these cases see– Genesis 29-30:22, Genesis 38:6-30, 1 Kings 11:1-9, and do read your Bible for remedies to false claims.)