mercredi, janvier 25, 2006

On Imperialism

The night before last, The Gardener and I watched “The Corporation” (viva Netflix!). It is a wonderful, provocative and scary documentary. The basic point is this: corporations benefited more than freed slaves from the 14th Amendment (in the history of 14th Amendment jurisprudence, there have been approximately 200 cases: 14 involved freed slaves, the other 186…corporations). Corporations are like citizens when it suits them. They have no accountability to the community; they only have accountability to shareholders (they are extremely (some say exclusively) bottom-line focused). They want to own everything (and I’m not kidding) every inch of land, every ounce of water and even the sky (no fooling, Bechtel bought the water rights to a town in Bolivia and try to prohibit people from collecting rain water!). There is very little to stop them, except the people, united.

Then of course, there is our imperial President. I’m amazed by the spin effort to convince folks that:

In a time of war,
It’s okay to spy on American citizens,
Provided that they are speaking internationally.
No court order necessary.

Remember the good old days when we had a constitution and followed it and stuff. Ah, the good old days...

And what amazes me more is that – by all accounts obtaining approval for this type of spying is so easy to get that there is little reason not to seek it. I heard an expert on NPR indicate that in the history of requests, they are granted more than 98% of the time and they take very little time to obtain. There is a unit within the Department of Justice who gets the approval for you. Let’s postpone our conversation on whether it should be a little more difficult to get wiretap approval for another day. Today, let’s wonder why – if it’s so easy to get approval and if we have the infrastructure to get the approvals – why, why, why King George can’t be bothered to follow the process. It's his imperial mindset. The rules don't apply to him - they never have (apparently and sadly, it seems they never will).

My favorite part? If you get challenged, the appropriate response is indignation. Nice.

Last, there is the now imminent approval of the Alito nomination.

Democrats, stand up! Draw one line in the sand one time, please!

We have a Republican Congress, a Republican President and now we will have a conservative Supreme Court. In all candor, even thoughtful Republicans can't think this is a good idea. We are entirely out of balance, no? While I hold out hope that Roberts will run to the middle and that Alito will not be so committed to the Scalia (moron)/Thomas (imbecile) line, there is no doubt that the court will become more conservative.

The primary beneficiaries? Corporations. A close second? The President. Third place goes to: social conservatives. Corporations will become more imperial. The Presidency (if Alito has sway) will become more imperial. And government will become bigger and it will push the Christian line: rights to our GLBT brothers and sisters will be compromised (WWJD, indeed). Women’s rights will be undermined by inconveniences or (in some areas) eliminated. The poor, already down, will get kicked repeatedly.

But this morning I was compelled by this notion that our imperialism, once expressed primarily in foreign policy, is now coming home (our corporations have been imperial for a long time, but with each passing year, we’re harmed by it more and more; our President has a more exaggerated sense of entitlement than any in recent history; and now we will appoint a Justice who seeks more Presidential power – with potentially calamitous results). Will we embrace it – establish a monarchy and surrender control - or will we (like the citizens of Bolivia who told Bechtel to shove it) finally say enough is enough?

Brothers and sisters – join my revolution. Step one: watch “The Corporation.” Step two is coming soon (I’ll give you a hint though – it has to do with the upcoming midterm elections).