REAL Democracy History Calendar: December 24 – 30

December 24

1962 – Birth of David Cobb, former Outreach Director of Move to Amend and Principal of the Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy (POCLAD)
Cobb debated James Bopp in September, 2014 at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN on “Citizens Divided: Corporate Money, Speech, and Politics.” Bopp is General Counsel for the James Madison Center for Free Speech and was lead attorney for Citizens United, the group that argued their corporate 1st Amendment “speech rights were violated when prevented from airing a political program just prior to the election.”

The “debate” turned out to be one-sided – with Cobb presenting a much stronger case for why corporations should not be granted “personhood” rights and money should not be equated with “free speech” than Bopp arguing the reverse.
Watch the debate at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijSsZdCatTM

2013 – Wall Street insider discloses mass power of financial sector
From “Bloomberg View” article on Bart Chilton, Outspoken Former Member of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission

“Chilton leaves behind a sobering message: As we long suspected, Wall Street continues to use every trick in its playbook to do whatever it can to eviscerate numerous post-financial-crisis rules. The arsenal includes high-powered lobbyists who outnumber lawmakers 10-to-1; $1,000-an-hour letter-writing lawyers who gain strength from negotiating over arcana; and the occasional hoodwinking of a president whose knowledge of the ways of finance are close to nil.

In a recent interview, Chilton said that, despite years of hard work by financial regulators to put the 2010 Dodd-Frank law into force (witness the 882 pages required to explain a 71-page Volcker Rule), their efforts will be futile in the face of Wall Street’s money and power. ‘The lesson for me is: The financial sector is so powerful that they will roll things back over time,’ Chilton says. ‘The Wall Street firms have tremendous influence, and they can impact policy to a greater degree than any one regulator or a small group of regulators can.'”http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-24/angry-bart-takes-his-parting-shot.html

Bart’s views were confirmed in a most spectacular fashion on December 16 when President Obama signed the annual budget bill containing a “rider” permitting banking corporations to shift risky derivatives under financial protection of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) if and/or when they implode.

December 25

2015 – Christmas – Birth of Jesus, who attacked “money changers”
The celebrated birthday of Jesus Christ in the Christian calendar. In his only public act of violence, Jesus drove the “money changers” with a whip of chords out of the sacred Temple in Jerusalem, which he called “my Father’s house.”

Modern-day money changers are banking corporations – the most economically and politically dominant of all corporations. They have captured our most sacred democratic “house” – our government. They, too, along with all other corporations, need to be driven out of our government.

December 26

2015 – Boxing Day – corporate personhood, money equals free speech and U.S. Constitution “boxes” activists into small spaces of what is doable
“Boxing Day” is an annual holiday celebrated in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth nations. Traditionally, it was when servants or employees would receive gifts from their bosses or employers in “Christmas boxes.”

Many Supreme Court decisions anointing corporations as legal “persons” and money as “free speech,” as well as many limitations of the U.S. Constitution (i.e. no direct election of President, no national initiative provision, no definition of economic rights, among many others) have been anything but gifts to individuals striving for real democracy. Rather, they have “boxed” activists into ever-smaller spaces concerning the kind of laws and regulations can be passed. Unable to limit the amount of money donated by individuals and corporate entities in elections and incapable of preventing corporations from asserting Bill of Rights protections, the super wealthy and corporations have captured ever greater portions of public policy and public space, therefore, shrinking these public arenas for the vast majority of citizens.

For background on limitations of and possibilities for a more democratic Constitution, see http://poclad.org/BWA/2007/BWA_2007_DEC.html and
http://poclad.org/BWA/2007/BWA_2007_MAR.html#3

December 27

1907 – Death of John Chandler Bancroft Davis – whose unilateral action yielded first Supreme Court corporate “personhood” decision
Davis played a historical role in the corporate personhood debate. As the court reporter in Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad (118 U.S. 394, 1886), his responsibility was to prepare ‘a summary-of-the-case commentary.’ He wrote in the headnote to the decision that Chief Justice Morrison Waite began his oral argument of the court’s opinion by stating, ‘The court does not wish to hear argument on the question whether the provision in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which forbids a State to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws, applies to these corporations. We are all of the opinion that it does.”

Davis’ published reports and notes from 1885-1886 contained his views on the Santa Clara case: ‘The defendant Corporations are persons within the intent of the clause in section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which forbids a State to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Thom Hartman and other journalists and authors have since charged Davis with a conflict of interest in his role in the Supreme Court ruling as he had previously been President of the Newburgh and New York Railway.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bancroft_Davis

2015 – Published article, “The Illusion of Freedom” by Chris Hedges in TruthDig
“The seizure of political and economic power by corporations is unassailable. Who funds and manages our elections? Who writes our legislation and laws? Who determines our defense policies and vast military expenditures? Who is in charge of the Department of the Interior? The Department of Homeland Security? Our intelligence agencies? The Department of Agriculture? The Food and Drug Administration? The Department of Labor? The Federal Reserve? The mass media? Our systems of entertainment? Our prisons and schools? Who determines our trade and environmental policies? Who imposes austerity on the public while enabling the looting of the U.S. Treasury and the tax boycott by Wall Street? Who criminalizes dissent?…

“This truth, emotionally difficult to accept, violates our conception of ourselves as a free, democratic people. It shatters our vision of ourselves as a nation embodying superior virtues and endowed with the responsibility to serve as a beacon of light to the world. It takes from us the “right” to impose our fictitious virtues on others by violence. It forces us into a new political radicalism. This truth reveals, incontrovertibly, that if real change is to be achieved, if our voices are to be heard, corporate systems of power have to be destroyed. This realization engenders an existential and political crisis. The inability to confront this crisis, to accept this truth, leaves us appealing to centers of power that will never respond and ensures we are crippled by self-delusion.”
http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_illusion_of_freedom_20151227

December 28

1856 – Birth of Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States of America – on the need for corporations and government to work together
“There was a time when corporations played a very minor part in our business affairs, but now they play the chief part, and most men are the servants of corporations.”

1947 – Birth of Spencer Bachus, former Republican Chair of the US House Financial Services Committee – who said regulators exist to serve the banks
“In Washington, the view is that the banks are to be regulated and my view is that Washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks.”

December 29

2014 – Article published: Big money breaks out: Top 100 donors give almost as much as 4.75 million small donors combined
“The 100 biggest campaign donors gave $323 million in 2014 — almost as much as the $356 million given by the estimated 4.75 million people who gave $200 or less,” a POLITICO analysis of campaign finance filings found.

‘When 100 big donors give as much almost 5 million small donors, with whom do we expect candidates to spend their time, and whose interests do we think they will represent?’, the author asked. ‘That’s not democracy. That’s oligarchy.’”
Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/12/top-political-donors-113833#ixzz3ta7ebjxE

December 30

2011 – Pittsburgh City Council passes resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to abolish corporate personhood
The resolution also called for returning elections to the American people.

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