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Archive for May, 2021

How much have the corporate news media brainwashed us? The answer is plenty of times and ways.

We have, for example, been told by the corporate news media over the course of many decades that the United States Constitution protects free speech, except in certain cases, such as yelling “fire!” in crowded movie theaters. This is not entirely true, and the results of the brainwashing campaign have opened the door for the United States Supreme Court to give the billionaires vastly more constitutional rights via their corporations than the rest of us, and deliberately so. These newly created legal rights have enabled the billionaires to turn the United States government from a democracy for all into a government of the highest bidders. A small clique controls everything within government nowadays.

These new billionaire constitutional rights came in stages over almost 200 years, but most began when the billionaires began to organize themselves into a single political force back in the 1970s in response to a series of political victories by the 99 percent, such as the fight for clean water and clean air, the war against pesticide spraying on people, the protests to end the profitable Vietnam War, the civil rights protests, etc…. These political battles showed democracy was alive and well. So the billionaires politically organized.

A critical stage in this organized campaign occurred in November 1977. Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell, the guy who wrote the manifesto for the corporate takeover of our government and many institutions called the Lewis Powell Memo, led the charge in his guerilla war against democracy and the United States Constitution.

The First National Bank of Boston vs Bellotti case came before the United States Supreme Court. The attorneys for the management of the First National Bank of Boston argued that corporations possessed First Amendment free-speech rights with regard to political speech, that money was the same as speech, and that therefore the laws that the good citizens of Massachusetts had passed to prevent the rich and their corporations from throwing money around in political or advocacy campaigns should be thrown out.

Powell delivered the majority opinion that decided the rich could use their corporations and the money they generated from employee effort as free political speech.[i] It is strange that money spent by the people who managed corporations on political campaigns was free speech, but money spent by non-corporate persons on prostitutes and illegal drugs was not free speech since purchasing such illegal things could clearly be making a political statement that such things should be legal. Nonetheless, in making his decision, Powell was making his own political statement, outlined in his memo, knowingly turning the tide against democracy by giving immense power to the super-wealthy via their corporations, while simultaneously constricting the constitutional rights of all non-rich citizens.

Rich individuals suddenly could use their supreme court created free speech rights via their corporations in ways the majority of voters disapproved of, and in which the vast majority of American citizens could not participate because they simply lacked the cash to spend as freely as the rich and their corporations. In the Bellotti decision, the Supreme Court gave the rich a massive megaphone with which to drown out the voices of everybody else, and deliberately so. This was a five to four decision, a close vote that helped to turn the United States from a democracy into a plutocracy, which is a government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich.

Now here is where we have been brainwashed by the corporate news media.

The 1st Amendment reads;

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

When looking at this amendment, the most striking thing is that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech….”

Congress did not make the law that First National Bank filed suit against; the people of Massachusetts voted for the law, a power the Constitution gives them. The 10th Amendment of the Constitution reads,

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Clearly, congress cannot make laws “abridging the freedom of speech…,” but the states can under the 10th amendment via a vote of the people or its legislature. State governments and the people can restrict corporations from funding political campaigns. The court ruled against 100 years of campaign finance law when the court ruled in favor of the rich and their corporations. The self-proclaimed original intent conservative corporate members of the court effectively ruled in their decision that the 10th amendment did not really count, and that in this case the founding fathers had made a mistake, but the billionaires news media did not mention this latter part at all.

Another part of the corporate news media brainwashing is the constant reference to corporations as plaintiffs in this and other cases. The headlines usually go something like, “Amazon sues so and so, or so and so sues Amazon. Business corporations cannot speak without spokespeople since they are inanimate. Amazon, for example, cannot operate without employees, either in management, the board of directors, or in warehouses and delivery vehicles. You can rest assured the people in Amazon’s warehouses and delivery vehicles are not calling the shots at Amazon about what they want their political representatives to do. The people at the top of the financial food chain are calling the shots, and it is they who are benefiting from Supreme Court rulings. So we have been brainwashed to think of corporations as single entities rather than conduits, or weapons, used to create greater constitutional rights for the owners of corporations.  

In short, with the Bellotti decision, the Supreme Court decided the tenth amendment of the United States was null and void and the founding fathers had made a horrible mistake, and the court legislated that a tiny minority of U.S. citizens should be given greater free speech rights via their corporations than the vast majority of U.S. citizens. This decision paved the way for the rich to dominate political discussion in the United States with their vast resources of money, a not so subtle violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment since it made free speech vastly more abundant for rich people and CEOs via their corporations than for everybody else, and deliberately so.

Meanwhile, the corporate news media focused our attention on whether or not business corporations were persons with free speech rights protected by the constitution. Not many, if any, mentioned the Supreme Court’s decision violated the tenth amendment, and likely the fourteenth amendment. And this is just one way the billionaires have used their corporate news media to brainwash us.

The Bellotti decison helped to create the income and wealth inequality we have experienced over the last forty+ years in the United States and throughout the world, and the decision was also a primary factor in creating a great deal more global warming, but these latter realities are for another time.


[i] Unequal 26

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