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nellie On February - 2 - 2010

I’ve mentioned Randi Rhodes a few times on this site. She’s probably my favorite progressive broadcaster (Rachel Maddow is nipping at her heels). I like Randi because she reads. She scours the newspapers and agency sites for stories, and she has an uncanny ability to pull together information from different sources to create a narrative that other news organizations miss. Many times, insights from her broadcast can be heard on other, higher profile shows (I won’t mention them by name, but they are popular with progressives).

I also enjoy her show because her callers are so intelligent. Below is the transcript of an exchange between Randi and a caller from the January 28 second hour. It’s a very important conversation — one I wish we were having more often. (Our Mr. Bopp would be thinking along these lines.)

I’ve substituted the word “Caller” for the caller’s name for privacy’s sake. I’m sure he wasn’t expecting his words would be preserved in this transcript.

Note: Adlib, I don’t think we run into any copyright issues with this transcript (Fair Use), but let me know if you think it’s problematic

RANDI: Caller in Santa Rosa, California.

CALLER: Hello Randi.

RANDI: Hi.

CALLER: I wanted to talk about the corporate thing that you brought up today because it’s so profoundly important. In my opinion, what the supreme court did was to change our form of government in the same way that, when a bably is born, you really don’t get to see what it’s like until it begins to develop. We’re not going to see — many people are not going to understand, in my opinion — what occured in that decision and how it’s going to emerge over time Into a corporate state, which is a different form of government as you know…

RANDI: I do.

CALLER: …than democracy. They’re not the same thing.

RANDI: No, they’re not the same.

CALLER: The corporation — which the republicans are always trying to tell us, “What a wonderful way to run the country” — a corporation is a state… is a… is a … institution in which the executives give orders. Orders are not what we do in a democracy. They’re different things. One is a political system, one is an economic system. And we have been now moved into an economic system that will continue to unfold as a fascist state. I say fascism because that is what Mussolini created when he created fascism. And that’s what a fascist state does. It is a ruthless, deadly, murderous form of government. When you transform it …

RANDI: It’s lawless.

CALLER: When you transform it from a form of running a business to a form of running a country…

RANDI: Don’t you remember Bush said he was going to run the country like a corporation?

CALLER: Yes. Yes.

RANDI: And a lot of us just, you know, had this knee jerk reaction like, ” Oh my god, this is fascist speak.” And we were, you know, told that, you know…

CALLER: That’s right.

RANDI: … we were unpatriotic, we didn’t love our country. And obviously we weren’t stupid. I wasn’t asleep in dream land. I understood …

CALLER: No you weren’t.

RANDI: … what the goal was. I got it.

CALLER: You felt lonely.

RANDI: I did.

CALLER: That’s what happened.

RANDI: I did. And now …

CALLER: And many of us did.

RANDI: Well, you know, what’s really interesting is …

CALLER: I’d like to …

RANDI: The corporate media for the most part has ignored this supreme court ruling.

CALLER: They will continue to do that as long as they can, and if I may add..

RANDI: It’s so fascinating how they ignore stories that are inconvenient to their agenda of corporatism.

CALLER: They’re lazy for one thing. They only want to do something that doesn’t require them to spend money on reporters …

RANDI: Well, quite frankly …

CALLER: [unintelligible]

RANDI: Right. The punditry is not that bright.

CALLER: No. No, they’re not. And they’re not looking at something very important that is not discussed. One of the things that I think …

You know, when a child walks behind its mother only looking at her heels, he never sees the big picture. He never sees motive. He never sees intent. Motive tells us what people want the outcome to be. And if we don’t look at motive, we only see things as events, and we don’t see them as a process. When the Bush administration set about the financial procedures, the economic procedures, it knew what it was doing. It was creating massive debt with the intent of making the country ungovernable so that the following events that they set in motion would lay this country low.

And when people refuse to talk about motve, which is comprised of circumstances … When investigators and prosecutors look at motive, they’re only looking at a set of circumstances and they say, “You know, we don’t have any absolute evidece, but here’s a bunch of circumstances that all seem to add up to the same thing — that there’s an intent here. A motive.”

So when we have Bush bankrupting the country and knowing what they were doing … They’re brilliant people behind him. Brilliant. They knew what their policies were doing to this country, and they even said, there were quotes, “You know what? Debt is not a bad thing.” Why do you suppose they said that? Because debt is the engine of capitalism. Debt is the engine and fire of capitalism. That’s how they make money. On debt.

Low and behold, along comes guess what? The big catastrophe of the big corporations. Oh what a surprise! You mean those people, those geniuses who created those systems didn’t know what they were doing?

Now we come along with another kill stroke from the Supreme Court.

If we don’t look at motives, we’re not able to assess what people were trying to do, and we only see the events without ever seeing the process. And until people start facing the fact that … There are very large nubers of people in the United States, not a small number, who — in any country they’re always present — who don’t want to live in democracy. And in this case they want to live under a corporate state. And when they talk about things like “I’m a free trader”? There are two kinds of those people. One is t the guy who knows absolutely what he believs in and understands it. He believes in a corproate way of life. The other guy is confused. He’s the guy who’s the average guy who thinks somehow he’s going to belong to the special club some day. He’s never going to make it. Never.

Ninety nine percent, we now know, of the American people are not the one percent of the people who have all the money. They’re never going to get in that club. And that club is a corporate club. And when that club becomes a form of government instead of a form of economics, the American people will rue the day they never thought about motive. Because there will be blood everywhere.

RANDI: Thank you, Caller. That was beautiful. Really. Well said. Beautiful.

30 Responses so far.

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  1. javaz says:

    Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas reprimanded unnamed Americans for daring to question the court-

    Thomas told an audience Thursday at the University of Florida law school that some of the comments “border on being irresponsible” and “run the risk in our society of undermining institutions that we need to preserve our liberties.”

    Perhaps someone needs to remind Justice Thomas that “freedom of speech” is not only for corporations but applies to actual persons.

  2. javaz says:

    Here’s an interesting article about corporations already using loopholes to influence elections.

    The Supreme Court

  3. javaz says:

    Good morning!
    Just for the heck of it, I wiki’d corporations, and it’s quite fascinating.
    Corporations have had person-hood almost since the time they were formed way back in the 14th Century.

    Despite not being natural persons, corporations are recognized by the law to have rights and responsibilities like actual people. Corporations can exercise human rights against real individuals and the state,[2] and they may be responsible for human rights violations.[3] Just as they are “born” into existence through its members obtaining a certificate of incorporation, they can “die” when they lose money into insolvency. Corporations can even be convicted of criminal offences, such as fraud and manslaughter.[4]

    The existence of a corporation requires a special legal framework and body of law that specifically grants the corporation legal personality, and typically views a corporation as a fictional person, a legal person, or a moral person (as opposed to a natural person). Corporate statutes typically empower corporations to own property, sign binding contracts, and pay taxes in a capacity separate from that of its shareholders (who are sometimes referred to as “members”. According to Lord Chancellor Haldane,

    Even the United States is considered a corporation!

    In the context of debt collection, the United States is itself legally defined as a “Federal corporation”.[30] Furthermore, several types of conventional corporations exist in the United States. Generically, any business entity that is recognized as distinct from the people who own it (i.e., is not a sole proprietorship or a partnership) is a corporation. This generic label includes entities that are known by such legal labels as

    • choicelady says:

      Ah -- but remember that between the 14th C. and 1886, the corporation was totally liable for its own acts, as were the investors IN the corporation. Most of them were for exploration and development of new lands such as the East India Corporation. The invstors had some limited immunity, because they were taking huge risks for the well-being of the nation (so they claimed), but they were NOT given free rein as they are now. That is why the Santa Clara railroad case that tortured the 14th Amendment into supporting corporations as fictitious persons is so critical. It gives personhood to the corporation and immunity to the investors. Huge difference.

      We are taught 19th-century interpretations of just about everything, and thus we miss the fact that things can and have existed in very different forms before the rise of rapacious capitalism which is largely a post-Revolution and especialy post-Civil War phenomenon. The corporation can exist as a much more beneficent entity than it now is, but it will take a genuine will of our elected officials to hamstring them. The fact the Republican Party has suddenly become the slavish devotees of this SCOTUS ruling and its consequences is actually moving the tea party folks to anger. We need to tap the populism and move it toward away from knee-jerk anti-government rants to understanding how important it is that we ALL unify over returning government to serve the will of people, NOT big business.

      If the tea bag folks could get past their fear of a Black president, we might just get us a new progressive movement. We shall see how intrinsically smart or reactionary they choose to be.

    • nellie says:

      Good morning, javaz. Hope your garage venture was successful!

      Let me respond to what you’ve posted.

      I see an important difference in that corporations are legal entities. What their rights and responsibilities are have been determined by legal statutes.

      They don’t have civil rights simply by virtue of existing. Whatever rights and responsibilities they have are conferred by rules that people determine to be necessary.

      So there’s no real equivalency. Human beings, according to our constitution, have civil rights simply because they have been born into this world.

      Corporations, as legal entities, should be held to account by whatever regulations we think are necessary.

      I should probably add that I’m not saying corporations are evil, simply by virtue of being corporations. What I believe, however, is that there are people out there who will take advantage of any entree into power and wealth at the expense of others. And that’s what the Supreme Court has opened the floodgates to. I’m not concerned about good people. I’m concerned about corporations like Haliburton, who’s former chairman helped engineer a war where Hailburton made billions of dollars. And blood was everywhere. It still is.

      • javaz says:

        That’s all very true.
        I just found the wiki article fascinating and am going to research more into the SCOTUS decision and try to find out what it all actually means.

        But I do not think that the SCOTUS or any administration would purposely work at destroying our country to bring in corporate fascism.
        I’ve got to think more about this and do more research.

        Thanks for the article, Nellie, as it is quite an interesting topic to explore!

        • nellie says:

          I’m glad you enjoyed the article, and I’m having fun with this discussion.

          One last thing I want to say about my own take. I don’t believe that the administration or the SCOTUS as a BODY is harmful to the country. I love the way our government is structured. It’s brilliant. It’s humanitarian. It’s very liberal. But there are certain people within our organizations who push the country further and further toward being a corporate state. That’s the worry. And I don’t think we’ve been paying enough attention to those people or to what they want.

  4. javaz says:

    Nellie, I’ve had to take time and think about this before replying and hope that I can voice my opinion in a concise manner.

    I do not want to believe that our government and the Supreme Court could be so evil as to purposely plunge our nation into debt, drive up unemployment and place us on the brink of financial collapse for the motive of turning the USA into a corporate fascist state.

    Rather, I prefer to believe that BushCO sent our nation into a downward spiral economically because of incompetence, just as their incompetence led to the invasion of Iraq and the mishandling of both wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    Incompetence and neoconservative ideology also plays into the wars, but that’s another topic.

    Corporations already run the US and global governments, do they not?
    Isn’t it the G-summits where leaders from wealthy governments meet to decide on what to do with the problems of the world, especially countries in Africa?

    I cannot fathom the future when it comes to the SCOTUS’s decision, but at the present time, I can’t see what will be different.
    Corporations already use PACs to get their ads out there, and now they can skip the middleman and campaign directly.
    We will be inundated with ads, but we’re already inundated with ads.

    Now, I think we, Progressives, Liberals and Democrats, believe that the ruling will favor the Republicans, since they love cutting taxes for the rich and corporations, but Obama received more money in corporate donations than McCain in the last election. (do I need to find the links?)

    Follow the money.
    Corporations do not purposely cause collapse in business to lose money.
    They do not gain anything by losing money.
    Corporations do not want power so much, but they want money.
    Recessions are not good for corporate profits.

    And if you want to get right down to it, the financial collapse that happened under BushCO began under Clinton due to deregulation of the banking industry, and not enforcing regulations that were already on the books, that led to the lax lending practices when it came to mortgages.

    There were protections in place, but the corporations and banks are so clever and they change constantly in finding ways to make money and they came up with mortgage derivatives that no one even understood what they were, yet they were allowed to implement them.

    Financial institutions are in a constant state of evolution and part of their evolution is to get around regulations.

    It’s not fascism they desire, it’s profit.

    • nellie says:

      I understand your point of view, javaz. Thanks for taking the time to express it so well.

      The reason I think this excerpt is so powerful is because it’s about motive rather than character. What is the motive behind granting corporations personhood? A corporation is clearly not a human being. Why say that it is one?

      Why say that speech is money? It clearly is not. Speech cannot be taxed. Speech cannot purchase goods (unless you’re a really good at bargaining), speech does not pay your bills. What’s the motive behind saying that money is speech?

      What is the motive behind making a profit at the expense of the economy? Because that’s what these banks did. They had enough history and enough expertise to know what would happen. So why let it happen? Why push us to the brink?

      I think this is such an important question — one we don’t think about enough.

      And although we don’t want to think of our government as evil, it’s important to remember that evil people can get elected and can get appointed to our courts.

      I think our system of government is brilliant. And because it is so brilliant, in my opinion, the American people are too complacent, too trusting of the people who have the reins of our government.

      I think we need to think about motive when something happens. And remember that some people don’t have the best interest of others at heart.

      • javaz says:

        The ruling gives corporations more of a say, which helps them make profits.

        It’s like buying an ad for the Super Bowl.
        These corporations now have the rights to buy more ads for their candidates that will help them make profit by manipulating elections.

        I do not disagree that corporations want to manipulate elections, but they’ve been doing that since heaven knows when.

        Never underestimate Americans.
        Never.

        It’s going to have to be the younger people that take it up, and they will eventually.
        At least I hope they will.
        Gen Xers seem to love blaming us babyboomers for the state of affairs, and they might have a point, but us babyboomers made change in the 60’s and we’re still active, but we’re getting old now.

        I don’t know, but I do remember Jimmy Carter during the convention when Kerry was running, and he said that -- Never give up on Americans.

        History proves that Americans eventually get it right.

        • nellie says:

          I think where we disagree is that things have always been as they are now.

          Our news has never been a profit center. We have never had the level of glitzy propaganda that we have now. We have never had the level of money in politics that we have now. The corporate control of media, congress, and the courts is dangerous.

          What is more dangerous than costing someone his or her life? Yet the insurance companies do this every day.

          Americans do get it right, eventually. But we have gone down many a bad road on the way to getting it right.

          • javaz says:

            My husband needs me to help him with heaven knows what out in the garage, so I must leave, but I will take this up again tomorrow, as I do disagree with you on certain points, but respectfully!

            (where is Keven7? do you know? hope he’s okay, as this is a topic that he would be all over, I’d think)

            Hope to see you tomorrow, Nellie, and everyone else, and God help me for whatever my husband is “fixing” in the garage and needs MY help.
            Oh, gosh, I can only imagine, and am going to grab my Gorilla Glue and Duct tape!
            😆

            • nellie says:

              I look forward to it -- because I’m thinking about your comments. I don’t know that we’ll reach an agreement on this one, but I’m enjoying the discussion!

              Be careful out there! 😀

            • Chernynkaya says:

              Don’t forget the KY!

              😳 Meant WD40!!!

            • nellie says:

              Too funny, Cher!

        • Chernynkaya says:

          I DO underestimate the American people. Or at least I estimate us to be easily manipulated, undereducated, and childish.

          • javaz says:

            I know what you mean, but we’re falling for the MSM and even the Internets -- LOL -- portrayal.

            Americans do have short memories, but people aren’t as stupid as we read about or hear about on the MSM.

            Well, yeah, there are a lot of stupid people, as you know from your “Hate in America” installments, but even the dumbshits are a minority.
            😆

    • Chernynkaya says:

      Yes, but if fascism creates more profit, they would gladly embrace it.

  5. KQuark says:

    Thanks for sharing this conversation nellie it was informative and spot on. Bush was our first MBA president and hopefully our last. I prefer to have lawyers in office because at least they know what the law is. I know some use it against but based on a survey of historians eight out of our ten greatest presidents were lawyers or had extensive training in the law. The other two were generals for the record. Government is NOT a business and never should be run like a business.

  6. whatsthatsound says:

    Wow, what a statement! And the part about the poor guys that never gets in the club, the dittoheads and “useful fools” out there who harangue about “socialism”, that’s straight out of Michael Moore’s “Stupid White Men”. It was true when the book came out and it’s still true today.

  7. kesmarn says:

    Wish I could hear Randi Rhodes where I am, but I haven’t found her yet. And this caller should have a radio program of his/her own!

    I recall saying, during the Bush years, that if someone had intentionally planned to destroy the American economy, our status in the world, our infrastructure, and our social safety net, he could not possibly have done a better job than BushCo did--apparently accidentally. Now I’m beginning to wonder if it were accidental…

    What Osama bin Laden was not able to accomplish, Bush was.

  8. Chernynkaya says:

    Yes, I liked that motive analogy too, because it is a crime and Caller is right--as in criminal law, once motive is established it makes the case that the person accused has committed the crime. So, once we realize that the motive behind right-wing ideology is to kill (or at least shrink) the role of government, we can connect the dots. Everything they do legislatively after the motive is established will make a sick sense. The thing that amazes me is that, given that we know their motive, how can we allow those who have an avowed dislike of government to become elected? If we carry that to the logical conclusion, it’s like allowing the seditious to infiltrate.

  9. Chernynkaya says:

    Nellie, “Caller” knows what he’s talking about! I saw it during the Bush years, but only vaguely. I knew BushCo (and we call it BushCo for a reason) had the ideology of Grover Norquist, but they went about it in a much more lethal way. They didn’t try to shrink government and drown it in a bathtub, they systematically bankrupted it. I really remember thinking that. They wanted to spend so much on the war--via Haliburton and whatever else--that there would be no money left for government social programs. It would have taken too long to elect right-wingers who hate government-- after all, even they must answer to the voters and even that’s never a sure bet. No, it was much more efficient to simply break government by spending it away.

    And this SCOTUS is finishing what Bushco started, is literally destroying democracy. You were posting yesterday about Op-eds (and I was too busy writing to really get involved yesterday) but the number one issue for me is this decision by the Roberts’ court. I will write letters, make calls, do whatever it takes to at least try to rouse people to fight this! I am really passionate about it!

    • nellie says:

      Me, too, Cher. That’s why this call really struck a chord with me.

      I was particularly struck by his use of the word “motive,” as if we are victims of a crime. And we are. The theft of our wealth, our democracy, and our freedom.


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