Alliance for Democracy
"Fighting Corporate Dominance" San Fernando Valley Chapter July 2002
CAN CITIZENS REST EASY? POLITICIANS
STILL SOFT ON CORPORATE CRIME
Recent headlines might have us think our elected representatives are getting
tough on CEO criminals. But House Speaker Dennis Hastert rejected the
Senate's reform bill, giving accounting industry lobbyists more time to press
for leniency. And House GOP leaders are maneuvering to delay and dilute
the Senate's reform bill. Are the Democrats trying any harder to reign in
corporations? Both parties are funded by corporations. According to
nonpartisan Democracy 21, corporations and business executives have poured a
staggering $1 billion in soft money into Washington in the last decade.
They gave $636 million to Republicans and $449 million to Democrats.
Coincidentally with tough talk on corporate crime, congressional
elections are on the horizon. See www.democracynow.org for more.
OUR CORPORATE WORLD
Macro historian Riane Eisler has written, "The Power of Partnership: The
Seven Relationships that Will Change Your Life," a book that shows how
human relationships, beginning with oneself, continuing through the national
and international community, can (and must) change from dominator societies to
partnerships. "Legislation plays a huge role in changing the collective
consciousness, and changes in legislation can't happen without campaign finance
reform," she said. "How can individuals change a system in the
grip of corporate powers that maintain their position through liaisons and
methodologies that are largely hidden? Mass marketing through television has
made the electoral process extremely dysfunctional . . . we don't have free
enterprise when we're living under the influence of five mega-corporations, all
with the same agenda. We haven't seen this kind of centralized control
since the church in the Middle Ages, and the people running those corporations
are . . . hermetically sealed."
WAR U.S. IRAQ 40 COUNTRIES?
In the past 11 years the US-led war on Iraq has killed over a million people
(including an estimated 150 children a day), according to UN estimates.
As the US rationalizes escalation of the war against Iraq as part of a
general war on terrorism (although no links to the Sept. 11 attack have been
uncovered) outgoing Secretary of Defense William Cohen told G.W. Bush in
January 2001, "Iraq no longer poses a military threat to its
neighbors." In November 2001, the Iraqi ambassador said weapons inspectors
could return if bombing and economic sanctions were lifted, promoting
international security and the welfare of the Iraqi people. But the Bush
Administration is considering pursuing military action against as many as 40
countries suspected of harboring terrorists. Iraq remains a prime target. From MoveOn.Org
Meantime, Kellogg, Brown & Root (a subsidiary of VP Cheney's Halliburton)
is set to profit by taking over support services on bases in Afghanistan for
the 1,500 U.S troops stationed there since October, says Daniel McGinty,
Defense Contract Mgmt Agency. Up to 10% of emergency U.S. army
operations overseas are now contracted out to private companies, with no public
oversight, run by former government and military officials. The companies are allowed
to make up to nine percent in profit out of these war support efforts. So far,
the companies have not been above skimming more profits if they can. corpwatch.org
How to commemorate September 11? What are other progressives doing?
monthly meetings are held the last Saturday of the month, 10:30 a.m., at 9743
Noble Avenue, North Hills. No RSVP; guests and members welcome. AfD
welcomes speakers from all groups. For presentations or agenda items,
call Tobi Dragert at 213/680-1016. To join the AfD, call Dolly
Arond or Warren Felt at 818/893-9691. For info on the California Clean Money
Committee, call Sam Roth at 818/346-9692
ATTENTION: NO MEETING (or newsletter) IN AUGUST; Instead, There Will Be
a Pot Luck . Please respond to this newsletter by e-mail if you wish to
attend and need details.
ARE WE MAD ENOUGH YET?
ITEM: Even tho six U.S. Supreme Court justices ruled against killing a
mentally retarded murderer, death penalty opponents should not expect a trend.
Justice Scalia angrily accused his colleagues of adopting the
"arrogant assumption . . . of moral sentiments superior to those of the
common herd." This despite polls that most Americans oppose the
executions. "Symptoms of retardation can be feigned . .. this will turn .
.. capital trials into a game," Scalia said. Justices Rehnquist and
ITEM: Bush's gang is set to test a program that will recruit as
domestic spies a million truckers, letter carriers, train con-ductors,
utility employees, and other workers in ten cities with access to private
homes. The Terrorism Information and Prevention System, aka "Operation
TIPS," will rely on participants to report suspicious activity to a
toll-free hotline that records into a database available to the Justice
Department and local and state officials. Justice Department officials have
released few details of the program, and criticism from both conservative and
civil libertarian groups say the use of well-meaning citizens to search homes
without warrants is reminiscent of George Orwell's "1984." Jim
Redden, author of "Snitch Culture."
ITEM: Pacifica Radio managed to remain in tact, but generally,
commercialism, corporate concentration, and conglomeration best describe US
media. Fox is owned by mogul, Rupert Murdoch. NBC by General Electric,
ABC by Disney, CBS by Viacom, which also owns MTV, Showtime, Nickelodeon, 39
broadcast television stations, 184 radio stations, Paramount Pictures and
Blockbuster. The latest threatened independent is Goddard College's (small
liberal arts college in VT) WGDR. Vermont Public Radio, running mostly NPR
news, which critics say has become "controversy averse," is eyeing
WGDR, as are local commercial stations.
NIGER DELTA: After communities around the Chevron facility in Escravos
have for years been plagued by oil spills destroying their fishing economy, and
flaring, which causes acid rain, skin diseases, asthma and other maladies, and
after 150 Nigerian women staged a 10-day protest, halting the movement of oil
and trapping hundreds of U.S., British, Canadian and Nigerian workers inside,
company executives agreed to build schools, clinics, town halls, electricity
and water systems in villages of rusty tin shacks. The company also agreed to
give jobs to at least 25 residents and help build fish and chicken farms.
In the past, ChevronTexaco has responded to demonstrators with violent
military and police response. The Niger Delta is one of the poorest
places in Nigeria despite being the world's sixth-largest exporter of oil and
the fifth-largest supplier to the United States. The protest inspired
other women to seize four other oil facilities in the region. The women's
success was helped by their threats to disrobe, an act which would have brought
shame to their village. See www.democracynow.org for more.
Windbag Ann Coulter claims expertise on terrorism in "Slander:
Liberal Lies About The American Right" and hatemongers continue to skewer
Hillary Clinton on the Internet. See www.truthorfiction.com for
ALLIANCE FOR DEMOCRACY MISSION STATEMENT:
"The mission of the Alliance for Democracy is to free all people from
corporate domination of politics, economics, the environment, culture and
information; to establish true democracy; and to create a just society with a
sustainable, equitable economy."
NEWSLETTER: Call Tobi Dragert at 213/680-1016 with items for
publishing, or news of relevant progressive activities (clean money in
particular) or e-mail by mid-month to email@example.com.