January 26, 2016 –  “Corporate Constitutional ‘Rights’:  Hidden in Plain Sight in Our Daily News”

Paul Cienfuegos’ January 26, 2016 Commentary on KBOO Evening News

(His weekly commentaries are broadcast every Tuesday evening. You can view or listen to them all at PaulCienfuegos.com, CommunityRightsPDX.org/podcast, or subscribe via ITunes.)

Greetings! You are listening to the weekly commentary by yours truly, Paul Cienfuegos.

I don’t know about you, but when I read Portland’s corporate-owned newspaper, The Oregonian, or any other major daily newspaper in this country, I am always amazed at how many of the news stories are really about corporations harming us, legally, because they are exercising their corporate constitutional so-called “rights”. Of course, you absolutely never see any direct reference to corporate constitutional “rights” in any of the mainstream news media, but if you know how to read between the lines, you’ll be absolutely flabbergasted how often corporate “rights” are hidden in plain sight, as the root cause of the problem being reported. And once you see it, you’ll understand more easily how interconnected all of these supposedly unrelated news stories actually are. Which in turn makes it more obvious why we all need to be working together to dismantle these corporate “rights”, because doing so could transform our society, and much more quickly than you might imagine.

Today, I’m going to review two news stories from this past Sunday’s Oregonian to prove my point, and to help you to start to read between the lines too. The first one on page A3 was an article that explores the new effort to “introduce a bill in February’s short session [of the Oregon State Legislature] that would repeal sections of the 2013 law that stops counties … from being able to decide their own rules on genetically engineered crops. … Former governor, John Kitzhaber created a committee of farm advocates, organic growers, biotech companies, and other interests” to try to come up with new statewide rules, but nothing was ever agreed upon.

I could have told the governor that his committee would never succeed, because he was allowing corporate representatives to sit at the table where these new statewide rules were being developed. Why is it that We the People continue to allow corporate leaders to make public policy? Why do we not insist that these critical decisions be made by those who will be most impacted by those decisions, which in this case are the farmers in the Willamette Valley? Is it because we no longer know our own history, so we don’t realize that historically, business corporations were forbidden from any participation in public policy decision-making? That all changed in the late 1800’s, when corporate leaders started to successfully dismantle a century of law-making that had once subordinated the corporation.

The article also mentions the Oregon Farm Bureau, which strongly supports the ban on counties having any decision-making authority about GMO’s. Of course this wasn’t always the case. Many decades ago, the Farm Bureau actually represented farmers’ interests. Imagine that! But it’s long since been taken over by large corporations like Monsanto. Again, it doesn’t have to be like this. We the People could ban corporate funding or involvement of any kind in advocacy organizations such as this one. And in fact, this also used to be the law in our country more than a century ago.

In the Business Section of Sunday’s Oregonian newspaper, there’s an article about how robots will replace workers. The story describes “the accelerating pace of technological changes” and how “artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology and 3-D printing” will profoundly impact working people in the very near future. “An estimated 47% of US jobs could be taken by robots in the next two decades” which is likely to lead to “vast increases in income inequality, masses of people who are effectively unemployable, and breakdowns in the social order”. Women will be hit the hardest, with “more than five jobs lost for every job gained.”

What the article fails to mention is that this massive disruption in the lives of working people is only going to take place because business corporations claim unimpeded decision-making authority as a property right of a corporate person. That’s right – neither the government nor labor unions is allowed to interfere in this technological decision-making from corporate boards, because that would violate the corporation’s constitutionally protected property “rights”. So massive unemployment and homelessness is inevitable, simply because We the People are not contesting who should be making these critical technological decisions.

Here’s a brief re-cap of today’s commentary:

* We the People could successfully pass an Oregon state law that returns to county governments the authority to decide whether GMO crops can be grown.

* We the People could return the Oregon Farm Bureau to its rightful owners – actual human beings who farm.

* We the People could insist that rapid technological changes are made in a way that protects the interests of working people.

We could accomplish all of these things IF we learn how to dismantle the corporation’s legal authority to make these decisions that affect all of us – legal authority that comes directly from corporations claiming constitutional “rights” through the Supreme Court. Tragically, most of us are still attacking the branches instead of the roots in our single-issue activism.

I urge those of you listening to me today to give some thought to how you could become more proficient in reading between the lines. Ultimately, we need a mainstream media that tells the truth and puts stories in proper context, so that We are better able to do our job, which is to practice our inherent right to govern ourselves. Today, mainstream media is itself a handful of large business corporations, so we can use the same strategy – taking back our authority to make the big decisions that matter, by resubordinating these media institutions so that they are once again required to fulfill their duties and responsibilities to us, the citizenry. And if they fail, it is our duty to revoke their corporate charters and create new media institutions that will do the job that is necessary to inform citizens in a truly democratic society. Of course, all of this requires that we understand the proper relationship between The People and our subordinate business and government institutions. Let’s get cracking!

You’ve been listening to the weekly commentary by yours truly, Paul Cienfuegos. You can hear future commentaries every Tuesday on the KBOO Evening News in Portland, Oregon, and on a growing number of other radio stations. I welcome your feedback.  You can subscribe to my weekly podcast via I-Tunes or at CommunityRightsPDX.org. You can sign up for my ‘Community Rights Updates’ at PaulCienfuegos.com. You can follow me on twitter at CienfuegosPaul. THANKS FOR LISTENING! And remember: WE are the people we’ve been WAITING for.

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