By: Kourosh Behnam
March 19, 2012
One hundred ninety three years ago in 1819 the Supreme Court Case Darmouth College v. Woodward ruled to allow corporations to have the same rights as, “The People”. Sixty seven years later in 1886 The Supreme Court’s decision in Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad recognized corporations as people under the Fourteenth Amendment. This decision that was made one hundred twenty six years ago is the foundation for modern laws concerning corporate personhood.
The most recent law regarding corporate personhood is Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commissions. This land mark decision is directly responsible for the rise of Super PAC’s that are flooding our elections with money financed by oligarchs, multi-national corporations, and labor unions.
Recently many activists have been attempting to amend The Citizens United Decision, declaring that corporations are not people. While I think this activism is crucial to accomplishing our goals, we need to direct our energies to the beginning of when corporations were given their Fourteenth Amendment rights. “Our communities expend time, money, energy, and resources in an endless game in which he right of corporations and those who command them harm our communities and deny our rights isn’t even on the table.” I do agree with overturning The Citizens United Decision, but when we do accomplish this goal, corporations will still have persons rights. We the people need to amend the constitution in certain ways that benefit the rights of nature and people over corporations.
Read More: Corporate Rights , Democracy School, IFG Programs: Wealth and Power
By: Kourosh Behnam
February 24, 2012
HISTORY: Bloody from the beginning
- Henry Wells and William Fargo founded WFB in 1852 when California’s Gold Rush needed to move the money made from mining the Sierra Nevada and violently evicting its indigenous people;
- WFB bought the subprime mortgage monster Wachovia in the 2008 financial panic for $15.1 billion;
- WFB is now America’s biggest bank, by market capitalization of $161 billion, and the highest rate of profitability.
BLOATED BANKSTERS: Too Big to Jail
- Federal taxpayer bailout received, $36.9 billion;
- Effective tax rate in 2008, 18.5%, almost half of what the average person pays;
- Offshore subsidiares in tax havens, 77;
- Campaign contributions in 2008 federal elections, $4.7 million.
FORECLOSE FAMILIES: Growth from Homelessness and Hopelessness
- WFB originated or co-issued $74.2 billion worth of subprime loans, making it one of the top subprime lenders in the country;
- WFB was one of the 5 big banks who “robo-signed”, or foreclosed on houses with forged or unreviewed documentation, on countless families;
- WFB is the second largest mortgage servicer in the nation; they also used the “robo signer”.
HOLDING YOUNG PEOPLE HOSTAGE: Profits from Indentured Students
- WFB holds $10 billion in private student loans, the average American student graduates $25,000 in debt;
- Interest rates on WFB student loans are near 18%; unlike credit cards, these loans are impossible to discharge in bankruptcy, and WFB is not offering to reduce the principal or interest rates;
- Outstanding student loans total more than $979 billion; WFB financies today’s “education bubble.
RIGGING GLOBAL FINANCE RULES:
WFB sponsored the global banking lobbyist group, the International Institute for Finance, 2011 annual meeting in Washington, where the world’s most powerful banks tell government regulators what they want.
Read More: Auction 2012: Greedy Bastards and Student Debt, Big Bank Profile: Wells Fago , Average Student Loan Debt