As the opioid epidemic rages, the fight against addiction moves to an Ohio courtroom

WashingtonPost

“We brought suit because we recognized that the companies had to both be held accountable for their long-term marketing practices that really created this market and fostered a misleading attitude toward these drugs as a pain management,”
Yet another example of out of control corporations that place profits over people and communities.

This mammoth historic case is being heard in federal court in Cleveland.

As an aside, Judge Dan Polster threw out several provisions of the campaign finance reform citizen initiative passed by voters in every single precinct except four in the City of Akron in 1998 that AFSC helped lead with the Akron Catholic Commission. Polster was unsympathetic to our efforts to reign in legalized bribery, including political donations/investment from outside sources.

As the opioid epidemic rages, the fight against addiction moves to an Ohio courtroom
https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/as-the-opioid-epidemic-rages-the-fight-against-addiction-moves-to-an-ohio-courtroom/2018/04/07/97b82b84-2636-11e8-874b-d517e912f125_story.html?utm_term=.32b727182583

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Bridge collapse connected to democracy collapse

The collapse of the Miami bridge was due to shoddy construction, poor regulations and political influence. In other words, the bridge collapse is yet another example of a democracy collapse (to whatever extent one ever existed to begin with, which wasn’t much) — due in part to corporate constitutional rights and money defined as free speech which permit legalized bribery and corporate rule to continue and continue and continue… #MovetoAmend #Democracy #WethePeopleAmendment

https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/16/us/miami-fiu-bridge-collapse-munilla-figg-invs/index.html

“Democracy Day” Public Hearing Testimony

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Testimony of Greg Coleridge
5th Annual Democracy Day Public Hearing
Cleveland Heights, Ohio | January 25, 2018

The federal Republican tax measure passed at the end of 2017 wasn’t a bill as much as a reward — to corporations and the super wealthy.

According to the Tax Policy Center, the top 1 percent will receive 34 percent of the corporate tax cut benefit, and the top 20 percent, 70 percent of the benefit. Eliminating the estate tax only benefits those individuals with wealth exceeding $5 million ($10 million for married couples). Eliminating the corporate and reducing the individual alternative minimum tax also benefits only corporations and the super rich.

Republican Rep. Chris Collins stated about the bill: “My donors are basically saying, ‘Get it done or don’t ever call me again.’” Sen. Lindsey Graham reportedly asserted that if the GOP doesn’t pass the bill, “contributions will stop.” Just 13 days after the tax law was passed, Charles Koch and his wife donated nearly $500,000 to House Speaker Paul Ryan’s joint fundraising committee. This is legalized bribery at its most blatant and sickening form.

So if corporate and individual donors are the winners of the tax bill, who are the losers? The nearly $1.5 trillion increase to the federal deficit will be paid by poor, working and middle class in spending cuts to government programs (including Social Security and Medicare if the Republicans have their way) and tax increases once the very modest tax cuts to the middle class end after eight years. Up to 13 million people also stand to lose their health insurance due to the tax bill/reward. That includes me. I doubt too many of these 13 million were the donors to its Republican supporters. I sure the hell wasn’t.

States and cities are also losers. It will be harder for states and cities to pay their bills. Ending the federal estate tax, reducing individual and corporate taxes and capping federal deductions for state and local taxes will have the double hit of reducing revenue and increasing calls to reduce state and local taxes. I don’t envy any state and local elected official having to deal with these twin challenges.

The rights of corporations and the super wealthy to donate or invest in politics since constitutionally corporations are “persons” and money is “speech” is a major reason for this historic tax heist. But we would be irresponsible here tonight if we did not underline that perversion of the First Amendment by corporations and the super rich is not the only constitutional problem.

Constitutional perversion by corporations claiming “personhood” transcends the First Amendment — and has done so for 130 years. Corporations have claimed 4th Amendment search and seizure rights, 5th Amendment takings rights, 14th Amendment due process and equal protection right — as well as other provisions of the First Amendment beyond the right to speak — including the right not to speak and, thanks to the bizarre Hobby Lobby decision, religious rights. The Commerce and Contracts clauses have also been hijacked to overturn hundreds of democratically enacted laws at the state and local levels.

None of this will ever change is all we do is focus on elections, laws or regulations. I wish it was that easy. It will only chance by changing the foundational governing rules of our nation — by amending the US Constitution, as Move to Amend proposes, to end all never intended corporate constitutional rights and money defined as free speech via the We the People Amendment, H.J.R 48.

In Lewis Carroll’s Through The Looking Glass, Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying, one can’t believe impossible things.” In response, the Queen countered, “I daresay you haven’t had much practice…When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

The history of social change in this country via social movements has always been about people believing in the impossible and acting on it. The result – depending on external circumstances and internal preparation – was what was seen as impossible in one year or era became inevitable in the next. Every single social change that expanded the rights to human beings in this nation was considered at first impossible.

Move to Amend’s We the People Amendment is inevitable if we are to avoid the complete evaporation of what’s left of our representative democracy. The Republican tax bill is one more ghastly and in your face reality that our government is fundamentally broken and only We the People can fundamentally fix it.

How about limiting corporate “dues”?

One of the 6 proposed state constitutional amendments would prohibit unions from using union dues on political activities without worker consent. Wonder how these same noble representatives of We the People feel about achieving a little balance — by also proposing a state constitutional amendment prohibiting corporations from engaging in political activities without pre-consent by their shareholders and employees?

http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2018/01/right_to_work_could_be_on_the.html

Portman benefits political investors and himself

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Ohio’s own Rob Portman is among the bunch of GOP Senators who will personally benefit from the inclusion of this nifty provision that was not in either the original House or Senate version of the tax bill. And who was one of the Senators on the conference committee that reconciled both versions in a single one soon to be voted on by both the House and Senate? Why, Rob Portman!
Rob also received a cool $900,000 from real estate industry Political Action Committees (PACs) in the 2016 election cycle. So Rob both helped his political donors (more like investors) AND helped himself at the same time.
Republican Senators Will Save Millions With Special Real-Estate Tax Break

Corporations and the Super Rich Tax Democracy

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(Photo: Peoples World/flickr/cc)

Trump’s claim that “we are giving them a big, beautiful Christmas present in the form of a tremendous tax cut” is spot on when applied to corporations and the super rich.
by Greg Coleridge

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/11/30/corporations-and-super-rich-tax-democracy