Remember how Pacific Gas & Electric leaked toxic Chromium 6 into the ground water of Hinkley, California for over 30 years, before being exposed by Erin Brokovich? On the domestic front: Amazon.com, Inc., is challenging the State of California by refusing to collect California sales tax on sales to California residents. Sofitel New York, the luxury hotel owned by the French company, Accor, may have intentionally delayed an hour before reporting the alleged attempted rape by Dominique Strauss-Kahn (DSK) to the New York City Police Department. DSK was a wealthy, powerful regular guest, and had according to media reports received a $1,000.00 a night discount on his suite. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United (January 21, 2010) that corporations have First Amendment rights of free speech, the same as individuals. President Obama described the decision as “a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans.” New York Times, January 21, 2010. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Wal-Mart case (June 20, 2011), that the world’s largest retailer was too big to be required to defend a class action; too many women had claims of pay discrimination. Philadelphia Cardinal Justin Rigali is resigning in the wake of allegations of ignoring charges for decades that priests were sexually abusing minors in the Catholic diocese. We have no meaningful campaign finance reform because politicians are beholden to donors and are fixated on their own re-election. For members of the U.S. House of Representative with two-year terms, campaigning is constant. Only the U.S. and Turkey among the developed Western countries lack a broad federal law protecting consumer privacy. Our piecemeal approach leaves us vulnerable to geo-tracking, discrimination in the pricing of products and services, and identity theft. Private businesses like sharing data, and they make money at it. Overseas: Egypt has been described as one huge commercial enterprise run by the military. Time, February 9, 2011. The News of the World phone hacking scandal in Great Britain may have involved the complicity of the police.
To me, the most serious example of institutions eclipsing individual rights in America is what Ralph Nader calls the “mega-corporate supremacy” of Justices Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Kennedy on the Supreme Court. Nearly every decision that involves big business has corporate interests on the winning side.