The new normal: Links & comments 6/22/14

Thrown Out of Court: How corporations became people you can’t sue by Lina Khan for The Washington Monthly.

Individual Americans are losing their right to sue large corporations by means of “terms of service” contracts that customers and employees are required to sign as a condition of doing business.   By signing these contracts, individuals give up their right to take their complaints to a judge and jury and instead agree to abide by the decision of a corporate-friendly arbitrator.

Corporations have been complaining for years about the burden of litigation, and, back in the day, I fell for this.   But even then, the courts were busier with lawsuits by corporations against each other than they were lawsuits by individuals or by class-action suits.

Owners and managers of corporations already have a privilege denied to ordinary citizens, which is limited liability for their debts and fines.  We are getting far beyond the question of whether corporate entities have the same rights as individuals.  By means of this 21st century version of the “yellow-dog contract,” they are becoming mini-governments.

Hillary Clinton forgets the ’90s: Our latest gilded age and our latest phony populists by Thomas Frank in Salon.

When Bill Clinton ran for President in 1992, he ran as the advocate of working people against the corporate interests who didn’t play by the rules.  What we got was Ronald Reagan with some of the sharp edges filed off.  As Thomas Frank wrote in Salon today, the Clinton Presidency was an era of corporate mergers, financial deregulation, downsizing of government and NAFTA

That’s what we’re likely to get from a Hillary Clinton presidency, too.  She voices the same populist rhetoric and has the same corporate allegiances.

The floor is open by Psychopolitik.

How committed are we Americans to democracy?  A Gallup poll indicates a “no confidence” vote in the institutions of democracy.   The institution in which Americans have the most confidence (74%) is the military and the one in which we have the least confidence is Congress (7%).   A majority lack confidence in the Presidency and the Supreme Court, but they have confidence in the police.

If I didn’t know better, I’d take that for a poll of Italians just prior to Mussolini’s march on Rome.

Every year, we waste Spain by Tim Stuhldreher.  Hat tip for this link to Mike the Mad Biologist.

U.S. Healthcare: Most Expensive and Worst Performing by Olga Khazan for The Atlantic.

If the U.S. spending per person for medical care were the same as a typical industrial nation, our annual health care budget would be more than $1 trillion less.   That’s the equivalent to the gross domestic product of Spain, out of which a nation of 47 million people feed, clothe, shelter, educate and amuse themselves, and, yes, also provide medical care.

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2 Responses to “The new normal: Links & comments 6/22/14”

  1. Atticus C. Says:

    Phil, I just wanted to extend a compliment and a little gratitude for the excellent free content. For the last few months (and to a certain extent, years) your blog has become part of my go-to news resources. Sometimes in conversation I bring up something I read in your blog (or something I read as result of researching something I found on your blog) and people are blown away by it. It has made me realize that independent media (and your blog specifically) is so valuable.

    Like

  2. philebersole Says:

    I appreciate your compliment, Atticus. I like your blog, BlogTruth, and look at it every couple of days. Unlike BlogTruth, Phil Ebersole’s Blog is mostly second-hand or third-hand information rather than original observation, but I like to think I add some value as I pass it along.

    Like

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