Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Grasping the Engineered Futility of Rio+20, COP 10, etc.

We've exhumed the luminous 2002 article below to cast light on the expensively aborted hopes of Rio+20 and many other futile international attempts to protect the web of life - like COP 10, CITES, the IWC, etc.

We've written a bit about the corporate assault on the COP 10 Biodiversity Treaty in Big Bodies vs the Biosphere and at our NGO website, but Lady Ainger has done a stellar job tracing the history of Big Biz's well funded and relentless attacks on the UN and the global public sphere. Please note how well they were abetted by both the Dems and GOP, and perhaps consider it a reason to stand up, walk out and help out SAP instead.

"Earth Summit for Sale: Katharine Ainger discovers how
the UN learned to stop worrying and love big business"

Katharine Ainger
New Internationalist.
July 1, 2002

WHITE ants -- Australian for termites - are pale grubs that chomp their way through wooden structures which still look intact from the outside. Until, that is, you lean on the framework and find yourself crashing through rotten, hollowed-out wood. In the run-up to the second 'Earth Summit' which will open on 26 August in Johannesburg, South Africa, 10 years after the Rio Conference which brought environmentalism centre stage, the world will look to United Nations frameworks to protect the planet and its people. But corporations with a record of undermining UN initiatives -- on climate change, toxic waste, tobacco, apartheid sanctions and more, are now 'valued partners' of the institution. Secretary General Kofi Annan says: 'The UN and private companies are joining forces.' Critics say corporations have successfully 'white anted' the UN.

As the economy has globalized, political and social institutions that mitigate the worst ravages of the market have become hopelessly outgunned. For some, the UN still holds out hope for a planetary social contract for the age of globalization. But for that optimistic hope to be realized, the UN would need to have enforceable powers over corporate polluters and human-rights abusers.

Big business is ahead of the game. As one international lobbyist put it: 'The first thing I tell an industry that's being threatened with regulation is to self-regulate, put in place voluntary codes of conduct.' There are now over a quarter of a million voluntary, non-binding corporate codes of conduct in place -- and not a single international binding agreement of corporate responsibility. As the UN is the likeliest venue for such an agreement, corporate partnerships and voluntary codes of behaviour are their best weapon of defence.

Read the full history here.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Opening Salvos

We hoped to have everything in SAP up and running by Bastille Day 2012, but given the Supreme Court decision yesterday striking down the Montana Supreme Court ban on corporate election funds, we shall try to hurry up a bit. Read the article below and weep, fellow creatures, weep.

Supreme Court Upholds Citizens United;
Tightens Corporate Stranglehold on Campaign Finance

Common Dreams
June 25, 2012

In a 5-4 decision, the US Supreme Court has struck down (pdf) Montana's 100 year old law that banned direct corporate political campaign spending in state and local elections. The court reversed a lower court ruling, but did so without allowing full briefing or argument in the case.

Previously, the Montana Supreme Court upheld the law due to the state’s dramatic history of corruption, but the Supreme Court's ruling today rejected that decision, arguing that “independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.” Critics, however, say all available evidence -- especially in the aftermath of the 2010 Citizens United decision -- suggests such arguments are absurd and say today's decision only strengthens the role of corporate money and independent wealth while weakening the ability of lawmakers and citizens who might try to temper the amount of corporate money that is now flooding into state-level campaigns...  Read full article here.