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We the People: Endangered, Captured, and Dying

— August 21, 2017

We the People are endangered, captured, and dying due to corporate greed. Our government has allowed itself to be purchased by corporations, and its actions (deregulation, etc.) are putting Americans in danger every day.

We the People are endangered, captured, and dying due to corporate greed. Our government has allowed itself to be purchased by corporations, and its actions (deregulation, etc.) are putting Americans in danger every day.

Endangered. Attorney General of Maryland, Brian E. Frosh, was quoted this week as saying, “Every day there’s something that goes on that endangers the health and safety of Americans.” This quote was in an excellent article by Juliet Eilperin in the Washington Post about Attorneys General fighting for environmental protection policies. From that piece:

“The NYU School of Law will launch a new center, financed by Bloomberg Philanthropies, aimed at helping state attorneys general fight any federal moves to roll back renewable energy, environmental protections and climate policies.”

“The grant of nearly $6 million…will establish the State Energy and Environmental Impact Center….”

“The new center will provide legal assistance to the attorneys general on renewable energy, climate and environmental issues and will sponsor 10 lawyers on two-year fellowships who will work directly on cases in different attorneys general offices.”1

The problem of federal roll back of environmental protections is better understood more broadly as endangerment of Americans and the future of humanity from the known and unknown consequences of ever-increasing global heating.

Captured by Corporate Supremacists. A former Attorney General and now U.S. Senator, Sheldon Whitehouse, has just authored Captured, an excellent book that describes how, why, by, and for whom American policy-making has been captured.

Bill McKibben, founder of describes Captured as follows:

“Deploying his deep knowledge of American history, Sheldon Whitehouse cuts to the quick of our modern democratic dilemma: money rules. And unless we follow his lead in fighting it, we’ll among other things watch the oil industry trash our planet.”

Captured by Senator Sheldon Whithouse; image courtesy of
Captured by Senator Sheldon Whithouse; image courtesy of

Captured is a legal insider’s view of how American policy-making has been bought and how Americans have been captured. Whitehouse’s experience as a prosecutor, regulator, reformer, candidate, and elected official enables him to describe the forces of influence of corporations and money that changed our laws against the public interest.

He describes with shocking clarity the capture of all three branches of government – as well as substantial segments of the media – by interests backed by unlimited amounts of money.

In the chapter “Constitution’s Blind Spot,” he describes the failure to address the corporation as opposed to people. He lists current legal differences between corporations and people that have enabled the capture of We the People.

  1. By law, for-profit corporations are dedicated solely to profit making.
  2. Corporations have no soul or conscience.
  3. Corporations have no loyalty to any nation. He quotes a former Exxon CEO: “I’m not a U.S. company and I don’t make decisions based on what is good for the U.S.”
  4. Corporations do not rest, retire, or die.
  5. There is no natural limit to corporations’ size.
  6. There is no natural limit to the appetite of corporations.

Captured has chapters on:

  • The Growth of Corporate Power
  • What the Corporate Political Machine Wants
  • The Lewis Powell Memo
  • Capture of the Court
  • Capture of Elections
  • Capture of Regulatory Agencies
  • Capture of the Civil Jury
  • The Denial Machine
  • Climate Change
  • America’s Lamp in Peril

Sen. Whitehouse: “The problem of corporate control of our politics is correctable. We can stand up, push back, and make it right… However, there is one place where this corporate power can push us over a tipping point that is not correctable. That is climate change.”2

Pushing Back. Just one example of the media identifying the current corporate influence on policy-making is the New York Times article on Trump’s Corporate Deregulation Teams.3

Citizen groups are also engaging in legal actions. Public Citizen has filed a lawsuit against President Trump.4

“On Feb. 8, Public Citizen, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Communications Workers of America sued the Trump administration to block an executive order signed by President Donald Trump on Jan. 30 that directs federal agencies to repeal two federal regulations for every new rule they issue.

We are asking the court to issue a declaration that the order cannot be lawfully implemented and bar the agencies from implementing the order.

‘No one thinking sensibly about how to set rules for health, safety, the environment and the economy would ever adopt the Trump Executive Order approach – unless their only goal was to confer enormous benefits on big business,’ Public Citizen President Robert Weissman said. ‘If implemented, the order would result in lasting damage to our government’s ability to save lives, protect our environment, police Wall Street, keep consumers safe and fight discrimination.’”

In another lawsuit, Public Citizen has filed seeks access to visitor logs.5

“In this case, Public Citizen sent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to the Secret Service for copies of visitor logs and other records documenting visitors to four agencies within the White House Complex that are subject to FOIA—the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), and Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ).”

Pollution and Dying Continues. As I write this, the Trump Air Pollution Early Death Clock, based on MIT estimates, has exceeded 117,000 deaths in the U.S., just since President Trump took office.6

Trump Aip Pollution Early Death Clock; image courtesy of
Trump Aip Pollution Early Death Clock; image courtesy of

We are on a burning planetary ship traveling through space. We can estimate the number of needless deaths due to air pollution in the U.S. each day. What we have been unable to do is put out the fires fed by fossil fuel and other corporate powers with unlimited money. Hopefully, we will learn to politically and legally control the corporate supremacists before it is too late for all of us.


  1. NYU Law launches new center to help state AGs fight environmental rollbacks
  2. Amazon link to “Captured” by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
  3. The Deep Industry Ties of Trump’s Deregulation Teams
  4. Public Citizen v. Trump
  5. Public Citizen, Inc. v. United States Secret Service
  6. Trump Clocks

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