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  • In season 1 of The Story of Stuff, we looked at a system that

  • creates way too much stuff, and way too little of what we really want.

  • Now we're going to start looking at the stories behind the Story of Stuff.

  • That's where we'll find ways to turn this situation around.

  • Welcome to Season 2!

  • "Bad for you, bad for America!" "He'll put us back on track."

  • "... ran our state into the ground, now he wants to be your senator." "Stand up! Say No!"

  • "Stand up and say no!" "Bad for you, bad for America!" "Vote for this guy!" "Vote for this guy!"

  • Aren't you tired of this stuff?

  • Why is it that every election season, it becomes impossible to hear the facts over all these

  • misleading ads?

  • And if it seems the problem is only getting worse, that's because it is.

  • We can thank the Supreme Court for that.

  • In 2010, they decided that it'd be just fine

  • for corporations to spend as much money as they want telling us who to vote for.

  • Wait,

  • why are corporations telling us who to vote for?

  • Let's get something straight.

  • This is a democracy, you know rule by the people?

  • I'm a person. You're a person. And Chevron?

  • Not a person.

  • So shouldn't elections be all about what people want?

  • Good Jobs. Safe products. Healthcare. Responsible Government.

  • Clean air and water.

  • It turns out that the vast majority of Americans want to see a lot more done on all of these things.

  • But what people want will take a backseat as long as corporations can spend millions

  • getting lawmakers elected.

  • Oil companies have gotten politicians to block laws protecting our climate.

  • Manufacturers have pushed through trade agreements that gut product safety and help ship jobs overseas.

  • Insurance companies have been the first ones consulted on health reform and giant corporations

  • have gotten bail-outs and subsidies.

  • Maybe that's why all kinds of people - Republicans, Democrats, Independents -- are totally frustrated

  • with our government. (Angry Crowd yelling)

  • It's easy to get angry.

  • But it's time we got smart and realized that the heart of our problem is not that we have bad

  • lawmakers. We have a democracy in crisis.

  • 85% of Americans feel that corporations have too much power in our democracy

  • and people have too little.

  • 85 percent!

  • Hey, that's a majority. So let's get together and take our democracy back from corporations.

  • It's the first and most important step in making real progress on all the issues

  • people care most about.

  • So how did "we the people" lose control of our democracy to begin with?

  • Let's go back a few centuries.

  • Back then there were just people.

  • Some of them owned businesses. Some of them worked for businesses.

  • Still, there were just people. Then people invented something entirely new -- the corporation.

  • These legal entities exist independently of the people who own them.

  • If a corporation does something that gets it into trouble, the owners can say, don't blame me,

  • blame the corporation. I'm just a shareholder!

  • When the United States came into existence,

  • corporations were easier to keep in check.

  • Back then,

  • the government would grant them charters for a specific short-term project, like building a

  • bridge or a railroad.

  • Once they fulfilled their purpose, they were disbanded.

  • But over time, the law changed and corporations no longer had to be turned off once their project was

  • complete.

  • They began to live on indefinitely,

  • with a much more general purpose,

  • profit.

  • And that's how the modern corporation was born.

  • Today's corporations have evolved to have something very dangerous in their¬†programming.

  • Unlike people, who are driven by all kinds of motivations --

  • doing the right thing, love for family, their country, the planet --

  • publicly traded corporations are now¬†required, by law and the markets, to pursue one single

  • motivation above all others.

  • Maximize value for shareholders --

  • make as much money as possible.

  • That's it.

  • No, really, that's what the law and the markets demand.

  • Imagine a friend saying "The only thing I really care about is money."

  • Not someone you'd want to leave your kids with, or your democracy for that matter.

  • Yes, it is people who run these corporations

  • but their human motivations come second.

  • If they prioritize anything at all over maximizing profits, they're outta there.

  • Can corporate leaders do good things like give to charity or try to be more green?

  • Sure. But not if it conflicts with maximum profits.

  • And since their humble beginnings, corporations have grown huge.

  • 53 of the 100 biggest economies on earth are now corporations.

  • So corporations have a single-minded profit motive.

  • They're humungous. And their owners can

  • easily dodge the blame for any harm they cause.

  • That makes them tricky to share a country with.

  • If we want them to serve us and not the other way around, they need some basic ground rules.

  • And that's where the government comes in,

  • setting rules to keep things fair and safe and to protect society from

  • corporations run amok.

  • Now if their main objective is to maximize profit, do you think corporations are content

  • to follow rules that keep them in check?

  • No, of course not. They want to write those rules. 0:05:10.879,0:05:13.639 But who is supposed to write the rules in a democracy?

  • People.

  • That's why one of the corporations' key strategies for sneaking into our democracy

  • is saying they should have the same First Amendment rights as real, live people.

  • And that's exactly how they won that 2010 Supreme Court case known as

  • Citizens United vs. FEC.

  • In that case, five members of the Supreme Court decided that it's unconstitutional

  • to put any limits on how much money corporations can spend influencing elections.

  • Why? They said these limits violate the first amendment guaranteeing free speech.

  • Obviously our founding fathers who wrote the first amendment were trying to protect

  • the free speech of people.

  • But this decision rides on the crazy argument that corporations should be treated the same as

  • people and should get the same rights real people get!

  • This means corporations can spend as much as they want, whenever they want to intimidate

  • or crush candidates running on a platform against their interests

  • and support candidates who will do what they ask.

  • Great news for corporations wanting to handpick the lawmakers whose job it is

  • to keep them in check.

  • Now, I'm all for free speech!

  • If every shareholder and employee at Exxon wants to personally support some oil lobbyist

  • running for senate, it's their right.

  • There are millions more people who will support a different candidate.

  • That's democracy in action!

  • But now Exxon or any other corporation, can decide to spend unlimited dollars from its

  • huge corporate coffers to influence an election,

  • without even consulting its shareholders.

  • This is a big deal.

  • If the top 100 corporations decided to throw in just 1% of their profits,

  • they could outspend every candidate for president, house and senate combined!

  • Good luck having your free speech heard over that!

  • So did opening the floodgates on this money actually cause a flood?

  • Sure did.

  • In 2010,

  • the kind of "independent groups" that corporations are now allowed to support,

  • spent $300 million.

  • That's more than every midterm election since 1990 combined!

  • So corporations are drowning out our voices,

  • getting what they want and our democracy is in trouble.

  • But we can totally save it!

  • People are so outraged by the Supreme Court Decision that a massive response is mobilizing.

  • Such a huge problem requires a huge solution

  • and we've got one,

  • a new constitutional amendment.

  • The amendment is smart and clear. It reverses this disaster to our democracy by clarifying that

  • the first amendment isn't meant for for-profit corporations.

  • I get that amending the constitution is a big, ambitious goal.

  • But it's not impossible.

  • Every time huge positive change has been made in this country,

  • it's because people dreamed big, aimed high, and set ambitious goals.

  • It's time to do that now,

  • because the life of our democracy is on the line.

  • Public Financing of campaigns would be another huge step forward.

  • Congress is working on a bill right now that would make it possible for candidates

  • to get elected without corporate dollars.

  • Remember, 85% of Americans think that corporations have too much influence

  • in our democracy.

  • That's enough to make change,

  • if we can turn that sentiment into action.

  • Look, the corporations won't get out of our democracy until we, the people, get back in.

  • So keep fighting for renewable energy, green jobs, health care, safe products and top-notch

  • public education.

  • But save some energy for the battle of our lifetimes.

  • ...A battle that can open the door to solving all of these things.

  • It's time to put corporations back in their place and to put people back in charge of our democracy.

In season 1 of The Story of Stuff, we looked at a system that

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市民連合対FECの物語(2011年 (The Story of Citizens United v. FEC (2011))

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    姚易辰 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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