Welcome to the Corporatocracy - where Life is Nasty, Brutish, and Short

The Supreme Court is set to hear a case that could give corporations the power to commit genocide with no consequences. The High Court has agreed to hear the case of Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum which could give corporations immunity from any civil suits for engaging in some of the worst violations of human rights around the world that you can think of.

According to the Alien Tort Act law – private parties are responsible – and can be sued – for violations of international law. However – a recent Second Circuit court decision – ruled that corporations are not considered “private parties” and thus cannot be sued or held liable for breaking international law. The ironic thing here is this is essentially a corporate personhood case. If corporations are people – and can spend unlimited amounts of money in our elections – as the court ruled in Citizens United – then as people corporations should be held liable for atrocities committed abroad. But should the Supreme Court reconsider corporate personhood in this case – strictly to benefit corporate interests – then the consequences could be disastrous.

As Second Circuit court judge Pierre Leval wrote last year in his dissent, “So long as they incorporate, businesses will now be free to trade in or exploit slaves, employ mercenary armies to do dirty work for despots, perform genocides or operate torture prisons for a despot’s political opponents, or engage in piracy – all without civil liability to victims.” Welcome to the corporatocracy – where – to quote Thomas Hobbes – life is nasty, brutish, and short.


Liberty-First's picture
Liberty-First 11 years 4 weeks ago
The Supreme Court is set to hear a case that could give corporations the power to commit genocide with no consequences.

Notice how the headline is so slanted. It suggests “without trial” the supposition that corporations are being granted power to commit genocide.
Then it provides limited information about the complaint.
So I copied the briefs of the case so people could at least see a bit more than selective leftist sound bites.

By the way, does anyway know what this international law being spoken of is about? The Constitution and laws of the Untied States are sovereign, not subject to foreign interference.
Best as I can figure is this is a move to make the United States compliant with some international jurisdiction, AKA global government, global laws. Every fiber in my being tells me that global centralized power will usher in tyranny on scale never seen before on planet earth.

Anyway, I think this Supreme Court argument is less about whether the oil companies did right or wrong, but more about pushing America closer to surrendering its sovereign right to exclusively govern. Some countries would love to see America stripped of its unique freedoms then kick it into a ditch.


Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum (Shell) is an Alien Tort Statute (ATS) case brought by Nigerians from the Ogoni community who suffered abuses in 1993-1995, when the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) and other Ogoni groups demanded an end to destructive oil development in their region and were meant with a violent military crackdown. Kiobel is a companion to Wiwa v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, which settled in 2009 and in which ERI served as counsel, and arises out of some of the same events.

In 2006, the trial court judge in the Kiobel case issued a decision finding that the plaintiffs could not bring claims for summary execution, but that Shell could be sued for aiding and abetting other human rights abuses. The judge authorized an unusual "interlocutory" appeal, in which issues are presented to the Court of Appeals before the case has concluded in the trial court. Both sides appealed; the plaintiffs challenged the summary execution ruling, and Shell challenged the aiding and abetting ruling. (The trial court judge subsequently reversed her views on summary execution in a ruling in the Wiwa case, allowing the Wiwaplaintiffs' claims to proceed.)

In 2007, ERI and its co-counsel in the Wiwa case filed two amicus briefs to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, supporting the plaintiffs' appeal on the summary execution issue, and opposing Shell's cross-appeal on the aiding and abetting issue. Two groups of international law scholars also filed amicus briefs in the cross-appeal, supporting the plaintiffs' claims of crimes against humanity, arbitrary detention, and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. The case was argued to the Second Circuit in January 2009.

In September 2010, the Second Circuit issued a surprising decision. Instead of ruling on any of the issues that had been briefed and argued, the Court of Appeals decided that the case had to be dismissed because, it found, corporations could not be sued for human rights violations under the ATS.

In October 2010, the plaintiffs submitted a petition for rehearing, and ERI submitted an amicus brief in support of rehearing. ERI's brief was submitted on behalf of major human rights and labor groups, including Human Rights Watch, the largest human rights organization in the U.S., and two of the largest unions in the U.S., the Service Employees International Union and the United Steel Workers, as well as the Center for Constitutional Rights, Global Witness, the International Labor Rights Forum, the World Organization for Human Rights USA, the Human Rights Law Foundation, and Accountability Counsel. The brief argues that the Kiobel decision wrongly relies on the fact that corporations cannot be brought before any international tribunal to conclude that corporations are not subject to international law. Because the ATS is a domestic remedy for violations of international law, and because international law has always primarily been enforced through domestic mechanisms, it makes no sense to limit the enforcement of international law to the few areas in which international tribunals have been created.

Six other amicus briefs have been filed supporting rehearing, including briefs on behalf of international law scholars, scholars of the Holocaust and the Nuremburg trials, legal historians, federal jurisdiction professors, victims of terrorism, and the Public Good Law Center. The judges that decided Kiobel rejected all of the amicus briefs, and ERI and the other amici then filed a motion asking the full court to reconsider whether the amicus briefs should be filed. The parties are now awaiting a decision from the Second Circuit on whether it will accept the amicus briefs, and whether it will ultimately rehear the case.

Village Idiot's picture
Village Idiot 11 years 4 weeks ago

Most liberties are conflicting liberties--if commentor, "Liberty-First" was the only person on Earth, he could do whatever he wanted to.

This is sometimes expressed as, "one person's right to swing their fists in the air ends at the tip of another person's nose."

This is also sometimes expressed as ":The Freedom TO . . .'' vs. "The Freedom FROM . . ."

For example, my freedom TO rehearse a garage-band at 3AM conflicts with everyone else's freedom FROM noise when they are trying to sleep. Most communities strongly support by large majorities the police shutting down the garage-band because they hold that the freedom-FROM prevails over the freedom-TO in this case.

The freedom of oil companies TO dump toxic waste in the local water supply conflicts with the local people's freedom FROM toxic waste in their drinking water.

A lot of Conservatives and Libertarians seem to only be interested in the freedoms of corporate bullies and predators TO do whatever they want and they don't consider the freedom FROM the harms caused by these predators and bullies to even be freedoms.

Maybe these Conservatives and Libertarians simply reject the fundamental principle of most religions and ethical systems: "Do unto others what you would have them do unto you." --Mathew 7:12

I'm an atheist by the way.

Liberty-First's picture
Liberty-First 11 years 4 weeks ago

Village Idiot

RE Most liberties are

I think you missed my point. And I certainly understand the concept of pissing your neighbors off with blaring Death Metal music at 3am in the morning. “That’s an obvious given”
I am already aware people/companies etc. must not pollute the sovereign territories of the USA, or its waters within its national jurisdiction. “That’s an obvious given”

My question was, and still remains: "what is the implication of surrendering America’s sovereign laws and thus governance over to an international law cartel that is represented by foreign country(s)”
In other words; “let the international community make laws that apply to the sovereign people of United State”?

Currently if U.S. persons or companies do wrong on foreign soil they are subject to the laws of that country, not some international law cartel that can order the USA to take specific directed legal action against said defendant people or company. Nor can they extort compensation from the American people for any wrong doing by the defendants acting directly and solely under agreement with said foreign country outside United Stated sovereign jurisdiction.
If that were the case, such an international law cartel of participating nations (many of which hate America) would overrun America with frivolous law suits and bankrupt us with phony trumped up damages.

Mathew 7:12 probably didn't mean you should toss your common sense out with the morning coffee grounds. In other words he didn’t say drop your defenses and allow anyone from anywhere come into your lands and tell you what to do, much less dictate their laws to you.

I don’t care if you’re an atheist. That’s your business. But as such, why quote scripture? Makes you seem a hypocrite.

bewildered1's picture
bewildered1 11 years 4 weeks ago

It is a Dutch Company. Why is the US involved at all?

Village Idiot's picture
Village Idiot 11 years 4 weeks ago

Here's another case in which Conservatives and Libertarians seem to be only interested in the freedoms of powerful ruling elites:

In the recent controversy over birth-control products being covered under insurance programs utilized by the Catholic church, Conservative and Libertarian propagandists characterized the issue as an assault on religious freedom.

Whose freedom?

The vast majority of Catholics support the freedom to use birth-control and Catholics use birth-control at the same rate as the general population in defiance of the doctrine espoused by the the ruling church elites.

It should be pointed out that the Catholic church is NOT a democracy, it is a dictatorship. Catholics do not vote on church doctrine.

Once again, it seems Conservatives and Libertarians are only interested in the freedom of the ruling elites of the Catholic church to impose their will on the vast majority of Catholics.

The Conservative and Libertarian view of freedom is not a democratic view, it is a view that is only concerned with the freedom of ruling elites to impose their will on the ruled.

Liberty-First's picture
Liberty-First 11 years 4 weeks ago

You’re just parroting incorrect, nonsense. It’s not even worth wasting time considering the absolutely stupid things you just spewed. Did you just blow a brain gasket? Surely you don’t think that way all the time?

Or maybe you’re just a fully functional liberal who like most has only been trained for “one trick pony” responces whenever challenged by the real world. Basically you’re cobbling together a Frankenstein flow chart of disconnected facts. In your case taking another pointless crack at religion, tying it to business bogymen and hope it sticks to the wall along with your hatred of anyone that isn’t “occupying” the liberal bull pucky.


Liberal bias is partisan selection or distortion of information to support liberal policies. This bias can be expressed by professors and public school teachers, College Board exams, reporters and other journalists in mainstream media, and any other information source. Typically purveyors of liberal bias falsely present themselves as being objective. Liberal bias includes techniques such as distorted selection of information, placement bias, photo bias and liberal style. There is a difference between being liberal, having a liberal perspective, and having a liberal bias.
The essence of liberal bias is to dismiss or even to censor all opposing views. For liberals, to allow the airing or publishing of an opposing view creates the risk that people might discover errors in the liberal viewpoint. On the other hand, CONSERVATIVES TYPICALLY UPHOLD FREEDOM OF IDEOLOGICAL EXPRESSION, WITH MANY EXPRESSING THAT ALTHOUGH THEY MAY OPPOSE A LIBERAL VIEW WITH EVERY FIBER OF THEIR BEING, THEY WILL DEFEND TO THE DEATH THEIR RIGHT TO SAY IT, BECAUSE THEY BELIEVE THAT IN THE MARKETPLACE OF IDEAS THE TRUE WILL ALWAYS WIN OVER THE FALSE.

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 11 years 4 weeks ago

Liberty-First still comes across like an internet addict -- killing time, typing wild. Really not on welfare? I just scrolled over it and laughed.... ludicrous :oD

The United States are a nation of largely Christianity fakers, used to skip the central messages of Jesus. Otherwise many had to hate Jesus. Aren't we already on the cultural level of nations like India and China in states like Florida? Mass misery, hate and violation of human rights is not to find in developed countries.

America will make to have a crucial decision in November. Obama -- or idiocy and decline. There's no third way, we have to decide. It's about our lives: Whether we want to live in a primitive land of misery, or like humans in dignity.

Village Idiot's picture
Village Idiot 11 years 4 weeks ago

Just havin' some fun.

Live long and prosper, Liberty-First.

TruthAddict's picture
TruthAddict 11 years 4 weeks ago

Liberty-First is probably on CIA contract.

I hope that the power elite over reach again and declare corporation immune from international law and and therefore our constitution if our nation is a signer of the international law.

As Thom pointed out, the court would be saying corporations are people to get constitutional rights but are also not people to be free from responsibility of international law. I pray the irony is so thick that a real third party candidate emerges to take adanvatage of the public outrage and disgust of our corrupt system.

Please keep in mind that Obama is the corporatocracy's candidate. The idiots on campaign are designed to make us feel good about what we have. We deserve better than Obama!

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 11 years 4 weeks ago

Dear Village Idiot, he cannot live on commenting on liberal blogs all day. It's just not possible! LOL

aarwdc 11 years 4 weeks ago

If it comes to pass, we might have to form a corperation to raise an army to legally attack such rouge corporations - a good social-science fiction writer could have a field day with this!!


Recovering conservative2's picture
Recovering cons... 11 years 4 weeks ago

Writers have already gone there, Remember RollerBall that cooperation sponsored warfare confined to an area.

Anyone read a "handmaiden dairy" ? it is about a person who lives in America that become a theoricity

George Reiter's picture
George Reiter 11 years 4 weeks ago

Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision of Citizens United in 2010 in favor of the Corporations, I think that the corporate friendly Supreme Court will decide again in favor of the Corporations. I’m beginning to feel more like a victim than a Citizen in this quest for corporatocracy…

Liberty-First's picture
Liberty-First 11 years 4 weeks ago

Village Idiot RE: Just havin' some fun.

No problem, liberal thinking is a fascinating cult. Be well fellow human,May Obama keep your stable stocked with many fine pink unicorns and pay all your bills out of his own private stash. :)

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 11 years 4 weeks ago

I think the radical right Supreme Court Justices will continue to use their offices to promote their political agenda, support of the wealthiest few at the expense of the rest of humanity.

A brokered convention is something I've worried about for a while now considering the clown show that has taken place. I agree with Thom, stay out of the way and let the republicans have their primary.

Buy the way are we picking up the Koch Bros. tab on political spending at the gas pumps?

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 11 years 4 weeks ago

Recovering cons..: Never read "Handmaidens Diary" but thanks for the tip...sounds like a good read.

I couldn't find "Handmaidens Diary" but I think you might mean "Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood. The book was published in 1985 and a movie adaptation of the book was made in 1990.

Oh, great, I found the book here:

Here's a short plot summary:

"The Handmaid's Tale is set in the near future in the Republic of Gilead, a country formed within the borders of what was formerly the United States of America. It was founded by a racist, male chauvinist, nativist, theocratic-organized military coup as an ideologically driven response to the pervasive ecological, physical and social degradation of the country.

Beginning with a staged terrorist attack (blamed on Islamic extremist terrorists) that kills the President and most of Congress, a movement calling itself the "Sons of Jacob" launched a revolution and suspended the United States Constitution under the pretext of restoring order."


That bit about a "staged terrorist attack blamed on Islamic extremist terrorists" was not fiction, you know! Margaret Atwood must be psychic! Or, maybe, that is partly where the Neocons got the idea, along with Pearl Harbor, in the first place. ;~{ 911 certainly was "staged". The Republicans and Libertarians are working on the rest even now. Looks like they are making headway. Of course, we have to stop them before it is too late! Yes, they are misogynist, arrogant, hypocrite bastards aren't they?

I just watched a good movie on Satellite TV called "Ledge". The protagonist Gavon Nichols, played by Charlie Hunnam, was an atheist. And he was out on the ledge ready to jump. The plot flashed back to scenes of what led to his being on the ledge. I particularly liked the dialogue between him and the fundy Joe Harris, played by Patrick Wilson...all the same kind of tired and worn out silly arguments that I've heard so many times before by other fundies. Didn't like the ending though.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 11 years 4 weeks ago


classic literature audio and read along....

U.S. Citizen's picture
U.S. Citizen 11 years 4 weeks ago

SCOTUS is the biggest threat to our democracy. The corporatization of America is the result of bipartisan efforts of the Corpocrats and Republicorps. As we go into the process of electing the chairman of the board of USA, Inc., we should remember that we need democracy, not corporatocracy.

Elioflight's picture
Elioflight 11 years 4 weeks ago

Well, if what Thom says is true, I think it portends a dark and evil world. But didn't we know that we were heading down the corporate road more and more? It's in plain site but people are ignoring it.

And I have to respond to Liberty-First's statement: Nor can they extort compensation from the American people for any wrong doing by the defendants acting directly and solely under agreement with said foreign country outside United Stated sovereign jurisdiction.

But the American people DO pay. We pay in the form of millions/billions in corporate welfare and millions/billions in lost tax revenue through the write-off of business "losses." I am reminded of a case I heard about (through investigative journalism) several years ago when the railiroads were sued for some accident (tort) or incident in/by the state of Florida. The railroads lost the case, but the American taxpayer picked up the tab.

When the every day Joes and Jills pay the bulk of the taxes, are hit with higher consumer prices, and suffer as workers for companies that give miserly wages while recording record profits, Americans do pay. Business gets the free ride; they make us pay one way or another for THEIR losses and mistakes.They get the profit and we get the losses and pay for THEIR mistakes.

It makes me sick when I hear struggling people defend the "job creators." They've had the trickle down effects for the past 10-12 years but have not upheld their end of the bargain--where are the jobs?? Where are the results we are told would come if we let the rich and powerful keep more of their money (which was earned on the backs of the worker and the consumer)? It was a lie just like every thing else we hear from those greedy folk.

How about we do the trickle-up theory: the workers stop producing and the consumers stop buying and the profit stops for business--maybe they'll listen and stop acting like petulent spoiled children and realize that we are in this all together.

Well-paid workers are consumers with full pockets from which business reaps their "just" rewards. Their current hoarding-the-wealth behavior suggests to me that they are asking for trouble from a weary and fed-up population.

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 11 years 4 weeks ago

"Corporations are people." Why did they make that up? Just to make sure you can't do anything against those corporations. And Supreme Court says AMEN.

These Citizens United ideas "money is speech and corporations are people" are perverse and have to be killed. Because they are able to exponentiate inhumanity. The Republicans are defending this nonsense and they want it to be part of the Constitution, that "money is speech and corporations are people".

The Democratic Party needs the House back for the crucial battle after 2012: Defeat Citizens United, change Supreme Court on long term, take America back on FDR's path and improve that. November is gonna be a matter of life and death. There's no option for non-voting. It kill us!


Just in this moment Bill Press about the president's speech yesterday: "He was having fun there with the crowd." I think this is Obama's actual charm. He likes himself and that's why he's able to like people. Then look at those grumpy right-wingers. I don't wonder they go for the meanness of corporations. They love corporations and despise people.

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 11 years 4 weeks ago

Too many people feel like "Wal-Mart is awesome and politics are dull." This makes corporations so powerful. Our actual work is fighting stupidity.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 11 years 4 weeks ago

Proletarian Battle Chant
by Palindromedary

Vote Obama,
'Pubs gonna eat yo mamma!

Vote Obama,
Big biz actin' like piranha!

Vote Obama,
Phracked and Whacked Osama!

Vote Obama,
Banksters caused us trauma!

Vote Obama,

We be bleedin',
and be needin'.

Vote Obama,
Yes Obama.

Don't give up,
Don't pass that cup.

Vote Obama,

We stand and fight,
We take no flight.

Vote Obama,
Yes, vote Obama.

Jail the banksters,
We aint no cranksters.

Vote Obama,
Vote Obama.

Make Wall Street pay,
We'll find a way.

Vote Obama,

Don't be slackin',
We be crackin'.

Vote Obama,
Vote Obama.

Make the elite,
Feel the heat.

Vote Obama,
That's right, Obama!

We don't cheat,
Or take defeat.

Vote Obama.

Don't drop the ball,
Or we'll hit the wall.


Don't be weak,
Won't take defeat.

Vote Obama.

When things look bleak,
Just don't be meek.

Vote Obama,

And if Obama doesn't do his job....REVOLUTION!!!! Last chance for Democracy to work for WE THE PEOPLE!!!!! Or things could get very messy!!! What do you say, Obama, are you WITH US? Or against us?

I know, keep my day job!

Liberty-First's picture
Liberty-First 11 years 3 weeks ago

I think it could be a good rap song. I’m no musician, it has lyrical rhythm.

Nothing wrong with being creative. Go for it! Never know ...

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

Hello All

Thom's blog in this space and moving to a new home.

Please follow us across to hartmannreport.com - this will be the only place going forward to read Thom's blog posts and articles.

From Screwed:
"The powers that be are running roughshod over the powers that OUGHT to be. Hartmann tells us what went wrong — and what you and I can do to help set American right again."
Jim Hightower, National Radio Commentator, Writer, Public Speaker, and author of the bestselling Thieves in High Places
From Cracking the Code:
"In Cracking the Code, Thom Hartmann, America’s most popular, informed, and articulate progressive talk show host and political analyst, tells us what makes humans vulnerable to unscrupulous propagandists and what we can do about it. It is essential reading for all Americans who are fed up with right-wing extremists manipulating our minds and politics to promote agendas contrary to our core values and interests."
David C. Korten, author of The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community and When Corporations Rule the World and board chair of YES! magazine
From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Thom Hartmann channels the best of the American Founders with voice and pen. His deep attachment to a democratic civil society is just the medicine America needs."
Tom Hayden, author of The Long Sixties and director, Peace and Justice Resource Center.