Ralph welcomes journalist and executive director for intellectual capital at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Hal Weitzman, to discuss his book “What’s The Matter With Delaware? How the First State Has Favored the Rich, Powerful, and Criminal—and How It Costs Us All.”
Hal Weitzman is Executive Director for Intellectual Capital at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and editor-in-chief of Chicago Booth Review. A former Financial Times editor and foreign correspondent, he is the author of Latin Lessons: How South America Stopped Listening to the United States and Started Prospering and What’s the Matter with Delaware?: How the First State Has Favored the Rich, Powerful, and Criminal—and How It Costs Us All.
We know that lawyers and investors in corporations hate political uncertainty because it might affect their profit-making process. And in Delaware they’ve perfected that system. They have completely bypassed any political uncertainty, and therefore also bypassed any oversight or regulation.
The state of Delaware, the major law firms, the legislature, and the State Secretary of State over the years have created a very powerful embrace to make sure that Delaware stays #1 in terms of being a haven for these kinds of corporations, and in terms of making sure that the federal government interferes the least.
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1. The Lever reports that in Delaware, The Company State, in a little town called Seaford, corporations may soon have the right to vote. The town has proposed an amendment to their charter granting LLCs, corporations, trusts or partnerships suffrage in municipal elections. Claire Snyder-Hall, executive director of Common Cause Delaware called this a "shocking...attempt to [give] artificial entities… voting rights," and characterized it as the “flipside [of voter suppression]." This proposal would require the blessing of both houses of the Delaware legislature, and while unlikely to pass, the corporate control of the First State is so powerful that passage cannot be entirely counted out either.
2. Senate HELP Committee Chair Bernie Sanders has launched an investigation into safety at Amazon. Chairman Sanders wrote on Twitter “If Amazon can afford to spend $6 billion on stock buybacks last year, it can afford to make sure its warehouses are safe. If Amazon can afford to pay its CEO $289 million over the past 2 years, it can afford to treat all of its workers with dignity and respect, not contempt.” To further this investigation, the HELP committee has launched an online portal allowing “current or former workers, supervisors, medical staff, or anyone else in Amazon's warehouses,” to submit their stories of mistreatment.
3. A troubling new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) highlights the rise in pedestrian fatalities in recent years. According to the data, over 8,000 pedestrians were killed on US roadways in 2022, more than double the number who were killed in 2010 and higher than any year since 1980. Regulators must take pedestrian safety as seriously as that of automobile drivers.
4. Last Thursday, Indian Prime Minister and Right-wing extremist Narendra Modi addressed Congress, following his meeting with President Biden. A number of progressive Democrats boycotted the event, including Reps. Summer Lee, Cori Bush, Ilhan Omar, Jamaal Bowman, Rashida Tlaib, and AOC. In a joint statement issued by Bush and Bowman, the members wrote “by bestowing Prime Minister Modi…the rare honor of a joint address, Congress undermines its ability to be a credible advocate for the rights of religious minorities and journalists around the world.” This from the Hill.
5. People’s Dispatch reports that the New York City Council has passed a resolution calling for the United States to end the blockade on Cuba. New York City now joins Washington, D.C. and Chicago in passing such resolutions. This resolution notes “Every year since 1992, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly has adopted a resolution declaring the embargo a violation of both the Charter of the United Nations and international law”.
6. In the recent Virginia primaries, reform prosecutors swept their respective elections, per Bolts Magazine. Steve Descano, Parisa Dehghani-Tafti, and Buta Biberaj, prosecutors in Fairfax, Loudoun, and Arlington each fended off primary challenges from the right, two of whom were endorsed by police unions and a third who was backed by none other than the local Republican Party. The reform prosecutors trounced these regressive opponents by margins of 10 to 13 points. Deghani-Tafti told the magazine “If this election was a referendum on reform, our voters emphatically responded that they will not go backward.”
7. The Reykjavik Grapevine reports that no whaling will occur in Iceland this Summer, following months of protest. Interestingly, the article notes that “Whaling is not a traditional practice in Iceland. Not only is Hvalur hf. the one and only company in Iceland engaging in commercial whaling…it does so at a loss.”
8. Martin Austermuhle of WAMU reports that Republicans in the House are once again seeking to meddle in the sovereign affairs of Washington, DC. Riders in a draft spending bill promulgated by the GOP include banning reproductive rights legislation, reversing the legalization of marijuana, and other conservative priorities that would never get off the ground in the district. The major concern here is that spineless Congressional Democrats will serve up DC on a silver platter in exchange for other Republican concessions. Just another reason DC statehood must be a top priority.
9. A group of House Democrats sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen calling on her to ease the sanctions regime imposed on Venezuela, NBC reports. The authors include Reps. Joaquin Castro and Gregory Meeks, the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, along with progressives like Jim McGovern of Massachusetts and Barbara Lee of California. The letter described how sanctions "have often been found to be ineffective in achieving their objectives," and "to purposefully continue contributing to economic hardship experienced by an entire population is immoral and unworthy of the United States.” Hopefully Secretary Yellen will heed these words.
10. Finally, how much does a trashcan cost? A new report in Responsible Statecraft highlights price gouging at the Pentagon, including a trashcan sold to the Defense Department for $52,000. Must be one hell of a bin!