Good afternoon folks. Happy Halloween. This is the haunted season, the time where witches and warlocks are all around us. This can be a fun time for young and old. I enjoy Halloween like the best of them. Always have, always will. Halloween is a time where people can throw their cares to the wind, dress up and pretend for a moment in time to be something they are not-a witch, a superhero, an actor…the list is endless. This is all harmless, good fun.
However, are these witches and warlocks in our presence during the rest of the year? Are we being tricked when all we wanted was to be treated in a fair manner? Forgive the pun. However, I digress about a serious topic.
We all know who Frankenstein is right? The purists around, will say Frankenstein’s Monster. I don’t pretend to be an expert on Mary Shelley and her writings. However, an interesting, but very frightening creature is there right among us every day in America…and it is far worse than any Halloween creature you can conjure up in your own mind. Freddy Kruger, Michael Myers-they simply do not compare to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Let’s delve a little deeper into what the U.S. Chamber of Commerce actually is.
Many people think that by virtue of its title, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is either a government funded institution helping Mom and Pop businesses across America, or it is like your local city or neighborhood chamber of commerce. Local neighborhood and city chambers are great for local business and provide a lot of unique help to small business. The U.S. Chamber does not.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce (hereafter”Chamber”) is for Big Business and does not want you to know who funds it. For further review, look at this article by The New York Times, End of the Charade. Year in and year out, the U.S. Chamber spends more money on lobbying than virtually any other lobbying group in the U.S.
The Chamber’s front board, the Institute for Legal Reform, is headed by such entities as Wal-Mart, Bank of America, AIG, and a slew of drug and insurance companies. See U.S. Chamber’s “Lawsuit Climate” Survey: Five Things to Know.
The Chamber files its own lawsuits all the time. However, in an ironic twist, wants you, the individual, to have your own right to a jury trial severely limited. Factcheck.org has shown that the U.S. Chamber’s claim that “52% of all lawsuits target small business” is in fact, baloney. See U.S. Chamber: More Lawsuit Malarky. This shows that 70% of lawsuits are actually business to business litigation involving contract cases. The Chamber is always claiming personal injury lawsuits are clogging our judicial system, when in fact the opposite is true. See here.
So, why should you care who the Chamber is? Why? The Chamber is funded by Big Business and multinational entities who are funding political candidates and trying to change the landscape of American jurisprudence. They are for mandatory arbitration clauses which bar people from litigating their issues in an open forum in a jury of their peers. These are clauses many people do not even know they signed because they are buried in fine print in many credit card, or other agreements, when you buy a product or service.
You might say why would I be against arbitration? It may speed up resolution of my claim in a cost efficient manner. Think again. The National Association of Consumer Advocates (“NACA”) begs to differ. See Arbitration Clauses Are Everywhere. These claims are often summary proceedings, secretive, and their decisions are vastly slanted in favor of the businesses.
Who are the people that lose on these cases? They are you. They are servicemembers having their day in court taken from them. A member of the Army reserves returned an automobile before the expiration of his lease because he was deployed overseas. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) clearly permits service members to terminate car leases without penalty and to recoup the pro-rated share of payments they have made in advance. But the auto company refused to reimburse the prepaid amount to the reservist. He sought a class-action lawsuit on behalf of an estimated 1,000 service members in similar situations. This was barred because of the U.S. Supreme Court case, AT&T v. Concepcion. See NACA’s detailed article on same here.
In summary, be careful who you listen to when they pretend to assert they represent your interests, or the interests of the small American business. As on Halloween, they may be dressed as a superhero but are not who they seem.