How Does the Corporation Offend Thee? Let Me Count the Ways

The country is in a terrible state and we activists are run ragged trying to deal with endless permutations of corporate abuse and government corruption, running around like the proverbial headless chicken after all the assaults on our civil liberties, human rights, the environment, workers’ rights, the social safety net, women’s rights, a free and open Internet, and on and on.  There is, however, one overarching source of these problems which encompasses all the others, ties them together, and once one understands its significance, explains what otherwise would be an overwhelming array of separate, disparate, insoluble predicaments over which we might throw up our hands in despair.

Regardless of the concern, all of them are traceable back to the corporate “personhood” abuse of our system and subversion of our democracy.  Take any issue you like from foreign policy to food production and we can see how the corporate world has monopolized and controlled it for the purpose of amassing enormous wealth at the rest of our expense.  How has it managed to do this? By utilizing the misbegotten legal doctrines of corporate “personhood” and money as “speech” that came in through the back door by way of the Supreme Court’s being taken over by some old corporate attorneys back in 1886.  This precedent, set by what was actually a clerk’s summation of the Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad case, has been wreaking havoc ever since.

Let me give you an example.  Pretend for a moment that you are a poor, beleaguered billionaire who owns a pharmaceutical company and say you have this nifty new drug you want to foist on the public and there are all these pesky regulations that require you to actually test it first to make sure that it doesn’t cause birth defects, cancer, or premature death.  What do you do?

Well rather than wring your hands in desperate frustration, you get to work and go out and lobby congress, bribe some politicians, buy a few elections in key districts, gobble up some tv stations and start disseminating disinformation about how safe and wonderful and life-enhancing it is, place some corporate shills in some key agencies like the FDA, get a few judges in your pocket, corrupt some research, patent some human genomes, challenge whatever laws or regulations may be on the books or slipped through congress that are cramping your go-getter, capitalist style and go to court under the commerce clause and argue that your “right” to make obscene profits off of people’s suffering is being hampered, and voila, you’ve got your drug approved!

If all of that doesn’t work, go to court on the basis of corporate “personhood” and argue that your “rights” under the Bill of Rights have been infringed upon and that you should be compensated by the taxpayers for all your pain and suffering at outrageously being required to actually do business legitimately!  That will show those do-gooders and bleeding hearts that corporations are people too and your feelings are mightily hurt!

Now if we actually had a free press rather than a corporate-owned press, journalists could challenge this kind of propaganda and corruption, but once again, because of corporate rule and undue influence allowing them to dictate and even write many laws, impact policies of government agencies, not pay taxes, get government subsidies (i.e. corporate welfare) so they can amass billions, these corporations, owned by the 1%, can buy up all the news media they like and monopolize the message and go to court endlessly and challenge every law, regulation, and restriction until they get what they want. Case in point:  the Koch Bros. are trying to buy the Tribune now (in addition to elections and politicians).  As if Rupert Murdoch controlling the flow of information were not enough!

The corporation has been allowed to run amok, enabled by an increasingly corrupt government, becoming so enmeshed, that more and more the corporate world and government are indistinguishable from one another. In addition, the press has been taken over by the 1% and commandeered to be nothing more than corporate copywriters dispensing its pre-approved messaging, rather than doing its job of challenging and exposing this merger and sabotage of our democratic process.

Corporate “personhood” is the root cause of how nothing is working any more, like it did when FDR was President for instance, because it is a cancer that has metastasized throughout our entire political system and mortally infected it by eliminating all the safeguards and checks and balances on the abuse of power.  It is as if the immune system has been disabled so that there is no longer any effective response to the opportunistic disease of corruption–a system that was previously capable of throwing off illness is no longer healthy enough to do so.

The patient has succumbed and is in its death throes unless we intervene and pass a Constitutional amendment to restore our democracy by excising corporate “personhood” and money as “speech,” the only remedy to this dire situation.  We can no longer afford to offer the patient palliative relief by chasing symptom after symptom (though that billionaire big pharma owner would love us to do so).  We must go for the all-out cure because democracy is all-but-dead and our Constitutionally-protected right to a government of, by, and for the PEOPLE, not the CORPORATION, is null and void if we do not.

There may be a plethora of problems, but fortunately the solution is elegantly simple:  stop chasing the symptoms and attack the root cause of corporate “personhood.”

The Parasitic 1%

There are many, many articles on the web describing the wealthiest 1% as parasites, which, in my opinion is very apt as they do not actually perform any type of labor, other than that is, moving their money from one fund to another and one offshore account to the next.  The right-wing politicians and their friends in the corporate-owned media love to crow about the market and “free enterprise”, but we haven’t had free enterprise for at least 30 years now, and wouldn’t have had anything remotely free prior to that had it not been for the muckrakers and trustbusters of the late 19th and early 20th century who derailed their plans to control everything.

The robber barons are alive and well and thanks to these right-wing corporate
lapdogs in government,  have again returned us to the days of near total monopolization; while decrying welfare for actual citizens, these corporations have no problem swilling it down for themselves, while they pass on all the costs to the consumer and keep their employees’ wages as low as possible in order to maximize their outlandish profits.  In the last 30 years wages have stagnated while in the same period of time computers allowed worker productivity and, therefore, profits to skyrocket.  Over the last few decades, many of the corporate giants who actually used to produce goods, have moved their operations out of the country in search of ever-lower wages and for the purpose of evading paying taxes.  In addition, many of these corporations have become lending institutions so that rather than produce goods, they loan people money so that they can make even more money off of them.

So while profiteering corporations have been making out like the bandits they are, people have been plundered; rather than being rewarded for increased productivity by getting raises, the people are in hock like never before, as free-flowing credit has been the only way to survive.  It has been quite a lucrative windfall for these businesses due to their ill-gotten gains, the 1% having raked in profits like never before in history.  Now since the crash, they have realized even greater profits, causing the gap to widen even further.  The 99%, however, is waking up more every day to the extent of the class warfare that has been waged against us by this criminal class and we are mad as hell.

Occupy Wall Street

I am so happy to see people beginning to stand up and reclaim their government!  I was online for several hours on Sunday with the people chatting on the Occupy Los Angeles livestreaming chat and sharing ideas regarding the protests and demands that are being formulated.  My own thinking on this is in view of the urgency with regard to the exercising of our civil rights, that repealing the Patriot Act should be at the top of the list along with preserving our ability to communicate with one another via the Internet.  There is currently a “resolution of disapproval” that has been ramrodded through the House of Representatives by big Telecom that undermines the Net Neutrality regulations that currently exist as well as banning the FCC from enacting future protections.  Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison  is pushing for a vote in the Senate and we must stop this and any other such legislation from passing the Senate as it is a serious assault on our civil liberties and the level playing field to which we are all accustomed on the Internet.  So, because our right to assemble peaceably and to communicate freely are vital to the pursuit of any other goals, my two top recommendations for OWS demands are to repeal the Patriot Act and to save the Internet.

There are many other demands that we need to make in order to reclaim our democracy, and I think the one I would place third would be the reason behind occupying Wall Street, to end corporate greed by holding Wall Street and the Banks accountable by prosecuting them for wrongdoing and demanding they pay their fair share of taxes.

Another demand I think is essential is the revocation of corporate personhood, as this is a cancer that has metastasized throughout our system until the corporation runs our government while it pays few of the taxes, pays no royalties on mining and oil on public lands, pollutes our environment, and receives huge amounts of government money in subsidies and contracts.

Ending war would save lives as well as money and help us invest in rebuilding our country and democracy both at home and around the world.

These are the demands with which I would start that double as good slogans for the movement to reclaim our democracy:

  1. REPEAL THE SO-CALLED PATRIOT ACT! RESTORE THE BILL OF RIGHTS!
  2. A FREE AND OPEN INTERNET! SAVE NET NEUTRALITY!
  3. MAKE THE BANKS & WALL STREET PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE!
  4. PROSECUTE WALL STREET! PROSECUTE THE BANKS!
  5. END CORPORATE WELFARE! STOP SUBSIDIZING GREED!
  6. CLEAN UP THE ENVIRONMENT! MAKE POLLUTERS PAY!
  7. TAX THE RICHEST 1%! SUPPORT THE BUFFETT RULE!
  8. END ALL THE WARS! BRING THE TROOPS AND MONEY HOME!
  9. REVOKE CORPORATE PERSONHOOD! PEOPLE HAVE THE RIGHTS!

WE are the change we can believe in!!