“Slavery is the legal fiction that a person is property. Corporate personhood is the legal fiction that property is a person.”– Anonymous
The infamous NeoConservative, anti-democratic Roberts’ Supreme Court 5/4 decision in the 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling (granting personhood to corporations) has emboldened the already powerful and very corruptible multinational corporations (that have already achieved dominion over politics and the economy in the United States) to “buy” any number of politicians and brain-wash many voters in many state and national elections.. The US Supreme Court has made legal the absurd notion that inanimate corporations deserve the same rights (but not the same responsibilities) as living humans.
Soberingly, after the ruling came down, there was only a brief bit of anger and outrage from our national leadership over this democracy-threatening decision, and the outrage was quickly drowned out of the public consciousness by a well-timed, mainstream media-orchestrated “tempest in a teapot” – Toyota’s recall of tens of thousands of accelerator pedals (that apparently had only infrequently been the cause of significant accidents).
The following question must be asked:
If corporations have the privileges of personhood shouldn’t they also bear the same responsibilities and incur the same punishments as individuals do when they commit crimes?
Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, leaves a campaign event at the SteepleGate Inn in Davenport, Iowa, Jan. 2, 2012. (Daniel Acker/The New York Times)#
Peace and justice activists briefly applauded when the citizens of Shapleigh, Maine protected their water rights last March from the insatiable water-extracting corporate giant Nestle. (See video and more information on this episode at:
Nestle, one of the most infamous of the countless multinational corporate exploiters, has no allegiance to Maine or Wisconsin or any other locality where they try to extract relatively non-polluted water; but when the water is gone, so will be Nestle, and so will be Coca-Cola and Perrier or whatever other corporate intruder that extracts the people’s resources for the benefit of their shareholders and their predatory corporate executives. The good citizens of Maine recognized the foxes that tried to get inside their henhouse, and they did the right thing by resisting, and little David and his slingshot won another rare victory against the evil giant Goliath.
This small victory for justice should illustrate what must be done if the disastrous Citizens United decision is allowed to stand. The future of the nation, the future of the children and the future of the planet is at stake. And corporations don’t seem to care.
It is important to understand that the allegiance of corporations is to its shareholders, executives and management teams, and not to the people whose lives and health depend on the sustainability of the land, water, air and food supplies. Most corporate shareholders and executives are motivated by profits/greed and are not affected when local resources are used up and the struggling local communities (that placed their trust in untrustworthy corporations) are degraded.
A cowboy rides his horse through town as he watches a Cinco de Mayo celebration in Beardstown, Illinois, on May 6, 2012. There are approximately 900 immigrant workers from 34 countries employed in Beardstown at the Cargill meat packing plant and most are willing to work hard at just about anything for a better life in the United States. While both longtime community residents and immigrants agree that most people accept the newcomers, the beginnings were rocky and some problems still remain. (Reuters/Jim Young)
Beach visitors watch the sunset in Dauphin Island, Alabama, on August 22, 2012. (AP Photo/Dave Martin) #
View from the south Rim of the Grand Canyon near Tusayan, Arizona, on August 10, 2012. (Reuters/Charles Platiau) #
The USS Constitution passes the Boston skyline as it is tugged back through Boston Harbor in Massachusetts, on August 19, 2012. The USS Constitution set sail under her own power for the first time since 1997 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of her victory over HMS Guerriere during the War of 1812. (Reuters/Jessica Rinaldi) #
Fans cheer during a football game between the Florida Gators and the Texas A&M Aggies at Kyle Field in College Station, Texas, on September 8, 2012. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) #
The moon passes between the sun and the earth behind a windmill near Albuquerque, New Mexico, on May 20, 2012.(Reuters/Lucas Jackson) #
A race fan watches a preliminary race at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky at the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby, on May 5, 2012. (Reuters/Jeff Haynes) #
A tribal fisherman sits on rocks below the Willamette Falls during the annual lamprey harvest along the Willamette River, in Oregon City, Oregon, on July 13, 2012. As long as Indians have lived in the Northwest, they have looked to lamprey for food. This jawless fish popularly known as an eel has steadily declined until Columbia Basin tribes have just a few places left to go for lamprey.(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) #
Mud flies in front of a competitor as he swims through mud underneath electrified wires during the Tough Mudder at Mt. Snow in West Dover, Vermont, on July 15, 2012. The Tough Mudder is a nine-mile endurance event which runs competitors through a military style obstacle course complete with mud, water and fire. (Reuters/Jessica Rinaldi) #
A bicyclist rides in view of downtown Seattle and past grass turned brown from lack of water, on August 31, 2012. Not too many people are complaining in typically soggy Seattle, but the city is on a surprising run of dry weather. The gauge at Sea-Tac Airport reached the end of August without a drop of rain. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) #
The sun sets as fishermen work to catch the winning Landlock Salmon during the annual fishing derby on Lake Winnipesaukee, in Alton, New Hampshire, on May 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Jim Cole) #
In St. Paul, Minnesota History Center senior curator Adam Scher shows a damaged bridge highway sign, one of a collection of artifacts at the History Center from the disastrous Interstate 35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis, that took place on August 1, 2007. Photo taken on July 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Jim Mone) #
A member of the U.S. Army Old Guard places a flag at one of the over 220,000 graves of fallen U.S. military service members buried at Arlington National Cemetery, in Virginia, on May 24, 2012. (Reuters/Jason Reed) #
A combine cuts rice in a field near Tucker, Arkansas, on August 16, 2012. Arkansas rice farmers planted 1.135 million acres in 2012, equal to 59 percent of the nation's rice crop this year, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service.(AP Photo/Danny Johnston) #
Boys and girls compete with their sheep at the West Virginia State fair on August 11, 2012 in Lewisburg, West Virginia. (Image was created using an iPhone 4s with Snapseed's vintage filter) (Mark Wilson/Getty Images) #
Confederate infantry re-enactors participate in the Battle of Bloody Lane during an event to mark the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam in Sharpsburg, Maryland, on September 15, 2012. The Battle of Antietam was fought on September 17, 1862 and was the bloodiest battle in American history with more than 23,000 men killed, wounded, and missing in one single day.(Alex Wong/Getty Images) #
As a sign summer is coming to a close, Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation hosted its annual "Swimming Gone to the Dogs" event on September 5, 2012, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. More than 350 dogs took to the water at the Terrace Park Family Aquatic Center for an end-of-season swim before the pool was to be cleaned and closed for the winter. (AP Photo/Amber Hunt) #
An unfinished grand ballroom inside Westgate Resorts CEO David Siegel's dream mansion named Versailles in Windermere, Florida, on July 27, 2012. The Siegel family is the subject of the documentary film "The Queen of Versailles" that documents their life as they construct their 90,000 square-foot dream mansion in the middle of the real-estate crisis. Siegel filed a lawsuit against director Lauren Greenfield for defamation following the completion of the film. (Reuters/David Manning) #
Fisherman Lester Toothaker uses a dip net to fish for elver along a river near Portland, Maine, on May 9, 2012. May 31 marked the end of what has become a Gold Rush for a small group of Maine fishermen - the 10-week season for catching juvenile eels known as elvers, whose price has increased nearly a hundred-fold over the past decade. (Reuters/Joel Page) #
The Lima Lima Flight Team flies near the Gary/Chicago International Airport above Gary, Indiana, on August 16, 2012. The planes, Beech T-34 Mentors, were used as training aircraft for the U.S. Navy and Air Force during the 1940's. (Reuters/John Gress) #
A nodding donkey pump extracts oil from the earth at an abandoned farm near the old ghost town of Dore, North Dakota, on April 19, 2012. Dore has seen a rebirth with booming oil activity in western North Dakota. (AP Photo/ James MacPherson) #
Downtown Kansas City, Missouri, silhouetted against a bright red sky as the sun sets on May 31, 2012.(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) #
Three-year-old Christian Haupt throws out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the Los Angeles Dodgers' baseball game against the San Diego Padres, on September 4, 2012, in Los Angeles, California. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) #
Storm chaser and photographer Brad Mack shoots a tornado as it makes its way over the 135 freeway near Moundridge, Kansas, during the third day of severe weather and multiple tornado sightings, on April 14, 2012. (Reuters/Gene Blevins) #
Chris Bayer tours "The Hole" at Nevada State Prison in Carson City, Nevada, on May 18, 2012. The prison, established before Nevada's statehood, was decommissioned after 150 years of operation. (AP Photo/Sandra Chereb) #
Fairgoers spin on a ride at the State Fair Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on July 1, 2012. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) #
A man walks on a hill near crosses set up at the memorial to victims of the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater shooting, early Friday, July 27, 2012. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren) #
A couple enjoy a sunny afternoon against the backdrop of the Midtown skyline from Piedmont Park in Atlanta, Georgia, on March 25, 2012. (AP Photo/David Goldman) #
Thousands of people head south during the annual Labor Day Mackinac Bridge Walk, on September 3, 2012. Governor Rick Snyder led thousands of walkers and runners across the bridge for one of Michigan's most popular Labor Day traditions.(AP Photo/John L. Russell) #
Julia Douglas, 18, of Honolulu, watches lanterns float by at the Floating Lantern Hawaii ceremony in Honolulu, on Monday, May 28, 2012. Some 40,000 participants floated roughly 3,500 candle-lit lanterns into the ocean to memorialize loved ones at the annual event. (AP Photo/Oskar Garcia) #
A sculpture adorns the front grounds at Medway Plantation in Goose Creek, South Carolina, on February 17, 2012. The plantation contains 6,728 acres of land and is staffed by 7 full-time employees. Upkeep on the property can run as high as $500,000 a year. In the South Carolina Lowcountry, more than a half-dozen antebellum plantations, which don't change hands often, are now for sale.(Reuters/Randall Hill) #
Wrangler Denise Boyd laughs by the campfire during Montana Horses' annual horse drive outside Three Forks, Montana, on May 4, 2012. The Mantle family, who own Montana Horses, held their last horse drive where they rounded up approximately 300 horses and drove the herd 35 miles from their winter range to the Mantle ranch. (Reuters/Jim Urquhart) #
A sky diver performs at the NASCAR Sprint Car Series auto race on Saturday, August 25, 2012, in Bristol, Tennessee.(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) #
Peyton Barnes, age six, of Duke, Oklahoma, practices her roping skills at the state fairgrounds in Oklahoma City, on July 6, 2012.(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki) #
Oracle Team USA Spithill (left) sails against Team Korea during the quarter-finals of the America's Cup World Series Newport Racing Championship in Newport, Rhode Island, on June 28, 2012. (Reuters/Jessica Rinaldi) #
Children watch area veterans in the annual Memorial Day Parade on May 28, 2012 in Fairfield, Connecticut.(Spencer Platt/Getty Images) #
On August 11, 2012, the sun sets on 17,400-foot Mount Foraker in Denali National Park, the fourth-highest mountain in the United States and the second highest peak, behind 20,320-foot Mount McKinley, in the Alaska Range. The Chulitna River is in the foreground. (AP Photo/Dan Joling) #
Bethany Walters, a veterinary student at North Carolina State University, examines Holden III before surgery in Raleigh, North Carolina, on July 19, 2012. The endangered juvenile green sea turtle underwent experimental surgery to repair a deep skull wound.(AP Photo/Allen Breed) #
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Madagascar Chevrolet, celebrates with the checkered flag after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway on June 3, 2012 in Dover, Delaware.(Todd Warshaw/Getty Images) #
The Bernacchi family from left; Joel Bernacchi, Liliana Bernacchi, Tiffany Bernacchi and Olivia Clark, take a photo along the beach as Hurricane Isaac approaches Gulfport, Mississippi, on August 28, 2012. (Reuters/Michael Spooneybarger) #
A firefighting helicopter fills a bucket of water in heavy smoke as the North Merna wildfire burns in the Bridger National Forest west of the town of Pinedale in Sublette County, Wyoming, on September 16, 2012. (Reuters/Jim Urquhart) #
Visitors walk through the "infinity room" before a public memorial service for U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong at the Armstrong Air and Space Museum in Wapakoneta, Ohio, on August 29, 2012. Armstrong, who took a giant leap for mankind when he became the first person to walk on the moon, died in August at the age of 82. (Reuters/Matt Sullivan) #
A bear cub with second-degree burns to its paws is examined and treated at the Garden Valley Ranger Station in Idaho, on August 28, 2012. The cub, who is about four months old, was injured in the Mustang Complex Fire. Wildlife veterinarian Mark Drew said the cub, nicknamed Boo Boo, will require long term care to survive. Efforts to locate the cub's mother were unsuccessful.(Reuters/USFS/Kari Greer) #
Spectators watch as fireworks light up the sky over the Hudson River during the Macy's Fourth of July fireworks show in New York City, New York, on July 4, 2012. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) #
Kameron Hays, 7, sports a mohawk while attending the Iowa 80 truck stop's 33rd Annual Truckers Jamboree in Walcott, Iowa, on July 12, 2012. The Iowa 80, located along Interstate 80, is said to be the world's largest truck stop. (Reuters/Adrees Latif) #
Don Duplantier walks through his flooded home as water recedes from Hurricane Isaac in Braithwaite, Louisiana, on September 2, 2012. In the foreground is a sign marking the waterline from Hurricane Katrina, but floodwater from Isaac went all the way up to the second floor. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) #
Ross McCleary sprays water on a fire at the Fairfield Creek fire near Springview, Nebraska, early on July 24, 2012.(AP Photo/Dave Weaver) #
Competitors race towards the shore of Lake Michigan during the pro surf paddling competition in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, on September 1, 2012. This event brought freshwater surf enthusiasts from all over the region to Sheboygan over Labor Day weekend. (Reuters/Sara Stathas) #
U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta (right) tours the Flight 93 National Memorial with Families of Flight 93 President Patrick White during ceremonies commemorating the eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on September 10, 2012. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images) #
A view of Monument Valley Tribal Park in Utah, on August 14, 2012. (Reuters/Charles Platiau)
The hollow “promises” of conscienceless megacorporations to “trust us” to un-poison the poisoned environment aren’t revealed as the cunning disinformation it is until it is too late and the mess that is left behind is no longer the sneaky corporation’s problem. What was promised prior to the pull-out or the bankruptcy or the merger was designed by clever corporate lawyers to legally go back on the promises that had been made during the conniving “courtship” phase of the deal.
One of the many tax avoiding American megacorporations is Wal-Mart. Most of its profits go to a handful of Walton family billionaires in Arkansas. WaMart tries hard not to pay for healthcare insurance and other benefits for their exploited and underpaid employees, who are victims of WalMart’s union-busting policies.
US taxpayers are left holding the bag while Wal-Mart legally avoids what should ethically be their corporate responsibility to support their workers. Wal-Mart is notorious for not hiring workers for full-time work and then paying the part-timers below-subsistence level wages that force many of them to apply for welfare benefits – a cunning cost-shifting tactic that places economic burdens on the tax-paying public.
Another example is Coca-Cola. Coke depends on water that it extracts from anywhere the corporation can suck it out, including, as a particularly egregious example, from the aquifers that are situated beneath struggling, starving (and then suicidal) farmers who are losing their farms in drought-stricken India. Millions of gallons of water, that has traditionally been used for farmland irrigation systems, are being ruthlessly used up by Coca-Cola in order to meet the artificial demand that has been created for the sweet, addictive, nutritionally useless, sickness-inducing and obesity-producing soft drink that contains two cents worth of ingredients but is being sold to poor people everywhere for as much as the market will bear.
Coke’s predation of poor people in India and elsewhere brings to mind another corporate crime that has never been brought to justice. The infamous 1984 Union Carbide/Bhopal cyanide catastrophe that killed 25,000 slum-dwellers, left 100,000 permanently poisoned, and has left uncounted numbers of people living on poisoned soil, drinking contaminated water and breathing poisoned air.
Every person that has been exposed to the Bhopal plant environs since 1984 is chronically ill; and Indian mothers are still delivering malformed babies and dead fetuses because of the pesticide residues that cannot be detoxified. Union Carbide, the American corporation responsible for the disaster, has consistently shirked its moral responsibilities to the suffering victims. Carbide eventually sold itself to the equally infamous Dow Chemical, the company that brought us Agent Orange, immune-destroying silicone breast implants and a multitude of other highly profitable and very poisonous products.
Union Carbide’s corporate executives have been subpoenaed to appear in Indian courts for their crimes. But the US has not honored the extradition treaties it has with India. These executives have repeatedly refused to appear and are therefore in contempt of court. There are warrants out for their arrests in India, just as there are warrants out for the arrest of citizen Henry Kissinger for his part in international war crimes in Chile, East Timor, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, etc. All remain at large, harbored by America’s big Business-friendly, corporate-controlled nation.
There are a number of common denominators that link human criminals and corporate criminals that populate the Fortune 500 list (like Union Carbide, WalMart, Dow, Monsanto, Merck, Nestle, Enron, British Petroleum, Halliburton, etc, etc). For one, the corporations, being just as afraid of facing the music as were Henry Kissinger, Bernie Madoff, Ken Lay and the multitude of others of their ilk, will use any means necessary to evade or delay justice. Similarly, none of them will admit their guilt and none of them can be expected to show any genuine remorse for the massive human suffering their actions have caused.
There are checklist diagnoses for various personality disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel (DSM), the recipe book and billing manual for psychiatrists. One of these disorders, antisocial personality disorder (301.7), describes pathological cheaters, liars and abusers whose lack of morals, ethics and consciences often enables them to avoid being caught or punished for their crimes and misdeeds. These sociopaths (aka psychopaths) refuse to take the blame or accept responsibility for their actions.
The quasi-humans who meet the full criteria for this diagnosis are incapable of showing genuine remorse if or when they are caught, convicted or punished for their crimes. Below are seven diagnostic criteria that are used to diagnose antisocial (aka, sociopathic or psychopathic) personality disorder (be mindful that only three of the seven are needed for a positive diagnosis):
1) callous disregard for the feelings of other people,
2) the incapacity to maintain human relationships,
3) reckless disregard for the safety of others,
5) deceitfulness (repeated lying and conning others for profit)
6) incapacity to experience guilt, and
Other common traits include these:
Lack of remorse for evils done to others
Indifferent to the suffering of its victims
Rationalizes (makes excuses for) having hurt, mistreated or stolen from others
Willingness to exploit, seduce or manipulate others
No sign of delusional or irrational thinking.
Commonly above average intelligence
Always looking for ways to make money or achieve fame or notoriety
Willing to cause or contribute to the financial ruin of others
Cannot be trusted to adhere to conventional standards of morality.
We are talking about criminality in otherwise sane individuals. Sadly, psychopaths are, for all intents and purposes, incurable. These disordered individuals (as are their sociopathic corporate counterparts) never truly feel guilty about their misdeeds, and therefore they never truly try to change; nor do they even ask for help.
When court-ordered to submit to “treatment”, they usually only pretend to change until the pressure is off and criminal activities look doable again. History tells us that rehabilitation for full-fledged sociopaths is useless, although the often charming, charismatic sociopath will commonly fool the treatment team into thinking progress is being made.
By and large, most criminally-minded sociopaths have to be locked away to protect society from them. So another set of questions needs to be asked: “what needs to be done with sociopathic corporations when they lie, cheat, commit crimes or otherwise act unethically?”
Given the Supreme Court ruling granting personhood to corporations, shouldn’t they be treated like their human sociopathic counterparts, perhaps with long prison sentences, confiscation of property or even capital punishment? (I hasten to add that I am against capital punishment for humans, but corporations are not human (despite the Citizens United ruling), don’t bleed and don’t cry out in pain during the execution process, although they may plead for mercy.) Capital punishment for corporations, contrary to the data on capital punishment for humans, would prevent a lot of sociopathic behaviors from multinational corporations.
What about the crime of rape as applied to corporations? Rape has several definitions, including the following ones that are in my dictionary: 1) Any violent seizure or hostile action against a weaker opponent; 2) to rob or plunder; 3) the act of seizing and carrying off by force; and the common one most people think of, 4) the crime of having forcible sexual intercourse without consent.
Corporations who plunder Mother Earth meet most of the definitions of rape. Should our society punish corporate rapists as severely as we punish human rapists? And what about the serial corporate killers of the creation and the creatures that have every right to co-exist on our increasingly poisoned planet?
What about the known lethal poisons that thousands of unregulated chemical companies knowingly discharge into the water, air, soil? Should their acts of desecration be regarded as premeditated murder? Their murderous actions have already caused a multitude of dead zones in our aquifers, oceans, lakes and rivers.
What about the extractive mineral companies that blow the tops off mountains in Appalachia or the Philippines (or in the Penokee Mountain range of northern Wisconsin) to extract the resources beneath and then claim innocence when living things downstream die off from the poisoned water and toxic sludge that contaminates previously pristine streams that previously provided safe drinking water, irrigation water for farming and a healthy natural environment for fish and wildlife?
How many strikes should any corporate predator be allowed before they are called out and thrown off the land and out of the game? Shouldn’t exploitive intruders be stopped before they despoil even one more aquifer, one more lake, one more mountain or just one planet? Shouldn’t cunning, politically-connected corporate exploiters be banned, arrested, tried and punished just like the human predators that civilized people despise? And shouldn’t there be generous monetary restitution to the victims of their crimes?
Shouldn’t corporate thieves and liars and rapists and killers be treated the same as human thieves and liars and rapists and killers? Shouldn’t we refuse to trust untrustworthy corporations that are lying to us or poisoning us?
And shouldn’t some of the most dangerous – albeit legal – of the thousands of toxic synthetic chemicals so cavalierly marketed by BigPharma, be recalled just like Toyota’s occasionally dangerous accelerator pedals? BigPharma’s drugs cause many more deaths than do design problems of automobiles. Shouldn’t the pharmaceutical manufacturers, marketers, suppliers and sellers of such potentially lethal substances be stopped just like the street corner pushers of illicit drugs? What about the corporate pushers of the cocaine-like drug Ritalin and the amphetamine Adderall that are being dispensed so cavalierly to inattentive or active little children whose brains haven’t been hard-wired yet?
What about corporate junkies, those companies and executives that are addicted to their profits, their prestige, their corporate jets, their vacation homes and their quarterly bonuses? We regularly intervene for some of society’s human addicts, who are on the road to ruin and damnation and a danger to themselves and others. Shouldn’t there be interventions planned for these wealth, power and greed addicts before they kill again?
The answer, in a fair society, should be yes to all these questions, no matter how often the smiley-faced, well-dressed corporate CEOs or their well-paid spokespersons, in their most cunning damage-control mode, try to convince us that their companies are “responsible citizens”. We star-struck celebrity-worshippers of Fortune 500 companies seem to sucker for that line again and again – but the stakes are higher this time.
Deep down, all fair-minded Americans know that corporations are NOT people, despite what the corrupted and co-opted Roberts’ Supreme Court so shamefully ruled back in 2010. I wonder if the best approach for society in dealing with those shady inanimate corporate entities, is to, rather than applying the standard constitutional guarantee of being innocent until proven guilty, we should judge these often ruthless corporations as being guilty until they are proven innocent.
I like that notion. I have often advised my psychologically traumatized patients who were physically, sexually or emotionally abused in childhood by parent figures to only give respect and forgiveness to them when they have truly earned it and therefore deserve the respect and forgiveness. Psychologically speaking, not obeying – and also not respecting one’s victimizers should be the norm in interpersonal relationships. Psychologically speaking, and in my considered opinion, parental neglect or abuse negates the 4th commandment that commands children to honor their father and mother. Likewise, we should only do business with companies that have earned and therefore truly deserve our respect.
Being suspicious of psychopathic entities is an important strategy to follow if one is to protect oneself from getting cheated or otherwise victimized. Staying out of a sociopath’s grasp is the proper thing to do, even if the person or corporation seems to be charming. Staying clear of anybody or anything that you suspect has no conscience makes tremendous sense, since conscienceless entities are also likely to be liars and thieves and are fully capable of rape, pillage and murder if they feel that there is a chance of getting away with the crime.
Staying away from (boycotting) corporations that have behaved unethically is the best strategy to combat corporate criminality. Corporations hate it when the nonviolent tactic of boycott is used, but in our largely brainwashed, advertised-into-submission citizens, only small minorities of people recognize that they are being victimized by psychopaths. Many victims of corporate crimes seem to be unaware of their victimhood, probably too distracted to understand that they are being cleverly conned.
The concept of corporate power and privilege – to the point of being above the law – has massively benefited Big Businesses at the expense of the “consuming” public, but the reality is that it has been going on for generations. Multinational corporations are increasingly in control of the White House, the US Congress and the federal courts. Both political parties are guilty of being seduced by corporate campaign money/bribes, although it appears that, whereas the Republicans have been 100 % guilty of facilitating attempted corporate takeovers of the US government for a long time, the Democrats still have had a courageous, though very small minority that are resistant to being seduced by obscenely wealthy corporations and assorted greedy billionaires.And now, sadly, it appears that all three branches of the federal government have been totally bought by big money – and it appears that they are staying bought. It is not just politicians that are controlled by corporations anymore.
The mythical “unbiased” US Supreme Court has, in reality, always been heavily influenced by corporate power. After all, throughout US history, it has been wealthy businessmen, wealthy politicians, wealthy judges and wealthy attorneys that have been the ones to be nominated by wealthy presidents that are all members of the same bipartisan “old boy’s club”. So the court has always had sizable numbers of crony capitalists, racist, anti-union justices, depending on which political party was in control of the White House when an old Supreme Court justice retired or died and a new replacement was to be added.
Mussolini wrote that “fascism should rightly be called corporatism as it is a merger of state and corporate power:” He should know, he invented it.
Fascism is a far right-wing nationalistic political ideology that controls its population by a controlled and censored media, powerful military and police systems that are backed up by a secretive national security state. Fascist nations commonly violate the human rights of its citizens and try to unify the population by creating enemies and scapegoating them. Oftentimes there is a quasi-merger of church and state, anti-intellectual attitudes and corrupt crony capitalism. Always there is an obsession with law and order (with police state tactics), fraudulent elections and a suppression of trade unions.
The pro-Big Business billionaire’s club called the GOP has succeeded in installing all the right-wing, anti-democracy, anti-worker’s rights justices while the decidedly more pro-democracy, pro-small business and pro-labor (but corruptible and bribable) Democratic Party has accounted for the rest; but the current right-wing court has a solid 5-4 majority now.
A crowd gathers at Whiteford's Restaurant, where former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, made a campaign stop in Laurens, S.C., Jan. 21, 2012. (Travis Dove/The New York Times) #
Jina Campano holds her daughter, Chloe Lee, 3, as Elizabeth Lee, 6, looks on, at a victory party for Newt Gingrich after the South Carolina primary in Columbia, S.C., Jan. 21, 2012. GingrichÅs victory in South Carolina came just 10 days after a fifth-place finish in New Hampshire left the impression that his candidacy was all but dead. (Travis Dove/The New York Times) #
A man watches Rick Santorum speak on a TV at a victory party for Newt Gingrich after the South Carolina primary in Columbia, S.C., Jan. 21, 2012. (Travis Dove/The New York Times) #
A crowd awaits former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, outside All-Star Building Materials in Ormond Beach, Fla., Jan. 22, 2012. Romney held a campaign rally there after making an appearance on "Fox News Sunday." (Jason Henry/The New York Times) #
Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney waves as he arrives on his bus for a campaign event at All-Star Building Material January 22, 2012 in Ormond Beach, Florida. Mitt Romney arrived in Florida one day after coming in second in the South Carolina primary and ahead of the January 31 Florida primary. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) #
Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney arrives in for his Florida kickoff with a rally at All-Star Building Materials January 22, 2012 in Ormond Beach, Florida. (AP Photo, Roberto Gonzalez) #
Audience members listen as Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, campaigns at Allstar Building Materials in Ormond Beach, Fla., Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) #
Republican presidential candidate and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich gestures as he speaks during an event at the The River Church on January 23, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Newt Gingrich arrived in Florida to campaign before votes before the January 31, primary. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) #
People listen as Republican presidential candidates, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-GA) and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) as they participate in the NBC News, National Journal, Tampa Bay Times debate held at the University of South Florida on January 23, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. The debate is the first of two before the Florida primaries on January 31st. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)#
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, speaks during a Treasure Coast Tea Party Rally at the Community Christian Academy in Stuart, Fla., Jan. 24, 2012. After participating in the 18th presidential debate for the GOP nomination contest, Santorum spent the day campaigning throughout Florida. (Eric Thayer/The New York Times) #
Supporters leave the National Gypsum Company's factory after hearing Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney deliver a speech January 24, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. According to Romney, the home building supply company idled this empty factory in 2008 due to the slowdown in the housing marking. Romney's speech was billed as a "prebuttal" to the State of the Union speech by President Barack Obama. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) #
Violinist Luis Haza plays before the introduction of Republican presidential candidate and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich during a campaign event billed as a Latin American Policy Speech at Florida International University on January 25, 2012 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) #
Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (C) is accompanied by (L-R) Rep. Connie Mack (R-FL), Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R- FL) and former Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL) as he arrives for a US-Cuba Democracy political action committee event January 25, 2012 in Miami, Florida. Romney was campaigning in Florida ahead of next Tuesday's state primary. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) #
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, during a space industry roundtable at Brevard Community College in Cocoa, Fla., Jan. 25, 2012. (Marcus Yam/The New York Times) #
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, speaks at American Douglas Metals in Orlando, Fla., on Jan. 25, 2012. Romney called President Obama "detached from reality", accusing him of saying one thing during his State of the Union speech and doing another during his presidency. (Chip Litherland/The New York Times) #
Supporters attend a tea party rally with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, in Mount Dora, Fla., Jan. 26, 2012. (Marcus Yam/The New York Times) #
A supporter holds up a bumper sticker while waiting for the start of a campaign event with Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at Paramount Printing January 26, 2012 in Jacksonville, Florida. Romney spoke at the printing business because President and CEO John Cummins said health care costs, Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations, the loss of business and other factors have forced the company to close. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) #
Supporters cheer while listening to Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney during a campaign event at Paramount Printing January 26, 2012 in Jacksonville, Florida. Recent polls show that Romney and fellow GOP candidate, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-GA), are in a statistical tie heading into next Tuesday's Florida primary. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
But it appears that there has been a slow bloodless corporate coup d’etat that has finally overthrown our one person/one vote democracy in America. We are now a plutocracy (rule by the wealthy class).The coup was accomplished gradually – death by a thousand cuts – and it appears now to be in place, never to be declared officially. Wealthy corporations and their billionaires are in charge of everything now, and they have their privatizing eyes on our drinkable water, our breathable air, our arable land and our nourishing food (as Bob Dylan sang in Union Sundown, “I can see the day coming when even your home garden is gonna be against the law”.).
Elections, fooling us to believe that we still live in a democracy, will continue, although the “debates” and speechifying and small monetary donations will be increasingly meaningless. There will be no viable, courageously anti-establishment candidates like Paul Wellstone (or a Green Party or a Democratic Socialist Party) for whom to cast votes. The American dream (that you have to be asleep to believe in, as George Carlin often told us) is gone, and we sheeple were predictably and apathetically snoozing when it disappeared.
By exercising the privileges of corporate personhood while simultaneously refusing to accept the responsibilities of personhood, corporate greed will accelerate the loss of non-renewable resources that will worsen the disappearances of arable land, drinkable water, breathable air and non-renewable energy sources.
It is the greedy, non-human, conscienceless corporations (and NOT “man”) that have positioned the planet to the verge of extinction. The guilty unregulated multinationals are the ones that cause economic crises, and, because there are no consequences for their misdeeds, they are getting away with murder and don’t seem to care. Their motto seems to be: “grab everything you can steal; pay your spokespersons, lawyers and lobbyists well; cleverly bribe your legislators; wine and dine your judges and media collaborators don’t get caught; and let the devil take the hindmost.”
We all know that most of the acts of out-and-out criminality of powerful corporations are rarely punished commensurate with the crime. Wrist slaps are the norm for corporations and the superrich when they are “brought to justice” in front of conservative judges. If there are any consequences for reckless or destructive business practices at all, the company will usually just pay a relatively small, very affordable fine. At worst, it will threaten to move its corporate headquarters and its manufacturing facilities off shore, leaving their smelly messes to be cleaned up by somebody else, just as one would expect of a conscienceless psychopath.
The brazen action of the Roberts’ court in Citizens United might be one of the final nails in the coffin of America’s mortally wounded democracy. Given the fact that the myth of corporate personhood is now legal, it is past time that we of the 99% majority insist that the transnational corporate 1% minority be treated as severely as human criminals are treated. The 99% needs to exercise its duty to preserve and defend the planet from all enemies, foreign or domestic, human or corporate.
And we can’t fail to identify the many domestic enemies that are members of the executive, judicial or legislative branches of our federal and state governments. We need to name the evil and the evil-doers in order to effectively confront them, and, simultaneously, we need to demand that our human rights to healthy water, soil, air, food supplies and affordable health care be safe-guarded from the exploiters in the ruling classes. The future of our children, grandchildren and planet Earth depends on it.