From the December 2004 Idaho Observer:

THE (for profit) CORPORATION

The corporation is by far the most common business form in operation today. These paper fictions are chartered and regulated by governments. Their attraction is fundamentally two-fold:

1. Individual flesh-and-blood persons who own stock, hold office or are employed by a corporation can evade personal liability when their actions, as a corporate cog, harms others or their property and;

2. Corporations, while legally sheltering the humans associated with them from being held liable for damages, have the same rights under law that flesh-and-blood people (used to) have.

These two primary components of the corporate scheme, through incessant acts of corporate atrition (ruthless and powerful corporations killing and devouring the weaker ones), have given birth to an age where profit, no matter the cost, is the priority. The mantra for the modern CEO is, "My responsibility is to the stockholders."

In this environment the interests of for-profit business and the state have merged — to the detriment of everyone in their personal capacity and everything in its natural state. (The statement above may seem like an exaggeration, however, consider the following short list and its implications for our planet and her people. Then take a few moments and expand this thought process into examples of which you are personally aware).

by Don Harkins

If corporations were real persons in Bush’s new America...

...they would be subject to a mental health screening. What would happen if modern criteria for psychological health were applied to corporations? "The Corporation," an excellent documentary on the history of a modern mutation of the government-chartered public works enterprise, does just that. We cannot be surprised—if a real person were to behave as most corporations do they would be institutionalized as incorrigible psychopaths.

Oil and government

Since WWI, the world has been powered by petroleum, or oil. As so flawlessly memorialized by William Engdahl in "A Century of War" (see review page 7) oil companies and the national governments of their respective western countries have built their foreign policies around securing supplies of oil. The first order of business is to ensure the supply of oil for strategic military purposes; the second priority is development of national infrastructures and the manufacture of products for the marketplace.

From oil has come chemical corporations and chemicals and; from chemicals come pharmaceutical corporations and pharmaceutical drugs.

Though all wars are, in reality, the deadly relief valve when a multiplicity of interests and their schemes must inevitably erupt in armed aggression, securing supplies of oil in the national interest has been a paramount consideration in all global conflicts since WWI. The chemical and pharmaceutical industries have been born as a result of oil politics.

As it stands now, increasing percentages of the Earth’s arable land, fresh air and potable water have been poisoned by petrochemicals; most of the world’s populations are currently being ravaged by disease epidemics and birth defects that honest investigation traces directly back to the widespread use of pharmaceutical drugs and chemical contaminants.

Ingenious people have developed biochemically-sound and commercially-viable alternatives to oil and petrochemicals. Time and again government and petrochemical interests have conspired to prevent these alternatives from reaching the marketplace.

The bottom line: Government power and corporate profit from oil and petrochemicals are more important than living organisms

Resource exploitation and government

Multi-national corporations insatiably mine resources as raw materials for goods manufactured for the marketplace. Naturally, corporations seek to acquire these resources as cheaply as possible to improve profit potential. With the proper amount of lobbying, the foreign policy of nations will be influenced to enhance corporate resource exploitation. Particularly among impoverished third world nations, war, disease, famine and environmental degradation are more often than not the result of the merger between government and corporate interests.

The bottom line: Nothing is to stand in the way of resource harvest; humanitarian/environmental interests do not enhance profit potential.

War and government

Among the wealthiest and most powerful corporations in the world are those which supply the weapons of war. When one looks at the multiple hundreds of billions of dollars government has awarded to defense contractors for the research, development, production and deployment of the tools of war, combined with the expenses government incurs provisioning and training personnel to use these tools, one can infer the close relationship between war provisioners and government policymakers.

Factoring in additional military considerations—salaries, benefits, retirements, long-term medical care and foreign reparations, war consumes the lion’s share of the federal budget (not surprisingly, interest on the national debt is next followed by healthcare).

One can clearly see the mark the technological advance of weaponry has made on the Earth and her people. Millions of soldiers and innocent noncombatants have been killed and/or maimed for life; historic buildings and priceless works of art destroyed; chemicals contaminate air, ground and water to leave a legacy of death, chronic disease and deformity for generations of indigenous populations.

For the pleasure of going to war or attempting to militarily defend against foreign aggressors, all nations involved become hopelessly indebted to international bankers who generously provide them with the credit necessary to purchase arms.

Losing nations unable to meet their debt service are commonly subjected to additional post-war sanctions to ensure payment (in one form or another) by the victors whose role then evolves to collection agents for the bankers.

The bottom line: Sales of arms increase during times of war; perpetual war means perpetual profit for arms manufacturers.

Chemicals and government

The 50s saw an explosion in the use of chemicals. "Better living through chemistry" was the motto—and we bought into the idea.

Government devised expensive regulatory schemes for the approval, production and use of chemicals. The government has approved as safe nearly every dangerous chemical that companies (which could afford the process) have submitted.

Millions of tons of chemicals have been sprayed all over the earth. Larger crop yields, fewer pests and weeds, less loss due to spoilage made food cheaper to produce and gave it a longer shelf life.

Chemical medicines were developed to kill the bugs that caused sickness and magically made symptoms disappear.

Household and industrial cleaners and solvents came into universal use; plastics and foams replaced their inferior natural counterparts in every home and business.

Five decades later, the motto is best stated as "better dying through chemistry."

Many sites where chemicals are produced are contaminated: Surface and groundwater no longer support life and local human, animal and plant populations are becoming increasingly sickly and deformed.

Cumulative amounts of chemicals are being absorbed into people’s bodies from the environment, ingested through chemically-preserved foods and drunk in the form of contaminated water and chemical-containing beverages. Chemicals in medicinal preparations are adding to the burden of toxic chemicals found in the bodies of humans, plants and animals.

The chemicals we use to clean our homes and businesses; chemicals we use to produce solvents, plastics and foams are diluted in water and deposit themselves in our natural world where they disrupt and destroy life.

The bottom line: Since provable poisoning of people, plants, animals and the planet have not produced a plan to stop spreading poisons, both government and industry apparently intend to keep spreading them until they are no longer profitable.

Banking and government

Government gave the responsibility of printing paper money to the private Federal Reserve Bank (Fed). The Fed controls the amount of money in circulation and only banks cooperating fully with the federal government and regulations it promulgates at the direction of the Fed are allowed to operate.

In this process, small banks and their assets have been gobbled by big banks and bank mergers over the last three decades have consolidated the bulk of the nation’s deposits into handful of extremely large banks. The majority of loans and mortgages are also underwritten by these massive financial institutions.

The government needs money so it taxes people. People store and transfer their money through banks. Banks keep records of people’s banking activity. Government uses these records to verify people’s tax obligations.

All people who use any one or more of the services provided by banks know that the government can peek into their financial activities at any time; they also know that with each passing regulation, their ability to make a simple sale or purchase with another private party, without the government obtaining a record of the transaction, diminishes.

Considering that only those institutions which fully cooperate with federal regulatory schemes (all of which are enforced to enhance its tax-collection activities) are allowed to provide financial services to people, then we can infer that government believes our primary function is to generate revenue to finance its wars/reparations and social programs—not to provide for ourselves and our families.

The bottom line: Banking institutions are spies for government tax collectors who believe it is more important for people to finance wars and social programs than to manage their own affairs and provide loving, happy homes for their families.

Insurance and government

The law says that to license a vehicle you must have insurance; to be a mortgagee you must have homeowner’s insurance; to provide a professional service you must be licensed and carry insurance; to produce goods for the marketplace you must by law carry product liability insurance.

Due to laws that mandate insurance, insurance companies have a captive marketplace which has dramatically increased their revenues. With those revenues from policy premiums and creative use of modern investment strategies, insurance companies have become very powerful and, like other industries, large insurance companies have been merging and devouring small insurance companies. These powerful companies hire legions of attorneys to protect themselves from paying out legitimate claims to their customers.

Very few people are happy with being forced by law to pay for insurances from companies who pay attorneys to litigate against the legitimate claims outlined in their policies.

The bottom line: Mandated insurance is like being forced to pay "protection money" without necessarily receiving the "protection" benefit.

Food and government

It is very difficult to find food that has not been contaminated with chemicals.

USDA-approved meats found in the nation’s grocery stores are almost exclusively from large, corporate factory farms where animals are caged, injected with growth hormones, antibiotics and vaccines then, after their short, miserable lives, they are slaughtered, radiated, treated with nitrates, packaged and wrapped for sale in corporate supermarkets; their diseased parts having been cut off and sold to the manufacturers of pet food or rendered into fertilizer.

Fruits and vegetables, though they look nice in the produce section of your local supermarket, are the product of genetic alteration and grown with chemical fertilizers and pesticides in nutritionally-depleted soils. Most of the fruits and vegetables found in supermarkets test positive for traces of chemicals and contain only traces of the vitamins, minerals and enzymes found in their organically-grown counterparts.

Most restaurants purchase their foods from large, restaurant supply corporations that stock these adulterated and contaminated foods for their customers.

With very few exceptions, fast food from restaurant or packaged food in stores is not even food anymore. Many of the government-approved chemicals used by corporate food processors are of known and cumulative toxicity.

The bottom line: In the corporate construct, foods are not healthy or unhealthy; foods are products for consumers. These products are mass-produced and entered into the marketplace for mass consumption en route to maximal profit—without consideration of the consumers’ health.

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