Nel's New Day

July 18, 2012

Want a Corporation? Marry One!

Three decades ago when the first President Bush was president, the United States was still involved in the Cold War against the USSR.  These two superpowers displaying deep economic and political differences, and people in the United States were afraid that this country would end up with the USSR values. When the Cold War was over in 1991, most people breathed a sigh of relief.

Now our country has its own internal Cold War, a struggle between the wealthy/corporations and the other 99 percent, again with distinct economic and political positions. The U.S. Supreme Court exacerbated this war through Citizens United: corporations can now purchase lawmakers to give them more and more power. With each new Republican law, U.S. citizens become more powerless to effect the promise of the Constitution. Like the USSR did in the past, U.S. corporations now limit what we buy, where we work, how we live, and what rights we have.

With the demise of mom-and-pop stores, forced out by corporation big box stores, the opportunities to purchase an assortment of different items has shrunk. In the past, merchandise would differ in stores across the country. Now the same bland clothing can be found everywhere with no variety. Food is the same. Wal-Mart sells 25 percent of the groceries in the country so someone in Bentonville will have a good chance of selecting what everyone buys because in many communities Wal-Mart is the only grocery store. Basically we have corporation stories like those in mill and mining towns run by the companies.

Most toys are sold through big box stores, frequently Wal-Mart. Therefore these corporations are choosing what children play with and what teach these children. The USSR had state stores; the United States has corporation stores.

People complaining about government health care are probably getting corporate health care. Gone are the days of small, independent practices that provided health care without doctors’ being second-guessed by the corporate leadership. Many people have experienced doctors who aren’t permitted to  spend more than 15 minutes with each patient no matter what the problem is.

Two-thirds of today’s doctors don’t own their own practices, mostly because they have difficulty dealing with the corporate insurance companies that second-guess every action that a doctor makes. The drugs that doctors prescribe are corporate-directed because of the advertising and the control exerted by pharmaceutical companies limiting information about drugs.

For-profit corporations control education’s curriculum through the testing programs. According to past horror stories, USSR education was all rote-learning, no discussion or critical thinking skills, and all aimed at that all-important standardized tests that determine the quality of the student and, now, the quality of the teacher. While China is working to inculcate creativity, the U.S. has gone so far as to eliminate critical thinking, as in Texas where they made the mistake of allowing people to know this goal. Public education is also being swallowed up by giant for-profit corporations controlling “charter schools.”

More examples: Homes now being built are designed by marketing researchers working for corporations that dictate the houses’ appearance. Our voting system is being restricted to a smaller and smaller percentage of adults, and corporate-owned machines count the votes. Corporations control much of the military with no government oversight. Corporations are controlling lawmakers’ perception of climate-change and manage the right to own homes through the disappearance of payments, applications, etc. so that large corporations can foreclose on homes. In these areas, U.S. corporations are the equivalent of the USSR government.

The irony is that those faithful Fox-watchers so terrified of a Communist takeover are actually controlled by the “state” corporations. Citizens United should have been named Corporations United.

Ever since corporations were declared people, I have wondered about the possibility of one corporation marrying another one. Angela Vogel has taken this suggestion one step further: she married a Corporate Person.  It appears that the Seattle marriage is not legal (maybe because Corporate Person is underage), but the ceremony itself gives food for thought.

United Methodist Pastor Rich Lang, who officiated the ceremony, said:

I greet you in the name of Mammon and invite you to enter into this “holy time” with glad and generous hearts as together we celebrate the wedded immortality of Corporate Person with the mortal flesh of Angela Marie Vogel. We gather knowing that the love that binds them together will end in the grief and tragedy of Angela’s mortal death even as Corporate Person lives on marrying again and again with the adoration and support of shareholders world-wide. But today we celebrate this moment, this consummation of ecstasy and attraction. We celebrate these bonds of affection as Corporate Person with stony indifference evokes yet another merger of yet another possession — this one, like others before her and others that will come after, beautiful, unique and highly desired … full of potential and full of hope. Angela of flesh, blood and bone offers herself to Corporate Person as yet another object to be used, abused and cast away when no longer profitable. But deliriously expectant that this time Corporate Person will be different!

Perhaps Ms. Vogel is lucky that the marriage is not legal because in January 2010 Justice John Paul Stevens said:

“. . . corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires. Corporations help structure and facilitate the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their ‘personhood’ often serves as a useful legal fiction. But they are not themselves members of “We the People” by whom and for whom our Constitution was established.”

In his dissent to the ruling that handed the control of the United States over to the wealthy, Stevens said, “A democracy cannot function effectively when its constituent members believe laws are being bought and sold.” He was 100 percent correct. Today’s government is a dismal failure.

Thus far six states have joined a large number of municipalities to overturn Citizens United. The question is whether the country can do this before the Koch brothers become the de facto president.


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