Nuclear Limitation and Memories of the Umbrella Man!

Aug. 3, 2015  By Jack Jodell (in association with BURR DEMING of FAIR AND UNBALANCED.COM – see my Blogroll in the lower right hand column).

Happy August, everyone! Thursday marks the start of the first of what will be a nauseating series of “debates” between the far-too-large contingent of Tea Party-infested , reactionary Republican wannabe candidates for the presidency in 2016. There will certainly be a boatload of bluster and hyperbole emanating from that motley crew!

In contrast to all that nonsense, we will present this week’s thoughtful and well-reasoned weekly presentation from our master podcaster, Burr Deming. obama on attackToday, Burr shows us how similar today’s far-right conservatives are with their criticism of President Obama’s success in completing a nuclear color jfkagreement with Iran is with their 1963 criticism of John F. Kennedy for his successful compleion of a nuclear test ban treaty with the Soviet Union back then. He also points out how incredibly incorrect both generations of conservatives were and are.       

burr deming
In his own words, Burr relates, “The umbrella man of Dealey Plaza was never a serious analyst of nuclear limits.

He wasn’t in 1963.

He isn’t today.

And we should answer conservatives as they try to bring him back.”   

 

Podcast:
http://fairandunbalanced.podomatic.com/entry/2015-08-02T11_55_06-07_00  

Transcript:
http://fairandunbalanced.com/blog1.php/2015/07/31/nuclear-limitation-and-memories-of-the-u
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JOIN THE RESPECTFUL REVOLUTION BY VISITING http://www.respectfulrevolution.org/ AND BE AMAZED AT THE BEAUTY OF WHAT EVERYDAY PEOPLE DOING RESPECTFUL THINGS CAN ACCOMPLISH! :-)
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BE WITH US  LIVE nearly every Sunday from 6 – 7 PM Eastern Time on BlogTalkRadio’s HERE-BE-MONSTERS THE SUNDAY SHOW.  My  co-hosts GWEN BARRY of ROUNDTREE7 Blog, WAYNE JOHNSON of MINDS AND TIMES OF F. WAYME JOHNSON, and  I  discuss a wide range of political, social, and economic topics in an open forum, often with additional guest activists and input from the fine cadre of writers found at  the Roundtree7  site. Call in to participate at (213) 816-0357 , or click on this link to hear an archive of past shows:  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/here-be-monsters 

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THE PASSING OF A GIANT!

July 30, 2015  By Jack Jodell. 

“It cannot be allowed that billionaires can fill their pockets while hungry babies cry.”
– Theo Bikel, 2014 –     

bikel rOur world lost a most remarkable and gifted man this past July 21 when Theo Bikel passed away of natural causes at the age of 91. This multi-talented Austrian-American actor, musician, composer, folk singer, and political activist delighted audiences  since he first appeared on the stage as Tevye the Milkman in Tel Aviv back in the late 1930s. Born Theodore Meir Bikel in 1924 to a Jewish family living in Vienna, he was immersed in both politics and the arts from a very early age. His father was an active Zionist,  and his family were forced by circumstances to emigrate to Palestine once the Nazis took over Austria in the Anschluss of 1938. He studied acting later on at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, and made his London stage debut in 1948. In 1951 he made his film debut in The African Queen, playing opposite the Hollywood heavyweights Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn. A huge number of successful film appearances followed, among which were Moulin Rouge; The Colditz Story; The Defiant Ones; My Fair Lady; The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming; My Side of the Mountain; 200 Motels; Crime and Punishment, plus a great many others, as well as guest starring in dozens of TV shows, including The Twilight Zone; Gunsmoke; Wagon Train; Hawaii Five-O; Charlie’s Angels; All in the Family, Knight Rider, Murder She Wrote, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and many, many more. Due to the fact that he was fluent in an astounding 21 different languages, Bikel was often cast in the role of some type of foreigner.

bikel singingTheo Bikel became a noted folk singer with the release of his first record album, Folk Songs of Israel, in 1955. He followed this album with more than 20 others into the first decade of this century. A long time friend of veteran folk singer Pete Seeger, Bikel was an early admirer of Bob Dylan, He insisted that Dylan accompany he and Seeger to a late 1963 folk festival in Greenwood, Mississippi. He told Dylan’s manager,  “Buy him a ticket. Don’t tell him where it came from. Tell him it’s time to go down and experience the South.”

THEOBikel was a long time civil and human rights activist. Having fled Nazi persecution in the 1930s, he saw injustice firsthand and fought it for the rest of his life. He was an early supporter and campaigner for John F. Kennedy. He attended the fateful 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago as a delegate favoring the peace platform and sat beside fellow folk singer Judy Collins there. He sang a song critical of then-Chicago mayor Richard Daley in public, but was miraculously never assaulted by the very hostile Chicago police. Having lived in Israel during his teens, he has always supported her over the years, but has not hesitated for even one moment to criticize the Jewish State when he believed her actions to be wrong. Not too long ago, he responded to Israeli excesses in the occupation of Palestine by launching a heartfelt appeal, saying , “I want to ask you to help prevent a terrible tragedy. I’ve spent much of my life playing Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof. I see a parallel with what is happening today. Forty thousand Bedouins in the Negev desert are being told to get out of their homes. Remember the scene in Fiddler on the Roof when the Russians arrive and tell them they have three days to get out. Tevye says, ‘Why should I get out?’ They said, ‘Not just you. All of you.’ They said, ‘Why? Why should we leave?’  ‘I don’t know why. I have an order here.’ It’s a piece of paper, and ‘Get thee out.’  ‘What if we refuse to leave?’ We know the consequences of refusal…’there is a human equation here, and it has to do with the basic humanity of human beings who are nominally free to pursue whatever it is that their faith tells them to do, people who lived on the land for centuries, long before there was even a state of Israel, who all of a sudden are being told to get out, to be relocated, an agrarian society that is forced into sometimes urban ghettos. It seems less than just. The point is that these are not simple questions, and complicated questions very often ask for complicated answers. But one thing that is absolutely clear in my mind is that human beings cannot be treated like cattle. Human beings must be given the dignity and the respect that all human beings deserve, especially by a people who themselves—Jews—have experienced such deprivation in the past. So when I say that the very people who were told to get out of Anatevka in the fictional village of Fiddler on the Roof, the descendants of those very people are now telling others, strangers in their midst, that they must get out of their homes, seems fundamentally wrong. And a wrong cannot be allowed to stand.” 

Bikrl

 

The fictional Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof, whom Bikel played on stage more than  2,000 times over many decades, used to sing “If I were a rich man…” With all he experienced in his 91 years, and with his tremendous understanding of, and empathy for, all human beings, it is clear that Theo Bikel was indeed a very rich man. Furthermore, he enriched all of our lives by having lived among us. We have lost a giant of a man. May he rest in eternal peace.

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JOIN THE RESPECTFUL REVOLUTION BY VISITING http://www.respectfulrevolution.org/ AND BE AMAZED AT THE BEAUTY OF WHAT EVERYDAY PEOPLE DOING RESPECTFUL THINGS CAN ACCOMPLISH! :-)
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BE WITH US  LIVE nearly every Sunday from 6 – 7 PM Eastern Time on BlogTalkRadio’s HERE-BE-MONSTERS THE SUNDAY SHOW.  My  co-hosts GWEN BARRY of ROUNDTREE7 Blog, WAYNE JOHNSON of MINDS AND TIMES OF F. WAYME JOHNSON, and  I  discuss a wide range of political, social, and economic topics in an open forum, often with additional guest activists and input from the fine cadre of writers found at  the Roundtree7  site. Call in to participate at (213) 816-0357 , or click on this link to hear an archive of past shows:  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/here-be-monsters       

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What Donald Trump Can Teach Us!

July 27, 2015  By Jack Jodell (in association with BURR DEMING, creator and chief author of the fabulous website FAIR AND UNBALANCED.COM – see my blogroll in the lower right hand column).

A hearty and resounding WELCOME BACK to our podcaster extraordinaire Burr Deming! Burr took some well-deserved time off  to visit his new grandson and get away from the stresses of his job, but now he is back with another in his long series of thoughtful and insightful podcasts. Keep ’em coming, Burr!

Today’s podcast features a lesson in decency, incorporating recent blusterings by the loudmouthed Donald Trump, as well as justifiable outrage vented by “Black Lives Matter” activists toward white Democratic presidential hopefuls Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders. Burr offers his usual empathetically insightful wisdom on this in this great podcast.  

BURR!

 

 

In Burr’s own words, “How an officious airline counter employee taught me something important about Donald Trump and heroism.”

 

 

 

 

RadioPodcast: 

http://fairandunbalanced.podomatic.com/entry/2015-07-26T12_29_55-07_00 

Transcript:
http://fairandunbalanced.com/blog1.php/2015/07/24/what-donald-trump-can-teach-us
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JOIN THE RESPECTFUL REVOLUTION BY VISITING http://www.respectfulrevolution.org/ AND BE AMAZED AT THE BEAUTY OF WHAT EVERYDAY PEOPLE DOING RESPECTFUL THINGS CAN ACCOMPLISH! :-)
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BE WITH US  LIVE nearly every Sunday from 6 – 7 PM Eastern Time on BlogTalkRadio’s HERE-BE-MONSTERS THE SUNDAY SHOW.  My  co-hosts GWEN BARRY of ROUNDTREE7 Blog, WAYNE JOHNSON of MINDS AND TIMES OF F. WAYME JOHNSON, and  I  discuss a wide range of political, social, and economic topics in an open forum, often with additional guest activists and input from the fine cadre of writers found at  the Roundtree7  site. Call in to participate at (213) 816-0357 , or click on this link to hear an archive of past shows:  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/here-be-monsters 

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MEET THE 2016 REPUBLICAN CLOWNS! (Part Five of a Series)

July 23, 2016  By Jack Jodell.  

The Republican Party, infested as it currently is with extremists, reactionaries, and government-hating Tea Party kooks, has been, for many months now,  filling its clown car to the White House  with wackos, much as it did in 2012.  As so many potential candidates are swelling its ranks, this is no longer a clown car – a semi load may be even more accurate. Political commentator and comedienne Stephanie Miller has begun to refer to it amusingly as “the Republican Douche Canoe.” But whether a car, semi,  or canoe, it is surely poised to capsize into the Potomac long before it ever comes even close to the White House! In this post, I resume the intermittent series which features the declared and / or desiring wannabe GOP candidates who will be making a bid for the presidency in 2016. Never in our entire history have we been so besieged with so many undeserving, unqualified, and unfit candidates for this most important of positions. Today’s focus will be on the current Republican front-runner, the extremely vain, arrogant, snide, racist, and utterly bombastic  loudmouth who calls himself Donald Trump.

angry trumpThis far too pompous goofball is a leading candidate already for Santa’s Bozo of the Year Award, which will be given out on this blog in December. He is also the front-runner for the nomination among Republican voters right now. It is beyond me as to why this is so. The man is so full of hate and scorn that I couldn’t possibly imagine him actually working with Congress on behalf of the American people for much of anything – his galactic-sized ego would certainly cause great friction between he and they. His idea of compromise is clearly submission to him by all those around him. Is that what is meant by working with Congress? Hardly. 

fdhmpTrump will say or do almost anything to get public attention. He projects extreme confidence, but in my 60+ years on this planet, I have seen many a personality like his used as a subterfuge to conceal a huge underlying insecurity. I don’t trust anyone who blows his own horn as loudly or as often as Trump does. It shows a severe character flaw when a man craves respect and attention the way Donald Trump seems to do so often. He is constantly only thinking of himself, and apparently never bothers to think of others. Why isit that today’s Republicans seem to be so full of these psycopathic types?

smug trumpTrump apparently has mo real empathy. This is obvious when one considers his ignorant dismissal of the suffering Sen. John McCain endured during his long years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam, or the fact that Trump has denounced Mexicans as being rapists and murderers, or that he has been married 3 separate times since 1977. His behavior during his tenure on the TV series The Apprentice is also proof of this, wherein he would take great delight each episode in telling would-be job applicants or employees “you’re fired!” Oh, my – aren’t we the tough, dashing, all-knowing executive type, Donald? PATHETIC.

hateful ytumpThis insecure bully came from a wealthy upper middle class background as the son of a New York City real estate developer, and  and attended several elite schools, including Kew Forest School in Queens and the Mew York Military Academy. The reason he attended the latter was due to his being dismissed from the former at age 13 for behavioral problems – are you surprised? I’m not!). He also attended Fordham University and the Wheaton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied Real Estate. Shortly after graduation, he began working full time at his father’s real estate firm and demonstrated an ability to get revitalization projects done ahead of schedule and within, and sometimes even under, budget.  After a time, he set up his own company and, by shrewdly wheeling and dealing, eventually amassed a fortune of $4.1 billion. (Of course, true to form, Trump has often overstated his true net worth, sometimes inferring it is nearly double of what it really is. This, too, is evidence of his latent insecurity, and a good reason that he cannot be trusted).  

miserable trumpWhile inferring that he is a capable and very knowledgeable businessman, Trump has made many major  business mistakes which have caused his companies to declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy, not just once, but four separate times! According to a 2011 Forbes report, these were due to his over-leveraging of his hotel and casino businesses in 1991, 1992, 2004, and 2009.   The regularity of these bankruptcies  should cause great concern to voters. Their frequency is more symptomatic of a reckless Wall Street speculative banker than a supposedly responsible, conservative business leader. I wouldn’t trust Trump with my wallet for even eight seconds, so why should our country trust him with its finances for a full eight years?  

mean amnd nasty trumpI couldn’t even imagine Trump guiding our foreign policy. He is an expert at playing the winning through intimidation game, But his megalomania would never translate into effecting sensitive negotiations or effective and lasting diplomacy. Bullies never fare well on the world stage. Bullies cause resentment among peoples which lead to war. Bellicose verbosity is NOT the answer for solving international crises, yet that is all Trump seems to have to offer. For this, and for many other good reasons I have detailed above, this blogger says, even before Trump is listed on the presidential ballot, “Sorry, Donald Trump, but you are FIRED!
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RETURNING NEXT MONDAY: PODCASTER EXTRAORDINAIRE BURR DEMING!

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MASS SHOOTINGS DATABASE 1982 – PRESENT!

July 20, 2015  By Jack Jodell.

For a long time, I and many other gun violence opponents have decried the ease by which mentally unstable individuals can buy guns (especially the semi-automatic variety) and use them to kill innocent people. Second Amendment advocates, the National Rifle Association, and other paranoid allies all seem ro illogically claim that if everyone had a gun, then deaths by gun violence would be greatly reduced 9r prevented. This, of course, is utterly preposterous. By that VERY faulty logic, then, to prevent a nuclear holocaust, everybody should therefpre be permitted to own their own individual nuclear weapon. See how completely absurd that position is?

We are seemingly constantly being buffeted with news of mass murders involving guns. I suspect this is, regrettably, making us almost immune to the seriousness of this issue. For it is important that we never simply categorize this as being nothing more than “the new normal.” For it is grossly abnormal to merely dismiss these victims in such a callous and uncaring manner – each and every one of them were once living, breathing, caring and cared-about human beings who were loved by their friends and family but have now left this life due to the actions of a madman. Through a recent Amy Goodman’s democracy now!free speechDemocracy Now! program I saw on FREE SPEECH TV, I learned of a “Mass Shootings Database” which had been compiled by Mother Jones mother jonesMagazine. Click on the link below to see this incredible work which features a disgusting 71 mass shootings amd an astounding 561 deaths! This very thorough study also lists the number of yhose injured who survived, plus the date and location of the shooting as well as the name of the crazy gunman. It can be found at:                                        http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/12/mass-shootings-mother-jones-full-data   

This is a sickrning list. It is NOTHING to be proud of, and, indeed, should provide all sane, rational people the impetus to begin thinking seriously of ways to keep guns out of the hands of crazies! How much longer should we put up with the NRA’s insane, paranoid arguments against any and all restrictions on guns?

Think about it, folks…
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JOIN THE RESPECTFUL REVOLUTION BY VISITING http://www.respectfulrevolution.org/ AND BE AMAZED AT THE BEAUTY OF WHAT EVERYDAY PEOPLE DOING RESPECTFUL THINGS CAN ACCOMPLISH! :-)
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BE WITH US  LIVE nearly every Sunday from 6 – 7 PM Eastern Time on BlogTalkRadio’s HERE-BE-MONSTERS THE SUNDAY SHOW.  My  co-hosts GWEN BARRY of ROUNDTREE7 Blog, WAYNE JOHNSON of MINDS AND TIMES OF F. WAYME JOHNSON, and  I  discuss a wide range of political, social, and economic topics in an open forum, often with additional guest activists and input from the fine cadre of writers found at  the Roundtree7  site. Call in to participate at (213) 816-0357 , or click on this link to hear an archive of past shows:  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/here-be-monsters                       

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THE TIME FOR 3BL IS DEFINITELY HERE!

July 16, 2015  By Jack Jodell.  

3BLIn my previous post (as in many before it), I justifiably lambasted predatory corporations and the way they have gradually become ever-more malignant and parasitical since their earliest days. Predatory capitalism is thoroughly disgusting and must be RESPECTFUL REVOLUTIONaGERARD AND STACEYbolished and replaced. But while interviewing Stacey Wear and Gerard Ungerman of The Respectful Revolution.org (www.respectfulrevolution.org/) on the Sunday online radio program Here-Be-Monsters The Sunday Show, I learned of an exciting relatively new concept that a few pioneering and courageous businesses are beginning to implement. This concept is known as the Triple Bottom Line (sometimes referred to as 3BL or TBL). This was a very exciting find for me, and I thank Stacey for bringing it up and making me aware of it.  

ELKINGTONAccording to what I saw in Wikipedia,  Triple Bottom Line is an accounting framework originally conceived and put forth by  John Elkington in 1994. Elkmgton, an English-born world authority on corporate responsibility and sustainable development, is currently the Executive Chairman and founding partner of a future-focused business dealing with the intersection of the sustainability, entrepreneurship and innovation movements known as Valons.  Unlike traditional accounting bottom lines, which deal strictly with financial profit or loss, Elkington’s 3BL takes into account a much broader area, including people and our planet as well as profit. By focusing on social, environmental, as well as financial aspects of a business, a much more accurate accounting of that business’s impact on the world is gained. Judicious use of this form of accounting can ensure that a business using it will make a profit in the wisest and safest way possible – keeping environmental and social damage as minimal as possinle as it pursues its profit. (Perhaps if the oil giant BP had used this form of accounting in 2010, the entire Gulf Oil Spillage crisis could have been avoided entirely! Not only would they have escaped billions of dollars in settlement costs, but a great deal of human suffering, lost lives, and environmental destruction would have been completely avoided as well)! At the very least, proper utilization of this vital concept would surely greatly reduce reckless and self-centered, greedy behavior within the business community. This is a concept I strongly urge every business class in the entire country to feature in its scholastic curriculum! 

I applaud the forward-thinking that the Triple Bottom Line represents,  and, while far too few businesses have employed it thus far, I encourage ALL companies – big and small – to begin adopting it as quickly as possible. Very regrettably, the 3BL concept is being completely ignored by the powers that be 0n that neo-liberal creation known as the European Union. Proof of this is abundantly clear in the way that body has just forced the people of Greece to accept a horrible austerity plan, even though those people overwhelmingly rejected austerity TWICE both in an election and just recently in a NO TPPreferendum. The EU’s bottom line purposely left the SOCIAL  aspect out of their bottom line calculations entirely. Now, elderly Greeks on pensions will face drastic pension cuts just to appease billionaires living outside of their country. It is unjust and terrible. LET THIS BE A WARNING OF WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF THE U.S. BECOMES A MEMBER OF THE TRANS PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP! Our laws and regulations will certainly be overturned and voided by ruthless, profit-driven corporatists who have little regard for democracy!

The time for 3BL is DEFINITELY here!
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JOIN THE RESPECTFUL REVOLUTION BY VISITING http://www.respectfulrevolution.org/ AND BE AMAZED AT WHAT EVERYDAY PEOPLE CAN DO!
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JOIN  US  LIVE nearly every Sunday from 6 – 7 PM Eastern Time on BlogTalkRadio’s HERE-BE-MONSTERS THE SUNDAY SHOW.  My  co-hosts GWEN BARRY of ROUNDTREE7 Blog, WAYNE JOHNSON of MINDS AND TIMES OF F. WAYME JOHNSON, and  I  discuss a wide range of political, social, and economic topics in an open forum, often with additional guest activists and input from the fine cadre of writers found at  the Roundtree7  site. Call in to participate at (213) 816-0357 , or click on this link to hear an archive of past shows:  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/here-be-monsters   

                                                          

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THE SORDID HISTORY OF U.S. CORPORATE POWER AND HOW WE CAN STOP IT!

July 13, 2015  By Jack Jodell.   

CORP FLAGEver since I first started this blog, I have derided  corporations for their greed and for the perverse and corrupting effects they have had on our political, judicial,  and economic systems.  They have literally metastasized like rampant tumors, gluttonously devouring and destroying all in their path which NO TPPwould inihit their overbearing appetite for ever-increasing profit. Now, as they appear poised to enslave us permanently with their very sordid Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), I thought it would be very useful to trace how they became so hideously malignant and pervasive. While researching for this post, I came across a fabulous organization  called RECLAIM DEMOCRACY.ORG. Their website is at   http://reclaimdemocracy.org/corporate-accountability-history-corporations-us/ and the brilliant article below was taken from it.

Our Hidden History of Corporations in the United States

“When American colonists declared independence from England in 1776, they also freed themselves from control by English corporations that extracted their wealth and dominated trade. After fighting a revolution to end this exploitation, our country’s founders retained a healthy fear of corporate power and wisely limited corporations exclusively to a business role. Corporations were forbidden from attempting to influence elections, public policy, and other realms of civic society.

Initially, the privilege of incorporation was granted selectively to enable activities that benefited the public, such as construction of roads or canals. Enabling shareholders to profit was seen as a means to that end. The states also imposed conditions (some of which remain on the books, though unused) like these*:

  • Corporate charters (licenses to exist) were granted for a limited time and could be revoked promptly for violating laws.
  • Corporations could engage only in activities necessary to fulfill their chartered purpose.
  • Corporations could not own stock in other corporations nor own any property that was not essential to fulfilling their chartered purpose.
  • Corporations were often terminated if they exceeded their authority or caused public harm.
  • Owners and managers were responsible for criminal acts committed on the job.
  • Corporations could not make any political or charitable contributions nor spend money to influence law-making.

For 100 years after the American Revolution, legislators maintained tight controll of the corporate chartering process. Because of widespread public opposition, early legislators granted very few corporate charters, and only after debate. Citizens governed corporations by detailing operating conditions not just in charters but also in state constitutions and state laws. Incorporated businesses were prohibited from taking any action that legislators did not specifically allow.

States also limited corporate charters to a set number of years. Unless a legislature renewed an expiring charter, the corporation was dissolved and its assets were divided among shareholders. Citizen authority clauses limited capitalization, debts, land holdings, and sometimes, even profits. They required a company’s accounting books to be turned over to a legislature upon request. The power of large shareholders was limited by scaled voting, so that large and small investors had equal voting rights. Interlocking directorates were outlawed. Shareholders had the right to remove directors at will.

In Europe, charters protected directors and stockholders from liability for debts and harms caused by their corporations. American legislators explicitly rejected this corporate shield. The penalty for abuse or misuse of the charter was not a plea bargain and a fine, but dissolution of the corporation.

In 1819 the U.S. Supreme Court tried to strip states of this sovereign right by overruling a lower court’s decision that allowed New Hampshire to revoke a charter granted to Dartmouth College by King George III. The Court claimed that since the charter contained no revocation clause, it could not be withdrawn. The Supreme Court’s attack on state sovereignty outraged citizens. Laws were written or re-written and new state constitutional amendments passed to circumvent the (Dartmouth College v Woodward) ruling. Over several decades starting in 1844, nineteen states amended their constitutions to make corporate charters subject to alteration or revocation by their legislatures. As late as 1855 it seemed that the Supreme Court had gotten the people’s message when in Dodge v. Woolsey it reaffirmed state’s powers over “artificial bodies.”

But the men running corporations pressed on. Contests over charter were battles to control labor, resources, community rights, and political sovereignty. More and more frequently, corporations were abusing their charters to become conglomerates and trusts. They converted the nation’s resources and treasures into private fortunes, creating factory systems and company towns. Political power began flowing to absentee owners, rather than community-rooted enterprises.

The industrial age forced a nation of farmers to become wage earners, and they became fearful of unemployment–a new fear that corporations quickly learned to exploit. Company towns arose. and blacklists of labor organizers and workers who spoke up for their rights became common. When workers began to organize, industrialists and bankers hired private armies to keep them in line. They bought newspapers to paint businessmen as heroes and shape public opinion. Corporations bought state legislators, then announced legislators were corrupt and said that they used too much of the public’s resources to scrutinize every charter application and corporate operation.

Government spending during the Civil War brought these corporations fantastic wealth. Corporate executives paid “borers” to infest Congress and state capitals, bribing elected and appointed officials alike. They pried loose an avalanche of government financial largesse. During this time, legislators were persuaded to give corporations limited liability, decreased citizen authority over them, and extended durations of charters.

Attempts were made to keep strong charter laws in place, but with the courts applying legal doctrines that made protection of corporations and corporate property the center of constitutional law, citizen sovereignty was undermined. As corporations grew stronger, government and the courts became easier prey. They freely reinterpreted the U.S. Constitution and transformed common law doctrines.

One of the most severe blows to citizen authority arose out of the 1886 Supreme Court case of Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad. Though the court did not make a ruling on the question of “corporate personhood,” thanks to misleading notes of a clerk, the decision subsequently was used as precedent to hold that a corporation was a “natural person.” This story was detailed in “The Theft of Human Rights,” a chapter in Thom Hartmann’s recommended book Unequal Protection.

From that point on, the 14th Amendment, enacted to protect rights of freed slaves, was used routinely to grant corporations constitutional “personhood.” Justices have since struck down hundreds of local, state and federal laws enacted to protect people from corporate harm based on this illegitimate premise. Armed with these ‘rights,’ corporations increased control over resources, jobs, commerce, politicians, even judges and the law.

A United States Congressional committee concluded in 1941, ‘The principal instrument of the concentration of economic power and wealth has been the corporate charter with unlimited power….’

Many U.S.-based corporations are now transnational, but the corrupted charter remains the legal basis for their existence. At Reclaim Democracy!, we believe citizens can reassert the convictions of our nation’s founders who struggled successfully to free us from corporate rule in the past. These changes must occur at the most fundamental level — the U.S. Constitution.

We are indebted to our friends at the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy (POCLAD) for their research, adapted with permission for this article. Sources include:

  • Taking Care of Business: Citizenship and the Charter of Incorporation by Richard L. Grossman and Frank T. Adams (published by POCLAD) was a primary source
  • The Transformation of American Law, Volume I & Volume II by Morton J. Horwitz

Please visit our Corporate Personhood page for a huge library of articles exploring this topic more deeply. You might also be interested to read outproposed Constitutional Amendments to revoke Illegitimate corporate power, erode the power of money over elections, and establish an affirmative constitutional right to vote. 

Consider buying acorporate logo flag (The American flag with corporate logos in place of stars), to demonstrate your objection to corporate personhood and raise awareness for our cause.”

                                                                                                        

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