Hold Corporations Accountable

Jim Hightower’s discussion of Carrier Corporation and Nabisco shifting their plants to Mexico [8/1/16 TPP] was completely in line with what corporations were created for. I retired in 1998 from 33 years practicing business organization and securities law in Seattle.

I went into this field to try to find out more about the matrix we live in and how it developed. I nearly finished a book on the history of the corporation. The corporate business structure goes back at least to Sumeria. It was created to limit stockholders and management from legal liability for the corporation’s failures. The sole responsibility of corporate boards of directors and management is to make money for the shareholders. They have no obligation at all to do anything to benefit society. The management of the two companies mentioned was fully in keeping with this obligation. This is why corporations, and especially big ones, in fact, are so immoral and devastating to our society. Thomas Jefferson wanted to put a provision in the US Constitution that no corporation could own an interest in another corporation. If that had been done, we would not today have these mega-monster corporations to deal with. John Adams dissuaded Jefferson from putting it in the Constitution as all of the colonies already had such a law.

The Securities & Exchange Commission told me when I left my practice that I had probably done the securities regulatory work for more emerging companies than any other attorney in Seattle. The last five years I was in the practice I started asking the clients wanting to go public the why question. Why do you want to put yourself under government regulation requiring honesty and certifiably correct statements to the public, audited financial statements, and lots of reports?

The answers were what I expected. “I want more money, a bigger car, a bigger house, a bigger yacht, and power over others.” I never got an answer that they wanted to put out a product that could benefit the society, or provide employment for members of the society, or would help our society in any manner. They reeked of self importance and the desire for more and more money. I came to the conclusion that there are two fundamentally different personalities in society — the power people and the non-power people. I found it useless to talk to the power people about anything that may benefit our society. It is naive to try to persuade them with ideas and facts that would lead them to benefit the society. They aren’t listening, and don’t want to listen.

It would be a tremendous positive step for our society to outlaw holding companies, as President Teddy Roosevelt wanted to do, and to make management of a corporation criminally liable for the actions they approve, such as those of the two corporations Mr. Hightower mentioned. Perhaps things are too out of control to accomplish this, but unless this is done, we will continue to drown in the quagmire created by corporations in our society.

Philip L. Williams
Seattle, Wash.

Hell No to the TPP

And that’s how it’s done!. Bernie Sanders took up the protests of Occupied and the world-wide protest against corporate globalization and carried it from the edges into the focus of the mainstream. Eat your heart out Jill Steiners and the Ralph Naders! And yet, I wonder if the mainstream really gets it. 

Jim Hightower, one of the few things of which Texans can be proud these days, reports from the Democratic platform committee  that the centrists really are not taking resistance to the Trans-Pacific Partnership seriously. I wish I could tell President Obama a few things — one of which is that we who oppose the TPP, and the Brits who oppose the EU, do not have a reactionary problem with globalization. We have a big problem with turning over our ability to control our environment, our economy, and our own best interest to the big banks, Wall Street and big corporations (not to mention to clueless rich ”lords of the universe” like Trumph). Our pension money and investments (like social security) is our money loaned to them. Our government works for us, or we don’t rehire the people in politics. WE DON’T WORK FOR THEM; THEY WORK FOR US. In a democratic capitalist society, the voter and the consumer are the bosses.

The money, especially the taxes collected from us belong to us, and we will spend that money any way we damned well please, and most of us want it to work for taking care of our health, our safety, and our own economic welfare (and that includes the poor, the migrant, the refugee, etc.).  We choose not to have it spent on making the rich richer and decimating the lives of our fellow citizens of the world.  As a Brit said at an exit poll after the Brexit vote, it’s our money, and we don’t choose to have some Swiss banker or German chancellor (or in our case Wall Street banker or big corporation) dictating austerity for us and good times for themselves to make up for their own greed and incompetence. 

I hope the Democrats and President Obama understand that if they push the TPP through, It will cost them big in future elections and undo all the good work the Bernie Sanders people have accomplished. Here’s hoping that this message will penetrate the Clinton administration. Oh, yeah, and we would like a more left-leaning judge for the Supreme Court while they are at it!

P. Ann White
Meridian, Texas

Republicans Unfit to Govern

Republicans at all levels are unfit to govern. The national party has selected a huckster and a conman — anti- woman, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and many other antis — as its official presidential candidate. They dance around his incendiary statements and lies, but none of them is willing to condemn what the national Republican Party has become.

In Congress, they are no better. The House has not done anything useful like fund Zika research and action, but has instead devoted all its attention to investigating Hillary Clinton’s “scandals” and voting endless times to repeal Obamacare. Senate Republicans led by Mitch McConnell have been the party of No, stopping consideration of anything helping the American people because Obama might somehow benefit from it.

The Republican state governments are also dysfunctional.  Sam Brownback and his Tea Party legislature in Kansas have put that state’s economy into the dumper. Scott Walker and his Republican legislature in Wisconsin have spent their time trying to abolish unions and tear down the University of Wisconsin Madison. In Michigan, Gov. Rick Snyder and his Republican legislature abolished unions, put Detroit through bankruptcy and poisoned the citizens of Flint. In Illinois, finances are in chaos as Gov. Bruce Rauner continues to prevent a state budget unless the General Assembly agrees to his extremist agenda. In Ohio, the Republicans and Gov. John Kazich tried to abolish unions, but the people overturned that decision through a referendum, which is why Ohio is in better shape than the other states.

The time has come to rip out the entire Republican party, root and branch, from top to bottom by defeating every Republican candidate for office.  Maybe then they will find some adults to form a responsible opposition party.

Frank L. Schneider
Chicago, Ill.

Separation of Powerless

It is high time that somebody criticizes Mr. Paul Ryan and I am glad that Katrina vanden Heuvel has chosen to do so with her article, “The Myth of Paul Ryan” [8/1/16 TPP]. Mr. Ryan has shown no compassion for the poor and the downtrodden with his legislation so far — and not to mention his obsession in doing away with Entitlements. When the Supreme Court failed to decide in favor of President Obama’s proposal for DAPA (allowing parents of immigrant children to stop from being deported) it was no other than Paul Ryan who declared that it was a major victory to restore the so-called “separation of power.” Mr. Ryan has overlooked the grief and sorrow bound to follow with this heart-breaking separation. It would not matter to him one bit if this leads to another “Trail of Tears.”

G.M. Chandu
Flushing, N.Y.


Regarding your 8/1/16 issue article, “The Siege of Consumerism in Asia,” by N. Gunasekaran, it reminded me of the most heartless, cynical, destructive, killer tactic of all — when years ago Nestle offered nursing mothers in Africa their canned milk products — tons of it — free and easy — yes — until it was gone. Their own breast milk dried up and there were no funds to purchase more, resulting in malnourished babies. Can anyone top that?

Corrine Sutila
Los Angeles, Calif.

Investigate Trump’s Offenses

If a person yells “fire” in a crowded theater, would he be excused from the legal consequences by claiming that he was “just kidding?” Certainly not!

By approving of Russia’s hack into Presidential candidate Clinton’s email (“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing”), the Republican standard-bearer is advocating an illegal act, perhaps even treason. This calls for a criminal investigation, possibly leading to prosecution. “Just kidding” doesn’t absolve his public statements.

Now, the Bankrupting Bully advocates that gun owners kill Hillary Clinton. He used ambiguous language, (“If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is”), but the message is clear. His bullying tactics, like charging that the election is rigged, should not insulate him from criminal investigation that such language would initiate for any other person.  When will the attorney general and the FBI director do their jobs?

We must not wait until some gun-owning zealot tries to follow the Republican candidate’s provocation before bringing him to justice and holding him accountable for his incendiary words.  

Bruce Joffe
Piedmont, Calif. 

Question Obama

Why isn’t Obama questioned about the terrible Trans-Pacific Partnership deal and the drone killings? The TPP deal is unimaginable to even think of such a deal passing! This is the USA, not red China! Why isn’t he being held accountable? He made many promises to the American people in his campaign. Most of them he did not keep. Now it looks like Hillary, if elected, will keep his policies.

Jack Karpinen
Superior, Wis.

From The Progressive Populist, September 15, 2016


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