Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Disconnected Power Elite of
I was emotional. They are only fossils,
but they have been human beings and
very quickly you make a connection with
these people who lived and died here
300,000 years ago.
Human connectedness, the existence of a positive, physical, visual or mental association between two or more human beings is like a chain across time. Searching for one’s ancestry through DNA testing, for example, is one way to lengthen the chain. As for Dr. Hublin, a paleontologist and director of the Department of Human Development at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, simply seeing and holding the fossils got him emotionally connected to human beings 300,000 years old.1 They weren’t his known ancestors. They were simply human beings like him. He had immediately bonded with them so to speak. I get the same feeling simply from viewing pictures of the fossils.
The Disconnectedness of America’s Power Elite
If all human beings had the same positive sense of connectedness the world would not be what it is, a place inhabited by countless human beings living in misery and subjugated and terrorized by evil regimes. As it is, there probably have been few if any cultures or countries throughout history that have not been plagued by a certain tiny percentage of people I will call the power elite. And throughout history
remains the land of the most powerful and dangerous power elite in the world. America ’s power
elite alone is directly responsible for wars, violent regime changes to install
puppet rulers, and for human suffering of all kinds on a large scale. America
Some Self Portraits of America’s Power Elite
What country can preserve its liberties
if their rulers are not warned from time to
time that their people preserve the spirit
of resistance? let them take arms. what
signify a few lives lost in a century or
two? the tree of liberty must be refreshed
from time to time with the blood of patriots
Thomas Jefferson was certainly disconnected from the common folk. What did he care if some of their blood was spilt for the sake of another revolution?2
---I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of
bringing about in any way the social and political
equality of the white and black races---and I as much
as any other man am in favor of having the superior
position assigned to the white race."
Lincoln was a racist, disconnected from slaves.3 His Civil War, the most deadly for Americans of any U.S. military intervention, was launched not to free the slaves but to maintain the ability to expand the nation’s territory and with it greater markets and resources.
I can hire one-half of the working class
to kill the other half.
Jay Gould was a ruthless railroad tycoon and one of 24 robber barons during
gilded age in the late 1800’s.4
...I should welcome almost any war,
for I think this country needs one.
Despite what he said publicly about matters of war and peace, what the consummate warrior in chief wrote to a confidant reveals his true contempt for the common people.5
Scare the Hell out of the American people.
The disdain for the American people shown by Senator Vandenberg in advising President Truman on how to peddle his proposed Truman Doctrine is pro forma for
’s power elite.6 America
Why do you care about the serfs?
Nick Rockefeller is a member of the Rockefeller dynasty and thus also a current member of
power elite that speaks and acts in unison. His question was in response to the
late America Hollywood director and activist Aaron
Russo saying in rejection of Rockefeller’s invitation to join the Council of
that he “had no interest in enslaving people.”7
The immigration of Jews from the Soviet
Union is not an objective of American
Foreign policy, and if they put Jews
into gas chambers in the
it is not an American concern.
----a massive bombing campaign [involving]
anything that flies or anything that moves.
The above two quotes are among “the top 10 most inhuman Henry Kissinger Quotes” compiled by the late journalist, Fred Branfman.8
Medea Benjamin, peace activist and former Nobel nominee for the Peace Prize, after dangling handcuffs and holding signs that said “Arrest Kissinger for War Crimes,” was tossed out of a Senate hearing where Kissinger was about to testify. In writing about her experience, Ms Benjamin quoted the late Christopher Hitchens who said that “Kissinger should have the door shut in his face by every decent person and should be shamed, ostracized, and excluded."9
I think this is a very hard choice, but
the price—we think the price is worth it,”
That was the heartless answer the former Secretary of State gave to reporter Lesley Stahl’s question about whether the price of sanctions against Iran were worth it considering half a million children died as a result.10
And before any strike is taken, there
must be near- certainty that no
civilians will be killed or injured-
the highest standard we can set.
Obama’s statement is a perfect example of human disconnectedness and moral rationalization and disingenuousness about decisions that have cost countless civilians’ lives.11 Obama clearly sidestepped a higher standard, that of human morality, or even that of animal morality since few species massively kill their own.
You go into
, you got guys Afghanistan
who slap women around for five years
because they didn’t wear a veil. You know,
guys like that ain’t got no manhood left
anyway. So it’s a hell of a lot of un to
shoot them. Actually it’s quite fun to fight
them, you know. It’s a hell of a hoot.
It’s fun to shoot some people.
Gen. James "Mad Dog" Mattis.
U.S. Secretary of
Need more be added about this particular specimen?12
I don’t care how it’s done or its consequences
as long as it boosts our bottom line. And don’t
tell me how it was done.
Archetypical Corporate CEO
In an earlier article I described 255 real incidents of corporate wrongdoing that ranged from the mundane to the deadly.13 The most egregious of them could not have been done without either the explicit or implicit order from the corner office (e.g., causing more climate change from production and waste than any other source; diluted cancer drugs to boost profits; exports for sale more weapons than any other country; makes and sells products deliberately intended to kill; finances wars; launders drug money; builds cars “unsafe at any speed;” etc.).
Questions About the Power Elite
What is it about this tiny class of people throughout the history of the world that makes them so disconnected to, so contemptuous of, and so deliberately harmful to the rest of humanity? What causes them to be the opposite of what it means to be human in the view of Professor John McDonnell Tierney? To him, being human means being caring, compassionate, and kind sentient entity-stewards of the Earth.”14
I am going to break down these two general questions into three specific ones.
Evil means profound immorality. As this definition goes, evil is simply the deepest of immorality, so should we not expect to find among the power elite some profoundly evil members? Does it also go without saying that lesser degrees of immorality abound among the power elite? A.Q. Smith, a progressive journalist, undoubtedly would think so for he has concluded that “it’s basically just immoral to be rich,” and adds that “people who possess great wealth in a time of poverty are directly causing that poverty.”15 For me a clear sign of immoral behavior is when the ends of power and wealth justify the means of achieving those ends, and the means always involve wrongdoing from the mundane to the heinous.
Chris Hedges, journalist, broadcaster, and prolific author, regards the “pathology of the rich white family [to be] the most dangerous pathology in America---cursed with too much money and privilege [and] devoid of empathy, the result of lifetimes of entitlement.” That statement was just his opening salvo in a long article that ends with: “They steal with greater finesse than anyone else.”16
Psychologist William Hirstein has mined the expansive field of research and authoritative opinion on what a psychopathic personality is. Its signature attribute was deemed by the medical profession in the early 1800’s to be that of “moral depravity” or “moral insanity.” Other attributes now included by authorities are uncaring, shallow emotions, irresponsibility, insincere speech, overconfidence, and selfishness.17
Consider for a moment just the 43 U.S. presidents long enough in office to be surrogate murderers and have some experts give us their opinion, which is that being psychopathic fits every single one of them.18 Their assessments go as far as Obama, but we can turn now to a prestigious panel of psychiatrists who concluded before his first 100 days in office that President Trump “has a dangerous mental illness [and] is paranoid and delusional.”19
Are the powerful elite “cursed with too much money, as Mr. Hedges contends, or are they cursed with wanting even more money? Considering the previous two questions, the answer to this third one might seem irrelevant except that greed motivates evil and pathological people.
Can you just imagine if they were to read the quoted remarks of some of their revered, iconic leaders what the responses would be from most Americans, having been indoctrinated from early formative years forward by the power elite to see what they believe?
By the way, what, if I may ask, are your answers to the three questions, and do you have more to raise and answer?
It is paradoxical that the people who rule on earth are unfit to live on it.
1. Sample, I. Oldest Homo Sapiens Bones Ever Found Shake Foundations of the Human Story. Science, June 19, 2017.
2. Jefferson, T. A Rebellion or Revolution is Needed Every 20 Years! Amin, October 8, 2011.
3. Zinn, H. A People’s History of the United States. Harper Perennial, 2005, p. 188.
4. Lubin, G., Kelley, M.B., and Wile R. Meet the 24 Robber Barons Who Once Ruled America. Business Insider, March 20, 2012.
5. Crucible of Empire. pbs.org.
6. Skidmore, D. Reversing Course: Carter's Foreign Policy, Domestic Politics, and the Failure of Reform. Vanderbilt University Press, 1996, p. 17.
7. Watson, P.J. Rockefeller Admitted Elite Goal of Microchipped Population. Prison Planet, January 29, 2007.
8. Branfman, F. The Top 10 Most Inhuman Henry Kissinger Quotes. Alter Net, February 12, 2016.
9. Benjamin, M. Will the Real "Low-Life Scum" Please Stand Up? OpEdNews, February 4, 2015; see also, Hitchens, C. The Trial of Henry Kissinger. Twelve, 2012.
10. 60 Minutes, May 12, 1996.
11. Vitkovskaya, J. 9 Revealing Staments Obama Has Made About Transparency and Drone Strikes. The Washington Post, July 1, 2016.
12. Floores, R., Gen. James "Mad Dog" Mattis: 7 Memorable Quotes. CBS NEWS December 2, 2016.
13. Brumback, G. An Evil Root. OpEdNews, March 8; Dissident Voice, March 15; The Greanville Post, March 20; Uncommon Thought Journal, March 21, 2017.
14. Tierney, J.M. On Being Human, Dreamsinger Little Books, 2011.
15. Smith, A.Q. It’s Basically Just Immoral To Be Rich. Current Affairs, March 30, 2017.
16. Hedges, C. The Pathology of the Rich White Family. TruthDig, May 17, 2015.
17. Hirstein, W. What Is a Psychopath? Psychology Today, January 30, 2013.
18. Howard, J. Psychopathic Personality Traits Linked With U.S. Presidential Success, Psychologists Suggest. The Huffington Post, September 13, 2012. See also, Frank, J. Bush on the Couch. Harper Perennial, 2005; and Frank, J. Obama on the Couch. Free Press, 2012.
19. Bulman, M. Donald Trump has ‘Dangerous Mental Illness', Say Psychiatry Experts at Yale Conference. Independent News, April 21, 2017.
Saturday, June 17, 2017
AMERICA'S RAW STORY
June 17, 2017
Two-Fisted Democracy Power Revisited
Slightly over a year ago I went on record claiming that
was an “endangering and endangered ruination” with ruinous domestic conditions
and destructive and deadly international interventions all stemming from her
“corpocracy,” the “Devil’s Marriage” between big corporations and government.
Gnashing our teeth and thinking matters have to get worse before they can get better is inviting doomsday. At the same time, repeating the kinds of initiatives at changing the status quo that always fall far short are definitely not the answer. They fall short for one or more of these reasons; they are divided rather than united with a unity of purpose and effort; they address single issues and symptoms rather than the underlying cause, America’s corpocracy; they are not organized sufficiently; they are not guided by a comprehensive strategic plan with objectives and a means for monitoring progress; they do not have sufficient public support; and/or they lack sufficient funding.
As I am writing this article announcements were made about three major events aimed at changing various aspects of the corpocracy. One event is the second annual People’s
Summit attended by some
4000 progressives.  The second is a conference of workshops on “stopping the
wars at home and abroad” to beheld June 16-18, 2017 at the Greater Richmond
Convention Center in .  The third is the
third annual meeting of the Democracy Convention to be held August 2-6, 2017 in
Each event by itself represents a major undertaking sponsored by many NGOs and involving overall thousands of participants. I cite the three here because none of them alone or collectively meet the prerequisites I just mentioned and undoubtedly were not intended to meet all of them. For example, the events have different sponsors, organizers, and agendas. In the future the organizers and sponsors should consider adopting an approach that does seek to meet those prerequisites. Such an approach is the subject of the remainder of this article.
Round One of Two-Fisted Democracy Power Briefly Reviewed
“Two-fisted democracy power” is an idea and initiative I conceived and started several years ago.  It involved a comprehensive strategy to end the corpocracy and build a new
The “fists” are a metaphor, not a call for physical and violent confrontations.
One fist was a U.S. Chamber of Democracy (USCD), an Internet connected
organization to plan and carry out a host of strategic initiatives, coupled
with the second fist, the “People’s Reignbow Coalition,” a unified and massive
movement of activists that would apply enough pressure on the corpocracy to
nullify its resistance to the reforms being pursued by the USCD.
I spent several years trying to implement the idea in its entirety. It failed partly because of lack of funding. For example, many wealthy foundations declined to fund the USCD. One in particular stands out, the Peace and Security Funders Group, a large network of extremely wealthy public, private and family foundations, and individual philanthropists that is “committed to promoting international peace and security.  Balderdash!! I did not get a dime from them. What the “ultra rich” generally seem to be doing instead, one study of them concluded “---is undermining global democracy.”  No kidding! I had learned the hard way years earlier how NGOs and foundations are co-opted by the corpocracy. 
Despite its abject failure the first time around, I believe two-fisted democracy power is an idea whose time has come and is desperately needed for the sake of the future. A round two version needs to be launched. An outline and possibilities for a second round are discussed next.
The USCD Outline: An Internet Organization
U.S. Chamber of Democracy
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Our core mission is to
shed her corpocracy America
and become a true democracy.
The USCC is a “brick and mortars” organization located in the Nation’s Capitol that spends large amounts of corporate money lobbying for corporate interests on Capitol Hill. Obviously its antithesis, the USCD, has no postal address and no building.
A. Steering Council.
Twelve or so very knowledgeable activists from the different regions of America to develop a strategic plan, purpose and vision; pick self-managed teams to carry out the reform work; secure sufficient funding; and to steer the entire endeavor’s course to its final goal of ending the corpocracy and the building of a shared and operationally defined new America (e.g., an America with a military budget slashed in half, no membership in militaristic partnerships like NATO, no military bases in other countries, and the like)
B. Illustrative Self Managed Teams to Carry Out the Strategically Guided Initiatives
1. Think Tank. a. to propose a vision consistent with the goal and a strategic plan to achieve it; and b. to research and incorporate where appropriate all other existing reform ideas and initiatives. An innovative idea, for example, that definitely should be part of an overall strategy is John Rachel’s no-contract/no vote proposal.  If it were to be adopted nation-wide political reforms ought to follow quickly.
2. Government Reform Team. a. to disenable government’s enabling of widespread corporate wrongdoing by eliminating all hand outs to and all hands-off treatment of corporations, including the two inseparable financial and war industries.
3. Economic and Business Reform Team. a. to set the stage for creating a socially responsible capitalism; b. to end privatization; c. to promote non-corporate forms of business; and d. to persuade corporations to adopt new models of organizing and managing their businesses. 
4. Health Care Reform Team. a. to make universal, single payer insurance the law of the land; and b. to responsibly regulate the health care industries to protect the health and safety of the insured.
5. Social Justice Reform Team a. to end all artificial forms of individual and group discrimination; b. to ensure civil liberties and rights to everyone; and c. to end militarized and racially biased policing.
6. Education Reform Team. a. to end charter schools; b. to end teaching to the test; c. to end propagandized curricula and teaching; and d. to emphasize the teaching of critical thinking skills.
7. Communications Reform Team. a. to return the airwaves to the public; and b. to responsibly regulate corporate media.
8. Political Reform Team. a. to end the Electoral College; b. to require ranked voting; c. to remove all illegitimate voting hurdles; d. to replace the Constitution reserved as it is for the power elite to a Constitution guaranteeing the just and equal rights of all citizens; e. to strengthen gun control, and f. to support the other teams’ initiatives.
Team. a. to establish the Reignbow Coalition; and b. to persuade existing
protest movements to join the coalition. Coalition Building
10. Tracking Team. a. to track the progress of all initiatives; and b. to spot ongoing opportunities for other teams to exploit for achieving interim successes.
The Reignbow Coalition
At any given moment there must be dozens of small to large movements each with their own specific protests. Common to them all is their underlying cause,
America’s corpocracy. Leaders of
such movements need to be persuaded to “connect the dots” and include their
movements under an umbrella coalition of movements, the “Reignbow Coalition,”
or whatever might end up being its name (the “Reign” is meant to connote reign
by the people, not by the corpocracy and its power elite). An umbrella movement
of 25 or so million disaffected Americans all demanding, perhaps via Rachel’s
clever no contract-no vote condition that political candidates support the
USCD’s reform initiatives or else, ought to be able to put honest politicians
into office who would be real public servants for once.
Peopling Round Two
The first go around I was the chef; chief bottle washer and server spending several years doing so. An octogenarian now with waning energy I can not do that again. I need to pass the idea and any second round implementation of it onto people who might be willing to succeed me and take the lead in trying to kick start some version of two-fisted democracy power. After this article is published I will start seeking one or more successors who share my conviction about the potential of my idea, have the time to nurture it along, have organized or played a significant role in a major reform initiative, are well known, and have connections to some funding sources. 
As for recruiting people to serve on the Steering Council and teams there are several possible sources to draw upon for prospective members. One is the U.S. Democracy Corps that I originated several years ago. Its several hundred members are, figuratively speaking, ambassadors for democracy who have in their own ways been promoting peaceful and lawful means of reclaiming social and economic justice in America and establishing peaceful relations with other nations.  Other possible sources include all the people who have read and commented on my work and who also have been very active themselves in their own work; and the few NGOs that actually endorsed the first round of two-fisted democracy power. 
Funding Round Two
America’s future is worth the
effort it is worth the cost. And the cost would be monumental, amounting to
millions of dollars over a period of years, to start up and operate two-fisted
democracy power until all its strategic initiatives succeeded and the main goal
There are over one million multimillionaires in
Surely there must be a few thousand not entrenched in the corpocracy. Finding
them is the trick, of course. Ralph Nader claims that only the “enlightened
super wealthy” can save the world.  A few years ago I sent him through his
personal assistant a copy of my book, The Devil’s Marriage, which I had
dedicated to him. I think I will see if he would be willing to contact some of
those 17 real super wealthy people he fictionalized in his book and ask them to
fund the two-fisted democracy power initiative.
Continuing the Quest
New and Better
Continue or Else
No Matter How Hopeless
No Matter How Far---
---Cervantes/Don Quixote, Man of
Time is running out on the survival of
and the rest of the world’s inhabitants. While two-fisted democracy power may
never be launched, failing to continue the quest for ways to protect the future
even if it is an impossible dream should not be acceptable.
1. Brumback, GB. Real
an Endangering and Endangered Ruination. Dissident Voice, March 28; OpEdNews,
March 29; PopularResistance.Org Daily Digest, March 31; Greenville Post, April
2; Transmedia Service, April 6; Uncommon Thought Journal, April 8; 2016.
2. See, e.g., Boyle, FA. American Militarism Threatening To Set Off World War III. OpEdNews, December, 12, 2012; Chossudovsky, M. Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War. E-Book Series No. 1.0, Global Research Publishers, 2011; Noble, S. Anarchy and Near Term Extinction. Dissident Voice, June 18, 2014; and Roberts, P.C. Is That Armageddon Over The Horizon? Institute for Political Economy, April 12, 2017.
3. Kall, R. People's
Summit: It Always Seems
Impossible Until it is Done.
OpEdNews, June 11, 2017. See also, Geery, D. A Critical Look at the People’s
Summit. OpEdNews, June, 11, 2017.
4.Swanson, D. Invitation to the national "Stop the Wars at Home & Abroad!" Conference. E-mail, May 30, 2017.
5. Democracy Convention III: August 2-6, 2017,
6. Brumback, GB. The Devil’s Marriage: Break Up the Marriage or Leave Democracy in the Lurch. Author House, 2011. Chapter 4, pp. 43-66.
7. Peace and Security Funders Group. http://peaceandsecurity.org/
8. Lazare, S. Ultra-Rich ‘Philanthrocapitalist’ Class Undermining Global Democracy, Study Says. Common Dreams, January 17, 2016.
9. Brumback, G.B. Tyranny's Hush Money. OpEdNews, September 28, 2013, and The Greanville Post, September 29, 2013.
10. Rachel, J. No Candidate Contract No Vote OpEdNews, June 12, 2017.
11. See, e.g., Brumback, Op. Cit. 2011. Chapter 10. Ending Undemocratic Capitalism, pp. 149-180., Appendix C. Creative Economic Thinking from A to Z minus E for Economists, pp. 203-213; Brumback, GB. See also; Corporate Reckoning Ahead. Create Space Independent Publishing Platform. 2015. Part Two. Corporate Self Reform, pp. 31-115; Chapter 11. Some Alternatives to Corporations, pp. 117-123; and Chapter 12. Socially Responsible Capitalism, Not Socialism, pp. 124-136.
12. Readers of this article are also encouraged to suggest themselves or others. One way readers can contact me is through my twitter address, #LibertyQuotient.
13. See the list of members of the U.S. Democracy Corps posted October 4, 2014 on my blog site, http://democracyorcorpocracy.blogspot.com/
14. The many people who have endorsed my books and commented on my work, and these NGOs: Citizens Works; Code Pink: Women for Peace; Fellowship of Reconciliation; and Just Foreign Policy are encouraged to promote the idea of two-fisted democracy power.
15. Nader, R. Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! Seven Stories Press, 2011.
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
AMERICA'S RAW STORY
AN EVIL ROOT
Note that the title begins with an indefinite article for there are many roots of evil, but the one most invasive and destructive is America’s corpocracy. It is the mother root with two branches that are slowly snuffing out America and the world with it. Those two branches are corporate America and government America. This essay is about the first, corporate America, and specifically, evil corporate leadership, defined here as profoundly immoral, socially irresponsible, and harmfully consequential behavior.
There are many scholarly theories of leadership, but neither a scholar nor theory is needed, just ordinary common sense to define leadership. It is simply “the capacity to control the means to get desired ends.” One sentence replaces thousands of pages in dozens of books I have read on the subject. I may have just saved you a lot of unnecessary reading.
Great Corporate Leadership: Where?
If, instead of being evil, corporate leadership were great we could have great corporations. But we don’t---let me know if you know of any. A great corporation would be one that uses positive means to achieve positive ends. Another way to put it is that a great corporation would be one that is socially responsible, and no corporation can ever meet all six of my criteria for corporate social responsibility.
Here are the six: A socially responsible corporation: 1. stays financially viable over the long haul; 2. Provides socially beneficial products and/or services without, 3. knowingly causing any physical, psychological, financial or ecological harm, 4. without externalizing costs (e.g., job outsourcing, waste disposal), 5. without seeking or depending on “warfare welfare” or other government favors such as corporate personhood, campaign financing, lobbying, subsidies, revolving doors, laissez-faire regulations, or criminal immunity, and, 6. conducts business ethically and legally while treating all stakeholders fairly and with dignity. If a corporation and its leadership fail to meet any one or more of those criteria they are socially irresponsible. And the fewer they meet the more evil they are.
And all corporations I have ever studied, observed or experienced have flunked one or more of the six. I once followed up on two scholars’ separate lists of what they claimed to be 100 some great corporations due to their sustained profits. Their conventional bottom lines were indeed in the black, but these corporations’ unconventional bottom lines were indeed in the red, falling below the acceptable line of good corporate behavior as evidenced by the incidents in “The Different Police Gazette” to be shown later in this essay. They ought to tell us that corporate greatness requires far more than just being money deep.
What exactly keeps corporations from being great? After all, they have the capacity, or power, to become great if that were their aspiration and thus their standard of performance. But neither their aspiration nor standard of performance call for being a socially responsible corporation. Fattening their conventional line is their Holy Grail. But that is not a sufficient answer to the question. The conventional bottom line and the primacy given to it are just two of several intrinsic factors preventing corporate greatness. Other intrinsic factors include a hierarchical organizational structure, or pyramid, in which wrongdoing of any kind is orchestrated at and denied by the top while being carried out at the bottom; rewards for “negative” success (i.e., ill begotten success); and, above all, evil leadership. The latter thrives in a pyramid. Here’s how it works in a pyramid:
An ignoble expectation or order starts somewhere higher up and goes down the pyramid in one version or another until it gets to the doers who cannot get rid of it without doing its bidding or getting fired. Here is an illustrative scenario:
Top Level-Unrealistically high goals are set without issuing an explicit order to cut legal or ethical corners.
Next Level- Translates goals into specific targets and gives hints or wink and nods on unethical or unlawful means of accomplishing them.
Next Level- Tells subordinates, the doers, to “do whatever is necessary” or may even spell out the necessary means, such as get the “toxics dumped at night,” or “keep two sets of books.”
Thus, the expectation/order may start implicitly, gets less implicit, and eventually becomes blunt as it cascades downward. However it is couched, the expectation/order is expected to be met or else. Moral considerations become situational, and the situation is defined by the boss next up the line.
As for the intrinsic barrier, evil leadership, we shall return to and expand on it momentarily..
Then there are several extrinsic barriers to greatness that ought to be obvious to anyone reading this essay. They include government handouts even for, or especially for, corporate failures, government either looking the other way, giving wrist slaps, or making lawful in so many different ways what should be unlawful corporate wrongdoing that ranges from the “ordinary” to the truly evil, and, of course, global gobbling capitalism.
A Topsy-Turvy Metaphor
Roots thrive at the bottom, so my metaphor is topsy-turvy. The evil roots of corporate leadership thrive at the top, as I have illustrated. Evil corporate leadership is synonymous with evil corporations for the latter are under the stewardship of the former.
I have never been an insider at the top echelons of corporate pyramids, but I have studied them enough to understand the people there and their internal workings. What follows next are a few pertinent generalizations that obviously do not apply in every instance.
What I call “warped” boards of directors tends to have limited influence on who gets to be the CEO. Directors are generally handpicked and usually back the CEO.
The average tenure of nearly one-half million CEOs in America is about 10 years, and then a new CEO is ensconced. Nearly 70% of all CEOs are bred internally, which means they have back stabbed and clawed their way to the top. There’s no need to pity discarded CEOs. Their severance pay is more than the average American could amass in several lifetimes.
So CEOs come and go, but only the faces and names change. Their “PMU” or psychological make-up stays basically unchanged, one that only their grandmothers could love. CEOs tend to be imperious, if not before getting to the top spot, then while in it by being seduced by the power of the position itself. CEOs personal flaws don’t stop there. From my extensive review of the literature I have concluded that CEOs tend to be greedy, irresponsible shepherds of “their” companies (actually owned by investors), lack of virtue, materialistic values, moral frailty, narcissism (including unbridled hubris), narrowly educated and narrow-minded. These flaws usually go together. A CEO with one tends to have all of the rest, too. The flaws are not unique to the corner office but are more pronounced and more destructive there.
Conceivably great corporations could exist if they followed my models proposed elsewhere for corporate reform and for a socially responsible capitalism, but those proposals will never materialize so there is no point in referencing them here.
Then, too, Americans could continue weaning themselves away from corporations by turning to alternative forms of business such as cooperatives. That trend is occurring slowly but will never replace the corporation as a mode of doing big business.
The Different Police Gazette
Given the ubiquity of evil doing at the top of the corporate pyramid and the corresponding evil doing of government, is it any wonder why I was able for many years long ago to compile a different police gazette, one that records the corpocracy’s crimes and other forms of evil doing? I was motivated to do so because “our” government records everything about us but corporate crime, probably because doing so would clearly implicate government as an accomplice and often an instigator (as in forever buying weapons from the weapons’ makers). While my compilations have tapered off considerably over the last decade or two, the gazette would be book size had I continued to this day.
I am going to close this essay with a decidedly non-scientific sampling of incidents of corporate evil doings from my gazette as shown in Exhibit A. I simply chose some incidents and stopped choosing more when I got tired of choosing, an escape I could never get by with writing for so-called scientific journals. You will notice some redundancy among the incidents because the more egregious industry-wide incidents are repeated when found in the industry-specific entries.
While many of the incidents were the doings of people below the CEO, we can be sure the CEO didn’t disapprove. All of the incidents are taken directly from my files and are unedited, yet they clearly speak for themselves in their raw form, like unwashed and naked filth. By the time you finishing reading them you may feel more outraged and worried than before. Blame it not on me but on the corporate Devil.
The incidents are numbered across categories to facilitate any referencing. As you pour over the incidents think about how they deviate from the criteria of social responsibility and from the following universal moral values found by Michael Josephson, the lawyer turned ethicist (that’s a bizarre twist), to traverse time and place: accountability, commitment to excellence, concern for others, fairness, honesty, integrity, law abiding, loyalty, promise keeping, and respect for others. As you go along consider flagging the top 10 or so incidents that you judge to be the most evil in their intentions, in their means, and in their consequences, and perhaps also the 10 least evil ones in your judgment. I refuse to pick the 10 least evil ones. Evil is evil and I wouldn’t wish any of them on anyone.
The first group of incidents depicts the two scholars’ picks of “great corporations” that I cited earlier.
Exhibit A. Sampling “The Different Police Gazette”
Incidents from the Purportedly “Great” Corporations
1.Involved in antitrust lawsuits and settlements.
2.Accused of breach of contract and fraud in dealing with retailers.
3.Violated securities laws.
4.Falsification of financial accounting.
5.Infringement of copyrights and patents.
6.Disbarred from further government contracts (must have really irritated Uncle Sam).
7.Employment discrimination lawsuits.
8.False advertising consent decrees.
9.Filing lawsuits against public complaints.
10,Forcing applicants to sign dispute resolution agreements.
11.Hiring illegal aliens.
12.Implanting “spy” chips in products.
13.Privacy violation lawsuit settlements.
14.Serious malpractice lawsuits.
15.Serious product failures and liability settlements.
16.Racial profiling and redlining.
17.Selling returned merchandise as new.
18.Sexual harassment suits.
Incidents from Industry in General
21.Tell-tale documents were shredded to impede governmental investigation.
22.Knowing company was about to collapse, top management officials cashed over one billion dollars in stock options while preventing employees from selling company stock in their retirement plans.
23.During settlement talks on severance pay for workers, labor lawyers weren’t told about the lavish bonuses received by top management.
24.Board of directors twice voted to suspend its own code of ethics to allow for unethical activities.
25.Fabricated earnings to hide debt and inflate profits to give top management a windfall.
26.Pocketed millions in tax money from a subsidiary.
27.Puts positive spin on layoff notices.
28.Buys cheap labor overseas.
29.Hijacks the constitution (e.g. in proclaiming free speech).
30.Shapes the political agendas of both parties.
31.Lobbies for favors (e.g., subsidies) and against regulations.
32.Privatizes public services.
33.Gets favors through campaign financing.
34.Holds high government posts via the ‘‘revolving door.”
35.Ghost writes regulations favorable to corporate self-interests.
36.Stonewalls government investigations.
38.Promotes excessive consumerism.
39.Bullies vendors (e.g. suppliers and dealers).
40.Scams state and local governments for subsidies.
41.Abandons communities in bad times.
42.Plunders and poisons natural resources.
43.Treats workers as vassals.
44.Sells databases of personal information to parties known for defrauding the public.
45.After years of underfunding their pension plans, now go to bankruptcy court to dispose of employee pensions.
46.Freezes pension plans.
47.Fails to provide meal breaks to nearly 116,000 hourly workers as required by a state law.
48.Designs complex rebate rules to keep redemption rates low.
49.Initiates layoffs to take advantage of huge tax breaks meant to generate cash for hiring.
50.Retrieves foreign-held profits at a huge discount off the normal tax rate.
51.Gives kickbacks to buyers in foreign countries
52.Violates a USA embargo to deal with the embargoed country.
53.Foreign branch of a U.S. corporation aided the suppression and torture of troublesome workers during that country’s dictatorship.
54.Outsources to contractors in other countries knowing about their inhumane treatment of workers.
55.Brags to news media about its progressive stance in preferring to mediate instead of going to court, when in reality the company mediates only if there's a good chance of losing in court.
56.Company buys a landmark plant located in one state, closes it down, lays off loyal workers with long service, opens facility in a less-taxing, adjacent state, and uses same product name to market to both states.
57.Fires whistleblowers after slowly and deliberately covering tracks to disguise the decision.
58.Underpays female workers.
59.Using illegal immigrants as slave labor.
60.Sold off a division and then declared that its employees had “resigned,” allowing it to confiscate their pensions.
61.CEOs engaging in insider trading.
62.Reduces allowable sick days.
63.Substantially increases employee contributions to and deductibles under their health insurance coverage.
64.Executives reaped millions with little financial risk by creating shell or phantom partnerships;
65.Establishes phony ethics and social responsibility programs.
Incidents from Some More Certain Life Threatening and Ending Industries
66.Sued a farmer claiming he was using the company’s patented seeds.
67.Outspending food safety and organic advocacy groups nearly seven to one to defeat a ballot initiative mandating labeling of food containing GMOs.
68.Industry is playing with “genetic fire.”
69.Controlling our everyday food-buying choices with misleading messaging, artificially low prices, and heavy control over legislation and regulation.
70.Causing more climate change from production and waste than any other source..
71.Clearing two acres of rain forest each minute to raise cattle or crops to feed them.
72.Polluting 35,000 miles of American rivers with animal waste.
73.Using 100 times more water and 5 times more land to raise animal protein than plant protein.
74.Causing billions of dollars to be spent yearly for healthcare, subsidies, environmental damage, and more from producing and consuming foods laced with pesticides, antibiotics and GMOs.
75.Factory fishing ships over fishing the world's oceans probably leading in a few decades to the extinction of all commercially fished species.
76.Using unsafe antibiotics and growth hormones on animals.
77.Produced as much potentially harmful waste as a city of half a million.
78.Manufacturing unhealthy pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers for feed production.
79.Using forced labor living in shanties.
80.Refusing to compensate veterans and families for exposure to Agent Orange.
81.Producing and selling artificial sweeteners linked to cancer.
82.Making oil-based plastics that are never biodegradable and that release cancer-causing benzene into the environment for a thousand years.
83.Purchasing, trading and profiting from palm oil grown on stolen lands.
84.Sold millions of pounds of ground meat tainted with antibiotic-resistant salmonella.
85.Backing bills in various statehouses that would criminalize undercover investigations of livestock farms’ atrocious operations.
86.Hijacking a cultural exchange program to get a source of cheap labor.
87.Mass producing toxic chemicals.
88.Aggressively running small farms out of business or forcing them into factory farming.
89.Fooling the public with slogans like “life sciences.”
90.Coercing, infiltrating and bribing government officials around the globe to get their genetically modified products approved.
91.Smuggling its product into countries.
92.Using the “revolving door” to assume policy making positions and then squelching subordinates’ warnings about industry products.
93.Cooking the books of their research studies and/or hiding the damaging results.
94.Selling pills that kill about 100,000 Americans annually.
95.Using improper techniques to test drugs.
96.Intimidates and threatens their in-house scientists.
97.Used falsified trial results to swindle the U.S. government out of hundreds of millions of dollars for an inadequate vaccine.
98.Used animal antibodies to artificially inflate test results.
99.Hires ghost writers to write up studies avoiding unfavorable findings and signs on academics as “authors.”
100.Withheld data on side effects from final report to FDA.
101.In submitting a new generic product for testing, hid regular brand under the pill coating fearful that the generic brand wouldn’t pass the test.
102.Heavily outsources drug development to foreign suppliers, some with dubious records of quality control in order to reduce costs and increase profits.
103.Fabricated drug safety data and lied to the FDA.
104.“Sells” a disease (e.g., “it’s under-recognized”) to justify a new drug.
105.Gets quick FDA approval by saying its products are duplicates of other products previously approved.
106.Routinely bribing doctors with luxury vacations and paid speaking gigs.
107.Helping doctors overbill the state for medicines bought by the doctors.
108.Providing drugs to doctors at a discount so they can be sold to patients at a big profit.
109.Rewarded doctors handsomely for doing nothing more in their drug “research” than write down brief notes of their observations of patient outcomes.
110.Skirting the rules against advertising drugs for unapproved uses by sponsoring seminars where doctors are paid to make presentations promoting their drugs, including the “off label” uses.
111.Marketed a drug that is more expensive than alternative drugs and deadly among adults and children.
112.Sponsors health and illness awareness days in public schools and then blitzes them with promotions.
113.Secretly puts media stars on their payrolls to slyly slip in lines about some real or fake ailment and a drug cure on TV.
114.Spends sizeable percent of research on “me-too” drugs designed to make a profit, but are therapeutically useless.
115.Sales reps tells purchasers how to bill the government at full prices for free or discounted non-prescription products.
116.Charges what the market will bear rather than keep price increases in line with inflation.
117.Markets “off-label drugs,” versions of drugs different from those tested by federal regulators. Uses consumers’ private medical information for commercial purposes.
118.Raises drug prices before new legislation passed seeking to curb drug prices.
119.Sued to stop a program that lets states create preferred drug lists for Medicare patients and then demanded steep discounts from drug companies that want to get on the list.
120.Opposed pending legislation to create lists of preferred, lower-cost drugs for Medicare patients and hid their intent by secretly funding advocacy groups believed to oppose the same legislation but for different reasons.
121.Hires PR firms to establish diseases as "public health threats" and massive direct-to-consumer advertising.
122.The industry was aware for at least a decade of animal studies linking breast implants to cancer and other illnesses, but women were not told of the risks until years later.
123.Responded to questions about product safety and lawsuits with a full-court press to keep internal memos and studies from reaching the public.
124.Began buying the new ingredients of one of its key drugs from a new supplier and never followed up on the ingredient’s effects until reports of serious problems patients were experiencing.
125.Finally owned up to deadly products in wake of bacteria scandal.
126.Knew for 20 yrs that its product was unreliable, but didn't believe it would cause a health problem, did very little testing, and stonewalled in liability case before finally trying to make amends.
127.Relied on its deceptive practices to earn billions of dollars selling potentially dangerous drugs to unsuspecting consumers and medical patients; didn’t deny any of it, simply paid the paltry fine, apologized to its customers, and continue doing wrongdoing as usual.
128.Compounds drugs that are often too week or too strong.
129.Sold a concentrated product even though executives were warned of the dangerous side effects.
130.Diluted cancer drugs to boost profits.
131.Mislabeled and adulterated several of its drugs used by millions of consumers and then masterminded a massive cover up of its activities.
132.Made a drug that caused thousands of deformities and then was again involved years later in yet another disputed drug case in court.
133.Hid behind court secrecy proceedings in defending itself against hundreds of lawsuits brought by patients and thus avoided the disclosure of several important documents sought by the congressional investigative committee.
134.Sells to other countries a drug taken off the US market because of concerns about the drug’s adverse effects.
135.Knew of many deaths among overseas users of one of its drugs before the FDA approved the drug for domestic sale.
136.The industry blocked state legislation designed to lower drug prices for state residents w/o insurance coverage.
137.Cut off supplies to Canada licensed pharmacies that continue to sell its lower-priced medicines to Americans.
138.Falsified production records to meet federal standards.
139.Kept a book entitled “Off-the-Record Production” in which unauthorized production changes and manufacturing short-cuts were secretly recorded.
140.Abandoned its headquarters in a town after getting big tax breaks and forcing people to move out of their homes so it could locate on their land.
Big pharma has over 600 lobbyists in the nation’s capital and outspends all other industries in lobbying politicians. As a result of its lobbying, the industry succeeded in:
141.Defeating mandatory discount pricing.
142.Protecting drug patents in trade agreements.
143.Preventing medicare price negotiations with companies.
144.Prohibiting government listing of preferred drugs.
145.Delaying availability of generic pediatric drugs.
146.Speeding up government drug safety reviews.
147.Defeating bill to make generic drugs more accessible.
148.Making it harder for government to issue warning letters.
149.Easing restrictions on direct-to consumer advertising.
150.Easing licensing and continuous reviews of new sites for making drugs.
151.Getting government to drop price controls.
152.Being allowed to pay fee for faster reviews.
153.Making it easier for brand-name makers to sue generic makers.
154.Places through the revolving door key people in influential government positions.
155.Goes around DoD to Congress to sell an expensive airplane DoD didn’t want anymore.
156.Lobbied to prevent foreign sale of the world’s most expensive weapon from being halted.
157.Pays picayune fines for defrauding the government.
158.Makes and sells weapons riddled with flaws and way above promised cost.
159.Named the “war profiteer of the month.”
160.Invested heavily in and profited immensely from adding spy contractor on its resume.
161.Gave a 10-year employee a layoff notice the very day the employee returned from bereavement leave following the death of the employee’s young son.
162.Provides technology to government for spying on anyone it wants to spy on.
163.Tells government what its annual war/security budget should be, what its war/security purchases should be, for what purposes, and how much they should cost, and what minimal legislation and oversight would be acceptable.
164.Strategically locating their facilities in their Congressional districts and States to ensure that contracts will be steered to them.
165.Give politicians junket trips and other goodies.
166.Exports for sale more weapons than any other country.
167.War industry’s investor relations people tell investors war is good for returns on their investing.
168.Gun industry executives say mass shootings are good for business.
169.The multi-billion dollar gun industry uses the NRA as their official pimp.
170.Bullies politicians into passing laws making it easier to sell more rifles and handguns.
171.Promotes gun sales by stoking fear and racism.
172.Links patriotism with gun ownership.
173.Got the U.S. Supreme Court to misinterpret the 2nd Amendment.
174.Slowly kills people from after effects of atomic testing and nuclear weapons development.
175.Makes and sells products that kill more Americans than auto deaths.
176.Makes and sells products deliberately intended to kill.
177.Makes products deliberately intended to spy.
Incidents from Some Other Industries
178.Controls supply and manipulates prices of critical resources.
179.Spilling countless barrels of oil offshore and onshore.
180.Despoiling mountain sides scraped clean to get coal.
181.Leaving elevated levels of arsenic and other heavy metals in groundwater near natural gas fracking sites.
182.Permanently contaminating aquifers.
183.Authorized an air raid during an anti guerilla operation at a village in South America where one of its pipelines is located, killing many civilians, including children.
184.Poorly designing and operating pipelines that burst and release contaminating spills.
185.Delays for years cleaning up after major spills.
186. Using super-hazardous, poisonous chemicals to extract oil.
187.Utility company cuts a secret quid quo pro deal with the government in exchange for price consessions.
188.Operated a nuclear power plant in violation of federal fire regulations and then lied about it to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
189.Used inadequate and falsified tests of the reliability of its nuclear power plant.
190.Hires a consulting company to teach nuclear power plant operators how to deceive the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
191.Knowingly sold transformers containtaining hazardous levels of PCBs, then acted as if they did no wrong when signing the consent decree.
192.Underground coal mine operators systematically cleaning dust samples before sending to federal safety inspectors.
193.An oil company executive personally ordered the rigging of gasoline pumps to shortchange customers.
194.Uses goon squads to intimidate, threaten, and harm striking miners protesting company policies and conditions.
195.Exaggerated the amountt and success of its environmental cleanup after one of its tankers spilled an unprecedented amount of oil.
196.Plant managers retaliated against a technician at a nuclear plant who had publically complained about safety by ordering him to do useless work in a room filled with toxic and radioactive materials.
197.Oil companies pressure dealers to keep long hours and push sales.
198.Oil companies raise prices in a time of pending war.
199.Energy company spins off an insurance company subsidiary, deliberately neglecting to tell buyers that there might be millions of dollars in suits for asbestos claims filed against the subsidiary.
200.Created and marketed fantasy financial products plummeting U.S. into 2nd greatest depression.
201.Planning on confiscating customer deposits.
202.Bank rolling the polluting coal industry.
203.Peddling falsified debt documents to collection firms.
204.Getting default payments by filing thousands of collection lawsuits against consumers expecting them not to contest the claims.
205.Selling unreliable credit card debts.
206.Succeeded in getting law separating depositing and investing banking overturned.
207.Big banks lobbying to end competitive credit unions.
208.Acquired risky loans to grow faster and increase executive compensation.
209.Preying on customers, hiding costs and penalties, downplaying the effects of variable rates, and pressing unaffordable loans for the purchase of fraudulently overvalued homes.
210.Publishes favorable but false stock ratings.
211.Helping corporations devise shelters letting them operate tax free while exaggerating profits.
212.Confuses policyholders about their benefits’ forms
213.Unduly denies insurance coverage.
214.Constantly raising deductibles while shrinking coverage.
215.Auto insurers coercing car repair shops to using cheap and sometimes dangerous parts.
216.Disputing in court and finally settling personal injury claims.
217.Overcharging policy holders.
218.Requiring in some areas, unlimited personal injury protection and no-fault coverage.
219.Hem hawing in honoring claims and short changing legitimate claims.
220.Using various tactics to reduce, avoid, or stall home insurance claims in an effort to boost their own earnings.
221.Home insurers routinely refusing to pay market prices for homes and replacement contents.
222.Changing isurrance policy coverages with no clear explanation.
223.Asking claims adjusters to lie to customers and to overestimate their losses and vastly overprice premiums.
224.Soaking credit card holders with excessive rates.
225.Mortgage brokers rewarded for putting borrowers into the costliest loans possible.
226.Falsifying home mortgage program to increase defaults and then “sending foreclosure notices, scheduling auction dates, and even selling consumers’ homes prematurely.
228.Launders drug money.
229.A few big corporations control the news media.
230.Hollywood submits its war glorifying movie scripts to the military for review and gets access to dazzling military equipment to use for props in profitable movies.
231.Telephone company removes pay phones from low-income districts to prevent people from using them as "offices" to receive incoming calls.
232.Prominent newspaper belatedly and half-heartedly acknowledges its mistake in rushing to judgment based on questionable sources to publish very derogatory info about a person.
233.Newspaper publishes ads designed to look like news.
234.Network shows commercials disguised as talk shows, panel discussions, self-improvement seminars, etc.
235.Pays sources for information.
236.Editor prods reporters to be news hounds who stretch limits to get a source, a document, a witness.
237.To scoop the competitors, a mass media organization goes forward with a story before they had all the facts.
238.Plays to the lowest common denominator of audience/readership with sensationalism, sex, and violence.
239.National TV network shows reenactment of a newsworthy event without telling viewers it wasn't live.
240. Knowingly misled the public on reasons for the Iraq war.
241,Builds cars “unsafe at any speed.” Does anything more need to be added?
242 A financially ailing airline routinely ignored vital repairs and maintenance to minimize downtime of planes and then falsified records to make it appear as if the work had been done.
243.Airline, knowing a flight departure will be delayed, boards passengers anyway to prevent them from seeking alternative flights.
244.Car maker stages a large truck being dropped from a crane onto a new model without telling viewers the car had been reinforced to withstand the impact.
245.A worker was crushed to death because an automaker was lax in ensuring safety measures in one of its plants.
246.Automaker set back the odometer settings and sold the cars as new to dealers.
247.Automaker knew millions of its transmissions were faulty.
248.Automaker knowingly allowed plant workers to be overexposed to deadly levels of lead and arsenic.
249.US tire manufacturer recalls its tires on foreign cars abroad after safety problems arise but delays a much more costly recall of domestic tires until after mounting fatalities cause publicity and outcries.
250.Automakers sometimes instruct their dealers to fix certain common defects free of charge or at reduced cost but only if auto owners demand that the repair be made under warranty.
251.Automaker goes to court to try and bar the use of cheaper copycat repair parts not made by the automaker.
252.It wasn’t until after pressure from federal and state authorities along with consumer advocate groups that an automaker recalled thousands of ambulances to correct mechanical defects that had resulted in some fires and injuries.
253.Ever since the early 20th century when auto and bus makers tore up the trolley tracks, the transportation industry has been hitting the public, especially the poor below their belt.
254.Imposing demanding and unrealistic schedules on truck drivers.
255.Skimping on truck fleet maintenance overhauls.
The End---Except for an Addendum
Incidents from many more industries could have been added to the 255, but it would have been more of the same generally, and there is more than enough evil to have read in one setting!
You will have noticed the incidents involving corporations where they mistreat their own people. I am reminded of Alice in the Dilbert comic strip bellowing “I am not a resource!” in reaction to the company’s “Human Resource Department.” Alice, be glad you don’t work for a real corporation!
And since corporations treat their own people so badly, it should come as no surprise how much they mistreat America and the world at large. The evil in the gazette is not evil in the abstract. It is evil that reaches out and afflicts you, me and particularly the powerless in so many different short-term and long-term ways through getting us killed, poisoned, injured, starved, homeless, unemployed, bankrupted, deceived, short changed, and ad infinitum. And it is not going to stop until---.