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Unequal Protection: How Corporations Became People -- And How You Can Fight Backby Thom Hartmann
Synopses & Reviews
NEW EDITION, REVISED AND UPDATED
Unequal taxes, unequal accountability for crime, unequal influence, unequal control of the media, unequal access to natural resources--corporations have gained these privileges and more by exploiting their legal status as persons. How did something so illogical and unjust become the law of the land?
Americans have been struggling with the role of corporations since before the birth of the republic. As Thom Hartmann shows, the Boston Tea Party was actually a protest against the British East India Company--the first modern corporation. Unequal Protection tells the astonishing story of how, after decades of sensible limits on corporate power, an offhand, off-the-record comment by a Supreme Court justice led to the Fourteenth Amendment--originally passed to grant basic rights to freed slaves--becoming the justification for granting corporations the same rights as human beings. And Hartmann proposes specific legal remedies that will finally put an end to the bizarre farce of corporate personhood.
This new edition has been thoroughly updated and features Hartmann's analysis of two recent Supreme Court cases, including Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which tossed out corporate campaign finance limits.
Book News Annotation:
Hartmann, a progressive talk radio host and author, outlines the destructive results of Supreme Court decisions that give corporations protections normally afforded to people, creating problems with unequal taxes, accountability for crime, political influence, control of the media, and access to natural resources. He goes back through history from the Boston Tea Party, the creation of the Fourteenth Amendment, and the early role of corporations in the US to contemporary decisions, to show how corporations have become like individuals, and proposes legal remedies that can end this problem. This edition has been updated and expanded to include an analysis of two recent cases, including Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which tossed out corporate campaign finance limits. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Hartmann tells a startling story of the rise of corporate dominance and the theft of human rights as corporations use the Fourteenth Amendment to further their own agendas.
NEW EDITION, REVISED AND UPDATED
The new edition of Unequal Protection details the deeply destructive results of the recent Supreme Court decision. Corporations now enjoy extraordinary privileges that make them virtually independent kingdoms. This new feudalism is not what our founders intended. Hartmann proposes specific legal remedies that could truly save the world from political, economic, and ecological disaster. It’s time for “we, the people” to take back our lives.
Unequal taxes, unequal accountability for crime, unequal influence, unequal control of the media, unequal access to natural resources—corporations have gained these privileges and more by exploiting their legal status as persons and by winning special protections that enable them to avoid the responsibilities that come with these rights. How did something so illogical and unjust become the law of the land? Is there a way for American citizens to recover democracy of, by, and for the people? Thom Hartmann takes on these difficult questions and tells a startling story that will forever change your understanding of American history.
Americans have been struggling with the role of corporations since before the birth of the republic. Hartmann uncovers evidence that the Boston Tea Party was actually a protest against actions of the East India Company—the world’s first modern corporation—making it the great-great-granddaddy of today’s World Trade Organization protests. But eventually the corporations won. Hartmann tells the astonishing story of how an offhand comment by a Supreme Court justice led to the Fourteenth Amendment—originally passed to grant basic rights to freed slaves—becoming the justification for changing the status of corporations from “artificial persons” with limited rights to persons entitled to the same rights granted to human beings.
Was the Boston Tea Party the first WTO-style protest against transnational corporations? Did Supreme Court sell out America's citizens in the nineteenth century, with consequences lasting to this day? Is there a way for American citizens to recover democracy of, by, and for the people?
Thom Hartmann takes on these most difficult questions and tells a startling story that will forever change your understanding of American history. Amongst a deep historical context, Hartmann the describes the history of the Fourteenth Amendment--created at the end of the Civil War to grant basic rights to freed slaves--and how it has been used by lawyers representing corporate interests to extend additional rights to businesses far more frequently than to freed slaves. Prior to 1886, corporations were referred to in U.S. law as "artificial persons." But in 1886, after a series of cases brought by lawyers representing the expanding railroad interests, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations were "persons" and entitled to the same rights granted to people under the Bill of Rights. Since this ruling, America has lost the legal structures that allowed for people to control corporate behavior.
About the Author
National radio host THOM HARTMANN is the award-winning, best-selling author of fourteen books currently in print in more than a dozen languages on four continents. Hartmann is also an entrepreneur, an internationally known speaker on culture and communications, and an innovator in the fields of psychiatry, ecology, and economics. The former executive director of a residential treatment program for emotionally disturbed and abused children, he has helped set up hospitals, schools, famine relief programs, and communities for orphaned or blind children in India, Africa, Australia, South America, Europe, Israel, Russia, and the United States. Thom is the host of a wildly popular national radio program on the Dial-Global network, which is broadcast during radio prime time on stations from coast-to-coast and on satellite radio. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife, Louise. You can find him on the Web at www.thomhartmann.com.
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