Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Corporate Killing - Murder or Sacrifice?

The Christian Taliban in America longs for an official theocracy, based on fundamentalist Christianity, complete with stonings for adulterers and heretics. More inclusive theocrats talk of our "Judeo-Christian heritage". They are partially stymied by the Constitution, that "god damn piece of paper", but not much, since their followers are largely illiterate, reading only the Bible.

Actually, the American religion is not monotheistic. We, like the ancient Greeks and Mayans, worship many gods. What's more, we eagerly sacrifice children to them. Not in open volcanoes. That's barbaric. With lead and mercury, cluster bombs and land mines, sulfur dioxide, herbicides and pesticides, and plain old crushing of small bodies with automobiles.

I went to an EPA meeting to oppose Peabody Coal from opening a new coal fired power plant in Illinois. A health official from Maine was there to plead for the children of Maine, downwind from the proposed plant. I stood up and talked about watching children gasping for breath from the horrible disease of asthma. The assembled unemployed coal miners listened impassively. It was pretty clear that the children of Maine didn't stand a chance next to their own children's need for an income. They were to be sacrificed to the great god Peabody, who wanted to open the plant without pollution decreasers, since pollution decreasers are also profit decreasers.

Americans worship the corporate gods, for we believe that they bring money and goods. We don't sacrifice for rain or good harvests. We sacrifice for "jobs". Wave a corporate promise of opening a factory or big box store in front of city leaders and watch the offerings begin. Tax breaks, free land, citizen monies for utilities and roads leading to said holy sites.

How do a people become so brainwashed? We used to understand that all value came from labor working on the fruits of the earth. We used to understand that the capitalists siphoned wealth from labor, and that there was a class struggle to stop them from taking too much. Now we believe that they provide jobs and we give them communal riches in order that they will allow some money to trickle down upon a few.

It is very clear in the US that killing for money is sanctified. Occasionally you see a headline "Man killed for $3.00". This is understood to be not enough money for murder. It is never stated how much is enough, however. Clearly, the profits of Union Carbide were worth more than the approximately (because not important enough to count) 10,000 Indian lives at Bhopal.

Killing 10,000 Indians or 1,000,000 Iraqis is not even called "murder". So what do you call it? I call it corporate sacrifice.

In 1982, (2 years before Bhopal), seven Americans were killed by a horrible fiend who poisoned some bottles of Tylenol. He was villified in a media firestorm. What kind of horrible less than human would deliberately kill random people? This was incomprehensible! To put out a product that would kill certain people unlucky enough buy it was evil beyond belief.

The same year, it was proposed that there be a warning label on aspirin warning parents that giving children aspirin for fever could lead to Reyes Syndrome. The drug companies were incensed. This could lead to a fall in profits. The Reagan administration put a stop on the proposal.

It is estimated that 1,470 children died in the four years between 1982 and 1986, when the warning label finally was placed on the bottles.

Were those children murdered or sacrificed? If the seven Tylenol victims were murdered, why weren't the one thousand, four hundred and seventy aspirin victims?

My Dad bought a Pinto in the 70s. He drove it for years. No one ever rearended him and he is still alive. He didn't buy any Tylenol either. But the man who poisoned the Tylenol and killed seven people is still considered a monster, while the man who commissioned the Pinto and decided that it was cheaper to pay for the dead victims than to fix the gas tanks is lionized as an American hero. Yes, Lee Iococca, President of Ford Motor Company, who chose to kill hundreds of people for profit, is a hero. Even more ironically, he's a hero because he managed to get the US government to bail out Chrysler! Yes, Americans not only sacrificed tax money to the corporate gods for jobs, they deify the head priest who obtained the blood money!

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