Business Uses Government, the Pols Use the Bosses
Standing Up for Privilege
Large corporate interests use the power of government to subvert the legal system. In the world of economics, it’s called rent seeking. What's it called when Big Government uses Big Business? This 2013 excerpt is from the (Alabama) Legal Examiner, June 11.
by attorney Clay RossiWhile we are growing in awareness of corporate abuse of the levers of government, there is also the other side of the equation –- government (mis)use of corporate resources and partnerships. For instance, it has recently been reported that the Government Accountability Office cannot say exactly what 108,000 contractors are doing in Afghanistan. While the majority of American military serving in Afghanistan are slated to come home -– the taxpayer-funded, seemingly under-monitored, private army will remain. Whatever those contractors left behind will be doing, they will be de facto representing America in the eyes of the Afghan people, for better or worse.
The trend we are talking about also has its fingerprints on the breaking illegal wiretapping news. The Prism scandal seemingly has a connection to corporations acting as state proxies to skirt the Fourth Amendment. As an attorney, it is immensely troubling to realize that electronic communications with your client have likely been intercepted and stored somewhere. Unlike the popular mantra of those who care little about privacy rights -– “Let them look at my stuff, I’ve got nothing to hide” –- attorney/client communications may very well be hiding something and the violation of that privilege is unacceptable under any conditions. If the Pentagon cannot keep track of exactly what its 108,000 private contractors are doing on the ground in Afghanistan, can anyone truly give assurances that the privileged attorney/client communications in the millions of electronic communications that have been intercepted by either government or corporate entities are not subject to abuse and misuse? I don't think anyone can.
Demanding protection for the pillars of our legal system, concepts like due process and attorney/client privilege, is not a partisan issue and we should refrain from falling for any rhetoric that frames it as such. The profession needs to stand opposed to any and all forces which work to undermine the rule of law.
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JJS: People in power, whether in government or in business, do it all for money. To see how much the corporate insiders give to politicians, check out the group Open Secrets . But how much do politicians give back to donors? Each weapons company contributes millions but the US military budget is in the hundreds of billions. Who’s getting the lion’s share of that? It’s not individual soldiers but contractors. What would be great would be a website that combines both bodies of data, to close the circle.
War suppliers contribute millions but much less than do other big sectors, such FIRE (Finance, Insurance, & Real Estate); war suppliers can save money on donations since they have the fear factor working for them. What will it take for Americans to get over their fear? To not be so easily manipulated by warmongers? Americans are not citizens so much as they are merely taxpayers; they’re treated as dimwitted serfs and have learned to behave as such, even giving credence to canards heard in Rush Limbaugh’s rantings and ravings.
But what if taxes were abolished? And citizens paid dues instead, and only in a quid pro quo fashion for the part of the common good that they take? Would people feel more self-esteem and worthy of justice, unwilling to let others jerk them around? Too many need to get a life; would a Citizens Dividend give it to them? Would they be able to accept reality as it really is and face any threats rationally? Living in a secure and prosperous society, would they indulge their curiosity and travel more and learn how other peoples truly feel and behave? Economic justice might not bring about absolute peace but it might eliminate superfluous wars.
Editor Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics and helped prepare a course for the UN on geonomics. To take the “Land Rights” course, click here .
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