Four examples of rich corporations playing the US government like a violin

Dell Computer's recent deal for new computer assembly plant in Winston-Salem, NC:

  1. Dell secretly negotiated of $200-250 million in NC state subsidies, presented by Gov. Mike Easley to the legislature for 1 day of debate – straight up or down vote, no amendments allowed.
  2. Dell played 3 localities against each other to win an extra $37.2 million from Forsyth County and Winston-Salem.
  3. The whole Dell plant only was worth $100-115 million.

[ Greg LeRoy: The Great American Jobs Scam Corporate Tax Dodging and the Myth of Job Creation, Berrett-Koehler 2005, ISBN=1576753158]

Sections 1714-1717 of the "Homeland Security Act" (signed by Pres. Bush on 25 Nov. 2002) forced any lawsuits about thimerosal into a special "vaccine court" as part of the VICP (Vaccine Injury Compensation Program), and to award extra legal protections to thimerosal manufacturers. Thimerosal is an organo-mercury compound produced by the Eli Lilly Company, consisting of about 50% mercury by weight, and used as a preservative in vaccines. In the VICP court all damages would be paid for by taxpayers out of a special fund, not by Eli Lilly. It has been speculated that thimerosal was responsible for a massive epidemic of "autism" among American infants. At present in the USA, somewhere between 1 in 150-to-500 children are autistic. If thimerosal is really the cause, then Lilly's liability would be over a hundred billion dollars.

It is not known who wrote these sections of the act; nobody admitted it, and everybody who voted for the bill claimed they were unaware of these provisions. These sections were then used by Lilly to get a large number of thimerosal lawsuits dismissed, before the resulting scandal caused them to be repealed. (What exactly was their relevance to "Homeland Security"?) However, similar measures were then re-introduced onto the Senate floor by GOP leader Bill Frist.

The 1953 coup which installed Shah Mohammed Pahlevi and overthrew the democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran, Dr. Mohammad Mossadeq. There followed 26 years of ultra-repressive and ultra-decadent rule by the deranged Pahlevi (who, for example, once spent a billion dollars on entertainment for a party) and his brutal Savak secret police, who were set up and trained by the CIA and Israel's Mossad. The Savak had authority to arrest, detain, and torture anybody they wanted for indefinite periods (thousands executed), and also were in charge of (massive) censorship and book-burning.

This coup was planned by the UK and US secret agencies (CIA and SIS) as ``operation AJAX'' and funded with about $10-20 million. The chief CIA agent in charge was Kermit Roosevelt, who was awarded the US's national security medal for his role. It was inspired by fears of Mossadeq's plans to nationalize the oil industry. Specifically, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) had total control of oil in southern Iran, under an agreement valid until 1993 under which it paid Iran rents and taxes. Although this money accounted for over half of Iran's budget, AIOC actually paid more in taxes to the British government than to the nation whose oil it extracted, and the AIOC earned 10 times what it paid Iran. Mossadeq nationalized AIOC on 2 May 1951, but AIOC refused to cooperate, organized a worldwide Iranian oil boycott, and lobbied the British government to declare war. Setting up the coup was the response, which (note) was kept secret from the UK and US publics, and from most or all of the US Congress, thus making it clear it was not a "democratic" decision by those nations.

There is some description of the coup in Prados & Yergin's books, but the clearest, most extensive, and most primary description was a secret history of the entire operation (written by one of the coup's chief planners at the CIA) which in 2000 fell into the hands of the New York Times and then was described in a long series of articles.

Extracted verbatim from an article by Michael Parenti in Z magazine:

Mind you, we did not choose this "car culture." Ecologically efficient and less costly mass transit systems and rail systems were deliberately bought out, privatized and torn up, beginning in the 1930s in campaigns waged across the country by the automotive, oil, and tire industries. These industries put "America on wheels," in order to maximize profits for themselves, and to hell with the environment.

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