How Limited Liability makes for Vast Carelessness

Brain Dropping 162  —  Limited Liability. 
It is a fundamental principle of corporate law that a shareholder ordinarily is not liable for the acts of the corporation or its employees, officers and directors.”  This can also be termed “getting away with murder!”      “However, courts will hold shareholders liable for the acts of the corporation if wrongdoing is proved.  This is called “piercing the corporate veil.” If this sounds vague and difficult to nail down, you have it right.  Corporations hiding behind complex loop-holes can indeed, as with Union Carbide in Bhopal, India, get away with murder.  But as amoral as corporations are with their “fiduciary requirement” to maximize profits, the government has them beat by the sheer magnitude of the swath of destruction the U.S. has cut through the countries of the world.
       In “The Great Gatsby” F. Scot Fitzgerald has Nick Caraway say:  “They were careless people Tom and Daisy – They broke things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness and let other people clean up the mess they had made.”  Characterizing U.S. foreign policy as “vast carelessness” has the ring of  truth – but seriously understates our criminality.  We break nations and then retreat into our “vast carelessness” until public amnesia sets in – and then we go out and break some more.  Patriots call it “protecting our national interests!”  Others, who see clearly, call it “empire building” for the corporate profiteers.
       We broke Cuba and the Philippines in the Spanish American war, burning entire villages, taking no prisoners, slaughtering the civilian population.   The U.S. Marines broke Nicaragua and occupied it from 1912 to 1933 in the “Banana Wars,” to protect United Fruit and to eliminate the possibility of a rival to the Panama Canal. The U.S. Marine Commander at the time, Major General Smedley Butler said: “I helped in the raping of a half-a-dozen Central American Republics for the benefit of Wall Street!”  We broke Guatemala in 1930, installing the brutal dictatorship of General Jorge Ubico who, in gratitude, gave hundreds of thousands of acres to the United Fruit company.  In 1954, a popular uprising and democratic election brought President Jacobo Arbenz Gusman to power. The CIA planned and executed a coup d’etat and reinstalled a military dictatorship under Carlos Castillo Armas. 
        In 1964 we broke Brazil by backing a military coup against democratically elected, moderate-nationalist Joao Goulart who wanted to socialize the profits of big companies to help the poor.  The deadly military regime, bowing to the oligarchs and the U.S.A., lasted until 1985.  Next, in our overweening arrogance we broke Chile in 1973, when Henry Kissinger committed one of his many crimes by overseeing the murder and coup against democratically elected socialist Salvatore Allende, beginning the barbaric regime of General Augusto Pinochet , ass-kissing friend to American
business rapists – especially AT&T.  Is there no end to our murderous policies?  Not yet!  In 1979 the leftist Sandanistas of Nicaragua overthrew yet another American puppet, Anastaso Somoza, but rather than accept the will of the Nicaraguan people, Reagan’s Washington supported counterrevolutionary forces with money and arms, illegally paid for by supplying arms to Iran (counter to the Boland Amendment.)   In 1963 the U.S. sent 10 Special Forces personnel to El Salvador to help General Jose Alberto Medrano set up the first paramilitary “Death Squad.”  These squads went on a thirty year killing spree with the blessings of the U.S.A. which trained many of these torturers at the “School of the Americas” at Fort Benning, Georgia. We helped them murder Bishop Oscar Romero, a supporter of liberation theology, as he said mass.
        This is the dossier of a homicidal manic! And notice, I haven’t mentioned the mass slaughter and poisoning of the Vietnamese – thousands still dying today from UXO (unexploded ordinance) and the residual effects of Agent Orange, nor the “shock and awe” carnage in Afghanistan and Iraq.  We have not only broken these societies but have trampled them into the dust.  But our liability in these matters has seemed to escape us. Like corporations we offer mealy-mouthed justifications and little by way of reparations.  Among the developed world the U.S. is last in the percentage of GDP we give to foreign aid – half of one percent.  That’s right .5%!  That represents our “vast carelessness!”

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