On Not | Mo Chit

May 14, 2004

Double Standard
corporate_flag.jpg United Corporations of America. Sounds kind of funny, doesn't it? Let's just say that in many ways the laws of the land treat corporations as first class citizens, and it's actual citizens like the drooling consumers we've become.

Take some New York Times headlines that have been in the news in the past week:

Pfizer to Pay $420 Million in Illegal Marketing Case
U.S. Discloses Wal-Mart Fine of $3.1 Million [ Clean Air Act violations ]
Record Labels Must Pay Shortchanged Performers

I guess all these companies / organizations have learned their lesson, right? Sure they have. The crime fits the punishment.

Then there's Martha Stewart who was convicted for 4 felonies.There's possible jail time, and unless all the counts are over turned, Martha won't be voting in the next presidential election. Justice is served.

So let me gets this right. Martha is unable to vote in the next election because she sold 200,000 shares illegally netting her practically nothing in comparison to her real wealth. On the other hand, Pfizer, who defrauded Americans and the Medicaid program of billions of dollars, is fined $420 million dollars, a tiny fraction of their yearly revenues of 49 billion, and no jail time (of course, they're a company). Pfizer can still lobby to their heart's content.

Can we really believe what Pfizer has to say about cheaper drugs coming from Canada, eh?

How about the two DMCA amendments before Congress trying to wrestle back some of the fundamental rights U.S. citizens ought to have for content they've rightfully purchased? The RIAA is still allowed to lobby politicians despite not paying the artists they're claiming to represent? I'm sure they have our best interest at heart now, like the time they price fixed CD sales in the late 90s.

To be honest, I hate lobbying. It's a sickening practice that misinforms people in power for the gain of a few. I'm sure there are others who would disagree, but I can hardly see the case for letting corporations lobby that are known to be headed by executives that wantonly break laws.

My suggestion for leveling the playing field is to introduce "free lobbying zones." We can put them right next to the free speech zones.

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