Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What everybody should know:

Because of corporatocray policies and actions . ..
• More than half the world's population survives on less than $2 a day—about the same real income as they had thirty years ago.
• More than two billion people lack access to basic amenities, including electricity, clean water, sanitation, land titles, phones, police, and fire protection.
• There is a 55-60 percent failure rate for all World Banksponsored projects (according to a study by the Joint Economic Committee of U.S. Congress).
• The cost of servicing Third World debt is greater than all Third World spending on health or education and nearly two times the amount those countries receive each year in foreign aid.
Despite current lip service to forgiving it, Third World debt grows every year, currently approaching $3 trillion. The record is not encouraging. During the 1996 round of "debt forgiveness," the G7 countries, IMF, and World Bank announced a cancellation of up to 80 percent in HIPC (Heavily Indebted Poor Countries) debt, but between 1996 and 1999 the overall amount of debt-servicing payments from HIPC actually increased by 25 percent, from $88.6 trillion to $114.4 trillion.
• A trade surplus of $1 billion for developing countries in the 1970s turned into an $11 billion deficit at the beginning of the new millennium and continues to grow.
• Ownership of Third World wealth is more concentrated than it was before the 1970s era of massive infrastructure development and the 1990s privatization wave. In many countries, the top 1 percent of households now accounts for more than 90 percent of all private wealth.

• Transnational corporations have taken control over much of the production and commerce in developing countries. For example 40 percent of the world's coffee is traded by just four companies while thirty supermarket chains account for almost one-third of worldwide grocery sales. A handful of oil and other resource-extractive companies control not only the markets but also the governments of countries that possess the resources.
• Corporate greed was highlighted when ExxonMobil announced another record-breaking profit, $10.4 billion, in the second quarter of 2006—the second biggest profit ever reported by a U.S. company, surpassed only by Exxon's $10.7 billion in the fourth quarter of 2005; both were years when rising oil prices caused intense suffering among the world's poor. Oil companies are highly subsidized through tax breaks, trade agreements, and international environmental and labor laws that favor them.
• The overall share of federal taxes paid by U.S. corporations is now less than 10 percent, down from 21 percent in 2001, and more than 50 percent during World War II. One-third of America's largest and most profitable corporations paid zero taxes in at least one of the first three years in the new millennium. In 2002 U.S. corporations booked $149 billion in tax-haven countries such as Ireland, Bermuda, Luxembourg, and Singapore.
• Of the one hundred largest economies in the world, fifty-one are corporations. Of these, forty-seven are U.S.-based.
• At least thirty-four thousand children under five years old die every day from hunger or preventable diseases.
• The United States and many of the countries Washington touts as democracies exhibit the following undemocratic characteristics: the media is manipulated by huge corporations and the government; politicians are beholden to wealthy campaign contributors; and policies made "behind closed doors" ensure that voters are not informed about key issues.
• When the international treaty to ban land mines was passed by the U.N. in 1997 by a vote of 142-0, the United States abstained;
the United States refused to ratify the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, the International Biological Weapons Convention, the Kyoto Protocol, and an International Criminal Court.
• Global military spending reached a new record high of $1.1 trillion in 2006, with the United States accounting for nearly half of that (averaging $1,600 for every U.S. man, woman, and child).
• The United States was ranked #53 on the World Press Freedom list in 2006 (compared to #17 in 2002) and has been severely criticized by Reporters Without Borders and other NGOs for jailing and intimidating journalists.

• The U.S. national debt (amount of money owed by the U.S. federal government to creditors who hold U.S. debt instruments) is the largest in the world.
A large percentage of this debt is held by the central banks of Japan and China and by members of the EU, rendering us extremely vulnerable to them.
• U.S. external debt (total public and private debt owed to nonresidents repayable in foreign currency, goods, or services) is also the largest in the world. (It is noteworthy that Washington uses the National and External Debts of other countries as weapons, forcing their governments to comply with corporatocracy demands or face bankruptcy, economic sanctions, and severe IMF-imposed "conditionalities"; yet the United States is the largest debtor nation in the world.)
At the heart of every one of the inequities are corporations.
By changing them we will change the world.
No longer will we accept imperialistic capitalism, where a very few rich men make all the decisions and most of the money and do so largely in secret. We will demand that they abide by those principles we hold to be self-evident, as stated in our most sacred documents, principles of justice, equality, compassion, and governance with an eye toward providing peace and stability for future generations.

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