The Thursday after Maui Four became known nationwide as the
day when four hundred thousand Americans announced their
incorporation at Bill Gates Sr.'s jamborees. People from all walks of life flocked to parks and stadiums across the country sporting their
corporate charters around their necks, and wearing caps and T-shirts
printed with the slogan "People Are Corporations Too." To roars of approval, accompanied by the famous Roman Army drumbeats -- boom!
boom! boom-boom-boom-boom! -- speakers extolled one
privilege and immunity after another that now accrued to these converts
to corporate status. "People are fed up being people," declared
leading corporate analyst Robert Weissman, at the Pittsburgh jamboree.
"They desire upward mobility and power, the power to evade,
escape, disappear, reappear, to be in many places at once, to deduct
their entertainment and lobbying expenditures and delight in the
loopholes and amenities of the tax code and the corporate bankruptcy
laws." Charles Cray, a speaker at the Las Vegas event,
particularized the benefits unique to Nevada-chartered versus
Delaware-chartered corporations. Delicious buffets half a football
field long provided free food under banners that read, "Corporations
Are Eaters Too."
For the reporters in attendance, the whole scene was so far outside
their normal frame of reference that they ran around with their
cameras, mikes, and pens as if lost in a labyrinth. "Is this some kind
of gag? April Fool's Day has come and gone, you know," said one of them to a woman in a nurse's uniform at the Birmingham jamboree.
"I'll thank you to show some respect when addressing
Birmingham Can, Unlimited," replied Jane Harper tartly. "You manufacture
cans?" asked the bewildered reporter. "I manufacture
can-do's," said Jane. Eventually, toward the end of the daylong
the press began to absorb the message. If the double
standard in American law favored corporations over people, then
why not have the people become corporations? This wasn't a giant
gag, it was a giant demonstration of seriousness about a fundamental
On Friday, Bill
Gates made it a double whammy with a press conference announcing the candidacies of five corporations for five
state governorships. The corporations all met state requirements for
elective office. They would be running under new names that signified
the principal issue for each campaign, and that had been duly
filed with the relevant secretaries of state: the Clean Up the Corrupt
Texas Legislature Corporation, the Dethrone Corporate Welfare
Kings Corporation, the Outsource CEOs Corporation, the Living
Wage Corporation, and the Stamp Out Corporate Crime Corporation.
Volunteer petitioners, identified by colorful headbands reading
"Corporations Are People Too," were already on the streets collecting
qualified signatures and were meeting with an enthusiastic
response. The first wave of political advertisements for each corporation
candidate would roll out over the weekend. When Bill Gates
was finished with the formal announcements, the press corps was
treated to a hilarious skit depicting the five corporations on the
stump and in debates with perplexed opponents.
Meanwhile, the right-wing media was tying itself into knots. Even
Bush Bimbaugh, the hitherto undisputed king of talk radio, couldn't
seem to make his hysterical rants stick anymore. His dittoheads just
weren't calling in like they used to, jamming the switchboard and
drowning out the voices of the treasonous libs. He was so down he
started taking uppers again. The Bimbaugh star was being eclipsed,
and he knew it. The more he attacked, the more strident and repetitive he became. Finally he decided that there was only one thing to
do: beard the lion in his den. Courage wasn't his strong suit -- he
was big on soliloquies and screened callers -- but he knew an
approaching freight train when he saw one. Well, okay, so he'd give
one of the SROs thirty minutes. The only one he could barely
stomach was Ted Turner. Bush popped another pill, placed the call,
and extended the invitation. Ted accepted with ill-concealed relish.
On the appointed day, Ted showed up a few minutes early at
Bush's elaborate studio. Bush greeted him cordially, although Ted
couldn't help noticing his sweaty handshake. They went into the
sound booth and began.
"Good day, red-blooded Americans, you're listening to the Truth,
and if you abide by it you will be enlightened to the shining heavens.
My special guest is Ted Turner, of cable TV, Atlanta Braves, and
notoriety -- hey, look it up, unilinguals. Welcome, Ted, to a
Bimbaugh first -- a one-on-one with one of you billionaire subverters
"Well, Bush, that's a nice, impartial, lying piece of cowshit. You
know, I've always wanted to be on your show so I could ask you how
it feels to be a corporate welfare king, you bulbous freeloader, you!
Folks, he's using your property -- the public airwaves -- free of charge to make his twenty million bucks a year."
Bush went ballistic. Reflexively he pushed the Silent button on
his aggressive guest so he couldn't be interrupted as he delivered
his stinging rebuttal.
"Why, you slimy cur, you wife-swapper, you ... you ... you
sucker for the feminazis, the commies, the queers, and the left-wing
wackos! How do you feel having your brain so far up your anal
Ted grabbed his mike to reply, discovered it was dead, and did
what came naturally. He jumped up, grabbed Bush's wheeled chair,
spun him into the far corner, and took over his mike, which was
very much alive.
"Hey, dittoheads. Bush Bimbaugh is getting rich off you by shilling
for the big business tycoons and peddling all kinds of bigotry. Have
you ever heard him take on a big company? Have you ever heard him
go after big oil, big drug, big auto, big insurance, big bank? Of course
not. They own him because they sponsor him. He's a coward, can't
take any criticism, though he sure dishes it out. But what do you
expect from a draft dodger who thinks it's great to send other people's
sons and daughters to fabricated wars? What do you expect from a
sponger who insists that five-fifteen an hour is plenty as a minimum
wage while he's pulling down a hundred grand a day, or thirty-three
thousand three hundred and thirty-three bucks an hour, for slinging
his manure? Want more? Just log onto RedirectAmerica.org."
By now, Bush had recovered and was about to assault Ted from
behind when he spotted a producer frantically holding up a sign
behind the glass partition: "Don't, he'll sue you! Tort!" Bush froze,
seething with rage, and swiped his finger across his throat to signal
the producer, who pulled the plug just as Ted was saying, "Take it
from a recovered redneck -- " The telephone lines were lit up like
Times Square on New Year's Eve.
"Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us," by