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Unequal Protection: How Corporations Became "People" - And How You Can Fight Back Paperback – June 14, 2010

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Editorial Reviews


"Beneath the success and rise of American enterprise is an untold history that is antithetical to every value Americans hold dear. This is a seminal work, a godsend really, a clear message to every citizen about the need to reform our country, laws, and companies."--Paul Hawken, author of Natural Capitalism and The Ecology of Commerce

"Hartmann combines a remarkable piece of historical rersearch with a brilliant literary style to tell the grand story of corporate corruption and its consequences for society with the force and readability of a great novel. I intended to take a first quick glance and then couldn't put it down."--David C. Korten, author of When Corporations Rule the World

"Unequal Protection should be in the hands of every thinking American. If we do not awaken soon, democracy will be replaced by a new 'Third Reich' of corporate tyranny. To be aware of the danger is the responsibility of each of us. No one has told us the truth better than Thom Hartmann. Read it!"--Gerry Spence, author of Give Me Liberty

About the Author

National radio host THOM HARTMANN is the award-winning, best-selling author of fourteen books currently in print in more than a dozen languages on four continents. Hartmann is also an entrepreneur, an internationally known speaker on culture and communications, and an innovator in the fields of psychiatry, ecology, and economics. The former executive director of a residential treatment program for emotionally disturbed and abused children, he has helped set up hospitals, schools, famine relief programs, and communities for orphaned or blind children in India, Africa, Australia, South America, Europe, Israel, Russia, and the United States. Thom is the host of a wildly popular national radio program on the Dial-Global network, which is broadcast during radio prime time on stations from coast-to-coast and on satellite radio. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife, Louise.  You can find him on the Web at www.thomhartmann.com.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; 2nd edition (June 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1605095591
  • ISBN-13: 978-1605095592
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,438 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Thom Hartmann is the four-time Project Censored Award-winning, New York Times best-selling author of 23 books currently in print in over a dozen languages on five continents.
Hartmann is also an internationally known speaker on culture and communications, an author, and an innovator in the fields of psychiatry, ecology, and economics.
The co-founder (with his wife, Louise) and former Executive Director of The New England Salem Children's Village (1978) and The Hunter School (1997), he has led national innovations in the areas of residential treatment for abused children and private/public education for learning-disabled children.
He has helped set up hospitals, famine relief programs, schools, and refugee centers in India, Uganda, Australia, Colombia, Russia, and the United States through the German-based Salem International program. Formerly rostered with the State of Vermont as a psychotherapist, founder of The Michigan Healing Arts Center, and licensed as an NLP Trainer by Richard Bandler (who wrote the foreword to one of Thom's books), he was the originator of the revolutionary "Hunter/Farmer Hypothesis" to understand the psychiatric condition known as Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD).
A guest faculty member at Goddard College in Vermont, he also synthesized the "Younger/Older Culture model" for describing the underpinnings - and possible solutions - to the world's ecological and socio-political crises, suggesting that many of our problems are grounded in cultural "stories" which go back thousands of years.
Leonardo DiCaprio was inspired by Thom's book "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight" to make the movie "The 11th Hour" (in which Thom appears), and Warner Brothers is making a movie starring DiCaprio and Robert De Niro from the book Thom co-authored with Lamar Waldron, "Legacy of Secrecy."
Talkers Magazine named Thom Hartmann as the 8th most important talk show host in America in 2011, 2012, and 2013 (10th the two previous years), and for three of the past five years the #1 most important progressive host, in their "Heavy Hundred" ranking. His radio show is syndicated on for-profit radio stations nationwide by Dial-Global, on non-profit and community stations nationwide by Pacifica, across the entire North American continent on SiriusXM Satellite radio, on cable systems nationwide by Cable Radio Network (CRN), on its own YouTube channel, via Livestream on its own Livestream channel, via subscription podcasts, worldwide through the US Armed Forces Network, and through the Thom Hartmann App in the App Store. The radio show is also simulcast as TV in realtime into nearly 60 million US and Canadian homes by the Free Speech TV Network on Dish Network, DirectTV, and cable TV systems nationwide.
His evening TV program, The Big Picture, is wholly owned by his own production company, produced in the RT studios, and licensed to and carried by Free Speech TV in the US, and into over 600 million homes in 104 countries via broadcast and cable by the RT TV network, and distributed worldwide on the web on Hulu.
As an entrepreneur, he's founded several successful businesses which still are operating, and lived and worked with his wife, Louise, and their three (now adult) children on several continents.
He was born and grew up in Michigan, and retains strong ties to the Midwest, although he and Louise have lived in New Hampshire, Vermont, Georgia, Germany, and Oregon...and now live on a boat in Washington D.C. with their attack-cat, Higgins.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Mary Bell Lockhart on June 23, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Thom Hartmann has, once again, provided an informative, rational and readable view of our world, its problems and what to do about them. This time its an update of his previous work on the domination of large corporations by virtue of "corporate personhood." He steps through the principles of the founders of our nation and then through Supreme Court decisions, or lack thereof, bringing history alive by quotes, photos and anecdotes about the people involved and why they acted as they did. He factually documents the negative impact corporate personhood has had on real persons and the society in which we live. Readers should sit up and take notice, however, that Hartmann reveals herein that it is not just ordinary humans who now have unequal protection under the law. Small and local businesses too have been trampled under the feet of the "big boys" of the economy. Those who advocate free market capitalism and who endorse corporate personhood often claim the purpose of helping small businesses or strengthening local economies. Just the opposite is the actual impact of these economic policies, as he clearly and amply demonstrates. Finally, he pulls in the comments of modern-day capitalists who have learned that removing the standing of corporations as persons under the law will not destroy big business either. In fact, in the long-run, it will ensure broad-based growth of the economy, as the capitalism without regulation that results from corporate personhood is not sustainable.

This can be the reference book for a new movement, a truly "populist" movement to place "We, the People" back in charge. Let's go for it! Yes, we need to return to the principles upon which our country was founded. Corporations are NOT people!
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Elaine Cohen on November 1, 2010
Format: Paperback
In 2009, "the transnational pharmaceutical giant Pfizer pled guilty to multiple criminal felonies. It had been marketing drugs in a way that may well have led to the deaths of people ... [Pfizer] paid a $1.2 billion 'criminal' fine to the U.S. government ... as well as an additional $1 billion in civil penalties... None of its executives... saw even five minutes of the inside of a police station or jail cell ... in the autumn of 2004, Martha Stewart was convicted of lying to investigators about her sale of stock in another pharmaceutical company. Her crime cost nobody their life, but she famously was escorted off to a women's prison. Had she been a corporation instead of a human being, odds are there never would have been an investigation."

This punchy opening of this surreal book by Thom Hartmann gets you hooked from the very first line. It's true. What are corporations if not the actions of the people who work in and for them? If a corporation does wrong, simply writing a check to the government doesn't seem to cut it when the people responsible for the wrong-doing retain their jobs, pay-checks, privileges, and avoid punishment under the law. Hartmann explains, in great historical detail, how corporations became "persons" under US national law with rights equivalent to those of "natural persons" (you and me, flesh and blood, individuals); including the First Amendment right of all persons to free speech, the Fourth Amendment right to privacy, the Fifth Amendment protection against double jeopardy and self-incrimination and the Fourteenth Amendment right to non-discrimination.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Cwn_Annwn on July 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
The purpose of this book is to show how Corporations sneakily got themselves the same legal rights as human beings, how they use and abuse this to their advantage and the biggest "first step" to straighten this out is to deny the Corporats their right to personhood.

Most people do not know that Corporations have the right to lie and make false claims and are not criminally liable because since Corporations have legal personhood it is protected by their first amendment right to free speech. They also used fourth amendment rights to privacy to block health and safety inspections at their plants. These are just a few examples of how they have used the Bill of Rights in a very wormy treacherous way.

Overall Unequal Protection is very good left wing stuff but I have criticisms. For one he buys into a lot of the false mythology of the so called founding Fathers, the American revolution and the Boston tea party. He tries to frame the American revolution in a way that portrays it as the founding Fathers were anti-Capitalists battling the evil wicked East India Company. This is utterly laughable. While they may have had some admirable qualities overall the founding Fathers were rich Capitalist pig slave owning freemason scumbags whose main concern was money grubbing and stealing Indian land so they could turn it over and sell it to the white settlers. And lest I remind you of what they did once they got in power. Ever heard of the Whiskey Rebellion or Shays Rebellion? These are good examples of what happened to anybody outside the small circle of rich elites that tried to exercise any of that so called new found freedom that the founding fathers talked about.

Also Hartmann goes on about and praises Democracy a bit much for my taste.
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