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Representation by the Lobbyists, For the Lobbyists - the People be Damned

By       Message Douglas C. Smyth     Permalink
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"Democracy" by lobbyists and for lobbyists, that's what we have in America, despite electing a popular President by a near landslide.

The President takes admirable positions, but Obama doesn't fight hard enough when Congress writes a bill, ostensibly carrying out his policies, but actually compromising away the store.

That's what Congress is beginning to look like. Americans generally support Obama's ideas, and not those of his opponents, but his opponents--big oil, say, or big Pharma--have incredible resources: money, and the mass media, which they pay for and control.

Let's not pretend. A skillful President, like Obama, may agree with, or be able to persuade a good part of the American people (like the 72-76% supporting a public option for health care). But he might not be able to persuade the major funders of Congressional campaigns: corporations and interest groups protecting their privileges: it's their livelihoods. Major donors funding Congressional campaigns come from interest groups especially pertinent to the Congressperson's expertise, or are major employers in his/her district. Both Democrats and Republicans think they are in office to help local businesses, or unions, that create or maintain jobs, which translates into votes--and into more campaign funds.

I was shocked to learn that my Congressman, who just won a special election, had received almost as much campaign money as the heaviest fundraiser in the state: Senator Schumer. Gillibrand, formerly the heaviest fundraiser, had only slightly more than Murphy--but now she's a Senator. Most New York Congresspeople had campaign funds of between $50,000 and $150,000. Congressman Murphy had $2,153,940 and $200,000 of it was self-financed! No wonder he won (though by only 400+ votes) even in a still-Republican district, against a well-known Republican Assemblyman (who didn't live in the district--he had a second home there).

This money probably comes from the financial industry, perhaps even from bonuses paid for by the Bush and Obama bailouts. Our district is second home to many of the recipients.

So, we have a global warming bill coming out of the House, which, as I predicted on 6/18 on my blog gives away the store: promotes coal, takes away EPA enforcement power, gives away most pollution credits....

The public option in health care may be compromised away for a weak cooperative system, despite overwhelming public support for the former...
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This is happening because special interests have a lot of money, and multitudes of lobbyists on the ground. What does the public have? Emails. Phone calls. Letters.  Demos?

What's most telling is that special interests are zealous in pursuit of their interest: for most, it's their livelihood. The public is not zealous.

So, we may have health care "reform" that is no reform, and climate change "reform" that insures our global doom. The climate change "reform" bill passed by the House is far too little and far too generous to coal and nuclear interests, while setting reductions in CO2 emissions that are risible, a thumb in the nose to the rest of the world, and even takes away the EPA's powers, just affirmed by the Supreme Court, to police CO2 emissions. This means that despite Obama's commitment to seriously reduce US emissions, it won't happen--unless there is rioting in the streets. And that means other major polluters like China and India won't do anything, either, and the global environment is going to go into a tailspin.

We'll at least have water, here, in the northeast. Apparently, too much of it, but extremes will become the norm. Billions could die of thirst, others swept away in floods.

And you won't even have a public health care system to take care of you!
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Ain't politics just great? Just don't call it Democracy. It's plutocracy, verging on corporatism (a polite word for Fascism).

Democracy won't be possible until money is removed from elections, through public campaign financing reform and rationed free media access to candidates. But that can't happen with the present Supreme Court, and won't happen unless people mobilize against corruption in politics. Yes, folks, that's what it is: our political system is so hopelessly corrupt this is (almost) all legal.

 

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http://www.douglascsmyth-author.com

I am a writer and retired college teacher. I taught college courses in Economics and Political Science (I've a Ph.D) and I've written as a free-lancer for various publications.


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