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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 10/14/12

A Vulture Capitalist for a Vulture Culture

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Delusional Romney belief systems -- whether more trickle-down folly, indefensible tax cuts, or "God's on our side" exceptionalism -- serve as cover for an ever nastier, reactionary vulture culture. Under-regulated vulture capitalism preys on government regulation and legislation, environmental wellbeing (decimating forests, ocean life, coastal waters, and strip mining sites), low-wage workers here or overseas -- plus badgering phantom "socialists" who challenge spoiled-brat banksters, Koch Bros., or the Rove brigade. That overfed horde sustains the extremist GOP vulture culture, at war with women, fair taxation, democratic elections that count minorities, gay rights, basic science, and healthy food -- in a word, rationality.

In these terms, Romney's braggadocio about his Bain pillaging speaks to the prevalent bullying that informs the Bush-Obama era. The "unseen drone" is more than a missile but a metaphor for widespread predation, decimating innocent civilians along with shadowy combatants. Big business has betrayed any high-sounding boast as "agent of progress" -- when innovative, new products served the entire community -- instead, favoring old-time regression that freely exploits people, places and resources.

By calculation -- with obfuscation and influence peddling -- the most powerful corporate chiefs are by default our national "resource planners." Today's Citizens United leverage assures reactionary vetoes against even deliberation of systemic advances. All politicians sell change, but hote neither Obama, nor Romney offer serious plans for jobs, energy, transportation, education, and tragically not climate change. Gridlock and cultural-symbolic clashes serve the status quo, along with both national tickets.

And yet contradictions surface: a majority may still endorse fuzzy Yankee exceptionalism yet realizes that chronic ineptitude (or worse) marks top leaders as rather unexceptional failures. 77% surveyed by the Harvard Center for Public Leadership (CPL) agree "the country now has a crisis in leadership," with confidence at the lowest recorded levels. Nevertheless, in defiance of logic, that same number fantasizes our biggest problems only need "effective leadership," as if entrenched systems don't rule the roost.

So let's ask: does Romney, riding a snippet of debate chicanery, really offer "effective leadership" to befuddled undecideds, per his surge? Is this gelatinous gasbag, stamped by his own party a "vulture capitalist," an adult answer to an ongoing leadership crisis? And does this crisis not extend well beyond business to other realms, namely pedophile-shielding church hierarchies, silenced religious figures, sports executives, or media frauds, among others?  

Exquisitely Anti-majority

So, with disregard for campaign logic, let alone majority interests, Romney-Ryan defiantly pitch lower taxes for corporation and billionaires, less regulation (on top of already shredded rules), far less reliable health care coverage, less funding for infrastructure, education and unwanted pregnancies, plus more surges of Bush-Cheney military belligerence? What gives -- and how can this jaw-dropping agenda, were it fully exposed, capture that undecided sliver of voters?  

What's astonishes me is how dramatically Romney's pro-business creed is blind to our decade-long parade of corporate meltdowns, from BP and mining disasters to the ongoing Japanese nuclear disaster. Does the vast majority view big energy, big pharma, or big ag and big mining interests, let alone nefarious Wall Street bankers, as "effective," fair-minded or law-abiding partners managing to a better tomorrow?   

Bad CEOs have made power a dirty word, and the CPL survey above identifies the least trusted group in America, below even abysmal Congress: the noxious conglomerate called "Wall Street." And this week the beat goes on, "Wells Fargo sued by feds for reckless lending practices."  

The CEO as Menace

Look at the body blows delivered since 2000 to the prestige of the overpaid CEO establishment. Set aside jailed schemers, like Madoff or Abramoff, even doltish has-beens like GE's Jack Walsh spouting this week's craziest conspiracy. Count the unindicted CEOs, like Tony Hayward of BP, or the mining bosses getting only wrist slaps, despite negligence that killed dozens. Or the mind-boggling Rupert Murdoch News Corp. saga, where stupidity, unrestrained gall, and lawbreaking spanned years and continents.  

Yet the most conspicuous blows are the media mug shots of craven Wall Street banksters who facilitated the Great Recession and destroyed middle-class assets by the trillions. The full publicity awarded this CEO gang explain their depleted standing and make their names commonplace: Lloyd Blankfein, Jamie Dimond, John Thain and Vikram Pandit, plus enablers like Tim Geithner. Do you believe Blankfein once defended his "virtuous cycle" of investment cronyism as "God's work"?

Not only are many scurrilous CEOs still in power, outrage continues over astronomic executive salaries: what once averaged 50 times the typical worker can now exceed 500 times that base. Though American labor gets outsourced as "too expensive," limitless funds protect fantastic compensation packages, especially when top dogs mimic Mitt's vulture talents -- shredding jobs, pensions, and companies.

Banksters survived by bawling, "we're too big to fail," but there was no public illusion about gross negligence, if not criminality, thus inciting both Occupy and Tea Party alike. What undermines this vulture culture are huge Wall Street bonuses given free market hypocrites who socialized losses while privatizing profits.

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For a decade, Robert S. Becker's rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, messaging and frameworks, now featured author at OpEdNews, Nation of Change and RSN. He appears regularly at Dissident Voice, with credits (more...)

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