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The Root of All Evil

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Message Stephen Pizzo
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Each passing day I wonder more and more, when will enough be enough? I wonder what it will take before we realize that we are no longer in control of events, even as a growing list of events spiral out of control all around us.

When I ask when we've "had enough," I'm talking about the role of money -- big money -- in politics, in governance, in trade and foreign and monetary policy. Big Money drives all -- ALL -- big decisions. And with Big Money come Big Mistakes and even bigger disasters. Look no further than the Gulf of Mexico to find the most recent.

Big Money from Big Oil gave us that one. And no, it's not the fault of the Republicans... alone. Shake almost any Congressional paw and you'll have to run to the nearest restroom to wash up. The Reflecting Pool on the Capitol Green might as well be filled with Sweet Light Crude. And the slick reaches the White House itself:

Obama biggest recipient of BP cash
While the BP oil geyser pumps millions of gallons of petroleum into the Gulf of Mexico, President Barack Obama and members of Congress may have to answer for the millions in campaign contributions they've taken from the oil and gas giant over the years.During his time in the Senate and while running for president, Obama received a total of $77,051 from the oil giant and is the top recipient of BP PAC and individual money over the past 20 years, according to financial disclosure records.

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All that slippery money buys more than just access. It like making a pact with Satan, you have to give them not just your vote, but your very soul. How else to explain this:

Several BP executives have given directly to (Democrat) Mary Landrieu's campaign, including current and previous U.S. operation Presidents Lamar McKay and Robert Malone. Other donors include Margaret Hudson, BP's America vice president, and Benjamin Cannon, federal affairs director for the U.S. branch. Donations ranged from $1,000 to $2,300 during the past campaign cycle. Environmentalists complain that Landrieu has played down the impact of oil spills.

"I mean, just the gallons are so minuscule compared to the benefits of U.S. strength and security, the benefits of job creation and energy security," Landrieu said at a hearing last month on offshore drilling. "So while there are risks associated with everything, I think you understand that they are quite, quite minimal."

Maybe Ms. Landrieu needs to be dumped 10 miles offshore and made to swim back through all that muck, pushing dead sea turtles and struggling sea birds out of her way. Then ask her if it still "quit minimal."

But oil slicks are just the most visible product of Big Money in politics.

  • Big Wall Street Money gave us the most recent financial meltdown.
  • Big Bank Money gave us the current banking./credit/housing crisis
  • Big Corporate Money gave us globalization, offshoring of jobs, and double-digit unemployment
  • Big Industry Money subverts the wills of entire nations, particularly our own, to address global climate change
  • Big Insurance Money continues to subvert any genuine attempts at providing universal health care
  • And now Big Nuclear is pumping its Big Money to Washington for you-know-what.

Of course, I'm a broken record on this issue. Way the hell back in January 1994 I started harping on this theme. (See HERE) And it certainly is no "I told you so." Instead it's more along the lines of my opening question; What's it gonna take before we've had enough? How bad does it has to get before we start judging policies and legislation, not by what politicians and corporate press releases claim, but just who is paying, how much they're paying, and who they're paying it to.

I mean, it's so freakin simple it's almost embarrassing to have to write it down like this. It's not exactly as though we don't have a well-established pattern here, a formula for more of the same:

Big Money+Big Legislation+Campaign Finance = Big Disasters (squared)

So, forget your voter handbooks, stop listening to politcal ads on TV and stop listening to the candidates. Simply ask them one question: "SHOW ME THE MONEY."

Then follow that money, honey. That's -- sadly -- all you need to know about politics in the 21st Century. Follow the money and you're likelihood of being misled again will drop like -- well like the US housing market and your 401k.

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Stephen Pizzo has been published everywhere from The New York Times to Mother Jones magazine. His book, Inside Job: The Looting of America's Savings and Loans, was nominated for a Pulitzer.

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