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Corporations, Corprocrats, and Saving our Democracy from Those That Would Take it From Us

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Let me try to apologize to some of the people that I have inadvertently "besmirched" so to speak in the last few days. I also want to explain where it is that I am "coming from" to use an old 60's term. The past few days I have found myself in the position of completely understanding something, and trying to deliver that message to other people, and having that message misunderstood, or attacked. Wesley Clark told me in Coral Gables last year (actually it wasn't just me, there were about 20 people there), that most people's first response to a political statement is always a defensive response. I guess I had to learn that first hand for myself this weekend. I want to share with all of the people who come upon this article, exactly what I know about politics and where we are today, and how I know it. This has taken me years of research, conversation, speculation and eventually... understanding. What I want to explain is how we have gotten ourselves and our nation into the fix we are in, but also I also want to suggest ways that we can remedy the situation. Referring back to what Wesley Clark told me, try not to take a defensive posture while reading this. You have the perfect right to agree or disagree. I just happen to know I'm right and I can prove it. Other people also know I am right, but they are so entrenched in the current political situation, it would be political suicide to agree with me, or to tell you themselves.

The usual way that most people come to a decision about who they support, or which party they support or whether to remain independent, is through the media. The Republicans are fond of saying that the media is liberally biased. That is not true. It depends what media you are talking about. FOX TV is defiantly not liberally biased, The Washington Times newspaper and many other radio stations, newspapers and TV outlets are also very conservatively biased. Same as on the liberal side. Like I said, it all depends on whom you are referring to. One thing that I can say, without a doubt, except for public TV and Radio and publications that do not accept ads, they are all corporately biased. So are most of your politicians. There is a difference between Capitalism and Corporatism. This statement is so hard to explain with an article.

Let's take Hugo Chavez for an example. Right away he conjures up an emotion in people. Most Americans don't like him. I myself did not care for him when he said that we had imperialistically grabbed Puerto Rico. I even wrote an article explaining that they had a referendum on independence, statehood or to remain as a territory. I had a big blow out with the Vets against the Iraq War (VAIW) because I wrote an article on Liberalpro that was titled "Throw Mama from the Train" after Cindy Sheehan went to Venezuela and took a picture with Hugo's arm around her. I compared her to Jane Fonda. My views have changed.

Hugo Chavez is no threat to the United States of America. He is however, a very real threat to the people that lost millions when he nationalized CITGO and started putting the money from the sale of Venezuelan oil out of the pockets of the oil baron's and into the Venezuelan treasury. That certainly got the corporate people here in the US plenty angry. Comprende? So what happened to Hugo? Next thing you know, he is getting some very bad press in the US and then faces a coup (backed by guess who) and is thrown out of office by the "anti-Communists" or "anti-socialists". Actually, it was people financed by the Corporacracy. These are the same people that make sure that Chavez gets all the bad press that they can dish out. It's hardly mentioned that ordinary people rose up and overturned the coup and then he was reelected in a democratic election that was supervised by the UN and Former President Jimmy Carter, where he got 70% of the vote. The fact is that more people came out to vote percentage-wise than people here do in the US. You can also read how "Former Senator" Rick Santorum charged that he has purchased all of these MIGS from the Russians. He conveniently failed to mention that the f-16's he had bought from the US for big bucks were crashing and killing pilots because the US would not sell him spare parts for the planes. He fails to mention that we put a weapons embargo against his country and actually forced him to buy from other countries. He also didn't mention that his country was experiencing numerous incursions by rebel Colombian groups that are armed and financed by the US. Are you getting the picture? We only get half the story from our media. This guy has done more for the poor people in his country than almost any other leader that they have ever had. Not only that, he has also sold heating oil to the northeast US at almost wholesale prices to show the American people that he has no animosity towards the people of the US. This all happens to be true. The reason I mention this is because it is a great example of Corporatism. So why did Chavez call Bush a devil at the UN? Probably because we have been trying for years to make him look like the devil in front of the world. What is his crime? Trying to keep the money from his country's main resource in his people's pockets.

How is Corporatism affecting us here in the US? There is not a simple answer to this question. This is how it affects every one of us. First off, they control politics. People can't afford to enter the political arena anymore without a large infusion of cash money. Just to get through the primaries for Congress can take millions. Who can come up with that kind of money unless they can come up with corporate sponsors? It takes less money to sponsor a driver in NASCAR than it does to finance a congressman. So whom do you think we have running? Maybe in a district in the back hills of Kentucky or West Virginia you can get elected with some good speeches and a political "presence", but in most places, if you don't have a million bucks in your pocket, you aren't going anywhere, brother. Don't count on the DNC or RNC to give you that money either. You have to have their nomination for that. So where do you go? To the corporate sponsors. By the time you have gone through the exploratory committees, then the party primary, and then the actual political race, with all that it entails, you have probably spent a few million dollars. Then you get your $165,200.00 seat.

So what do they want for supporting you? Now remember, most large corporations today are 'Trans-national Corporations". They have no allegiance to a particular country. What they want from you are tax breaks, incentives for moving jobs to your state, legislation so that they can keep their money in the Cayman Islands for tax purposes. Relaxation's on environmental rules for companies that pollute the groundwater, or the air, or pour mercury in the air, that eventually goes into the sea. Some like the AMA are against (except for a few medical people with morals) national healthcare, as are the insurance companies, and the medical supply companies and some malpractice lawyers along with private hospitals. Some companies want to privatize prisons; others want to privatize law enforcement. They already have privatized a large majority of the Army. Finance clerks, supply sergeants, custodial staff and messhalls are run by civilians. Think we are saving money by paying people to do what soldiers used to do? I don't think so.

There are other ways politicians can pay them back for the campaigns they paid for. They can let them outsource jobs with treaties like NAFTA and all those other treaties that eliminate borders. These treaties looked good on paper, but they haven't exactly worked out in our country's best interests. The politicians can pay huge subsidies to oil companies (for what, I don't know, but they pay them). These politicians can pay huge agricultural conglomerates for not growing things. The Corprocrats pay companies like Bechtel hundreds of millions of our tax dollars for work in Iraq that was never completed. Besides paying for their campaigns, these corporations will pay for country club memberships, junkets, boats, cars, and give them jobs in the event they get thrown out of office. Keep an eye on Rick Santorum. I'll bet you within months he's working for the association for a better environment or some crazy group like that. Just like Mike Campbell here in South Carolina. Mike ran for Lt. Governor but got beaten in the primaries. A week later he got a job with some institute that was really a GOP front for the privatization of social security.

There is a difference between a capitalist and a corprocrat. A capitalist will compete on a level playing field and try to win with better ideas. They come up with new innovations first, hiring people that can think on their feet and that know how to get things done, offering a better product for less, or doing things like advertising creatively or giving a better guarantee. A capitalist takes pride in his product or service and believes that the better product or service, the better profits and business will be. A capitalist adds to the community that the product or service provided is located.

A corprocrat will try to win by getting laws and regulations changed in his favor, by reducing pay and benefits to employees, by negotiating for tax breaks, by trying to get government subsidies, by dealing in unfair business practices and paying bureaucrats to look the other way. A corprocrat will move his company to where he can get the cheapest labor and the lowest tax burden, regardless of his workforce. A corprocrat knows that workers are just workers, they add nothing to the bottom line, and they just decrease the size of the bottom line. A coprocrat makes his product as cheaply as possible, or provides the minimum service. They do things well enough to avoid a lawsuit or a refund. A corprocrat has no country, no loyalties except to the shareholder, and even those loyalties can be suspect at times.

Corprocrats have been running this nation's government for decades. We have seen the outsourcing of jobs, the consolidation of wealth. We have seen so many mergers and acquisitions that it is almost impossible to know who owns what, unless you are keeping the books. You might think that eating an organic granola bar is benefiting not only your body but the organic community until you find out that the brand you thought was a small noble corporation is actually made by Coca-Cola or Kellogg's or Con-Agra. In the world of today, the same companies that produce organic food, could also be among the largest polluters on the planet. You may refuse to buy from one brand and boycott that brand and buy from another, only to find that the same business groups own both brands.

It's the same with political parties. We have seen a switch from the Republican majority to the Democratic majority. They fail to mention that the same companies and corporations and associations fund the campaigns of both parties. This corporacracy doesn't put all it's eggs in one basket. The winners of today could be the losers of tomorrow. So when you celebrate the victory of the Democrats over the Republicans, know that the same people are funding both parties. There still is a difference even today. The oil companies and the lawyers and medical people support the Republicans over the Democrats. The Unions and the Teachers still support the Democrats. The difference however, is getting smaller for each passing year. We the people are still not the ones that decide who it is that runs for political office. That is still done by the mighty corporacracy. Still, every journey, no matter how long or how hard, starts with the first step. We Americans must together take that first step and take back our government from the people who regard our Democracy as just another avenue towards greater profits. It still begins with us. It also could end with us. This noble experiment that officially started in Philadelphia on July 4th, 1776 is on the ropes. Every day that passes we find that citizen's control less and less of our own government, while corporations control more of it. My one overriding concern is that I won't live as a citizen of the United States of America; but as an employee or pensioner of the United States, Inc. The shame of it will be that the people who control our nation, will be executives of trans-national corporations that might not be citizens of this country, or for that matter, even live here. We have a chance to change this, and it's not complicated. All we have to do is demand that elections are not financed through corporations or special interests. That will in itself, level the playing field.

People will tell you that it can't be done. They will tell you that you can't stop the flow of corporate and special interest money to political parties and candidates. That is a lie perpetrated by people that want to keep the status quo. Don't believe it, it can be done. Those people that say it can't be done are suspect. We as a nation can do anything if we want to bad enough. We can beat two massive world powers on two fronts (WWII). Send people to the moon, cure TB and polio unlock the human genome. We can even defeat terrorism instead of just trying to make money on it. There is not much that American's can't do if they have the will. This Thanksgiving, give thanks that we still have time to reclaim our birthright from those that would take it from us.
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Tim Gatto is Ret. US Army and has been writing against the Duopoly for the last decade. He has two books on Amazon, Kimchee Days or Stoned Colds Warriors and Complicity to Contempt.

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