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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 6/18/10

When Congress Becomes a Subsidiary of Corporations, Democracy and the Free Market are Dead and Buried

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Message Mark Karlin
From BuzzFlash

There is no doubt that the biggest political disappointment this year for BuzzFlash is how a candidate who promised "change" from the corporatist stranglehold over D.C. turned into a President who believes that corporate rule is beneficial to America, even as he presides over the destruction that such corrupt corporate control of our Capitol leaves in its wake.

Reagan, the two Bushes and Cheney may have planted the booby traps that blew up our nation's economy, destroyed its environment and mired us in war, but Obama continually looks to those global corporations and financial firms who have caused our catastrophic problems to resolve them.

The late David Halberstram wrote about how the "best and the brightest" (Ivy League grads, primarily, but toss in the University of Chicago and Stanford types too) were the ones who steered us into the Vietnam War without an exit plan. Obama appears to believe in the elitist notion that if you are at the head of an immense enterprise, it is because of merit.

But the modern global corporation and financial firms are built on a core of corruption, of buying off D.C. so that there are no legal rules to inhibit their pillaging and gambling -- and to ensure that Congress and D.C. cover their backside with public funds when they screw up.

The $20 billion escrow fund BP is setting up was reportedly, as is often the case in the Obama Administration as it was in the Bush Administration where corporations write up their own punishments, designed by BP and sounds much harsher than it is. Besides, $20 billion is chump change to BP, the largest corporation in Britain. As with Exxon/Mobil and Valdez and Chevron and Ecuador, it will be decades before there will be a significant payout and even then $20 billion won't begin to cover the environmental damage, lost wages, and expenses associated with the clean up.

Also, just below the radar, it was reported yesterday that Valerie Jarrett is representing the White House in trying to prevent any legislation that would allow shareholders in a company to limit executive compensation. Yes, you read that right. Obama can have his speech writers play to the vast majority of Americans by denouncing "cozy" relationships with corporations, but his White House is nice and cozy, steady as it goes, with those same companies destroying our national economy and natural resources. How else do you explain Obama's Coast Guard point man in the Gulf praising Tony Hayward for weeks and having regular meals with him as if he were on the BP payroll?

Obama has a history of making occasional "tough" statements toward Wall Street and the global corporations who control our government with Big Money, but he acts as if it's all with a wink and a nod. These CEOs are his golfing buddies and the people he meets with for advice. When did you hear of Obama regularly meeting with environmentalists, big labor, or consumer advocates? Obama's become an upholder of the status quo, a believer that if a man or woman head a company, they have risen on merit, even if they've ridden a tidal wave of corruption to the top.

It's perplexing that a man who promised so much "change" is delivering so much more of the same "Masters of the Universe" deference as our very economy and body politic are chewed up and spit out by corporate pirates.

We have no free market anymore; the dice are loaded and the game is rigged.

President Obama isn't changing that. He's just making some cosmetic alterations and giving the predatory profiteers more running room.

Instead of giving them the boot and charging them with crimes, he's given them the keys to the country -- and the right to worsen the damage that they have already wreaked upon us.

The current corporate oligarchy is radically destructive. It must be stopped by a citizen's movement that moves from our keyboards to the streets.

The return to our revolutionary roots of a people's democracy that triumphs over corrupt institutions begins -- as it did at Lexington and Concord -- with us. No violence is needed or wanted; just the power of the people, by the people and for the people.

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Mark Karlin is founder, editor and publisher of BuzzFlash.com, a website providing headlines, news and commentary to over five million people a month. He is a gun control activist with a focus on Illinois.
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