As the ugly consequences of government complicity in corporate greed continues to pour into the Gulf of Mexico, the big moneyed interests are falling back on their standard operating procedure of pouring money into the pockets of legislators to cover their asses.
Politico is reporting that May was the busiest donation month for Halliburton’s PAC since September 2008 as they made contributions to 13 Republicans and 1 Democrat – 7 of whom are on committees investigating the oil spill and its aftermath.
This increase in contributions illustrates the tragic fact that our government mainly operates in the interest of transnational corporations whose only allegiance is to profit – not to country or community. For example, Exxon Mobile was the most profitable company on Earth in 2009, yet paid absolutely no federal taxes. If one of “the little people” tries the same, the IRS will be unleashed to thump them unmercifully. This is not mere happenstance – it is by design.
As David Cay Johnston noted in his book,
In 1999, for the first time, the poor were more likely than the rich to have their tax returns audited. The overall rate for people making less than $25,000 a year was 1.36%, compared with 1.15% of returns by those making $100,000 or more…Over the previous 11 years audit rates for the poor had increased by a third, while falling 90 percent for the top tier of Americans.
As inherently selfish “takers”, getting away with paying zero taxes is a badge of honor for Republicans. With the help of Corporate America’s protection racket media outlets, “average” Republicans have been successfully propagandized to believe that the rich grace us with the crumbs that fall from their tables when the tax burden falls on the shoulders of the middle class.
Of course, both history and reality contradict this. We need only look back to the administration of that Socialist Dwight D. Eisenhower – when the top marginal tax rate was 91% – to know that the America Dream was alive and well when capitalism was regulated and the rich paid for their share of the commons.
History and reality has also shown us that the inevitable result of top marginal tax rates falling below 50% is the ever-widening gap between rich and poor. Tragically, shifting the bulk of the tax burden to the breaking back of the middle class only serves to make the United States the least upwardly mobile country in the industrialized world. The extra income the rich get from their special tax cuts does not translate into “jobs” as Republican dogma has convinced teabaggers is does. Rather, the money gets put into hedge funds, the markets and real estate – entrenching the wealthy in the cat-bird seat of power and further weakening the near-extinct middle class.
We can expect nothing less, though, from our three branches of government that supposedly represents the interests of the “common people” but consists of 45% millionaires.
Which brings us back to the oil geyser spewing into the Gulf.
The rich and their transnational corporations pay less or no taxes and use their windfall profits to corrupt our government in their favor.
These are the so-called “dots” our political leaders are constantly chastising themselves for failing to connect.
It is an open secret in among the circles of the ruling elite that America is no-longer a Constitutionally-limited Democratic Republic, but is now a Plutocracy – an economic system where the privileged few make sure the rich get richer with the help of a bought-and-paid-for government in their pocket. This is the true goal of the Republican Party and the inevitable outcome of the Republican war on the middle class – a form of Neo-Feudalism where the “right” people make all the decisions and everyone knows their “place.”
Money in politics ensures corruption – and this entire disaster can be traced back to the lack of real leadership the American People have suffered under since these economic royalists colonized our government.
The right-wing activist Supreme Court’s recent ruling that Corporations are “people” – sociopathic, ubiquitous and immortal “people” – who can now pour unlimited amounts money towards advancing their agenda- no matter how corruptive or corrosive it may be – will only serve to make matters worse.
The influence of the wealthy and their transnational corporations is the only reason we are actually still under the thumb of “dirty energy.”
If we had real leadership actually concerned with the welfare of the people as well as our national and economic security, we would have begun our withdrawal from oil when Jimmy Carter proposed it over 30-years ago.
Unfortunately for the Gulf Coast, our government has been caught in the grips of the “Reagan Revolution” and this disaster is the inevitable consequence of re-branding “greed” as the highest American virtue.
The few times we have actually had leadership in America which sought to balance the scales for the “common” people over the elite, we have been met by all the propaganda that money can buy about favorite Republican mantras of “small government,” “lower taxes” and “less spending.”
Of course, the Republican to Reality translation is this:
“Smaller Government” means the people get to be ridden to the bank by their “betters” without pesky government regulating their rapacious greed and inhumane destruction…
“Lower Taxes” means the rich pay a pittance while the Plebs get further squeezed into submission.
“Less Spending” means Repugs dismantle and privatize our hard-won social safety net so that we are further indebted to our sovereign lord masters and the crumbs that they let fall from their tables – lest we get too “uppity!”
Socialism works great for the rich when the taxpayers pick up the tab for their dangerous disregard of other humans/animals/environment… etc… etc… etc… in their addictive drive for big CEO bonuses.
Privatize the profits and socialize their losses while they disappear behind the walls of their gated communities as we clean up their mess.
Right on cue, Repugs become born-again Socialists when they THEMSELVES are in need of assistance. Much like militia freak Mike Vanderbeough, who’s Social Security Disability gives him the freedom to incite violence against “Socialism”, Bobby Jindal is the current convert crying for “big-government” after basing his entire career on enabling unfettered Capitalism.
Jindal wrote to President Obama asking him to lift the 6-month moratorium on offshore drilling – for the sake of “jobs.” As expected, Republicans mask their motivations as being for the sake of the proverbial “little guy”… yes… the same “little guy” that their policies consistently crush.
In the reality-based community, we are painfully aware that corporate operatives in government knowingly implemented policies that have destroy the American labor and manufacturing base simply because it it cheaper for them not to have to provide safe and humane working conditions and pay a living wage.
If Jindal and his Republican co-conspirators were really concerned about “jobs”, they would support tax policies and government regulation that would keep Americans from having to compete with Chinese slave labor to make ends meet. Instead of actually having a positive vision for America that propels us as a society towards life-sustaining green energy solutions, Republicans exclusively support the interests of transnational corporations over the very livelihood and environment of the American laborer.
Let’s not forget that this particular disaster in the Gulf can be traced directly back to the Dick Cheney’s secret energy task force that decided the United States would not require oil rigs to have a remote-control shut-off switch used in other major oil-producing nations as last-resort protection against underwater spills – to cut corners in the name of profit as usual.
In typical corporate bastard mode, BP has released a 50 million dollar apology ad campaign as they nickel and dime the people whose livelihood they’ve destroyed and the families of the workers who they killed with their hubris and corner-cutting greed. BP is also getting set to release a 10 Billion dollar shareholder payout.
From the beginning of the disaster, BP has been in full-spin mode; more concerned about limiting their liability than actually doing what’s right. We can expect more of the same – more lying, more prevaricating, and general bullshitting as they have hired Dick Cheney’s Press Secretary, Anne Womack-Kolton to be their new press spokesperson. The woman who sat at Cheney’s lying right hand made her bones in Republican circles defending Cheney’s secret energy task force which included secret meetings with several BP representatives, including a private meeting between the Dark Lord Cheney himself and BP CEO John Browne.
This marriage between transnational corporations and government has been a familiar struggle for Americans. On the heels of the first Republican Great Depression, FDR put it bluntly in his 1939 Campaign Address at Madison Square Garden, “They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.”
As Jindal pleads for MORE OF THE SAME failed energy policies, the real beneficiary of Jindal’s appeal continue to be his true masters in the oil industry.
They are already working overtime to ensure our collective amnesia kicks in and we continue with this dead-end energy policy rather than learn the lessons from the disaster, and do what is right for the future of American security and the environment which sustains us all – so they can continue destroy the Earth unfettered by the pesky government.
Jindal is a true corporate lackey – begging the President to continue to allow drilling when the companies STILL don’t know how to clean up the catastrophic messes they make regardless of the depths at which they are approved to drill.
Even when the consequences of corporate hubris stare them in the face, “Drill, Baby Drill” continues to be their refrain. This is the way of Republicans. Too arrogant, ignorant and greedy to know when a moment demands them to change.
By the time these Republican anchors on progress let go of a bad idea, it has claw marks on it.
We must not allow the big-moneyed interests controlling our government to continue leading us blindly down a dead-end. Public campaign financing is a must as well as the abolition of corporate personhood. We cannot let this moment slip by without learning the lessons from this catastrophe. We must evolve in spite of Republican opposition – again.
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