Friday, November 23, 2007

The Business Of Politics

Some of the most egregious corporate mergers, those most damaging to consumers, were perpetrated under the Clinton Administration. NAFTA was a Clinton creation and has been the most successful unemployment act in America beside the Great Depression. I mention this not to attack Bill Clinton, but to demonstrate where Hilary’s campaign war chest comes from and the vested interests corporations have in her election to the presidency. As Bill famously pointed out, when you elect him you get Hilary as well, a two for one package. It would be difficult for anyone to deny her intimate involvement in her husband’s administration, especially since she is now campaigning on her experience gained form that period.

Of course, there are myriad examples of similar and even more flagrant acts of graft within the Republican Party. I am not defending that or attempting to mitigate Republican misconduct by comparing them to the Clintons. In fact it is the opposite that should be acknowledged, evident similarities that virtually eliminate perceived differences. This lack of distinction was perfectly articulated by John Edwards when he asked during the last debate “What is the difference of replacing a bunch of corporate Republicans with a bunch of corporate Democrats”.

Within that question is an elemental truth which most politicians avoid, evade, ignore or deny. That truth is the extent to which corporations are involved in our political system. To varying degrees we have all acknowledged at least the presence, if not the effect of corporations in politics. And that presence has different effects on each of us often depending on our personal circumstances, in particular our employment status and our dependence on corporations for our livelihoods. As it is true for each of us it is also true for those campaigning for the highest elected office in the nation. For Presidential candidates, who by the very act of running for the office demonstrate advanced levels of personal motivation, competitiveness and self importance, the dependency is on the advantage of an influential corporate sponsorship. It is this dependency at all levels that makes it difficult to achieve a consensus among the electorate to act against corporate monopolization of the political process and its pro-business / anti-consumer impact upon government.

Our elected officials have demonstrated an unwillingness to relinquish the corporate teat they have suckled at for so long and corporations are going to ever greater lengths to ensure their continued dependency. So how, you ask, can we correct a problem that has so infiltrated all levels of government and has so much money and influence behind it? The answer is as simple as accomplishing it will be difficult. The answer is that we, you and I, are the government. Corporations have not corrupted the government, they have corrupted the people we entrusted to run it. To rectify this we must elect new people to replace the corrupt leaders. This is the primary weapon at our disposal but, it is a powerful one because we are the only ones that can elect a person to office. Corporations have no vote and therefore can not elect anyone.

To engage in this type of struggle we must demand honest representation by the people we elect and establish our determination by getting rid of them if they fail us. We have not shown our mettle when it comes to this in the past and because of that many elected officials blatantly represent their own interests over ours. Unless and until we demonstrate our resolve by throwing them out of office for such transgressions, they will continue to smugly do as they please while offering mere lip service to our concerns.

A contemporary example is the actions of the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. She is attempting to defeat the ability of the American citizenry to expel elected officials which enables us to influence government and have a voice in how the business of government is conducted. It is the very fundamentals of Democracy that empowers individual citizens to act in the best interest of our nation when those within the government do not. Nonetheless, it is this Constitutional principal that has been denied to all Americans by Nancy Pelosi’s selfish determination to shield the Bush administration from any repercussions for their corrupt governance. She has steadfastly opposed any suggestion from members of her Party to hold Bush and Cheney accountable for their transgressions.

Accordingly, she should be vilified for attempting to deny our rights. We should work to remove her from office in the most expedient fashion, first as Speaker, then from the House of Representatives entirely. She should be the object of our scorn and revulsion, the recipient of our most loathsome commentary, the icon of our collective distrust, and the effigy of our disrespect.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Pelosi and Congress - One Year On

Over a year has past since Americans went to the polls to unseat Republicans and replace them with Democrats who had promised to change things in Washington, D.C. In that year’s time, the electorate that gave Congress the mandate it needed to take action against the Bush administration has seen absolutely nothing accomplished. In fact, Republican initiatives have moved forward at a greater pace than when they were in the majority.

If this seems implausible just recall that the person elected to the position of Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi stated absolutely that impeachment was off the table as part of the Democratic agenda. We should have realized at that time that the newly elected Democratic majority had no intention whatever of interfering with the Republicans.

The stated reasons for not pursuing impeachment all have to do with focusing on correcting Bush administration issues such as the war in Iraq, the economy, illegal wire tapping, etc. none of which have been corrected by Congress.

One must ask, what are the accomplishments of the 110th Congress?

Have they stopped or even slowed the deaths of American soldiers and Iraqi innocents?
Have they attempted to restore our suspended democracy by closing Gitmo & CIA prisons?
Have they revoked the USA Patriot Act?
Have they restored the Writ of Habeas Corpus?
Have they held to account those who revealed the identity a covert CIA agent?
Have they prevented the corruption of government by blocking detrimental nominations?
Have they provided universal healthcare for all citizens like all other major countries have?
Have they halted the illegal No-Bid contracts to profiteers in Iraq?
Have they de-funded the war?
Have they stood strong against the administration’s rush to war with Iran?
Have they mandated stipulations for the money they approved for Iraq?
Have they forced the administration to follow the law?
Have they even addressed Bush’s illegal “signing statements”?
Have they prevented Bush from further destabilizing the Dollar?
Have they improved the world’s confidence in the US economy?
Have they brought the price of oil back to a reasonable and affordable level?
Have they done anything to benefit anyone except the corporations that fund their campaigns?
Have they disciplined or in any way held accountable those Democrats who continually enable the Bush administration as Feinstein and Schumer did by voting for Mukasey and the Dirty Dozen Democrats that voted to UNCONSTITUTIONALLY suspend Habeas Corpus?

Now we learn that Scott McClellan, former Bush Press Secretary, is releasing a book in which he confirms what we have all known since the beginning. He reveals that Bush, Cheney, Libby, Card and Rove all knew about the outing of CIA operative Vallerie Plame Wilson and, in fact were involved in it. McClellan claims not to have known that he was lying for these individuals and thus was innocent of any wrong-doing himself. However, his accusations put the very top tier people of our government on the wrong side of the law.

The disclosure of this information compels Congress, as the primary mission of their sworn Constitutional obligations, to hold accountable anyone found to have had involvement in this act of treason. In doing so, it conflicts directly with Speaker Pelosi’s determination to shield the Bush administration through her commitment to keep impeachment “off the table”.

I have been critical of Pelosi in the past while allowing that her actions were most likely to avoid the appearance of mounting a coup against the President and Vice President. Such an act could result in her ascendance to the Oval office and would certainly be seen by Republicans as an illegal end run around the Constitution.

McClellan’s accusations force the impeachment issue back onto the table regardless of any previous commitments. His tell-all tome alone is not the silver bullet that will bring down this administration. We have had a number of those, but no bullet, silver or otherwise, can have any effect if no one has the balls to pull the trigger! And that sums up the problem we see in Congress today.

It would be unfortunate for the nation and especially for the women of the nation if our first female Speaker of the House is seen as a failure. Her incompetence would make it harder for women to advance to and above her level in the future because the opposition will surely target her ineffectiveness and complacency as inherent female attributes to be avoided and she herself as a cause celebre of failure. However, it would be even more devastating if her lack of accomplishment is the result of complicity. As much as you may hope this isn’t the case it must be considered because of the self-serving defections from the Party Platform by the likes of Diane Feinstein, whose Defense Contractor husband profits by her anti-democratic votes in the Senate, Joseph Lieberman, a wholly owned subsidiary of AIPAC, Chuck Schumer, administrative enabler and face time whore for Fox News, and other Blue Dog Democrats who are nothing less than Republican plants within the Democratic Party.

Both of these scenarios can be put to rest through positive action and patriotic mettle on the part of the Speaker and Congressional Democrats. Neither has been in evidence since the 06 elections and many are beginning to believe this group of Democrats is not capable of either. For Pelosi to salvage any credibility and prevent here tenure as Speaker from symbolizing the greatest Republican accomplishment of our generation she has to get serious about doing her job. That job is her sworn protection of the Constitution of this country. She needs to recognize and acknowledge the plethora of crimes committed over the past 7 years, then take appropriate actions to stop them and deal with the criminals.