How Is All That In The Interest Of Taxpayers
Sudhama Ranganathan, 03.12.2012
Our democracy here in my country, America, has brought many positive things. It has brought positive things for Americans and for people living abroad. It has inspired others to try and have a more equal and free system of government in their own nations. It has inspired the best and the brightest from other nations to come to our nation seeking a better life for themselves, thus contributing something to their lives and to our nation. Positive things no doubt.
Unfortunately, we have come to see a dark side to our democracy where private wealthy interests have been trying to snatch that freedom and leave in its place a plastic replica of what the founding fathers intended. That replica is the same in outward appearance only. It has all the stars and stripes painted on the surface, and evokes the same emotions upon first glance, but look a little deeper and you find the intended core is to be emptied of all substance. The spirit of the constitution was meant to create a nation where people were equals and to improve upon and advance that spirit as our nation grew.
Unfortunately, there is a very small minority of people, less than 1% of us, desiring to change the direction of our nation, and steer a large part of the efforts undertaken by our government towards a destination exclusively benefiting them. It goes against the very spirit of the constitution and everything our founding fathers intended for our nation to be. The original founders wanted a nation that was a breed apart from nations where the many lived their lives to enrich and keep in power a very small few.
Slowly over the years we have seen the very wealthy attempt to steer the workings of our government to serve their desires and needs with regards to making them more wealthy and powerful. They bore themselves into the two party system so effectively that their lobbyists actually write laws elected officials barely glance at before sending onto the process of making them law. This is because these wealthy interests, relatively small in number when compared to the size of the rest of the taxpayers in this nation, are allowed to dominate the political dialogue in this nation by donating huge amounts of cash to political campaigns.
They have convinced whole swaths of Americans laws slanted in their favor are for the benefit of those people that are not executives, board members or owners of large corporations. They do this by convincing them it is best to essentially surrender control of the dialogue to them because they know best. Just keep your mouths shut and do as the elite tell them – it's for our own good.
That refrain is about as antithetical to the American spirit as it gets. It's why we broke away from the rule of kings and queens, it's why we denounce theocratic dictatorships, it's why we went to war against Fascists and Nazis, it's partly why the average American was so ardently opposed to any communist takeover of the world, it's in part why we are so aggressively pursuing religious fanatic terrorists wishing to take their one ideology and force us all to follow it, and so on. One of the main differences between the forms of rule just mentioned and the one corporations are attempting to use, is that in every case, but the for corporations, the seat of power typically isn't hidden. They tell you what they are and what they intend to do and that's what you get.
There are things that aren't talked about in terms of those governments with regards to all the undisclosed mechanisms those forms of governments utilize that are oppressive, inhumane, are engineered to control dissent, etc. They often engage in heavy propaganda also to make things seem rosier than they are. But people understand the basic idea that there is a large central power, in their nation, and that the form of government in that specific nation puts all the power in their hands.
With what's happening now in America, corporations are engaging in a practice that attempts to convince us what we have is something other than what it is, and that there's more choice than there really is. In the meantime, they find ways to have our tax dollars redirected to support their interests and either hide it or lie to us, all the while telling us it's for our own good. Sometimes they even find ways to just take the money outright and, whether we like it or not, our say doesn't matter.
Take the recent financial collapse as an example. They began passing the laws needed to carry out the scam during the Clinton Administration when President Clinton signed off on many of the initial laws that deregulating the financial industry. Then, during the Bush administration more deregulation and the scheme was played out building a giant tower with a demolition date set to begin around 2008. The fact the demolition was to even happen was known to a few and when it did, after making billions on worthless bonds, many of which were illegally rated top grade by credit ratings agencies to maximize profits, these companies claimed bankruptcy, claimed they could not lend and were bailed out by US taxpayers. They drove recklessly like a spoiled teenager in daddy's sports car knowing at the end of the line the old man would come and wipe them off and pay their way out of trouble. That was us playing daddy. Was it worth the kid’s college fund? Was it worth the nest egg?
They could care less about changing, in case anyone missed it, they threw lavish parties soon after getting the taxpayer money, they gave out huge bonuses to the very people that caused the global financial collapse prompting our bailout and they went to Greece when that government asked for help cooking the books, and when they finished passing on their secret recipe, went home and took out bets that the Greek economy would collapse. They are in all likelihood lining up the pieces for the next scam as this is being written.
Their large corporations benefitted and we did not, and in fact got what will amount to trillions transferred into their coffers from us. Did they deserve that?
They have us paying to protect their business interests overseas with huge military bases. We aren't benefitting from protecting oil fields in the Middle East corporations like Exxon/Mobil and others do. We aren't benefitting from offering “unending support” to Afghanistan to protect the interests of lithium mining concerns. ( http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/14/world/asia/14minerals.html?_r=1
We aren't benefitting from huge “military” golf courses here and overseas that cost in some cases over a million dollars a year in maintenance fees alone. ( http://www.lawsuitagainstuconn.com/golfcourses.html
) Many of those golf courses are in the same nations those huge US military bases are located to cover the sixes of wealthy private businesses overseas. You can believe they aren't there for the American running a cafe in Tokyo or skateboard boutique in Seoul. Just like with those financial firms getting the bailouts, those firms getting military protection could pay for their own security, but instead we have to pay for it, and as such it's another way of transferring wealth from us to large corporations that are already wealthy, but because of greed want to take ours too. Politicians that wanted to get reelected went along with corporate lobbyists cooking up new ways to make a transfers of tax dollars through legislation and lies all for campaign donations. Democrats and Republicans do it together like buddies in the backrooms while arguing when cameras are on them, and nothing about that says public service.
The relationships between wealthy industries and government is all too close and the tentacles are all over the place. Another place you might not think it exists is with immigration. The anti-immigration movement and crackdown on the undocumented movement has had very wealthy private backers. Firms operating private prisons have realized that housing undocumented immigrants can pay big as often they just hang in limbo in prison and the corporation soaks up our dollars in the process. ( http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/07/private-prisons-immigration-federal-law-enforcement_n_1569219.html
) Wonder where all the money for the hate and vitriol suddenly came from? We don't benefit from that, but those private firms operating the prisons do, and it constitutes another transfer of cash from our pockets to theirs. Think they really want all undocumented immigrants permanently out of America? Politicians don't care as long as they get the campaign donations.
The news media is in tight with our government on many levels. We have seen the influence played out in front of us with the News Corp. scandal. Though it's in England, it's the same company. Think they only do it there? That's not to pick on them as all news media companies are too closely linked to our government and two party system. Having a nice little two party system is easy for news corporations; all they have to do is focus on one or the other or both. There is no having to guess. One wins then the other loses. If they choose, they can even label one the good guy and the other as the bad guy, if not on a daily basis then bi-annually. No problem if they favor one, someone else can do the reverse.
They benefit from it, but are at its mercy too. If they get too serious with their questions as journalists, or give equal time to new parties, they can get cut off. The relationship also goes deeper with journalists routinely being questioned by US intelligence before they go abroad and when they come back – same behavior as many of those countries our leaders point to for, among other things, that very activity. ( http://carlbernstein.com/magazine_cia_and_media.php
) That's not conspiracy theory nonsense, that's from one of the nation's most revered journalists.
The intelligence and defense branches of our government contract out what in many estimates is upwards of 60% of their work to private corporations. The people staffing and running those firms are all former government employees that often go back and forth collecting info, networks and clout to profit their own accounts as opposed to serving the public. Besides the obvious conflicts of interest as these firms work for other governments too, what makes this scary is according to a little known law from 1949 still used every day, the CIA can liquidate funds from any government agency without telling them, and use those funds for anything they please. You aren't even allowed to ask about what they do with the funds. ( http://www.foia.cia.gov/txt/Annual_Report_2007.pdf
) ( http://www1.american.edu/salla/Articles/BB-CIA.htm
That equals another transfer of cash and power from our coffers to wealthy private corporations and it's done under the guise of protecting our backsides or benefitting us. It isn't – none of that really is. It is unfair to us, but the current two party system will do nothing to stop it, outside of the empty talk they spout on the campaign trail and in the media. Until we get out of the rut and are allowed to grow again, having new parties introduced along with the current two there will be no difference. Hope and change will continue to mean “hope it doesn't change to something worse,” “hope there won't actually be any change,” or “we hope to relieve you of the change in your pockets” - that's no matter which of the two parties gets in, that's already been proven. Same thing, different faces and rhetoric.
To read about my inspiration for this article go to www.lawsuitagainstuconn.com.