By Manifesto Joe
Yes, this has happened before, sort of. FDR did more to save U.S. capitalism than any president before him, yet he was vilified and perennially embattled for his efforts. That time, the opposition largely failed; but this time, success looks imminent. President Obama has acted similarly, yet he looks to have his majority in the Congress taken by a new Cosa Nostra that among other things takes megabucks from foreign countries. FDR didn't have to face anything quite like this.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which virtually always supports "pro-business" Republican candidates, denies that it is doing anything out of the ordinary. But money is pouring into its coffers from diverse foreign sources. This is from a recent Associated Press article, and here's a link to the entire story.
Questions about the chamber's foreign money were first raised this week by ThinkProgress, a blog of the liberal Center for American Progress. The account pointed to overseas business councils, known as "AmChams," that pay dues that go into the general fund of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. MoveOn.org sent a letter to the Department of Justice calling for an investigation.
The sources of the money are corporations as far away as India and Bahrain.
But the chamber, never lacking in preposterous rhetoric, came back with this, according to AP:
(Chamber spokeswoman Tita) Freeman dismissed the claim as the work of a "George Soros-funded, anti-business blog," a reference to the billionaire investor known for his support of liberal causes.
So, multibillionaire George Soros is anti-business? That probably came as a startling revelation to his accountants.
What Soros does have, and what is lacking in a great many wealthy individuals and multinational corporations, is a basic sense of fairness and decency. Soros may actually understand what life is like right now for millions of unemployed Americans, and for millions more who were underemployed before the steep downturn of recent years. Soros had the combination of acumen and good fortune to become a fabulously wealthy person -- but he didn't become a gangster while he was at it.
Organized crime is the only description that seems adequate for this. The Chamber of Commerce and its slush money from foreign sources is just one example of the racket. All these alleged grassroots movements like the Tea Party are being bankrolled with shadow money. Here's a link to an NPR report on the subject. The Koch brothers -- that's a name to remember. This is from NPR:
... Americans for Prosperity, or AFP, has long been rumored to be financed by David Koch, of the family that owns Koch Industries. That's one of the biggest privately held companies in America, and the family has a long history of underwriting conservative causes.
David Koch confirmed the rumors at an AFP convention last fall. "Five years ago my brother Charles and I provided the funds to start the Americans for Prosperity. And it's beyond my wildest dreams how the AFP has grown into this enormous organization," David Koch said, according to audio from the online news site The Washington Independent.
And then, to top it all off, our new Cosa Nostra has its own giant TV "news" network. Millions of Americans sit and absorb Fox News' mind-rotting swill day after day, being persuaded to vote against their own interests.
This demagoguery has been seen before. But it's never been bankrolled quite like now. And it's come to this after the U.S. Supreme Court, with its 5-4 right-wing majority, struck down limitations on corporate spending for political campaigns, essentially putting two branches of our government up for sale. (The third one already appears to have been paid for. And the "fourth" one -- well, as I was saying in the previous paragraph ...)
Here's how E.J. Dionne Jr. put it, describing the Supreme Court ruling:
This extraordinary state of affairs was facilitated by the U.S. Supreme Court's scandalous Citizens United decision, which swept away decades of restrictions on corporate spending to influence elections. The Republicans' success in blocking legislation that would at least have required the big spenders to disclose the sources of their money means voters have to operate in the dark.
The American people are about to be complicit in the purchase of one branch of their government by organized crime. The obvious intention is for the rest of the deal to be struck in November 2012.
It gives me sincere pain to describe one of our major political parties this way. But privately, I started calling the Republicans "the party of Satan" back around 1995, when the idiots shut down the federal government out of sheer pig-headedness. (My wife said, "You're going to give Satan a bad name.") Anyway, no skin off their butts -- most of them don't have to live even partially off Social Security or VA pensions.
We need a strong and viable conservative party as one of our two major political parties. Right now, what we have is a bunch of ruthless opportunists who are much too obviously on the payroll. They have made Faustian bargains with a variety of groups -- ranging from Religious Right kooks to the kinds of corporate powers that would, if they could, have people working 80-hour weeks for a dollar an hour, and pay no income tax. (Oh, I forgot -- some of them already have the latter worked out. And we see how well it's worked for the economy.)
What Germany and Japan couldn't do in World War II, the Republicans may soon actually succeed in doing -- with the help of their rich gangster friends. To ironically paraphrase Glenn Beck, I love my country -- and I fear for it.
Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.