{ An Autopsy of Democracy }

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Bribery, corruption, campaign contributions, big business mergers, and other fun and timely topics.

Charles Lewis of The Center For Public Integrity has gotten some publicity for his book "The Buying of the President 2004." Sounds depressingly like politics as usual. Although I looked at the book in Borders the other day, mainly because I was curious about Kucinich and what "special interests" he's beholden to (his name was barely mentioned in NPR's interview with Lewis or when he was on The Daily Show); turns out Kucinich has gotten a grand total of a few million dollars throughout his entire political career from "special interests"--and all of it was from various and sundry unions. Call me a commy if you like, but I'm O.K. with that. I'm almost pissed off at Lewis for not bothering to point out Kucinich's record, because he clearly has by far the most integrity in this area of all the candidates running.

But. Let's turn to the Grand High Dragon of fund-raising, that lovable rogue "Dub'ya." Don't you love how average working-class people can throw their support behing a guy who holds $1000-per-plate fund-raiser luncheons? Oh, yes: he's looking out for the little guy.

It's like no matter how cynical a person is about politics and the government, all a politician has to do is say "Cut Taxes!" and people are suddenly hypnotized and lose all of their critical faculties; all cynicism washed away in a fluffy new gullibility. "Bush loves us--he wants us to keep our money, damn it. Not like those Democrats, who just want to steal from us." (Never mind the fact that most people don't even have stock options or dividends or extraordinarily wealthy relatives with million-dollar estates.) The fact that W. can say with a straight face that he wants us to keep our money, AND NO ONE BURSTS OUT LAUGHING OR RETCHING, makes me want to live on the moon or in the woods somewhere. Never mind the $400+ Billion with a B dollars every year of OUR money gets thrown away on the Pentagon. Oh, yeah, he wants us to keep our money--except for that mere $1 billion dollars a day, most of which likely ends up in the pockets of such benefactors as Halliburton, Bechtel, Raytheon, The Carlyle Group, . . . .

And then there's that $200 Billion or so spent on the Iraq War--money spent on bombs and destruction. We might just as well have thrown all that money into a big pile in the middle of a desert and lit it on fire (and then thrown about 10,000 Iraqis into the fire, of course--hey, it's easier than using Napalm).


Coming under increasing fire for his failure to clarify his National Guard
record, fix the economy, bring down the cost of health care, and secure
post-war Iraq, President Bush has resorted to attacking his political
opponents as "beholden to special interests and out of touch with regular
Americans." But a look at the more than $320 million that Bush has raised
since 2000 shows that he is the man with the most special interest
connections in American history - and that he has rewarded those special
interests in kind.

Specifically, while the president attacks Senator John Kerry (D-MA) for
accepting money from lobbyists, a new study shows "the president accepted
more in direct contributions from lobbyists in one year than Kerry did in
the past 15 years." All told, Bush collected at least $6.5 million in
"bundled" contributions from lobbyists last year alone.

But that has not stopped Bush from his ad hominem attacks on opponents for
"special interest" connections. Yesterday, for instance, Bush attacked the
US Senate for being beholden to "special interests" for holding up an
insurance industry-backed bill to restrict medical patients from seeking
legal redress in the event of malpractice. Yet, it was Bush who accepted
more than $3 million from the insurance industry before he wrote the bill.

On the campaign trail last year, Bush said, "We can't let the special
interests of Washington prevent us from doing what is necessary to protect
the biggest interest we have, which is the American people." Yet it was Bush
who did the bidding of his friends in the meat processing/meat packing
industries by refusing to protect the American people from Mad Cow disease.
Specifically, Bush refused to enact stringent meat inspection regulations
and delayed country-of-origin labeling laws at the urging of the
agribusiness industry which has given him $5.5 million. To make extra sure
that the agribusiness special interests were protected, Bush also packed the
U.S. Department of Agriculture with agribusiness executives.

Even on issues of war and peace, Bush has put special interests before
almost anything else. As the Center for Public Integrity reported, the more
than 70 companies and individuals that Bush awarded up to $8 billion in
Iraq/Afghanistan contracts have "donated more money to the presidential
campaigns of George W. Bush - a little over $500,000 - than to any other
politician over the last dozen years."

Visit Misleader.org for more about Bush Administration distortion. -->
< http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1331046&l=18426 >





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