Mar 7, 2014
Hope for Corporate America
Posted on Apr 28, 2008
By Chris Hedges
Obama, as you will see if you examine his voting record, has repeatedly rewarded those who reward him. As a senator he has promoted nuclear energy as “green.” He has been lauded by the nuclear power industry, which is determined to resume building nuclear power plants across the country. He has voted to continue to fund the Iraq war. He opposed Rep. John Murtha’s call for immediate withdrawal. He refused to join the 13 senators who voted against confirming Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state. He voted in July 2005 to reauthorize the Patriot Act. He did not support an amendment that was part of a bankruptcy bill that would have capped credit card interest rates at 30 percent. He opposed a bill that would have reformed the notorious Mining Law of 1872. He did not support the single-payer health care bill HR676, sponsored by Reps. Dennis Kucinich and John Conyers. He supports the death penalty. He worked tirelessly in the Senate in 2005 to pass a class-action “reform” bill that was part of a large lobbying effort by financial firms, which make up Obama’s second-biggest single bloc of donors. The law, with the Orwellian title the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), would effectively shut down state courts as a venue to hear most class-action lawsuits. This has long been a cherished goal of large corporations as well as the Bush administration. It effectively denies redress in many of the courts where these cases have a chance of defying powerful corporate challenges. It moves these cases into corporate-friendly federal courts dominated by Republican judges. Even Hillary Clinton voted against this naked effort to allow corporations to carry out flagrant discrimination, consumer fraud and wage-and-hour violations.
Obama likes to paint himself as an opponent of the war. He reminds voters of his one—and only one—speech opposing it. But he swiftly changed his mind. Obama told the Chicago Tribune on July 27, 2004, that “there’s not that much difference between my position and George Bush’s position at this stage. The difference, in my mind, is who’s in a position to execute.” Obama added that he “now believes U.S. forces must remain to stabilize the war-ravaged nation, a policy not dissimilar to the current approach of the Bush administration.” Obama wants to leave an estimated 50,000 troops in Iraq to protect our superbases and the Green Zone, our imperial city, to fight terrorism, and to train Iraqi forces. He traveled to Connecticut to campaign on behalf of Sen. Joseph Lieberman, a leading proponent of the war and an advocate of airstrikes against Iran, when Lieberman was challenged by the anti-war candidate Ned Lamont. And when Obama talks about the Palestinians he reads dutifully from the script handed to him by Lieberman and the Israel lobbying group AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
Obama’s policy director is Karen Kornbluh, who as a senior aide to Robert Rubin, the head of the Treasury Department during the Clinton administration, pushed through NAFTA and other free-trade policies that unleashed the assault on organized labor and devastated the country’s manufacturing sector. And Obama’s senior economic adviser, Austan Goolsbee, who teaches economics at the University of Chicago, privately assured Canada’s consul general in Chicago in February that Obama’s NAFTA-bashing “should be viewed as more about political positioning than a clear articulation of policy plans,” according to a leaked memo of the meeting. Most of Obama’s senior advisers, including Penny Pritzker, a member of one of America’s richest families and the current finance chair of the campaign, have a long history of oiling the government apparatus for corporate interests and personal enrichment. Pritzker was the chair of Superior Bank of Chicago. The bank collapsed in 2001 with over $1 billion in insured and uninsured deposits, and 1,406 people lost nearly all their savings. The bank owners, who fabricated profit reports, made much of their money promoting risky subprime home mortgages. Those around Obama are as wedded to corporate interests as those around Clinton and McCain.
Obama is an articulate, intelligent and attractive politician, but he is also a corporate figurehead. A vote for Obama is a vote for the corporate state. Under an Obama administration, the corporations would continue their ruthless drive to disempower the citizens, to protect an entrenched American oligarchy and to subvert what is left of our faltering democracy.
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