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It's a Business (pt 2)

by Sudhama Ranganathan Sunday, Dec. 09, 2012 at 9:21 AM
uconnharassment@gmail.com

Money can so easily change circumstances. Just a little bit can help ease the stress of worrying about how the rent or mortgage will be paid on any given month. A small amount extra can make the difference between getting your kid what they need for school or not, like a new or even used computer or some school clothes. With just a few extra in the way of cash, there may not have to be the monthly juggling act of figuring which bills to pay and which to put off. And making up such seemingly miniscule increments of ground regarding getting current on bills and/or debt can really help take a load off a person's mind, if only until the next paycheck. Most of us have been there, and if not probably will at some point or another in life.

Smiley face

Money helps alleviate food shortages for people all across the world every day. Money helps to provide shelter for refugees fleeing politically tumultuous circumstances. Money helps provide education for people that had difficulty finding access to it, giving them tools to help themselves and their community. Money helps delivers drugs to combat diseases in places that desperately need the medicine but can ill afford to provide them. Money can do great and wondrous things.

However, money has caused people to take advantage of positions they are in and the trust placed in them while occupying those positions. It can warp people's perspective with regards to what is important and cause self interest to take precedence over things like the common good. It can fire up people's latent greed causing them to lose sight of their moral compass and tempting them to do things they otherwise never would were they not put in a position to take advantage of people. That greed can cause them to break their word, go back on their promises and turn their backs on people that placed faith in them. We all carry greed with us, and act out of it to one extent or another every day. Most people considered true saints probably even tripped over greed once or twice in their lives. But, greed can also cause good things to go bad becoming something other than what they originally were intended to be.

The two political parties we currently have were no doubt started with a mixture of reasons regarding the range of things that inspire humans to start political movements – be those inspirations innocuous or ill-intentioned. There have always been the interests of wealthy business interests at play in our political system, and those interests played a major role in our nation's birth. Businesses are a necessary component of any society, and they play all manner of positive roles in any community from the largest to smallest.

However, corporate interests have simply taken over our political system, and not for the benefit of all those living under the system – not even a majority. Politicians today no longer strike any sincere balance between the interests of the wealthy corporate donors that pump money into their campaigns, and ensure they have nice cushy jobs when they leave public service, and the interests of the rest of us - the majority of us. The rhetoric pumped out across the nation come election time has become a joke pretty much. Nowadays, elections are emotionally moving only when symbolic with regards to who gets elected. But, what gets done once that symbolic person gets elected, be they a person of color, a woman, a person of a non-traditional religious or ethnic background, etc, is usually very similar if not the same.

It's about what people put money in the change jars of the political parties, making sure they each get a cut of the pie, when it comes time to legislate. Politicians can preach fire and brimstone, they can preach major change, but once they get in, its money, and the particular people holding it, that dictate what gets done and how.

President Clinton, for example, fostered an image of being devoted to the middle-class when he was running for office. Once he got into office, however, he finished work on Republican George HW Bush's bill to help export middle-class jobs, and thus inevitably reduce the standard of living for our middle class, called NAFTA. He also appointed Wall Street sharks to major positions in his administration to deal with economic issues. In fact, among the many things to come out of his doing so was the legislation allowing trading practices like the derivatives market opening the door to the out of control credit default swaps helping cause the financial crash that you and I had to bail out when the bill came due in 2008.

He also signed the bill allowing banks to gamble with their depositor's money leading to the crash that those banks then saw coming and took out bets on. (They should have seen it coming, it was their scam.)

Those bets were called credit default swaps. We had to bail out the innocent people that lost money the banks gambled away, we had to bail out the banks and we had to bail out and pay for the credit default swap bets that companies could not cover and that the people that placed the legal bets were owed. We had to pay it all. That was what the crash really was. Us covering the losses of big companies allowed to gamble in high stakes investment schemes that only people highly proficient in math and with the ability to get a solid grasp of complex finances could have seen coming. Someone like former President Bill Clinton. These were high stakes investments insured by the taxpayers as was legislated by American politicians getting paid by you and me to make sure these things do not happen. Money and power were vices for President Clinton and we saw him seduced in front of the whole country as he slipped fast, willingly and easily into those vices.

That financial crash was not his doing alone of course. The Bush administration continued Clinton's need for greed when they gutted regulatory bodies and placed people in positions of power in regulatory agencies that came from the financial sector. In other words, the foxes really were guarding the henhouse and the Bush Administration had absolutely no problem allowing them to do so. They actually had a policy that allowed the companies be responsible for policing themselves. Imagine that? Well, whether or not you can, that's what actually happened. They used 9-11 as an excuse to gin up support for going into Iraq so wealthy companies could get their hands on oil, and contractors that would be involved could get rich – no matter what they said.

Sure, it's great when American companies get wealthy, but not at the expense of killing American soldiers and innocent women and children. Many Senators and House members voted for the invasion of Iraq, despite the information available, and they weren't duped. They cowed to wealth and bowed in submission to the seduction of corporate greed.

President Obama was supposed to be a change from all that. He promised to break the link between corporate America and Washington, but once in office he did as those before him. He broke his major promises and became a man different from what he promised to be in many ways. For example, as a show of what kind of Washington he would try and foster, he promised to cut the ties between lobbyists and his administration, in terms of them being able to meet with him and his administration. And he did that, on the surface.

But, while that's how it looked on the outside, he actually began appointing lobbyists and insiders to key positions and positions of influence. He even created “external advisory boards” staffed and peopled by lobbyists and corporate reps. He failed to break that link, and on purpose. Like his predecessors, he brewed up an atmosphere that said, “we'll do it when nobody's looking, and when it no longer matters.” During his first inauguration, for example, he refused corporate donors and money to be spent to show he practiced what he preached. Now, just a month after being elected to his second term, corporate sponsors are back in full force for the inauguration. (http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/12/obama-reverses-on-unlimited-corporate-cash-for-inaugural/) Unlimited contributions and steak's back on the menu boys! Paaaarrtyyyy!!

The two party system is no longer about a balance. It no longer has the interests of you and I at heart. Whether it's politicians that dip into the honey pot for a taste of something sweet, or that simply lie to get elected then turn around and do what they said they would not, money has turned the two party system we currently have into a game intended to benefit only a small few. If you're not a millionaire, you're lot is getting worse year by year, and that's over 99% of us. Meanwhile, both political parties are to blame for what they have done and haven’t done, just like the Israelis and the Palestinians.

To read about my inspiration for this article go to www.lawsuitagainstuconn.com.

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