Saturday, July 07, 2007

Support Progressive Democrats (dump the rest)

Kissing up to K Street

Democrats are selling out the economic populism that got them elected in the first place

By David Sirota

(Excerpt)

Democrats rode their populist, anti-corruption platform to victory in 2006. But as we are now beginning to see, what we may have with the Democrats is merely a transfer from honest graft to dishonest graft—that is, corrupt behavior that pretends to be done in the people’s name and that flies in the face of what the people were promised.

On May 10, a handful of Democratic congressional leaders held a press conference to trumpet a so-called “deal” with the Bush administration to push forward a package of lobbyist-written trade deals—the very same kinds of trade deals 100 of their candidates in 2006 said they would work to stop if elected to Congress. Though Democrats said they had secured basic labor and environmental protections in these deals, Thomas J. Donohue, the Bush-connected head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, told reporters that he had been given “assurances that the labor provisions [in the deal] cannot be read to require compliance.”

Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) provides a good example of dishonest graft. In 1993, Emanuel was the Clinton administration aide charged with ramming NAFTA through Congress “over the dead bodies” of labor and environmental groups, as American Express’s CEO cheered at the time. Emanuel orchestrated weekly meetings with K Street lobbyists to strategize about how to pressure Democratic lawmakers. Emanuel went on to cash in as an investment banker, raking in roughly $16 million over a two-year period. From his Wall Street perch in 2000, he published a scathing Wall Street Journal op-ed demanding Congress pass the China free trade deal—another K Street-backed goodie that has helped keep American wages stagnating in the face of skyrocketing corporate profits, and is now projected to destroy at least 1 million American jobs, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Just two years after grossly outspending an opponent to buy an Illinois congressional seat, Emanuel was appointed to the House Ways and Means Committee, the panel that oversees trade policy and that helped corporate lobbyists ram NAFTA through back in 1993. Emanuel also was appointed head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which ran millions of dollars worth of ads trumpeting Democrats anti-corruption platform, and which supported the scores of Democrats running against the very lobbyist-written trade policies Emanuel has based his political career on.

Now, with Emanuel as Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, we see dishonest graft kick into high gear. The same day as the press conference, a group of House Democrats wrote a formal letter to Emanuel demanding he hold a Democratic Caucus meeting to discuss the secret trade negotiations going on between a handful of Democrats and the White House. That letter, according to The Hill, was “rebuffed” even though, again, it was Emanuel’s DCCC that aggressively supported Democrats 2006 fair trade candidates. No meeting occurred, and instead Democratic leaders held their press conference, announcing a secret trade deal that, like NAFTA, is strongly backed by K Street lobbyists, but opposed by organized labor, environmental groups, health care groups and grassroots Democrats. Meanwhile, when Emanuel was asked by the Politico’s Jeff Patch for details about why Democrats were now backing off their promises to reform lobbying laws so as to prevent Abramoff-style abuse, he did his best Dick Cheney impression, telling the reporter, “Why don’t you go fuck yourself.”

Running a campaign against corruption, against lobbyist-written trade policies and for lobbying reform, and then using the power granted by voters based on that campaign to engage in corruption, pass lobbyist-written trade pacts and reject the most minimal lobbying reforms—all in exchange for campaign contributions—is Plunkitt’s very definition of dishonest graft. It is “political looting” and it is the result of a hostile takeover of the Democratic Party by Big Money interests.

Read the entire article

Both political parties are loaded with slime-balls, and it will be hard work getting rid of them. Make sure your contributions go directly to the campaign you desire to support instead of through a Congressional Organization that serves the interests of the people struggling to be on top of the heap (like the guy who took credit for the work Howard Dean did in the states the Democrats previously gave up on).

1 comment:

Mr. Natural said...

I'M WITH YOU! THAT EMANUEL ASSHOLE JUST REEKS OF GRAFT AND CORRUPTION...MAKES ME FUCKIN SICK. THANKS FOR THE STORY!