What is going on?

No story is ever written in a vacuum. Current events. politics, changes in lifestyle, religion and health all affect an author's words. This is the blog where I will express my point of view. Some of my rants may make you think, you might disagree with others. I sincerely welcome your comments.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

There was a time when...

One more US Institution falls to the politics of greed...

I'm turning sixty in January.  Despite the vagaries of age there are some benefits that accrue, such as a sense of perspective.  When I was in my teens and twenties, growing up in a small town in New Jersey, the Chamber of Commerce stirred a sense of pride in community.  The Chamber of Commerce was your town's biggest booster.  They ran festivals, parades, community charity drives and engineered the continued prosperity of the town's business district.  The members were composed of small business owners, lawyers, bankers and the presidents or CEOs of any factory or large retailer that operated within the limits of the town's borders. To be listed on the rolls of membership of your local Chamber was a source of immense pride both to the member and their family.  A member of the Chamber of Commerce was a well-respected pillar of the community charged with the responsibility of ensuring the success of local business and therefore the success of the town.  My how things have changed.

Revelations this week have astounded Americans like myself who remember the old Chamber and its charter.  The new Chamber of Commerce is a multi-national organization no longer charged with local interest, but seriously invested in the welfare of multi-national corporations to the detriment of local and United States businesses.  Recent revelations show that the Chamber solicited and accepted at least $885,000 disclosed donations from over eighty foreign corporations.  Some of the countries involved were India, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Germany, Dubai, Singapore, the Kingdom of Bahrain and Canada.  This money was to be used to promote unrestrained free trade, policies that outsource American jobs overseas to these countries.

In a world where corporate donations to political campaigns through political action committees (PACS), run in the hundreds of millions $885,000 does not seem to be a lot of money.  But, since the Chamber of Commerce and many PACs are not required to name their donors, this amount is likely to be just the tip of the international monetary iceberg that is in the process of sinking the American Political System.  Seriously, does any American citizen want their congressman, senator or President elected due to the impact of money contributed by businessmen and politicians in India, Bahrain, Israel, etc?

The Supreme Court ruled this past year in the Citizens United case that corporations had all the rights and privileges of individuals. And, there was no distinction between local US corporations and multi-national corporations in the court's decision. One effect of this ruling is that large - in some cases multi-billion dollar - corporations are encouraged to think of their ability to make political donations as equal to that of an individual US citizen.  Think millions of dollars worth of contributions versus the hundred dollar donation of the average citizen to a political campaign and all of their dollars promote their interests, not yours.

As an example, the US Chamber of Commerce is using donations from foreign countries to promote foreign interests by paying for nation-wide attack ads on political figures that stand against legislative policies that are designed to ship millions of jobs overseas.

In general, during the midterm elections, donations to Republican politicians' reelection coffers overflowed making passage of good laws that would benefit the health and welfare of United States citizens impossible to enact because those politicians are owned by their corporate friends.

Together with the Chamber of Commerce, many well placed Republican PACs are funding deadly attack ads against congressional proponents of such issues as: universal health care legislation, mine safety legislation, oil drilling lease and drilling regulation reform legislation, government services legislation which ensure and promote the well being of hundreds of millions of US citizens.

For instance, during the last thirty years of mainly Republican administrations, the US Congress quietly repealed the Glas-Stegall Act, rolled back environmental protection legislation, and loosened restrictions on oil and gas regulation.  This was all done to promote the special interests of multi-national corporate, financial, mining, and oil company profit objectives. Now, after all these years of bad legislation and rule-making, any attempt to right these policies runs straight into the jaws of the Citizens United court ruling.  Pity the Congressman or Senator who chooses to cross swords with an involved corporate interest. Now, in 2010, they face the funding realities of the current election cycle with millions of dollars in attack ads being donated to their opponent.  However, after the Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case those dollars have become virtually unlimited.  The campaign coffers of radical right wing conservative candidates have been the chief beneficiaries of both corporate and foreign influences, bought and paid for by undisclosed donors.  This, the first election since the Supreme Court decision, is floating in contributions from undisclosed donors whose agenda may not be in the best interests of United States citizens.

Finally, consider that, as Republicans stuff their reelection campaign pockets with foreign and corporate money, the average unemployment rate in this country in the United States is over nine percent.  If these Radical Conservatives win their proposed agenda, taking the country back to the Bush policies, two-hundred fifty plus million ordinary citizens will suffer greatly. Some of the prospects that loom are the elimination of minimum wage, privatization of Social Security and Medicare, removal of the remaining regulations and restrictions in such agencies as the Federal Food and Drug Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Funding initiatives such as green energy technology, stem cell research, renewal of our aging infrastructure, social programs such as unemployment, food stamps will all go under the axe.  Is this the forward direction our country should take, or is a trip back to Dickensonian England where Oliver dared to ask for more?

If you wish additional information on this blog or my books, I am debuting a fifteen minute segment on Blogtalk Radio (http://www.Blogtalkradio.com/ackatt) on Thursday, October 21 at 10:00 am Mountain Time.  In this segment I will be discussing my book, Shattered Glass, the creative process and how some of its themes relate to contemporary life.

Additionally, you could subscribe to my political blog by RSS feed at http://www.ackattspolitics.blogspot.com or to my book blog at http://www.ackattsjournal.blogspot.com.  Links to my website at http://www.ackatt.com are welcome as well as "follows" for my blog.  I have two new blog outlets at http://Blogs.FanBox.com/ShatteredGlass1, and http://www.ackatt.weebly.com.  I have also created a Ning Network at http://ackatonning.ning.com which you are invited to join.

Please remember that Shattered Glass is available from Captiva Press at www.captivapress.com and from the Kindle Store at Amazon.com.  A Matter of Trust is available from XOXO Publishing at www.XOXOpublishing.com.

Look for the re-release of my first novel, The Sarran Plague which has been re-worked and re-edited to be released by Captiva Press late fall or early winter.

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