Democrats & Liberals Archives

Corporate Corruption of Washington

Washington is corrupt and getting more corrupt by the day. As an advanced democracy, we should be dismayed. But we’re not. We keep merrily rolling along Democrats finding fault with Republicans, Republicans finding fault with Democrats and Independents finding fault with both Democrats and Republicans. The complaints of all of us should be directed instead at the outrageous Washington corruption!

Outrageous is a mild adjective. Here are 10 horrible examples of Washington corruption gathered by MoveOn.org:


  1. Exxon Mobil made billions in profits, and yet paid not one dime in federal income taxes in 2009.(2)

  2. The 2005 energy bill had a little known provision, commonly called the Halliburton Loophole, which exempted natural gas drilling from the Clean Water Act. The result? Water so contaminated that you can light it on fire.(3)

  3. Massey Energy was cited more than 2400 times for safety violations in its mines, but chose not to fix potentially lethal problems because low penalties meant it was cheaper to simply keep paying the fines. This spring, 29 miners were killed in an underground explosion at a Massey mine in West Virginia.(4)

  4. Michael Taylor was the FDA official who approved the use of Monsanto's Bovine Growth Hormone in dairy cows (even though it's banned in most countries and linked to cancer). After approving it, he left the FDA—to work for Monsanto. Until last year, when he moved back to the government—as President Obama's "Food Safety Czar." No joke.(5)

  5. Internal Toyota documents outline how the company was successful in limiting regulators actions in the recalls last year—saving hundreds of millions while the death toll continued to climb.(6)

  6. GE and its lobbyists—including 33 former government employees—have successfully lobbied Congress to override Defense Department requests to cancel a GE contract to work on a new engine for the Joint Strike Fighter jet. GE will need $2.9 billion to finish the project.(7)

  7. Top executives at 9 big banks including Citibank, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley paid themselves over $20 billion in bonuses just weeks after taxpayers bailed them out to the tune of 700 billion dollars.(8)

  8. During the waning days of the Bush administration, officials responded to a long-term lobbying campaign by pre-empting product liability lawsuits for dozens of entire industries. They bypassed Congress entirely and rewrote rules ranging from seatbelt manufacturing regulations to prescription drug safety.(9)

  9. Sunscreen manufacturers including Johnson & Johnson and Schering-Plough, in the interest of profits, are opposing an FDA proposal requiring full reporting on sunscreen labels. The New York Times just confirmed that current SPF ratings don't even measure sun rays that cause cancer.(10)

  10. BP—a company with a record of 760 drilling safety and environmental violations—was granted safety waivers in order to operate the deepwater drilling rig that ultimately created the worst environmental disaster in US history.(11)

If this list makes your blood boil, click here to sign a petition to Fight Washington Corruption.

Sources:
1. "BP's latest plan succeeding, but may make spill worse," Newsweek, June 2, 2010.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=88880&id=21637-3048376-q7HjXZx&t=5
2. "GE, Exxon Paid No U.S. Income Taxes in 2009," ABC News, April 6, 2010
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=89262&id=&id=21637-3048376-q7HjXZx&t=6
3. "Why is Dick Cheney Silent on the Oil Spill?" Newsweek, June 10, 2010
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=89263&id=21637-3048376-q7HjXZx&t=7
4. "Other Massey Mines Showed A Pattern Of Violations," NPR, April 13, 2010
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=89264&id=21637-3048376-q7HjXZx&t=8
5. "Monsanto's man Taylor returns to FDA in food-czar role," Grist, July 8, 2009
http://www.grist.org/article/2009-07-08-monsanto-FDA-taylor/
6. "Toyota tried to cut costs on recalls," Los Angeles Times, February 22, 2010
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=89265&id=21637-3048376-q7HjXZx&t=9
7. "GE vice chairman openly challenges Gates over F-35 fighter jet engine," The Hill, June 17, 2010
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=89266&id=21637-3048376-q7HjXZx&t=10
8. "Bankers Reaped Lavish Bonuses During Bailouts," The New York Times, July 30, 2009
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/31/business/31pay.html
9. "Bush Rule Changes Curtail Rights of States, Consumers," Wall Street Journal, October 15, 2008
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=89267&id=21637-3048376-q7HjXZx&t=11
10. "UVA Reform: It's Not PDQ," The New York Times, June 23, 2010
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=89268&id=21637-3048376-q7HjXZx&t=12
11. "BP's latest plan succeeding, but may make spill worse," Newsweek, June 2, 2010.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=88880&id=21637-3048376-q7HjXZx&t=13

Posted by Paul Siegel at July 8, 2010 6:11 PM
Comments
Comment #303244

Politics as usual Paul.

Posted by: MAG at July 8, 2010 7:02 PM
Comment #303262

Paul

I doubt many of the details (you cannot trust move.on), but it is a consistent problem that big government is captured by the people it regulates and powerful interests use government to coerce competitors and customers. It has always been thus and always will be. That is why we need to limit government.

Posted by: C&J at July 8, 2010 10:15 PM
Comment #303279

C&J, no, that is why we had the Democratic Party to counter this corporate influence and bedfellow relationship between the GOP and corporate desire. Regrettably, the Democratic Party decided in the 1990’s to join in the menage a trois’. Now, the people on their own with no party to represent them, save perhaps the Tea and Coffee Parties.

KICKER VOTE

There is no vote
Like a kicker vote
to boot them out
in another bout
on Election Day.

They ain’t no good,
this incumbent hood,
taking bribes for
their free ride
on Election Day.

They talk a lot
about, say what?
What’s good for us?
Put up a fuss
on Election Day.

There is no vote
Like a kicker vote
to boot them out
in another bout
on Election Day.

You and I know
what they say ain’t so.
So, why should we,
for them be
on Election Day?

Vote them out,
and their corporate clout.
They will come to see
It’s about you and me,
on Election Day.

There is no vote
Like a kicker vote
to boot them out
in another bout
on Election Day.

They want to be
sent back you see,
so it is about
booting them out,
on Election Day.

They will find our voice
when they have no choice
but to favor us
not the corporate buz
on Election Day

There is no vote
Like a kicker vote
to boot them out
in another bout
on Election Day.

(Lyrics: David R. Remer, copyright July, 2010. Published on Vote Out Incumbents Democracy web site. )

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 9, 2010 12:00 PM
Comment #303281

DRR, It’s to bad some of your Democrat pals on this blog don’t realize what you have said about their party is true.

Posted by: MAG at July 9, 2010 12:44 PM
Comment #303284

American Decline is a State of Mind

I do realize that for my liberal friends, reading articles found in Townhall is considered heretical. Yet, for those who dare, they may find this article refreshing.

http://townhall.com/columnists/VictorDavisHanson/2010/07/08/american_decline_is_a_state_of_mind/page/1

Posted by: Royal Flush at July 9, 2010 1:36 PM
Comment #303294


Royal Flush:

That article may have it about right. Unfortunate, our economy would probably be doing better right now if it were not for all the doom and gloom that the Republicans and their talking heads have been preaching and all the lack of cooperation by Republican politicians.

Ninety percent of the people are working but, they are not spending to help the economy primarily because of the Republican doom and gloom.

It would not surprise me if the Democrats were to extend the Bush tax cuts to the wealthy.

Mag:

I have been a Democrat for longer than I have been old enough to vote. For years now, I have been chastising the party and the DNC for selling out to the corpocracy in return for the big incumbency corporate dollars. I argued that H.Clinton and Obama were both corpocracy candidates, Dodd and Biden as well. I also proclaimed, during the primaries that Obama was in to big a hurry to be president and that he lacked experience and wasn’t ready for the job.

Obama has not disappointed me, he has been pretty much what I expected of him.

For quite a number of years I have been stating that the workers no longer have representation. It has been this way since the Reagan Administration. Both parties have been playing the divide the workers and conquer game while administering to their constituency, the corporations. They are good at playing that game and we are good at letting them play us for fools.

Hopefully that is slowly changing, but many of if not most of the anti-incumbent, anti-status quo candidates are going straight to the Washington lobbyists for money, including the Tea Party candidates.

Nearly all the tea party candidates have been taken under the wing of the corpocratic Republican party. They are being educated on how to clean up their web sites and tone down the rhetoric that was appealing to the tea party voters, but not to the mainstream voters. I have little doubt that should they win in the fall, they will blend in well with the other Republican corpocrats.

Posted by: jlw at July 9, 2010 4:17 PM
Comment #303295

jlw, I agree with much of what you are saying. But, don’t forget that the entitleitis crowd has a tremendous amount of voting power which the politicians are only too anxious to appease. We can bring back our economy and our country but the pain must be shared by everyone…corporations, unions, and, those living off the government teat.

I’ll vote for higher taxes for all if we get guarantees that the money will pay down our debt and not expand government.

Posted by: Royal Flush at July 9, 2010 4:31 PM
Comment #303296

jlw some of the Democrats on this blog need to read what you have said to.

Posted by: MAG at July 9, 2010 4:34 PM
Comment #303314
As an advanced democracy, we should be dismayed.

Your whole post misses the point, again. Your premise is incorrect. Again, you are wrong! It’s a republic. It’s not a democracy.

Posted by: Weary Willie at July 9, 2010 8:03 PM
Comment #303315

Why should your posts have any credibility if you can’t even get our form of government correct? Are you trying to mislead us? Why?

Posted by: Weary Willie at July 9, 2010 8:05 PM
Comment #303316

WW, YOU ARE WRONG! It is a democratic republic. IN OTHER WORDS, a republic with representatives elected DEMOCRATICALLY.

In the United States, James Madison defined republic in terms of representative democracy as opposed to direct democracy, and absent a monarchy.

I will take James Madison’s definition over your clever but ignorant invention, every time.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 9, 2010 8:29 PM
Comment #303317

WW,

The word Republic is a vague term. Everything from Iraq (1958-2003) to North Korea to the USA can be described as a Republic. Literally speaking, a republic only means the Head of State is not a Monarch. Democracy is the word that differentiates our government from the autocracy of the Republic of Iraq (1958-2003) and North Korea.

jlw+RF+MAG,

That Townhall piece is fairly accurate. The USA remains a dominant presence on this planet and will continue to be for the rest of the 21st century if we don’t do anything stupid. America’s strengths are very deep, we have a strong entrepreneurial tradition tasked toward innovation and that is a fantastic asset to have. We also have a universal education system that still works pretty well despite all the criticisms levied at it. A lot of the pessimism that has encapsulated the electorate is the result of GOP poopooing. Hopefully they will win a few seats in November and then will begin to cooperate with the Democrats to make this country better and stronger.

Posted by: Warped Reality at July 9, 2010 8:44 PM
Comment #303321

David R. Remer, a democratic republic is still a republic.
Sorry about your luck!

Vague, as in “we ignore it for our convienience”?

Kinda like the U.S. Constitution! Yes? Is that how we treat our Constitution these days, here at Watchblog.com?

You guys need to get a grip.

Posted by: Weary Willie at July 9, 2010 8:55 PM
Comment #303323

WW, so Madison didn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground according to you in defining our system as democracy and republic, eh?

Laughable. You are still wrong in calling it a republic without its defining adjective, democratic. The most common definition of republic is simply that there is no monarch. Hell, Russia and China can claim to be a republic, and do. Because its true. They don’t have a monarch ruling their nation. That’s not saying much.

You imbue the term far more than it contains. Madison appropriately defined our democratic republic as distinctly different from any other kind of republic by its democratic nature. In his day, that was saying a mouthful since it was absolutely true. Both of our houses of Congress are run by democratic principles, they are elected by democratic principles, and every state of the Union operates on democratic principles.

And here you are, stuck on repeatedly saying we are not a Monarchy! Tell us something we don’t know, weary willie, before you make the rest of us weary of your reiterations.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 9, 2010 9:17 PM
Comment #303324

“America’s strengths are very deep, we have a strong entrepreneurial tradition tasked toward innovation and that is a fantastic asset to have.”

Maybe in the past. You should read this article by Andy Grove of Intel fame: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-07-01/how-to-make-an-american-job-before-it-s-too-late-andy-grove.html

Grove makes a compelling case that the transfer of our manufacturing and engineering base to China and other countries compromises our future innovative capabilities. In essence, he argues that if you are not in the business of actually producing computers, other high tech products, cars, etc., you destroy the experiential knowledge base from which innovation springs. A nation of consumers and financiers is unlikely to produce the next technological break through. Its not just about jobs.


Posted by: Rich at July 9, 2010 9:49 PM
Comment #303325

I won’t stick thing in your mouth if you don’t stick things in my mouth, OK?
Can we agree?

Laughable. You are still wrong in calling it a republic without its defining adjective, democratic.

Remember that chick that asked what Ben Franklin gave her? He said he gave her a “republic”, and he added a challenge.


“If she could keep it.”

Posted by: Weary Willie at July 9, 2010 10:01 PM
Comment #303326

This is how you do it.

http://www.breitbart.tv/flashback-americans-cheer-usa-usa-as-they-chase-black-panthers-out-of-town/

Posted by: Weary Willie at July 9, 2010 10:07 PM
Comment #303346

WW, learn your history, instead of quoting one liners from it, as if that reveals anything educated or intelligent. Franklin made that comment “if you can keep it”, referring to the King which the colonialists just threw out of the New World. Republic = absent a monarch. Franklin was referring to nothing more. He himself was loyal to the King for many decades, and had reservations as to whether a government could stand without a monarch.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 10, 2010 1:13 PM
Comment #303351


“jlw, some of the Democrats on this blog need to read what you have said to.”

Mag, if you think there are some truths in what I said, perhaps some of the Republicans should read it as well.

Republicans are fond of saying that the poor in America are much better off that the poor in the third world. This is true, but why? Is it because of capitalism? I don’t think so. The majority of the third world countries have a capitalist economic system. Mexico?

Republicans also like to say that there was some ‘Golden Age’ in Americas past history when things were better than now.

When? Before the progressive legislation? Before the New Deal?

The facts are that the poor Americans today are better off than many in the middle class in the 1800’s. The middle class today, as a percentage of population, is much larger than it was in the 1800’s and they are, for the most part, better off than some of the wealthy of back then.

IMO, there are several factors that have contributed to why we are better off than our counterparts of a hundred or a hundred and fifty years ago.

One factor, without a doubt, is capitalism. It is the best economic system that humans have devised to date, but it has some serious flaws that, in this last century, we have tried to keep in check. Those flaws, IMO, are greed which left uncontrolled leads to chaos; although not always blatant, a callus and amoral values system which regards workers as just numbers in a column; and relies far to much on profit and to little on logic in determining the course of future economic development.

Another factor is the progressive legislation which has tried to remedy the flaws in capitalism while preserving it as our basic economic philosophy. That legislation tried to keep greed in check with regulations for finance and industry. It helped even the playing field for workers and was a major factor in creating a much larger middle class than capitalism would prescribe. The progressive legislation is also responsible for why our poor, and especially our poor working class is better off that workers in the third world nations, both capitalist and non capitalist.

Another factor is the American workers ethic. Because of a lack of a manufacturing base, it has become extremely problematic to produce the jobs that are needed by these good hard working Americans. Perhaps our schools can teach servitude and the wealthy can hire the former middle class as butlers, maids and other servants. Perhaps two economic classes are better than three.

Reaganomics was more than just a supply side economy. It was a conservative proclamation, that proposed to forstal creeping socialism, which really isn’t socialism, by returning to that ‘Golden Age’ of capitalism; by presenting an ever increasing barrage of attacks on the progressive legislation which helped and enhanced rather than deterred our climb to the greatest empire the world has known. IMO, if conservatives are successful, it won’t be the progressives knocking on the door the next time around. It will be the boogeyman that mortifies conservative capitalists.

Posted by: jlw at July 10, 2010 1:38 PM
Comment #303355

We are now coping with the damage not of the original recession that started in 2007, but with the cures administered by Obama when he took office in 2009. His big spending, big borrowing and his looming tax increases in 2011 are driving the economy down.

History will probably record the Obama administration of 2009-2013 (hopefully his only time in office) as one long recession-depression, just as we see the Hoover administration of 1929-1933.

I make no allowance for the “false dawn” of rising markets that engendered a great deal of hope in 1930-1931 before these expectations were crushed by the Hoover tax increases of late 1931 and the Federal Reserve Board’s increase of interest rates that same year. In retrospect, we will see the slight uptick of the early months of 2010 as our own “false dawn” interrupting but not punctuating our four-year recession.

As the debt crisis that started in Greece spreads to Europe and across the ocean, the United States’ high level of deficit spending makes us particularly vulnerable. It was recognition of that weakness that led Europeans to reduce their deficits and cut back their spending.

Posted by: Royal Flush at July 10, 2010 3:41 PM
Comment #303357

jlw I agree Republicans need to clean up their act to.

Posted by: MAG at July 10, 2010 4:48 PM
Comment #303361

I can never get my mind around the fact that the elephant broke everything in the china shop and they try and blame the poor donkey out pulling the cart.

Posted by: Jeff at July 10, 2010 5:47 PM
Comment #303364

Jeff…perhaps your mind is deceiving you.

Posted by: Royal Flush at July 10, 2010 6:37 PM
Comment #303367

Royal Flush,

You point out that the Hoover administration and the Fed made fatal mistakes in 1931 by actions which had the result of further contracting a money supply already in dramatic contraction.

Today, the money supply in the general economy is also contracting at a pace unseen since the Great Depression. This despite Fed interest rates at essentially 0% for a number of years. The Fed has no room to increase the money supply by decreasing interest rates. This despite the TARP bailout, the Fed multi-trillion dollar support of the financial system and the stimulus package. Alan Greenspan recently expressed surprise that the normal signals of above normal deficit spending and monetary stimulation have failed to appear (inflation, bond rates, etc).

So, if your concern is with the failure to adequately address and increase the money supply in the broad economy, then your concern about tax increases is consistent, but your concern about federal government deficit spending is not. Recently, Ben Bernanke, stated that the economic recovery is fragile and a reduction of deficit spending at this time would not be advisable. He went on to say that if necessary, the Federal Reserve would have to step into the breach and essentially print money to maintain an adequate money supply, support asset values and maintain aggregate demand.

What’s your options for avoiding the mistakes that you state were made by the Hoover administration? How would you increase the money supply? How would you stimulate the economy? Increase tax cuts? Maintain or increase deficit spending? Encourage the Fed to print money?

Posted by: Rich at July 10, 2010 7:06 PM
Comment #303374

RF said wrongly: “His [Obama] big spending, big borrowing and his looming tax increases in 2011 are driving the economy down.”

You don’t have one single shred of evidence to support that fantasy. The big spending and borrowing are having NO effect on this economy in any negative way. The modest stimulative effect is helping the economy at, albeit, a far too high price tag down the road. Debt and borrowing don’t affect an economy until those debts and borrowing come due. They may affect the psychology of equity and bond markets, but, not the economy, until they come due. So far, all of our lenders are not concerned about the short and mid term speculation of our ability to repay the interest on our obligations. Ergo, your statement is without a shred of evidence.

As for allowing the Bush era tax cuts to expire, there again, you are entirely wrong based on the evidence. Corporate profits are way up. Hence the absence of any shortage of capital. Corporations are hoarding cash, perhaps in anticipation of the expiring tax cuts, but, they are also producing ample supply to meet demand. Hence, even with the cash hoarding, there is no absence of supply to meet demand, and therefore, no drag on the economy currently caused by the looming lapse of the tax cuts. Productivity is high and growing, and that explains the lion’s share of the big companies not hiring, along with a lack of robust growth in consumer demand.

As for small companies, the lack of capital has nothing to do with the looming expiration of the tax cuts. It has to do with lack of consumer demand primarily, and secondarily the still tight fisted regional and local banks still trying to rectify their balance sheets from holding bad mortgage, or potentially bad, mortgage assets.

There is a price to be paid for the policies of borrowing and debt, to be sure. But, that price is down the road as entitlement spending begins to compromise our ability to sustain our debt going forward. And there was a far more immediate and lasting price to be paid in the absence of that debt and borrowing, that would have doubled the unemployment rate and very possibly sent the world economy into depression due to the cascading effect of financial and central bank failures.

So, get a grip on reality. At this moment, none of the measures taken since Obama was elected is having any adverse effect on working and unemployed workers. Whatever adverse effects they are experiencing were set in place in motion well before Obama came to office.

Absent an effective cost cutting policy for the unfunded entitlement mandates in the next 24 to 36 months, there is going to be hell to pay for the current deficits and mounting debt, no question.

What do you want to bet that when Congress actually proposes such cuts, Republicans will oppose them if the Democrats proffer them? And I am sure, the opposite would also be the case. Both parties place electoral politics far ahead of the solving the nation’s problems and challenges. That much has been amply demonstrated by both parties in recent years.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 10, 2010 11:10 PM
Comment #303412

Weary Willie,
Let’s ask the Political Science Professors what the duck looks and talks like. I got the weird notion that it’s a Constitutionally Limited Democratic Republic. Nowhere in the Constitution did I find the word: democracy. Nowhere in the constitution did I find the word: republic. PLEASE CORRECT ME IF I’M WRONG. I did find this: …a republican form of government. That means we elect representatives. Elections to count the majority is a principle of any definition of (gasp) democracy. Throw in some free speech, throw in a few of the ideas of The Enlightenment, throw in the idea that the artificial construct we call State Power doesn’t have the right to steamroll personal freedoms for the benefit of the ruling elite and we might have something we can work with. Please refer to Article V (5).

Posted by: Stephen Hines at July 11, 2010 7:24 PM
Comment #303449

http://www.watchblog.com/thirdparty/archives/007122.html#303439

Posted by: Weary Willie at July 12, 2010 7:28 PM
Comment #303621

David:

I might word things a bit differently in our article. I certainly would not say the large spending and borrowing has had “no” negative effect.

I do believe it has been absolutely necessary. However “no effect” is pretty strong language.

There is a saying in economics. When the government gets in get out, when the government gets out get in.

The government jumping in, even though completely necessary, to date has the unintended consequence of creating uncertainty in investors and spenders. It is likely a partial cause to corporations sitting on cash, and can actually lead to a decline in consumer spending.

There is a legitimate debate right now between Obama and his advisors and Merkel and her advisors on this regard. Germany believes that by cutting their budget defict they will increase consumer activity.

Your basic point is absolutely right that the large spending/borrowing has not harmed the economy. In fact, it was necessary and has helped the economy to date.

However, I would offer the unintended consequence of corporations hording cash, as partially caused by uncertainty of the future economic plans of the current administration. I hear and agree with your comments on productivity. However, there are many other ways to spend cash including buying back one’s own stock, increasing dividends, and aquistions to name a few. Hoarding cash is a sign of great caution about the economy.

I would also say that this is a point of legitimate economic debate as it appears the Germans and our Whitehouse both cannot be right.

Here is brief article with some of Merkel’s thoughts:

http://noir.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=a3xlXH_FZw7s

Also, I think that if the Democrats submit budget cuts, the Republicans will accept them but go further. They will want to be seen as for deeper cuts than Democrats.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at July 15, 2010 12:45 PM
Comment #312887

The FDA has been covering up for BPA corporate interests for years, it is time for the GOP to take this one on if they are serious about reforming government, reducing taxpayers wasted money on the FDA that is rotten to the core with corruption.

Posted by: Pete Neisman at November 10, 2010 3:41 PM
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