Rule by Corporations

Norman Jewison’s 1975 masterpiece Rollerball is set in a dystopia in the near future where governments have crumbled and corporations rule the planet.  Bartholomew, played by John Houseman,  is a corporation head that is alarmed by the individual effort of Jonathan E in his playing the sport of Rollerball, a sport that let’s the common man have an outlet for his life  by cheering for teams sponsored by corporations.  Bartholomew states to his fellow executives:

In my opinion, we are confronted here with something of a situation. Otherwise, I would not have presumed to take up your time. Once again, it concerns the case of Jonathan E. We know we don’t want anything extraordinary to happen to Jonathan. We’ve already agreed on that. No accidents, nothing unnatural. The game was created to demonstrate the futility of individual effort. And the game must do its work. The Energy Corporation has done all it can, and if a champion defeats the meaning for which the game was designed, then he must lose. I hope you agree with my reasoning.

Today, the corporations flexed their muscles to force Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia to veto a bill that would give limited amounts of freedom to people who wish to act on their convictions in terms of catering to the LGBT community.  Major corporations such as Delta Airlines, Coca-Cola and the National Football League indicated that if the bill were to become law, the state would take a major hit on its pocketbook due to corporations refraining from doing business with the state.   A similar measure was signed into law in North Carolina where the state is being threatened with withdraw of business.

It is apparent that corporations have tremendous power in dictating to government what to do and how to do it.  Progressives cheered this action today, but it is ironic that the same group of people they deride as the one percenters and evil corporate rulers now sings their praises to high heaven.   It is also apparent to the social conservatives and libertarians that corporations are no friends of theirs.  They are interested in only one thing and that is getting a buck.  They have long since used the government as a form of rent seeking, gaining favor for such things as the Wall Street bailout and the auto industry bailout several years ago.   Meanwhile, the common man gets nothing from the government as its businesses are not “too big to fail.”  Mark Crovelli stated in a March 31, 2014 post to

I am thus seriously perplexed and enraged to read about government “bailouts” occurring on a regular basis all over the modern world.  … Goldman Sachs, GM, and AIG were all effectively “bailed out” because their previous executives were so outstandingly incompetent and corrupt that they rendered their institutions insolvent by orders of magnitude.

So it is today, that the common man who yearns for a bit of liberty has been squashed again by the corporate junta who really calls the shots in our land.

Shameful AIPAC

Today, almost all of the remaining presidential candidates spoke before the AIPAC convention in Washington DC.   AIPAC, which stands for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, has been instrumental in urging the United States government to maintain strong ties to Israel including providing  financial and military assistance.  The mission of AIPAC is the following:

The mission of AIPAC is to strengthen, protect and promote the U.S.-Israel relationship in ways that enhance the security of the United States and Israel.

Cooperation between the two countries is advantageous for both nations. As America’s bipartisan pro-Israel lobby, AIPAC urges all members of Congress to support Israel through foreign aid, government partnerships, joint anti-terrorism efforts and the promotion of a negotiated two-state solution – a Jewish state of Israel and a demilitarized Palestinian state.

Why, shall we ask, should we give billions of dollars to a country that does not involve the defense of this country?   It is halfway around the world and far from our shores.  Why also should we support a Jewish state where most other nations are derided as racist for not allowing immigration of people whose culture and religion are different from others.  I can think of the nation of South Africa which excluded blacks from political participation until recent times.   That many progressives, including Hillary Clinton, support these policies is the height of hypocrisy.   At the AIPAC conference today, Hillary Clinton stated the following:

Candidates for president who think the United States can outsource Middle East security to dictators, or that America no longer has vital national interests at stake in this region are dangerously wrong.

It would be a serious mistake for the United States to abandon our responsibilities, or cede the mantle of leadership for global peace and security to anyone else.

What is this “mantle of leadership for global peace” she is talking about?  We are exhausted from fighting in the Middle East for the last 25 years and spent between $4 to $6 trillion in fighting losing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Not only have we lost, we have also stirred up a hornet’s nest of terrorism that was unheard of just 30 years ago.   AIPAC might think that we in America have bottomless pockets to support their selfish interests.  However, the game is up and it is time to tell Israel that they are on their own.

Romney’s stupid move

The circus that is the 2016 Presidential primary continues apace with special speech made by Mitt Romney in Salt Lake City this afternoon.   Trump’s flaws are well-known with his advocacy of universal health care, invasion of privacy and abuses of due process as brilliantly summarized by Bruce Fein in the Washington Times.   Nevertheless, as of this writing, he leads in the polls and in delegates and stands a good chance to win the nomination.  What has made him so attractive is his stand as an outsider and that he is a man that is not beholden to special as he has funded his own campaign.  It is also a known fact that the public has gradually come to the realization that the men in Washington have thrown them under the bus and that they are more interested in serving lobbyists in the DC suburbs than hearing the people.  Trump has tapped into this discontent with maximum effect.

Into this campaign stepped Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP nominee for President.  In his ineptitude, he has thrown gasoline on the fire as he said some of these whoppers:

His tax plan in combination with his refusal to reform entitlements and honestly address spending would balloon the deficit and the national debt. So even though Donald Trump has offered very few specific economic plans, what little he has said is enough to know that he would be very bad for American workers and for American families.

Where has this man been in the last decade?  It was the GOP Congress that gave us Medicare Part D that aggravated the deficit and it was Romney’s allies like John McCain and Lindsay Graham that voted to bail out the big banks that sent the debt into the stratosphere.   The GOP Congress under Speaker Ryan has abandoned any pretense of capping spending by eliminating the sequester in early 2015 and setting the stage for larger deficits in the future.  Romney should just be quiet and stop talking about plans.

Mr. Trump’s bombast is already alarming the allies and fueling the enmity of our enemies. Insulting all Muslims will keep many of them from fully engaging with us in the urgent fight against ISIS, and for what purpose? Muslim terrorists would only have to lie about their religion to enter the country.

Again, the irony is stunning.  Our government has constantly aggravated the situation by engaging in Wilsonian nation building and arming rebels that are intent on overthrowing Assad and creating an ISIS stronghold.  We arm the Saudis to the tune of $60 billion and they have used those weapons to kill their enemies in Yemen.    You talk about bombast?  We chant USA!!  USA!!  USA!! as if our country is the only one that matters in this world.

I can go on and on, but the clear facts are that we are $20 trillion in debt, our civil liberties are in great peril and the remaining candidates have no clue on how to get us out of this mess.  Romney’s words might be the stuff of eloquence, but in the hands of “competent” people, we are fast approaching national bankruptcy.  Trump is not the solution, but who is?  Time to stop the world saving and let’s concentrate on home and hearth.