The only thing more blatant than the fraud and corruption that is killing our country is our current leaders' unwillingness to stop it.
Now, as we are faced with the unspeakable damage from both the Gulf oil spill and the financial crisis, our leaders still insist that the best people to deal with the aftermath are the very people who caused it in the first place.
Imagine how silly this reasoning would sound if we decided to let the spouses of murder victims be in charge of the crime scene. After all, they know the area the best and are very familiar with the victim. By our current leaders' reasoning, these criteria alone would make this the best person to do a thorough investigation and bring the perpetrator to justice.
This kind of bizarre ignorance of incentives is now displayed by our current president, who often appears to think that government works best when it is subservient to corporations under even the most dubious circumstances. So far, it seems like the only entrenched power that our president is interested in fighting was the Democratic Party machine that wanted him to wait his turn back in the primaries. This from a man that so many hoped would be an antidote to the horrendous corporatist reign of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
Nowhere is this attitude more on display than in the Gulf right now. Perhaps operating under the fear of that "if you try to actually fix something, you own it politically," our government continues to abdicate its responsibilities in the ongoing disaster.
Instead, it prefers to blindly trust the corporation that is largely responsible for the problem in the first place, regardless of the fact that the corporation has a history of safety mishaps and makes "covering-up" the basic tenet of its overall marketing plan.
Meanwhile, the corporation prevents tankers from cleaning up, scientists and engineers from researching, journalists from reporting and Americans from witnessing, all while the oil spill pumps into the gulf at an alarming rate for what could potentially be another 30 years before running dry.
I'm not sure what is more a sign of the times -- having a Democratic White House claim that they couldn't possible infringe on the rights of a private corporation that is destroying public water and land while a Republican Senator rightly demands a Government takeover, or Sarah Palin and Robert Gibbs having a flame war over who is more on the take from said corporation (the answer -- both).
Our current Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, the one who handed billions of tax dollars to a corporation now under federal fraud investigation, is spearheading the government's fiscal response and financial "reform" efforts even though he may eventually be charged as well.
Meanwhile, Larry Summers, Director of the White House's National Economic Council, has responded to the financial thievery by fighting against real derivative reform, which isn't surprising considering he was a chief architect of the dangerous system that tanked our economy in the first place. Of course, Larry also made millions off of the very derivatives he helped legalize.
That just leaves us to rely on the "independent" Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, who seems more interested in using his endless money-printing hose to try to delay the pain (and blame) of the fire that he helped start until after he's long gone.
So while real regulators and proven advocates of the People like William Black and Eliot Spitzer are relegated to the sidelines, we are left with a paltry $8 million dollar "investigation" by Phil Angelides. So who should step into the void? That's right, the very corporations who caused the collapse are now running the cleanup effort.
As bad as government can be (and, as we know in New York, it can be very bad), our leaders are trying to tell us that corporations have your interests at heart as much as government does. But corporations do not work for the general public, nor are they set up that way -- they work for money.
As grim as all this may sound, let's not forget that corrupt politicians, bankers and yes, even media figures are nothing new. However, a vast, unstoppable flow of the truth brought on by amazing advances in technology, and a country that still counts each person's vote equally, allows its citizens the right to speak freely and decide how and where to spend its non-taxed money -- is a stiff antidote to this age-old problem.
I believe we are already well on our way to righting this ship. Recent primaries point to a deep rumbling in the sleeping giant for a shared value that offends us all deeply regardless of political affiliation -- the basic issue of fairness and its obvious betrayal by our previous and current Government.
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