Gallery 2

Defining The Villians

Gallery 2 - Page 3
Gallery 2-Page 2

American Corruption Runs Deep

By James Donahue

The blatant attacks on organized labor by Wisconsin Governors Scott Walker and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and their Republican cronies in the state legislature have stirred the ire of workers all across the nation. People know we have all been seriously hoodwinked but until Walker, who was vocal about what he is up to, and Snyder, who did it with more stealth, it has been difficult for people to clearly define an enemy combatant. It has been no secret, however, that the cancer runs much deeper.

Now as similar battles against state budget slashing proposals break out throughout the country, the questions are: Just how deep does the corruption run? How do we get to the bottom of this rape of the coffers of our nation? And how can it be fixed?

From where we sit, it appears that we are engaged in a conflict between the ultra wealthy and the rest of the people who are plunging deeper and deeper into poverty. The Republicans (representing corporate interests) have taken over the legislative, judicial and executive branches of our state and federal government and many state governments and they are using this power to legally destroy what remains of organized labor, which has been the backbone of the American Middle Class.

This is an old warfare that has been going on since America became industrialized and people began flocking to the cities to find factory jobs. In the early days the workers endured long hours, low pay and extreme health risks. It was not long, however, before workers began organizing to collectively bargain for improved conditions. Thus began a conflict between labor and management that has continued to this day.

The trouble runs much deeper than the war between business and labor.

The Constitution gives the power to print and control money to the Congress. But on Christmas Eve, 1913, while most members of Congress were home for the holidays, a key number of Congressmen met in special session to pass the Federal Reserve Act. It was signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson. The act created the Federal Reserve and passed the power to this non-government agency to manipulate the nation’s banking system and print money. America has since endured the Great Depression, various recessions, and a run-away inflationary spiral ever since.

There was a time when the Democratic Party represented the working class. Congress in those years passed the Railway Labor Act in 1926, the year Republican Calvin Coolidge took office. It was the first major piece of labor legislation. It was followed in 1935 by the National Labor Relations Act while Franklin D. Roosevelt was in office. This law established, for the first time, the right to organize for collective bargaining.

It was during Roosevelt’s Administration that the Glass-Steagal Act was signed into law. This act put government controls on financial institutions and maintained stability and a balance of financial power through the 1950s. It was during this time that labor organized for eight-hour work days, improved working conditions, health benefits, paid vacations and better wages. This resulted in a sharing of the wealth and the appearance of what has been called the Middle Class of working Americans.

Big business interests, working through the Republican Party which had control of the Eightieth Congress, overpowered President Harry Truman’s veto in 1946 and forced passage of the Taft-Hartley Act. This was an anti-labor act and the first move toward breaking the backs of organized labor in America. Labor leaders called it a “slave labor” bill. They were right. The Taft-Hartley Act triggered the start of union busting by management.

Since then, the Democratic Party appears to have moved over to the side of big business and big money interests. It was during the Clinton Administration that Congress repealed that the Glass-Steagal Act, thus removing federal controls on banks and lending institutions. International trade agreements were signed that made it possible for goods to be exported and imported between countries without facing high tariffs and import costs.

In the meantime, Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush managed to shift the balance of the U. S. Supreme Court with the appointments of Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito and Anthony Kennedy to that high bench. Thus the stage was set in 2000, the year the Supreme Court stole the national election and gave the Presidency to George W. Bush.

After Bush the younger took office big business interests were in complete control. Bush used executive orders to relax most of the environmental protection laws. We endured the Enron Scandal after Bush removed controls on the amount Enron could charge Californians for power. Banks began wild sub-prime mortgage lending for homes as the price of housing went through the roof. Credit cards were made available to anybody that asked. This launched a wild spending spree that brought about the so-called financial crisis of 2008 and the decisions by the outgoing Bush Administration and incoming Obama Administration to “bail out” the banks, mortgage companies and other big business interests like General Motors. The United States suddenly found itself trillions of dollars in debt and in major financial trouble.

Homes were foreclosed on. An untold number of Americans are now living homeless, many of them in the street. Jobs moved overseas as major manufacturers sought low-cost, non-union labor to manufacture televisions, computers, sewing machines, automobiles and other goods that could be shipped back to the United States without paying tariffs. This brought about the collapse of organized labor in the US as more and more workers lost their jobs.

While people are struggling just to survive, we are receiving reports about Corporate CEO’s and Bank Executives that are taking home billion dollar bonuses on top of their excessive pay. It is obvious that the wealthy are getting even richer while the poor and middle class are falling deeper and deeper into poverty and despair. The good paying jobs have disappeared along with paid vacation time and health insurance benefits. People saddled with credit card debt are suddenly finding the interest rate on those credit cards rising to 22 to 30 percent. The cost of food and other basic needs is rising because the Federal Reserve is printing more money to cover the artificial debt.

Now our legislators are proposing major government spending cuts. But rather than raising taxes on the wealthy they are attacking the programs put in place to give comfort to the poor and elderly. Targeted are food stamps, assistance for impoverished mothers of infant children, unemployment insurance, Medicare and Social Security.

After sending our young men and women off to fight unnecessary wars on foreign soil we also are seeing cuts in veteran’s benefits.

It is just more of that age old struggle between the haves and the have-nots, and right now, it appears as if the haves have the upper hand. They control the government. They have made the theft of our tax dollars legal.

American journalists who have been uncovering the facts behind the corporate takeover of the American financial system have been asking why the people responsible for the crash of 2008 have not been prosecuted for their “crimes.” But the U.S. Justice Department has just ruled that no laws were broken. There is no plan to charge anybody with wrongdoing. The crooks are walking away with all the money because they have taken over every corner of our government and made everything they did legal.

Thomas Jefferson, one of the framers of the Constitution and a former president, once warned that: “If we turn our monetary system over to the bankers our children will wake up as slaves to the country we fought to free.”

So now that the worst scenario has happened, can this be fixed? Without a revolution by the people like we are observing in Middle Eastern states and Madison, it probably can’t. And revolutions . . . even the peaceful kind like the ones led by the Egyptian people and Martin Luther King, tend to get bloody.

The problem is that there isn’t just one king or one ruler to be overthrown in this case. This is a crime committed by a multiple number of very wealthy and influential villains who currently wield all of the money, power and guns.