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Same money, same message: Barrack Obama (US) and Jack Layton (Canada)


(Original source: http://problemsoftheworld.com/archives/tag/painted-girls/; uploaded by bgn59)

Wall Street money talks while the Lips of Barrack Obama and Jack Layton move in sync.

It all makes sense now. Why a socialist. Oh, I’m sorry. Why a “social democrat” from the frozen north, Canada, would come down to the Denver convention of US Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama to roll over on his stomach and bark at his feet. They both stand for the same things. But not quite in the way Canada’s Jack Layton, leader of the leftist NDP, says they do.

He said, “Democrats here are talking about the same kind of change we’re talking about in Canada.” Layton’s correct there. Democrats are talking about turning a blind eye to runaway population generated by both illegal and legal immigration. He continued, “Whether it’s real action on climate change, forging trade policies that work for working families or standing up for jobs and better health care, there is a real desire here to put the concern of the kitchen table head of the board room table.”

That must be news to Wall Street, Jack. They bought and paid for Obama, and now this socialist from the north has come down to Colorado and told everybody that their nominee is concerned about ordinary people. But, hey wait. Democrats have been doing that for decades. They talk like Robespierre and govern like Louis XIV.

In assessing a politician it is best to cast rhetoric aside and look at who is bank-rolling his campaign. Follow the money trail. The true alignment of the Democratic Party with corporate interests can be vividly illustrated by referring to The Centre for Responsive Politics (CRP). http://www.opensecrets.org Bluntly put, the big banks, financial firms, corporate law firms and private equity companies on Wall Street pay the pipers of both parties. But Jack Layton’s comrade Democrats are their clear favourites as the figures will show. Let’s cite some examples of the more prominent corporate contributors.

The Financial/Insurance/Real Estate Industry gave 51% of their $51 million in 2008 to Jack’s friends, the Democrats.

The Information Technology sector gave 67% of its $27 million in contributions to the Democrats in 2008.

This year the Democrats have received almost $24 million from Agribusiness, representing 41% of their influence-peddling.

This is interesting. Wall Street law firms have sent 75% of their over $140 million in political contributions to the two-faced Democrats.

Listen to this. The Defense Industry gave 52% of its 8 million in donations to Jack Layton’s allies, the Democrats, in 2008. As Canadians know, Layton is a fierce opponent of the war in Iraq. I suppose if the Defense Industry had given its money to the Republicans it would have been referred to as “the Military Industrial Complex” once more. The electronics sector of the Defense Industry gave 55% to the Democrats.
Wall Street promotes the candidates who serve its interests and the Democrats have delivered for them since their November 2006 victory. Democratic leaders buried a proposal to tax the massive incomes of hedge fund operators at normal rates, allowing billionaires to claim most of their income as capital gains taxed at a far lower rate. Obama also refused action on the subprime meltdown that would have threatened big financial interests.

Barack Obama took in $102.1 million for all of 2007 and by February 22, 2008 had raised $138 million, including a million from private equity firms and $9 million from corporate law firms. And hold on to your seat belt. By the August 28/08 Barrack Obama had raised $389,423,102. Friends, that money most assuredly did not come from cab drivers, hairdressers, carpenters, supermarket clerks, gardeners or the working families sitting at the kitchen table that Jack Layton’s rhetoric conjures up. It came from ordinary, down-to-earth corporate goliaths like AT+T who gave $168,613 to Obama. And City Group who gave him $389,989. And Microsoft who gave him $274,375.

Now why would Microsoft give a candidate like Obama a political donation? Their donation is explicable by an Obama policy statement that maintains support for “improvements in our visa programs, including the H-1B programs, to attract some of the world’s most talented people to America.” But the most talented people in the world are already in abundant supply in America. The only problem is, Obama’s corporate IT benefactors don’t want to pay them the salaries they command. Better to flood the market with Asian visa workers who can be paid at 60% of that rate. Buying a pliable President and congress for even $1 billion in campaign contributions would be bargain for the IT industry.

Upon reviewing their take, one must say that for a progressive party of the downtrodden, the Democratic Party of the United States of America has done pretty well for itself, as did Mr. Obama, holding out a tin cup on Wall Street and doing their panhandler act.

I just loved their spiel too. “Please Mister, could you spare me a million, when I am elected I’ll open up the floodgates to more cheap labour, destroy another five million middle class jobs, expand the visa programs, displace jobs, depress wages, replace Canada as the country with highest population growth rate in the G8 and accelerate green house gas emissions, ruin the environment. Please Mister. Please. I won’t let you down sir..’

Now, it’s true. Organized labour has deployed 91% of its donations toward the Democrats and this has offset the corporate influence. But the scale is so pitifully small as to be compared to a peashooter firing back at a cannon. But then, if Big Labour did have the same financial clout, how would they wield it? The answer is not encouraging.

Until 1993 it was understood by trade union leaders that a tight labour market was a workers best friend. As the Democratic Socialist leader of Vermont, Bernie Sanders put it, “If poverty is increasing and if wages are going down, I don’t know why we need millions of people to be coming into this country as guest workers who will work for lower wages than American workers and drive wages down even lower than they are now.’

Obviously Bernie Sanders is not Jack Layton’s kind of socialist. Nor was J. S.

Woodsworth, the founder of the CCF, the precursor to Mr. Layton’s New Democratic Party, since Woodsworth favoured restrictive immigration policies during his tenure as leader before the war. Layton is intent upon “jacking” up Canada’s immigration intake another 70-80,000 people immediately to achieve his arbitary goal of an annual quota equivalent to one percent of whatever of the country’s population level is. He maintains a steadfast ignorance of any study that undermines his rationale for growth. Studies like the C.D. Howe report that revealed that pensions could not be indefinitely supported by increasing immigration unless immigration was multiplied 28 times its existing level. Is Mr. Layton prepared to process over 7 million immigrants a year just to support pensioners? It would be interesting how his “Green Agenda” held up after a population hike like that after five years. Not to mention his plans to cut GHG emissions. And then there is that inconvenient Statistics Canada report of May 2007. The one that showed that immigration has depressed Canadian wages. That’s good news for the people who sit at the board room table. Bad news for the people who sit at the kitchen table that Jack claims to speak for.

In America, the voice of organized labour, the AFL-CIO, is singing in harmony with Obama’s Democrats. But the song is not “Solidarity forever”, its “Money, Money, Money”. In 1993 the AFL-CIO made a shocking break with its past by attacking the critics of illegal immigration. Three years later it joined a coalition of business, agribusiness and Christian conservatives to kill provisions of bill to limit refugee admissions and verify social security numbers of newly-hired workers to discourage illegal workers. But the landmark moment came in February of 2000 when it was announced that the AFL-CIO would “support expanded immigration, lenient enforcement of immigration law and the legislative agenda of immigrant advocacy groups.” Translation: The AFL-CIO was abandoning American workers to champion legal and illegal immigrant workers in their greed to recruit and harvest a larger dues-paying base.

Organized labour in Canada, as represented by the CLC, and its parliamentary wing, Jack Layton’s NDP, has precisely the same attitude. Xenophiliacs who love strangers within our gates more than the workers born right here. Some would call this a Christian attitude. Perhaps they should refer to 1st Timothy 5:8. There are many translations. But essentially, charity begins at home, and if you don’t begin at home, you aren’t practicing Christianity. I would prefer to call it an attitude of selfish condescension, one easy to accommodate if you are a trade union bureaucrat with a degree in Labour studies or economics sitting in an office insulated from layoffs and passing judgment upon “ignorant” blue collar workers who are obviously guilty of “false conciousness” because they don’t see the world as you do. Tougher though if you are on the front lines of competition, mopping a hospital floor for a subsistence wage and you’re in danger of losing your job because it might be contracted out to a cut-throat company that uses illegal immigrant workers. The ones the CLC says enrich our culture.

The reality is that although Jack Layton and Barack Obama may be talking about the same things, the populist script they are reading from is carefully crafted to decoy our notice from their corporate obligations. We may hear their rousing speeches, but it is money that is doing the talking, and it has an agenda. Its agenda is not American or Canadian. It is globalist. And it will do anything to have its way. It plays dirty. It doesn’t care about equality, but if it needs to, it will play the race card. It doesn’t care about migrant workers, but if it needs to, it will pretend to care. It doesn’t care about cultural diversity, but if needs to build up a constituency among Hispanics to gain support for amnesty and a bigger labour pool, it will. And it doesn’t care about the environment, but when there was a danger that the Sierra Club was going to return to its former policy of favouring restrictive immigration policies to stabilize the country’s runaway growth, a billionaire stepped in with $100 million to ensure that it didn’t happen.

Wall Street money talks. And if it keeps talking, in four decades, thanks to corporate mandated manic immigration, one half billion North Americans may be alive, or dying, to hear, the sound of a silent spring and a dead continent.

Thanks, Jack, for your role in making it happen.

Tim Murray
Quadra Island, BC
August 29/08

Comments

I cam in agreement with what Tim has written, except that I don't think it acknowledges that we can't forward unless we make choices between what is on offer today, however unpalatable those choices may seem. If U.S. electors don't consciously make a considered choice on the spurious grounds that both sides are seriously flawed, then they are effectively giving away what little choice they have left to the U.S.'s wealthy elites through their corporate newsmedia. It would be far more simple if there were a choice between a candidate that was clearly good on the one hand and another that was bad.

Because of the stupid, U.S. first-past-the-post voting system, voters can't even register protest votes, such as, for example, for the far more preferable Ralph Nader in 2000, without risking the catastrophe of the 8 years of Bush which did, in fact, occur as a result of votes that would otherwise have gotten Al Gore over the line, being effectively lost (as well as the outright rort of votes in Miami). The other catastrophe, of course was the election of Nixon in 1968, because many U.S. anti-war activists refused to acknowledge that, for all the serious faults of the Democrats, Nixon posed a far greater threat. Of course, in 2000, Gore would have been a very long way from perfect as Tim has shown elsewhere, but it is inconceivable that he would have mismanaged the economy to the same extent that Bush has or, invaded Iraq. Even if he had, it is inconceivable that he could have mismanaged the invasion as badly as Bush did.

Whatever can rightly be critically written of Barack Obama, I think it is essential that U.S. voters at least emphatically repudiate Bush's legacy by electing the only possible alternative to John McCain, Bush's heir that is Barack Obama.

Still, there are good reasons to be concerned about Obama. More evidence, on top of what Tim has written, can be found in Naomi Klein's Obama's Chicago Boys (and this doesn't even include his failure to confront the problem of U.S. population growth):

Barack Obama waited just three days after Hillary Clinton pulled out of the race to declare, on CNBC, "Look. I am a pro-growth, free-market guy. I love the market."

Demonstrating that this is no mere spring fling, he has appointed 37-year-old Jason Furman to head his economic policy team. Furman is one of Wal-Mart's most prominent defenders, anointing the company a "progressive success story." On the campaign trail, Obama blasted Clinton for sitting on the Wal-Mart board and pledged, "I won't shop there." For Furman, however, it's Wal-Mart's critics who are the real threat: the "efforts to get Wal-Mart to raise its wages and benefits" are creating "collateral damage" that is "way too enormous and damaging to working people and the economy more broadly for me to sit by idly and sing 'Kum-Ba-Ya' in the interests of progressive harmony."

Obama's love of markets and his desire for "change" are not inherently incompatible. "The market has gotten out of balance," he says, and it most certainly has. Many trace this profound imbalance back to the ideas of Milton Friedman, who launched a counterrevolution against the New Deal from his perch at the University of Chicago economics department. And here there are more problems, because Obama--who taught law at the University of Chicago for a decade--is thoroughly embedded in the mind-set known as the Chicago School.

Just passing on another comment from a reader who doesn't post:

"I don't disagree with your assumptions, nowhere is it more apparent than in Victoria at this time [that it's the money that talks]

I just thought that you were unfairly singling out Barak Obama. We have had enough of George and the Republicans. Ask any teenager in South America what they think of George and his merry men."

Sheila Newman, population sociologist for Frank H.

In the choice of the lesser evil amongst the leading pro-population-growth pro-big-business Democratic Party contenders, I had accepted the judgement that Obama was the right candidate on the grounds that he had, at least, opposed the Iraq war at the outset whilst Hillary Clinton had voted for it. However, Obama since appears to have moved closer to acceptance of the continuation of the U.S.'s involvement in the conflict, so the difference in this regard is no longer as pronounced as it once was.

However, an article by Naomi Klein written shortly after Clinton conceded to Obama, I learnt that Obama had employed Chicago School trained Friedmanite economists and had proclaimed: "Look. I am a pro-growth, free-market guy. I love the market." (See Obama's Chicago Boys of 13 June 2008). That Obama would do this after the catastrophic consequences of the Bush administration's embrace of economic neo-liberalism does not sit well with his claim to represent a decisive break from the past. In contrast Hillary Clinton's article No Crisis Is Immune From Exploitation Under Bush of 6 Aug 08, which I found linked to from Naomi Klein's web site, does demonstrate that Hillary at least still pays lip service to the traditional Keynesian Government interventionist policies that had once been the policies of the Democratic Party.