Elizabeth Warren Just Laid Out an Indictment of Our Political System in All Its Corruption and Sleaze

By Charles P. Pierce | Esquire

While the feds came for Trumpworld, the Massachusetts senator went about her work.

This would be the second element of her two-pronged attempt to refashion American capitalism into a more user-friendly corporate system, the first being the plan she proposed last week that already has given so many of the right people a bad case of the vapors. On Tuesday, she laid out a lengthy indictment of how Washington does business now, and an equally lengthy prescription for how to drain the swamp that the current administration* merely has filled with a different class of predatory beast. From CNBC:

Sen. Elizabeth Warren wants to ban members of Congress and the White House staff from owning individual stocks — and replace them with government-managed investment accounts. Warren's bill would also impose a lifetime ban on lobbying for presidents and federal lawmakers, and would bar U.S. lobbyists from using foreign cash to affect American policy. It would slap new taxes on “excessive lobbying” of more than $500,000 a year. It would bind Supreme Court justices to a code of conduct recognized by other federal judges.

And, in an apparent jab at Trump, the measure would require presidential candidates to share years of previous tax returns and continue doing so every year if they win. Trump broke with tradition and did not release his tax returns during the 2016 campaign.

Her bill of particulars is precise.

On Monday, as a preview of the speech, she took to the electric Twitter machine to arraign Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and former HHS secretary Tom Price, as well as Citibank and Exxon Mobil, whom she accused of hiring former Democratic and Republican officeholders as button men for corporate interests within the government.

First, the rich and powerful buy their way into Congressional offices. Exhibit A: Mick Mulvaney. After he left Congress, Mulvaney told a roomful of bankers that he had a rule in his office: if a lobbyist didn’t give him money, the lobbyist didn’t get a meeting—he met only with those lobbyists who ponied up for his campaign war chest. Today, Mulvaney is President Trump’s head of the Office of Management and Budget and the person running the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. And when he made these comments right out in public with the press listening in, Trump and pretty much every Republican in Washington just shrugged.

And she took a clean shot at Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch for meeting with anti-union fundraisers—at the Trump Hotel in D.C.!—the day before SCOTUS handed down its union-crippling Janus decision.

In the early 2000s, Congressman Billy Tauzin started pushing an idea: expand Medicare to cover prescription drugs. Good for seniors—in fact, life saving for some. But also very good for Big Pharma—more prescriptions filled, more money coming in.
And it might all have landed there, with seniors getting drug coverage and drug companies selling more drugs – but Big Pharma wanted more. Number one on their list was a flat prohibition on the worrisome possibility that the government might actually negotiate for lower drug prices. And Billy delivered – which I’m sure had nothing to do with the more than $200,000 in campaign contributions the Congressman received from the drug industry.

Today, Big Pharma rakes in billions from seniors on Medicare while charging sky-high prices for the drugs they need—and no one in government can negotiate those prices. And what happened to Billy? In December of 2003, the very same month the bill was signed into law, PhRMA – the drug companies’ biggest lobbying group – dangled the possibility that Billy could be their next CEO. In February of 2004, Congressman Tauzin announced that he wouldn’t seek re-election. Ten months later, he became CEO of PhRMA —at an annual salary of $2 million. Big Pharma certainly knows how to say “thank you for your service.”

It is a huge undertaking that she is proposing, and, I suppose, one could conclude that she's staked out her issues for a run at the presidency in 2020—although, out of pure selfishness as a resident of the Commonwealth (God save it!), I'm still loath to see that happen.

But there were also a couple of other moments in her time at the NPC that are worth noting. First, in response to a question from the audience, and slipping back into her role as a professor of contract law, she pointed out that federal interests would prevail against any non-disclosure agreements that had been struck between the president* and members of his campaign staff and/or administration. This is not insignificant, as I suspect we will learn as the weeks go by.

Today, the national Chamber of Commerce spends tens of millions of dollars to block policies that threaten the profits of a handful of America’s richest corporations. They currently occupy an enormous building facing the White House, a sort of visual alternative to the government elected by the people. But back in the 1970s, the Chamber had no presence in DC to speak of. That started to change in 1972, when a hotshot corporate lawyer named Lewis Powell wrote a secret memo for the Chamber. The Powell Memo declared that the free enterprise system was under assault and urged the Chamber to mobilize America’s biggest businesses and establish themselves as a political force to be reckoned with. It was a declaration of war on democracy.

Powell called on corporations to raise armies of lobbyists and descend on Washington. And, boy, did they respond.

[Read more here]

Robert O’Leary, JD BARA, has had an abiding interest in alternative health products & modalities since the early 1970’s & he has seen how they have made people go from lacking health to vibrant health. He became an attorney, singer-songwriter, martial artist & father along the way and brings that experience to his practice as a BioAcoustic Soundhealth Practitioner, under the tutelage of the award-winning founder of BioAcoustic Biology, Sharry Edwards, whose Institute of BioAcoustic Biology has now been serving clients for 30 years with a non-invasive & safe integrative modality that supports the body’s ability to self-heal using the power of the human voice. Robert brings this modality to serve clients in Greater Springfield, Massachusetts and New England (USA) & “virtually” the world. He can also be reached at romayasoundhealthandbeauty@gmail.

 

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