Way Past The Last Straw

August 30th, 2009at 01:36pm Posted by Eli

It’s not exactly news that both parties in this country are far too captive to corporate interests, but here’s yet another data point:

The FCC’s broadband task force is tasked with developing our national broadband policy. This is a project that FCC Commissioner Michael Copps ranks of the highest importance:

(…)

And so, because our government is run by corporations and for corporations even when it is controlled by Democrats, a telecom industry shill, Scott Wallstein, was named as economics director of that task force.  From a source close to the process, in the extended entry I proivde a thorough background on Wallstein’s industry connections and long history of fighting against American consumers:

[Exhaustive and depressing listing of pro-telecom wankery]

Snark aside, WTF?! Too many Democrats keep letting foxes into the henhouse. How many of our policies have to be dominated by bad-faith industry negotiators before we realize that continuing to give industry a seat at the policy table will never allow us to break away from our corporate kleptocracy? There better be a huge policy pay-off for consumers coming from this, but I am not holding my breath.

The legislative happenings of 2009 have brought the need for publicly financed elections and severe lobbying restrictions much closer to the forefront of my political thinking.  I don’t know how much support publicly financed elections might have in Congress, but there are good reasons to think that the situation will get worse before it gets better. The Supreme Court recently heard a case that could strike down the ban on corporate contributions to federal candidates.  As a party, we really need to start dumping bipartisanship and adopting a more populist attitude.

Amen on the need for publicly financed elections, but the trick is to get a majority (or supermajority) of incumbents to vote in favor of leveling the playing field for their challengers.  The campaign finance panel at Netroots Nation offered some encouragement, in that a lot of congresscritters are sick of spending huge chunks of their time begging for money instead of legislating or talking to their constituents (then again, a lot of them probably consider that a plus).

The public financing orgs like Change Congress and Public Campaign are also working on publicly shaming corporate mercenaries like Ben Nelson (it definitely got under his skin, but I’m not sure how much real impact it has either on him or his voters) and supporting public financing initiatives at the state level.

I think that last approach actually has the most promise, even though it’s a very long-term strategy.  I like the idea of building up a bench of progressive pro-public-financing state legislators who will be tomorrow’s senators and representatives, although there’s no guarantee that they won’t get corrupted as soon as they reach the federal level.

But until the money pipeline between corporations and elected officials is counterbalanced, our government is going to make the wrong decisions and hire the wrong people again and again.

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Elections,Obama,Technology,Wankers


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