By Rick Lucke
The Main Stream Media skims over the surface of Republican presidential nominee John McCain’s ties to lobbyists, and never even approaches the underlying root of the problem. McCain’s change in rhetoric regarding FISA and particularly telecom immunity presents an opportunity to examine an enemy that is attacking from within America’s own government: Corporatism.
McCain was against telecom immunity before he was for it. What has changed is that now McCain is running a presidential campaign that is staffed and funded, in part, by telecom money. USA Today reports, “Of the 66 current or former lobbyists working for the Arizona
senator or raising money for his presidential campaign, 23 have lobbied
for telecommunications companies in the past decade, Senate lobbying
Unfortunately, McCain is not alone in this type of pandering: it is the status quo.
Of the major telecoms, one refused to break the law: Qwest. Quoting a Washington Post 2007 article:
A formerQwest Communications Internationalexecutive,
[…] has alleged that the government withdrew opportunities for
contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars after Qwest refused to
participate in an unidentifiedNational Security Agencyprogram that the company thought might be illegal.
Former chief executiveJoseph P. Nacchio, convicted in April of 19 counts of insider trading, said the NSA approached Qwest more than six months before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to court documents […]. Nacchio
suggests that Qwest's refusal to take part in that program led the
government to cancel a separate, lucrative contract with the NSA in
the telecoms that participated in the illegal wiretapping program have
been reaping record profits through government contracts. Supporters of the illegal wiretapping program suggest the program was a response to the September 11, 2001 attacks, yet Qwest was asked to participate in the program six months prior.
Profits trump the law. Lawbreakers fund legislators’ campaigns. Legislators change the law to accommodate the lawbreakers. This is where the biggest threat to America lies.
corporatists direct attention to an external enemy that poses no threat
to the existence or ideals of our nation, and use the perception of
that external enemy to justify illegal actions, the enemy within –
corporate power – is undermining the very principles upon which America was founded. This internal enemy, without being seen as an enemy, is instead perceived as an inherently American institution. The irony, of course, is that America, the nation, was born out of a struggle against corporate tyranny of exactly the kind that now thrives in America. It is time to find anew the original spirit that led that revolution against corporate tyranny.