By Jack Jodell, May 22, 2011
President Obama and congressional middle-of-the-road Democrats have been taking a lot of abuse lately over the poor state of the American economy, even though they had little to do with its cause. Some of this criticism is very well deserved. After all, joblessness remains high; wages have barely been rising at all for working people over the past 30 years (while corporate CEO salaries and perks have skyrocketed); benefits have seen drastic cutbacks; private industry unions have all but disappeared; and millions upon millions of good-paying American jobs have been (and still are being) outsourced to cheap foreign labor markets. Of course , conservative Republicans and teabaggers on Capitol Hill haven’t cooperated one iota with ANY of the President’s economic stimulus agenda, have instead obstructed it, and are now actively attempting to shut down funding for a good share of it. So, what little progress we’ve been making hasn’t been entirely the President’s fault, nor the fault of his party. We can and should hold them accountable for their weak attempts at reaching out to, and actual compliance with the conservatives. But we must always remember: they are NOT the TRUE enemies of the middle class, workers, or those on fixed incomes!
No, they aren’t the real villains in this repressive, regressive economic mess we are currently in. With this new series of posts, entitled “Know Thy TRUE Enemies!”, I will attempt to identify our REAL, TRUE enemies – the people whose deliberate greed, stupidity, arrogance, and intransigence are making life miserable and unneccessarily stressful for millions worldwide as well as here in our own country.
CARL-HENRIC SVANBERG, CEO, BP
For a short time, I was torn between featuring this crook and Rex E. Tillerson, the CEO of ExxonMobil, the most profitable corporation this world has ever known. BOTH of their compensation levels are unjustifiably piggish in relation to that of most of their countrymen ($1.1 MILLION for Svanberg vs. $9.73 MILLION for Tillerson), especially when you consider gasoline is hovering right under $4 per gallon and people are HURTING. The reason I decided to feature Svanberg is simply because BP is the one who has directly attacked our country by polluting our coastal Gulf waters, killing millions of aquatic animals, destroying the ecology as well as the livelihoods of millions of American fishermen, and HE HAS PAID OUT ONLY A FRACTION OF THE $20 BILLION BP PROMISED TO PAY OUT IN COMPENSATION TO THOSE DEVASTATED PEOPLE. Worse yet, he has continued to pollute the Gulf with that dangerous and ridiculously ineffective chemical Corexit which is NOT getting rid of spilled oil at all but only making it sink to the bottom of the sea, infecting and killing all kinds of fish and shrimp, as well as birds, snakes, and even HUMANS! Even WORSE THAN THAT, BP has successfully covered up any further news on the destruction their irresponsible oil spill has caused through a series of outright lying TV commercials used as propaganda! Yes, they’ve spent millions on propaganda while leaving millions of innocent Gulf citizens destitute.
DON’T GET ME WRONG, PEOPLE: ALL OF THE OIL COMPANY EXECS ARE CRIMINALS FOR DELIBERATELY OVERCHARGING YOU FOR GASOLINE, AND ALL ARE YOUR TRUE ENEMY, BUT SVANBERG IS THE WORST OF THE WORST!
THOMAS DONOHUE, President and CEO
of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
This 73 year old man has has turned what was once a more or less benign, loose-knit association of American businesses into the most potent, anti-labor business lobby in our history. They have become a major political donor, overwhelmingly to the now very conservative Republican Party. The Washington Post has said of him, “Nobody has mastered the new Washington game better than Tom Donohue.” That spells nothing but bad news for American working people.
While never having actually worked in the corporate world he so aggressively lobbies for, Donohue speaks for over 3 million companies. He has increased Chamber membership more than 15 times what it was at the start of his tenure in 1997, making it now the largest business advocacy group in the nation. The PAC he helped create played a major role in the defeat of then-Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) in 2004. This snake then went on to lainch major Chamber drives against President Obama’s health care reform and climate-change control initiatives. A blunt-talking and ruthless business advocate, he has fought labor unions tirelessly. “…we don’t want to just talk about these issues and feel good about where we stand on them. We want to win!”, he has said. And he has done done almost anything to make sure the business community does just that. He has established the Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform, an activist group which has had many successes in courts at the state and local levels, in electing state attorneys general, and even in the Supreme Court. He actively lobbied for Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts’ nomination, arguing that the very pro-business and close-minded Roberts practiced “fairness, keen intellect, open-mindedness, and judicious practice of the law.” Well, maybe for corporations he has, Mr. Donohue – but not for anyone else.
Under Donohue, the Chamber has accepted many millions of dollars in donations from foreign firms that engage in outsourcing. He has repeatedly had his Chamber put out issue alerts against Democratic efforts to encourage businesses to hire locally rather than following the crazy :free trade” outsourcing measures advocated by the Chamber and its huge profit-obsessed corporate allies and donors. As such, Donohue has actively campaigned tirelessly for the benefit of our new American oligarchy rather than for the hopes and dreams of American workers and American communities. He has told American workers to “stop whining” about outsourcing. He was once quoted as saying “while at one time organized labor played a valuable role in establishing workers’ rights when there were few protected by government, today it is clinging to a world that no longer exists, and, in doing so, risks becoming completely irrelevant and ineffective.” IRRELEVANT and INEFFECTIVE, Mr. Donohue? What could be possibly MORE relevant in the face of outsourcing American jobs and entire plants as American wages are frozen and falling than a strong organized labor presence? . Donohue’s efforts have borne only sour fruit for the vast majority of our countrymen. He is definitely NOT an advocate for the TRUE American way!
MAKE NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT, PROGRESSIVES AND WORKERS: THOMAS DONOHUE AND HIS NOW-RENEGADE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE ARE YOUR ENEMY!
So you see, folks: the President and his party are NOT the ones we should be focusing our political attacks upon. They have disappointed us, but they are not our REAL enemy! We must keep our focus on the TRUE enemies of social and economic fairness in this country, for it is they who currently have the upper hand in politics and law. If left unchecked, they will continue their insane far-right drive to strip regular citizens of all economic, legal, and social rights, and the leverage we have worked so hard for so many decades to achieve. Carl Henric-Svanberg and Thomas Donohue are but two of the many right-wing villains whose efforts we must fight to overcome. There are many. many more. Misguided partisan zealots like Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, David and Charles Koch, Dick Armey, Grover Norquist, Paul Ryan, Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes, John Boehner, and Mitch McConnell — they are ALL your enemy, and each will be spotlighted and exposed in future volumes of this series. WATCH FOR THEM!