US Chamber of Commerce: Friend or Foe?
By Rawlein G. Soberano, Ph.D.
(November 1, 2010) – There are abundant disturbing reports about the Chamber’s “selling of America.” We would not know for the next 2 to 3 weeks how successful will the Chamber be in raising foreign funds for Republican candidates in this election, which analysts and experts estimate will cost more than $1 billion.
What we know is that its decades-long effort to influence the Judiciary has been a resounding success. They finally got their judges that poisoned our electoral system with their decision that any contribution (regardless of its source and unaccountability) is just an exercise of the 1st amendment rights, opening the doors for another and more destructive Watergate scandal. Stay tuned, for it won’t be long till this country will be rocked by another scandal.
From the start, something is wrong with an organization that is overflowing with funds from undisclosed sources, hiding behind its 501©(6) designation whereby it can raise limitless amount of funds without ever disclosing the identity of its donors. As of September 15, 2010, it has become the attack dog of Republican and TPM candidates, zeroing in solely on Democratic incumbents and priorities. What Americans object to are the attack ads/lies launched against Democrats without declaring the source of the funding for their malicious lies. They have aired more than 8,000 ads in favor of their “investors” since mid-September.
From one end of the spectrum, the question for this election is not what the impact of the Tea Party will be. It will be that a few billionaires funded Republican candidates and those billionaires are now claiming those Republicans as their own. To think those spineless Senate Democrats couldn’t even get the disclosure act brought to the floor for a vote because the Republicans might threaten to … [gasp] filibuster! Guess the Republicans will claim that old motto for the US has been misused all these years. The Land of Golden Opportunity is really the Land of Gold and Opportunists.
At the other end is Think Progress which has uncovered that the Chamber funds its political attack campaign from its general account which solicits foreign money. It is in the process of creating Watergate II that booted RMN from the presidency. This where Republicans are often criticized, as Nixon, Agnew et al. were taking big risks in skirting long-standing finance laws that ban the involvement of foreign corporations in American elections. You don’t need a lawyer to explain to you that a foreigner cannot vote in our elections, even though the Supreme Court opened Pandora’s box recently by ruling that it is part and parcel of exercising one’s voting rights. But convey that same privilege to foreigners? Such votes call for impeachment of the Supreme Court Justices who voted for this boondoggle!
This catastrophe of “anything goes” (sometimes called deregulation) is made possible by Republican propensity to criminal behavior as well as defiance of the popular will. That was the green light the Chamber was waiting to expand abroad selling this county in exchange for contributions in many different ways, e.g., recipients of American jobs outsourced to their countries, getting their workers and relatives access to H-1B visas to come to America, or sell these jobs to those wanting to sell their products and/or services to the US. The biggest loser is the American worker and the US, which is screwed by despicable bastards. The foreign members pay their dues directly to the Chamber and pay it to the “local chapter” which transfers it to the main office of the Chamber. It is commingled with the Chamber’s 501©(6) account and voila’ it’s now available to fund any of their dirty activity while they keep clamoring that they are the good guys. They must really think the American people are stupid.
When their president (Tom Donohue) was interviewed in Business Week to explain why the Chamber is spending $100 million to defeat Obama’s agenda, his response was a skewed rationalization of why the Chamber is doing it—“We are going to promote, educate and encourage in every way we can so that people remember, or learn what made the greatest economy in the history of the world—created more jobs, created more wealth, created more opportunity—was a free enterprise, economy with free and open trade, with open capital markets, with the right to fail and fall rights on your face and get up and try it over again, the right to make money and the right to make it in a system with moderate regulation and taxes.” This statement is full of errors. American companies have not been competitive after World War II, waiting instead for federal handouts to get their businesses viable, while parroting the Republican mantra that government is the problem. That’s the reason for corporate welfare. Without the government, many of them would be selling thumb tax and balloons instead.
These satellite offices came under different profile, e.g., business council which is characteristic of Indian members who pay yearly dues of $7,500 to $15,000 which go directly to the Chamber’s general account; USBBC (US-Bahrain Business Council) whose board members pay $10,000 annually, garnering the Chamber over $100,000 from foreign businesses through its operations in Bahrain; USIBC (US Indian Business Council, where some of India’s largest corporations are members. It generates over $200,000 in dues from foreign/Indian businesses “to support various policy initiatives that will enhance India’s reputation as a major manufacturing and investment hub;” Am Chams are internal fund-raising arms of the Chamber, geared towards raising foreign money. They operate outside the control of the Chamber but send money back to the Chamber. [wink, wink!]
The Chamber relies heavily on fundraising from firms all over the world, including China, India, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Russia and many other countries. It successfully lobbied to kill campaign finance reforms aimed at establishing transparency. They sent more money this year “to protect their interest. Aetna recently gave $20 million to the US Chamber to kill healthcare reform, while publicly these hypocrites claimed they supported the reform. Poor America, sold out by its greedy business people and industry titans. Traitors all!
International bribery has many faces. Wherever it occurs, it inhibits economic development and distorts competition. It disrupts distribution channels, destroys incentives to compete on quality and rice, undermines market efficiency and predictability and ultimately denies many people the right to a minimal standard of living. Its most destructive consequence is the corrosive effort on the public’s respect for the rule of law and on the entire structure of society. It can simply undermine a government’s legitimacy and often destabilizes the fragile process by which domestic ideals and institutions develop. The US Chamber wants these laws liberalized, if not eliminated, and declare open season on the practice of open bribery. Wow! How far down are they going to succumb?
President Washington (his last and greatest speech) spoke of the need for our country to eliminate any and all foreign influences and entanglements. He was far smarter than anything you will find in Washington today. My support in 2012 would go to a candidate whose campaign is focused against multinationals and their enablers. I would hope he would spearhead an effort to impeach each and every one of the Supreme Court Justices who gave foreigners free speech rights and the opportunity to legally overthrow our government.
I would be interested in hearing from all those tea baggers, when people like Paul, Miller, Angle, Bachmann, Raese, Cantor, Rubio and the rest of the new breed of Republicans start to take their Medicare and Social Security away from them to pay for tax breaks they will be giving to the top 2%. I wonder how they will feel when these clowns close down government and all Social Security checks stop coming? How will they feel when they go to the doctor and Medicare payments are stopped? Just remember what you voted for just to punish the black man in the White House who is trying to help all of us!
It is not just the greed and selfishness of the top 2% of Americans which have caused our decline as a power. It’s the top 2% of the world’s rich who need to be rooted out of our system. They have been manipulating our economic fortunes since RWR. It has to stop! It can’t happen through Congressional whine. If we have to take out Roberts and his entire gang of traitors, so be it. From Bush to Gore on, there has been something rotten in the Supreme Court and it’s not just these hunting trips with Dick Cheney.
This is not about President Obama. It is about our jobs being shipped overseas by Republican-owned firms which do not like to pay the minimum wage, do not want to pay taxes and then enjoy watching the ignorant and vociferous Tea Partiers complain about the economy. What a sweet deal! Foreign companies can now defend the rights of their citizens to slave labor, off-shoring American jobs under the auspices of the American Chamber of Horrors. Does this mean a mass exodus of tea baggers to China, India and all points east so they can have their freedumb? Now we know why we are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan—to make the world safe for plutocracy and kleptocracy! Who would ever think that we allowed our country (USA) to change its designation, because of the greed of a few – Universally Screwed America.