Obama's Quiet Revolution

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mtmynd
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Obama's Quiet Revolution

Post by mtmynd » February 1st, 2010, 6:33 pm

An interesting article on the website of The New Republic:
The Quiet Revolution
Obama has reinvented the state in more ways than you can imagine.
by John B. Judis - 1.02.2010

Even some less offensive Republican picks were unable to carry out their agencies’ missions. Bush appointed Christine Todd Whitman, a moderate figurehead, to lead the EPA, but he boxed her in with a hostile White House above and conservative staffers below--people like Jeffrey Holmstead, who had represented the Chemical Manufacturers Association and was placed in charge of enforcing the Clean Air Act.

Obama’s regulatory appointments could not be more different--no surprise given that he is the son of two social scientists (one of whom attempted to introduce scientific administration to Kenya) and that he once worked in academia himself. Indeed, the flow of expertise into the federal bureaucracy over the past year has been reminiscent of what took place at the start of the New Deal.

For instance, as a replacement for Foulke at OSHA, Obama chose David Michaels, a professor of occupational and environmental health at George Washington University. In 2008, Michaels published a book, Doubt is Their Product: How Industry’s Assault on Science Threatens Your Health, detailing how businesses had delayed regulations by “manufacturing uncertainty” about scientific findings.

To manage the EPA, Obama appointed a slew of highly experienced state environmental officials. (As Bill Becker of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies explains, state officials are ideally suited for the EPA because they have firsthand experience in how regulations are enforced and how they work.) Obama’s choice to run the agency was Lisa Jackson, a chemical engineer who led the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Her deputies include the former secretary of the environment in Maryland, as well as the former heads of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, the Massachusetts Bureau of Resource Protection, and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.

Meanwhile, Obama chose as his Food and Drug Administration (FDA) chief Margaret Hamburg, who achieved renown during the 1990s as health commissioner of New York City, where she developed a program for controlling tuberculosis that led to a sharp decline in the disease. Her number two is a former Baltimore health commissioner who, in 2008, was named a public official of the year by Governing magazine. Obama’s director of the National Park Service is a 30-year veteran of the agency--and the first biologist to lead it. And his new director of FEMA is W. Craig Fugate, who performed outstandingly as Jeb Bush and Charlie Crist’s head of emergency management in Florida. Fugate may not know anything about Arabian stallions--but he does know a thing or two about hurricanes.

complete article: http://www.tnr.com/article/politics/the ... dium=email
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Post by mnaz » February 1st, 2010, 8:40 pm

Good article, Cec. Easy to forget how much of an impact regulatory agency appointments and policies can have, for better or worse. Yes, actual differences do exist in more "conservative" and "liberal" approaches to governance. It's not all about a bought Congress perhaps. Well, at least for a while. On some things.

from later in the article...
... by any reasonable standard, Obama’s approach to regulation has been extremely impressive. More worrisome than the criticisms of activists is the possibility that politics may soon intrude. In 1993, Clinton, too, attempted to revive the regulatory agencies by appointing well-qualified personnel and increasing funding. But, after Republicans took control of Congress in 1994, they managed to cut Clinton’s budget proposals and delay or block the implementation of regulations. If Democrats lose Congress this November, the same thing could happen again.
Yes. Enter FOX friggin' News and the TEA-heads, and some sort of GOP "Contract On America," er, I mean, "Contract with America," ver. 2.0. I hope not. Wouldn't surprise me however.

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Post by mtmynd » February 1st, 2010, 9:30 pm

yes, anything can happen tomorrow or next week, next month could possibly bring a conservative revolution that will spill blood on the streets of america because, goddamn it! they want an america that they want and nothing will stand in their way. :!:

i don't have any answers as to why all of us americans have to have whatever it is we want, demand and desire ... we want it NOW and we will not shut our fucking mouths long enough for these things to evolve into. we are so goddamn impatient that we're killing ourselves in our haste to get what we want, at any cost, except national debt, of course.

it's a fucking showdown between who will run this country - our government or the corporations? it's an endless mantra from the republican/conservatives that a big government is a bad government but never, never will say the same thing about large corporations.

but it is precisely our government who should be in charge... providing that government is a freely elected government by the people.... not the fucking corporations. but that is where the conservative scotus is aiming to take us.

do you think we should all shut the fuck up and drown our troubles in american whiskey and mexican cocaine and canadian weed on the side..? that would increase the profits of someone other than the government. we can weaken the government so badly that it may never be able to recover and we will have no choice but to allow some mother-fucking corporate take-over of our constitution to do with as they feel is the most profitable. it's possible... and given the mood of our country now, during this chaos of confidence, it just may be more probable than not.

any one who deals in money... moneymakers... will agree with the saying " it takes money to make money"... but here we have a president willing use money to invest in his country to make money (thru taxation) from the investment in it's people to do what is right for the times. it's a large investment. but this is a large country - 300M and growing. it's not a little fucking corporation of 100,000 people or even 250,000... we're talking 300,000,000 that want and need governance... what people's don't? and to have a government willing to invest in these people to modernize and utilize the technology this country is best known for and remake, rebuild, remodel and renew our country. only a government is capable of doing something that large and that necessary. a corporation is not suited to that level of aid to 300,000,00 people. but yet the corporate ego is so fucking great that they feel they can do a better job of running the country than our government can. to that i say : fuck you!

we american's have to ask ourselves and each other why is the conservative party so fucking fearful of government... our government... that they will literally do anything to undermine it's trust and sovereignty, to weaken it's hallowed halls where so many good things were given the breath of freedom..? why? where does this fear come from? this government is the same government that gave every goddamn republican, every fucking democrat and all the undecided independents their own goddamn freedom and livlihood that raised their families and protected them form the evils that abound in this world. do we all forget so easily that our government should never be taken for granted and should never be taken over by any forces that don't support the ideologies this country was originally based upon?

[enough]
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Post by hester_prynne » February 2nd, 2010, 2:30 am

I''m right with you Cec, and may I say you've expressed it brilliantly.
Thank you.
H 8)
"I am a victim of society, and, an entertainer"........DW

Non Sum

Post by Non Sum » February 2nd, 2010, 10:43 am

Hi
MT: it's a fucking showdown between who will run this country - our government or the corporations?

NS: These are both conceptual organizations composed of actual people; nothing more. They both come down to the same essential entity, ‘we the people.’ Why create false monsters to scare the children, and incite hate and war? Can’t you live comfortably among your fellows who might have divergent opinions?

You appear to be describing your self when you say: “ they want an america that they want and nothing will stand in their way.”

I want an America that real live Americans, in all of their diverse, and conflicting needs and desires want. Corporations are not my enemy. They are just Americans working together in the engine room of our great ship of state. Corporations make the things we need, and create the wealth for us to acquire them. Governments also provide needed governance, but in so doing create no products or wealth—but actually inhibit the creation of both.

MT: i don't have any answers as to why all of us americans have to have whatever it is we want, demand and desire ... we want it NOW and we will not shut our fucking mouths long enough for these things to evolve into. we are so goddamn impatient that we're killing ourselves in our haste to get what we want, at any cost, except national debt, of course.

NS: “Demand” is a good thing! It provides the incentive to acquire, which in turn creates work and general prosperity. The people should never “shut their f-ing mouths,” not so long as they desire to breathe free air into them. “Hasty impatience” is just another word for ‘ambition.’ We all have ambitions of one sort or another, why condemn the ambitions that you do not share?

MT: it's a fucking showdown between who will run this country - our government or the corporations

NS: As if there would be any nation at all without them both working together as they do, and always have done.

MT: it takes money to make money"... but here we have a president willing use money to invest in his country to make money (thru taxation) from the investment in it's people to do what is right for the times.

NS: Governments are poor entrepreneurs, and can’t run businesses worth a damn; ask the failed communist states. Private enterprise, capitalism, works, and our nation’s history proves it. History proves that governments are rotten investors. Just as corporations are ill-suited to govern a nation, governments are incapable of productive economic management.

MT: this government is the same government that gave every goddamn republican, every fucking democrat and all the undecided independents their own goddamn freedom and livlihood that raised their families and protected them form the evils that abound in this world.

NS: “This government” did not “give” anyone (save bureaucrats, and politicians) a livelihood. We the people gave ourselves our private sector jobs, and the nation’s industry, we raised our own families in spite of Gov interference, and also ‘gave’ ourselves a government. We also protect ourselves, not big daddy Gov protecting us, more often than not from ‘its’ pseudo-enemies and put up wars against imagined evils.

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Post by mtmynd » February 2nd, 2010, 12:35 pm

:lol: :lol: :lol:

... ahh... shut my mouth and go with the flow and all will be well. is that what you are saying, N(ever)S(our)?

Personally, I am in agreement with the following folks quoted here:
Chief Justice John Marshall, who referred to the corporation as an "artificial being, invisible, intangible"; and Thomas Jefferson, who warned almost two centuries ago that America must "crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country." Dissenting Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke as a strict constructionist when she declared during oral hearings on the case that "a corporation, after all, is not endowed by its creator with inalienable rights." Unfortunately, the majority dismissed Ginsburg's wise counsel and issued what Senator Russ Feingold, the Wisconsin Democrat who chairs the Constitution Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee, correctly characterized as a "lawless" decision. President Obama was right on point when he said, "I can't think of anything more devastating to the public interest. The last thing we need to do is hand more influence to the lobbyists in Washington, or more power to the special interests to tip the outcome of elections."

in part, from Democracy NOW editorial
posted by 'truck'
It is within the submissive silence of the public shadows where fear resides, unable to find a voice to speak out against the forces of greed that threaten and contaminate the beneficence of a fearless society.
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Post by mnaz » February 2nd, 2010, 2:23 pm

in my (general) view, folks these days can't seem to fathom how far out of balance the system has tilted to the LARGE (and de-regulated) corporate interests, and can't seem to distinguish between these forces and, say, "small business" entrepreneur-ship, which to me is quite a different animal. Hence you get the likes of "Joe the Plumber," put up by the likes of FOX mouthpieces, routinely spouting nonsense on a national stage about taxation or whatever. You get enough LARGE money involved, and it's not just all "we the people." Not really.

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Post by mtmynd » February 2nd, 2010, 5:15 pm

I agree, mnaz. The silent and stealth-like shroud of corporate power continues to draw itself over the public who interprets it as a warm and comfortable blanket that will protect and sooth with goodness. It has yet to be recognized for it's choking indifference to people and only interest in bottom line profit and stock market shares being it's only value, period. unlike a mom & pop business that is run by the same people who purchase from them... this corporate disconnect is an abyss which will never by closed, perhaps like our national debt..?
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Post by mnaz » February 2nd, 2010, 6:00 pm

Like everything else, assessing the "balance" between corporate profitmaking and obligation is somewhat subjective. Some folks would argue that Dubya's corporatism in effect "corrected" a situation that was too far out of balance the other direction to begin with. (Hard to believe, I know).

Something else I always try to wrap my head around is that other factors beyond government policy affect the demise of our middle class-- things like union negotiations and globalization (more competition from the rest of the world in general, in terms of both successful product and labor), and the consumer and debt-driven nature of our economy, etc. All of these things would seem to contribute to a steady (or not so steady) decline of the overall American standard of living relative to other nations.

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Post by mtmynd » February 2nd, 2010, 9:12 pm

I was watching a bit on tvnews... a couple living in CA who purchased a 5 brm home for $700,000. Their monthly mortgage - $3800. which wasn't a fixed mortgage. This March the good mortgage people are raising the monthly chg by $1000. so their monthly payment would be $4800..

I personally know of nobody personally who make anywhere near that kind of money. True our part of the country is not CA, but the idea that mortgage companies will not bend enough to lower the rates to the home-debtor rather than raise the payment sound self-defeating to me... these people may well walk away from this house leaving no payments coming in rather than something. Are mortgage companies and banks cutting their own throats with this resistance to bend... bend enough to allow homeowners a place to live that is affordable rather than kick them out leaving the company with an empty, overpriced house whose market value has crashed down 40 - 50% ? It seems as though the inflexibility of banks and mortgage companies is a major player in the slipping economy and the trust people once had in those institutions. Not a good thing for a bright future.
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Post by Barry » February 2nd, 2010, 10:17 pm

Cecil, I'm with ya. And you, too, mnaz.

I remember first coming to grips with this watching the movie Alien. Remember that one? In it, it was either the guy who played Starsky or the guy who was on that sitcom about a 30something couple in New York, I always mix those two guys up, who played the representative of the Company. He was the one who set Ripley up, made sure the alien was brought back alive, incubating in Ripley, no matter that this meant her life, so the Company could profit from this "new technology." Because, you see, Ripley and her fellow crewmembers, the people working with her on the spaceship, they weren't recruits or civil servants in a government. They were workers, pawns, employees of a corporation, a corporation whose sole interest and reason to exist was profit, in a future in which the Company had become the government.

Government of the people is not and never was like that. Not yet at least.

Watching that movie was when I first understood that this new corporate culture, this new coporation dominated culture - the Corporacracy - was being born.

God help us all.

Peace,
Barry
Last edited by Barry on February 2nd, 2010, 10:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Non Sum

Post by Non Sum » February 2nd, 2010, 10:26 pm

MT: .. ahh... shut my mouth and go with the flow and all will be well. is that what you are saying, N(ever)S(our)?

NS: What I said was: "The people should NEVER [here quoting you] “shut their f-ing mouths,” not so long as they desire to breathe free air into them."
Perhaps, you misread?

My point was that there is plenty enough room in any free nation for everyone's opinion, and the right to advance it. That would include your own, MT. If I read you, and those you quote, rightly, you stand four-square against the free exercise of these same rights in the hands of certain others, or groupings of others, whom disagree with you, no?

If I have the right of free assembly, then I should also have the right to unite with my fellow assemblers for our united purpose(s). 'Purposes,' such as, a united stand against our employers in contract negotiations. Yes, unions are an incorporation, as are charitable organizations (Red Cross), churches, demographic organizations (e.g. AARP, largest lobbying org.), or hobbiest (e.g. NRA, NFL), or civil/political action organizations (e.g. MAD, ACLU). Or, is it just the right to organize for the purpose of making a profit that annoys you?

Do collections of individuals wield more money and political clout than one man alone? Of course. Will these organizations exert that increased power to serve its own ends? Always. Will a regulation(s), or law(s), forbiding the exercise of group rights bring the practice to a defacto end? Not possible. All it will achieve is to make clandestine what would have been done more openly. Is that your issue, MT; you want it to be hidden, and we'll all just pretend that groups have no political influence?

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Post by mtmynd » February 3rd, 2010, 12:40 pm

Good Morgan, N(ether) S(ilent).... we're having a pleasant rain that's been coming down since before my early morning piss run at 4:00... Deserts appreciate such opportunities to drink down the treasured rains like drunkard would drink down a bottle of Boone's Farm.

Let us continue now, amigo...

NS: What I said was: "The people should NEVER [here quoting you] “shut their f-ing mouths,” not so long as they desire to breathe free air into them."
Perhaps, you misread?


I was puzzled by this (but far short of pure delirium) which led me to reread my own words and therein I found the problem. I had said: "... ahh... shut my mouth and go with the flow and all will be well. is that what you are saying", which was a response to your (seeming) assurance that our current political/economic situation is gently embraced in the comfort of 'we the people' and all is well... a few feathers being ruffled, but overall let things flow and you'll see. No, you did not specifically say those words, but the general implication I feel when I read your overall reply amounts to that. Perhaps, I misread?

Note:
1) These are both conceptual organizations composed of actual people; nothing more.

*Re: The Gettysburg Address "that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Re: The first words of the U.S. Constitution: "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

These words are the feelings and aspirations of the people of this country, powerful, clear and moving, these words define us.

Your comparison of our governing words to that of any corporation whose lofty goals are simply making a profit... at the expense of the people they serve. There is no other reason other than PROFIT for any corporation to exist.

Let me make it clear that it is very true that ALL business is in the business of profit. Profit is in and of itself not an evil to be mistrusted. However the Mega-Corporations have become nearly ruinous for the country by having the power to destroy small competitors (the 'Mom & Pop' - style of business that one could find throughout our country in every community from the East to the West and the North to the South.... where now 'Big Box' Corporations and fast food giants dominate the landscape while in their shadows lay abandoned buildings where once were families aspiring to the American Dream... now struggling in a nightmare scenario relying on some minimum paying job at a Big Box or a fast food giant just off the freeway. These same people are no longer reliant on their own blood, sweat and tears as much as they are reliant on these same Mega-Corporate entities to give them jobs... so highly competitive for even a meager wage that is being stripped of even more of their earnings by a dubious health care racket.

2) Why create false monsters to scare the children, and incite hate and war?

What you mistakenly call 'false monsters' are absolutely real in every sense of the word. But monsters are what the "Mega-Corps" are becoming more and more every day... ruthlessly eating up competition and crushing the once cherished idea of fairness governed by a government of the people which has now being purchased by the same profits that swell in the bellies of the Mega-Corps... fat cats, indeed.... the new Kings of the Country that live palatially in splendor and excess from 'we the people', oblivious to the needs of the people that serve them so generously.

3) Can’t you live comfortably among your fellows who might have divergent opinions?

I can, and do, my friend , live comfortably among my fellow Americans... the same Americans who are jobless or at best hanging on to their lives with the hopes that there will be one more paycheck coming in to pay their bills by working cheap labor to enhance the profits for gluttony mentality that is bringing so much pain and grief to the American people. Are there any other kinds of people I should be speaking for?

4) Corporations are not my enemy. They are just Americans working together in the engine room of our great ship of state.

What a placid line you have written here, amigo. The Corporacracy (it even has it's own name, so well entrenched in our society it has become) may not be your true enemy, one that threatens your future or your dreams and aspirations (should you have any..;)), but should you, the path of this Corporacracy is headed towards you so you better brace yourself... buckle up for the times ahead will be rough and insecure as the Engine of this Corporate Monster will require more and more monies to hold it together in the fashion to which it has become accustomed... the Americans working for it are no different from the other people worldwide working for your "Great Ship of State." **:roll:** The needs of its people come last when the cry of hunger roars across the deck of your ship as it's appetite demands more of the crew than the crew can deliver...

5) Corporations make the things we need, and create the wealth for us to acquire them.

Whoa, big fella"! You said "Corporations make things we need"... not the people but the Corporations. How strange is that? Where is this wealth for the Americans you speak of? The wealth is being made, no doubt... look at the profits reported and the wages the "heads of state" are hauling in (which in turn support the banks) and see if there is any of that same dispensation for the workers.

6) “This government” did not “give” anyone (save bureaucrats, and politicians) a livelihood.

Agreed... in part. The government gave the people the safe and fair environment to work in so their livelihoods were secure and the people were able to purchase necessities without concerning themselves with a company cheating them out of their own small profits, which allowed for a savings for their retirement. That has all changed and not for the good. In part, the sell-out of values to the greed of the lobbyists bought and paid for thru corporate interests who will continue growing and growing and growing until they become "too big to fail"... an outrageous proposition, when it is the very government itself that cannot fail.

7) The people should never “shut their f-ing mouths,” not so long as they desire to breathe free air into them.

Absolutely! We find agreement within these words of yours, N(ow) S(erious)! :) And I, for one, will not shut my own mouth when it comes to expressing that which I feel may very well be imminent for this country and it's people should we not wake up from our 'national stupor' and take the reigns of responsibility to shout out our concerns.

[dang it! i just took note of the time and it is 2 hours passed my breakfast, so wordy i've been. take care, old timer... our paths will cross once again (i see there is already a reply awaiting me on a Stream ;))
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Non Sum

Post by Non Sum » February 4th, 2010, 9:14 pm

Howdy, M(ajorily) T(heaticral),
I’m glad to hear that your desert is getting its precipitative desserts. It is raining here as well, but mostly in the form of pennies.

I appears that we’ve gotten past your earlier difficulty over groups (many of whom have incorporated themselves for reasons legal & taxing) wielding political pressure. Now, your issue of passion concerns businesses making profits, it would seem. I say ‘businesses‘ since some very large businesses are not public corporations, while many small businesses, and even individuals, often find turning themselves into a corporate entity useful. So, no need to further address the non-factor of incorporation.

I enjoyed your rabid hyperbole, M(onster) T(irade), what with “evil” carnivorous corporations: “crushing and eating, destroying and dominating” poor old “mom & pop.” I can’t wait for the slide show. :) Naturally, you must rely on the ‘hype’ since reality contradicts most of your points.

I say, “most,” because yes there is some truth that expensive little shops can be put out of business by vendors, service providers, and manufacturers, that provide more product for less cost. I am sure that most people do not see a business as a necessary charity. If they did, then larger businesses who deliver more for less would never prosper as well as they do.

MT: where once were families aspiring to the American Dream... now struggling in a nightmare scenario relying on some minimum paying job at a Big Box

NS: I’ve worked for small business, and for large business, and the reality is that larger generally pays better, and treats its workers better. Many large companies are unionized, while a smaller percentage of the smaller firms are. Benefit packages are generally better with larger employers, as are one’s chances for advancement. How many promotions can “mom & pop” give their few employees? Family businesses Always advance ‘family’ over the ‘hired help.’ And, when you’re not busy, the boss has you wash the family car.

MT: profits that swell in the bellies of the Mega-Corps... fat cats, indeed.... the new Kings of the Country that live palatially in splendor and excess from 'we the people', oblivious to the needs of the people that serve them so generously.

NS: Do you realize that roughly half of American households are direct owners in large cap businesses? And, indirectly, via pension funds, annuities, insurance policies, perhaps twice as many individuals comprise those “fat cats.” Perhaps, you are one of them? Finance, via shares and bonds, is how we old cats manage to survive, or hopefully, even prosper in our retirement. We Americans, whether employed or not, depend upon the prosperity of profit making institutions, just as fleas depend upon a healthy dog. Government too, is just a large flea sucking the blood out of ‘profits,’ never ‘non-profits.’ Thankfully, big businesses often produce big profits for us all to profit by.

MT: I, for one, will not shut my own mouth when it comes to expressing that which I feel may very well be imminent for this country and it's people should we not wake up from our 'national stupor' and take the reigns of responsibility to shout out our concerns.

NS: I’m 100% in favor of your expressing your concerns, misguided as they are, MT (Missing The-point). I am even in favor of you joining, or forming with friends, a large organization (perhaps, incorporating it) for the purpose of enhancing your political ability to express what you so strongly believe. I would defend your constitutional right to do so. Which, in fact, is just what I am doing now with your attack on the rights of those organizations that do not happen to agree with you.

You would have laws curtailing ‘their’ rights to support causes and candidates. Would you also want your org to lose its rights? Have you discovered a way to make it impossible for groups to circumvent your restriction of their political rights, and still not have a police state watching our political actions? The trouble with ending the liberty for some, is that you’ve ended liberty for all.

(music comes up, lights fade, NS (National Saviour) leaves the podium wrapped in flag.)

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Post by mnaz » February 4th, 2010, 10:03 pm

so you're fine with big defense, big oil, big pharma, big insurance, big finance/banking etc. etc. (most, if not all of these "entities of us" subject to some degree of foreign investment and influence) more directly buying government policy to try and insure their own substantial profit at the (potential) expense of the people as a whole? what kind of benefits does halliburton pay? goldman sachs? pretty good, I imagine. gaming and domination of the legislative process by large interests in the name of profit above all other considerations is the main point of this thread, isn't it? is there such a thing as corporate welfare (charity) as well? and can the system go too far out of balance in that direction? we don't always "all profit by" big profits of big business. How did "we all" profit by all the profiteering in iraq? how did "we all" profit by gas reaching $4.50+/gal. for several months back in 2008?

I suppose the 'big box corporations' fit in around the periphery of this discussion, depending on what they're trying to get away with to continue to "deliver more for less." nike sweat shops and walmart hiring practices come to mind off-hand. not sure how much these corporations participate in the DC lobby.

actually, just noticed... this is the regulatory agency thread, not the thread about the recent SCOTUS decision. but the comments are relevant to some degree I suppose.

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