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Aug./Sept. '03 Articles:
Barbarism in the Afternoon
Editorial: Politics & Corp. Corruption
Notes from the Cultural Wasteland
Over-Priced Musings
The Do-Nothing Strategy
The Muddlemarch: 1
The Muddlemarch: 2
(music reviews)

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Corporate Criminals Buy
Corrupt Politicians

Thirty-one corporate criminals gave over $9 million to the Democrats and Republicans during the 2002 election cycle, according to a new report released in July by Corporate Crime Reporter, a legal newsletter edited by Russell Mokhiber.

Over $9 million! That's not pocket-change. Of that, over $7 million went to Republicans and just over $2 million went to Democrats. While I'd love to roast the Republicans for taking the substantially larger sum of money, the fact is both parties are ripe for blasting.

What the hell are they thinking?!

Have we just resigned to such pathetic excuses for politicians? Will this "great" country ever get to the point where our politicians, as a group, are ethical and not driven by money?

It blows my mind. Maybe it shouldn't. I'm not naive; I realize politicians are greedy bastards who often make the most important decisions based on how it will pad their wallet or benefit their most giving corporate friends.

But still, I expect them to use a bit of caution. Instead, they just strip down to their underwear and dance on a pole for their political contributors, tucking thousand-dollar bill after thousand-dollar bill into their g-string.

So, who are these giving corporate criminals that our politicians have whored themselves out to?

Here's a look at the top three most-giving of these generous bastards.

1) Archer Daniels Midland was kind enough to give $1,140,000 to Republicans and $583,000 to Democrats. But they probably weren't in a giving mood the day they pled guilty for their role in conspiracies to fix prices to eliminate competition and allocate sales in the lysine and citric acid markets. Their actions, federal officials say, resulted in consumers paying higher prices for such things as soft drinks and detergents. As a result, ADM paid a $100 million criminal fine in 1996.

2) Pfizer, Inc. was also a generous supporter of our great democracy, giving $938,914 to Republicans and $213,500 to Democrats. As for the crime, Pfizer Inc. pled guilty and agreed to pay criminal fines totaling $20 million for participating in two international price fixing conspiracies in the food additives industry. Federal officials charged Pfizer with conspiring in the United States between 1992 and 1994 and in the United States and elsewhere between 1989 and 1995. The two conspiracies affected more than $65 million in United States commerce.

3) Chevron, like most big energy companies, gave with an open heart and an open wallet, forking over $656,900 to Republicans and $218,500 to Democrats. But that's far less than the $8 million they had to pay in criminal and civil fines when they pled guilty to 65 Clean Water Act violations involving Platform Grace, an oil-drilling platform in the Santa Barbara Channel. Federal officials charged that Chevron discharged oil and grease in wastewater that exceeded limits in its federal permit. Chevron also admitted to diluting wastewater prior to its being sampled, so as to understate the actual amount of oil and grease discharged, which it then reported to the Environmental Protection Administration.

It must be nice to be at the top. Our politicians may be under the "watchful" eye of the public and the media, but there's so much crime to go around, so few of them get exposed. We need to hold our politicians accountable. We need serious campaign reform, the kind these fat cats would never agree to. It's a shame, because our democratic system is an incredible one, but with criminals pulling the strings, we all end up being taken for dummies.

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