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Thu Jun 13, 2013, 09:41 PM

This is not about Obama or Snowden, this is about the corporate takeover of our democracy [View all]

Last edited Thu Jun 13, 2013, 11:20 PM - Edit history (1)

We will get to the NSA scandal, but first I want everyone to take a moment to think back to 2008 when a few large banks nearly brought down the American economy. Most of us remember the darkness of those days very clearly, I will never forget the day that I went to work and saw 25% our workforce laid off in a single day.

I want you not just to think about how you were affected by the crisis however, I want you to think about what that crisis means about the way our economy and our government are structured. I want you to think about how the owners of these banks have become so powerful that their failure could bring down the entire US economy.

Now think about this in terms of politics and consider what this means in terms of Presidential power. Too often we only look at what each President did, we can see that Bush was a royal fuck up in everything he did but that really does not tell us nearly as much as we often believe it does. We also can see that Obama pushed some financial stimulus that did help get the economy back on track, but that is also not the key issue here.

The key issue is that despite anything that Bush did or Obama did the same system is in place that has existed for years. The reforms that have been made to the system are pretty minimal and not a single banker was held accountable for their role in the collapse.

We have had some very heated debates on DU about the lack of prosecution of the bankers not so much because we disagree on whether or not bankers should be prosecuted, in fact most people here seem to be in agreement that they should be prosecuted. What the division always revolves around is Obama's role, we yell at each other and divide ourselves over whether or not we think Obama has handled the situation well. Yet in debating Obama's role as an individual we often miss the big picture and we fail to recognize the system that Obama stepped in to. It is also the system that Bush stepped into, it is the system that Clinton stepped into, it is the system that our nation has been building for hundreds of years now and it has lots of powerful interests invested in it.

The bankers proved to us that they were so powerful that they hold the ability to collapse the entire global economy, do you not think that might cause Obama to pause before he prosecutes any of them? If they have the ability to collapse the global economy they have the ability to do a lot of other things that we can only speculate about as well, if one of them were to be prosecuted and the others wanted revenge they could screw a lot of people over very easily.

So how does this relate to the NSA scandal? Well we are falling for the same thing again, we are debating Obama's role in the scandal rather than recognizing the larger powers that exist.

The NSA was founded in 1952 and they have always been a very secretive organization, we really don't know what they have been up to for the last sixty years because they reveal very little about their operations to us. We are only seeing the tip of the iceberg when we are talking about metadata, the NSA undoubtedly has tons of information that we don't know anything about. This is a spy agency that has been operating in the dark under several Presidents now.

A lot of people say Obama should have issued an executive order to stop this spying. I certainly wish he had the power to do that, but let's be honest about just how corrupted our government has become and consider how far back this corruption goes. The NSA has been spying on Americans for the last sixty years, they have enormous databases of who knows what kind of information and there are powerful people who no doubt use these databases to look up information for reasons that are not in any way noble. They want you to think it is all about fighting terrorism, but you would have to be pretty naive to believe they are only looking at suspected terrorists and not monitoring their political opponents. Having this massive spy network no doubt benefits some powerful people, how do you think they would react if Obama tried to shut down their operation with an executive order?

I am not trying to defend Obama nor am I trying to blame him, what I am trying to do is make us all consider how little this has to do with any of the specific individuals involved in the case and how much it has to do with a rotten system that has been built up over the years. The reality of this case is the reality of damn near every story that hits the news, wealth has been so far concentrated at the top in American society that our democracy does not work any more. We can keep electing all the Presidents we want, but no single President is going to change this because the real power brokers are the people like the bankers who nearly collapsed the economy, when a few individuals amass so much money that they can bring down the entire economy if they want to no President is going to mess with them.

That is unless we push to change the system. The focus should not be on pushing to change Obama, the focus should be pushing to change the system. It is a system that has been in place long before Obama and it is a system that will be in place long after Obama unless we push to change it.

The corporate bigwigs want us to be debating Obama because they know that divides us. What they don't want us to be doing is they don't want us to be debating the NSA's powers, they know that if we were to focus on the system rather than specific individuals we would all see how fucked up their system is and we would demand real change. They want us to believe that the only way to bring change is to elect new people to office, but they never want us to think about challenging the very system that those new people are stepping into. They want us to believe the President is all powerful because if we realized that the President is not as powerful as the corporate interests are the illusion of democracy would disappear.

Let's not fight about Obama, let's fight the real enemies.

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