Marcy Wheeler over at EmptyWheel is reporting that, surprise surprise, high-class sex escort Sen. Max Baucus’ (D-MT) health care bill was written by a former executive for WellPoint, a health insurance company and the largest member of the Blue Cross Association. Representative Democracy! The bill was authored by Liz Fowler, sex slave Baucus’ Senior Counsel and maybe Dungeon Master. She worked for Baucus from 2001-2005, then moved over to WellPoint to make MadMadMadMoney. But then she returned to public life to do some good! Or enrich her former employers and ensure that her boss would continue to receive more corporate donations than anyone else in the Congress! Either one is possible. But, yeah, Wheeler notes that,
“To the extent that Liz Fowler is the Author of this document, we might as well consider WellPoint its author as well.”
Again, this shouldn’t be surprising, but that doesn’t make it any less disappointing. The extent to which corporations exert control over our lives–psychologically, and in both public and private life–cannot be overstated.
In that vein, I’d like to pass along this excerpt from last Sunday’s Bill Moyers’ show for old people/smarties/folks with boring Sunday nights. The debate was about a case coming up before the Supreme Court concerning 1st Amendment rights for corporations–specifically, whether or not they are free to spend unlimited funds during an election cycle to support or defeat a specific candidate. Trevor Potter was advocating limiting the amount corporations can spend, and therefore, in the eyes of critics, limiting the “free speech” of corporations and potentially unions.
BILL MOYERS: [T]his is about more than a movie or a book. This is go [sic] fundamentally to the role of corporations in our political elections. And this concerns you, because you say in your brief that this is dangerous.
TREVOR POTTER: Well, if you just look at the numbers here you are dealing with a world we just have never seen in elections. Exxon Mobil has a political action committee, which means voluntary contributions given by shareholders and executives, about 900 thousand dollars in the last cycle. It made last year 85 billion dollars.
Now, there’s just a world of difference in the resources available if you say to a corporation, “You can spend money to defeat global– candidates who are in favor of global warming legislation.” If coal companies can go out and say, “If you don’t sign our pledge to support coal we’re going to defeat you. We’re going to spend money against you.” You take those enormous economic resources and you use them for something that we’ve never seen before. That I think is the radical nature.
So, the case before the Court right now is whether or not corporations will be able to control even more of our lives, by being giant dicks, and probably making a movie about Al Gore being a pornographer or something. Free Speech now apparently means the ability to buy up as much of the limited, expensive, and exclusive means of public discourse as one can! THEY ALREADY WRITE OUR GODDAMN BILLS I MEAN COME ON!
Ahem. If anyone has any question left in their head about whether or not giving corporations more, ney, ENDLESS control over the public discourse might be cause for concern, here is the latest post from Matt Taibbi, telling us how “wacky evil” Goldman Sachs has become.
“It looks like Wall Street is developing a new use for the securitization process — bundling life insurance policies and selling them as bonds to investors who would be betting, in essence, on when the policyholders will die.
This feels like financial innovation as practiced by Josef Mengele meets the Zucker Brothers; not just evil, but wacky evil. I don’t even want to think about what happens when Goldman Sachs suddenly has a large financial stake in the premature deaths of a bunch of old people.”
This is what Adam Smith meant by the “invisible hand of the market”–that it will strangle you to death, for profit, by giant dicks.