A little less corporate political corruption

Come on, Obama, do it! Stand up, stand tall, stand firm! Yes, you can!

The president is thinking about issuing an executive order that would mitigate some of the damage done to our democracy by the Supreme Court’s dastardly Citizens United edict, which unleashes unlimited amounts of secret corporate cash to pervert America’s elections. Obama’s idea is simply to require that those corporations trying to get federal contracts disclose all of their campaign donations for the previous two years, including money they launder through such front groups as the national Chamber of Commerce.

This approach says to those giants sucking up billions of our tax dollars for endless war, privatization of public services, etcetera: You’re still free to shove trainloads of your shareholders’ money into congressional and presidential races, but—hey, just tell the public how much you’re giving and to whom.

Neat. It would be a clean, direct, and effective reform—so, of course, the corporate powers and their apologists are squealing like stuck pigs. Steven Law, a Bush-Cheney operative who is now both a Wall Street Journal editorialist and the head of a secret corporate money fund, recently decried the very idea of public disclosure of contractor campaign contributions: “When I was in the executive branch,” he sniffed, “mixing politics with procurement was called corruption.”

Yes, Steve, and y’all were corruption experts! Perhaps you’ve forgotten that we remember Halliburton, the Cheney-run corporation that helped put Bush in office and then was handed tens of billions in contracts, becoming the poster child of corrupt, no-bid procurement.

Come on, Obama, don’t back down from these corporate sleazes—sign that disclosure order! If they’re going to steal our elections, at least make them admit it.

•••

A bit of news has come my way, and all I can say is: HELP!

The news is that Glenn Beck, the weepy wizard of talk show weirdness, has moved to Dallas. Come on—we Texans have enough of a burden having to be home base of such right-wing, corporate-hugging politicos as George W and our presidential wanna-be governor, Rick “Supercuts” Perry. Adding Beck is piling on!

Actually, he didn’t move to Dallas. Instead, Beck—who claims to be the voice of the little man— has pitched his tent in Westlake, a little-known burg some 30 miles west and north of the vibrant city. As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child, but apparently it takes a gated and guarded enclave of ritzy multimillion-dollar mansions to satisfy Beck and others in the rich-and-famous crowd. That’s what Westlake is—a bastion of secluded and secured luxury for about 1,000 super-rich people. It was recently named by Forbes magazine as the most affluent neighborhood in the country. For example, Beck’s little domicile in this ghetto of the privileged goes for more than $5 million, though it can be leased for a mere $20,000 a month.

And, since he has been dumped from Fox TV’s line-up of hard-right yakkers, Beck might only have a month-to-month passport for this wonderland of CEOs, sports stars, and the like. Indeed, some homes there are big enough to have their own zip codes, with red-tile roofs that cost more than Beck’s entire abode.

Westlake is marketed to moneyed elites as a place where they can “just lead normal lives.” Ah, yes—the normality of everyday multimillionaires, huddled inside walls. One resident says that “What’s nice about living here is the freedom.” But it’s an odd concept of “freedom” to lock yourself in a cage, albeit a gilded one. Especially if Glenn Beck is there with you!