If you're hungry from some bon mots on the current role of money in politics in America, check out columnist Arianna Huffington's new book, PIGS AT THE TROUGH: How Corporate Greed and Political Corruption are Undermining America.
But make sure not to fill up beforehand, because her book is so chock full of funny, and angry, and entirely justified slams at the lobbyists, hacks, fatcats and suits who have been using their money and influence to line their pockets and loot the public treasury that you'll be staggered if you're not already!
Here she is on the March 2002 fundraiser for House Republicans that was billed as a post-9/11 "Salute to America's Heroes": "To paraphrase Todd Beamer: Let's bankroll!"
Here she is on the Federal Election Commission's undermining the new McCain-Feingold Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, by issuing regulations that will allow federal candidates to go on raising soft money for state parties as long as they don't actually ask for the money outright: "As they say on K Street, 'It ain't over til the fat cats sing.'"
Exposes abound in Huffington's book. She reveals that after newly-elected President George Bush broke his campaign promise to "require all power plants to meet clean air standards in order to reduce emission of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, mercury and carbon dioxide" by dropping carbon dioxide from his administration's environmental policies, members of the energy industry's "Cooler Heads Coalition" sent around an email boasting that Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney had made the right decision "with a little good advice from their friends." That and more than $185 million in campaign contributions from the energy industry to the GOP since 1989, Huffington points out.
She also shows the administration has done nothing to cut corporate welfare fat out of its budget, while hacking away at vital social programs and failing to properly fund homeland security needs. For example, while we're on the topic of clean air, she notes how "the
ironically named Clean Coal Technology Program, not only survived the phony chopping block but is getting a major funding bump, earmarked to received $2 billion over the next 10 years to continue to do what it's failed to do so far - and what environmentalists contend cannot be done: produce coal that burns without releasing large amounts of carbon dioxide and other toxic chemicals." Not a bad return on an investment of
$3.8 million from the coal industry to federal candidates in the last election, Huffington points out.
About the only bad thing one could say about PIGS AT THE TROUGH is that it's unfair to pigs. They're actually pretty intelligent, fun-loving, friendly animals. Not at all like the reedheads you'll read about if you buy this book. And we think you should. To get your own, click here .
And don't forget--if you haven't gotten one already--Public Campaign's "State of the Union" poster puts the big picture together for you on one page: who's buying America, why they got for their money, and what the rest of us pay. Order your copy at www.publicampaign.org/stateoftheunion.