Friday, September 18, 2009

Obama and General Electric: Pay to Play

     Growing up in the state of Illinois, I've watched countless scandals unfold, from voter fraud to pay-to-play schemes. I grew up with the stories of dirty politics and the iron grip of the Chicago political machine. Both of the last two governors have been involved in corruption, and they were both from different political parties and tied to Chicago politics.  The latest and most famous scandal involved former Gov. Blagojevich in a pay-to-play scheme.

     In the last election cycle, many questions were raised about Obama from the obsurd Muslim extremist theories to questions about his citizenship status. There were, however, some legitimate questions raised (a topic for a future post) that were never fully vetted, due to the failure of the media to give a proper hearing to the evidence behind the questions.

     One of the most obtuse examples of the media biase, was MSNBC, who refused to air the mention of some of the stories that might negatively impact Barack Obama. When they did give a story airtime, it was almost always after every other network had aired it, but it was always portrayed with their pro-Obama spin. At least one member of the network publicly pledged their support in helping Obama.

    No doubt, the question is now raised as to what this might have to do with Obama and a pay-to-play type of scenario involving General Electric. Well, GE just happens to own MSNBC, and the CEO of GE, Jeff Immelt, is a key advisor to the President on the Economic Recovery Board. In addition, GE has lobbied for a large portion of the climate change legislation spending $18.66 million last year, and spent 2.9 million supporting democrats in last years election, much of it going to Obama.

     GE stands to benefit from the Obama budget according to an article in the Washington Examiner, for which I have provided a link. Here's a quote from the article.
"Obama’s budget includes the payoff, promising to start a multibillion-dollar greenhouse gas industry by 2012. In a letter this week, GE’S Immelt told shareholders that current events present an “opportunity of a lifetime,” because “capitalism will be ‘reset.’ ”
Immelt wrote: “The interaction between government and business will change forever. In a reset economy, the government will be a regulator; and also an industry policy champion, a financier, and a key partner.”

     In another article, regarding Obama's sudden shift in policy on missile defense, a program aimed at reigning in Iran's Nuclear Missile Program and one that had raised tensions with Russia, the article points out that GE stands to benefit from the immediate effects of this decision as demonstrated by Putin's announcement that he will meet with execs from GE and two financial companies. GE stands to benefit from this sudden change in national security policy through an opportunity to expand its operations into strategic parts of the Russian economy.

      This raises a lot of questions about the politics of the Obama administration.  Does this relationship and the relationships of the administration with organizations like ACORN (which will require another post to examine), equate to a large-scale pay-to-play scheme? At the least it appears that there are some serious ethical problems within the Obama administration and some definite abuses of power. And here we Bernie Madoff was a huge scandal. This looks like Watergate compared to Madoff.

Mike Nadeau

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