Obama’s Kleptocracy Initiative

Earlier this year, we heard that the Justice Department was about to launch a “kleptocracy initiative.”

Knowing President Obama and his Attorney General Eric Holder as we do, we suspected that this initiative had nothing to do with controlling corporate thieves in the United States.

Instead, we guessed, the initiative was targeted at foreign kleptocrats.

And lo and behold, we were right.

In July, Holder announced the Justice Department’s kleptocracy initiative at the African Union Summit in Kampala, Uganda.

Holder said that the initiative was aimed at “at combating large-scale foreign official corruption and recovering public funds for their intended – and proper – use – for the people of our nations.”

“We’re assembling a team of prosecutors who will focus exclusively on this work and build upon efforts already underway to deter corruption, hold offenders accountable, and protect public resources,” Holder said.

The kleptocracy initiative fits well with Obama’s take on concentrated corporate power and corporate crime – stand up and fight it overseas, enable it at home.

Kleptocracy – from the Greek – is literally government by thieves.

Merriam Webster puts it this way – “government by those who seek chiefly status and personal gain at the expense of the governed.”

Of course, this definition is a perfect fit for our military industrial complex.

For the Wall Street/Washington axis.

And most visibly, for our health insurance cabal – made up of the major private health insurance corporations – UnitedHealth, Aetna, CIGNA, Wellpoint – and their handlers in Washington – most recently and most prominently – President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senator Max Baucus, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

These are the officials who controlled government health insurance policy.

They had in their hands a policy that would strip the thieves – health insurance corporations – of their power over the governed – the rest of us.

Single payer national health insurance.

Obama knew how to fight back against the health insurance kleptocracy – and in fact in 2003 said he would in fact push for a single payer system – once the White House and Congress were in the hands of the Democrats.

But when Obama and the Democrats took power, they became part of the health insurance kleptocracy.

Under a single payer system, the private insurance corporations would be given the death sentence.

(Yes, we are for the corporate death penalty when it comes to private health insurance corporations.)

In their place, we’d create a public insurance pool – everybody in, nobody out.

This would save the governed about $400 billion a year, cover everyone, and save about 45,000 lives a year.

(Yes, 45,000 Americans die every year from lack of health insurance.)

So, we hereby propose a kleptocracy initiative for the United States.

End the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Crack down on corporate crime.

Slash corporate welfare.

And pass single payer.

And when we finally get a President willing to fight kleptocracy at home as well as abroad – maybe he or she will launch the new initiative not in Uganda.

But right here in the USA.

Onward to single payer.

RUSSELL MOKHIBER edits Single Payer Action.



Russell Mokhiber is the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter..