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Cory Booker: Private Equity in the Sheets, Public Equality in the Streets

“I’m not running to be president, I’m running to fight for you.”

With those words, Cory Booker launched his audacious campaign to capture the White House. My fellow Americans, if you believe Booker’s opening bid, I have a bridge in Mar-a-Lago to sell you.

There is one sure fire way to know when a politician is lying—the minute any one of them open their lips. Booker took this art of deception to a whole other level. After spending six years in the Senate carrying the water of Wall Street and being a courtesan of Big Pharma, he wants us to believe that he is a corporate prostitute with a heart of gold who will do right by the people.

Here are some fun facts people should know about Booker. He once staunchly defended private equity firms like Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital. Private equity firms are the malicious extreme of capitalism, where private investors (pirates) go on a prowl to buy out vulnerable companies and corporations that are hemorrhaging profits.

Instead of buying these companies and corporations to resuscitate them and make them financially viable, private equity firms acquire them to eliminate redundancies and make them more “efficient”. Let me cut through the corporate bullshit, the redundancies firms like Bain Capital and the Blackstone Group are eliminating are workers and the efficiencies they are realizing are the profits they are raking in for themselves.

Private equity firms’ sole purpose is to make money, they don’t produce goods and they don’t sustain communities. Far from building up towns and cities, they rip apart lives and demolish local economies. By taking advantage of preferential tax policies that favor debt financing, private equity firms borrow billions of dollars at near zero interest and takeover corporations after levering themselves to the hilt. They then sell off bits and pieces of their acquisition, liquidate jobs and keep only the most profitable sectors.

Once they make their billions in profits, these capital hyenas either let companies fail or keep them going on life support as they continue sucking out their profits. The mafia are like the boy scouts compared to private equity firms. Whereas godfathers demand a taste for protection, private equity firms take ownership of companies only to bleed employees to the bone. Mass layoffs, regressing wages, eliminating pensions; these steps are taken to make companies profitable only for those profits to be deposited into the bank accounts of executives while workers are driven into financial insolvency.

Private equity firms and hedge funds are turning public citizens into wards of the state, they take our livelihood, give us crumbs and call that welfare.

If you want to know why the gap between the wealthiest 1% and the rest of us is exploding, look no further than the unabashed greed of Wall Street and runaway capitalism. However, the greed of corporations like Apple and Nike pales in comparison to private equity firms whose reason d’etre is to make money by outsourcing jobs, eliminating workers and turning Americans into indentured servants.

Corporations have hijacked our government and turned our nation, and the world by extension, into their personal plantations. The top 9 richest people have more wealth than the bottom 50% of THE WORLD! Think about this for a second, nine people are hogging up more resources than the meager accumulations of 4,000,000,000 people COMBINED. In this continued theft of humanity, both Democrats and Republicans are willing accomplices. Sadly, we are so addicted to the reality show of politics and so conditioned to view injustice through ideological and identity filters that too many fail to make the connection—both parties are subsidiaries of Wall Street. We the people have been turned into we the products.

The classical capitalism espoused by Adam Smith has been shredded and replaced by cancerous corporatism that destroys competition and uses size and scale to create monopolies. The whole theory of capitalism is grounded in destructive creation where companies that don’t innovate and deliver products to customers die out and are replaced by companies who are responsive to the needs of consumers. If only theory was reality, what we have are mega-corporations that rent-seek and curry favor with politicians to unfairly rig markets in their favor. Our government doesn’t work for us, it is a subsidiary of corporations and the oligarchy.

The God they are trusting is not the one in heaven but the old mighty dollar.

This is the grotesque greed that Booker not only defended but worked assiduously on behalf of during his tenure as New Jersey’s junior Senator. Now that Booker’s ambition has him convinced that he can climb higher and follow in the footsteps of the First Bank President, he puts on the cape of a hero to pretend like he is a man of the people. He hopes that we forget that he was the whore of the very corporations he is going to spend the next 12 months railing against.

To pull of this most breathtaking feat, he will lean heavily on his complexion and identity to blur his obsequious record. The same way that Kamala Harris is all the sudden embracing her “African-American” roots and leveraging her gender as a shield, Booker will cynically use the story of the disenfranchised and the legacy of hardship faced by millions of “African-Americans” to buttress his campaign and ward off criticism. Booker voted to ban the importation of cheaper drugs from Canada in order to protect the bottom line of Big Pharmaceutical companies, now he wants us to believe that he cares about justice. Cory Booker wants to have it both ways; he’s for private equity in the sheets and for public equality in the streets. #PrivateEquityCory Click To Tweet

The inconvenient fact that he is going to omit from his lofty speeches and empty platitude is that private equity is what is exacerbating public inequalities. Mainstream media won’t call-out Booker’s duplicity for the same reason they were mum while Obama funneled tens of trillions of dollars to Wall Street while giving the middle finger to homeowners. It’s hard to speak up against plutocrats who sign their paychecks.

We live in an era of corporate lawlessness for this reason, corporations and their plutocrat owners have weaponized their wealth and acquired the souls of politicians and policy makers the way they buy out small businesses and turn entrepreneurs into job-seekers. Eleven years ago, these financial terrorists intentionally crashed our economy only to be bailed out by both parties. Make no mistake, the recession of 2008 was not an accident, it was a byproduct of organized theft. They knew what they were doing, it was a matter of time before years of trading toxic derivatives and repackaging bad mortgages would blow apart the economy.

The writing was on the wall long before the implosion; economists who were not on the dole of Wall Street were warning about the coming collapse way before Lehman Brothers went into the night. Hedge fund managers, private equity gamblers and their Wall Street compatriots paid no price, we were left holding the bag while the criminals who bled our economy were rewarded with bailouts and golden parachutes. Cory Booker is not the only one who lauded this toxic form of cancer capitalism, but he sure was one of their favorite puppets.

Don’t let your anger at Trump and your frustrations with the current idiot in the White House blind you into falling for Booker’s gambit. Call him and his fellow corporate bought and sold candidates out for their continued subservience to Wall Street. A year and a half ago, during Virginia’s gubernatorial elections, I aired a podcast where I called the two major parties neo-Dixiecrats and the Grand Old Party and refused to vote for either Northam or Gillespie.

If you find Northam’s actions offensive, you should be equally offended by the antics of Cory Booker and his fellow corporate politicians on both sides of the aisle who give cover to capital system that kills the hopes of billions around the planet. I’m more concerned about the system that compounds racism, sexism and social inequalities than the acts of individual racists. Really think about this for a minute.

No more voting for the lesser of the same equals. We must stop falling for rhetoric and the stage craft of politics; forget what they are saying and inspect their record and pick apart their policies. Failing that, we will be made equal through inequalities while equity is reserved for the private oligarchy.

“The rich rob the poor, and the poor rob one another.” ~ Sojourner Truth

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Lij Teodrose Fikremariam
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Lij Teodrose Fikremariam

Lij Teodrose Fikremariam is the co-founder and former editor of the Ghion Journal. He is currently the chair of Ethiopians for Constitutional Monarchy. A published author and prolific writer, a once defense consultant was profoundly changed by a two year journey of hardship and struggle. Going from a life of upper-middle class privilege to a time spent with the huddled masses taught Teodrose a valuable lesson in the essence of togetherness and the need to speak against injustice.

Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.
Lij Teodrose Fikremariam
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