HIGHTOWER: Global Cartel Protection Committee

From phone companies to the media giants, from banks to software, whole industries are being merged, contracted, conglomeratized and globalized in such a way that is destorying real competition, leaving us consumers and our communities at the mercy of monopolistic corporations.Not to worry, though. Just before Thanksgiving, Attorney General Janet Reno took a bold step to do something about these emerging global cartels. Well, "do something" is a bit strong -- I mean, in the yuppified Clinton Administration, Teddy Roosevelt-style trust busting is so passe', so indiscreet, so aggressive, and so ... out of the question.So, instead of actually busting these anticompetitive trusts, General Reno has (are you ready?) ... set-up a committee! It's a committee to review and report on the activities of the international goliaths that are ripping us off? There, don't you feel better already?Wait 'til you hear who's on her 12-member "International Competition Policy Advisory Committee." It's co-chaired by James Rill, who was in charge of antitrust actions for the Bush Administration. You remember what a tiger the Bushies were on antitrust, don't you? As firm as a jello doorstop. The other co-chair is Paula Stern. She's a consultant to global corporations, helping them find their way around antitrust laws. Hey, you were expecting Ralph Nader?Other members include the chief lawyer at Aetna insurance, big-shot, corporate lobbyist Vernon Jordan and the top number cruncher at Xerox. In announcing this committee, Reno declared: "International cartel restraints cost consumers hundreds of millions of dollars each year." Indeed they do. So, WHERE ARE THE CONSUMER REPS?!This is Jim Hightower saying ... This silly committee is not there to protect consumers, but to protect global cartels from consumers. Where's Teddy Roosevelt when we need him?Source:"Reno names merger panel." Austin American-Statesman: Nov. 25, 1997. "Reno, Klein unveil first-ever committee to attack anticompetitive cartels." Press release U.S. Dept. of Justice. Nov. 24,1997.

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