The iconic image of "The Godfather" movie poster shows a hand manipulating a marionette device holding the strings that hold up the title.
That film was about organized crime that pulled the strings on the people operating the levers of power.
Today, we have large corporations operating those strings on all levels of government.
We may think we're voting for "change" or "values" or "a better way," but we're not. We just elect people that do the bidding of the companies with the most money.
Locally, the daily newspaper ran a recent story on the renewal of Bend's affordable housing fee that was whittled from 1/3 of 1 percent to 1/5 of 1 percent of the total cost of a new construction project.
While it was amazing the fee was extended at all, given the teabagger majority on the city council, it revealed yet again that Bend is the only city in the state with such a fee.
Why is Bend the only city?
Well, the builders' lobbying hands, the Oregon Home Builders' Association, manipulated the strings controlling the legislature to forbid any other city in the state from ever adopting such a fee.
That's even more surprising since the local builders' group set up an "affordable" housing "non-profit" group soon after the fee passed in 2006 and grabbed $645,000 of the $2.1 million doled out. Meanwhile, Bend Area Habitat for Humanity, which has been building affordable homes in Bend for more than 20 years, got $476,500.
Obviously, the builders' associations aren't the only arms wrapped around lawmakers in a bear hug.
In the last legislative session, the muscular hands of the petroleum industry yanked the legislative strings to bar any city or county from enacting a local gasoline tax to pay for local roads.
During this legislative session, a plastic-bag ban was set to pass with bipartisan support until the puppeteers from Hilex Poly, a plastic bag manufacturer, derailed this first-in-the-nation state ban.
Despite the fact that the majority of Oregonians are progressive, their will is often thwarted by the corporate powers that be.
Nationally, we haven't made as much progress as we should have on alternative energy sources because of the "oiligarchy" that runs our nation, and the world, for that matter.
Not to worry, though. China, and Germany, are pushing ahead with solar and may one day sell their power to us along with their technology. And then, we could borrow money from China to pay for that energy.
So, I guess it's not that bad afterall.