No, you're not going to find LeBron James on this list. The man did what any self-respecting capitalist would do: Take the money and run.
Curious, isn't it? Throughout the year, James was catching all sorts of shit for his decision to leave Cleveland for more lucrative, and winning ways, in Miami. Meanwhile, people in positions of real power and authority sold out this country at every turn. Where is the outrage?
Call James a sellout all you like, but this sideshow ain't nothing like the real thing.
"Since the halcyon days of the Clinton presidency, the Democrats have routinely ignored the interests of working people around the country and across the globe."
10. The Party formerly known as "the Democrats"
Where to begin? As President Obama observed the morning after the midterm elections, the Democratic Party took a "shellacking." What Obama failed to mention was the obvious reason behind the Democrat's defeat: They had it coming.
Since the halcyon days of the Clinton presidency, the Democrats have routinely ignored the interests of working people around the country and across the globe. Without putting too fine a point on it, corporate Democrats have sold out the American dream to the highest bidder. Is it any wonder that Obusha's base is so thoroughly alienated from the Democratic Party?
9. Congressional Republi-cans
Let's give credit where credit is due. In less than two years, the Republicans managed to rebrand their party after George W. Bush's disastrous time in office nearly relegated the GOP to the dustbin of history. Small wonder, then, that Congressional Republicans all but threw the former president under the bus for selling out conservative principles.
With an assist from the
grassroots astroturf Tea Party movement, the Republicans seized the political momentum out from under Obama and the Democrats. Just goes to show what misinformation campaigns and character assassination can do for your political fortunes. Not to mention your TV ratings!
8. General Stanley McChrystal
The loose-lipped commander of forces in Afghanistan shamed himself and his commander-in-chief in a widely publicized article in Rolling Stone. Obama had little choice but to sack McChrystal for his insubordination.
However, Obama was quick to note that McChrystal's departure did not signal a change in policy. At the end of the day, U.S. troops were sold out, yet again, in the name of political expediency and imperial ambition.
"Journalists ought to be cheering WikiLeaks, not condemning the group's efforts to speak truth to power."
7. U.S. Supreme Court
In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court blocked a ban on corporate political spending. Predictably, the decision opened the floodgates for unprecedented campaign spending this last election cycle. The resulting avalanche of political advertising did little to enhance the character and conduct of political debate. As it happens, this is just a prelude to the tsunami of political ads we're going to see between now and the 2012 presidential election.
While some hailed the high court's decision as a victory for free speech, others see the Citizens United case for what it is: a sellout to corporate interests and a decisive blow to the foundation of our democracy.
6. U.S. press corps
The controversy surrounding WikiLeaks begs the question for news workers: Which side are you on?
The campaign of intimidation waged against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange ought to be a wake up call to journalists. Instead, news workers and pundits are "drinking the Kool Aid" served up by politicians and diplomats who are literally calling for Assange's head.
Of course, the U.S. press corps hasn't demonstrated much of a backbone in recent years -- think of the uncrititical reporting during the run-up to the Iraq War or the mindless cheerleading for the stock market just before the financial services industry imploded. Still, I'd like to think journalists have an ounce of self-respect, if not for themselves than at least for their profession.
Journalists ought to be cheering WikiLeaks, not condemning the group's efforts to speak truth to power. The job description for news workers does not include saving politicians and diplomats from embarrassment. By selling out Assange and WikiLeaks as they have, the American press corps may be digging their own grave.
5. Sarah Palin
No Top Ten list is complete this year without a mention of the former Alaska governor, turned news analyst, turned kingmaker, turned reality TV star, turned "possible" presidential candidate.
Palin was a no show when her fellow tea party "feminist" Christine O'Donnell needed her most. When word got out that O'Donnell "dabbled into witchcraft," Palin saw the writing on the wall and left her fellow conservative twisting in the wind.
4. Sirius Radio
The satellite radio service announced that Dr. Laura Schlessinger will launch a new show in January. The conservative relationship guru "retired" in August following public outrage for her use of the N-word during an on-air conversation with a listener.
Between Howard Stern and Dr. Laura, Sirius is selling out listeners in a race to the bottom of standards of broadcast decency and civility.
"As it happens, this is just a prelude to the tsunami of political ads we're going to see between now and the 2012 presidential election."
3. FCC Chair Julius Genachowski
Genachowski claims he wants to preserve the principle of network neutrality -- the idea that information service providers may not discriminate between different kinds of online content and applications. However, over the past year the FCC chair has met repeatedly, usually behind closed doors, with telecom industry giants to craft net neutrality provisions.
At least he's got a sense of humor about it. As the Washington Post reported last week, Genachowski yukked it up with a few of his "clients." "Welcome to the latest in a series of secret meetings," Genachowski said to an audience of several hundred telecommunications bar association members.
It's painfully obvious: Genachowski is selling out Internet users to appease the interests of media giants who are eager to create a tiered system of online information access.
Along with other firms like PayPal and Master Card, the online retailer recently withdrew its support for WikiLeaks after the U.S. government denounced the whistleblower Web site for releasing "sensitive" information about the diplomatic corps.
In response, WikiLeaks released the following statement: "If Amazon are so uncomfortable with the first amendment, they should get out of the business of selling books." Nuff said.
1. President Barack Obama
See number 10.
Obama's arm twisting at last December's COP15 meeting and his no-show at the U.N. Climate Meeting in Cancun this month bookend a year of sellouts, reversals and outright betrayals. From the flip flop on Guantanamo and doubling down in Afghanistan, to caving in on tax cuts for the rich and authorizing targeted assassinations, Obama's major accomplishment has been re-branding Bush-era excesses and abuses of power.
Kevin Howley is associate professor of media studies at DePauw University. He is editor of Understanding Community Media (Sage, 2010). He writes regularly on media, culture and politics at e-chreia.