Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Be Honest. Hasn't This Question Crossed Your Mind?

Progressive talk show host and author, Thom Hartmann asks, "Is America past the point of no return?"

Have corporate/billionaire control of our republic reached such a point that it’s no longer reversible? Have we passed the tipping point where democracy dies?

A few years back, on my radio show, President Jimmy Carter said that America, in large part because of Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United, has become “just an oligarchy, with unlimited political bribery.”

He’s right. It’s the elephant in the room that everybody, particularly our corporate media, completely ignores.

While Republicans are doing the will of their oligarch owners, replacing real scientists with industry lobbyists and shills everywhere from the White House to congressional science committees to the EPA, the media stubbornly refuses to report in depth on it, preferring instead to following the Worldwide Wrestling moves of our tweeter-in-chief.

Red-shift“ election fraud (called red because it helps only Republicans) has been flagrantly on display across the country since the privatization of our vote by GOP-leaning voter-machine companies in the 2000-2004 period. GOP voter suppression in nearly 30 states has now been institutionalized with Kris Kobach’s Interstate Crosscheck scam (now a presidential “commission”). Pre-poll and exit-poll results “flipped“ in Georgia’s 6th district in a way that caused us to decry similar vote-rigging in the Ukraine (the result, like in Georgia’s 6th, was measurably off from the exit polls).

Yet in the face of all this, enough to provoke revolution in countries like Egypt and Ukraine, our press instead focuses on the oligarchs’ unproven and well-debunked claim that “illegals” are voting to help Democrats.

As Vice President Henry Wallace predicted in a prescient New York Times op-ed in 1944:

They [the super-wealthy] claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest.

Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.

Have they finally reached that goal which, in Wallace’s day, they could only hunger for?

In 1944, the dream of the oligarchs to once again control America the way they did during the Gilded Age of the 1880-'90s was just that, a dream. Wallace’s president, FDR, had called them out, repeatedly, calling them “economic royalists” and damning their efforts to corrupt American democracy.

“These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America,” Franklin Roosevelt proclaimed in 1936. “What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power.”

But, he thundered in that speech, “Our allegiance to American institutions 
requires the overthrow of this kind of power!

It's been a long time since any American president rode to the defence of democracy, possibly as far back as John F. Kennedy.  The United States has been on corporatist cruise control ever since, gradually picking up speed.

This is all fine rhetoric but there's a good deal more to it. Two professors, Martin Gilens (Princeton) and Benjamim Page (Northwestern), produced an analytical study of the decline of democracy in America published by Princeton in 2014. Their conclusion - the American government no longer operates in service to the American people. It has been hijacked.

The Gilens and Page study was dutifully challenged in The New Yorker by staff writer, John Cassidy. The authors didn't take that lying down and fired back convincingly a month later in The Washington Post.  

Perhaps the only meaningful question remaining is whether rank and file Americans will every rally to depose the "economic royalists" from whose ranks Trump has heavily larded his own administration or instead succumb to a new form of illiberal democracy blended with neoliberal feudalism. The latter is the default choice.


Anonymous said...

Drumpf's era is just a blip on a time horizon of a decline of democracy in the Empire. In any case, most of the past damage was actually done either by the rich democrats-in a name-only or on a "democrats" watch...

The Mound of Sound said...

A..non, you really should read the Gilens and Page paper. I've put up a link to it. I know it's a bit of effort but it helps avoid some common misconceptions. Let's face it, ALEC, the American Legislation Exchange Council, like the Koch brothers, the Coors family and the rest of the oligarchs, do their business primarily with Republicans. I realize that doesn't comport with your narrative but the facts are pretty clear.

Anonymous said...

Please refer readers&me to the page and line of the document where the authors mention either democrats or republicans.
The authors only write about "business elites" and "affluent elites."
Most democratic politicians belong to those two categories, mavericks like Sanders&Co are exception. Make no mistake, the cabal ruling U.S.A. infiltrated and hijacked BOTH parties. Did you have notice how much $$$ Hillary ( a.k.a. Killary ;-)managed to amass during her election bid...?

The Mound of Sound said...

C'mon, A..non. Who does Sheldon Adelson support? Where do the Koch brothers park their money. What flavour of politician does the American Legislative Exchange Council target? At some point facts intrude on your equivalence fantasy.