Tag Archives: corporatism

Onward, Christian soldiers, with your pitch-perfect suicide mission

When Fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the American flag and carrying a cross.”                                                               Sinclair Lewis

Chris Hedges wrote this article in 2007 –   before there was a Tea Party, before the world economic meltdown, before the dysfunctional congress . . . and before Citizens’ United.

Dr. James Luther Adams, my ethics professor at Harvard Divinity School, told his students that when we were his age — he was then close to 80 — we would all be fighting the “Christian fascists.”

. . . He was not a man to use the word fascist lightly. He had been in Germany in 1935 and 1936 and worked with the underground anti-Nazi church, known as the Confessing Church, led by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Adams was eventually detained and interrogated by the Gestapo . . .

Adams understood [then, in 1988] that totalitarian movements are built out of deep personal and economic despair. He warned that the flight of manufacturing jobs, the impoverishment of the American working class, the physical obliteration of communities in the vast, soulless exurbs and decaying Rust Belt, were swiftly deforming our society . . .

The mounting despair [now] rippling across the United States, one I witnessed repeatedly as I traveled the country, remains unaddressed by the Democratic Party, which has abandoned the working class, like its Republican counterpart, for massive corporate funding. . .

. . . the powerbrokers in the Christian right have moved from the fringes of society to the floor of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Forty-five senators and 186 members of the House before the last elections earned approval ratings of 80 to 100 percent from the three most influential Christian right advocacy groups — the Christian Coalition, Eagle Forum, and Family Resource Council

Again, he wrote this in 2007. And I agree with him, it’s the thing I fear most, and now our stateless corporate oligarchs have been given the gift of the Tea Party as hapless ground troops. And the poor sods will celebrate in the streets when they take Congress.

I’m in a very bad mood.

And they damn well know it!

In the mid-80’s, Ronald Reagan sat down with Speaker Tip O’Neill and crafted a few fixes to secure Social Security as a self-funding program for the next quarter century. It worked, just as planned. They knew, as did congress then and as does congress now, that future congresses would be required to do the same from time to time. They knew then as they know now, that Social Security is sound policy and a sound program, unless . . . .

For nearly a century, this marvel of policy engineering has kept generations of our elders out of poverty.

For all of that time, it’s also had enemies, determined to destroy it. In the 80’s, Reagan and O’Neill and the sensible policy establishment (much more centrist then) in Washington hadn’t yet heard of Newt Gingrich or Grover Norquist or Pete Peterson (well, those aforementoined  ‘enemies’ had heard of Peterson all right – he financed them).  Nor did they know that a well-funded campaign was already underway to convince younger Americans that SS wouldn’t be there for them, while quietly engineering its destruction.

They’ve pretty much succeeded. Because they knew that all it would take to break Social Security was to refuse to fix it.

Memories . . . Citizens United: the early days

Was reminded of this bit of history at Hullabaloo today. (It’s from here.) Remember Alan Grayson, the one-term gajillionaire firebrand rabble-rouser Democratic FL Congressman? The one who regularly took to the floor of the House to chew up and spit out the special interests?  The one who caused thousands of lobbyists to develop gastro intestinal disease? Yeah, that one. (video below)

He was one of the first victims of an unrestricted opening of the spigots of corporate money in a congressional race. According to a Politico article late in the campaign in 2010, almost 20% of all of the independent expenditures in House races in the entire country were deployed against Alan. His district was flooded with an unrelenting radio and television smear campaign by the corporations who didn’t appreciate his hard work on behalf of consumers and workers. The average person in Orlando saw 70 negative ads against Grayson– $2 million of which was paid for by the Koch Brothers, $2 million by the health insurance industry and another million from the NRCC. The cash that flowed into the district from the Chamber of Commerce and Rove’s band of cutthroats was a direct response to Alan’s reform efforts on the House Financial Services Committee and because he was the most effective national Democratic spokesperson in Congress. The DCCC, of course, offered him no help whatsoever in defending his seat. [Dems didn’t want to fool with the banksters either – who would have financed their campaigns?)

I know this will shock you, but . . .

. . .  Time Magazine thinks Americans shouldn’t have to process all that  challenging stuff. Especially during the “Season of Shopping”. More important things to think about you know.

Damn hippie

Actual. Good. News.

One down – far too many to go. Story here.

 

I hope SCOTUS can see this from the office windows

From Bartcop:

The Koch brothers systemic criminality

Bloomberg just published a bombshell story about the Kochs and Koch Industries and how they do business –  apparently, they do it their own way and the law be damned. It’s a lengthy story and it confirms that these enormously rich and very secretive brothers really do see themselves as sovereigns, occupying a higher plane than mere mortals. With all this criminality, I don’t know how they ever found the time to hire Dick Armey so he could create FreedomWorks, the group that stands behind the Tea Party.  (These guys work ‘freedom’ into everything. They need some new writers.)

A Bloomberg Markets investigation has found that Koch Industries — in addition to being involved in improper payments to win business in Africa, India and the Middle East — has sold millions of dollars of petrochemical equipment to Iran, a country the U.S. identifies as a sponsor of global terrorism . . . [Moe asks: Remember when Halliburton did that?]

Internal company documents show that the company made those sales through foreign subsidiaries, thwarting a U.S. trade ban. Koch Industries units have also rigged prices with competitors, lied to regulators and repeatedly run afoul of environmental regulations, resulting in five criminal convictions since 1999 in the U.S. and Canada.

. . . . In December 1999, a civil jury found that Koch Industries had taken oil it didn’t pay for from federal land by mis-measuring the amount of crude it was extracting. . .

Phil Dubose, a Koch employee who testified against the company said he and his colleagues were shown by their managers how to steal and cheat — using techniques they called the Koch Method.

Gimme that old time religion, er, I mean protestin’!

This is what Occupy Wall Street is about. And now that major news outlets have deigned to take notice, it’s growing into a movement.  Invitations to local demonstrations are popping up all over Facebook (I’ve had two invitations just this morning) and this has generated an organizing site here. It gets personal at We Are the 99 Percent.  From there:

UPDATE: Here’s the official site for Occupy Wall Street. And I just found another picture I rather fancy.

Free markets mean f-r-e-e-e-e-d-o-m ! !

A challenge to my conservative friends – justify this:

  • Almost every American-themed trinket sold in the Smithsonian Institute is made in China.
  • San Francisco is importing its new bay bridge from China.
  • New York City awarded Chinese state-subsidized firms contracts to renovate the city’s subway system, refurbish the Alexander Hamilton Bridge over the Harlem River, and build a new Metro-North train platform near Yankee Stadium.
  • the Martin Luther King monument in Washington was designed by a Chinese sculptor and assembled by low-wage Chinese workers.

Of the last, David Sirota, in an op-ed published in Truthout September 2, said:

Imagine the contradiction: a memorial for a civil rights leader who deplored “starvation wages” and died supporting a sanitation union’s strike is built by non-union serfs from China! The Chinese invasion, Sirota wrote, is caused by an America “no longer willing or able to invest in its own future.”

Original article at Human Rights for Workers, via an email from Joe.

All hail the United Corporations of America

While congress refines its performance art and the media take to their fainting couches, the overlords of our brave new world share a smug smile and head out to their summer houses. Their work is done. For now.

Freedom, brought to you by our corporate sponsors

Worth remembering: Mastercard and PayPal refused to process donations to Wikileaks – because, I assume, the US government asked them to. It was blatantly anti-democratic and it was barely examined by the media, who have mostly abandoned the role envisioned for them when the First Amendment was written.

Speak Truth to Power

h/t Don in Mass

Happy Fourth bobbleheads.

When A Country Goes Insane

One job for every five looking

That’s the headline on a recent article at Common Dreams, a website I visit when I need to refresh my inner liberal, the one who’s deeply offended by a wealthy country that let’s its children go to bed hungry. Where my Governor is bragging about the 65,000 new ‘jobs’ this year – which pay around $20K and replace the lost jobs that paid $40K.

Six million people have lost their jobs. Twenty five million are underemployed. Many will never work again. Eight trillion dollars of middle class wealth has been destroyed in the housing collapse. One out of four mortgage holders are under water, owing more on their home than it’s worth. Fifty million people are living in poverty. One out of eight Americans are on food stamps. One of every two children will be on food stamps at some point .

And meanwhile:

[The country] can’t tell truths from lies . . . Sleazy operators pass themselves off as statesmen . . . and the crowds, unable to distinguish sanctimony from sincerity, bravado from bullshit, lap it up.

Let’s just ignore:

. . . the Republicans’ response? The working and middle class need to pay. Never mind that it was Reagan and Bush I who quadrupled the national debt in only 12 years, and Bush II who doubled it again in only eight, all to grease the pockets of their wealthy base. It’s the working and middle class who need to be bled. They still have assets that can be milked from them. They can still be made more subservient, more docile.

Remember, it’s Obama’s economy. And what about the American people? The ones who aren’t the 1% who enjoyed all the economic gains of the last 30 years?

. . . they need to give up any expectation of security, or dignity. They need to give up any childish illusions that [government] is operated for any such quaint Madisonian ends as “the general welfare.” They need to put on their kneepads and accustom themselves to being grateful servants to their new feudal masters . .

And through it all:

The media genuflect before gibberish and idolize idiocy. They are the media-tors of a Gresham’s Law of public discourse where bad information drives out good. For their own slick whoring they become “players,” while everybody else is left with a debauched civic currency, a crushed economy, and a collective impotence that makes true democracy and true prosperity impossible.

God bless us every one.