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Monday, January 4, 2010

PARROTS FOR THE PLUTOCRACY

"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country."
- Thomas Jefferson, Founding Father and former President -



"We are not a democracy. It's a terrible misunderstanding and a slander to the idea of a democracy to call us that. We are a PLUTOCRACY: a government by the wealthy."
-Ramsay Clark, former Attorney General under President Lyndon B. Johnson -


I'm not a hard guy to get along with. Yes, I bash conservatives and Republicans pretty harshly here at times in this blog, but by and large, I'm quite easygoing and good-natured. Good-hearted, too. Generally, I also have a fair amount of patience with most things. But two things really try that patience: mechanical objects that don't work properly, and electronics with intermittent short curcuits that are tough to pin down. Those types of things have been known to make me erupt and use language which would cause even Rush Limbaugh to blush. But the third thing which really makes my part-Irish blood boil is plutocrats, and those who stupidly aid and abet them. The latter, of course, are economic and social conservatives, and are usually (but not always) Republicans. And oh yes---ignorant, ill-informed people, and certain media talking heads also fall into that category of plutocrat-enablers, too .

I am not against wealth. I have the highest regard and admiration for those who go from rags to riches, and who do so honestly, without exploiting others in the process. But unfortunately, that is not how many at the very top of the income scale came to be perched there, or maintain their presence there. What I AM against is the way the wealthy (the plutocracy) have set things up so as to ensure they nearly always come out on top, most often at the expense of those far beneath them on the income scale, and how they have repeatedly used their wealth to effectively buy out our government for their own benefit. Thankfully, it is not impossible to become wealthy in this country. That is one of the wonderful things about the United States. But the wealthy have rigged the system heavily in their favor.


A number of people support conservatives and Republicans on the issue of taxes, and mistakenly believe that the GOP is more adept at running our economy. They believe that Republicans will hold the line on government spending and will cut their taxes; effectively being the best possible stewards of the economy. This is naivete at its worst. During George W. Bush's administration, he and his rubber-stamp conservative Republican Congress increased spending at a gigantic rate, far more than had ever been previously done. For the first time in our entire history, these Republicans went to war while simultaneously cutting corporate and ultra-wealthy individuals' taxes. Everybody else got very little or nothing at all in real tax relief. The GOP even accelerated a plan to privatize a large segment of our military by offering select companies non-bid military supply contracts. Middle class and poor taxpayers footed the tax bill for nearly all of this, and will be doing so for many years to come unless the plutocracy is finally taxed much more heavily. The misconception that Republicans are somehow better for business is disproved by a Ned Davis Research study. The study shows that, since 1901, Standard and Poor's 500 stock index has risen on average 7.2% per year under Democratic administrations, but only 3.2% under Republican administrations. According to International Strategy and Investment, in more recnt years (1944-mid-2008), the S & P was up on average 10.7% per year under the Democrats, but only 8% per year under the Republicans. The conservatives and Republicans also pressed for and got a large amount of deregulation in the banking and mortgage industries. The net result? A ballooning of our trade and government deficits which are being underwritten by China and other countries. That's right, folks: tax breaks for the rich and a war in Iraq that didn't need to be fought have put us into huge debt with China and other potentially hostile countries. Another result? Reckless market speculation that caused the government to have to bail out those careless Wall Street bankers who caused their own failures in the first place! Again, middle class and poor taxpayers footed nearly all the tax bill. Deregulation and irresponsible market speculation also caused rampant gasoline and energy price rises in 2008 and the near-collapse of our mortgage and banking industries. Record post-World War II unemployment, too, and a massive shift of good-paying American jobs to cheap foreign labor markets overseas. And who benefitted from all this? Did your paychecks and buying power rise dramatically as a result of these actions? Absolutely not. The only real beneficiaries of these policies were wealthy bank and corporate CEOs, their boards, their mainly wealthy stockholders, and our vast and growing military/industrial complex. In other words, the only real benificiaries were plutocrats. Does this sound like good stewardship of the economy to you? Would you call this "government of, by, and for the people"? I certainly wouldn't! Remember, folks, the best friends of this plutocracy are conservative REPUBLICANS and compliant conservative Democrats. Best remember this as you head to the polls next November!

Some people support conservatives and Republicans under the misguided notion that the country is safer and less likely to suffer attack from outside under Republican rule. These folks are simply listening to all the Republican bluster and talking points. They are ignoring several important facts. One, 9/11 occurred under REPUBLICAN watch, not Democratic. On August 6, 2001, while on one of his many vacations in Crawford, TX, President Bush was briefed that an attack by Osama Bin Laden on our soil was in the works. This warning was not acted upon, and 5 weeks later came the 9/11 attacks. Two, the Republicans dropped the ball by not finishing the job in Afghanistan in the fall of 2002. Bin Laden was able to escape into the mountains of Pakistan and remains free to this day. Three, the Republicans, led by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, began a very prolonged and costly war in Iraq which did NOT need to be fought. In the process, they unnecessarily ran our deficit sky high and also infringed on our constitutional rights by suspending the writ of habeas corpus. Four, they violated international law and the Geneva Convention through the use of rendition and prisoner torture, acts which may have dire effects on the well-being of future captured American soldiers. These errant actions, strongly supported by Republicans, weakened, rather than strengthened, our country's security and standing in the world. Voting for conservatives and Republicans in 2010 and 2012 will be voting for more of these same costly and wasteful kinds of mistakes. Their support of the military/industrial complex jeopardizes our national as well as economic security. Is THIS what you consider to be a competent, safe, and practical way to handle our national security? Hardly.

Finally, some people support conservatives and Republicans on grounds that they view them to be a more morally sound and pro-religious party than any other. Some are even foolish enough to assert that God Himself is on the side of the Republican Party. The Republicans make all kinds of noise about being pro-life and anti-abortion, and say they promote strong "family values," but in practice these claims prove to be fraudulent, too. For during the Bush administration, when they had solid conservative majorities in both houses of Congress and a de facto conservative majority on the Supreme Court, they made NO effort to eradicate abortion. Instead, they USED it as a political tool to steal Catholic votes away from Democrats. They have also routinely opposed practical contraception methods which would drastically reduce the numbers of unweed teens becoming pregnant and then opting for abortion. Beyond that, look at the numbers of prominent Republicans who have admitted to, or were alleged to have had, illicit sexual affairs over the past three or four years alone: Sen. David Vitter (LA), Sen. John Ensign (NV), former Sen. Larry Craig (ID), former Rep. Mark Foley (FL), and Gov. Mark Sanford (SC). Not a very clean slate for the supposed party of morality and religious purity. So when it comes to moral values, just as in the areas of the economy and national defense, the conservative Republicans love to talk the talk, but often fail to walk the walk. Don't buy their nonsense this November.

Ramsay Clark hit the nail on the head. This is indeed a plutocracy rather than a democracy. Ever wonder why Wall Street got bailed out by taxpayers and not Main Street? Or why legislation beneficial to average, everyday citizens rarely gets passed anymore? Corporate lobbyists write much of the legislation for individual congresspersons. Ever wonder why the public seems so ill-informed at times? Or why our news is shallow, repetitive, and not very broad? Why we only seem to get PART of the story so often? Six major corporations own nearly all of our news media, and present and reinforce their corporate values and bias constantly. Ever wonder why banks lavish perks and freebies on large depositors, and why they penalize accounts with small balances each month? It's brcause banks favor the wealthy and discriminate against everyone else. Ever wonder why YOUR wages remain frozen or are reduced, while corporate CEOs receive huge annual bonuses and golden parachutes even if their companies perform poorly? It's plutocracy in action, folks. The deck in this country is stacked against the poor and working American because our government and business are run for and by the wealthy for the benefit of the rich. Everyone else is a mere accessory.

Remember when voting this fall, everybody: the overwhelming majority of conservatives and Republicans are PLUTOCRATS. They do not understand, care about, or even look after, your best interests. They aim for power so they can continue serving the wants of the few; the wealthy; and corporate America. THEIR friends are on Wall Street, not Main Street. Watch out for those non-wealthy types like Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Tim Pawlenty, and some of the Fox "News" and CNN talking heads and pundits, who consciously or unconsciously do the plutocrats' bidding by issuing false or shoddily researched public statements on their behalf. These people are PARROTS FOR THE PLUTOCRACY, and are not to be listened to, trusted, or followed! Instead, let us campaign for and elect true public servants who care about and really understand the needs of average people! This year, let's nominate and elect more Bernie Sanderses, Dennis Kuciniches, Russ Feingolds, Ron Wydens, and Barbara Boxers to Congress, and dump plutocrats and enablers like Michele Bachmann, Virginia Foxx, and John Ensign! Let's dump plutocrats, their parrots, and their enablers once and for all!


BELOW: Your typical corporatist, conservative Republican we need to divest ourselves of.

"AWWWKKK! MORE FOR THE RICH! MORE FOR THE RICH! AWWWKKK!"

"AWWWKKK! POLLY WANT A TAX CUT! POLLY WANT A WAR! AWWWKKK!"

24 comments:

Mycue23 said...

Jack,
As I once wrote, "money makes the world go round, and those without it are just along for the ride", to which SJ added "and we don't even get a bathroom break". The interest of the monied class has been advanced for so long, it seems that govenment doesn't know how to do anything else. When government does try to do something to benefit others (like health care reform) somehow even the people without money can be convinced to scream bloody murder. It is a sad state of affairs, but hopefully, we the people, can get a few more bones thrown our way over the next few years.

Holte Ender said...

The biggest friend to the Plutocracy is the tax code, it is massive and complex. Only the biggest corporations and the richest individuals can pay teams of tax attorneys to navigate that rocky coast.

Jack Jodell said...

Mycue23,
O so true, my friend. No one whines or cries as loud and hard as a rich man, and nobody likes a crying rich man, either. But they still get the breaks.
---------------
Holte Ender,
I agree. Our tax code is a regressive disgrace. The plutocracy screams about it all the time, but they have riddled it with loopholes no one else gets, and they still have FAR more net income left over than anybody else when all is said and done. They have absolutely nothing to whine about with the current system. I would favor a top tax bracket of 49% with NO loopholes! But they'd REALLY cry and bitch about that!

TRUTH 101 said...

It's frustrating to try and comment here because you cover your topic so well Jack. For the most part, all I can do is agree and say great post Jack.

Jack Jodell said...

Truth101,
Thank you, sir. But there is always room for expansion or even disagreement, if that be the case.

Stimpson said...

The tax code is the rich's best friend? Well, maybe.

I think the best friend to the U.S. plutocracy may well be all the poor people who are so easily duped into fighting to preserve the power and privileges of the rich.

Max's Dad said...

It just baffles me when faced with all the $30,000 a year republicans I come in contact with. There's no arguing with ignorance manipulated by cynical conservatives. Great post, Jack!

Jack Jodell said...

Thanks, Max's Dad.
Those $30,000 a year Republicans slay me, too. They just don't realize they are being used and abused, and badly. The only thing I think is that they must all be wannabes and think that if they ever get to the top of the ladder, they won't want Democrats taxing them. Misguided fools!

Oso said...

Jack,
Yeah, what Max's Dad and Stimpson said.
I hear teabaggers talk about the Reps being the party of the working guy, the party who helps minorities and supports womens rights - and try to explain that Reps have traditionally the party of the wealthy and business, and who oppose progress for women and minorities.

Nothing earth shattering. They won't listen. newcomers to politics, they listen only to Beck or Rush or other troglodytes.

Wasn't that long ago you could at least reason with them. Not any longer. The smart ones all turned independent or changed their names to Libertarians.

Jack Jodell said...

These teabaggers are something else. They represent the darkest, most ignorant, and most stubborn extreme of conservatism today. Actually, they're reactionaries. I view them, with all their intolerance and ignorance, as a sort of American Taliban. We CANNOT have any of these reactionaries be elected to office! It would be like electing Ku Klux Klan members...

MadMike said...

Jack this is yet another outstanding piece. Once again, and I am with Truth on this one, it is difficult to say anything meaningful. You already did.....

SJ said...

Bravo Jack.
Agreed on all points. As long as the exploited (Americans) are manipulated into defending the interests of the parasites in that top 1% there will never be real change and progress for the country. Somehow we're sliding back to feudal times my friend.
Great post.
-SJ

Beach Bum said...

I'm with Truth 101 and Madmike. You covered just about everything so well anything I say would be redundant.

All I can add though is that the plutocracy will continue as long as the middle class can keep their lifestyle. With more and more manufacturing jobs leaving the country though I don't know how long that will last. We can't all flip hamburgers at fast food places and stock shelves at Wal-Mart.

Jack Jodell said...

MadMike, SJ, and Beach Bum,
My sincere thanks to all of you. It just kills me to see homeless people sleeping under bridges, people whose unemployment has run out worrying, struggling, and having to surrender their dignity by leaning on relatives and friends for support, and the middle class getting squeezed worse all the time, while trust funders and pampered CEOs are able to live a life of luxury and are relatively worry-free! Those top 1% (and even a number of upper middle classers) love to scream anbout and look down at those on welfare. They characterize those poor folks as unproductive and lazy. Some are, no doubt, but many are not and are truly needless victims of circumstances. Not only that, but I would argue that a number of trust-funders and pampered execs are lazy and unproductive, too. Even worse, many of them are indirectly or directly responsible for, and even profit from, those suffering at the bottom of the ladder. The middle class, which makes up the majority of the population, must unite politically with the working class and poor and take a strong stand against the exploitatyion of and neglect of many of those at the bottom and the middle by the upper 1%, who are getting by with economic murder. The middle class needs to wake up and stop identifying with those on top, and must instead hold them accountable. Passivity means cutting one's own throat. And that means stop supporting economic conservatives and Republicans at the polls! It also means overturning our regressive tax system which makes working and middle class Americans the supporters of both the poor AND the rich. It's CLOBBERIN' TIME, folks! Justice and common sense demand a far more level economic playing field!

mud_rake said...

But the third thing which really makes my part-Irish blood boil is plutocrats, and those who stupidly aid and abet them.

Stupidly is the operative word here, Jack. Stupidity is toxic-ly endemic here in the states. It has to be when one looks at the results of American elections.

Take the re-election of Bush/Cheney in 2004 as a grand example. The blatant ignorance of the American electorate was on display for the entire world to examine. I shall not go into details so as not to include you in that clutch of citizens.

The American electorate suffers three serious maladies which the right-wing has pounced upon. We are generally ignorant of history, we are poorly informed, and we are easily propagandized.

Those three conditions are ripe for indoctrination, fear-mongering and cultural/racial baiting. Goebbels knew that 70 years ago.

This 2010 election cycle will, I fear, be one of the ugliest electoral experiences on record for this nation. With the continuing unemployment situation, the scarcity of financial opportunities, and the need-to-blame, scapegoating urge in the mass psyche, the right-wing politicians will unload their entire arsenal onto the 'faithful' and those 'tea parties' of the summer will seem like, well, tea parties in comparison.

America is ripe for ugliness, hate and ignorance on a massive scale.

Jack Jodell said...

The stupidity you point out is illustrated perfectly by the teabagger phenomenon, wherein millions of dissatisfied and woefully ignorant people have been manipulated and led astray by the far right. I think the only thing we can hope for in 2010 and 2010 is that the teabaggers and rigid right wing ideologues will so damage and split the Republican Party that many more progressives will end up being elected in normally red districts and states that we will finally end all possibility of further obstruction and filibustering, for a time at least. We need a large amount of NY District 23 replication, which is entirely possible, and THEN we'll finally be able to enact real change. It won't be easy, but we can't just sit on our asses either...

TomCat said...

The only program the GOP succesfully carried out is No Millionaire Left Behind!!

Jack Jodell said...

THAT'S for sure, TomCat! They HATE welfare for the poor, but when it comes to huge tax breaks for the rich and enormous subsidies (corporate welfare) for big business, they're all for it!

Manifesto Joe said...

A sad thing is that this is far from new.

Remember "Easy Rider," from 40 years ago? Jack Nicholson, as the boozy Texas lawyer the boys pick up along their fateful way, speaks some great lines, perhaps written by Terry Southern, a second or third cousin of my wife's.

Goes something like:

When people are bought and sold on the marketplace every day, it's hard to talk to them about freedom. They'll do a lot of killin' and maimin' to show you how free they are. Oh, they'll talk to you and talk to you about individual freedom. But when you show them a free individual, it makes 'em scared.

Dennis Hopper character: It don't make 'em runnin' scared.

Jack: No. It makes 'em dangerous.

Jack Jodell said...

Great point, Manifesto Joe, but I would suggest this has intensified and gotten worse over the past 40 years. Maybe - just maybe - if and when enough people get shit on enough times, they'll finally come around and effect some real, beneficial, and permanent change!

Suzan said...

As he undeniably always did.

As do you, my friend.

Thanks!


S

Ramsay Clark hit the nail on the head.

Jack Jodell said...

Thank you, Suzan! We MUST reverse this plutocratic infestation! And we on the left will never be able to do so if all we do is sit and whine while teabaggers and ultra-conservative Republicans continue to lie their way into office!

Lisa G. said...

Jack -
Very excellent points all. One minor quibble - Bush/Cheney and their various and sundry dumbasses let Bin Laden go in December 2001, not 2002. But the military was "called off" for inexplicable reasons. Sounds fishy to me - oh, yes, I remember now. They wouldn't have had a boogey man to hold over the American peoples' head for re-election (to further ruin the country) if they had captured him.

They are quite a bunch of assholes, the lot of them. And stupid Americans believe them.

The plutocracy runs this country now and people who are not paying attention vote against their best interests. If I were a bettin' woman, I would call what they do propaganda, but that's just for us commies. :)

Jack Jodell said...

Lisa G,
Very astute and true observations, and thank you for the date correction. Why is it that people like us can see through all this hypocrisy and deceit but the teabaggers and a number of others as well can't? Are we that damn dumb as a nation?