Monday, October 10, 2011

Defenders of Democracy

The economic elites, or as FDR put it, economic royalists, are now looking out their Wall Street windows at Americans gathering in their neighborhood. Americans who are not only waking up to the fact they were ripped off, but are assembling and drawing attention to it. Attention from the ever so reluctant corporate media, which we all know would rather cover a dozen Tea Cultists than thousands who speak for the majority. The elites are probably getting a little nervous. Nothing worries a thief like having his victim near his lair.

I still hold little hope for reform, with only a bit of lip service from politicians. Corporatism’s choked hold on our democracy is nearly complete. I hope I’m wrong.

The Occupy Wall Street demonstrations are also giving Americans a glimpse of what democracy looks like. Unlike the corporate manufactured Tea Cult, this group is representing the vast majority of Americans who have been swindled by Wall Street and their political puppets.

It’s a good lesson for our youth. Once upon a time the majority of Americans wanted to end a pointless bloody war of aggression in Vietnam. They marched and made their wishes visible to the powers waging that war.

Now the voices of democracy protest a class war waged on 99% of Americans.

One of my favorite signs carried there reads, “It’s only “class warfare” when we fight back!” And its way past time the people fought back.

Since Reagan. Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II shifted our government rightward over the past thirty years, we’ve see the results of the “trickle down economy” they lied about. The rich have been getting very richer. Turns out it was all a “trickle up” scam.

Gradually at first, and then suddenly in September of ’08, the working class and manufacturing base of America suffered their greatest loss since the Great Republican Depression. That was also triggered by the crash of a de-regulated market back in 1929.

The lessons of de-regulation needed to be learned all over again. The problem this time is we have non-stop corporate media giving Republicans face time to insist regulation, government and taxes are to blame for everything. The Wall Street Banksters are rewarding them for that service by contributing more to their election campaigns.

We now live under the greatest income inequality any alleged democracy has seen. The top one percent takes in about a quarter of the nation’s income, and they control even a larger share of the total wealth. This gives them more political clout than a democracy can survive.

And thanks to the vast Right Wing echo chamber of FOX(R) and extremist talk radio, they have loyal legions of indoctrinated members from the very class they’ve been screwing. Their cultists are rabidly defending the elites from the “tyranny” of paying a dime more in taxes, as if they can’t afford it. Talk about a great con. The duped minions are demanding they themselves pay more of their share to cover the debt and bills, all while receiving fewer public services. Astounding.

The elites all but own the politicians as well. Few speak out against Wall Street. Why? Thanks to the corporatist Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, Big Money has a lock on our elections and government. As former Senator Durban said, “They own the place”.

If someone still wonders what the protests on Wall Street are about, Former Florida Representative Alan Grayson put it eloquently.

Grayson and PJ O'Rourke were on Bill Maher last Friday. The Occupy Wall Street movement came up and the following exchange took place between O'Rourke and Grayson.

Grayson: Let me tell what they're talking about. They're complaining about the fact the Wall Street wrecked the economy three years ago and nobody's held responsible for that. Not a single person has been indicted or convicted for destroying twenty percent of our national net worth accumulated over two centuries. They're upset about the fact that they have iron control over economic policies of this country and that one party is a wholly owned subsidiary of wall street and the other party caters to them as well, that's the truth of the matter as you said before. And…

O'Rourke: Get the man a bongo drum, they've found their spokesman!

Grayson: If I…

O'Rourke: Get your shoes off, get a bongo drum, forget where to go to the bathroom and it's yours.

Grayson: If I am the spokesman for all the people who think we should not have twenty four million people in this country who can't find a full time job. Who should not have fifty million people who can't see a doctor when they're sick. That we shouldn't have forty seven million people of this country who need government help to feed themselves. We shouldn't have fifteen million families who owe more on their mortgage than the value of home, OK, I'll be that spokesman.

For more on the cancer of wealth concentration in hands of the few, see “Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1% at Vanity Fair.

It’s no use pretending that what has obviously happened has not in fact happened. The upper 1 percent of Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation’s income every year. In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent. Their lot in life has improved considerably. Twenty-five years ago, the corresponding figures were 12 percent and 33 percent. One response might be to celebrate the ingenuity and drive that brought good fortune to these people, and to contend that a rising tide lifts all boats. That response would be misguided. While the top 1 percent have seen their incomes rise 18 percent over the past decade, those in the middle have actually seen their incomes fall.

We might still have a choice between democracy or corporatocracy. But we better make it soon. We know democracy’s adversaries are unrelenting, and they are winning.

Electing more Alan Graysons and fewer Bachmanns and Ryans would be a good start.

45 comments:

One Fly said...

That's a whole mouthful there Dave. It's not hard to understand and you're correct of course. Bottom line it's the media that got us to where we're at.

Thanks for the effort you put into this and your passion.

Dave Dubya said...

One Fly,
Thanks. You're right. A democracy cannot survive without a free press, and a corporate tool is not a free press.

Truth 101 said...

I am like you that I also hold little hope for reform. It's just so damn hard to get rid of the scumbags once they're in office.

they lie like hell and tell us whatever shit we want to hear. Then kneel down at the collective donger of the wealthy.


Short of a total recall of all elected officials, which they would never allow to happen anyway, I don't know what to do Dave.

Dave Dubya said...

Truth,
All we can do is be aware, communicate our awarenes, and vote.

Not enough, I'll admit. Otherwise the best we can do is take care of ourselves and watch the empire decay as we all know it must.

I would suggest an interest in something that takes our attention away from the madness. Something cathartic we can nurture inside, like music, art, poetry, gardening, or even bird watching.

Jerry Critter said...

Democracy and unregulated capitalism are not compatible. At least that is what we are seeing now.

Dave Dubya said...

Jerry,
Democracy and unregulated capitalism are not compatible.

That, sir, is a golden nugget of truth and wisdom.

free0352 said...

and a corporate tool is not a free press.

Hahaha that's funny because every news paper and network in the country is a corporation LOL.

Do you hear yourself!?

Just the Facts! said...

"Unlike the corporate manufactured Tea Cult",,, I guess you mean the paid protesters of the "Pee Party"?

Leslie Parsley said...

free: The last time I worked at a newspaper, it was one word. Just saying.

Speaking of the media, here's an excellent article taking Erin Burnett, the new CNN bimbo, to task:

‎"... the signature failing of the media, in the way they've deigned to cover the massive unemployment crisis in America, is that they treat the people who are actually unemployed as abstract concepts. The norm that the media constantly, redundantly enforces is that the unemployment crisis is an event that solely threatens the re-election hopes of politicians, to whom they crave access."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/06/occupy-wall-street-erin-burnett_n_998494.html

I also saw the following interview with Grayson, who again responds to the critics of OWS, succinctly explaining what it's all about, so even the more obtuse among us might understand:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/44853715#44853715

OWS is a beautiful example of what a real grassroots movement is. No transportation costs, comfy hotel rooms, and food and beverage expenses picked up by rich fat cats not interested in them beyond their votes. OWS is democracy in action and what it's supposed to be about. If tea baggers weren't so brain washed by their corporate czars, they'd be joining them.

okjimm said...

"Compassion is the antitoxin of the soul: where there is compassion even the most poisonous impulses remain relatively harmless. " Eric Hofer

America has lost it's compassion.... I regard the actions created by groups like the Occupy Wall Street groups as a attempt to retrieve it.

We must succeed.

Dave Dubya said...

Free,
I'm so glad you are amused by corporate dominance and bias in news media.

Just The FOX(R),
No.

Leslie,
Thanks for the links. The Tea Cult wants money, not democracy.

Okjimm,
Greed is the dominant American value. Compassion and democracy only get in the way of greed.

Jefferson's Guardian said...

Dave, I saw a portion of the latest Real Time and happened to see that exchange between Grayson and O'Rourke. Grayson drilled him into the ground, which would be expected, given the disingenuousness of the conservative position.

When I was in Washington late last week, and this past weekend, participating in marches and actions with both Stop the Machine! and Occupy DC, the underlying message clearly was that we're all part of the 99%. It's a simple and undeniable truth. The probability that anyone we contacted was part of the upper 1% would be remote, indeed.

Why anyone would continue carrying water for the benefit of those intent on dismantling the middle-class, and who want an end to democracy in favor of oligarchic rule, is a mystery to me. Perhaps it's a cultist phenomenon linked to mass-masochism, I don't know, but it surely borders on the edge of being some sort of mass mental disorder not yet diagnosed.

Dave Dubya said...

JG,
It is no different than a cult except on a massive scale. The cult authoritarian leaders first assign blame on their opposition. They cultivate fear and anger in the disaffected and disoriented. They then tell the cult they are the only ones able to deal with the objects of their fear and anger. Then they direct that fear and anger towards their poltical opposition.

It's as old as superstition and tribal warfare.

Thanks for representing us.

John Myste said...

Free,

I have a question for you:

Do you think corporations effect the outcome of elections?

I am not asking if they should be allowed to. I am only asking if they do.

I am not asking if they affect the outcome in the same way as I affect the outcome when I vote. I am asking more, do you think they change the outcome of elections?

Tom Harper said...

That sounds like an entertaining conversation between O'Rourke and Grayson. I used to like PJ O'Rourke's articles in Rolling Stone. He's a rightwing but he's funny; he used to write for Lampoon Magazine.

It doesn't sound like he had much to say on Bill Maher's show, other than the standard rightwing "oh look, hahaha, a bunch of hippies with bongo drums, get a job, huh huh huh uh uh..."

free0352 said...

Do you think corporations effect the outcome of elections?

Yes. So?

Dave Dubya said...

Tom,
O'Rourke is often clever, but he added little more than stale booze and hippie jokes. He seemed to amuse himself though.

The Heathen Republican said...

Grayson? Really? I'm speechless.

John Myste said...

Yes. So?

I was just wondering if you believed that elections, and the nation, therefore, are controlled by corporations and to what degree.

Truth 101 said...

All politics is local so the saying goes.

And that being the case John, I would estimate 90 to 95% of government, and elections, are controlled by corporations.

Grass roots meant something up till about 12 years ago locally. it now means nothing. $500 was the going rate for a local government contract and all the grass roots workers were sold out.

And negative ads paid for by big donors win elections. Who knows if the OWS group will be around to change that in 2012. But the best and most effective ads I ever was invloved in were beat up the other guy ads. And I was relegated to only helping small time candidates like aldermen. The higher ups got the big boys and big donations from local business and businesses that wanted contracts.

Why the right is so scared of unions is beyond me. The unions in my town have had no clout for damn near twenty years.

free0352 said...

I was just wondering if you believed that elections, and the nation, therefore, are controlled by corporations and to what degree.

They control a portion of it. They share access to legislators with many other groups. Again, so what?

People often organize themselves into groups. Some of those groups heavily involved with politics are-

Political parties, labor unions, trade organizations, corporations, non-profits, special interest groups like Amy's list and the NRA, voter organizations like Media Matters and the Heritage Foundation, social clubs like Rotary Club, churches and religious organizations, ethnic organizations like the NAACP and NOW, environmental and conservationist groups, veterans organizations... and many more.

Why out of all of these, are the "cooooorpooooorations maaaaaan" the bad one?

Jerry Critter said...

I wouldn't let any of them make political contributions.

S.W. Anderson said...

Well said, Dave, but a correction is in order: Dick Durbin still represents Illinois in the Senate.

There is hope that enough low-interest, low-information people, enough independents who disdain both parties and virtually all politicians, get it, finally, who's screwing them over. The challenge for them, for Democrats and the country is for their justifiable outrage to be sustained for a little over a year, and then be channeled into votes to throw at least most of the tea party crazies and radical Republicans out of office.

That's a very tall order. Not impossible, but no cakewalk either. The lies, distortions and distractions that hundreds of millions of dollars can buy haven't really begun yet. But they're in the pipeline.

S.W. Anderson said...

Leslie, free never misses a chance to parlay his lack of knowledge with his willingness to blow hard into a spectacular display of nonsense stated as fact. Lesser BS'ers would be embarrassed, but that's not a problem for our resident know-it-all.

For example.

"Hahaha that's funny because every news paper and network in the country is a corporation LOL."

No, every newspaper in the country is not a corporation. The Seattle, Times, Dallas Morning News, New York Times, Boston Globe, Philadelphia Inquirer, Ottoway newspapers, Cox newspapers, the one in my town and many, many more are are privately owned, more than a few by families.

LOL.

S.W. Anderson said...

Jerry Critter wrote: "Democracy and unregulated capitalism are not compatible."

Unregulated capitalism is a menace, and not just to democracy. It's been a leading cause of death in countries that have tried it.

The Heathen Republican said...

@SW Anderson
"No, every newspaper in the country is not a corporation... the one in my town and many, many more are are privately owned, more than a few by families."

This is an ignorant statement (said respectfully, of course). Most corporations are privately owned. Many corporations are owned by families. SW, I don't think you understand what corporations are.

John Myste said...

I was just wondering if you believed that elections, and the nation, therefore, are controlled by corporations and to what degree.

They control a portion of it. They share access to legislators with many other groups. Again, so what?


Don't get defensive, Free. Nothing wrong with a good plutocracy. I was just asking. I wanted your perspective because I see you as such a wise man.

S.W. Anderson said...

Very well, Heathen Republican, some corporations are not publicly traded and some of them own newspapers. The hour was late and I didn't wade into variations on the corporate theme.

As to my larger point, it's ridiculous overstatement to say every newspaper in the country is a corporation.

Jerry Critter said...

In general, when people talk about the abuse of power by corporations, they are talking about the large multi-national corporations, not small business private corporations most of which do not approach the money or power of the large corporations.

free0352 said...

it's ridiculous overstatement to say every newspaper in the country is a corporation.

No it's not, its a totally 100% accurate statement, you even admitted as much.

Not all corporations are bad eh? Well, which ones are good? Oh, the ones that donate to Democrats. Ah, I got it.

Dave Dubya said...

Not all corporations are bad eh? Well, which ones are good? Oh, the ones that donate to Democrats.

Say, isn't that a false dichotomy?

free0352 said...

I don't know, you tell me. Democrat party seems to LOVE that General Electric, Citi Group and Goldman Sachs campaign money.

Seriously, you didn't really think Obama was above it did you? Did he really trick you that bad? Was all that hope really real? Wow, you must feel so used. No wonder the few faithful socialists you have left are whining unwashed in the NYC streets with their pitiful little handsies out crying for more hand outs.

Sad.

Dave Dubya said...

Free,
That's some serious attention deficit disorder you have. Never noticed my mentioning "corporatism" with both major parties? Not that the Rand cult isn't just as anti-democracy and corporatist as the Guardians Of Plutocracy.

You're also just as oblivious to the demonstrators' demand for accountability, not handouts. Maybe you've been busy worshipping those poor oppressed Banksters too long.

free0352 said...

Nah, I've been too busy trying to end their bail outs by doing something productive. Not sitting around unproductive, unwashed, and unintelligible in a park smoking pot, playing hacky sack and getting in the way of gainfully employed people.

And if you're so anti corporatist, I assume you'll be voting Libertarian next year since we're the only party the supports cutting off all subsidy to private persons AND business?

Nah, you're voting Obama. You know, they guy who gets his campaign financing from the banksters I supposedly worship. Your disconnect is amazing. You want accountability? Fire the President that handed these people you claim to dislike so much 4 trillion freak'n tax dollars with Porkulus and another 600 billion on quantitative easing. You support that guy, I support the no bail out no tax loop hole every body pays their share 9-9=9 guy.

Notice your logic disconnect.

John Myste said...

I support the no bail out no tax loop hole every body pays their share 9-9=9 guy.

Meaning the guy who wants a regressive tax system where the poorest of Americans are taxed a higher percentage than the richest.

The guy you support is about as corrupt as they come and his plan will hurt you and unjustly (and you will not be paying 9% of anything before its over. You are supporting the 20-20-20 guy. Why are you supporting someone who has your best interest in his sights anyway?

free0352 said...

where the poorest of Americans are taxed a higher percentage than the richest.

9% of 20,000 is a lot less than 9% of 300,000 so the rich still pay more, and to boot it's transparent and fair.

As opposed to today, when key Democrat donors like Goldman and GE and Google pay 0%.

Only a true democrat can't tell the difference between 0 and 9 and say the 0 equals more.

Ignorance is strength I guess.

The Heathen Republican said...

Just some advice Free, you don't want to go down this alley with John. The fact is a national sales tax is regressive because the poor will pay a larger percentage of their income in sales tax than the rich.

John Myste said...

Free,

9% of 20,000 is a lot less than 9% of 300,000 so the rich still pay more, and to boot it's transparent and fair.

Capital gains, half current top marginal income, taxed at zero, I believe. Sales tax taxes 100% of the poor’s income, as they must spend 100% to survive, and taxes far less than 1% of the riche’s income. Your math sucks. The tax policy is regressive.

As opposed to today, when key Democrat donors like Goldman and GE and Google pay 0%. You mean by taking advantage of loopholes created largely by the rich, who are largely republicans? What are you trying to say?

Only a true democrat can't tell the difference between 0 and 9 and say the 0 equals more. I like the way you deny that corporations pay taxes when it suits your argument. You mention corporations that paid zero tax as your example of how much corporations pay. Is it your contention that corporations currently pay no taxes in America or were you just injecting irrelevant trivia into the discussion?

free0352 said...

who are largely republicans?

Yes, Republicans like Barney Frank and Barak Obama to name just two.'

Is it your contention that corporations currently pay no taxes in America

No, what I'm saying is corporations that donate to Barak Obama pay 0% and those who don't pay 35%. It's the Chicago way.

Under our plan, they'd all pay 9%, with no loopholes.

So would the leech 47%ers... and the "eeeeeeeevil" 1%ers. And so would the rest of the real Americans.

9% of income, 9% of sales, 9% of corporate profit. That's it, not other taxes.

It's a libertarian wet dream I know, but hey... Yes we can.

free0352 said...

Examples of Corporations who donate to Obama who pay zero taxes or greatly reduced rates:

Google
Goldman Sachs
General Electric
General Motors
JP Morgan/Case
Citi Group
BP

Leading Republican Donors who pay 0% or greatly reduced rate.

None.

For example

Tyco Holdings - 35%
Exxon Mobile - 35%
Koch Industries- 35%
General Dynamix - 35%
Northrope Grumman - 35%

I could go on, but I think you get the point here. Corruption? Yeah, there's a lot of it in our tax code. Guy doing nothing but defending the status quo? President Zero Barak Obama.

Guy with plan to end it? Herman Cain.

Guy supported by Democrats? Yeah, we know.

Democrat credibility on fighting tax corruption? Zero.

Jerry Critter said...

Free,
I am glad to see that you think corporations should pay their fair share. I congratulate you.

Making corporations pay 9% income tax is not a bad idea. Under Cain's plan, they pay 9% on GROSS profits. That means no deductions even for employee wages.

Let's see. Exxon earned 10.7 billion dollars in the 2nd quarter of 2011. From what I can tell, this is a net income, not gross income.

Now, 9% of 10.7 billion dollars is 963 million dollars. Assuming this is net, not gross dollars, let's conservatively say their gross income is 5 times their net income. That's gives them a profit of 20%. Probably high, but so what.

That means under Cain's 9-9-9 plan Exxon would have to pay 3.852 billion dollars on one quarter's profits.

Assuming that they continue to earn at the same rate, they would owe 15.4 billion dollars in federal income tax for 2011.

Seems fair to me! And I bet it is a lot more than they paid in 2010.

Let me check.

In 2010, Exxon reported that they paid 1.3 billion dollars in federal income tax.

Glad to see that you support a significant tax increase for corporations.

John Myste said...

Free,

Is it your contention that corporations currently pay no taxes in America

No, what I'm saying is corporations that donate to Barak Obama pay 0% and those who don't pay 35%. It's the Chicago way.


What law is it that you think Obama pushed through to get “his” corporations their zero tax rate? That is your biggest composition fallacy yet.

Under our plan, they'd all pay 9%, with no loopholes.

So would the leech 47%ers... and the "eeeeeeeevil" 1%ers. And so would the rest of the real Americans.


How much do the forged Americans pay under “your” pizza-driven plan?

9% of income, 9% of sales, 9% of corporate profit. That's it, not other taxes. How much of Americans income do you think comes from Capital Gains? How much is that taxed again?

I did not look up all of your examples of zero dollar tax payers. I noticed that you listed corporations that paid 35%, which is zero of that large corporations. You made that up. That is the top marginal rate and you know it is not paid.

I picked the most obvious one on you Red list, Exxon Mobile, who paid 0.00 in 2009. After that, I realized your list was not only erroneous, but dishonest, so I stopped there.

Herman Cain’s tax plan is sick and there is no other word for it, unless we want to include stupid. Even if he is elected, his advisors would talk him out of promoting this, I think, unless he selected other pizza cooks for advice, which would not surprise me at this point.

@Jerry,

1.3 billion dollars must be 35% of earnings, per Free’s steely-eyed analysis.

Dave Dubya said...

Free,
You're blowing it out your ass, to be polite.

Your "facts" are now at the level of Just the FOX(R).

http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2010/08/financial-industry-related-politica.html

Wall Street-Related Political Contributions Shift Toward Republicans

Your wrong now and would have been wrong back then.

We thought you had more going for you.

Dave Dubya said...

Free,
Some reality just for you. Top Goldman Sachs 2012 cycle donations:

Romney, Mitt (R)
$290,750
Obama, Barack (D)
$44,750
Brown, Scott P (R-MA)
$38,500
Rubio, Marco (R-FL)
$38,000
Gillibrand, Kirsten (D-NY)
$34,000
Pawlenty, Tim (R)
$19,000
Cruz, Ted (R-TX)
$17,750
Roskam, Peter (R-IL)
$17,500
McConnell, Mitch (R-KY)
$16,000
Cantor, Eric (R-VA)
$15,500
Himes, Jim (D-CT)
$15,000
McCarthy, Kevin (R-CA)
$15,000
Boehner, John (R-OH)
$14,500

Look at all those (R')s.

John Myste said...

Dave,

Free's "facts" was less factual than usual in this case.

Funny thing is, I am disappointed. Though his arguments are often fallacious, he usually holds is own in the made up fact war much better than he did here.

The correct move, Free, is withdrawal. There are weaker fronts where the war is sill waging, solider. Your conservative allies need you there.