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Posts Tagged ‘plutocracy’


Divide and conquer; nobody has done it better than the billionaires who have controlled the United States via their two major political parties and their Supreme Court for the last forty years. But first a few comments.

I wonder if the downturn of the stock market on June 9-11, 2020 was just a correction, although I am suspicious it marks an increase in market volatility on its way toward the intersection where the real downtrodden economy meets the robust Wall Street market. In which case, we could be looking at a rapid or slow and long-term decline in share prices.

I do not think a lot of people understand that we are at the beginning of a recession and not at the end. I suspect that many people were buying the stocks of corporations for the last two weeks that are going bankrupt (think Hertz) because of desperation of their financial situations since 40 percent of US adults do not have $400 to cover an emergency, not in savings, not in credit cards or other assets, if I remember correctly.

I have read and listened to many experts on the rise of the stock market since March while the economy has tanked, but I have not heard how income and wealth inequality has driven the stock markets to record highs by redistributing trillions of dollars from the 99 to the 1 percent over the last forty years, nor do I hear how financially desperate many people are; not even those who are buying bankrupt Hertz and J.C. Penny shares. Those subjects are not allowed by the billionaires who own all the major news sources.

I have a good neighbor and he just got laid off from his job and fears losing his house. I see desperation written all over his face and in the tone of his voice when I speak with him. I see the middle class families in nice cars and wearing nice clothes rummaging through the recycle bins the night before the trucks pick that stuff up. Most, but not all of these folks, did not begin their rummaging pilgrimages until March. I watched videos a few days ago of the first food lines for the middle class since the Great Depression of 1929-40, a line of 600+ cars deep, people in their new Toyota Lexus’s, and other high end newer cars, who needed to gather free food in order to feed themselves. 20 to 40 million people are unemployed and all the congress would do was save the billionaires. See The CARES Act; the Rich get $4.75 Trillion and We Get the Crumbs.

We are at the beginning of a recession that will be severe because 40 years of the greed of sociopathic rich folks who control both major political parties and the Supreme Court, and who can never get enough money, and far more than they could ever spend, and who derive almost, and in many cases, all, of their income and wealth from the ownership of corporate shares, either through capital gains, dividends or corporate bonds.

Then you have the gullible grassroots on the political right who have been led to think the communists are controlling things; and then you have the gullible on the left who think the Democratic Party leaders actually give a rat’s ass about them; for the grassroots of both the left and right, the reality is unhidden and staring straight into their eyes.

All you need to do is look at Nancy Pelosi’s Heroes Act, the fifth stimulus since coronavirus shut down the U.S.; this legislation extends the government’s extra $600 unemployment insurance per week through the end of the year, and provides other income to the 99 percent too, although much of the money in the proposed legislation will still go to the rich. Pelosi waited to push the Heroes Act through the Democratic controlled House after both Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Trump said they were not interested in a fifth stimulus. Pelosi knew the Heroes Act was grand theatre for the blind faithful even though she could have easily negotiated more money for the 99 percent with McConnell and Trump during the first, second, and third bailouts, when McConnell and Trump were desperate to save the billionaires who pull their strings, which happen to be the same strings they use to pull Nancy Pelosi with. She did not negotiate for us little folks. Did she?

The billionaires pulled the strings of Pelosi, McConnell and Trump to come up with the notorious CARES Act, which bailed out the rich and their corporations to the tune of $4.75 trillion while throwing crumbs at the masses, which made for good theatrical effect. The billionaire’s corporate news media did their duty and only reported on the crumbs and how great they were.

As for the grassroots on the right, the CARES ACT alone should tell them how insanely wrong they are to assume Democratic Party politicians are controlled by communists, and the CARES Act should tell them that Republican politicians would not give a snail’s fart to help them out during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. And you would think the blind followers of the Democrats could figure out that the Democratic Party politicians have not cared about them since Jimmy Carter was president.

The voters of both sides, you would think, would by now figure out that both Democratic and Republican Party politicians threw them overboard forty years ago. It only takes one thing: using your brains to put two and two together.

Billionaires own this nation, both political parties, they have at least five United States Supreme Court judges in their back pockets, along with a lot of other judges; they own the media and only tell you what they want you to believe, and most of you believe the propaganda and the lies used to turn the grassroots of the right and the left against each other.

No, this economic crisis will not be over soon. This is going to be a long economic nightmare. The rich have gotten richer while the rest of us have been drained financially dryer during the last few months alone.

We have to figure out how, as a people and as a nation, we want to come out of this crisis. Lurching forward into another economic wasteland like Argentina is for the vast majority of its people; or with a strong political change that reins in the obvious corruption at all levels of the U.S. government, and ensuring a government of, by and for the people, rather than just continuing to impoverish ourselves under the dictatorship of the billionaires.

We have a collective choice to make and the time has come to cast aside our petty differences and organize. The 1 percent were taking at least 37 percent of the income produced in this nation in 2019, up from 8 percent in 1980. They are probably raking in over 40 percent so far this year. Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates owned more wealth than the bottom 50 percent of Americans, and that was before the crisis began. They are richer now.

If our situation continues on this path, the rich will steal even more income and wealth than is currently the case. Then we will be a nation like Argentina, once boasting a prosperous middle class on a level with the best European nations, and now with a population of mostly desperate people.

In the USA, the dictatorship of the billionaires will continue and become stronger unless the grassroots of both sides come together and realize they have economic issues that bind them. Until that day, the dictatorship of the billionaires will continue to impoverish us all even more so than today.

The billionaires will continue to use their corporate media to divide us and make permanent their conquest and subversion of our democracy, our Constitution, and our governments at all levels, local, state and federal.

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The Great American Class War: Plutocracy Versus Democracy (via Moyers & Company)

This is an edited version of a speech Bill Moyers recently delivered at the Brennan Center for Justice. It was first published at TomDispatch.

That was long before the era of cyberspace and the maximum surveillance state that grows topsy-turvy with every administration. How I wish he were here now — and still on the Court!

I tracked Keyishian down and interviewed him. Justice Brennan watched that program and was fascinated to see the actual person behind the name on his decision. The journalist Nat Hentoff, who followed Brennan’s work closely, wrote, “He may have seen hardly any of the litigants before him, but he searched for a sense of them in the cases that reached him.” Watching the interview with Keyishian, he said, “It was the first time I had seen him. Until then, I had no idea that he and the other teachers would have lost everything if the case had gone the other way.”

Toward the end of his tenure, when he was writing an increasing number of dissents on the Rehnquist Court, Brennan was asked if he was getting discouraged. He smiled and said, “Look, pal, we’ve always known — the Framers knew — that liberty is a fragile thing. You can’t give up.” And he didn’t.

The Donor Class and Streams of Dark Money

The historian Plutarch warned us long ago of what happens when there is no brake on the power of great wealth to subvert the electorate. “The abuse of buying and selling votes,” he wrote of Rome, “crept in and money began to play an important part in determining elections. Later on, this process of corruption spread in the law courts and to the army, and finally, when even the sword became enslaved by the power of gold, the republic was subjected to the rule of emperors.”

We don’t have emperors yet, but we do have the Roberts Court that consistently privileges the donor class.

Writing in the Guardian recently, the social critic George Monbiot commented,

Why are record numbers of Americans on food stamps? Because record numbers of Americans are in poverty. Why are people falling through the cracks? Because there are cracks to fall through. It is simply astonishing that in this rich nation more than 21 million Americans are still in need of full-time work, many of them running out of jobless benefits, while our financial class pockets record profits, spends lavishly on campaigns to secure a political order that serves its own interests and demands that our political class push for further austerity. Meanwhile, roughly 46 million Americans live at or below the poverty line and, with the exception of Romania, no developed country has a higher percent of kids in poverty than we do. Yet a study by scholars at Northwestern University and Vanderbilt finds little support among the wealthiest Americans for policy reforms to reduce income inequality.

Class Prerogatives

Listen! That sound you hear is the shredding of the social contract.

We are this close – this close! – to losing our democracy to the mercenary class. So close it’s as if we’re leaning way over the rim of the Grand Canyon waiting for a swift kick in the pants.

When Justice Brennan and I talked privately in his chambers before that interview almost 20 years ago, I asked him how he had come to his liberal sentiments. “It was my neighborhood,” he said. Born to Irish immigrants in 1906, as the harsh indignities of the Gilded Age brought hardship and deprivation to his kinfolk and neighbors, he saw “all kinds of suffering — people had to struggle.” He never forgot those people or their struggles, and he believed it to be our collective responsibility to create a country where they would have a fair chance to a decent life. “If you doubt it,” he said, “read the Preamble [to the Constitution].”

That was the essence of what I told Justice Brennan. Now, I wish that I could talk to him again, because I failed to mention perhaps the most important lesson about democracy I ever learned.

Those women in Marshall, Texas, were among its advance guard. Not bad people, they were regulars at church, their children were my classmates, many of them were active in community affairs and their husbands were pillars of the business and professional class in town. They were respectable and upstanding citizens all, so it took me a while to figure out what had brought on that spasm of reactionary defiance. It came to me one day, much later: they simply couldn’t see beyond their own prerogatives.

Fiercely loyal to their families, to their clubs, charities and congregations — fiercely loyal, in other words, to their own kind — they narrowly defined membership in democracy to include only people like themselves. The black women who washed and ironed their laundry, cooked their families’ meals, cleaned their bathrooms, wiped their children’s bottoms and made their husbands’ beds, these women, too, would grow old and frail, sick and decrepit, lose their husbands and face the ravages of time alone, with nothing to show for their years of labor but the creases on their brows and the knots on their knuckles. There would be nothing for them to live on but the modest return on their toil secured by the collaborative guarantee of a safety net.

The Unfinished Work of America

In one way or another, this is the oldest story in America: the struggle to determine whether “we, the people” is a moral compact embedded in a political contract or merely a charade masquerading as piety and manipulated by the powerful and privileged to sustain their own way of life at the expense of others.

I should make it clear that I don’t harbor any idealized notion of politics and democracy. Remember, I worked for Lyndon Johnson. Nor do I romanticize “the people.” You should read my mail and posts on right-wing websites. I understand the politician in Texas who said of the state legislature, “If you think these guys are bad, you should see their constituents.”

But there is nothing idealized or romantic about the difference between a society whose arrangements roughly serve all its citizens (something otherwise known as social justice) and one whose institutions have been converted into a stupendous fraud. That can be the difference between democracy and plutocracy.

Toward the end of Justice Brennan’s tenure on the Supreme Court, he made a speech that went to the heart of the matter. He said:

“We do not yet have justice, equal and practical, for the poor, for the members of minority groups, for the criminally accused, for the displaced persons of the technological revolution, for alienated youth, for the urban masses… Ugly inequities continue to mar the face of the nation. We are surely nearer the beginning than the end of the struggle.”

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With the super rich determining the rules and regulations handed out by government, the game has been stacked and rigged by the 1 percent against the 99 percent, and against the USA, as well. It began with the Lewis Powell Memo of 1971. It was a manifesto outlining how the super rich could dominate the economic and political landscape of the United States, as they had before the 1930s. The Great Depression was a direct result of their rule. Within a year of giving his manifesto to the US Chamber of Commerce, President Richard Nixon selected Powell to become a US Supreme Court Justice. Powell had never been a judge, and in fact, he was a lawyer for a tobacco corporation, defending the company against claims that the company lied about tobacco not being a cancer cause.

The US Chamber acted on Powell’s manifesto, and essentially, that’s how we got to where we are today; lower standards of living, massive personal and government debt, decreased real wages, massive redistribution of income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent via federal and state legislation, a federal government corrupted by big money and as corrupt as any banana republic on both the state and federal levels, financial inequality like none ever before in US history, an historically weak economy, huge media consolidation so bad that the news media in the US no longer exists and has been replaced by a network of propaganda machines whose purpose is to keep the 99 percent dumbed-down and ignorant to the benefit of the 1 percent, school districts starving for money because the jobs that supported the tax bases have been shipped overseas and the difference between the higher old wages here and the old wages there have gone into the pockets of the 1 percent via higher corporate profits, share prices and dividends, and the list goes on and on.

Understand one thing that Lewis Powell showed up; the US Supreme Court is nothing more than a tool of the 1 percent, and has been for at least twenty years. Justice in the USA? What a joke! The deck is completely stacked against the 99 percent.

Check out the links below for the Powell Manifesto, the plan by a future supreme court justice to steal democracy, and the Bill Moyers video of where we are in that plan.

The Lewis Powell Memo–Common Dreams

Full Show: Plutocracy Rising | Moyers & Company | BillMoyers.com.

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The US Game of Plutocracy

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Why Wall Street Always Wins

Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi writes of former lobbyist Jeff Connaughton’s detailed book on the revolving door of DC and the subversion of financial reform:

The great mystery story in American politics these days is why, over the course of two presidential administrations (one from each party), there’s been no serious federal criminal investigation of Wall Street during a period of what appears to be epic corruption. People on the outside have speculated and come up with dozens of possible reasons, some plausible, some tending toward the conspiratorial – but there have been very few who’ve come at the issue from the inside. We get one of those rare inside accounts in The Payoff: Why Wall Street Always Wins…. [T]hose interested in understanding the mindset of the people who should be leading the anti-corruption charge ought to read this book. It’s the weird lack of concern that shines through … On the outside we can only deduce the mindset from actions and non-actions, but Connaughton’s actually seen it, and with the book you get to see it too. It’s scary and definitely worth a read.

Click the link below for the full story from Truthout.org

why wall street always wins

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Mitt the Twit is a Wall Street plutocrat, a firm believer in government of the rich, by the rich, for the rich, and always at the expense of the 99 percent. Unfortunately, President Obama believes this too. They’re both representatives of Wall Street rivals. However, Obama seems to represent a slightly more compassionate side of Wall Street. So while I’ll vote for a third party candidate, Obama would be better a better presidential choice than Wall Street Corporate Raider Mitt. Mitt is an economic disaster waiting to happen, even more raping and pillaging of the 99 percent and taking their incomes and wealth and redistributing it to the 1 percent.

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