Alternet takes a dim view of what America’s ultimate plutocrats, the Koch brothers, are up to. A clip:
As shown in Koch Brothers Exposed, the Kochs aim to shape and shrink government to their liking at every level: national, state and local. (If you don’t believe me on that last one, you’ll find enlightenment in the film’s segment on Americans for Prosperity’s involvement in a local school board election in North Carolina that turned on the question of school segregation.) They aim to destroy public sector unions, not simply because government is labor’s last bastion of an organized workforce, but also because the Democratic Party relies on unions to turn out the vote in state and national elections. They’re focused on eliminating environmental regulations and forestalling efforts to control carbon emissions because Koch industries is a carbon-based business. They hope to phase out Social Security in order to eliminate the employer contribution to our national safety net for the elderly.
Read the whole thing here.
And why could it work? Because as a recent Pew study suggests, Americans are now more sharply divided by party than by race, class or anything else. And the Republican Party has now been subsumed by what can best be described as the remnants of the John Birch Society, which has taught a generation of Republican adherents, rich and poor, to revere the wealthy, and to oppose the social safety net, just like the Kochs want. Here’s an example; a comment from a Wall Street Journal article on a hedge fund billionaire who laments that the super rich have too LITTLE influence in Washington. The commenter writes:
- 3:40 pm March 12, 2012
- Dose of Reality wrote :
If you take a look at the wealth the “super rich” contribute to the government (and by extension their fellow citizens) and compare it to the public wealth – in the form of health benefits, retirement benefits, etc. etc. – enjoyed by those with little to no significant income, then yes Ken Griffin is dead right.
Used to be that folks would recognize the huge generosity of many of the “super wealthy” and be grateful for it. Now it’s just envy, envy and more envy. I am not a member of the super wealthy club, and don’t care to make the sacrifices necessary for a shot at it, but the lack of gratitude or other virtue expressed by those who most benefit from the contributions of these taxpayers is appalling.
Meanwhile, Jim Hightower on what the plutocrats want…
The Court’s surreal rationale for allowing this special-interest distortion of elections was that SuperPACs would be entirely independent from the candidates they back. In his Citizens United opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy blithely wrote: “We now conclude that independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.”
Wow, if ignorance is bliss, he must be ecstatic! Not only are SuperPACs and candidates tighter than the bark on a tree, but allowing unlimited special-interest money into campaigns is inherently corrupting.
Of course, these justices knew what they were doing: enthroning the wealthiest Americans, not merely to reign supreme over the political process, but also to control government. In a nation of 313 million people and an electorate of 217 million, fewer than a hundred uber-wealthy individuals and corporations (a tiny fraction of a fraction of even the 1 percent) shaped the GOP presidential debate and nomination to their personal benefit.
While the conventional media dwelled on such sideshows as the snarling nastiness among some of the candidates and whether or not Romney could get any love from the GOP’s hard-right, Bible-pounding, social-issues faction–the million-dollar-plus givers to the SuperPACs were having one-on-one conversations with each candidate “in quiet rooms” (as Mitt Romney so-genteelly put it). There, they flexed their enormous money muscle to make certain that the core Republican agenda would be their own, squarely-focused on the narrow economic, financial, environ- mental, governmental, and international interests of the 0.01 percent.
As of May 4, this corporate clique had poured an unprecedented $94 million into the SuperPACs of the leading five GOP contenders (with $52 million of that going to Renew Our Future, Romney’s money funnel). This firepower was all the more potent because it was targeted at only the few thousand voters in each state who participated in the caucuses and primaries. And it bought just what the moneybags wanted — the lockstep commitment by all contenders that — no matter how they might differ on abortion, gay-bashing, and such — they would govern according to the Holy Kochian vision of a regulation-free, union-free, tax-free America. Thus, no matter which horse any of the multi-millionaires and billionaires bet on, they would cash-in as winners, for this tiny group now owns one of America’s two major parties (and, yes, often rents the other).
The result is a suicidal diversion of our country’s political process from addressing the urgent needs of the majority (and of the country itself). Instead, the presidential and congressional debate has wandered down the rabbit hole into the Mad Hatter’s tea party, where the number one political priority is to protect and extend the wealth and power of the privileged class! There’s an old-time word for this: plutocracy. Throughout our nation’s history, that word has been an expletive, an anti-democratic abomination. Astonishingly, however, it’s back with a vengeance. We see in Congress, in numerous state governments, in the media establishment, in corporate-funded academia, and now in the race for president an all-out push to ennoble rank plutocrats as “job creators,” to emasculate the people’s authority to control the narcissism of the rich, and to make American citizens swallow the lie that corporations are “people” with a constitutional right to purchase our democracy.
Read the rest here.