At least the odious Lloyd Blankfeins and Jamie Dimons and Business Roundtables of the world used to work behind the scenes as their lobbyists wrote the laws and bribed the politicians. No more. The oligarchs are right out there in the open. They own the United States of America. They're saying it loud and they're saying it proud.
Taking the Koch Brothers' co-optation of the Tea Party movement a giant leap forward, they are urging all us proles to go marching in the streets in their behalf, in the name of populist debt reduction.
I am not kidding. The CEOs of America are blatantly conducting power-point presentations in the workplaces of America, pressuring their wage slaves to voluntarily cut their own social safety nets. They are engaging us in a campaign of corporate-assisted suicide. They are urging us to become direct parties to our own destruction.
You may have heard their rallying cry buzzword from President Obama himself. They're euphemistically calling it "economic patriotism." Basically it means you should whip yourself into a nationalistic fervor to ease the pain of your decline.
Via the Progressive Change Campaign Committee comes word of the astroturf Campaign to Fix the Debt, run by Catfood Commissioners Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles and funded by billionaire capitalist Pete Peterson:
To pass this unpopular plan, Simpson and Bowles have amassed a massive $25 million war chest. As the Huffington Post just reported, it is likely that the group is being funded by the right-wing billionaire Pete Peterson; its steering committee includes billionaire CEOs like Honeywell’s Dave Cote.
If you sign up as a volunteer for the group, you’ll be e-mailed a “toolkit” that you’re supposed to use to engage in pro-austerity activism on behalf of the billionaires who run the group.
One of the instructions in the tool kit is to “bird dog” campaign events and town halls that feature Members of Congress.
To give you an idea of their idea of a balanced approach, David Cote has suggested raising the retirement age to 75 and doing away with corporate taxes altogether. Since billionaires like him are living longer, laborers and nurses should work an extra ten years. (Cote is an Obama pal and another member of his Catfood Commission.)
If you were still wondering why the president mentioned at the debate that he and Mitt Romney have similar ideas on Social Security, it's because they really do have similar ideas on Social Security. Alan Simpson also helps run the Commission on Presidential Debates and he is making sure the presidential candidates are cool with cutting the retirement program. As a matter of fact, the plutocrats were crowing with glee on their own website that both Romney and Obama fell into line during the debate. It is so, so cool to have bipartisan support in the campaign to fool the muppets into slitting their own wrists!
Something remarkable happened Wednesday night in the first Presidential Debate:
The candidates actually started discussing their plans for how they will bring down our deficits and deal with our debt!
We didn’t get an entire debate about the debt as we’d asked, but the major focus of the evening was on our most important fiscal issues – and that’s a major victory.
It means they’re hearing us!
Something really special is happening as this movement grows. Ten days ago we said our goal was to get 250,000 signers of the Citizen’s Petition to Fix the Debt, and we’ve already reached that goal. That’s more than 100,000 in only a matter of days!
We also saw something pretty incredible start to happen last night in Denver where the debates were taking place: local citizens took photos of themselves holding a tin can with the word of something that mattered to them – like healthcare or education – imploring our leaders in Washington:
“DON’T KICK MY CAN DOWN THE ROAD.”
It was so cool. And it’s something we can all do. So, to get started, we’ve added a new section of our website to make it easy for you to look your representatives in the eye and tell them why we care about fixing the debt. Simply visit this “Why I Care” page, and upload your photo.
The only thing that prevented President Obama from successfully completing his Grand Bargain last summer was the recalcitrance of the Tea Party and Grover Norquist. So now, billionaires like Lloyd Blankfein are getting directly involved, hoping to give their Congressional puppets needed cover in the Billionaires' Bipartisan Battle for Balance. From today's Politico:
While many on the Hill are skeptical that even the clout of the Wall Street could force a deal, optimists believe that the outside help would pressure lawmakers to sign onto a deal, or at least to give them political cover if they do. The logic: If business says a deal will help jump-start the economy, how could Congress and the president be against it?
“I just think that if we’re going to end up in a place where we’re actually going to be able to compromise, move off their positions and get to a comprehensive deal, we’re going to need external forces that are helping us do that,” said Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), one of the so-called Gang of 8 senators who have been working for more than a year to fashion a deficit-reduction compromise. “The business community is one of those groups that we’ve got to get involved, and there are lots of other groups as well.”
But he stopped short of predicting New York money would make a difference. “Hope so,” he said.
If there is any consolation to be gleaned from all of this, it's that mainstream outlets are actually covering the fascist coup in all of its glaring corruption.
Capitol Hill is turning into Hemlock Hill. But we must not go quietly into that good night.
Update: And Big Bird refuses to be co-opted by either of these phony candidates. Sesame Street has demanded that Obama pull the campaign ad touting his fake populism. As Marcy Wheeler notes, the ad uses crooks prosecuted under the Bush regime as examples. Lloyd Blankfein not only will not be prosecuted, he's running the show.