Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Dollar Duopoly

Why bother pretending any more that we have a representative democracy? Sure, we're still allowed to vote, and we're even allowed to vent out loud every once in a while. But when you read stuff like this, as commenter Ste-vo says, all you can do is stare in mute disbelief:
The political network overseen by the conservative billionaires Charles G. and David H. Koch plans to spend close to $900 million on the 2016 campaign, an unparalleled effort by coordinated outside groups to shape a presidential election that is already on track to be the most expensive in history.
The spending goal, revealed Monday at the Kochs’ annual winter donor retreat near Palm Springs, Calif., would allow their political organization to operate at the same financial scale as the Democratic and Republican Parties. It would require a significant financial commitment from the Kochs and roughly 300 other donors they have recruited over the years, and covers both the presidential and congressional races. In the last presidential election, the Republican National Committee and the party’s two congressional campaign committees spent a total of $657 million.
In other words, the Kochs are not only a political party unto themselves, they are a nation unto themselves. If you're rich, your country is named Kochtopia. If you're poor, you're trapped in Kochistan. 

Not that the Democrats are much better, offering at best only the most anemic of populist agendas just in time for the endless pregame extravaganza. Hillary Clinton, the nominee-in-waiting, reportedly will forgo debating in the primary season. So if, like me, you were looking forward to Bernie Sanders at least pretending to challenge her for an hour on national TV, you're probably going to be disappointed. She can afford to elide the quaint democratic process. Why not? She's not only preempting fellow Dems, but is poised to knock even the Koch competition on its well-padded ass -- not with better policies or ideas --  but with "money like you've never seen." From The Hill: 
Major donors are ready to announce huge financial commitments to Hillary Clinton as soon as she announces a second run for the White House, according to Clinton allies and Democratic fundraisers. 
The Clinton team wants to build excitement about her campaign launch, which is expected in March or April. The money blitz would be a show of Clinton’s strength meant to scare away potential primary rivals.
“The floodgates are going to open immediately, and there’s going to be a rush to get on the team,” said Don Peebles, the real estate mogul who served on President Obama's national finance committee. “There’s nobody in the Democratic Party who can match her. Not even close.”
“It’s going to be like nothing you’ve seen,” added one top Democratic donor, who supported both of Obama’s presidential campaigns and plans to throw big support behind Clinton. “The numbers will be astounding.”
The oligarchs themselves disdain and openly scoff at participatory democracy. It's not letting the best man or woman win, but the most easily bought. The concept of the divine right of kings has arisen from the ash heap of history, and the deity bestowing the honor is named Mammon.

According to Mike Allen of Politico, Hillary's winning strategy includes playing nice with the press, selling the Lesser Evilism brand as she gobbles up all that bribery big donor cash from her corporate sponsors.  She'll bring such progressive icons as Robert Reich and John Lewis into her "big tent" as window dressing so asto fool some of the people all of the time. And she will behave very, very 'umbly and carefully pretend that she is not inevitable. Her possible running mates are already being carefully vetted, with minority Wall Street centrists like Cory Booker or Julian Castro high on the list to give her candidacy the necessary "diversity cred."

The Democratic answer to the Koch fund-raising monster is to fight money with more money, and include the proles in so we feel like at least our wallets are living in a representative democracy. I got a whole new batch of self-righteous, money-grubbing emails just this morning. From MoveOn, slugged "Koch Brothers Shocker!" 
This is what buying our democracy looks like. But we've got a plan to fight back.
The key is to turn this massive Koch spending into a political negative for any candidate who gets their cash, by focusing on the Kochs' long history of outsourcing jobs, polluting the environment, driving down wages, and crushing local businesses.
If voters know the truth, they'll immediately become suspicious of any candidate with strong Koch backing. Will you chip in $3 to help fight back?
Not one mention that President Obama is himself doing the Kochs' bidding by pushing for the polluting, job-killing, finance mafia-rewarding Trans-Pacific Partnership. (see my previous post -- Progressive Plutocrats, Inc.)

And here's some unintentional parody from the Progressives United Pac:
 The problem last year was that Democrats relied too heavily on old ideas and scary fundraising emails instead of lining up behind popular, progressive ideas that would have inspired more voters and more donors.
Will Democrats take another beating in 2016? With the Koch brothers alone already planning to funnel nearly $1 billion into next year's elections, it's up to us to make sure Democrats fight back the most powerful way possible: with popular, progressive ideas.Take the pledge: commit to fight with the president for a bold, progressive economic agenda.
Do I need to tell you that "taking the pledge" is defined as giving them your credit card info? That the only progressive ideas on the agenda are more fear factors and worse evils designed to extract millions of dollar bills from grassroots fighters like you?

And then there are the endless "RunWarrenRun!" obsessive-compulsive money-grubs,  asking me to hold house parties for Liz and become a citizen-bundler. Since Warren is not running, it is a given that any money raised for her non-existent campaign will go straight into the Democratic machine, to be spent for hors d'oeuvre for the donor class at their closed-door fundraisers, or just to pay for more email campaign for more PACs.

The inspiring message: Democrat David (so cool, so buff) will slay the Goliath of Republican filthy lucre with an equal or greater amount of money that is somehow newer, crisper, and purer. This utter lack of self-awareness is evidence that the political corruption is complete.

Not one of their missives even hints at a campaign to overturn Citizens United, or advocates for such popular initiatives as single payer health care or a government-subsidized jobs program. They're at best limited to the fake proposals put out by Obama at his state of the onion address. It's still money, money, money. D Money is not as stinky as R money -- what a vote-getter that'll turn out to be!  Dueling dollars instead of debates among human beings. It's like nothing we've ever seen before... since the mid-terms.

Getting excited and energized yet? Do you have the energy to even listen to any more of this claptrap? 

Neoliberal Death Match 2016: a public boycott of a sham national election like you've never seen.


Denis Neville said...

Trapped in Kochistan … Awaiting the “inevitability” of Hillary’s Coronation …

“Washington has become our Versailles. We are ruled, entertained, and informed by courtiers -- and the media has evolved into a class of courtiers. The Democrats, like the Republicans, are mostly courtiers. Our pundits and experts, at least those with prominent public platforms, are courtiers. We are captivated by the hollow stagecraft of political theater as we are ruthlessly stripped of power. It is smoke and mirrors, tricks and con games, and the purpose behind it is deception.” - Chris Hedges, Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle

I remember the ‘60s, when the civil rights and anti-Vietnam war movements had a hard moral center.

Today, there is just rot and goo.

Too many are passive and submissive. This is why our nation is drifting to the right. Too many dwell on images not realities. They have made a Faustian bargain with the crony capitalists for technology that delivers them goods, services and entertainments. They are conditioned to respond to the latest terror threat and all the propaganda that effectively negates their ability for critical thinking. Because of this mass hypnotization by mass media and popular culture, they consistently vote against their own interests, allowing our nation to be destroyed by greedy corporations and corrupt politicians.

While living in Germany, I recall reading William Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, telling about the experience of how easily one could be taken in by a lying and censored press and radio in a totalitarian state; how surprising and sometimes consternating it was to find that notwithstanding the opportunities one had to learn the facts and despite one’s inherent distrust of what one learned from Nazi sources, a steady diet over the years of falsifications and distortions, calculated and incessant propaganda, made a certain impression in one’s mind and often misled it; and how seemingly educated and intelligent people would parrot the outlandish assertions. Shirer wrote about “how useless it was even to try to make contact with a mind which had become warped and for whom the facts of life had become what Hitler and Goebbels, with their cynical disregard for truth, said they were.”

“When we renounce the self and become part of a compact whole [a mass movement], we do not only renounce personal advantage but are also rid of personal responsibility. There is no telling to what extremes of cruelty and ruthlessness a man will go when he is freed from the fears, hesitations, doubts and the vague stirrings of decency that go with individual judgment. When we lose our individual independence in the corporateness of a mass movement, we find a new freedom – freedom to hate, bully, lie, torture, murder and betray without shame and remorse. Herein undoubtedly lies part of the attractiveness of a mass movement.” – Eric Hoffer, The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements.

How do we submit? By not being radical enough! There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest. Not committing to a just cause is absurd. Dignity matters.

"I had no idea that history was being made. I was just tired of giving in." - Rosa Parks

4Runner said...

I've got the perfect campaign song for Hillary: "Take the Money and Run".

Cirze said...

Thanks, Karen.

Great reporting as usual.

I just keep wondering after reading this type of Hillary money/support news (which is appearing more and more in various forms everywhere), what will happen when very few people vote for her?

I'm left thinking that newly monikered vote-counting company will probably be used to shuffle a few votes to her to make Jeb or Mitt or Donald look like more serious candidates.

But I'm always looking on the "bright" side.

We gotta find another country.

Thanks again for all the time and effort you spend reporting the facts to us.

Patricia M. said...

Thanks from me, too, Karen - and thanks to everyone for the informative posts. As Pearl said a while ago, Sardonicky and the the comments and posts make one feel less alone.

P.S. How can I post without having a "photo?" I would appreciate hearing from someone in this regard. Google will not let me post without some kind of picture . . . .

Sonidos said...

Hillary isn’t the devil. Unlike Obama she will be decisive. How she governs is more important then what she does. Yes, it takes a lot of money to get things done. So what. That’s how it is. Face it and act anyways. She will put Putin in his place. Also Maduro. Six months and she will blast ISIS off the face of the earth by going all out. Obama kept the generals from going all out. Half a surge, half a recovery, drone here not there, half everything. That’s not Hillary’s way and you know it. We have the best military but Obama was always hitting the breaks. Just watch. Hillary will make Iran back off, or else. Because she has to to get the Latino vote she will knock off Obama’s nicey-nicey to Castro. Pointless and it alienates all of south Florida. She’s smart and tough. What we need. Give her a chance. Even we women here are anti the first woman president.

Valerie said...

I'm not giving the Democratic machine a penny. But I will write in Elizabeth Warren if there is a mass movement to do so.

I hope progressives don't get sucked into the Lesser of Two Evils mentality that took the Democratic Party by storm in the last couple of months before the election. Good Progressives who knew better just went ahead - even though they knew Obama was a corporate hack - and voted for the guy; just as the corporate Democratic Party knew they would. Hillary is more of the same.

I really liked Rocky Anderson in the last election and hope he wasn't left so bloody and bruised financially that he can run again. I wish we had a Ralph Nader or someone with his integrity and brains.

Denis Neville said...

Because free markets we have a social class system.

Lewis Lapham establishes the nature of America’s ruling class by taking us inside this social maze in his 2007 film “The American Ruling Class.”

“Americans are an inventive people, Mike. Manufacture our ruling elites, we like to call the meritocracy, in the same way that we build SUVs or 747s. The members come and go, and power for a season or generation, then replaced by new technology, fresh money. What never must change, Mike, is the belief that by doing well one is also doing good.” - Lewis Lapham

“The American Ruling Class” on Vimeo:

All the while "the Mighty Wurlitzer" plays on …

“The greatest hazard of all, losing one’s self, can occur very quietly in the world, as if it were nothing at all. No other loss can occur so quietly; any other loss - an arm, a leg, five dollars, a wife, etc. - is sure to be noticed...What we call worldliness simply consists of such people who, if one may so express it, pawn themselves to the world.” - Søren Kierkegaard, The Sickness Unto Death

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Patricia M. said...

Thank you, Annenigma. Very MUCH appreciated. I also appreciate your comments.

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Patricia M. said...

@ annenigma - Thank you again!