“To see just how our system was rigged by the financial, political, and university elites, run, don’t walk, to a showing of Charles Ferguson‘s Inside Job,” said Bill Moyers in a 10.29 Boston University speech honoring Howard Zinn. “Take a handkerchief because you’ll weep for the republic.”
Moyers was describing the poisoning of the American political system by way of “a 30-year trend” — i.e., one that began with Ronald Reagan — “toward plutocracy, where the rich get richer at the expense of the average citizen.”
The spreading corruption funded by this plutocracy is easily the one fundamental water-table evil of our times — the central pipeline of political pollution from which myriad wrongs and nutter lies and smoke-screens are being fed. One would think that recognizing this could become a basic bond uniting progressives and tea-partyers alike. If Barack Obama had the stones to say what Moyers said a few days ago in this speech, people would rally behind him like never before.
But no — Obama talks instead of John Boehner and Michelle Bachmann and the corporate-funded right as honorable Americans with whom he’d like to find “common ground.” What delusion! Nobody knows how to capitulate to evil better than Barack Obama.
The stink of rhetorical horseshit that filled the East Room during Obama’s post-election-wipeout press conference yesterday afternoon represents the fundamental lie that will erode and destroy his Presidency if he doesn’t wake up. The super-rich have pretty much taken over everything — not just the government but much if not most of the political donation streams going to the major parties, as well as most of the major media news organizations. (I was listening to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer ramble on about the meaning of the midterms yesterday, and the man is nothing but a corporate lackey and a jack-in-the-box entertainer who spews “white noise” pollution.)
President Obama will never admit it and Blitzer and his ilk will never tell you that what’s happening right now is far more pernicious than the corruptions that took root during the age of the turn-of-the-century robber barons.
“To remember a thing, you must first name it,” Moyers said. “We’re talking about slush funds. Donors are laundering their cash through front groups with high-falutin’ names like American Crossroads. That’s one of the two slush funds controlled by Karl Rove in his ambition to revive the era of the robber barons.
“Promise me you won’t laugh when I tell you that although Rove and the powerful Washington lobbyist who is his accomplice described the first organization as ‘grassroots’, 97% of its initial contributions came from four billionaires. Yes: The grass grows mighty high when the roots are fertilized with gold.
“Rove, other conservative groups and the Chamber of Commerce have in fact created a ‘shadow party’ determined to be the real power in Washington just like Rome’s Opus Dei in Dan Brown‘s The DaVinci Code. In this shadow party the plutocrats reign.
“We have reached what the new chairman of Common Cause and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich calls “the perfect storm that threatens American democracy: an unprecedented concentration of income and wealth at the top; a record amount of secret money, flooding our democracy; and a public becoming increasingly angry and cynical about a government that’s raising its taxes, reducing its services, and unable to get it back to work.
” We’re losing our democracy to a different system. It’s called plutocracy.”
“That word again. But Reich is right. That fraction of one percent of Americans who now earn as much as the bottom 120 million Americans — a group that includes the top executives of giant corporations and those Wall Street hedge funds and private equity managers who constitute Citigroup’s ‘plutonomy’ — are buying our democracy and they’re doing it in secret.
“That’s because early this year the five reactionary members of the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are ‘persons’ with the right to speak during elections by funding ads like those now flooding the airwaves. It was the work of legal fabulists.
“Corporations are not people; they are legal fictions, creatures of the state, born not of the womb, not of flesh and blood. They’re not permitted to vote. They don’t bear arms (except for the nuclear bombs they can now drop on a congressional race without anyone knowing where it came from.) Yet thanks to five activist conservative judges they have the privilege of ‘personhood’ to ‘speak’ — and not in their own voice, mind you, but as ventriloquists, through hired puppets.
“Does anyone really think that’s what the authors of the First Amendment had in mind? Horrified by such a profound perversion, the editor of the spunky Texas Observer, Bob Moser, got it right with his headline: ‘So long, Democracy, it’s been good to know you.'”
[Will somebody explain why the video plays fine on the Boston University origin page, but won’t play when you copy the embed code and reconfigure the dimensions and paste it onto your own page?]