T he following snippet is from a piece by Andrew Leonard on the SCOTUS ruling striking down the Montana Supreme Court decision to limit political contributions (in the teeth of Citizens United). It’s a clear loss for people and the planet as corporations have ONE interest, creating wealth for their owners (and no, that’s not “shareholders”) to the exclusion of all other considerations. It is a judgement that MIGHT is indeed RIGHT to the Holy Wise Ones on the Court.
On Friday, Business Insider published three charts, based on data provided by the St. Louis Fed, that offer a stark reminder of the contrasting trajectories demonstrated by corporations and workers in the United States over the past 40 years.
The gist: Corporate profits are at an all-time high, while wages are at an all-time low.
This kind of thing doesn’t happen by accident. It requires sustained pressure over time; changes in the tax code and labor laws, decisions by courts. It is the result of billion of dollars worth of lobbying. It represents one of the greatest capitalist success stories of the modern age — the near complete subversion of a democracy to serve corporate interests. And it’s getting worse all the time — a process exacerbated by Citizens United.
The question is: When will voters decide that they’ve had “more than enough”?
Leonard’s “gist” above is the actual headline of the BI piece, “Corporate Profits Just Hit An All-Time High, Wages Just Hit An All-Time Low.”
And his “question” is ridiculous. What is the “voter” to do about court decisions? What is the voter to do about corrupt politicians? What is the voter to do about the corrupting influence of the lobby system? I would say he’s quite behind-the-curve to call this a “near complete subversion of a democracy.” It is complete.
So, in the face of these facts–we must always use terms like “facts” even as Chuck Dickens parodied this obsession mercilessly in Hard Times, in fact (tee-hee) in the very opening lines:
NOW, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else. You can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts: nothing else will ever be of any service to them. This is the principle on which I bring up my own children, and this is the principle on which I bring up these children. Stick to Facts, sir!’
–in the face of these facts, absolute dominance of the political and economic AND military systems by corporate interests, what is a citizen to do?
Cry? Good start, sure, but then what? Scream? Yep, that’s good too…and then? Move? To where? Canada (that silly Left misconception that Canada is “different” has lost all cache lately as it acts in lock-step with the US)? Uruguay? (Maybe, they want to be the marijuana producer for the world!–but on second thought, massive cash crops in “unprotected” countries court martial dangers. Look at that massive drug producing country Afghanistan! The poor poppy!)
In truth, you and I will do nothing but the equivalent of cry and scream if we even notice the coming massive changes.
Tanks in the St. Louis streets running military “drills”–no big, it’s for safety’s sake and to keep crime down. Dessert winds in Illinois when it should be raining (at least somewhere, sometime)…no worries, soon North Dakota can grow all our food and the Yucatan can be a big swimming hole.
I guess, I’m never sure how to talk about this. We’ve drunk the lemonade in this country (you get that joke without my needing to link to myself, right?). We believe money is good. That folks with money deserve it. That putting limits on money is “unfreedom.” That money itself is freedom. That money is speech. That money CAN by me love…and so on. All the while being BLIND to the effects of that ethos.
It’s unsurprising that our government (which includes all the people who complain about the government while they profit off being in government)–all branches–assumes this to be a “best practice.”
My friend Lawrence just sent me a link to a Wall Street Journal “pro-con” piece about the “education reform” characterized by the push to creating “Common Core” curriculum standards shared by all states (I have to put everything in quotation marks because no one anywhere is honest and no one anywhere is revealing their motivations) that can be seen as a wonderful example of what I posted about in “What is American Education?, but can also be seen as just another “front” in this very aggressive battle against people in the US (and by extension, the world) as citizens–but simply as small, insignificant whelps just like those kids in who will be “factualized” to death in Dickens.
The two goons in the WSJ piece–goons are what we call mafia lackeys right?–represent the interests of Walmart and numberless other foundations dedicated to the holy writ of Ayn Rand. It is nearly irrelevant what they argue as it serves a base (who gets the money) and very focused interest: what is the best way to manipulate education systems so that they are 1. profitable, 2. labor-training institutions, 3. segregating institutions. Wheat from Chaff; white/asian from black/latino; rich from poor; healthy from sick. These are the minions DEVOTED to something other than your child’s opportunity to learn–instead they want you devoted to next generation labor practices that further the master/wage-slave divide. The Wheat is instructed by “Master-approved” programs; the Chaff gets the “free market” “choice” education in whatever guise they want to pretend it exists.
Another friend, Steve at School Matters, is concerned that the connotations of the word “reform” are too partisan for journalists to use. He argues “reform” implies “improvement” and whether you agree with it or not, a journalist should look to avoid the inherent implications of the word. While I’m the first to agree that words are little bombs of secret meaning that go off in your subconscious (you know the part of your brain that consists of nearly all that you think and are), I’m not sure journalists ever talk about what we might call “the bottom-line:” controlling interest. The WSJ piece is discussing “reform” as it is truly–a remaking, or remolding but it is also concerned with that awesome capitalist theoretical stupidity–”creative destruction” (that’s what gentrification is, right? The wealthy business class destroying homes to make themselves nice places to live because that’s what they want presently–your neighborhood, your home, must be creatively destroyed to serve their financial and impulsive desires). In other words, these goons in WSJ, no surprise, are not arguing for “the children”–but how best to “make use of the market” comprised of education dollars. Along the way they will use all kinds of word bombs besides “reform” to make it sound like they are serving the human interests of FREEDOM.
As this has been the “way of the wold” in the US for decade upon decade, what is surprising is that it seems to be surprising to some folks. What is further dispiriting though is that no one cares that this battle, and war, has zero to do with the single human being that is affected by it by the billions. These are interests devoted to power and money and as is more obvious than ever that this category does NOT include nearly everyone on the planet. Why, why, why are you arguing about it as if it did? I will argue with you interminably that the world of machines and money is an error unrivaled in history; but to what good when we are mired in a battle for who controls those two things rather than in a battle AGAINST those two things? Money and Machines serve no general good in the least. You are trapped by the inability to see beyond (to think beyond) your prison-house mental framework as you were born and raised to be compliant to it.
What I’m saying is that the only possible meaningful action we can take is to do something ENTIRELY different. The American Way is killing the world. We have to admit it. We export death and destruction–be it via military advance, with drones and depleted uranium ammunition and any number of horrifyingly inventive ways to murder innocents; or be it by economic sanctions which are perhaps more evil than the fire of war as this starves a population into submission or death; or be it by our rapacious accumulation of another people’s natural resources (the US and its proxies as well as it’s Ivy League Universities are buying land in Africa to secure water rights for the next phase in our climate catastrophe).
We are the evil. Face it. If you can admit this you can then take that perspective and review EVERYTHING that anyone representing a corporate or government interest with a PILLAR of salt and BE AGAINST it ON PRINCIPLE. There I’ve shouted at you. Surely that will convince you.
Photo: CBIA–who can’t wait? The businesses who want to make money! Where does the “reform” happen first? Urban and poor districts (ie, not where this healthy white little almost blond blue-eyed girl goes to school).