Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Money Is Power

Go read Glenn Greenwald if you haven't already, because he points out the obvious--nobody ever had any intention of giving us what the rest of the industrialized world already has: universal health care. (At a lower cost.) Why? Because they don't have to. Americans will swallow whatever diversionary tactics are thrown at them, debate the issue endlessly, and then sadly and eagerly accept whatever the elite tell them, to explain away all their earlier elite little lies. It's why Megan McArdle's posts debating minute details and breathlessly following the plan's ups and downs are a joke. They're a delaying tactic, busy work, useless chatter about nothing.

Liberals have been just as delusional. The people with money and power will not give any of it up unless they are forced to do so. Expecting them to give up billions in profits is insane. It takes money and political backing to hold office. "The people" do not provide most of that money. Let's take another look at The List, Obama's major campaign contributors.
University of California $1,591,395
Goldman Sachs $994,795
Harvard University $854,747
Microsoft Corp $833,617
Google Inc $803,436
Citigroup Inc $701,290
JPMorgan Chase & Co $695,132
Time Warner $590,084
Sidley Austin LLP $588,598
Stanford University $586,557
National Amusements Inc $551,683
UBS AG $543,219
Wilmerhale Llp $542,618
Skadden, Arps et al $530,839
IBM Corp $528,822
Columbia University $528,302
Morgan Stanley $514,881
General Electric $499,130
US Government $494,820
Latham & Watkins

Greenwald says:
Of all the posts I wrote this year, the one that produced the most vociferious email backlash -- easily -- was this one from August, which examined substantial evidence showing that, contrary to Obama's occasional public statements in support of a public option, the White House clearly intended from the start that the final health care reform bill would contain no such provision and was actively and privately participating in efforts to shape a final bill without it. From the start, assuaging the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries was a central preoccupation of the White House -- hence the deal negotiated in strict secrecy with Pharma to ban bulk price negotiations and drug reimportation, a blatant violation of both Obama's campaign positions on those issues and his promise to conduct all negotiations out in the open (on C-SPAN). Indeed, Democrats led the way yesterday in killing drug re-importation, which they endlessly claimed to support back when they couldn't pass it. The administration wants not only to prevent industry money from funding an anti-health-care-reform campaign, but also wants to ensure that the Democratic Party -- rather than the GOP -- will continue to be the prime recipient of industry largesse.

Rich people have games they like to play. Polo. Lacrosse. Chess (if they're bright enough). The stock market, their own personal OTB. And politics. It doesn't matter who wins the elections because the winner will take orders from the money people no matter which side he or she is on. But it sure is fun to watch the rubes get all worked up over who wins, the left's impotent candidate or the right's impotent candidate. And it does manage to fool the lower classes into believing that they actually have a say in the decisions that affect whether or not they will live or die. (By the way, we are the lower classes.)

There is no Republican or Democrat. There is the rich and powerful and ruthless, and there is their victims. This is what the facts tell us. Only our desire to think we are powerful and good and special keeps us from acknowledging it.


Chris Floyd:
Thus it is now [Tony] Blair's contention that there is no charge to answer concerning the origins of the war; all this WMD guff is meaningless. He would have found "other arguments" to persuade Britons to follow George W. Bush into the war that American militarists had long been planning.

Blair's admission has drawn a remarkable response from another Establishment mandarin, Sir Ken Macdonald, who served for five years as Director of Public Prosecutions under Blair's government – and now works in private practice at a major law firm…alongside Tony Blair's wife, Cherie. The headline in The Times puts it plainly: "Intoxicated by power, Blair tricked us into war." In his column, Macdonald writes:
The degree of deceit involved in our decision to go to war on Iraq becomes steadily clearer. This was a foreign policy disgrace of epic proportions and playing footsie on Sunday morning television does nothing to repair the damage. It is now very difficult to avoid the conclusion that Tony Blair engaged in an alarming subterfuge with his partner George Bush and went on to mislead and cajole the British people into a deadly war they had made perfectly clear they didn’t want, and on a basis that it’s increasingly hard to believe even he found truly credible.

...Mr Blair’s fundamental flaw was his sycophancy towards power. Perhaps this seems odd in a man who drank so much of that mind-altering brew at home. But Washington turned his head and he couldn’t resist the stage or the glamour that it gave him. In this sense he was weak and, as we can see, he remains so. Since those sorry days we have frequently heard him repeating the self-regarding mantra that “hand on heart, I only did what I thought was right”. But this is a narcissist’s defence and self-belief is no answer to misjudgment: it is certainly no answer to death. “Yo, Blair”, perhaps, was his truest measure.

Macdonald also gives us a sneak peek inside the workings of the elite, with observations that doubtless apply equally well across the ocean:
In British public life, loyalty and service to power can sometimes count for more to insiders than any tricky questions of wider reputation. It’s the regard you are held in by your peers that really counts, so that steadfastness in the face of attack and threatened exposure brings its own rich hierarchy of honour and reward. Disloyalty, on the other hand, means a terrible casting out, a rocky and barren Roman exile that few have the courage to endure. So which way will our heroes jump?

We must hope in the right direction — for it is precisely this privately arranged nature of British Establishment power, stubborn beyond sympathy for years in the face of the modern world, that has brought our politics so low. If Chilcot fails to reveal the truth without fear in this Middle Eastern story of violence and destruction, the inquiry will be held in deserved and withering contempt.

The most basic needs we have--to belong, to feel good about ourselves, to feel important--are routinely and easily exploited to manipulate us. The elite knows that if they offer the lower classes a leader who flatters them, makes them feel good and important, the leader can then do whatever he wants and the little people will only make excuses and explain away the damaging facts.


Downpuppy said...

There's a difference.

When Bush screwed us over we could go straight to furious.

Now we have to get nauseated first. But when we get to fury, its going to burn even hotter.

Susan of Texas said...

People either turn anger inward or outward. I wouldn't be too surprised if liberals turned inward, blaming themselves and each other. We need to have our own populist organization or I suspect we'll sink further into apathy.

Have you seen Meet John Doe? A fake populist movement is set up by the media and Big Business and becomes enormously popular with the Depression-era poor. A struggle ensues when a reporter and the figurehead of the movement try to salvage the movement for the people.

ohsopolite said...

I just love that UC tops the list of Obama contributors--the very same UC that today can't possibly survive without jacking up fees by 30%. Now there's some real world education for you, kids!