Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Past and Future

As we already have what amounts to corporate control of government, opening up the meager restrictions on campaign finance through corporate entities may not mean as much as everybody assumes. Corporations currently funnel hundreds of millions to candidates through PACs anyway. But two things stand out upon reading this. First of all, the kind of significant campaign finance reform we need right now - in particular public financing to level the playing field - will never make it through the brick wall of the corporatist Roberts Court, which clearly has a lock on these issues for 20 years at a minimum. Second, if you read through these arguments, and the general set of opinions of the Court over the last term, you can only conclude that George W. Bush was a successful President. With a legacy that far exceeds his lack of accomplishments in domestic or foreign policy. Bush handed the Court to the Federalist Society right for a decade or more, and while the legal system can still put up a fight with respect to civil liberties, on most issues the ultimate answer will fall on the side of the corporation over the people every single time without question. And that's a frightening prospect.

It's too late. It was too late a long time ago. The balance of power has already reached the point where any push-back is ineffective. We just elected a black, Democratic community organizer who immediately handed over the middle class's saving for the last decade to the financial industry. We are in an economic depression that will not recover for decades. The money is gone and we won't get it back. We let Atwater and Rove drag discourse into the mud. There's no going back on that either. We let the authoritarian right give their followers permission to commit violence and carry guns and shout out tea-bagger insults in presidential speeches. It is too late. The only thing left to do is try to hold on to some dignity while much of our country sinks into violence and poverty. And laugh, because that's the one thing that they haven't stolen from us.


zeppo said...

Does anyone remember the original version of the movie Rollerball? That's where corporations ran the country. In order to pacify the general populace, they invented this incredibly violent game, so that everyone could expend their energies on that instead of really being upset about what is really going on in the country.

Seems like that was a bit prescient... Instead of the game, we have tea parties. We have town halls. We have George Orwell's 10 minutes of Hate.

I tend to agree with you. It's too late. If we were ever going to try to really change course, it would have been this election cycle. And it isn't happening. I am not sure I totally buy the bit about Obama being in the pocket of this special interest or that. However, because he is so interested in cooperation and bi-partisanship, and because the right wing screams bloody murder anytime anyone even suggests changing anything, it doesn't appear that anything substantial is going to happen. Yeah, we might get some sort of healthcare bill, but it will be one that does even a better job of lining the pockets of the insurance companies.

One aspect of the healthcare debate I find really annoying is that the insurance companies don't even add anything useful to the process, other than employing a bunch of people. They don't produce electricity, or coal, or oil, or build roads... The insurance companies are really just giant leeches on the system, taking out a huge amount of money from the system without adding ANYTHING to the process.

Susan of Texas said...

Yes, they add nothing and drive up expenses. It's just insane.

I don't think that Obama is like Bush or the Republicans. I think he rationalizes taking corporate funds and helping corporations so he can help other peoplee. He couldn't get elected otherwise. But in the end, the corporations win.

Downpuppy said...


When things are totally messed up, the question isn't whether they will change. Of course they will.

The question is: Which way? Russia in 1917? Russia in the 1990s? US in 1930s? Germany in the 1930s?

There are lots of possibilities, (mostly awful), and a very tiny chance of influencing which one we take.

Susan of Texas said...

The people I'm reading say "Russia in the 1990s."

Downpuppy said...

Ahhh- like Dmitri Orlov, who explained why it will be worse here.

Slapshot was much better than Rollerball, especially the ending to the final match. Also.

Unknown said...

A bit of a lurker for a few weeks after finding this blog through other blogs.

I just gotta say, HOLY CRAP you guys are depressing! Yea, Obama is a annoyingly bipartisan and the corporate right has dragged the discourse so far to insanity, it would be a hillarious sitcom if it wasn't real.

That said, we're not exactly in a unique situation. You think our political discourse was better 100 years ago? Hell no!

And sometimes populist* uprisings actually do happen and bring good. Obama got the bulk of his campaign money from regular people donating $100 or less. Even if we get finance UNreform as mentioned in the article, the "Dean/Obama" model of paying for a campaign is a very, very powerful thing.

Just look at how much money was thrown towards Joe "You Lie" Wilson's opponent just because he was an asshole during the president's speech. Some bells can't be unrung.

So, in conclusion, FUCK the Supreme Court. No really, fuck 'em! The damage is done there, yes. So let's find another way to get what we want.

* Excludes astroturfed teabagger nonsense.

zeppo said...

Crap. We're depressing?

Now I am really depressed.

Susan of Texas said...

I'm much more worried about the future of the economy--that actually might be a unique situation. The political situation is, in my opinion, a sideshow to distract us from the theft of middle class savings. Yes, I am very pessimistic. I haven't seen anything that will stop our present progression to serious hardship.

If approx. 70% of the economy was consumer spending and wages are stagnant and nobody is borrowing because they can't, where will the consumer spending come from?

Where will the jobs come from?

How long can we keep printing money?

What will happen in 2010 when we have a new wave of bankruptcies?

How can we keep up our health insurance when they keep doubling the rates?

What will happen now that the authoritarians have given their followers permission to commit violence?

There are a lot of terrifying questions out there that nobody is answering. I would be thrilled to ease up on the paranoia if I could find any answers.