May 29, 2012

The Mad Tin Foil Hatter, 2

What do the following Congressional, Executive and Judicial actions have in common?

1.  The George Bush/Henry Paulson TARP bailout of Wall Street casinos.

2.  The specific legislative proscription of Medicare's ability to engage in bulk purchase discounts with America's pharmaceutical companies.

3.  The 2005 Bankruptcy reform act which protected credit card companies and banks against the previous unqualified right of individual citizens to declare bankruptcy when they became insolvent.

4.  The inability of students to discharge in bankruptcy loans taken on to finance their educations at America's overpriced colleges and universities.

5.  Agricultural subsidies paid out to monoculture Big Ag, particularly corn and soybean growers, and the "food pyramid" of the Department of Agriculture recommending a "balanced diet" designed to fatten and finally finish off America's vast hordes of grossly obese citizens.

6.  The 10 to one price discrepancy between American pharmaceuticals purchased in America and American drugs purchased just across the border in Canada, with the concomitant illegality of "re-importation" of American drugs into America because of "safety concerns."

7.  Wars of choice against various Muslim countries with no discernible connection to any threat to the United States.

8.  The Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP) of the Federal Reserve, apparently now a permanent fixture of American finance, which makes it impossible for America's retired citizens to achieve any sort of reasonable return on life savings without gambling on a manipulated stock market.

9.  The Citizens United case handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court, guaranteeing continued corporate ownership of the electoral process.

10. Senator Dick Durbin's statement, in reference to the Senate:  "Frankly, the banks own this place."

Admittedly, #10 kind of dispels some of the mystery.  The overriding point is this:  the federal government does not exist, and does not function, for the general welfare of the American commoner any longer.  This conclusion was made perhaps most elegantly in Sheldon Wolin's book, Democracy, Inc., with its subtitled reference to "inverted totalitarianism."  Professor Wolin (Berkeley, Princeton), in using this description, was distinguishing the American form of tyranny from the Soviet system, where the state owned the means of production (socialist ownership of the economy) and from the Fascist system (derived, as Mussolini told us, from "fascia," meaning tissue) where private ownership of business exists, but the private economy is nevertheless under the effective control of the central state.

In America we've come up with something different.  Using the exigencies of globalism as a pretext and rationale for unfettered growth of monopolies and cartels in big business (we have to let our big companies compete on the world stage, after all, and many foreign multinational companies, as in China, are merely extensions of the central government), America's big multinationals and monopolies have achieved a power and dominance such that they effectively own the government.

Obviously, all of this is achieved through money and its corrupting influence on the political electoral process.  The rationale behind each of the nine federal enactments or decisions in the list above is that each serves the interests of Big Business, at the expense of the individual American citizen.  These federal actions are fully bipartisan.  Senator Joe Biden, for example, was one of the prime movers behind the Bankruptcy "Reform" Act; many financial companies use the corporate Reno of Delaware (Biden's home state) as their state of domicile, simply because of the favorable (read: lax) corporate environment provided.

Thus, I think the "conspiracy theories" that matter in American life are not complicated mysteries concerning how a TWA flight went down near Long Island, or whether Elvis is alive and working for the CIA.  They're right out in the open, and the "mechanism" of the conspiracy is very simple: a recognition of commonality of interest among America's big businesses and the federal government which serves them. 

The needs of Big Business are simple:  low tax rates; lax regulation; the absence of any effective criminal prosecution to rein in the excesses of the financial industry;  and, to the extent that money paid into the federal government (or, increasingly, "borrowed" from the Federal Reserve) is not wasted on senseless boondoggles like Social Security and Medicare, an "investment" in the military-industrial complex, which requires endless, meaningless wars in order to keep the populace frightened and the money flowing to the Pentagon and defense contractors.  Congress and the Executive Branch provide all of this and more.

It's instructive that Senator Russ Feingold, formerly a Democratic Senator from Wisconsin, prided himself on his ability to run campaigns financed almost entirely by contributions from individual supporters.  He was in many respects the conscience of the Senate, a legislator who actually sought to hold George W. Bush accountable, for example, for the many felonies committed by the Bush White House in its serial FISA violations (illegal wiretapping).  Feingold attracted the support, I believe, of precisely three other Senators for his censure motion.  It was not a popular move in that bank-owned institution, and it's certainly significant that Feingold was defeated in a recent election.  He didn't play ball, and he paid the price.

No comments:

Post a Comment