Thursday, January 21, 2010

Long Live the Robber Baron

Russ Feingold says (regarding the supreme court decision that says corporate spending on speech is the same as individual spending on speech):

"Such a ruling, Feingold said in a statement Monday, would unleash a flood of corporate money into elections and take the U.S. "not just back to a pre-McCain-Feingold era, but back to the era of the robber barons in the 19th century."

Whadya mean "back to the era of robber barons"? We've been back in the era of robber barons since GW Bush gutted regulation, cut taxes on the rich, busted every union they could, robbed and depleted retirement accounts and pensions everywhere, let corporations go hog-wild on the environment, and pumped the military industrial complex neo-cons full of war-raging steroids.

So, this ruling really just solidifies the corporate-fascist state that we've had for a while. Hell, you can go back even further, really, to Reagan, or even Nixon, for the roots of this vast expansion of corporate power and the corrosion of the nation-state. Hell, you could argue that we never really left the era of the robber barons.

Of course, you can go back to the beginning of the Corporation, an idea actually created by the mistake of a law clerk, and find the birth of the robber baron, and you'll find a great little Abe Lincoln quote about Corporations:

"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. . . . corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed."-- U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 21, 1864 in a letter to Col. William F. Elkins. Ref: The Lincoln Encyclopedia, Archer H. Shaw (Macmillan, 1950, NY)

Grover Norquist of the very corporate friendly Americans for Tax Reform famously said that he'd like to shrink government down small enough to drown it in a bathtub. That would make it much easier for his money powered friends to work upon the prejudices of the people and aggregate the wealth in a few hands, and succeed in destroying the Republic (government).

Instead of getting government small enough to drown in a bathtub, they just got a really big bathtub. And now they'll all be drowning in cash. As someone who just spent the last year well below the poverty line, I'd say that sounds like a pretty good way to go.

Would I be willing to destroy the Republic for my cash-filled tub? Not a chance. I'm not a treasonous bastard who cares more about wealth than the the USA.

Time to pull the drain plug. Maybe we'll see some real campaign finance reform come out of the Senate now, or has John McCain become just another corporate lackey in this department too?

From Feingold wary of upcoming ruling on campaign finance | | Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter (view on Google Sidewiki)

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