I think you can imagine how a major bank/investment firm like Goldman Sachs can gain access to power. They obviously can make or withhold campaign contributions. They can throw money into political action committees that go after politicians who want to mess with them. They also can offer politicians lucrative six or seven figure jobs should they ever fail to win reelection or want to retire from public service. They can use their pull to get their employees hired by the government. They can hire their regulators. There are many ways that rich Wall Street bankers can assure that Washington DC will let them do pretty much anything they want to do, even if it’s harmful to the country. But, sometimes, they don’t need to do anything.
Read the rest (it’s only about 300 words more) but we warned: it’s going to infuriate you.
“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’”—
Arguing that the U.S. food supply is 99 percent safe, House Republicans cut millions of dollars Thursday from the Food and Drug Administration’s budget, denying the agency money to implement landmark food safety laws approved by the last Congress.
Saying the cuts were needed to lower the national deficit, the House also reduced funding to the Agriculture Department’s food safety inspection service, which oversees meat, poultry and some egg products.
And lawmakers chopped $832 million from an emergency feeding program for poor mothers, infants and children. Hunger groups said that change would deny emergency nutrition to about 325,000 mothers and children.
But, you know, tax cuts for multi-millionaires are totally awesome.
I don’t trust the American electorate, especially when times are tough. Too many Americans drink the stupid juice when the economy is in the tank, and pull the lever against their own economic interests. Or, demoralized and disenchanted, they just stay home and don’t vote at all.
The results of the 2010 midterm elections provide all the evidence you need of that proposition. Voters cast their ballots for some of the most regressive governors, state legislators and members of Congress one can imagine. The country is hurting, but instead we get voter ID legislation, decimation of labor rights, criminalization of abortion, Vouchercare, and laws banning sagging pants. We knew they would do something like this, even though they didn’t explicitly say they would. The Republican track record on overreach speaks for itself. And the lackluster Democrats did their best to bring a GOP victory last year, eager as they are to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
If the economy continues to suffer enough, as it appears it will, Obama should take heed. Americans will elect the factually challenged, knowledge deficient and intellectually starved if given half a chance, which is why Obama needs to get serious about jobs, jobs, jobs. Regardless of how much he can accomplish on that front between now and Election Day 2012, he needs to get started yesterday. And it is time for him to ignore the Republicans. They have two goals in mind: First, to wreck the economy for 2012, and second, to establish a nation fully owned and operated by religious fanatics, the greedy and the unstable. They are making good on both these promises.
Obama must find some jobs or he’ll be out of one. Now here’s the long term problem, which leads us back to the short term: America is a feudal capitalist state with the highest inequality in the industrialized world. The inequality has widened over three decades, and is now at chronic proportions – the highest since the Great Depression. The elites have decided to ride this one out, not through economic growth, because all they have to do, they’ve decided, is to squeeze as much as they can from the rest of us. And they’re doing a superb job of it. Favorable tax policies and deregulation ensure that they get more and more, and the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision allowed them to buy the political system outright. So, a bribery-based political system – concerned only with the next election cycle – serves the interests of a crony capitalist system that cares only about the next quarterly profit statement.
Nowadays, however, the public seems to have abandoned the expectation that politicians tell the truth. President Obama, for example, included a clear call for a public option in his healthcare reform proposal during the 2008 presidential campaign. It’s still on his website. And yet: “I didn’t campaign on the public option,” he said in late 2009.
Weiner lied. But it wasn’t about policy or something important like war. Remember Libya? We were going to “move quickly to save [civilian] lives.” It was going to be “this limited action, limited both in time and scope.” That was March. Now we’re trying to kill Kadaffi.
And, to Weiner’s credit, he didn’t lie long. A week. When he ‘fessed up, he did it like a man: took questions from the press, accepted responsibility, volunteered dirty deeds we didn’t know about.
It’s certainly not “we DID find the WMDs,” a la Bush-Cheney. Who, remember, did not resign.
I would love to live in a country in which lying to the public was cause for resignation. It sure would make for a lot of vacancies in government.
But we don’t-and it seems weird to hold a sexter to a higher standard than a warmongering mass murderer.