America’s Circus: An Expensive Show

How many clowns
can get out of that car?
All the lifers and peddlers.
All the oval office puppets.
All the touts.
All the burrowers.
All the hurdle makers.
The car has revolving doors!
What’s the car pulling?
A bench with robed clowns on it.
Is the beast driving the car?
No, the corporate ringmaster is.

What’s going on here? P.T. Barnum would know. Mark Twain would know. Will Rogers would know. Late night comedians would surely know. It’s the biggest circus in America. And Americans are being taken for a ride! Let’s go inside the huge tent and take a peek.

Lifers and Peddlers

We have the best Congress money can buy.

– Will Rogers

Politicians are more likely to retire from or die in office than to be ousted from it by the voters. Politics was never meant to be a professional calling and career in America. Her founders loathed the very idea of political parties. Politicians were considered citizens first and foremost and they voluntarily left office instead of running for reelection. What changed the status quo were the advent of the spoils system and the peddling of big business for votes. So what we have today is a huge spoils system for the lifers and peddlers. Do you know that it costs taxpayers over $12 million annually for members of Congress to run their fiefdoms (including large staffs, some with family members on the payroll)? Voluntarily quitting has become a rarity. Who would quit such a cradle-to-grave job other than those caught up in scandals that won’t go away, who are just worn out, or who somehow don’t have or don’t please their corporate sponsors?

Oval Office Puppets

Two-term limits keep U.S. presidents from being life-long residents of the White House. But that’s plenty enough time and more to damage America and her democracy. Whether in office one or two terms, they are corporate puppets and might as well be on its payroll, except it’s cheaper for corporations to have presidents stay on the tax payer’s roll. The Corporate strings are taut and short.

The puppets wage war urged on by the defense (war?) industry. They dole out corporate welfare. They deregulate public constraints on corporate power. They promote the exploitative, undemocratic form of capitalism on behalf of corporations, and especially the big firms on Wall Street. They make judicial appointments that please corporations. They open the revolving door and let it keep spinning with corpocrats coming and going. They use the bully pulpit on behalf of corporate interests. They issue “signing statements” to end run new corporate-hostile laws and regulations (not that there are many to end run). They set in motion the policies that paved the way to Economic Katrina, the Second Greatest Depression, etc., etc.

Kept Courts

Justices and judges can be “bought,” as in “justice for sale,” particularly in those state courts where judges are elected. They can be kept beholden to elected officials who appoint them. Presidents savor the chance to fill one or more vacant seats. They can be kept “hostage” by their allegiance to an elite profession with its biases and culture. It’s an idealistic myth to think that justices and judges “put on the robe of impartiality.” Their robes are just rolls of cloth! Additionally, besides their own predilections, their deliberations are bombarded by arguments and counterarguments from well-paid corporate lawyers. Just how kept is the U.S. Supreme Corporate Court? Its infamous January 21, 1010 ruling says it all; five corporate justices ruled that corporations are persons with Constitutional rights.

The Touts

I’ve been tout fishing
On the banks of the political sewer.
And with just one cast
Look at what I caught.
Thousands of touts!

Big Pharma is the biggest tout in the stream of money flowing up to Capital Hills, the Nation’s and all its states too no doubt. If you can find me an industry that doesn’t have a pool of touts I’ll show you the proverbial ocean-front property in Arizona. But let’s not overlook the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It spends plenty of money touting. You can’t mistake it for any U.S. Chamber of Democracy.

The Revolving Doors

Now you see them here. Now you see them there. Who are they and where are they coming and going? They don’t stay put like the careerists do. They are the self-serving shufflers shuffling back and forth through the perfectly named “revolving door.” There are actually three kinds of them. One is for corporate officials and lobbyists who go through to appointments in key government posts to ensure corporate interests aren’t denied by the American people. There’s the government-to-industry door through which public officials, having gotten experience and valuable contacts from the inside by keeping public interests at bay, go to industry and parlay their experience and contacts into furthering corporate interests in exchanges, usually private, with the government. And finally, there’s the government-to-lobbyist door through which former legislators, their staffs, and executive-branch officials pass on the way to lucrative positions in lobbying firms to lobby their former colleagues.

The Burrowers

Now you see them, now you don’t. When oval office puppets are about to leave office they burrow their sycophant appointees into the federal bureaucracy as civil servants who never lose their jobs.

Hurdle Makers

Voting hurdles are a favorite ploy of conservatives and powerful corporate self interests who fear a populace vote. These hurdles deter the voter, deny voting, or derail honest voting. Voter disillusionment is the only self-imposed hurdle but it is reinforced by the hurdle makers making eligible voters feel it’s futile to vote.

The Beast

The cons are fond of saying “starve the beast.” They are referring, of course, to big government. They want to cut public budgets, public services, and the number of public servants to the bone. I have been inside and outside the beast; suffocating inside, a hierarchical maze to navigate inside or outside. So I understand their gripe although it is too extreme. It is about as extreme as my gripe with the typical big corporation being too bloated and bureaucratically inefficient (recently I had to endure a robot corporate router and a succession of three live persons before I got to one who had the best chance of helping me). If the typical corporation didn’t get corporate welfare and other government power gifts it would probably fail.

Let’s Shut Down the Show!

The show has been going on for decades. We can’t shut it down unless we all shut it down. What will that take? The answer is another story, but I’ll tell you here that it will take organizing, priming, and unleashing democracy pow!er (deliberately spelled that way) to “knock out” the corpocracy, the marriage made in Hell between “our” government and large corporations.

*****

  • The first 50 people who email the author and promise to tell him what they think of it will get a free, advance copy of The Corpocracy: Knocking It Out With Democracy Pow!er.
  • Gary Brumback, PhD is a retired psychologist and Fellow of both the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science. He is the author of The Devil’s Marriage: Break Up the Corpocracy or Leave Democracy in the Lurch. His most recent book is The Corpocracy and the Megaliio Corporation’s Turn Up Strategy. Gary can be reached at: democracypower@bellsouth.net. Read other articles by Gary, or visit Gary's website.

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    1. bozh said on March 17th, 2010 at 9:29am #

      I see it that way, also. But not even since 30 yrs ago. It is more like since 20 yrs ago.At that time i began to think ab how societies are structured on econ0-military-educational level.
      Seeing for the first time that the socalled education, media reports, tv-movies, constitution, ‘laws’ are mere parts of a whole: of THEM-by THEM; and against us.

      All of it controled by gangsters. From which mafia gangs learned the trade. In principle, a biker, street, club, congress, judiciary, cosa nostra gang behaving exactly the same! tnx

    2. Rehmat said on March 17th, 2010 at 6:30pm #

      Will Rogers was 101% right.

      “There are many Members of Congress who wants to be free. I am one of them. I wanted to be free to vote according to my conscience, but I had been told that if I did not sign a pledge supporting the military superiority of Israel, no support would come my way. And sure enough, I did not sign the pledge and no support came my way. I suffered silently year in and year out, because I refused to sign the pledge. An then like a slave that found a way to buy his freedom – I went to work – I wanted to be free – Free to cast the vote in US Congress as I saw fit and not as I was dictated to…..” – former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney…..

      http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/01/11/ankara-conference-on-palestine/

    3. Don Hawkins said on March 18th, 2010 at 3:13am #

      Medvedev: Russia must tap Arctic resources
      By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV (AP) – 9 hours ago

      MOSCOW — Russia must defend its claims to mineral riches of the Arctic in increasing competition with other powers, President Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday.

      Medvedev said global climate change will likely fuel arguments between nations seeking access to energy and other resources.

      “Other polar nations already have taken active steps to expand their scientific research as well as economic and even military presence in the Arctic,” he told a session of the presidential Security Council.

      Medvedev added that attempts have been made to limit Russia’s access to Arctic resources, but he didn’t name a specific nation.

      “Regrettably, we have seen attempts to limit Russia’s access to the exploration and development of the Arctic mineral resources,” he said. “That’s absolutely inadmissible from the legal viewpoint and unfair given our nation’s geographical location and history.”

      Russia claims a large part of the Arctic seabed as its own, arguing that it is an extension of its continental shelf. In 2007, scientists staked a symbolic claim by dropping a canister containing the Russian flag onto the seabed from a small submarine.

      The United States, Canada, Denmark and Norway have also been trying to assert jurisdiction over parts of the Arctic, which is believed to contain as much as a quarter of the Earth’s undiscovered oil and gas.

      Remember we are still in first gear so to speak and soon shifting into second then third. Someone on the TV said these trees in the road no power like when are they going to fix this in the greatest nation on Earth it’s been two day’s already like who’s in charge here. As far as trying to slow this down are we going to try? I don’t think so it appears the decision has been made it’s just better to not try. Of course we hear smart grid sorry nothing smart about it and that’s only one example as it looks like when it comes to making money imagination has it’s limits. A quarter of the Earth’s undiscovered oil and gas and the key word here is undiscovered. Like who’s in charge here? Well round still blue in color and 8 thousand years old the center of the Universe and the Sun goes around and around and comes up in the West and set’s in the East and there’s gold in them there waters. I wonder what it is was like walking with dinosaurs early human’s you know when you see pictures of a concert and the people with there hands in the air and waving back and forth I wonder did early human’s do that probably not a good idea we could tax carbon and return 100% of that money back to the people but probably much to simple.

      How many clowns
      can get out of that car?
      All the lifers and peddlers.
      All the oval office puppets.
      All the touts.
      All the burrowers.
      All the hurdle makers.
      The car has revolving doors!
      What’s the car pulling?
      A bench with robed clowns on it.
      Is the beast driving the car?
      No, the corporate ringmaster is.

    4. Don Hawkins said on March 18th, 2010 at 7:02am #

      On this heath care nonsense I keep hearing the American people don’t want it it’s an outrage what they are doing to the American people the back room deals and outrage I tell you. Just a pawn pure nonsense