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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.