The question today is whether we can twist free of them and again become a self-governing nation. Or if we’re doomed to continue to devolve into a full-blown oligarchy
Congress must gut and incinerate the Buckley and Citizens United Scotus decisions, then put limits on corporate, individual, and PAC political donations, prohibit dark money in politics, and regulate or ban any other forms of political influence and favors involving money.
NO Constitutional amendment is needed:
Congress can do this with their power to ban judicial review of select legislation as ordained and authorized in Article 3, section 2, clause 2. Keep Scotus entirely out of this, or these 6 extremists will certainly make another horrific mess.
In fact for those who believe we can ONLY do this by amending the Constitution, remember that even an amendment wouldn't assure us that Scotus wouldn't step in to limit its reach and smother its effect. So, this must be OFF LIMITS for Scotuws.
No amendment, no "Move to Amend": Congress must act with NO Judicial Review allowed!
If Congress does not, then whatever is left of our democracy will perish.
A fine sweeping story of the deep injustice sown by our 'Justices'. The emperor had no clothes; what terrifying hate is cloaked by those long black robes? History needs be held close and itself protected from being purged.
It is of course the greatest trauma to this Nation, allowing thieving Corporations to determine how our country will function. Of all of the agents for repeated disaster to Democracy, The Supreme Court leads the pack . Republicans support the middle of the Snake, and the very wealthy insure it continues to have the fangs to insist on its status for harm and destruction. Corruption is routine and damning to anyone without huge amounts of money, the majority are at least struggling and many are drowning with no guards in sight. Tragic undermining of democracy.
Foreign interests own about 40% of US corporations, according to my searches.
So, 1) why can they make political contributions *at all* even with our scotus? and 2) why, again, do they get big tax cuts?
apologies for bombing the comments, had to throw that in — best luck to US, b.rad
ps search “foreign ownership fraction us corporations” one unverified source <https://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxvox/who-owns-us-stock-foreigners-and-rich-americans>
Howard Zinn would've been 100 today.
"As we pass from one century to another, one millennium to one another, we would like to think that history itself is transformed as dramatically as the calendar. However, it rushes on, as it always did, with two forces racing toward the future, one splendidly uniformed, the other ragged but inspired. There is the past and its continuing horrors: violence, war, prejudices against those who are different, outrageous monopolization of the good earth's wealth by a few, political power in the hands of liars and murderers, the building of prisons instead of schools, the poisoning of the press and the entire culture by money. It is easy to become discouraged observing this, especially since this is what the press and television insist that we look at, and nothing more. But there is also the bubbling of change under the surface of obedience: the growing revulsion against endless wars … the insistence of women all over the world that they will no longer tolerate abuse and subordination… There is civil disobedience against the military machine, protest against police brutality directed especially at people of color. … It is a race in which we can all choose to participate, or just to watch. But we should know that our choice will help determine the outcome."
- Howard Zinn
Your article, while informative, doesn't go far enough Thom. Legal reforms to right the current wrongs will last only one day as the morbidly rich pay their lawyers to scheme to overturn them. As long as capitalism is our economic system there will never be justice. We need to replace it with a system that has the laws of natural systems, the basic needs of working people as it's foundations.
The set up on denying abortion rights ( precedent for fifty years) has created unimaginable pain and chaos. This is not as much a moral issue as a fulcrum for denying women their right to choose. Republicans have made no bones about the fact that they have no interest in funding programs in nutrition for poverty stricken kids , of which there are more every year. They ruin public education by starvation of funds and push private education which denies access to the majority of kids. Children are deemed not mature enough to decide on abortion and at the same time are mature enough to raise a child. Men deciding who will bear children and raise them is arbitrary cruelty to mother and child. Doctors are not allowed to save a life in the event that pregnancy may kill the woman. Because in their twisted little minds women aren’t worth it . But the fetus is and if it lives, has no mother . Of course this is a decision we remove from women , because they’re incapable of reasonable decision making. These actions by the Court. Propelled by Republicans posing as God fearing protectors, they protect no one.
You're definitely hitting the heart of the matter. We can only hope it'll raise the consciousness of American society. In Canada, we're beholden to the medical establishment as well. We like to brag about our healthcare system, but the price we're paying for subsidized healthcare for all has been the mindset of complete dependence on them. So many of us have lost, or are losing, any confidence that we can keep ourselves healthy; we've given that confidence to the medical system, and healthcare is now THE drain by far on our budgets, and threatening to ruin us. We're affected by the greed of corporations and others likewise, but it's the medical system that's shredding the fabric of our society.
We HAVE to stop it!
Great column as usual. I just want to add an observation:
If the Supreme Court deems corporate speech to be so important for informing us, isn't that importance directly related to, indeed only made meaningful by our response, i.e. our vote. So why is the court allowing unrestricted money to flow to "inform" us while granting states power to limit our vote.
I just want to mention how this works with democratic processes on a local level. The business owners run for office and make sure their interests are taken care of. This reflects in ordinances that control the homeless population, taxes, traffic, and many many more really important issues in a community.
"Shockingly" the end result is the focus is not safety and the public welfare. They want to run your city or county like a business and for businesses. This leads to insane worship of job creation and the creators.
Be vigilant about the business owners and networks that don't just want to buy the politicians, they want to be the politicians in their spare time. The idea of a conflict of interest has almost become "quaint" on the national AND local level.
The Clark story was an excellent example of how to catalyze action... This country is filled with Billionaires that love to bask in the glory of Twitter and any media that will report on them.
Taking one of them down for cheating on his/ her taxes in a very public way, in 2022, can catalyze both Red and Blue voters to start demanding that the law makers they vote for fight to reduce th power of the donor class.
Teddy Roosevelt famously opposed any rich person that though they were more powerful than the government. Having a President that shared in that world view will catalyze this. It always takes blood to make these things happen. I think voters will organize and vote for law makers that can get blood from todays egotistical, selfish and largely useless Billionaire class.
As my FB PINNED post, and its growing list of comments, says, Oligarchs Are The Problem, https://www.facebook.com/cahailey.
Our dominant economic system of the last 400 years, “[H]as [repeatedly] tended to create a small class of enormously wealthy and economically powerful men[ royalty (1700s), slave owners (1800s), employers like industrialists (1900s) and now technologists (2000s)], whose chief object is to hold and increase their power.” — former President Teddy Roosevelt. This economic system always protects and empowers this “small class” since the system is authoritarian by nature and this “small class” is always in control.
Thom asks, “How does this end?”
- “All, however, are problems of political corruption at their core. And in almost every case, a solution to these problems is being blocked by politicians being paid off [by oligarchs] in a fashion legalized by Republicans on the Supreme Court.”
We need a new, more democratic, economic system that will complement, protect, and empower our democratic political system. A system that will disempower and democratically limit the existence and excessive power of oligarchs. A system that will preserve itself by permanently limiting oligarch wealth accumulation by removing them from control over that new system.
We need more than federal laws to re-regulate the authoritarian economic system - oligarchs will just pay to void those limitations on their wealth accumulation. We need more than to end Citizens United and the unlimited bribery it sanctioned. We need to prevent the accumulation of cash by Oligarchs in the first place. We need innovative laws to democratize our old, broken, authoritarian economic system. We need to enable, empower and protect democracy at work, https://www.democracyatwork.info.
We need workers deciding how their profits are fairly distributed. We need workers deciding where their factories and jobs are located. We need workers deciding what happens to their co-workers when their co-worker skills are no longer needed. Responsible workers won’t allow harmful work by-products to poison their communities. Responsible workers won’t use profits for anti-democratic initiatives that will threaten their wages, benefits, jobs, co-workers, safety or communities.
But first, we need a Brand New [People’s] Congress! https://www.brandnewcongress.org
This is deja vu all over again, as you have detailed, Thom. ( can't believe your diligence, thanks again! )
I call it Moneyarchy, to distinguish it from other gilded ages in the USA. ( Monarchy plus oligarchy, but with morons . . . )
Whatever it is called, the very richest among us need to wake up and lead the way to make sure the rule of law is strong and maintained.
Why? In other oligarchies, no oligarch has been safe -- Russia and Saudi Arabia give many easy recent examples. So . . .
Oligarchs, take note! Beware! Some oligarchs do not respect your zillions, and you better make sure the democratic republic is strong and secure and can protect you!
best luck to US -- b.rad
The National Wealth Clock has chimed $141 Trillion.
That’s net wealth - net, net, net, net, and net. Net of mortgages, net of car loans, net of credit cards, net of student f-ing debt, net of all other obligations.
You haven’t seen the National Wealth Clock? Funny.
Nick Hanauer should build a proper one, but he hasn’t responded. I ran into Robert Reich on the sidewalk a few months ago, and through masks said ‘$140 Trillion!’ and he said, ‘yeah, can you believe it?’ but no more, he was running errands. Still haven’t heard it from him, in his ‘Wealth and Poverty’ class lectures. I spoke directly with the excellent Senator Ron Wyden in 2016, but he was still reeling from Russian interference in our election. A few weeks ago I spoke directly with the excellent Senator Jeff Merkley, and gave him a letter from 2014, when our net wealth was a measly $81 Trillion, but I still haven’t heard it from him or the Blue Wave.
To echo your comments about the Supreme Court ruling on money in politics, the ‘National Debt Clock’ is a lie. A big lie. I just realized how big, thanks, and that ruling has been a top focus for me. And outright lies in a top court ruling are clear grounds for impeachment and removal.
If you have $141 in one pocket, and an IOU for $30 in the other, you *are not* in debt!
So much more to say, but I’m always trying to find singular actions that can galvanize many.
A National Wealth Clock ought to get a lot of people’s attention - but I have been on that road for a long time. best luck to US — b.rad
How are you going to "establish" anything when our side doesn't have a voice? A serous question. We all are gadflies. The morbidly rich hold the reins and figure keep them tight with the Supreme Court supporting them. You said you had ideas to deliver tomorrow but that's today, 8/25, and you were preempted by student debt. We need to have that forum for what to do -- not for what we need that we are eloquent about but for how to change things. I'd say it has to be we-the-people organizing ourselves, and I hope we can talk about ways to do that.