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And, yes, I DO take it personally: The unrestrained power ... enjoyed by oligarchs is the single greatest political problem the country faces
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Sunday, March 27, 2011

The unrestrained power ... enjoyed by oligarchs is the single greatest political problem the country faces

glenn has a very important post up that captures the essence of what is happening in the u.s. and, indeed, in many places in the world where our super-rich elites are fighting to extend their privileged an largely unfettered access to power and money at the expense of any notion of the common good and, most nauseatingly, painting themselves as victims in the process...
Billionaire self-pity and the Koch brothers


I'm not someone who sees the Koch Brothers as some sort of unique threat. I mostly regard them as little more than a symbol of the death of democratic values in the U.S. -- the way in which the possession of vast financial resources is an absolute prerequisite to making any impact on the national political process, and conversely, how those without such resources are politically inconsequential and impotent (short of their fomenting serious social unrest).


There's no question in my mind that the unrestrained power over the political process and both political parties enjoyed by oligarchs is the single greatest political problem the country faces -- the overarching problem -- but in the scheme of corporate and oligarchical dominance, the Koch Brothers are a small part of that dynamic. Nor do I believe that they're motivated in their political activism by personal profit: for people with a net worth of $20 billion, there are vas more efficient ways to convert one's wealth into greater wealth than spending money to influence public policy; I think they're True Believers.


The political power of America's richest has never been greater, and the level of their responsibility and collective burden has never been less. Meanwhile, for ordinary Americans, the remaining remnants of their financial security and middle class comforts rapidly erodes. It's true that the U.S. Government has little regard for the free market: they intervene constantly in the free market on behalf of the nation's wealthiest and most powerful business interests; it's crony capitalism, corporatism: government run by corporations (or, as Dick Durbin said of the Congress in which he serves: "the banks own the place").

For billionaires to see themselves as the True Victims, to complain that the President and the Government are waging some sort of war against them in the name of radical egalitarianism, is so removed from reality -- universes away -- that's it's hard to put into words. And the fiscal recklessness that the Kochs and their comrades tirelessly point to was a direct by-product of the last decade's rule by the Republican Party which they fund: from unfunded, endless wars to a never-ending expansion of the privatized National Security and Surveillance States to the financial crisis that exploded during the Bush presidency. But whatever else is true, there are many victims of fiscal policy in America: the wealthiest business interests and billionaires like the Koch Brothers are the few who are not among them.


This strain of delusional self-victimization is not uncommon. One commonly finds those who are the strongest and most powerful convincing themselves that they are the oppressed and the marginalized. Many Americans believe that -- as they invade, bomb and occupy countless Muslim countries -- that they are the ones being victimized by the Muslim world, while many Israelis and their loyalists believe that the nuclear-armed, constantly invading, occupying and bombing nation is the real victim of aggression and militarism in the Middle East.

one of the things i like best about glenn is that he is almost always able to connect the dots... that he can place the koch brothers in the bigger picture of what is happening in the u.s. is invaluable... it's precisely the same thing that noam chomsky does so well and it's precisely that skill, ability and perspective that is in such short supply at a time when we so desperately need it...

being able to put the pieces together not only requires the skill of pattern recognition, it also means the ability to put things in a larger context... picking on the koch brothers without that understanding is only railing at symptoms and not the underlying disease...

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