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And, yes, I DO take it personally: "The best political system that money can buy" needs to have its ass kicked out the door
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Saturday, December 13, 2014

"The best political system that money can buy" needs to have its ass kicked out the door

i was reading a post on the naked capitalism blog this morning... in her introduction, yves smith recalled her post from a little over a year ago which i had forgotten about... it's one of the better summations i've read of our current situation accompanied by a call to action complete with all too rare specifics... since so much of what i read and see, particularly in the alternative news media, is primarily composed of metaphorical hand-wringing ("ain't it awful how 'they're' screwing us?"), it's good to see not only a detailed summary of how we're actually getting screwed but also some concrete suggestions on how we might go about getting unscrewed... 

i'm reprinting the initial portion of the post here with the strong recommendation that you visit the site and read the rest (yes, it's long but well worthwhile)... serious and heartfelt thanks to yves smith for her hard work in putting it all together...

The Skunk Party Manifesto

Posted on November 21, 2013 by 
The best political system that money can buy is doing a great job for its customers and a lousy job for the rest of us.
Most Americans do not realize that they are on the losing end of a 40-year war against them. On August 23, 1971, former Nixon Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell circulated what came to be known as the Powell memo. It set forth a detailed program for reshaping American institutions and values to favor the interests of corporations over those of ordinary citizens. The success of this initiative has been so complete that it has not only rolled back many of the bulwarks created by the New Deal and the Great Society, but it is also in the process of pauperizing ordinary workers in order to increase record business profits even further. The fact that the campaign has also produced rampant political dysfunction, curtailed civil liberties and helped cement an out-of-control surveillance state is of perilous little concern to powerful elites as long as their plutocratic land-grab continues.
One of the perverse accomplishments of this campaign has been to place all major branches of government in thrall to the capitalist classes rather than the popular will. Both major parties are in broad agreement on policies that are hostile to the public, such as deficit reduction when unemployment is still high, preserving a higher education system that turns increasing numbers of young people into compliant debt slaves, “reforming” as in cutting Social Security and Medicare while preserving a bloated military, and damaging local water supplies via fracking. A “law and economics” movement and aggressive targeting of elected court positions has produced an increasingly pro-business judiciary that has issued rulings that our forefathers would consider absurd, such as treating corporations as having Constitutional rights. Regulators are at best ideologically captured and at worst responsive to what amount to bribes via the “revolving door” of trading on their contacts and knowledge once they leave government service. And a lapdog media for the most part plays the role of Dr. Pangloss, celebrating this march towards neofeudalism as inevitable, even virtuous, and relegating critics to the fringes.
Promoters of this new order reassured the public that regulations were just unnecessary speed bumps that held back commerce, “innovation,” and progress. We’ve seen what self-serving bunk that has turned out to be. Efficient markets produce meager returns. Businesses understood that less regulation would produce higher profits, via lower transparency and more concentration, which means more pricing power. And they’ve increasingly used those profits to extract not just more waivers but also more direct subsidies from government at all levels.
The time has come for ordinary people to demand to be heard. We are hardly alone in calling for radical change; the recent weeks alone have seen robust debate about the need for revolution. Not surprisingly, pundits and spokesmen of the Vichy Left have worked hard to stuff that impulse back into a box. But the irony is that these “revolutionary” views aren’t even radical. They enjoy considerable, often majority, popular support. They just happen to be inconvenient for our incompetent elites and looting plutocrats.
Thus we are not trying to found a political movement as much as galvanize and focus popular views that the policy elites have marginalized and describe concrete solutions. Look at the anger expressed over long-standing, long-ignored grievances when ordinary folks get a platform for expressing their views. The runaway success of “#askJPM” shows how citizens are mad as hell about predatory banking; the humor and vitriol of the questions stands in stark contrast with the media finger wagging at JP Morgan. Yet in the face of  overwhelming evidence of well-warranted outrage at corporate and government misconduct, the experts prefer to talk about the PR bungling.
Since humor seems to be the only way to get forbidden topics, like the continued criminality of major banks, into official discourse, we encourage you to become a card-carrying member of the Skunk Party!

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