How the oligarchs stole our democracy
So … . What was the House Un-American Activities Committee (1945-1975, with a few interesting precursors) really all about? Looking back through the lens of history, it was much about distracting the Nation’s attention from the racist atrocities being committed in southern states. Still today, all a red state Republican politician needs do is yell, “Communist!”, “Socialist!”, “Nancy Pelosi!” or “Hillary Clinton!” and their constituents forget to even think about whatever it is that is really wrong with their state; about whatever it really is that is ailing their neighborhoods, their livelihoods, and begin to focus on the object offered as a distraction. Such distraction techniques have become instinctual with Republican (nee Dixie-crat) red state politicians (see “The Big Lie”); and, as we shall see, were fundamental to the oligarchs retaining/regaining control of our Nation’s politics.
For some twenty years now, almost all funding for Republican candidates’ campaigns in red states comes from out-of-state, from out-of-state interests; meaning that most of these states elected officials are hirelings of, working in the interest of, out-of-state interests. Most of this campaign funding comes directly from America’s oligarchs, or indirectly via foundations they fund and control. Most, if not all, of this, is dark money, the very same “Dark Money” Senator Whitehouse refers to in his “The Scheme” series 3 and 4. It isn’t so much that these oligarchs wish to control a particular red state’s internal politics. It is much more. Their real objective is to gain and retain control of national politics, including the now most politicized federal district, circuit, and the Supreme Court. They have been quite successful.
Once the oligarchs’ hirelings are in charge of a state’s politics, they can begin gerrymandering the state so as to ensure that only right-thinking representatives (their hirelings) are elected and reelected to the state’s legislature, to be the state’s Governor, to be sent to the US Congress. Gaining control of a state’s politics can take significant amounts of time and money; can be time and money well spent. How did the oligarchs proceed in their endeavor to take over the red states? They knew (or, at least believed) that the masses are, have been since time immemorial, manipulable. That some amongst the masses were more so than others. That, at some times during the course of history, they were more manipulable than at others. It appears that they knew (or, at least believed) that potential voters who were less educated, who were more given to the more fundamentalist religious beliefs rather than to thinking and believing in science, were more susceptible to distraction, and thus, to manipulation.
Where there are manipulables there are sure to be manipulators? The oligarchs were more than willing to create issues that might distract the more easily distracted. As an example: Abortions, which had been performed as far back as can be determined, weren’t a political issue in the U.S. before 1950, were chosen to be such a distraction; one created by oligarchs for the purpose of controlling a segment of the voting public. Abortion had been completely acceptable amongst the great-grandmothers of most of the now anti-abortion folks.
No power of distraction was to go unused. The oligarchs weren’t above instilling cultural or racial animus as a distraction. Both were meant to distract voters from the low wages the oligarchs wanted to pay; the lack of healthcare, of essential services being provided; to focus the voter’s attention on anything but the real issues. Conspiracy theories would also be used to distract the manipulable from the real issues at hand.
Wanting, always, to spend their political dollar wisely, the oligarchs saw the red states as a good investment in their quest to control national politics. Red states were fertile ground for the sowing of seeds of distraction, for the sowing of campaign funds. Why waste money on a blue state where the majority of the people might want the facts, believe in science? Might be inclined to think for themselves instead of letting someone tell them what to think, what to think about?
Seen from some distance, certain of the red states might appear to be third-world. To the oligarchs and bent politicians, such states appeared to be fertile fields. Fields where the oligarchs could grow their own bent politician, fields where those bent politicians could get rich and fat. As for the citizens of these states? Let them eat culture.
Some cases in point might include: Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama.
Missouri was until recently a purple state, a state that was making progress, a state that routinely elected Democratic governors. Now it is a very red, southern, state. It was out-of-state campaign funding that made Roy Blunt the Senator he is; likewise, Josh Hawley. The recent overturning of voter approved initiatives by Missouri’s gerrymandered state legislature left no doubt who it was the legislators worked for. Mike Parson, an abject failure as governor, has been and is, a master of distraction. Missouri has joined the ranks of failed states.
Tennessee recently fired Dr. Michelle Fiscus for informing teenagers of their rights to get vaccinated. Seems that for Tennesseans, after god and their Second Amendment rights come parental rights and states’ rights. The last two aren’t really granted by the Constitution (for that matter, neither are either of the other two).
The 1st says this about god and five other things:
—“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion(1), or prohibiting the free exercise thereof(2); or abridging the freedom of speech(3), or of the press(4); or the right of the people peaceably to assemble(5), and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances(6).”—
Notice: The 1st doesn’t say that they have the right to impose their religion on someone (or anyone) else. Doesn’t say, “The free exercise thereof, whatever.” What good is a religion if you can’t impose it on others?
The 10th (which is where the claim to states’ rights comes from) says:
—“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people”—
Notice: The 10th — emphasizes that the inclusion of a bill of rights does not change the fundamental character of the national government. It remains a government of limited and enumerated powers, so that the first question involving an exercise of federal power is not whether it violates someone’s rights, but whether it exceeds the national government’s enumerated powers. How is it that just because the federal government does not have the enumerated power to prohibit something, the States, or the people, do???
Is it these Tennessean’s claim that Parental rights might come from the tenth’s, “or to the people?” If so, surely that doesn’t mean that parents have the right to deny a child food and clothing, housing, a proper education, healthcare? Responsibility goes with rights. If such right existed it would surely include, “parental responsibility.” Far better if parents were held responsible for their child’s behavior than for parents having the right to deny their child life-saving vaccines. Too often, the claim of parental rights means that the parents want to impose their values on their children, to deny their children a life of their own. In this time of pandemic, should the question of whether or not to get vaccinated even be a personal decision? In the Dr. Fiscus case, seems it was their religion that they wanted to impose on their own, and everyone else’s, children.
Recall, in the 1980s we began to hear the term yuppies:
Yuppie: a young college-educated adult who is employed in a well-paying profession and who lives and works in or near a large city. Or, a “young upwardly-mobile professional”
Around that same time, we should have been, but weren’t, hearing about another group, the ippies. A group that was forming up mostly in former slave states (In a high correlation with Falwell et al’s reaction to the Civil Rights movement??).
Ippie: a not so well educated someone is that “ignorant and proud of it.” These days, someone often seen wearing a red MAGA hat.
It isn’t that Governors Parson of Missouri, Hutchinson of Arkansas, Lee of Tennessee, Ivey of Alabama, and Reeves of Mississippi are bothered by this ignorance. They love it. Ran on the basis of it. They owe their offices to it. This, the very same ignorance of the masses that allowed plantation owners to wage a war for the continuation of slavery; to do so with the blood of these masses. After watching and listening to Senator Marsha Blackburn speak, one might wonder how it is that Tennesseans aren’t embarrassed. Some of them might be. The ippies of Tennessee aren’t. What is to be ashamed of? They think that she is one of them. Whether or not she is as ignorant as she seems, she owes her office to their ignorance, and, just as with other congress members from other red states, she knows that she owes her office to this ignorance.
Corporate officers have a fiduciary responsibility under law to the corporation’s shareholders. Why not hold state governors and legislatures responsible for protecting the interests of their constituents? For doing the job they were elected to do? Sworn to do? Why shouldn’t the governors and legislators of the states listed above be held responsible for their failure to act to protect, to act in the best interest of, the people of their states? All five of the above-listed governors, and several others not listed, have mismanaged the COVID crisis in their states, have been responsible for untold deaths. Did so not on the basis of scientific evidence or the facts or best thinking, but on the basis of ideology(s) instilled into the minds of their more ippie constituents; one(s) they themselves may or may not subscribe to.
How is it that these things are most often true in red states? It is in great part because most of the campaign financing comes from out-of-state oligarchs. And because of the funding of The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), The Heritage Foundation, The Federalist Society, et al by these same oligarchs; funding that allows for such groups as these to assist states’ legislatures in writing legislation that is designed to overturn or block state and federal regulation, legislation designed to suppress votes and wages in the state. These oligarchs, de facto, run these states, and, by extension, select these states’ delegates to Washington DC to run the federal government in a manner that is in the interest of the oligarchs. For the oligarch in the market for political power, ippie voters are a really good buy.
Both The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and The Heritage Foundation have ties to The Powell Memo (the focus of Senator Whitehouse’s ‘The Scheme’ series).
Exploiting constitutional flaws has been one of the oligarchs’ most effective weapons in their quest to control the national government. Red states play an important role in this exploitation. Wyoming has two Senators — California has two Senators. Senators control the judicial appointments to federal courts. The smaller states, most of the red states are small, enjoy disproportionate power in the Electoral College. The Electoral College decides who wins the presidency.
Oligarchs employ provocateurs. Some of them, such as Matt and Mercedes Schlapp, they pay directly. Others, such as the right-wing think tanks, they pay indirectly. Some, like Fox News & CO, Breitbart, Newsmax, Sinclair Broadcasting, …, and, of late, OANN and their ilk, are, seemingly, gratis.
Rather than move forward as we should have, since, say 1970(?), some regions/states of the nation have clung to the past; some of have even sought to go backward. All the nation and its citizens have been held back. Now, rather David Halberstam’s ‘The Best and The Brightest’, we have too many ippies, too many wearing MAGA hats. Too many of these are in high positions. Too many of those in high positions who are beholding to the ippies and those wearing red MAGA hats.
Little doubt, the ippies thought of themselves as originals, one-offs. But, were they, in reality, a construct? Did the oligarchs, in a bid to retain control (perhaps, regain control of the government after the scare of the 1960s) seek and find a new way to manipulate the masses? Was it by accident that so many were kept ignorant for so long? “How dare anyone even imply that the masses were manipulable?” Because they were, they are, they always have been.
Of late, since forever, the oligarchs have every tool in their bag to retain their control of the Nation.
Manipulation of the manipulable was huge. Toward this manipulation, the oligarchs have employed distractions such as conspiracy theories, racial animus, and cultural animus.
Perhaps more than anything else, the oligarchs have been taking advantage of flaws in the constitution. Such as those in re the inequality of representation by the Senate, which controls appointments to the federal courts; and the Electoral College, which picks the winner of the presidential contests.
In order to best take full advantage of these flaws in the Constitution, the oligarchs realized that they needed to co-opt state governments. For all the reasons delineated, the smaller red states were their best buy. With all the money they have spent, the oligarchs have even been able to turn once blue states into red states.
One of the worst of all the many very bad consequences of this campaign by the oligarchs to retain power is the millions of Americans who are hesitant or refusing to be vaccinated against COVID in this time of pandemic; too many of whom live in the red states. Whether this be by omission or by commission, directly or indirectly, the oligarchs bear a significant part of the responsibility. Seems they didn’t see it as being in their interest to do the right thing.
Another is a Supreme court with a majority of the oligarchs’ hirelings by way of the many distractions they have promoted and the flaws in the Constitution they have exploited. A majority that always delivers for them.
Another consequence of the oligarchs’ capture of what is now their Government is the non-functioning Congress. Non-functioning because most of the members of one of our two major parties are, by means described herein, hirelings of the oligarchs.
Lest there ever have been a doubt, the oligarchs, perhaps, with a little help from their advisors; are quite capable of thinking at the first, second, … perhaps, even the fourth level.
It all cost the oligarchs $Billions, maybe more; but it was money well spent.
Worth every penny — to them.
Cost the rest of us our democracy.
* May include sowing racial and cultural animus, spreading big lies and conspiracy theories