Thursday, November 20, 2014
A Dictatorship By Another Name
We tend to think of a dictatorship as a repressive political system headed up by one person - a dictator. Down through history, that's usually what has happened. We can name many of them in recent memory: Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Castro, etc. But dictatorships can also be collegial where a group of people effectively run a country according to their own dictates. That definition gets a bit frayed along the edges in light of all the possible shapes and forms such a dictatorship could take but in the end it still serves the definition implied.
We're not quite there yet. But it won't be long at the current rate of change.
First of all, the U.S. Supreme Court has abdicated its responsibility to uphold the Constitution by radically redefining the meaning of the first amendment so as to allow big money, whether deriving from corporate pockets or those of wealthy entrepreneurs, to actually change the substance of our democracy by purchasing elections!
One Senate race this past cycle cost over $300 million!
There are several members of the U.S. Supreme Court, including the Chief Justice, who are by habit and circumstance, deeply involved with (and perhaps indebted to) those persons and corporations who now are able to spend unlimited amounts of money to ensure that candidates favorable to their beliefs and practices are elected.
This kind of control via money has always been true to some extent, but what is currently underway is unparalleled in size and scope. Politicians who owe their position to the oligarchy, as we have seen over and over again in our history, will do just about anything for their benefactors in order to remain in office.
When this happens, the great majority of our citizens no longer have any real say in the political life of our country.
Secondly, the legislative branch of the government, along with the judicial branch, have been effectively co-opted by the oligarchy. The rich and powerful have bought enough legislators that those in the minority party who still care about a democratic country have been neutered.
In Congress now, people who are in control of how we treat the environment wish to unleash all restrictions on corporate pollution. They disbelieve in climate science and rather than face up to the reality, do what they can to avoid it. In fact, just today a bill came about which would restrict scientists from discussing their scientific endeavors relative to global warming!
On the other hand, Congress basically does nothing other than make plans to defeat the duly-elected president. The Republican majority see their job, not to serve all the people, but to serve those who own all the people. They do not make laws to help create jobs, or provide decent health care, or repair our infrastructure (which is failing at an alarming rate). They try to find an attorney who will sue the president on their behalf. They take vote after vote, all in vain, to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Congress is a conglomeration of clowns who bow down and kiss the asses of the rich and powerful, such as the Koch brothers, and take action only to benefit the rich and powerful.
The rest of us don't have a chance.
Finally, the media outlets are in their entirety owned and controlled by the oligarchy. Thus, the news we see and read about is only the news they want us to see and read about! And if they can't change the reality to their liking, they can certainly skew it to favor their point of view.
Megan Kelly on FAUX News in an interview with Ted Cruz allowed Cruz to pander to the bottom-feeders by claiming he will shut down the government if the president takes certain executive actions and the shut-down will therefore be the fault of Mr. Obama. And Ms. Kelly giggles and agrees with Mr. Cruz.
FAUX News is the worst of the bunch in that it's owner and management make no secret of their antipathy to democracy and their commitment to a dictatorship of the rich and powerful. Day after day, ad nauseam, this so-called "news" channel pumps out garbage which is quickly devoured by millions of fearful and ignorant people who in turn vote for the very people who are destroying their lives and the world in which they live to feed their own greed.
Here's a sign we will not want to ignore. A sign of what's coming and what we can expect in the years ahead.
Mr. Obama plans to issue an executive order dealing with immigration issues. He's going to make an important speech about it. He's doing this because the immigration mess has gotten out of hand and the do-nothing Congress has done nothing about it.
It's no big deal in that both Bushes and Reagan used executive orders extensively - especially George the younger.
This is a big deal: NBC, CBS and ABC will not be carrying the president's speech. They'll be showing sitcoms and reality shows, etc. CNN and FAUX News will carry the president's speech but in each case you can bet the pundits will pounce all over the president to put him down.
We are well on the road toward a dictatorship of the oligarchy - the rich and powerful. And one of these days we're going to wake up and find it's really too late to do anything about it, for they have seized every avenue of power in this country.
We will wake to find we are under the control of a dictatorship by another name.