I agree with FAIR that it is outrageous that any news outlet could be announcing what candidates are “serious” or “electable” prior to any vote being cast. Bernie Sanders is being attacked whenever a media outlet concerns itself with money rather than a candidate’s ideas. FAIR considers Sanders’ views on many big issues, pointing out that his views are far more popular than those of conservative Republicans, whose “electability” is rarely questioned, merely because they have lots of wealthy supporters. Here are some examples from the FAIR article, “NYT Reports Large Crowds for Sanders in Iowa–but Isn’t He ‘Unelectable’?”:
It sounds like it’s the New York Times that’s hoping to persuade Democrats that Sanders is unelectable.
As we’ve noted (FAIR Blog, 4/20/15), the idea of raising the taxes of the rich is quite popular with the US public. Gallup has been asking folks since 1992 how they feel about how much “upper-income people” pay in taxes, and 18 times in a row a solid majority has said the rich pay too little. For the past four years, either 61 or 62 percent have said the wealthy don’t pay enough; it’s hard to figure why Iowans would conclude that Sanders is “unelectable” because he takes the same position on tax hikes for the wealthy as three out of every five Americans.
Meanwhile, the position that upper-income people pay too little in taxes has never been endorsed by more than 15 percent of Gallup respondents—and it’s usually 10 percent or less. Yet you won’t see the New York Times declaring Republican candidates “unelectable” for advocating tax cuts for the wealthy.
Cutting the military budget isn’t as popular as taxing the rich, but it’s by no means unpopular. It’s not a question pollsters often ask about—almost as if levels of military spending aren’t seen as a fit subject for public debate—but in 2013 Pew asked which was more important, “taking steps to reduce the budget deficit or keeping military spending at current levels.” Fifty-one percent said reducing the deficit; only 40 percent chose maintaining the military budget.
In February 2014, the last time Gallup polled on whether spending “for national defense and military purposes” was “too little, about the right amount, or too much,” a plurality of 37 percent picked “too much.” Only 28 percent said “too little”–but again, you’re never going to see the New York Times declare a candidate to be “unelectable” for proposing to raise the Pentagon’s budget.
As long as the commercial news media keeps focusing on money instead of a candidate’s ideas, the claim of “inelectability” will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The failure to cover a candidates ideas, exploring them seriously, and instead trying to harpoon a candidacy based on how much money they’ve accrued is journalistic malpractice at the best. I am convinced it is FAR WORSE than that, however, and it is strong evidence that the media is taking sides based on where rich people are putting their money.
Hillary Clinton is working hard to present herself as caring for ordinary people, but this article by Nomi Prins of Truthdig makes it clear that she will never cut the cash pipeline from her banker friends, and she will never stop doing whatever is necessary to keep those same bankers happy. Here is an excerpt from “The Clintons and Their Banker Friends, 1992-2016”:
When Hillary Clinton video-announced her bid for the Oval Office, she claimed she wanted to be a “champion” for the American people. Since then, she has attempted to recast herself as a populist and distance herself from some of the policies of her husband. But Bill Clinton did not become president without sharing the friendships, associations, and ideologies of the elite banking sect, nor will Hillary Clinton. Such relationships run too deep and are too longstanding.
To grasp the dangers that the Big Six banks (JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley) presently pose to the financial stability of our nation and the world, you need to understand their history in Washington, starting with the Clinton years of the 1990s. Alliances established then (not exclusively with Democrats, since bankers are bipartisan by nature) enabled these firms to become as politically powerful as they are today and to exert that power over an unprecedented amount of capital. Rest assured of one thing: their past and present CEOs will prove as critical in backing a Hillary Clinton presidency as they were in enabling her husband’s years in office.
In return, today’s titans of finance and their hordes of lobbyists, more than half of whom held prior positions in the government, exact certain requirements from Washington. They need to know that a safety net or bailout will always be available in times of emergency and that the regulatory road will be open to whatever practices they deem most profitable.
Whatever her populist pitch may be in the 2016 campaign—and she will have one—note that, in all these years, Hillary Clinton has not publicly condemned Wall Street or any individual Wall Street leader. Though she may, in the heat of that campaign, raise the bad-apples or bad-situation explanation for Wall Street’s role in the financial crisis of 2007-2008, rest assured that she will not point fingers at her friends. She will not chastise the people that pay her hundreds of thousands of dollars a pop to speak or the ones that have long shared the social circles in which she and her husband move. She is an undeniable component of the Clinton political-financial legacy that came to national fruition more than 23 years ago, which is why looking back at the history of the first Clinton presidency is likely to tell you so much about the shape and character of the possible second one.
Once a person can clearly state the problems, the solutions becomes clear. With regard to the corrupt bread and circus elections in the United States, Lee Camp makes the problems crystal clear. Note, especially the short campaign season in the U.K. (a matter of weeks) and the fact that in the U.K. TV and radio political ads are banned.
Here’s where free market fundamentalism leads us: dulled consciences and oppression of those on the brink of homelessness.
From the U.K. Guardian:
Some of the richest people in the US, including billionaires Warren Buffett and Sam Zell, have made millions from trailer parks at the expense of the country’s poorest people. Seeing their success, ordinary people from across the country are now trying to follow in their footsteps and become trailer park millionaires. The Guardian went to Orlando to learn the tricks of the trade from Frank Rolfe, the self-appointed dean of Mobile Home University, as he led would-be investors around a trailer park for sex offenders.
Josh Silver of Represent.US presents the plan:
The plan boils down to this:
We are protecting our communities and our country from corruption by passing city, state and federal Anti-Corruption Acts.
Problem = Corruption.
Solution = Anti-Corruption Act.
The American Anti-Corruption Act sets a standard for city, state and federal laws that break money’s grip on politics:
- Stop political bribery by making it illegal for elected officials to raise money from interests they regulate.
- End secret money by mandating full transparency of all political spending.
- Empower voters with an opt-in, individual tax rebate for small political donations.
At my Facebook page, I often banter with self-declared Libertarians. This is a comment I recently wrote, attempting to explain my disagreement with a claim that the estate tax should be repealed (and, in fact, the IRS should be abolished):
I disagree with your assumption that everything will become the land of milk and honey if only government will just get out of the way. I’m not for bad government, yet much of the federal government today is bad government. But if we dismantle government power, power will re-assert itself, one way or the other.
Government HAS gotten out of the way of Wall Street, Insurance Industry, Big Pharma, Telecoms, and they have run rampant — they are FUCKING the American public. They are like sociopathic gangsters and thugs who have filled the vacuum, thanks to the federal government having already gotten out of the way. We already HAVE libertarian government regarding many major industries, many of whom pay no tax or minimal tax. And we now see their true colors. They don’t give a shit about ordinary people–they fuel the short-sighted desires of their boards, officers and stockholders They believe that they live in a amoral oasis–a moral-free zone where commerce is simply a place to make money, despite long term damage to ordinary people or the environment. Most big industries also seek to destroy all competition and steal your money through monopolistic practicers, because the current system invites this, once the “evil” once the government steps out of the way. For instance, large monied industries are in the process of dismantling all consumer protection laws – it’s happening right now in Missouri.
I’m for smart, self-critical government that serves as a referee to keep the playing field even. I’m not for wild-eyed governmental reallocation of money from those who work hard to those who choose to not work hard. But the government involvement I seek does require funding, and the next question is where this funding should come from. Taking a tiny slice of money from extremely rich dead people does not offend me to the extent that that funding is used wisely to increase opportunities (not guaranteed outcomes) to those who need a hand and who desire to work hard to become taxpaying citizens themselves.
I was not born into poverty — I assume you were not either. Those who were born into poverty cannot be expected to magically do well, although a few of them will, despite the horrible odds against them. We can either cross our fingers and hope (or pray) that they simply somehow become productive members of society, but there are only relatively rare examples of that. To the 8 year old kid who is trapped in a crappy household, school and neighborhood, it is a moral imperative that we lend a hand, not just sit there and let him or her languish.
I try to live in the real world–I’ve avoided any form of gated community, but I need and appreciate public funding to allow good things to happen. I treasure public libraries (which allows me to volunteer to teach ESL) and public parks, which thousands of people in my neighborhood enjoy every day. One of my children goes to an amazing public performing arts school where almost 70% of the kids are on free or reduced meals. I see these kids brimming with potential every day, and thank goodness the government has offered them an incredible opportunity. Shall we yank that food from those kids and tell them to go find food in dumpsters? Should we close down the public schools and tell those families to go find private schools that will give them high quality educations pro bono? Good luck with that plan. There are millions of kids out there who need better food, shelter and schools, and for the great majority of them, no one is stepping up for them. I believe that government has a legitimate roll to play.
Can we do better than we are currently doing? Of course, and a huge reason for that is that people from all points of the political spectrum have been trying to grow government to fuel their pet projects and pet ideologies even when those programs have been shown to be counterproductive and destructive.
I understand, then, your distrust of government. It is run poorly in many respects. But completely unplugging government funding, which I understand to be your preferred approach, is an experiment I am not willing to partake in. It will turn society over to the mercy of gangsters and thugs, many of them wearing suits and ties. Note that I am not criticizing you for being “selfish.”
All of us want to keep what we work for. Most of us are wary of altruistic schemes, other than our own pet projects. My concern is that pulling the government out of the picture will lead to massive social disorder many levels of magnitude greater than our current level of social disorder.
Congress is about to introduce a bill to fast track a secret deal that could lead to global censorship. It’s called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). We think Internet users everywhere should have a say in decisions that affect the Internet — but if “Fast Track” legislation passes, there is no chance that the public will see the text before the deal is approved. Join the Internet Vote on April 23rd and let’s make it clear to DC how we’re voting: against Fast Track and against Internet censorship.
Robert Kuttler is pessimistic about meaningful democracy in the U.S., as I am. In his article, “Why the 99% keeps losing, he gives the following reasons:
- Reason One. The Discrediting of Politics Itself.
- Reason Two. Compromised Democrats.
- Reason Three. The Reign of Politicized Courts and Big Money.
- Reason Four. The Collapse of Equalizing Institutions.
- Reason Five. Bewildering Changes in How Jobs Are Structured.
- Reason Six. The Internalization of a Generation’s Plight.
- Reason Seven. The Absence of a Movement.