Sunday, December 18, 2011

Thomas Paine -- an association of vices revisited.

  [posted in honor of my friend Jim Lockhardt]

 "An association of vices will reduce us more than the sword."
Thomas Paine, American Crisis IX, 1780.

Everyone understands, don't they, that the financial industry and "big corporate" are accomplices in the subversion of the Congress ... not to exclude the government more generally, the military and even off-book elements. The corruption of government is a symptom. The infection is undue influence and the means is money or, as it's sometimes called, power. This has been the case, incidentally, since the establishment of the 1789 Constitution, the law-of-the-land in name. Money is king, not law. The corruption of government is a symptom. The infection is undue influence and the means is money or, as it's sometimes called, power (repeated, with apologies, for emphasis). This is not rocket-science. On the one hand, Congress was bribed into deregulating the financial sector while, on the other hand, Chicago and Austrian school economists blew hot air in the pants of anyone naive enough to believe their recycled "show me the money" theories. Short on education and long on petty greed, Americans ignored history and allowed over one  hundred years of hard-earned economic experience to go down the drain. Forty years of so-called free-market deregulation and what did we get? Trillions of dollars in exotic, non-productive financial instruments -- basically bets leveraged in different directions on crummy mortgages in an overheated housing bubble -- took down the economy. The bad mortgages were the initial domino. In terms of dollar amount (that's numbers of dominoes for you Fox News kool-aid drinkers out there), the bad mortgages and underwater homes are DWARFED by the vastly larger amounts of unfunded funny-money ... drrrrrr ... financial instruments that were placed as bets by  both for and against them. Anyone that believes deregulation is the cure under these circumstances needs -- in my ever humble opinion, of COURSE -- an examination of the cranium. The cure begins with publicly funded elections. And from the day the decision was made, it was clear to me that the only legal solution to the Supreme Court's "Citizens United" and other corporate person-hood precedent is a constitutional amendment.The republic was lost a long time ago. We 'Muricans prefer a comfortable lie to the bald truth. It an oligarchy ... an aristocracy of money. If we decide to move towards a freer society and equality under the law -- in my view the synonym for free society is democratic republic -- then we're going to have to struggle for it. We don't have one now and the powers-that-be will go neither willingly nor easily from their preeminent positions.

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