Friday, April 10, 2015

Government by oligarchs: ours is no longer a Democracy: by what name should we call it? … by gimleteye

The roar of the political money vacuum cleaners can be heard if you are listening. After Citizens United, the oligarchs had to build a new vacuum cleaner for the 2016 presidential race.

I KNOW how Democrats feel about the transformation of elections, and I suspect that many ordinary Republicans are as turned off, too.

There are, however, more oligarch Republicans than there are, Democrats. What they are defending is simple enough to understand: they are investing in elections to protect their net worth and privileges in the tax code.

The oligarch's millions in campaign contributions to Super PAC's are pitted against your hundred, two hundred, or five hundred dollar contributions.

Insiders and political cronies have always had closer access to the corridors of power than ordinary people, but there can be no doubt -- none -- that the transformation of democracy constitutes a wholesale metamorphosis for which there is no name in the public eye.

You don't see, for example, the term, "Oligarchy" on network news. Or "Shadow Government".

In Florida and its state capitol, Tallahassee, it has been no simple task to take over the cockpit controls. Big money influence, though, is calculated and cunning.

It found energy in a communications strategy to impose homogeneous conservative values related to limited government through the Moral Majority and the Sagebrush Rebellion in the 1980s. It further promoted its aims by handicapping regulatory agencies by intimidating science staffers; effectively marginalizing dissenters within government ranks. It cultivated the weapon of fear to gin-up resentments against minorities -- always a fertile mother load in the American South -- to ignite the Tea Party in the early 2000s.

GOP candidates for the 2016 presidential campaign are in full force, shaking down the billionaires. Ted Cruz, this week, announced that PACs supporting his run had raised $31 million. A month ago, PACs related to Jeb Bush had been so successful that fundraisers were asked to hold off on million dollar plus donations, for fear that Jeb would be portrayed as the big money candidate too early in the campaign.

On the ground in Florida, you can see the results by looking at the shadows cast on the ground by the sun.

There is the state legislature and Gov. Scott's appointments on the Governing Board of the South Florida Management District giving the finger to civic activists' protests in favor of using Amendment 1 funds to purchase sugar lands for water storage and cleansing marshes; a deal that Big Sugar agreed to only a few years ago. The net result: to solidify the control of Everglades "restoration" by billionaire oligarchs who made their money poisoning people, poisoning democracy, and poisoning the Everglades.

Another shadow on the ground: the state legislature is poised to release Miami-Dade County rock miners -- one of the wealthiest and most secretive oligarchy in Florida -- from a fee designated to protect the drinking water of millions of Floridians from contamination.

Another shadow on the ground, and this one is the most impactful for Miami, perhaps, of all: Munilla Construction Management (MCM), involved in numerous county and municipal construction projects in Miami-Dade and elsewhere in Florida, hired Erik Fresen -- a state legislator -- to be its lobbyist on transportation and highway (MDX) business. Fresen used his state office for his lobbyist registration. It is as though the oligarchs don't even bother to hide their takeover plans. Legal or illegal seems to matter not at all.

The term, "robber baron", is used to lightly describe what has overtaken American democracy. The divisions in American society, particularly separating the .001 percent from the rest, have not been more clearly demarcated than they are today. It is war but, apparently, most Americans are too distracted by daily worries and anxieties to know or care.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

The system is called Patrimonial Capitalism

Anonymous said...

United States is a lobbyist government. Citizens are worthless.

Anonymous said...

MCM Construction and its puppet mayor Carlos Gimenez have strangled our democracy in Miami Dade County for several years now. Yet, if not for this blog and a couple of other obscure ones, no one would know what is going on. Our Miami Herald does not report corruption because of its political associations and desire to continue selling advertisement space; our State Attorney does not prosecute corrupted politicians because she is tied at the hip to them; our politicians are corrupt because nobody dares mind the store and our citizens are most at fault for failing to read, get informed, push for indictments and showing up to vote on election day. Bread and circus, that's what Miami Dade citizens want.

Anonymous said...

I'm sick at heart to see where we have gone in south fl and in our state. I grew up south of the big lake and witnessed first hand the effects of big sugar on the whole area. Canal water went from clear to turbid and brown, in winter the ash from burning cane fires would fall like gray snow covering everything, What were once economically diverse communities bowed to big sugar and the area degraded as a result. What is rotten at the start produces only more of the same at its end. The area degraded due to big sugar, you might say a social and environmental diabetes. And now that disease will be forced upon us from those dying muck lands to our north. It's a huge shame on our state for allowing this to happen when so much is at stake. I'm extremely saddened by what I see is coming as a result of a few rich families funded by corporate welfare. The irony...

Anonymous said...

In any other nation the people would be erecting barricades in the streets, but not in the land of the Great American Dream. Go figure...

Anonymous said...

I love you Gimleteye, your writing about oligarchs make my heart go pit-a-pat, but please, never use "impactful" in your blog, or anywhere else.

Smooches, your Fan. (I am not a robot)

Anonymous said...

Why don't citizens revolt? Because they're too busy watching TV, yapping on their cell phones and texting each other. In any public space, how many people are talking to each other? None. Robots and inconsiderate a-social jerks.

Anonymous said...



http://www.salon.com/2015/03/22/5_signs_america_is_devolving_into_a_plutocracy_partner/

Anonymous said...

The Munilla family are huge campaign contributors to South Miami Mayor Stoddard's last election. Their business is headquartered a stone's throw from South Miami City Hall. Fresen has conveniently assisted Mayor Stoddard in the purchase of Ludlam Trail and the annexation of the surrounding land. Rare forest decimator, Scott Silver is also encamped at City Hall.

Anonymous said...

And to think that this country invest's blood and treasure to bring "democracy" overseas, truly revolting. Time to "drone" our own Taliban at home.

Marshmaid said...

Plutocracy! That folks are too busy to care is part of the plan I believe.

christopher maroney said...

How about the term 'Corporatocracy'?. The role of this activist Supreme Court (corporations are people with rights, money is free speech, etc) cannot be overstated in this rapid transformation.

The goal of oligarchs isn't simply to protect their tax breaks, it is also to gut existing laws to which were meant to protect citizens from excessive pollution, financial fraud requiring bailouts, and so on.

The role of ideology and social issues is to feed red meat to middle and working class voters so that they will be distracted and vote against their own interests.

Heartbreaking. What can we do? Even when the truth is exposed, people don't seem willing to believe it. Not when a mountain of cash is waiting to distract them with emotional issues and negative ads.