Wednesday, June 15, 2011

When corporate money owns the government

This is what comes of electing judges rather than appointing them, running them through a vigorous confirmation process that examines who they are, their record, their potential conflicts of interests, etc.  They end up serving the same interests as elected politicians, but with more at stake.

If it is true, and this stands, that a majority of Wisconsin Supreme Court justices do not have judicial authority to hold the actions of the legislature to constitional tests, then we really are moving towards one-party rule in this state.  And that party has been bought by the rightist money that is trying to do the same throughout the country.

From Karl Rove and his American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS (those groups funded by a handful of millioniaires), to the Koch brothers -funded Americans for Prosperity and Club for Growth, to direct compaign donations flowing into the coffers of the Repub's most rightist politicians, we are seeing a kind of power grab that spells real trouble for the people of this state and this country.

Why do we hate the very unions who brought us a worker rights laws, decent wages (which tended to raise wages for everyone, not only union members), and some organized defense against the overwhelming power of corporations? The US Chambers of Commerce is incredibley organized and their members are now spending huge millions of dollars to lobby for business interests - but unions are losing their collective bargaining rights in state after state. First private sector unions were gutted as business threatened time and again to leave states in which workers did not agree to tear up contracts and accept their new terms.

Now the State of Wisconsin has devastated those rights in the public worker sector.

Scott Walker's Wisconsin is 'open for business' and closed to the well-being of its citizens and our precious environment.

But let's be clear about what the corporate right has been able to take advantage of - the apathy and disinterest of the citzenry, the lack of interest in government, understanding how it works (more than a third of people polled do not know the three branches of government and even fewer know what their responsibilities are - like checking the power of the legislature when it acts unconstitutionally), and being incredibly susceptible to manipulation by those interests who use God and guns and abortion and gay rights to mobilize people to support their corporate right agenda.

Watch wages fall.  Watch the downward trend in the quality of life for more and more people in this state, many of whom really believe that somehow this is a gleeful moment - "Yea, we've undermined the power of unions!"

What in the world is wrong with us?

This will have to play itself out. And what I can say about it this morning is that we are moving into unprecedented times. And if what folks try to do is recover what has been lost, try to move back in time to an old framework now being dstroyed, we will not get through this. These other guys have recognized better than most of us that times have changed, the global economy has changed, power bases are shifting, the old political divides don't describe anything real anymore, they just serve the interests of the conquer-and-divide rightists whose tactics have worked so well.

If times are unprecedented then the response must also be unprecedented. First is understanding how power is shifting in response to a new phase of global capital, one that is fiercely anti-democratic and anti-popular, and beginning to operate out of a narrative that does not describe what has been lost so much as how to move forward in that reality.

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