Friday, May 09, 2014

Rick Weiland And The Battle Against Allowing The "Big Money Big Foot" To Swallow Up Our Democracy


John Tsitirian, a blogger South Dakota's Constant Commoner, missed the boat, in his own words, on the ideas inherent in regard to the dangers of oligarchy in America. His claim that oligarchy doesn't exist in America is just plain wrong. "For every Sheldon Adelson there's a Warren Buffet, for every Koch Brother there's a George Soros. I could go on. This is why I find Weiland's campaign falling short." He couldn't go on and that is far from correct. There are some progressive big dollar donors but the number isn't equal, isn't half, isn't a third, of conservative big dollar donors. In fact, many of the Democratic big dollar donors-- the ones cultivated by Rahm Emanuel, Joe Criowley, Jim Himes, Steny Hoyer, Mark Warner and others from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party, may be culturally Democratic but when it comes to the core values and principles of economic equality… forget about it. Tsitirian generously hosted a follow-up post to give Weiland an opportunity to explain what being a "prairie populist" opposing oligarchy and plutocracy actually means.

Weiland's response illustrates why grassroots progressives are more comfortable with him than DC insiders and why the Democratic power brokers on K Street and Wall Street-- and their profession political puppets like Guy Cecil-- are actively sabotaging his campaign as much as the Republicans are. His brand of populism, like Elizabeth Warren's and Bernie Sanders' is a threat to the self-entitled establishment elites. They instinctively know that someone, like Weiland, who backs ordinary working families is no friend of theirs, political party registration be damned. Rick:
Sometime around our nation's 200th birthday the hard right invented the welfare queen as a symbol for its belief that, after 35 years of New Deal policies, their nation had gone too far in seeking to accommodate and empower the poor. They knew full well that "the poor" were not some "monolithic, unified political juggernaut," bent on defrauding hard working rich people of their well earned rewards. But their "Great Communicator" synthesized what they believed was the overall effect of two generations of attention to the needs of the poor and the lower middle class into a powerful symbolic "person."  That successful synthesis has changed American politics and public policy for two generations.

2014 is almost exactly as far removed from 1976 as 1976 was from 1929. Today we are reaping the whirlwind of two generations of public policy attention myopically focused on the needs of the wealthy and the powerful for policies that allow them to unleash their talents and ambitions with full force in our economy. Those talents and ambitions are in fact a formidable force for progress. I do not in any way agree with those who believe you can confiscate their fruits and your economy will walk away unharmed.

But after two generations in which the ideas of the rich and powerful have routed those of the middle class, the result has been predictable. What began as an unchaining of productive genius has congealed into protection of raw power and already earned big money. What at first helped the inventor starting out in the little garage market his or her inventions, to the immense benefit of our economy and our public, now helps the inventors' grandsons and granddaughters amass unheard of riches with ponzi schemes of negative value to the public, or simply send their billions offshore, while Head Start programs are shuttered because their billions go untaxed.

Big Money is an understandable public symbol for the kind of people, and the kind of thinking, that have dominated American public policy for the last two generations.

Warren Buffet understands Big Money's total triumph in public argumentation perfectly when he says, "There's class warfare all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning."

I'm sure Mr. Buffet has met Mr. Soros, and knows full well of the wide range of opinions within the billionaires club. But Mr. Buffet also understands the bottom line, and knows that the actual, factual distribution of wealth is the bottom line. Because he studies statistics, and thus knows the real economic and political world perhaps more accurately than any other human being now alive, Warren Buffet can see that "big money" has seen it's share of our nation's wealth rocket up in lock step with its share of the money with which politicians get elected. He understands the bottom line never lies, and that the bottom line today is that close to 100% of the increase in America's total wealth over the last 30 years has gone to the wealthiest and most powerful 1% of Americans, while the other 99% of us have gotten next to nothing.

Unless you can argue that the free market economy has changed so fundamentally over the last 30 years that this result is a fair reflection of open competition, a ridiculous assertion on the face of it, Mr. Buffet feels there is only one conclusion possible, the one he presented in his famous class war quote.

I agree with Warren Buffet. I believe the bottom line proves that the "big money" big foot against which I am campaigning hard not only exists, but is the fundamentally incorrect and unfair set of policy assumptions which must be slain before we can hope to right our course.

It is not true that the right to buy politicians is Big Money's free speech right.

It is not true that granting tax free status to offshore profits, and billionaires grand kids piggy banks, or bundling bad mortgages, helps spur productive economic growth.

The results of these untruths, propagated by our refusal to challenge the ascendant political myths of big money, are stunting our economy and defrauding our middle class.

Like Seymour's plant in Little Shop of Horrors, their myths have been allowed to grow unchecked for far too long, and they must be pruned.

That is why I am campaigning against "big money."

As Warren Buffet understands, the people and ideas that phrase synthesizes have gotten mightily greedy. As Ronald Reagan would well understand, labeling them is absolutely necessary to be effective in the world of public communication.

The thinking of Buffet and Reagan, each a much wiser man than I, is the basis of my campaign against "big money."  It is a base with which I am quite comfortable.
Blue America has endorsed Rick, even if Guy Cecil prevents the DSCC from doing the same. If Rick wins in November-- which he can-- the Senate will stay in Democratic hands. If Mike Rounds wins, the Majority Leader of the Senate will be Mitch McConnell and Guy Cecil will go work on the Hillary Clinton campaign, rewarded for his colossal stupidity, obstinacy and horrifying and catastrophic failure. You can contribute to Rick Weiland's campaign here on our Blue America ActBlue page.

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