by Jack Tuckner How’s Work? It’s Great if You’re a Member of the Lucky Sperm Club. How’s work? How’s the job? Is it secure? Are you earning what you’re worth? How’s your work/life balance? Do you have enough time to pursue supportive recreational activities? How about your pension, do you still have one, and if you do, will it still be there for you when you need it? How are your kids’ prospects for a comfortable future? Do you have cause for concern? Now, if you’re Lady Gaga, you’re having a really good year. But, unfortunately, Lady Gaga, you’re not.
Also, if you happen to be a member of the lucky sperm club, like Paris Hilton, or, if you’re a Wall Street investment “banker,” you’re doing pretty well for yourself, too. My our office is just a block away from Wall Street—they’re doing great—Tiffany’s just opened up a beautiful new showplace right on the Street so the bankers can buy themselves some shiny new diamond baubles as a reward for intentionally crashing the economy for the rest of us.
But what about the other 98% of us in the disappearing American middle class? That’s you, by the way. Because unless you’re one of the 42 top hedge fund managers (all men, of course), who “earned” an average of $2 billion in 2010 (that’s almost $1 million dollars per hour!!) for adding so much value–unless you’re one of those guys, that’s likely what you are, a middle class person (or you were a middle class person until recently).
You work for a living, you have bills to pay, as well as massive uncertainty about your future and your kids’ future. If that’s you, and it probably is given that 95% of the country is doing relatively poorly, you and you’re family (and me and mine) are taking a serious shellacking. Why is that? And why are so many of us hoodwinked into believing silly billionaire fairy tales about tax cuts for the wealthy and their impact on jobs and employment?
I’m Jack Tuckner, a civil rights lawyer with Tuckner, Sipser, Weinstock and Sipser, a New York City law firm with a long history of advocating for working people against powerful corporate and moneyed interests, and we understand just how far most Americans are falling behind. The vast majority of us are losing ground in direct proportion to the grotesque unchecked power that transnational, nominally American corporations wield over all us, through their ability to make, or buy, the rules of the game to suit them, and to hell with America, and the real human persons, not the corporate kind of person, that makes up the beating heart and soul of America.
Corporations are Persons, Women Not So Much What’s a corporate person? A corporate person is the Frankenstein created by the United States Supreme Court, that powerful body where five extremist judges are now in the controlling majority. That’s the Supreme Court—the highest court in the land—and it ruled in January 2010, in a landmark case known as Citizens United (vs Federal Election Commission), that corporations are “persons” under the Constitution. This disgraceful ruling radically changes the world as we know it, and all for the worse. So, why is this decision so bad for us; and why is it likely that you don’t know anything about it?
Where Have You Gone, Teddy Roosevelt? First, what Citizens United did was to overturn a law known as the Tillman Act of 1907–Teddy Roosevelt—a real Republican-before they got nuts—signed it into law–and what the Tillman Act did was prohibit big corporate money from polluting politics and corrupting politicians—a good thing, no? But in the Citizens United case, the five right wingers on the Supreme Court intentionally twisted the meaning of the Constitution to greatly enhance the already overwhelming power of big corporate money in politics—money used to buy the allegiance of our “elected” leaders. Citizens United gives corporations the right of free speech, just like a person’s supposed to have, but now, money equals speech, so if I have billions of dollars to spend on advertising to carpet bomb the airwaves with, even if my ads are false or desperately misleading, advertising works. And corporations and the super rich may spend limitlessly and anonymously on political campaigns and candidates until the masses of impressionable viewers, readers and listeners believe whatever they’re being fed, over and over again. Citizens United puts the corrupting influence of big money in politics on steroids for the upcoming 2012 election, so unprecedented billions will be spent to spin reality to make us see what they want us to see.
So, why is it statistically probable that you don’t know much about this radical Supreme Court decision? Perhaps because the vested powers that be in politics, business and the mainstream corporate media, all march to the beat of the same interlocking Board of Director drummers, and they don’t believe that it’s important that we know the true meaning of that obscene decision, giving corporations the right of free speech, turning corporations into persons. The framers of the Constitution meant “natural” persons of course, but if corporations are persons, why can’t companies like BP, Transocean and Halliburton be sentenced to the death penalty when they cause death and destruction, just like natural persons are when they kill? Doesn’t that make sense?
So, Who’s Actually Screwed? But who’s actually royally screwed as a result of this high court decision? We are! We’ve already had more than 30 years of tax cuts for the wealthy through the lunacy of Reagan and Bushonomics, causing the riches to travel upstream from 98% of us to the top 2% of the richest Americans, these vast sums can now be funneled into the political process to buy more politicians and further poison what’s left of our great American experiment. Any right-wing lunatic can be elevated to a position of great power, if the billionaires that want to keep it all to themselves types, and/or Big Industry money is funding him or her, with unlimited cash to spend and no need to tell the truth on the “news” anymore since the elimination of the Fairness Doctrine by Ronald Reagan, it’s easier than ever to control people and manipulate them to vote against their own interests. Listen to this example of how our mainstream media, your nightly TV news show, selectively decides what is or isn’t newsworthy: this past April, nearly 10,000 bright, young people, all wearing ready-for-prime time green hats, converged on Lafayette Park in Washington to protest against the United States Chamber of Commerce’s recently reported crimes. The Chamber of Commerce, the group says, “spends hundreds of millions each year to buy politicians, corrupt elections, create front groups and lobby Congress on behalf of polluters and corporate barons,” and these 10,000 peaceful demonstrators were also there to raise awareness about climate, environmental, and social and economic justice issues around the globe. Do you think this significant event was even shown, let alone reported, on any major media outlet? CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN or in the NY Times? Forget about it. It’s not newsworthy—we don’t need to know about it—it’s not good for us to get too riled up with disturbing information that just might get us a little peeved at the corporate status quo. But get 26 billionaire funded, low information tea partiers in a parking lot in Amarillo with a bullhorn, a whoopee cushion, and one “Ask me about Jews” t-shirt,” and the satellite trucks line up for miles down the road.
Say Goodbye to the Middle Class. As the middle class gets further destroyed, the top 1% of the richest among us now control more wealth than the bottom 95% of us—combined—that’s 400 Americans control more wealth than 150 million of the rest of us— combined —and the top 1% gets endlessly richer, while the national economy and all of us in it get starved out due to the lack of shared sacrifice of our corporations, Wall Street and our richest citizens. They don’t like to pay for the commons that sustain them; they’re selfish, but then again, they laud selfishness as a virtue. Call them bastards and they say, thank you.
We The People—Remember US? So, the 95% of us on the bottom getting shafted–is almost-all-of-us. And who are we all collectively? Well–We’re We the People—remember US?—We the People—who created this Union to Establish Justice and Promote the General Welfare? And how do we do that? Through the commons that sustain us every day—our infrastructure, the water we drink and the air we breathe, our social safety nets, our bridges, roads, rail beds, tunnels, municipal services, our education and health care system, all these instruments of a social democracy that comprise our common humanity and our love for freedom and fairness. These are the pillars that support a true civilized nation, and they’ve been neglected and left to rot, or else put on the auction block for sale to the highest corporate or foreign bidder.
Are the Rich Job’s Creators? Forget About It! 52,0000 factories closed down over the last decade–that’s not 52,000 jobs eliminated–but 52,000 factories–closed in the US during the George W. Bush years alone, and with them hundreds of thousands of good paying union jobs—millions of jobs over the last supply-side-economics-thirty-years-of-getting-ripped-off-by-the-uber-rich and the cronies that serve them. And good paying union jobs are good for all of us, because when people have money to spend, and when they spend it right here in the United States of America, and in their own communities—it’s that demand for stuff that drives economies—that’s Econ 101, despite what these lying Reaganomics guys are still peddling. And can you imagine if the products that were demanded here by a middle class that again had disposable income, were also made here in the US of A—imagine the exponential dividends of keeping it all in the family, so to speak. Can you imagine? It used to be like that, in the 1950’s when Dwight Eisenhower was President, and the tax rate on the richest was 90 percent. Bought, sold and made in America—policies that would benefit all of us, including the Thieving Class currently ruling America’s roost, and as the Supreme Court recently held, money equals speech, therefore money equals power. The more you’ve got, the more important you are; the more juice you’ve got, and so you can wield your power to buy influence over the people who are supposed to have the backs of the common citizen. America-the-Beautiful was not designed to be an Oligarchy. Remember when we were the good guys? Remember when we were the land of opportunity and Justice for all? Land of the free, home of the brave, or is it home of the sociopathic bully, I forget. Even after twenty years of Reaganomics, remember when it still used to feel good to be us? How after 2001—just ten years ago–we all drove around in our cars beeping our horns and crying in solidarity while flying double-barreled American flags from our antennas? Most of us aren’t flying those flags anymore. What happened? Who’s fault is it that we’ve been laid so low?
With all that cash for the very wealthiest Americans (many of whom made it the old fashioned way—they scammed it from the rest of us), with all that vast gilded wealth, still–child poverty jumped ten percent between 2008 and 2009, one in five children live in poverty–of the 24 most developed nations in the world we ranked dead last in child poverty—‘cause for 46 million of us, that’s how we’re living; 25 million Americans can’t find jobs, two million Americans are homeless; 45 million Americans need food stamps to live—that’s 1 in 7 Americans—on its way to 1 in 6 Americans real soon. 60 million Americans don’t have health insurance, yet the CEO of United Health Care insurance company got paid $100 million last year alone, and more than 100 other United Health executives earned more than $1 million last year, yet United Health simultaneously denied claims for sick children. They fight you when you ask them to provide what you paid them to provide. A For-profit health insurance industry, that skims 30% off the top for itself and provides no health care. What a great idea! A health care system run by gangsters! Nice racket, if you can get away with it.
People being thrown off Medicaid, dying ‘cause they can’t get their organ transplants, while hundreds and millions of dollars are gifted back in welfare payments to the corporations and millionaires and billionaires who run them, so they can stash their cash it in the Caymen Islands where their “American” companies are incorporated, to enable them to dodge all US taxes, of course. They could care less about America. Don’t patriots want to invest in the country they profess to love? How about just paying your fair share, boys?
Get Your Ass Out of Kindergarten and Get Back to the Factory In our current woeful state of economic affairs, 11 million people are slated to lose access to primary health care in community health centers, 5 million jobs have been sent oversees where it’s more profitable for the Investor Class to pay someone 22 cents an hour rather than keep the jobs at home; and we now have bills introduced in legislatures all over this country to eliminate child labor laws—Hello–bills have been introduced in American legislatures to eliminate child labor laws, so that there’ll be less competition for higher wages, which will drive wages down. You see, an 11 year old will gladly work for three bucks an hour; offer him minimum wage, it sends him into paroxysms of joy. How can you compete with that? Eliminate child labor laws—get the kids back in the factories—where they belong. Get your little ass out of kindergarten and get down in that factory—you know how many grown ups would love your job? You’re an ungrateful, rotten kid.
US Manufacturing is down from 27.5% of the workforce involved in making things here in 1950, down to 6.9% in 2008; private sector union memberships lost 834,000 members just last year, bringing membership down to 7.2% of the private-sector work force, compared with 20% of the workforce in the early 1980’s;
Let More of Our Kids Get Cancer, as the Republicans Want?
The Environmental Protection Agency is poised to lose 30% of its funding, so more of our kids will get cancer from the deregulation of heavy industries that pollute our air and water with carbon emissions and nuclear and chemical waste; cuts to spending for the Women, Infant and Children nutrition program that helps reduce low weight birth rates, can you believe that? Cuts to the Women, Infant and Children nutrition program! Cuts to children’s hospitals, draconian cuts to student loans programs and cuts to Pell grants which help bright kids go to college when they can’t afford it. And who can afford to pay $250,000 for a bachelor’s degree in a private college anymore? Thomas Jefferson said that the fundamental thing that would make America great is a free education for all who have the ability and desire. I mean how stupid are we?
Senior centers are closing throughout the nation, tens of thousands are losing the lifeline of unemployment benefits (we’re the only developed nation in the world—the only member of 34 nation OECD that throws people off the unemployment rolls while they’re still unemployed), and Wall Street banks continue to foreclose on more than one million homes per year, the same Wall Street banksters that destroyed the economy in the first place, and are now hiring robo-signers to lie, cheat and steal their way through the foreclosure process in Court to get people thrown out of their homes onto the street.
If You’re Old, That’s Your Fault and That’s Your Problem Social security (our retirement accounts) is under attack from the robber barons who want to gamble our savings in their Casino, and despite the lies these Economic Royalists and their PR flaks in the media tell, social security hasn’t lost a dime in almost eighty years, and it did exactly what it was designed to do–save tens of millions of people from the indignity of impoverishment and needless suffering in old age. You know–old people–our grandparents, our parents, and us, sooner than you think. And social security did this with a fixed 3% overhead cost. You know what those Wall Street guys are gonna charge us for their service and protection if they get their hands on social security? Trust me, we can’t afford the vig.
But wait. There’s more. 218,000 kids to be kicked out of the Head Start program; cops and other essential public employees being fired by the thousands, and yet, we’re still giving welfare to millionaires and billionaires and the corporations that serve them—billions in cash give backs, tax credits, subsidies and refunds. Steal from the poor to give to the rich. Outright corruption and insanity. The lowest effective tax rates for the wealthy since the 1920’s, and the most tax loopholes for corporations. Exxon Mobile had the most profitable year in its history last year and it paid how much in federal taxes? Zero. Actually, it got three billion dollars back in tax credits that our Congress just voted this past March to give them yet again, three billion dollars cash back into Big Oil’s pockets, even though they all tell us we’re in such dire financial straits. Socialism for the rich, Capitalism for the poor.
Bank of America Paid Nothing in Taxes Last Year–How Much Did You Pay? In 2009, Bank of America, not only paid nothing, nada, zero in federal taxes, it also received a tax refund of $3.5 billion, even though it reported $4.3 billion in profits, because Bank of America has more than 100 off shore tax havens to protect its money from the exposure of paying its fair share into the common coffer used to pay our country’s bills. Is that patriotic? Is that right? Henry David Thoreau said, “It is not so desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right.” Are such fundamental gaps in economic fairness right or just?
25% of US corporations paid no federal taxes last year at all, and our richest few citizens, the actual capitalists among us (that’s not you, by the way), paid an approximately 15% effective marginal tax rate on their income, as they can structure that income as capital gains and dividend payment checks, which they can then wait for while sitting around their pools. That’s way less an effective tax rate paid by you, and me, ‘cause we actually work for a living, and can’t afford a lobbyist. And they want to do away with even having to pony up that little bit. So, how do we let them get away with robbing us so blind?
Now, first, bear in mind, historically, America always thrived as a nation during times of higher taxation on the wealthiest among us, as we did from the 1930’s until the 1980’s, when Ronald Reagan lowered the tax rate on the wealthiest from approximately 70% to 28%, and it’s been four decades of more or less the same failed, heads-we-win, tails-you-lose, totally-made-up-out-of-thin-air-supply-side-drivel, leading us to the crazy precipice where we hang today, where the richest get away with gorging themselves at a sumptuous banquet while telling the rest of us to just go ahead and eat cake.
Three Factors That Created the Current Shit-Storm We’re In – Part 1 This perfect storm of greed and immorality was created by the confluence of several relatively recent factors.
The first factor–is our utterly bogus “free trade” treaty nonsense that’s been practiced over the last 40 years–another one of those Chamber of Commerce canards that no one really talks about in the mainstream media—because Big Corporate Media likes it the way it is. Yet, Clearly, you’ve noticed that we don’t actually make anything here in America anymore? How can we expect to be a great nation, when nothing’s actually produced here, except maybe smoke and mirrors? Why do you think that is? Some of us actually can remember when we were proud that something was “Made In America.” Those of us old enough to remember the times we call “BCC” (Before Corporate Culture) can still remember the commercials that told us to “Buy American,” and to “Look For The Union Label?” Is anything that’s sold in WalMart made in the United States of America? Almost nothing. Speaking of almost nothing, that’s how many American made products are sold in the Smithsonian Museum gift shop in Washington, DC, including the statuettes of all our former American presidents—they’re all made in China—that’s China the dictatorship, by the way. Doesn’t that sound like a serious Travesty of Trade that needs addressing? There’s no balance—it’s not free trade—we’re the only one who gave up “protectionism.” President Obama’s Jobs Czar, General Electric’s CEO Jeffrey Immelt, recently announced that GE would be moving the headquarters of its 115 year old X-Ray division to Beijing—he’s the Jobs Czar, he’s one of the jobs creators, right—yes, he’s creating them, but for the Chinese not for us.
Free Trade Ain’t Free—Isn’t it Obvious by Now? American manufacturing has been completely decimated; entire American industries have been put out of business. So, who benefits from “free trade,” which is neither free, nor actually trade as most of us understand that concept? Large transnational corporations benefit, and the few men who run them, and the top shareholders who profit handsomely if they can pay someone pennies an hour for labor in China compared with our relatively exorbitant minimum wage of seven bucks and change an hour. We need a sane trade policy again—which means we need Tariffs such as we used to have in place until the corporations came on the scene during Reagan’s corporate counterrevolution—Tarrifs—Tarrifs paid for almost everything for the first 200 years of our Republic—and corporations paid 25% more than they do now—we didn’t have to take food out of the mouths of sick orphans to balance the budget. What we have now is that great sucking sound that Ross Perot predicted, of all our jobs and prosperity leaving the country, though instead of on foot to Mexico, most leave the US on private jets; first stop, the Bahamas to sock away some tax-free cash.
Three Factors That Created the Current Shit-Storm We’re In – Part 2
The second factor in this maelstrom (or male storm) of cultural regression, is the Big Bucks factor—which came about as a result of the 1999 repeal of the Glass Steagall Act, which since 1933 when it was enacted, prohibited commercial banks from collaborating with brokerage or investment banks that gamble with other people’s money. Capishe? Do you what I’m talking about? This slick deregulation allowed Wall Street to get drunk with power and go on a gambling spree with our money, all the while insuring their bets, hedging them on the side, so they’d still win even when we lost, and then, cause they’re such nice, rich guys, and especially cause they’re the best buddies and hefty campaign contributors to the professional politicians in Washington, we bailed their butts out with our own tax money to the tune of almost a trillion dollars–with no questions asked. And what do they do after they blow it all like dopey drunken sailors on their first R and R in Bangkok, they flip us the bird and create for themselves a new banner year in phony profits and a hundred forty billion dollars in bonuses—for a job well done, eh, boys? Keep up the good work. You do Ayn Rand proud. Wall Street’s roaring back, the newspapers say. How did that happen? And what are they roaring about? What did they produce, save for emptiness and suffering. Isn’t this level of unalloyed corruption fascinating? The worst economic downturn and poverty in the country since 1928, with way worse to come, and caused by a broad-based banking industry fraud, where all the Big Banks were knowingly taking mismarked mortgage-backed securities; dangerous, toxic subprime loans, chopping them up and then re-packaging them as triple A-rated investments, and then selling them to state pension funds, insurance companies and foreign banks. The corpse of their last victim, the real estate market, still rots openly on Main Street, but the banksters on Wall Street didn’t miss a beat before lining their pockets with the new phony bubble profits of their current victim, the commodities market, while the rest of us are left slack-jawed in awe of their conscience-free gall.
There’s so much money in these huge cartel industries of Big Finance, Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Insurance and our Hyper Military Industrial Complex, and they pay starting salaries of $375,000 to $2 million dollars per year, to 37,000 lobbyists (there were only a few hundred lobbyists prior to Ronald Reagan’s presidency), and these 37,000 lobbyists ply our elected representatives with gifts, campaign contributions, trips, women (and men), and high stakes big money pressure, so they’ll be assured that these politicians will be economically obliged to do their bidding. Say Hello to the new American Profitocracy. The problem for us is, we can’t afford to buy these guys off. Certainly not individually, and that’s why they’re intent on breaking the unions, the one place left for progressives to coalesce; an organized body where the whole is greater than the sum of its individual parts. Our elected leaders in Washington are supposed to do the people’s business, not the billionaires’ business, but more and more these guys make me think of the film, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, where Butch says of the railroad company owner who foils Butch’s robbery attempt by installing elaborate security on his money train, and Butch says in frustration, “If he’d just pay me what he’s spending to try to make me stop robbing him, I’d stop robbing him.” That’s what our politicians say about us, in effect; if they’d just pay us to stop screwing them, we’d stop screwing them. But us natural persons don’t have the resources to compete with those big ol’ corporate persons, with their very loud and very green “speech.”
Three Factors That Created the Current Shit-Storm We’re In – Part 3
The third factor in our, how-did-we-get-to-be-so-screwed formula, was the elimination of the Fairness Doctrine by Ronald Reagan, which removed the penalties for news organizations that lie. That allowed money to pollute the business of news reporting, creating the bottom line driven need for infotainment to replace the sometimes inconvenient and harsh reality of hard, true news, and it opened the door for baldly ideological organizations such as Fox “Faux” News to lie through its collectively corrupt teeth.
For example, this past February, the state of Wisconsin drew one hundred thousand people to protest Tea Party Governor Scott Walker’s fight to eliminate collective bargaining rights for public workers, and to make it easier for the Governor to transfer public property to big campaign donors like the Koch Brothers in no-bid deals. The biggest political rally in the history of Wisconsin and the biggest labor rally in the history of the United States, and it was joined by rallies in solidarity in the capitals of all 50 states, and the mainstream corporate media did not report it—they didn’t even see it—the corporate media just doesn’t know how to wrap its head around such human rights stirrings, and mostly because of its pure profit ethos–the managing editors and owners are all entrenched and wealthy bigwigs beholden to the transnational shareholder, where profit motives underscore all decisions involving the dissemination of information, which is, of course, nuts.
You see, the corporate news and entertainment industry have interlocking or shared boards of directors with giant parent companies whose sole mission is to make as much money as possible under whatever conditions are most conducive to that one prime directive. Money. It’s all about the money—Stupid–it’s all become just a business—we’re America, Inc. And we’re losing our soul in the process.
Fox “So-Called” News—Our Very Own “Matrix” Machine The corporate media create a through-the-looking-glass inverted reality at the behest of the Privileged Class to spin the story as directed. Fox “So-called News, for example, wanted to air their Big Buck Biased view that the demonstrators in Wisconsin were violent thugs so that their viewers would dis-identify with the teachers, and other public and civil servant demonstrators and their righteous mission, but unfortunately, reality conspired against Fox, because the Wisconsin demonstrations were entirely peaceful. The police were joining the demonstrators in solidarity. But no worries, Fox just used footage from a different, much angrier demonstration, in order to give the impression (also called lying) that the peaceful union protestors were violent hoods. The only problem with this footage was, there were palm trees in the background, because that demonstration actually took place God knows when or where, but too bad if it’s a blatant lie.
Now, James O’Keefe is a Rethuglican operative who used hidden cameras, tricks and deceitful editing to destroy the not-for-profit organization ACORN, and then he was allowed to do it again through lies and trick video editing to attack Planned Parenthood and National Public Radio, and the mainstream media reported this known trickster as if he were a legitimate source. Spreading Lies and Disinformation Works—and it’s all driven by out of control corporate money that’s indistinguishable from the Republican Party and unfortunately, most of our Congress, as these guys and gals leave government and immediately land cushy jobs in the industries that sponsored and bribed them when they were supposed to be representing their real constituents—the natural persons in their communities.
They have so many well paid spokesmodels, whereas the Progressives (you know, the sane good guys and gals among us) have so little money by comparison, and so only the very few have the resources and courage to stand ready, willing and able to speak truth to this level of runaway Plutocratic Power. They’ve got us seriously outgunned.
In the film, The Matrix, humans lost control of the artificial intelligence they created, and this Frankenstein Monster created a virtual world for what was left of humanity—but it was a mirage—a computer-generated dream world created to keep humans under control, as the machines used people as batteries to fuel them. People lived their entire life spans unconscious in a vat of electrolytic goo, as their life energy was harvested for bio-electricity. Cool. The world that humans think they know, is merely a mental projection of their digital selves, only existing as part of a neural, interactive simulation called the Matrix. Where people saw in their dreams a gleaming, modern American city, that real world was in fact desolate, dark and destroyed. Today, we have our very own American Matrix, a place where the top 1% of the wealthy and greedy command the increasingly unregulated resources and power to create their own sophisticated spin machine, aided and abetted by corrupt Judges and Politicians; they’re our Matrix machines. You see, the transnational corporations and the few who profit from sending the factories and jobs to China, and the Politicians who profit from doing their bidding, need to fool us into believing it’s all about Freedom, or Terrorism, or Gay Marriage, or Illegal Aliens, or Prayer In School, or “Too Much Government,” or “Barack the scary Muslim Black Man,” or any other emotional wedge issue, distraction or lie that can fire up the average pissed off and hurting Joe and Jane in the heartland, so that they’ll march like lemmings to their ruin by following these lying pied pipers of avarice right down the garden path and over the cliff. Because that’s what these tea partying “conservatives” want, you know, less of us. Their Mother Superior, Ayn Rand, a raging madwoman who worshipped a serial killer named William Edward Hickman, tells us that most of us are parasites unworthy of love and happiness, which is reserved for the “Productive Class;” mostly members of the lucky sperm club born into wealth, who then cultivate a spirit of perfect selfishness and egoism. Ayn Rand, required reading for staffers of some of our Republican elected officials and Supreme court judges. Great.
The ability for citizens to make informed decisions is crucial for a free and functioning democracy, but our ability to do so is now threatened by a concentration in ownership of corporate media giants, which are silencing diverse voices, abandoning quality journalism and eliminating local content. Do you know, there used to be more than 5,000 independent radio stations in this country—now, just 4 companies control the majority of the most popular radio markets.
Back in 2000, Ralph Nader famously said that George Bush is a corporation disguised as a human being. That was, of course, true, and bad enough, but now, thanks to Citizens United, we have corporations disguised as human beings. We’d all likely be up in arms over this perversion of democracy and this grifting of America, but the problem is, most of us don’t know about it, as the big business media machine doesn’t want to disturb our delicate constitutions with such trifling details, as it may threaten to wake us all up out of our dumb delusions brought on by overexposure to The Billionaire Fairy Tales—by the Brothers Koch and their ilk. We’re like, America, the Reality Television Show, except that more people are watching Jersey Shore, and far more are voting on American Idol for their favorite vocalist than in national and state elections for our leaders.
For the 2012 election, President Obama is seeking to raise a billion dollars or more for his re-election bid, cause you can’t run for President in our strictly pay-to-play environment without that type of big number capital, that’s 1000 million dollars. Advertising, marketing, lobbying work–and in this sad Corporate Culture–it’s essential. If you need that kind of money to win, to buy advertising just to get the message out, you’ve got to kiss the rings of the rulers of the powerful Luxury Class; you can’t be worried about average citizens with their $100 donations—it’s survival of the richest.
If you can lie at will and have unlimited funds to promote your agenda and attack your opponent with any smear that the tabloid and corporate media will run—the more money you have–the better are your odds of winning. And the lies work–like with ACORN, which was basically an apolitical not for profit organization, just signing up poor people to vote. But the Republicans and their enablers knew that informed working people would not likely vote for them–they’d vote for the interests of the country and its actual citizenry, not the interests of corporations, so they sent this O’Keefe guy on a mission to infiltrate ACORN and create a fake scandalous story through lies and Photoshop editing, and even though it was immediately understood that ACORN was set up and scammed, it was too late in terms of the swift public relations fallout in our twenty four/seven gotcha news cycle—the damage was done—Congress defunded ACORN—and all over an intentional attack based on lies. But our pervasive corporate Media Matrix is primed for this type of faux infotainment, as, when O’Keefe again was up to his same dirty pool tricks against Planned Parenthood this time, no one on the major news outlets even questioned the source of these bogus allegations against Planned Parenthood, even though O’Keefe was a known con artist. “A lie,” they say, “can get halfway around the world before the truth can even get its boots on.”
Lisa Brockington, Deboralee Lorenzana and Rupert Murdoch At Tuckner Sipser, we stand up to those same powerful and entrenched interests, on behalf of working people. Last year we represented Deboralee Lorenzana in a widely reported gender discrimination matter against Citibank, and when her then-current employer tried to silence her, Deboralee stood up to them with our support, as well as the support of widespread public scrutiny, and so they finally stood down. Then Debraleee decided that another firm could better represent her interests in the wider media, and we wished her well. Yet, the moment that occurred, the local right wing media machine, in the form of the NY Post, owned by foreign billionaire Rupert Murchoch of Fox News fame, you know, the guy who hacked the phones of 9/11 victims and their loved ones looking for juicy stories, placed a “sources tell us” fabrication on its Page Six gossip column, indicating that Lorenzana hired another lawyer, because she learned about a sexual harassment lawsuit by a former employee of this firm accusing me of outlandish behavior. Now, this lawsuit was based on an intentional conflation of my personal life with my professional life, in an effort to embarrass me, which it surely did, although the events described in the complaint never happened. And the allegations by the NY Post two years later were lies, but certainly convenient for its muckraking, hatchet job purpose. The woman who brought the lawsuit against me in 2008, Lisa Brockington, who has since changed her name to “Lisa Rambo”, voluntarily withdrew her sexual harassment complaint due to “misunderstandings and miscommunications” several months after she filed the case. And that was it. But, here’s the point, the moment we stand up to corporate greed, discriminatory treatment, sexism, unfairness and corruption, the moment we speak truth to power and hold the feet of the Powerful to the fire, they trot out tabloid perfect headlines to embarrass and shame and undermine this women’s rights law firm’s work and credibility, and unfortunately, such tactics work, of course. As ACORN learned, you really can’t shake the smear of false allegations, even when everyone knows it’s not true, as long as the internet continues to blare the headlines and doctored photos relentlessly and forever. As the recently discovered document from attorneys for the US Chamber of Commerce reveal, the right’s modus operandi is, and this is a quote, “to Discredit, Confuse, Shame, Combat, Infiltrate, Fracture.” These are US Chamber of Commerce lawyers indicating that their professional mission is to “Discredit—Confuse—Shame—Combat—Infiltrate and Fracture.” And why will they resort to such tactics? To “mitigate the effect of adversarial groups.” It’s a war out there—Brothers and Sisters–and Truth and Fairness doesn’t matter to Them—they want all the marbles and to hell with this country.
The right wing corporate media machine in its many guises will do whatever it can to silence individuals and organizations that promote social and economic justice, as they don’t want Americans to see the actual wormy heart and putrid underbelly of the men behind the GOP curtain. Just like the machines in the Matrix dispatched Agents to destroy those who threatened to reveal the dream world as a Hoax–Our Corporations and its Enablers–who’ve stolen the democracy out from under us, understand that without the dirty tricks and FOX-type News disinformation to keep everyone bamboozled, the jig would quickly be up. This is a lot worse than in the Movie Matrix though, cause, this sham is seriously and deadly real. We really need to be vigilant, and we’re going to have to liberate ourselves from enslavement to corporate greed, one person at a time, until our grass roots movement hits a tipping point and gets some real traction–so we can get back to some semblance of sanity in a world run by real human beings doing the people’s business, with compassion, intelligence, gratitude and respect for the general welfare of all of us, in this once great nation of ours.