Why Our Nobles Betray Us

As Robert the Bruce explains to Wallace in the movie, "They have much to lose." You see, those nobles profited from the status quo of that time. Wallace means to up end that status quo. It's naïve to think that they will help him because they love their country. Of course, they will work against him because they don't want to lose their status, power and riches. That status quo might suck for everyone else, but it's great for them.

And so it is with our nobles today. We keep expecting the politicians and the mainstream press to do the right thing. That is profoundly naive. Why is a television anchor making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year going to look to change the system? He loves the system. The system pays the bills.

That's even truer of our politicians. The status quo got them elected. The status quo will get them - and their staffers - great salaries when they retire and become lobbyists. They'd have to be crazy to change the system that put them up on top.

That's why change must come from outside the system. We keep waiting for the Obama administration to bring us the change they promised. What are we, children? The current system got Barack Obama, Rahm Emanuel, Tim Geithner, etc. where they are. They have gotten to the pinnacle of power by playing within that system. They've made millions in that system. That's why they have no intention of actually upending it. They just want to tweak it and do exactly what Obama said he wouldn't do if he got elected - play the Washington game just a little better.

This doesn't mean you give up all hope. There are some good guys in DC. I recently talked to a House staffer who said that Senator Franken's staff is excellent. The staff is so important because they are the ones who actually write the bills. I asked him why Franken's staff was better than the others. And he had a simple answer - they don't plan to work as lobbyists in DC when they're done serving in his office.

It's not just the honest senators that should give you hope. What should give you the most hope is that the motivations of people are actually quite simple. So, we can change the results by changing the incentives.

For example, if we pay the campaign expenses of politicians instead of letting the lobbyists pay them, then the politicians might actually work for us. If we ban the politicians and their staff from working as lobbyists, they might not have as much incentive to sell us out.

I know the people inside DC think that last proposal is absolute heresy. How would they get rich if they can't work as lobbyists? And that's precisely what the problem is. They're getting rich at our expense. We're crazy to allow this system to continue.

The nobles will never change it. This is how they got to where they are. This is how they maintain their power and salaries. We have to make them change it. And as William Wallace found out, you can only do that from the outside and by not listening to the establishment that has different (and almost exact opposite) motivations as you do.

Watch The Young Turks Here

Follow Cenk Uygur on Twitter: www.twitter.com/TheYoungTurks

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Why Our Nobles Betray Us

As Robert the Bruce explains to Wallace in the movie, "They have much to lose." You see, those nobles profited from the status quo of that time. Wallace means to up end that status quo. It's naïve to think that they will help him because they love their country. Of course, they will work against him because they don't want to lose their status, power and riches. That status quo might suck for everyone else, but it's great for them.

And so it is with our nobles today. We keep expecting the politicians and the mainstream press to do the right thing. That is profoundly naive. Why is a television anchor making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year going to look to change the system? He loves the system. The system pays the bills.

That's even truer of our politicians. The status quo got them elected. The status quo will get them - and their staffers - great salaries when they retire and become lobbyists. They'd have to be crazy to change the system that put them up on top.

That's why change must come from outside the system. We keep waiting for the Obama administration to bring us the change they promised. What are we, children? The current system got Barack Obama, Rahm Emanuel, Tim Geithner, etc. where they are. They have gotten to the pinnacle of power by playing within that system. They've made millions in that system. That's why they have no intention of actually upending it. They just want to tweak it and do exactly what Obama said he wouldn't do if he got elected - play the Washington game just a little better.

This doesn't mean you give up all hope. There are some good guys in DC. I recently talked to a House staffer who said that Senator Franken's staff is excellent. The staff is so important because they are the ones who actually write the bills. I asked him why Franken's staff was better than the others. And he had a simple answer - they don't plan to work as lobbyists in DC when they're done serving in his office.

It's not just the honest senators that should give you hope. What should give you the most hope is that the motivations of people are actually quite simple. So, we can change the results by changing the incentives.

For example, if we pay the campaign expenses of politicians instead of letting the lobbyists pay them, then the politicians might actually work for us. If we ban the politicians and their staff from working as lobbyists, they might not have as much incentive to sell us out.

I know the people inside DC think that last proposal is absolute heresy. How would they get rich if they can't work as lobbyists? And that's precisely what the problem is. They're getting rich at our expense. We're crazy to allow this system to continue.

The nobles will never change it. This is how they got to where they are. This is how they maintain their power and salaries. We have to make them change it. And as William Wallace found out, you can only do that from the outside and by not listening to the establishment that has different (and almost exact opposite) motivations as you do.

Watch The Young Turks Here

Follow Cenk Uygur on Twitter: www.twitter.com/TheYoungTurks

Follow The Young Turks on Facebook: www.facebook.com/tytnation

 

Cause and Strategy for Class Warfare; (with exerpts from Rothkopf's book Superclass)

(Crossposted at Daily Kos)

Often after Democrats propose a tax hike on the super-rich, or campaign finance and lobbying reform, pundits cry out "Hey, that's class warfare!"  Well, yes it is, but we didn't start this war.

The super-rich in America hold grossly disproportionate political power and wealth.  They use their wealth to buy political power, and then use that political power to acquire more wealth.  They use that newly acquired wealth to buy more political power which brings them more wealth and greater power in an upward spiral that serves them at the expense of everyone else.

When we consider climate change alone, through this strategy the super-rich are literally destroying our planet.  It’s time to fight back.

The bulk of this diary contains page-indicated excerpts from David Rothkopf’s 2008 book Superclass, an exhaustively documented indictment of the super-rich.  But before we get to those reasons for the poor, middle class and rich to join forces and wage full-scale political and economic war on the super-rich, let’s consider the nature of problem in more detail, and a proposed strategy for fighting this war. 

There's more...

A "10%" plan to get big money out of politics

As has been noted, our Democratic Party often resembles a coalition of disparate groups, each working alone on its individual agenda and strategies.  Whether they represent unions, environmentalists or whatever, even when their initiatives enjoy broad popular support, each group too often loses the battle to get legislators to vote for their bills FOR THE EXACT SAME REASON.  Our Democratic and Republican members of Congress are pressured by a deeply flawed and unfair system to reject what is popular and in the best interest of the Country in favor of what will ensure their re-election; namely raising enough campaign funds and avoiding becoming the target of rich and powerful special interests.

The Supreme Court’s recent ruling on Citizens United v. FEC has made the above named problem a thousand times worse.  

Doug Kendall, writing for Huffington Post, succinctly describes the danger this legislation poses;

To see the significance of this, consider that in his historic run to the presidency, Barack Obama broke every political fundraising record, raising nearly $750 million from more than a million contributors in 2007 and 2008. This sounds impressive until you consider that during 2008 alone, ExxonMobil Corporation generated profits of $45 billion. With a diversion of even 2 percent of these profits to the political process, Exxon could have far outspent the Obama campaign and fundamentally changed the dynamic of the 2008 election, perhaps even the result.

But by so strongly and treasonously siding with corporations at the expense of individual Americans on who gets to govern our democracy, that Supreme Court ruling has forced our hand in addressing a "money in politics" problem that we should have attacked long ago. According to this article in The Hill, our Democratic Congress will work to pass legislation that overturns Citizens United v. FEC by July 4th, so that major corporations cannot commandeer our upcoming election this fall.

A powerful result of the 2008 global recession is that both Progressive and Conservative voters are now enraged with the rich banks and other corporations whose greed, selfishness, and recklessness have cost so many so much. This rare dynamic provides us the VERY RARE opportunity to go BEYOND nullifying Citizens United v. FEC, and ultimately pass much stronger campaign finance and lobbying reform.

But our Democratic interest groups can only take advantage of this huge opportunity if they are smart enough to agree to work together on this goal. Each group should agree to devote at least ten percent of their time and resources to fighting the battle to get big money out of politics. To fight climate change, or for a more fair economy, or for better health care, without also fighting campaign finance and lobbying laws is a recipe for failure. In other words, we can continue fighting, and mostly losing, a thousand individual battles, or we can come together to wage full-scale war to get big money out of politics, and begin to win those individual battles much more easily and at far less cost.

Democratic groups must band together to wage full-scale war to pass campaign finance and lobbying reform now when this very rare opportunity has opened. Our Democratic groups can no longer afford to go it along, fighting and losing battle after battle because our members of Congress are, by necessity, more beholden to the interests who pay for, or can prevent, their re-election than by the American public.

This diary is a call for organized, intelligent action by our Democratic groups. The time has never been more ripe for doing this, and the window of opportunity will not last forever. Let’s seize the day on, and come together to ensure that when Congress acts next month to reverse Citizens United v. FEC, the campaign will serve as a platform for getting our Democratic groups and the voting public aware of how important campaign finance and lobbying reform is to passing strong and effective popular legislation regardless of what that legislation is. We need to jump on the upcoming battle to nullify Citizens United v. FEC, and then swiftly move on to enacting stronger legislation as if all of the other issues we fight for depend on it. In a very real sense, they do.

Cross-posted at Daily Kos

A "10%" plan to get big money out of politics

As has been noted, our Democratic Party often resembles a coalition of disparate groups, each working alone on its individual agenda and strategies.  Whether they represent unions, environmentalists or whatever, even when their initiatives enjoy broad popular support, each group too often loses the battle to get legislators to vote for their bills FOR THE EXACT SAME REASON.  Our Democratic and Republican members of Congress are pressured by a deeply flawed and unfair system to reject what is popular and in the best interest of the Country in favor of what will ensure their re-election; namely raising enough campaign funds and avoiding becoming the target of rich and powerful special interests.

The Supreme Court’s recent ruling on Citizens United v. FEC has made the above named problem a thousand times worse.  

Doug Kendall, writing for Huffington Post, succinctly describes the danger this legislation poses;

To see the significance of this, consider that in his historic run to the presidency, Barack Obama broke every political fundraising record, raising nearly $750 million from more than a million contributors in 2007 and 2008. This sounds impressive until you consider that during 2008 alone, ExxonMobil Corporation generated profits of $45 billion. With a diversion of even 2 percent of these profits to the political process, Exxon could have far outspent the Obama campaign and fundamentally changed the dynamic of the 2008 election, perhaps even the result.

But by so strongly and treasonously siding with corporations at the expense of individual Americans on who gets to govern our democracy, that Supreme Court ruling has forced our hand in addressing a "money in politics" problem that we should have attacked long ago. According to this article in The Hill, our Democratic Congress will work to pass legislation that overturns Citizens United v. FEC by July 4th, so that major corporations cannot commandeer our upcoming election this fall.

A powerful result of the 2008 global recession is that both Progressive and Conservative voters are now enraged with the rich banks and other corporations whose greed, selfishness, and recklessness have cost so many so much. This rare dynamic provides us the VERY RARE opportunity to go BEYOND nullifying Citizens United v. FEC, and ultimately pass much stronger campaign finance and lobbying reform.

But our Democratic interest groups can only take advantage of this huge opportunity if they are smart enough to agree to work together on this goal. Each group should agree to devote at least ten percent of their time and resources to fighting the battle to get big money out of politics. To fight climate change, or for a more fair economy, or for better health care, without also fighting campaign finance and lobbying laws is a recipe for failure. In other words, we can continue fighting, and mostly losing, a thousand individual battles, or we can come together to wage full-scale war to get big money out of politics, and begin to win those individual battles much more easily and at far less cost.

Democratic groups must band together to wage full-scale war to pass campaign finance and lobbying reform now when this very rare opportunity has opened. Our Democratic groups can no longer afford to go it along, fighting and losing battle after battle because our members of Congress are, by necessity, more beholden to the interests who pay for, or can prevent, their re-election than by the American public.

This diary is a call for organized, intelligent action by our Democratic groups. The time has never been more ripe for doing this, and the window of opportunity will not last forever. Let’s seize the day on, and come together to ensure that when Congress acts next month to reverse Citizens United v. FEC, the campaign will serve as a platform for getting our Democratic groups and the voting public aware of how important campaign finance and lobbying reform is to passing strong and effective popular legislation regardless of what that legislation is. We need to jump on the upcoming battle to nullify Citizens United v. FEC, and then swiftly move on to enacting stronger legislation as if all of the other issues we fight for depend on it. In a very real sense, they do.

Cross-posted at Daily Kos

Diaries

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