The Money Party
The Essence of our Political Troubles
The Money Party is a small group of enterprises and individuals who have most of the money in this country. They use that money to make more money. Controlling who gets elected to public office is the key to more money for them and less for us. As 2008 approaches, The Money Party is working hard to maintain its perfect record.
It is not about Republicans versus Democrats. Right now, the Republicans do a better job taking money than the Democrats. But The Money Party is an equal opportunity employer. They have no permanent friends or enemies, just permanent interests. Democrats are as welcome as Republicans to this party. It's all good when you're on the take and the take is legal.
This is not a conspiracy theory. There are no secret societies or sinister operators. This party is up front and in your face. Just follow the money. One percent of Americans hold 33% of the nation's wealth. The top 10% hold 72% of the total wealth. The bottom 40% of Americans control only 0.3% (three tenths of one percent). And that was before "pay day loans."
The story is as old as civilization but the stakes have never been higher than they are right now.
In every campaign for major office, the party passes out money and buys candidates from both parties. Thanks to the candidates who get elected, this pay to play system remains perfectly legal. Those elected get luxury trips, sweet jobs for family members, and more campaign contributions for the next round of elections. What they do is perfectly legal even though it looks like bribery.
In return for contributions, the election winners come through by fixing the laws so that The Money Party cleans up. Lower taxes, highly favorable business regulations, laws that shield their businesses from real competition all start with the nonstop flow of Money Party funds. Cost is no object, because in the end it's all paid for with our tax dollars.
The Money Party gets no-bid contracts as well as the ability to lay off their employees and dump their pension plans just about any time they want. It doesn't get much better than that. It's welfare for big money and survival of the fittest for the rest of us.
We are nothing to them.
When the White House and Congress ignore the health care crisis year after year, why be surprised? They're not in office to serve you. The drug companies and hospitals had their bid in first.
When our public servants fail to get us out of Iraq, don't take it personally. That will happen when The Money Party says so.
When citizens suffer and starve for days after a hurricane, we're told they should have been better prepared. When levees and bridges collapse, it's an act of God. But when the fat no-bid contracts show up, The Money Party takes it all.
Unreliable election systems, citizens excluded from the vote on the basis of race and class, and questionable results don't matter as long as the right candidates get in. We pretend to vote, they pretend to get elected, but there's no doubt who is in charge - The Money Party.
It's nothing personal. The party is just doing its job. Why be surprised or disappointed? It's been happening for centuries. The more some have, the more they want, the harder they fight to keep it. Spread some around so they can get even more. It's a rigged game from top to bottom.
We let this happen. We can change it. The first step is to name it, and we just did.
The Irish fought for 800 years to win their independence from the world's most powerful empire. Generations came and went before the goal even seemed possible. They never gave up.
Now it's our turn.
Why We Get Such Lousy Leaders and How to Get Rid of Them
Hey, hold on there! Who says we have lousy leaders? Just about everybody. Between 40% and 60% of voting age citizens stay away form the polls in just about every election. In 2004, there were 221 million voting age citizens and 44 % of them, 98 million people, chose not to vote. Of the 226 million potential voters in 2006, a whopping 62%, 141 million people, stayed home.
When you ask why they chose not to vote, the common answer is "it makes no difference, they're all a bunch of crooks." If "no difference" were a candidate, he or she would win every election.
Why don't we hear more about this huge voting block, "no difference?" Because an open discussion of the year in and year out refusal of half of those 18 and older to participate throws cold water on the legitimacy of every president and elected representative that we have.
No matter who they are, the elected consistently lack the endorsement of around half the population that stayed home plus somewhat less than half of those who voted since those voters chose another candidate. The right to govern is consistently granted by around 25% of the voting age citizens in presidential elections and 20% or less in off year elections.
It's obvious. The Money Party doesn't want us to vote. Its members, those few individuals and corporations who control most of the wealth, fund, elect, and control candidates who act in ways that cause people to say: "Forget about it. There's no difference between any of them, they're all a bunch of crooks."
Let's take a look at what happened after the 2006 elections.
We have a president and a co-president who are on record as saying that they don't care what we think and a Congress that gave these politically deaf, dangerous men the same authority to attack Iran that was given to attack Iraq. Come on down Bush-Cheney, here's your blank check for a brand new war!
What a strange elixir power is, a drug that apparently intoxicates and transforms those elected as they're sworn into federal office. We, "the little people," matter not to the few who cruise the corridors of power.
Leaders who fail to respond to the obvious sentiment of the public are lousy leaders, plain and simple. Their inadequacy is even more obvious when they fail to do much of anything that benefits the general public, all the while adding to the incomes of the corporations and individual donors who placed them in power. Even as the corporate media continue to prop up the government by down playing the real news, the general public knows that they have a tyrant at the top and enablers in supporting roles.
Citizens made to feel helpless are the essential ingredient needed to maintain the sham governments we get, the lousy leaders who shamelessly ignore the general welfare while diligently filling the public trough for their patrons in The Money Party.
Citizens who become outraged when lied to are the essential ingredient needed to retire the money party and take control of their own destinies.
What can we do about this?
How about this? Make them all sign an employment contract. We've forgotten that they're our "public servants." Let's get everybody voting, including the powerful "no difference" block.
A Contract with the Citizens United States of America
Required for every elected official without exception.
In order to serve in public office, I _____________________ agree to the following:
1) I will provide a designated independent auditing agency with a list that includes: all of my campaign contributors; all of my present and past business associates; all of my relatives and close friends; and anyone or any entity (company, union, etc.) that might approach me with a proposal for legislation, regulation, or other action that would result in the use of my influence and position for their benefit. I will continuously update this list and I agree that it will be made public.
2) I agree that any specific action I take requested by and for the benefit of any of the named individuals and entities or others is an instance of undue influence and betrayal of the public trust. Further, I agree that taking a job with or taking direct or indirect payment from any of those listed after leaving office is an instance of undue influence and betrayal of the public trust.
3) I will provide an itemized detail of any and all communication of any type that involves those listed in clause one or those who should have been listed as determined by the independent auditing agency should it be requested. I agree that all of these records will be made public.
4) I authorize any of those involved in any investigation to turn over any records concerning me if questions arise about undue influence due to my relationship with them. I also agree to fully open my records and staff, paid and unpaid, to interrogation by the auditing agency. I will not interfere in this process in any way whatsoever. I understand that any interference by me in the investigation is also an instance of undue influence and betrayal of the public trust.
5) If the independent auditing agency determines that I should be tried for "undue influence and betrayal of the public trust," I agree that I will stand trial before a randomly selected, representative body of citizens and abide by their decision on my guilt of innocence. I further agree that this trial will last no more than one business day, eight hours, and that it will be televised on C-Span and any other network that chooses to air all or part of it.
6) I agree that I will resign and never seek public office again if the citizen panel determines that I am guilty of undue influence and betrayal of the public trust. I will also pay whatever fine is determined by the citizen jury. If the offense occurs after I leave office, I agree to an immediate period of two continuous years of service overseas in the Peace Corps and that I will never again seek public office and pay the fine levied. I further agree that I will not appeal the decision to any outside authority after the citizens make their decision.
This I swear:
Candidate for Public Office / Office Holder
This is just common sense. Elected office is a critically important trust. Those who serve have a major impact on all citizens. We all have to sign some sort of employment contract or work under rules that are, in essence, a contract. Why not the same deal for those who seek the honor of serving in elected office? Why not put them to the test when they say "we vote our conscience and not the interests of our contributors"? Why not make them truly accountable to us? How many insincere politicians would sign up for this type of scrutiny? How many would survive it?
Put the people back in charge through real accountability on the part of elected officials and provide clear consequences for undue influence that betrays the public trust.
Big Lies that You Must Believe
Because if you don't, the whole scam may fall apart.
Previously in The Money Party series, we discussed the fact that there is only one political party in the United States, The Money Party. It has two wings, Republican and Democratic. That party represents excessive concentrations of wealth in the hands of corporations, other organizations, and individuals. They put up the money and get what they pay for every time.
They make sure that the election system is rigged to rely on money like a junkie relies on heroin. The system takes care of them. They don't have to obey the same rules that we do. Why? Because they're above the law.
The Money Party owns the mainstream media entirely. NBC is really General Electric, ABC is Disney, CBS was Viacom but now it's just the name for a mega-corporation, and Fox is News Corp., the Rupert Murdoch financial empire. That's why it's called the corporate media. They're publicity shops, "corporate communications divisions," owned and controlled by Money Party members.
Their job is to emulate George Orwell's "1984" by generating meaningless concepts that bind us to false choices.
It's a series of interconnected lies. Let's look at some of the key lies that we must believe to keep them in power.
Big lie 1: "We're the world's leading democracy." Not since Bush-Cheney took over. We're dropping fast. Maybe it has something to do with the Patriot Act and all that illegal wire tapping of U.S. citizens? Maybe it has something to do with a Congress that does nothing to stop an out of control president. Ratings on democracy show us behind 14 nations.
Big lie 2: "Just let the markets handle it. The free enterprise system will work it out." This is supposed to appeal to our love of capitalism. Well, we don't have capitalism in the United States.
We have socialism for the rich and survival of the fittest for the rest of us.
When you hear about the wisdom of "the markets," you know that The Money Party is attacking some new law or regulation that might give us an equal footing and create real competition. The party can't stand free enterprise because it won't play any game that it might lose. Count on it. NAFTA - just let the markets handle it. Health care – it's the market at your service. Pollution – you guessed correctly, it's a "market thing. "We wouldn't understand." Dumping mercury in the Great Lakes, it all makes sense to the party.
Big lie 3: "There are two sides to every issue." Does that have anything to do with two parties? Where in the world did this come from? Who knows? But the corporate media rides this one into the ground.
Take climate change for example. Two sides, really? Well just about every respectable scientist in the world, at least those who get published in real science journals, says climate change is real, it's man made, and it's dangerous. The explanations are varied (many sided) but there's only one side of the larger issue if you want your children to survive. Climate change is a very real, scary deal. We're all threatened. But a correction might hurt their short term profits. As a result, the dangerous lies persist brought to you by The Money Party "communications divisions."
Big lie 4: "The federal government just screws everything up." Oh, like going to the moon, developing the internet, and providing health insurance (Medicare) for many times less overhead than private health insurance companies. The Money Party hates the government with a passion when it serves the general public. But when the federal government fixes competition so that only big money wins, when it ignores problems that might require some sacrifice, and when it prolongs a war for profits, the federal government is their best friend.
It's not a conspiracy. It's just what they do, what they've always done…further their own interests at our expense. There used to be some restraint to maintain appearances but the Money Party is now on steroids.
When you see some corporate news reader cock his or her head to deliver a "gem of wisdom," count on it to be a big fat lie, one that's essential to justify the theft of our well being for the interests of a very few, their bosses. They don't care because they don't have to. We're the ultimate donors to The Money Party through our hard work, time, and taxes.
The Money Party thinks that they own the country, they know that they own most of the politicians, and they're 100% sure that they know what we need to believe. These are just a few of the big lies that we hear all the time from the usual suspects. It's time to wake up, call their bluff, and take the country back.
In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible.
- George Orwell
Money Party to Citizens: Drop Dead!
"The FBI is investigating every level of the conspiracy that it believes perpetuated the housing boom…"
Now they've done it. The Money Party road show just hit a speed bump at 90 mph and that speed bump was us. There are no more "booms" to hype. No more schemes to hook investors into the stock market. The high tech boom is dead and biotech turned into road kill thanks to a president who talks to God and believes that evolution is just "a theory."
All they had left was the housing bubble. Ram home prices up by flooding the market with buyers. Get them in that home anyway you can. The finance guys will figure it out. We saw "interest only" mortgages to sell people more home than they could afford. And the highly "recommended" adjustable rate mortgages that mature in record time plus other schemes were there to qualify those who should have bought less for more than they'd ever hoped.
What a great deal that was. The economy is now tanking. Only 18% of middle class families have three months worth of accumulated income, the amount needed to have a chance of surviving a financial crisis.
As foreclosures go through the roof, the know-it-alls in The Money Party public relations shop (the mainstream media) trot out their paid liars to blame the people.
This housing "boom" turned bubble had a crushing impact on the economy. One analyst noted, that "By 2005, this bubble had been creating fifty percent of all economic growth in the U.S." That growth is gone and now we're looking at people losing their homes just as massive layoffs are planned and implemented.
This is an important point to remember about the party. It's never their fault, never. Not once has any economic failure been their fault. It's our fault. We're supposed to be smart enough to see that these great "opportunities" are nothing more than the bad ponies you'd never bet. The Money Party can't help itself and we were supposed to know better.
This is a very big lie that we must believe. If we didn't, who knows what would happen?
But wait! Apparently the paid flacks forgot that the financial deity, former Federal Reserve Chairman Arthur Greenspan, endorsed the housing bubble in no uncertain terms. In 2004, Greenspan told a credit union association crowd that "the refinancing phenomenon" had been supportive for the economy and that the use of home equity "helped cushion" declining stock prices. Then Greenspan showed his supposed genius with this advice to home buyers and owners:
"American consumers might benefit if lenders provided greater mortgage product alternatives to the traditional fixed-rate mortgage. To the degree that households are driven by fears of payment shocks but are willing to manage their own interest rate risks, the traditional fixed-rate mortgage may be an expensive method of financing a home." Understanding household debt obligations, Federal Reserve Board, Feb. 23, 2004
The message was clear. Get an ARM!
Here's the back story. Greenspan got first rate analysis in 2001 from Ned Gramlich, a widely respected economist and Federal Reserve Governor. Gramlich warned, "that a fast-growing new breed of lenders was luring many people into risky mortgages they could not afford." Greenspan dismissed this advice and other warnings that followed. Predatory loan offerings; not to worry. It's all good.
The New York Times reported this epitaph of the Greenspan housing boom from a 2006 Gramlich speech to the Federal Reserve:
“Why are the most risky loan products sold to the least sophisticated borrowers? The question answers itself - the least sophisticated borrowers are probably duped into taking these products.” New York Times, Dec, 18, 2007
Why? Because that's what they do. It's their nature. The Money party just can't get enough and it will get it anywhere it can in any way it can.
So we're in a situation where a false housing boom was created by sticking the least qualified home buyers with very risky loans. The big banks and Wall Street got together and created securities and bonds based on "subprime" mortgages along with hedge funds and other schemes based on commercial real estate in order to profit from this madness.
These were highly rated and widely sold. When the housing market collapsed, the securities and bonds lost most or all of their value, and the screwing of the citizens expanded. The financial collapse is now devouring the middle class and pummeling the financial intuitions that started the scheme in the first place.
The Times of London indicated just how low The Money Party had sunk:
"The FBI is investigating every level of the conspiracy that it believes perpetuated the housing boom and ultimately resulted in millions of Americans losing their houses, investment banks losing billions of dollars and the chief executives of Citigroup, Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearns and UBS resigning." TimesOnline Jan. 31, 2007
Will anything come of this investigation? Who knows? But we're in a serious crisis that requires skill, insight and honesty to find solutions.
We should all be encouraged that the team in charge of fixing this mess is making progress. Who better to trust than Bush and Congress?