Did you watch Rachel Maddow last night? She followed the bucks and the negative Health Care ads, appearing both nationally and in some states, to two groups, the Foundation for Government Accountability (sounds quite official and serious doesn’t it) and the State Policy Network (which also sounds like it is part of actual government). Apparently neither of these groups has any connection whatsoever to either our federal government or the governments of our state. In spite of their ad hoc roots these two groups are traveling around America serving as witnesses against the ACA in states where there might be a bit of wiggle room, where a state may be considering signing on to the expanded Medicaid that is part of the ACA (the part that gives insurance to the uninsured). They post internet ads that suggest that signing on to Obama’s health care act will get you in tax trouble. They have another site which attempts to get the residents in the states where they operate to sign a Grover- Norquist-style pledge that says they will never sign up for health care.
Once the money trail was unraveled it led to those billionaire Koch (pronounced coke) brothers who have more money than the rest of Americans-who-are-not in-the-top-1% combined. These brothers who inherited their money from the oil and chemical industry established by their Daddy are solid backers and play-callers in the right wing of the Republican Party. They have their fingers in just about every one of those “we-are-the-true-Patriots pies”.
We have long suspected that our country is not controlled by the American people. We have suspected that monied people (who now include corporations, since corporations are people) call the tunes that our elected “representatives” march to. From time to time proof of meddling has been offered up to us by one party or another and we are temporarily shocked. Then we shake it off and move on. But the machinations of these two brothers seem to be similar to the tentacles of a jelly fish which has twined its way throughout all aspects of our government. The right wing Conservatives don’t just have lots of organizations working to make sure their policies become part of American governance, but these organizations talk to each other. They are not isolated entities. In fact most of them have, at the top, a few names of very rich sponsors, and almost all of them have been traced to the Koch brothers.
How can the average American fight a steamrolling, bankrolling political machine like this? How can we counteract the influence of wealthy power-brokers on our states and on our federal government? If you add up all the issues that we the people favor by over 50% (issues like immigration laws, gun control laws, laws to raise the minimum wage and more), issues we favor actually by over 60%, and then see how many of these issues are being taken care of by our Congress, you can see how much power “we the people” actually wield. If anyone needs to “take back our government” it is “we, the people”, but I guess you can see why we feel terribly out-gunned (double meaning intended) and out-maneuvered and out-classed (meaning out-spent, since class equals money in America). How on earth can we root out this pernicious patch of weeds that has spread out like a giant taproot under America? It all feels pretty hopeless. Obamacare is the only thing we have apparently gotten past these people and they are mad (and yes, mad is the correct word here); they want vengeance; they will do anything to stop this law from becoming a successful part of the social safety net in America. Obama did an end run around these secret manipulators, he mowed the grass, and that is not allowed. One thing we can do, therefore, against these rich polluters is support the Affordable Care Act; be patient about its roll-out; sign up for it as soon as we get a chance. We could also repeat over and over again how we want Congress to approve Obama’s court nominees. We can insist that the minimum wage should be raised. I don’t know if we can have much effect on immigration or gun control right now because these bills have very entrenched enemies, but there are probably some other areas where we can be a big, old, nasty, squeaky wheel. Can we win out over all this money? The outlook is not good, but if we just lie down and play dead that may be the end of Democracy.
The last graphic was drawn by Muckety and reproduced in the Daily Kos
This is the view from the cheap seats.
This blog post is also available at www.brissioni.com