The Vast Conservative Conspiracy
September 15, 2010 § Leave a comment
http://reclaimdemocracy.org/ [This is the Powell memo] This is a memo to the US Chamber of Commerce written by Lewis Powell in 1971, a couple of months before his nomination to the Supreme Court was confirmed by a comfortable majority of the Senate.
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/08/30/100830fa_fact_mayer [This is Jane Mayer’s article]
These are like bookends. Lewis Powell laid out a plan for the corporate takeover of America. Jane Mayer offers an example of how that plan has been implemented during the past four decades by Charles and David Koch, a couple of billionaires who inherited their father’s Ayn Rand philosophy as well as several million dollars, which they proceeded to multiply dramatically.
I’m sure you remember when, a few years ago, Hillary Clinton was ridiculed for claiming that there was a “vast conservative conspiracy”. Well, after reading these items, it seems to me that her only mistake was using the word “vast”. It turns out that the “conspiracy” could have consisted of no more than a couple of billionaires named David and Charles Koch. In America, sabotaging the democratic process doesn’t require many people if they have enough money.
These articles require some time and you may not have time to enjoy them, but some Saturday afternoon, if the football game is not very interesting, you might spend an hour or two finding out how much trouble two right-wing fanatics can cause.
Before reading the Jane Mayer article (which, incidentally, is a superb example of investigative reporting), I had not considered how impossible it is to hold corporate sponsors accountable for their purchase of political strength and governmental influence. Corporations have no names, like the rest of us, which cling to us throughout our lives and serve as bases for attributing to us whatever we do. People like the Kochs can create as many names for themselves as they wish simply by creating foundations, corporations, “institutes”, “colleges” within universities, endowed “chairs” in colleges and universities; etc. etc. etc.. They are free to use their money to fund these masks for their weird ideas and I can’t think of any way to draft or design laws to expose them or to let people know the sources and transparently selfish motivations for those ideas. Reporters like Ms. Mayer, if they spend enough time, can pull back the curtain, like Toto did in the Wizard of OZ, to expose the little guy behind the megaphone, but how often is that likely to happen? And, as if that were not a sufficient reason for concern, last January, the Supreme Court held unconstitutional the laws that prohibited corporate cash for candidates.
Until that latest tear in our constitutional fabric, the candidate had to spend his own money if he or she wanted to buy an office. Now corporations can shop around for any candidate that strikes their fancy.
Just to give you a taste of the kind of ideas that can be peddled if you have the chutzpah to do so, here is an example. One of the Kochs’ pet peeves is the protection of the environment. You see, they are in the chemical business, big time, as well as the “all bidess”, also big time. They don’t want some pesky EPA guy coming around telling them to stop polluting the atmosphere. So, they bought some research to prove that if the atmosphere is not sufficiently polluted, too much sunshine will cause skin cancers. Their experts even calculated how many skin cancers would result if we are deprived of a protective shield of smog. I’ve forgotten who said it, but I expect to see Tea Party signs saying “You can’t trust air you can’t see.”
Finally, I learned that the Kochs own the company that makes Brawny paper towels. I shall boycott that brand. I’m sure that will bring them to their knees.