Thursday, October 4, 2012

Explaining the sham(e) of the Presidential "debate"

I could not stomach watching the entire Presidential debate last night, so I might be wrong here as I walked out for about 15 or 20 minutes, but there was no discussion of rescuing our crippled political system from the horribly disfiguring effects of Citizens United. Doubtless, no one in power would agree, but for me the most important issue in the United States today is the erection of a new, corporatist and Wall Street centric oligarchy on the rotting ruin of republican self-government in the United States.

The crippling of republican self-government by this new oligarchy was starkly evident last night, in the stupefying discussion of job creation and tax policies in the first 20 or so minutes of the debate. First, there can never be any sort of real, sustainable economic recovery that benefits average Americans so long as the parasites of Wall Street and the Chicago futures pits are allowed to capture nearly a third or a half of all corporate profits. So the first order of public business must be to kill off the vampire squids. The stranglehold of usury and speculation on the economy must be broken. Period. No significant economic progress can be made until this is accomplished. How many attacks on the banksters, usurers and speculators did you see in the debate? Right – none.

The second sign of how this new corporatist, Wall Street centric oligarchy has smothered republican self-government was the complete absence of the idea of taxing financial market transactions. The dollar amount of trading in the stock, bond, futures, options, foreign exchange and other financial markets has gone from one and one half times gross domestic product in the 1960s, to over sixty times GDP now. That’s right, six zero. 60. This hyper-bloated amount of financial trading is a massive and crippling misuse of the credit and monetary mechanisms of society, and is the primary means by which the United States industrial economy has been not just deindustrialized, but de-capitalized as well.

So what’s more interesting than what was discussed, is what was not discussed. For example, no mention was made a guaranteed jobs program. Or even of a direct government role in creating jobs. We know that such programs can work: to stave off the spectre of widespread hunger and starvation in the winter of 1933-34, Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Hopkins created four million new jobs in just one month.

How can such issues, crucial to the survival of the United States as a self-governing republic, go through a Presidential debate entirely without mention?

George Farah, antitrust attorney at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, and author of the book No Debate: How the Republican and Democratic Parties Secretly Control the Presidential Debates, explains to Amy Goodman on Democracy how large corporations such as Anheiser-Busch, funded the creation of the Commission on Presidential Debates in 1987, to seize control of the debates from the League of Women Voters, which had ignored the demand of President Jimmy Carter to exclude independent candidate John Anderson in 1980.  Under the auspices of the Commission on Presidential Debates, representatives of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party negotiate a multi-page contract for each debate, invariably excluding third party candidates, and the direct questioning of the candidates by each other, to avoid the mention of real issues our corporatist overlords do not want any public discussion of.

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