Thursday, August 6, 2009


Before Octopus inks the aquarium, let me start this diatribe with a quote from Noam Chomsky:
“Personally I'm in favor of democracy, which means that the central institutions in the society have to be under popular control. Now, under capitalism we can't have democracy by definition. Capitalism is a system in which the central institutions of society are in principle under autocratic control. Thus, a corporation or an industry is, if we were to think of it in political terms, fascist; that is, it has tight control at the top and strict obedience has to be established at every level (…) Just as I'm opposed to political fascism, I'm opposed to economic fascism. I think that until major institutions of society are under the popular control of participants and communities, it's pointless to talk about democracy.”

Before the seas turn black from enraged cephalopod ink, let me quote myself from this comment thread under Captain Fogg’s recent post, Regulation is bad for business:
All too often we forget that cable news is a product of media conglomerates … in other words “corporatists” … that depend upon other corporations for their advertising revenues. Thus, our news services do not serve the interests of citizens and voters, merely the interests of corporate advertisers.

Here is what happened today - CNN Refusing To Run Health Care Ad Critical Of Insurance Industry:
Americans United for Change [UAC], a top White House ally in the health care wars, tried to book time on CNN and MSNBC for the ad, which hits the insurance industry for wanting to preserve the status quo and levels harsh criticism at insurance giant Cigna’s CEO, Ed Hanway.

“Why do insurance companies and Republicans want to kill health insurance reform? Because they like things the way they are now,” the ad says, and then slams Hanway’s annual salary of over $12 million and golden parachute retirement package of over $70 million.

Jeremy Funk, the spokesperson for AUC, points out that CNN would be more than willing to accept paid advertising from Cigna; yet CNN turns down paid advertising critical of the company for their role in trying to kill health insurance reform.

See where I am going? Last year, we worked hard to elect a new president who promised change, who promised healthcare reform, who promised investments in alternative energy to free us from dependence on OPEC.

This year, the Empire strikes back. Our health management insurers want to protect their greedy franchises. Our fossil fuel suppliers want to preserve their filthy energy infrastructure. Corporations don’t vote but citizens do. Yet, corporations have the means to manipulate public opinion, and there are always idiots ready and willing to oblige.

Manipulating public opinion is easy … when you are the CEO of a corporation with lots of money and lobbyists and crooked politicians in your pocket ... and you can always count on an ignorant rabble all too willing to sell themselves short, sell-out their own interests, and serve as sycophants on behalf of their corporate masters.

Corporations need not dirty themselves when they can hire proxies like Dick Armey to do their dirty work, when their proxies can recruit goons, malcontents, and nut jobs to stifle public debate. This is how corporations assert their interests, nullify the popular will, and derail democracy.

The hooligans have taken over; the corporations have won. The American experiment in democracy is dead. Does anyone reading this diatribe doubt what I say?


  1. No doubt here...

    Its funny if you study our political system and you review elected officials and policies enacted from the times of FDR to today you notice that we just cannot seem to formulate and or pass bills that benefit the nation as a whole. Look at the policies enacted under FDR or the Great Society legislation....
    Couldn't achieve anything like that today....unless of course it benefits some vested money interest.

    Need a bailout we can get right on reform, well, not a chance.

    New consumer bankruptcy laws are easy, NAFTA no problem....but gay marriage, don't ask don't tell....

    Heck, look at the battle over healthcare for children...

    Hmmm....thats all strange....

  2. No doubt here, either.

    Corportism in Germany in the '30s helped Hitler gain power. Corporations at that time were extremely fearful of the growth of Communism and supported Hitler as an alternative to the Communist movement.

    Thus, in Germany, Fascism was supported by corporate interests. There is an analogy to the fascist tactics that are opposing our current plans to improve our health care system.

    The corporatists (the insurance companies) will stop this overhaul because they want to maintain what is producing handsome profits for them.

  3. Here is the irony of all the theatrical hysterics over page 425 - doctors and other healthcare professionals have been following this mandate for years; it is NOT a new concept.
    I have been a nurse for years and so have participated in these conversations many times, with the elderly, the terminally ill and sometimes young, healthy people.
    What has driven this dialogue is the vast strides technology has made in being able to keep our bodies alive longer but not always better.
    I have had this conversation with my own doctor and I'm only in my 50s. But there are things I do not want done to prolong my body's life if I'm not able to participate in my life.
    I think I'll go send an email chastising CNN and MSNBC for not helping to get the truth out there.

  4. It's sad that it's so easy for them to brush off anything Chomsky says with the magic word "socialism."

    I've frequently said that the natural state of human affairs is feudalism and it's the most stable form of government. It has the ability to absorb even temporarily victorious challenges and rebuild itself in a more powerful form.

    We're back to it even now, we just don't have Barons and Earls who come and go according to their mortality: we have corporations and corporations are potentially immortal.

    Rise up and lose our chains? Forget it - our ability to believe without much thought makes it easy for them to make us want the chains, to install them on ourselves. It's all about freedom and God's will, after all.

  5. Can CNN sink any lower these days?

    Water-bound minds think alike, Octo. Just this morning I was thinking to myself about the mob rule erupting over health insurance and was thinking, in turn, that what the Obama administration needs to do is to document LOUDLY and CLEARLY how much the lack of a national health care system costs this country.

    1) Health industry executive salaries - i.e. salaries that requires higher costs in order to be paid

    2) the fact that one of the leading causes of personal bankruptcy is due to medical bills

    3) hospitals footing the bill for the uninsured (passed off on medicaid)





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