How We Got Here

Like most folks these days I have go to web sites and writers or commentators that I depend on to help evaluate the onslaught of daily news to sort out drivel from the important. Two of those writers provide a daily free substack email that also tie today’s headlines back to how we got in such and such situation.

Those writers include Heather Cox Richardson who is a professor of History at Boston College. One of the interesting things she does on her daily commentary is to connect today’s events to previous episodes in American History.

Similarly, Thom Hartmann views trends in America and digs way back in our history to find the point or movement that spawned today’s problems. While American citizens seem to view today’s problems as something that just arose from nowhere, Hartmann can seem to pinpoint a case, a movement, a lie that started a snowball that turned into a glacier.

I truly appreciate these two writers in particular because it is much better to be armed with a long perspective before wading into the culture wars that Republicans are exploiting to the hilt in their quest to turn us into theocratic state.

With that as the background, I want to look at Thom Hartmann’s column from Thursday February 16th.  In this commentary Hartmann ties our current system of campaign financing (or as he calls it “legalized bribery”) to Republicans on the SCOTUS and then in turn led to the tragedies like that of 9/11/2001.

Hartmann reviews what led to SCOTUS decision on money in politics and how that has so immeasurably led to our current corruption and cynicism. The system has led politicians who may have once stood up to corporations now kowtowing in their presence.

The flow of money to politicians of all stripes have led, as many of us know, to congress failing to act in many situations that could have been prevented or lessened or of presidents failing to act in the best interest of the country.

All that to get to the list that Hartmann posts at the end of this edition of his newsletter. This is a list of how our democratic system has become the plaything of the massively wealthy. Most of the delays have been caused by Republican obstruction, but Democrats also have the occasional Joe Manchin or Krysten Sinema to gum things up.

With that I steal Thom’s list:

With the blessing of the Supreme Court, Billionaire ideologues have paid off politicians — most Republicans, but a few “Problem Solver” Democratic shills as well — to:

— Gut our public schools to make way for billionaire- and church- funded (mostly all-white) private schools,
— Privatize public electric and water utilities so billionaires can make money on life’s essentials,
— End government subsidies for college to keep education as a bar only wealthy people can easily jump over,
— Keep their own taxes so low that most billionaires pay 3% income taxes or less,
— Raise the Social Security retirement age to 67 and start privatizing Medicare through the Medicare Advantage scam,
— Sell off public lands for pennies on the dollar to mining and drilling interests,
— Fight efforts to force chemical and fossil fuel companies to clean up their own toxic dumps,
— Allow banks, airlines, and hospitals (among others) to nickel-and-dime us to death,
— Ship our factories and jobs overseas,
— Defund the IRS so it can’t afford to audit billionaires,
— Make it harder for low-income workers, folks on Social Security, and students to vote,
— Purge tens of millions of Democratic voters from voting rolls just before elections (the way Jeb Bush handed Florida to his brother with a 537 vote margin after purging 20,000 African Americans from the rolls in the months before November, 2000),
— Gerrymander states along racial lines to insure white rule, and
— Make it hard to break up monopolies.

None of these things were supported by a majority of voters; all were gifts to special interests who’d greased the palms of Congress with cash, legalized by five Republicans on the US Supreme Court.

You will note that some of these are high priority in Iowa this year. It sure illustrates who Corporate Kim and her legislative commandos are working for.

About Dave Bradley

retired in West Liberty
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