Political Fictions and Corporate Realities

by William Skink

It was interesting to see how Tester chose to slam Obama for prolonging approval for the Keystone XL pipeline. Here is the statement:

“I’m disappointed with the President’s decision. After dragging his feet for years on the Keystone pipeline, the President missed an opportunity to strengthen America’s energy security. This decision prevents more good-paying Montana jobs and ensures that we continue to do business with hostile countries in the Middle East. “

Ah, how quaint. Tester is referring to “America” like it’s a sovereign nation with a functioning representative Democracy. It’s not, but keeping the illusion going is helpful in maintaining political power.

America’s energy security? There is no such thing. There is corporate profit–the supreme deity of globalization–everything else is just decoration.

Tester’s statement is a steaming pile, especially the part where he implies that America Inc. is reluctant to “do business with hostile countries in the Middle East.” This statement couldn’t be farther from the truth.

While Tester talks about the fiction of America’s energy security, the next iteration of the global corporate coup is about to drop under the guise of the next batch of trade agreements. So what does Tester have to say about ceding the remnants of our national sovereignty to corporate boardrooms and international tribunal courts? Check out this squishy rhetoric from earlier this year. Tester’s statement is a great example of glib political rhetoric using lots of words without actually saying anything substantive:

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., said he isn’t comfortable with approving Trade Promotion Authority, which would limit members of Congress to a “yes” or “no” vote on the TPP when it is presented.

“The reason is that I want to see what we are voting on,” Tester said. “The bottom line is that I think we are couple of months off before this is in front of the Senate. I want to see how this will impact middle class families and small business. If it is a trade agreement that will provide more opportunities for the U.S. to expand our middle class, I’ll be supportive.”

I hope Tester is busy reading the 6,000 pages of the monstrous TPP so he understands what he’ll be ceding away if he votes yes.

The ever expanding privatization for corporate profit is borg-like in its assimilation and corruption of state power, but faced with this reality, I suggest avoiding the F-word because clever, sarcastic people like Dan Brooks will be there to roll their eyes, then stroll off to fire up a smug post like this one:

Fascism: nobody know what it is, but it’s probably happening. Bane of the high school history teacher, Fascism is hard to define, probably because we know it when we see it. Specifically, we knew it when we saw Nazis and Italian corporatists start a world war with it. But Mussolini called fascism fascism before he became history’s most humorous monster. Like a nation, fascism is an idea. It stems from events but transcends them. And like a nation, fascism can live as an idea after it occupies no territory. The state is more important than the individual. We need a leader who can get things done, working with corporate power instead of against it, belligerent abroad and supervisory at home. We love this country, and we can take it away from those who don’t. Today is Friday, and I sure am glad that ideolgoy doesn’t describe any political movements now active in America. Won’t you evade responsibility for it happening here with me?

Brooks goes on to poke his finger at the GOP a bit, but leaves it at that, which is disappointing because I know Brooks has a pretty high opinion on what cultural producers can accomplish–an opinion he articulated in the midst of dismissing Banksy’s Dismaland as sarcastic kitch. Here is Brooks distinguishing between cultural producers like himself and an artist like Banksy:

Like Banksy, the highbrow, left-leaning Internet frequently indulges in sarcasm; how else could it produce so much ostensibly clever content every day? But such attitude-based aggregators distinguish themselves from the kitschy Internet by embracing the premise that cultural production can improve an unjust society, whereas Banksy’s premise seems to be that cultural production can point out how awful everything is.

Is it possible to improve an unjust society if one doesn’t first understand the true scope of how awful everything is? Sure, improvements can always be made, like putting a fresh coat of paint on a house. But those efforts will be pointless if the foundation is cracked. And America’s foundation is disintegrating underneath our feet.

Down there in the dark, in basement America, mutated corporate fascists work the shadows of both political persuasions. The Intercept has a good read with a long title: Leaked Emails from Pro-Clinton Group Reveal Censorship of Staff on Israel, AIPAC Pandering, Warped Militarism.

Here is a revalent excerpt from the article about the corporate donors of the very influential Democratic think-tank, Center for American Progress:

The Nation previously investigated CAP’s once-secret list of corporate donors, documenting how the group will abandon Democratic Party orthodoxy whenever that orthodoxy conflicts with the interests of its funders. That article noted that “Tanden ratcheted up the efforts to openly court donors, which has impacted CAP’s work. Staffers were very clearly instructed to check with the think tank’s development team before writing anything that might upset contributors.”

Since that article, CAP, to its credit, has provided some greater transparency about its funding sources. As the Washington Post’s Sargent reported earlier this year, “CAP’s top donors include Walmart and Citigroup,” and also “include the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, which represents leading biotech and bio-pharma firms, and Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.” Other large CAP donors include Goldman Sachs, the Em­bassy of the United Ar­ab Emir­ates, Bank of America, Google and Time Warner.

United Arab Emirates? Damn, if only we got that pipeline built, we wouldn’t be forced into doing business with these bankrollers of terrorism, possibly even that recent plane allegedly blowing up over Egypt, but I digress.

Anyone with half a brain understands politics in America has been hopelessly corrupted by corporate money. My question is this: why give politicians any benefit of the doubt with regards to the empty words that tumble so easily from lying lips?

I’ve heard supporters of The Sheepdog claim that, at the very least, Bernie is forcing Hillary to pay lip service to progressive issues. So what? Expanding the allowable discourse means, at least for Democrats in 2016, allowing Hillary to weave a cloak of populist deceit more colorful than Joseph’s, the dude who built pyramid-shaped grain silos in Egypt.

Mocking the sillier fictions sprouting from the 2016 political field is a coping mechanism, and on that level I get it. They are so bonkers on the right, how can you not tilt your lance at that low-hanging fruit?

Well, I would argue time spent on those sillier fictions is time wasted because the corporate reality is borg-like in its persistence that resistance is futile.

But it’s not.

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About William Skink

I'm a poet and political cynic living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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20 Responses to Political Fictions and Corporate Realities

  1. People become so certain they are right that there is no need to trifle with anyone who opposes them – Neocons, they are called, but Neoliberals works too. There is nothing “new” about them. Due process goes out the window. Other people, evil monsters always with us, seek power for sake of power. We seldom know their names, but I imagine Warren Buffet to wield unimaginable power, for instance. He just happened to be at Offut on 9/11 when the Bush party arrived that evening. He must have delivered the terms of surrender. Still others, empty shells who will do anything to advance their own prospects (Tester, for example), willingly suck the teets of those with power, fancying themselves to have some of it too. They are human waste.

    That is “fascism,” nazism, totalitarianism, despotism, communism … What ever name we choose to call the “other” side as we practice it ourselves. Look back through history to Rome, the Carholic Church, the Medicis, the British Aristocracy, Third Reich … Again and Again it forms, dissolves, reforms. It has been infested and growing in this country since 1945. Very little of the original structure of this Land is left. All Of our institutions are Potemkin villages.

    Like

  2. steve kelly says:

    And here’s Montana’s governor Bullock pandering to the same oligarchs. Disgusting cutout. http://www.kbzk.com/story/30466768/governor-frustrated-with-keystone-xl-decision

    Like

  3. Big Swede says:

    I also hate when politics becomes corrupted by corporations. Berkshire Hathaway(owns large shares of BNSF) is the real winner when it comes to killing the pipeline.

    “BNSF is the largest carrier of oil from North Dakota’s Bakken shale formation, and construction of the Keystone XL pipeline could put a dent in BNSF’s $22 billion annual revenue stream. In 2013, $5.7 billion of that came from industrial products, of which a major component is oil. Sales from that segment increased 14%, or $700 million, in 2013 due to “significantly higher petroleum products volumes.” Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway have also been big beneficiaries of the political red tape, as they are the major shippers on the Canadian side. -Motley Fool.

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    • Big Swede says:

      Via CNBC in 2008.

      “Barack Obama calls on Warren Buffett, among others, as he turns his attention to the troubled U.S. economy now that he’s returned from his international tour that featured a well-attended speech in Berlin.

      In an interview with Tom Brokaw on NBC’s Meet the Press over the weekend, Obama said that today he would be “pulling together” some of his “core economic advisers” to “examine the policies that we’ve already put forward–a middle class tax cut, a second round of stimulus, a effort to shore up the housing market in addition to the bill that was already passed through Congress, what we need to do in terms of energy and infrastructure.”

      Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2015/11/warren_buffett_and_the_keystone_decision.html#ixzz3r0mFBHJ8
      Follow us: @AmericanThinker on Twitter | AmericanThinker on Facebook

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    • Most likely the project has been put on temporary hold until oil prices recover. Politicians like Obama have no say in these matters. That ship sailed decades ago.

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      • Big Swede says:

        And yet the TTP gets the President powers over the senate when it comes to treaties and “partnerships” with foreign countries which normally need 2/3rds senate approval.

        By the way is anyone going to ask Tester if he’s going to read TTP? He’d better start cause it’s 6000 pages, 2 million words and 30 chapters.

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      • If the president has no real power, then the effect of giving him power over the senate is to give the people who control him the ability to ignore the senate. And again, that ship sailed long ago. It’s all pro forma now. All of our institutions are long ago corrupted.

        Greg wants a solution. I am fresh out. You?

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        • Greg Strandberg says:

          The best non-violent solution is to turn the media against itself. It’s corporate-controlled and if you can use its levers to bring it down/get your message out, then you can begin to get somewhere.

          I don’t know how to manipulate the national/global corporate media to such an extent that you could prevail. We see how they totally ignore Bernie Sanders now.

          What other ideas are there besides business as usual (political “solution”), violent revolution, or gaining control of the media?

          I’m all ears.

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        • I hear this constantly – what solution? If you think Bernie is the real deal, and that the “corporate” media can be “turned against itself”, I would start with that. Neither proposition makes any sense.

          We who can at least identify the problems are not required to produce solutions, especially if none are evident except gradual raising of awareness among people of intelligence. It becomes a choice of living with eyes open or shut. What’s your choice?

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  4. Greg Strandberg says:

    So what is the solution to this problem?

    So far in the comments I’m seeing more complaining. Alright, if that’s what you want to do that’s fine, but how do you move America away from its corporate-dominance back to the people?

    Does anyone have a plan for that? Right now it appears that Hillary will be it, or else Jeb. So that’s the corporate plutocracy again.

    Are we supposed to wait for some 1929-style meltdown to occur and then the subsequent election before we get things back on track? And did FDR really get things back on track. Which track was that, and for whom? Let’s not forget the economic royalists he warned us about but which came back and climbed all over Truman.

    So is there a political solution? And if not…then what? For if there is no political solution then we’re pretty much getting to the what Thomas Jefferson advocated we do in a situation like that, and that’s overthrow the corrupt government.

    Are we at that point?

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  5. steve kelly says:

    When people decide to no longer settle for consumer/serf status the commodity/profit system and the fear it produces will fail to dominate all life on Planet Earth. Each individual has the power to be more human and less about material “wealth.” First, mortality must be accepted. Everything has a beginning and an end, something Americans have failed to grasp — and act accordingly. You really can’t take it with you. Try telling that to Trump.

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  6. JC says:

    Ok, fascism… again. Just read a piece from truth-out from a few years ago, going back to Mussolini’s prop-master for a definition:

    …The 1983 American Heritage Dictionary defined fascism as: “A system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism.”

    Fascism originated in Italy, and Mussolini claims to have invented the word itself. It was actually his ghostwriter, Giovanni Gentile, who invented it and defined it in the Encyclopedia Italiana in this way: “Fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power. [emphasis added]”

    In other words, fascism is corporate government – a Libertarian’s wet dream. It’s a government in which the Atlas’s of industry are given free rein to control the economy, just how they’re regulated, how much they pay in taxes, how much they pay their workers…

    In 1938, Mussolini finally got his chance to bring fascism to fruition. He dissolved Parliament and replaced it with the “Camera dei Fasci e delle Corporazioni” – the Chamber of the Fascist Corporations. Members of the Chamber were not selected to represent particular regional constituencies, but instead to represent various aspects of Italian industry and trade. They were the corporate leaders of Italy.

    Imagine if the House of Representatives was dissolved and replaced by a Council of America’s most powerful CEOs – the Kochs, the Waltons, the Blankfeins, the Dimons, the Mackeys, you get the picture.

    Actually, that’s not too difficult to imagine, huh? But, that’d be similar to what Mussolini defined as fascism.

    So, I hear of a call for solutions, alternatives… As with previous fascist regimes, once they get too belligerent on the world scene, they will be put down. I fear that WWIII will bring the chickens home to roost, and the final battles will be fought here, and ultimately the fascists will be conquered again. So, maybe the best we can do is to go into survivalist mode and hide out until it’s all over.

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  7. Eric says:

    I think you’ve made some good points here. You start out with Jon Tester putting out his scripted comments about Keystone, but you are giving Tester too much credit here, because he really doesn’t care about Corporate philosophy, he only knows that he’s an endangered species as a Senator, and he wants another $10 million dollars for his next campaign. I’d be willing to bet a cold beer that his remarks were approved by the Obama administration before he put them out as well. I can’t prove it, but I’m thinking that if The Great Leader were to declare himself Dictator for life, and cancel the next elections, that about 40% of Americans would look at each other, nod, and go along with it. And I’m thinking Tester would go along with it too, just so he wouldn’t have to go back to being a failing farmer.

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  8. steve kelly says:

    Wild ass quess wrapped in conjecture, at best. Aliens made them do it? Do not misunderstand, I’m no fan of either.

    Like

  9. Big Swede says:

    Read this am.

    “Once every generation or so, history abruptly floors the accelerator and leaps off the road. In 1789, 1848, 1917, 1933, 1968, and 1989 regimes fell, astonishing events erupted daily, ideologies realigned, new movements were born, past experience was rendered obsolescent and irrelevant. Each of these revolutionary years took contemporaries by surprise: only after the smoke had cleared did historians find the underlying causes that should have been obvious to everyone.

    If you ask whether the Bastille was stormed because bread prices were skyrocketing, or because Louis XVI was inept, or because his tax system was hopelessly corrupt and his government couldn’t pay its bills, or because the armed forces had been humiliated in military adventures, or because the Enlightenment had undermined faith in the established order, or because the lower classes wanted an end to feudalism, or because the middle classes wanted power, most historians would answer: “Sure.” Revolutions never have single causes; they take off only when multiple dysfunctions coincide in a perfect political storm. And right now storm clouds are gathering everywhere. If indeed we once again hit the historical jackpot, it will be frightening and enthralling to watch. Brace yourselves.-Instapundit.

    Liked by 1 person

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