Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Bill Maher Reiterates Theme of Plutocrats Favored By Unlevel Playing Field of "Lobbyists & Suits": Glenn Greenwald Dittos Advantaging Rules For Elite

Regarding the above headline, Maher didn’t say “plutocrats”; first he said the “right wing” and a week later he said “Republicans” but each time he was clearly referring to the 1% Club, that elite group that is specially advantaged by rules by which they want the rest of us to play, rules setting up contests they expect always to win, because as Maher says, those contests are played with “lobbyists and suits” and they have all of the “lobbyists and suits” on THEIR side.

As Rachel Maddow observed, this means the elite can ignore the 99%.

(Bill Maher, above, on the first show where he commented on futility of the plutocratically-preferred processes.)

The first time Maher ventured this thesis to explain way the 1% Club so desperately objects to the rule-changing presence of the Occupy Wall Street 99 percenters in the streets, I wrote about it in National Notice, including exactly what Maher said: Wednesday, October 26, 2011, Bill Maher: Right Wing, Wanting It THEIR Way, Yearns To Get Occupy Wall Street On THEIR Unlevel Playing Field of Lobbyists and Suits.

One week later, on his next “Real Time” edition, Maher returned to the topic of how the 1% Club craves rules that render futile for the rest of us the forms of participatory democracy into which we are conventionally channeled. I wrote about his doing so in one of two Noticing New York articles that translated how Maher’s thesis applies to the futility of public hearings in New York City for big real estate projects when those projects are handing out enormous benefit at the expense of the public to politically connected developers through heavy use of of subsidies and frequent abuse of eminent domain. (See: Wednesday, November 2, 2011, Big Politically-Connected Real Estate Projects: Ignoring The Public Majority With Futile “Participatory Democracy” Hearing Process? and Tuesday, November 8, 2011, Public Hearings For Big Real Estate Projects: Refining Your Sense of the Absurd.)

In the first of those two Noticing New York articles (linked above) I covered Maher's updating remarks about his thesis from that second show:
My point I was trying to make last week is that the Republicans don’t want them in the streets, the people, because they would like them to fight the way THEY fight, with lobbyists, where they will lose.

* * * *

When the original Red Coats. . . didn’t like it when George Washington and his troops were fighting behind trees, you know, not fighting in a straight line with red coats where they can be SHOT– It’s the same thing with these people. They’re not fighting FAIR in the way they will LOSE by going to Washington and getting a lobbyist: They’re in the streets! It’s the same way you guys are all saying about Obama, “Oh, he’s out campaigning. He’s not governing!” Yeah, he’s not sitting in Washington giving you guys bills that you’ll crumple up and throw away. He’s taking his case to the people. Is there something wrong if you are not winning with one tactic . . . . Is it so wrong to try the other tactic where you might be able to WIN?
(Above, Maher the seconds Friday night with Ron Christie reacting to his remarks.)

In that same Noticing New York piece I mentioned the very similar sentiments expressed by Chris Hedges when he was discussing Occupy Wall Street on an edition (October 24) of Charlie Rose where he and Amy Goodman were guests. (A link to the video of that discussion is available on the Noticing New York post) Hedges, described a world where it “doesn’t matter what the citizens think,” where what Goldman Sachs wants, Goldman Sachs gets because, as a practical matter: “There is no way to vote against the interest of Goldman Sachs.” Maybe you can vote as a technical matter but if you do “vote against the interest of Goldman Sachs” your vote will simply be ignored because, as Bill Maher might analyze it, your vote doesn’t count in a system where “the other side has all the lobbyists and all the suits.”

In the second of those two Noticing New York articles where I wrote about public process and big real estate projects in New York discussing the absence of the rule of law for the elite, spurred me to bring up Glenn Greenwald’s thinking:
There is a theory, a rather frightening one, that there is now a club, a political and financial class, that is above the law. I heard this theory propounded by Glenn Greenwald, the author of “With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful” on a Leonard Lopate show segment yesterday.
Mr. Greenwald theorizes that we have been on a downward slope since the pardon of Richard Nixon and that there is now a elite club that expects to behave with impunity. He was utterly too convincing in the case he made. I hope it’s not true.

Here is a link and WNYC summary of the segment and you may click below to listen to it:
Glenn Greenwald on Our Justice System
Monday, November 07, 2011

Glenn Greenwald argues that, over the past four decades, the principle of equality before the law has been replaced with a two-tiered system of justice—the country's political and financial class is virtually immune from prosecution, while the politically powerless are imprisoned with greater ease and in greater numbers than in any other country in the world. With Liberty and Justice for Some reveals the mechanisms that have come to shield the elite from accountability. He shows how the media, both political parties, and the courts have abetted a process that has produced torture, war crimes, domestic spying, and financial fraud.

Maybe Mr. Greenwald should appear as a guest on one of Bill Maher’s upcoming shows. It sounds like there is a lot they could flesh out on the topic of the tailoring or rules specially benefit the 1% Club and equipping them with impunity at the expense of the rest of us.

Is it just fringe thinkers who believe this kind of special rules inequality has gotten entirely out of hand? My thoughts were picked up by a post on Norman Oder’s Atlantic Yards Report site comparing this to hot-off-the presses editorial in the Wall Street Journal. Said the Wall Street Journal in its editorial:
As important as this economic damage is [from corporate welfare/crony capitalism] the corrosive effect that corporate welfare has on public trust in government. Americans understand that powerful government invariably favors the powerful, who have the means and access to massage Congress and the bureaucracy that average citizens do not. This really is aid to the 1% paid by the other 99%.
(See: Tuesday, November 08, 2011, Catching up: WSJ on corporate welfare, Noticing New York on the connection between public hearings and the lack of public trust.)

The Journal’s editorial headlined “The Corporate Welfare State: A cause to unite the tea party and the Occupy Wall Street crowd” and beginning:
The Occupy Wall Street protesters aren't good at articulating what they want, but one of their demands is "end corporate welfare." Well, welcome aboard. Some of us have been fighting crony capitalism for decades, and it's good to have new allies if liberals have awakened to the dangers of the corporate welfare state.

Corporate welfare is the offer of special favors—cash grants, loans, guarantees, bailouts and special tax breaks—to specific industries or firms.
. . . You’ll have to be a paying Journal subscriber to read more. . . Sounds a lot like National Notice, Noticing New York (and NPR) as written here:
Monday, October 24, 2011
On NPR, Echo of Coinciding Principles Noticed: What the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street Ought To Agree On

and here:

Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Opposition To Crony Capitalism As Uniting Cause: Resource-Grabbing Mega-Monopolies (Like Atlantic Yards) As Catalyst For Great Recessions/Depressions
When the “Wall Street Journal” begins to sound like the Occupy Wall Street Journal maybe Occupy Wall Street is having and effect.

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