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The Inlfuence of Influence: On Worshipping Money in Washington, D.C


#1

The Inlfuence of Influence: On Worshipping Money in Washington, D.C.

Thomas Frank

Although it’s difficult to remember those days eight years ago when Democrats seemed to represent something idealistic and hopeful and brave, let’s take a moment and try to recall the stand Barack Obama once took against lobbyists. Those were the days when the nation was learning that George W. Bush’s Washington was, essentially, just a big playground for those lobbyists and that every government operation had been opened to the power of money. Righteous disgust filled the air. “Special interests” were much denounced.


#3

And they ask us why we don't want Clinton. Thank you Mr. Frank. The picture is grim but true. We pay these people to represent us and they give us lip service and P.R. We have lost this country and our government to the worship of money, greed, and influence. A sad day in America.
We just watched the theft of a primary by a solid member of the groups spoken about here. And now they want us to act happy about it cause....Trump.
I don't need any more proof and I won't back Clinton. It probably won't make any difference but I am sickened by the influence spectacle.


#4

Sounds like the 2nd tier of Bohemian Grove.

The ethos presented (if it could be called that) brings to mind the Mafia Don who rewards the Wise Guys who are brazen enough to shake down lots of small Main Street store owners in order to collect a substantial ransom for their intended Patron.

Years ago I remember a Phil Donahue show that interviewed male pedophiles. The individuals sat behind a curtain so that their faces wouldn't be publicly recognized. One thing they shared that stood out was that when they formed a community, that community worked to normalize their behavior. After all, "everyone" shared it.

It's that same community mechanism--in this case in service to Power (proven by shaking down the little guy and gal in order to deliver yet more capital to their already embarrassingly rich benefactors) that is being normalized through Influence and its chief peddlers.


#5

Did you read the article? This is about how Washington, D.C. works and extends WAY beyond Clinton. It explains every Scott Walker, Paul Ryan, and Rick Scott out there. And then some.


#6

Our free and independent press, which is 90% owned by a handful of corporations, continues to pander to those with the power and money. The Fourth Estate is barely meeting its democratic duty of informing the citizenry, and only to and for a select group of Washington insiders. The Corporate Owned News brought to you by the corporate controlled government and protected by the US Constitution. Is this really what the founders had in mind?


#7

Not since David Halberstam's "The Best and the Brightest" has a writer, in mho, so captured the cultural pulse of America's elites. To understand politics is to understand the culture in which it exists, Thomas Frank captures this culture in all its decadent banality. Frank reminds me of an important American historian, Henry Steele Commanger, a writer who thought history should be written, not only for an academic audience, but for the general public.


#8

Re-post

Until money - campaign-contribution bribes - is taken out of politics, along with "lobbyists" and their bribes, and all corruption that subverts honest (as rare as chicken lips today) representation, we will be victims of the corrupt consequences. Whether consumer protections, banker/wall street crimes and usury being "legal", wars for profit and resources, or any other outside influence that steals the time, minds and integrity (sounds funny just writing that) of our "elected" selected representatives, they will be beholden to those special and money interests rather than the peoples needs and future - all the things that make a nation truly strong subverted to sham, charade and frauds. The Grand Con all "legalized" and sanctified under law.........


#9

Yes, Sue, I read the article and understood it perfectly. Since I'm not you my reactions will not always be to your liking but I don't care. Unlike you I'm not here to critique everyone's comments.


#10

Well said, about time someone stood up to her. thank you.


#11

The arrogance--which fits WHY so many outside the U.S. view U.S. citizens in the manner they do--is amazing.

This is an article that goes WAY beyond Mrs. Clinton. However, there are 2 dominant trends in most threads:

  1. To Bash citizens/the public/voters/ Americans/the oceanic mass of "We"
  2. To Bash Mrs. Clinton/Democrats/Liberals/Progressives

The range of topics extends WAY beyond numbers 1 & 2, yet the little clone tag team that's been a presence in these threads for years continues to maintain conformity to very simplistic and redundant themes. These, in turn, maneuver conversations and debates away from the seminal issues back to these 2 items.

Like the DUMMIES who can't spell and rather than learn something by correcting their spelling instead attack me; you defend the indefensible.

And another mark of arrogance is deciding for me, what my name (and its spelling) is.

Just unbelievable.


#13

Yes, the problem with "normal".

Couldn't help but be reminded of the Bruce Cockburn song "The Trouble With Normal"

The lyrics, written in 1981 couldn't have been more apt for that time, or more prescient, that speak to the slippery slope of things having become "normal".

Strikes across the frontier and strikes for higher wage
Planet lurches to the right as ideologies engage
Suddenly it's repression, moratorium on rights
What did they think the politics of panic would invite?
Person in the street shrugs -- "Security comes first"
But the trouble with normal is it always gets worse

Callous men in business costume speak computerese
Play pinball with the Third World trying to keep it on its knees
Their single crop starvation plans put sugar in your tea
And the local Third World's kept on reservations you don't see
"It'll all go back to normal if we put our nation first"
But the trouble with normal is it always gets worse

Fashionable fascism dominates the scene
When ends don't meet it's easier to justify the means
Tenants get the dregs and landlords get the cream
As the grinding devolution of the democratic dream
Brings us men in gas masks dancing while the shells burst
The trouble with normal is it always gets worse


#15

We come in when it's time to pay for all the policy cooked up by these elites at their parties and after. The wars, the privatizing, the TPP, and so on and on and on.....


#17

It's been many years since I was immersed in academic history but some of the classic historians I still admire, I think of Perry Miller's "The Life of the Mind in America" among many others on New England, the Puritans, etc. I also think David Donald's book "Lincoln" is a good interpretation among the libraries of interpreters. Along with scholarship, Vernon Lewis Parrington was a great teacher, he of The Great Barbecue fame, as you know was of the Progressive School. A little book you might be interested in, it is short with each chapter a different topic, is Gary Wills "A Necessary Evil, A History of American Distrust of Government," Wills a brilliant student, sent to a special rigorous Jesuit school, became a conservative, knew William Buckley and others at the pinnacle of conservatism at that time, came full circle, ended up as a liberal Prof. at Northwestern. Eric Foner is the best on Reconstruction, in MHO. Edit: I like "The American President, From Teddy Roosevelt to Bill Clinton," ... William E. Leuchtenburg. I also like A. J. P. Taylor"s "The Origins of the Second World War." These are just a few things that popped into my head, there are many more.

Although also known as a great American historian of the "Consensus School," I recommend for the pure joy of the reading experience, Daniel Boorstin's "The Creators," "The Discovers," and "The Seekers" in that genre. "The Creators" Ive read several times, it is a huge book on the origins of the arts, architecture, music, poetry, you name it. It contains a fascinating discussion on how Drama grew out of Greek Festivals. It can be read a chapter at a time.


#19

Same to you, cheers.