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How did the oligarchs hijack the country?

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leftofthedial Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 01:07 AM
Original message
How did the oligarchs hijack the country?
How did they convince so many millions of affluent, relatively well-educated middle class and working class Americans to adopt philosophical positions (on taxes, wages, unions, the environment, healthcare and on and on and on) that are so profoundly and diametrically in opposition to their own self interest?

What's the gameplan that has all but destroyed this country for the benefit of a few? Can it be reversed? Can we employ their own techniques against them?
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JDPriestly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 01:08 AM
Response to Original message
1. Good questions.
Wish I had the answer.
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Erika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 01:11 AM
Response to Original message
2. They entrapped both the religious right & the wealthy
Edited on Thu Oct-12-06 01:12 AM by Erika
Many of the religious right actually thought W would bring on Armageddon and was prophesied by God to do so, and the rich went along for the ride.
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leftofthedial Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 02:20 AM
Response to Reply #2
5. I'm not sure they entrapped the wealthy
I think they ARE the wealthy

the wingnuts spew an unending stream of vaguely libertarian sounding principles that ultimately boil down to an agenda that serves only corporations and the wealthy.
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AverageJoe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 01:15 AM
Response to Original message
3. They appealed to prejudice and fear
and it was a winning combination.

Don't like non-caucasion people? Vote republican!
Think women are getting too uppity? Vote republican!
Gay people make you nervous? Vote republican!
Scared Jesus is gonna smite you? Vote republican!

It's about as simple as that, I'm afraid. The MORANS they pulled over to the dark side vote in droves.
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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 02:19 AM
Response to Original message
4. Frank Zappa explained it
Edited on Thu Oct-12-06 02:21 AM by bananas
"The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it's profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way, and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theatre."

Our task is to make sure it doesn't become too expensive to maintain,
through innovation etc.


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leftofthedial Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 02:21 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. that quote was my sig line here at DU for a couple of years
it's an illusion

but how do they manipulate it

what is the mechanism that makes the freeptards and the ignorant repuke base still see a glorious red, white and blue curtain, while we see the bricks ever more clearly?
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PhilYerHead Donating Member (160 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 02:26 AM
Response to Original message
7. Easy, we all went to sleep and tuned into "reality TV", along with all
Edited on Thu Oct-12-06 02:29 AM by PhilYerHead
the games (football (pro and collegiate, basketball, baseball, golf, the list is rather endless isn't it?, on line and on TV). "girls gone wild", "who wants to be a millionaire", "big Brother", Real World/MTV, "American Idol", and the list just goes on and on.

Oh, and don't forget POKER! The quickest and bestest way to get there.

It's just a damned shame this is the best we can do.
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VOX Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 04:49 AM
Response to Reply #7
14. Sad, but very true. n/t
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rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 05:10 AM
Response to Reply #7
18. True, although it wasn't much better before the advent of reality TV
The hijacking of our government predates reality TV by a couple decades at least.
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oblivious Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 02:47 AM
Response to Original message
8. media propaganda. unrelenting. ubiquotous.
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TheWatcher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 02:55 AM
Response to Original message
9. We Let Them.
On December 12, 2000, there should have been millions in the streets. A General Strike should have been declared and the Ghosts of our forefathers should have been alive within us and guiding us to do what needed to be done.

Then again, that is only one reason. There are many others.

As for whether it can be reversed?

Perhaps. But we are approaching a time, and quickly so, that our only option of doing so might be a remedy that most on this Site dare not even utter in public. Do you want to face that reality?

Most on this Site don't.

I will admit, I don't either.

But I am feeling more and more every day that this is not going to be solved Electorally.
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Golden Raisin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 03:07 AM
Response to Original message
10. Fear.
Osama. 9/11. Superb planning, cooperation, funding & organization since the defeat of Barry Goldwater. Diebold. Ruthlessly taking the low road (Willie Horton). Fox and the other bought-and-paid for propaganda arms. Lies. Patriot Act. Swift-boaters. Signing statements. Rubberstamp Congress. Democratic party that does not oppose. Stacking the Supreme Court. Leveraging of wacko fundies and moronic sheeple who don't give a shit if they have no Bill of Rights but will get mighty pissed without American Idol. The list goes on and on.
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Ino Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 03:07 AM
Response to Original message
11. Their platform sounds good on the surface
Smaller Government
Less Government Interference
Lower Taxes

Many don't seem to understand what Repugs REALLY mean. They just don't want their taxes supporting all those Welfare Queens.
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ProgressiveEconomist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 03:13 AM
Response to Original message
12. A 2002 book called "Downsizing Democracy" from 2 JHU profs has the
best and most comprehensive explanation I've seen. The only things missing from that book IMO are stronger analyses of the effects of the decline of industrial unionism, of Republican disfranchisement legislation, and of developments in the media industry on democratic control of government. Corporate concentration, end of the "fairness doctrine", substitution of dumbed-down "infotainment" for real investigative journalism, and $200 million a month in bribes from lobbyists have replaced the fourth estate's influence on Congress.

The book explains how the first powerful element of the Federal government to be almost completely taken over by Republican corporate lobbyists was the Department of Defense, despite Dwight Eisenhower's warnings during the 1950s about the "military-industrial complex." One by one, other elements of government have fallen prey to similar greedy influences from other industries.

Here's part of an excellent review from an ordinary Amazon website visitor; Amazon also has excerpts from the book on the same webpage.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From http://www.amazon.com/Downsizing-Democracy-Sidelined-Ci... :

"Downsizing Democracy: How America Sidelined Its Citizens and Privatized Its Public; by Matthew A. Crenson, and Benjamin Ginsberg. Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press (October 1, 2002) Hardcover: 312 pages ISBN: 0801871506

The authors discuss and document ten points in each of ten chapters:

1) The tyranny of the minorities has reached its ultimate peversion--single individuals, well-educated, well-off, get what they want, and the poor masses lose the power that came from groups with diverse backgrounds.

...

3) Elections now feature only the intensely loyal minority from each of the two major parties--the bulk of the voters have dropped out and elections are thus not representative of the wishes of the larger community.

4) Patronage has changed, with corporations rather than citizens getting to feed at the public trough, and the focus being on influencing policy after election, never mind who the people elected. The authors also do an excellent job of discussing polling and the manner in which it misrepresents the actual concerns and beliefs of the people.

5) Three chapters--one called "Disunited We Stand", a second called "From Masses to Mailing Lists, and a third called "Movements without Members" all make more or less the same point, but in different ways: political mobilization--people actually joining, doing, writing, demanding--are out, and instead we have micro groups, sometimes actually limited to the employed staff of an advocacy group, that raise funds, take stands, and get what they want, without ever having actually mobilized people to come together in a political manner.

...

7) The authors do an excellent job of discussing how the out-sourcing of government functions to private enterprises undermines accountability and lead to severe abuse. Similarly, non-profits, including notional churches and other tax dodges, can enjoy enormous public subsidization in the way of tax breaks, while giving less than they should to the public treasury.

8) The author's end by asking "Does Anyone Need Citizens?" and the last two words in the book are "Who cares?" Today, the Administration's answer would clearly be "no", we don't need citizens. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the US public is both uninformed, and unengaged. Citizens have allowed themselves to be side-lined, and by this excellent account from the authors, should they choose to re-engage, they will have very hard work in front of them as they seek to overturn a half-century of deliberate ventures all seeking to reduce citizenship, increase bureaucracy, and reward corporate patrons of individual politicians who choose not to act in the public interest, but only their own."
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Jeroen Donating Member (608 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 04:39 AM
Response to Original message
13. Sometimes I wonder why so many people want to identify themselves with
power and wealth. And although it is against their own interest, they support, admire and follow those who truly are.
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rug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 05:01 AM
Response to Original message
15. Considering they started the country, wasn't hard.
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deutsey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 05:04 AM
Response to Reply #15
16. Yeah, they're just snatching back what they lost during the '30s
:evilfrown:
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rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 05:07 AM
Response to Original message
17. by means of devision, external threats, propaganda
i think that about covers it.
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no_hypocrisy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 05:56 AM
Response to Original message
19. Patience, anger, and unrelenting greed.
Since the New Deal, there has been a demographic determined to get back property that they believed the federal government requisitioned from them, i.e., capital and holdings with redistribution of wealth. The Middle Class was being funded with THEIR money, taken by compulsion through onerous (to them) taxes, unions demanding a decent wage for workers, Social Security paying seniors and the disabled without portfolios monthly stipends, etc. Not to mention new laws that promoted democracy and equality so a minority could not "lord" over a majority and the majority no longer "knew their place". Ubiquitous home ownership. Etc. Etc. Etc.

So, "they" built up their businesses to have disposable capital to fund certain politicians incrementally until a majority in their behalf could be established in all levels of government. To cull cooperation, they had a payday with 9-11 wherein people outside of the elite would make an exchange of the illusion of security with relinquishing their fundamental and civil rights and promise of financial security in the future.

Now with all the players in place, and a cooperative majority who does not benefit from the new policies, an oligarchy can make all the decisions instead of the majority through their representatives. It's no longer a land of the people by the people.
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dbt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 06:03 AM
Response to Original message
20. Judicious investments over time.
They bought majorities in both Houses of Congress, both parties. They bought the media, and they have apparently bought the Supreme Court--all of whom have told us, over and over and over again, "All is well."

And if it's on the news, it must be true.

:freak:
dbt
Remember New Orleans

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CJCRANE Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 06:30 AM
Response to Original message
21. Look at the B*sh family's buddies:
the bin Ladens, the Saudi Royals, the Emirs etc.

They've modeled themselves on these people and their methods.
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