Mick Mulvaney delivers the chilling truth

Bless your soul, Mick Mulvaney, for spelling out so clearly and succinctly the evil that drives Washington. As the f...

Posted: Apr 26, 2018 11:04 AM
Updated: Apr 26, 2018 11:04 AM

Bless your soul, Mick Mulvaney, for spelling out so clearly and succinctly the evil that drives Washington. As the former congressman and now interim director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau explained to bankers on Tuesday, "We had a hierarchy in my office in Congress. If you're a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn't talk to you. If you're a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you." Yes, Mulvaney would also meet his constituents from back home, whom he insists were at the top of the hierarchy.

America is a pay-to-play political system. When the lobbyists pay up, they're at the table. And to be sure, the big boys now run the show. The result is a political system among the most corrupt in the world, but with a twist of genius: the US Supreme Court has for all intents and purposes legalized the corruption and thereby put American democracy on a downward death spiral. The system works like this.

America's business interests, upper classes and white population have long made it hard for the poor and working class to register to vote. In most other democracies, voter registration is not the responsibility of individual voters, but is more or less automatic. Unlike these other democracies, US elections are a game of voter turnout, not of substance.

And voter turnout efforts are based heavily on money -- big money -- to run ads on TV and other media, buy voter data, manage expensive targeting of households, and other big-ticket strategies. The 2016 federal election cycle saw at least $6.4 billion spent on federal campaigns, and that's not counting the anonymous corporate sums that are not reported.

Congressmen live and breathe for campaign funds, and also to avoid crossing the interests of powerful corporate lobbies that might fund a primary challenger. The result is that billionaires and powerful companies own and operate the US political system. The vulgarity of the US situation would shock Karl Marx, who famously described 19th century democracy as a system in which "the oppressed are allowed every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them."

The results are astounding. Public policy in America has almost nothing to do with broad public opinion, a point that America's leading political scientists such as Benjamin Page and Martin Gilens have been making for years in sophisticated research in top, peer-reviewed journals and in their recent book "Democracy in America? What Has Gone Wrong and What Can We Do About It."

Jane Mayer brought this home with flair in her account in "Dark Money," focusing especially on mega-billionaires David and Charles Koch, as well as the detailed account of hedge-fund billionaire Robert Mercer of Cambridge Analytica notoriety.

So, the public wants gun control, but Washington delivers guns and mass shooting instead. The public wants renewable energy, but Washington delivers EPA Chief Scott Pruitt and fossil fuels instead. The public wants taxes on the rich, but Washington delivers massive tax cuts for the rich instead. The public wants peace, but Washington and the military-industrial lobby deliver perpetual war instead. The American people are not the problem; the billionaires and their greedy agenda are at the heart of the crisis.

During the Obamacare debates a few years ago, when I asked a congresswoman why there was so little attempt by Congress to control soaring medical care prices, she buried her head in her hands and murmured "the lobbies! the lobbies!" It was like Kurtz in "The Heart of Darkness" murmuring "The horror! the horror!"

The Supreme Court's infamous decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission will go down in US history alongside Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857) and Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) as among the worst moments in US jurisprudence. In Citizens United, the Supreme Court basically gutted any control over corruption by eliminating nearly all restrictions on independent campaign spending by corporations, on the grounds that such restrictions violate the "free speech" guarantee of the First Amendment.

A system that was already corrupt up to the gills suddenly was essentially told, officially and at the highest level, that American democracy was hereafter being turned over to the highest bidder. Evidently, Mulvaney knew well how to play the game, as he was showered with largesse from the financial industry.

The Roberts Court is certainly one of the shoddiest in American history. It followed up the Citizens United decision with McDonnell v. United States, declaring, in effect, that the blatant corruption of former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell and his wife could be seen merely as a politician interacting normally with his constituents. McDonnell, duly convicted of bribery earlier by a jury of his peers, walked free after the Supreme Court ruling.

In Citizens United, the court offered the following stunning claims: "We now conclude that independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption. ... The appearance of influence or access, furthermore, will not cause the electorate to lose faith in our democracy."

It would be hard to find a more inaccurate statement. The public's confidence in American democracy has plummeted. In a January 2018 survey, just 8% of Americans expressed "a great deal of confidence" in the Congress. According to Gallup, the proportion of Americans expressing "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in Congress has declined from 30% in 2004 to just 12% in 2017.

You have done your duty, Mulvaney, and now you and your ilk should resign in peace. It is also urgent to challenge again in the courts the absurd claims of Citizens United before the confidence in our political institutions falls to zero.

West Lafayette
Overcast
67° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 67°
Kokomo
Overcast
67° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 67°
Rensselaer
Overcast
63° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 63°
Fowler
Overcast
63° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 63°
Williamsport
Overcast
63° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 63°
Crawfordsville
Overcast
61° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 61°
Frankfort
Overcast
69° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 69°
Delphi
Broken Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 70°
Monticello
Broken Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 70°
Logansport
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 72°
Dry, windy, very warm weather, followed by scattered rain & much cooler conditions.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 115407

Reported Deaths: 3566
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion21196765
Lake10493323
Elkhart6528110
St. Joseph6392106
Allen6178202
Hamilton4848109
Vanderburgh360930
Hendricks2715123
Monroe256036
Tippecanoe239113
Johnson2305123
Clark221457
Porter213647
Delaware194262
Cass19419
Vigo182526
Madison164375
LaPorte142340
Floyd135862
Howard130563
Warrick128038
Kosciusko121617
Bartholomew116457
Marshall100824
Dubois96919
Boone96846
Hancock92143
Grant91934
Noble90832
Henry79826
Wayne75414
Jackson7499
Morgan71638
Shelby67229
Daviess66328
Dearborn66028
LaGrange63411
Clinton59914
Harrison57624
Putnam56412
Knox5159
Gibson5114
Lawrence51129
Montgomery50821
White48514
DeKalb47611
Decatur45839
Miami4353
Greene42435
Fayette42113
Jasper3942
Steuben3807
Scott37311
Sullivan33712
Posey3240
Jennings31312
Franklin30725
Clay3005
Ripley2968
Orange28824
Carroll27413
Whitley2707
Washington2651
Wabash2648
Starke2637
Adams2613
Wells2614
Jefferson2483
Spencer2413
Fulton2382
Huntington2363
Tipton22622
Perry22113
Randolph2167
Jay1800
Newton17311
Owen1681
Martin1640
Rush1554
Pike1471
Vermillion1280
Fountain1232
Blackford1193
Pulaski1131
Crawford1050
Brown1043
Parke962
Benton880
Ohio787
Union780
Switzerland690
Warren391
Unassigned0226

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events