Periodically over 2½ years, I have described the elements of the conservative movement to usurp the will of the people for the sake of the will of corporations and banks. It began with corporate attorney Lewis Powell’s memo to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 1971 calling for corporate/banking America to form groups to influence the government such that the New Deal and other liberal initiatives like civil rights got overturned. Powell, of course, was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Richard Nixon.
This road to perdition has many milestones that led to the ultimate goal of installing a right-wing plutocracy as our nation’s governing body instead of the one quaintly elected by the people. Some milestones are more dramatic than others, but the call to eliminate public education, the Patriot Act, the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 and the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission are the major visible actions taken by conservatives and embraced by the Republican Party to achieve the goal of the plutocrats to operate our government.
The recent event in Florida where an unarmed 17-year-old male was shot dead by someone invoking the Stand Your Ground law allowing an allegedly frightened person to take the life of another on purely subjective grounds with no fear of prosecution is bad enough, but it is downright sinister when we see from where this law came — the low-profile group American Legislative Exchange Council.
In its March 27 edition, the Austin American-Statesman ran Paul Krugman’s column that pointed out the influence of the group. In Virginia alone, ALEC has dictated more than 50 bills to their legislators. All the Stand Your Ground laws across the country are virtually the same as the one written for Florida by ALEC.
As you would expect, the National Rifle Association supports ALEC in this action.
Furthermore, ALEC is funded and supported by the Koch brothers, Exxon and a host of other major corporations. Ah, yes, corporate influence.
On March 29, the U.S. Senate rejected a bill that would end subsidies for the record profit-making oil and gas companies. It was filibustered and defeated. The 51 senators voting for the bill received about $6 million in campaign contributions from oil and gas. The 47 senators who voted against it received more than $25 million from these companies. Oh, and 75 percent of Americans think those subsidies should be dropped. Many of the GOP senators who voted against it are on record saying the subsidies should go. Even President George W. Bush said the subsidies should go. Why didn’t they go? The math above tells you why.
President Theodore Roosevelt commented extensively about the takeover of government by big money interests. He knew the peoples’ voices would be drowned out by corruption. He was right.
I used to worry about the current efforts of corporate/banking America in taking over our government. In view of everything happening now, I no longer worry. It’s already happened.
Turner is a retired teacher and industrial engineer who lives near Marble Falls. He is an independent columnist, not a staff member, and his views do not necessarily reflect those of The Tribune or its parent company. "The Voter’s Guide to National Salvation" is a newly published e-book from Turner. You can find it at www.barnesandnoble.com/ebooks. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.