Squaring the Culture

"...and I will make justice the plumb line, and righteousness the level;
then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and the waters will overflow the secret place."
Isaiah 28:17

12/10/2009 (6:49 pm)

The Coming Permanent Oligarchy


It’s not every day that Jane Hamsher of FireDogLake and I even appear to agree on anything, so we should mark this occasion somehow.

Jane posted an email that she sent to subscribers to FDL’s Action Memos regarding her opinion that President Obama has utterly failed to address the pressing needs of health care reform, opting instead to satisfy the desires of huge corporations and cronies. And I agree, that’s exactly what he’s done, and the bill is a failure. Read:

When Barack Obama announced his health care plan in 2007, he said insurance premiums for a family of 4 would be cut by $2500. This plan will see premiums increase $1000 each year.

Obama said “coverage without cost containment will only shift our burdens, not relieve them.” This plan does nothing to meaningfully contain spiraling health care costs.

Obama said “it’s time to let the drug and insurance industries know that while they’ll get a seat at the table, they don’t get to buy every chair.” This plan includes a deal between the White House and PhRMA that guarantees there will be no negotiation for Medicare prescription drug prices.

Obama said he’d go after the drug companies who “sell the same exact drugs here in America for double the price of what they charge in Europe and Canada.” But the White House deal not only doesn’t do that, it bans the reimportation of cheaper drugs from Canada.

What does this deal do? It forces Americans to buy the products of large corporations, then the IRS penalizes them if they refuse.

Now, Jane’s object was to get people to sign a petition demanding a true public option. This, of course, I won’t support, because the public option is nothing but a Trojan Horse to produce a full-blown, government-run health system, which will bankrupt the nation, shrink the US health system to 2nd-world size, and leave even more Americans without health care.

But I find it encouraging that Ms. Hamsher at least may be beginning to realize that she’s been a useful idiot in the construction of an oligarchy that includes the largest corporate players, along with the unions and permanent, “Democratic” party oligarchs like The One.

I was surprised at first by Obama’s willingness to include the most powerful corporations in his power grab, but I should not have been. Remember the image of Obama teaching an ACORN class that I scared up during the campaign, the one that appears at the top of this column? He was lecturing on power relationships. I’ve never attended any of his classes, but based on what I know of Saul Alinsky and the tactics of community organizers, I can imagine that he’s actually teaching how the greed of various players can be tapped to get them to cooperate in schemes that you might think they’d avoid like the plague.

This seems to be a powerful part of Mr. Obama’s power strategy. He’s been negotiating with the largest corporate players all along, not to get them to agree to their own demolition, but to ensure monopoly power for them within the new, permanent power regime. In return, they apparently promise to support his power grab, and they fail to engage their marketing muscle into the sort of publicity that might defeat the administration’s proposals in public.

Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner noted from the right what Jane Hamsher noted from the left: that Obama’s commitment seems to be to a permanent power position for the largest players:

But this facade of Democrats-versus-industry is crumbling now that the final bill is being crafted. The measure still contains the insurers’ grand prize, the individual mandate — a federal requirement that every individual buy sufficiently comprehensive health insurance.

By late Tuesday, all signs pointed to Democratic abandonment of the one major “reform” policy that the insurers’ hated: a government-run insurer, known as the “public option.” Sen. Joe Lieberman said that in Senate negotiations, Obama didn’t even bring up the public option as a bargaining point, which shows it’s not a White House priority.

Liberal and moderate Democrats early this week were lining up behind an alternative “public option” that is not public at all, but just another government program to funnel Americans into private health insurance. As the Associated Press put it, “instead of Medicare-for-the-masses, it would be Blue Cross Blue Shield or Kaiser Permanente, albeit with a government seal of approval.”

And the drug makers? They cut their deal with the White House early. Obama promised not to go after their government favors such as the ban on reimportation of drugs and high Medicare payments and, in exchange, the drug makers offered $150 million in “Harry & Louise” ads rallying the public behind “reform” together with some discounts for Medicare patients.

Even outside of this deal between White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and top drug lobbyist Billy Tauzin, the drug companies stand to profit from Obama’s plan, which subsidizes prescription drug purchases and will likely mandate prescription drug insurance.

The heads of the largest corporations are not stupid men. I’m sure they realize that President Obama is not their friend. However, I’m sure they also see that economic liberty is no longer part of the landscape, and they see their best available deal as becoming corporate partners to Big Brother. If democracy will not protect their right to engage in business freely, they will serve whatever master permits them the best return for the longest time, regardless of the ism represented by that master. They may favor liberty personally, but their corporations will not become martyrs.

In addition to striking deals with the largest corporations, the Obama administration has also been extremely friendly to unions, and in particular the Service Employees International Union (SEIU.) SEIU President Andy Stern was the most frequent visitor to the White House during the Obama administration’s first 6 months, and the SEIU perpetuates President Obama’s intention to incorporate ACORN into American government somehow. Administration policy has rolled back union disclosure guidelines, slashed budget for the union watchdog arm of the Dept of Labor, and written pro-union guidelines into the stimulus bill and the auto industry bailout. Union representatives (and other major contributors to Obama’s perpetual campaign) continue to get seated at the head of the table at official White House functions. And one of the most obvious beneficiaries of national health care reform would be those unions whose retiree pension plans are approaching bankruptcy.

So the Obama administration is no better for progressives, ultimately, than it is for conservatives. We were wrong to assert that Obama is a pure socialist. He’s far more cynical than that, and seems to be operating more along the lines of the Soviet Communist Party, which was anything but communist. He apparently intends to establish an oligarchy of mutual interest, merging the common aims of the unions, the largest businesses, and the heads of the Democratic party. And have no doubt: we know by the persistent stacking of the deck that he fully intends for this oligarchy to become permanent.

A final word to ardent capitalists and free marketeers: huge corporations are not your friend, and never have been. The market thrives on competition, and the largest players tend to operate anti-competitively. The real losers in the coming permanent oligarchy will be small businessmen, whose insignificance is being guaranteed by the new rules favoring the largest players. And, of course, those citizens whose personal fortunes might have been secured by engaging in successful small businesses are the losers as well, as are those hourly wage-earners those businesses might have hired. In fact, the entire economy will shrink as a result of the oligarchic power of the largest players. But Obama will have formed his power circle, and that’s what matters. The good of The One is the good of the nation. Don’t you know that?

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December 10, 2009 @ 8:00 pm #

“…but to ensure monopoly power for them within the new, permanent power regime.”

Doesn’t that sound more like facism??

December 10, 2009 @ 9:35 pm #


Have you read Jonah Goldberg’s book Liberal Fascism yet? If his definition is correct — and I think it is — then the entire Progressive enterprise is fascism. What Obama is producing is a bit different from that, and a bit more sinister, in exactly the same way that the Soviet Politburo was different from True Socialism: instead of the angelic, pure practices of the human Utopia, what we have instead is the exercise of flawed human beings operating out of political and economic self-interest in a system where they have no limits. Unfortunately, because human beings are flawed and because Those Who Know Best are, in fact, some of the worst human beings on the planet and do not, in fact, know best, this is what always happens when humans attempt Utopia. You’d think we’d all have learned better during the 20th century, but the arrogance of the self-deceived knows no bounds.

December 11, 2009 @ 7:46 am #

From the admittedly biased perspective of a small business owner, I believe you could not be more on target.

I think that Obama’s perspective is that the private sector’s task is to shovel the load and pay the freight, with those who are favored by The Party to be dispensed favors for their fealty; the tight circle of Democrat mavens will pull the levers and hand out choice work permits and agreements “for the good of all” with their team of loyal apparatchiks; and the proles are to be kept fed and marginally secure enough so that they know their place, and are never ambitiious or comfortable enough to dream of disagreeing with the system.

My guess (somewhat seriously) is that Orwell’s “1984″ will not be banned outright, but it will be actively phased out so as to no longer be part of the educational curriculum, and it will gradually become harder to find than an Ann Coulter book in a Madison, Wisconsin high school library. It hits a bit too close to home for the Lightworker’s crew.

December 11, 2009 @ 2:00 pm #

suek wrote:

“…but to ensure monopoly power for them within the new, permanent power regime.”

Doesn’t that sound more like facism??

Bingo! Fascism it is. What Obama is doing is right out of Adolph Hitler’s (and Robert Creamer’s) written-in-prison playbook.

Hitler tried to reassure the industrialists that the anti-capitalist policies of the National Socialist platform were just an attempt to gain the support of the working-class and would not be implemented once he gained power.

In the summer of 1927 Hitler wrote a pamphlet called The Road to Resurgence that he distributed to Germany’s leading industrialists. He tried to reassure them that he was a actually supporter of private enterprise and was opposed to any real transformation of Germany’s economic and social structure.

Many of the German industrialists fell for Hitler’s ruse and supported the National Socialists.

As we know, the rest is history…

December 11, 2009 @ 12:02 pm #

My question, for anyone who would like to take a stab at it; how quickly do you think Obama can consolidate his power? I ask this because I don’t think he will voluntarily risk another election, and I also don’t believe he would voluntarily be a one term president. Another question is, if the Republicans are able to take control of congress in 2012, can this be undone?

As I’m writing this one other thought has occurred to me, maybe the real power grab has nothing to do with health care but the environment. I mean talk about real power! The attacks on our freedoms are coming from so many different directions that we are becoming punch drunk. We are continuously reeling from one attack to the next.

And yes, this rant was really disjointed…

December 11, 2009 @ 12:12 pm #

Yes, I’ve read “Liberal Fascism” – very enlightening. Also enlightening in the sense of my having thought I knew history fairly well – I don’t. Lots to learn.

Dale…there are two issues here, I think. First is: yes…he has to consolidate power very quickly, and somehow manipulate elections so as not to lose the power. If he fails in either, this push toward an oligarchy will fail. For the moment. The second point is that the libs who want this have been working towards it since the ’30s. They are content to work at it bit by bit. Will the American people wake up in time to prevent it in the future? Lots depends on our educational system. Kids are not taught to be _Americans_ – they’re being taught to be “good little citizens” and if the system isn’t changed, they will be manipulated into whatever the libs want them to be. The difference this time is that the mask has been removed – they’ve had to grab too much too fast. It could make a difference in how they’re perceived, but don’t think for a moment that if they fail they won’t fall back and regroup for the next effort.

December 11, 2009 @ 12:19 pm #

>>The second point is that the libs who want this have been working towards it since the ’30s.>>

Actually maybe longer. According to “Liberal Fascism”, it started as Progressivism in the 1880s, and really began in the US with Woodrow Wilson. Both Roosevelts were Progressives, with Teddy starting the inroads into unfettered capitalism, and FDR attempting to establish his “Second Bill of Rights” that Obama favors as well as Social Security. Remember that he also made the effort to pack the supreme court by increasing the number of judges so that he could appoint those who would favor his programs. The consititution does not mandate the number of judges – it can be increased or decreased by Congress at will. Frankly, if they get the Health bill and Cap and Trade through, I expect his next step will be to do the same so that legal actions can’t negate the bills.

December 11, 2009 @ 12:47 pm #

And then I read this;

Not only have our new masters declared CO2 emissions to be a danger to public safety and therefore to be regulated, but they are now pushing a bill through, the Water Restoration Act, that would allow the federal government to regulate all water in the United States, as opposed to just the navigable water covered in the current law.

Maybe it’s time we started calling them Master, or MY Lord. If that’s what they want to be they might as well have the title. Or maybe not, these asses might actually like it.

December 11, 2009 @ 1:57 pm #

Where’d you read that, Dale? I need to read up on it. Thanks.

December 11, 2009 @ 2:26 pm #

I read it at “www.moonbattery.com/” titled EPA to Expand Its Power Over Water.

December 11, 2009 @ 2:49 pm #

I also just read another reference to it on Ameicanthinker, “property rights under six-pronged assault”.

December 11, 2009 @ 5:16 pm #

Also from AT:


Almost like “the ghost from Christmas Future”…

December 11, 2009 @ 6:26 pm #

“almost like “the ghost from Christmas Future”…”

I think your right Suek, North Korea might well be considered the finished product of liberal/progressiveism. This is where they want to take us.

December 12, 2009 @ 12:46 pm #

The establishment of the Oligarchy commences:


Doug…you might find it informative to go to the main page and follow the links provided…

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