Open Thread Feb. 3: I Think We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Lobby

Filed in National by on February 3, 2018

It’s time to admit the American experiment in self-government has failed — and not just because it produced Trump as president. The better evidence is summed up at Citizen Vox: More than 7,000 lobbyists worked on influencing the GOP’s tax bill, or about 13 lobbyists per member of Congress. This, I would point out, is a direct result of the decision to pretend that corporations are people. When historians sift through our debris to figure out what doomed us, I hope that consummate piece of bullshit — adopted to make life easier for judges, because hey, isn’t making life easier for oneself no matter who it hurts exactly what America is all about? — survives as Exhibit A.

American decline is laid bare by the now-infamous Nunes memo, which was so lame Jesus couldn’t heal it. (That’s my contribution to the #YoMemoJoke meme that swept the Twitterverse yesterday, producing such gems as “Yo Memo bombed so hard ISIS claimed responsibility” and “Yo Memo so underdeveloped Roy Moore asked it to the prom.”) Once upon a time political dirty tricksters were capable of much more convincing bullshit. Nunes is so incompetent that he admitted he didn’t read the actual FISA warrants on which he based his theory. But then, once upon a time the Deep State actually knew how to eliminate politicians it saw as threats long before it ever got to this. So, as I say, evidence of the decline of American know-how all around.

Whatever else Yo Memo was, it was a long time coming. Rachel Maddow went back through Carter Page interviews and discovered that Page was pushing the exact same conspiracy theory back in October. “I think when the truth comes out, when Speaker Raul Ryan says the FISA warrant or the details about the dodgy dossier and what happened and all the documents surround that is gonna be released, that’s what I’m excited about,” Page said in the October 30 interview. “I think the truth will set a lot of people free.”

If you’re actively following the Russia investigation удачи, товарищ, and I think you might find this hint from an FBI counter-intelligence director of use: Most FISA warrants are classified as “secret.” The one cited yesterday was classified “top secret.” There’s a difference.

Finally, if you’re feeling depressed by all this, consider the plight of the poor gannet in New Zealand, alone on an island and enamored of a decoy made of concrete for five years. “No Mates Nigel” died last week, ironically just weeks after three real gannets arrived on his island. Nigel had little interest in the real birds, instead spending time with his non-responsive decoy, according to the BBC. There’s an analogy to the Hillary Clinton campaign in there somewhere, but I’m too sad to make it.

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  1. Dave says:

    While I am an advocate of a strong central government (because we are the “united” states), a strong central government is what gives rise to a strong centralized lobbying machine. Everyone wants a piece of the pie even though getting a piece is at the expense of some other group who believes they should have a piece as well.

    “Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried.”

    I’m not sure if there is any real solution, except that as I get older (and perhaps wiser), I’ve come realize that we humans are the problem. Without us, the world seems to get along just fine.

    A nice little joke I heard recently:

    What’s the difference between capitalism and socialism?

    Under capitalism, man exploits man.
    Under socialism, it’s the other way around.

  2. Alby says:

    You assume there are only two choices.

    You assume the choice we’ve made is unalterable.

    There is no compelling reason to accept either proposition as the end of the matter.

    Corporations are not people. The laws that govern people were never intended to apply to corporations, and the overwhelming evidence of that is the entire corpus of law pertaining to corporations alone.

    Corporations exist as a means of limiting liability — even their advocates acknowledge that. Government, meaning the people, grant them that privilege, and it is up to us, meaning government, to limit that privilege that we have granted to favor actual humans.

    It is within our power to fix this, but not if we accept your premises, which most of us do because it’s easier than speaking up.

    The Bill of Rights gives people the right to ask for redress of grievances. It does not grant that right to pseudo-people. It was not part of the original intent, it was not part of any law ever passed. Accept it if you like, but don’t ask others to do the same.

  3. Dana Garrett says:

    Well said, Alby. Yes, drop the corporations are people horse crap and also Institute publicly funded elections. That would eliminate a lot of our special favor governmental orientation.

  4. Homesteader says:

    Yo memo’s so stupid the GOP is making it a candidate-

    Yo memo’s so dumb it failed at Trump University-

    Yo memo’s so thin Donald Trump combed it over-

  5. jason330 says:

    The Yo memo stuff is funny. Too bad Republicans are impervious to ridicule.