Who Hijacked Our Country

Saturday, November 19, 2011

How the United States Devolved into this Current Crisis

Bill Moyers has an excellent article explaining when the United States began its downward spiral into a corporatocracy.  He even pinpoints the exact date.  By the time Ronald Reagan became president in 1981, our oligarchy — or corporate dystopia, whatever you want to call it — was already ten years in the making.

On August 23rd, 1971, Lewis Powell — corporate lawyer and future Supreme Court justice — sent a memo to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  Bill Moyers says:

“We look back on it now as a call to arms for class war waged from the top down.”

Lewis Powell’s memo ranted about “an attack on the American free enterprise system.”  Powell said the attack was coming not just from “a few extremists of the Left,” but also from “perfectly respectable elements of society,” including politicians, well respected intellectuals and the media.  Powell urged his fellow VIPs to “fight back and fight back hard” and to build a movement; take on the universities, the media and the courts.  Powell wrote that TV programs should be “monitored the same way textbooks should be kept under constant surveillance.”

He also wrote that political power must be “assiduously [sic] cultivated; and that when necessary, it must be used aggressively and with determination and without embarrassment.”

Lewis Powell visualized the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as a council of war.  He sure got that wish.  No doubt he’s been having multiple orgasms from his grave.

Powell’s infamous memo said that business executives have “little stomach for hard-nosed contest with their critics” and “little skill in effective intellectual and philosophical debate.”  Therefore, Big Business should form think tanks, legal foundations and front groups.  These groups could all be aligned into a united front through “careful long-range planning and implementation…consistency of action over an indefinite period of years, in the scale of financing available only through joint effort, and in the political power available only through united action and united organizations.”

And so it came to pass.  (See above-mentioned in-grave orgasms.)
And in the late 1970s, William Simon — Nixon’s former secretary of the treasury — expanded on Lewis Powell’s rhetoric.  He urged “men of action in the capitalist world” to mount “a veritable crusade” against all of the progress of the previous forty-five years.

Bill Moyers says:

“Those ‘men of action in the capitalist world’ were not content with their wealth just to buy more homes, more cars, more planes, more vacations and more gizmos than anyone else. They were determined to buy more democracy than anyone else. And they succeeded beyond their expectations. After their forty-year ‘veritable crusade’ against our institutions, laws and regulations—against the ideas, norms and beliefs that helped to create America’s iconic middle class—the Gilded Age is back with a vengeance.”

And here we are.

Labels: , ,


Blogger Jerry Critter said...

A 40 year war "against the ideas, norms and beliefs that helped to create America’s iconic middle class" will not be won in only 4 years. The fight must continue.

November 19, 2011 at 12:40 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

"...and that when necessary, it must be used aggressively and with determination and without embarrassment."


That is what the *left* needs to do when it finds itself with power... use it to fight back.

November 19, 2011 at 4:23 PM  
Blogger MRMacrum said...

That's right. Blame the Hippies. It's always the damn Hippies. Had they not rocked out wonderful Ozzie and Harriet lifestyles, we wouldn't have had to go through all this.

Interesting. I have always admired Bill Moyers. This little tidbit reinforces my notion that I was right to quit the Right the day we first elected St Ronald - not Mcdonald.

November 20, 2011 at 1:10 AM  
Blogger jadedj said...

The right is so quick to believe in conspiracies...death squads...lefty socialist redistribution of property and of course their favorite...the birth certificate conspiracy, to name a few. And here is a real one that has affected them directly, right under their moronic noses.

November 20, 2011 at 8:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe because Roosevelt was himself very rich he didn't need to depend on campaign money as they do today. LBJ used to talk about during those times when he was a congressman, things were so bad that he'd seen plenty of former congressmen doing odd jobs around Washington, because they didn't have the money to go back home. Sure the New Deal gave us more public schools, highways, parks and other things as well as a minimum wage, a 40 hour work week, Union rights to raise our wages and enjoy them. He also raised taxes on the rich and obviously told them the real killing would be in the increased productivity that consumerism would bring. He also let these "dollar a day executives" rip the country off during WWII.

Apparently with all those great times of Eisenhower on it wasn't enough, they have to have it all and will do anything to get it. Some part of me still wonders are they really going to bleed us dry? Don't they have any plans as to what to do when we can no longer buy their goods nor pay our taxes for them to have? Do they mean to bankrupt the country and then run it themselves like some bad science fiction novel?

I even asked my congressman: what good will it be to get back on our feet and then comes the credit cards and the banks (rescued by our money) wanting everything we'd charged because of their stupidity?

I never did get an answer


November 20, 2011 at 3:56 PM  
Blogger J. Marquis said...

Good stuff, Tom. Thanks for sharing.

November 20, 2011 at 5:30 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Jerry: The reactionaries will be fighting this war forever, so we have no choice but to fight back.

Snave: I agree, the Democrats need to be just as organized and just as ruthless as the rightwing Plutocrats.

MRM: Nah, I want to pull up the covers and stay in that Ozzie and Harriet Leave It To Beaver fantasy world.

jadedj: It's a perfect example of projection. The Right is imagining all these wacky liberal conspiracies; and all the while it's the Right who's been following a 40-year takeover plan right down to the last detail.

Erik: I've always wondered that same thing. I would've thought it would be in corporations' best interest to have a lot of well-off consumers who can afford to buy their products and services. But what do I know?

J: Thanks.

November 20, 2011 at 8:15 PM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

This is good stuff, and important to know. Thom Hartmann has talked about it a lot on his show, as the genesis of what Reagan and his conservative Republican successors, plus to a great extent Clinton, put into practice.

Jerry Critter is right. But the fight requires a kind of unity, discipline and determination on the left that over the past 40 years has become the norm on the right. It also requires bold, resolute and tough leadership. What's scary is that all of the above on still on back order.

November 21, 2011 at 1:19 AM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

#%X&, let me try that last sentence again.

What's scary is that all of the above are still on back order.

November 21, 2011 at 1:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So I really haven't missed a thing by staying stoned and jerking off for the past 40 years.

November 21, 2011 at 11:40 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

SW: I guess that Lewis Powell memo is a lot better known than I thought. I didn't know about it until I read Bill Moyers' article. When I Googled Lewis Powell just to see if he was still alive, the first thing mentioned in the WikiPedia link was that memo. I'm glad the information is out there.

Anonymous: Yup, same old same old...

November 21, 2011 at 12:57 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home