Monday, June 5, 2017

Campaign Finance Reform

Americans understand credit cards at least well enough to use them, and to some degree, understand that bad things are supposed to happen if you never pay the card(s) off. As their critique of private fortunes has been stymied through the use of "charities" as taxpayer-funded capital-building vehicles, tricking them into thinking that today's robber-barons are better than or different from yesteryear's, their critiques of campaign finance are similarly outdated, and are now falling even further behind.

Trump helped deflect a lot of that. His "self funded" campaign, as though a background detail, seemed pleasant in comparison to Hillary's Goldman-Saudi campaign, and social whining didn't want to touch the subject of campaign finance reform like it has in other American races. What a bloody useful show it all was! Not only the inverted messaging thing, but to make political finance seem like a non-issue since Trump was already too rich to fit through the eye of that needle. We already covered how the media exploited some of its technologically outdated methods of control, concurrent changes in generational training ("preferences"), and associated failing trust/interest levels, by assisting Trump's presidential campaign and presidency on its way out, specifically accomplished by (1) being repugnant, and (2) saying negative things about Trump. As the newspaper generations barely linger, and the television generation passes farther away, sacrificing a few failing print or TV outlets by making people hate them for being so dishonest and anti-Trump doesn't actually cost the companies anything they weren't going to lose anyway, and the continued disempowering of those venues can offer an added bonus by their failure being chalked up as a victory of the people, rather than the mere replacement of the vinyl record or the cassette tape. Rudely delivering pro-phonograph, pro-vinyl commercials in 1995, showing endless clips of old people struggling to carry heavy boxes of records up the stairs and across the street, is best understood as a pro-DVD commercial, not as a music industry mistake.

Campaign finance is another issue that we should see shifting in line with the Trump model. In Trump's case, rather than having the normal quantity of huge donations during his campaign, he and his family received their campaign contributions in advance in the form of lifelong business and entertainment support. Instead of having $100,000-a-plate suppers and cashing giant checks sent directly from Goldman Sachs Disease et. al., Trump could "self finance" a campaign using the rents from properties acquired decades ago via preferential sales/loans, taxpayer-subsidized bankruptcy courts, and the advertising disguised as news exposes provided freely via old and new media. (Semitically speaking, if Trump had perished of natural causes years before being able to run for president, any overdue funds were guaranteed to genetically recycle through his progeny's managed marriages.)

Teddy Roosevelt "broke up the trusts" in a dramatic blow against crony capitalism that proved a ruse, for subsidiary companies and executive-branch bureaucracy reproduced the same "trusts" and "monopolies" in more confusing, but effectually identical, forms. What America 2017 calls the Progressive Era was a managed transition of a type with today's billionaires working with government revenue departments to leave their legacies to charities. In Teddy's case, breaking up oil and railroad trusts and appointing rich men to government posts overseeing the oil and railroad industries was a business reorganization, not a revolution. It takes an exceeding gullibility to see that process as anything else, yet the European peoples' carefully nurtured abilities to have faith in the separate existence of different human-conceptualized fictive entities--courts, crowns, states, businesses, trusts, clubs, associations, committees--make this all go down smoothly.

With "charities," the 21st century sees a similar version of such misdirection, where thieves' fortunes become technically owned by angelic, untouchable organizations committed to devout acts of sinecure and investment, perpetually tax-free and offering plausible deniability to the true controllers of treasure hoards.

The Trump campaign model should be exploited similarly: candidates may be groomed early to be wealthy enough to "self finance" their campaigns, but when a show of resistance to plutocracy is required, candidates who are nominally poor can receive funding from charities. Right now, this seems impossible: nonprofit organizations are explicitly prevented from endorsing candidates or participating in the political process, which is why NPR, the SPLC, and the ADL never engage in behavior meant to influence political elections, public perception of political issues, or political candidates, nor to affect the workings of the free market by reviewing or endorsing specific books, movies, or other perspectives. The protections in this regard are similar to the rules that insulate legislators and judges from lobbyists, preventing corporations from affecting the American legal process.

Posit Warren Buffett's great-great-grandchild, born as an ordinary poor boy in 2066, whose self-directed go get 'em lifestyle is chronicled by the media from birth. He and a future Clinton-Mezvinsky earn university- and program-admission on their merits alone, then later trade inherited careers in a superficially plausible way, Clinton-Mezvinsky taking a directorship with the Gates Foundation, and Buffett taking one with the Clinton Foundation. Besides the company houses, cars, jets, entertainment budgets, and salaries they receive, they also have input in managing their respective foundations' holdings, which gives them such an acumen for markets that any good trading firm would be happy to give them preferential loans to, say, become the owner of a small leasing or resort business. There might also be advisorships; seven-figure consultancies that appear wasteful and unnecessary to those members of the hiring firm who don't realize what service is actually being purchased; books reviewed by NPR and purchased in bulk by public library and school systems, and so forth. At a certain point, Buffett and Clinton-Mezvinsky would each be ready to self-finance a political campaign, even without having to make it publicly acceptable for a charitable organization to donate directly to them for that express purpose.

Serfs once had an understanding of the basic techniques being employed in these kinds of situations. It might be common fare in a village inn for uneducated (sic) peasants to discuss how Lord Suchundsuch's dashing second son was marrying that buck-toothed beanpole Lady Petunia, since everyone know Lord Petunia's estate would then entail to the male Suchundsuch heirs. The arrangement was obvious on its face. Lord Suchundsuch's second son had no claim on his father's assets without arranging an unfortunate accident for his elder brother, and an unmarried Lady Petunia would devolve to the wardship of her distant cousin if her father died before her marriage, and an illiterate peasant, untrained in the arts of modernity, could make the accurate judgment upon viewing even the barest details of the transaction. You didn't even need a picture of Lady Petunia. All you needed was, "Unattractive daughter, only child, to marry second son." The correct solution, "They're marrying so he gets her family money and so she gets to be female head of her own household rather than subjected to her distant cousin's wife," is quite simple. There's no malignant education, no deep emotional crippling, driving the serfs to say, and even to believe, "Well, maybe it's from the heart since the Saudi donations are helping kids get educated here and Lady Clinton wouldn't ever change her politics for that money."

It's not really ironic, but still, one has to say, "how ironic that mandatory elite education led us here." If this were a function and we were being graphed, it isn't that many points rightward on the x-axis before we're cheerfully uploading ourselves into the AI hardware space governing the spray control settings on their bidets.

3 comments:

  1. It all started with Title 26 of the U.S. Code, Section 501, subsection (c).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. sung/played in dirge tempo/mood

      Delete