The nation's banks have been taking it on the chin for too long. Until this very moment they've been powerless to strike back. Now, finally, the Supreme Court has bestowed the tools on them, through Citizens United, to finally have a voice in public affairs. They can now begin their trip on the road to renewal with their very own SuperPAC ~ David Dayen, in the sarcastic opening of his FireDogLake article, "Bankers Finally Get a Voice With Their Own SuperPAC".
The following is an excerpt from the 4/5/2012 broadcast of Current TV's The Young Turks, which I edited for brevity and clarity. Host Cenk Uygur and guest Thomas Frank discuss the takeover of our democracy by the plutocrats and the role of the Tea Party useful idiots.
Cenk Uygur: There is a new SuperPAC in favor of the bankers, and they say they're going to buy the politicians. ... Apparently they think they are suffering great injustices. Now, let me give you some quotes from some of the bankers involved.
Roger Beverage is the president and CEO of the Oklahoma Bankers Association, and he says, "Congress isn't afraid of bankers, they don't think we'll do anything to kick them out of office. We are trying to change that perception".
Oh yeah, nobody in Congress is afraid of you at all. That's why Dick Durbin, the number two man for the Democrats in the Senate said, "frankly they run the place". They RUN the place! And this guy is like, boo-hoo they won't listen to us.
Before I go on, let me give you an interesting stat. The FIRE sector (that stand for Finance, Insurance and Real Estate), is number one in lobbying. They are the biggest contributor of campaign funds and the biggest spender on lobbying in Washington over the past 14 years. And they cry about not having enough representation?!
Look at this, more crying here... Howard Headlee, president and CEO Utah Bankers Association, quote, "clearly there are members of Congress who have absolutely no reservations about kicking traditional banks in the teeth, and we are tired of it. We've got to be able to defend the folks who have the courage to stand up for us as well".
As if bankers are oppressed. Oh my god, the bankers! Is anybody standing up for them? It's absurd. But at least they're honest about their intentions here. They basically talk about buying our politicians. Here is Matt Packard, who is the chairman of Friends of Traditional Banking. He says, "if someone says I am going to give your opponent 5 thousand dollars or 10 thousand dollars, you might say 'Yea, OK'. But if you say the bankers are going to put in 100 thousand or 500 thousand, or 1 million into your opponent's campaign, that starts to draw some attention".
You know what that means? That means "let's go buy them"! 5 or 10 thousand won't do it. I need a million, and I [say to the politician], "either you're going to get elected with this million dollars, or your opponent is going to get elected with this million dollars". So you now work for the banks. As if they didn't buy our politicians enough already.
Finally, one more minute of clarity, we have Don Childears, president and CEO of the Colorado Bankers Association, saying, "we need to get more deeply involved as an industry in supporting friends and trying to replace enemies".
OK, if you don't do as the bankers tell you, you're going to get fired. It's not like you're the people's representative, you're now the representative of these donors who have bought you. Now they're going to buy you even more effectively, if you can imagine it. We have the perfect guest to discuss this - Thomas Frank, the author of the best seller What's the matter with Kansas, and he also has a new book out, Pity the Billionaire.
First of all, tell me about the hardships facing Billionaires and bankers in this country. How bad of shape are they in?
Thomas Frank: It's been really hard on them Cenk. They were bailed out. The government was basically giving them cash at extremely low interest rates. It's been difficult.
Cenk: That drives me crazy. 700 billion from TARP (at least), and 7.7 trillion in basically free money from the FED (money that they can turn around and loan back to the government at 3 or 4 percent). They get all this money with no strings attached (they can give any bonuses they like), honestly it's a GD robbery. And here are the robbers crying, "oh, poor us", right?
So the question that arises, and the one you try to answer in your book, is... how did they get away with it?
Thomas Frank: These people who are society's masters are now complaining that everyone is being mean to them; that they're being ground under the heel of a Socialist tyrant. Have you ever read Atlas Shrugged?
Cenk: When I was younger I tried to read it. I read like three pages, and I was like, this is the most boring book I've read in my whole life.
Thomas Frank: I forced myself to read it last year. It's the most popular book with the Tea Party set. It had a huge resurgence in the aftermath of the bailouts. Everybody was buying it. The book is about capitalists going on strike because people like you and me are to mean to them. [both laugh]
Cenk: This isn't capitalism, it's crony capitalism, where a select few bankers capture the whole system and use it to crush their competition.
Thomas Frank: We're seeing it happen before our eyes. Setting up the SuperPAC, that's what this is all about.
Cenk: It's obvious. They're saying, we're going to spend a million dollars and the [politician] will do whatever the hell we tell him to. Now the question is, how do they get the population to [vote against their own interests and in the interests of the banksters]?
Thomas Frank: The way they do it, and you've seen this unfold over the last couple of years... they represent themselves as a populist movement; as the populist response to the financial crisis. [They deployed the Tea Party dupes to] rail against socialism and economic collapse if we don't return to laissez-faire capitalism. The really crazy thing [is that people buy this nonsense]. They won in 2010.
Cenk: Right. The Tea Party people...the actual voters going to the protests... they have no idea what's going on. They said they were against the bailouts, but they didn't do a single protest on Wall Street, they didn't protest against (even Obama's) Treasury Department. Do you think they know they were tricked, or are they like, "yea, we're fighting for the little guy!".
Thomas Frank: I went to the very first Tea Party rally in a park in Washington DC, less than a month after Obama was inaugurated. The things that they were saying kind of made sense to me. A lot of the things they were protesting against were things that I was angry about too. It started as them being angry about the bailouts, but somehow, along the way this gets turned into a call for a more pure free market. We haven't deregulated enough. We need to double down in the direction we've been going for the past 30 years.
Cenk: They got suckered hook, line and sinker. The Koch brothers sent the buses in. They said, here, we know you need to go to the anti-Obama pro-corporate rallies, and [the Tea Partiers] fell for it.
My Commentary: The Supreme Court Citizens United decision was the beginning of the end of our democracy. Unless President Obama is elected to a second term and he is able to appoint one or more SCOTUS judges, it's over... goodbye democracy, hello plutocracy.
Video Description: Cenk restates the Bankster SuperPAC story for The Young Turks YouTube channel. Quote: "The greedy never stop being greedy". Go to Wolf-PAC to fight back.