We Have All Won An Oligarchy and Lost A Democracy

Here's a thought experiment for you. Ask yourself, "When was the last time I heard any conversation at all about the role of corporations in America in the American public media?"

In the abstract, it seems like a silly question. So let me rephrase it:

When was the last time you heard in the media that Gary Johnson and Donald Trump both support Citizens United and its concept that corporations are people?

When was the last time you heard that Hillary Clinton has said, repeatedly, that repealing Citizens United is at the top of her agenda when it comes to picking Supreme Court nominees? Or that Donald Trump wants to put somebody on the court who will reverse Roe v. Wade and make it illegal for women to get abortions (and, possibly, many forms of birth control) in America?

And when was the last time you heard about the role of corporations in education? Gary Johnson and the Libertarian Party think that all state and federal funding for schools - from elementary school all the way through college - should end.

In Gary Johnson's America, you only get to go to college if you're willing to go into debt or your parents are rich. You also only get to go to elementary school and junior high school and high school if you are willing to go into debt or your parents are rich.

Donald Trump hasn't weighed in on this issue, although Trump University would suggest that he thinks that college students are simply easy-picking suckers for for-profit college corporations.

Democrats, on the other hand, are pushing for free college education for families making under $125,000, and strengthening our public school system so that the ZIP code you're born into no longer determines the quality of your education.

Have you heard any discussion of this on mainstream television news? It's fundamental to the larger question of what role corporations, including private, for-profit school corporations, should play in our nation... and no one on mainstream cable news is talking about it.

This is true of almost every single important issue facing the country right now, especially those that have to do with corporate power.

Take, for example, the fact that Americans pay more for healthcare than anybody else in the world, from drugs to eyeglasses to dental work, and we are the only developed nation in the world that allows for-profit corporations to offer primary health insurance? Heard about that in the corporate media? Of course not -- crickets, as usual.

How about the school to prison pipeline and the role that the war on drugs and the for-profit prison industry have played in it? Have you heard about that?

I certainly haven't.

It's yet another important dimension of the role for-profit corporations play in American life that the mainstream corporate television media completely ignores.

And then there's the banks. They can borrow at about 1 percent but lend to us at around 30 percent on our credit cards and 5 to 10 percent on student loans. Their profits are also at all-time highs, and we could be facing another banking crisis like 2008. But is anyone over at CNN talking about this? No, they're not.

And what about CEO salaries? The changes in tax law made during the Reagan administration incentivized CEOs to ignore their workers, their community, the institution of their company, and even their customers - all in favor of jacking up stock prices. How's that working out for you? It's working out great for the CEOs of the big media companies, which is probably why you haven't heard any discussion about it on the mainstream media.

And how about the social safety net? Trump's backers and Gary Johnson want to privatize Social Security and end Medicare. Democrats want to strengthen both. Have you heard a conversation about this on any television program recently? I doubt it.

The list goes on. Johnson and Trump want to end or freeze, respectively, the minimum wage. Democrats want to raise it. Have you heard anyone on mainstream corporate television news talk about this recently?

Or how Republicans froze long-term unemployment insurance a few years back and libertarians want to do away with it all together, while Democrats wanted to strengthen the system and were blocked by a filibuster? Again, crickets.

For that matter, have you heard any talk about any consequential issues this election?

On my radio show three months ago, I offered to send a free autographed book to the first caller who could point to a serious, thoughtful discussion of even one single issue in this election happening in the corporate media outside of Fareed Zakaria's weekend program on CNN. So far nobody has won the book.

It's fashionable to bemoan the ignorance of the American electorate. We never seem to tire of college students being unable to name the Vice President or the Speaker of the House of Representatives. But given our media landscape, what should we expect?

Since Reagan killed the Fairness Doctrine and the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, our media has completely shifted from "news" to infotainment. It's largely fact-free, and the only things discussed are personalities, gotchas, and horse race claptrap.

It's completely free of facts that would give us any information, context, or understanding of the role that corporate power plays in our lives.

In other words, it's completely devoid of the kind of information a functional media is supposed to provide the citizens of a democratic republic.

So here's my challenge for you: Turn the TV to any news network for an hour and count how many times either the hosts or the guests recount the actual positions of each of the presidential candidates on any single issue.

If it happens even once, you may have won a book! If not, we have all won an oligarchy and lost a democracy.


Intermittent Instigator's picture
Intermittent In... 7 years 38 weeks ago

Sure, it's easy to blame NBC, CBS, ABC, et al., but it's really the parent's fault.

Jill Stein and the Green Party...

"...will be using the open internet and social media to go around the corporate media to broadcast our voices.

We have decided to heed the words of Jello Biafra-- “Don’t hate the corporate media, become the media!” And we will do that outside the doors of Hofstra University tonight.

Deeper still, during the debate itself we will literally insert ourselves into the debate using Twitter/Periscope and Facebook Live.

We aim to have millions of people watching, listening and reading Jill actually participate live during the debate.

The Green Party will not
be kept from participating

in the Presidential Debates
tonight, September 26!

dianhow 7 years 38 weeks ago

Any 3 rd party candidate will just HELP Erratic, irrational ,unstable Trump get his fat finger on the NUKE button ! Supreme court will be a disaster. Wages will remain lower, pensions long gone, we will have more wars, more corp loopholes, tax cuts, subsides, Bush Cheney wasted 1000's lives and many trillions, created ISIS / Halliburton made a ' killing' in Iraq. WE still have Homeless Veterans . Not all Veterans get treatment with out LONG delays. For 7 1/2 yrs GOP has lied, blocked, wasted billions on pointless investigations, refused to have hearings on a new Supreme Court justice. ARROGANT KY Sen Mitch McConnell ( living off the gov't teet ) rules Senate ! Its called the House of Representives but GOP does NOT represent us !!! McConnell & cohorts made it clear Jan 2009 " We will do everything to make Obama fail- make him a one term President ' ! Thats Treason or at least derelection of DUTY . WHY NO INVESTIGATION ? Yes Most who vote for Trump are ill informed, ignorant, gullible , watch only Fox or all of the above. The Poorly educated Trump says he loves ! Corp media Stop Ki$$ ing Trumps butt !!

cccccttttt 7 years 38 weeks ago

The quality of the person in the presidency far outweighs any left or right agenda they have in mind.

Hillary is morally and physically flawed to the point she should not be president.

Remember most presidents get very little of what they want in this gridlocked system.


timallard's picture
timallard 7 years 38 weeks ago

When Bernie lost the nomination to obvious DNC criminal actions at the least and didn't throw his support and run with Jill Stein as Greens it blew what would have been a walkaway landslide.

With Bernie supporting $hillary it's obvious he still believes operating within the system is best and the GOP owns Ohio folks if you didn't have a clue and their gerrymandering is far stronger than Dems so running a strong 3rd party crosses those lines far easier than running as a Dem.

Voting for Jill not the $hill, not into wars, the TPP, fracking, Roundup and Big Pharma, it's a dream to think you'll get away from those voting the 2-is-1 parties, so like the Cold War in the USSR and Pravda was FoxSnooze.

American Austerity or democracy, lower-case "d", your choice, Bernie-n-Jill or business-as-usual.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 7 years 38 weeks ago

It's too bad the Tea Party isn't a third party, that would even up the score a bit ....but then again the Teapublic Party became what it is because the billionaires purchased Teabagger numb nuts and had them infiltrate the Republicon Party. The Fascists are too slick to allow third party fragmentation.

Why we democratic socialists can't infiltrate the Democratic Party remains a mystery to me??? The progressive caucus is alive and well, so where there's smoke there certainly can be fire.

Why would a Bernie supporter turn around and vote for Johnson, a polar opposite???? It makes totally no sense. I hope Bernie makes a statement to his young supporters exposing Johnson for what he truly is.

Uncle Ralph's picture
Uncle Ralph 7 years 38 weeks ago

Thank God we've nominated a life-long corporatist and an ersatz fascist, so we don't need to worry about anything changing substantially either way. Don't rock the boat, I aways say.

baruch77's picture
baruch77 7 years 38 weeks ago

An oligarchy, or monarchy, plutocracy, or fuedalism, and now capitalism are only the systems that develop from the elitists adapting to the current power structure. We need to start exposing the true destrsuctive force in the world - elitsim and those that practice it.

libertarianprogressive's picture
libertarianprog... 7 years 38 weeks ago

Uumpa Uumpa Uumpedido . . . Thom, I have . . a question for you - too

When was the last time I was able to post a blog without it being censored on this website? I have supported you for about a decade - I post your youtube channel on my list of recommended channels on my youtube page and have told a radio station about you (who didn't carry you) that has recently started to broadcast your show in my local area - not to say I was the sole reason but you never know. When was the last time you have seen Jill Stein or Gary Johnson as much as you have seen the other two in the media? - sure you see them, and you see Gary moreso, but hardly as much - it might seem moreso if you don't like them (however, if you actually count the time and be objective . . . ) - and Gary is not in the top part of the polls - rather more of an after-thought. When was the last time the media showed the victims in the longest war (the war on drugs) - how many hundreds of thousands or millions of families are suffering because of that? When was the last time the media hadn't cheerleaded any war? When was the last time the media informed us about corporate cronyism in regards to big pharma or Monsanto or let us know the conflict of interests in any administration? When was the last time the media payed attention to congressional races rather than just the Presidential?

You talk about white privilege in regards to supporting third parties what about our American privilege? Do you even care about the wars overseas? - no, I mean really? - or do you believe in American exceptionalism, or even realize you have it? There cannot be 2 more important issues to the majority of people on the planet than ending the wars and ending the drug war - period - that would have the most impact immediately and positively than anything else - our education system is screwed and tinkering around with it ain't going to do much - however, ending the wars will change the world overnight and free more people than ever before.

You incorrectly also think all so called libertarians think alike - some just use the party like Bernie did because it is there, also keep in mind sometimes there are people for some times in history - meaning maybe it might be good to have 4 years of Johnson then perhaps after that we would have a more peaceful world and have a much better budget then we might want 4 yrs of a progressive to usher in investments per se in solar and education and healthcare - and I am all with you on the "commons" and public options - I also love the post office (it should be the ideal libertarian/conservative govt program meaning it pays for itself and is voluntary; however, in this upside down world it isn't and they get away with saying it isn't). You are perpetuating black and white thinking - duality when the world is gray - gay vs straight - no bi - left vs right no in btwn. etc. that is very 2 dimensional.

I do journalism - I have a website and I focus on Congress to stay away from the deep partisanship and also more importantly think it is more needed to cover. I have interviewed this year so far 27 candidates who are on the ballot, and are the only 3rd party candidates in their area - I have heard some Green party candidates sound more like Libertarians and vice versa - this is the real world - not the made for TV Trump vs Hillary - I tried to post a blog and I am going to quote exactly what I did post and it didn't make it past your webmaster/ screener - I wonder if you actually approve - and one more question . . . Is WHAT matters - HOW the game is played?

I also thought your messageboard was the best - I don't blame you for removing it if it was too much upkeep - I can understand that, if that was the reason why; however, I think you are in campaign mode - and if that is the case, have you ever heard of trusting others and a soft sale - I think whoever supports a fair game is going to win - even if at first it seems like it hurts them - and that doesn't mean you cannot compete hard however once you are seen as no longer fair, the game is over. Being open is a paradox as it is a great vulnerability however it is a great strength - I think if you have the patience it will win out and besides it is the only way worth winning - hence the only way to win ultimately (which is never guaranteed nor can be or should be wanted to be because the word win can only exist if there is a chance to lose) - it is never too late or early to support a fair system per se - that is more important than who wins or loses - it is the fair system (game) that we want to win and people who support such and then we wouldn't have anything but mostly good candidates to begin with. You could argue the "paradox of tolerance" however I am focusing on Congress specifically and also on purpose - to be less divisive - and while there is might be some truth to that paradox I believe - it probably had never been truly tested because there has never been a fully fair system to begin with - meaning there is a reason some people feel disenfranchised and maybe they should - the real question is tolerance of who and from who specifically and other nuances - if you don't know what the paradox of tolerance is just google it. It brings up another question as to whether tyranny is born into some people or if it is like a virus that has spread from one person to another throughout time until this present day, can you really fight fire with fire per se? (Is the title of your blog actually an announcement regarding posting blogs here?)

Most 1st world countries have health care and etc AND most importantly they first had at least 4 major parties. You are perpetuating the problem and are in a vicious circle. One last drink eh it sounds like to me. There is never a better time than now to do the right thing.

Here below is the blog that was recently censored twice : you tell me if it should have been - I feel I have always been respectful and never posted spam - this is all original material and I purposefully stayed away from Presidential politics

LibertarianProgressive.com is an independent media organization we interview independent and 3rd party candidates who are on the ballot (Green Party, independents, Libertarians, No Party Affiliation and other parties). We interview candidates who are the ONLY independent or third party option in their district/area etc.

We have 24 interviews so far – and will have 27 by the end of today – check them out – & throw them (incumbent Congress) all out!!!!!

The Truth about Consensus – What You’re Not Being Told :

Uploaded 2016 Candidate Interviews :

I believe if a candidate has gathered enough signatures to be on the ballot and has a statistical chance to win then a responsible media will include them in the debates and interview them, to educate and inform the public of their options.

Our goal is to interview 50+ candidates & reach a large audience. We are not telling people who to vote for, rather, we are asking questions and presenting news about options, endorsing a more fair system.

The reason for the goal of 50+ interviews, of independent and 3rd party candidates on the ballot, every 2 year (US House) election season is – 50 represents one for each state.

Imagine if, We the People, elected even one independent or third party representative to Congress – in each of the 50 states. If that goal is seen as a national movement, perhaps it might make it easier for independent and third party candidates – they could ~ ride the wave.

There are 435 members in the US House of Representatives, elected every 2 years – it was designed that way on purpose, to be the least resistant, most peaceful and quickest path to reform, in our democratically elected Republic.

Talking with people regarding Congress is a lot less divisive then Presidential politics.

There are about 324 million people in the USA.

There are about 219 million people eligible to vote and about 146 million registered to vote.

42% are independent
29% are Democrats
26% are Republicans
<1% are special interests
Who has the most influence do you think?

If there were 10 issues important to you, and 5 issues had popular consensus and 5 didn't, which 5 would you prioritize first?

LibertarianProgressive is advocating uniting and winning, instead of being divided & conquered.

There will be plenty of time to argue on things that we disagree about AFTER we pass legislation regarding important things we agree upon :

1. Accountability & Transparency reforms, freedom of information, integrity safeguards, auditing our government.

2. Civil Liberties, NSA privacy & spying, preserving the Bill of Rights, due process.

3. Corporate Cronyism, Lobbyists, no bid contracts, bailouts, the revolving door.

4. Military Spending, mission creep, regime change foreign policy, Congressional approval & oversight.

5. Ending the Drug War, reform the justice system, asset forfeiture, demilitarization of police, private prisons, mandatory minimums, quotas, racial profiling, industrial hemp.

6. Election reform, open primaries, Election Day holiday, fair debates, rank or score voting, none of the above option, paper trail.

7. Fair and Free Trade.

8. Promoting an environment of growth and opportunity, less regulation and more competition for small and mid-sized businesses.

. . . If 50 independent and third party candidates are elected to the House of Representatives that would shatter the status quo & the “in the box” paradigm, it will open the flood gates to positive change – and it is the easiest most peaceful way to do it. We might start with 10 this year then build to 25 in 2 years and so on however let us deserve with our efforts to have 50+


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