Money for Nothing… Except Winning!!

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Every American who believes that we are a democracy needs to watch the 2013 documentary, Citizen Koch. Yes, it was a biased look at how the billionaire far right wing Koch brothers (whose father organized the John Birch Society in the 1950s) used their money to influence Governor Scott Walker’s 2010 successful bid to union bust and strangle the safety net in Wisconsin. I say ‘biased’ because not once in the 86 minute (well produced by the way) film did anyone against the Tea Party craziness of the Koch/Walker coalition ever mention military spending. Why is that important you may ask? Well, the whole premise of the right wing assault on working stiffs was that Wisconsin was ‘going broke’ and could not afford to continue paying for safety net programs and of course for public sector workers’ benefits. To see how money does rule, the Koch influenced propaganda campaign got many rank and file Wisconsin folks to vote for Walker and the Republicans. Walker then went ahead and not only cut the spending mentioned above, but went after what the Koch gang really wanted: NO Collective bargaining for public employees… and then many of those same folks finally turned on Walker… but too late. The  ‘Recall’ campaign actually succeeded in having a new election, but… the Koch gang outspent them 8 to 1 and that is what always counts. Walker won the recall and the working stiffs got stiffed! And then shortly after the same thing happened in Michigan (home of the UAW and for generations a bastion of union strength) by making it a ‘Right to Work’ state. For those out there who don’t know, ‘Right to Work’ means limiting the union’s power to organize. OK, now where does this all fit in with my previous assertion about military spending? Well, currently, and for over 15 years, over 50% of your federal taxes goes towards military spending, higher than even during the Cold War. To help the states with their deficits, Uncle Sam has traditionally done the following: Revenue Sharing. This is when the federal government sends back to the states a portion of revenues collected through taxes to help them balance the books… and this money is FREE! Imagine if the military spending was cut by 25%, which translates currently into about $170 BILLION  a year. Each state would get a share of that amount. In Wisconsin’s case, and that of all our states, there would be no urgency to cut many programs, or to cut pensions or authorize union busting… except of course if the Tea Party manipulators like the Kochs had their way. Sadly, because we have a Democratic president who follows the lead of the Military Industrial Empire and he and his party won’t even mention drastic cuts in military spending, the subject is taboo, even in films like Citizen Koch.

And the money train just keeps on rolling. Here’s the ‘skinny’ of it: Trump and Cruz are neck and neck in not only the polls… but in cash! Interesting how Ted Cruz has moved to the ‘head of the class’ as he has also raised the most money for his campaign. We know Trump has the open pocketbook to spend his own fortune, and even he has been raising great amounts of other people’s cash too. So, there you have it: The leading Republican poll getters are also the ones with the most campaign spending cash. Ditto for Ms. Hillary on the ‘ lesser of two evils ‘ side. She is outpolling Sanders and of course out raising him in donations… by a lot! What does that tell you about the suckers we call ‘The American Voters’? The more you drum them with ads the more they will support you.

As far as President Obama, when he was ‘ candidate Obama ‘ in 2008, they made this propaganda of how he got oodles of money from small donors… you know ‘Ma and Pa Middle America.’ Well, he may have gotten more donations from working stiffs than McCain, but the majority of Obama’s campaign spending cash came from big donors..just like with Gov. Walker, where his campaign bragged that 75% of his donors gave $50.00 or less. But, as we all know, the majority of his campaign CASH came from a handful of donors. Getting back to Obama, when he was championing his ‘Affordable Health Care Act’ in 2009 those of us in the know knew that he would never trumpet for a public option AKA Medicare for All who want it. How did we know? Well, as they say’ Follow Da Money ‘ from the 2008 campaign: The health care industry gave approximately $7.5 million to McCain and … over $ 21 million to Obama. Do you think he would cut the private health insurance industry out of the mix folks? The same way that we who know knew that candidate Obama was not going to go after the Wall Street banksters by discontinuing the Bush gang’s bailout gift (made possible by the support of the ‘loyal opposition’ Democratic Party of course). NO, how could he when his chief economic advisor for his campaign in 2008 was none other than Larry ‘Let’s repeal Glass Steagall Act’ Summers, who never met a rich banker he did not like, or so they say. When new President Obama actually put together a small task force to weigh the options of perhaps NOT giving in totally to the bankster bailout, according to author Kari Lydersen in her book Mayor 1%, he had his chief of staff Rahm Emanuel  chair it. According to Lydersen, Obama said he was going home for dinner and wanted the group to ‘reach a consensus’ on a viable plan of action. Lydersen claims that Emanuel bullied and badgered the group to agree to continue the bailout. Now it seems the ‘karma’ is hitting home for Rahm, with many in Chicago wanting him out as mayor due to the disgraceful police scandal. As for his boss Mr. Obama, it seems nothing has changed concerning Wall Street greed and exploitation from when he took office. So much for leadership.

Sadly, as 2016 is upon us, nothing has changed in our nation’s massive military spending. Instead, it will get worse! The Military Industrial Empire has sold us on the fact that we are not safe here at home due to ISIL. They have convinced many Americans that the over 50% of our federal taxes going for military spending is not enough! No, now with this new threat we need more military spending! As if our missiles and smart bombs can stop this group of fanatics. Maybe if we closed our military bases in the Middle East and its environs and stopped occupying Afghanistan ( and to some extent our massive footprint in Iraq ) perhaps the Arab world would begin seeing us in a different light. Many now believe that it was because of our illegal and immoral invasion and occupation of Iraq that served as a recruiting tool for fringe groups like this ISIL. Of course, it would help if our president went to the UN and told the world that America was wrong to do that, as it was and is to send our drone missiles to kill too many innocents … what an epiphany! Mr. Obama shed tears publically when trumpeting tighter gun control as he referenced those poor kids getting gunned down in Sandy Hook. Bravo for him! Oh wait, what about all those little Arab kids in Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq and Pakistan blown away by the drone missiles that Mr. Obama authorized? No tears for them.

It is time for the good working stiffs of America to walk away from the 2 Party ‘One Party’ con job and start realizing that it is this empire that is bankrupting not only our economy but our morality as fellow humans.

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Philip A Farruggio is a contributing editor for The Greanville Post. He is also frequently posted on Global Research, Nation of Change, World News Trust and Off Guardian sites. He is the son and grandson of Brooklyn NYC longshoremen and a graduate of Brooklyn College, class of 1974. Since the 2000 election debacle, Philip has written over 300 columns on the Military-Industrial Empire and other facets of life in an upside-down America. He is also host of the ‘It’s the Empire… Stupid‘ radio show, co-produced by Chuck Gregory. Philip can be reached at paf1222@bellsouth.net.

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