Michael Payne: The Washington Kabuki Theater of the Bizarre Presents: “The Height of Political Deceit and Manipulation”

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February 27, 2013The Washington Kabuki Theater of the Bizarre Presents: “The Height of Political Deceit and Manipulation”By michael payneA version of what is called a Kabuki Theater of the bizarre is taking place in Washington D.C. This presentation features President Barack in the lead role, backed by a cast of political actors that are unfit to appear on this nation’s center stage. All of these ethically-challenged individuals, charged with the responsibility of governing our county, are performing in a manner best described as bizarre, despicable.::::::::
Kabuki theater of the bizarre by ramirami
   A version of what is called a Kabuki Theater of the bizarre is taking place in Washington D.C. This presentation features President Barack in the lead role, backed by a cast of political actors that are unfit to appear on this nation’s center stage. All of these ethically-challenged individuals, charged with the responsibility of governing our county, are performing in a manner that could best be described as both bizarre and despicable.

The American people are watching this charade going on in the nation’s capitol and are shaking their heads in utter amazement at what they see. This is like some kind of nightmarish presentation that continues on with no seeming end. If this theater production were being presented on Broadway, the actors would be jeered, pelted with eggs and tomatoes, and booed off the stage.

While this country remains under economic siege and is bleeding profusely from many self-inflicted wounds, those who were given the responsibility to find the ways to stop this hemorrhaging have now proven that they are not up to the task. This country and its society are staggering under the weight of endless wars, joblessness, corporate greed and corruption, and mounting violence. The people cry out for help but none is forthcoming.

While a typical Kabuki presentation is generally well choreographed with impeccable acting, what is going on in Washington with this Congress and the Obama administration is anything but that; it has turned into an ugly standoff between two sets of bad actors, opposing political entities that are locked into their own ideologies with no common ground or any ability to begin to compromise in any way.

This dark specter of sequestration, as has been pointed out by numerous respected economists and academics such as Paul Krugman and Robert Reich, is something that could easily be prevented; it is no more than a fabricated emergency, one that involves governmental incompetence of the highest degree. The real danger lies in the fact that this sequester has the potential to severely damage this economy at the very time that it is struggling to recover. Those in the know say that austerity is not the way to go and that the time-tested method of infusion of government funds to stimulate the economy is what is badly needed at this crucial time.

But the most troubling part of this entire bizarre process is the fact that so many of these pathetic politicians are perfecting willing to take this nation to the brink of disaster and to allow this country to absorb yet more blows to its economic foundations. That’s not just being disloyal to this country; it’s committing political treason.

The position of the Republicans could not be more clear; they are totally committed to the advancement of the interests of Corporate America and the wealthiest Americans who they serve; in doing so they have not the slightest feeling of shame or guilt as they answer only to their masters who use the power of their money and influence to control this government. Their actions represent the height of irresponsibility; their actions and behavior are reprehensible and they are beyond recovery or rehabilitation.

But what of the performance of Mr. Obama who likes to view himself as a president who stands up for their interests and welfare of the people of America no matter how difficult that might be. Once again, he seems to be headed in the direction of last minute appeasement and capitulation to the GOP and its axis of political hacks, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner and Eric Cantor who seem to hold some kind of spell over him.

Here we have a president who, in his foreign polity, remains very aggressive and on the offensive by launching deadly drones into the air space and across the borders of nations with which we are not at war. But on the domestic front, this same president is continually on the defensive as he is seemingly incapable of launching a counterattack to the Republican’s crazed obsession with a program of misguided austerity that will further cripple this already weak and declining economy.

What’s going on with this impending sequester can be likened to a poker game, one in which the stakes are very high. The Republicans are past masters at the art of bluffing even when they know they don’t have the winning hand. Conversely Mr. Obama is not a very good poker player and he has been known to throw in a winning hand because of his fear that his opponents may have an ace up their sleeve.

He seems to have a predisposition for snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory. And if he bends and breaks at the last moment and comes up with more concessions involving this sequester the losers in this game will be the people of this nation. He has had the Republican sociopaths up against the ropes but he apparently can’t deliver the knockout blow. This is the man who handily won the election and had the majority of the American people solidly behind him. But you would never know it by his failure to take charge of this terrible dilemma that now faces this nation.

One thing that continues to be a troubling point with the American people is the fact that this president keeps putting the issue of Social Security cuts back on the table. His latest move has been to offer up a “Chained CPI” that would, in effect, cancel out $130 billion of future benefits that seniors will need to keep up with inflation.

The large majority of Americans are fully aware that Social Security, which is self-funded and self-sustaining, has nothing to do with the national deficit and should have no part in this discussion. But this conflicted president continues to ignore their concerns and keeps offering it up as a concession to Republican demands. This is an absolute craven betrayal of the American people who should, by now, realize that this is a man that can no longer be trusted.

The general belief among many Americans is that President Obama’s performance in this presentation has been and continues to be extremely disappointing; that he is just not up to the task, not up to the challenge and that he is in over his head as the appears to be falling into another Republican trap. Clever and astute in the art of politics do not fit this president; naïve and susceptible to manipulation certainly do. At least that’s what, on the surface, seems to be the case.

However, there may be much more involved here than we think; that there is something much more troubling going on. It’s true that most of Americans continue to consider this a battle between Republicans and Democrats, but there is a growing number of observers in this country who see this seeming charade not so much as a massive confrontation between these two adversaries but, rather, as some sort of shrewd behind-the-scenes collusive deal; some kind of ploy that hides what’s really happening. Could something like that actually be in process, is that what these two parties are doing in concert? Whatever is going on, if the past is any indication of what the future holds, we can be sure that it will bring more pain and misery on the people of this country.

This Kabuki Theater of the bizarre and absurd presents a stark picture of political deceit and manipulation of the highest order. And as this dark theatrical presentation enters its final act over the next days, weeks and months it most certainly will be recorded in history as a most pitiful, pathetic performance by those who have been entrusted with governing this nation.

Michael Payne

Submitters Bio:

Michael Payne is an independent progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois and a U.S. Army veteran. His primary objective is to inform readers of the fact that this nation’s agenda of perpetual war is leading it down a path to financial ruin; and that the proliferation of unjustified wars and a military empire must be ended. Secondly that we must find the ways to expel Corporate America from our government and political system before it destroys our democracy.

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michael payneBecome a Fan

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kabuki Theater of the Bizarre

This Kabuki Theater of the bizarre and absurd presents a stark picture of political deceit and manipulation of the highest order. And as this dark theatrical presentation enters its final act over the next days, weeks and months it most certainly will be recorded in history as a most pitiful, pathetic performance by those who have been entrusted with governing this nation.

Submitted on Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 12:00:24 PM

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Dr. Tom BaldwinBecome a Fan

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Excellent article by Michael Payne!
As is becoming somewhat common, but Michael Payne has written another excellent article.  Perhaps our thoughts are beginning to converge from a distance.  It is becoming increasingly clear to me that Obama is either grossly incompetent as a leader (one possibility) or he is being totally controlled by corporate fascist forces which control both political parties.  We have “Wizards of Oz” behind the screen and we just haven’t realized it yet!!  We have to identify and disclose those!!Submitted on Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 1:07:32 PM
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Patricia GrayBecome a Fan

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Reply to Dr. Tom Baldwin: Whos side is Obama on?
Obama is a member of those corporate fascists in control of our government. He is a dictator since he signed the NDAA .  This law gives him the power to have any one of us killed. No trial.  No defense. Just death, on his say so.  Sig Heil!
Submitted on Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 1:58:19 PM
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Patricia GrayBecome a Fan

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We share the blame.
Our government is corrupt and we allowed this to happen by limiting our choice to one or the other of the evil duo. We fell for the phony ‘contest’ when the two acted like they had different points of view.  They don’t.  We been had.  Face that fact and see what is going on in Italy.  Out of nowhere a new party has come that says they want the government to act in the interests of all the people.  We need that here, and pretty damn quick.   We will not enjoy austerity, but the top 1% will.  Our future is dark if we don’t wise up quickly and throw out the corrupt in Congress—and that is EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM!  Kick them out and start over.
Submitted on Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 1:50:58 PM
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Don CaldarazzoBecome a Fan

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Nice article, except
for the part where we have to pretend the Republicrats are two separate entities driven by separate ideologies.  That hokey Kabuki became transparent a hell of a long time ago, at least to this audience member.  All you have to do is start with the premise that both parties serve the same master, a master who wants total war, total surveillance and therefore totalcontrol, and an idiot mass of sickly, misled, pathetic, incapable, malleable Amerorabble who will believe anything, and who will always fight themselves rather than their oppressors, compelled to do so by a very simple set of programmed triggers – all without having the slightest ability to reflect upon such a strange, Fascist-Regime-Preoccupations.

If you start with that premise, lo and behold, it is always proven true.  To the degree that we pretend this isn’t true is the exact degree to which we have been brainwashed by propaganda.

Still a good article though.

Submitted on Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 2:02:37 PM

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michael payneBecome a Fan

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Reply to Don Caldarazzo: ideologies
Trying to make sense out of the Washington cesspool is an exercise in futility. The entire political process is thoroughly contaminated. There is a difference in ideologies in that Republicans are totally committed to Corporate America and the wealthy of America while I  see Democrats, at least some of them, who are still on the side of the people and their interests. There are no Republicans crossing over to support the mass of Americans’ interests while there are far too many Democrats like the Blue Dogs and some others who have unofficially joined the GOP agenda.In certain areas though such as supporting the agenda of endless war, the use of drones and the Bush and Obama legislation to restrict the Constitutional rights and freedoms of the American people, i.e., the Patriot Act, the FISA Laws, the NDAA and others, they are exactly the same and a disgrace to this country.This government and this political process is going to take America down until we the people find the ways to accomplish two things. First we have to find a way to initiate a massive grass roots movement to create a strong, viable Progressive Party that will represent the true interests of the people of America. So far, that is no more than wishful thinking as the best and brightest minds in America are showing no interest or inclination to any such thing.Secondly, with or without a new Progressive Party we the people must find the ways to totally remove Corporate America and the masters of Corporatism from this government and this political process. If we can’t find the ways to do that and the current situation is allowed to continue, there is no hope for America and what is going on today will never change.
Submitted on Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 2:46:20 PM
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Dr. Tom BaldwinBecome a Fan

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Reply to michael payne: Comments are great, too!
I agree almost entirely with the comments made here but especially with Michael’s. We are headed down the drain at incredible speed and both political parties are taking us there.  Our political system is not “broken” or “dysfunctional”.  It is brain dead–defunct. And until we recognize that, “reform” is a joke.  It’s like a human body where all the organs have stopped working. Who you gonna call?  Ghost Busters?Submitted on Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 3:44:41 PM
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Timothy GattoBecome a Fan

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Reply to michael payne: Is There Really any Hope?

The Democrats and Republicans are working for corporate America and against the people. This has been the case for a long, long time. Without an amendment to the Constitution that takes corporate money out of elections, there is really no hope at all of starting a viable third party that represents the working poor of America. This is not conjecture, its a fact (at least in my mind).

I’ve been writing about this since 2004. So have many others. We all seem to realize what time it really is but we can’t seem to do anything about it.

I thought the Occupy Movement would morph into something but the powers that run this country shut it down as quickly as they could. I think I know now how the thinking people in Germany felt when they saw he rise of fascism there. That’s all this is you know. Take all of the rhetoric out of the discourse and the ugly face of dictatorial fascism is there for all to see. You can’t expect to change America with only a few dozen lawmakers out of 500+ who have any scruples.

Submitted on Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 4:42:08 PM

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michael payneBecome a Fan

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Reply to Timothy Gatto: is there really any answer?

Right now, based on the combination of this contaminated political system, the corrupted Congress and the current lethargy and submissiveness of the majority of the American people, there is no answer. And the probability of a Constitutional Amendment to remove Corporate America from the political process and government is zero to none.

I recently read an article, and I can’t recall the writer, that made a brilliant comparison of the America of today with Germany as the Nazis rose to power. This comparison was astounding as what is happening in America right now and the reaction of the majority of the people in this country is almost identical to what happened back in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s. It was an absolutely frightening analysis of America at this point in its history.

The article ended with the well-known series of statements beginning with “First they came for the communists and I did not speak out”, “then they came for socialists and I did not speak out;” And, of   course, it ends with “and then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Right now there are no answers. Decades ago many good people in Germany were aware of what was happening; they did nothing about it, they remained in a passive state and they paid a terrible price for it. Now the same thing is happening in America. As we know history has a way of repeating itself.

Submitted on Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 6:13:40 PM

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James TennierBecome a Fan

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what is really going on you ask?
A CANCER IS CONSUMING IT’S HOSTSubmitted on Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 6:52:55 PM
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michael payneBecome a Fan

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Reply to James Tennier: a deadly disease

I think your statement could be interpreted in many different ways but let me present just one for now. I think a very deadly disease has infected this nation; we might call it a cancer. It is the disease of Corporatism that has now infected the body of America and has taken control of this government, our political process and our society.

I won’t take the time to elaborate on this contention in this comment but, as I have said many times in other articles, I firmly believe that the major underlying cause of almost all of America’s most critical problems, if analyzed in depth, can be attributed to the money, power and influence of Corporate America. This form of cancer entered the body of America beginning in the 1980’s and has, since then, metastasized and rapidly spread throughout the country. And, at least for now, there is no known cure.

Submitted on Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 10:04:50 PM

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Stephen UngerBecome a Fan

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The Great Con Game

There seems to be a consensus among the commenters that the 1% are in full control of both major parties. The problem is not that Obama is weak or incompetent. Rather he is playing his role as the good cop in the con game that passes for our democracy.

I disagree with Michael about the Democrats. Especially since the departure of Kucinich, there are no Democrats willing to stand up and fight against the well oiled machine. Even independent Bernie Sanders, who seems to be on the right side of most issues, for some reason felt compelled to support the re-election of the Nobel Peace Prize winner.

I fully agree with Michael that, “we have to find a way to initiate a massive grass roots movement to create a strong, viable Progressive Party that will represent the true interests of the people of America.”

I made a case for this prior to the past election at

click here

Submitted on Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 7:33:59 PM

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intotheabyssBecome a Fan

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We are under banker occupation
and have been for longer than we would prefer to think about. This fascist coup has been slowly carried out through events like wars, assassinations and false flag attacks. With the public acceptance of outlandish cover ups and false narratives we move closer to the objectives of the ruling elites.One need only look at Greece to see what horrors await us. Not surprising the establishment media no longer reports on the latest uprisings there. We might figure out that’s where we’re headed as well.How bad things will have to get before the idea of a general strike seems better than keeping ones head down to avoid drawing attention from the Reich is anyone’s guess.
Submitted on Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 8:32:17 PM
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Deborah DillsBecome a Fan

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535 People Are Ruining America
Club Five-Hundred Thirty Five

 from:Rense.com

The Constitution and the way it was to have represented the people, was designed to work for a maximum of two million, in a much smaller nation. Now, at 325 million, in 50 states, at roughly 175 times as many people, it’s easy to see why this cannot work. Yet the system and both political parties have refused all efforts to alter this arrangement, which has effectively crushed any ‘representation’ that ordinary people might have had.
So what do we get? Comparatively speaking – nothing is what we get. We’ve all paid for infrastructure, for health and environmental upkeep, and for defense. What we do not have is health care, a protected environment, a defense that works, a public education system that functions, or much of anything else. Most of these failures can be laid directly at the doors of the hallowed halls of congress. Those doors are open only to the armies of lobbyists and to the insiders of greed and opportunism, just as surely as they are forever closed to ordinary citizens. So we have the most expensive federal government the world has ever seen and we are dying in the streets, for lack of food, for lack of shelter, and now for the lack of our decent jobs that have been outsourced to foreign countries: this includes many federal government jobs as well – jobs like social services are now answered by non-citizens in India.
To be in Congress today, is to possess a license to steal, and virtual immunity from ever being charged with a crime, primarily because all their fellow congressional colleges are in on the same schemes as well. Since congressional people are not there to represent any ordinary people, and since they are the ones who would be the first to investigate any of their own scams – they can do whatever makes the most money for them, and to hell with the long-term affects on the nation or the world.
If members of the 535 club worked in the private sector they would have been instantly terminated. But they’re congressional club members – so let’s let them, give themselves a raise, which of course they did! Aren’t you glad that such a brave and responsible group of parasites are acting in your name, and in your defense?
Political ambition becomes a crime, when those who represent us sell us out for personal gain. The government has forgotten that we are the reason for their existence in the first place. And they have overlooked the fact that they are supposed to work for us and not themselves. Because of their cowardice in the face of potential treason, it is we who will suffer for what they did, and we who will ultimately pay for all their failures, as well as for all that we will never receive.
The UN and NATO now use the US military as their own military doing their bidding.  Congress just handed over their war powers to the UN and NATO by not standing to protect their Constitutional power!  Hey if Congress doesn’t want to be bothered with their constitutional power then why not just eliminate Congress altogether?
Photo from lorinovsreport
Congress
  *** It’s time for the American people to stop this assault on us, the People, and rid ourselves of this corruption once and for all-unless they like the deceit, corruption, lies, and theft these 535 people in Congress have thrust upon us all.

Submitted on Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 11:40:53 PM


Herbert CalhounBecome a Fan

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Why Only the Republicans?

You seem to think that only the Republicans are committed to the advancement of the corporate nation-killing behemoth’s interests? One can only come to such a shortsighted conclusion through selective and mindless ideological blindness.

The Kabuki Theater that your speak so eloquently of, of mindless partisan spats, is just a diversion that takes place while the corporate class continues to pick our back pockets. That theater is exactly as they have designed it to happen. They play both sides against us, the middle.

Both parties, and 99% of our elected politicians, are in bed with the capitalism vultures, vultures that are homicidal, cannibalistic, as well as suicidal. Being their political whores is an existential necessity for American politicians who want to get elected to national office. That is how our system works, and is how it is best defined today: Political whores on the take, playing at the game of democracy; and playing at it badly.

And don’t forget that Mr. Obama is from Chicago, which is second only to New York as the home base of corporate class crime and vultures: It is the very cesspool of American politics. (Look at what happened to “poor little old prep school graduate Jessie Jackson Junior?” Poor guy, doesn’t your heart just cry out for him?)

I keep asking myself: How is it that Mr. Obama alone escaped being covered with “Chicago cesspool slime?” Maybe it is that he is such a chameleon that we simply cannot see it underneath his “hope and change” and “lead from behind” façade?

Or maybe we just have to wait for the other shoe to fall, i.e. for “the rest of the Obama story?” Once he is used up, spit out — then and only then will we hear “the rest of the Obama story.”

Submitted on Thursday, Feb 28, 2013 at 7:55:58 AM

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michael payneBecome a Fan

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Reply to Herbert Calhoun: Why? Here’s exactly why

First of all, Mr. Calhoun, I take your statement that ” One can only come to such a shortsighted conclusion through selective and mindlessideological blindness” as a personal insult and one that clearly seems to be motivated by emotions rather than objective conclusions. I normally wouldn’t bother to respond to such an irresponsible statement but I will in this case to attempt to add badly needed objectivity to the discussion.

Much of what you say about all politicians is true and, if you had read many of my articles you would have noticed that I have referred to Democrats as spineless and cowardly, that they continue to cave in on critically important issues, I’ve demanded that Harry Reid should resign immediately and I have been extremely critical of Mr. Obama for many reasons.

But when I am making these assessments I try to avoid making generalities and lumping everyone into the same category, that they are all the same, they are identical, there is no difference between them and they are both evil. That’s what happens when emotions get in the way of objective thinking.

Yes, far too many Democrats have allowed themselves to be controlled by corporate interests but not all by any means. Republicans don’t even try to deny that their main objectives are to advance the interests of Corporatism; that’s what they are committed to do and they make no excuses for it. They would tear down every social program, including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, unemployment benefits, college loans and either eliminate or privatize every single one of them. If they were allowed to do just that the beneficiaries of those actions would clearly be Corporate America.

Democrats, at least the majority of them, are diametrically opposed to the Republicans on every one of those issues. And, if you think not, then please come up with concrete facts and evidence to make your case. In fact, I challenge you to make the case that the Republicans are not totally determined to privatize every facet of government that they can and turn the administration of those operations to the masters of Corporatism. And then please show specifically how the Democrats are doing the exact same thing.

I don’t really find defending the Democrats to be one of my most pleasant tasks because I am so disappointed and disillusioned by so many of their actions or lack of actions. But I get tired of those who make generalizations about politics or anything else that can’t differentiate between two positions or, in this case, two ideologies.

And, while not really pertinent to this specific issue, if you want to go further into the differences between these two entities, we could always go into the many ways by which the Republicans are working against women’s rights, how they are using every means to suppress voting rights and how they care more about protecting the rights of the gun manufacturers and lobbyists than they care about the continued slaughter of innocent children.

Submitted on Thursday, Feb 28, 2013 at 11:39:37 AM

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kappieBecome a Fan

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to much credit
You give Obama too much credit saying he is just weak willed and being manuevered into the republican position.I think at heart Obama is a Republican who stands for the rich just not as much as his republican cohorts.Obama has described himself well when he said he was a moderate,for anybody with political understanding this means on social programs he backs the people on economic programs he backs the corporations and when thiese ttwo ideologies collide he sides with the latter ,the corporation.this is what a moderate democrat stands for.
Submitted on Thursday, Feb 28, 2013 at 9:21:21 AM
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Dr. Tom BaldwinBecome a Fan

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Are there any serious differences here?
I have to admit here and maybe I need to read the comments again more carefully. But I don’t see many serious differences here between what Michael wrote and his “critics”.   I think nearly everyone agrees that the corporatist fascists (corporatists) are in nearly total control of our political system, both political parties.   Losing focus on that is a primary problem.  The “left-right” or “Democratic–Republican” Parties is an artificial divide and only enriches all those who continue to participate. It is a construct that the corporatists have learned to use against the people.  For God’s sake wake up!!  We have an abundance of people in powerful elected positions who are only there to serve their corporatist masters and Obama is at the top of the list now.Submitted on Thursday, Feb 28, 2013 at 1:00:38 PM
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HOW TO BE SUCCESSFUL AT CORPORATE FASCISM! EXHIBIT I—MISSISSIPPI

The 3-4 Billion Dollar Kemper “Clean Coal” Power Plant

By Thomas Baldwin, Biloxi, MS

February 4, 2013

Definition:  Corporate Fascism (or Corporatism) is a term usually attributed to Benito Mussolini in Italy from the 1930’s and is otherwise just described as Fascism. It implies the merger of corporate power with that of the “state” or biloxi-lighthouse-stamp-25the government.  Now we often dismiss that as just “lobbying” but in the past it has also been associated with “bribery.”   In short Fascism is total control of the people by corporate influence which is not in anyone’s benefit except the corporate power. America is becoming a Corporatist nation.

                        PURPOSE OF ESSAY:

It is my purpose to illustrate a specific example of this practice in the State of Mississippi.  This will be just one important illustration of  this subject but will be specific to something which is imminent and critical in the State of Mississippi (MS).  The focus will be the MS Power/Southern Co. Kemper Coal Power Plant.  Though this may seem to be insignificant to many who are not familiar with it, let me put it in perspective.

HISTORY:  First the Kemper Coal Plant was presented as a “Clean Coal”  electricity generating plant at an initial cost of about 2 billion dollars and to represent state of the art technology in converting coal to gas with the purpose of generating electricity.  It would use lignite coal in MS (the lowest heat content, dirtiest coal available) and convert it to gas to drive the turbines and generate electrical power.  It had been tested on a much smaller scale in AL by the Southern Co. with money made available by the federal Department of Energy for those experiments.  When the opportunity to do “clean coal” became available to expand that commercially, the Southern Co. jumped forward and said “let us do it.”  They tried to sell it to the State of Florida but the state said no thanks. Then Governor Barbour of MS stepped up and said “we’ll do it in MS.”  About 300 million dollars in federal funds was made available and the promise of loan guarantees. 

But no private sources wanted to invest in this risky idea with Southern.  So Mr. Barbour, who had been a lobbyist for the Southern Co. prior to his becoming Governor of MS in 2003, said “I’ll arrange for a way to do it.”  A law has just passed in the state legislature in 2008 to allow the Public Service Commission to permit public utilities such as MS Power Co. to charge the entire costs of construction of this monstrosity to the ratepayers in their district whether the plant generated electricity or not!  It is referred to as the “Baseload Act”.  Also the Southern Co. (MS Power’s parent) could benefit from selling their technology all over the world.  Now that’s a sweetheart deal, huh?  The magnitude of this project was much bigger than the sales or assets of MS Power (about a billion) and nearly equivalent to about 60% of the annual budget of the State of MS.

THE SIERRA CLUB INVOLVEMENT: 

The Sierra Club of MS under the able leadership of its director, Louie Miller, attempted to intervene and challenge this scheme almost from the start.  The Sierra Club has been immensely successful in their challenges through the courts, not simply based upon environmental reasons, but from the false representations of the MS Power Co. and the complicity of two of the three members of the Public Service Commission (PSC), Leonard Bentz and Lynn Posey.  The commercialization of the technology had not been proven; it was much more expensive than alternatives; and it would be destructive to the environment.  

But also, the MS Supreme Court in early 2012 by a record 9-0 decision ruled decided that the decision the PSC had made by a 2-1 vote to approve the plant costs from 2.44 billion to 2.88 billion was improper and thus placed the license to continue in doubt.

supreme-court-group-photo-tuepker--2

But MS Power Co. and the PSC have persisted and ignored the MS Supreme Court’s decision and they agreed in a previously unannounced  meeting on January 24, 2013 to approve an agreement which allowed MS Power to proceed with construction and present rate increases to pay for the plant at the limit of 2.44 billion. And MS Power had a plan to pay for the increased

Photo:  Southern MS citizens visit the Supreme Court Hearing on 1/28/13 (by John Tuepker)

costs by presenting legislation to allow for bonds to pay additional cost overruns which were now obvious. Needless to say, their stockholder investors were not about to pay for this!  The MS Supreme Court had scheduled previously a case only four days later on January 28 to consider a challenge to the Constitutionality of the original 2008 Baseload Act bill.  This was the legislative bill which allowed a utility to be able to charge ratepayers for “Work Construction in Progress” which was MS Power’s intent by increasing ratepayers monthly rates.

THE RESPONSE OF MS POWER AND THE PSC:  Simultaneously, on January 21, 2013, there were two identical bills introduced in both branches of the state legislature:  SB2755 and HB1134.  Those copies can be seen at these links and as one can see they are IDENTICAL.

http://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/2013/pdf/history/SB/SB2755.xml

http://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/2013/pdf/history/HB/HB1134.xml

They were sponsored by Senator Burton in the Senate and Representative Beckett in the House, chairmen of the Senate Energy and the House Public Utilities committees, respectively.  Would anyone dare to guess who wrote those bills for them?  Would anyone like to guess what they might have been offered to be sole sponsors of  those bills simultaneously and urge quick passage? The purpose of these bills was to offer bonding authority for up to one billion additional dollars to pay for cost overruns which were predicted in the beginning for the Kemper Coal Plant boondoggle and debacle.  Would anyone like to guess why the executives at MS Power and the Southern Co. thought these were important?   Clue:  Their investors and stockholders are not going to be happy if this piece of crap bombs which is highly likely!  The jobs of the CEO and their subordinates of the Southern Co. and the MS Power Co. are on the line.  The fact that they could not get private investors in the beginning should have also been a clue. In effect, the MS Power/Southern Co. are trying to shift all of the risk of this boondoggle to the ratepayers and the taxpayers!

Folks, the MS Power Co./Southern Co. may succeed in their financial efforts in the short term, but they will soon be fully disclosed.  It’s a complicated web of deceit and manipulation by a corporation over a corrupt state government but when examined in detail it’s pretty simple.  It is the essence of corporate fascism which we face all over the country and MS is a great example due to the example set by former Governor Haley Barbour and the fact that we are the poorest state in the nation as well as least informed. 

If many people continue to remain silent about this atrocity, then you should just be ready to put on your high boots and say “Seig Heil” when you pay your electricity bill in Mississippi!!

Postscript–As this blog was about to be published this Letter to the Editor was published in the Sun Herald newspaper:  

Julia O’Neal: Legislators bowing to Southern Company.  

http://www.sunherald.com/2013/02/02/4442683/julia-oneal-legislators-bowing.html#storylink=cpy

And this excellent report on the current status of this fiasco by Eileen O’Grady appeared in the January 31 edition of Reuters.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/31/utilities-southern-kemper-idUSL1N0AZMDT20130131

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About the author;  Thomas Baldwin, Ph.D. has a doctorate in Physics and a Masters degree in Management.  He has had long careers in both physics and management consulting including university appointments as a professor both at the Southern Illinois University and Colorado Technical University.  He has been a corporate consultant to many well known large firms in project management and is current “officially” retired.  In the last four years or more he has been focusing on applying his skills to better understand the political sector including socioeconomic conditions which are affecting our welfare and basic economic health. He can be reached at  doctom2010@yahoo.com