Written by Eric Zuesse
Ever since 2014, when the first scientific examination of whether America is a democracy or instead a dictatorship was published, and when it found clearly that America is a dictatorship by the super-rich, I have been studying other relevant evidence; and, on June 28th, the great Democratic Party investigative journalist David Sirota provided yet another evidence for it, headlining, at his “Lever News” site, “Roberts Is The Man Behind The Curtain”. He opened there:
Amid all the high-profile rulings dominating the headlines, a more obscure but far-reaching decision slipped through the Supreme Court, even if it was barely part of the news cycle. It is the case that culminates Chief Justice John Roberts’ crusade to fully legalize corruption — and construct a political system that permanently produces all the extremist rulings now repealing the 20th century.
Cases like this new one, FEC v. Ted Cruz For Senate, don’t get much attention because they seem esoteric and technical. But so many of the more infamous legacies of the Roberts Court — crushing workers, rescinding reproductive rights, shielding big business from accountability, restricting voting rights, eviscerating gun control, complicating the fight against climate — can be traced back to its campaign finance rulings, which equate liberty with corruption.
That Roberts’ doctrine has given oligarchs, corporations, and their front groups a First Amendment right to bankroll political campaigns and now — thanks to the Cruz case — directly funnel cash to politicians’ personal bank accounts. The return on such investments has been all the right-wing laws, obstructions, and judicial edicts that have spewed forth from Washington over the last decade.
Since Roberts was confirmed in 2005 with bipartisan support, corporate media has typically portrayed him as a thoughtful moderate, to the point where polls have shown a majority of Democrats like him. The media has continued venerating Roberts as an earnest victim of the court’s hard-right turn rather than a perpetrator — even after he voted to uphold the extreme Mississippi law banning most abortions at 15 weeks, including in cases of rape or incest.
Left out of this hagiography is the story of Roberts as the bag man behind the curtain — the mastermind engineering the entire superstructure undergirding the court’s extremism.
No matter the controversy of the day, you cannot really understand what’s going on in politics unless you first understand Roberts’ campaign that constructed an entire legal architecture of corruption — allowing moneyed interests to buy the presidency, Congress, and the courts.
Roberts’ plot crescendoed with the Cruz case, but that recent decision was part of a much larger 12-year crusade with a singular objective: creating a government of, by, and for the rich.
Sirota went on there to provide details on how Roberts did that. He also mentioned that “the normalization of corruption did not accelerate until the court was taken over by Roberts, who previously represented the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — the organization that converts corporate money into government policy.” The USCOC has over three million members, but is actually controlled only by the very largest of them, especially by corporations that donate mainly to the Republican Party. As the Democratic Party organ (representing the view of that Party’s billionaires) U.S. News & World Report, reported, on 22 October 2015, under the headline “The Chamber’s Secrets”: “It mostly represents the interests of a handful of so-called ‘legacy industries’ – industries like tobacco, banking and fossil fuels which have been around for generations and learned how to parley their earnings into political influence. The Chamber seeks favorable treatment for them, for example, through trade negotiations, tax treatment, regulations and judicial rulings.” And, so, this Chief ‘Justice’, who used to work for them, is now delivering (the entire nation) for them.
As the mainly Democratic Party “Public Citizen” bannered on 28 October 2013, “New Report Shows That Most U.S. Chamber of Commerce Donors Remain a Mystery”, and reported: “While 24 donors to the U.S. Chamber (23 of whom are Fortune 500 companies) voluntarily disclosed their contributions, the rest are mostly a mystery.” So: America’s ‘democracy’ — if anyone still thinks that it any longer exists, at all — represents “Dark Money” or hidden financiers, overwhelmingly.
Here is how that has come to happen:
Back during the first 33 years of the Twentieth Century, the main family that controlled the conservative or Republican Party’s ideology were the DuPont brothers, who controlled not only DuPont Chemical but also many other firms, such as General Motors. In 1934, they funded a coup-plot to overthrow FDR and replace him by a President whom they would control and who would be patterned upon Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, but when their organization for that purpose, the American Liberty League, approached General Smedley Butler for that purpose, he assembled notes on their offer to him and then, after he had acquired enough such evidence, went to a clearly anti-fascist member of Congress, Rep. Samuel Dickstein, a New York Democrat, who managed to get a secret hearing set up to evaluate the evidence. This put a stop to the DuPont-led plan, which had already assembled commitments from fellow-Republican leading families, for a $3 million (=$100 million today) operation to create this second American ‘revolution’ in order to install their stooge-regime and end all democracy in America. So, instead, their ALL devoted themselves to merely propagandizing for their fascist ideology, and to actually creating what during the post-War 1940s and 1950s became labeled “libertarianism,” in order to provide as much “liberty” for the super-rich families as possible — much like Mussolini’s “Fascism,” which he had also called “Corporationism,” had previously done. (And Mussolini and Hitler also did the world’s first privatizations, though in the 1970s and 80s Reagan and Thatcher became publicized — falsely — as having done the first ones — privatization being one of the basic principles of “libertarianism.”)
The DuPonts’ friend Harold Luhnow of the Volker Fund became the organizer of the first libertarian university economics department during the 1940s and 50s, at the University of Chicago, under the leadership there of the west-Ukrainian Jew, Aaron Director, who was deeply scarred by his experiences of anti-Semitism, and who, at U.C., hired what subsequently emerged to become the Chicago School of Economics, the Economics Department there, which included Friedrich von Hayek, Milton Friedman, George Stigler, Ronald Coase, and others, and which produced students such as Robert Bork and created the “Law and Economics movement,” to create ultimately the Federalist Society and transform legal theory in America onto a new foundation which would be libertarian economic theory, which is, itself, based upon the broader social theory of Vilfredo Pareto, who had invented fascism, which Pareto’s student Mussolini then led to take over Italy. Mussolini called his teacher “the Karl Marx of Fascism.” However, under Aaron Director, the ‘founders’ of “libertarianism” became instead “Austrian economists,” especially Ludwig von Mises and his student Friedrich von Hayek, because they had no taint of involvement with the discredited pre-1945 fascism, and so were acceptable figureheads as “founders” for post-WW-II fascism now rebranded as “libertarianism” (i.e, control of the State by the aristocracy — the one-dollar-one-vote State, instead of one-person-one-vote, or “democracy,” State). Director was a passionate champion of one-dollar-one-vote instead of one-person-one-vote. His “Director’s Law” stated that the wealthiest persons are being exploited by the middle classes, because the middle classes are taxed at far lower percentage-rates, but the benefits from the government go mainly to the middle classes and the poor. The rich are thus paying for benefits from which they themselves are being excluded. He proudly championed the wealthiest, and viewed the public (especially the middle classes), as being leaches upon them. This violated his view that government is intrinsically unjust — the aristocracy are being leached-upon by the society-at-large — so that everything should be privatized, in order for there to be justice. He viewed all “income redistribution” by the government to be intrinsically unjust — only the “free market” (no democracy, no one-person-one-vote system) should determine a person’s wealth.
After around 1970, the Koch brothers took over the intellectual leadership funding for the Republican Party and organized that Party’s billionaires to become the successors of what the DuPont brothers had created. It increasingly became known now, as “libertarianism.” One of the main universities that the Kochs funded was George Mason University, whose Henry G. Manne became, after Coase at Chicago, the main developer of “Law and Economics.” (In 2016, the Koch brothers renamed it the “Antonin Scalia Law School.”)
The Kochs were also heavy funders of the Federalist Society (Law and Economics political theory), and largely engineered into the U.S. Supreme Court their chosen ‘Justices’, during Republican Presidencies.
On 17 March 2003, Manne headlined a Wall Street Journal op-ed “The Case for Insider Trading”, and wrote boldly for aristocratic control of the country, and against democracy, including against government regulation of corporations, and advocating for secrecy in the management of both the government and corporations, privatizing everything:
The benign-sounding idea of passive regulation in the form of full disclosure has morphed into a morass of active regulation. Full disclosure now wraps around — and regulates — corporate governance, accounting, takeovers, investment banking, financial analysts, corporate counsel, and, not least, insider trading. …
Prior to 1968, insider trading was very common, well-known, and generally accepted when it was thought about at all. …
Insider trading does little or no direct harm to any individual …
It always (fraud aside) helps move the price of a corporation’s shares to its “correct” level. …
It is an efficient and highly desirable form of incentive compensation, especially for corporations dependent on innovation and new developments.
Insider and other knowledgeable trading might keep the price of a company’s shares at the right level, but the investing public would need confirmation of this. Periodic disclosure of financial statements confirmed to the investing public that the price level of shares, reached by trading, was reliable. Both exchanges and companies had an interest in this.
In time even the SEC noticed that periodic financial disclosures were not having much effect on stock prices. Their reaction was merely to require more frequent and more detailed disclosures. But the SEC never realized that insider trading was already the form of “disclosing” that maintained the efficiency of stock pricing. Instead, they outlawed it. Happily for us all, enforcement has not been too successful.
On 24 September 2004, he headlined in Capitalism Magazine, “Legalize Insider Trading”.
When Manne died in 2015, one of his GMU colleagues eulogized him as “Henry Manne: He Was Law & Economics”, and said: “Henry was the true founder of law-and-economics, one of the most consequential schools of thought in the last 100 years. Forget literary deconstruction, feminism, gender studies, fads devoid of content or rigor. Law-and-economics has transformed the legal academy, judging, and the rules we live by. And it started with Henry.” Well, it didn’t start with him; it started with the DuPont brothers, in the 1930s. Actually, they had inherited it from the founder of their dynasty: Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours and his “physiocrats” in the 1760s, their laissez faire “justification” of the aristocracy, immediately prior to the French Revolution. The source of microeconomic theory is actually the need those aristocrats felt, to “justify” their wealth, before the “deluge” happened. Adam Smith basically got it from them, with slight modifications. That’s what produced this theory – the theory that’s now known to be false (but that remains helpful to today’s aristocrats and is thus still financed heavily by them). Pareto blossomed it into an entire politico-economic-sociological theory, of maximum freedom for aristocrats, one-dollar-one-vote, instead of one-person-one vote.
On the Democratic Party side, there was George Soros, who similarly funded the liberal side of fascism, as being a variant of libertarianism, but one which departs from the physiocratic (or libertarian) Scripture on the macro end, to accept John Maynard Keynes’s theory, in the wake of the 1929 crash that should have ended capitalism altogether as being Mussolini’s “corporationism,” and should have replaced it, root and branch, by something that is yet to come, neither microeconomic theory nor macroeconomic theory, as those have existed, but something that goes deeper and rises higher, and is more solidly rooted in the actual history, the empirical record, of actual economies, instead of in the back rooms of merely the super-rich. Though Sirota says “Roberts Is The Man Behind The Curtain”, Roberts is actually just one of many operatives for the super-rich who got him where he is today.
Both sides of America’s Government are profoundly corrupt, but only on the liberal side (neoliberalism-neoconservatism) is there hypocrisy about it (“liberalism”), covering over and sugar-coating the dictatorial elitist actual intentions of all billionaires.
It’s all rule-by-deception — and that isn’t, and cannot be, democracy.
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