Monday, April 10, 2017

What Johnny Rotten Got Wrong

Recently, Johnny Rotten, of the Sex Pistols, came to the defense of Donald Trump, saying Trump is exactly the kind of anti-establishment person we need in office. Johnny Rotten has an incorrect view of what the establishment is. Trump in almost every way represents the establishment and everything he has done so far, and tried to do, has been to support and further ingrain that establishment.

See, the establishment isn't about politics; it's about money. It always has been.

Look, I'm not saying that politics aren't wrapped up in it, but it's not politics that the establishment is built on. From the beginning, the very beginning, it's all been about money. That's why there was a revolution. "Hey, you ugly king over in England, you're taking our money, and we don't like it!" There's a reason why virtually every one of the founding fathers were rich dudes. And some of those families are still in politics, so it can be confusing, but it's still all about the money. The politics just help control the flow of the money.

The Koch brothers are a perfect example of this. They are super rich and a huge part of the modern establishment. In order to keep themselves as much super rich as possible, they employ politics. They themselves are not politicians; they just buy them and keep them in their pockets (the super rich always have big pockets, deep enough to keep a politician or two stashed inside) and use them to shift policy the way they want it to go.

[I wonder if the Kochs spend more money on politics (including funding campaigns) than they would "lose" if they just left well enough alone, because they spend mega-money on politics (yes, mega-money is a "thing"). I have a hard time with the idea that it's actually profitable for them in a purely monetary sense.]

From that standpoint, the government, also, is not the establishment. The reason that Trump and the Republicans are anti-government has nothing to do with "standing up for the little guy" and everything to do with keeping the government out of corporations, because the government, prior to Trump, has been standing up for the little guy the most it has since, probably, the 60s. Corporations, then, are a big part of the establishment. After all, according to the Republicans, they're people, too. (And we don't want to huwrt the witty feewings of those super wich cowpowations.) The Republicans aren't about less government because they want to protect the freedoms of "the people;" they're about less government so that they can more fully take advantage of the people and suck them dry of all the money they have.

Here's an important distinction:
Hilary Clinton doesn't come from money. Sure, she has money now, but she doesn't come from money. Neither does Obama. It allows them to operate from the perspective of normal people. Trump, though, comes from money. Enough money so that the "small loan" of ONE MILLION DOLLARS (though it was actually more) that his father gave him when he was starting out was somewhat equivalent to the 20 bucks your grandmother used to send you on your birthday. That is to say there is no equivalence.

Trump is the establishment. He comes from money and has spent all of his life being around only people with money. He has gathered around him in the White House more money than has ever been there before. He has made the White House more establishment than it has ever been, full of people who want to get rid of government regulations (regulations that protect regular people from being taken advantage of or harmed by the establishment) so that they can make even more money than they already have. It's all a profit game for him.

Don't be distracted by the noise. Trump is not here to bring down the establishment. Not even Bannon wants to bring down the establishment. These are guys who believe in money, and getting rid of obstacles to making more money, and controlling your lives. They might want to bring down the government (Bannon certainly does), but they want the Establishment to stay right where it is.
On your backs.


  1. Your aside about the Kochs really made me wonder. According to a quick search, they spent $1,289,000,000 in 2012 and 2016 on the elections. They're worth $41,100,000,000, so they spent only 3% of their money on those elections. Most estimates say each of the Kochs earn $12,000,000,000 per year. So they pay $4,752,000,000 in taxes on that at the highest marginal tax rate. Spending $1,200,000,000 to save $3,000,000,000 (writing numbers out is the only to avoid false equivalencies) is actually kind of smart.

    Kind of. It's the kind of smart that leads people to say "I wouldn't want to win the lottery because they take half of it in taxes." While I don't think anyone would ever be happy paying $4,000,000,000 in taxes, the amount of money it leaves you to spend makes that level of taxation irrelevant. The amount of money they have would let a person spent $78 per minute every minute of his life from birth to death at age 100 -- $112,000 PER DAY, every day, for 100 years -- and not run out of money even then.

    The bigger question is whether they really believe they are making the world a better place, and for whom? I don't believe there's a cabal of billionaires actively conspiring to make only a few billionaires for the rest of eternity. So why are they doing it? Do they truly believe they are reshaping society into a better thing?

    Someone like douchey Paul Ryan -- if there's something Wisconsin should be ashamed of it's the number of terrible Republicans we have foisted off on the nation -- seems to honestly think that the programs are BETTER, forgetting that Frat Bro Ryan & his backward baseball cap have always benefitted from the programs he's trying to gut.

    Imagine, for a moment, if the Kochs put $1,200,000,000 into poverty relief. An investment into municipal bonds and other tax-emempt funds, put into a trust and managed by the Kochs to give funds to homeless shelters and school lunch programs and educational initiatives would generate $55,200,000 per year in income, without touching the principal. This investment would allow more municipal and other tax-exempt borrowing, while also given $55,200,000 per year towards housing, education and food initiatives.

    The federal government spent $50,000,000 in 2014 on homeless initiatives. The Kochs could have taken their money and invested it, leaving the principal there for them to live off of, and effectively doubled the funding to fight homelessness. That they didn't do so says something. I'm just not sure what.

    1. Briane: What it says is something about the "Protestant Work Ethic." Aside from "believing" that people should work, and not just work but work hard and long hours and get up early to do it, "it" believes that people are rewarded accordingly. So, if you have money, you have been rewarded for the quality of your being and, if you don't, you don't have that same quality of being and therefore don't deserve anything. You have been found wanting. Which is kind of a horrible way to say it, all things considered. Let's put it another way:
      Poor people don't deserve help. You can tell because they are poor.

      So I do believe they believe they are making the world a better place... for those who deserve it.
      And everyone else can go burn.

  2. When Trump was a candidate, he claimed that since he understood the corruption of our political system better than anyone, he was the only one who could fix it. That was, of course, a lie.

    It is true, though, that because Trump understands political corruption, he was always poised to exploit it. Trump exploited it by tapping into voters' distrust and pretending that being a non-politician elevated him above cashing in on power. And now Trump continues to exploit it by his use of cronyism and nepotism for positions of power; by using political connections to enrich his familial enterprises; and by surrounding himself with people who do likewise.

    Forget about Trump draining any swamp. It is murky as ever beneath the gaudy Trump name.

    We are (unfortunately) in full Banana Republic mode (and I don't mean the retailer).

    1. Michael: It's not just as murky as ever; it's worse. He's been dumping sewage into the system, much of it Russian, since before his inauguration.

  3. Anyone who believes that he's anti-establishment is a moron. The only thing he does differently than other politicians is be upfront about his evilness, which makes me wonder what the hell is wrong with the world. He's accused of screwing people over in order to make money and straight up abusing the office of the president, but no, it's Hillary Clinton who's evil and should be in jail.

    1. Jeanne: Yeah, the fact that he can cheat and lie and get away with it doesn't make him "bad," it makes him "smart."
      Or a rich, white guy who can pay his way through the system and get away with things without admitting guilt.

  4. Had Koch bros comment but Briane stole most of my thunder. Except to say it is totally worth it to pay for politicians. They would be paying 90% tax rate if it was the 50's. And something like 70% as recently as the 70's. Buying politicians has been the biggest wealth generator of super rich imaginable - well, it isn't a generator of wealth, it's a redistribution, but still.

    1. Rusty: I wasn't thinking about the previous 90% tax bracket. I suppose it has given them a way to hold onto obscene amounts of money.