Thom Hartmann: The Memo That Started a Corporate Heist of Our Government
Continued from previous page
Thom Hartmann: To some extent, yes. But I don't see that as a result of any failure of their plan or their efforts. If anything, this is coming out of the success of their plan and their efforts. They've stolen so much of the wealth of the American middle class that the people are starting to freak out and fight back. And when you look at the web site of that CEO group I mentioned, with its big donate button and grassroots look and feel, you can see that they are not giving up. Instead, they're taking one of their most successful recent strategies - the tea party - and moving forward with efforts to convince middle-class Americans that their peers support these CEO and billionaire efforts.
Mark Karlin: Given the growth in global corporations, reinforced by international trade agreements favorable to businesses and not workers, isn't the pressure on national governments such as the US coming from, in some ways, a shadow corporate power base that transcends international boundaries?
Thom Hartmann: Yes, absolutely. For four generations conservatives have been hysterical about the loss of American sovereignty because of first the League of Nations and then the United Nations. But the real threat to American sovereignty comes from transnational corporations who have assembled themselves into transnational institutions like the World Trade Organization, and can now overturn laws passed by federal and state legislatures.
This is one of those areas where even the conservative base, the middle-American "Joe six-packs," know that transnational corporations and unfettered free trade are destructive to the interests of the United States. But you'll never hear a word of it in our corporate media, which is largely owned by those same transnational corporations.
Mark Karlin: Isn't this also true of Wall Street financial speculation? If Wall Street crashes due to its reckless speculation, than financial institutions around the world are impacted. Sovereignty over economic interests is in rapid decline, it would appear.
Thom Hartmann: Yes. And bank revenues and risks are now pretty much back to where they were in 2007. If something isn't done to reign these people in, get ready for a real national and international disaster, most likely followed by a world war.
Mark Karlin: Much of Heist focuses on Wall Street's "Get Out of Jail Free Card" in the collapse of the US and international economy a few years back. Recently, BP was assessed a record fine, but no executives will be charged or prosecuted. Is it safe to say that there are people who are "too big" to go to jail?
Thom Hartmann: Yes. While white America is just waking up to this, people of color have known for centuries that America has two criminal justice systems: one for the very, very rich, and another for everybody else. Increasingly, our stratification is breaking along the lines of class rather than color. And the bankster class is, for the moment, untouchable.
Mark Karlin: What is your reaction to the notion that the Heist of democracy for corporate and personal enrichment could not be carried out with a two-party duopoly. Even if one concedes differences between Democrats and Republicans on social issues, the social safety net and taxing the rich, the corporate dominance of the government appears firmly intact, doesn't it?
Thom Hartmann: Yes, but that's pretty much what Herbert Hoover thought when he was elected in 1928, and what The British East India Company thought in 1773. I don't think we've reached the point of no return; if anything, it looks to me like we are on the verge of a new great awakening. The possible tragedy is that it may - probably - will take a horrific crash to fully bring it about.