Why are we focused on the puppets and not the puppeteers?

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  1. Don W profile image83
    Don Wposted 10 years ago

    In many of the threads in the politics forum, the government seems to be the target for a lot of people's frustration. Why isn't the focus on the corporations that have steadily usurped influence away from ordinary people?

    When I say usurped influence, I'm not talking about world conspiracies. In my view the current imbalance is the inevitable consequence of focusing on the profit motive as the most important aspect of human relations. Imbue organisations who's sole purpose is to create profit, with all the rights and privileges of people, and the result is the Frankenstein's monster of rampant materialism we currently have.

    But what I don't understand is why we focus our attention on those in government, and not those who unduly influence government in the name of profit, sometimes to the detriment of the people. Undue corporate influence on government is one of the few areas that right and left agree on. Yet each seems too busy arguing over their pet "isms" to care. Meanwhile corporations take full advantage of that division and corporate influence on government grows. What if we stopped watching the political soap opera in Washington for five minutes, and focused our attention on taking back the sovereignty of individuals from corporations that, as it stands, effectively own us lock, stock and barrel.

    The government is not who we should fear. Our attention should be on Wall St. and Corporate America. They can only operate within the parameters we allow them to though. So why are we focused on the puppets and not the puppeteers?

    1. bBerean profile image61
      bBereanposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Perhaps because we expect your alleged puppeteers to do what they do, looking out for their best interests.  We pay your alleged puppets, on the other hand, to have enough integrity to not be available as puppets, and we therefore hold them accountable for the jobs they were hired to do.  They are supposed to be the solution and regulating force, not puppets.  Are they?  Largely this may be true, but then they are the problem.  If the lions and tigers get out, the curator of the zoo and it's staff are who we need to hold accountable.  They are paid to control and manage the beasts, while keeping us safe.

    2. peoplepower73 profile image82
      peoplepower73posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      When the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Citizens United, that was when the puppeteers started pulling the strings to make the puppets do their dance. The Supreme Court ruled that corporations have person hood and that money is equated to freedom of speech. 

      Therefore super PACs on both sides of the aisle started funding the candidates of their choice with unlimited funds and not having to disclose the sources. They do this with impunity by posing as 501(c3,c4) tax exempt organizations that lead people to believe they support the general welfare the majority of the time.  One third of congress is always up for re-election and is beholden to these puppeteers.  They are not representing the man on the street.  They are representing the best interest of the moneyed interests that fund their campaigns for re-election.  The puppets (congress) is just political theater for the audience (the man on the street).  The real influence comes from the dollar. The more dollars a person or organizations has, the more they can influence the outcome of political situations...and Citizens United allows unlimited influence.

    3. GA Anderson profile image87
      GA Andersonposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      People's representatives should have the integrity to resist being bought by the evil corporations.
      They tell us they have such integrity when they ask for our vote.
      All parties involved in the election process know the "big money influence of the evil corporations" is at the door, that is why we seek honest representation.

      So, of course our focus is on the "puppets" - they are the ones that lied to us. The evil corporations know that we know that they will try to influence government.

      The other commenter's analogy to lions and tigers and game keepers says it all in a nutshell.

      ps. I do agree that Citizen's United was a detrimental decision - but I am not certain it was a wrong decision decided on the facts of the dispute.


    4. Rod Rainey profile image79
      Rod Raineyposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I am just a mediocre mind, but I think we should stop pointing fingers at corporations, politicians, "illegals" and the poor and start scrutinizing our systems, cultures, histories, our true natures, the real world (the physical planet), what we have to deal with and what we have to work with. I can’t say exactly what should be done anymore than any other average Joe, but I deeply feel if we don’t start questioning these things, our species will cease to exist by its own hands. What a waste.

      1. profile image54
        Education Answerposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        I think we can point fingers at all of the above.  Ultimately, we can point fingers at ourselves too.  We allow this to continue.

        1. peoplepower73 profile image82
          peoplepower73posted 10 years agoin reply to this

          I think we lost track of the real issue.  It started out about how the people are focusing more on the puppets than the puppeteers.  Which I think is a metaphor for congress and the people behind the scenes that control congress. Because of lobbyists and big money interest, I believe our two party system is now just those with big money and congress.  There are no longer democrats and republicans in congress.  There is just congress being manipulated by big money interests. 

          There is a revolving door between congressman and lobbyists.  Congressman that serve lobbyists and big money interest can become the lobbyist themselves and basically preform the same job they were performing as congressman and lobbyist can become congressman and advocate for the same clients that they once represented.  So the puppeteers become the puppets and puppet becomes the puppeteer.  However, the puppeteers can earn much more money as lobbyist than they could as congressman.

          The audience doesn't know the difference when they switch roles.  They are always watching the puppets.  It's called political theater and we are entertained and held in awe by the whole performance, because it is done by design.

          1. Don W profile image83
            Don Wposted 10 years agoin reply to this

            Yes peoplepower73 the thread has become sidetracked somewhat.

            If we allow for corporations to have the same constitutional rights as real people, then that gives them greater political power over real people. The Kock brothers should have no more influence than you and I over the political process. Sadly they do, by virtue of the fact they have more money to spend  so can make their message much "louder" in media terms than we.

            As we know, the Citizens United Supreme Court decision removed some of the restrictions on how corporations can spend money to influence political processes. I think that was a mistake. I also think the concept that corporations are "people" is a mistake. The founding fathers specifically restricted the influence corporations could exert on the political process, and for good reason. Corporations like the East India Company where responsible for some of the exploitation of colonists in the name of the King. It was their tea that was sent floating across Boston Harbor!

            As a result, after the revolution, corporate charters were only granted for a limited time. These charters could be revoked if those corporations broke the law. Corporations could only engage in activities described in their chartered purpose. They could not own stock in other corporations or property that was not essential to their chartered purpose, and charters could be terminated if a corporation exceeded their authority or caused public harm. Crucially they were not allowed to make political contributions or spend money to influence law-making.

            Since then, corporations have slowly clawed back their power by influencing the political process and due to some missteps in the legislator (such as the poorly worded clerk's notes that set the precedent for corporate personhood). That's why there are various movements underway to remove this power and influence from corporations. Move To Amend is a campaign set up to remove corporate personhood. This is their mission statement:

            We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United and other related cases, and move to amend our Constitution to firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights. The Supreme Court is misguided in principle, and wrong on the law. In a democracy, the people rule.

            I think this is something people from left and right sides of the political spectrum can support. Maybe when it's successful we can then go back to arguing over our favorite "ism", but until then I would urge people to support this campaign in any way they can.

            Sorry for the long post. Had to get that off my chest smile

  2. wilderness profile image96
    wildernessposted 10 years ago

    At one point in our life, shortly after our last child started school, my wife decided she wanted to work.  She found a job with a 20 mile (one way commute) and day care for two children after school. 

    Unfortunately it didn't take too long to figure out that day care and car expense ate up nearly all her income.  She was left earning less than 10 cents per hour.

    The "profits" from selling her labor were insufficient to motivate her to keep working and she quite after only a few weeks.  The moral is that profits are necessary, whether for a multinational corporation for for Howard Homeowner.  Profit is the only reason the vast majority of us labor to build the cars, TV's and refrigerators we all want - without that profit we won't have cars, we won't have homes and only the farmers will eat.

    Now it is absolutely true that some companies are over the line in their profit margins.  OK - don't buy from them.  Don't work for them.  Refuse to do business with them at all.  They can only earn profits with the implicit agreement and help from the population, after all - if you find their profits unethical then quite adding to those profits.

    1. peoplepower73 profile image82
      peoplepower73posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Capitalism is O.K. Unfettered capitalism is not. Capitalism without regulations leads to greed and corruption.  That's what caused the financial meltdown. In economics there is a force called "externalities."  If you live in a neighborhood and people paint their houses and the market value of your house goes up as a result of that, it's called a positive externality.  If the neighbors don't keep up their property and values go down, that's called a negative externality.  When corporations only focus on their bottom line and don't care about the effect they are having on society, that's a negative externality.  For example sending jobs to China because labor costs are much lower.  In the financial world, giving people variable rate mortgages without quantifying for the loans so that the mortgage companies can reek the benefits and grant commisions, that's a negative externality.  When MacDonald's employs people at such a low rate that they have to seek a second job to make ends meet, that's a negaitive externality. When companies are only beholden to their shareholders and board of directors without considering how their business decisions affect everybody, that's bad for our society as a whole.

      1. wilderness profile image96
        wildernessposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        Truth, although some of your examples will deny reality in favor of a fantasy world that we would rather see.

        The recession, for example, was caused by the greed, not of companies, but of people buying a house while knowing they could not pay for it.  That and the stupid politicians buying votes by pressuring banks to offer loans without reasonable restrictions.  Not by evil bankers. 

        Of McDonalds with their minimum wage jobs; jobs that a one earner family cannot live on.  It is unreasonable to decide that ALL jobs must provide that Oh So Desirable "living wage".  Not all jobs are worth that.

        And when management is beholden primarily to shareholders, they are correct to take that path.  Do notice the "primarily" rather than the "only" you used.

        1. peoplepower73 profile image82
          peoplepower73posted 10 years agoin reply to this

          Deregulation of the Glass Stegal Act that was in place since 1933 is what caused the financial meltdown.  The act prevented commercial banks and investment companies from co-mingling their assets.  The bankers and investment companies nibbled away at the act until it was finally removed. One of the main factors that created the depression in 1929 was that commercial banks and investment companies had co-mingled their assets. That meant that investment companies could now make mortgage loans and commercial banks could now sell investment instruments.

          Once the act was removed, it opened the door for all kinds of exotic investment instruments including Collateralize debt obligations, credit default swaps, derivatives, and mortgage backed securities.  These were all designed to mitigate the risk in bundling mortgages and loaning money to people who were not qualified to borrow the money.  They bundled the toxic mortgages and traded them as investments.  The problem was that when home owners started to default on their loans, the whole thing had a ripple effect and crashed like a house of cards.  Then they asked for TARP, 7 billion dollars without any conditions for a bailout so they could pay their huge bonuses and commissions.  They then stopped loaning money to business and the economy went bust.  That brings us to MacDonald's. At one time there were mainly college students working in MacDonald's, but now they are mainly adults who have lost their jobs because of the financial meltdown. College students could work for minimum wages.  These people can't and its not their fault, they lost their jobs mainly because of the financial meltdown.

          1. wilderness profile image96
            wildernessposted 10 years agoin reply to this

            Nor is the changing demographic working at low end jobs MacDonald's fault.  Or their responsibility to support by paying more than the job is worth and going under as a result.

            1. peoplepower73 profile image82
              peoplepower73posted 10 years agoin reply to this

              I don't believe Mac Donald's is going under with 1.5 billion in profits for last year!

              http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/2 … 36336.html

              1. wilderness profile image96
                wildernessposted 10 years agoin reply to this

                That would be correct.  They are highly unlikely to follow the wishes of those wishing them to pay labor costs that would make the business unprofitable.

                1. peoplepower73 profile image82
                  peoplepower73posted 10 years agoin reply to this

                  Do the math. They would have to pay out 1.5 billion in labor costs in order for them to become unprofitable!

                  1. wilderness profile image96
                    wildernessposted 10 years agoin reply to this

                    YOU do the math.  With over 1.7 million employees
                    a raise of $880 per employee per year will eat up the entire profits of all the investors.  Investors that have, in the final analysis, provided 1.7 million jobs, and  that doesn't seem real smart just to give those employees another 42 cents per hour.

                    It's always amazing how people look at big numbers and brush aside that the other side of the coin - the number of people involved - is big too.  MacDonalds cannot possibly pay all employees that mythical "living wage" for a family of 4 or 5 and stay in business, but people sure THINK they can.  People that can't be bothered to do the math, anyway.

                  2. profile image54
                    Education Answerposted 10 years agoin reply to this

                    Isn't that just corporate profits?  McDonalds is typically franchised, isn't it?  Their profit is much greater than 1.5 billion dollars.

                    When people have few skills, a low salary should be motivation to get training, education, or to work hard to move up the ladder within the business.  I worked for McDonalds and put myself through college.  Upon graduating, I received an offer to make much more money managing a McDonalds than to teach.  We keep talking about entry-level jobs; there are many higher paying jobs at McDonalds.

    2. John Holden profile image59
      John Holdenposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      But how do you manage that? Take petrol (gas) for instance, most gas stations take supplies from their nearest distributor. Might be delivered in a different tanker, but from the same source!
      Or in the UK, don't like your electricity provider? Change them and still get exactly the same electricity from another supplier! Don't like Microsoft? Tough, you'll pay them even if you don't use their product.

      1. wilderness profile image96
        wildernessposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        Gas solutions:

        Ride a bicycle
        Move to a different location
        Go with an electric car
        Use public transportation
        Change fuel (propane, diesel, natural gas, etc.)

        Put up a windmill
        Solar cells and batteries
        Generator, run by any of a variety of fuels
        Do without; we all did it for millenia
        Water wheel

        Don't like the alternatives?  Tough - sometimes those evil corporations are that way because people insist that they want the product bad enough to pay almost anything.  Certainly bad enough to make some horrible businessman rich in the process.  Instead of complaining about it, DO something if you don't like it!  Something, that is, besides interfering in the market or stealing while calling it reasonable taxes.

        1. John Holden profile image59
          John Holdenposted 10 years agoin reply to this

          My point is that so many businesses are so intermingled that it is often impossible to know who you are doing business with.

          1. wilderness profile image96
            wildernessposted 10 years agoin reply to this

            True.  There are often multiple middlemen and large corporations own more than just the one brand/business.  So you do the best you can and let it go.  If it means that much, these things are a matter of public record, though it will take digging to get it out.

  3. Mighty Mom profile image76
    Mighty Momposted 10 years ago

    Not coincidentally, at the same time this undue influence over Congress has been ramping up, so has income
    disparity in America.
    The people who are focused on the puppets are the eroding middle class, working poor and growing ranks of poor.
    They are frustrated and suffering and mad as hell because they've lost much of their earning power.
    While boycotting Exxon Mobil or GE or Pfizer may sound great in theory, it's not like they're going to notice if we stop supporting them.
    They report to their stockholder and they are making $$$ for that 1% who have amassed way more than their share of America's wealth.
    I don't mean to sound pessimistic here. I absolutely agree with your premise, Don W.
    If we ever do an Occupy Wall Street II we need to be laser focused on one objective and not diluted and fractured in our demands.
    Meanwhile, I think the best things we can do are
    a) Work to overturn Citizens United (unite to un-unite those corporate people. lol)
    b) Support the work Elizabeth Warren is doing with bank regulation and accountability. Small steps can make a big impact.

    Wilderness -- You've perfectly framed the dilemma of many single mothers and even families. Can't earn enough to pay for the childcare needed to work... That's unAmerican!!!

    1. wilderness profile image96
      wildernessposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Why can't you earn enough?

      No skills?  Get some training.
      No local jobs?  Move
      Made, and continue to make, poor financial decisions?  That's a tough one - some decisions last for decades - but requiring others to pay for your poor decisions doesn't make it.  Particularly when the same one is made over and over.

      There is certainly nothing "unAmerican" about being unable to support two families with one job.  Or even a large family with an entry level job requiring no skills.

      As far as the dilemma - my wife solved it with training and a part time local job that took several years to build into something decent.  Others can, too.

      1. Will Apse profile image89
        Will Apseposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        'As far as the dilemma - my wife solved it with training and a part time local job that took several years to build into something decent.  Others can, too.'

        And soon their lives will be over too.

        The US is a great example of how the powerful can get the most from the lower orders. Keep them hungry. Keep them aspiring. Keep them fearful of what a moment's relaxation can bring. Then ask one of them to refill your glass.

        1. wilderness profile image96
          wildernessposted 10 years agoin reply to this

          All lives will be over soon enough - not sure of the point.

          Hate is a powerful emotion, almost always harmful to the one succumbing to it.  Even hate of those that learned to accumulate money and did so.

          1. Will Apse profile image89
            Will Apseposted 10 years agoin reply to this

            Worse than hate is masochism. Loving the way the powerful dispose of your life when democracy is a sham.

            1. wilderness profile image96
              wildernessposted 10 years agoin reply to this

              So is envy.  And greed, too.

              1. Will Apse profile image89
                Will Apseposted 10 years agoin reply to this

                I am sure the rich and powerful will applaud your self-abnegation.


                There is nothing to be done. Since Thatcher and Reagen the whole tide of history has turned against the common man.

                In the UK, even Sir John Major, former conservative prime minister, has recently said how appalled he is by how far it has gone.

                Of course he blames, left wing politicians for the fact that modern public life is dominated by a private school-educated elite and well-heeled middle class'

                Sir John ain't so far wrong. No more Michael Caines or Gary Oldmans. Nothing but Benedict Cumbernaults being shot out of blighty's backside. Except it is not politicians of any kind to blame. They hardly matter these days.

                I am sure someone can translate this into American, lol.

                1. wilderness profile image96
                  wildernessposted 10 years agoin reply to this

                  It's easy to translate: "I hate rich people and want to be one of them".

                  Ignorance and stupidity will always pay dividends we don't like.  When both are extremely common in the population in general, those that are neither will inevitably tend to collect at one end of the curve.  As long as people voluntarily support and grown the businesses they profess to hate it will continue, too.

                  1. Will Apse profile image89
                    Will Apseposted 10 years agoin reply to this

                    I have run businesses or been self employed my entire life. I doubt if anyone is more supportive of start ups or more concerned with economic health than I am.

                    At the same time one person getting rich does not need to translate into other people becoming poor or poweless. And that is the way things have been going for a very long time.

                    One of the worst problems is the kind of Joe Ordinary who believes he is not worth being heard in politics or does not deserve a decent wage.

                    The rich always follow their interests with utter ruthlessness and everyone else should do the same.

                2. profile image0
                  Beth37posted 10 years agoin reply to this

                  How dare you?!

                  (I am not participating in this conversation. Im simply reprimanding Will for his blatant disregard of my beloved Sherlock. Carry on as if I was never here... as usual.)

                  1. Will Apse profile image89
                    Will Apseposted 10 years agoin reply to this

                    I imagine Benedicts on a stick would go down well amongst the ladies.

      2. CWanamaker profile image95
        CWanamakerposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        Heck, get two jobs if you have to! I know many people who have more than one job.  Hard work makes the clearest path to success.

        1. wilderness profile image96
          wildernessposted 10 years agoin reply to this

          Don't know about that - if there is anything I've learned it's that there is more to life than money and work.  Better to have less money and fancy things but more time to spend with people.


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