Constitution

America’s Surge Toward Oligarchy

Timothy Geithner (left), then Treasury Secretary, meeting with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office. (White House photo)

Exclusive: With the rapid concentration of wealth in a few well-manicured hands and the right-wing U.S. Supreme Court declaring money to be speech, the American surge toward oligarchy has gained what looks like an unstoppable momentum, as JP Sottile explains.

America’s Mad Dash to Oligarchy

Mr. Moneybags from the "Monopoly" game

Since Ronald Reagan’s “supply-side” tax cuts for the rich – followed by other giveaways like eliminating the “death tax” so billionaires can pass on their fortunes to lucky heirs – the United States has been on a mad dash to oligarchy, as Bill Moyers and Michael Winship note.

Making Money the Measure of Politics

U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts.

U.S. pundits decry countries like Iran as undemocratic for having a screening process for candidates to high office. But U.S. politicians must pass muster with wealthy donors to be considered serious candidates, a system that the Supreme Court just made worse, says Lawrence Davidson.

The Age of the Oligarchs

Oil billionaires David and Charles Koch.

Exclusive: The concentration of power in the hands of billionaire “oligarchs” may be most alarming in places like Ukraine but the United States is moving in the same direction as wealth is consolidated at the top — and both elections and media are up for sale, says Robert Parry.

Giving the Super-Rich More Clout

John Roberts at the Sept. 5, 2005, announcement at which President George W. Bush nominated Roberts to be Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. (White House photo by Paul Morse)

The U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision to remove limits on how much a person can donate each election cycle represents another giant step toward giving the 1 percent out-sized control of the U.S. political process, as Public Citizen President Robert Weissman told Dennis J Bernstein.

Misguided Honor for Condi Rice

Ex-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

U.S. officials lecture others about respecting international law and punishing human rights crimes, but those principles are ignored when the violators are U.S. officials. Offenders like ex-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice even get honors, as Coleen Rowley and Todd E. Pierce note.

‘We’re All Cheneyites Now’

Vice President Dick Cheney.

In late 2008, when President Obama opted more for “continuity” than “change” — and ceded control over much of his foreign policy to hawkish “rivals” — he locked in many of Dick Cheney’s neocon theories that trampled constitutional principles, as retired JAG Major Todd E. Pierce explains.

Sheldon Adelson’s Own GOP Primary

Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson.

Part of Ukraine’s crisis stems from the political power of 10 “oligarchs,” billionaires in a society with vast income inequality. It is a future that Americans seem headed toward, as one U.S. “oligarch,” Sheldon Adelson, picks his Republican presidential favorite, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Obama Ensnared in Bush’s Abuses

President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush (with First Lady Michelle Obama and former First Lady Laura Bush) walk to a White House event on May 31, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

President Obama’s fateful decision – after winning the 2008 election to seek “continuity” rather than “change” and “to look forward, not backward” – has trapped him in a web of constitutional abuses that began in the Bush-43 presidency and extended into his own, as Coleen Rowley describes.

Debating Secrecy vs. a Free Press

New York Times national security reporter James Risen.

The U.S. government’s campaign against “leakers” has pushed together some odd media bedfellows, with representatives of the mainstream news media joining with more active players who help disseminate government secrets in a conference on the dangers now facing a free press, as Danny Schechter observed.