This series of podcasts will delve into the world of oligarchy. So many, dating back to the original framers like Thomas Jefferson, Albert Einstein, and President Dwight Eisenhower, would point to the economic wolves or mysterious men and women who shaped policies behind closed doors. Trump was going to drain the swamp but had no idea who these creatures were. The fact is, he was one of them.
We’ll have many episodes under this title.
Welcome, everyone, this is Todd Smekens with Muncie Voice.
In my writings, I often refer to the oligarchy, and everybody always asks me, what are you referring to when talking about an oligarchy? And usually, it’s in reference to all the commentary that you hear on the news about our democracy in distress. Well, it is in distress, and however media, the mainstream media does not point us to what we need to be looking at. What they’re pointing at is how the Republicans and how the Democrats are invoking policies on the rest of us and working outside the mainstream and which they refer to as a democracy in crisis.
However, when you look at it, when you take a step back, and you look at who controls both the Democrat and Republican headquarters, the Koch brothers had spent decades consuming the Republican Party to the point that it is no longer even remotely resembles what the Republican Party was a decade ago. This is the objective of the Koch brothers. They are the owners, they are one of the richest men in the world and they’ve acquired that wealth through inheritance and through their private corporations. And it’s very interesting, it’s very telling for us to learn that they are not a capital company. They are private capital. They have not gone to the stock market to raise money for their business. Therefore, they are the anti-government slash business interest and they are against that. And they fund the politicians who are against that. Anything to nip away at the government, they fund that. And we need to know that that’s important because what you’ll find out is every policy, I mean, they fund 150 universities. They fund the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation. They own and fund all these, even our NPR and public radio and our local university here in Muncie, Indiana, Ball State. The Koch brothers are behind all of them. And because of that, they get favorable recommendations and policies being advocated and written by the professors at these universities.
So we must identify that democracy is based on the individual people. When the Constitution was written, they were very specific about claiming that we are a democracy and that we need to ensure that the government is by the people and for the people. The whole we the people. Well, Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson, was one of the enlightened ones, so to speak. He went over to spend a lot of time in Europe before coming to the United States and helped organize the government for us. And even though he was a slave owner, he commented quite frequently about we the people. He was very concerned about the press and its position in holding the government accountable. And that’s very important. But what we see today, I mean, Jefferson wrote letters to judges back in the day and said he saw the economic wolves, the robber barons of the day, he saw those up on the horizon, and they were looking to take down the government as soon as they formed it. And the people that formed it were pretty much all oligarchs. A few people took it upon themselves to write, and frame the Constitution, the Democratic Republic that we claim that we have.
If you look on Wikipedia in the Democracy Index, we’ve ranked 25th out of all the countries on Democracy. All the countries on Democracy. That does not speak well for our existing democracy. We are not a democracy. And again, once again, we are an oligarchy. And we were an oligarchy when we started, and we’re still an oligarchy. And it’s a few people holding the country in prison, basically, I mean, they make the policies and fund both political parties. Dwight D. Eisenhower, former president in the 60s, wrote about the military-industrial complex. That is an oligarchy.
Einstein 1949 wrote about “Why socialism”, pointing out that under capitalism, within a short period, capitalism, due to technological advances and such, accumulates enough wealth the oligarchs do, that they form monopolies, which basically impose their will upon society. And because of that, we can’t, like universal healthcare, and other policies that we want to benefit all of us, we can’t, workers’ rights, et cetera, et cetera, we can’t get those passed because it goes against the oligarchy. It’s gonna defeat and cause problems for their profit-making ways.
And so, it’s very important when we look at our country and how it’s set up, you gotta understand how it’s set up today, and before you can make recommendations, because if we were a democracy, the country would be listening to the people. The polls that the media runs and calls folks, we’d be more aligned with that. If you look over in Europe, you see when Prime Minister, Macron, Emmanuel Macron, makes a policy from the presidential suite saying that he’s gonna cut so much money out of retirement and worker salaries to pay for this and that, basically accumulating more wealth for the military-industrial complex, the people went to the streets.
The same thing happened in Israel, in the Middle East. When he made recommendations on what he was gonna do, he met resistance with the people. The people got in the streets and said, no, you’re not gonna do that. You’re not gonna do that, and he stopped. Macron stopped, and they went another direction. And that’s really what the United States needs to do, but the media has got the people so complacent that they will sit and tolerate an abundance of misuse at the state, local, and federal level. You really don’t have any idea just how corrupt our government is.
And the Democrats point at the Republicans, and the Republicans point at the Democrats, and Fox News points at the Democrats, and MSNBC points at Fox News, and the Republicans, and all the high-fluting professors and think tanks in DC point at either party. And if you look at the funding of the think tanks, you’ll see why they’re pointing at which agency. I mean, you gotta peek behind the doors. If the media’s not telling you who’s funding this bill and that bill, and the lobbyists involved, then they’re not doing their job. They’re telling you half the story. The biggest story is what goes on behind the closed doors with the lobbyists and the think tanks and all the money that takes place behind closed doors with the politicians getting the will away from the people toward the corporations and the oligarchy.
I give an example, in Muncie, it didn’t take very long to break down the oligarchy, oligarchic structure here because we had the Ball Family Foundation, and they’ve always been active in the government, dating back to the 1800s when they bought land here in Muncie from the James Whitcomb Riley, the famous poet of Indianapolis. When he was going through some financial difficulties, the Ball Family bought the land and utilized the gas, the plentiful gas we had here in the region, and set up shop. And over the course of several decades, generations and two, they pretty much ran the show. And it was amazing to watch. I mean, the historical accounts weren’t accurate. There were books that were written that said, no, the history’s been whitewashed. And that’s pretty much what we get in schools. And what’s funny is the Republicans think that stuff is all leftist. It’s not leftist. You know, leftist is what Marx wrote. You know, it’s what the socialists are writing. And you know, the socialists are all on top of this because they’ve always been there.
They were big back when FDR was around. And FDR was, pretty much was the president that saved capitalism from the oligarchs. He protected capitalism and told the oligarchs, here’s what we’re gonna do. If you wanna keep capitalism, here’s what we’re gonna do. And he outlined some social measures like social security and Medicare and Medicaid, et cetera. He convinced the oligarchs, the robber barons of that time in the 30s, that if you wanna keep capitalism, here’s what we’re gonna do. And the reason why he was being pushed is he had the unions. The unions ran about 90% of the workplace. And the unions were big. They were big in the churches. They were big in the community. They were big all over. And they pretty much said we’ve had enough. You got the employers, and the oligarchy has taken advantage of the workers. They even had kids working just like they do today in Arkansas. Governor Huckabee now is writing policy that allows workers to utilize children as young as 14 and 15, teenagers, in the meatpacking plants in Arkansas. Well, guess who owns meatpacking plants in Arkansas? Well, you got the Waltons, Walton family, and you got the Koch family. So, and you also got the Chinese. The Chinese own probably 1/5th of our meatpacking.
Therefore, you start to get an idea of who’s running what. And they can’t very well come out and say, here’s what we want, and to hell with what you guys want. So, they spend all their time setting up elaborate networks with other foundations and colleges who write for newspapers and policy networks, think tanks, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. They are using this to get what they want from society.
And the politicians are more than happy to roll over backwards and seek what they want in return for checks, because fundraising is the number one thing that the politicians do. And it’s really easy to go to the Koch brothers and get a $10,000 check than it is to get $10,000, $1 checks from the people. So, you can see how easily oligarchs can sway the politicians. And the oligarchs also own all the media, the mainstream media. And they’re the ones, if you go back and look over this last year, and the work that Matt Taibee did, the former Rolling Stones journalist, he was giving document after document from Elon Musk at Twitter, showing how the government was, like Homeland Security and the FBI, was reaching out to Zuckerberg over at Facebook and the head guys at Twitter, and showing them which accounts need to be censored and traced down by the algorithm and shut down. And this was going on.
Most of us alternative media journalists knew this was happening because we could see it with our accounts. After January 6th, my Facebook account and all the business, Muncie Voice and Muncie Matters, evaporated. All of a sudden, no eyeballs could see it. And that was because of the algorithm set out by Facebook. And Twitter was the same way. It is pretty much all ruled by the oligarchs.
Last thing I wanna say in this episode is when you consider an oligarchy, there was a, I think it was a Greek philosopher, mentioned that you can always tell who runs a place by who it is you can’t hold accountable. And the media is not gonna do it because the media’s gotta make money. They’ve got advertisement goals, and they can’t sell advertisements to slots or corporations if they’re holding them accountable. So as Noam Chomsky wrote in the 80s, the media basically filters itself. That’s one of the reasons why it’s been fading away and dying. It’s not doing its job. It was given a very, Jefferson and our framers gave it a very specific job of holding the government accountable, while the government’s job was to hold the private sector, the capitalists, and the oligarchs accountable. Well, that didn’t last long. Jefferson wrote about it, and he knew human nature.
Again, Jefferson was one of the enlightened ones. And he knew human nature and knew that if left to their own devices, the economic wolves would come in and take over the government and eliminate the regulators. And we see that right now going down in banking. Once again, in 2008, they had a chance, Obama had the chance to rectify the situation and socialize the banks and eliminate them from becoming gamblers and playing with all their, um, uh, the derivatives market. That was a huge thing that was causing the bank’s issues in 2008. Well, we never straightened it out. We let the banks straighten it out themselves, so we got a mess getting ready to start. I’ve been writing about it for the last year. Several good journalists out there holding the capitalists and the oligarchs accountable. Anyway, the banking industry is another oligarchy that runs the show, paying Democrats and Republicans to lay off. So the government’s not doing their job. I mean, I can go down the list, and I will as we get into further episodes of, for instance, the water pollution in Indiana is horrible.
Indiana ranks in the top five dirtiest states out there. There’s no reason for it. We are a conservation-friendly state. Why do Republicans vote for Republicans that are destroying our environment, I have no idea. It just takes a high level of propaganda to pass this on to the individuals. I mean, I don’t know how it gets passed on. I don’t know how they get voted in, but they do, and the media plays along. I mean, I’ve been invited to become a volunteer waterkeeper and water monitor, so I’ll be going out into the rivers this spring and summer when the CAFOs, confined animal feed operations, get cranking, and they start polluting our waters. I’ll go out and test the water and send it to the regulators because our state government’s not doing it themselves. We used to do this by sending in journalists to videotape what was happening in these confined animal feed operations, these CAFO operations, and you know what the government did? The government’s response was to make it illegal for journalists to lie on their applications so that they could get in there and take videos. We used to fly planes over the CAFOs to see where the manure and urine lagoons were flowing into the tiles and the river, and the government made flying over private property illegal.
So as you can see, every time we make headway in holding the oligarchy accountable, the oligarchy uses the government and their political operatives to counter-strike and prevent them from being held accountable, and that is the same path that you’ll see up and down every single industry, and just writing about it will get you censored. Talking about it will get you censored, but it has to be done. People have to understand what’s happening, or they won’t be able to make sound decisions in favor of their families. I’ll be coming to you with more episodes on Muncie Voice. Very soon, we’ll be covering lots of different topics. I’ve been asked many questions, so we’ll be hitting those here soon and talking to you as quickly as possible.