Plutocracy in Action: Rick Perry's Employment Agency and McCutcheon Simplified

Perry politics.
Perry politics.

That quaking and creaking isn't from the Chilean earthquake, it's a destructive seismic shift to right-wing extremism and plutocracy in real time with its epicenter in Texas.

The rumble began with Greg Abbott's new education model, "Teach the Best and Shoot the Rest" based on Charles Murray's white nationalist writing. It became louder with Rick Perry's favorable nod to his nuclear waste cronies on Monday, his abuse of political patronage and having Texas taxpayers foot the bill for his travels related to his thinly veiled presidential aspirations.

But the "big one" came this week with the SCOTUS ruling on McCutcheon.

There's no more point in waiting for an all clear; it's a daily series of aftershocks.

Rick Perry's 12-year reign as the king of pay-to-play state appointments is no secret, but lately, it's a blatant and unashamed succession of revolving doors. Rick Perry is running an employment agency for his cohort of Perryists; his lieutenants and benefactors. They are unqualified individuals whose only marketable skill is being his friend or contributor.

The latest of unqualified appointments is Joe Weber, Perry's closest friend when he was a cheerleader at Texas A&M. Weber's last stint was as A&M's vice president for student affairs. How that qualifies him to head TxDOT is a head-scratcher.

Weber will replace Phil Wilson who is another long-time member of Perry's political patronage club. Without any engineering experience, Wilson's chief qualification for leading the $10 billion-a-year agency was his cozy relationship with the governor.

Long before TxDOT, under His Perryness' reign, Wilson's held at least a half dozen public offices, including secretary of state and personal communications director. The most blatant breach of trust occurred in 2006, when he enabled a public private partnership on wind energy. It cost taxpayers a bundle, but it enriched both Wilson and the Guv. Wilson became a lobbyist for Luminant for a cool half-million a year and Perry received campaign contributions totaling $633,575 over ten years.


Perry's still capitalizing on other people's dime. His political aspirations for the nation's highest office in 2012 were financed by the Texas taxpayer to the tune of $3.6 million. Our tab continues for his 2016 dreams with his travels to Davos, London and a succession of states within America.

But it was the "big one" that happened this week. The final insult to the people's rule came in this SCOTUS ruling in favor of McCutcheon. No amicus brief needed. It's ridiculously simple:

  1. The wealthiest citizens purchase legislation and the politicians who will dutifully enact it.
  2. Politicians suppress the vote
  3. Gerrymandering by the courts to dilute the power of voters even further
  4. The wealthiest citizens rule by oppression.

We are another cautionary tale in a series of stories about plutocracy, the evidence is visible in the misty landscapes of history: Carthage, Hannibal's occupation of Italy, and the merchant empires of Medieval Europe. Eventually, every plutocracy fades into obscurity because the oversight and management of so much money which demands even more control, gradually becomes too large to maintain, even for the richest of the wealthy elites.

For many, this travesty of justice marches merrily in the background, while the common constituency is lulled into a soporific slumber by sports and entertainment. But there are a few who work unobtrusively behind the scenes to quash the takeover by the elites.

The work of these groups reminds me of Madame Thérèse Defarge in Dickens' Tale of Two Cities. The Madame holds a poisonous hatred of the Evrémondes and she is constantly knitting, but thinking and plotting at the same time.

And she, too, speaks of earthquakes: "When the earthquake is ready, it takes place and destroys everything in its path. In the meantime, it is always growing, although no one sees or hears it. Take comfort in that."

Perhaps I'll take up knitting.

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