Meet The Predator Elite
You should know who is ruining everything
Exercise: Which of the following can be used to describe our government?
- Corporatocracy – government action is dictated by the needs of corporations
- Ethnocracy – government control is distributed according to ethnic or racial affiliation
- Kakistocracy – government controlled by some of its least qualified and least ethical citizens.
- Kleptocracy – government controlled by corrupt leaders that exploit laws, people, and resources for their own enrichment
- Oligarchy – government controlled by a small number of people who control through nobility, military, religion, corporate power, etc.
- Plutocracy – government controlled by a small number of wealthy people
- Theocracy – government controlled by officials who are regarded as divinely guided
- All of the above
None of those forms of government are appealing, but it’s hard to look at that list and not think that our Democracy has devolved into something that has a little of each. To many of us, the answer is probably H.
Now take a closer look at that list. It’s not so much about governments – it is really about the types of people that run them. Governments don’t always reflect society and instead can end up reflecting the goals of only a handful of self-serving people – until those people push things too far. Since most or all of the above list applies to our country and the list is really about people then it would be useful for us to figure out who these people are and to come up with a name for them. We have names for just about everyone in this country; “heroes”, “patriots”, “the working class”, “elitists”, “politicians”, “leaders”, “poor”, “wealthy”, “celebrities”, etc. The list goes on and on. We don’t seem to have a name, however, for those who are destroying our country.
It was pretty tough to give these folks a descriptive label, but below is an attempt to briefly summarize the concept of “predator elite” …
Most Americans live harder and shorter lives because of the predator elite.
The terms “elite” or “elitists” usually conjure up images of those muckety-muck billionaires (especially those up in the Northeast), Hollywood types, or high-brow professors at all those fancy colleges and universities around the country telling us how we can live better lives. While many millionaires and billionaires certainly enjoy their wealth and love watching it grow, most have no intentions of destroying America – most of them know the value of our Democracy and the role we all play in it. Hollywood types are harmless and typically only briefly use their popularity to support a cause. Professors are almost always thinking and working hard to improve our lot in life. Sometimes their ideas are a bit quirky but those are far outnumbered by work that contributes greatly to society – and they certainly never shove their ideas down our throats.
On the other hand, there are those among us with much more sinister priorities. In his 1956 book The Power Elite, sociologist Charles Wright Mills describes the “power elite” where the political establishment and corporate America manipulate and control us. The “power elite” is much stronger now, more brazen, and more organized. They do more than manipulate and control us; they have drastically tilted the playing field, taking a grotesquely large portion of the economy for themselves. They shifted the balance of power over to the wealthy who have been doing whatever the hell they want to our wallets, our health, and our planet. They are purposefully dividing us with the intent of destroying our democracy. The “power elite” have become the “predator elite”. Most Americans live harder and shorter lives because of the predator elite – we are their prey. Twenty years ago this would have sounded like political gaslighting, but most of what is making everything unravel around today us is the result of an ongoing 50-year effort by the predator elite.
The greatest fear of the predator elite is a government that acts in the interests of the people over those of the wealthy. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, we got too close to that point when our government began reigning in corporate exploitation of our health, our wallets, and the environment. As the strength of the common man continued to increase through a more responsive government, the predator elite felt more and more trapped – so they attacked…
Modern American Democracy is the casualty of a decades-long guerrilla war. Emboldened by the Lewis Powell Memo, enabled by the Supreme Court, and financed and orchestrated by the predator elite, the combatants of this war have brought Uncle Sam and many of us to our knees. In this War, the predator elite are driven by a sort of psychopathic ideology to grab as much power and money as they can; not by working hard within our properly functioning Democracy and society, but by exploiting and destroying both.
To do this, they spread themselves and their minions throughout our government, infiltrating the Supreme Court, Congress, and the White House to attack our government from the top-down. Meanwhile, they take over government agencies to attack from the inside. They gradually and purposefully make our government more corruptible and therefore more compliant to their agenda (which does not include us).
This has been their battle plan and they have been wildly successful because, as citizens, we were innocent and trusting, we were head-down and working hard, and our focus was the future of our children. We couldn’t have imagined that there were those among us who were going to such lengths to destroy everything good about America.
Like wolves, the predator elite instinctively prey on anything below them in the food chain – and that means just about all of us.
Guerrilla warfare often includes winning hearts and minds, weakening institutions, and creating division within society – this is certainly the case in this war. The primary tactic of Guerrilla warfare is to do this by attacking in small groups. In this war, these groups are typically political organizations, think tanks, social welfare groups, foundations, advocacy groups, policy research institutes, etc. that are funded and directed by the predator elite.
Because most are non-profit, and thanks to the corruption-friendly Supreme Court, this funding is primarily massive amounts of untraceable “Dark Money” that is allowed to flow freely between these groups and the wealthy. These are the lair of the predator elite, where they launder and gather vast sums of money and determine how best to use it all against us. Like wolves, the predator elite instinctively prey on anything below them in the food chain – and that means just about all of us.
The bottom line is that the predator elite slowly infiltrated our government so it worked more and more in their favor and left more and more of us behind. They used their wealth to influence campaign financing and corruption laws so they could take greater control and push more of their pro-wealthy agenda through our government. It took decades for this to happen, with the organization gaining momentum in the early 1970s, but over the years they have managed to turn American Democracy upside down.
The predator elite have nearly unlimited resources that they can use to turn their unlimited greed into action. A very short list of their “causes” includes…
- Pushing “The Big Lie” and curtailing voting rights/protection legislation at the national and state levels
- Engaging in political funding with their untraceable money
- Pushing for tax breaks for the wealthy and trickledown economics
- Pushing for the deregulation of industry (fossil fuel, finance, pharma, Big Ag, etc.)
- Picking and influencing corporate-friendly Supreme Court Justices.
- Picking corporate-friendly White House cabinet members and agency heads.
- Squeezing out non-compliant politicians
- Denying climate change science
- Keeping minimum wage down
- Limiting healthcare access
- Defunding and attacking public education
- Inserting their minions in colleges throughout the country
- Using their media reach to spread highly divisive and dangerous rhetoric
- Using their media reach to spin their pro-corporate and pro-wealth agenda
- Social engineering and astroturfing the public
All this was slow-rolled and somewhat unorganized at first, but as they learned what they could get away with they became more sophisticated and expanded their agenda. They were planning to attack working Americans and they understood that we wouldn’t accept any of this if they simply shoved it down our throats. They knew they had to hide some of their actions and they had to get our consent for the rest. Money may not be able to buy happiness but it can buy control of the filthy masses.
Sure enough, their policies of trickle-down economics, offshoring of jobs, deregulating various industries, reducing government services, etc., have slowly decimated the working class. Along with these crippling policies came a steady flow of people and ideas for us to blame as we began sliding down their tilting playing field. Every single day, their own conservative media and an inattentive mainstream media provided platforms for them to cover their tracks. The more the playing field was tilted against us the more we were pitted against each other.
Not only did they corrupt our government and our news media, but they also extended their reach down to the states and local communities where they sent in their operatives or used targeted social media to herd us along on issues such as healthcare, segregation, school committees, school curriculums, mask-wearing, etc. They have been doing this for years with their crowning achievement being the creation, organization, and weaponizing of the Tea Party. These localized guerilla warfare tactics are used to create the appearance that folks in our communities support pro-wealth policies or to manufacture movements or protests to further divide us. This is known as astroturfing (vs. actual grassroots efforts).
All of the above have taken their toll on us. Having lost everything, convinced you’re about to lose everything, realizing you’re in a rigged system, or just knowing in your gut that you are one pink slip or diagnosis away from disaster can keep you in a state of steady anxiety. This anxiety made many of us susceptible to their scapegoating of the vulnerable in our society and those who pushed back against pro-wealth policies.
Their policies hurt us but their rhetoric hurt us more. Anxiety eats our capacity for reason and logic for breakfast and has caused many of us to now eagerly follow the predator elite as they lead us out of Democracy. The predator elite used their vast wealth to rig the system against and then used our resulting anxiety against us to lure us along with them…until they are done with us.
It is important to keep in mind that these groups will attack a particular issue in unison. For example, many groups attack climate change. These seemingly independent organizations, each having numerous “subject authorities”, use a steady flow of fossil-fuel funding to publish books and research papers that are not based on science and not peer-reviewed. They continually discredit climate science on television, in newspapers, and on the internet – never revealing who they actually work for. They often reference each other’s “research” to expand each other’s credibility. All of this creates an artificial consensus that causes doubt in many of us about climate change. Conversely, scientists don’t have such groups that can lead a campaign to convince us of what they know – they have to rely primarily on that incompetent news media or pray that somehow we all start reading scientific journals…
A very short list of some of the groups that push climate denial (along with other “causes”) includes:
- The US Chamber of Commerce
- The Heritage Foundation
- The American Enterprise Institue
- The Heartland Institute
- The Institute of Humane Studies
- The Institute for Energy Research
- Americans for Prosperity
- The Cato Institute
- The State Policy Network
- The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)
Bending over backward to destroy the planet for power and profit, while looking us in the eye and denying it, takes “elitist” to a whole new level.
The Supreme Court
The predator elite took an entirely different approach to one of their other favorite goals, stacking the Supreme Court. Like climate denial, this was a very long play. Unlike climate denial, it was done quietly. Candidate SCOTUS justices were watched, groomed, and filtered out. Conservative justices were selected not based on their judicial and constitutional knowledge and experience, but on the pro-corporate goals of social control, concentration of wealth, and corporate power.
These groomed justices have been steadily giving more political power to the wealthy and corporations by allowing unlimited and untraceable money to flow through our political system. At the same time they have been slowly chipping away at our ability to vote and they have stymied efforts to protect the integrity of the voting process. As a bonus, they have made it nearly impossible to prove corruption in government.
The importance of SCOTUS to those in power only becomes evident when there is an opening on the bench. This is when the gloves come off and it is an all-out fist fight as corporate-backed Senators stack the court with their activist justices. Now, with a strong majority on the bench, conservative SCOTUS justices are doing whatever the hell they want. The predator elite have weaponized the Supreme Court against American democracy and their justices use their ad-hoc and heavily biased interpretation of the Constitution and court precedence as their ammunition.
Politically, the predator elite are typically Republicans, conservatives, corporatists, Libertarians, free marketers, etc. In reality, the predator elite don’t care about any of these political parties or ideologies – these are just labels to hide behind as they take everything for themselves. It is important to point out here that the everyday citizens (the Tea Party, MAGA, most of the Republican base) that associate with these political factions are hardly the predator elite, in fact, they are the easiest prey and the most often sacrificed.
This is not blaming the traditional (your father’s) Republican party. The Republican party was a logical place for the predator elite to bring their attack into mainstream politics simply because the Republicans have always been more aligned with corporate America more than the Democrats. The Republicans were attacked first because they were an easy kill – readers may recall Tea Party Republicans vs. RINOs. The Democrats are next as we see in Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema.
The list of the predator elite (living and dead) continues to grow, but there are some standouts. Most notable are brothers Charles and David Koch (David recently died) and their Koch Network of think tanks, political organizations, and legal groups. The damage caused by these two and their minions is significant and includes everything from funding the spread of authoritarianism, to spreading doubt about climate change, to stacking the Supreme Court with pro-corruption justices, to enabling government corruption, to taking away our voting rights.
There are plenty more predators at the top of the food chain. Going back fifty years we have the aforementioned Lewis Powell who masterminded the hell we are living in now. Another example, twenty years later, is Newt Gingrich who removed effectiveness from Congress by purposefully destroying civility between the parties and by replacing the critical Office of Technical Assessment (scientists) with lobbyists. Over the past ten or more years, Leonard Leo and the Federalist Society have been involved with stacking the Supreme Court, funding anti-election efforts, and even installing professors at Universities. Billionaire couple Liz and Dick Uihlein spend millions on judicial appointments and many Right-wing social engineering efforts. Fracking billionaire Farris Wilks only wants to replace public education with public Christian education.
Then there are the master manipulators such as Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch, Sinclair Broadcasting owner Julian Sinclair Smith and his family, and conservative financiers Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah. We might as well throw in the top management at the hundreds of corporate, conservative, libertarian think tanks, etc. Of course, there is the long-running inflow of dark money from the super-wealthy Bradley, Olin, and Scaife families (and many others) that funds much of the above. This is just a tiny sample, so in other words, the predator elite are spread out all over the place. If we are unable to save the planet or American Democracy it will be largely their fault (seriously).
Charles Koch recently authored a book and admitted his creation of extreme partisanship in our country saying “Boy, did we screw up!” “What a mess!”. It’s great that he did that but around the same time many scientists have come to the realization that we may have already moved beyond the tipping point on climate change and all of us can see that we are a the tipping point of the move away from Democracy. So for Charles, his Koch organization, and all of his ilk, the confession is much too little and much too late. And, of course, it hasn’t stopped them from preying on us. In fact, since they have cultivated enough followers, there is no longer a need for them to hold back and they are going in for the final kill. You better pay attention because you are their prey…
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves” Matthew 7:15