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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Boardwalk Bossism

HBO has been running a mini-series ostensibly about prohibition and gangsterism, but what I've seen so far is a political boss who gets into the rum running business. That gangsters are in embryo form at this point in the story line.
There's this great scene where boss Thomson has given money and a job to a widow, whose husband he had killed, and she asks him what he wants in return. He looks at her and says, "I want you to vote Republican."
As evil and corrupt as bossism was it was based on a quid pro quo. The boss found people jobs, places to live, health care, etc. It was chump change compared to the money they got from the kick backs and bribes their guaranteed votes garnered. The secret ballot helped end most of the excesses of bossism. The New Deal's social safety net took a lot of what the bosses doled out in favors to benefit everyone. But when all was said and done the people who sold their vote to the boss got something in return. Maybe it wasn't much, but it was better than nothing.
Today bosses don't have to help the people. They deceive them by advertising. They don't have to mingle with the little people, buy up all the media outlets, get your message out and make a fortune in campaign spending from both sides at the same time.
As horrible as it was for the Supremes to open the cash drawers of corporations on political spending, the real democratic disaster was when the FCC dropped restrictions on who could own more than a small percentage of radio and TV stations. We no longer have local Boss Thompsons. King Rupert Murdock rules America, lock stock and entertainment.

5 comments:

Michael Manning said...

PM: Yes, to wit:I was in broadcast management one year before President Clinton, unfortunately, allowed passage of the Telecommunications Act. This was, in essence, the same thing President Carter ushered in with The Airline Deregulation Act. I remember being at the NAB convention in L.A. in 1996 and I saw all hell breaking loose. Example: In Dallas/Ft. Worth there were roughly 44 radio and television stations and approximately 19 owners before the TCA. When I left that market there were 66 and approximately 7 owners. I was very much against this and fended off 5 hostile takeovers,working 14-16 hour days 6 days a week chairing a Turnaround Team. We stabilized our finances and grew the station. I can honestly say we positioned it properly before I left. That giants now own newspapers, radio and television stations, magazines and outdoor (billboard companies) is sad. Salaries were cut in half. Automation rules now. I went back to anchoring news.

Michael Manning said...

Post Script: President Carter was unduly swayed by Harvard economist Dr. Alfred Kahn on Airline Deregulation. I think it has been good in some respects and horrible in others. I do not know who influenced President Clinton. I do believe both men thought they were taking the right action. I do not defend them. I just don't know if it's too late to make a correction--probably so. MM

P M Prescott said...

What makes me go crazy is that I can't even blame the Republicans for this. Betrayal of our republic has blood on both party's hands.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

I don't think many people realize how much they are swayed by the media or the corrosive effect of it.

We decry the sense of entitlement that individuals have but ignore that sense of entitlement that corporations and wealthy individuals have come to possess.

P M Prescott said...

Idividuals don't have teams of psychologists to help us fight the mind games that corporations do.