It’s been a bad week for oligarchs.
From the 48 hour birth, life, and death of the European Super League in soccer to the pullback of Russian troops from the border with Ukraine, the fat cats have been taking a bit of a pounding, most of it at the hands of the so called little guys.
If you still can’t quite understand the entire Super League fiasco don’t worry. I follow European soccer pretty closely and I am hard pressed to come up with a rational for the absurd circus the Dirty Dozen have put us through. The no longer failing New York Times has a good play by play of how this all came to be.
Suffice it to say, twelve of the fourteen richest teams in Europe decided they wanted to create their own league to play in, one that they would have total control of and which ultimately would have destroyed the delicate pyramid that feeds and nurtures the other hundreds of teams in dozens of national leagues. Fans, the people who actually pay to go to or watch games on TV, revolted. It was quickly established that even the most ardent of fans would abandon lifelong allegiance to one of the twelve in favor of continued allegiance to their national leagues. Television networks, the ones who would be paying the largest portion of the tab for the Super League, started muttering “what if they have a league and no one watches”.
And just like that, poof, it’s gone.
The birth and demise of the Super League is being laid squarely at the feet of the Glazer family, owners of Manchester United as well as being the guys who sign Tom Brady’s checks, Stan Kroenke owner of Arsenal, the LA Rams, the Denver Nuggets, and the Colorado Avalanche, and John Henry, owner of Liverpool FC as well as the Bahstin Red Sox. The line being put out is it’s all American hubris, coming in and thinking they can make this into the NFL. They’re taking the fall, but this whole plan stinks of Russian and Arab oligarchic slight of hand.
That’s how oligarchs work. They quietly pull all the strings so that if something goes wrong they can walk away with clean hands. That’s what’s happening in this case, Americans are taking the fall while the Russian oligarch owner of Chelsea FC and the Emirati prince owner of Manchester City get to say “I know nothing!“.
Meanwhile another branch of American Oligarchy took a double hit this week. First with the announcement of the Biden Administration’s plans to reduce American carbon emissions by half by the end of this decade. Hmm, a Democratic president putting forth a challenge to accomplish something in the sciences before the decade is out. Sounds familiar.
The climate change proposal strikes deep at the heart of the coal industry, so much so that you have to wonder if that industry would even exist post 2030. You’d think coal miners would be mobilizing to save their jobs, but the plan includes job training for displaced workers as well as financial aid for workers effected. Suddenly staying above ground without the possibility of black lung is a joyful possibility. Can’t really be against that. What does it do for the coal mine owners? Mmm, not much. That’s okay, it’s about time for those old boys to have to take one on the chin.
Remember, we’re all in this together.
The second occurred Thursday when Republicants, a wholly owned subsidiary of Koch Industries, unveiled their infrastructure plan. In typical fashion it’s the same plan as Biden’s only without the stuff American workers care the most about. Sure, money for roads, bridges, and broadband, but nothing for child or elder care and all of it paid for by new fees on those liberal electric cars and repurposing (i.e. stealing from) the money allocated to states for COVID relief. Heaven forbid they raise the corporate tax rate back to the 35% it was before their orange skinned monkey man was president*. After all, they’ve gotten used to their obscene profits and don’t want to share.
I’m not even going to discuss the outcome of the Chauvin trial where one of the Palace Guard was finally held responsible for “protecting” his master’s domain.
And then there’s the week the Capo de Tutti Capo of Oligarchy has had.
Vladimir Putin doesn’t have bad weeks often, but this one was for the books. There were protests in major Russian cities demanding medical care for his immorally incarcerated political opponent Alexei Navalny. Protesters were shouting “Russia Without Putin” a chant he probably thought he’d cleared away from the political landscape through fear and assassination.
And as if that weren’t bad enough he discovered this new guy in the White House, the one he tried to prevent from becoming president with a disingenuous disinformation campaign, isn’t a feeble old man he can easily manipulate. Russian troops mass on the border of Ukraine. Putin says don’t cross the red line. Biden laughs him off and says stand down or risk a real war, one you know you can’t win. Vlad the Impaled puts his toys back in the toy chest.
Come on conservatives, the President of the USA just went eyeball to eyeball with the Russian bear and the bear blinked. Isn’t that what you said you wanted in a president?
Oh but that’s right (pardon the pun) we don’t have conservatives here in the U S of A anymore. We’ve moved on from capitalists versus communists to democrats versus oligarchists. We are in a political fight between those who believe in the rights of the governed to choose their governors and those who believe that a select group of wealthy individuals should decide all issues.
Republicants threw in with the Oligarchs years ago, all the way back to the founding of the party. We once called them Trusts or Fat Cats or Monopolists. Now we have a fancy Latin word to call them by. Doesn’t matter, they are all the same. They believe that society is a patriarchal hierarchy with Father knows best at the head of it, that all the good little kiddies should just be seen and not heard (sometimes called voter suppression), and that all monies should flow upwards to them. They make common cause not with their fellow Americans, but with their fellow oligarchists worldwide.
One other thing. Oligarchs don’t go away. Oh they may lose a round here and there but that doesn’t stop them. The Super League idea will be back in some new form a few years from now. Putin will put in his troops along the Ukraine border again. Climate change will continue to be denied and dismissed. The only thing for sure is that the price of freedom must still be eternal vigilance.