Unhappy Anniversary, Citizens United

Today is the 4th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s infamous “Citizens United” decision.

Why should you care?

Watch the 2 1/2 minute video at…

http://unitedrepublic.actionkit.com/event/cosponsor/9815/
http://unitedrepublic.actionkit.com/event/cosponsor/9815/

http://unitedrepublic.actionkit.com/event/cosponsor/9815/ to get a sense of what money in politics is doing to us and to our government. I hope you’ll then decide you want to add your name as a Citizen Co-Sponsor of the American Anti-Corruption Act. I hope you’ll want to tell everyone to do the same.

After that, visit…

https://movetoamend.org/
https://movetoamend.org/

https://movetoamend.org/ to understand what a bunch of concerned citizens are doing to push for an amendment to our Constitution, “… to firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.”

You can sign their petition, too.

Sounds pretty easy, right? It doesn’t take a lot, and every voice counts.

Look, if you don’t do something, who will?

And if you decide to do nothing? That’s your choice, of course.

The way I see it, though, is people who won’t take action – any action – really don’t get to complain about money in politics or the Democrats or the Republicans or the size of government or the size of the military or voter ID laws or how the 2-party system keeps independents from running and winning or fracking or climate science or Roe v Wade or the minimum wage or right-to-work states or class warfare or corporate welfare or Wall Street bonuses and bail outs or George Soros or Sheldon Adelson or Donald Trump or Fox News or MSNBC or Glass-Steagall or the Gilded Age or Obamacare or the NRA or immigration reform or lots of other things that corrupt our representative democracy.

Ask Your House Rep & Senators to "Be A Leader" on Overturning Citizens UnitedIt all boils down to money, and unless and until we – you and I and everyone we know – does something – ANYTHING – to get money out of politics while we get out and vote in every election, well then we shouldn’t expect much to change for the better.

We can do this. You can do this. Why not do it right now?

 

Koch Party Part 2: Covert Operations

Here’s more justification for changing the GOP to the Koch Party.

I was asked via email recently the following question:
“…isn’t the Koch Industries thing kind of tiny compared to the money unions have funneled to the Dems for over 100 years?”

Here is my response.

100 years? Not sure how much of the American labor force was actually unionized in 1910. The National Labor Relations Act wasn’t passed until 1934. I heard more stories today at a family funeral of the “blackjacks” – hired thugs – who were beating up my ancestors and their neighbors in the 20s for trying to unionize as coal miners.

OpenSecrets.org has data on contributions dating back 21 years, to 1989. The “Top Donors / Heavy Hitters” section is very revealing. http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/index.php Many of you will be pleased to see how much money is going to Democrats. Hold that thought. I’m coming back to it in a minute or two.

The following excerpts are from a New Yorker article by Jane Mayer from last August on the Koch boys called “Covert Operations”. It’s a really, really detailed expose. I can’t encourage everyone strongly enough to read the whole thing. Yes, you’ll need to turn off Beck and Faux Snooze for 20 minutes or so. Do yourself that favor. Things worth reading and learning about take a little quiet time. This is one of those times.

From (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/08/30/100830fa_fact_mayer?currentPage=all)

Only the Kochs know precisely how much they have spent on politics. Public tax records show that between 1998 and 2008 the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation spent more than forty-eight million dollars. The Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation, which is controlled by Charles Koch and his wife, along with two company employees and an accountant, spent more than twenty-eight million. The David H. Koch Charitable Foundation spent more than a hundred and twenty million. Meanwhile, since 1998 Koch Industries has spent more than fifty million dollars on lobbying. Separately, the company’s political-action committee, KochPAC, has donated some eight million dollars to political campaigns, more than eighty per cent of it to Republicans. So far in 2010, Koch Industries leads all other energy companies in political contributions, as it has since 2006. In addition, during the past dozen years the Kochs and other family members have personally spent more than two million dollars on political contributions. In the second quarter of 2010, David Koch was the biggest individual contributor to the Republican Governors Association, with a million-dollar donation. Other gifts by the Kochs may be untraceable; federal tax law permits anonymous personal donations to politically active nonprofit groups.

Adding up just the numbers in the paragraph above is $257million in 10 years. Keep that in mind and go back and look at the data at OpenSecrets.org again. Notice again that that data spans 21 years: 1989 to 2010. Now start adding up the numbers up for yourself on the Top All Time Donors list. Be sure to account for the percentage split of those contributions between Dems and Kochs.

In half the time – 1998 to 2008 – and, again, using just the dollar amounts specified in the above paragraph, which clearly isn’t everything, the Kochs outspent the top 8 contributors to the Democratic party combined. Half the time, 8 times the contributions.

Do the effing math.

For anyone ready to screech “What about George Soros?”, the article goes on to make this point.

Of course, Democrats give money, too. Their most prominent donor, the financier George Soros, runs a foundation, the Open Society Institute, that has spent as much as a hundred million dollars a year in America. Soros has also made generous private contributions to various Democratic campaigns, including Obama’s. But Michael Vachon, his spokesman, argued that Soros’s giving is transparent, and that “none of his contributions are in the service of his own economic interests.” The Kochs have given millions of dollars to nonprofit groups that criticize environmental regulation and support lower taxes for industry. Gus diZerega, the former friend, suggested that the Kochs’ youthful idealism about libertarianism had largely devolved into a rationale for corporate self-interest. He said of Charles, “Perhaps he has confused making money with freedom.”

If you truly care about context and history and facts, then read the whole New Yorker article. The conclusion is inescapable.

You Republicans need to change the name of your party.


Photograph: RICHARD SCHULMAN/CORBIS