Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Day Democracy Died 2

During the 2008 Presidential election Senator Obama received approximately 452,852,990 contributions, 26% of those in the amount of $200.00 or less, in total, over a period of time.
Okay, let's imagine that you donated $200.00 to the Obama campaign because you bought into his crap about real change coming to America. That's not the way things are currently shaking out, but that's for another discussion at another time. Now I don't know about you dear readers, but that $200.00 would have been hard fought for and a significant amount of money even when donated over a period of months.
Let's say members of your extended family bought into his crap as well and made similar contributions, and this continues to up to 100,000 like minded individuals. That adds up to, let's see, place the aught over the 6, times 4.8= $20,000,000.00 by my count. $20,000,000 donated by 100,000 individuals expressing the political views of a significant percentage of the voting population that can afford to make their preferences known in this manner.
Historically the Republican party allies itself with the interests of big business, special interests, and is anti-union. In turn big business and powerful special interests align themselves with the Republican party, and unions with the Democratic party.
During the last Presidential election Obama ran as a democrat running on a platform of fiscal responsibility, vowing to combat climate change, and more regulatory functions in the federal government as far as runaway banking and investment interests were concerned, lack of which has caused the current economic downturn we are now experiencing. Now banking and investment interests don't want any regulations because that may hamper their raping of the American economy and threaten the billions in bonuses they pay themselves. So what do they do to protect themselves?
Good question, dear readers (I have the smartest readers, I swear). Until the recent Supreme Court decision allowing corporations the same privileges as human beings under the first amendment of the United States Constitution, permitting them to dump as much cash (free speech according to the court) as they wanted to into the political election process, they were reduced to informal bribery via lobbyists and proportionately small cash infusions.
But now, under the courts new ruling (which by the way reverses over 100 years of legal precedent, ignores the concept of stare decisis (recognizing past legal precedent as established law), something both justice elect Roberts and Alito swore to uphold (which highlights the farce of the confirmation process, where a candidate can say as little as possible, or outright lie to get confirmed to a lifetime position, then turn around a do whatever they freaking want to after they get the job. What a sad joke!), and was totally out of the scope of the case that was presented to the court, talk about your activist judges), lets say a company like Goldman Sachs, or JP Morgan Chase, forgetting for the moment the bail out money they received from the American taxpayer, they can simply negate all of those 100,000 contributions mentioned above with a single contribution to the Republican party's candidate, in this case John McCain, of $20,000,000.00. One voice drowning out those of 100,000 with a single check that companies like Sachs and Morgan can write without batting an eye.
Multiply that by the entire amount of contributions received by the Obama campaign, and what you have is corporations running the election process in this country, promoting their own interests above those of the American people. Do you think General Motors and Exxon want significant climate change legislation passed that will no doubt hurt their bottom line? You bet your bippy they don't and will willingly pay to back those candidates that only support their agenda, and with a company like Exxon, with profits of over 45 billion last year, they can easily subvert an election like that held in 2008, which cost only 1 billion.
Imagine you're a sitting US Senator, or Congressman facing re-election (as members of the House do every two years), and a lobbyist for Exxon (Am I picking on Exxon too much? Poor little Exxon) threatens to dump as much money as it takes into the opponents campaign unless they promote Exxon's interests above those of the general public. What happens?
What do you think will happen? Exxon pays to stifle climate change legislation and policy, and the air we breathe, our children's environment, goes straight into the toilet.
As if this situation wasn't bad enough, the decision allows U.S subsidies of foreign corporations, let's say Sony, the Japanese conglomerate, the same privileges as any homegrown American corporation. As one Democratic Senator so succinctly put it recently, "A corporation is a corporation, is a corporation." The Supreme Court of the United States has opened the door for foreign entities to influence to any degree they like our electoral and political processes, which in itself is a significant matter threatening our national security. The court has subverted the nation's security in favor of the interests of corporations. This is tantamount to treason as far as I'm concerned. A simple analogy being opening the back door of the fort to let the Indians in.
Why? In the above example I chose the friendly electronics company Sony. But what if a shell company backed by Iran, or North Korea, or Al Qaeda pools their resources, well they will never have to face the strongest military in the history of the world. They can just kill us from within, because of our own stupidity (if we let this decision stand), with huge amounts of cash infusion into the very core of our political processes.
Last night in President Obama's first State of the Union address to the nation and both houses of Congress, with the justices of the Supreme Court sitting right in front of him, in an unprecedented action he called them out on it. Stating the same argument I've made above, that the court has opened the doors for foreign interests to influence the election process.
Justice Samuel Alito was seen shaking his head and mouthing the words, "That's not true." Well, denial isn't just a river in Egypt. Yes it is true Mr. Alito. And because of your tremendously irresponsible action all of us have to scramble to correct your mistake as fast as possible before irreparable harm is done to this nation and its real people.
What can we do? As individual citizens we can do little, so we need to work together. Not many people like the decision the Court handed down. Even many Republicans and CEO's of major corporations. What we must do is what Howard Beale suggested in the film "Network," which is to let your Congressional representatives know, "We're as mad as hell, and we're not going to take this anymore." Let them know how you feel through telephone calls, visits to their offices, Email's, community activism and demonstrations. Let the media know that this is a major issue facing this country worthy of more than the two minutes devoted to it on the 21st, compared to 30 minutes to John Edwards love child. March in the streets! Urge Congress to act, either by passing a constitutional amendment countering the court's decision, or by passing the Fair Elections Now Act. Support Rep. Grayson's 6 bills that deal specifically with this issue. Our imagination is the only limit to what we can do. As Thom Hartmann told me, "Raise hell, and get active." The ball is in our court.
On January 21st of this year democracy died in this country. It's all of our jobs to breathe (thank you Michelle) life back into it.

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