Friday, September 30, 2011

Selling America to the highest bidder

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Colbert Super PAC - Ham Rove's Comeback
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The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Colbert Super PAC - Trevor Potter & Stephen's Shell Corporation
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive

You know, we are doing this to ourselves. Yes, the Supreme Court opened up this can of worms in their Citizens United ruling that corporations were just people, too. But that decision was made by the far-right justices appointed by recent Republican presidents, right-wing true-believers who overturned longstanding legal precedent on a 5 to 4 decision.

And why are they on the Supreme Court? Only because we Americans elected those Republican presidents. (The four opposing justices, who voted to uphold legal precedent, were all appointed by Democratic presidents.) If we're selling America to the highest bidder, we're doing it to ourselves.

And note Trevor Potter's explanation of why corporations are so concerned with anonymity: "They'd be nervous about giving in a way that their name is publicly disclosed. People might object to what they've done - their shareholders, their customers."

Think about that. Those shareholders are supposed to own the corporation. That's their money being donated. If you own any shares of stock yourself, or even shares of a mutual fund which owns stock - say in your IRA or other retirement plan - that's your money they're giving away.

But you don't have any control over how that money is spent. You aren't even permitted to know about it. That way, a corporation's CEO can spend your money to buy politicians who'll cut his own taxes. Nice, huh?

It was bad enough when the wealthy could spend unlimited amounts of their own money to buy politicians, but now they can use yours. And in both cases, of course, the fact that it can be anonymous is just asking for corruption, don't you think?

After all, why would even billionaires who are donating their own money be so concerned that no one knows what they are doing? The fact that Republicans don't want you to know who's doing all this should be a huge red flag to all Americans. (But, of course, the airwaves are swamped with political ads paid for by this anonymous money, and far more people will see that than will ever read blogs like this.)

Finally, note what a 501(c)(4) can do with that anonymous money. Colbert: "Wait, Super-PAC's are transparent. And the (c)(4) is secret. So I can take secret donations to my (c)(4) and give it to my supposedly- transparent Super-PAC? What is the difference between that and money laundering?

One difference is that, thanks to the right-wing, this money laundering is legal. As far as I can see, the only other difference is that this money laundering is a huge threat to our democracy.

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