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Friday, February 22, 2013

Super PACs are corrupt and corrupting whether liberal or conservative, Party A or Party B

Good government, Big money mutually exclusive
Editing, re-reporting, commentary by 
Carolyn Bennett

Left-Right buyers, sellers of policy

America the corrupt

here’s nothing wrong with power ─ every individual needs and possesses power ─ but inordinate power, absolute power, unchanging, entrenched, unchecked power corrupts. It corrodes possibility. Destroys creative imagination and all that is or might be good, progressive, and generally in the public interest. This is why the people of the United States must sweep clean federal Washington’s inordinate concentrated and tentacled power.

Press TV is reporting today on America’s corrupt governance that is created and sustained by big moneyed interests, foreign and domestic, that buy elections, determine winners and losers, seat certain personalities in positions of power. “To the extent that concentrated non-corporate wealth corrupts policy and distorts the fairness of elections… simply overturning Citizens United (corporations as people whose speech is protected under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment) will not go deep enough in uprooting corruption at its core, Press TV quotes the self-styled “progressive liberal lefty” American Prospect magazine.

In early 2010, Today’s Insight News referenced the case in “One sided with people & democracy ─ Justice Stevens: From David Hoffman’s “The Greatest Threat to America” and from Justice John Paul Stevens’ dissent in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission

n his dissent in CITIZENS UNITED v. FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION, U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens said:

“In a democratic society, the longstanding consensus on the need to limit corporate campaign spending should outweigh the wooden application of judge-made rules.

“The majority’s rejection of this principle ‘elevate[s] corporations to a level of deference which has not been seen at least since the days when substantive due process was regularly used to invalidate regulatory legislation thought to unfairly impinge upon established economic interests.’ …

“At bottom, the Court’s opinion is thus a rejection of the common sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self government since the founding, and who have fought against the distinctive corrupting potential of corporate electioneering since the days of Theodore Roosevelt.

“It is a strange time to repudiate that common sense. While American democracy is imperfect, few outside the majority of this Court would have thought its flaws included a dearth of corporate money in politics.”

hat is required at this point to bring policymaking under the control of a true democracy, Press TV continues its quote of the American Prospect, is “a more thorough rethinking of political corruption, if not a different understanding of the First Amendment in the context of ‘democratic’ elections.”

A case of inordinate power corrupting governance
 Sky’s-the-limit Super PAC facts and figures Press TV cites

Though they are required to make monthly or quarterly reports of their donors to the Federal Election Commission and are prohibited from donating money directly to political candidates (Open Secrets), Super PACs (Technically known as independent expenditure-only committees), unlike traditional PACs, are permitted to raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, unions, associations and individuals. Then spend unlimited sums to overtly advocate for or against political candidates.

2012 Super-PACked presidential elections
(Original source: Mother Jones)

31 percent of $1.03 billion spent by outside groups in final cycle of last election was ‘dark money”: who gave the money or where it came from was concealed from public review

Dark money funded 50 percent of outside groups’ television spending on the presidential race (huge portions backed attack adverts)

Thirty-two (a mere 32) giant Super-PAC donors matched the total single-small-dollar donations ─ roughly (donors giving under $200 are undisclosed) 3.7 million people giving $313 million ─ to the combined campaigns of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

Sixty percent of all Super-PAC donations in the 2012 campaign season came from 159 people ─ a sliver of the U.S. population

The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic consisting of fifty states and a Federal district.

Population: 313,914,040 (2012)

Voting-age population (2010): 219,553 – 234,564

Percentage voting in 2010: 37 percent

1,319 groups organized as Super  PACs ─ as of today, February 22, 2013 ─ have reported in the 2012 cycle. (Original Source: Open Secrets)

Total receipts of $838,085,167
Total independent expenditures of $631,470,703

ow many public schools and teachers could be funded, how much shelter and health care  for the homeless, how much eradication of diseases, how many returning soldiers could be healed, how much peaceful diplomacy instead of endless wars could be funded with a fraction of this waste that subverts democratic government and funds bad governance in perpetuity?
Corruption crossing political spectrum
Super PACs

In today’s “Liberal Super PAC: Death to Super PACs!” report, Press TV shows up what has been clear to me and no doubt many others for a long time: the “liberal-conservative-progressive” or “Republican-Democratic-Independent” labels are distinctions without any real difference in values, ethos, attitude, practice.

U.S. assassination
drone wars
Killing sovereignty and
civilians for sport
If your tribe does it, it is okay. An ethics of expediency does nothing to rout or remove corrupt governance.

A liberal group hopes to convince voters in California to rebuke the Supreme Court’s controversial Citizens United ruling, which paved the way for outside campaign spending groups known as Super PACs”; but, the Press TV article astutely observes, “There is only one problem: the group is itself a Super PAC.” In the 2012 election season, CREDO Mobile/CREDO Super PAC reportedly spent “$830,999.”

The company’s website says CREDO was founded in 1985 and has since that time grown and matured “with a clearer focus on mobile phones,” resulting in “better service to our members” and “greater impact in our fight for social change.” In 2007, the company says it “rebranded as CREDO Mobile, a subsidiary of Working Assets” and has “raised $72 million for nonprofit groups working hard for social change.”

ut a Super PAC is still a SuperPAC doing what Super PACs do: subvert self-governance, government of, by and for not only political elites.

Is the thought of “government of, by and for the people” just another cliché in a culture in which moneyed corporations and organizations plan product obsolescence; where issues and institutions are permanently funded but never fixed; and where all things are traded and trashed, consumed and market driven?  

What if money were banned from politics all together? What would happen if a nonpartisan, well-educated (not merely degreed), socially sensitive, honestly caring, domestically, internationally, politically-engaged population governed cooperatively for the common good?

Wouldn’t that rout the corrupt, end the status quo, and change the world for the better?

Source and notes

“Liberal Super PAC: Death to Super PACs!” February 22, 2013, http://www.presstv.ir/usdetail/290297.html

Article notes: Forbes estimates casino magnate Sheldon Adelson’s fortune at “$20.5 billion,” Press TV notes in today’s article; and to match his $91.8 million (0.37 percent of his net worth) election spending would require “322,000 middle-income Americans: the entire population of Anaheim, California, minus a few thousand folks, giving 0.37 percent of their net worth.

Citizens United has been opposed by more 350 cities. Eleven U.S. states have called on Congress to overturn the ruling (Other sources: Public Citizen and Raw Story).

“One sided with people & democracy ─ Justice Stevens”  Posted by Bennett's study at Today’s Insight News, Wednesday, January 27, 2010; From David Hoffman’s “The Greatest Threat to America” and from Justice John Paul Stevens’ dissent in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, todaysinsightnews.blogspot.com

Cite as: 558 U. S. ____ (2010) Opinion of STEVENS, J. , SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES , No. 08–205, CITIZENS UNITED, APPELLANT v. FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION, ON APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA , [January 21, 2010] , JUSTICE STEVENS, with whom JUSTICE GINSBURG, JUSTICE BREYER, and JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR join, concurring in part and dissenting in part. http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/09pdf/08-205.pdf

USA: Government: Dominant-party system, Constitution, Democracy, Federal republic, Presidential system, Two-party system, Republic, Federation, Constitutional republic

 U.S. Census report: Table 398 Resident Population of Voting Age and Percent Casting Votes—States: 2000 to 2010 [219,553 represents 219,553,000. Estimated population, 18 years old and over. 2010 based on 2010 Census as of April 1. Includes Armed Forces stationed in each state, (noncitizens), and institutional population] http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s0398.pdf

CREDO Mobile says, “Every time our members use our services, we donate a percentage of their charges to the progressive nonprofits that we fund.” And among the groups it says it will fund 2013 are these 40:

Civil Rights
Alliance for Justice
Center for Constitutional Rights
Drug Policy Alliance
Medical Students for Choice
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Planned Parenthood (affiliates)
United We Dream

Economic & Social Justice
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Democracy Now!
Mayors against Illegal Guns
Ms. Foundation for Women
National Domestic Workers Alliance
Physicians for a National Health Program
Sentencing Project
Social Security Works

Clean Water Fund
Defenders of Wildlife
Environmental Working Group
Ocean Conservancy
Pesticide Action Network
Rainforest Action Network
Union of Concerned Scientists

Peace & International Freedom
China Labor Watch
Grameen Foundation
Human Rights Watch
Mercy Corps
Partners In Health
Pathfinder International
Ploughshares Fund
Women for Women International

Voting Rights & Civic Participation
Free Speech For People
Green Corps
Media Matters for America
Mother Jones Investigative Fund
Progressive Congress
Project Vote
Wellstone Action



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