We Need to be Concerned About This

On Rachel Maddow’s show the other night, she put up the statistic that more than 80% of Super PAC donations have come from 196 people. 196 people. Let that sink in for a minute.

If you live in an apartment complex, you probably have more neighbors than that. Basically, the number of people who inhabit a small city block are doing their damnedest to determine who and what our government is going to be. This is terrifying. People like Sheldon Adelson. If you don’t know that name, now is the time to hit Google and start horrifying yourself. In talking to many people in my life, I found very few who had ever heard of him. Everyone needs to know his name, because his money is funding a shit ton of the Republican campaign. He funded Newt Gingrich’s campaign almost single-handedly, and Forbes reported in June about a source close to him who said the amount he will contribute to this presidential election is basically “limitless.” With his net worth estimated at more than 24 billion dollars, “the $10 million donation he just made to Romney is equivalent to $40 for an American family with a net worth of $100,000.” Why would one casino billionaire want to give such astounding amounts of money to a political party? Kindness? Altruism? A firm belief in small government and conservative ideals that he feels are being trampled by the Obama administration? Ha. If only.

One reason he may have ulterior motives? His company is is currently under investigation by federal and Nevada authorities regarding possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act relating to his casino in Macau. Rachel Maddow did an excellent job detailing the situation on Monday night’s show:

 

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The 15 minutes you will spend watching that video will be incredibly useful for determining why Adelson would be interested in swaying this election any way he can. If your shady business dealings were under investigation, wouldn’t you do everything in your power to install the most people of the party that claims “corporations are people, my friend”?

Citizens United has made it possible for the extremely wealthy to give unlimited amounts of money to Super PACS. According to OpenSecrets.org, per the Center for Responsive Politics, the top 10 Super PACS have raised:

  • $137,007,501 – PACS supporting Conservative candidates
  • $ 48,772,900 – PACS supporting Liberal candidates
  • $185,780,401 – Total amount raised by the top ten

This is only the top ten, folks. There are 678 PACs total, which have raised $281,530,578 this election cycle. This is where I would like to start wailing and ranting about the fact that children are going to bed hungry every night in this country, students are trying to learn from woefully outdated textbooks in dilapidated school buildings, and roads, bridges, and other basic infrastructure are falling apart while these PACs are gearing up to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a fucking election. That is a rant for another time, but it is something to keep in mind as we wade further into the mire of political mudslinging that is about to start reaching a fevered pitch. Conspiracy theorists can be a tiresome lot, and I don’t want to come across as one here, but doesn’t it seem strange that the conservatives are out-raising liberals by a vast margin? Why aren’t more people looking into why?

Is it because conservative politicians are more likely to vote in favor of fewer regulations and taxes for companies? Smaller government is their thing, right? Fewer regulations means less spending by those companies to meet those regulations, thus freeing up more money to create more jobs, right? Who cares about that pesky clean air and water, workers’ rights, a livable wage, medical care for sick people, all that silly nonsense? If we make them pay a bunch of taxes, they won’t have any money let to hire more people! JOB CREATORS rabble rabble rabble!! One problem with that (actually, there are a TON of problems with that, but go with me here)– corporate taxes haven’t gone up under Obama, contrary to what the Republicans would have you believe. As a matter of fact, if you have a strong stomach, head over here – Thirty Of America’s Most Profitable Companies Paid “Less Than Zero” In Income Taxes In Last 3 Years: Report – and take a peek at the obscene amounts of taxes these companies did not pay, as well as the huge subsidies many received. If companies are reporting record profits, why is there a job shortage in this country? Something doesn’t add up, y’all. If the 1% is funding the Republican company on their own, doesn’t it make people wonder why?

I know that many people don’t like to get involved in politics. I know that it can seem boring, confusing, overwhelming, and obnoxiously petty. I have heard many people say that they “vote, then ignore politics until it’s time to vote again,” or some variation therein. Not enough people are paying attention to what is going on behind the scenes, and what is going on back there should appall each and every one of us. Adelson bankrolled Gingrich because he didn’t like Santorum and wanted to split any votes he would get by keeping Newt in the running (EXTREMELY oversimplified, but I don’t want to get off on a whole other tangent). It can be argued that one old dude, by funding ads, travel, and all the other expenses involved in running for office, had more control over the primaries than entire states. 196 people are funding a huge portion of the ads being run in swing states that are filling people’s heads with exaggerations, misleading statements, or blatant, bald-faced lies. This tiny fraction of the population is controlling the content of the message people are receiving, and many people believe what they are told. There has been a campaign to demonize intellectualism in the past few years, and one doesn’t have to wonder too hard as to why. It is much easier to lie to people when they don’t fact check the bullshit, and they have done a great job making those who question everything seem like the bad guys. Damn liberal elites.

Please don’t just take my word for it. There are many people who disagree with me. They are wrong, but they exist. Ha! Kidding. Kind of. It is no secret that I am a bleeding heart liberal who thinks everyone should have affordable healthcare and the means to provide for and protect themselves and their loved ones. I will not pretend that I don’t have a liberal bias here, but facts are facts. The ones presented here will speak for themselves. As far as my speculations go, please review the facts presented and come to your own conclusion on whether or not I should start fitting myself for a tin-foil helmet to block them from reading my thoughts because THEY ARE ALL OUT TO GET ME. The information is out there, and I encourage everyone to use this article as a starting point towards gaining a better understanding of how bad these Super PACs are for us as a nation, how blatantly politicians and “news” channels misrepresent information, and how important it is to be critical of everything we read or watch during this campaign. I have had to work hard to start being more suspicious of things I agree with, because my side likes to cherry pick its information in order to make its point as well. If nothing else, looking at a few of things links will give you something to argue about with your card-carrying Tea Party member uncle at the summer family reunion.

Sources/Additional Information

http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/ – Rachel’s awesome blog

Inside the Investigation of Leading Republican Money Man Sheldon Adelson – ProPublica – the excellent article that led to Rachel’s report on Adelson

Big Campaign Spending: Government by the 1% – Lawrence Lessig – The Atlantic

http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevenbertoni/2012/06/13/exclusive-adelsons-pro-romney-donations-will-be-limitless-could-top-100m/ – Forbes

Thirty Of America’s Most Profitable Companies Paid ‘Less Than Zero’ In Income Taxes In Last 3 Years: Report – Huffington Post

http://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/superpacs.php – OpenSecrets.org

Center for Responsive Politics – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mitt Romney Wrongly Claims Obama Raised Corporate Tax Rates

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/

3 thoughts on “We Need to be Concerned About This”

  1. America has always been a plutocracy. Now more people will know. The fact that a candidate has to  raise a certain amount of money to be even put on the ballot should make people very angry. Money is speech and those who don’t have it, don’t get a say. Never have, never will.

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