Sunday, October 28, 2012

Secret Money

I've had it.  I've read one too many articles about the millions of dollars in anonymous money pouring into California to defeat Proposition 30, a proposition that will only affect Californians.  I still don't understand who crowned Molly Munger queen of California and told her to spend millions of dollars on more ballot box budgeting that would defund everything except the schools, but at least we know who she is and what her stake is.

This mess is only partly caused by the Supreme Court, although God knows without them we wouldn't have had the absurd statement that "money" equals "free speech."  I'm not even going to bother to deconstruct that, it's stupid on the face of it.  Money equals money, period; and corporations, no matter what Antonin Scalia thinks, are not people.

I haven't got a citation for this, but if I recall correctly, the Citizens United decision actually included a statement that Congress should encourage disclosure of campaign contributions to support transparency.  Congress has not done this, at least partly because the Senate Republicans filibustered an effort last July, when the DISCLOSE act, which I supported, died in committee.  Before you blame the Republicans entirely, it also means that the Senate Democrats didn't have whatever it took (persuasiveness, courage, moral force, I don't know) to gather 60 votes to override the Republican filibuster.

Neither side, of course, wants campaign finance disclosure, because they are making millions (or is it billions yet?) off anonymous donations through "social welfare" organizations.  Social welfare, my eye and Betty's pet sow.  A "social welfare organization" is one that helps people who need help.  These groups - we all know their names, if not who they are - pay people to lie to defeat measures that they object to.  Look their ads up on Politifact and see if I'm wrong.

So what can we do?  We the citizens of the United States, being mostly not stinking rich, have only one weapon left against this.  We have our individual votes.  Let your congressperson know that you expect him/her to pass the DISCLOSE Act or something equivalent.  Given Citizens United, we probably can't stop the flow of money. But we must require the donors to admit who they are.  And any congressbeing that doesn't devote its ultimate efforts to forcing disclosure of the donor's name for campaign contributions over $10,000 (which was the DISCLOSE limit) should not expect to get your vote, ever again.  For anything.

We have to tell them this.  We have to remind them of it regularly.  And we have to act on it at the next election.  If we don't get campaign finance donor disclosure by the 2014 elections, we should vote against every incumbent in Congress - especially every Republican incumbent, most of whom seem to be crazy as bedbugs anyway.

And we should all also ask ourselves the question that bugs me every time I think about this:  why are these donors so afraid to tell us who they are?  What are they hiding?  What do they not want us to know?

I was raised to believe that if you said something, and meant it, you put your name behind it.  It is true that I blog under a pen name, but it isn't all that damn hard to find out who I am; and I'm only spending speech, not money.  The people behind these "social welfare organizations" are in the process of stealing our country for their personal gain.  Disclosure of who they are is the only weapon we have left.  Tell your Representative and your Senators.  And VOTE.


  1. We live in the era of apathy. I'm not sure what drives it, but it undoubtedly has something to do with the disconnection that has occurred between our bodily selves, and the consequence of remote event and action.

    We sit in front of our televisions, or our computer screen, or inside our cars, and we see the world passing by. We don't participate in much live action. We're a vicarious people, enjoying the discreet distance of non-involvement. Does it matter if we vote, or not?

    The world seems to operate according to huge unseen forces, some of them only visible long after the events have taken place. The present seems too huge and immovable to affect.

    Where does the money come from that influences the world we see?

    I think the really big money--the capital of petroleum corporations, for instance--cannot be checked. The money that Chevron has, for instance, is much more powerful in its effects than any part of our state government, and probably of our federal government as well. How much money does it take to buy the Congress? Certainly Chevron has more than enough to accomplish that.

    The business of America is business. And business now runs our political system. Business can make the people vote against their own interest(s).

    Americans have proven over and over again how stupid they are. This November, they'll prove it again, by electing a corporate raider, who wants to turn the clock back a century.

    We're a very stupid nation.

  2. Well, blimey.

    The bloke won.

    But should we be secure, knowing that BO only won 35% of the "white"

    Once upon a time, we didn't talk about "ethnic" or "racial" votes, it was
    all just "Americans."

    We're so openly partisan, we like to carve up the electorate into its constituent
    parts and play them off against each other.

    All this "difference" business is going to turn us into an openly fragmented society.
    Where once we pretended to get along, now we celebrate or mourn our disagreements
    as if they were the whole point of democracy.

    I don't like it. I like to think of my President as just "the President"--not as a "black"