$1.5 Billion – For What??

According to donation statistics for the 2016 election, just under 1.5 Billion dollars in campaign contributions was raised. For a moment, forget about Republican vs Democrat and think about that number. The percentage of the US population that donated $200 or more was just 0.68%! Only one tenth of one percent of the adult population gave $2,700 or more. Just 2,910 donors gave $100,000 or more.

Those are the numbers, so what’s your reaction? My first reaction is to think about all the good that $1.5B could do if it wasn’t wasted on politics. My second reaction is that a tiny number of people are investing huge sums of money into political campaigns, and to what end? It is folly to believe that these folks are investing these huge sums without expecting something in return.

Now add in the facts that most elected politicians begin worrying about reelection the moment they take office, and that getting elected in our current system requires huge sums of money. It does not take a great stretch of the imagination to come to the conclusion that less than 3000 people actually control our government, We The People be damned!

I also have a third reaction. Given that almost all of the money raised is spent on the campaigns, just what is this $1.5B being spent on? Who is receiving and profiting from this spending? Is this a whole cottage industry that contributes to the economy and creates jobs? The answer to this is probably ‘yes’, and this may be the only positive aspect of this entire mess of an election process.

However, because the money is basically being spent on the creation and dissemination of information to American voters, via media outlets, campaign speeches, and thousands of other avenues, there is one salient fact that is so caustic and destructive that any small benefit from all this spending becomes irrelevant. What fact am I talking about?

The fact is that there are absolutely no limitations on, or controls over, the validity and truthfulness of the information being disseminated! Politics is exempt from any “Truth In Advertising” regulations. There are no consequences for committing slander, libel, or defamation of character when it comes to politics. So basically, $1.5B can be, and mostly is, spent on deceiving the American voter. Whomever spends the most on the biggest lies wins! Thus a phrase I like to repeat: “A voter deceived is a right to vote denied!”

There is at least one caveat to all of this. Like everything else in life, it is not this simple and straight-forward. Yes, it’s true that in 2016, the Democrats raised more and spent more than the Republicans. And it is probably true that the Democrats had as many big-time donors as well. But it would be a very large disservice to the truth and reality to simply lump both Parties and all politicians into the same bucket of crap. Yes, we MUST get the big money out of politics and have publicly funded campaigns and somehow take all the lies out of politics, but if you pay attention to the content and tone of Republican campaigns vs. Democrat campaigns, and more importantly, look at the actions of these politicians while in office, it is crystal clear that “We The People” are VASTLY better served by the Democrats than the Republicans. As long as the GOP is in control, our election system will only get worse. The only hope lies with getting Democrats in control first, flawed as they are, and then work towards a better system.

https://www.opensecrets.org/overview/

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October Letter To The Editor

So, just how many hundreds of millions of dollars will be spent this election cycle? Where is all this money coming from?  If you were watching MSNBC last week, you learned that half of the money being spent is coming from just 158 families, and the individuals are overwhelmingly older, wealthy, white men.

According to the Supreme Court’s Citizen United decision, this is nothing more than the exercise of free speech.  But free speech was never intended to be pro-rated by the size of your bank account.  Freedom of speech, or any other right for that matter, does not extend to the point of harming others, or suppressing the rights of others.

And that is not the worst of it.  When it comes to politics, there is no such thing as truth in advertising, libel, slander, or defamation of character.  For some reason, political advertisements and speeches are exempt from all of that.  So, not only can these 158 families control half of the information disseminated during the election, but there is no requirement for truth or facts in that information.

It would be extremely naive to think that the outcome of elections are not strongly impacted by political ads and speeches.  So this political “free speech” is really “freedom of deception,” half of which is exercised by just 158 wealthy families, and which harms and suppresses the rights of every voter.  How so?  Is not a voter deceived the same thing as a right to vote denied?

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The United States Supreme Corporation

The United States Supreme Court has become The United States Supreme Corporation.  For the 2nd time in a little more than a decade, five conservative justices on the Supreme Court have soiled the under pants of their integrity and made a completely political decision that will have dire and destructive consequences for the people of this country.

The “Feces Five,” as I called them during the Great American Coup in 2000, appointed George Bush to the Office of President of the United States, against the will of the people (a known fact, NOT a guess or conjecture or an opinion), and the results have been devastating to America.  The Bush Administration, the most secretive, the most criminal, and the most unconstitutional in history, in the span of two terms, managed to turn record surpluses into record deficits, destroy America’s reputation & image, invade another country without justification, nearly complete the politicization of the Judicial branch of the government (altering the very structure of government), illegally spy on American citizens, engage this country in torture and other war crimes, and deregulate the financial industry to the point where a 2nd great depression was barely avoided!  Thanks a lot Feces Five!

Now, the same feces five, with one member replaced, have again soiled the under pants of their integrity and made a decision that promises to have even more devastating effects.  Giving corporations the ability to contribute unlimited amounts to campaigns and politicians, in the name of free speech, is a decision that has no basis in reality.  What’s next?  Maybe we should give corporations the right to vote?

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