Monday, March 12, 2012

POLITICAL WORLD : $$$ Makes This World Go 'Round

Piece by Banksy


The projected total cost of the 2012 election is $6-$7 billion. Billion! The projected cost of TV advertising for the 2012 election is $3 billion. Again, let me emphasize: billion!
The Super PACs (Super Political Action Committees) have already spent $75,000,000 on the 2012 election campaigns so far.  And that’s before the clashes begin; before the barrages of TV ads, phone calls, emails, mailers.

Because of the January 2010 Supreme Court decision called Citizens United, Super PACs can now raise unlimited funds from corporations and individuals, and use this money to support or oppose a candidate as long as they do not work directly with a candidate (wink-wink, nod-nod). Imagine the advantages candidates would gain, if backed with wealthier followers. 

The Citizens United case was based on the First Amendment, allowing free speech. The court said that corporations are free to give as much $$$ as they want to, according to their freedom of speech as a person. In other words, $$$=free speech. So, now we have a few exorbitantly rich people with agendas powering politics, and steam-rolling their way over the voices of people who are not so rich (like the 99%---you have heard of them, right?). So, when you heard Mitt Romney whine, “Corporations are people, my friend”? Well, that’s the consequence of Citizens United. When is the last time you shook a corporations hand? When is the last time a corporation looked you in the eye? ... Exactly.

Now, a few extremely rich people or corporations can give enormous amounts of $,$$$,$$$,$$$$ to Super PACs that focus this raised money to support or oppose a particular candidate.

Here Are Some Examples of super PAC Donors So Far

Harold Simmons gave $11.2 million to super PACs that support Republican candidates. His company, Contran, gave $3 million as well.

Sheldon and Miriam Adelson gave $10 million (planning to give $10 million more) to a super PAC which supports a Republican candidate.

Bob Perry gave $3.5 million to Republican super PACs.

Peter Thiel gave $2.6 million to a Republican candidate.

Jon Huntsman gave $2.2 million to a super PAC supporting a Republican candidate (who is his son).

Jerry Perenchio gave $2 million to a super PAC that supports a Republican candidate.

Jeffry Katzenberg Gave $2 million to a super PAC that supports President Obama.

What else could $6,000,000,000 buy besides election ads?

·      120,000 annual wages for school teachers who teach 3,600,000 students for that year.
·      400,000 college educations for that year at UC Berkeley.
·      40,000,000 women could get a year’s supplies of contraceptives
·      about 17 years of federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

People in many Vermont communities are trying to urge Congress to amend the U.S. Constitution to get rid of “corporate personhood” decided by Citizens United.

Take back Democracy: how about one person = one vote. Not one Super PAC (paid for by an extremely rich person or corporation) = one more bought politician.

ProPublica, Super Donors: Our Reading Guide to the Top Ten Super PAC Givers by Ariel Wittenberg

ProPublica, When the GOP Tried to Ban Dark Money by Justin Elliott

New York Times, Mitt’s Rich Predicament by Frank Bruni

Wall Street Journal, How much Are Super PACs Spending? By Jeremy Singer-Vine

New York Times, Donors With Agendas, Editorial

Television advertising in 2012 election could top $3 billion, by Kim Geiger

Bureau of Labor Statistics

PRI Public Radio International Here and Now, Estimated cost of 2012 campaign: $6 billion

ThinkProgress, Dozens of Vermont Communities Vote To End Corproate Personhood, by Adam Peck

The Woman Behind the Politic World Section:
Lesa Martin, after retiring from a career of professional ballet and graduating from UCLA, has sparked a wonderful career as a multi-media artist. She has shown her work in the SF Momma Rental Gallery, and has many ambitious plans concerning enticing new paintings people are itching to see! Multi-faceted Mrs. Martin is also deeply engaged with politics, nose buried in the New York Times daily. Here, she brings us a real, accessible woman's perspective on politics. Enjoy!

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