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Jim Worth

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Make 'Em Pay

Posted: 07/18/2012 10:21 am

Corporations and the wealthy are trying to buy elections from "the people."

What's the cost to purchase the presidency today, or a senator or two? Or maybe a representative or Supreme Court judge?

Hell, what does it cost to buy the whole damn Congress, or at least a majority of it?

The Citizens United ruling, rendered by a suspect Supreme Court, has allowed our democratic elections to be sold to the highest bidder, and with it our democracy -- our freedom.

How does this affect our future?

With one partisan decision, the Supreme Court overturned 100 years of voting protections and pulled our electoral process down into the mud -- into the proverbial political gutters of America's crumbling cities.

As a result, billionaires with no other reason than quid pro quo are pouring millions into the 2012 elections with only one objective -- to control the government, leading to a dysfunctional plutocracy.

The uncontrolled growth of PACs and super PACs, most with phony patriotic names, have elevated the cost of elections -- presidential and congressional -- to rarified heights, with negative benefit to the American voter.

Unfortunately, these super destructive organizations have been allowed to operate with little oversight or transparency, able to hide their subversive agendas from the purview of the American people while also shielding the identities of their wealthy contributors.

The greatest percentage of these secretive collectives are on the right of the political spectrum and are controlled by a few sordid and disreputable individuals including: Karl Rove, Crossroads GPS and American Crossroads; Koch-run Americans for Prosperity; and the pro-Romney Restore Our Future, run by longtime Romney surrogates.

The millions of dollars being secretly pumped into these fake organizations are being used to influence an ill-informed, lazy, soundbite-driven electorate with lies, misinformation, false accusations and omissions.

But, most egregious in this post-Citizens United era -- in which it was determined that money is 'free speech' -- is the involvement of donors like Sheldon Adelson, whose money comes mostly from his casinos in Macau, China, and Foster Friess, the comedian who joked that women "should hold an aspirin between their knees" as contraception. Their millions in campaign donations bought ridiculous candidates like Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum more time to peddle their fringe platforms.

Adelson is under investigation regarding dealings in his Macau casinos under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. He has now pledged $100 million to the Romney campaign and select congressional races.

Democrats tried to bring transparency and expose the deceptions and who's secretly trying to buy America with a Senate vote on the DISCLOSE Act presented by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island. It has 39 co-sponsors but was filibustered by the Republicans. Every single Republican senator voted to retain the darkest aspects of Citizens United and against transparency.

Covert money bought the 2010 elections with corporations and the Chamber of Commerce spending millions to defeat Democratic candidates in states and districts throughout the country funding deceptive ads to the detriment of the voters in those districts and states -- their donors veiled behind these subversive organizations.

Is this the kind of democracy we want? Is this the electoral process we want?

The question should be, do we want to be ruled by the wealthy elite, many of whom were responsible for our country's current financial morass?

Plutocracy is not what our Founding Fathers wanted when they penned the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in 1787. They understood the destructive nature of a plutocracy or oligarchy, having lived under the oppressive politics of the Commonwealth.

The greatest freedom the scribes of our governing doctrine bestowed on us was our right to vote. And, though it needed to be tweaked by several amendments, over the years it has remained one of our greatest and most treasured assets.

There are two things that all Americans must fight in this election: voter suppression and the corrupt money that now permeates the political landscape and attempts to influence voters.

We must take the fight to the oppressors -- Republican lawmakers in right-wing states -- resist their radical agendas and demand recourse.

The immoral actions of state legislatures to suppress the vote -- citing voter fraud where none exists -- cannot be tolerated and those engaged in this subversive attempt to win the election by deceptive means, exposed. Denying citizens the right-to-vote is un-American.

A message must also be sent to Rove, the Kochs, Romney and the Supreme Court that we are not for sale. This should start by telling Congress that the DISCLOSE Act is a necessary first step to preserving our democracy and the integrity of our elections.

Crossroads GPS must be thoroughly investigated for violations of its charitable status under 501(c)4 regulations and aggressively indicted. Rove and his associates are clearly in violation of the primary obligation as a 'Social Welfare' organization. The IRS excludes these organizations from 'direct or indirect participation or intervention in political campaigns.' Crossroads GPS's singular goal is to influence specific campaigns to its selfish and one-dimensional benefit. Their only policy is to defeat our first black president!

And, lastly, and of greatest importance, those who oppose rule of the wealthy, who do not want to live in a plutocratic America for which our ancestors shed blood to escape, must go to the polls to voice their opposition to a right-wing take-over. Let the wealthy know that they may spend millions of dollars, but they cannot buy America.

YOU must send a resounding message that you can't be bought. Vote!

My America is not for sale! Yours shouldn't be either.

We must make 'em pay.

 

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