Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Buying the Election!

Dear Madame L, 

I keep getting solicitations from various political candidates, acting like if I'll just donate my $20 or $37 or $250 or whatever it will make their day and turn it into a fair election.

But I don't think my little bits here and there will make much difference at all, especially when I read about these Super-PACs for Romney raising three times the amount that the Democratic Super-PACs are raising for Obama, and so on. 

Either way, what's the point? If I give the the Republicans, my donation is a drop in the bucket. But if I give to the Democrats, it's like spitting into the wind.


What's the Use?

Dear What's the Use,

Madame L absolutely agrees with you. Since the Roberts Supreme Court, in its Citizens United ruling,  made corporations into "people" for purposes of donating a couple of years ago, the little people, like you and Madame L and everyone we know (unless you know some really rich people), are not going to make much impact with their donations.

Here's a clip from Rachel Maddow's show last April on some of the effects of the Citizens United ruling on American politics and government.

In fact, Sheldon Adelson --- remember him? --- he's the multi-billionaire who donated more than $10 million to the Newt Gingrich campaign to try to beat Gov. Romney in the Republican primary, but since then has spent even more on Gov. Romney --- has promised to spend an "unlimited" amount now to beat Pres. Obama in the 2012 general election.

Why does Mr. Adelson care so much? He's so rich that, according to Rachel Maddow, his donating $10 million is the equivalent of someone like you and me donating $40. 

And that's apparently why he cares: He wants to buy the government of his choosing, one that will, among other things, drop the investigation of his possibly illegal (according to his own former employees, anyway) dealings in the gambling business in Macau.

From the NPR-ProPublica article on the subject:

"Adelson instructed a top executive to pay about $700,000 in legal fees to Leonel Alves, a Macau legislator whose firm was serving as an outside counsel to Las Vegas Sands. 

"The company's general counsel and an outside law firm warned that the arrangement could violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. It is unknown whether Adelson was aware of these warnings. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act bars American companies from paying foreign officials to "affect or influence any act or decision" for business gain. 

"Federal investigators are looking at whether the payments violate the statute because of Alves' government and political roles in Macau..."

Meanwhile, the Republican in the Senate today killed a bill (the Disclose Act) that would require disclosure of the names and donations given by people like Adelson to candidates like Romney. These same Republicans a few years ago were pushing this same disclosure bill. These same Republicans are demanding that every voter, including people who don't have driver's licenses or the ability to obtain such "approved" forms of government-issued IDs, must have this impossible-to-get ID if they want to vote.

Apologies for that digression; but Madame L thinks it's a perfect way to point out the hypocrisy in the Republican Party's current goals and policies.

Madame L hopes that you will still give your widow's mite to the candidates you support for office. It's the best you can do for now.

You should volunteer to help your candidates by making phone calls, stuffing envelopes, whatever they need help with.

You should write letters to your current elected officials. If you have a so-called Representative, for example, as Madame L does, who has signed the Grover Norquist  anti-tax pledge and/or spouts nonsense about getting away from tax-and-spend policies, let that person know he/she is not representing you.

Finally, you should vote in your local primary elections (probably coming soon) and in the general election in November.

Do everything you can so at least you will not be responsible for the ruining of our political system by big money and tax-dodgers and law-breakers.

Here's the 15-minute segment from Rachel Maddow's July 16 show about Sheldon Adelson's gambling concerns in Macau and the way Adelson is trying to buy the election. This clip sheds a bright light on the entire Republican Party's attempts to disenfranchise the rest of us, the 99%, for a few shekels. Madame L hopes you'll follow the link to watch the clip. When it's available on YouTube so Madame L can embed it here, she'll do that.

Meanwhile, here's Rachel Maddow's interview with Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown  on what Democrats can do in the wake of the Citizens United decision:

Best of luck,

Madame L

No comments: