Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

September 17, 2010

OBAMA WARNS OF 'CORPORATE TAKEOVER OF OUR DEMOCRACY'.... We talked earlier this week about far-right interest groups collecting millions for attack ads, all in support of Republican candidates, and financed through shadowy groups awash in undisclosed donations. The NYT raised the specter of "a relatively small cadre of deep-pocketed donors, unknown to the general public ... shaping the battle for Congress."

It's not an issue Democrats spend a lot of time talking about -- they have plenty of other items they're trying to emphasize -- which is why I was glad to see President Obama take some to talk about this at an event last night in Connecticut.

"I want you to consider this -- right now, all across the country, special interests are planning and running millions of dollars of attack ads against Democratic candidates. Because last year, there was a Supreme Court decision called Citizens United. They're allowed to spend as much as they want without ever revealing who's paying for the ads. That's exactly what they're doing. Millions of dollars. And the groups are benign-sounding: Americans for Prosperity. Who's against that? Or Committee for Truth in Politics. Or Americans for Apple Pie. Moms for Motherhood. I made those last two up.

"None of them will disclose who's paying for these ads. You don't know if it's a Wall Street bank. You don't know if it's a big oil company. You don't know if it's an insurance company. You don't even know if it's a foreign-controlled entity. In some races, they are spending more money than the candidates.... They're spending more money than the parties.

"They want to take Congress back and return to the days where lobbyists wrote the laws. It is the most insidious power grab since the monopolies of the Gilded Age. That's happening right now. So there's a lot of talk about populist anger and grassroots. But that's not what's driving a lot of these elections.

"We tried to fix this, but the leaders of the other party wouldn't even allow it to come up for a vote. They want to keep the public in the dark. They want to serve the special interests that served them so well over the last 19 months.

"We will not let them. We are not about to allow a corporate takeover of our democracy."

Voters may not mind a corporate takeover of our democracy; at this point, it's hard to say. But given the number of attack ads the public will see from these "independent" groups, it's a message voters should probably be aware of.

Steve Benen 11:30 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (34)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

We've already had a corporate takeover of our democracy. The only question is the degree of thoroughness of the takeover.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on September 17, 2010 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

A majority of voters might not mind dispensing with democracy altogether. Being a citizen is so much work.

Posted by: JMG on September 17, 2010 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

Oops. Too late.

Seriously. When media ownership rules are restored, there might be the tiniest chink in the corporate wall. Right now, though, we have to depend on the common sense of the American voter - something which, judging from the number of people who listen to Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, is in terrifyingly short supply.

Posted by: cmac on September 17, 2010 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

You gonna support the guy or not?

Posted by: Bob M on September 17, 2010 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

To my surprise I have to agree with BHO.

Soros is a menacce to our way of life.

Posted by: Al on September 17, 2010 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

It would almost be interesting, watching the creation of "Brave New World" going on in front of us. Or at least it would be if we weren't going to have to live in it.

As a science fiction writer, I can say with certainty that nobody could make this story up, watching the people passively allow it to happen, with their active participation in sending their own executioners to office, thinking that they're "sending a message."

Posted by: TCinLA on September 17, 2010 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

Most voters ... well, winger voters ... aren't 'aware' that breathing is done mostly through the nose. And every damned one of them will crawl out to vote against the Kenyan Usurper's party.

Posted by: Nick on September 17, 2010 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

"As a science fiction writer, I can say with certainty that nobody could make this story up, watching the people passively allow it to happen, with their active participation in sending their own executioners to office, thinking that they're "sending a message.""

The Year of the Diamond Dogs is upon us. Back in 1974 David Bowie imagines a world that would beg for Big Brother. I think we're there. I'm anxious to see the looks on the tea baggers' faces when they realize they've been stabbed in the back. I have a feeling, though, they'll still somehow manage to blame blacks, gays, hispanics and abortion providers.


"We tried to fix this, but the leaders of the other party wouldn't even allow it to come up for a vote."

I sincerely wish the President would retire the phrase "the other party." He shouldn't mince his words...REpublican Party, that's what he needs to say.

Posted by: SaintZak on September 17, 2010 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

WOW!! I know AL's a parody because no one could be that relentlessly stupid. C'mon Al please get a little more sophisticated with your parodies. Your acting like a post turtle is getting really old and annoying.

Posted by: Gandalf on September 17, 2010 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

The corporatists have embraced the theonomists -- both are anti-democratic and both seek an aristocracy. Its conservatism. But not in the American sense of the word but in the enon-order [aristocrats, clergy and powerless masses]

Posted by: Kill Bill on September 17, 2010 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

There are consumer interests. Then, there's citizenship. The genius of the right has been to persuade not only tens of millions of voters but much of the media as well that what you buy is more important than government itself. Don't like BP? Don't buy their gas. See, you don't need regulations. Just vote with your pocketbook. After all, would you rather be a goo-goo or rich? Only losers would even ask that question.

Posted by: walt on September 17, 2010 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, welcome to the future of our country, a future, now underway, that will create an American form of fascism, and a police state within it that will allow every citizen to be tracked in real time, anytime. Once the takeover by the Corporations is complete it won't be long before the their employees, called Senators and Congressmen, will pass laws that will determine who is 'qualified' to vote. And of course those that qualify will only be those that will guarantee that the Corporate State is sustained. This will then be a state of those that have the extreme wealth who inhabit less than 2 percent of the population, and everyone else will then become indentured servants to those 2 percent, the Corporate State itself. Corporate America will then look like a third world nation down the road with 98 percent groveling to survive on a daily basis. Welcome to our BRAVE NEW WORLD.

Posted by: stormskies on September 17, 2010 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

Wow, I think I'm going to have a heart attack and die! Too little, too late? Probably since even the President is corporate owned and operated. Nice touch though! Bring out the Bush!

Posted by: Trollop on September 17, 2010 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

Preach it, Brother Obama!

Alas, those most directly harmed by this state of affairs are consumed by their convictions that Obama is a Muslim/socialist/foreigner (which are all code for the one word tattooed on their hearts that even they won't utter in polite company) to give a second thought to what he is saying.

The only thing missing from Obama's message is an acknowledgment that the Dems are at the trough too. If they weren't we might have had a real health care bill, real bank reform etc.

Posted by: JMSmoke on September 17, 2010 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

Barack Obama urging us to prevent a corporate takeover of our government.

Now I've really heard it all.

Posted by: somethingblue on September 17, 2010 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

Again The Chosen One misleads the voters! The Citizens United Not Timid vs FEC decision was NOT LAST YEAR! It was announced on January 15, 2010! Obama is obviously as misinformed (lying) about this as most everything else.

From a Republican perspective, you need to understand that the Citizens United Not Timid vs FEC ruling is not going to lead to the takeover of the American Republic by corporate and wealthy interests. We already own the governments. CUNT vs FEC is just to make extending our control even easier and less expensive in the long run.

We of the wealthy wing of the Republican Party understand that propaganda, misinformation, distortion, and lying to the American public is not the goal; just part of the means to the end of creating a 'just society' in America where we wealthy chosen ones continue to increase our wealth and power and where the peon class continues to expand. A major reduction of the 'middle class' is needed; because they consume too many resources that should be going to our wealthy.

One of the few wealthy individuals who has not seen the light of our struggles against the masses is Warren Buffett. A few years ago, he stated the truth that we of the wealthy class have been in a class war with the masses for decades. He was wrong only in saying that we wealthy were winning! Wrong! We have won!

For decades, we have had a strategy of promoting racial, sexual, and religious tensions as a distraction from the class warfare that we have been involved in. I am not sure that we will even need to do that much longer. Our control of the economic and political processes of this country are nearing the level where we can afford to tell the truth (without repercussions). That truth is that all of you working class peons are niggers, no matter if you are black or brown or yellow or white!!!

An inalienable truth is that ignorance can be cured, but stupid cannot! Fortunately for our side, a very large percentage of the American public is stupid and we own them!

Posted by: RepublicanPointOfView on September 17, 2010 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

aL. Take lessons from RPOV. Thats how a parody is done.

Posted by: Kill Bill on September 17, 2010 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

You have such faith in the American electorate, Steve. But, come on ...it's a message voters should probably be aware of. Of course they should, and not just 'probably'. Will they? I doubt it.

Posted by: Goldilocks on September 17, 2010 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

TCinLA wrote: "As a science fiction writer, I can say with certainty that nobody could make this story up ..."

As a science fiction writer, you should know that Frederik Pohl and Cyril M. Kornbluth already "made this story up" in their prophetic 1952 novel The Space Merchants. From Wikipedia:

In a vastly overpopulated world, businesses have taken the place of governments and now hold all political power. States exist merely to ensure the survival of huge trans-national corporations. Advertising has become hugely aggressive and by far the best-paid profession. Through advertising, the public is constantly deluded into thinking that the quality of life is improved by all the products placed on the market. However, the most basic elements are incredibly scarce, including water and fuel.

Corporations hold all political power -- check.

Governments exist to serve and protect corporate interests -- check.

Corporate mass media brainwashes the public with the corporate agenda -- check.

Water (and food) and fuel are "scarce" -- coming soon to the USA thanks to global warming and peak oil.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 17, 2010 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Why can't democratic candidates call out their opponents for not disclosing who their attack ads are coming from? There has to be an easy way out of this. Why make it harder? Make the solution easier. They have a voice.

Posted by: dannyshenanigan on September 17, 2010 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

Naming names would help.

Americans need to know who the Kochs, Andreases, and yes the Soroses are and what their narrow interests are. That way they can make an informed decision about the corporate lobby's well-paid representatives in Congress and on the bench. Unfortunately, that will not happen at the local news level.

Posted by: John Henry on September 17, 2010 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

If this corporatization truly bothers the president, why is he pushing so hard to privatize what's left of our public education system?

Posted by: Susie Madrak on September 17, 2010 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, it's good to hear Obama speak the truth. But, one speech does not make a Democratic Hoover an FDR.

Posted by: Doug on September 17, 2010 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

It's not an issue Democrats spend a lot of time talking about...

Hmmm...

They want to take Congress back and return to the days where lobbyists wrote the laws.


These two passages are related. See if you can figure out how. And then consider why we don't see Obama publicly and forcefully trying to do anything about it.

Apparently it's only a 'problem' just before an election. Show us some action on this.

Posted by: terraformer on September 17, 2010 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

That must explain why Obama refused matching funds in '08 after saying he would.

Posted by: bandit on September 17, 2010 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

Elizabeth Warren would help fight against such overwhelming corporate influence. According to my email relieved from MoveOn.org:

HUGE news: President Obama just appointed populist hero Elizabeth Warren to establish and lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau!!.

Yes, we knew "establish" but I didn't think he'd already decided to let her "lead" it, which to me means heading it. Any recent scoop?

Posted by: neil b on September 17, 2010 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Now that it's legal to buy elections with unlimited and secret campaign contributions it seems a bit silly to warn of a "corporate takeover of our democracy". This is a classic case of locking the barn door too late. It's already happened. Where has everyone been?

The stage is being set for a fascist takeover as corporate interests and government policy continue to merge into a seamless continuum. The next Congress, regardless of who's in charge, will go back to deregulatory snake oil, and try to administer the coup de grace to social programs, Social Security at the top of the list.

Will Mr. and Mrs. average voter ever really understand what happened to their savings, pensions, homes, health insurance, etc.? Most likely not, and these good, upstanding, righteous white Christians will more than likely blame the Dimocrats rather than the fascist Rethugs when they begin to get a much belated glimmer of insight.

The November election is an IQ test, with which the country will likely prove just how stupid it has become. No matter what happens it will be a turning point.

Posted by: rrk1 on September 17, 2010 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Obama finally woke up and maybe it will save a seat or two for the dems. But what if he had taken up the standard earlier, like the summer of 09 when the cons went after health care big time. What if he had fought for it, or for anything at all as the months went by instead of waiting until the last minute? Maybe some of the yellow-bellied blue-dogs would have found some courage from his fight and from seeing that courage will win votes.

Posted by: CDW on September 17, 2010 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

It's not an issue Democrats spend a lot of time talking about -- they have plenty of other items they're trying to emphasize

...and a keen desire to suck up to big business too, let's not forget.

Posted by: Gregory on September 17, 2010 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

Contrary to Gandalf, I love hearing from Al, and have very much missed him over the last couple of months. I would deeply miss his Colbert-like posts.

Posted by: Johnny Canuck on September 17, 2010 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist, there is also Robert Heinlein's novel "Friday". While the story is basically about what constitutes being "human"; there is a sub-plot about just who actually runs the various "governments" the US has fractured into.

(NOT the "Doug" @ 1:16 PM)

Posted by: Doug on September 17, 2010 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

How could you not want a smart guy like this in charge? It's unfortunate that so much of his electorate is comprised of mouth-breathing, bulging-browed easily led big children who believe everything their gleeful Republican/Tea Party ideologue parents tell them. It'll be a long time before you see a leader this smart again. I just wish he was a fighter to go along with his fine mind, and could suspend his belief in the essential goodness of humanity for a bit.

Posted by: Mark on September 17, 2010 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone who believe there are two parties in Washington DC is a fool. - Jonathan Turley.

This ONE-party system isn't working any more. Time for a SECOND party.

Posted by: Amerikagulag on September 18, 2010 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

An Alternative to Capitalism (which we need here in the USA)

The following link takes you to an essay titled: "Home of the Brave?" which was published by the Athenaeum Library of Philosophy:

http://evans-experientialism.freewebspace.com/steinsvold.htm

John Steinsvold

Posted by: John Steinsvold on September 18, 2010 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly