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Welcome To What The Supreme Court Wrought

Memo Pad Politics

Welcome To What The Supreme Court Wrought


Shouldn’t America have at least one major party that isn’t beholden to the corporate elite?

Well don’t look now, but such a party has recently popped up, raring to roar into the 2016 presidential race. Called the KB-Party, it has the funding, political network, and expertise needed to bypass the establishment’s control of the election system. But don’t rush to sign up: KB stands for Koch Brothers.

Yes, Charlie and David — the multimillionaire, far-out, right-wing industrial barons who already own several congresscritters, governors, political think tanks, PR outfits, academics, astroturf campaign machines, front groups, etc. — now have the equivalent of their very own private political party. And their party is not beholden to the corporate elite, since it is the elite. The Koch boys have rallied roughly 300 like-minded, super-rich corporate oligarchs to their brotherhood of plutocrats, and this clique is intent on purchasing a president and congressional majority to impose their version of corporate rule over America.

Won’t that be awfully pricey, you ask? Ha — that’s not a question that acquisitive billionaires ever ask. For starters, at a secretive retreat in January for KB-Party funders, the 300 barons ponied up some $900 million for the campaign they are launching. That’s nearly $200 million more than the combined expenditures of the Republican and Democratic parties in last year’s elections, and it’s way more than either of those parties will have for 2016.

This means that in our nation of 350 million people, a cabal of only 300 of America’s wealthiest, self-serving corporatists will wield predominant power over the elections. This tiny club will have the wherewithal to narrow the choice of candidates presented to the rest of us, the range of policy ideas that are proposed to voters, the overall tone of the campaign year, and — most important — the governing agenda of those who get elected.

The KB-Party of Plutocratic Rule is brought to you by the Supreme Court’s disastrous Citizens United edict. After the Court’s 2010 democracy-mugging decree that corporations would henceforth be allowed to dump unlimited amounts of their shareholders’ money into our election campaigns, a guy named Larry sent a hot email to me that perfectly summed up what had just been done to us: “Big money has plucked our eagle!”

The black-robed corporatists’ freakish Citizens United ruling has already let the KB-Party amass their unprecedented electioneering fund, setting them up as the Godfathers of Tea Party Republicanism. Supposedly proud candidates for governor, Congress and even such presidential wannabes as Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Scott Walker are shamelessly scurrying to the money throne to kiss the Koch ring, do a song and dance, grovel, and pledge fealty to the brotherhood’s extremist plutocratic agenda.

But big money is plucking our eagle not only because it corrupts candidates, but also because it is used to deny crucial information to voters and greatly diminish their participation in what has become a farce. First of all, the biggest chunk of cash spent by the KB-Party will go right into a mindboggling squall of television ads, none of which will explain who they’re for and why. Rather, they will be nauseatingly negative attack ads, brimming with optical trickery and outright lies to trash the candidates they’re against. Worse, voters will not even be informed that the garbage they’re watching is paid for by the Koch cabal, since another little favor the Supreme Court granted to the corporate plutocrats is that they can run secret campaigns, using their front groups as screens to keep voters from knowing what special interests are behind the ads — and why.

We saw the impact of secret, unrestricted corporate money in last year’s midterm elections. It produced a blight of negativity, a failure of the system to address the people’s real needs, an upchuck factor that kept nearly two-thirds of the people from voting, and a rising alienation of the many from the political process and government owned by the few. The Koch machine spent about $400 million to get those results. This time, they’ll spend more than twice that.

To help ban the corporate cash that’s clogging America’s democratic process and killing our people’s right to self-government, go to www.DemocracyIsForPeople.org.

To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Web page atwww.creators.com.

Photo: “kaje_yomama” via Flickr

Jim Hightower

Jim Hightower is a nationally syndicated columnist and one of America's most prominent progressive voices. His column carried by more than 75 publications across the country. Prior to becoming a writer, Hightower served as Texas Agricultural Commission from 1982 to 1991.

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  1. Dominick Vila February 25, 2015

    The sad truth is that our political process, indeed, our form of government and judicial system, has always been beholden to the elite and corporate America. The only difference is that those who serve their masters abandoned all pretenses in the 1980s, and now every branch of government does not mind demonstrating who they really work for and who they represent.
    As for the KB interests, consider the reaction to President Obama’s 3 vetoes since he became President, as opposed to Reagan’s 78 vetoes or W’s 12. In the eyes of the KB servants O’s is the ultimate manifestation of tyranny, as opposed to his predecessors who were, obviously, doing what was best for the puppet masters.

    1. itsfun February 25, 2015

      Dom: Comparing Reagan’s vetos to Obama’s is not a good comparison. Harry Reid always stopped any bills Obama would have vetoed before they got to Obama. As you are seeing now, Obama will use the veto many more times in the next 2 years. He actually will have to show the American people what he really believes in.

      1. anothertoothpick February 25, 2015

        I’ll bet your a big Rudy fan.

        1. idamag February 25, 2015

          No matter what he is. he or she is an Obama hater and an ideologue. Many of the Founding Fathers did not want political parties. James Madison said they would cause chaos and division. People like ifsun are like a disease to Democracy.

      2. Dominick Vila February 25, 2015

        Considering the friendly relationship between Reagan and Tip O’Neill, the support the Gipper got from the so-called Reagan Democrats, and his commitment to protect the “safety net”, you really have to wonder what prompted him to issue 78 vetoes. Obama has issued 3 vetoes since he was inaugurated in January 2009.

        1. anothertoothpick February 25, 2015

          Most if not all of reagans vetoes were laws that either helped working class people help the
          environment, or to do ANYTHING that would help Indian Tribes. He really had it in for Native Americans.


          However, nearly half of his vetoes where “pocket vetoes”. My guess is he just put those bills in his pocket, and actually forgot about them.

          1. Frank KIng February 25, 2015

            He also did a job on teachers, air traffic controllers, the mentally ill and farmers(keep the grain–export the farmers). The right wing believes him to be their Lord and Saviour while a good many believe Bonzo would have made a better president.

          2. Elliot J. Stamler February 25, 2015

            He was 100% right about the air traffic controllers. There is no legal right for civil servants to strike against vital public safety. Coolidge said it almost 100 years ago-he was right. The air traffic controllers asked for what they got.

    2. Elliot J. Stamler February 25, 2015

      What ridiculous hyperbole! Dominick, you should be ashamed. And who is Audrie Hilley? I know of no conservatives who have compared Sen. Warren whom I like, admire and contributed to, to Ilse Koch or Countess Bathory. (Unless it is some totally crazy lunatic fringer which is possible – there are plenty of them.) Anyhow, if you want to posit the ultimate representation of female evil in today’s America today, I’d suggest Phyllis Schlafly, Sandy Rios, Beverly LaHaye, Michelle Bachmann and for some left – wing spice to this dish, Catherine MacKinnon.

  2. itsfun February 25, 2015

    The biggest complaint always comes from the side whose OX is getting gored.

    1. johninPCFL February 25, 2015

      Sure. 300 million Americans no longer have a say in governance.
      We don’t pick the contenders, we pick the “winners”. All of the “winners” have been pre-selected to assure that they won’t do ANYTHING to inconvenience the true rulers.

      1. itsfun February 25, 2015

        sad but true

  3. Frank KIng February 25, 2015

    The best evidence of a Fascist state in operation is a marriage of the government and Corporatism. KB is the “mother” of evil. The extreme right wing in the US has been evolving into Fascism for some time and with the help of a right wing court. The latest decision of the right wing court was Citizens United that gave further impetus to this growing abomination. “The death-knell of the republic had rung as soon as the active power became lodged in the hands of those who sought not to do justice to all citizens, rich and poor alike, but to stand for one special class and its interests as opposed to the interest of others”. President Theodore Roosevelt

    1. idamag February 25, 2015

      I chastised myself for thinking the same thing. However, I have had to face reality and you are right. Have you read, “The Bully Pulpit” by Doris Kearns Goodwin? She is a Pulitzer Prize winning writer. What Theodore Roosevelt faced when he took office, sounded like they were talking about today. The advantage TR had was we had individual journalists then and the media was not owned by a few powerful individuals. When Baker (An investigative reporter, for McClure Magazine) presented his findings to Roosevelt, the media ran with it and TR was able to clean up Washington. Another thing, we don’t have today – is an honest Republican like Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft.

  4. tdm3624 February 25, 2015

    If we ban corporate cash what will that do to organizations like the NAACP, AARP, and NRA?

  5. Godzilla February 25, 2015

    The politicians are bought and paid for, including Obama and Billary Clinton. This is not a one sided deal going on, it’s ALL of them. If you like the corruption then make sure you vote so that it has legitimacy and will continue unabated because of your approval. I will stick with local elections where things have a chance of not being corrupt.

    All this money being pumped in to the campaigns on BOTH sides of the political isle could produce some good financial opportunities if one tries hard. Political sign making can be a lucrative business and there may be some good investment opportunities to be had. The same goes with on air commercials and the chance that many companies stocks will see a nice jump during the never ending campaign season.

    There is a lesson here. You can’t stop what’s happening. You will vote and legitimize it so it will continue to happen. Combined, since you can’t change it, might as well make some money from it. By the time the 2016 elections roll around, both sides will likely spend over 2 billion dollars. Take advantage of it…….or just sit behind your computer and bitch about it.

    1. Frank KIng February 25, 2015

      With the current attempt by the republican party to gain a political advantage with uncontrolled redestricting in many areas, money is votes, and the added attempts to deny voting rights to a good portion of the citzenry the entire landscape of the election process has become corrupt. That is not to deny that money is crucial in an election-local, state or dederal but there was a degree of control and regulatory conditons that prevailed that gave some legitimacy to the process. Why don’t we just ignore the process altogether and have the corporations with the biggest bank accounts appoint the next President and congressional delegation.

      1. Godzilla February 25, 2015

        I won’t waste time with much of your Left Wing mimicry, I’ll just reply to this: Why don’t we just ignore the process altogether and have the corporations with the biggest bank accounts appoint the next President and congressional delegation.

        The corporation are already choosing their puppets, voting in Federal elections is an illusion of choice. No matter who wins, it’s just more of the same.

        1. Frank KIng February 25, 2015

          Must have touched upon you right wing sensibilities in my response to your diatribe on the sorry state of the election process in the country today. No mimicry just stating facts. You are just a right wing apologist in support of the current political atmosphere that makes it certain that the “illusion of choice” guarantees a right wing victory in any contest because money is votes and those with deep pockets are the winners. Forget the “No matter who wins”.

          1. Godzilla February 25, 2015

            No point in arguing, since we will simply disagree. It is a waste of energy. PEACE

      2. Jmz Nesky March 3, 2015

        Because making them spend that money gives us a little satisfaction that their trickle down promise is at least preventing them from being ball faced liars AND manipulators and actually, they deserve to free themselves from some of those millions they’ve been hoarding, but in any case we have been allowing them to do just that (decide who to appoint) we just can’t come to the conclusion that we’ve always realized it.. When a single ring leader or he and his butt sniffing munchkins can hand pick empty suits then have the gall to believe he (they’re) fooling us into thinking we have a choice of which hand picked dillard we can elect, it’s nothing less than a corporate decision. You must have noted by now that not one political asshat has had to show anyone their record of ascension, only spew feces and dirt toward their opponents.. Their platform, though it would seem commendable, is only made of paper written with invisible ink, once they enter the trough they know (or at least realize) that what was promised can not be given because when they were the congress, the senator, the gov’nah.. they made it so the president in their tenure couldn’t follow through.. Yes, the shills know their place and to justify their lies? Well, it was a delegation.. what the constituents and anyone else who listened wanted to hear, they never had to swear on a stack of bibles.
        There hasn’t been any real credible presidents since Dwight Eisenhower (for the R’s) and John Kennedy (for the Ds), the rest had gotten in because the dirt they blew on the ‘other’ runner somehow convinced the voting public that they were the lesser of two evils (and no matter the level, it’s still defined as an evil). So, join the bandwagon of realization or continue to vote as if you actually had a choice in the matter, your move.

  6. Elliot J. Stamler February 25, 2015

    Citizens United is the thoroughly correct interpretation of the First Amendment of the Constitution. It has deleterious consequences to many politically (including to me) but as the great unremembered Supreme Court Justice George Sutherland so wisely wrote decades ago: The constitution must be adhered to as much when it pinches and as when it comforts. The furious objections to CU comes from liberals whose real gripe is that their side isn’t benefiting the most from the decision. I do not like the Koch Brothers or their politics but they have the right to spend their own money to express their own political views if independent of a candidate’s own campaign. I REMIND ALL YOU SUPPOSED LIBERALS THAT THE ACLU SUPPORTS THE CU DECISION.
    If we as a country we can amend the constitution to bring about a change and right now there is a national campaign to do just that with respect to permitting the kind of restrictions struck down to conform with the First Amendment. Perhaps that is a good idea. But that is the only remedy…I am not prepared to sacrifice fundamental free speech protections just because I intensely dislike the speech…this is what conservatives virtually always do…it is sickening to see supposed liberals do the same.


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