Not only is income and wealth in America more concentrated in fewer hands than it's been in 80 years, but those hands are buying our democracy as never before -- and they're doing it behind closed doors.
Hundreds of millions of secret dollars are pouring into congressional and state races in this election cycle. The Koch brothers (whose personal fortunes grew by $5 billion last year) appear to be behind some of it, Karl Rove has rounded up other multimillionaires to fund right-wing candidates, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is funneling corporate dollars from around the world into congressional races, and Rupert Murdoch is evidently spending heavily.
No one knows for sure where this flood of money is coming from because it's all secret.
But you can safely assume its purpose is not to help America's stranded middle class, working class, and poor. It's to pad the nests of the rich, stop all reform, and deregulate big corporations and Wall Street -- already more powerful than since the late 19th century when the lackeys of robber barons literally deposited sacks of cash on the desks of friendly legislators.
Credit the Supreme Court's grotesque decision in Citizens United vs. the Federal ElectionCommission, which opened the floodgates. (Even though 8 of 9 members of the Court also held disclosure laws constitutional, the decision invited the creation of shadowy "nonprofits" that don't have to reveal anything.)
According to FEC data, only 32 percent of groups paying for election ads are disclosing the names of their donors. By comparison, in the 2006 midterm, 97 percent disclosed; in 2008, almost half disclosed.
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BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE
President Obama: Why Are You Allowing Your Postmaster General to Run a Plantation? The United States Postal Service is running a latter-day plantation. It's been documented by members of congress, and arbitrators, that the postal service is routinely falsifying employee clock rings, subjecting its employees to harassment, intimidation, and abuse, and forcing many of its employees to work between four and six hours a day without pay. Then, even though the Inspector General has documentation of the commission of a federal crimes in hand, the perpetrators are being allowed to walk away with impunity, and even being promoted.
Why are you allowing this to happen, Mr. President? Don't you know that this sort of thing more than offset all the good that you're trying to do? While the corporate media hasn't taken an interest in this issue yet, this kind of blatant worker abuse isn't taking place in a vacuum. The United States Postal Service is the second largest civilian employer in America. It employs over 600,000 people, and they all know what you're allowing to happen to them, and so do their family and friends. That's a lot of people - and a lot of votes.
BENEATH THE SPIN · ERIC L. WATTREE
The Religious Right: A Threat to America (Reprise)
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When I became of age one of the first things I did was to reassess all of my previous beliefs and attitudes. Thereafter, I discarded as invalid anything that didn't stand up to logical and objective scrutiny, because even at that young age, I'd lived long enough to recognize that most of the problems in this world are a direct result of our failure to re-examine our illogical views of reality. Most religious zealots not only fail to go through that process, but refuse to as a matter of religious doctrine. It is due to that kind of zealotry, along with their doctrinal obligation against even considering the fact that they just might be zealots, that makes the religious right a clear and present danger to both the United States, and the world. Now, I don't have anything against religious people, per se - I was raised by Christians, and they were wonderful and loving people. In fact, I'm very spiritual myself. But if you show me a man who believes that Moses parted the Red Sea, I'll show you a man whose logical assessment of reality cannot be relied upon.