Recent news and notes from the movement to overturn Citizens United…
Lawrence Lessig’s Republic Lost documents the corrosive effect of money on our political process. Anthony Everitt’s Rise of Rome is fascinating history and a great read. It tells the story of ancient Rome, from its founding (circa 750 BCE) to the fall of the Roman Republic (circa 45 BCE). When read together, striking parallels emerge — between our failings and the failings that destroyed the Roman Republic.
Let’s have some post-election fun using our informed imagination. It is four years from now. We are confident that the physical areas in which we live are part of larger geopolitical entities that have not been rigged to procure advantages for a particular political party, but, in fact, are legitimately circumscribed, unbiased areas containing fellow citizens. In this election, we are voting for candidates we truly want in office, whom we are certain will represent our needs, if elected. We are voting positively, not to avoid the rule of villainy — something new for me, perhaps for you.
In the November election, a million more Americans voted for Democrats seeking election to the U.S. House of Representatives than Republicans. But that popular vote advantage did not result in control of the chamber. Instead, despite getting fewer votes, Republicans have maintained a commanding control of the House. Such a disparity has happened only three times in the last century. Analysts and others have identified redistricting as a key to the disparity.
Coming off the most expensive election in history — costing a staggering $6 billion, with nearly one dollar in six coming from outside and “independent” groups — you might think the time is (once again) right for campaign finance reform. That may be so. However, in recent terms, the US Supreme Court has substantially limited the options for meaningful reform. In particular, in the areas of independent expenditures and publicly financed matching grants, the Court shot down efforts to rein in money’s corrosive effects on politics — all in the name of free speech.
Reader Supported News
Murdoch’s Bid to Hijack the US Presidency
So now we have it: what appears to be hard, irrefutable evidence of Rupert Murdoch’s ultimate and most audacious attempt – thwarted, thankfully, by circumstance – to hijack America’s democratic institutions on a scale equal to his success in kidnapping and corrupting the essential democratic institutions of Great Britain through money, influence and wholesale abuse of the privileges of a free press. In the American instance, Murdoch’s goal seems to have been nothing less than using his media empire – notably Fox News – to stealthily recruit, bankroll and support the presidential candidacy of General David Petraeus in the 2012 election.
The “American” in American Petroleum Institute, the country’s largest oil lobby group, is a misnomer…The group has changed over the years, and is now led by men like Tofiq Al-Gabsani, a Saudi Arabian national who heads a Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Aramco) subsidiary, the state-run oil company that also helps finance the American Petroleum Institute. New disclosures retrieved today, showing some of API’s spending over the course of last year, reveal that API used its membership dues (from the world’s largest oil companies like Chevron and Aramco) to finance several dark money groups airing attack ads in the most recent election cycle.