Sunday, August 2, 2015

State of Play - Citizens United 2016 Edition

The Billionaires Are Picking the Next President
Every voter has a price, right?
Happily, most of us have no appetite for bread or circuses.

MeanMesa at first began writing down the "featured" reporting in this PoliticusUSA article with the intention of creating another of the now famous Short Current Essays graphics. However, the more time that was spent on the body of the reporting, the clearer it became that the entire thing merited being posted on the blog. The formatting for points emphasized [red] has been added to the original content.

While Other Candidates Tap Millionaires, Sanders Campaign Is Fueled By Small Donations

By: Keith Brekhus
Saturday, August, 1st, 2015
[Emphasis added. Visit the PoliticusUSA site here.]

On Friday, campaign super PACs filed financial reports with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC), giving the public a more complete picture of which candidates are doing well and which ones are doing poorly in the fundraising race. The August 1st edition of The New York Times ran a piece showing how much money each candidate has raised, and it also included how much cash has been raised by super PACs supporting each candidate.

Presidential Candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders [I-VT]

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has raised 13.7 million dollars in total contributions, with 80. 7 percent of that money coming from donations of 200 dollars or less. For comparison, 19 percent of Hillary Clinton’s donations have been 200 dollars or less. Just 3.3 percent of Jeb Bush’s contributions have come from small donations.

Only retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson comes close to matching Sanders in his reliance on small donors to power his campaign. 80.2 percent of Carson’s money has come from donations of 200 dollars or less.

While those figures are from the actual campaigns themselves, the race for dollars among super PACs might be even more revealing. For example, over 95 percent of contributions to super PACs that support Texas Senator Ted Cruz have come from donations of one million dollars or more. Over 75 percent of super PAC funds in support of Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry and Marco Rubio have also come from contributions of a million dollars or greater.

For Hillary Clinton super PACs, the figure is 51.1 percent. By contrast, no pro-Sanders super PAC has received any donations exceeding a million dollars.

Thirty-one wealthy donors have given 1.1 million dollars or more to fund presidential candidates or pro-candidate super PACs. Each of those donors has funneled their money to Republicans, with Ted Cruz supporters Robert Mercer and Toby Neugebauer leading the charge. Each has donated more than ten million to support Cruz’s presidential bid.

While no individual has given over a million dollars to back any Democrat running for president, a handful of individuals have contributed exactly one million to help elect Hillary Clinton. Philanthropist George Soros and film director Steven Spielberg have each contributed a million dollars to help elect Hillary Clinton.

Since Bernie Sanders is explicitly taking on the “billionaire class,” it makes sense that his campaign would resonate with ordinary citizens, while failing to catch hold with the super wealthy. The fundraising reports released so far bear out what it probably obvious. Bernie Sanders campaign is a grassroots, people-powered movement, while most of the other campaigns are being backed by millionaires and billionaires.

What We Have To Do
The Message Which MUST Be Carried

The road weary talking point that "money has taken control" of the democracy turns out to be much more than mere idle filler for the current narrative. Hearing this popular lament on a radio or television show may be unsettling enough, but when some hard numbers are added to the story, what used to be a mild irritation should become chilling -- bone rattlingly chilling.

Much of contemporary ethics and juris prudence deals with election fraud as highly material instances of bribery, voter suppression, identity theft, extortion and so on. Such criminal acts are now no longer necessarily elements in the "main scheme" for manipulating US elections. However, the precise dilemma facing the democracy at this moment eludes indictment under those traditional provision thanks to its cleverly crafted nature. 

Don't miss this point. Something inescapably stranger has replaced these more familiar, traditional types of electoral crimes, and that "something" is uniquely dangerous to the democracy because it is not particularly a violation of any statutory law. Let's look at this as a two part definition.

1. Pump huge amounts of money into PAC entities and use it for volumes of negative, psychological propaganda,    and,
2. Isolate and develop an electoral demographic which can be targeted to listen to this negative advertising -- and believe it -- at least enough to materialize the propaganda's intended influence at the polls.

However brilliantly compelling this "two stage" argument might seem, it is, in fact, incomplete. MeanMesa suggests that two additional "stages" must be included, and they must be positioned before "number one." The completed list becomes:

1. Ruthlessly conduct psychological research to determine existing fears and desires -- or the means required to incite them -- in the targeted demographic.
2. Control the narrative entering into the thoughts of the targeted demographic to constantly reinforce the "vitality" of specific fears and desires which can then be manipulated for electoral advantage.
3. Pump huge amounts of money into PAC entities and use it for volumes of negative, psychological propaganda,    and,
4. Isolate and develop an electoral demographic which can be targeted to listen to this negative advertising -- and believe it -- at least enough to materialize the propaganda's intended influence at the polls.

Plus, our billionaires are still solid.[image UCubed]
This post is about money. This is what MeanMesa sees that money doing. In a very troubling sense the problem with what that money is doing has more to do with why the voters in the lockstep thrall of the Republican base can be manipulated than with the banal machinations of the billionaires driving the process.

Amazingly, the zombie-like voters who continue to elect the folks the oligarchs send to run our government are demanding nothing beyond a quite economical dose of propaganda. Inside their minds everything seems to make some sort of urgent sense, but this state can only be sustained so long as the carefully crafted "psychological incitement" remains un-examined.

This "examination" represents the oligarchs' "Achilles heel." If the propagandized's blindly proffered credibility were to lapse -- even for a moment, the on-going billionaires' take-over scam would falter and collapse.

MeanMesa has proposed a couple of possible solutions in previous posts:

CASH TRACK - Lighting Up the Clown Car's Check Book

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