A couple of things happened today and I’ve decided they should be mentioned. First, I read an article in which Mike Duncan, chairman of the conservative PAC American Crossroads, claimed that there isn’t too much money in politics. This caught my eye because I personally believe there is far too much money in politics. What was even more interesting was his argument. He basically said that liberal groups were going to raise more money than conservative groups in this election. I think that’s a perfectly reasonable claim considering that Obama will be on the ballot, and Republican initiatives in places like Wisconsin have riled up the unions. However, that’s not an argument that there isn’t too much money in politics. It’s further proof that there obviously is. Just because the other side might win isn’t a defense of much larger issue.
The problem is that such huge amounts of money can only be raised from a of sources, corporations, union groups, or the extremely wealthy. As Salon reported about a year ago, the election was just starting to heat up and American Crossroads had raised about $4.4 million up to that point. Nearly all of it came from 4 people. Individual billionaires had put millions of dollars in Karl Rove’s hands to promote conservative candidates. How can you say there isn’t too much money in the system when all the power gets put into the hands of a few donors. Amusingly, American Crossroads called itself a “grassroots” organization.
We see this same problem with the Tea Party. Tea Party rallies are sponsored by groups like Americans For Prosperity. Sure lots of people show up but the “grassroots” movement is funded by special interests. Anti-government sentiment is being propped up by groups that want reduced government for their own gain, not for the gain of public. This trend is taking the power of elections out of the hands of the people.
The President is trying to run a different campaign, apparently. I got an e-mail today from the Obama campaign. It was just asking me to donate money. The email said that the President is trying to run a “grassroots” (funny how that word keeps showing up) campaign. Instead of having a goal of dollars raised they wanted a certain number of people who have donated. Their goal is to have 450,000 individual donors by the next filing deadline. It also claims they are refusing money from Washington lobbyists and PACs. I applaud the President for this. His actions don’t carry quite the weight they could, however. First of all, we’ll have to wait until after the filing deadline to know if it’s true, and to see how much special interest money Republicans are raising. Second, I’m not as worried about the donations to presidential candidates. Those are public and regulated. A person or group can only donate so much money to a presidential campaign. That’s not where the money goes. The money goes to parties and PACs who run advertising outside of the campaign. You can bet that the Democrat and Republican parties are taking special interest money. Democrats have also begun to jump on the Citizens United bus. Former Obama aide Bill Burton has formed Priorities USA, a group much like Rove’s American Crossroads, so this election should see even more misleading attack ads from both sides
Until all the money in politics comes from individuals and not special interests these elections will never truly be in the hands of the public. As long as billionaires can fund tons of attack ads without limitation the power will never rest with the people.
I wish to propose a question. It’s likely to be held in contempt by a number of people. Some might even condemn me to Hell. However, society has gotten nowhere by keeping its mouth shut. It progresses by the asking of questions. So here I go.
Are Judaism and it’s spin-off of Christianity supposed to be monotheistic religions?
Most people would probably say yes. Jews and Christians worship one God, not many Gods. That answer misses the point of the question. I’m not asking if they do worship one God. Instead I am asking if they are supposed to believe that there is only one God. Let’s look at the 1st Commandment:
“6 I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; 7 you shall have no other gods before me.” Deuteronomy 5:6-7
That doesn’t say there is only one God. It just says you only get to worship one God. Maybe it’s heretical, but I’m just trying to ask a question that I don’t hear anyone asking. Like I said, society progresses through the asking of questions and the search for answers. That is what made Newton question why things fall to the ground. It led Franklin to investigate lightning. In 1969 that spirit put a man on the moon. We should stop accepting what we have been told and go out and discover for ourselves.
It is of interest that this is the very problem with American political participation. We are far too willing to accept something that is said to us repeatedly. Karl Rove can raise millions of dollars and use it to sway elections because a 30 second attack ad is easier to absorb than a complicated argument. Everyone complains about attack ads during a campaign, but they are there because they work. It easier to say, “raising taxes is bad.,” than it is to go out and find the information that shows those tax increases would be on %2 of the population. Guess what? You’re not one of them.
What truly saddens me is that we don’t have the desire to even question the most simplistic statements. If we can’t get past those, then no one questions the 1st commandment. Many people would tell me that my argument about Deuteronomy isn’t really that important. There are roughly 2 billion Christians in the world. How is it not important?
Questioning our leaders, in our communities, government, or churches is very important. One fact that is often forgotten is that those people work for us. Ministers are supposed to be servants of their congregations. Government employees work for the public good. We are their boss, and any good boss pays attention to what his employees are doing. I’d say it’s about time we check in on ours.
Posted in Education, Politics, Society
Tagged Benjamin Franklin, Bible, Christianity, Education, Isaac Newton, Karl Rove, politics, postaday2011, ten commandments
I’ve seriously had it. If I hear another news report where a Republican says to a reporter, “My opponent has been a rubber-stamp for Obama.” I’m going to lose my mind. They even say it about Democrats who aren’t incumbents. It’s like Republicans think they can use the Force. They think they know what people are going to vote for. Karl Rove is sitting at a crystal ball (probably with Christine “I’m Not a Witch” O’Donnell) and telling America its future. Remember it’s scary, very scary.
The really scary thing is that the Republican Mind Trick is working. All over the country people are saying we need to control spending. For some reason they think Republicans will do that. Eight years of record-setting deficits under Pres. Bush have seemingly been forgotten. The first time the deficit went down was this year, Pres. Obama’s first budget.
They basically say things like,”Vote for Republicans we have to stop the skyrocketing debt.” Republicans created the skyrocketing national debt. Tea Partiers clamor about out of control spending on bills like the stimulus and TARP. Have we all gone crazy? TARP WAS A REPUBLICAN BILL. They put the deficit over a trillion dollars for the first time. It’s like apathetic, ignorant, white America woke up 2 months ago and said ,”Holy crap, we let a black man in the White House. That can’t happen. it’s the White House. It’s named after us.”
I don’t know what to do. I could shout the facts from the highest mountaintop with one of those horns in the old Ricola commercials and no one would listen. If you tell people the truth they just believe whatever being fed to them by American’s for Prosperity, American Crossroads or the ambiguously named Citizen’s for Hope, Growth and Opportunity. $500 million in Medicare cuts, oh no, better vote Republican. Try to explain that it’s actually provisions in the healthcare bill that will slow the growth of Medicare over 10 years, thereby saving taxpayers $500 million dollars, and you’ll be lucky to get past healthcare. People will jump right in to tell you how healthcare reform is some Nazi-Communist-Muslim plot to force us into Comrade Obama’s fold. If that happens, try to explain that Nazism and Communism are vastly different. You might get your picture on a protest sign with a Hitler mustache and the word Communist scrawled across the bottom.
I try to be above the anger and the shouting. Rarely does angry rhetoric get us anywhere, but there is no civil discussion with these people. Rational, intelligent Americans have been reduced to catchphrase ridden sheep. All of them following the gesture of Karl Rove’s hand.
Pres. Obama and Democrats have passed a healthcare bill extending health insurance to millions of people, and curtailed some of the insurance industries worst practices. What did it cost? Over 10 years the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office thinks it will lower the deficit by more than $100 billion. You can find their report here. Democrats are also trying to let tax cuts on 2% of the wealthiest Americans expire which will provide $700 billion in revenue over 10 years. They are saving taxpayers $500 million from Medicare, and they’ve already lowered the deficit by more than $100 billion dollars. Republicans opposed all of that. All of them “rubber-stamped” a no to saving that money.
Are we going to trust them to be fiscally responsible?
Posted in Politics, Society
Tagged 2010 Midterms, campaign ads, Congress, deficit, Democrats, elections, healthcare reform, Karl Rove, Medicare, nationalmdebt, President, Republicans, stimulus, TARP, Tea Party
In honor of 10/10/10 (binary for 42 – the answer to the Ultimate Question about Life, the Universe and Everything). Independent Kansan would like to dedicate this wrap-up to the great Douglas Adams. Adams is considered one of the greatest science fiction writers of all time. His book, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy , as well as the subsequent books, radio plays, T.V. series and screenplay, will long be remembered in science fiction literature. Characters like Zaphod, Arthur Dent, and Marvin the Paranoid Android are timeless pieces of science fiction literature . So, Independent Kansan, is declaring this week “Douglas Adams Week” in remembrance of all that he gave us.
In other news this week, the Giant Head of Oprah appeared on the Daily Show in support of Jon Stewart’s “Rally to Restore Sanity.” Oprah is no longer content giving away cars and humpback whales to her own audience. Oprah gave trips to the entire studio audience so they could attend the rally in Washington, D.C. As Jon Stewart noted, the rally now has a guaranteed attendance of at least 225 people. Independent Kansan would like to know who’s audience you would like Oprah to visit next. If you said Rachael Ray, quit reading this blog, and seek mental help. Seriously, no one is that perky in the morning without drugs.
This brings us to the quote of the week:
“You’re going to the rally, you’re going to the rally, you’re going to the rally!!! Now get out there and restore some SANITY!!!!!!!!!!” -Oprah
Karl Rove appeared on Fox News Sunday and said that accusations that the president was making about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce using foreign money in political ads were “baseless.” Rove said, “Have these people no shame? Does the president of the United States have such little regard for the office that he holds that he goes out there and makes these kind of baseless charges against his political enemies? This is — this is just beyond the pale. How dare the president do this?”
I think we have to believe Karl Rove on this one. Obama must have disgraced the Presidency. If anyone is an expert on that, it’s got to be Karl Rove.
The big news of the week was the rescue of 33 miners in Chile. In a truly incredible story, 33 men who were believed to be dead for more than two weeks are now reunited with their families. Hat’s off to all the people who made this seemingly tragic event end happily.
And finally someone is sticking to corporate giants. Alex Blumberg at NPR ran a story about a woman who immigrated here from the Dominican Republic and through steadfast discipline has borrowed something like $13,000 interest-free. She makes many purchases with in-store credit cards for 10% off and then pays off the balance and closes the card. The stores are paying essentially paying her to shop there. Independent Kansan always likes to see the little man win.