It is well-known that the U.S. Supreme Court's democracy-corrupting Citizens United decision is largely responsible for the hundreds of millions of corporate dollars flooding this season's election cycle. But many do not know that one man is particularly responsible for Citizens United and other challenges to fair election rules, and that his ironically-named "Committee for Truth in Politics" is one of the many groups fronting corporate dollars while pretending to be just like ordinary folk.
This first post-Citizens United campaign season has, unfortunately, vindicated fears about the Court decision's impact. As expected, at least hundreds of millions of corporate dollars have been spent in the past months trying to buy our votes, with most of this money being funneled through outside special interest groups with innocent-sounding names like "American Action Network" or "American Crossroads." Outside special interest group spending is five times greater in 2010 than in the last midterm election, and as expected, most of these funds are helping Republicans who generally oppose regulating their corporate benefactors.
Fox News Channel turned a brief investigation of a flashlight found on the Brooklyn Bridge into a potential terrorist attack by the Pakistani Taliban, and then later dismissed the whole affair as though it didn't happen.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Pink ribbons abound at department stores, grocery stores, gas stations, shopping malls and many other places. But the big "awareness" push may be misplaced. After all, lung cancer kills twice as many women each year as breast cancer -- more women every year in the U.S. die from lung cancer than from breast, uterine, and ovarian cancers combined. In 2009 alone, 31,000 more women died of lung cancer than breast cancer. But there aren't any ribbons, theme-colored products, corporate promotions, colored car magnets, festivals or fundraisers to make people aware of lung cancer's devastating toll, or to support lung cancer victims or raise money for a cure.
The Washington-based Republican Governors Association is running a series of clever ads calling to mind the Miller Lite “great taste, less filling” ad campaign from years ago, and attacking Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett. Responsible voters should be suspicious of ads brewed up by this Washington-based group.
Terry Jones, the controversial pastor in Gainesville, Florida who is calling for an"International Burn A Koran Day" on September 11, may have a personal motive for inflaming national hatred of Muslims: lining his own pocket.
The grassroots pressure group Americans for Prosperity (AFP), that actively fought health care reform, boasts "our citizen activists" are "the heart and soul" of the organization. So AFP wants the public and the media to believe. But an exhaustive report in the August 30, 2010 issue of The New Yorker magazine, shows that the heart and soul behind AFP are really the oil billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch of Koch Industries, whose privately-owned oil enterprise has made them among the richest men in America. In addition to petroleum interests, the Kochs also own a host of familiar products like Brawny paper towels, Dixie cups, Georgia-Pacific lumber, Stainmaster carpet and Lycra. Their massive combined wealth makes them the third richest people in the country, behind only Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, who are better known to the public. The Kochs have intentionally obscured their involvement on the American political scene through the creation of an elaborate network of front groups, think tanks, foundations and astroturf organizations, but the public is quickly getting to know the Koch brothers better. Given their extreme wealth and pervasive efforts to manipulate the American public, it is a name everyone should get to know very, very well.