John McCain Throws Mitt Romney Under The Corporate People’s Bus

Remember when Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark, NJ, disagreed with President Obama’s attacks on Wall Street? Remember when Bill Clinton defended Mitt Romney’s record as a businessman at Bain Capital? Have you noticed that anytime an Obama surrogate says anything remotely contrary to a position taken by the President the media harps on it for days and characterizes it as a fracturing of support for the President?

Yesterday John McCain was interviewed on the PBS Newshour and made some remarks that utterly obliterated Mitt Romney’s position on campaign finance as well as the whole of his election operation. And, so far, it has been ignored by the mainstream press. Here is what McCain said (video below):

JUDY WOODRUFF: But in the wake of the Supreme Court decision Citizens United, we are seeing enormous sums of money going into this campaign, to the campaigns themselves, to outside supporters.

Is this — is it just inevitable that we’re now in a period where money is going to be playing this dominant role in American politics?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN: I’m afraid, at least for the time being, that’s going to be the case, because of the most misguided, naive, uninformed, egregious decision of the United States Supreme Court I think in the 21st century.

To somehow view money as not having an effect on election, a corrupting effect on election, flies in the face of reality. I just wish one of them had run for county sheriff. So what we are. . .

JUDY WOODRUFF: You mean one of the justices?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN: One of the five Supreme Court justices that voted to invalidate what we know of as McCain-Feingold.

Look, I guarantee you, Judy, there will be scandals. There is too much money washing around political campaigns today. And it will take scandals, and then maybe we can have the Supreme Court go back and revisit this issue.

Remember, the Supreme Court rules on constitutionality. So just passing another law doesn’t get it. So I’m afraid we’re in for a very bleak period in American politics. You know, we all talk about — and you just did — about how much money is in the presidential campaign.

Suppose there’s a Senate campaign in a small state, and 10 people get together and decided to contribute $10 million each. You think that wouldn’t affect that Senate campaign?

JUDY WOODRUFF: This question of campaign money highlighted today by this — the announcement that there’s a huge amount of money coming in from one donor in the state of Nevada.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN: Mr. Adelson, who gave large amounts of money to the Gingrich campaign. And much of Mr. Adelson’s casino profits that go to him come from this casino in Macau.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Which says what?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN: Which says that, obviously, maybe in a roundabout way, foreign money is coming into an American campaign — political campaigns.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Because of the profits at the casinos in Macau?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN: Yes. That is a great deal of money. And, again, we need a level playing field and we need to go back to the realization that Teddy Roosevelt had that we have to have a limit on the flow of money, and that corporations are not people.

That’s why we have different laws that govern corporations than govern individual citizens. And so to say that corporations are people, again, flies in the face of all the traditional Supreme Court decisions that we have made — that have been made in the past.

That’s about as strong a denunciation of Romney’s campaign as can be made without adding profanities. How can Romney balance his assertion that “Corporations are people, my friend,” with McCain’s total repudiation of that nonsense?
Jon Stewart Citizens UnitedAnd McCain goes further to blast Romney’s newest billionaire supporter, Sheldon Adelson, as injecting foreign money into American politics. McCain’s opposition to the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court shatters any argument that Romney could make to justify his reliance on billionaire donors and SuperPACs.

These are not the comments of some obscure, second-tier Romney supporter. John McCain is a top Romney surrogate, as well as the just past nominee for president from the Republican Party. And the sharpness of his criticism contrasts with the vague remarks from Clinton and Booker who, it could be argued, were merely acknowledging that Romney had been successful in business, but that those skills do not transfer to success in governing (as was the case in Massachusetts).

There are few examples of political contradiction more severe than that offered up here by John McCain. So where is the feverish reporting of a fracturing Republican coalition, or even an acknowledgement of the flagrant difference of opinion? This is not a tangential issue. It goes to the core of what is making Romney competitive as a candidate – his fundraising. Yet his top surrogate demolishes his position and, after trumpeting the alleged gaffes of Democrats, the so-called “liberal” media remains silent.

Corporate Godhood: When Corporate Personhood Is Not Enough

The Republican National Committee has just filed an amicus brief with the U.S. District Court in Virginia in support of a ruling that would eliminate the ban on corporations making direct donations to political candidates.

Such a ruling would magnify the catastrophic decision issued by the Supreme Court in the Citizen’s United case that permits corporations to make unlimited donations, anonymously, to political action committees. The RNC’s latest move would broaden that allowance to permit such donations directly to candidates.

This is another attempt by the GOP (Greedy One Percent) to usurp power in America from the people and transfer it to the wealthy and to unaccountable business entities. Even though individuals are not allowed to make unlimited donations to political candidates, Republicans want to give that power to corporations.

The result is much worse than the current situation wherein corporations are legally viewed as persons. If this ruling stands, corporations might as well be elevated to Gods. They will have far more omnipotent control over the affairs of humans than humans do themselves. Plus, like Gods, corporations are immortal. They direct our daily behavior. They control our bodies through drug testing, and our minds through propaganda They decide whether we will be able to pay rent or purchase groceries and medicine – essentially whether we live or die.

But unlike Gods, corporations have no moral code, no soul. They are unconcerned with the welfare of people. They are not held accountable for the pain, suffering, and even death that they cause. If I put e-coli bacteria in your soup and you die, I will go to jail, and perhaps be executed. If a corporation feeds tainted soup to millions they might get a fine and a request to recall the soup.

What’s more, corporations have no national loyalty. They are borderless entities that will ship jobs off to the cheapest, most exploitative locations for labor, then re-import those products made in near slave labor conditions and sell them back to us at inflated prices – including medicines that people require to live.

The only obligation that corporations are held to is to return value to shareholders. Period. It is a legal obligation for which they can lose their charter if they fail to comply. It is also a coldhearted standard of ethical behavior that differentiates corporations from people. People care about their families, their communities, their country, and their world. It is that caring that qualifies people to govern themselves. When we hand over that role to corporations, we put everything we care about in the hands of dead entities that were created for the sole purpose of making money.

Yet the Republican National Committee is pleading with the courts to give corporations more power than they have ever had, and more power than ordinary flesh-and-blood people could ever match. That’s today’s Republican Party to which the Tea Baggers and evangelicals are flocking. And they have to be stopped before we are nothing more than anthropogenic machines forced to serve the interests of the Corporation Almighty.

This is serious business. It is not some nuisance suit by an obscure fringe character. This legal action has been taken by the official body of the national Republican Party. It is not a joke. Nevertheless, Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart has once again distilled a complex and profound issue into a concise declarative statement that makes the point in an understandable and compelling way:

Jon Stewart On Corporate Personhood

Indeed. And the Supreme Court, dominated by a right-wing Republican majority, is now getting help from their party apparatus. And their frontrunner for the GOP nomination for president, Mitt Romney (or R*Money as his Highlife Homies call him), famously came out in support of the ludicrous notion that corporations are people.

This is becoming an ingrained principle of conservative politics and we must not allow it to succeed. So keep up the fight, because Corporations Are Not People. Here are some ways to contribute and participate:

Move To Amend is organizing a national action on January 20, 2012, to oppose and reverse Citizens United: Occupy the Courts!
Public Citizen is organizing a national action on January 21, 2012 to oppose and reverse Corporate Personhood: Occupy the Corporations!

The Decadence Index: How The Wealth Gap Is Hastening The Fall Of The American Empire

If there is anything that history teaches us about empires, it is that they are temporary and often fall of their own decaying weight. Ancient Rome is notorious for a descent that was widely speculated to have been driven by a massive class disparity. The aristocratic patricians devolved into a morass of immorality and obscene opulence. Meanwhile, the other 99% of the empire’s subjects were burdened by lives of oppressive labor or slavery.

The parallels to contemporary American class division are striking. We have our own aristocracy that arisen to a place of privilege and power, while working families are working harder for less, if they’re fortunate enough to be working at all. The 400 richest Americans control more wealth than the bottom 150 million of their fellow citizens – combined. And they exploit the power that comes with that wealth to further enrich themselves. Between 1979 and 2007, average after-tax incomes for the top 1% rose by 281%, compared to a 16% rise for the bottom 20%. The Roman elites would have felt right at home.

There is one difference, however. An historical study published by the Cambridge University Press looked at the Roman economy and calculated the measurement used by the CIA to rank the wealth gap of the nations of the world. What it found was that the United States actually ranks lower on income inequality than Ancient Rome.

Let that sink in for a moment. History’s most conspicuously ostentatious society of Bacchanalian excess had a less severe chasm between its rich and poor subjects than contemporary America. That astonishing fact led me to wonder where the U.S. stands when compared to its modern counterparts. So I consulted the CIA World Factbook and ranked the twenty richest nations by the index that represents income inequality. What I found was that the U.S. ranks 18th out of twenty. I call it The Decadence Index, and countries like Iran, Russia, and India are all less decadent than the United States in terms of economic disparity.

Click to enlarge
Decadence Index

The CIA collects this sort of data because it can be useful in predicting where civil unrest might flare up in the world. So what does that say about the stability of our social structure going forward? It certainly explains the Occupy movement. The question now is what are we going to do about it?

The solutions are not all that difficult to comprehend. Those who have benefited so lavishly by exploiting the system for their own enrichment should now be required to share a fair portion of the sacrifice necessary to restore economic health and balance. It’s not rocket science. Malcolm Gladwell offers a compelling explanation as he demolishes the rightist fable that taxes on the wealthy impede economic growth:

If we want to raise our position on the Decadence Index above that of the Ancient Romans (or the Russians or the French, for that matter), we need to reject the reckless and insensitive agenda of the right-wing patricians whose sole purpose is the accumulation of wealth and power. These patrons of plutocracy unabashedly advocate cutting, even eliminating, taxes on themselves, the rich, and intensifying the tax burden on everyone else. They falsely portray themselves as “job creators,” but this InfoGraphic shows who The Real Job Creators are. They pretend to fret over a class war that they themselves are waging. And because they know that the people overwhelmingly support the principles of economic fairness and justice, these conservative elites are conspiring to suppress the votes of average Americans, particularly seniors, minorities, students, and low-income voters.

Make no mistake, this is a coordinated campaign financed and managed by shadowy, but powerful, business and political entities like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Their mission was aided by the Supreme Court’s odious decision in the Citizens United case that opened the floodgates of corporate money into the electoral process. And, of course, they have the propaganda power of Fox News to advance their greedy, magisterial interests. But the people are fighting back against ludicrous notions like “Corporate Personhood,” and the Upper Crusters are afraid. Even Republican strategist Frank Luntz is admitting as much:

“I’m so scared of this anti-Wall Street effort. I’m frightened to death. They’re having an impact on what the American people think of capitalism.”

So keep up the fight because Corporations Are Not People. Here are some ways to contribute and participate:

Move To Amend is organizing a national action on January 20, 2012, to oppose and reverse Citizens United: Occupy the Courts!
Public Citizen is organizing a national action on January 21, 2012 to oppose and reverse Corporate Personhood: Occupy the Corporations!

Get up. Get involved. Get mad. And get to work.