This is both my personal learning project and my contribution in the struggle to confront the ongoing Republican/ libertarian assault on rational science and constructive learning, as manifested in their malicious strategic Attacks on Science ~ A collection of articles, scientific resources, plus my own essays and indepth critique of various presentations from unidirectional-skeptics ~ Hopefully a resource for the busy, yet discerning, student who's concerned about the health of our Earth
I’m a very busy individual and there is simply too much to keep up with and though I am familiar with the basic outline of their democracy shattering court case Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission and how Right-wing activist Supreme Court Justices decided that it’s okay for corporate Oligarchs to buy US elections in our evolving Corporation of American. I actually never visited their website to take a look myself until a couple days ago after another story about Bernie Sanders going after them. I was surprised, nay, shocked, to say the least. Their basic pitch starts:
Citizens United who We Are:
Citizens United is an organization dedicated to restoring our government to citizens' control. Through a combination of education, advocacy, and grass roots organization, Citizens United seeks to reassert the traditional American values of limited government, freedom of enterprise, strong families, and national sovereignty and security. Citizens United's goal is to restore the founding fathers' vision of a free nation, guided by the honesty, common sense, and good will of its citizens.
All that sounds reasonable enough, in a contrived sort of way. At least, it’s rational words linked together.One would hope it offers a basis for dialogue with ideological ‘opponents’.
Except, I know from other conversations that when they use the word “honesty” it means: their own self-certain opinions - it has nothing to do with an objective evaluation of facts.
They make it really simple, everything that doesn’t conform with their perspective is a lie (period!) and anyone opposed to their notions are enemies. Fellow Americans, don’t exist in their universe, it’s us vs them.
Okay that’s looking at the words, now try to view their blog at http://www.citizensunited.org. I had no idea that Citizens United was actually a blatant hate group that seems to be dedicated to fomenting a civil war amongst Americans.
It was hideously shocking, then as the surprise wore off, it was deeply frightening to realize many fellow Americans have become so saturated with blind hatred and misplaced anger. These people don’t want to reform our government, they want to destroy it ! Cut off your nose and poke out your eyes, to spite your face is what it sounds like to me.
Wake up America, this is not a drill! Democracy use it or lose it!
Most Americans are totally unaware that Citizens United is actually Koch's Bullies. Ironically there’s every indication that Russian Oligarchs have had a heavy hand in this election - and I tell you what, take a look at those videos and tell me that Citizens United website sure don't look more like a vintage Russian Propaganda review than anything we could have imagined coming out of our United State of America? Americans, it’s your move!
The Supreme Court's 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission helped unleash unprecedented amounts of outside spending in the 2010 and 2012 election cycles. The case, along with other legal developments, spawned the creation of super PACs, which can accept unlimited contributions from corporate and union treasuries, as well as from individuals; these groups spent more than $600 million in the 2012 election cycle. It also triggered a boom in political activity by tax-exempt "dark money" organizations that don't have to disclose their donors. Learn more here about how the Supreme Court transformed the campaign finance landscape with this decision, and how it is now affecting U.S. politics. ...
Such was the advice given to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker—conservative darling and failed Republican presidential candidate—by a top fundraiser in September 2011, as he faced a recall effort after pushing controversial anti-union legislation. The counsel, which Walker seemingly followed (to lucrative ends), was uncovered in a batch of 1,500 pages of leaked documents obtained by the Guardian and published in their entirety for the first time on Wednesday.
And it encapsulates, as Guardian journalist Ed Pilkington wrote, "how modern U.S. elections operate in the wake of Citizens United, the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that unleashed a flood of corporate money into the political process."
The newly published files, which comprise evidence gathered by official prosecutors in Wisconsin who were investigating alleged campaign finance violations by Walker's campaign and its network, "speak to the mounting sense of public unease about the cozy relationship between politicians and big business, and to the frustration of millions of Americans who feel disenfranchised by an electoral system that put the needs of corporate donors before ordinary voters." ...
A recent analysis of the 2014 Senate races by the Brennan Center for Justice found outside spending more than doubled since 2010, to $486 million. Outside groups provided 47 percent of total spending – more than the candidates’ 41 percent – in 10 competitive races in last year’s midterms.
"The premise that the Supreme Court was relying on, that these groups would be truly independent of the candidates themselves, is very questionable," says Commissioner Ellen Weintraub, one of three Democrats on the six-member Federal Election Commission. ...
Two years ago the Supreme Court got it supremely wrong when it held that corporations had the same rights as people to spend money in elections. Campaign finance laws protect our democracy from corruption and preserve the integrity of our elections. These rules governing the use of money in politics were in a sorrystate before Citizens United v. FEC. Here are ten ways in which the Citizens United decision has made a bad situation much worse.
1. “Independent” Spending Farce Leads To SuperPACs
What is Citizens United? The short answer is it’s two different but related things: a Political Action Committee (PAC) in Washington, D.C., and a Supreme Court case about election spending in which the aforementioned PAC was the plaintiff. Both lie at the center of a debate over the role corporations play in society. Read on for the long answer.
We live in what will surely come to be called the Citizens United era, a period in which a runaway corporatist ideology has overtaken Supreme Court jurisprudence. No longer content just to pick a president, as five conservative Republicans on the Rehnquist Court did in 2000, five conservative Republicans on the Roberts Court a decade later voted to tilt the nation’s entire political process toward the views of moneyed corporate power.
In Citizens United (2010), the Court held that private corporations, which are nowhere mentioned in the Constitution and are not political membership organizations, enjoy the same political free speech rights as people under the First Amendment and may draw on the wealth of their treasuries to spend unlimited sums promoting or disparaging candidates for public office.
The billions of dollars thus turned loose for campaign purposes at the direction of corporate managers not only can be but—under the terms of corporate law—must be spent to increase profits. If businesses choose to exercise their newly minted political “money speech” rights, they must work to install officials who will act as
The Court, transformed by the addition of Chief Justice Roberts and Samuel Alito, who were nominated by that lucky winner in Bush v. Gore, took this giant step to the right of all prior Courts without even being asked to do so. …
As a result of the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision, billionaires and large corporations can now spend an unlimited amount of money to influence the political process.
Perhaps, the biggest winners of Citizens United are Charles and David Koch, owners of the second-largest privately run business in America Koch Industries.
Among other things, the Koch brothers own oil refineries in Texas, Alaska, and Minnesota and control some 4,000 miles of pipeline.
According to Forbes Magazine, the Koch brothers are now worth $80 billion, and have increased their wealth by $12 billion since last year alone.
For the Koch brothers, $80 billion in wealth, apparently, is not good enough.
Owning the second largest private company in America is, apparently, not good enough. It doesn’t appear that they will be satisfied until they are able to control the entire political process.
It is well known that the Koch brothers have provided the major source of funding to the Tea Party and want to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
What else do the Koch brothers want?
In 1980, David Koch ran as the Libertarian Party’s vice-presidential candidate in 1980.
Let’s take a look at the 1980 Libertarian Party platform.
Here are just a few excerpts of the Libertarian Party platform that David Koch ran on in 1980:
•“We urge the repeal of federal campaign finance laws, and the immediate abolition of the despotic Federal Election Commission.”
•“We favor the abolition of Medicare and Medicaid programs.”
•“We oppose any compulsory insurance or tax-supported plan to provide health services, including those which finance abortion services.”
•“We also favor the deregulation of the medical insurance industry.”
•“We favor the repeal of the fraudulent, virtually bankrupt, and increasingly oppressive Social Security system. Pending that repeal, participation in Social Security should be made voluntary.”
•“We propose the abolition of the governmental Postal Service. The present system, in addition to being inefficient, encourages governmental surveillance of private correspondence. Pending abolition, we call for an end to the monopoly system and for allowing free competition in all aspects of postal service.”
•“We oppose all personal and corporate income taxation, including capital gains taxes.”
•“We support the eventual repeal of all taxation.”
•“As an interim measure, all criminal and civil sanctions against tax evasion should be terminated immediately.”
•“We support repeal of all law which impede the ability of any person to find employment, such as minimum wage laws.”
•“We advocate the complete separation of education and State. Government schools lead to the indoctrination of children and interfere with the free choice of individuals. Government ownership, operation, regulation, and subsidy of schools and colleges should be ended.”
•“We condemn compulsory education laws … and we call for the immediate repeal of such laws.”
•“We support the repeal of all taxes on the income or property of private schools, whether profit or non-profit.”
•“We support the abolition of the Environmental Protection Agency.”
•“We support abolition of the Department of Energy.”
•“We call for the dissolution of all government agencies concerned with transportation, including the Department of Transportation.”
•“We demand the return of America's railroad system to private ownership. We call for the privatization of the public roads and national highway system.”
•“We specifically oppose laws requiring an individual to buy or use so-called "self-protection" equipment such as safety belts, air bags, or crash helmets.”
•“We advocate the abolition of the Federal Aviation Administration.”
•“We advocate the abolition of the Food and Drug Administration.”
•“We support an end to all subsidies for child-bearing built into our present laws, including all welfare plans and the provision of tax-supported services for children.”
•“We oppose all government welfare, relief projects, and ‘aid to the poor’ programs. All these government programs are privacy-invading, paternalistic, demeaning, and inefficient. The proper source of help for such persons is the voluntary efforts of private groups and individuals.”
•“We call for the privatization of the inland waterways, and of the distribution system that brings water to industry, agriculture and households.”
•“We call for the repeal of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.”
•“We call for the abolition of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.”
•“We support the repeal of all state usury laws.”
In other words, the agenda of the Koch brothers is not only to defund Obamacare. The agenda of the Koch brothers is to repeal every major piece of legislation that has been signed into law over the past 80 years that has protected the middle class, the elderly, the children, the sick, and the most vulnerable in this country.
It is clear that the Koch brothers and other right wing billionaires are calling the shots and are pulling the strings of the Republican Party.
And because of the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision, they now have the power to spend an unlimited amount of money to buy the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the next President of the United States.
If they are allowed to hijack the American political process to defund Obamacare they will be back for more.
Tomorrow it will be Social Security, ending Medicare as we know it, repealing the minimum wage. It seems to me that the Koch brothers will not be content until they get everything they believe they are entitled to.
Our great nation can no longer be hijacked by right-wing billionaires like the Koch brothers.
For the sake of our children and our grandchildren, for the sake of our economy, we have got to let democracy prevail.