Get The Money Out of Our Power

It's not as though I'm any brighter than the other folks I've been hanging with, here, for the last few years. 

But sometimes the words do feel particularly right, as in 'right on the money'. We like to say that in these United States, I wonder if that idiom was developed in the halls outside of the lobbies of our Congressional leaders, perhaps? 

Anyhow, I liked this title five years ago when the sentiment of Get The Money Out of Our Power was appropriate to the Hurricane Katrina aftermath. The ring of truth is hitting me as strongly, today, as it did on September 7, 2005

I'd hate to be that right, but I seem to remember the context being Bush's contratulations to the helluva job being done by Brownie. Think he's got anything to do with emergency aid to Haiti?

Nader's never been righter, Get The Money Out of Our Power.

Originally reconstituted from a comment I made @dkos to dcg2 re:

...Ralph Nader saying there's no difference between Bush and Gore...I can't help but remind them that the greens told a big lie that helped land Bush in the White House

i suspect Nader was simply too specific  

and i HATE that bu$h might have won as a result.

But Nader's right in the broader sense, that it's not just Repubs that whore our representation to the highest-bidders.  

do you think it's simply for fun that 183,000 firms must register as lobbyists?!  and that's pretty much the extent of their restriction beyond filing requirements as to what body they lobbied.

the obscenity of Halliburton getting the Katrina cleanup contract is unspeakable.  but it's only after $hrub stole the first election that HAL was able to cut their lobbying expenditures to a quarter of what they were, pre-2000, since the big Dick was part of the admin.

Where do those 183,000 firms apply their effort? 

I'm with Nader 100% when it comes to getting our leadership out of the pocket of big money:

Center for Public Integrity reveals extent of lobbying influence

Who do lobbyists lobby?


  • U.S. House of Representatives - 17,300 companies
  • U.S. Senate - 17,200 companies
  • Dept. of Defense - 2,800 companies
  • Health & Human Services - 2,400 companies
  • Dept. of Commerce - 2,300 companies
  • Dept. of Treasury - 2,300 companies
  • Dept. of Transportation - 2,200 companies
  • Executive Office of the Pres. - 2,000 companies
  • White House Office - 1,900 companies
  • Dept. of Agriculture - 1,800 companies

What are the top issues lobbied?


  • Federal budget and appropriations - 6,800 companies
  • Health issues - 4,100 companies
  • Defense - 3,700 companies
  • Taxation & Internal Revenue Code - 3,500 companies
  • Transportation - 3,300 companies

Where does the money for lobbying come from?


  • companies (as clients);
  • member dues;
  • tax dollars;
  • and foreign governments.

Get the money out of our power!  It's the unfettered access of big money to power that likely explains why semi-privatized FEMA is so fucked up.

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Do you ever read the Archdruid Report? He has an excellent commentary up at the moment about advocating change and community.

The Cost of Community

The key to understanding the power of citizens' organizations is that representative democracy doesn't respond to the will of individuals; it responds to pressure exerted by groups. Those who organize to put pressure on the system generally get at least some of what they want, and the longer and harder they push, the more of it they get. Those who don't organize, by their lack of organization, make themselves irrelevant to the political process.

The article you link is an interesting exploration of a complex topic which, as the author makes clear, has many often long-rooted bases. 

I take heart from your excerpt which is made especially relevant since my response to it comes after the coup d'etat by the corporate-friends-in-the-Court decision on Citizens United vs. FEC.

There is no way that us natural person-citizens can fight without the strength that comes from organizing, as you advocate. Just no way.

Did you read the dailykos post by Thereisnospoon a couple of weeks ago, "Noone is going to save you fools," on the topic of organizing? I thought that his bluntness was essential to making people listen...and hopefully to act.

If you want to win, ORGANIZE. Develop parallel organizations willing to persuade with the power and intensity of a corporation. As long as people like me are out there, and most of them are willing to work for the highest bidder, you'll need to stop looking for saviors, and instead learn to fight fire with fire.

 

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"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government in a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country." - Thomas Jefferson

The problem that I see is how do you organize? And along what lines? I was originally drawn to ePluribusMedia because of its desire to pursue the facts (through fact checking and research) no matter where those facts might lead. Wiki-leaks appeals to me for the same reason. They let the facts speak for themselves.

that has motivated my digging.

We've dug up some of the most incredible facts, that, by their natures and their cause-effect correlations, are the chapters of documentaries.

Obivously I think you're right about letting facts speak for themselves, it's clear we've long shared the belief that the truth has a value that is its own right. 

Where I've found my views change over recent years is in the understanding that the truth is strong enough to sell itself and stand up to interests invested in deception about the same truth. 

When there are propaganda and/or profit interests involved (as true in apparently most political issues), it's difficult to find unadulterated 'truth' in the equation.  Facts seem to get spun before the pattern of their inherent story can be discerned.

Is that the problem you're speaking of, how to organize around the facts of, say, the corporate personhood story?  No, those facts seem pretty obvious. 

So, maybe I should not mis-lead in trying to lead your thought, what context are you considering, in particular?

 

 

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"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government in a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country." - Thomas Jefferson

Seems to me facts are at a disadvantage. So how do you organize more groups to expose facts?

For instance, in the UK, corporations use 'super injunctions' to gag media outlets from reporting news the corporations don't like. The superinjunctions themselves are secret. According to wiki-leaks, at any one time, there are 200-300 active superinjunctions in the UK.

The US has gag orders and the US Justice Department uses "state secrets privilege" claims as well as national security letters to shut up people they don't like. 

Just this past fall, a judge refused to lift a 5-year gag order on the President of small ISP from releasing a NSL (ref: Wired magazine)

But how do you organize around that? Everyone has a blog now, so the noise level is such that information doesn't stand a chance.