Monday, September 3, 2012


September 3, 2012

A scary thing is happening to this country. It’s as plain as a foreign flag over Florida and people still aren’t paying attention. Giant corporations and squillionaires are pouring money into this election, expecting to purchase the presidency.
Of course they will all want payback.
They’re in the shadows. Occasionally you’ll catch a glimpse, as when Bank of America heavyweight James Mahoney was caught on camera shiftily whispering an offer to “help out” Rick Perry in his presidential bid.
We’ll see more of these string-pullers in Charlotte this week like we just saw them in Tampa, breakfasting cheek-by-jowl with Karl Rove, ponying up a million bucks or more apiece... And partying on a luxury yacht called the Cracker Bay that proudly flies the flag of Mitt Romney’s home state - the Cayman Islands.
That’s the Union Jack, not the Stars and Stripes.
Grand Cayman is where “patriot” Romney keeps his fortune. Also in Switzerland and Luxembourg so’s to give Uncle Sam the slip, taxwise, the way he dodged the Vietnam draft while cheerleading that war from the safety of a mansion hideout in France. 
It doesn’t matter which bunch of richie-richs want to install their man in the White House. Whoever these people are – and we do know some of them – they have no right to overrule the free will of this country’s citizens...
Well actually they do. Two years ago Justice John Roberts’ partisan Supreme Court flouted all democratic principles and opened the door for moneyed interests to buy the election. Corporations, the court decided, are people too, and on the campaign trail Romney has repeated that phrase.
Now we’re seeing the greatest amount of cash in history thrown into this election. Vegas gambling czar Sheldon Adelson, for instance, heaved a sack containing $71 million into the GOP’s lap for attack commercials. Romney’s Cayman cronies expect to raise a billion. President Obama’s cohorts are playing catch-up.
TV stations embrace this business bonanza. Political ads dominate the airwaves and they don’t even have to be true. In politics there’s no penalty for lying and there should be. If I can sue someone who spreads malicious, damaging untruths about me then why can’t a political figure do the same? Comedienne Carol Burnett sued the National Enquirer successfully for libel; Obama, Romney and all other politicos should be afforded the same legal protection.
But they’re not. And so, under the Supreme Court’s shameful Citizens United ruling, anyone with the dinero to do it can broadcast anything about any candidate. It’s a license to lie. By law now, nothing need be true, and consequently none of it is.
Worse, they can remain anonymous. We the people are not even allowed to know who’s deceiving us. It’s un-American. If I happen to have a couple hundred bucks to spare (not so likely these days) and send to bolster Paul Broun (even less likely) I’m identified. How come these liars can hide their identities?
Alarmingly, it’s even more hopeless than that. Where on earth is the big money coming from? That’s right: literally - where in the world?  Of the hundreds of millions of dollars in this election a large chunk is from overseas, and not just friendly Israel and Europe. Where else - Saudi Arabia? China? Maybe Kenya?
Well, some of it comes from the guys with the long white beards, those ZZ Top lookalikes with the turbans, the Ayatollah Khamenei’s  gang over in dangerously fundamentalist Iran. The Koch brothers, Chuck and Dave, who keep the Tea Party going with funds from their $100 billion a year industry just set $100 million of their fortune aside to defeat Obama. A few months earlier they’d been exposed being secretly, and illegally, in business with our enemies in Teheran.
Treason right there! No? But I thought if you aided the enemy... Seems it’s OK if you’re the super-rich.
So here comes the cash and who cares if it’s from sources that want to see us blown to hell, their hell Jahannam, which means we don’t even get the 72 virgins. All money’s good and money trumps people, as Newt Gingrich said. That’s America today. Hey, we’re only the folks who live here so why do we need to be involved! Just shut up, don’t ask questions and vote for the politicians they’ve bought – even if it’s with foreign moolah.
The Taliban can’t afford Rep. Broun with their offer of a dozen goats – they promised pretty ones - but which of America’s other evil-wishers will be paying for the privilege of influencing our next government?
Six months after Citizens United, Democrats introduced the Disclose Act (S.3628) that would at least have unmasked the puppeteers and kept non-Americans out of our elections. Just one single Republican vote was needed to make 60 ayes out of 100 and overcome that party’s filibuster blocking tactic. Honesty and freedom of information would have triumphed. Not one Republican wanted that.
So much for the level of patriotism with these rah-rah right wingers. Isn’t it high time we told the moneybags to shove their dollars? Get the money out of politics. Give the American people back their voice
To sum up, here’s the law as it stands today. We’re being avalanched with lies, we’re not allowed to know who’s telling them even if they’re our sworn foreign enemies.
The only thing left is to shut our eyes and ears to it all. Believe nothing. What a way to live in the Land of the Free!


© 2012 Fred Wehner is a journalist formerly with the Daily Mail in London, who then founded and ran the New York News Agency before settling in Monroe 21 years ago.