At Trump Inauguration, Hollow Rhetoric Collides with Reality
Via Democracy & Government / Moyers & Company
In his Inaugural address the President declared: “Today, we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another… But we are transferring power from Washington, DC, and giving it back to you, the people… The establishment protected itself but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories. Their triumphs have not been your triumphs.”
Yet, the first 17 people he named to the Cabinet or Cabinet-ranking posts “have well over $9.5 billion in combined wealth… This collection of wealth is greater than that of the 43 million least wealthy American households combined.”
Let that sink in. Those first 17 people plucked by Trump to help him govern have more wealth “than over one-third of the 126 million households total in the US. Affluence of this magnitude in a US presidential Cabinet is unprecedented.”
Why Is the Foreign Policy Establishment Spoiling for More War? Look at Their Donors
Washington, DC, may be the only place in the world where people openly flaunt their pseudo-intellectuality by banding together, declaring themselves “think tanks,” and raising money from external interests, including foreign governments, to compile reports that advance policies inimical to the real-life concerns of the American people.
As a former member of the House of Representatives, I remember 16 years of congressional hearings where pedigreed experts came to advocate wars in testimony based on circular, rococo thinking devoid of depth, reality, and truth. I remember other hearings where the Pentagon was unable to reconcile over $1 trillion in accounts, lost track of $12 billion in cash sent to Iraq, and rigged a missile-defense test so that an interceptor could easily home in on a target. War is first and foremost a profitable racket.
The moneyed forces underpinning the candidates are quietly doing very well. It’s estimated that the $6.3 billion record set for election spending by presidential and congressional candidates in 2012 will be surpassed by at least a billion dollars this year…
For all the discord of the campaign, there is overwhelming agreement by the public — 78 percent, according to a Bloomberg Politics national poll last year — that the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision should be overturned, as it is a main cause of wealthy Americans’ rising power to buy political clout.
(T)he public’s concern has stirred virtually nothing in the way of a straight-talk debate between the two presidential candidates about how they would rein in the abuses of big money.
Survey — What Americans fear the most
#1 Fear – Corruption of government officials (same top fear as 2015) — 60.6%
To Be the Life of the Party
Moyers, Via TomDispatch, Turns an Eye Toward Politico’s newsletter, Influence
July 4th, 2016
Although it’s difficult to remember those days eight years ago when Democrats seemed to represent something idealistic and hopeful and brave, let’s take a moment and try to recall the stand Barack Obama once took against lobbyists. Those were the days when the nation was learning that George W. Bush’s Washington was, essentially, just a big playground for those lobbyists and that every government operation had been opened to the power of money. Righteous disgust filled the air. “Special interests” were much denounced. And a certain inspiring senator from Illinois promised that, should he be elected president, his administration would contain no lobbyists at all. The revolving door between government and K Street, he assured us, would turn no more.
Instead, the nation got a lesson in all the other ways that “special interests” can get what they want…
Money-in-Politics: 1992 to 2016
by Rob Hager
William Goldman, author of “Princess Bride,” attracts more recognition from this screenplay and movie than his other works combined.
Among many great moments in the classic film, the most memorable line may be Vizzini’s. Delivered by Wallace Shawn (having just cut the rope the Dread Pirate Roberts is climbing):
Vizzini: HE DIDN’T FALL? INCONCEIVABLE.
Symbolic or Meaningful?
Via Free Speech for People / June 9, 2016
CA Gov. Jerry Brown Allows “The Overturn Citizens United Act” to Become Law
After months of court proceedings, legislative review and grassroots organizing, California Governor Jerry Brown announced that SB 254, The Overturn Citizens United Act, will become law without his signature. SB 254 places a voter instruction on the November ballot that asks Californians if their representatives should “use all of their constitutional authority…to overturn Citizens United v. FEC and other applicable judicial precedents.”
“Shall California’s elected officials use all their constitutional authority, including, but not limited to, proposing and ratifying an amendment or amendments to the United States Constitution, to overturn Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010) 558 U.S. 310, and other applicable judicial precedents, to allow the full regulation or limitation of campaign contributions and spending, to ensure that all citizens, regardless of wealth, may express their views to one another, and to make clear that corporations should not have the same constitutional rights as human beings?”
Limiting Money-in-Politics, How Is It Possible?
- Committing to limiting money-in-politics
- Pledges to exert the influence of the campaign within the ‘Democratic Party’, its ‘Platform’, the upcoming Clinton campaign against Trump, and act as best he can to continue to ‘represent the interests’ of all his supporters, especially the young, to ‘keep the revolution alive’
Small-dollar contributions have been the fuel that has propelled Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential bid, making it one of the most successful insurgent campaigns in Democratic party history, but little has been known about those donors because campaigns don’t have to publicize the names of people who give $200 or less.
Now, an LA Times analysis of nearly 7 million individual contributions has provided unprecedented detail about the army of people behind the $27 donations Sanders mentions at virtually every campaign stop…
- Sanders campaign is reminiscent of the last presidential campaign that put money-in-politics at the center of reform in government, the Jerry Brown 1992 campaign and its millions raised via small contributions using a pre-internet toll-free 800#, and competing closely with the corporate and large givers of the Bill Clinton campaign.
- The similar core messages of the Brown and Sanders campaigns highlight the importance of the Brown campaign’s “We the People” and “Take Back America” theme and the Sanders campaign’s “A Future to Believe In” and the need for campaign finance reform.
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NY Times Editorial / June 4, 2016
Experts estimate that campaign spending, which has risen inexorably in recent years, will easily surpass the $6.28 billion record set in the 2012 federal elections and could conceivably reach $9 billion, much of it for political advertising.
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Return on Investment: An Overview of the Presidential Campaign, Money & Politics
A Visit to Open Secrets, Center for Responsive Politics
Reported as of May 22, 2016
- 2016 Outside Spending, by Super PAC
2016 financial activity for super PACs
2,304 number of super PACs
$753,563,783 total raised by super PACs
$316,947,690 total spent by super PACs
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ROI by Rob Hager / Via Huffington Post
Kochs talk Campaign 2016 & ROI / Via ABC-Esquire
Here’s How Presidential Campaign Ad Spending Adds Up / Via Advertising Age
Note: As one headline announced “News Networks Feast On Ratings“, it is essential to remember that media ratings determine ad rates. Increased viewership/readership = increased ad rates and revenues. It is no understatement to say (as a number of television/media executives have said) that the Donald Trump campaign has delivered a bonanza in ratings/ad rates/revenues. These sources of media revenues are in addition to reported direct campaign ad spending from the campaigns themselves and newly enabled (SCOTUS-approved) outside-, SuperPAC and ‘Dark Money’ -spending. In other words, the following estimates of new federal campaign spending record should be adjusted accordingly to take into account the 2016 election-cycle windfall that Wall Street analysts speak of when valuing corporate media/market performance.
The $5 billion presidential campaign?
Via The Hill / The 2016 presidential election could cost as much as $5 billion, according to top fundraisers and bundlers who are already predicting it will more than double the 2012 campaign’s price tag.
Behind-the-scenes jockeying to raise big bucks from bundlers connected to super-PACs and third-party groups is well underway, even with no top-tier candidates officially in the race.
Political ad spending estimated at $6 billion in 2016
Via the LA Times / Next year is expected to set new records in political advertising spending — with an estimated $6 billion up for grabs. Wells Fargo Securities this week released its preliminary estimates for just how massive 2016 might be in terms of political spending. The projected $6 billion represents a 16% increase compared with the last presidential campaign season in 2012…
Media Executives Are Salivating Over Big Money Flooding the 2016 Election Cycle
Via the Intercept / In spite of declining television advertising revenue expected this year, credit rating agencies recently gave broadcast companies a sunny two-year outlook. The reason, Carl Salas, Moody’s senior credit officer, told the Los Angeles Times, is that political ad spending is expected to boom next year thanks in large part to the Citizens United decision. “Political advertising revenue defies gravity,” Salas remarked.
2016 TV Ad Spending Projection: $4.4 Billion?
Via Cook Political Report / Projecting total political ad spending on television is where Main Street politicking meets Wall Street finance. As noted in this space before, after retransmission fees, broadcast groups count on political advertising as their second biggest source of incremental new revenue. Cable companies eye political advertising as a similarly crucial source of cash. This is why Wall Street analysts have begun tabulating their own projections for 2016 TV ad spending.
2016 Election Digital Ad Spending Will Break $1 Billion
Via Advertising Age / A report from Borrell Associates shows digital is gaining importance in politics, breaking $1 billion or 9.5% of total political ad spending in the 2016 election season. But broadcast TV spending will still take the lion’s share at $5.8 billion or 51% of the total.
Via Moyers & Co / Show Archive