Skip to main content

Bill Moyers: Democracy for Dollars

Bill Moyers: Democracy for Dollars

Bill Moyers: Welcome. At the State of the Union speech, there’s always more than meets the eye. Just out of sight is the reality of how we are governed. The House of Representatives, where Congress gathers to hear the President, used to be known as “The People’s House.” But money power owns the lease now and runs the joint from hidden back rooms.
You're looking at the most expensive Congress money can buy. The House races last fall cost over one billion dollars. It took more than $700 million to elect just a third of the Senate. The two presidential candidates raised more than a billion a piece. The website Politico added it all up to find that the total number of dollars spent on the 2012 election exceeded the number of people on this planet -- some seven billion.
Most of it didn’t come from the average Joe and Jane. Sixty percent of all super PAC donations came from just 159 people. And the top 32 super PAC donors gave an average of 9.9 million dollars. Think how many teachers that much money could hire.
We’ll never actually know where all of the money comes from. One third of the billion dollars from outside groups was “dark money,” secret funds anonymously funneled through fictional “social welfare” organizations. Those are front groups, created to launder the money inside the deep pockets.
And don't let anyone ever tell you the money didn't make a difference. More than 80 percent of House candidates and two-thirds of Senate candidates who outspent their general election opponents won, and were present and counted as the new Congress prepared to hear the President. Remember, money doesn't necessarily corrupt legislators, but it certainly tilts them.
HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER at the State of the Union: Members of Congress, I have the high privilege and distinct honor of presenting to you, the President of the United States.
BILL MOYERS: So let's share some snapshots from the State of the Union. That’s Speaker of the House John Boehner, of course. He's led his party to protect Wall Street from oversight and accountability. The finance, insurance, and real estate industries gave him more than three million dollars last year.
Eric Cantor is the Republican majority leader in the House. Among his biggest donors--Goldman Sachs, masterminds of the mortgage-backed securities that almost sank the world economy. Cantor’s also the third largest recipient of money from the National Rifle Association in the House, which is one reason he's such a "big gun" there.
Senator Robert Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, may be in hot water. He's currently under investigation for allegations that he improperly intervened with government agencies on behalf of a big donor.
And there's Fred Upton, Republican from Michigan, chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee. What a coincidence. The oil and gas industry is one of his top donors, helping him raise the four million dollars he spent last year to win re-election.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrats of New York, have Wall Street as a constituent and patron. Her biggest contributors include JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and law firms that have advised them. His top donors include securities and investment firms, lawyers and legal firms, and lobbyists.
And there are fleeting glances of some familiar faces here tonight seen recently on our broadcast. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader in the Senate, Republican Orrin Hatch of Utah, and Democratic Senator Max Baucus of Montana. All cited by "The New York Times" as suspects in that mysterious migration of half a billion dollars from taxpayers over to the bottom line of drug companies, especially the pharmaceutical giant Amgen. Would it surprise you to learn that over the past five years, Amgen has been one of the top ten donors to McConnell, Baucus, and Hatch?
As for our president--by attending a fundraiser on the average of every 60 hours during his bid for a second term, he once again broke the record for bringing home the bacon. Although the money power that controls Congress could thwart everything Obama proposed in his State of the Union address, there was not a single word in his speech about taming the power of private money over public policy.
And so it goes: The golden rule of politics. He who has the gold, rules.


Popular posts from this blog

Nir Rosen: Gaza: Israel, Hamas and the logic of colonial power | Comment is free |

Nir Rosen: Gaza: Israel, Hamas and the logic of colonial power | Comment is free | "I have spent most of the Bush administration's tenure reporting from Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Somalia and other conflicts. I have been published by most major publications. I have been interviewed by most major networks and I have even testified before the senate foreign relations committee. The Bush administration began its tenure with Palestinians being massacred and it ends with Israel committing one of its largest massacres yet in a 60-year history of occupying Palestinian land. Bush's final visit to the country he chose to occupy ended with an educated secular Shiite Iraqi throwing his shoes at him, expressing the feelings of the entire Arab world save its dictators who have imprudently attached themselves to a hated American regime."

Call for the World Social Forum Free Palestine, Nov. 2012 in Brazil

Call for the World Social Forum Free Palestine, Nov. 2012 in Brazil
Occupied Palestine is part of every free heartbeat in this world and her cause continues to inspire solidarity across the globe.  The World Social Forum Free Palestine is an expression of the human instinct to unite for justice and freedom and an echo of the World Social Forum’s opposition to neo-liberal hegemony, colonialism, and racism through struggles for social, political and economic alternatives to promote justice, equality, and the sovereignty of peoples.

The WSF Free Palestine will be a global encounter of broad-based popular and civil society mobilizations from around the world. It aims to:

1. Show the strength of solidarity with the calls of the Palestinian people and the diversity of initiatives and actions aimed at promoting justice and peace in the region.

2. Create effective actions to ensure Palestinian self-determination, the creation of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, and the fulfillme…