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Forum Post: Supreme Court Hears GOP Challenge to Political Donation Limits

Posted 5 years ago on Oct. 7, 2013, 3:33 p.m. EST by LeoYo (5909)
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Supreme Court Hears GOP Challenge to Political Donation Limits

Monday, 07 October 2013 11:46 By Mike Ludwig, Truthout | Report


The 2012 elections were the most expensive elections in history, thanks in part to the Supreme Court's 2010 ruling in the Citizens United case, which opened the floodgates for unlimited donations to independent groups like Super-PACs that influence elections with flashy campaigns and attack ads.

On Tuesday, the high court will hear oral arguments in a case that campaign finance reformers are calling "the next Citizens United" because the Republican-lead legal challenge could erode one of the last protections preventing wealthy donors from influencing elections and seeking political favors from politicians.

Shaun McCutcheon is a wealthy businessman from Alabama. In 2012, he wanted to donate thousands of dollars to Republican candidate committees as well as the Republican National Committee, but federal caps on the total amount of money an individual can donate directly to candidates and party committees in a two-year election cycle prevented him from making those donations.

McCutcheon complained to the RNC, and, arguing that Republicans should be able to take McCutcheon's campaign cash, the RNC and McCutcheon sued the Federal Elections Commission to challenge its aggregate limits on individual contributions to candidates, party committees and political committees that donate to such groups.

McCutcheon and the RNC are not challenging the limits on individual donations to particular candidates, but rather the limits on the total amount a wealthy individual can give to candidates and committees during an election cycle. Under current law, individuals can give up to an inflation-adjusted $48,600 to individual candidates for federal office and their committees, and up to another $74,600 to national party committees, state committees and political action committees.

McCutcheon hit the federal limit in 2012 with donations to Republican candidates and committees, but claims that he wanted to give more money to a dozen additional GOP candidates and the RNC. The First Amendment, he argues, guarantees his right to spend his own money in whatever way he chooses.

A coalition of progressive groups and campaign finance watchdogs, however, argue that removing caps on the total amount of money that wealthy donors can give directly to candidates and committees would give the rich and powerful even more sway over lawmakers and further erode the integrity of American democracy.

"Our constitution's authors did not envision a government of corporations and the wealthy - they envisioned a government of the people. This case threatens the very foundations of that system," said Marge Baker, executive vice president of People For the American Way (PFAW). "A democracy where the voices of everyday Americans are overpowered by the amplified voices of the rich and powerful is not the kind of democracy Americans want or expect."

If the plaintiffs win, McCutcheon would theoretically be able to donate more than $2.4 million to all Republican candidates, $194,000 the national party, and $1 million to Republican state committees, according to Baker.

If the Supreme Court strikes down aggregate limits, federal and presidential candidates would be able to use joint fundraising committees to raise large sums from individual donors. Two or more candidates or party committees work together to form joint fundraising committees, which have been used for years to solicit contributions from individual donors that are much larger than the amount that donors can give to an individual candidate or committee.

Without aggregate limits, for example, the maximum amount a single donor can give to a presidential candidate becomes $1.2 million when that candidate takes advantage of joint fundraising committees, according to Democracy 21, another campaign finance reform group that supports aggregate limits.

In 2012, donors giving maximum party contributions to the Romney's joint fundraising committee totaled 721, and 536 maxed out contributions to Obama's joint fundraising committee.

Unlike the large donors who hid their identities and political motives by donating to shadowy nonprofit groups in the last election, the identities of these donors would be publically disclosed. But disclosure does not provide comfort to supporters of aggregate limits for individual donors. Baker told reporters last week that politicians would know exactly to whom they owe political favors.

In a brief filed with the Supreme Court, Democracy 21, PFAW and other groups argue that the high court has a "compelling reason" to uphold existing aggregate limits to fight political corruption and the public perception of political corruption. The legitimacy of a democracy, they argue, is the belief by voters that they are being fairly represented, regardless of the amount of money they have to throw at politicians.

Copyright, Truthout.



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[-] 5 points by beautifulworld (22910) 5 years ago

Fighting for a plutocracy, and winning. "Let them eat cake" they say. Bastards.

[-] 3 points by LeoYo (5909) 5 years ago

President Obama will nominate Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen to replace Ben Bernanke as head of the Fed starting next year. Bernanke’s term expires January 31, 2014.

Obama is expected to make the announcement this afternoon -- setting Yellen on course to become the first woman to lead the Fed in its 100-year history.

You’ve likely already learned some things about her in the politicized debate over the last few months surrounding who would be the next Fed chair. But in the accompanying video and below, we reveal the five things about her you may not know about Yellen:

  1. She’s rich. Annual financial disclosures that the Fed has released show Yellen to be one of the wealthiest members of the central bank’s board of governors, the New York Times reports. Check out the video to see what she’s invested in and how many millions of dollars her assets are worth.

  2. She’s the top Fed forecaster. A Wall Street Journal study of 700 economic predictions made by 14 Fed policymakers from 2009 to 2012 found Yellen was the most accurate forecaster overall. She also scored in the top four for her forecasts on inflation, labor, and growth.

  3. She’s not a political insider. Though she was head of the Council of Economic Advisers for two years during the Clinton administration, she doesn’t appear to have close ties to this administration or Congress. While Larry Summers has visited the White House at least ten times since he left as director of the National Economic Council at the end of 2010 – including four meetings with the president – Yellen has been to the White House only once in two years. Check out the video to see how that compares to her meetings with other central bankers and to her visits to Congress.

  1. She’s married to a Nobel Prize - winning economist. Her husband is George Akerlof, an economist at UC Berkeley. One of his best known articles: "The Market for Lemons: Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism." The paper delves into the theory of information asymmetry by using the market for used cars -- lemons -- as an example.

  2. She wouldn’t be the first woman to lead a central bank. While she would be the first woman to head the Fed, she would join a list of 17 women already who lead central banks around the world (that’s out of 177 central banks). See the video for some of the countries where women have this top spot.


[-] 1 points by vagabondblues (18) from Oyster Bay, NY 5 years ago

And lest we forget Leo, Obama's nominee (Janet Yellen) for the Federal Reserve chair also supported;

-1. The Chained CPI which effectively reduces the amount of money that SS recipients get in the future

-2. NAFTA which amongst other things encourages businesses to locate outside the country

-3. Market Deregulation which facilitates fraud

And finally:

-4. The repeal of the Glasss-Steagall Act, which caused the near total 2008 melt-down, and all the human suffering that went with it.

Sounds like more of the same to me.

[-] -1 points by Builder (4202) 5 years ago

Once you've rigged the casino, there's no turning back.

[-] 0 points by vagabondblues (18) from Oyster Bay, NY 5 years ago

But "turning back" the dials on the clock to a time when justice was applied fairly, no matter what or who you were, and

When we had a government that answered to people's interests first and foremost...well that's why we're here.

[-] 2 points by LeoYo (5909) 5 years ago

But there was never such a time. That's why there was an armed rebellion right from the start in 1791 when taxing legislation had been passed that favored eastern whiskey big business over western whiskey small business. That's why Samuel Adams, who had been so opposed to British tax unfairness for justifying rebellion, instead justified American unfairness in taxation in calling for American rebels to be hanged.

That there was never such a time is also why there was a sedition act passed in 1798 to be used by the ruling party of the time against all who criticized it. It's why the Founders had voted for unelected senators to have power and against having elected representatives being subject to recall.

It's why Thomas Jefferson had pointed out:

"Hamilton’s financial system had then past. It had two objects. First as a puzzle, to exclude popular understanding and inquiry. Secondly, as a machine for the corruption of the legislature; for he avowed the opinion that man could be governed by one of two motives only, force or interest: force he observed, in this country, was out of the question; and the interests therefore of the members must be laid hold of, to keep the legislature in unison with the Executive. And with grief and shame it must be acknowledged that his machine was not without effect. That even in this, the birth of our government, some members were found sordid enough to bend their duty to their interests, and to look after personal, rather than public good."

Thomas Jefferson in "Anas" dated February 4, 1818


"If, then, control of the people over the organs of their government be the measure of their republicanism, and I confess I know no other measure, it must be agreed that our governments have much less of republicanism than ought to have been expected; in other words, that the people have less regular control over their agents, than their rights and their interests require."

Thomas Jefferson in a letter to John Taylor dated May 28, 1816.


People need to realize that there has never been a time of justice or of government of the People nor has there ever been a popular majority desire for one. People are as divided now over the representation of their own social desires as they have ever been. That's why James Madison and other Founders were of the perspective that:

"Those who contend for a simple democracy, or a pure republic, actuated by the sense of the majority, and operating within narrow limits, assume or suppose a case which is altogether fictitious. They found their reasoning on the idea, that the people composing the Society, enjoy not only an equality of political rights; but that they have all precisely the same interests, and the same feelings in every respect. Were this in reality the case, their reasoning would be conclusive. The interest of the majority would be that of the minority also; the decisions could only turn on mere opinion concerning the good of the whole, of which the major voice would be the safest criterion; and within a small sphere, this voice could be most easily collected, and the public affairs most accurately managed."

"We know however that no Society ever did or can consist of so homogeneous a mass of Citizens. In the savage State indeed, an approach is made towards it; but in that State little or no Government is necessary. In all civilized Societies, distinctions are various and unavoidable. A distinction of property results from that very protection which a free Government gives to unequal faculties of acquiring it. There will be rich and poor; creditors and debtors; a landed interest, a monied interest, a mercantile interest, a manufacturing interest. These classes may again be subdivided according to the different productions of different situations & soils, & according to different branches of commerce, and of manufactures. In addition to these natural distinctions, artificial ones will be founded, on accidental differences in political, religious or other opinions, or an attachment to the persons of leading individuals. However erroneous or ridiculous these grounds of dissention and faction, may appear to the enlightened Statesman, or the benevolent philosopher, the bulk of mankind who are neither Statesmen nor Philosophers, will continue to view them in a different light."

"Divide et impera, the reprobated axiom of tyranny, is under certain qualifications, the only policy, by which a republic can be administered on just principles."

A few selected thoughts of James Madison from a letter written to Thomas Jefferson dated October 24, 1787


A time of justice applied fairly and of government that answers to people's interests first and foremost is only a time of the possible future if people should ever choose to come together to bring it about.

[-] -1 points by vagabondblues (18) from Oyster Bay, NY 5 years ago

I realize Leo that we have never had a totally egalitarian society and never will have, but the battle of right vs wrong, or good vs evil.... is, or should be a continuous one.

People who have fought the battles for a more just society have always done so from an idealistic perspective in knowing that our country could always be better than it was or is now.

Even when we reached the arguable zenith of a time when the people held the reigns after the New Deal was passed, there were many people left behind including women, people of color and people who chose to live a different life-style, and many of us turned our backs on them as we had what we wanted.

We have been conditioned through a corporate-owned media to accept the present injustices, or the lot in life that the elite has chosen for us, up until the birth of Occupy that is.

[-] 1 points by Builder (4202) 5 years ago

Which means focussing upon repealing Citizen's United, and reinstating Glass-Stegal.

What we have here, is a core of people focussed upon disinformation, obfuscation, and obtuse name-calling.

That's why I spend so little time or effort here these days.

[-] -1 points by vagabondblues (18) from Oyster Bay, NY 5 years ago

We've already seen how the Dodd Frank bill (a poor substitute for the GS Act in the first place) has been watered down so much by high-priced lobbyists, that it has now become almost useless. Do you really think that there will be meaningful campaign finance reform any time soon....from politicians who benefit from the current, corrupt status quo?

I was a member of Common Cause for years before Occupy. They were a good governement group that was trying to strengthen campaign fincance laws....and look where their efforts got us. Our downward slide began long before CU was enacted into law. Edit; Obfuscating laws that were easily circumvented by smart lawyers and political operatives are what predated CU, and they worked quite well for the elite. CU was just a big improvement for them as it institutionalized bribery.

TPTB will never let their advantage over us slip through their fingers by the ballot. Systemic change will only happen when the corrupt elite are faced with dire consequences for not acting in a big way or not at all, but that does not mean wide-spread blood-shed.

We have to realize who the people we are trying to reach out to are. Many of them see CU & the GS act as kind of an abstract thing and don't understand how it applies to their individual plights. They are politically naive (not stupid), or just too busy keeping a roof over their head and food on the table, and don't have time for this. By empathizing with their troubles/pain, and making them understand how it fits into our struggle against a neoliberal system, we will be more able to recruit them to our side.

I hope we have more days like today on the forum, but yes I can understand your frustration.

This comment was a little diconnected, sorry.

[-] 1 points by Builder (4202) 5 years ago

A little disconnected?

You've basically agreed with my posts.

Keep it simple. Stay focussed.

[-] -1 points by vagabondblues (18) from Oyster Bay, NY 5 years ago

OK...big time "disconnected." In my zeal to find a soap box, i grabbed what I could. BUT I do believe what our course should be for moving forward with our struggle, and what we need to do to recruit people may be two different things. That was my point, I guess

[-] 1 points by Builder (4202) 5 years ago

I honestly think that it's time we moved on from the whole "occupy" theme, and matured somewhat in our methodology.

People want clear themes and clearer outcomes.

Would you donate time or energy or cash to a group that doesn't have an agenda?

I'm focussed upon the globalisation of our economies, and the invasion of corporatism. Currently, I'm attempting to raise awareness of these issues through the protest against one biotech company called Monsanto.

As an aside, I'm creating awareness of the trans-Pacific partnership deal that Obama is pushing upon our new Prime Minister.

My methodology includes spreading information about the WHY NOT debate, and sharing petitions asking our representatives just WHO the FUCK are you representing.

Plain English works a helluvalotbetter than rhetoric with your average Joe and Jane Doe. Agreed?

[-] 0 points by vagabondblues (18) from Oyster Bay, NY 5 years ago

Yes, but busy and probably non-political "John and Jane Doe" probably have no idea what "globalisation of our economies, and the invasion of corporatism" or what the TPP is. All they know is that life is getting more and more difficult for them. So tying in their plights with neoliberalism early on in the conversation is a winner, I think. You have to remember, we have been dumbed-down in this country for a long, long time.

From my outreach in NY, I've noticed the best approach is to help people realize how their struggles fit into the big picture, not vice versa. I've found that the latter is a harder sell especially with non-political people. So the term "focus" in terms of recruitment does not fit for me, except perhaps in broader terms in saying we have a government that no longer answers to the people's interests.

When having these discussions with people, you can tailor your approach fairly early as you recognize the person's awareness, or the lack there of.

[-] 1 points by Builder (4202) 5 years ago

Yes, I agree with the tailoring of the approach.

We all have our own methodology, and our own way of sharing, and assessing what needs to be shared.

My partner continuallly stops me from getting too far off on tangents that I see as important, but she sees as irrelevant to our original mission.

I'm sure the obfuscators are aware of the effectiveness of this, as well.

Solidarity, my friend. Fighting the good fight is what is important.

[-] 0 points by vagabondblues (18) from Oyster Bay, NY 5 years ago

There are many groups both within and outside of Occupy that have similar goals, but more singular than Occupy's. What I see happening is, these groups are coalescing in the increased understanding that we all share the same oppressor. It's just the elite's agenda is playing out in different ways on different people in ways that are harmful to them and their loved ones.. Almost all these groups have a different way of operating both from Occupy, and from each other often, but they respect the other group for their dedication to what they now know is our shared goal. No one is tryng to co-opt anyone in this part of the Occupy World that I can tell. We have to see this as a major coup for Occupy because it is.... as we have not only awoken activism in this country, we are guiding it, facilitating it..... like not since the Vietnam War.

These alliances that are being formed, and promoted on this site and other Occupy sites are evident in the streets of NY in the different groups that are participating in protests.

The differences in the modus operandi of these groups was brought to light to me at the Occupy Finance meeting I was at Sunday, when we had that very well dressed dude.... who worked within the system as Policy Director in a group called Americans For Financial Reform (funded by some cool foundation)..... do that presentation. Anyway as he was taking comments, one of the very well educated, young, former Wall St insiders & now Occupier said something to the effect, well we can call Obama a dickwad 'cause we're Occupy! Everyone laughed, including the well-dressed guy! Do you see my point? Soon after we had some drinks at a bar where we got to know each other better, and no one called anyone else a dickwad either!


It's really difficult to say what part Occupy will play in our revolution.. I believe we need a radical group in our struggle. Whether Occupy remains that group, or possibly just becomes a facilitator, and/or both as I would hope, I don't know.... but it't undeniable that Occupy's influence has been tremendous so far.

Gee all I wanted to say is; Solidarity to you too my friend.

Edit; Good Night to you and your collaborator. That's cool, as I have no one to tell me when i go off on another tangent. ;-)

[-] -1 points by GinoDinero2 (3) 5 years ago

You bring up a good point about "Occupy." I've seen two articles recently, one on here, that talks about either the 'First Nations' or their American counterparts being able to identify with occupy but, for obvious reasons, cannot get behind any group or organization that has the word "occupy" in their title.

Makes sense.

[-] 0 points by Builder (4202) 5 years ago

Occupy, as a movement, served a purpose.

Schisms, like 99Rise, and the MAM movement are positives that came about because of the raising of awareness of corporatism, and kleptocracy.

By all means, Occupy, as a concept, was great. It also showed up the inner workings of our government/s, when they are confronted with issues that they aren't willing to admit responsibility for. They have no real way of dealing with dissent, other than with violence and inhumanity.

Our whole premise that western cultures are above the menace and inhumanity of communism, or fascism, was exposed as a fantasy; a lie we believed; a concoction of the MSM.

So yeah, #ows served a real and useful purpose.


[-] -2 points by HCHC4 (-28) 5 years ago

We should just vote her out in this year...

Oh wait, what?

[-] -1 points by vagabondblues (18) from Oyster Bay, NY 5 years ago

You mean we can now vote out the chair of the Fed?! WOW how cool is that?!

[-] 1 points by WSmith (2698) from Cornelius, OR 5 years ago

So, get everyone you know Registered to Vote, and get out the Turnout '14 & '16!

[-] -1 points by HCHC4 (-28) 5 years ago
[-] 1 points by WSmith (2698) from Cornelius, OR 5 years ago

Bernie Sanders says if you're unhappy with the GOP (RepubliCon Cult) Vote them out! I agree.

[-] -3 points by vagabondblues (18) from Oyster Bay, NY 5 years ago

I'm registered as an Independent, and since I don't want anymore Greenspans, Bernankes, or Yellens as Fed chairs,

I'm most likely going Green in " '14 & '16," YOU 2??

[-] 2 points by WSmith (2698) from Cornelius, OR 5 years ago


I don't want more RepubliCons in our government!

When we get rid of them we can institute laws that allow the Green Party viable. Until then a Vote for any third party is a Vote for Cons. But you already know that don't you!


[-] -3 points by vagabondblues (18) from Oyster Bay, NY 5 years ago

What I do know Mr Smith is that NOBODY tells me who to vote for!!

If you want to vote for a wolf in sheep's clothing, be my guest.

[-] 1 points by WSmith (2698) from Cornelius, OR 5 years ago

If you want to throw your Vote away and elect RepubliCons that's your asinine decision & STFU when they screw over the country!! Just don't encourage others to follow you off of Unicorn Cliff!

[-] 2 points by JadedCitizen (4277) 5 years ago

1) Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity, or so people say 2) Are we living in the same world? Last time I checked the scorecard, we had already been pushed off the Unicorn Cliff by both parties. Remind me again which party stood beside Main Street and wrangled up the criminals on Wall Street 3) It's a free country. Go ahead and encourage people to cast a vote however you want. But live and let live. Allow others the same courtesy and freedom you extend to yourself.

[-] 0 points by WSmith (2698) from Cornelius, OR 5 years ago

Get back to me when we have a 70 - 90% Voter Turnout "over and over and expecting a different result".

[-] 2 points by JadedCitizen (4277) 5 years ago

Clearly the subject of voter turnout is not the same as the subject of throwaway votes. But I can see you're not the type who lets truth and facts stand in his way.

[-] -3 points by vagabondblues (18) from Oyster Bay, NY 5 years ago

Nobody tells me what to do either, especially a crude person like yourself.

[-] 2 points by WSmith (2698) from Cornelius, OR 5 years ago

Not even Jill Stein?

If Jill wants to run she should get her minions to get rid of RepubliCons first. Cons will fight to the death to keep third parties out (nonviable) because it's much harder for them to steal three way elections.

Third party advocates should also work for laws that make thirds viable, like IRVs. But I don't see or hear Jill or thirds or indies advocating for anything that gets them viability, or anything else except an elected office come election time. And that leads people to believe that the primary function of progressive thirds is to split the Democratic Vote, sabotage.

So until you guys do something besides whine about duops and woofs, you're as useless and damaging as RepubliCons. Get it?

[-] 0 points by vagabondblues (18) from Oyster Bay, NY 5 years ago

And you are just perpetuating the corrupt status quo by advocating for one of the two parties that CONTINUE to dump on the ctizenry.

Tell me, how do you like Obama's appointment of Janet Yellen as the new Fed chair?

Can you come up with some convoluted reasoning to support his choice? I bet you can.

[-] 0 points by WSmith (2698) from Cornelius, OR 5 years ago

Tell me about anything thirds have done to aid our troubled government.

[-] -2 points by HCHC4 (-28) 5 years ago

That would be nice, wouldnt it? Of course, that would upset the power structure, and possibly lead to some positive happenings in the economy.

[-] -2 points by vagabondblues (18) from Oyster Bay, NY 5 years ago

Yes being able to vote out Ms Yellen would, undoubtedly piss off TPTB, as it most probably would "lead to some positive happenings in the [REAL] economy,"....minus the the Wall St Casino of course.

That would especially be true if we were then able to vote for Richard Wolf, or Cathy O'Neil, or Alexis Goldstein, or even Max Keiser to be the next Fed chair!! Gee, I'd even vote for YOU!

[-] -2 points by HCHC4 (-28) 5 years ago

I'd rather put our cat Albert in there than a proven banker criminal. That list you put up about her is probably just the tip of the iceberg, imagine what we dont know!!

[-] -2 points by vagabondblues (18) from Oyster Bay, NY 5 years ago

Yes I knew my list of Ms Yellens's neoliberal accomplishments was incomplete, but that's enough to know that she is just another high-profile corrupted official. And if you are going to have a rigged financial system that benefits the elite to the detriment of the 99%...you need an iniquitous person to oversee it.

"Albert"? Did you name him after Einstein? I bet he's not as vicious as Ms Yellen has been to people, so we'll put the big A on our list!

[-] -2 points by HCHC4 (-28) 5 years ago

haha, yes thats what we named him after. Although we like to do the voice of Fat Albert with him as well. Other names include Mr Stinky, Mr Meow Meow, and Albie. He would make a fine Fed Chairman. They would vote to bailout the banks, and the response would be the classic "what the fuck you talkin bout" look from a cat! haha.

[-] -2 points by vagabondblues (18) from Oyster Bay, NY 5 years ago

Even if you could just sneak him in to take a dump on the Chair's chair, that'd be cool!

[-] -2 points by HCHC4 (-28) 5 years ago


[-] -1 points by HCHC4 (-28) 5 years ago

There's 17 other women leading central banks around the planet?!!

Looks like "land of the free" is late to the party as usual.

[-] 3 points by LeoYo (5909) 5 years ago

The Radical Christian Right and the War on Government

Monday, 07 October 2013 09:10 By Chris Hedges, TruthDig | News Analysis


There is a desire felt by tens of millions of Americans, lumped into a diffuse and fractious movement known as the Christian right, to destroy the intellectual and scientific rigor of the Enlightenment, radically diminish the role of government to create a theocratic state based on “biblical law,” and force a recalcitrant world to bend to the will of an imperial and “Christian” America. Its public face is on display in the House of Representatives. This ideology, which is the driving force behind the shutdown of the government, calls for the eradication of social “deviants,” beginning with gay men and lesbians, whose sexual orientation, those in the movement say, is a curse and an illness, contaminating the American family and the country. Once these “deviants” are removed, other “deviants,” including Muslims, liberals, feminists, intellectuals, left-wing activists, undocumented workers, poor African-Americans and those dismissed as “nominal Christians”—meaning Christians who do not embrace this peculiar interpretation of the Bible—will also be ruthlessly repressed. The “deviant” government bureaucrats, the “deviant” media, the “deviant” schools and the “deviant” churches, all agents of Satan, will be crushed or radically reformed. The rights of these “deviants” will be annulled. “Christian values” and “family values” will, in the new state, be propagated by all institutions. Education and social welfare will be handed over to the church. Facts and self-criticism will be replaced with relentless indoctrination.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz—whose father is Rafael Cruz, a rabid right-wing Christian preacher and the director of the Purifying Fire International ministry—and legions of the senator’s wealthy supporters, some of whom orchestrated the shutdown, are rooted in a radical Christian ideology known as Dominionism or Christian Reconstructionism. This ideology calls on anointed “Christian” leaders to take over the state and make the goals and laws of the nation “biblical.” It seeks to reduce government to organizing little more than defense, internal security and the protection of property rights. It fuses with the Christian religion the iconography and language of American imperialism and nationalism, along with the cruelest aspects of corporate capitalism. The intellectual and moral hollowness of the ideology, its flagrant distortion and misuse of the Bible, the contradictions that abound within it—its leaders champion small government and a large military, as if the military is not part of government—and its laughable pseudoscience are impervious to reason and fact. And that is why the movement is dangerous. The cult of masculinity, as in all fascist movements, pervades the ideology of the Christian right. The movement uses religion to sanctify military and heroic “virtues,” glorify blind obedience and order over reason and conscience, and pander to the euphoria of collective emotions. Feminism and homosexuality, believers are told, have rendered the American male physically and spiritually impotent. Jesus, for the Christian right, is a man of action, casting out demons, battling the Antichrist, attacking hypocrites and ultimately slaying nonbelievers. This cult of masculinity, with its glorification of violence, is appealing to the powerless. It stokes the anger of many Americans, mostly white and economically disadvantaged, and encourages them to lash back at those who, they are told, seek to destroy them. The paranoia about the outside world is fostered by bizarre conspiracy theories, many of which are prominent in the rhetoric of those leading the government shutdown. Believers, especially now, are called to a perpetual state of war with the “secular humanist” state. The march, they believe, is irreversible. Global war, even nuclear war, is the joyful harbinger of the Second Coming. And leading the avenging armies is an angry, violent Messiah who dooms billions of apostates to death.

“What we have here is our core values as Americans and Christians slipping away into this facade where we should take care of our poor, sick, and disabled,” Ted Cruz said in the Senate last month during a 21-hour speech that he gave in an attempt to block the funding of Obamacare. “It is disheartening to know that the nation our forefathers built is no longer of importance to our president and his Democratic counterparts. Not only that, we are falling away from core Christian values. I don’t know about you, but I believe in the Jesus who died to save himself, not enable lazy followers to be dependent on him. He didn’t walk around all willy-nilly just passing out free health care to those who were sick, or food to those who were hungry, or clothes to those in need. No, he said get up, brush yourself off, go into town and get a job, and as he hung on the cross he said, ‘I died so that I may live in eternity with my Father. If you want to join us you can die for yourself and your own sins. What do I look like, your savior or something?’ That’s the Jesus I want to see brought back into our core values as a nation. That’s why we need to repeal Obamacare.”

Dominionists believe they are engaged in an epic battle against the forces of Satan. They live in a binary world of black and white. They feel they are victims, surrounded by sinister groups bent on their destruction. They have anointed themselves as agents of God who alone know God’s will. They sanctify their rage. This rage lies at the center of the ideology. It leaves them sputtering inanities about Barack Obama, his corporate-sponsored health care reform bill, his alleged mandated suicide counseling or “death panels” for seniors under the bill, his supposed secret alliance with radical Muslims, and “creeping socialism.” They see the government bureaucracy as being controlled by “secular humanists” who want to destroy the family and make war against the purity of their belief system. They seek total cultural and political domination.

All ideological, theological and political debates with the radical Christian right are useless. It cares nothing for rational thought and discussion. Its adherents are using the space within the open society to destroy the open society itself. Our naive attempts to placate a movement bent on our destruction, to prove to it that we too have “values,” only strengthen its supposed legitimacy and increase our own weakness.

Dominionists have to operate, for now, in what they see as the contaminated environment of the secular, liberal state. They work with the rest of us only because they must. Given enough power—and they are working hard to get it—any such cooperation will vanish. They are no different from the vanguard described by Lenin or the Islamic terrorists who shaved off their beards, adopted Western dress and watched pay-for-view pornography in their hotel rooms the night before hijacking a plane for a suicide attack. The elect alone, like the Grand Inquisitor, are sanctioned to know the truth. And in the pursuit of their truth they have no moral constraints. I spent two years inside the Christian right in writing my book “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America.” I attended services at megachurches across the country, went to numerous lectures and talks, sat in on creationist seminars, attended classes on religious proselytizing and conversion, spent weekends at “right-to-life” retreats and interviewed dozens of followers and leaders of the movement. Though I was sympathetic to the financial dislocation, the struggles with addictions, the pain of domestic and sexual violence, and the deep despair that drew people to the movement, I was also acutely aware of the dangerous ideology these people embraced. Fascist movements begin as champions of civic improvement, communal ideals, moral purity, strength, national greatness and family values. These movements attract, as has the radical Christian right, those who are disillusioned by the collapse of liberal democracy. And our liberal democracy has collapsed.

We have abandoned our poor and working class. We have created a government monster that sucks the marrow out of our bones to enrich and empower the oligarchic and corporate elite. The protection of criminals, whether in war or on Wall Street, is part of our mirage of law and order. We have betrayed the vast and growing underclass. Most believers within the Christian right are struggling to survive in a hostile world. We have failed them. Their very real despair is being manipulated and used by Christian fascists such as the Texas senator. Give to the working poor a living wage, benefits and job security and the reach of this movement will diminish. Refuse to ameliorate the suffering of the poor and working class and you ensure the ascendancy of a Christian fascism.

The Christian right needs only a spark to set it ablaze. Another catastrophic act of domestic terrorism, hyperinflation, a series of devastating droughts, floods, hurricanes or massive wildfires or another financial meltdown will be the trigger. Then what is left of our anemic open society will disintegrate. The rise of Christian fascism is aided by our complacency. The longer we fail to openly denounce and defy bankrupt liberalism, the longer we permit corporate power to plunder the nation and destroy the ecosystem, the longer we stand slack-jawed before the open gates of the city waiting meekly for the barbarians, the more we ensure their arrival.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.

[-] 2 points by LeoYo (5909) 5 years ago

Polls: Public places more blame for shutdown on GOP


By Michael O'Brien, Political Reporter, NBC News

As the federal government’s shutdown nears its second week, a pair of new polls released Monday suggests the fiscal standoff has begun to weigh on the Republican Party.

No one – not Republicans in Congress, President Barack Obama or his Democratic allies on Capitol Hill – comes away looking particularly great as a result of the shutdown, according to separate polls released Monday from the Pew Research Center and Washington Post/ABC News. But the negative fallout from the shutdown is more sharply pronounced in public opinion toward the GOP.

Thirty-eight percent of Americans said Republicans were to blame for the shutdown, versus 30 percent who blame the Obama administration and 19 percent who blame both, according to the Pew poll, which was conducted in the days since the shutdown came to pass. (For context, a Pew poll before the shutdown found that 39 percent would blame the GOP, 36 percent would blame Obama and 17 percent would blame both if the shutdown were to occur.)

The ABC News/Washington Post poll, meanwhile, found that 70 percent of Americans disapprove of the way congressional Republicans are handling negotiations over the federal budget, while just 24 percent approve. (Last week, 26 percent approved of the GOP’s handling, and 63 percent disapproved.)

Congressional Democrats also suffered: 61 percent of Americans disapprove of the way they’re handling the budget (up from 56 percent last week), while 35 percent approve (up one point from last week).

But Obama actually improved slightly in the ABC/Washington Post poll. Forty-five percent of U.S. adults said they approve of his handling of negotiations over the budget, up from 41 percent before the shutdown. Fifty-one percent disapprove of the president’s handling of the situation, up one point from last week.

The two polls offer the best snapshot so far of how the American public has metabolized the shutdown, which entered its seventh day on Monday and could stretch all the way until Oct. 17, the deadline by which Congress must raise the debt limit.

Increasingly, ending the shutdown and resolving the issue of the debt ceiling have become intertwined as both Obama and his Republican adversaries in Congress figure out the endgame to their spending fight.

But the new polls offered little in the way of consensus as to how lawmakers or the administration should proceed. The Pew poll found that a slight plurality – 44 percent – of respondents want Republicans to agree to a deal without any changes to the Affordable Care Act. Democrats in Washington have been pummeling the GOP for days, demanding that they pass a simple extension of government spending and reopen the government. Before the shutdown, Republicans had appended changes to “Obamacare” to these simple stopgap spending bills.

But 42 percent of Americans said in the Pew poll that Obama should agree to a deal to reopen the government that includes changes to his signature health care reform law – as Republicans have been demanding for weeks now.

Heading into the debt ceiling deadline, too, more Americans (47 percent) say that raising the debt ceiling is essential to avoiding an economic crisis, though 39 percent of Americans said they think the U.S. could reach the debt ceiling without inviting major problems. Among Republicans, a majority – 54 percent – said the U.S. could breach the debt ceiling without inviting calamity.

The Pew Research Center poll was conducted Oct. 2-6 and has a 3.7 percent margin of error. The Washington Post/ABC News poll was conducted Oct. 2-6 and has a 3.5 percent margin of error.

This story was originally published on Mon Oct 7, 2013 4:00 PM EDT

[-] 3 points by LeoYo (5909) 5 years ago

No matter what, it all ultimately comes down to the American people. Slightly more blame for one party over the other is still nearly half and half meaning that strong support exists throughout the country for the party to blame and will probably continue to exist through the next election season. No party can ever be voted out of office with roughly half the population always supporting it. It doesn't matter what any party does or doesn't do with half the population always supporting it in every election. Politicians will never be any better than the people who elect them.

[-] 2 points by LeoYo (5909) 5 years ago

Poll: GOP gets the blame in shutdown



WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans are holding Republicans primarily responsible for the partial government shutdown as public esteem sinks for all players in the impasse, President Barack Obama among them, according to a new poll. It's a struggle with no heroes.

The Associated Press-GfK survey, out Wednesday, affirms expectations by many in Washington — Republicans among them — that the GOP may end up taking the biggest hit in public opinion from the fiscal paralysis, just as that party did when much of the government closed 17 years ago. But the situation is fluid nine days into the shutdown and there's plenty of disdain to go around.

Overall, 62 percent mainly blamed Republicans for the shutdown. About half said Obama or the Democrats in Congress bear much responsibility.

Asked if she blamed Obama, House Republicans, Senate Democrats or the tea party for the shutdown, Martha Blair, 71, of Kerrville, Texas, said, yes, you bet. All of them.

"Somebody needs to jerk those guys together to get a solution, instead of just saying 'no,'" said Blair, an independent. "It's just so frustrating." It's also costly: She's paid to fly with a group to four national parks in Arizona and California next month and says she can't get her money back or reschedule if the parks remain closed.

The poll found that the tea party is more than a gang of malcontents in the political landscape, as its supporters in Congress have been portrayed by Democrats. Rather, it's a sizable — and divisive — force among Republicans. More than 4 in 10 Republicans identified with the tea party and were more apt than other Republicans to insist that their leaders hold firm in the standoff over reopening government and avoiding a default of the nation's debt in coming weeks.

Most Americans disapprove of the way Obama is handling his job, the poll suggests, with 53 percent unhappy with his performance and 37 percent approving of it. Congress is scraping rock bottom, with a ghastly approval rating of 5 percent.

Indeed, anyone making headlines in the dispute has earned poor marks for his or her trouble, whether it's Democrat Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, or Republican John Boehner, the House speaker, both with a favorability rating of 18 percent.

And much of the country draws a blank on Republican Ted Cruz of Texas despite his 21-hour Senate speech before the shutdown. Only half in the poll were familiar enough with him to register an opinion. Among those who did, 32 percent viewed him unfavorably, 16 percent favorably.

Comparisons could not be drawn conclusively with how people viewed leaders before the shutdown because the poll was conducted online, while previous AP-GfK surveys were done by telephone. Some changes may be due to the new methodology, not shifts in opinion. The poll provides a snapshot of public opinion starting in the third day of the shutdown.

The poll comes with both sides dug in and trading blame incessantly. On Tuesday, a proposal by House Republicans to create a working group of 20 lawmakers to tackle deficit issues prompted a White House veto threat, and a plan by Senate Democrats to raise the debt limit by $1 trillion to avoid a default drew a frosty reception from the GOP. Obama is insisting Republicans reopen government and avert default before any negotiations on deficit reduction or his 2010 health care law are held.

Among the survey's findings:

— Sixty-eight percent said the shutdown is a major problem for the country, including majorities of Republicans (58 percent), Democrats (82 percent) and independents (57 percent).

— Fifty-two percent said Obama is not doing enough to cooperate with Republicans to end the shutdown; 63 percent say Republicans aren't doing enough to cooperate with him.

— Republicans are split on just how much cooperation they want. Among those who do not back the tea party, fully 48 percent say their party should be doing more with Obama to find a solution. But only 15 percent of tea-party Republicans want that outreach. The vast majority of them say GOP leaders are doing what they should with the president, or should do even less with him.

— People seem conflicted or confused about the showdown over the debt limit. Six in 10 predict an economic crisis if the government's ability to borrow isn't renewed later this month with an increase in the debt limit — an expectation widely shared by economists. Yet only 30 percent say they support raising the limit; 46 percent were neutral on the question.

— More than 4 in 5 respondents felt no personal impact from the shutdown. For those who did, thwarted vacations to national parks, difficulty getting work done without federal contacts at their desks and hitches in government benefits were among the complaints.

Blair's nine-day trip to national parks with a tour group won't happen if the parks are still closed next month. "I'm concerned," she said, "but it seems kind of trivial to people who are being shut out of work."

In Mount Prospect, Ill., Barbara Olpinski, 51, a Republican who blames Obama and both parties for the shutdown, said her family is already seeing an impact and that will worsen if the impasse goes on. She's an in-home elderly care director, her daughter is a physician's assistant at a rural clinic that treats patients who rely on government coverage, and her husband is a doctor who can't get flu vaccines for patients on public assistance because deliveries have stopped.

"People don't know how they are going to pay for things, and what will be covered," she said. "Everybody is kind of like holding their wallets."

The AP-GfK Poll was conducted Oct. 3-7 and involved online interviews with 1,227 adults. The survey has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points for all respondents.

The survey used GfK's KnowledgePanel, a probability-based Internet panel designed to be representative of the U.S. population. Respondents to the survey were first selected randomly using phone or mail survey methods, and were later interviewed for this survey online. People selected for KnowledgePanel who didn't have online access were given that access at no cost to them.


AP-GfK Poll: http://www.ap-gfkpoll.com

Associated Press writer Stacy A. Anderson and News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius contributed to this report.

[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 5 years ago

Perhaps a poll is needed for figure out who needed a poll to prove this simple fact.

[-] 2 points by LeoYo (5909) 5 years ago

The polls are untrustworthy or at least the media reporting of them are. Just yesterday, the article I posted made the blame out to be just slightly over half. Now, today, it's suddenly overwhelming.

In blaming both parties, the people seem no more informed than those who approve of ACA but disapprove of Obamacare.

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 5 years ago

Mr. Luntz does a very good job, with neurolinguistics.

Keep in mind who he works for.


[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5909) 5 years ago

It May Be Hard to Believe, but GOP Will Become Even More Extreme, Respected Political Forecasters Say

Thursday, 10 October 2013 09:17 By Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet | Op-Ed



Ignore the Spin: This Debt Ceiling Crisis Is Not Politics as Usual

Thursday, 10 October 2013 13:18 By John Light, Moyers & Company | Op-Ed



"Safe Seats" and the Media Spin About Radical Republicans

Thursday, 10 October 2013 13:27 By Eric Boehlert, Media Matters | Op-Ed



Why Are Republicans Changing Their Reason For Shutting Government?

Thursday, 10 October 2013 10:18 By Dave Johnson, Campaign for America's Future | Op-Ed



Supply-Side Jesus and the Death of Shame

Thursday, 10 October 2013 09:02 By William Rivers Pitt, Truthout | Op-Ed


[-] 1 points by WSmith (2698) from Cornelius, OR 5 years ago

Bernie Sanders: McCutcheon vs. FEC


[-] 1 points by bensdad (8977) 5 years ago

I believe in GOP donations
donate the GOP to Mars