On February 16th of this year, Ari Berman published an article at Alternet, "How a Filthy Rich 196 People Will Buy Our Election". It described with enough detail what the state of American politics is, and who it is that Romney and the Rethugs represent in this election -- and Berman wrote it before Romney was the chosen, empty-suit, expensive-haircut Rethug front-runner.
(Also, Too, see Lawrence Lessig, "Big Campaign Spending: Government By The 1%", The Atlantic Monthly Online, July 10, 2012.
Here's what we must come to see: America has lost the capacity to govern. On a wide range of critical issues -- from global warming to tax reform, from effective financial regulation to real health-care change, from the deficit to defense spending -- we have lost the capacity to do anything other than suffer through a miserable status quo. If there is a ship of state, its rudder has been lost. We are drifting. We can't change course. And eventually, and with absolute certainty, in waters such as these, a drifting ship will sink.The best 'Democracy' money can buy. Not that there was ever any doubt, really; it's only more so, now. The rich are willing to make themselves visible, allow the Peasantry to see their tiny little red eyes and long tails, their viciousness and ruthless arrogance, as they line up to shove money at Mitzy. They've become visible as a warning -- We run this circus; don't get in our way -- and then, they'll disappear again.
The cause of this drift is clear, and it is not "polarization." Polarization -- of the political class at least -- is real. In Congress, it is worse than at any time since the Civil War...
... because of the way we fund the campaigns that determine our elections, we give the tiniest fraction of America the power to veto any meaningful policy change... the tiniest fraction of the one percent have the effective power to block reform desired by the 99-plus percent.
Yet by "the tiniest fraction of the one percent" I don't necessarily mean the rich. I mean instead the fraction of Americans who are willing to spend their money to influence congressional campaigns for their own interest.)
The facts behind Berman's article should be enough to make everyone in the United States think soberly about whether we are as "free", whether America is an "open and democratic" Republic, as we tout to the rest of the world. Whether the structure and assumptions our culture rests upon are just a carnival barker's come-on.
Today, Barry Ritholtz at The Big Picture has his own commentary, "Defective Government By Design"; I'm quoting a portion of it with the links he included intact:
We live in an era of defective government.There's more, and you can read it. You can get angry -- get as angry as you like, but it won't matter a damn, because in the system as we know it, Money Talks.
This corruption is not an accident. It is the product of years of very patient work. It has been brought about through expensive lobbying, relentless propaganda, agnotology. You can see it in this election cycle, where 196 Americans — 0.000063% of the population — have given more than 80% of Super PAC dollars.
Is it democracy or plutocracy when less than 200 people drive election spending in a nation of 300 million?
Previously, we have pointed out how brazen the lobbying has been to actually cut the SEC enforcement budget. This has created an agency that is defective by design. Take a guess who loses in the battle between you, the individual taxpayer versus the corporation.
Wall Street has taken advantage of the crisis and morphed into a cartel. The tragedy is the only entity that is large and powerful enough to offset their wealth and power are national governments. Yet where ever we look, we see that government has been corrupted and rendered neutered by corporations...
I don't know who will win in November. But I do know that Romney is treating this election in the same manner he ran Bain Capital, and the United States Of America is just another acquisition.
He'll buy it with money from his principally unknown and invisible investors, and offshore this part, sell that; finally, when there's nothing left to bust or break or sell, he'll walk away.
That's what the 196 people who are buying him, and the election, are paying for.