Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Pay to Play, Peasants!

Stung by recent criticism from public interest groups and editorial boards that it was operating a bribery-intensive astroturf slush fund, Organizing for Action has now switched gears in an effort to stay viable. No more acceptance of anonymous, unlimited corporate money -- officially, that is. In a transparent ploy to deflect attacks of corruption and elitism, OFA is mounting a brand-new PR offensive to spread the delusion that regular people are just as important to President Obama as his millionaire donors. And to prove it, he'll make you a very special Founding Member of his legacy-burnishing club. You, too, can pay to play!

Just found this choice little nugget in my spam bucket:
 Karen --
Organizing for Action is staring down our first quarterly fundraising deadline -- ever.
After March 31st, we'll have a record of the founding members who helped build this organization from the start.
You should be one of them. Chip in $5 or more right now to get in on the ground floor. No one has ever done what we're trying to do: restore the balance of power to ordinary people by countering the special-interest groups with the most powerful grassroots movement ever built.
Chip in $5 or more and make sure you're one of the folks* who will make history: (web address redacted for the protection of Sardonicky readers.)
Jon Carson, Executive Director
Organizing for Action
I don't know whether to howl or to puke. Restoring the balance of power by declaring all money is equal? Will grass seed take root in a pile of toxic sludge? Forget record levels of income disparity. Forget the regressive tax policies at work in this country. Forget 50 million uninsured people trying to stay alive within the most expensive, predatory health care system on the planet. Forget massive unemployment and underemployment and stagnating wages. No mention of overturning Citizens United to get the money out of politics. To the contrary -- you can only aspire to be a member of our thriving democracy if you start at the bottom of the pile and give to Barry. Does it get any more egalitarian than that, people?

It's the Feudalism Nostalgia movement -- the serfs paying tribute to the lord of the manor right along with the overseers, as we all toil merrily on our little patches  and hope for a better tomorrow, tomorrow, and feel like we're equal belongers. And when we hand over our meager coins, we will be protected by such Obamian initiatives as a Grand Bargain of "superlative" chained CPI adjustments to further reduce the payout on our Social Security earned benefits. Our contributions will make political corruption all balanced and good and equitable and, Obama hopes, impervious to further complaints by such pro-democracy groups as Public Citizen and Common Cause. It's historic, all right, but not in the good way the Obama machine wants you to think it is.

It was only a few weeks ago that OFA set the bar for Founding Member status at a whopping $50,000. But the elites evidently were not nibbling at the Barry Bait, and attendance at an exclusive Founders Dinner in Washington earlier this month was reportedly sparse. The poor millionaires are all tapped out when it comes to Barry-bribery, it seems. Apparently, there are no lines forming for private meetups with POTUS in exchange for $500,000. Thus, the bottom barrel-scraping evident in today's email blast to the hoi polloi. 

Oh, and about OFA's humble-bragging pledge of transparency on the source of its fund-raising? Um, how do you spell work-around? Even though its website requires donors to declare such data such as place of business and occupation and employer, this information will be kept secret from the public. If, for example, a Bill Smith of New York gives $500,000 in exchange for four annual meetings with Obama, we'll never find out if this particular Bill Smith happens to work for G.E., Honeywell, Goldman Sachs or General Dynamics.

Something is rotten in the Beltway Swamp. So, what else is new, you may ask? Only the myriad novel ways, such as insulting emails to unsuspecting victims, in which it's being bottled and packaged for our every-day consumption. 

* "When a politician uses the word 'folks', get ready for the next series of lies" -- Noam Chomsky. 


Anonymous said...

I dig a ditch, I shape a stone
Another battlement for his throne
Another day on earth is flown
We're all working for the Pharaoh

Call it England, you call it Spain
Egypt rules with a whip and chain
Moses free my people again
We're all working for the Pharaoh

Richard Thompson

Pearl said...

I was talking with my son about his financial future, etc. and mentioned how fortunate that Canada kept strict regulations in the banking system so that we didn't have the fall out here that happened and is happening in the U.S. He told me that Harper, the Conservative Prime minister, had tried to deregulate the banks but the New Democratic Party (NDP) strongly opposed his actions successfully and saved a possible catastrophe here. We need a strong opposition party in the U.S. which will hopefully happen one day but not soon enough unfortunately.

Zee said...

“The poor millionaires are all tapped out when it comes to Barry-bribery, it seems. Apparently, there are no lines forming for private meetups with POTUS in exchange for $500,000. --Karen Garcia

Bill Clinton allegedly sold the Lincoln bedroom for several hundred “k” a pop.

Barry similarly sells his time to people who contribute $500k to his personal cause.

And now there are no "takers" for these sweet deals. Why not?

Well, why should anyone pony up any more money at this point? Obama has been bought-and-paid for, and there's nothing more that he will accomplish before 2014; the Republican-held House will stymie his every further effort to “transform” America, which just may be for the best.

Perhaps, come summer 2014, he will see a resurgence in contributions from the Wall Street millionaires in order to try to buy back the House, but why spend any dough before then? Money contributed before then is just interest, dividends or profit lost.

So, Barry turns to his ever-faithful “little folk” in the hope of raising more campaign money—'cause those are all he really has left to turn to--at least for the nonce. You know, the ones about whom I've spoken earlier, who would walk off a cliff for the guy even as he stabs them in the back.

If $500k buys the Lincoln Bedroom or four hours or so of chit-chat with Barry, what does $5 buy? A lonely--if delightfully starry--night in the unheated gardener's shed at Bandelier or Hovenweep National Monuments, subject to availability of course?

Round-trip bus fare is extra.

Denis Neville said...

Karen writes of the “myriad novel ways in which it's being bottled and packaged for our every-day consumption.”

"Propaganda always wins if you allow it." - Leni Riefenstahl

Why do we allow it?

Our submissive void...

"The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting." - Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting

Obama is today's most powerful weapon on the side of forgetting, lying by omission and the transfer of significance to the insignificant, replacing social justice and security with austerity and perpetual war.

Obama is a corporate marketing creation.

The public must be put in its place, so that corporations may exercise their powers and the elites may live free of the trampling and the roar of the bewildered herds.

“All is normality on display. For Nazi goose-steppers, substitute the seemingly more innocuous militarisation of the total culture. And for the bombastic leader, we have the reformer manqué, blithely at work in the White House, planning and executing assassination, smiling all the while.” - Norman Pollack

Meet Edward Bernays, one of the most influential figures of the 20th century, the father of spin in “The Century Of The Self” /Adam Curtis:

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons...who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.” - Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda, nephew of Sigmund Freud and inventor of modern public relations

Pay to play, peasants!

“Our digital slavery is the ultimate means of social control because it is voluntary, addictive and shrouded in illusions of personal freedom.” - John Pilger

Denis Neville said...

Gaius Publius, “Barack Obama’s Economic Legacy: The Billionaire-Boosting Big Four on His Wish List,”

1. Health care “reform” — a privatized alternative to Medicare expansion
2. A “grand bargain” in which social insurance benefits are rolled back
3. Plentiful oil & gas and passage of the Keystone Sludgepipe (KXL pipeline)
4. Passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement

“Every item on that list promotes billionaire wealth. By a lot. Obama got the first one, is working on the second, and he has more than three years to get the last two. Then he’s out of office and into Clinton land.”

Disaster Capitalism!

One commenter asks, “Doesn't it disturb you at all that the mainstream Democrats including the Netroots are lining up behind Hillary and she will likely give us another 8 years of privatizations and sellouts?”

Why is it that so few understand how badly Bill Clinton sold us out?

But there have been victories on LGBT rights, issues important to Hispanics, and issues important to women. Isn’t the Democratic Party still the “lesser evil?”

As Black Agenda Report's Glen Ford says, because Obama and the DINOs are the "more effective evil," they are the “greater evil.”

The ruling elites could care less about laws about marriage or abortion. They only care about promoting their billionaire wealth. DINOs and RINOs are complementary evils. Both are parties of the rich elites and both are completely corrupt.

And the submissive void of the American public:

“Today, we prefer to believe that there is no submissive void. “Choice” is ubiquitous. Phones are “platforms” that launch every half-thought. There is Google from outer space if you need it. Caressed like rosary beads, the precious devices are borne headsdown, relentlessly monitored and prioritised. Their dominant theme is the self. Me. My needs. Riefenstahl’s submissive void is today’s digital slavery.” – John Pilger,

James F Traynor said...

VERY good one from Yves! How my faith in the ladies has paid off in recent years! Genetics be damned (but not really), I still think the Y is a broken X.

Fred Drumlevitch said...

Appropriate post, Karen.

The kind of "grass-roots" movement we need has very little to do with money. Rather, it requires enough people to develop, first, an adequate ideology with regard to what is wrong with how this country operates and what changes should be made to fix it, and then a willingness to act (with determination but non-violently, I say --- take note you NSA/FBI defenders of the plutocracy probably monitoring this forum).

Sardonicky readers should note that I said "enough" rather than a "majority" of the people, and "adequate" rather than "thorough" or "comprehensive" or "perfect" ideology. Waiting for the majority of the populace to become thoroughly versed in the tenets of progressivism prior to applying citizen pressure to the plutocracy is simply a prescription for rhetorical masturbation and permanent impotence. Significantly moving this country in a progressive direction with respect to social and economic justice doesn't require a wait for a majority popular vote any more than desegregation progress required a majority popular vote. That did, however, require a determined, focused, yet multi-pronged strategy.

A determined --- and unending --- push from progressives is essential, not only because of the vast distance this country needs to move on the social justice front but also because the Republican assault knows no bounds or shame. Just today the Arizona Daily Star local paper reports "AZ Senate gives early approval to 'living wage' ban". For the disgusting details:

Fred Drumlevitch said...


@Zee: If I remember correctly, the more important prostitution by Bill Clitin wasn't of the Lincoln bedroom occupancy going to campaign contributors, but rather the "repeal" --- rather than needed strengthening --- of Glass-Steagall, and, even more important, passing up when the airwaves were reallocated to digital tv broadcasting the chance to require them to provide substantial low- or no-cost time to candidate political messages during election season, proper coverage, and inclusive debates. That would have allowed significant exposure of the populace to ideas much different from those served up by the RepubliDem plutocratic-corporate lackeys.

@Denis Neville: Thanks for the usual wealth and range of interesting references. With my primary knowledge being in biology, I really appreciate the information and links from the broader perspective that you provide.

James F Traynor said...

@Drumlevitch: Why should Clinton allow free or low cost use of airwaves when that would give an opportunity for effective third party organization? The Great Schmoozer is one sharp dude. He had become a little more than friendly with 'the business community' and was being amply rewarded with new campaign cash. And the Big O has continued nourishing that cash flow. And Hilary is only too happy to continue the tradition.

Fred Drumlevitch said...

@James F Traynor

You are right in saying that based on Bill Clinton's business "friendliness", there was no reason to expect him to do anything that might lessen business influence over politics effected via the two main parties --- and making the airwaves available at low cost would have opened the door to perennially-underfunded third-party candidates and indeed have done that.

But by the same token, one could say the same about McCain, who, if I remember correctly, was one of the politicians originally advocating airwave availability. It's possible that was just political theater; back in the days when McCain occasionally had a good idea, all too often he would abandon it when push came to shove, or when time to vote. Nevertheless, if business-supported McCain could so advocate, why couldn't Bill Clinton?

Perhaps it just goes to show, as has been repeatedly suggested by progressives, that right-wing or center-right Democrats are more insidiously dangerous than Republicans.

Zee said...


Certainly, Bill Clinton's biggest “act of prostitution” was signing off on the repeal Glass-Steagall—leading to the national disaster of the financial crisis of 2007-2008. Still, selling off the Lincoln Bedroom to the highest bidder was additional proof—if any was needed—that Bill (and Hillary) are political crooks of the highest order.

I was unaware of his inaction--read: perfidy--regarding reallocation of the broadcast airwaves.