Bernie Sanders Exposes the Dirty Secret that a Few Wealthy People Control Congress
05 Feb. 2013 By: Jason Easley
-Reprinted from: www.politicususa.com
Bernie Sanders has spilled the beans on Congress.
Sen. Sanders said, “The Congress of the United States of America is controlled by a handful of extraordinarily wealthy people and corporations.”
"Tavis: To your point about Citizens United, one of the ways that we might push back on this money being the mother’s milk of all of our politics notion, one of the way to push back on that would be some real, some serious, campaign finance reform.
There was hope back in the day that the president might eventually get around to that, but both he and Romney, you know, just played by the rules the last time around. So the politics get flooded with $6 billion, $8 billion dollars of money into these various pots. So it raises this question. What evidence do you because I don’t see any as yet?
What evidence do you see that this president this time around is serious? I’ve not heard him in any interviews say anything about campaign finance reform as one of his priorities. How do we get to that if this president, with all the money he raised, won’t ever put campaign finance reform on the table?
Sanders: Well, Tavis, you’re raising exactly the right questions and the answers are difficult. To my mind, the only way we move this country, number one, in overturning Citizens United, number two, moving the public funding of elections, is through a very, very strong grassroots movement that gives the president an offer and members of Congress an offer they can’t refuse. People have got to understand that the issue in Congress is not what the media talks about on why can’t Democrats and Republicans get along.
That is not the issue. The issue is that, to a very significant degree, the Congress of the United States of America is controlled by a handful of extraordinarily wealthy people and corporations, Wall Street being at the top of that list. And unless we address that issue, I fear very much for the middle class. I fear very much for our kids, for low income people and for seniors.
Give you just one example, one example. You have this business round table which is the organization representing the CEOs of major corporations in America. These guys, without exception, make huge amounts of money.
Some of them are worth hundreds of millions of dollars. All of them have these great retirement packages that the average American could not even dream of. Couple of weeks ago, they made an announcement that it is their view that we should raise the Social Security age to 70 and the Medicare eligibility age to 70 as well.
Can you conceive of the arrogance of these people who are at the top one-tenth of one percent of the income stratum telling working families that, before they can collect Social Security, they got to be 70, before they can get Medicare? So all of this is about the continuation of a class warfare being perpetrated by people who have incredible wealth, incredible power. Citizens United makes it even worse.
And at the end of the day, unless we have a strong grassroots political movement which says, excuse me, we’re not going to maintain this incredibly unequal distribution of wealth and income in America. Excuse me, the United States government is supposed to represent all of the people, our kids and the elderly and workers, not just billionaires. Until we have that movement, I doubt very much that you’re going to see the kind of political changes in Washington that we need."
It is a not a stretch of the imagination to assume that the few wealthy people who control Congress are many of the same individuals who were on Sanders’ list of the 26 billionaires who tried to buy the 2012 election. Sen. Sanders was correct. The way to take back our elections is to get all of the special interest money out of politics.
The reason why the Republicans who control the House can blatantly ignore the will of majority of Americans is because the American people aren’t their constituency. The only constituents that matter to House Republicans are those right wing billionaires and corporations who keep the campaign coffers full.
If you want to get rid of ALEC, the Koch brothers, and the over sized political influence of the wealthy, public financing of our elections is the way to do it. The American people are frustrated by a paralyzed Congress, but they don’t seem to understand why Congress is stuck. Members of Congress mouth all sorts of platitudes and cliches about the democracy and the American people at election time, but in our current political system campaign donations matter more than people.
Sen. Sanders destroyed the illusion that Congress works for the people. The current Congress works for no one, but their donors. The needs of the people come last in this Congress, and Bernie Sanders was not afraid to tell you why.
[From here down is, in a way, old news in that they and their running dogs failed
in their attempts to buy or to steal the 2012 presidential election, however; like "The Terminator"
they'll be back, and like "The Hulk" you wouldn't like them when
they're angry... So, the information still is important for those of us
who missed it the first time around.]
31 JUL 2012 -PolitiFact confirmed that Sen. Sanders’ statement about the Walton family having more wealth than the bottom 40% is true.
Sen. Bernie Sanders has seen his statements about wealth inequality come under vicious attack from the right. Today, PolitiFact confirmed that Sen. Sanders’ statement about the Walton family having more wealth than the bottom 40% is true.
A little over a week ago Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted that, “Today the Walton family of Walmart own more wealth than the bottom 40 percent of America.” Sanders also made this statement during his recent congressional testimony on Citizens United.
Even though Sen. Sanders has been discussing the issues of wealth inequality and fighting for middle class and working Americans for years, it was his recent report about the impact of Citizens United and the 26 billionaires who are trying to buy the 2012 election that has raised the ire of the right.
The Vermont senator’s recent statements about the Walton family caught the attention of PolitiFact, and the Pulitzer Prize winner fact checkers analyzed Sanders’ tweet.
PolitiFact concluded that, “The statistic correctly compares the combined net worth of the bottom 41.5 percent of American families with the six Walton family members. We think the additional points — that many people with a negative net worth are not necessarily poor and that percentages about wealth distribution can be deceiving — are important and interesting. Nevertheless, Sanders’ claim is solid. We rate it True.”
The right has been trying various tactics to undermine the message of Sen. Sanders. Their favorite one seems to be to complain that Sanders only goes after conservative billionaires. They frequently ask why Sanders doesn’t go after the liberal billionaires who are buying elections. The answer to that question is that liberal billionaires aren’t holding secret conferences to fundraise and strategize about how to purchase our elections.
The answer is that left isn’t engaging in the same behavior to the same degree that the right is. There is a reason why Democrats support efforts to overturn Citizens United, and Republicans are opposed. The conservative billionaires have become the lifeblood of the Republican Party. They pick the candidates. The right wing billionaires buy the ads, and when their candidates are elected, they pass the legislation. Conservative billionaires own and operate the Republican Party.
Bernie Sanders is dangerous to the interests of these billionaires, because as PolitiFact confirmed, he is telling the truth about their activities. In a political system where incumbents have been terrorized into silence by Citizens United empowered billionaires, Sen. Bernie Sanders stands alone.
The only way that the billionaires will be defeated is if the American people stand together against wealth inequality, and demand their country back. Sen. Sanders has the message that can put the tools of our representative democracy back into the people’s hands.
24 JUL 2012
In his new report, America For Sale: A Report on Billionaires Buying the 2012 Election, Sen. Bernie Sanders named names and called out the billionaires who using Citizens United to buy our democracy.
In front of a Senate panel today, Sen. Bernie Sanders outed the 26 billionaires who are members of 23 billionaire families that are using Citizens United to buy elections. Sen. Sanders estimated that these 26 billionaires are the tip of the iceberg. “My guess is that number is really much greater because many of these contributions are made in secret. In other words, not content to own our economy, the 1 percent want to own our government as well.”
Sanders explained how the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision put the government up for sale, “What the Supreme Court did in Citizens United is to say to these same billionaires and the corporations they control: ‘You own and control the economy, you own Wall Street, you own the coal companies, you own the oil companies. Now, for a very small percentage of your wealth, we’re going to give you the opportunity to own the United States government.’”
Sen. Sanders also did the last thing the billionaires wanted. He called them out by name.
According to the report, America for Sale: A Report on Billionaires Buying the 2012 Election, here are the 26 billionaires who are trying to buy your government:
1). Sheldon Adelson, owner of the Las Vegas Sands Casino, is worth nearly $25 billion, making him the 14th wealthiest person in the world and the 7th richest person in America. While median family income plummeted by nearly 40% from 2007-2010, Mr. Adelson has experienced a nearly eightfold increase in his wealth over the past three years (from $3.4 billion to $24.9 billion). Forbes recently reported that Adelson is willing to spend a “limitless” amount of money or more than $100 million to help defeat President Obama in November.
2. The Kochs (David, Charles, and William) are worth a combined $103 billion, according to Forbes. They have pledged to spend about $400 million during the 2012 election season. The Kochs own more wealth than the bottom 41.7 percent of American households or more than 49 million Americans.
3. Jim Walton is worth $23.7 billion. He has donated $300,000 to super PACs in 2012.
4. Harold Simmons is worth $9 billion. He has donated $15.2 million to super PACs this year.
5. Peter Thiel is worth $1.5 billion. He has donated $6.7 million to Super PACs this year.
6. Jerrold Perenchio is worth $2.3 billion. He has donated $2.6 million to super PACs this year.
7. Kenneth Griffin is worth $3 billion and he has given $2.08 million to super PACs in 2012.
8. James Simons is worth $10.7 billion and he has given $1.5 million to super Pacs this year.
9. Julian Robertson is worth $2.5 billion and he has given $1.25 million to super PACs this year.
10. Robert Rowling is worth $4.8 billion and he has given $1.1 million to super PACs.
11. John Paulson, the hedge fund manager who made his fortune betting that the sub-prime mortgage market would collapse, is worth $12.5 billion. He has donated $1 million to super PACs.
12. Richard and J.W. Marriott are worth a combined $3.1 billion and they have donated $2 million to super PACs this year.
13. James Davis is worth $1.9 billion and he has given $1 million to super PACs this year.
14. Harold Hamm is worth $11 billion and he has given $985,000 to super PACs this year.
15. Kenny Trout is worth more than $1.2 billion and he has given $900,000 to super PACs this year.
16. Louis Bacon is worth $1.4 billion and he has given $500,000 to super PACs this year.
17. Bruce Kovner is worth $4.5 billion and he has given $500,000 to super PACs this year.
18. Warren Stephens is worth $2.7 billion and he has given $500,000 to super PACs this year.
19. David Tepper is worth $5.1 billion and he has given $375,000 to super PACs this year.
20. Samuel Zell is worth $4.9 billion and he has given $270,000 to super PACs this year.
21. Leslie Wexner is worth $4.3 billion and he has given $250,000 to super PACs this year.
22. Charles Schwab is worth $3.5 billion and he has given $250,000 to super PACs this year.
23. Kelcy Warren is worth $2.3 billion and he has given $250,000 to super PACs this year.
The thing that these billionaires love most about Citizens United it is that it allows them to operate in total darkness. The American people couldn’t fight back because the billionaires were giving their money anonymously. This same cloak of invisibility is what made ALEC so effective for years. The conservative billionaire cabal works best in private, behind closed doors, far away from curious eyes.
With his report today, Sen. Sanders has made it more difficult for thieves of liberty to keep operating in the night. We now have a list of names and we know what they are trying to do to our government. Sen. Sanders is one of the few federally elected officials who has the courage to talk about these people in public.
Most of the members of the House and Senate are too afraid to speak of, much less take on, the billionaires. Even those decent members of Congress who might speak out against them have been terrified into silence by threats of multimillion dollar negative ad buys that will run against the incumbent back home.
Bernie Sanders is displaying a brand of political courage that is sorely lacking in American politics today, and he needs you to stand with him to protect our liberties, our freedoms, and to battle to return the government back to the American people.
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