12 September 2012

Ex-President Carter: US Political System Is Corrupted By Big Money

Financial reform and political reform go hand in hand. 

The current system is an artifice of soft bribery and political corruption that isolates the representatives from the people in meaningful ways, encourages "mass persuasion," which is a euphemism for propaganda, and substitutes spectacle and demagoguery for compromise and effective governance.

Bernie Sanders has some insights into the problem in this interview published below here.

The media may show pictures of politicians eating hot dogs, shaking hands, and even getting hugs with the common people, but in the back rooms the real players are handing over suitcases full of money. And when you have someone who loves money and power by the wallet, their heart will follow.  

The problem is that the big media loves the ad dollars and access, the politicians love huge slush funds that allow them to become overnight multimillionaires and power brokers, academics love important appointments and funding, and the corporations love the ability to buy influence that circumvents the political process for their own ends.   Freedom and truth have few powerful friends in a society consumed by the unashamed worship of greed, where honor and integrity are looked upon as quaint relics from the past. 
"And remember, where you have a concentration of power in a few hands, all too frequently men with the mentality of gangsters get control. History has proven that."

John Dalberg Lord Acton
This is going to end. Badly.

Jimmy Carter slams ‘financial corruption’ in U.S. elections
Sep 12, 2012 3:57 AM ET

(AP) Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter issued a blistering indictment of the American electoral process Tuesday, saying it is shot through with "financial corruption" that threatens democracy.

Speaking at the international human rights centre that bears his name, Carter said "we have one of the worst election processes in the world right in the United States of America, and it's almost entirely because of the excessive influx of money."

The dynamic is fed, Carter said, by an income tax code that exacerbates the gap between the wealthiest Americans and the rest of the electorate, allowing the rich even greater influence over public discourse and electioneering.

The 39th president lamented a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that allows unlimited contributions to third-party groups that don't have to disclose their donors.

He added that he hopes the "Supreme Court will reverse that stupid ruling," referring to the case known as Citizens United.

Carter praised Mexico and several countries where staff at his centre have monitored publicly financed elections, and he said the United States should return to publicly financed elections for president. The system technically is still in place, but it is voluntary and both President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney have chosen to bypass the taxpayer money because they can amass far more on their own.

"You know how much I raised to run against Gerald Ford? Zero," Carter said, referring to his 1976 general election opponent. "You know how much I raised to run against Ronald Reagan? Zero. You know how much will be raised this year by all presidential, Senate and House campaigns? $6 billion. That's 6,000 millions."