“No!” to Corrupt Voting System, “Yes!”to Taking It to The Streets

The official stance of Sparking The Left is that voting in so-called democratic elections is useless. It is taking part in a corrupt system.

This opinion is based upon the fact that I would never waste my vote for either of the two dominating political parties out of respect for my own personal dignity.

You probably miss it in the media because it is so common that the media does not report it: Candidates host fundraisers at places like Goldman Sachs and/or JP Morgan Chase all of the time for campaign contributions. They also raise money from special lobbying groups, too, like the pharmaceutical industry and automaker groups. This is every presidential candidate, every leader in Congress, and both the Democratic and Republican party in whole. It’s just the nature of the corrupt beast. They get ridiculous amounts of cash from Wall St so they remain too big to fail. Pharmaceutical prices remain sky high. The auto industry makes cars in the cheapest way by doing the bare minimum to keep cars safe and reduce the amount of pollution they omit. And deregulation is at the center of it all.

Wall St. and special interest groups are not concerned with the well-being of the country. Don’t get that wrong. They are capitalists. They are insuring their financial and/or cultural interests. This is a way of keeping the working class under control. You may think that you are first in the minds of our leaders, but you’re not. This system puts in politicians who are funded and lobbied by individuals and business groups so as to keep their interests first and foremost.

And remember this: One party doesn’t care about the poor; the other party pretends to care about the poor. Don’t think candidates of either party has not sold their soul to Wall St. They hold huge debts to big business and use it as a trade-off: they rule in the interest of those donating large campaign fund amounts.

Therefore, the official stance of STL is to abstain from voting.

If you consider voting a good vehicle for change, go ahead. I’m not here to force my opinion on you. But STL believes in protests, occupations, direct action, mass actions, strikes, and general strikes. The effectiveness of street politics through solidarity is more powerful than participating in our voting system when such a radical change is needed. Voting is just crumbs thrown to us by the rich and powerful to keep us calm and obedient so we don’t threaten the real decision holders: the elite rich.

In election, ‘a seat at the table’ costs $5,000 – CNN.com

In election, ‘a seat at the table’ costs $5,000 – CNN.com.

Definitely one of the better commentaries on money and campaigns that sums up a lot.  Excellent read that rightfully attacks both sides of the American political spectrum.

Rupert Murdoch is Ideological. His Money is Bipartisan.

ABC News reported some of the political donations of Rupert Murdoch and his media organizations and the recipients of those donations included some names that may surprise some.  Names like Pelosi, Schumer, and even Obama.  Names that have the (D) by them when they run for office.  Names that also regularly get attacked by the Murdoch-owned pundits at Fox News.

This should really surprise no one paying attention to the media scandal in Britain.  Murdoch has been shown to wine-and-dine prime ministers of different ideological schools of thought on his private yachts so the reality that he donates to both parties in the U.S. is logical and should be expected.  Murdoch is simply an opportunist.  Tighter campaign laws in the UK force him to use one type of tactic to buy influence there.  Loose campaign finance laws allow him to more openly buy his influence here.  He uses the tools (money) at his disposal to get his way.

Remember that these methods of gaining influence are not the illegal actions Murdoch’s organizations are under scrutiny for using.  That he gives money to different political parties is no surprise as many corporations and wealthy donors do the same in the U.S.  The fact that these donations are not illegal is what should concern people.

It is amazing we do not legislate campaign donations in a much tougher way in the United States.  Let’s face it.  When someone donates a large amount of money to many different people on separate sides of the ideological spectrum, it is not a donation because those recipients reflect the ideological philosophy of the donor.  It is a donation to make sure legislation tilts in the interest of the donor.  We have a word for that.  It’s called a bribe.

Any rational and truly democratic society would call it what it is and make sure the laws would not allow this buying of influence to occur.  The likelihood of corruption is obvious and the fact it has happened many times in the U.S. is no secret.  In a democracy with an objective media, there would be an uproar calling for change.  In a democracy where the biased-media is the one performing the corruption, the silence is deafening.

The Delusion that Money Equals Speech

House Members Give Their Families Millions in Campaign Cash – ABC News.

Politicians take care of their families.  Most people do the same.  This should surprise no one and really nothing in this article should be overly shocking to read.  But the implications of what this means about campaign donations should at least get your attention.

The fact that campaign laws are not stringent on where the money flows and sometimes this money can make its way into the pockets of politicians and their family members is logical.  (Keep in mind this article only mentions family and doesn’t say anything about money going to friends, business partners, etc.)  Politicians make these laws therefore it is in their interest for those laws to be lax so they can manage that money as they please.

What about the old adage that “money equals speech”?  This idea says a person calling their elected representative and voicing their concerns over a piece of legislation is the same as another person (or corporation, since they are people too according to the Supreme Court) donating a large amount of money to that representative and, likely in many cases, not speaking a word about policy with this official.  Let’s put this idea to the test with a couple of thought experiments.

First, let’s take money out of the equation and look at speech in a democracy and how it would work.  A candidate for office walks into a room with one hundred people.  Each person takes turns voicing their opinion.  The candidate takes these opinions under consideration and then models his views around the most popular (potentially not the best) ideas among the people in the room.  There we have most people’s idea of democracy where each speech and person has the same value.

Now let’s factor in money and the reality politicians can filter that money to their friends and family.  Same one hundred people in the room except this time ninety-nine speak and one sits silent.  That one, we’ll call him Enron Halliburton of the famed WorldCom clan, hands the politician (or their Super PAC) a check that has a crooked number and a whole bunch of zeros behind it.  In the interest of putting caviar on the table and staying at five-star hotels while campaigning in the future, who is the politician likely to keep in mind when voting on legislation?  Some may say his loyalty still bends toward the ninety-nine in the interest of winning the most votes.  But if that candidate is in a district that has been gerrymandered so his party wins easily, then what?

Let’s try it another way knowing politicians stand to profit from this donated money.  Say you are a business just starting out and you are the only game in town offering a certain service.  One of the factors playing a big role in your decisions will be the location where you spend your time and set up shop.  You’ve done your homework on two options and noticed the following differences.  One location has only a few very wealthy people but you can adjust the price of your service where your profit is six figures.  The other location has a larger population but most are in poverty and your profit is only half of the first location.  Which are you likely to spend more time and give your attention in the interest of making money?

Now read it again and exchange the word politician for business knowing the politician is in a non-competitive district.

The idea that money is speech in a democracy has been and always will be one of the most ludicrous assertions ever made.  If this needed any further proof, consider one last point.  Typically in close elections large corporate donors do not donate money to one candidate.  Why?  Because they donate similar amounts to both candidates of each political party (have fun poking around the FEC’s website finding out how true that is).  Are they donating for ideological reasons?  Obviously not and any argument suggesting that would be downright absurd.  They are simply buying influence with their money.

Oops.  My apologies for the typo.  They are simply buying influence with their $peech.