American democracy - for sale to the highest anonymous bidder

Transparency!? We don’t need no stinkin’ transparency! On Monday, Republicans in the Senate joined together to filibuster and kill the latest attempt by Democrats to inject transparency in our elections. Despite receiving a majority of votes in the Senate, the DISCLOSE Act, which would have forced any political organization spending more than $10,000 in our election to disclose their donors, didn’t get the 60 votes needed to break a Republican filibuster.

Just like in 2010, corporate organizations like the Chamber of Commerce and the NRA were able to either intimidate or bribe enough Senators to vote “no” and preserve their ability to raise and spend unlimited funds from who or whatever they’d like – including Saudi princes, Chinese business tycoons, and, heck, even dictators like Mahmoud Ahmedenijad. Even previously staunch supporters of campaign finance reform like Republican Senators John McCain, Olympia Snowe, and Scott Brown voted against the DISCLOSE Act, now that they realize all the outside secret cash is benefiting many more Republicans than Democrats this election cycle.

We already know shady, foreign money is being funneled into this election. According to an investigation by the PBS and ProPublica, Mitt Romney’s biggest donor Sheldon Adelson, who made his fortune running casinos in Chinese Macau and did business with known Chinese gang members, yet Mitt Romney is gladly accepting Adelson’s help to defeat President Obama. Meanwhile, two of Paul Ryan's biggest donors are Swiss Banks! Welcome to American democracy in the 21st century – up for sale to the highest anonymous bidder.


tim4change's picture
tim4change 10 years 36 weeks ago

Not able to drop this into a chat room - but what Romney is hiding will destroy his candidacy. He knows this, and he has been told by those whose money dwarfs his (can you say Adelson or Koch) that he is to hold tight until he makes Christie or Ryan his VP pick. When Romney drops out because of a strategic leak, one of these unvetted and even more dangerous men will replace him at the top of the ticket.

Global's picture
Global 10 years 36 weeks ago

I think what the republicans have seen is the liberals and their attacks on private citizens who donate to causes (free speech) that are counter to the liberal mind set is not right. The liberals have shown their capacity to intimidate and harrass their enemies. They just want the names of the donators so they can expose them on a list of people to hate.

PhilipHenderson's picture
PhilipHenderson 10 years 36 weeks ago

This will soon end one way or another. If democracy and fair play prevails these Republicans will lose their elections because the American people will see through their shady politics. I presume that the money will be used for negative advertising. I expect they will over produce and get a back lash from the electorate. The electorate will see all the negative ads and vote for the Democrats who would be the underdogs. If the electorate fails to grasp the meaning of the negative advertising and votes for these clowns, then democracy and fair play will be dead in America. I expect democracy to win this time around! I am an optimist.

TimFromLA 10 years 36 weeks ago

Hey All, I have buddies who are lefty out of New York. They're gonna be on UStream. For more information go to: Here is the direct Stream: The show is with my buddies Tony and Doreen: The Progressive Union

ken ware's picture
ken ware 10 years 36 weeks ago

Do you really think the people who are donating the hundreds of thousands (Millions in some cases) of dollars are really afraid of intimidation from the Democrats? I really think the Kochk brothers and the big pacs that are donating big money, and that goes for the big donors on the left as well, realize the American voter would be pissed if they knew exactly who was donating and how much was being donated this election year. Obama is getting big bucks from Wall St. as well as Romney in this election. But it is evident that Romney and the right are afraid to release any extensive information about donors or tax returns. I am just glad I am for one not voting for either of these candidates. I will vote this year, just not for either the Dem. or Repub. party. It is time more of us thought about seriously supporting and voting for a third party or fourth! We just keep recycling the same old carbage year after year and think we really voted for a change......delusional at best. As far as the Republican Senate goes, we all knew they have toooooo much to hide to let the Dem.s pass a bill that would make it mandatory for any donations over $10,000 to be reported. As far as foreign money corrupting our elections, too late....Multi-national corporations run our elections with their big money, and in my opinion if they have Multi- before their names, they are as good as foreign in my humble opinion.........

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 10 years 36 weeks ago

Once again Turtleman and his Senate Minority have displayed their hatred of, and disrespect for Democracy in regard to the, "WILL OF THE PEOPLE." Why in hell would any average sound-minded citizen or Senator be against an attempt to inject transparency into elections?

I'm quite sure, seeing how it's their job, national headline news will well inform the electorate about how the Democratic Senate Majority was blocked by the Republican Minority in their attempt to counter Citizens United with a little transparency regarding the sell-off of's always good to know who the oligarchical freaks responsible for the death of the middle class are.

In my opinion, Romney doesn't want his tax returns indirectly proving the degree to which he killed and outsourced American jobs all for redundant and meaningless self enrichment! He simply and coldly destroyed many lives do to his lack of self control.

dspearsjohnson's picture
dspearsjohnson 10 years 36 weeks ago


klentz's picture
klentz 10 years 36 weeks ago

Here are three stategies a Democratic party with balls could use to fix this problem:

1. Start a rumor amongst the right wing fanatics (use the same email list that they use to circulate racist caricatures) that China has funded xyz PAC with $50M, Saudi Arabia $40M, Russia $10M, Cuba $5M; etc.

2. Use the same mailing list to inform the Neanderthal fanatics that the Teamsters have contributed $10B to a left wing, liberal PAC without any requirement to disclose the source of the $$.

3. Actually start a PAC and actively solicit anonomous contributions from foreign governments (Iran, Saudi, Russia, China, France, etc.) to influence US politics in any way the contributors specify. Make sure the public, and especially Fox News knows about the solicitation.

Then see how fast conservatives demand transparency.

Just as an aside, the $10K limit would not work in the real world. Brothers Koch would have no problem assigning an accounting flunkie to write a check for $9,999 every day and send it off to Karl (Turd Blossom) Rove. As much as we hate it, Money talks, Rhetoric walks.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 36 weeks ago

Reply to #2..I suspect you may be right...they might try to pull a fast one. As most people will have had enough of both Romney and Obama...especially Romney...and while many people will decline to vote for Obama...or even not at all...the Republicans could spring an (October) surprise on us and win this thing. FSM, I hope not! I hope Jill Stein wins it...or even Roseanne Bar. That would really shock the entrenched good-ole-boy network of corruption.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 36 weeks ago

"Turd Blossom" was the smartest thing Bush ever said.

lorne's picture
lorne 10 years 36 weeks ago

One can only imagine how much bidding and counter bidding goes on in the purchase of our country. How many owners of the USA do you think exist? Will the owners fight over us or do they have a hierarchy or code to avoid turf wars? What might turf wars look like and what are the potential effects of them?

leighmf's picture
leighmf 10 years 36 weeks ago

There are not that many owners of the USA. We are owned by Jardines Fleming and an old Italo-Germano-Viennese banking coven. China is owned by them too, and has been since the British forced their opium trade through Hong Kong.

Switzerland calls itself a "neutral" company, charming as it is. Neutral means they will hold funds outside the reach of United States jurisdiction. Concealed money has been piling up for more than 100 years in Suisse, and pooled with the assets of the 700 Princes of Liechtenstein and the Queen, is enough to bring us to our knees, along with the rest of Europe.

Back to Colonial Days. Kochs are just local yokels compared to the arms manufacturers of Germany and England.

buffey's picture
buffey 10 years 36 weeks ago

I would like to suggest that with all this money coming from who knows where, we have an example of the Manchurian Candidate! What do you think?

I also want to say that I enjoy your show but I haven't yet called in. Keep it up.

podcasts 10 years 36 weeks ago

Come on, Thom. You're smarter than this. There was no filibuster. There was the threat of a filibuster. And the Democraps folded like the card table they always are. Remember what happened when the situation was reversed, and the Democraps were in the minority, when they threatened to filibuster? The Cons simply threatened to take the filibuster away and the Democraps folded like the card table they always are. This is a rigged game that the Cons always win and the Craps always lose, and that's exactly the way both parties want it. It's no different than the Harlem Globetrotters vs. the Washington Generals, and let's not pretend it's anything other than that.

fatfax's picture
fatfax 10 years 36 weeks ago

No more private money, change campaign financing structure to set levels per candidate.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 35 weeks ago

Early 2000..Naval War College in Newport, Road Island and the Wall Street bond firm Cantor Fitzgerald partner a new venture called New Rule Sets Project..directed by Thomas Barnett..senior strategic researcher at the Naval War College. It explores how globalization is altering America's definition of national security. They held a three day long workshop, in the World Restaurant on the 10th floor of the north WTC tower, where Cantor Fitzgerald has offices. Attending were Wall Street heavyweights, senior national security officials, and leading experts from academia and think tanks. They discussed globalization's future and what threats could derail it. They explored scenarios such as a terrorist strike on Wall Street, war in the Persian Gulf, and a financial crisis in Asia. The second workshop was attended by 3 mysterious people. The Pentagon and the intelligence community had developed a laser-like focus on China as the rising near-peer competitor.

Barnett visited the WTC 2 or 3 dozen times between 1998 and 2001...the last visit just 4 days before 9/11. He also visits the Pentagon regularly. Barnett's two mentors at the firm of Cantor Fitzgerald, Bud Flanagan and Philip Ginsburg, were "conveniently" not at the WTC offices that day. Withing weeks of 9/11, Barnett was made an assistant for Rumsfeld's newly created Office of Force Transformation.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 35 weeks ago

"At least seven of the top Cantor-Fitzgerald executives were absent from the office at the time of the attack. The President of Cantor-Fitzgerald was taking his child to a first day of kindergarten, and six more executives were scheduled for a fishing trip that day. The trip was reportedly cancelled due to inclement weather at 8:00 am..."

"What then seems so out-of-place about seven executives being absent from work during peak trading hours? Three of these executives had been key participants in a US Navy/Cantor-Fitzgerald sponsored, war game simulation of an attack on US securities just a year earlier...

A year earlier, a group of Cantor-Fitzgerald traders and executives participated in providing analysis to the Office of Naval Intelligence and the Council on Foreign Relations on the impact of a financial attack on the US. To do such, they would have needed to create a massive computer-simulation of trades, the programs for which could easily be used to pump volumes of actual illegal trades into the real-life system.

These programs should have been operational on September 11th as part of a broader synchronization of Department of Defense war games. The "war games" connection is important and disturbing. As documented later in this report...At least six major U.S. war games were under way on September 11, having been "rescheduled" from their original date in October.

Found in the observation of the Director of Convar, a German company responsible for recovering data from computer hard drives recovered from the WTC: Convar found that there was a deluge of electronic trading just minutes before the first plane struck. Quoting a December 16 report from Reuters, writer Kyle Henry found a compelling quotation from one of Convars directors: Peter Henschel, director of Convar, said, "not only the volume, but the size of the transactions was far higher than usual for a day like that..."

The Reuters story was partially confirmed by a Deutsche Bank employee who had survived the attacks by fleeing the WTC after the first plane hit. According to the employee, about five minutes before the attack the entire Deutsche Bank computer system had been taken over by something external that no one in the office recognized and 'every file was downloaded at lightening speed to an unknown location.'

Co-incidentally, in August of 2001, the Deutschebank - the bank of origin for numerous illegal stock trades or 'put option' made in the days preceding the attack - had just signed an agreement with Cantor-Fitzgerald to install Cantor-Fitzgerald's eSpeed(TM) trading system.

'..the eSpeed New Jersey office provided electronic trading services in derivatives and commodities using a software package called TreasuryConnect, which had been bought from an Enron subsidiary and licensed on August 1, 2001.'

Richard Wagner, a data retrieval expert, estimated that more than $100 million in illegal transactions appeared to have rushed through the WTC computers before and during the disaster.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 35 weeks ago

Information on these reported illegal trades was recovered by Convar and given to the FBI, and subsequently 'buried' by the FBI and the 9/11 Commission.

Without the actual trade data (which the FBI has, according to Convar) it stands to reason that most, if not all, of these illegal trades on September 11 were being pumped through Cantor Fitzgerald - the largest of the US bond traders, the only company which had no on-site surviors that day, and the company that had just set up computerized trading with the source bank of the illegal stock trades.

Both Cantor-Fitzgerald (North Tower) and the Office of Naval Intelligence (Pentagon) seem to have been targeted for assured destruction by near-direct hits from hijacked airliners.

Cantor-Fitzgerald has been reported as the 'holder' of $240 billion of ten year old Durham/Brady Bonds that were due on or around September 11th. These bonds were reported t have been put into the market by Alan Greenspan, Oliver North, and George Bush Sr. in 1991, backed by gold securities and Swiss gold bullion, backed (in full or part) by the 'Durham Trust.'

The interesting aspect of these accusations is that the Chairman of the Federal Reserve - a privately held, commercial group of banks - and the President of the United States are reported to have illegally created these securities, and the Office of Naval Intelligence - destroyed in the attack on the Pentagon - was hot on the tail of these securities.

The attack of Flight 77 took out not only the Navy Command Center, but a small Navy intelligence group as well. 39 of the 40 Office of Naval Intelligence investigators were killed and their collected evidence destroyed.

If the Navy had this relationship with Cantor-Fitzgerald, and had made economic attacks a part of their war gaming drills during two prior occasions, it seems appropriate to assume that on September 11, and employee(s) of Cantor-Fitzgerald might have been tasked with running computer simulations of an economic attack on the US securities market, not knowing a real attack was underway.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 35 weeks ago

In the simulation, one would have a computer program that simulates an 'attacking' server and a 'response' server. One server simulates buys, and the other simulates sells. It does not take a lot of effort to switch simulation from targeting test database servers to real-life production database servers. However, if the war game servers are simulating banks, none of the originating bank trade data ever gets copied to a disaster recovery server (test servers are not copied to disaster recovery sites), nor does it get found on an originating bank server.

Hence, under a scenario like this, one half of the clearing and settlement data would be missing - which is exactly what caused and led to the US securities settlement problems in the weeks that followed the attack. At least two of the traders who knew how to run those programs were present and died in the attack.

Note that the Cantor-Fitgerald executives involved in the games survived, and the Cantor-Fitzgerald traders were victims on 911.

It is of notable coincidence that the few published notes on the games indicated the primary trades analyzed during the games were trades in government securities, oil and gold. The coincidence is rooted in the observation that it is these three types of assets that have become the focal point of nearly any and all contrarian theories explaining the events of 9/11.

In conclusion: in addition to the worst act of terrorism to ever occur o American soil, the largest ever theft in America occurred, displacing at least $230 billion in assets in the period of a few hours, coincidentally occurring just shortly before, and during the terrorist attacks of that day.

Are we supposed to believe, in addition to the other incredible feats accomplished by the "terrorists" that day: that they also managed to covertly extract billions in US assets during the attack?
These quotes were from the you-tube video posted below but it also states that they got most all of this information from a two books: "Murdering Liberty, Killing Hope" and "Nine Eleven Gold" both written and researched by Jeff Prager.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 35 weeks ago

And having worked at the Pentagon, myself, for a number of years...I knew that there were anti-aircraft weapons mounted on top of the Pentagon to protect the Pentagon from an air attack. Funny that it wasn't "protected" that day.

Funny, also, that the fighter jets that are normally scrambled, if something fishy is going on in our skies...let alone 4 "hijacked" airliners, weren't even scrambled until much later..heading the wrong way...out over the ocean.

How very!!

MoJoWorkin's picture
MoJoWorkin 10 years 35 weeks ago

This might be the wrong place to post this -- I was looking for something about John Nichols appearance on the show (?) -- but here goes anyway, commenting on "elections for sale."

In Wisconsin, there's been an effort to verify the recent gubernatorial recall election with a hand-counted audit of ballots:

But it looks as if the Government Accountability Board is putting a halt to it.

Cutting and pasting from a post at DU, just now:

".......This page is still up at the GAB's (Government Accountability Board) website:

It shows the process that was used to perform a "r a n d o m" control of vote-tabulating machine accuracy, for an election that was held in 2010.

I had made the assumption that something similar would need to be done this year for the gubernatorial recall election.

But clicking the link for GAB > Clerks > Guidance on Election Processes

...instead brings up this link, issued TODAY:

It's a PDF that shows when destruction of paper ballots can start to take place -- this coming Monday, the 23rd of July.

It looks like the Government Accountability Board is going straight from the Certification of the Election (already completed) to the last step in the voting process....


Without any sort of verification of the "Voting System Process," as had been performed in 2010. (As flawed as the system for identifying the voting districts to be audited had seemed to be, in 2010.) ..."

jim mcdonagh's picture
jim mcdonagh 10 years 35 weeks ago

Good post ,I like your analogy.

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