Rich rats hijacked our democracy

Rich brat billionaires and giant transnational corporations have hijacked our political system. CNN is reporting that Shelly Adelson, the same man who dropped a cool $150 million during the 2012 election cycle to defeat President Obama, is now talking about spending tens of millions more in the 2014 midterm elections. According to CNN, sources inside the Republican Party have said that Adelson is prepared to make as much as a $100 million “investment” in the 2014 midterms, trying to help Republicans win back control of the Senate.

And make no mistake about it; when rich people or corporations put money into politics or politicians, it's an investment, and they're expecting a financial return, whether it be in lower taxes or fewer regulations. Adelson's modern-day investment binge followed the 2010 Citizens United ruling that legalized it, so that back in 2012, Adelson planned to spend $100 million and ended up spending at least $150 million.

Meanwhile, as Shelly Adelson is corrupting our democracy with tens of millions of dollars in Chinese gambling cash, Wall Street bigwigs are doing the same thing. The Financial Times reports that Wall Street executives, like Ken Griffin, founder and CEO of the hedge fund Citadel, are throwing hundreds of thousands of dollars at the 2014 midterms too.

According to Federal Election Commission records, Griffin alone has given big bucks to 5 different Republicans in Senate battleground states, and has given at least $800,000 to various Republican groups. Oddly enough, it’s Griffin and his buddies in the finance industry who helped propel President Obama into office in 2008.

Wall Street overwhelmingly supported the Obama campaign in 2008, an investment that has apparently paid off well, as not a single bankster has gone to jail on Obama's watch. But they wanted more than that, so because of the Obama administration’s relatively small efforts to reel in the finance industry, Wall Street has decided to put its money in the hands of Republicans.

Shelley Adelson dumping $100 million into our democracy and Wall Street executives having a change of heart and trying to buy up seats in the Senate are just two examples of the rampant bribery that’s taken over American politics, which is considered both immoral and illegal in virtually every other developed country in the world.

Thanks to the Supreme Court, and its decisions in Citizen’s United, Buckley v. Valeo, and arguably starting with the infamous Powell memo, the wealthy elite and corporations have slowly but surely been able to gain near total control over our democracy and political system. And as the wealthy elite and corporations are profiting off of their investments in Washington, the rest of us are living in a very different America than we had just a generation ago. It's now an America that, despite its great wealth, looks more and more like a third-world country each day.

Our entire infrastructure, from our roads and bridges, to our electric grids and transportation systems, is stuck in the 19th century. Our intellectual infrastructure - our students - are failing and a trillion dollars in debt. Our once strong and flourishing middle-class seems like a distant memory, as wages are at record lows, and median household income has fallen by 7.8% since 2000 alone. And let's not forget our healthcare system, which still doesn’t work for all Americans.

The rapid rise in power of the wealthy elite and corporations, and the rapid fall of the American middle-class are the very predictable outcomes of the decisions made by the Reagan Administration in the 80’s to turn America into a country that worked very well for the wealthy elite and big business, but poorly for everyone else. And the Supreme Court has significantly helped speed up that process.

We need to start restoring some sanity to our society and political system, and that starts by bringing an end to the legalized bribery that has allowed billionaires like Shelly Adelson and Wall Street executives like Ken Griffin to buy and sell politicians. It’s time to reel in the rich brats and corral the giant transnational corporations that are destroying all that America once stood for.


DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 44 weeks ago

I was just wondering if the rich "rats" in the title was a typo for "brats" or if it was meant that way as a double insult. Personally, I'm leaning toward the double insult. Bravo, Thom!

Akovia's picture
Akovia 8 years 44 weeks ago

Isn't it Sheldon Adelson, the gambling magnate?

Vegasman56 8 years 44 weeks ago

For all of us who loves America, who believes that the middle class is the backbone of this country. Thom Hartmann’s blog on how the “Rich rats hijacked our democracy” is a must read for all Americans who works for a living. To survive we must regain control of our country from the Americans who are buying our Congress, and put it back into the hands of the majority, the working Americans.

Vegasman56 8 years 44 weeks ago

Thom meant it as a double insult,and i agree with Thom

Willie W's picture
Willie W 8 years 44 weeks ago

Not much left to say on this subject that's new. Even to our representatives. They all know what's going on. Talk is cheap but, in great quantity it can be effective. Just listen to those conservative talk show hosts repeating the same messages over and over. Repetition is the mother of all convincing. That's their weapon. We should do the same thing. Which I guess, we are.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 44 weeks ago

Akovia -- You forgot to mention that most of his income from gambling is in China. He has bribed China officials. He is trying to avoid prosecution in the US by buying politicians.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 44 weeks ago

Isn't it amazing how this culture nurtures sleazeballs like Sheldon Adelson! A virtual hotbed of sleaze. Makes that biblical "golden calf" look downright soulful by comparison. Know what I mean? (tsk)

stevnP's picture
stevnP 8 years 43 weeks ago

And now the Obstructionists those Rat Brats have bought are voting to SUE Obama for his audacity at trying to go around them and do His Job! Wouldn't it be a KICK if enough of us got out the vote in November and actually got some of these GOP jerks defeated? (I know this is dreaming, but I'd love to watch the Fox News talking heads freak out if Democrats not only held the Senate but won a majority in the House!) ....just a thought

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 43 weeks ago

As long as you all keep falling for the political theatrics of the two party voting for either the Republicans or the Democrats...we'll never break this corrupt cycle. Don't you know by now that the Dems are not the answer. They just act like Republicans once they get into office. As long as you keep being afraid that voting for a 3rd party candidate will let the Republicans win, you will just keep voting for the party that will never act like Democrats or liberals or progressives. Although many may not realize it, the majority of Republican voters are just as deluded as the Democrat voters are. They suffer the same economy that Democrat voters do. If both Republican and Democrat voters finally decide enough is enough and vote both corrupt parties out then a very strong message will strike, like a lightning bolt, that we will no longer take their crap. That is our only hope aside from massive resistance and probably violence from the people in the streets. So, don't fall for the engineered scare stories that you must vote Democrat in order to take back the government. Even if 100% of the Congress, Senate, and the President were Democrats, we would not see the change that most of us want. It is all rigged to keep the 99% of us under the thumbs of the wealthy 1% ruling elite. The ruling elite owns both the Republicans and the Democrats!

Unless either a soft revolution happens or a violent revolution does, nothing is going to change in this country until the voters understand and realize that if they continue to play the same rigged game...nothing will get better for us. The corporations will continue to push the tax burdens off on the little people and they will continue to send our jobs overseas. And they will continue to cause military conflicts and overthrow governments all at enormous cost to the little people who are being drained dry.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 43 weeks ago

Palin, I wish with all my heart that I could disagree with you.

Unfortunately many lefties whose intelligence I highly respect are still buying into the notion that a vote for a third-party candidate helps keep Republicans in office. There even might be some truth to it, unless the number of voters who pick third-party candidates becomes so overwhelming that it actually has an impact.

As I’ve said before, I had this argument with my mother (who was also a lefty) back in 2000 when I insisted on voting for Ralph Nader instead of Al Gore. She called Nader a “spoiler”. But if we had the same line-up of candidates today, I’d do it all over again. I like Nader’s no-nonsense, aggressive fighting spirit, and he’s got this corporate fascist thing figured out. That guy personifies exactly what our country sorely needs: a warrior in the oval office who knows who the real enemy is, and is willing to fight that enemy tooth-and-nail in our behalf!

Lately I've been getting all these e-mail messages from Barack Obama, Michele Obama and Joe Biden, pleading for donations to help fight off Republican efforts to sue him, imploring us all to 'have his back". And they can all just kiss my royal ass. Whenever I find any messages from those people, or from Nancy Pelosi, they get deleted from my inbox immediately.

I have never been more disillusioned and angry at any president I voted for than I am toward Obama. His efforts to fast-track the TPP infuriate me, especially after all the lip service he’s given to “saving” the middle class. Obama doesn't have our backs, obviously! He's got one helluve nerve asking us to come running to his aid with open wallets. Fuck his ass sideways. Let him pay his own legal fees!

I am through with “lesser evil” fear votes, because that’s all it ever gets us: corporatist, centrist sell-outs who cave in to the fascists, while throwing us and our democracy under the bus! I’ve had it with that bullshit, and those people are not getting my vote anymore!! (Hear that, Nachos?) - Aliceinwonderland

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 43 weeks ago

Aliceinwonderland: Glad to hear it! It's time we bucked the system even if it means risking getting a Republican into office. Maybe that will just hasten the revolution. Getting more Dems in office just feeds us false hope. They've had their chance and they blew it! They've shown their real colors. They are just as much corporate trash as the Republicans.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 43 weeks ago

Here’s another message I just got in my e-mail box from “”: “Since Boehner’s Republicans voted to sue President Obama, we’ve been working non-stop to back up the President with an UNPRECEDENTED level of support on the biggest fundraising deadline of the year. That means we need to hit 5OO,OOO grassroots donations backing up President Obama since Boehner’s lawsuit. And we need to do it by midnight.”

Here’s my reply: Any president so determined to fast-track the TPP, after claiming allegiance to the middle class, is full of shit. If his efforts succeed, we will have lost what little remains of our middle class. Between that and murder-by-drone… not to mention arbitrary “terrorist” witch hunts, mass deportations, mafia-style hit lists and indefinite detention without charge or trial, this self-proclaimed “constitutional scholar” can KISS MY ASS.

- Aliceinwonderland

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 43 weeks ago

Whoa!!! Funny! But so true! Way to go AIW!! Like phone calls, I never open any emails that I don't know who they are from and especially don't open some that I do know who they are...especially politicians...Dems or no Dems. I just delete them. I used to label them as spam but that doesn't seem to work very well.

My number of phone calls from scammers have dwindled quite a bit but spam emails just seem to keep on coming. As long as I can click to delete...that's just fine.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 43 weeks ago

Pal, AIW -- I mostly agree with your dissing of the dems, but the solutions you provide (i.e. soft or violent revolutions, 3rd party creation) have been tried when conditions were much worse than now. They have always failed. It seems the greatest success was when an overwhelming number of dems were elected to both houses i.e. FDR.

Based on what the dems did during the 13 weeks they were in control during the last 5 years makes me think a surplus of dems in both houses would be the most likely manner in which to save the world.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 43 weeks ago

( S I G H ) This is getting too depressing. Maybe I'll indulge in something mind-altering and zone out awhile.... sorry Chuck... Beamin' up, now! Wheee! - AIW

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