Monday, October 01, 2007

Right wing advocacy group proves that Washington can be bought

If power corrupts, what does huge amounts of money do? We can see in the case of Russia what happens when individuals in power positions establish close ties with the super-rich -- some of whom are rich through ignoble deals. The "mafia" are established and operating rather freely in many parts of the old Soviet Union, beneficiaries of government attempts to sell off state assets. Most of the beneficiaries are former bosses in the Soviet system whose connections gave them special access at the critical time when properties were being sold off. Now, in Russia the new wealthy turn out to be, in many cases, the same folks people who had strategic positions in the Soviet Union.

What worries me about the way wealth is being deployed in the United States lately is that large amounts of money have been deployed to finance misrepresentations of truth: the "Swift Boat Boys" are now infamous for their unverified claims that were plausible enough to sway an election. The news (article below) that one more well-funded political "Swift Boat"-supporting organization has been founded gives reason worry.

The Pakistanis call what they are about to do a "democratic process" and we in the US call what we do a democratic process, even if in these instances it turns out that lies are being promoted in order to subvert the spirit of the democratic process. When lies are promoted to shape the course of affairs by misleading the public true democracy is compromised.

I pray that the truth will not be compromised in the forthcoming elections. The American people and the world have already been exploited and misled enough by big money interests. Could our system be as fully subverted as that in Russia? Some of us have felt helpless for years as our country has been run into cataclysm. Is that how those in Russia feel who long for a just society?

Big Coffers and a Rising Voice Lift a New Conservative Group
By Don Van Natta Jr.
The New York Times

"Freedom’s Watch, a deep-pocketed conservative group led by two former senior White House officials, made an audacious debut in late August when it began a $15 million advertising campaign designed to maintain Congressional support for President Bush’s troop increase in Iraq."
"Founded this summer by a dozen wealthy conservatives, the nonprofit group is set apart from most advocacy groups by the immense wealth of its core group of benefactors, its intention to far outspend its rivals and its ambition to pursue a wide-ranging agenda. Its next target: Iran policy."
"Next month, Freedom’s Watch will sponsor a private forum of 20 experts on radical Islam that is expected to make the case that Iran poses a direct threat to the security of the United States, according to several benefactors of the group."
"One benefactor, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the group was hoping to raise as much as $200 million by November 2008. Raising big money 'will be easy,' the benefactor said, adding that several of the founders each wrote a check for $1 million."
"Mr. Blakeman and Mr. Fleischer said they intended to turn Freedom’s Watch into a permanent fixture among Washington advocacy groups, waging a 'never-ending campaign' on an array of foreign policy and domestic issues."
"Several of the group’s spots suggested that Iraq, rather than Al Qaeda, was behind the Sept. 11 attacks, even though the independent Sept. 11 commission investigation and other inquiries found no evidence of Iraq’s involvement. But in August, when the organization rolled out the advertisement with Sergeant Kriesel to two focus groups in Pennsylvania, its upbeat, patriotic message was well received, even causing a few viewers to weep, Mr. Blakeman said."
"The campaign was seen as a way to head off any momentum in Congress toward halting the financing for the Iraq war. The group’s advertisements, placed in nearly 60 Congressional districts in 23 states, targeted wavering moderate Republicans and conservative Democrats."

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