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Democracy Died First in Wisconsin -- Long Live the Oligarchs

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The Wisconsin recall election was the first major test of the new era in American politics. That new era began in January of 2010 when the US Supreme Court ruled in "Citizens United v. FEC" that the political voice of We The People was no longer as important as the voices of billionaires and transnational corporations.

Now we know the result, and it bodes ill for both 2012 and for the tattered future of small-d democracy in our republic. A few of America's most notorious oligarchs -- including the Koch and the DeVos (Amway fortune) billionaires -- as well as untraceable millions from donors who could as easily be Chinese government-run corporations as giant "American" companies who do most of their business and keep most of their profits outside the US -- apparently played big in this election. I say "apparently" because the Supreme Court has ruled that we no longer have the right to know who is really funding our election commercials, or even our candidates themselves.

Thanks to an irrational and likely illegal Supreme Court ruling, we have moved into an era of oligarch-run politics.    As much as $40 million of our oligarch's money was spent in Wisconsin in a handful of local races -- a testing laboratory for strategies that will now be used against Democrats nationwide in 2012.  

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And so now we enter the battle of the oligarchs over the next fifteen or so months. As the old saying goes, when the elephants fight, the mice get trampled.    In this case, the mice aren't just the voters.    It's democracy itself. America is now -- demonstrably, as proven by Wisconsin -- just a few years away from the possibility of a totally corrupted, totally billionaire- and corporate-controlled political system.    Political scientists call it oligarchy.

The Citizens United election experiment is over, and the oligarchs won.    Long live the oligarchy.
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http://www.thomhartmann.com

Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. www.thomhartmann.com His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War (more...)
 

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And so it went - remember this battle... by H. Gruber on Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 at 10:19:42 AM
They won't even have to beat us into submission or... by Marika on Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 at 11:30:15 AM
No pressure intended sir, but I'm somewhat accusto... by Robin Ryan on Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 at 11:33:50 AM
Tom writes, " America is now -- demonstrably, as p... by Janet Loughrey on Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 at 12:19:38 PM
Why is it that elections, in which there is little... by Jill Herendeen on Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 at 1:03:40 PM
...being "re-counted." It's just not set up that ... by Jill Herendeen on Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 at 1:24:09 PM
Without it the political playing field at the fede... by Laura Stein on Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 at 1:38:03 PM
Please stop the doom and gloom.  Yes, the Sup... by Amanda Lang on Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 at 12:31:26 PM
I'm disappointed to see the doom and gloom here as... by Eckfan on Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 at 1:05:01 PM
When there is so much outrage that the public occu... by Guitar Chris on Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 at 3:01:06 PM
At least we got the liberal/progressives to do som... by Timothy Gatto on Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 at 5:02:09 PM
The Kochs' corporate shills will cause a lot more ... by Robert James on Thursday, Aug 11, 2011 at 10:46:23 AM
I appreciate the chin-up talk, but I think Hartman... by Gustav Wynn on Sunday, Aug 14, 2011 at 3:36:55 AM
As a person living the dream of capitalism then wo... by Robert Stein on Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 at 12:59:02 PM
Everything Thom wrote is, unfortunately, true. I w... by Jonathan Simon on Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 at 1:17:01 PM
And, click here... by Jill Herendeen on Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 at 1:27:07 PM
See above...... by Guitar Chris on Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 at 3:12:13 PM
wringing their hands trying to compromise or be po... by Odyseus_97 on Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 at 1:26:16 PM
JFK, Wellstone, Busanski, the guy who was going to... by Guitar Chris on Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 at 3:18:42 PM
Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesman Graeme Zie... by Robert Wolfe on Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 at 1:36:53 PM
Particularly Bev Harris' comment: 'One of the r... by Jill Herendeen on Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 at 1:57:31 PM
(try that, please)... by Jill Herendeen on Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 at 8:10:11 PM
The you tube link misses the video...... by Guitar Chris on Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 at 3:14:00 PM
It is my understanding that the accusations of tam... by Robert Wolfe on Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 at 9:11:08 PM
The Liberal agenda is a good one. It is about time... by Thomas Brown on Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 at 1:49:25 PM
A few years away?  Wisconsin has had a total... by Sheila Berry on Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 at 2:32:16 PM
1. Thom, the African proverb re: elephants fightin... by John Cooper on Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 at 2:32:58 PM
Yet another set of stolen elections!  Imagine... by Guitar Chris on Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 at 2:45:01 PM
I wrote a comment to Mr. Hartman's great explanati... by Thomas Brown on Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 at 2:47:33 PM
To get an idea of the right wing vote counting she... by Guitar Chris on Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 at 2:48:40 PM
but I believe that wilfully ignorant voters get th... by Archie on Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 at 3:47:13 PM
which is why we must resolve to make more voters l... by Randy Moor on Thursday, Aug 11, 2011 at 9:05:21 AM
The late Wobblie Union organizer, Joe Hill, who wa... by Paul Roden on Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 at 7:33:14 PM
I know I 'm supposed to take it for granted that T... by Jerry Kann on Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 at 10:17:02 PM
"I see in the future a crisis approaching th... by Robert James on Thursday, Aug 11, 2011 at 10:34:18 AM
Two Senators were recalled in districts that were ... by Eri Fox on Thursday, Aug 11, 2011 at 4:05:43 PM
the Supreme Court NEVER ruled that laws couldn't b... by Laura Stein on Sunday, Aug 14, 2011 at 1:33:40 PM