"The AARP" (American Association of Retired Persons). It is an NGO and special interest group for people aged 50 and over and one of the largest lobbying groups in Washington.
"The Pro-Israel Lobby" which is more accurately described as the Zionist Lobby. As my regular readers know, I insist that it's wrong to call this lobby pro-Israel because to do so implies that it speaks for all Israeli Jews, and it does not. Headed by AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee) which speaks for not more than about 25% of Jewish Americans, it has been called the NRA of foreign policy lobbies because of its ability to make or break politicians, including presidents.
The statement that best sums up for me the consequences of all this financial fire power on America's political system was the one made by the man I would like to see as America's next president -- Rocky Anderson. Who is he?
On Monday 19 December, at a press conference in Washington D.C., Anderson announced the creation of a new third party, the Justice Party, and his intention to run for the presidency under its banner.
Just turned 60, Rocky Anderson, a former two-term mayor of Utah's Salt Lake City, has an impressive record of service to what could be called the public good on many fronts. For reasons of space I have to ask readers who want to know more about him to take a look at his Wikipedia entry.
On 11 August last year he denounced the Democratic Party and resigned his membership of it. In his letter to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, he said: "Until the Democratic Party shows some spine and draws a line in the sand -- that an end to the tax breaks for the wealthy needs to be part of any debt/budget bill -- please take my name off your list... I'm done with the Democratic Party. As I said on Amy Goodman's show a couple years ago, I've put my proud Democrat coffee mug in storage. I think now I'll just throw it in the garbage and have done with it... The Constitution has been eviscerated while Democrats have stood by with nary a whimper. It is a gutless, unprincipled party, bought and paid for by the same interests that buy and pay for the Republican Party."
I was inspired by Amy Goodman's interview with Anderson for Open Democracy very shortly after his announcement of the formation of the Justice Party.
The great thing about television is that it gives viewers the
opportunity not only to listen to what speakers are saying but also to
study their body language as they are speaking and listening to the
questions. In other words, television gives viewers the opportunity to
ask and answer an important question -- Do I believe this guy or gal?
With Tony Blair, for example, my answer was always "No." And I regret to
say it has become "No" when I listen to President Obama and watch his
body language. Anderson's body language told me he is a man I can
believe and that makes what he had to say more than important -- even
though he has no chance of becoming president in 2013. (After that...?)
Here is what he said in answer to one of Goodman's questions...
"We launched the Justice Party because the entire system is so corrupt. It's so diseased. We know that the public interest is not being served by anyone in the system right now, particularly the two dominant parties who have sustained this corrupt system and who are sustained by it... Obama received more money from Wall Street than any presidential candidate ever. And they got a great return on their investment... We need people in public office who are pledged not to just represent the people's interest in the same system, but to change the system and get the corrupting influence of corporate and other concentrated wealth out of our electoral system and out of our system of governance."
Common sense says that the only way to end the financial corruption of American politics is by the people, the voters, demanding that it be ended.
A real clean-up would require legislation giving effect to the proposition that all elections will be funded by only one source -- public money raised from taxation, with the revenue ring-fenced so that it could only be used for elections. There are about 100 million voters in America and ten dollars added each year to their tax bill would provide enough money for all election funding. Ten dollars a year is surely a very small price for each voter to pay for something approaching real democracy.
Given that Congress's approval rating is closer to 10 percent than 20 percent according to the latest polls, organizing a rolling and rising tide of people power to demand the necessary constitutional amendment or amendments to get the corrupting influence of lobby funding out of the electoral system ought not to be a mission impossible.
In other words, if enough American voters were aware of how corrupt their political system actually is, and if then they cared enough, they could cause the corruption to be terminated. What a demonstration of real democracy in action that would be!
In an opinion piece for The Electronic Intifada on 27 December, Ilan Pappe wrote the following...
"If we had a wish list for 2012 as Palestinians and friends of Palestine, one of the top items ought to be our hope that we can translate the dramatic shift in recent years in world public opinion into political action against Israeli policies on the ground... We know why this has not yet materialized: the political, intellectual and cultural elites of the West cower (crouch or cringe in fear) whenever they even contemplate acting according to their own consciences as well as the wishes of their societies. This last year was particularly illuminating for me in that respect. I encountered that timidity at every station in the many trips I took for the cause I believe in. And these personal experiences were accentuated by the more general examples of how governments and institutions caved in under intimidation from Israel and pro-Zionist Jewish organizations."
In America Zionist intimidation which causes the "caving in" manifests itself in two ways.
One is funding for election campaigns and the threat, actually the promise, not only to deny funding to candidates who won't commit to toeing Zionism's line but to fund their opponents.
The other is delivery of Zionist lobby organized Jewish votes in close election races. (In a few states that are home to large Jewish populations -- New York, California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Florida -- the Jewish vote can be decisive).