Thursday, May 24, 2012

The war for hearts and minds: America edition

There are 165 days until the election. If that thought doesn't fill you with fear and dread, you must be in the business of selling TV advertising. Because trust me, the folks down at your local TV station are dancing the happy dance right now because they know this election season will be like none other.

Karl Rove's SuperPAC alone has more than $250 million to spend supporting Mitt Romney attacking the President and other Democrats. So get ready for the airwaves to be almost completely dominated  by political ads starting this Summer. Karl recently spend more than $10 million on a nationwide ad buy that has so far generated 3,641 followers for the website the TV ads promote. There is one piece of good news associated with the nausea inducing frequency of political ads that we can expect in the wake of the Citizens United decision. The fact that TV stations will actually have to publish the names of the organizations buying those ads and how much they cost, is probably bad news for Rob McKenna. Rob might stand to benefit if the rumors are true that some SuperPACs will be writing off the presidential election and focusing on governors and Senate races taking place across the country.

But the campaign to win the hearts and minds of Americans doesn't end with SuperPACs. It extends much further and has much loftier goals. Take this story for example. Apparently there are companies who are withholding taxes from their employees paychecks and then just pocketing the money.

As Mussolini once said "Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power" If there is a more clear example of the abuses of a system that is more and more sliding into "corporatist" territory I haven't seen it. And now the big banks are going into overdrive to convince Americans that some of the greatest achievements of our government were actually the work of banks. This ad for CitiBank plays during the PBS Newshour and it aggravates me to no end each time I see it.


Really CitiBank? Taking credit for the Panama Canal and the Space Shuttle? Not only do you undermine the public interest at almost every turn, but now you have the audacity to take credit for the things that government actually has accomplished? The hysteria that was generated by what should have been a sad chapter in American history is proof that Americans really do share pride in the things our government has been able to accomplish. Washington D.C. and New York City both went crazy when the shuttle did its last flyby.

But very few Americans (and even fewer conservatives) stopped to ask themselves why this program was ending or if their position on the federal budget would have even allowed for the creation of such an amazing project in the first place. The banks and their conservative allies will stop at nothing until they re-define the history and the purpose of government to be helping corporations make more money.

Don't believe me? Good thing they wrote it up in a memo to investors so you can see for yourself. (Their lawyers have scrubbed this memo from the internet since the last time I read it)

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