The corporate involvement in the political infrastructure of the American government has been made evident by the ruling behind Citizens United and the granted permission for special interest groups to finance politicians and thus replace the accountability they have to the American people.
The hyper-partisan nature of the political system has proliferated throughout the years, resulting in a decaying social atmosphere in which media propaganda deludes the masses into similar polarized spheres represented by the Tea Party and MoveOn.org. This alienation has allowed for the public to fall victims to complacency and subservience, allowing for corporations and special interest groups to better consolidate their hold on the political agenda and decision-making process. The political system was instituted as a source for equal representation through which the peoples’ voice would be heard and adhered to. Now, modern life is defined by the complicit public agreeing to a silent compact to keep up pretenses and allowing for the mega-donations of corporations to usurp all control. The corporate takeover is not defined by a sudden rise of donations, financing and back-room deals; rather, the presence of corporate influence has been prevalent throughout the defining history of the American nation. Nevertheless, the unbridled corporate and political greed has now been embodied by the 2010 Supreme Court decision on Citizens United which has now resulted in millions of dollars funding corrupt politicians favoring profit-seeking business interests. The 2010 decision was followed by a report from the Center of Responsive Politics which showed that unidentifiable special interest groups financed pro-business Republicans with over $117 million, whilst Democrats were working with a budget of merely $13 million. This disparity in spending overcame Democratic fundraising edge in 2010 among candidates and party committees, helping Republicans win a US House majority and increase their numbers in Senate. Campaigns are no longer waged between publicly financed candidates and their political platforms. They are no waged by shadowy attack groups posing as social welfare organizations. With corporations being able to wield unlimited power and influence on the political system, politicians are now free from public accountability. Thus, the ruling has resulted in targeted speech suppression, taking away the influence of the people and allowing politicians to have a corporate safeguard to protect them from a volatile public opinion. So saying, the definition of democracy has been sold to corporations to be redefined as they seem fit. Evidently, the Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission has now made election at every level of US government a sham proceeding.
“When there are secrets that we don’t know, then the ideal they pass as freedom in this country is fake. When we are left with no right or no voice to choose, then we’re not living in a free and democratic state.” – Anti-Flag, “What You Don’t Know”
With a 5-4 majority, the Supreme Court held that the First Amendment protects corporate and union funding of independent political broadcasts in candidate elections. The decision marks a radical chance in the electoral procedures, turning federal elections into a new form of democracy ruled by the corporate state. The working class voters are likely to find it nigh impossible to influence lawmakers in competition with mega-donations from giant groups. As the people work and struggle under receding economic conditions, the corporations have been provided with a board protection plan through which they can ensure the perpetuation of a corporate-capitalist run state and ensure the perpetuation of their profits at the expense of the people. Among the business interests whose free speech rights the Supreme Court established in the decision are CIGNA HealthCare, Massey Energy Company, Halliburton, Tokyo Electric Power Company and Saudi Aramco, among countless others. CIGNA HealthCare refused to pay for a life saving treatment for 14 year old Nataline Mary Sarkisyan who had recurrent leukemia. The survival rate for her, after a liver transplant, was 65% and yet CIGNA HealthCare stated that it did not cover services considered experimental, investigational, and/or unproven to be safe and/or effective for the patient. Their rejection cam after doctors at the UCLA medical center, including the head of its transplant unit, wrote a letter state the procedure was neither experimental nor unproven and called upon CIGNA to urgently review its decision. Sarkisyan’s family filed murder charges against its insurer but the case was thrown out by the US Supreme Court. Massey Energy Co. is another enterprise responsible for the deaths of 29 mine-workers at the Upper Big Branch Mine in southern Virginia when basic safety concerns were set aside for profits. The foreign group represented by Tokyo Power Company are those who were in charge of operating their General Electric designed nuclear reactors at Fukishima Daiichi despite warnings, according to Wikileaks, from the International Atomic Energy Commission of serious safety concerns. The last company is Saudi Aramco, a state own national oil company of Saudi Arabia which stands watch over the heart of global capitalist pursuits. Saudi Aramco was responsible for the deployment of military troops against an Arab Spring related uprising in Bahrain in an attempt to protect their privatization of the nation’s resources.
“Bred into silence by television sets, accepting lies from media so soon we will forget the lives that we spend as workers for the rich. You work so much, there’s not time left to realize that you’re in a fucking ditch.” – Anti-Flag, “The Truth”
With the elections approaching and campaigning intensifying, the masses are victim to a blitzkrieg of images and ads propagated by broadcasts and biased media to skew their opinions and berate political opponents with criticisms and falsehoods. Secret groups, labeled as social welfare organisations and unions, are given billions in mega-donations to run political attack ads to ensure the corporate-bought Washington hack is the victor. Reinforcing the ideal that the elections have become a sham-proceeding, the Supreme Court’s decision has allowed for these corporations to essentially rig elections by permitting these groups to propagate ads that need not necessarily represent the truth. The concept of biased media and proliferated lies is not uncommon, the masses are witness to lies and false-charges on every and any major news source. Nevertheless, the ability for political attack ads to broadcast locally and nationally deceitful lies is clear evidence of the failure of democracy in the American system. The purpose of information is to create an informed voting public, an educated electoral base of constituents, which is enshrined in America’s civic values and governing statues such as the Freedom of Information Act and federal and state campaign donor disclosure laws. Yet, the Supreme Court’s decision has opened a flood-gate of corporate schemes that have laid waste to these pretenses and have allowed corporations to break the peoples’ minds with false ads and manipulate their votes and opinions. Senator Mitch McConnell has led the fight for corporate funding in politics, illustrating his beliefs that informed democracy is actually anti-democratic, as disclosing these multi-million dollar mega-donations would be violating free speech rights. His support has allowed for tax exempt groups such as Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS and the Chamber of Commerce to run supposed issue based attack ads without being subjected to the donor disclosure requirement by the Federal Elections Commission. So saying, the Chamber of Commerce has become infamous with independent organizations such as PolitiFact and FactCheck.org that have investigated many of their supposed issue based attack ads, finding that a majority are ‘pants on fire’ and contain a plethora of falsehoods and inconsistencies. The most notable example is in Florida where Connie Mack has spent $13 million to secure 3 weeks of television to propagate ads from the Chamber of Commerce that suggest current Democratic Senator Bill Nelson has aided President Obama in cutting $500 million from Medicare, a statement that was debunked by both PolitiFact and FactCheck.org. The Supreme Court has accelerated the corporate takeover by giving them free reign of campaign finances and giving them access to media sources to proliferate any false ads that they desire.
“Just take a look around the world and you’ll find that nearly all mass media are owned and controlled by a handful of conservative capitalists. We must devise and implement alternative methods of distributing our news, our information, our ideas.” – Anti-Flag, “Underground Network”
In retrospect, the decision by the Supreme Court not only marks a transitioning point in which corporations have become truly the sole source of power and influence in politics, but is also marks the general negligence for the public and the democratic values represented by the American statutes. The Citizens United ruling has consolidated the capitalist hierarchy of the nation, allowing the rich 1% to influence and control the greedy politicians and buy hours of broadcasts. Sponsoring public division, manipulating peoples’ opinions, and affirming a divided political arena, there exists no blockade to the corporations’ swarming takeover of all assets of the American infrastructure.