Dear American soldiers of Wars in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Latin America, Cold, and Iraq,
If we don’t do something to stop the takeover of America by the Rest Of Corporate America that doesn’t-own-it-yet, read the article below and put up blogs against the takeover. Put the word out. Veterans want a righteous America–not one paid for by no-value conglomerates and racist or pro-bank lobbies.
We hope you enjoy this issue of Public Citizen’s e-newsletter about the intersection of money and politics. This is part of the campaign we developed following the disastrous Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which allows corporations to spend unlimited amounts supporting or attacking political candidates. We’ll update you regularly with select news stories and blog posts, legislative developments and ways to get involved.
Stunning Statistics of the Week:
- Amount candidates for state and federal office spent on ads for the November elections to date: $395 million
- Amount candidates for state and federal office spent on ads at this point in the 2006 midterms: $286 million
- Percentage of the ads this election season that have been negative: More than 50 percent
Downturn? What downturn?
Spending on political ads is expected to reach a record $4.2 billion this election season. You heard it right. That would be double what was spent two years ago during a presidential campaign year.
Patty Murray being attacked – but by whom?
Attack ads have started running against U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) by something called the Committee for Truth in Politics. Trouble is, no one knows who is funding this group. (This underscores the need for the Senate to pass the DISCLOSE Act, which would require funders of ads to be named.) What we do know: The group is represented by James Bopp, the anti-campaign finance reform attorney who was involved in the U.S. Supreme Court case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which resulted in the court giving corporations the right to spend unlimited amounts to influence elections case. Bopp has brought other lawsuits to try to overturn campaign finance laws.
Judge upholds most Maine rules governing PACs
A federal judge has upheld most of the state’s reporting requirements governing political action committees. The judge said that despite the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United, the state may regulate corporate political speech with disclosure laws. However, the judge said that some language in Maine’s rules is unconstitutionally vague.
American Crossroads plans to spend $10 million on elections
American Crossroads, a new conservative group whose founders include Republican strategist Karl Rove, said plans it to spend more than $10 million to get out the vote in November. The group is targeting eight key states: Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire and Washington.
Dozens of candidates pledge to overturn U.S. Supreme Court ruling
Dozens of candidates for Congress have pledged to support a constitutional amendment to overturn the controversial U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and thereby help ensure that elections are not hijacked by corporations. The court ruled that corporations can spend unlimited amounts to influence elections. The candidates responded to a call from People For the American Way and Public Citizen, which last month launched the pledge drive at www.PledgeForDemocracy.org.
New Yorker magazine details political influence of wealthy Koch brothers
New Yorker magazine writer Jane Mayer details the political donations and subsequent influence of the billionaire Koch brothers, who are using their money to stop efforts to enact laws designed to combat climate change, among other things. (Koch Industries has been called one of the top 10 air polluters in the United States.) The lifelong libertarians have given more than a $100 million dollars to right-wing causes.
Want to get out of jury duty? Just say you support Public Citizen!
In one of the most startling and biased jury surveys we have ever seen, the federal district court of D.C. is identifying “good government” people for possible disqualification from jury service in the Kevin Ring corruption scandal case.
More Target fallout: Wash U cancels event with company
In the wake of a national controversy over a political donation made by Target, Washington University in St. Louis has canceled an event it had planned with the company. Called the Target After Hours Shopping Event, it was to feature Target keeping stores open after hours and giving transportation to the stores to college freshmen who could shop and be eligible for prizes. Target gave $150,000 to MN Forward, whose support of a conservative, anti-gay gubernatorial candidate led to protests and boycotts throughout the country.
527 groups are legal money launderers, Florida gubernatorial candidate says
Bud Chiles, an Independent candidate for Florida governor, called reporters to a spot outside the office of a Tampa accountant and said he was at the site of “legal money laundering.” The accountant works for more than three dozen 527 committees; in Florida, the 527 groups have taken in $21.7 million, most of that from corporations and industry groups, to back or defeat candidates. Under Florida law, the political spending committees, known as 527s for the section of the tax code that makes them tax-exempt, must report contributions and spending on the web within five days. But Chiles says they should have to disclose the names of donors of $500 and more on every television ad and mailer they distribute. Chiles says he won’t take any 527 money.
Visit www.DontGetRolled.org to learn more!
Pamela Geller, the veteran Muslim-basher and co-founder of the rabidly anti-Muslim group Stop Islamization of America (SIOA), has won over a whole new set of supporters: American white supremacists. They just can’t seem to get enough of her since her agitation began against a planned Islamic community center and mosque proposed for a site near Ground Zero in New York City.
Geller has never been shy about her anti-Islamic views. In May, she spent $10,000 for anti-Islam ads to be placed for a month on 40 New York City buses. Among other things, the ads directed Muslims to a website urging them to leave the “falsity of Islam.” But that’s just the start — Geller’s fear-mongering against Muslims seems to know no bounds. “As their numbers and influence grow, they will be attempting a political takeover, and if that doesn’t work, they will turn to further intimidation, murder and terrorism — just as they’ve already proved in dozens of countries around the world,” Geller says of American Muslims. Geller, who once delivered a videotaped anti-Muslim rant while frolicking in the surf in a bikini, is also a “birther” who doesn’t believe President Obama is an American citizen. (Media Matters for America provides comprehensive documentation of Geller’s many anti-Muslim, bigoted and otherwise remarkable statements.)
Geller’s Muslim-bashing has resonated with certain conservatives, several of whom, including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, have come out against the Muslim community center. But Geller’s views are now also finding support from nearly every sector of America’s racist right. This is rather surprising because Geller is Jewish, a fact that is normally enough to dissuade radical rightists from too tight an embrace. Apparently, Geller is a Jew the racist right can love.
On the oldest and largest white nationalist forum, Stormfont.org, Geller’s anti-Islamic blog posts have been shared on several occasions. In January, for instance, “Thunderbird” posted several links to Geller’s writing and that of another Jewish woman who writes for the anti-immigrant hate site, VDARE.com. “Thunderbird” asked her fellow haters whether these “notorious right wing conservative Jewish bloggers are … on our side on many issues.” A compatriot, “GE Bonaventure” replied, “Jewish Nazi’s, Fascists, right wingers etc. are small in number but they can make sense.”
In May, “skinjob88” (88 is neo-Nazi code for “Heil Hitler”) gave Geller high praise on Stormfront: “In my country and the rest of Europe, [Muslims] are pushing for Islamification, they are killing good White teenagers and raping young White girls, they inter-marry and inter-breed with their family members. Don’t think for one minute the US is safe from Islam.” But the support wasn’t unanimous. One Stormfronter expressed anger that Geller seemed blind to the horrors of non-white races. In April, “Teutonic Beubonic” wrote: “She singles out Muslim immigrants in Europe for their uncivilized animal-like behavior and likeliness to commit crime, yet she refuses to mention anything about blacks or Latinos in the U.S. … Shame on her.”
Over at the Rebellion blog, run by the racist neo-secessionist group League of the South, head blogger “Old Rebel” has more than once expressed support for Geller’s anti-Islamic views. In August, referring to Geller’s protests in New York, the poster said that “[i]f the globalist elite has its way, more Muslims will be colonizing us.” “Anonymous” posted in reply: “Islam comprises much more than a cult. Islam, unlike any other religion I challenge you to name, is a top to bottom political movement that spans government, law, culture and worship practices that, when it achieves hegemony, tolerates no deviation from any of its aspects without severe penalty.”
American Renaissance, a race science outfit whose leader has written that black people are incapable of sustaining civilization, has posted more than one Geller column on its website. This past January, the group featured a Geller piece from The Washington Times that asserted that Muslims were attempting to replace European law with Islamic law. Her message resonated with American Renaissance’s readers. “It won’t be long before Muslims will be voting to end democracy in Europe and replacing it with Islamic law,” wrote one anonymous poster.
Geller’s work has been particularly popular at the National Policy Institute (NPI), a white nationalist organization that calls itself an “advocacy group for America’s historical majority” — white people. NPI has posted repeatedly about the planned New York center and NPI supporters have signed on to Geller’s message that Islam is bad for the U.S. This past month, in a typical comment to NPI’s boards, “bob” wrote: “[W]e need to keep the Muslims from doing what they have done to the UK and many other parts of Europe. … It is unwise to help violent people gradually take over the country and it is not mercy or justice for anyone to let them destroy it.”
The white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens, which has close ties to NPI, couldn’t agree more. The group had this to say on its blog about the planned New York mosque: “This USED TO BE America.”
Perhaps part of the reason that Geller is getting a hearing with these extremists is that she shares more than just their anti-Muslim views. This past April, Geller defended the South African apartheid-defending terrorist Eugene Terre’Blanche after he was found murdered. She blamed his death on “black supremacism.”
“The whites in South Africa are keenly aware of the plans to kill them, better known as ‘The night of the long knives,’” Geller wrote on her blog Atlas Shrugs. “They expect it to happen very soon after the death of Mandela, but to tell this to the world is a waste of energy. Atlas has been reporting on this horror that the savages in the media ignore.”
And Geller has been defending and working with organizations that are blatantly racist and anti-Semitic. This past June, Geller spoke at an event in Paris put on by the Bloc Identitaire, which opposesrace-mixing and “Islamic imperialism.” Geller also is a proud supporter of the English Defence League (EDF), described by Salon.com as “a far-right street movement that sprang up in the United Kingdom earlier this year to protest planned construction of mosques and to stoke fear of Islam more broadly.” According to the Guardian, EDF members have been involved in violent anti-mosque protests, made violent statements that included the threat that an EDF member may one day “murder” any Muslims he can get his hands on, and has engaged in “racism” and “virulent Islamophobia.”
No wonder some of America’s racists have found common cause with Geller, given her support of an apartheid leader and blatantly racist European groups, not to mention her untrammeled Muslim-bashing. And no wonder, too, that Newt Gingrich has just decided to drop out of the upcoming SIOA rally against the planned Muslim community center scheduled for September 11. Pamela Geller may be getting a little too toxic for anyone with claims to be part of the political mainstream, no matter how thin those claims may be stretched.