Elections Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key Elections Media Articles in Major Media
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Before the 2010 Supreme Court decision known as Citizens United, all money spent in federal elections urging the election or defeat of a candidate had to originate from identifiable human beings. Corporations and unions were forbidden from involvement beyond organizing individuals’ contributions. Then Citizens United struck down the prohibition ... so corporations had the right to spend unlimited money espousing their political views. This was the birth of Super PACs. Citizens United [also] opened ... paths for foreign money to flow into the U.S. political process. The 2016 election has seen a surge of contributions to Super PACs by so-called ghost corporations, which appear to exist solely to make those donations and whose ownership is unknown. Almost all large publicly traded U.S. companies have some degree of foreign ownership. Any donations by such corporations are technically partially of foreign origin. Nonprofit corporations ... have always been able to accept unlimited donations from individuals or corporations, but before Citizens United, could engage in little federal political activity. Now, thanks to the combination of Citizens United and a 2007 Supreme Court decision, “social welfare” organizations ... and trade associations [can] make independent political expenditures just like Super PACs. Unlike Super PACs, they are not required to publicly disclose their donors. This is why contributions to politically active nonprofits are often referred to as “dark money.”
Note: Read more about how ghost corporations are funding the 2016 elections. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about elections corruption and the manipulation of public perception. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Elections Information Center.
Mercenary hackers helped Enrique Peńa Nieto win Mexico’s 2012 presidential election, according to an imprisoned Colombian hacker who says he was involved. Andrés Sepúlveda ... claimed he had also helped to manipulate elections in nine countries across Latin America by stealing data, installing malware and creating fake waves of enthusiasm and derision on social media. In an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, the Colombian – who is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence - boasted of his ability to hack into campaign networks and manipulate opinion. “My job was to do actions of dirty war and psychological operations, black propaganda, rumours – the whole dark side of politics that nobody knows exists but everyone can see,” the 31-year-old told Bloomberg. Although he was well paid for his work, Sepúlveda said his primary motive was political. He supported right and centre-right candidates against what he called “dictatorships and socialists governments”. In Mexico ... he reportedly had a $600,000 budget, [and] used a “virtual army” of fake Twitter accounts to direct public debate. “When I realized that people believe what the internet says more than reality, I discovered that I had the power to make people believe almost anything,” he told Bloomberg. To varying degrees, he said he applied similar tactics in other elections over an eight-year period in in Venezuela, Nicaragua, Panama, Honduras, El Salvador, Colombia, Costa Rica and Guatemala. Sepúlveda is now in jail for hacking crimes related to Colombia’s 2014 presidential election.
Note: Read an excellent article on how electronic voting machines are likely being manipulated in the 2016 US elections. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about elections corruption and the manipulation of public opinion.
Cynthia Perez, a lawyer, stopped by a polling site on her way to work. She found a line so long she could not see the end of it. Days later, angry and baffled [Arizona] voters are still trying to make sense of how democracy is working in Maricopa County, the state’s most populous, where officials cut the number of polling places by 70 percent to save money - to 60 from 200 in the last presidential election. That translated to a single polling place for every 108,000 residents in Phoenix, a majority-minority city that had exceptional turnout in Tuesday’s Democratic and Republican primaries. Many observers saw Arizona as ... pointing toward potential problems nationally. The presidential election will be the first since the Supreme Court dismantled a crucial section of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, freeing nine states, including Arizona and parts of seven others, to change their election laws without advance federal approval. Arizona has a long history of discrimination against minorities, preventing American Indians from voting for much of its history because they were considered “wards of the nation,” imposing English literacy tests on prospective voters and printing English-only election materials even as the state’s Spanish-speaking population grew. On Tuesday, calls poured into the office of Arizona’s attorney general ... well into the night, as people heard poll workers tell them to go home, “the election has already been decided,” said a spokesman.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections corruption news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Elections Information Center.
A trust called DE First Holdings was quietly formed in Delaware. A day later, the entity dropped $1 million into a super PAC. The trust, whose owner remains unknown, is part of a growing cadre of mystery outfits financing big-money super PACs. Many were formed just days or weeks before making six- or seven-figure contributions - an arrangement that ... violates a long-standing federal ban on straw donors. But the individuals behind the “ghost corporations” appear to face little risk of reprisal from [the] Federal Election Commission. The 2016 campaign has already seen the highest rate of corporate donations since the Supreme Court unleashed such spending with its 2010 Citizens United v. FEC decision. One out of every eight dollars collected by super PACs this election cycle have come from corporate coffers, including millions flowing from opaque and hard-to-trace entities. Such groups, which can accept unlimited donations ... are on track to far exceed the $86 million they gave to super PACs in the entire 2012 presidential cycle. A significant share of the money is coming from newly formed LLCs. Several campaign finance watchdog groups have filed complaints with the FEC against the recent pop-up LLCs, but the chances of the agency’s looking into the cases appear slim. Last month, the agency closed a nearly five-year-old complaint about a limited liability company allegedly used to mask a donor’s identity — unable to even agree whether it merited investigation.
Note: The "Koch Empire" alone plans to spend $889 million on US elections in 2016. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about elections corruption and the manipulation of public perception. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Elections Information Center.
It’s still up for debate whether or not the media “created” Donald Trump - or, at least, the GOP presidential frontrunner version of him - but there is no doubt the billionaire reality TV star turned politician has meant big ratings - and income - for networks. Leslie Moonves, the chairman of CBS, admitted as much on Monday. “It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS,” Moonves said at a Morgan Stanley conference in San Francisco. In addition to around-the-clock TV news coverage of Trump and his fellow presidential candidates (but, mainly Trump), major broadcast and cable networks have pulled in record ratings for televised debates throughout this election cycle. Roughly 13.5 million tuned in to CBS for a GOP debate last month, making that one of the most-watched debates so far this year, as nearly 5 million more viewers tuned in to watch Trump battle his GOP rivals than did for a Democratic debate on CBS last November. Thanks to those high ratings, networks have reportedly been able to gouge advertisers for higher ad-rates during this cycle’s debates. Moonves indicated that he is more than happy to have Trump in the White House race if it means more advertising money.
New FEC filings show that all of the $417,250 in monetary donations to a Super PAC called “Black Americans for a Better Future” comes from conservative white businessmen - including $400,000, or 96 percent of the total, from white billionaire hedge fund manager Robert Mercer. Mercer, co-CEO of Renaissance Technologies on Long Island, is best-known politically for donating $11,000,000 to Keep the Promise I, a Super PAC backing Ted Cruz’s presidential run. BABF appears to exist solely as a vehicle for Washington, D.C., consultant Raynard Jackson, who is African-American. Jackson is quoted on his firm’s website stating that “You have a fundamental right to pursue business interests with the least amount of interference from the government.” Jackson has elsewhere accused Barack Obama of “relentless pandering to homosexuals.” At an event in November 2015 at the National Press Club, which cost BABF $13,252.79 for the venue and catering, Jackson said that “Having well-trained, credible, experienced African-Americans constantly challenging the liberal orthodoxy in the media will create a tectonic shift in the perception of the Republican Party within the Black community.” Other donations to BABF [include] $10,000 from Keller Investment Properties of Utah, whose CEO is the white Scott Keller, a member of Mitt Romney’s donor network, [and] $5,000 from the very white Marc Stanley Goldman.
The world is undergoing a populist revival. From the revolt against austerity led by the Syriza Party in Greece and the Podemos Party in Spain, to Jeremy Corbyn's surprise victory as Labour leader in the UK, to Donald Trump's ascendancy in the Republican polls, to Bernie Sanders' surprisingly strong challenge to Hillary Clinton - contenders with their fingers on the popular pulse are surging ahead of their establishment rivals. What Sanders is proposing ... is a real financial revolution, a fundamental change in the system itself. Banks today have usurped the power to create the national money supply. As the Bank of England recently acknowledged, banks create money whenever they make loans. Banks determine who gets the money and on what terms. How can banking be made to serve the needs of the people and the economy, while preserving the more functional aspects of today's highly sophisticated global banking system? We could have a system of publicly-owned banks that were locally controlled, operating independently to serve the needs of their own communities. Making these banks public institutions would differ from the current system only in that the banks would have a mandate to serve the public interest, and the profits would be returned to the local government for public use.
Note: Why is the only US presidential candidate talking seriously about bank reform being given little attention by mainstream media? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the financial industry.
The father of the billionaires Charles G. and David H. Koch helped construct a major oil refinery in Nazi Germany that was personally approved by Adolf Hitler, according to a new history of the Kochs and other wealthy families. The book, “Dark Money,” by Jane Mayer, traces the rise of the modern conservative movement through the activism and money of a handful of rich donors. The book is largely focused on the Koch family, stretching back to its involvement in the far-right John Birch Society and the political and business activities of the father, Fred C. Koch, who found some of his earliest business success overseas in the years leading up to World War II. One venture was a partnership with the American Nazi sympathizer William Rhodes Davis, who, according to Ms. Mayer, hired Mr. Koch to help build the third-largest oil refinery in the Third Reich, a critical industrial cog in Hitler’s war machine. The Kochs’ vast political network, a major force in Republican politics today, was “originally designed as a means of off-loading the costs of the Koch Industries environmental and regulatory fights onto others” by persuading other rich business owners to contribute to Koch-controlled political groups. In Ms. Mayer’s telling, the Kochs helped bankroll - through a skein of nonprofit organizations with minimal public disclosure - decades of victories in state capitals and in Washington, often leaving no fingerprints.
Note: Coincidentally, George Bush's grandfather, the late US senator Prescott Bush, was also in business with the Nazis. The conservative political network overseen by the Koch brothers plans to spend $889 million on US elections in 2016. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
The headlines about Donald Trump hitting new highs in national polls are tremendously deceptive, as they only measure his support among self-declared Republican primary voters, a small subset of the nation as a whole. For example, in [a] recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, Trump was the first choice of 27 percent of the Republican voters who responded. Given the weighted samples in this poll (38 percent identify as Republican or leaning Republican) this translates into Trump capturing the support of about 11 percent of American voters in total. In the same poll, 37 percent of Democratic voters supported Democratic contender Bernie Sanders. Given the weighted samples (43 percent identify as Democrat or leaning Democrat) that translates into roughly 16 percent of all American voters. Additionally, in a recent Quinnipiac poll, Sanders beat Trump in a head-to-head matchup - by an even larger margin than Hillary Clinton did. But in terms of coverage by the mainstream media, Trump is besting Sanders 23 to 1, by some estimates. Some of this can be explained by the fact that Trump is the GOP frontrunner, and Sanders has consistently run second to Clinton. But it’s also partly because of what a spectacle Trump has made of himself - and because the media has consistently treated Sanders as a marginal candidate. Media executives view Trump’s outrageous antics as good for their bottom line. “Go Donald! Keep getting out there!” Les Moonves, the chief executive of CBS, [recently] cheered.
Women have been elected to municipal councils in Saudi Arabia for the first time after a ban on women taking part in elections was lifted. At least four women were elected, the state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported. Other news agencies put the number between nine and 17. The vote is being seen as a landmark in the conservative kingdom. However, the councils have limited powers. Saudi women still face many curbs in public life, including driving. A total of 978 women registered as candidates, alongside 5,938 men. Officials said about 130,000 women had registered to vote in Saturday's poll, compared with 1.35 million men. The disparity was attributed by female voters to bureaucratic obstacles and a lack of transport, the AFP news agency says. Female candidates were also not allowed to address male voters directly during campaigning. Elections of any kind are rare in the Saudi kingdom - Saturday was only the third time in history that Saudis had gone to the polls. There were no elections in the 40 years between 1965 and 2005. The decision to allow women to take part was taken by the late King Abdullah and is seen as a key part of his legacy. In announcing the reforms, King Abdullah said women in Saudi Arabia "have demonstrated positions that expressed correct opinions and advice". Before he died in January, he appointed 30 women to the country's top advisory Shura Council. There were 2,100 council seats available in Saturday's vote. An additional 1,050 seats are appointed with approval from the king.
Note: Remember that Saudi Arabia was recently selected to head a UN human rights panel. Yet they only now are allowing women to vote and public beheadings are still commonplace.
Half of all the money contributed so far to Democratic and Republican presidential candidates - $176 million - has come from just 158 families, along with the companies they own or control. Who are these people? According to the report, most of these big contributors live in exclusive neighborhoods where they have private security guards instead of public police officers, private health facilities rather than public parks and pools. Most send their kids and grand kids to elite private schools rather than public schools. They fly in private jets and get driven in private limousines rather than rely on public transportation. They don't have to worry about whether Social Security or Medicare will be there for them in their retirement because they've put away huge fortunes. It's doubtful that most of these 158 are contributing to these campaigns out of the goodness of their hearts. They're largely making investments, just the way they make other investments. And the success of these investments depends on whether their candidates get elected, and will lower their taxes even further, expand tax loopholes, shred health and safety and environmental regulations so their companies can make even more money, and cut Social Security and Medicare and programs for the poor - and thereby allow these 158 and others like them to secede even more from the rest of our society. These people are, after all, are living in their own separate society. They want to elect people who will represent them, not the rest of us.
Note: This essay was written by former US Secretary of Labor Robert Reich. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.
A group formed this year by executives and lobbyists for the defense contracting industry is taking credit for “driving the national debate on foreign policy during the 2016 presidential election,” and in particular for getting Republican presidential candidates to call for escalating military action in Syria. In an email to supporters over the weekend, Mike Rogers, the founder of Americans for Peace, Prosperity, and Security, hailed the group for “pushing candidates on national security.” The email also highlighted a quote from Jeb Bush at an APPS forum calling for the U.S. to be prepared for a “long haul” war on ISIS, and a similar comment from Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who said the U.S. should engage ISIS as it had against the Taliban in Afghanistan. APPS was formed by current and former officials from Raytheon, BAE Systems, SAIC, and other major defense contractors. Lobbyists who represent the defense industry are also involved. Rogers, the former House Intelligence Committee chairman who retired from Congress last year, also represents private clients. To “help elect a president who supports American engagement and a strong foreign policy,” the group spends money on public events in primary states and encourages presidential candidates to take hawkish positions.
They are deploying their vast wealth in the political arena, providing almost half of all the seed money raised to support Democratic and Republican presidential candidates. Just 158 families, along with companies they own or control, contributed $176 million in the first phase of the campaign, a New York Times investigation found. Not since before Watergate have so few people and businesses provided so much early money in a campaign, most of it through channels legalized by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision five years ago. The 158 families each contributed $250,000 or more in the campaign through June 30. An additional 200 families gave more than $100,000. Together, the two groups contributed well over half the money in the presidential election - the vast majority of it supporting Republicans. “The campaign finance system is now a countervailing force to the way the actual voters of the country are evolving and the policies they want,” said Ruy Teixeira, a political and demographic expert. The donor families’ wealth reflects, in part, the vast growth of the financial-services sector and the boom in oil and gas. They are also the beneficiaries of political and economic forces that are driving widening inequality. Together, the [energy and finance] industries accounted for well over half of the cash contributed by the top 158 families.
Note: What does it mean for democracy when billionaire oligarchs have their own political party? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Elections Information Center.
Amid a massive corruption scandal which has tarnished Brazil’s political class and driven the country’s president to the brink of impeachment, the Brazilian supreme court has banned corporate donations to candidates and parties in future elections. With eight votes in favour and three against, the court declared late on Thursday that the rules allowing companies to donate to election campaigns were unconstitutional. Rosa Weber, one of the judges who ruled in favour of the ban, argued that undue economic influence comprised the legitimacy of the country’s elections. “The influence of economic power has ended up transforming the electoral process into a rigged political game, a despicable pantomime which makes the voter a puppet, simultaneously undermining citizenship, democracy and popular sovereignty.” According to “The Spoils of Victory”, a US academic study into campaign donations and government contracts in Brazil, corporate donors to the PT in the 2006 elections received between 14 to 39 times the value of their donations in government contracts. The case was brought to the supreme court around one and a half years ago by the Order of Brazilian Attorneys (OAB). On Thursday the organization’s secretary general, Cláudio Pereira de Souza Neto, celebrated the decision. “It is what Brazilian society has been hoping for, even more so in these times of crisis,” he said, adding that the court order should make future elections cheaper.
Note: What do you think might happen if the US and Europe banned corporations from making political contributions? Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Voting machines around the United States are coming to the end of their useful lives. That could be a serious problem for next year's presidential elections. According to a new report by the Brennan Center for Justice ... 43 states will use some voting equipment next year that's at least 10 years old. "We're not saying that all the systems are going to fail on Election Day. But the closer you get to this end of projected lifespan, the more likely you're going to see problems," said Larry Norden, one of the report's authors. Problems such as vote flipping - that's when a voter presses one candidate's name only to have the opponent's name light up. It happens when the glue on touch-screen machines gets old and erodes. Norden said everything's coming to a head at once because almost every state bought new computerized voting equipment right after the disputed 2000 election, using $2 billion in federal aid. But he says now there's neither the money nor the same sense of urgency. "More than one official has said to me [that] legislators [and] county funders are waiting for a disaster, which I think is crazy," he said. Disaster does seem increasingly possible. Earlier this year, the state of Virginia realized that machines used in 20 percent of the state were vulnerable to hackers and immediately ordered them replaced. The Brennan Center found a similar pattern in other states. Wealthier counties are getting new equipment, while poorer ones are not.
Note: Read more on the major problems with electronic voting machines in the US. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections corruption news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Elections Information Center.
Jeremy Corbyn’s stunning transformation from perennial leftist rebel to leader of Britain’s Labour Party upended British politics Saturday. The Corbyn victory represented an extraordinary rebuke to Labour’s more centrist powers-that-be, especially to former prime minister Tony Blair, who had campaigned vigorously against Corbyn. But interventions from Blair and other party heavyweights apparently did little to halt Corbyn’s momentum and may have even backfired. In a fiery victory speech, Corbyn vowed to combat society’s “grotesque inequality” and make Britain a more humane country. Corbyn has often bucked the Labour leadership on critical issues — including the vote to authorize the Iraq war — and his message resonated among Labour voters who believe their party has been reduced to a pale imitation of the Tories, especially as it lurched to the center under Blair. He has previously called for Britain to leave NATO, favors unilateral nuclear disarmament and champions the nationalization of vast sectors of the economy. He has also said that he will apologize on behalf of Labour for the Iraq invasion and that Blair could face war-crimes charges. In Britain ... voters on both ends of the spectrum are looking for alternatives to the traditional power-brokers. “This isn’t just a leftist phenomenon. It’s a populist phenomenon,” [Queen Mary University professor Tim] Bale said. “It’s the idea that voters are fed up with politics as usual and an elite that’s compromised.”
Note: Former prime minister Tony Blair was reported to have personally made millions from warmongering, and was convicted in a symbolic Malaysian trial of “crimes against peace” in Iraq. Will Corbyn actually attempt to bring formal charges against Blair in the U.K.?
Americans are required to register if they want to vote; as of this week, Oregonians will have to register not to. Gov. Kate Brown signed a first-in-the-nation bill to automatically register all eligible Oregonians to vote when they obtain or renew a driver’s license or state identification card. Those who are registered through the new process will be notified by mail and will be given three weeks to take themselves off the voting rolls. If they do not opt out, the secretary of state’s office will mail them a ballot automatically 20 days before any election. Oregon was the first state in the country to switch to all-mail voting when Ballot Measure 60 was passed in 1998 by a wide margin. Washington state and Colorado later followed suit. Currently, there are about 2.2 million registered voters in Oregon, said Tony Green, spokesman for Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins, and an additional 800,000 are not registered but eligible. The new law is expected to bring nearly half of those onto the voter rolls. For those who are already registered to vote, he said, “there will be no change. But if you move, your information will be automatically transferred. You don’t have to manually re-register. You only have to do one thing — change your driver's license address.” The change was not universally embraced. HB 2177 passed both chambers of the state Legislature without a single Republican vote in its favor.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections news articles from reliable major media sources.
Former president Jimmy Carter said Tuesday on the nationally syndicated radio show the Thom Hartmann Program that the United States is now an “oligarchy” in which “unlimited political bribery” has created “a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors.” Carter was responding to a question from Hartmann about recent Supreme Court decisions on campaign financing like Citizens United. HARTMANN: "Our Supreme Court has now said, 'unlimited money in politics.' It seems like a violation of principles of democracy. ... Your thoughts on that?" CARTER: "It violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system. Now it’s just an oligarchy, with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or to elect the president. And the same thing applies to governors and U.S. senators and congress members. So now we’ve just seen a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect and sometimes get favors for themselves after the election’s over. ... The incumbents, Democrats and Republicans, look upon this unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves. Somebody’s who’s already in Congress has a lot more to sell to an avid contributor than somebody who’s just a challenger." Carter’s statement [has been added] to this list of politicians acknowledging that money controls politics.
With the 2016 presidential race already well underway, it's time for us to take cyber threats to our electoral process much more seriously. Hackers could [target] a voting machine [by] attacking the network the machines are being run on at a voting precinct, physically tampering with the device or the network hardware to install malware, attacking the voting machine company's network or employees to get malware into the devices or steal passwords before they are released to a government and target the back-end government network used to manage them. Imagine a hacker deleting voter registration forms ... or switching a person's party affiliation to block him/her from voting in the proper primary. Or deleting a politician's filed paperwork, putting his/her candidacy in jeopardy. There are also a lot of ways hackers could derail campaign fundraising. Since campaign contributions are public records, it would be easy for hackers to ... steal the credit card numbers of donors in order to harass them ... as well as engage in identity theft and financial fraud. But hackers wouldn't even have to go this far. Simply announcing publicly that they planned to hack supporters might be enough to dissuade potential donors.
Note: Since this article was published, voter registration rolls in Illinois and possibly Arizona have already been targeted by hackers. And Wikileaks recently published thousands of documents, reportedly obtained by an email hack, which exposed significant elections corruption in the US.
President Obama has spent the summer at war with his own party over how to write the rules of global trade. Not since Woodrow Wilson promised to break the “money monopoly” ... has the Democratic Party found itself so inflamed against the intersection of wealth and power. The giants of the party now find their credentials, and motivations, under attack. The new fire is fueled by a shift in economics that feels like a crisis for many Americans. Real wages have increased 138% for the top 1% of American income earners since 1979, but only 15% for the 90% below. From 2002 to 2013, the only groups of American households that did not see their real incomes on average decline or stagnate were headed by college graduates and young people in their 20s. At the same time, over a quarter-century, fixed costs such as housing, education and health care have outpaced inflation. [Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s] message ... is that both Republicans and Democrats have misread the economic challenge and been co-opted by the forces of greed. “The pressure on the middle class is not simply a natural force,” she says. “It is the result of deliberate decisions made by the leaders of this country.” America’s enemy, in other words, lurks within. “This is not a top-vs.-bottom story,” she continues. “This is a top-and-everyone-else story. This is a 90-10 story.” Two-thirds of Americans now believe that wealth should be more evenly distributed. An even greater share of the country supports raising taxes on those who make more than $1 million.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Elections Information Center.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.