I want to begin with a story that appeared on the front page of the Joplin Globe this Friday morning:
Moark is a subsidiary of Land O’Lakes in Minnesota and is the second largest distributor of fresh shell eggs in the country (about 6 billion eggs sold each year). Naturally, when millions of chickens are concentrated in one area there is a problem with waste and smell, which tend to diminish the quality of life for those residents who happen to live nearby.
The point of the Globe story was really to chronicle the lack of interest on the part of those nearby residents to resist this latest expansion of Moark’s production, since citizen resistance to an earlier expansion in 2005 met with utter failure. The state sided with the corporation.
Dave Boyt, one of those who challenged Moark’s 2005 expansion said this time:
People get tired of beating their heads against a wall. We knew during the earlier expansion what we were up against. We knew that the chances of stopping the expansion or getting even some concessions were absolutely minuscule.
Another nearby resident said:
Ordinary people can’t afford to fight something that big. Money talks, and as a little guy, unless you’ve got the money to fight them, you really can’t do much.
Such resignation may be behind the tendency, when one discusses money in politics, to resort to a “both sides do it” stance and just hope the wind blows the smell of chicken shit the other way.
But, folks, what Republicans are doing this election cycle ought to scare the complacency out of you, if, that is, you give a damn about our democracy. Last night on MSNBC, Ezra Klein (subbing for Saint Rachel) presented this graphic:
What this comparison shows is that Karl Rove, W. Bush’s Turd Blossom, will spend this election cycle, through his Crossroads group, nearly as much as the entire McCain-Palin campaign did in 2008.
But that’s not the whole story, of course. As Politico reported:
POLITICO has learned that Koch-related organizations plan to spend about $400 million ahead of the 2012 elections – twice what they had been expected to commit.
Just the spending linked to the Koch network is more than the $370 million that John McCain raised for his entire presidential campaign four years ago.
So, from just two sources, Rove and Koch, Romney’s effort to become CEO of America will have funding amounting to about twice as much as the Republican Party’s presidential candidate had last time.
But that still doesn’t include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the super PAC supporting Mittens (Restore our Future), which when added to the Rove-Koch dough will exceed $1 billion. Can you smell the chicken doo-doo yet?
But we still haven’t got to what the Romney campaign and the Republican National Committee expects to raise—according to Politico about $800 million!
Add it all up and we are damn close to $2 billion that Republicans will have to slander and trash Obama and other Democrats. But we’re still not at the end:
Chicken caca, anyone? That Forbes article relates that the Las Vegas billionaire, Sheldon Adelson, who “has made more money during the Obama administration than just about any other American, based on Forbes tabulations,” will do “whatever it takes” to defeat the President. Adelson is quoted as saying:
What scares me is the continuation of the socialist-style economy we’ve been experiencing for almost four years. That scares me because the redistribution of wealth is the path to more socialism, and to more of the government controlling people’s lives…I believe that people will come to their senses and not extend the current Administration’s quest to socialize this country. It won’t be a socialist democracy because it won’t be a democracy.
It won’t be a democracy because people like Sheldon Adelson—worth a reported $25 billion—and the Koch brothers—combined net worth of $50 billion—and other wealthy Republicans will have cannibalized it, if voters don’t stop them.
And, again, if all this isn’t enough to get folks to electorally rebel against this hostile takeover of our politics—aided greatly by the conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court—then the American experiment with democracy—with government of, by, and for the people—will soon be over.
The people will have surrendered to the oligarchs and America will become a much different place, one where the Adelsons and the Kochs will rule and the Moarks of the world can pollute the countryside with impunity.