Bank Of America And Billionaires Funded Republican & Democratic Conventions
OpenSecrets.org, one of the best sites for tracking money in politics, just tallied up the major funders of the Republican and Democratic national conventions, and their findings are revealing.
No surprises with the Republicans — the ones they are beholden to for having funded their extravaganza are mostly billionaires and huge corporations.
The biggest revelations came from the Democratic Party tally. As some anticipated, unions came up short for Obama’s Convention this year. Having shelled out $8.3 million in 2008, they gave nearly 30% less.
But not to worry, Obama had taken care of one moneyed interest group who was all too happy to step up. Bank of America practically self-funded the event, underwriting approximately 1/3 of its entire expense. And just to be sure they covered their bases, Bank of America also tossed the GOP $1.1 million for theirs in Tampa.
This may provide a clue as to why bankers, whose fraudulent activities brought down the entire world economy, still seem to enjoy an unspoken immunity from any criminal prosecutions.
Small donors, incidentally, contributed a mere .00002% — not joking — of the RNC’s funds. And only 6 people — you read that right — donated between $200 and $500. Hands-down, the RNC is an event entirely funded by the wealthiest few individuals and corporations in the nation.
The Democratic Party did better with small donors, as they provided 2.5% of the DNC’s funds. And they did much better with donors contributing between $200 and $500: 1,558 contributed. Though the Democrats are still lopsidedly dependent on influence-peddlers, when compared to the Republicans’ donor list they might actually tout these numbers.
Money Behind The Two Parties’ Parties
The Republican Party, which held its 2012 convention in Tampa, FL, raised $55.8 Million. The following were some key contributors:
- Sheldon Adelson (Las Vegas casino mogul, fanatically pro-Israel) : $5 million (9% of total)
- Bill Edwards (CEO of Mortgage Investor’s Corp.): $4.6 million (8.24%)
- AT&T (in addition to $3M, gave in-kind donations for phone service): $3 million (5.4%)
- American Petroleum Institute: $2 million (3.6%)
- Microsoft: $1.6 million (2.9%)
- Bank of America: $1.1 million (2%)
- David Koch (billioinaire Koch brother): $1 million (1.8%)
- Paul Singer (Elliott Management): $1 million (1.8%)
- Robert Mercer (of hedge fund, Renaissance Technologies): $1 million (1.8%)
- Paulson & Company (hedge fund run by John Paulson): $1 million (1.8%)
- James S. Davis (chairman of shoe company New Balance): $1 million (1.8%)
- Florida Power and Light: $1 million (1.8%)
- United Health Care Services: $522,000
- American Indian tribes (2 tribes contributed): $450,000
- America’s Natural Gas Alliance: $400,000
- New York Yankees: $150,000
- Small donors (Total unitemized contributions of $200 or less): $1,200 (.00002%)
- Number of donors giving between $200-$500: Six donors
The Democratic Party, which held its convention in Charlotte, NC, raised $35 Million. The following were some key contributors:
- Bank of America: $10.9 million (31.14% of total)
- Unions: $5.9 million (17%)
- Duke Energy (lobbied H.R.910 to keep EPA from regulating emissions of green house gases): $1.5 million (4.3%)
- American Indian tribes (4 tribes contributed): $400,000
- James Rogers (Duke Energy CEO): $339,000
- Tides Foundation (partially funded by Soros’ Open Society Institute) : $310,000
- Small donors (Total unitemized contributions of $200 or less): $866,000 (2.5%)
- Number of donors giving between $200-$500: 1,558 donors
Stagecraft: Our Presidential Contest Has Devolved Into Little More Than A Fake Wrestling Match
For those on the Left, one of the most frustrating aspects of this Presidential election has been following the narratives of both establishment parties, each aligned with the other in their complimentary fictions, as they deceive the American voters into believing there is an actual choice to be made here.
Beyond the rhetorical divide, the actual differences between Obama and Romney are minor, if not downright trivial. Each candidate, regardless of how he has actually governed in the past, uses the talking points from his party’s platform to tap into the ideological preferences of his base. The contest is little more than a theater of deception.
Romney, who governed like a Clintonian Democrat, now speaks in ways that appeal to his base, which continues to drift rightwards a la Tea Party.
As Governor of Massachusetts, Romney implemented what would become the blueprints for Obamacare, and offered generous subsidies for those in his state who couldn’t afford it. He embraced a pro-choice position, favored gun control, was pro-gay-rights. He opposed the flat tax, was critical of Bush tax cuts. He believes in global warming, and has supported ‘cap and trade’ policies.
Whereas Romney has been forced to move rhetorically to the right, Barack Obama, who himself has governed from right-of-center, needs to reestablish his own cred with his liberal base, and is thus, only too happy to accommodate Romney in aligning their fictions.
Perhaps the biggest hurdle that both candidates have had to overcome with regards to their respective bases is in trying to convince them that there actually are fundamental differences between their visions for America’s economic model.
The Obama campaign was the first to seize on a distinction when it released a video showing Mitt Romney at a Boca Raton fundraiser expressing disdain for Obama voters, suggesting they are “dependent upon government” and feel entitled to handouts.
But this video revelation actually enhanced the far-Right cred that the Governor had been so desperate for. You might think his own campaign planted the video. In fact, he proudly wore the video revelation around like a medal. The Tea Party won’t see me as a RINO anymore, he likely surmised.
Seeing this as the perfect red meat issue needed to re-energize his base, Romney pivoted to the hot-button ‘Socialism’ charge. He charged Obama with being another Socialist-minded liberal who wants to take money from those who work hard and succeed, to then redistribute it to those who don’t.
“He [Obama] really believes in what I’ll call a government-centered society. I know there are some who believe that if you simply take from some and give to others then we’ll all be better off. It’s known as redistribution. It’s never been a characteristic of America,” Romney said Wednesday at an Atlanta fundraiser. “There’s a tape that came out just a couple of days ago where the president said yes he believes in redistribution. I don’t. I believe the way to lift people and help people have higher incomes is not to take from some and give to others but to create wealth for all.”
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus seconded that description of Obama, and now all GOP surrogates are on message, making the ‘redistribution’ buzzword the central theme in Romney’s campaign.
But of course this depiction of Obama couldn’t be further from the truth. Obama has actually governed like a starry-eyed Milton Friedman disciple. Bloomberg News decided to investigate Romney’s ‘redistribution’ charge, and here is what they found:
If President Barack Obama is trying to spread the wealth, he doesn’t have much to show for it. […]
[S]ince Obama took office in January 2009, wealthy Americans have continued to pull away from the rest of society. In the aftermath of the recession, income inequality in the U.S. reached a new high in 2011, Census Bureau data show.
Even as the president has decried the hollowing out of the middle class, the fortunes of labor and capital have diverged on his watch. Quarterly corporate profits of $1.9 trillion have almost doubled since the end of 2008, while workers’ inflation- adjusted average hourly earnings have declined.
“At the very high end, people got a whole lot wealthier whereas income stagnated at other levels,” said Anne Mathias, director of Washington research for Guggenheim Securities LLC. “Fifty years ago, people talked about the other half, how the other half lived, and now we’re talking about the other 1 percent.”
But, forget reality — back to the fantasyland that is our Presidential Election.
Knowing his progressive base sees the U.S. economy through the 1% vs 99% prism and views his last 3 1/2 years as a monumental sellout to the 1%, Obama likely sees an opening in Romney’s ‘redistribution’ charge. This Republican accusation may be exactly what he needs to energize his own base. Perhaps it can help him to get his populist mojo back.
And the theater just continues on and on …
But make no mistake about it, whichever candidate wins — be it Obama or Romney — things will continue right along this Neoliberal road we are on, and the firmly-entrenched 1% will have their man.
Edit: In response to reader who questioned the validity of statement re: Mitt Romney’s alleged support of gay-marriage when Governor of Massachusetts, and after further review myself, I have decided to remove the statement: (he implemented same-sex marriage by executive fiat).
DNC Platform Change Vote Was Predetermined On Teleprompter, Delegate Voting Was Merely For Show
Controversy erupted at the DNC this week when Democratic party leaders forced a party platform change to reinstate language proclaiming Jerusalem as “Israel’s undivided capital,” and to reinstate references to God in the text.
The motion had to be voted on by a two-thirds majority of the delegates for passage, and it became clear, after several vote calls by LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a major majority did NOT want the platform changed.
Confused on how to proceed, the Mayor looked to a woman who came out and advised him, “Just keep going, they’re going to do what they are going to do.”
The mayor then pronounced, “in the opinion of the chair, two-thirds have voted in the affirmative,” provoking boos from the large crowd.
Well, now Fox News is showing footage of the DNC teleprompter the Mayor was reading from. It shows that the two-thirds majority needed for the passage of the motion had been predetermined by party leaders, with complete disregard for how the delegates actually voted. Apparently, they forgot to tell the Mayor in advance that the vote was merely for show; that the only results that mattered were written on the teleprompter.
What this so clearly highlights is the contempt that political power elites hold for the democratic process and the will of the majority — even within their own party.
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