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posted by LaminatorX on Wednesday January 28 2015, @05:21AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the mo-money-mo-problems dept.

Nicholas Confessore reports at the New York Times that the Koch Brothers and their political network plan to spend close to $900 million in the 2016 election, an unparalleled effort by coordinated outside groups to shape a presidential election that is already on track to be the most expensive in history. The group’s budget reflects the rising ambition and expanded reach of the Koch operation, which has sought to distinguish itself from other outside groups by emphasizing the role of donors over consultants and political operatives. Hundreds of conservative donors recruited by the Kochs gathered over the weekend for three days of issue seminars, strategy sessions, and mingling with rising elected officials. These donors represent the largest concentration of political money outside the party establishment, one that has achieved enormous power in Republican circles in recent years. “It’s no wonder the candidates show up when the Koch brothers call,” says David Axelrod, a former senior adviser to Mr. Obama. “That’s exponentially more money than any party organization will spend. In many ways, they have superseded the party.”

Espousing a political worldview that protects free speech and individual and property rights with equal protection for everyone under the law Koch says: “It is up to us. Making this vision a reality will require more than a financial commitment. It requires making it a central part of our lives.” Told of the $889 million goal, Mark McKinnon, a veteran GOP operative who has worked to rally Republican support to reduce the role of money in politics, quipped: “For that kind of money, you could buy yourself a president. Oh, right. That’s the point.”

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  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 28 2015, @05:26AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 28 2015, @05:26AM (#138757)
    More for us and less for everyone else!

    When do we want it?

    All the time...

    Who should pay for it?

    Everyone else!
    • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Wednesday January 28 2015, @06:45PM

      by DeathMonkey (1380) on Wednesday January 28 2015, @06:45PM (#138975) Journal

      I was going to say something snarky about gay marriage when I read this line:
       
        with equal protection for everyone under the law
       
      But while trolling for some donation numbers on Google to support my argument I found a few along these lines instead:
       
        David Koch breaks from GOP on gay marriage, taxes, defense cuts [politico.com]
       
      So there, proved myself wrong. (although it could be argued that donating money to the GOP anyway gives them dirty hands)

      • (Score: 2) by hash14 on Thursday January 29 2015, @03:27AM

        by hash14 (1102) on Thursday January 29 2015, @03:27AM (#139087)

        David Koch breaks from GOP on gay marriage, taxes, defense cuts

        So there, proved myself wrong. (although it could be argued that donating money to the GOP anyway gives them dirty hands)

        Well, when you put it that way, they sound like absolute angels!

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by keplr on Wednesday January 28 2015, @05:27AM

    by keplr (2104) on Wednesday January 28 2015, @05:27AM (#138758) Journal

    If you see an ad for something/someone, don't vote for it/them. BTW, The US Green Party rarely runs ads :)

    --
    I don't respond to ACs.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 28 2015, @05:54AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 28 2015, @05:54AM (#138762)

      > If you see an ad for something/someone, don't vote for it/them. BTW, The US Green Party rarely runs ads :)

      That only works on the first order. When you see ads for general concepts that are meant to prime the population for a candidate's up-coming platform, or even negative ads then it is a lot harder to know who to blame.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by keplr on Wednesday January 28 2015, @06:06AM

        by keplr (2104) on Wednesday January 28 2015, @06:06AM (#138769) Journal

        Anyone with the money to run national cable TV campaigns is probably not aligned to your interests.

        --
        I don't respond to ACs.
        • (Score: 2) by nitehawk214 on Wednesday January 28 2015, @02:32PM

          by nitehawk214 (1304) on Wednesday January 28 2015, @02:32PM (#138864)

          +1, Sad

          --
          "Don't you ever miss the days when you used to be nostalgic?" -Loiosh
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 28 2015, @05:38PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 28 2015, @05:38PM (#138959)

          Absolutely Correct. See this example [nytimes.com] where Bloomberg spent $12,000,000.00 of his own money on a national campaign to promote his agenda.

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by CirclesInSand on Thursday January 29 2015, @05:36AM

          by CirclesInSand (2899) on Thursday January 29 2015, @05:36AM (#139104)

          Not to mention, if you had that much money, are you likely to be the sort of person who wants to change the status quo? Most people who are wealthy in the US are only so because of bad laws (excessive patents, privatizing public utilities and resources, etc).

          And who in their right mind would rather spend so much money on politics rather than beer/hookers?

    • (Score: 2) by Snotnose on Wednesday January 28 2015, @06:38AM

      by Snotnose (1623) on Wednesday January 28 2015, @06:38AM (#138775)

      But what if Drew Curtis raises enough money to run an ad? If I lived in Ky I'd quite possibly vote for him.

      --
      Just found out grandpa is taking Viagra. Nobody is taking it harder than grandma.
      • (Score: 2) by ikanreed on Wednesday January 28 2015, @02:45PM

        by ikanreed (3164) on Wednesday January 28 2015, @02:45PM (#138876) Journal

        If he raises that much money, at least quietly wonder to yourself who is giving him that money and why. Fark is a big site, but it hasn't made him a rich enough man to bankroll a major election.

        • (Score: 2) by jmorris on Wednesday January 28 2015, @06:22PM

          by jmorris (4844) on Wednesday January 28 2015, @06:22PM (#138967)

          You are mistaking the direction of the arrow of causality. Most on the left seem to, as do too many low info peeps on the Right.

          Imagine you are George Soros or one of the (Boo! Hiss!) Koch Brothers. You have money, you want political influence on issues you care about. If it is an issue about to be voted on next month it makes sense to send your dark minions to DC and find squishy supporters of the opposition position and buy them off. Paying the committed of either side at that point gets you little or nothing.

          On the other hand, if you want to elect a candidate you -DO NOT- do that. You want somebody who will stay bought, better still is someone who already agrees with most of your positions passionately enough you won't even have to keep paying them and can move on to putting your efforts elsewhere. So if somebody you agree with is quietly collecting money you have little cause to worry... assuming you -REALLY- know what their positions are. Their money will be coming from like minded folks, it is a good thing. it is how the system is supposed to work. Like minded, civic minded people coming together to change the system by the rules.

          Low info types can't seem to distinguish that critical difference, between buying off sitting officials and pushing alternate candidates to replace them.

          • (Score: 3, Informative) by ikanreed on Wednesday January 28 2015, @07:24PM

            by ikanreed (3164) on Wednesday January 28 2015, @07:24PM (#138981) Journal

            Thanks for talking down to me and explaining how your gross simplification totally rebuts the gross simplification I didn't actually make.

    • (Score: 2) by PiMuNu on Wednesday January 28 2015, @06:48AM

      by PiMuNu (3823) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday January 28 2015, @06:48AM (#138779)

      No - you in the US and us in the UK need to push for a change to the system so that political donations are banned. I realise there is some devil in details about how this can be implemented, but it is the only way to free up the political system.

      • (Score: 2) by frojack on Wednesday January 28 2015, @07:41AM

        by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday January 28 2015, @07:41AM (#138790) Journal

        need to push for a change to the system so that political donations are banned. I realise there is some devil in details about how this can be implemented, but it is the only way to free up the political system.

        I partly agree. But I wonder How free would it actually be?
        If you can't make political donations only the super rich could run a campaign.

        I have no problems with small-ish political donations up to a limit that applies to anyone.
        I have no problem with candidates accepting small-ish donations from people registered to vote in the district the office serves. No outside money.

        I'd look at going the other way, either limiting donations, or limiting spending.

        There is always the free speech issue, which, by equating money to speech, makes it hard to stop people spending money the way they see fit.

        But, I wonder why you can make it against the law to bribe someone, but you can't make it against the law to donate more than X dollars?
        There are lots of things that you are't allowed to spend your own money on. Why should something so corruptive of society be un-limited.
        Why should you be allowed to spend more than X (even it it is your own money) on a societal corrupting activity?

        Its not that we don't know the corrupting effect of massive money spent in campaigns. We are just addicted to this method, with each side willing to inflict more damage on society because they believe their party is worth the damage, and their ideas are so righteous and good that they make up for any temporary damage they cause in elections.

        Well, if you ask me, the damage is cumulative, and not going away.

        --
        No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
        • (Score: 2) by PiMuNu on Wednesday January 28 2015, @08:22AM

          by PiMuNu (3823) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday January 28 2015, @08:22AM (#138798)

          Fine, all good points. So you and people like you need to agree on a formula and then fight and fight and fight until it is implemented.

        • (Score: 2, Informative) by curunir_wolf on Wednesday January 28 2015, @09:03AM

          by curunir_wolf (4772) on Wednesday January 28 2015, @09:03AM (#138809)

          All of the political donation limits you described are already in place, and enforced. There is a handy chart on the limits for federal elections at the FEC's website [fec.gov].

          So done and done.

          But how do you limit what someone spends on, say, creating a website, or producing a movie? If you spend money on that, even if you're not associated with any of the candidates, is it possible to put limits on the money spent? If you do, you have to look at the content of the website or movie or TV ad. If you can show the content is specifically about a candidate, so what? What if you're just listing the voting record of the candidate for two years, or for just one specific issue? Those are just facts. Should you tell people they can't spend money publishing facts?

          Then you get into this sticky situation of the 5 media giants that own virtually all the media in the US. When they produce or air something that mentions a candidate, when is it a political contribution and when is it just "news"? What if every news story they write is always positive for one candidate and negative for the other? And how do you objectively quantify that to determine that there is a violation of contribution limits?

          Even if you could create such a regulation scheme, it would not only be very complicated (just peruse the rules and filing requirements already in place [fec.gov]), but very much subject to partisan manipulation and biased selective enforcement. That already happens today when regular people try to start true grassroots organizations to challenge corrupt establishment politicians. The establishment guys have a staff of lawyers and easily use the existing campaign finance laws as a bludgeon to shut up these grassroots groups. Just peruse the rules and requirements posted there at the FEC - it's a full-time job. Expanding the rules would just make that situation even worse.

          --
          I am a crackpot
          • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Thursday January 29 2015, @03:04AM

            by Reziac (2489) on Thursday January 29 2015, @03:04AM (#139083) Homepage

            I doubt any amount of spending restriction will make a damn bit of difference until lobbyists cease writing the bills that our congresscritters then sponsor.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 28 2015, @05:58AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 28 2015, @05:58AM (#138763)
    N/T
  • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday January 28 2015, @06:02AM

    by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday January 28 2015, @06:02AM (#138766) Journal
    Heaps of money wasted on nothing but "speech" - aka hot air.
    --
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
    • (Score: 2) by TheGratefulNet on Wednesday January 28 2015, @01:08PM

      by TheGratefulNet (659) on Wednesday January 28 2015, @01:08PM (#138842)

      wasted? if you owned a tv station or media company (ie, someone who receives money for paid ads) you'd have an entirely different POV.

      of course, those people are SCUM.

      money and politics. we all know its not a good mix. and yet, we don't do a single thing to stop it. in fact, we roll around in it, like pigs in shit.

      there is no hope for us and our greed-based system. it just has to burn itself out. but sadly, I see no way to stop this juggernaut.

      YES, the money was wasted. all the good that could be done with it, and it goes to fat-cats pockets who reap it in every election cycle. parasites!

      --
      "It is now safe to switch off your computer."
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Rivenaleem on Wednesday January 28 2015, @01:31PM

      by Rivenaleem (3400) on Wednesday January 28 2015, @01:31PM (#138849)

      While I don't want to argue with the word "wasted", I'm interested to hear people's thoughts on where the money goes. I understand the The Broken Window Parable [wikipedia.org]. Does it apply here? Is this money truly wasted if it provides employment to people, if the money is just moving around?

      Yes, there'll be a lot of physical waste (posters etc) and things made that will never be used again, like TV adverts, but a lot of this goes to employ people. Some will say the money could be better spent housing/feeding homeless/starving people etc, but does an election, like a war, stimulate the economy somehow too?

      • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 28 2015, @02:55PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 28 2015, @02:55PM (#138883)

        Hmm I would say yes it is wasted money and broken window fallacy is a good way to put it.

        The job pays 400k a year for the rest of your life. Lets say you become the youngest president ever at 35 (min age). You live to a ripe old age of 80. That is 45 years of making 400k. About 18 million. If you are spending 900 million to get back 18 million that is a waste of money. You are not getting a ROI.

        I personally like this book when it comes to discussing the broken window fallacy.
        http://steshaw.org/economics-in-one-lesson/ [steshaw.org]
        http://steshaw.org/economics-in-one-lesson/chap08p1.html [steshaw.org]

        For 900 million they could START many companies and run them for years that actually produces goods.

        A good way to look at if it is a waste of money is if it produces wealth or not. It makes something. The only way you can create wealth is by making goods. There is no other way. You can GET wealth by manipulation (such as playing arbitrage games with prices in the stock market). In this case they are not making anything of lasting value. It is all words and 'air time' to all be thrown away when done with. It is designer garbage.

        I am also 100% sure the democrats will be spending similar sums of money on Mrs Clinton.

        I am also sure the RNC will be calling me 2-3 times a week for money. As the koch brothers are not going to bear that whole burden. They will do it thru fundraising. Never *EVER* give any party any money. They will never stop asking for more. Worst 50 dollars I ever spent.

    • (Score: 2) by nitehawk214 on Wednesday January 28 2015, @02:35PM

      by nitehawk214 (1304) on Wednesday January 28 2015, @02:35PM (#138868)

      Not wasted, its an investment. For a mere 1 billion dollars, the Koch brothers hope to buy the office of the most powerful person in the world. Think of how much money they will make.

      As any investment, there is some risk. They might not win. If they were smart, they would invest this money in such a way to make people more sympathetic to their cause for the next election.

      But instead giant assholes like the Koch brothers, Karl Rove and the entirety of Fox News makes me even less likely to vote Republican than I did for the past 3 elections.

      --
      "Don't you ever miss the days when you used to be nostalgic?" -Loiosh
      • (Score: 2) by jmorris on Wednesday January 28 2015, @05:42PM

        by jmorris (4844) on Wednesday January 28 2015, @05:42PM (#138961)

        But instead giant assholes like the Koch brothers, Karl Rove and the entirety of Fox News makes me even less likely to vote Republican than I did for the past 3 elections.

        Lemme guess, you haven't ever voted Republican and never will. You object not at all to the larger (yes, go look it up) political contributions of George Soros, Tom Steyer, NBC News, the NYT, pretty much every empty headed speaker of lines written by other people in Hollywierd and so on offend you not at all. Your position can be summed up as "I want everyone who I don't like to be forced to STFU."

        The only 'Campaign Finance Law' we need is the 1st Amendment. "Congress shall make NO law...."

        Back in '08 I wanted John McCain (infamous for McCain/Feingold) to come near enough to make it practical to drive to one of his events and hope to get in one question. "What part of 'Congress shall make NO law' are you having trouble understanding? English Motherf*cker, do you speak it?"

        • (Score: 2) by nitehawk214 on Wednesday January 28 2015, @07:57PM

          by nitehawk214 (1304) on Wednesday January 28 2015, @07:57PM (#138992)

          I live in an area that is so overwhelmingly democrat (for national elections, anyhow) that I feel fine voting for whatever 3rd party candidate. On the local level, where I think votes matter more and party matters less, I only vote in races where I know something about at least one of the candidates, and I am more likely to vote for the Republican. Of course the straight-ticket voters will manage to fuck things up anyhow.

          I don't understand your point about "Congress shall make NO law". So you would rather the system allow any amount of campaign money to be spent any way they want? With SuperPACs that is effectively what we have today.

          Hell I would be totally fine with people spending whatever they want on campaigns if people were not stupid enough to fall for the standard political campaign lies.

          --
          "Don't you ever miss the days when you used to be nostalgic?" -Loiosh
          • (Score: 2) by jmorris on Thursday January 29 2015, @05:26PM

            by jmorris (4844) on Thursday January 29 2015, @05:26PM (#139227)

            It would beat the current system. Listen to the news and think. They are evaluating the Republican field (there really isn't any discussion on the other side yet) almost entirely in terms of whether they can raise the fifty mil or so 'required' to even get into the game and survive the Iowa Caucuses. With the max contribution limit it means an endless series of meetings with donors, bundlers and the money chase. Not policy speeches, building a ground operation, shaking babies and kissing hands (oh, that isn't right...) or anything we associate with 'campaigning.' I say it would be far better if a leader could just find a couple of megadonors who could just write a ten million dollar check.

            And you can disagree. So long as neither of us use the State to impose our policy choice by force you remain free to deeply suspect a candidate who did such a thing and prefer one funded by twenty thousand millionaires.

            And if enough voters made knowing who the donors were a voting issue they would post the list on their website, otherwise not. I used to be in the unlimited donations with instant full disclosure camp. After the Brendan Eich incident and the harassment of a waitress from her job for a lousy $100 donation, I dropped the idea of mandatory disclosure. There is a valid and compelling reason for donors to sometimes want to remain private.

            • (Score: 2) by nitehawk214 on Thursday January 29 2015, @07:49PM

              by nitehawk214 (1304) on Thursday January 29 2015, @07:49PM (#139266)

              I see what you are saying. What you are proposing would not make things any worse. But I am not convinced this will change corruption. Already candidates pander to high value donors, in order to get money to fund advertisements to win over the masses of votes actually needed.

              You are totally right in the system today is entirely silly and needs to change. When I worked for a megacorp I remember getting these emails from corporate begging all employees to donate the maximum to their corporate SuperPAC fund so they could bribe people or whatever it is they did with it. I found it completely insane that anyone other than the CXX level people would put their own money into this.

              If people were not so easily swayed by the advertisements, then it would not matter how much money a candidate spends. I know ranting at the plebs for being idiots is pointless, but... well...

              The thing I am sick of is that the money has become more important than the platform. At the rate we are going the presidency simply goes to the person that spent the most.

              --
              "Don't you ever miss the days when you used to be nostalgic?" -Loiosh
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 28 2015, @09:46PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 28 2015, @09:46PM (#139022)

          But instead giant assholes like the Koch brothers, Karl Rove and the entirety of Fox News makes me even less likely to vote Republican than I did for the past 3 elections.

          Lemme guess, you haven't ever voted Republican and never will.

          Well, I don't speak for nitehawk but I largely agree with him. And, yes, I have voted Republican in past elections. I can't tell you how much contempt I have for people who so brazenly try to buy an election, no matter which side of the aisle they sit on. Frankly, I'm not sure how to solve this problem but I do think that the Koch brothers, Karl Rove, et al could put their money to better use than buying elections.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by GungnirSniper on Wednesday January 28 2015, @06:06AM

    by GungnirSniper (1671) on Wednesday January 28 2015, @06:06AM (#138770) Journal

    Maybe if we had a functional multi-party system rather than two entrenched parties, money wouldn't matter quite as much. If you want to get anything done, you have to go through one of them. Both have their mega-donors, the only difference seems to be the Koch Brothers' target figure is now public.

    • (Score: 2) by keplr on Wednesday January 28 2015, @06:21AM

      by keplr (2104) on Wednesday January 28 2015, @06:21AM (#138772) Journal

      I did the first half of my undergrad work thinking polisci was the shit hot major to be in for understanding the world. I eventually realized Evo-devo was ;) . We had it hammered into us that first past the post single member plurality districts mathematically assures this outcome of two parties. You won't change it until the underlying system changes. Two parties is the only demographically/politically stable system given our current rules.

      --
      I don't respond to ACs.
      • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Wednesday January 28 2015, @07:27AM

        by maxwell demon (1608) on Wednesday January 28 2015, @07:27AM (#138784) Journal

        OK, I was able to decipher "polisci". But WTF is "Evo-devo"?

        --
        The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
        • (Score: 2) by keplr on Wednesday January 28 2015, @07:50AM

          by keplr (2104) on Wednesday January 28 2015, @07:50AM (#138792) Journal

          It's short for Evolutionary Developmental Biology.

          --
          I don't respond to ACs.
          • (Score: 2) by nitehawk214 on Wednesday January 28 2015, @02:36PM

            by nitehawk214 (1304) on Wednesday January 28 2015, @02:36PM (#138871)

            So... same thing. :)

            --
            "Don't you ever miss the days when you used to be nostalgic?" -Loiosh
      • (Score: 2) by nitehawk214 on Wednesday January 28 2015, @02:53PM

        by nitehawk214 (1304) on Wednesday January 28 2015, @02:53PM (#138881)

        Between first past the post and gerrymandering, the political system in the USA is fixed for pretty much ever. The only people with the ability to change those things are the people that are being kept in power by those things.

        --
        "Don't you ever miss the days when you used to be nostalgic?" -Loiosh
        • (Score: 2) by JeanCroix on Wednesday January 28 2015, @04:07PM

          by JeanCroix (573) on Wednesday January 28 2015, @04:07PM (#138930)
          Yep. To put it into engineering terms, the system has reached its steady state.
          • (Score: 2) by jmorris on Wednesday January 28 2015, @05:58PM

            by jmorris (4844) on Wednesday January 28 2015, @05:58PM (#138965)

            Only if you make one key assumption, that the voting public is a fixed and known quantity.

            You are correct that simply spending Sagan's on a candidate or single issue quickly hits limits. But a dedicated, longterm effort to change the voters does work. The Enemy has demonstrated this through several paths.

            Voters can remove elected officials but the elected officials realized they can import a new electorate. That was one of the stated goals of the throwing open of the border back in the post WWII era. If you haven't been in Plato's Cave the last decade you have seen a Democratic operative or media host (BIRM) cackle with glee over the 'demographic disaster' the Republicans find themselves in and RINOs running in terror trying to outpander for the Hispanic (read Mexican) vote. This was not a happy accident.

            If you seize the education system you can pretty much rewrite the rules of what is politically possible in a generation. See current reality.

            If you control the mass media (news and entertainment) you can set the very language of debate, what topics are even 'legitimate' and shape public opinion. See current reality.

            If the Koch Brothers were smart they would be embarking on a long term project to change the system where the actual levers of power reside.

    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Wednesday January 28 2015, @06:38AM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday January 28 2015, @06:38AM (#138776) Journal

      Well there's always George Soros, and all the billions he poured into Democratic campaigns. Its odd now that the big money is on the other side the left is all up in arms.

      But I really doubt that a multi party system would bring costs down. There would be more pockets to line. More advertising to buy, etc. I really don't think you can compare it to an multi-party Euro country who are used to coalition governments. The US hasn't seen that kind of government since forever. We've no experience in dealing that way at the federal level. (Although it works on some state legislatures, its not common and the little parties are swept away when big money sees an opening.

      As long as there are two big players in the ring, the little parties are going to have a tough time amassing a following, because on or the other of the big parties will simply adopt enough of the small party's talking points such that their followers will jump on the band wagon for the closest big party. We've seen this time and time again.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 2) by aristarchus on Wednesday January 28 2015, @07:34AM

        by aristarchus (2645) on Wednesday January 28 2015, @07:34AM (#138787) Journal

        Yes, there is always George Soros.

        Well there's always George Soros, and all the billions he poured into Democratic campaigns. Its odd now that the big money is on the other side the left is all up in arms.

        Did you get this off Fox (alleged) News? Citation, please! And why pick on George? What about all those other Democrat billionaires? Big money has always been on the right of the political spectrum, because they are that side of the political spectrum! The Koch brothers, however, are different because they are the wacko right, the TEA party wing Dick Armey created, and they are sons of one of the founders of the John Birch Society, so it is not how much money they are throwing around, it is to whom they are throwing it. All courtesy of the Citizens United decision of the Supreme Court of the United States

        --
        Someone please explain to Hemo that my AC posts never get moderated because no one understands them. (Stolen AC sig. )
        • (Score: 2) by VLM on Wednesday January 28 2015, @12:32PM

          by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday January 28 2015, @12:32PM (#138832)

          This link (admittedly half a decade old) shows its more like millions not billions, at least up to that point, and there is or used to be a huge difference in how they donated money so they were not strictly apples to apples comparison.

          http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2010/09/opensecrets-battle-koch-brothers/ [opensecrets.org]

          One thing I don't really understand is most americans don't make a choice and that number is collapsing every year, looking at measures of extreme-ism and party affiliation. Much like the collapse of rome where everybody belonged to the blues or the greens. Anyway the point I'm making is superficially the number of voters who make a decision has declined from like 20% of voters who are 50% of the population, to something like 5% of voters who are 50% of the population. However rather than expenses going down because there's 1/4 as many important voters, the expenses seem to have gone up by a factor of 10x or so. That means they're paying about 40x as much per vote compared to years ago.

          What I mean by americans who don't make a choice, or voters who don't matter, is not just the half or so who outright don't vote, but only 5% to 20% are swing voters, and they're the only voters who matter. The sheeple who would vote for a donkey if it were nominated are politically neutered and don't matter because their votes are already owned.

          • (Score: 2) by VLM on Wednesday January 28 2015, @12:51PM

            by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday January 28 2015, @12:51PM (#138836)

            Anyway the point I'm making is superficially the number of voters who make a decision has declined from like 20% of voters who are 50% of the population, to something like 5% of voters who are 50% of the population.

            WRT the exact percentages, I think these are pretty accurate, although the pew research link claims a decline from 1/3 to 1/4, the problem is its self reported. So the guy who calls himself a swing voter but always votes for the X party really isn't a swing voter. So I have a strong upper bound based on statistical research, but how much lower reality is from that strong upper boundary is unclear. Unless someone finds a better link to statistical results.

          • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Wednesday January 28 2015, @04:57PM

            by Phoenix666 (552) on Wednesday January 28 2015, @04:57PM (#138950) Journal

            When you realize that no matter whom you vote for, nothing changes, then you're closer to the actual reality in this country and this world. The corporate media is gearing up to present us with part 3 of Clinton vs. Bush, without the slightest acknowledgement that the public is sick to death of this series. It doesn't matter which of them wins. Everyone will lose, because the whole will dissolve in chaos and fire. That might be stayed if the secular equivalent of Pope Francis were elected, but we all, Right and Left, know that won't ever, ever happen.

            --
            Washington DC delenda est.
        • (Score: 2) by Alfred on Wednesday January 28 2015, @06:08PM

          by Alfred (4006) on Wednesday January 28 2015, @06:08PM (#138966) Journal
          Go work in communist Russia, get off the main streets, observe the living conditions of fellow humans produced by the country and then see how your political thoughts are affected.
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 28 2015, @06:48PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 28 2015, @06:48PM (#138976)

            Um, Dude, Russia is no longer Communist, hasn't been for like 26 years. Please try to keep up with current events, even if they are already in the near historical past.

            • (Score: 2, Informative) by t-3 on Wednesday January 28 2015, @07:40PM

              by t-3 (4907) on Wednesday January 28 2015, @07:40PM (#138985) Journal

              Russia was never Communist. They called themselves communist, now they're a little more honest about it.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 28 2015, @11:17AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 28 2015, @11:17AM (#138825)

        Well there's always George Soros, and all the billions he poured into Democratic campaigns. Its odd now that the big money is on the other side the left is all up in arms.

        If that is the case, I would say its something like the steroids use in baseball - so many people are already doing it that if you don't, you don't even stand a chance. It still doesn't make it right and it should not be acceptable.

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by hemocyanin on Wednesday January 28 2015, @04:41PM

        by hemocyanin (186) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday January 28 2015, @04:41PM (#138945) Journal

        For fuck's sake, DO NOT CALL DEMOCRATS LEFTIES. They are the Right-wing, pro-war, pro-surveillance, pro-WallStreet party that favors abortion and gay marriage.

        • (Score: 2) by GreatAuntAnesthesia on Wednesday January 28 2015, @09:41PM

          by GreatAuntAnesthesia (3275) on Wednesday January 28 2015, @09:41PM (#139018) Journal

          Yup. And even if they weren't pro-all-that-stuff, they'd still way to the right of what the rest of the world calls 'left'.

          Didn't reralise favouring abortion was a left/right thing, I always assumed it was a big issue in the states because of religion.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 28 2015, @08:21AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 28 2015, @08:21AM (#138797)

    One dollar, one vote.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 28 2015, @08:36AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 28 2015, @08:36AM (#138804)

      There is about 146,000,000* registered voters, so it is more like six dollars, one vote. That would make a pretty good unit of measure. Earning 6,000 USD would be paid as one KiloKoch. Alternatively we could pass out pins on election day that says "I put my six dollars of Koch in!"

      * http://www.statisticbrain.com/voting-statistics/ [statisticbrain.com]

      • (Score: 2) by aristarchus on Wednesday January 28 2015, @08:54AM

        by aristarchus (2645) on Wednesday January 28 2015, @08:54AM (#138807) Journal

        Someone has updated the math:

        In that case, the two Koch brothers intend to spend an average of $8.99 per voter. Which is an ironic number, because it follows the time-honored convention among merchants to make their products seem cheaper than they actually are. Hence, instead of sounding like the cost per voter of buying an election, $8.99 sounds like the price of a pound of steak at your local grocer. Appropriate, in that these billionaires are effectively planning to turn American democracy into ground meat.

        So welcome to the Koch Brothers Political Butcher Shop. But be careful, because the Koch minions likely will have added polluted water and chemical fillers to that ideological Kochburger they are working hard to get you to eat. Worse, after the election they likely will decide to put most of you through their voracious meatgrinder, too. Yes, it's true: Soylent Koch is people!

        http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/01/27/1360575/--8-99-In-the-United-Satrapy-of-the-Koch-Brothers-your-vote-is-worth-that-much [dailykos.com]

        --
        Someone please explain to Hemo that my AC posts never get moderated because no one understands them. (Stolen AC sig. )
        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by VLM on Wednesday January 28 2015, @12:44PM

          by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday January 28 2015, @12:44PM (#138834)

          That article seems fairly ignorant in that the money they spend isn't going to be piled up and burned like a religious offering, its going to be blown on advertising and purchased media, and god help us, paid political astroturfers on the internet. The article has a fit that the money is being spent on employed, educated, mostly white male people instead of minorities. I'm not personally agonized by that.

          The other ignorant part of the article is only 1 in 4 voters matter, down from 1 in 3 a couple years back. So its more like $32 per important voter.

          http://www.pewresearch.org/daily-number/percentage-of-swing-voters-declines-compared-to-four-years-ago/ [pewresearch.org]

          There's no point in spending money to either convince blacks to vote for democrats (they are going to no matter what) or try to convince blacks to vote for republicans (they are not going to no matter what). So that groups concerns and interests are completely and utterly ignored. Their votes are owned, completely, so they can be marginalized. In a similar way there's a quisling bubba living nearby me who had a giant W flag on his garage door and all the usual brownshirt stuff on his lawn (signs etc) so again theres no point in anyone on either side spending a penny on that guy or even pretending to care about his interests, he's going to vote R no matter what and no matter how much is spent. The swing voters are the only voters who matter.

          Its interesting that the propaganda campaign for decades is we can't be angry at our evil overlords because we selected them, although the reality is only about an eighth of the population decides the election, and the other 7/8ths of the population do not matter to the selection process.

          • (Score: 2) by ticho on Wednesday January 28 2015, @01:06PM

            by ticho (89) on Wednesday January 28 2015, @01:06PM (#138840) Homepage Journal

            "That article seems fairly ignorant in that the money they spend isn't going to be piled up and burned like a religious offering, its going to be blown on advertising and purchased media, and god help us, paid political astroturfers on the internet. The article has a fit that the money is being spent on employed, educated, mostly white male people instead of minorities. I'm not personally agonized by that."

            No, I'm sorry, but you do not get to spin it like this. The money is not spent on these people (as in, these people will not benefit from said spending), it is being spend to annoy these people. In the end, I'd say that effect of this is more harmful than if the money was physically piled up and burned.

            • (Score: 2) by VLM on Wednesday January 28 2015, @01:20PM

              by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday January 28 2015, @01:20PM (#138844)

              I meant the employees at the TV station, advertising execs, webmasters, etc, not so much the unfortunate spam recipients. The article seemed to be having a fit that the money was not going to pay the salary of social workers and community organizers.

              Although you are correct, regardless of who's getting employment out of the propaganda machine, its basically a public nuisance noise generator.

              • (Score: 2) by ticho on Wednesday January 28 2015, @02:53PM

                by ticho (89) on Wednesday January 28 2015, @02:53PM (#138880) Homepage Journal

                Ah, yes, when you put it that way, your point does make sense. :) Thanks.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 28 2015, @01:51PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 28 2015, @01:51PM (#138856)

            While the point about swing voters makes sense for the general election, the primaries are unlikely to appear as pre-decided, although fewer people vote in them. While not a fix for the broken two party system in the US, the primaries do serve to make things a bit more interesting and decide which ideas supported by each party get more weight. (Don't worry, ideas that help the American people in general like, say, reforming the way elections are run aren't likely to be supported by either party.)

          • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Wednesday January 28 2015, @05:15PM

            by Phoenix666 (552) on Wednesday January 28 2015, @05:15PM (#138955) Journal

            VLM, for me you are the canary in the coal mine for the legitimacy, or perceived legitimacy, of this system. You're not ethnically or racially or demographically or whatever pre-disposed to disbelieve the conventional wisdom in the United States. But you're intelligent and skilled and you're just not buying it anymore.

            Me, I'm descended from the people who stuck with George Washington at Valley Forge because they just really, really fucking hated the English. I am disposed on a genetic level to despise blue-blood pretenders. So it stands to reason that somebody like me reflexively hates and distrusts the kind of people who run this system now. When they lose somebody like you, the reasonable, sober, non-partisan guys like you, it's a different ballgame.

            Guys like me will always be ornery. We can't help it. But when guys like you get fed up, the world changes.

            --
            Washington DC delenda est.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 28 2015, @02:34PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 28 2015, @02:34PM (#138867)

    A parody of democracy.-Ignacio Agulló

  • (Score: 2) by digitalaudiorock on Wednesday January 28 2015, @03:34PM

    by digitalaudiorock (688) on Wednesday January 28 2015, @03:34PM (#138911)

    The way things are shaping up, you could almost consider this an entertainment budget [wonkette.com]. :D

  • (Score: 1) by Natales on Wednesday January 28 2015, @03:36PM

    by Natales (2163) on Wednesday January 28 2015, @03:36PM (#138912)

    This is a truly sad state of affairs for the US. Once a beacon for democracy, the influx of such massive amounts of money have began to corrupt the entire system from the inside out. Special interests money is making it even into tiny local School Board elections. Now, imagine what $889M can do to swing opinions. Heck, you don't need to focus on the entire country either, just pour that money on the swing states and you can effectively buy a presidency.

    IMHO, one of the best principles of the foundation of this country was the separation of church and state. We are getting to the point where a constitutional amendment of the same caliber gets enacted: the separation between money and state. But it's a chicken and egg problem. It won't ever pass since the people who can put that forward are already slaves of the same system.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 28 2015, @09:32PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 28 2015, @09:32PM (#139013)

      American politicians stand up for the basic principles of the market economy: the best offer gets to inform them of their opinions.

  • (Score: 2) by EQ on Thursday January 29 2015, @01:49AM

    by EQ (1716) on Thursday January 29 2015, @01:49AM (#139076)

    Its both parties. Go look at the numbers. From Open Secrets list of top individual donors [opensecrets.org], the Kochs don't break the top ten. In fact the top sp[ender is "Steyer, Thomas & F. & Kathryn Ann. Fahr LLC/Tom Steyer". 100% given to liberal/Democrat causes and candidates. Second? Bloomberg, Michael R., again 100% to Liberal/Democrat. But after these, the list is pretty much split. So limiting them limits both sides.

    So, look at organizations? Open Secrets has a list of top organizations [opensecrets.org] too. All but 2 (numbers 6 and 8) of the top 10 are overwhelmingly funding "to Dems and Liberals". So limiting them limits both sides but liberals more than conservatives.

    OK look at "SuperPACS"s as the article suggests? Here you go [opensecrets.org]. Of the top 20, 11 are Liberal, including the top 2. A Koch associated group comes in at #3 ($28M) less than a 1/3 fund raised compared to the top fund raising outside group, "Next Gen Climate Action"($77M). So limiting SuperPacs actually hits the liberals/progressives just as hard as conservatives.

    A bit of context goes a long way to illuminate the inherent but tacit bias in the article.

    Concerned about the effects of money on politics? So is anyone with a working brain. But outside of empowering the government to curtail the right to spend your money as you wish, including on political speech, there is not a workable solution other than complete and utter transparency - to do so in almost any manner entails a loss of liberty. Muzzle the Kochs and their libertarian voice? If you do that, you'll also end up muzzling the liberals too (c.f. donors and organizations above, largely liberals), and expanding governmental control of political speech in the process. Choose your bête noire, be it the Koch brothers, or George Soros. Liberals/Progressives, think about having conservatives in control of who gets to speak, and how much. Conservatives, same for you - when the Liberals/Progressives are in charge. Its bad either way.

    The solution may be something closer to a "joke" my dad loves to use about passing a law requiring politicians to dress like like racing cars/drivers, with logos and patches from their "sponsors" all over them, so you know just who is giving them money each and every time you see them.

    As for the article? Pretty much political spin, straight from a political organization pushing this on the gullible (and left-leaning) media - and mainly it is clickbait.

  • (Score: 2) by EQ on Thursday January 29 2015, @01:52AM

    by EQ (1716) on Thursday January 29 2015, @01:52AM (#139077)

    Argh - I correcte the $PAC figure fro the top one, but forgot to edit the "1/3" to "1/2". Mea culpa.

  • (Score: 1) by mgcarley on Thursday January 29 2015, @06:06PM

    by mgcarley (2753) on Thursday January 29 2015, @06:06PM (#139236) Homepage

    This shouldn't be allowed. Period.

    --
    Founder & COO, Hayai. We're in India (hayai.in) & the USA (hayaibroadband.com) // Twitter: @mgcarley