Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Dear Mr. Buffett...

...I assume you've read the papers. Maybe even watched Rachel Maddow? And now you know the election results in Wisconsin. And, like everyone else, you also know what we all suspected: in the post-Citizens United world, money talks, democracy walks. 

So, let's take a look at the numbers: The Scott Walker campaign raised $30.5 million--66% of which came from outside groups. Tom Barrett raised on 1/8 of that, or $3.9 million, only 26% of which came from out-of-state donors.
Source: Rachel Maddow show from June 5, 2012
So, as a numbers guy, you know that an 8:1 disadvantage in spending are not good odds for defeating a union-busting, plutocratic candidate like Walker. Advertisements don't have to be true, they just have to be effective at scaring people, and in this particular election, those advertisements won.

But it doesn't end there, it just gets worse. Because Wisconsin is the model for all elections going forward in 2012. And the big-money folks--Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS and the Koch Brothers's various organizations--are planning to spend upwards of $1 billion to unseat President Obama and install extremist republicans throughout the country. According to Politico:
Republican super PACs and other outside groups shaped by a loose network of prominent conservatives – including Karl Rove, the Koch brothers and Tom Donohue of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – plan to spend roughly $1 billion on November’s elections for the White House and control of Congress, according to officials familiar with the groups’ internal operations. 
That total includes previously undisclosed plans for newly aggressive spending by the Koch brothers, who are steering funding to build sophisticated, county-by-county operations in key states. 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. And the $1 billion total surpasses the $750 million that Barack Obama, one of the most prolific fundraisers ever, collected for his 2008 campaign.
"The Republican financial plans are unlike anything seen before in American politics. If the GOP groups hit their targets, they likely could outspend their liberal adversaries by at least two-to-one, according to officials involved in the budgeting for outside groups on the right and left."

But it doesn't end there, either. Add in the initiatives to disenfranchise voters in Florida and other states, under the incredibly ironic guise of preventing voter fraud, and you've got a country being threatened with takeover by the extreme right, bought and paid for by their plutocratic bosses. This country that's under attack? That's the same country that helped make you a very wealthy man, indeed. And if it's up the far right, only the wealthy will have a say in what goes on in this country.

SuperPACs are a scourge. Now, there are a few initiatives out there to undo the Citizens United ruling, such as the Fair Elections Act, which would publicly finance elections, and the DISCLOSE Act, but good luck getting those through this divided congress and even if they could be passed, there's just very little time for them to be implemented before the Fall elections. Stephen Colbert made good fun of them and the ridiculously lax rules required to run them "separate" from their intended beneficiaries. Complaining that they're terrible things isn't going to help bring balance to the political system. However, there's something that might be a short-term fix: Create and fund the Buffet Rule SuperPAC.

I know that you said last month that you won't fund SuperPACs because you "don't want to see democracy go in that direction." I think it's safe to say that no one who believes in true democracy does. But the sad fact is that thanks to the Bush-installed Supreme Court and their Citizens United ruling, that's the reality we face today. Like it or not, by staying on the sidelines, extremists will take over the country that has helped make you so successful. But if they have their way, it'll only be a country of, by, and for super wealthy people like you. Ironically, you need to use your wealth to stop that from happening

Please reconsider your stance on funding SuperPACs. Without it, we can pretty much kiss democracy as we know it, goodbye.



PS. Many of us are going to do our part through the "Sell your shit to get rid of Mitt" initiative! :D

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