Silver Parachutes and Super Pacs

In the blockbuster dystopian movie and novel The Hunger Games, when contestants are near death, wealthty sponsors are allowed to intervene by sending a silver parachute containing the life-giving substance they need to survive long enough to kill others. These powerful sponsors watch the bloody show stealthily from the sidelines until they are moved to use their wealth and power to save or waste lives. They play God.

In politics, we now have a remarkably similar system. The contemporary silver parachutes contain hundreds of millions of dollars in messaging for candidates near death. The sponsors are stealthy puppeteers possessing the power of political life and death. We call them Super PACs and 527 groups.

In Minnesota, gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer had a 527 group funded by Target, Best Buy and other corporations spending millions to fund his anti-gay crusade.

Nationally, Newt Gingrich has been near death countless times during the Republican primaries. But timely life-giving silver parachutes keep arriving from a billionaire Super PAC pupetteer, allowing Newt to continue to bloody his opponents.

Now, Mitt Romney, staggering from wounds inflicted largely by fellow conservatives and himself, has a D-Dayesque number of Super PAC silver parachutes lofting into his lap. This morning’s news advises that as much as $200 million in Super PAC money will be arriving to heal what ails him. The size of that number had me choking on my Cheerios. The money, a consultant cooly explains, will be used to “dislodge voters” from Barrack Obama.

President Obama will also have his own silver parachutes arriving to do his own “dislodging.”

A handful of powerful sponsors playing God in a game where lives are saved and lost. There are many problems here. The lack of limits. The lack of disclosure. The granting of individual rights to corporations.

Lord Acton warned, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” The silver parachutes possessed by a relatively small club of powerful sponsors are drowning out the voices of those who are supposed to have an equal voice in a democracy. Are the silver parachutes corrupting? Absolutely.

- Loveland

16 Responses

  1. It’s unfortunate. If Dayton had taken money from wealthy benefactors and PACs he may have had a shot at defeating Emmer.

  2. Where is Tom Emmer now? Still talking away on some obscure radio frequency? Wonder if he will get a nice sinecure like Ole Norm got, with a think tank to run?

    Maybe he simply didn’t have enough time in a powerful enough position to gather sufficient wealthy and influential friends to guarantee himself a nice secure retirement from government job.

  3. By the way, if you want to escape SRC escapism, The Hunger Games is a pretty entertaining read and watch — http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_hunger_games/.

    • Haven’t seen the movie, but loved the books.

      • I mostly liked the movie. Didn’t like casting Donald Sutherland as President Snow though. Snow needed to be creepy slick with too much plastic surgery. Sutherland can play a villain, but not that villain.

  4. Now, Joe. Target, Best Buy and the rest funded Emmer’s anti-tax crusade. Funding his anti-gay crusade was an unintended consequence – an issue they almost certainly didn’t give a damn about.

    • True enough, Bob. But if the end result of Target and Best Buy buying Emmer the guber office is less rights for you, or people you care about, the end result is what matters.

      When you buy Emmer, you buy the whole package, gay bashing and all. Politicians aren’t available on an a la carte basis.

  5. Unions are still by far the largest PAC contributors to campaigns. Why does Joe ignore this fact?

    By the way, are unions “people”?

    • Liberal talker Thom Hartman explains this well:

      A union, as an institution, is an aggregate of sorts; it’s an aggregate of actual human beings who have constitutional rights to free speech. There is no conflict between our right to hear a union’s message and our right to free speech.

      A corporation on the other hand is a legally defined entity, fundamentally it is not an aggregation of people. It is a legal fiction which determines the parameters within which those who control the corporation may operate. Our right to hear their message is in conflict with our right to free speech, and the latter is guaranteed to us under the constitution. Our “right to hear” could be said to flow from our right to speak; but our right to hear whom? A legal fiction or other citizen’s? Our right to hear is threatened when rights are granted to legal fictions (far less democratic than unions in their internal operating structure), which, cleverly disguised as it is, is what the Citizen’s United decision does by denying these non-citizen legal fictions the role of speaker equivalent to that of a citizen in order to make impossible any restriction on the speech of these non-citizen, legal fiction entities we call corporations.

      No one is arguing for a blanket censure of speech through organizations and institutions, including corporations. But our right to hear does not guarantee others the right to participate in the process of elections in any manner they choose, nor is the former lost through the denial of the latter. If the logic of the Citizen’s United decision were applied generally to all rights, enumerated in the Constitution or otherwise, no laws or regulations at all would be constitutional. The end result, the endgame of this line of thinking, is of course post-fascism, the abrogation the legal and political system we “enjoy” today in favor total domination at the hand of the corporate state, rule by the corporate oligarchy. “Libertarian” Goebbels-type propoganda notwithstanding.

  6. And a very flimsy explanation indeed. There is no such thing as a “right to hear.”

    We also know how tolerant union bosses are of members who express their individual right to free speech, or who wish not to pay union dues in order to hold a job.

    • I’ll tell you one thing, the oppressed masses at Loveland Communications need to rise up. Our owner is an ass.

    • Newt: Actually, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right of people to receive information in the landmark 1980 case Richmond v. Virginia.

  7. You can’t make up this shit!

    Warren Buffett’s Company NetJets Sued For Millions In Unpaid Taxes

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/27/warren-buffett-netjets-taxes_n_1382591.html

  8. I nominate Hillary Rosen for Obama spokesperson. Keep up the great work, Hillary!

  9. Waiting for Newt to start playing Etch-a-Sketch with this!

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