Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Mouthpiece for huge politically influential corporate oligarchy complains about huge politically influential corporate oligarchies

New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow has an essay decrying voter I.D. laws and the political influence of huge corporations.


First, there’s the specter of the oligarchy lingering over this election, which disproportionately benefits Republicans. According to a report by Senator Bernard Sanders of Vermont, “So far this year, 26 billionaires have donated more than $61 million to super PACs, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. And that’s only what has been publicly disclosed.” That didn’t include “about $100 million that Sheldon Adelson has said that he is willing to spend to defeat President Obama; or the $400 million that the Koch brothers have pledged to spend during the 2012 election season.” 
During a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing on Tuesday, Sanders put it this way: “What the Supreme Court did in Citizens United is to say to these same billionaires and the corporations they control: ‘You own and control the economy; you own Wall Street; you own the coal companies; you own the oil companies. Now, for a very small percentage of your wealth, we’re going to give you the opportunity to own the United States government.’ ”

It's not true that Mr. Blow lent his name to coin the word 'bloviate', but the belief is understandable.

Mr. Blow writes for the New York Times Corporation, a 150 year-old media empire ("oligarchy" wouldn't do it justice) with total assets of $3.286 billion and annual revenues of $2.393 billion.

Here is a list of the assets the Times owns:

Newspapers and radio 

New York Times Media Group
New York Times' marquee newspapers.
International Herald Tribune of Paris, FranceThe New York Times of New York City[edit]New England Media Group
Two of the three largest-circulation newspapers in Massachusetts, purchased in 1993 (Boston) and 1999 (Worcester). This group also includes boston.com.
The Boston Globe of Boston, MassachusettsTelegram & Gazette of Worcester, Massachusetts[edit]Former assets
[edit]Regional Media Group
Thirteen dailies and one weekly newspaper primarily in the Southern United States, including titles in Alabama, California, Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina and South Carolina.
The Gadsden Times of Gadsden, AlabamaThe Tuscaloosa News of Tuscaloosa, AlabamaPetaluma Argus-Courier of Petaluma, California (weekly)
The Press Democrat of Santa Rosa, CaliforniaThe Gainesville Sun of Gainesville, FloridaThe Ledger of Lakeland, FloridaSarasota Herald-Tribune of Sarasota, FloridaStar-Banner of Ocala, FloridaThe Courier of Houma, LouisianaThe Daily Comet of Thibodaux, LouisianaThe Dispatch of Lexington, North CarolinaTimes-News of Hendersonville, North CarolinaThe Star-News of Wilmington, North CarolinaSpartanburg Herald-Journal of Spartanburg, South Carolina[edit]Joint ventures
Fenway Sports Group (7%)
Boston Red SoxFenway ParkLiverpool Football ClubFenway Sports ManagementNew England Sports Network (NESN) (80%)
Roush Fenway Racing (50%)
Donohue Malbaie, Inc. (49%) with Abitibi-ConsolidatedMadison Paper Industries (40%) in Madison, Maine

The New York Times is without question the most politically influential media conglomerate in the world, rivaled only by the BBC.

So to what exactly does Mr. Blow object? Huge rich conglomerates getting involved in politics? It seems he finds it unacceptable that other huge politically influential corporations participate in the political process, especially it seems if the interlopers support Republican causes (something never even mentioned at New York Times' soirees, unless the servants passing the hors d'oeuvres bring it up indiscreetly.)

It seems that a few evil conservative billionaires are exercising their constitutional rights, and Mr. Blow believes that participation in the public sphere is not for the nouveau riche.

Blow scolds 26 billionaires and Sheldon Adelson and the Koch brothers for their Republican political activism. The left is decidedly disadvantaged, funded only via Democrat public relations firms like ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, and MSNBC, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times and the overwhelming majority of print media, Hollywood, all public and private unions, and by poor folks like George Soros, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and tiny organizations like the Tides Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Sierra Club, the Environmental Defense Fund, and on and on.

Blow is not merely angry with political involvement by corporations who don't share his views. He's really steamed at Republican legislatures (with my commentary):

Then, of course, there’s the widespread voter suppression mostly enacted by Republican-led legislatures. 
Actually, we voter suppressors call them 'Voter ID laws'.
According to the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law, at least 180 restrictive voting bills were introduced since the beginning of 2011 in 41 states, and “16 states have passed restrictive voting laws that have the potential to impact the 2012 election” because they “account for 214 electoral votes, or nearly 79 percent of the total needed to win the presidency.” 
Democrats complaining about voter ID laws are like burglars complaining about home alarm systems. Audacious, but understandable.
A provision most likely to disenfranchise voters is a requirement that people show photo identification to vote. 
We need photo ID to do many things, including fly on a plane and enter the headquarters of the New York Times, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, and MSNBC, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, etc., etc. (you get the point).

The Democratic National Convention this year will also require photo-ids.

Why shouldn't voting-- the most important process in our democracy-- require photo id?

Millions of Americans don’t have these forms of ID, and many can’t easily obtain them, even when states say they’ll offer them free, because getting the documentation to obtain the “free” ID takes time and money. 
Some voters won't get ID even if it's free and the state passes them out?

Surely most of these poor people are getting some form of government check for something. That's free and the state passes it out.

And we don't even ask them for ID?
This is a solution in search of a problem. The in-person voter ID requirements only prevent someone from impersonating another voter at the polls, an occurrence that the Brennan Center points out is “more rare than being struck by lightning.” 
"A solution in search of a problem"? Here's a problem. Oh, here too. And here.
The voting rights advocates I’ve talked to don’t resist all ID requirements (though they don’t say they are all necessary, either). They simply say that multiple forms of identification like student ID and Social Security cards should also be accepted, and that alternate ways for people without IDs to vote should be included. Many of these laws don’t allow for such flexibility. 
So change the laws to allow flexibility. But it's outrageous to allow someone to vote if we don't even know who they are.
Make no mistake about it, these requirements are not about the integrity of the vote but rather the disenfranchisement of voters. This is about tilting the table so that more of the marbles roll to the Republican corner. 
We're trying to disenfranchise the dead, people who've already voted 1,937 times today, and Disney characters, mainly.

Asking people for ID is not disenfranchisement of voters. Allowing people to vote illegally, and thus nullify the votes of legal voters, is disenfranchisement of voters.
Look at it this way: We have been moving toward wider voter participation for a century. States began to issue driver’s licenses more than a century ago and began to include photos on those licenses decades ago. Yet, as the Brennan Center points out, “prior to the 2006 election, no state required its voters to show government-issued photo ID at the polls (or elsewhere) in order to vote.” 
And there's been an epidemic of fraud.
Furthermore, most voter laws have emerged in the last two years. What is the difference between previous decades and today?
We found out about the fraud. We're fighting back.
The election of Barack Obama.
Oh. We're racists. Sorry.
It is no coincidence that some of the people least likely to have proper IDs to vote are the ones that generally vote Democratic and were strong supporters of Obama last election: young people, the poor and minorities. 
And the dead and Disney characters, who form the fourth and fifth legs of the Democrat base.
Republicans are leveraging the deep pockets of anti-Obama billionaires and sinister voter suppression tactics that harken back to Jim Crow to wrest power from the hands of docile Democrats. 
Blow is confused. Jim Crow laws didn't "wrest power from docile Democrats".

Democrats-- the party of slavery, the KKK, segregation, and black voter suppression-- wrote the Jim Crow laws, to protect Democrat hegemony. Jim Crow the legal structure enforced by the Democrat party (Mr. Blow's party) in the only part of the country that was solid Democrat (the South) for a century.

Most blacks in the Jim Crow South were Republicans.

Now Democrats are opposing voter ID laws, implicitly advocating the suppression of legal voters, to protect Democrat hegemony and steal elections from Republicans

Just like before.

The Democratic Party has a strong sense of tradition.



  1. In 2008, Barack Obama was the best funded candidate in the history of electoral politics. That's not a big surprise. The race for president of the United States is the biggest race in the world, and the cost goes up every four years. In other words, it's quite normal for the price of a presidential campaign to break the record set during the previous election year.

    But still, Obama wasn't some poor pauper who won by shear force of his personality. He was a well funded machine. And most of that money came from big corporations: Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Citigroup, Google, etc.

    Money in politics isn't really a good thing, but it is a neccessary evil. But for Democrats, only their opponents' money is evil, never neccessary.


  2. The Acorn voter registration fraud was all self-reported. When you pay people to register voters by the number of registrations they obtain, it’s not surprising that you get a couple of idiots who think the can make an easy buck by submitting a Disney character or two. Acorn was the one disqualifying and reporting those registrations. It’s not voting fraud until “Bart Simpson” or “Iron Man” actually shows up to vote. The actual number of bona fide voter fraud cases is vanishingly small, and the Perpetrators are just as likely to be Republican as they are Democrat. Claims of voting fraud are simply justifications for disenfranchising Democratic voters.

    I’m all for prosecuting actual cases of voting fraud. Hell, Mitt Romney claimed to live in his son’s unfinished basement in 2010 so he could vote for Scott Brown, let’s start there. (I can’t wait for Obama to bring that up in a debate!)

    Egnor knows better, he is a racist hateful liar who only wants people who look just like him to vote


    1. Playing the race card is all you have, KW.

    2. That and the facts. The race card plays itself when you spread lies to disenfranchise predominantly Black voters.

      I can’t help but notice you rarely challenge any of my assertions of fact. Because you can’t you liar.


    3. Requiring ID to vote is a no-brainer. There are no real arguments against it.

      Your "facts" are crap.

    4. There is no "epidemic" of voter fraud. Voter fraud is vanishingly rare in the U.S. UFO sightings are more common than voter fraud.

  3. "... The Democratic Party has a strong sense of tradition."

    And it surely warms the hearts of all us conservatives to know that some things will never change!

    It used to be said, "There will always be an England". The wise man suspects this saying is not true. But perhaps, in its place, one might say, "There will always be Democratic Party vote fraud"?

  4. http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_politics/june_2011/75_support_showing_photo_id_at_the_polls

  5. People on both sides of the voter ID issue are so full of baloney it's embarrassing.

    On the one hand, in-person voter fraud is so risky and time-consuming and inefficient (no one can get away with pretending to be more than one person at the same location anyway, and so would have to travel to multiple locations on election day, know who's registered to vote where, and vote accordingly) that it's statistically a non-problem.

    On the other, showing ID doesn't "disenfranchise" anyone; I beg you to show me one example of someone who has bothered to register to vote (and will actually show up to do so) but hasn't bothered to get an ID card of some kind (you know - the kind you need to show in order to get a job.) This, too, is a non-issue.

    The reason I oppose this silly law is that it's a waste of time and resources - a solution in search of a problem. True to form, the Two Party Machine is making noise and stirring up controversy about a non-issue so as to distract the public from the real issues that are bleeding the nation of blood and dollars and cultural capital. Party-line Democrats and Republicans are lining up to get drunk on their respective parties' kool-aid and brawl with one another over an issue of less significance than the outcome of a football match.

    -John Henry