By Stephen Goldstein
People are more powerful than all of Sheldon Adelson’s and the Koch Brothers’ money combined. Billionaires may spend gazillions trying to influence public opinion, too often resorting to half-truths and outright lies or funding surrogates that do their bidding.
But, in the end, only people, not dollars, can vote. If enough average voters discover how to see through the barrage of lies and deceptions that engulf them during this, and every, election cycle, people-power can neutralize the effects of the “Citizens United” court ruling before Congress ever does, which is likely to be never.
Here are eight surefire ways to defeat the billionaire-funded bullshit of the 2014 campaign season:
1. Don’t listen to another candidate and incumbent and swear off talk radio and TV until you at least read Howard Zinn’s, “A People’s History of the United States,” my “Dictionary of American Political Bullshit” and James W. Loewen’s “Lies My Teacher Told Me.” Forget all the self-righteous, moral high-road version of U.S. history you may still believe. You will never again be taken in by the talking points and patriotic blather that politicians, their surrogates, and the media elite use to delude you into voting for them and/or candidates of their choice.
2. Do not repeat, forward, retweet, or otherwise distribute information until and unless you have personally verified it. In most cases, that means you’ll probably never pass information along –which is as it should be. These days, disreputable manipulators of public opinion like Karl Rove know they can set a nationwide/international, destructive, verbal chain-reaction in motion in a nanosecond, in part because bad news travels faster than good. Foil them by resisting the urge to “forward.”
3. Become a master tweeter. Twitter is the most powerful forum for the exchange of ideas in the world — and it’s free. Here’s a taste of the power: Suppose you have 100 followers, which isn’t very many, and each of them has merely 100 followers. If all of your followers retweet what you sent them to their 100, you could reach 10,000 people for free. Of course, it’s not going to happen precisely that way. It’s better. You’re likely to have many more than 100 followers, and the same goes for them. Once you have verified information — and only then! — let it rip. Adelson, the Koch Brothers, and their shills won’t know what hit them.
4. Unless you’re as self-deluded (dumb) as Mitt Romney and Eric Cantor and their sycophants, don’t take the results of most polls seriously. Typically, they are biased and border on the fraudulent. Pay attention only to those you know have been conducted scientifically by credible organizations. Be sure you know the wording of the questions that were asked. Never trust the “tell us what you think, we want to hear from you” polls cable TV programs conduct. They are worthless. They couldn’t care what you really think, are only designed to tell advertisers how many viewers they can estimate are watching.
5. Pay no attention to anyone who presumes to make predictions about the course of politics and individual candidates — like MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. He answers his own questions, cares more about what he has to say than his guests’ opinions, and always talks over his guests. His programs have as little gravitas as the bull sessions of congressional staffers who meet on the Hill for drinks at the end of the day. Lawrence O’Donnell is also a serial predictor, who contended that his choice, Tim Pawlenty, would be the GOP’s nominee in 2012, even after Pawlenty withdrew from the race. Pundits are less reliable than the weather report. But if you insist upon following them, protect yourself with a shovel, not an umbrella.
6. If a “live” person calls with a political message or to push a right-wing candidate, keep him on the phone by asking endless questions. Where does he stand on global warming? Does she support a woman’s right to choose? Is he for or against charter schools? Feign real interest. Keep him answering you — and wasting the campaign’s time and money.
7. If you receive a mailer that has a postage-paid return card from a right-wing candidate or organization, don’t fill it out, but send it back blank so they have to pay for the return postage.
8. If you receive a call from the campaign of some right-wing nut job or organization, lie and tell them you’ll definitely vote for them. That way, you’ll help that candidate get “Cantored.”
On Election Day, if enough people set out to foil the billionaires, they’ll still have gobs of money, but “the people” will take back the country — and be infinitely richer.