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.
Stephen L. Goldstein is the author of “The Dictionary of American Political Bullshit” and “Atlas Drugged: Ayn Rand Be Damned.” He lives in Fort Lauderdale.
Tom Jacks says
This article conveniently leaves out one extremely important name, George Soros. I guess it’s ok to influence an election if you are a billionaire democrat, but not a republican. Seams like a double standard to me.
I guess Tom watches Fox news , it is mind blowing how many people will stick to a poliical party just cause their parents voted that way , they ignore the fact that trickle down economics makes no one but the very very rich money , and that our Republican congress makes outlandish lies and stories up , hates poor people , black people , gay people even our soldiers that went to fight their bogus wars…. cause they screw them on a daily basis, not just the soldiers, but everyone mentioned above…. even victims of rape ,they have not backed our President on one thing , they blame him for a problems in Iraq , but Bush lied his way into this mess, they blame him for Benghazi when they cut funding to protect all our embassies two yrs in a row, they buy into Republican outrage over 4 deaths in a country where bombing are as common as a Republicans taking a bribe………..(say Boehner handing out checks on house floor from tobacco lobbyist on day they are voting to raise tax on cigarettes) it happened , but they conveniently forget Bush let New York and Washington and another plane load that was supposed to hit White House be attacked, sat there doing nothing for 8 minutes , could of prevented second Tower from being hit if he acted like a leader instead of a cog in the whole attack , I mean the idiot put the whole Bin Laden family on a plane and flew them away an hr later before they could be questioned, then lied his way into Iraq destroying our economy , costing millions their jobs and houses, and him and his ilk made trillions on the 6000 thousand deaths he caused ,I just cannot understand how people still trust these disgusting horrors of human beings, I could go on and on and on pointing out the fleecing of us and our country and the stupidity of the crap that comes out of their mouth, but these people like Tom will continually vote against their own interest, and believe what they hear on Fox news , its just so frustrating they blindly ignore common sense.
Geezer (poor, formerly middle class) says
That is a good argument, but Soros is the lesser evil.
It’s not so much the influence – it’s the evil influence of the Koch brothers.
The video url below illustrates the Koch Brother’s dream come true.
AND THEY WANT TO WIDEN THE GULF BETWEEN THE WEALTHY AND POOR.
Aren’t you sick of this?
Visit this link at your convenience:
Hey Jack. So the Democratic Party money man is Inernational Bank fraudster George Soros. And the Republican Party’s biggest donor is a guy named Sheldon Addelson. He is a billionaire casino owner who pledged and delivered $200 Million to Mitt Romney last election (In Jerusalem!) and had every viable ’16 Presidential candidate from Christy to Rubio to Jeb to you name it come to Las Vegas to kiss his billionaire ass last month for campaign cash.
So please think about something. Does it bother any of you that the two people who control our only two political parties are both citizens of a foreign country or is it just me? Am I the only one that finds it mind-boggling curious that the most the two men who control our two parties are Israelis?
And this is our choice in this beacon of democracy we proudly hold up to the world?
Ken Dodge says
Uninformed voters of the USA … Unite!
And we all better get out and vote if we want our jobs back and still have a middle class with a home, our children in “public schools” not charters, our teens in college, a car on the driveway, a meal in the table and Health Insurance for all!
Your obsession about Koch is misguided. You should devote your energy to impeach the danerous criminal obamma and the AG. They are guilty of high crimes and massive malfeasance. The country is spiraling into collapse.
re: Anonymous says–THE SKY IS FALLING! THE SKY IS FALLING! (There’s a Black dude roaming the halls of the White House and he’s not even the butler!) THE SKY IS FALLING!
Geezer (says wow) says
The Koch Bothers’ borrowed mantra:
“All propaganda has to be popular and has to accommodate itself to the
comprehension of the least intelligent of those whom it seeks to reach.”
On their pillow cases it reads:
“If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”
The Koch brothers each need to grow a Charlie Chaplin-style mustache to round out their image.
Here`s some truth about Koch brothers , them formed O company called Alleck, and what Alleck does is tax people that go off the grind and runs their house on solar or wind power or both , they feel if your not using their resources (fossil fuels) your ripping them off and they have so many Republican politicians in Congress intheir pockets they actually were allowed to start taxing these people running their houses green a monthly fee , Hows that for Organized Crime which is what our Republican Government has become, Rick Scott just signed lunch vouchers for private schools where families don`t need them at all , even told him that they`d rather see public schools with poor children get them , but Scott hates the poor shoots down any aid that comes down the pike for them even though it was the Republican Party allowed the 9/11 attacks and started two bogus wars that put everyone in the poor house and the woods and shelters, they are racist and only out for themselves , its disgusting!!
If all references to specific people and parties are removed, this article makes some very good points about how voters are misled by media sound bites and slanted surveys, about how voters vote based on little or no real knowledge. As it is this article is a very good example of why we have such a great divide in Washington, this view that “they” and everything they say and do is evil, while “we” can do nothing wrong. Ironic, isn’t it, that if you really want to educate yourself on all the candidates by learning all the facts (which I believe is what the article is saying we should do), that you need to avoid obvious one-sided rants that that are belligerent and inflamatory, like this one.
Sorry Newbie, but you’re wrong. The Koch brothers are greedy bloodsucking billionaires with a radical right wing agenda rooted in their unshakable knowledge that because they were given great wealth by their father and managed to expand it to where they can expend pocket money to buy Federal, State and Local politicians to get more for themselves by taking it from you and every other working class family in America by rigging the game in their favor. (Whew) They are evil today and always have been since they bankrolled the John Birch Society’s radical Nazi-like platform in the 50’s and 60’s. But back then, everybody saw their agenda for what evil it was because the Media and Democratic machine exposed it. Today, they own the media, Republican and Democratic Party and have nobody to balance their Corporatist message pounded into our brains every day by the minions they own.
They are evil people, period. There can be no equivalence in their goals as compared to what is good and just for the American people and the fragile American experiment. If you want to hate Democrats, hate them for being the weak, cheaply bought and incompetent pseudo opposition they have become.
“The best way to defeat your political opponent is to be your political opponent” Josef Stalin.
Lawrence Beighle says
The greatest danger to the United States is not Islam the Chinese or even Russia! It is our President. He has no regard for the Constitution and our way of life.
The greatest danger to the United States today is the abundance of half-educated,narrow minded jingo spouting poltroons who constantly parrot the partisan fantasy storyline about why they are REALLY getting screwed they hear on Fox and AM radio everyday and feel blessed to be given such wisdom.
Geezer Sipping More Espresso says
Thank you for teaching me a new word today.
David R. Yale says
KO2CH = Potassium Formate. May cause irritation of respiratory tract. May cause allergic skin reaction. Avoid contact with eyes. Harmful if swallowed, especially hook, line, and sinker. If allowed to dump in waterways, will cause H2 woes. http://www.BestPuns.Com
@Lawrence Beighle says–And we know we can take your word (or Rush Limbaugh’s word, or Bill O’Reilly’s word, or anyone in the Tea Party’s, uhuhuhuh, I mean the Ronald Reagan Assembly’s, word.) on Obama’s ill intent towards, and ignorance about, the Constitution because he’s just a Constitutional Lawyer and YOU ARE….? The Conservative Right does have a flare for the dramatic and sweeping generalization…Too bad they can’t prove that there is any credible evidence to support what they say.
Oh Mr. Goldstein, I so admire your optimism and faith in the inherent intelligence and goodwill of the American electorate. But I don’t think I could share your sunny outlook if I dressed my fat ass up like a cross between Elizabeth Warren and Pollyanna and had a Unicorn fly out of my butt on every May 1st and Labor Day. Sorry.
Butt I do admire that you think we are going to kick Koch and Carl Rove ass in this political war by getting the “average voter” to read Howard Zinn when they don’t even listen to Howard Stern because of all the big words. Every great peoples movement in history has needed people like you to lift the spirits of the ones in the trenches fighting for The Cause. It has always been our greatest strength.
However I would feel a lot better if I could see just one person actually in the trench.
Sherry Epley says
SUPPORT POLITICAL CAMPAIGN REFORM and defeat “Citizens United”!
A new study by researchers at Princeton and Northwestern universities found that, and I’m quoting directly here: “When the preferences of economic elites and the stands of organized interest groups are controlled for, the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”
In other words, if you can’t afford to hire a lobbyist or raise money for politicians, your opinion literally does not matter.
But don’t go into a hopeless despair spiral just yet. On May 1, Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig launched Mayday PAC: a crowd funded Super PAC with the sole mission of forcing Congress to get money out of politics. The response so far has been overwhelming: They’ve raised over a half-million dollars in the first week alone.
Derrick R. says
So now that ISIS has their hands on the chemical weapons that the Democrats said Bush II lied about to start this war. Will they change their tune or follow the Assclown Muslim in charge some more. Obama can’t blame Bush anymore . It’s time Obama owned up to at least one of his failed policies since walking thru the door almost 6yrs. Ago.
Sherry Epley says
This from the Huffington Post:
In total, the Koch political empire marshaled $400 million in the 2012 election cycle toward groups and efforts that spent money directly in the electoral arena. Not every group that received money from the empire reported spending on elections, but the vast majority of that money went to groups that spent tens of millions on electoral ads — which must be reported to the Federal Election Commission — and even more on issue ads that targeted candidates but didn’t advocate their electoral victory or defeat — which is not reported. Koch players included Americans for Prosperity, the American Future Fund and the 60 Plus Association.
Already, Koch-linked dark money groups have spent more than $30 million on ads targeting vulnerable Democratic congressional candidates running in the 2014 midterms.
It is the electoral focus of the Koch nonprofits and their sophisticated efforts to shield donors’ identities – plus the vast sums of money they move — that has brought them the unwanted attention of both Democratic Senate leadership and reporters.
There exists no outside network or organization supporting Democratic Party candidates in elections, while not disclosing its donors, that spends money in comparable amounts.
This is human nature: I am against anyone’s entitlements except my own. I will believe anything that justifies what I already think, as long as it makes me feel good. But the failings of human nature don’t excuse the harm we can do to each other. The Koch brothers are exceptional only in the amount of money they have to attempt to buy the power and influence they crave. If their own actions disgust and alarm enough people, those efforts will be defeated and they will lose. Not that they will ever give up, as long as there are fools enough to believe their crap and crooks to help them keep spreading the manure.