Oligarchy Of Super PAC Megadonors Have Conquered American Politics

WASHINGTON — A new oligarchic era of American politics came into full view on Friday, as super PACs disclosed fundraising details showing billionaires bankrolling the 2016 presidential race to an unprecedented degree.

The unlimited-money super PACs account for one-third of all federal election funds raised in the first half of 2015 — up from 4 percent at this time in the last presidential election. Three-quarters of all super PAC money came from more than 500 wealthy donors, corporations and unions in contributions above $100,000. More than half the money in the presidential race so far — to super PACs and to campaigns — came from donors who have given at least $100,000.

For the first time in more than a century, the majority of funding for a presidential election is coming in six-figure or larger checks from corporations and the wealthiest Americans. The presidential campaigns, limited to a maximum of $5,400 from a single donor, raised a combined $128 million. Super PACs supporting those candidates pulled in $260 million, with $208 million from those giving $100,000 or more.

via Oligarchy Of Super PAC Megadonors Have Conquered American Politics.

Ga. Child’s Birthday Turns Tense as Men With Confederate Flags Threaten to Kill ‘N–gers’: VIDEO – The Root

On Saturday a black child’s birthday party in Douglasville, Ga., took a racist turn after, witnesses say, several men driving Confederate-flag-bearing pickup trucks interrupted the gathering and began yelling racial slurs and threats at the partygoers.

“One had a gun, saying he was gonna kill the [racial slur],” Melissa Alford, who hosted the party at her house, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Then one of them said, ‘Gimme the gun, I’ll shoot them [racial slur].’ ”

According to the Journal-Constitution, which obtained footage of the incident, several members of a group called Protect the Flag happened upon the birthday party.

Levi Bush, the leader of the pickup-truck clan, claims that his group isn’t hateful, although he admits the word “n–ger” and other racial epithets were used freely during the confrontation. Bush says his group sells Confederate flags and donates the money to veterans who need it.

Bush claims that he and his group were leaving an event when his truck caught a flat. He claims that his friends stopped to help and that that is when the birthday-party attendees began yelling at and threatening them.

via Ga. Child’s Birthday Turns Tense as Men With Confederate Flags Threaten to Kill ‘N–gers’: VIDEO – The Root.

Why Scott Walker is so dangerous – The Washington Post

“First off,” Scott Walker proclaimed, “we took on the unions, and we won. We won!”

Taking on the unions is usually first off for Walker, the Wisconsin governor and Republican presidential candidate. It is the very rationale for his candidacy. And on Thursday, he took a detour from the campaign trail to appear here before the annual meeting of the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, a group of state legislators dedicated in large part to defeating unions.

ALEC, which inspired many of Walker’s anti-labor efforts in Wisconsin, drew several hundred union protesters as legislators arrived here this week for its conference — and this delighted Walker. “I understand you had a few protesters yesterday,” he told the conservative legislators. “For us, that’s just getting warmed up. That’s nothing. We got 100,000 protesters.”

via Why Scott Walker is so dangerous – The Washington Post.

Donald Trump is an actual fascist: What his surging popularity says about the GOP base – Salon.com

In the political discussion of today, there always comes a risk of being discounted as a crackpot when using a word like “fascist” to describe a political opponent. The word, much like “socialist,” has been so abused since the fall of fascism that it lost its meaning quite some time ago. Comparisons of modern leaders to Hitler tend to be completely void of any substance, and there is even an Internet adage, “Godwin’s law,” that says, “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.”

In a recent article by Jeffrey Tucker, however, it is argued, quite justly in my opinion, that Donald Trump, whether he knows it or not, is a fascist (or is at least acting like one). Much like Mussolini and Hitler, Trump is a demagogue dedicated to riling up the people (particularly conservatives) with race baiting, traditionalism and strongman tough talk — and, according to polls, it’s working — for now. Tucker writes:

“Trump has tapped into it, absorbing unto his own political ambitions every conceivable resentment (race, class, sex, religion, economic) and promising a new order of things under his mighty hand.”

No doubt about it, Donald Trump has decided to stir the pot, and, as Tucker says, he seems to be running for a CEO position, rather than president of a nation. Trump discusses Iran and Mexico as if they were competing corporations, and says that, as president, or CEO, he will drive them into the ground, make them file for bankruptcy — something Trump legitimately knows a thing or two about. Trump, of course, is largely taken as a joke, and most rational commentators assume he is doing this for publicity — which he is certainly getting.

via Donald Trump is an actual fascist: What his surging popularity says about the GOP base – Salon.com.

Tax havens: Super-rich ‘hiding’ at least $21tn – BBC News

A global super-rich elite had at least $21 trillion (£13tn) hidden in secret tax havens by the end of 2010, according to a major study.

The figure is equivalent to the size of the US and Japanese economies combined.

The Price of Offshore Revisited was written by James Henry, a former chief economist at the consultancy McKinsey, for the Tax Justice Network.

Tax expert and UK government adviser John Whiting said he was sceptical that the amount hidden was so large.

Mr Whiting, tax policy director at the Chartered Institute of Taxation, said: “There clearly are some significant amounts hidden away, but if it really is that size what is being done with it all?”

Mr Henry said his $21tn is actually a conservative figure and the true scale could be $32tn. A trillion is 1,000 billion.

via Tax havens: Super-rich ‘hiding’ at least $21tn – BBC News.

Donald Trump is the Bigoted Elephant in the Room | Al Jazeera America

While waiting at a red light a few days ago, a pickup truck decked out in Confederate flags pulled up in the lane adjacent to mine. The driver had two flagpoles attached to his truck bed, each adorned with the flag of the Confederacy, along with Confederate flag bumper stickers and a Confederate flag license plate frame.

I was in New Hampshire, mind you — not South Carolina — and the pickup truck’s license plate was from the Granite State. The only logical explanation left for the driver’s loud display of the Confederate flag after that flag has been universally condemned as a symbol of hatred and racism is that the driver is endorsing the same.

I didn’t ask the pickup truck driver who he supported in the primary, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he favored Donald Trump, based on his recent surge in the polls and outspoken bigotry. As Republican presidential candidates begin to set their sites on New Hampshire, they will need to come to grips with the party’s racial animosity that Trump’s surge represents.

In May, before announcing his campaign, Trump was only polling at 3 percent. Even after he was unilaterally condemned in headlines for his June remarks accusing almost all Mexican immigrants of being drug dealers and rapists, Trump doubled down on his remarks, and weeks later, he quadrupled his polling position, putting him just behind Jeb Bush. Trump’s popularity has since skyrocketed amongst Republican primary voters. According to polling data from Friday, July 17, Trump held the lead with 18 percent of Republicans preferring him, compared to 15 percent for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and 14 percent for former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.  A Monmouth University poll of Tea Party supporters revealed that Trump had flipped a 55-percent net negative to 56 percent approval since June, when he made his racist remarks. This kind of immediate swing in the wake of such comments isn’t necessarily an endorsement of Trump, but an endorsement of the hateful values he openly espouses.

via Donald Trump is the Bigoted Elephant in the Room | Al Jazeera America.

First on CNN: Palin: Both McCain and Trump are heroes – CNNPolitics.com

Washington (CNN)Asked about the dispute between Donald Trump and Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona — the candidate at the top of the ticket when she was 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee — former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin Monday afternoon called both men heroes.

“I have the good fortune of knowing both John McCain and Donald Trump well,” Palin told CNN in an email. “Both men have more in common than the today’s media hype would have you believe. Both blazed trails in their careers and love our great nation.”

Palin, who attached a photograph of McCain returning from Vietnam to her email, wrote, “Sen. McCain dedicated his life to serving our country, and in my humble opinion the sacrifices made by all ethical service members are heroic — putting it all on the line to defend freedom IS heroic — and Donald Trump is a hero in another arena.”

via First on CNN: Palin: Both McCain and Trump are heroes – CNNPolitics.com.