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Government Shutdown ... Brought to You by Citizens United

Tuesday, 01 October 2013 15:07 By The Daily Take, The Thom Hartmann Program | Op-Ed
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(Image: <a href=" http://www.flickr.com/photos/42269094@N05/4664344949/in/photolist-87aZfv-83Dvti-81KDmQ-7VqgYX-7C3s9a-7gPfgp-71GJHA-71GJGb" target="_blank"> Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: Thomas Hawk, Rob Shenk</a>)(Image: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: Thomas Hawk, Rob Shenk)Citizens United has fundamentally changed the American political landscape.

In 2010, thanks to the infinite wisdom of the five right-wing Supreme Court justices, our democracy was changed forever.

With the Citizens United decision, we lost control over our government and democracy to millionaire moguls, billionaire tycoons and giant transnational corporations.

Yet, despite the complete takeover of our political landscape by corporations and billionaires like the Koch brothers, the mainstream media has remained dead silent about the devastating effects of the disastrous Citizens United decision.

As a result, the majority of Americans have no clue what Citizens United is, let alone the damage it's done to our democracy and way of life.

Basically, Citizens United lets a few dozen cranky right-wing billionaires, like Charles and David Koch, threaten every single Republican member of Congress with a Tea Party primary challenger.

The result is that Republicans, instead of working with Democrats to find a bipartisan middle road for the country, as they have traditionally done, have to compromise with and do the bidding of the right-wing billionaires and their Tea Party mouthpieces in Congress.

Otherwise, they risk losing their jobs to Tea Party challengers in the next election.

This isn't good for our country or our democracy.

It has fundamentally shifted both the nature of our government and the way that we govern.

And even worse, the billionaire stranglehold over our democracy has shifted the topics for discussion in Washington.

We no longer talk about the issues that matter to working-class Americans, like taxing the rich, rolling back the Reagan tax cuts, and building the infrastructure that the middle-class uses and desperately needs, like schools, roads, and hospitals.

Instead, debate in Washington is taken up by the issues that billionaires care about, like reducing regulations on pollution, reducing regulations on banking, cutting business taxes, making it easier for companies outsource and globalize, increasing the number of guest worker visas within the immigration bill...and the list goes on.

And while billionaires control the debate in Washington, they control the news cycle too.

The most recent example of billionaires like the Koch brothers manipulating the news cycle was and continues to be around Obamacare.

Midnight last night was the moment when Obamacare exchanges across the nation opened for enrollment.

Every news organization in the country had planned packages and reports on what Obamacare is, how to sign up for it, how the exchanges work, and all the rest of the details.

Obamacare experts were being lined up as guests for September 30 and October 1 on radio and television networks and stations across the country.

All those programs on radio and television would have given the equivalent of millions of dollars' worth of advertising to Obamacare, and caused tens of millions of young people to learn about the program, get excited about the program, and begin signing up right away.

Of course, the billionaires couldn't let that happen.

So what could the Koch brothers and other billionaire funders of the Tea Party do to make sure that every television network in America did not do a special feature on Obamacare the night of September 30, and to make sure that on October 1 there weren't big news and feature stories about Obamacare on radio and television?

They turned to the politicians they own, and told them to pull off such a radical stunt that it would capture all of the attention on all the television networks and newspapers throughout the entire news cycle of September 30 and October 1.

They told them to shut down the government and it worked.

It's just that simple. The billionaires got their way just like that.

It's time to put an end to the billionaire ownership of Republicans in our government, and to their control over our news cycle.

That means rolling back the Supreme Court Citizens United doctrine of corporations are people and money is speech.

It's time for the American people to stand up and fight back.

Go to Movetoamend.org and find out what you can do to say no to the billionaires, and yes to democracy.

This article was first published on Truthout and any reprint or reproduction on any other website must acknowledge Truthout as the original site of publication.

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