in Urban Politics

Furious Yet, Effective

The growth of corporations in energy production, manufacturing, and finance will continue to produce great wealth and pain, cover-ups and obfuscations. During the period of the Great Depression, the best counterbalance to huge corporations was an equally vast government with a constitutional mandate to protect people. The counter-attack against “big government” seeks to strip away these protections,(AKA regulations) and the conduct of the very wealthy is to do so in the name of freedom. In response, new organizations are forming that demand a return to, fairness, facts, and findings in the formation of policy and in launching programs. You can be furious, but the incentive requires accuracy

“The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if we tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself.”

During the 2010 election, the Sunlight Foundation began to describe undisclosed funds as “dark money.”  Not coincidentally, broadly distributed fake news, such as the birther claims aimed at the President accelerated. This practice continued to grow, turning into the direct “lock her up” style of attacks against Hillary Clinton’s 2016 candidacy. The funds behind this kind of “darkness” are of great concern.  These are not actions to cover up mistakes these are warlike in effect.  A higher level of alarm, albeit less newsy, involves far more dangerous attacks on unions, taxes, and health/safety regulations.  These assaults also come from many of the same groups that are not required to reveal their interests in political advocacy.  Here reports tend to believe good science, encourage policies that contribute to poor health, and batter their opponents with defamations all to protect an obvious “bottom line.”  Now we see preemptive cover-ups, such as subtle encouragements aimed at youth to use tobacco,  or reports claiming carbon dioxide is not a global warming gas but “life itself” and coal is clean energy.

Follow the funding strategies by corporate reform organizations such as AVAAZ and Public Citizen who attempt to counter these behaviors. They are international in scope and of necessity turned to a powerful online style of global activism.  As investigators of private funds in government, the central question surrounds the proven effectiveness on Transparency in public activity.  The responsibility of the Securities and Exchange Commission to examine dark money has changed in the aftermath of the Citizens United decision. Jane Mayer’s work “Dark Money” examines the Koch brothers in detail as a means to explore the influence of the Libertarian view on governance with great wealth backing.  Another important counter-balance instrument includes Think Tanks funding.  The following are the most transparent of the political activity agents.

Pick any political person in your community from the NYDelegation menu above and use the links below to search for resources that connect your representative to the “dark conduct” issue.  Hopefully, you won’t find anything, but if you do, please use the confidential contact form below and record your findings.

  1. International Budget Partnership
  2. Open Contracting Partnership
  3. Pew Research Center
  4. Sunlight Foundation
  5. Publish What You Pay
  6. Woodrow Wilson Center
  7. World Resources Institute
  8. World Wide Web Foundation

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