The New York Times recently published this provocative article, “Capitalists and Other Psychopaths,” which is worth reading. Of course not everyone in the 1% are psychopaths or even conservatives. Some are liberals, some are Democrats, and a few are even radicals. But one of the real right-wing billionaire wackos, in the same category with the Koch Brothers, is Joe Ricketts. The New York Times recently exposed Ricketts’ plan to bankroll a $10 million series of race-baiting anti-Obama ads that would resurrect clips of Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Ricketts is the founder of the brokerage firm TD Ameritrade and his family owns the Chicago Cubs. The Times story triggered an immediate backlash and then Ricketts disavowed the plan. One reason for the quick apology is that the Cubs are asking the city of Chicago for a huge subsidy to renovate Wrigley Field, and Rickets’ anti-Obama plan angered Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Of course, why should a team owned by the billionaire Ricketts’ family qualify for a subsidy in the first place? But the controversy over the Ricketts’ plan reveals yet another example of the terrible impact of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United 2010 ruling and the subsequent rise of the Super-PACs funded by billionaires intent on stealing our democracy.
Overturning the Citizens United decision is critical. That will only happen if Obama gets to appoint at least one more person to the Supreme Court and if he makes it an implicit litmus test issue for his next appointment. But there’s a potential steppingstone victory in the making. According to articles in the Chicago Tribune and Politico, 22 states are now backing Montana’s fight to prevent the Citizens United ruling from being used to strike down state laws restricting corporate campaign spending. These states are asking the Supreme Court to preserve Montana’s law limiting corporate political expenditures.
Giving Obama four more years to appoint a new Supreme Court justice to replace one of the reactionaries and conservatives on the current court is one more reason for the Occupiers and others to get deeply involved in the upcoming election, and to make voter registration and turnout a priority, especially in the key swing states of Florida, Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado, Nevada, North Carolina, and New Hampshire.