THE WISDOM FUND: News & Views
September 4, 2000
The Wisdom Fund

U.S. Elections All About Money

by Enver Masud

"The Money Trail" on ABC World News Tonight was, arguably, the most interesting feature on network television coverage of the Republican and Democratic party conventions. American elections are, after all, all about money, and since 1976 they've been about money more than ever before.

Mr. Charles Lewis, founder of the Center for Public Integrity explains: "In 1976, in a landmark case, Buckley v. Valeo, the Supreme Court framed campaign spending as a free speech issue. In other words, wealthy individuals can spend as much of their own money as they want on their own campaign.... The Court also held that while advertisements expressly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate could be regulated, advertisements about issues could not be restricted under the Constitution."

As a result, writes Mr. Lewis in "The Buying of the President," "Politicians and their parties can collect and spend as much money as they want." Before the first vote was cast in the presidential primaries a private referendum had already been conducted among the nation's financial elites as to which candidate would earn the party's nomination. "In every election since 1976," says political fund-raising consultant Stan Huckaby, "the candidate who has raised the most money by the end of the year preceding the election, and who has been eligible for federal matching funds, has become his party's nominee for President."

As of late June, according to Common Cause, the Republicans had raised $137 million in soft money; the Democrats $119. U.S. Senator Russell Feingold calls it "legalized bribery," and corporate donors expect to be generously rewarded. In past years, the federal government alone shelled out $125 billion a year in corporate welfare according to a special report in TIME magazine.

An indication of the character and views of each presidential candidate follows:

Republican George W. Bush

George W. Bush was a director and shareholder of Harken Energy when in January 1990 it was granted "exclusive rights to carry out exploration, development, production, transportation, and marketing of petroleum throughout most of Bahrain's Gulf offshore areas." The company drilled two dry holes, but "Bush had sold off two-thirds of his holdings in Harken for nearly a million dollars, and bought a small share of the Texas Rangers, a deal that ultimately netted him--with a helping hand from Texas taxpayers--some $15 million."

Mr. Bush has said, "America should not interfere in Israel's democratic process and America will not interfere in Israel's elections when I'm the president." He would move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. He says that his favorite philosopher is Jesus.

Mr. Bush is for free trade, and the World Trade Organization. He inherits his dad's foreign policy advisors: Richard B. Cheney--his choice for vice-president, Colin L. Powell, and Condoleeza Rice. He will also be advised by former Reaganite, Paul D. Wolfowitz, who believes in "exporting American values," and wants to base U.S. troops in Southern Iraq to help Iraqi dissidents overthrow President Saddam Hussein.

Democrat Al Gore

Armand Hammer, of Occidental Petroleum, described as "the Godfather of American corporate corruption," liked to say that he had Al Gore's father Senator Albert Gore, Sr. "in my back pocket." Upon his election to the U. S. House of Representatives, "the Gore relationship with Hammer had already begun to transfer from father to son."

Mr. Gore has consistently adopted positions similar to that of the Israeli lobby. In March, 2000 responding to a question about re-locating the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem Gore said, "The outcome I think is hardly in doubt and my desires are the same as your desires."

Mr. Gore, an interventionist, is for the World Trade Organization. His choice of Sen. Joseph Lieberman for vice-president--portrayed by the media as Mr. Morality, and who believes that all human beings are created in God's image--puts him even more firmly in the grasp of the Zionist lobby courted by the Clinton/Gore team. As for Mr. Lieberman's morality, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Editor of "Tikkun," writes: "Identifying Lieberman as a moral hero only makes sense when we narrow our vision of 'morality' to the sphere of sexual ethics and abandon the Biblical insistence that social justice is the core of ethical life."

Third Party Candidates

Green Party candidate Ralph Nader, an attorney has devoted his adult life and earnings to consumer causes--essentially a struggle for social justice. Republicans and Democrats, he says, are "rotten to the core," and "have turned government over to big business." He calls George Bush "a wholly owned subsidiary of the oil industry."

Mr. Nader favors leading the effort for nuclear disarmament, cutting defense spending in half over 10 years, lifting the sanctions on Iraq, and "waging peace." He supports peace in the Middle East "based on respect for civil liberties and human rights."

Reform Party candidate Patrick Buchanan was speech writer for President Nixon, communications director for President Reagan, and presidential candidate in 1992 and 1996. He left the Republican party to join the Reform Party in 1999. In Nixon's "White House that became notorious for its dirty tricks, Buchanan quickly developed a reputation as the toughest trickster of all."

Mr. Buchanan opposes the World Trade Organization, would withdraw American troops from Europe and much of the world, end sanctions on Iraq, and end Israeli lobby domination of Mideast policy. He favors Palestinian statehood, and Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine. Mr. Buchanan quotes Harry Truman on the Presidency being "pre-eminently a place of moral leadership." Mr. Buchanan is being challenged by Mr. John Hagelin--another claimant to the candidacy of the Reform Party.

American Muslims

American Muslims, while participating in ever larger numbers in the political process, reflect the divisions among Muslims worldwide. Unable to agree on a single presidential candidate, they are likely to have a greater impact on congressional, state and local races, than on the presidential race.

Mr. Eric Erfan Vickers, a Muslim civil rights activist and lawyer, is running as a democrat for the U.S. House of Representative from St. Louis, Missouri.

A few Muslim candidates are running for state and local office. These include: Morshed Alam--City Council, Queens, NY; Hassan Fahmy--Council seat in Prospect Park, NJ; Lateefah Muhammad--Mayor, Tuskegee, AL; Syed R. Mahmood--State Assembly, CA; Karriem Mohammad--State House, MI; Akhtar Sadiq--State Senate, GA; Mr. Saghir Tahir--House of Representatives, NH; Karim Shahid--State House, GA; Muhammad Abdullah--House of Representatives, MI.

The most crucial factors influencing the outcome of presidential elections, say academic analysts, "are the state of the country and the state of the economy." Six of seven forecasts presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association foresee Mr. Gore winning the election in November.



[Enver Masud is an engineering management consultant, author of "The War on Islam," and founder of The Wisdom Fund--www.twf.org. This article was published in England in Impact International, October 2000.]

"Code of Ethics for U.S. Government Service," about.com, July 11, 1958

["Thousands of voters turned up at the polls two years ago and found their names had been removed from the electoral roll."--Julian Borger, "Blacks aim to avenge Florida's 2000 poll," The Guardian, November 2, 2002]

Bev Harris, "System Integrity Flaw Discovered at Diebold Election Systems" Scoop, February 10, 2003

["In the two years before the elections, the Florida secretary of state's office quietly ordered the removal of 94,000 voters from the registries. Supposedly, these were convicted felons who may not vote in Florida. Instead, the overwhelming majority were innocent of any crime, though just over half were black or Hispanic."--Martin Luther King III and Greg Palast, "Jim Crow Revived in Cyberspace," Baltimore Sun, May 8, 2003]

Bev Harris, "Inside A U.S. Election Vote Counting Program," Scoop, July 8, 2003

Fraud: The Strategy Behind the Bush Lies and Why the Media Didn't Tell You

[The Supreme Court, in five straight campaign-finance decisions, has largely wiped out post-Watergate campaign reforms and, in the case of corporate contributions, undone nearly a century of law. Adding to the anarchy, Congress has been unable to agree on legislation requiring donors disclosure. For those who violate what's left of the law, there is little risk of punishment, because the FEC, paralyzed by a partisan split, has been unable to agree on much enforcement.--Dana Milbank, "Stephen Colbert, Karl Rove and the mockery of campaign finance," washingtonpost.com, June 30, 2011]

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