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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Buying Congress

Thanks to “Citizens United”, a secretly funded group whose petition before our conservative activist Supreme Court, resulted a century’s worth of election reforms being thrown away, corporations have free reign to anonymously use all the money they wish to, to influence elections. Corporations do not spend money unless they believe it will profit them. They are “investing” — in Tea Party/Republican candidates — whom these companies believe will enact (or stop) legislation to the direct benefit of themselves. When you see corporations spending money to support a particular candidate, or party, you know it’s because that person or party will be taking the side of those who are investing in his or her election…

Still worse, information has surfaced this past week, that the Libertarian oil billionaire Koch brothers — who were the primary funders behind the creation of the Tea Party — have been regularly convening conferences of corporate heads, on how to halt and eliminate government regulation of corporate activities (such as pollution, liability for damages, election contributions, etc), and, that the attendees of these conferences have included Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, both of whom then ruled in favor of Citizens United, and the elimination of election reforms meant to keep corporations from controlling the U.S. government! (Click here for more information.) 

Corporate buying of elections and control/ownership of legislators, has a long history. Democrats have been so influenced, just as Republicans, but, the party of choice for finding politicians willing to do what corporations and monopolies want, has been the Republicans going back to at least the time of President Grant.

First, a couple of non-partisan (a pox on both your houses) examples. Below left, Grundy’s Map of the Senate?, by Daniel Fitzpatrick, published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and reprinted soon after in the May 1930 issue of American Review of Reviews, depicting senators organized not by state, but by the industries which have bought them out. Below right, The High Cost of Politics, by Luther Bradley in the Chicago Daily News, from its reprinting in the November 1912 issue of Cartoons Magazine.

Click on any picture, to open an enlarged version.

Below left, a 1912 cartoon by J. Campbell Cory, titled Not a Bad Idea!, from Cory’s 1920 book, The Cartoonist’s Art, depicting Republican Senator Nelson Aldrich, handing the U.S. to the monopolies, on a silver platter. 

Below right, (unsuccessful) candidate for Democratic nominee for President, Champ Clark — and who he really was under the mask, titled Making Up, by Barnett in the Los Angeles Tribune, published in the  June 1912 issue of Cartoons Magazine.

Below left from 1910, another cartoon by Cory. Showing the Trusts (i.e., monopolies), stating “I Can’t Understand Why the People Don’t Like Me — I’ve always Been a Good Republican.” 

Below right, by Will E. Chapin, No Wonder They Want the Press Muzzled (in reference to the California legislature’s attempts to regulate political caricatures), from Chapin’s 1899 collection titled simply, Cartoons.

Like Jay Gould, monopolist William Vanderbilt supported/bought Republican legislators. The below left June 6th, 1881 New York Daily Graphic page, by artist Charles Jay Taylor — depicting Vanderbilt using his wealth to influence an election – was the third of approximately a dozen Taylor comic strips starring Vanderbilt. It was shown on SuperITCH this past summer — click on the picture, to see that article. 

Below right, Frederick Burr Opper’s depiction of Vanderbilt making his most infamous quote — The Public Be Damned!  Appearing on the front cover of the October 18th, 1882 issue of Puck magazine, it depicts Vanderbilt with his foot atop the American eagle, as his two chained lapdogs, named Congress and Legislature, sit obediently at Vanderbilt’s side. This cartoon, too, has been previously shown on SuperITCH — click on the picture to get the full story on Vanderbilt’s “The Public be Damned!” comment.

Throwing out any subtlety, and getting straight to the point, the below January 13, 1879 Daily Graphic front page – Johnny Morgan Plays the Organ —  shows Vanderbilt in total control of the state legislature, playing them like an organ, pushing buttons labeled Pass, Amend, No, Aye, Postpone, Adjourn, with telegraph wires from the organ plugged into the legislators’ heads, their insides replaced with machinery — robots controlled by Vanderbilt!  

Another Daily Graphic front page, from October 30, 1882, titled A Nightmare of the Future, shows monopolist Vanderbilt strangling Columbia (i.e., the United States).

Left, by cartoonist Billy Ireland in the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, and reprinted in the November 1912 issue of Cartoons Magazine, we have It’s an Ill Wind, depicting a Senate Committee investigation having caught the G.O.P. taking bribes from Wall Street in 1904, with a starved Democratic donkey happy that Wall Street had been ignoring feeding him for years.

Below — in imagery perfect for Halloween — Fred Opper yet again, depicting monopolist, Wall Street manipulator, and loyal purchaser of Republican legislators, Jay Gould, in control of Hell — from the center double-page spread of the September 19th, 1883 issue of PuckMonopoly in Hades.

To find more past postings involving corporate abuses, click here.

And, here, to find prior Election Cartoons postings.

Doug Wheeler

financial reform ElectionCartoons NYPuck NYDailyGraphic W.A. Ireland John Campbell Cory CongressCartoons


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One Response to “Buying Congress”

  1. The Moral Superiority of the Rich | Beings Akin Says:

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