Have you ever heard of Specialty Group Inc? I didn' think so. Neither had I until I read a piece by Michael Beckel and Reity O'Brien who are with the Center For Public Integrity. NBC news published their essay on the net a little bit ago. Specialty Group Inc. is based in Knoxville, Tennessee. It was started up about a month ago. Messers Beckel and O'Brien did some research and they found out some interesting facts about this, "corporation."
Number one is that the principal office of the outfit is the $634,000 home of attorney William Rose, who is the registered agent for the company. Mr. Rose's published phone number has been disconnected. Number two is that the corporation apparently makes nothing, doesn't manage a thing, and hasn't any consulting contracts. What it does do is contribute boatloads of money to conservative super pacs who are desperately trying to unseat the president, strengthen republican control of the house, and take back the majority in the senate.
In fact recently Specialty Group Inc. handed the Freedom Works for America super pac $5.3 million. They promptly spent $1.7 million of the cash on ads in Illinois as they try to defeat democrat Tammy Duckworth. She is running for congress against first term tea party savant Joe Walsh. Ads run by FWFA portray Ms. Duckworth as cohort of disgraced former governor Rod Blagojevich. In one spot she is shown making this statement, "Governor Blagojevich has charged me with the mission of taking care of my buddies." Sounds pretty darned nefarious doesn't it? Especially when you consider Blagojevich is doing 14 years in the slammer. The only problem is that the video was shot right after she was named the head of the Illinois Department of Veteran Affairs. The buddies she was referring to were her fellow veterans. Ms. Duckworth was severely wounded in Iraq and is a double amputee. In response to questions, FWFA legal counsel and treasurer, Ryan Hecker stated that his organization only supports candidates who are ethically right.
Beckel and O'Brien estimate corporations have donated as much as $660 million to super pacs and 85% of all that money went to GOP controlled ones. The list is long and filled with some familiar names and others not so recognizable. 7-11 is a contributor as is Chevron, Exxon, and Walmart. So is someone named Weaver Holdings. The story says one of the things Weaver Holdings does is package and distribute the popcorn that the Boy Scouts sell during their fundraisers. Then there is the payday lender QC Holdings, White Castle Hamburgers and some outfit known as The Apollo Group. The list goes on and on.
On the other side of the coin that bugaboo of all things capitalistic, organized labor has managed to contribute only $60 million.
Given this disparity one has to wonder why Mitt Romney isn't ahead by about sixty points in the polls. The Citizens United ruling by the supreme court has tilted the playing field so drastically in favor of corporate barons and conservative candidates that it seems any goof who sells his soul to the shadowy figures behind the super pacs should be a shoe in.
This is, in the eyes of those fans of Ayn Rand, the way things should be. The unwashed masses are really incapable of making correct choices about their own lives and government. If they were intelligent they'd be running a business. Besides 47% of them are nothing but leeches anyway. Actually I'm surprised that none of these cretins have publicly endorsed a suggestion that Bunker Hunt made decades ago. That was, you get one vote for every dollar you have in the bank. Although given what is happening during this election cycle that piece of legislation might be in first draft form right now, just waiting for Mitt to win tomorrow.
I don't really remember the country being this way when I was growing up. Maybe it was and I was just too naive. I do know that things have continued to grow uglier and more corrupt these past twenty years. Cash payoffs, lies, election fraud, and voter intimidation have become a way of life for the right wing. None of it can be connected to Romney of course, but then you have to remember that Al Capone was in Miami that fateful St. Valentine's Day decades ago.
I fear for the democratic process. When a candidate's main attribute is his or her ability to sell out to people who basically run rigged carnival midway games we have some real problems. The great divide will become nothing but deeper and wider. The poor will grow poorer, the rich will grow richer and the middle class will evaporate into thin air.
The late author Mike McQuay predicted it years ago. One of his characters looked cheerily into they eyes of a poor man and assured him, "Son, the meek shall inherit the earth, but not until we're done with it."