Sunday, April 1, 2012

An Americans Elect Primer: Dark Side Edition

If there is one thing that Americans Elect Corporation puts some serious effort into getting just right, it’s PR. A reader of the AECorp web site’s ‘News’ section could be forgiven for coming away with the impression that sensible and concerned folks everywhere are just dizzy with boundless enthusiasm and undying support for Wall Street tycoon Peter Ackerman’s privatized vision of Democracy 2.0…but nothing could be further from the truth.

Here follows our alternative Americans Elect Corporation Essential Reading List (The Dark Side Edition).

The Times-Picayune’s Jonathan Tilove nails his landing in this foreboding and thought-provoking piece on Americans Elect’s back-story. “Americans Elect is chaired by billionaire Peter Ackerman, a former top lieutenant to junk-bond king Michael Milliken, and the managing director of RockPort Capital….”

The Maddow Blog’s Steve Benen explains how you’ve been chumped by a gazillionaire. You say that, in a moment of giddy enthusiasm, you actually made a donation to Americans Elect Corporation? You get that your money went straight into billionaire Peter Ackerman’s pocket, right? If you want to redistribute your income to Wall Street tycoons, well, we have a bridge we’d like to sell you. “…interested voters are expected to pony up, not to advance the Americans Elect cause, but to pay back the millionaires who secretly got the group up and running.”

In the interest of kicking you while you’re down, here’s BuzzFeed’s original report on how donations to Americans Elect Corporation are siphoned into the pockets of folks who could buy and sell you like the Chia Pet you really are. This insightful article was the basis of the Maddow Blog piece cited above.

The American Prospect’s executive editor, Harold Meyerson, says in this Washington Post piece that Americans Elect Corporation is Wall Street’s ‘Plan B’ for the election. “If the GOP nominates Romney, Wall Street will be sitting pretty. If it nominates Santorum, Americans Elect…can ride to Wall Street’s rescue.”

In this LA Times op-ed piece, Harold Meyerson continues his voice-in-the-wilderness crusade, addressing head-on the ‘spoiler’ question which AECorp constantly dismisses with a casual wave of its bejeweled hand. “Whoever Americans Elect's nominee turns out to be, that person could well replicate the signally dubious achievement of Ralph Nader in the 2000 election: Throwing the election to one of the two major-party nominees who otherwise would not have won.”

The Center For Investigative Reporting’s ‘California Watch’ itemizes AECorp founder Pete Ackerman’s deductions: a $150 million personal tax shelter disallowed by the United States Tax Court in 2005; a “questionable, self-serving” $2.6 million deduction in 2009; Ackerman’s $75 million settlement arising from his involvement in “junk bond king” Michael Milken’s 1980s massive financial scandal; his rejected 2003 bid to sue the Franchise Tax Board to recover $5 million in state taxes; Ackerman’s attorney’s effort to introduce a bill which would change California tax law, which a Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee analysis noted “appeared to solely benefit Ackerman, at a cost of $5 million to the state.” Need we go on? Really?

The devil is in the details. Blogger John Lumea dissects Americans Elect Corporation’s twisted guts. Eeeeew.

8. Irregular Times' Americans Elect Archive
No one has done more than Irregular Times' Jim Cook (Americans Elect member number three-hundred-and-something out of 400,000) to frame today's critical debate regarding the Corporation. This archive of his AE articles (282 at last count) is a testament to how the intertubes empower one regular guy to take on, and to best, a shadowy billionaire cabal. Thank you, Jim.

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