Billionaire Lifts Marco Rubio, Politically and Personally

As Marco Rubio has ascended in the ranks of Republican politics, an auto dealer named Norman Braman has emerged as a remarkable and unusual patron.

Comments: 235

  1. So, is a billionaire Braman any better than the usual millionaire Senator or Governor pandering to billionaires like Adelson or a Koch...or is it merely a matter of intent of pay-back degrees? Citizens United has engendered the end of our republic and democracy as we know it, and the demise of each person's worth as an individual voter who has a say in our government.

    Not too long ago, I read that a member of Congress will not return a constituent's call for a request unless the constituent had made a substantial political contribution to him. My immediate thought was that the Congressman should somehow be impeached, if possible.

    Unless there is a change, this signifies the end of the United States as we know it, and we will go the way of all other societies, like Greece or Rome, throughout history. Our founding fathers would turn over in their graves, if they knew of what is happening now.

  2. "Our founding fathers would turn over in their graves, if they knew of what is happening now."

    Amen.

  3. You forgot to mention Bloomberg/Soros

    Isn't the rule of the majority/special interest groups etc bad enough in itself, regardless of donations to the politicians?

    Getting elected requires resources, so more resources contributed, more clout?

  4. And Hilary Clinton is soooo much better, laundering foreign donations through the Clinton Foundations and embracing SuperPACs.

  5. So is this any different from Hillary appearing at her Superpac to court big private donors ? (Today's NY TImes Editorial, Hillary Clinton and the Super Troughl)

    Or Billionaire Barry Diller, putting a 31 year old Graduate Student on the Board of IAC/InterActiveCorp, an Internet media company controlled by Barry Diller? (http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/09/26/chelsea-clinton-joins-board-of-ia...

    The name: Chelsea Clinton.

    It was surely strictly on merit, although the mal y pense crowd thought that Diller was buying access to the Clintons.

  6. It's no different at all. This process of politicians being bought and owned and heavily beholding to very big money is active in both parties.

    Billionaire interests will use elected officials as proxies to insure their own interests, and the few candidates who truly try to represent "We the People..."
    will simply be unable to afford the campaign costs.

  7. This type of response is the same, to me, as when my 10yo says to me, "Well, Noah is doing it, so why can't I?"

    Behavior such as Mr. Rubio's is not to be admired on either side of the aisle.

    This article is about Mr. Rubio. And there are other articles out there about HRC's financial backing. Just because HRC's financial ties/obligations are absent from this article doesn't mean they are condoned.

  8. Both parties have to play the money game. I'm not defending Ms. Clinton or Mr. Bush, but ALL politicians have to play the game. Remember Senator Bill Bradley quit over the amount of fundraising required? With the Super PACs, unlimited "Free $peech" can be bought. Both Democrats and Republicans now report to the Oligarchs (a.k.a., Fat Cats). Thanks, Justice Roberts. Are you ready to say you were wrong on this and your view that discrimination is in the past?

  9. Speak about oligarch!

  10. This is actually legal?

  11. It's legal and active in both parties.

  12. Mr. Rubio's story, as given in this article, shows why we need to rescue American politics from the very personal ties that now bind private donors to their very loyal political recipients.

    How could any politician so beholden to the rich not be loyal to them when, as in this case, they've been receiving their active financial support for years on end, for both political and personal expenses?

    And the answer is, they can't be disloyal. Politicians now come into office already burdened with too much personal and financial debt baggage to do what's right and fair and necessary.

    We need to abolish the private club atmosphere now contaminating all elections with secret sources of cash, and bring that entire process full open into the light of day.

    We must put the election process back into the hands of the public, with strict financial limits applying equally to all candidates, in a less personal and more objective context.

    Then candidates will compete on the merits of their vision and their willingness to engage in true public service. Don't they all want us to believe that they are our public servants?

    Fixing our attention on the details of who is giving how much to whom and in which manner and for what, blurs from view the bigger issue: the crushing influence that money from big banks and multinational corporations is now having over every aspect of our government, education, and social media.

    oz.

  13. What this represents is the breakdown of political parties. In the past voters could count on a party label as representative of a general set of beliefs about government and public policy. Our system today is a popularity contest among individuals who can afford the media efforts to make themselves popular through unreliable and superficial advertisements and biased talk shows and commentators. The only certainty about what the country gets as a result is that the policy positions of very wealthy people are well represented. The general public have no clue about the nominees except what they are fed by 30 second negative ads on television. We must get rid of "money talks" and political parties must stand for an accepted set of principals that provide a clear choice in elections apart from the likability of a candidate's personality.

  14. Oz does not answer his question, “Don't they all want us to believe that they are our public servants?” Senator Rubio and his ilk know how to fool fools. That is what they do. Fools as well as those who want democracy may soon find there is no democracy to be had. The difference will be that fools either will not know it or will not care.

  15. It is wrong and it is awful, but it is not new at all -- and both parties do this. The way we campaign for high office, especially POTUS, is by vast strategic teams and very costly TV advertising, and travel. All this costs hundreds of millions of dollars, even over a billion. And the campaign is already in gear, and the elections are 18 months off! So the candidate and their team must SUSTAIN this for at least that long, and in many cases like Hillary, it has really been ongoing since around 2006 if not earlier. She's never STOPPED running for office in that time. So the costs are staggering beyond belief, and only billionaires can really play in that arena.

  16. What a travesty our election process has become with no end in sight. For every wealthy donor contributing to a candidate, that candidate becomes beholden to the donor. That is not necessarily dishonesty, unless a secret deal for a specific favor is made. But it cannot be denied. No one among us could be neutral ( or ever in opposition to) anyone to whom our fortunes depend upon. To suggest otherwise is pure intellectual dishonesty. I speak from experience, since at one time during my career I dealt extensively with politicians who received contributions from clients.
    No one should single Mr. Rubio out for criticism here. For as long as I can remember, there were few distinctions between Republicans and Democrats when it came to favoring large donors. It has simply gotten more flagrant.
    I suggest that no one has the right to criticize any one candidate unless their candidate is one who will not be aligned with some billionaire or other.

  17. Bernie Sanders, who, I hope, does not become tainted by the same lust as the rest these professional politicians may be our salvation.

  18. If it's so bad, I'm sure the 99 % can oust all the corrupt politicians out of office.

  19. "Corruption in America" by Zephyr Teachout presents our constitutional founding fathers struggling to define and control this type of corruption. Abandoning this corruption based on England is a reason they left, but the English Constitution itself was not apparently the issue. The issue was his kind of indirect personal corruption where important people owe other important people personal favors, such as the king of France giving Ben Franklin an incredibly expensive present. Most constitutional convention voters were concerned that even if in their present day they control can corruption, they were very worried they couldn't control it in the future generations. By their standards Marco Rubio would be thrown out of the government as 100% corrupt. His disingenuous claim he agrees with his benefactor/ owner on all matters means among other things he totally is suckered into the billionaires view of the world. He doesn't represent the people he represents all the billionaires.

  20. The entire government of the United States is now operated by plutocrats whose money buys and owns "democratically" elected representatives. There is no practicable difference between here and France under Louis XVI and this is true for both Democrats and Republicans. Campaign finance controls, in place in every other intelligent country that respects the people they serve, can only be a dream for us. Bernie is allowed to make waves but everyone in power knows he has no better chance than that proverbial snowball. This article is only a rather typical example of how money controls the political scene. Nothing will, of course, be done. The dialogue in the press and on the road gives choices all the way from A and B and anyone who imagines a change in the system is living in Fantasyland.

  21. As someone who has never missed voting in any election since I was eligible in 1972 (including primaries), and has worked hard on 3 presidential campaigns and 2 congressional campaigns, I am completely disgusted by our choices of political candidates being determined by
    --politically motivated redistricting committees ( these need to be a-partisan)
    --rich clowns (especially those who made their money on gambling casinos and used car lots)
    --Iowa and New Hampshire (the first primaries need to be rotated among different states)
    Unfortunately, there is no real political will to change any of these things.

  22. I think it will be simple to change this course. I call it the corporation starvation campaign. We are guilty and complicit in the demise our our democracy because we have no ability to control our consumerism and are unable to stop buying products which put dollars into the pockets of those who buy our laws. If we live austere lives for a couple of years to start, we can change things very fast and I believe we can make inroads to getting a more responsive fleet of Senators and Congresspeople.

  23. We can thank our Republican President appointed Supreme Court "Justices" for this state of our existence.

  24. There is a political will. But, unfortunately, many of us can't see the follow-through. Apparently, these days our lack of voice (big money) means that "where there's a will, there is no way."

  25. Norman Braman gets one vote just like everyone else.

  26. Yes, and corporations are people too, my friends.

  27. Perhaps, but money is what wins elections, and Norman Braman is using his to to give Marko Rubio advantages over everyone else. I don't have that kind of influence with my one vote. Do you?

  28. There's an advertising reason people buy more of a particular kind of toilet paper. Norman Braman gets to peddle his influence on millions of votes.

  29. Of course, Marco Rubio effuses that Norman Braman is an extraordinary billionaire who does not hoard cash and enriches people's lives - lives of those like himself? It would be funny were it not so grave. And the billionaire has subsidized Rubio's personal finances, including his college tuition. There is also the dire straits Rubio found himself in like multiple mortgages, $450,000 in liabilities subsidized by Norman. I would love to have such problems and a sugar-daddy like Braman. And Marco Rubio brushes it all off and says there is no conflict of interest. Wow, the audacity! Wake up, people. Let's not get killed.

  30. Isn't majority rule a conflict of interest?

  31. Welcome to ancient Rome on the Potomac, where a maecenas can buy its own proconsuls and senators. While these uber-rich might be well-intentioned, or are just looking to purchase influence and glitz, both buyer and seller they are indeed nailing the coffin of American democracy.

  32. This does sum up in one succinct article everything that is wrong with US politics. It's a bit like Oscar Wilde's description of a fox hunt 'the unmentionable in pursuit of the inedible.'

  33. unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable.

  34. Isn't it amazing that "lifts" come more from money than ideas. Nothing against Mr. Rubio. This just speaks to the extraordinary influence of big money and how it is required to become a viable candidate. That same money makes the candidate beholden to special interests. It's time to reform campaign finance.

  35. Look at Rubio's relationship with GEO, the company which builds and operates privatized prisons. GEO was recipient of some very lucrative deals through Rubio. They will expect to go national under his presidency if such a thing did happen.

  36. Portrait of a fully-paid-for political operative. The USA has long made a place for this career option, but Rubio would be the first one to take it to the presidential level. He will be the car-dealer's president.

  37. Ouch! Even I felt that smack-down. Well put, however.

  38. At colleges around the country there is a trend for student to pay for school by forming relationships with sugar daddies. Now our politicians have found the sugar daddy idea and are running with it big time.

  39. "Free Speech" has become something that only the super rich can afford in America post Citizens - United. The plutocrats have won.

  40. I bought a car from Braman BMW in Miami and ended up suing them because they refused to fix a lemon. Thier maintenance staff stole all kinds of stuff while it was in their locked and guarded lot for a month. Too bad I was told. BMW of North America finally intervened and I got everything back. This guy is a bad businessman and appears to have bad politics as well.

  41. I am concerned with Rubio's connection to Braman, but even more concerned about the Cintons' relationship with foreign powers that donate heavily to Bill's organization.

  42. Baloney.

    If Republicans were concerned with "foreign powers," they wouldn't strive for a government so small that it could someday be taken over by multi-national corporations.

    Stop trying to spin everything into "Clinton." It's beyond tiresome.

  43. Super PACs are dark money, meaning you and I will never know where the money comes from. Are you telling me that you actually believe that all of the Super PACs that have been in play since Citizens United have received donations only from American citizens and corporations? Please. There is foreign money in our elections now and we'll never know from whom it came because of the anonymity given them through Super PACs.

    Clinton is just an easy target. She'll suffer the scrutiny that Super PACs will never be subjected to.

  44. Sounds like you should be voting for Bernie Sanders, then.

  45. I don't know what to say. That's how American politics functions huh? on pure corruption and patronism from members of a certain demographic. Forget democracy, that's the politics of lord and vassal. I guess the effect of citizens united is to just come out and flaunt the corruption, but the greater comfort of exposure is so sleazy. I think because such political corruption was concealed in previous times that it's a net positive to provide judicial approval for it, you can see it splashed all over the front page, obviating the need to prove it.

  46. The even handed inquiries on the part of the NYT serve to guide the conversation beyond partisan politics, instead challenging the readers to question our institutions. We have allowed the arrangement of systems which facilitate privilege and access to the already privileged. I'm loathe to click on it

    Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

  47. No Surprises here..All I can say as a Miami resident for 18 years is, god help this country if we continue elevating Miami-Dade politicians to national positions. One of, if not the most corrupt county in America. Over 50% of all Medicare fraud nationally, the marlins stadium bond issue, many city commissioners cited for corruption and some prosecuted, real estate kick backs ect ect. Regardless of an individual polticians attractive image this is the farm league they all come out of! The only politician I would vote for coming out of Miami Dade would be a former Federal Prosecutor coming out of the Miami office !!

  48. Times, can you look deeper into Rubio's own finances? Why is he in so much financial trouble, for example? So much debt? Still? Because either he's a poor money manager or assumes there's no need to live within one's means. Or worse, could he be a grifter?

    In any case people who carry a lot of debt, as politicians, are easy prey for wealthy "benefactors" looking to influence the political process.

    Also, if Rubio can't manage his own finances without input from a wealthy backer, how is he to be trusted managing the public purse?

    This article begs for further investigation and analysis. As do the finances of Mr. Rubio ...

  49. "Also, if Rubio can't manage his own finances without input from a wealthy backer, how is he to be trusted managing the public purse?"

    He surrounds himself with competency, and delegates.

  50. The Clinton's also claimed to be "broke" Before being POTUS, the Obama's had a much smaller income and were actually still repaying college loans. This is not new and it is not remotely unique to Rubio or Republicans.

  51. Rarely has there ever been a finer example of cognitive dissonance.
    Rubio claims he never gives preferential treatment to a donor. Yet he slashed property taxes and raised the sales tax, a significant kick-back to the donor class. What a hypocrite.

  52. I believe you are confusing cause and effect. Rubio's views are attractive to those people that vote for him and contribute to him. Kind of the same way that unions treat Democrats.

  53. The Founding Fathers have been replaced by Funding Fathers.

    The Roman Republic was destroyed by the Roman Empire, not by outside forces. We are witnessing the same ugly processes here. What a shame.

  54. "adding that he would never give preferential treatment to a donor." (in a way that could be publicly disclosed).

  55. I can recall during the 2012 Romney campaign that Senator Rubio was vetted for VP. Romney chose Representative Ryan instead. At the time the rumor mill was that there was a problem or problems with Senator Rubio's finances and/or his family background.

    At the time I gave some credence to the rumor because if Senator Rubio was squeaky clean, why wouldn't Romney select a Florida senator from a large electoral swing state instead of a congressman from a state that per opinion polls was solidly for Obama? This article confirms that Senator Rubio has to further explain to the American people his and Mrs. Rubio's relationships with Mr. Braman.

    Senator Rubio's voting record while a state assemblyman and US senator needs to be further examined regarding quid pro quo legislation for Mr. Braman.

    I find it to be too cozy of a relationship that Mr. Braman has not financially gained from their relationship given his economic interests in the state of Florida.

  56. Its 1950 all over again in the party of Joseph Raymond McCarthty. Fear and loathing and a Commie under every bed. In 1950 the nation was hard pressed to find enough commies to fill a small Highschool Gym. Today the GOP and its noise machines can turn center right black Presidents into Commies, Socialist and other fiends who wish to destroy our freedom.
    This weekend's Freedom summit confirms Orwell's greatest fear right wing totalitarians calling the heavy jack-boot of fascism freedom.

  57. The story line is way overblown. 10 Million is just not that much in presidential politics anymore.

  58. Its a laughable pittance next to Hillary Clinton's ONE BILLION DOLLAR war chest. And that was at least 2 years prior to the election, and prior to Ms. Clinton even announcing her candidacy. Imagine what she'll have in the summer of 2016.

  59. All politicians have rich and powerful friends. That's why America will never truly change because dems or republicans the rich will always get what they want.

  60. Make the change and support Senator Bernie Sanders for president.

  61. In regard to the last several paragraphs of this article, it is more than mildly interesting that when "free market" conservatives, like car dealers, have a problem, they rush to state and national legislators to get solutions. The free market is grand, as long as you don't have to put up with its vagaries too much?

    One such legislative manipulation of markets is the prohibition against Tesla (or anyone else) selling cars in states where they don't have dealerships. This is a closed door, slammed, against free trade. The public suffers, unnoticed. Likewise, car dealers moved swiftly at the start of the Internet age to have online sales of new cars prohibited. Free markets are wonderful, until they aren't.

    Should we conclude that free market advocates are phonies, celebrating markets but closing them off when it is more convenient and profitable? Seems that way, because car dealerships are far from the only ones who want to limit competition legislatively.

    As for Rubio generally, so his has a patron. So what? JFK had daddy. LBJ had his wife's surprising holdings of a radio and television station worth many millions, with the license granted by the FCC. Romney had the hundreds of millions he had raked in by "enhancing" the value of stocks while taking hundreds of millions for himself.

    Everyone who rises to power has to have the means to support themselves while doing so. Elective office provides the bare minimum. Be rich, find a patron or stay home, it seems.

    Doug Terry

  62. How about John Kerry, whose campaign in 2004 was financed by his billionaire wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry?

    I remember that very well. And the Democrat answer was "the money doesn't matter, it's all about character". So it didn't matter for their own candidate, but if a GOP candidate raises money ... OMG, it's the apocalypse.

    BTW: all those billions, and Kerry lost anyways.

  63. I can't fault Rubio for having a close friend who is a billionaire. Nothing wrong with that.

    I'll be there are quite a few Americans who wish they had billionaire friends who could bail them out of debt with loose money found beneath couch cushions.

    It just doesn't sit well with me that Rubio has had all his financial problems magically taken care of by his "close friend" while millions of hard-working Americans are either in poverty for no fault of their own, or barely scraping by.

    Rubio will be courting these same poor, struggling people and convincing them that cutting taxes for the wealthy and reducing government services is in their best interests. And many of these people will buy it. Incredible.

  64. We stopped educating people about 3 decades ago and we are now reaping the effects of that cynical strategy for taking control of the masses!

  65. What is broken is the fact that ALL politicians who aspire to the office of the President can only hope to attain that goal if they have a lot of cash. Automatically causes suspicious alliances. Time for major campaign reform. Sadly, the likelihood for this in Congress (no matter which party dominates) is next to impossible because by the time politicians get to Congress the 'fixes' are already in.

  66. I don't want a billionaire "friend" to bail me out of anything. Just as winning the Powerball disrupts and ultimately ruins many winners' lives, a mega-donor can't help but rearrange a politician's priorities. Instead of representing all your constituents, you're just there to wield power in the service of one, your "friend."

  67. If there was ever a time to consider an insurrection against the United States Government, now would be it.

  68. Mr. Rubio is a puppet. He does the bidding of his billionaire masters. This is both reassuring (because we know he's no more creative than them) and terrifying (because we know the cold calculation it takes to steal that much money from others).

  69. Sounds like quite a bit of quid for there not to have been a pro quo.

  70. Until our campaign finance laws return to sanity, every presidential candidate, except for Bernie Sanders, must now have his or her own personal billionaire, and preferably a pair of them or several. Don't leave home without at least one. Like your haircut, they define you.

  71. Wow. I hope and wonder if this is going to come back to bite Rubio in the primaries? This is just ridiculous. No wonder, hardly anyone bothers to vote anymore.

  72. Srini, I think your conclusion that "hardly anyone bothers to vote anymore" is a nonsequitur. Considering the premise that rich people are supporting politicians in order to impose their will on the people, more people should be beating their way to the polls. THAT'S how we fight back!

  73. Yes, there was no quid pro quo, but this still smells really bad, just like Clinton's Canadian/Russian donations do.

  74. How many times have we read this story? Benefactor bankrolls, the benefactor rolls. Marco Rubio may be the flash of the moment. I do not see him rising above the fray. Bush is senior. Walker is accomplished.

    And John Kasich is far, far more interesting.

  75. Walker has accomplished little more than putting Wisconsin into the lower tier of states in most quantifiably measurable areas for determining the health of a state. Where Wisconsin has historically been at or near the top performers in midwestern states, it's been at the bottom under Walker. His open, unabashed contempt shown for many of the citizens of the state he governs also makes him entirely unpalatable as an option for national office.

  76. Kasich is interesting? As Director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Junior Bush Reign of Error (tm), Kasich was the architect of turning the budget surplus left to them by Bill Clinton a nd turned it into a monster deficit. Voodoo economist.

  77. Perhaps if all these politicians had a platform that the voters could identify with, see that we would ALL be better off if we voted for the politician, we wouldn't need all these billionaires. It's embarrassing to see all the candidates smoozing with their billionaires.

  78. @Hope: there used to be functioning political institutions known a parties.

  79. So now do some homework and find what Marco did for Norman that wasn't exactly legal.

  80. Well haven't you heard (or read or seen)? These days, accusations are enough. No need for evidence. Some on this thread have proven as much and accused Hillary Clinton of bankrolling her presidential campaign with foreign government donations funneled through her husband's foundation. Meh. Let's all join in and let the accusations fly!

  81. I thinks its wonderful and heartening that Mr. Braman cares enough about America to support Maro Rubio in his run for President. I see nothing wrong or unusual about it.

  82. of course you do boy. anything you agree with is always the wrong choice. you have proved this to all of us with every post you make. thank you for proving it once more.

    this used car dealer only cares about himself and his legacy.

  83. He was a terrible nfl owner now owns a senator and possibly a president. Thanks scotus.

  84. What a beautiful story of democracy, only in America. It just makes me want to cry.

  85. If you think this only happens in America you'd be very, very wrong. It's the norm in most places around the world.

  86. It makes me want to cry, too. But somehow I doubt our motivations are the same.
    "Cry the Beloved Country"

  87. "What a beautiful story of democracy, only in America. It just makes me want to cry."
    To @Karl: Don't cry . . . you can "vote with your feet" -- as I did -- and move to another country with more convincing definitions of democracy.

  88. This is the definition of what the "smart" conservative judges on the Supreme Court consider free speech, but most people would call bribery. Apparently smart is the new stupid.

  89. Is it always bribery, or only when billionaires contribute?

  90. It could also be the new version of "slavery". The rich billionaires own all the politicians, the politicians must do the bidding of the billionaires.

  91. And yet, Rubio and the other Republicans would deny a living wage, health care and public assistance to people who haven't had all of the breaks that they have. What's wrong with this picture?

  92. You want to give mankind "a living wage, health care and public assistance"?

  93. everything

  94. Just your post, totally disingenuous, and a flat out lie.

  95. Perhaps Rubio should change his speeches to say,"My father came from Cuba as a penniless immigrant and achieved the American Dream: his son found his own personal billionaire bankroller."

    Thanks to Braman, Rubio found a solution to his personal issues of income inequality and social mobility. Good for him. I just hope he doesn't believe his solution is applicable to everyone.

  96. His dad was not penniless. He worked at a casino hotel in Havana and lined up a job in Las Vegas before he left. In 1956, years before Castro came into power, his mom and dad flew on Eastern Airlines to Las Vegas where his dad worked as a bartender for Sam's Town and his mom was a housekeeper at the Imperial.

  97. @Upstate Albert: Yes, Senator Rubio really pulled himself up by his billionaire's bootstraps, didn't he? I'd like to find a pair of boots like that myself.

  98. @BigGuy: yeah his dad must have been one of those billionaire bartenders, and his mom a billionaire housekeeper.

  99. The information provided in this excerpt is all I need to know about Rubio:

    "Mr. Braman and aides to Mr. Rubio have declined to say how much personal financial assistance he has provided to Mr. Rubio and his wife, directly or indirectly, but it appears to total in the hundreds of thousands of dollars."

    Thank you, NYT.

  100. Since the Clintons have received over $100M, are they out too?

  101. Actually, the AMOUNT doesn't matter. Bribery for one dollar is the same as bribery for a million dollars. You cannot have a "little" bribery, the same as you cannot be a "little bit pregnant".

  102. with the current state of campaign finance, this is not surprising nor does it pass for news

  103. It's news because even now a lot of people are oblivious to it and ignorant of its ramifications.

  104. Let's not kid ourselves that the future of (so-called) democracy is all about who has the money. And that policies affecting all Americans will be based on the will of the rich and how they shape the future of our country. Sad, but true. Makes one downright cynical.

  105. Why not boycott the corrupt politicians, the businesses owned by their rich benefactors?

  106. HOW is this not corruption? Can it get any more blatant than this?

    NYTimes, thank you for continuing to do the work of a free press in reporting on this, because more than ever it is needed. Be it Hillary Clinton or Marco Rubio, the disappearing line between "support" and owning a politician (or a large chunk of one) needs to be pointed to. Over and over.

    There is no more important work in a democracy than to protect that democracy. And the press' role has never been more crucial. Please keep up the good work!

  107. I wouldn't advise holding your breath until something changes...

  108. Because money for cancer research is not corruption; money to fund a teaching position is not corruption (the university, not Braman, hired Rubio).

  109. Unfortunately, few will read this article and that is why Rubio may even have a chance, albeit slim, of being on the Republican ticket.

  110. And yet, Senator Rubio plays up his age, as if it makes him fresh, while he allows himself to be bought by the likes of Mr. Braman. If Mr. Rubio repeats stale ideas by such patrons, his date of birth won't make him any more invigorated than the next puppet politician.

  111. Nice to have an owner.

  112. And they have the nerve to criticize Ms. Clinton?

  113. Well, now we know who Mr. Rubio works for. And it ain't us.

  114. Corruption on display.

  115. Although the article is somewhat slanted against Sen. Rubio and Mr. Braman, nothing in it suggests much in the way of corruption to be concerned about. The most shocking thing reported seems to be that Mr. Rubio, then a member of the Florida House of Representatives, succeeded in persuading the Florida legislature to direct Florida state funding to what appears to be a legitimate medical research and treatment center that Mr. Braman had established previously.

    The article and many of the comments seem to be predicated on the assumption that all politicians and campaign contributors operate at a level of dishonesty and venality that the authors almost surely would deny is true of themselves or their family and friends.

  116. Look this is simple. Mr. Braman seems a sincere donor unlike the monies feeding the Clintons. Good to write the story but nothing prickly here.

  117. I assume this is sarcastic, as otherwise it shows a gullibility I find hard to believe.

  118. Wow. Just wow.

  119. Appearances, appearances. Marco hasn't learned yet.

  120. Democracy at work.

  121. He is wasting his money. He bet on the wrong horse.

  122. As a resident of Miami Beach, we recently considered buying a BMW from Braman Motors.
    That option will never be considered again...we'll have no part in funding
    right-wing ideology.

  123. I once purchased a new Accord from Mr. Braman. Had I known then what I know now, I would not have funded his campaign to control the President. Of course, I will never purchase a car from him again.

  124. I deeply regret that I'm not smart enough to foresee where new changes to our political process will take us. But I have a gut feeling it will take us nowhere good.

    There are so many billionaires in the US today it would seem any nut running for public office can find one to put in his or her pocket. When I think of America I do not think of Sheldon Adelson, the repugnant casino king who's business practices have been in question & under investigation for years.

    Call me old fashioned but Ma taught me to never to do business with crooks or cheaters. Take the ridiculous display of undying love & loyalty to Tom Brady, the obviously guilty quarterback & star of Inflate Gate. Since all politics & capitalism has become a sport of winning no matter the costs, I predict Tom Brady will be our next President & the surviving members of Al Capone's family will play Sugardaddy to him.

    Why, if Charlie Manson had just thought to get a billionaire on his side he'd still be free to murder & murder & murder! Today Money Make Right which makes all the lessons about honor & decency taught to me & which I passed on to my children is just so much bunk. Win the game! Find a Slime-ball Billionaire to back you & after winning over decent people you'll be able to afford to buy an island & stock it was dozens of underage girls.

    Why pretend that America is better than it is? Billionaire sponsored Nuts are digging America's grave as I type. We need a higher minimum wage & a maximum wage!

  125. Mr. Rubio and Mr. Braman are perfect examples of how politics works. It just shows how Mr. Rubio would act if he were elected President. Politics as usual. Sad.

  126. Marco,
    I get it, sounds like everything is on the up and up. But remember, "Chickens have a way of coming home to roost".

  127. Now we know that Senator Rubio has a "cash cow" Only in America folks.

  128. Everyone, even billionaires, should have a pet.

  129. Talk about puppets and ventriloquists... The photo of Rubio with Braman looming kin the shadow slightly behind him reminds me for all the world of Charley McCarthy and Edgar Bergen.

    Rubio is nothing but the bought-and-mortgaged property of this arrogant oligarch. As another commentator has put it, we're back in the world of the expiring Roman Republic or eighteenth-century Britain. Our "founding fathers," with their eyes fixed on the corrosive evils of corruption, would have had utter scorn, mingled with deep apprehension, for Mr. Rubio and his ilk.

  130. Well we appear to have achieved a new level of plutocracy buying American democracy. There is no subterfuge, just a transaction between a would be president and a mutibillionaire who is capable of making that happen. You scratch my back, I buy you a shot at the Presidency.

  131. As well as a general obedience to plutocracy, all politicians also need personal plutocrat owners, one to train them, pat them, and sometimes say "No!" firmly so the politician pets will know how to behave when set loose in a law-making, budget-setting body. A well-trained politician can sniff in a pile of 500 policy options and pull out the one with the most treats for the plutocracy. Good boys! Good girls! And here's a treat for you!

    In Canada, elections are six weeks long and parties have a spending limit of $25 million. This prevents many Canadian politicians from making a solid bond with their plutocrat owner and the result is anarchy with some politicians actually letting workers take them for walks.

  132. Marco Rubio a puppet on a string. Not alone though, a whole stage full.
    Dancing up and down, like circus clowns.
    Or the organ grinder's monkey's

  133. Braman gets to be puppeteer because Rubio, not being burdened by any sense of ethics or morality, simply sell himself to the highest bidder.

  134. What is surprising is that a man as smart, evidently, as Mr. Braman would be interested in buying a politician as dumb as Rubio. The pickings must be getting fewer.

  135. This is terrific: each Republican candidate will get attached to one billionaire! Each younger candidate can get in the picture with an older billionaire, each older candidate can find a younger one. Maybe this could be done by Father's Day for pictures like this one. Since there are about 14 Republicans eager to live in the White House, if each billionaire puts up $100 million, that pumps $1.4 billion into the economy. As these billionaires can't help paying very low taxes because of a tax code full of loop holes that their accountants can and ethically must take advantage of, the result should help the broadcast industry (radio ads), the print industry (leaflets), US Postal Service (mailers), the ball cap and t-shirt industries ("Vote for _____"), the billboard industry (billboards), the restaurant industry (fund-raising dinners, at least at higher priced hotels), etc. If we could only persaude more candidates to get into the race and tag team with his/her billionaire, who knows what good could come of it. Then Hillary takes the election, Congress raises the minimum wage to what it ought to be ($15-18 per hour): everyone wins!

  136. Scratch the T-shirt industry off your list. Outsourcing.

  137. Rubio has Norman Braman, Reagan had Holmes Tuttle.

    We get whatever kind of government big money will buy, and are the worse for it. Vote for the candidates who are on record to overturn Citizens United et al., with a constitutional amendment or with their appointments. They are Hillary and Bernie.

  138. I generally do not believe in subjecting presidential candidates to any kind of litmus test but I would absolutely be in favor of requiring every single presidential candidate to provide a straight yes or no answer to a question asking them if they would sign onto a bill or Constitutional amendment to reform campaigns and make them either publicly-funded (and limited in duration) or to put strict limits on donations. I would love for the press to pose that very direct question to each candidate and to accept nothing other than a yes or no answer. In fact, I'll go further and suggest they must add their signature to an effort and method for achieving this goal and they must do it before election day.

    Any who won't give straight answers or won't sign on are automatically disqualified from campaigning.

    Of all the declared candidates as of today, ask yourself how many would agree and how many would avoid the question and/or refuse to answer altogether. That's a start for whittling down your list of who you'd consider voting for in November of 2016.

  139. Another example of how our democratic Republic has died. No one running for President, or any other office for that matter, should receive our votes without convincing us that they will make serious campaign finance reform a top priority. We, the American people, must find a way of coming together and demanding that laws be passed that will put an end to our corrupt, quid pro quo system of corporate/lobbyist control of our government. This must be seen as unacceptable.

  140. Well Bernie Sanders is running and the man has been consistent in his positions on every issue for 25 years of public office. He's always been a very open and vocal advocate for campaign finance reform. He could also serve as a reasonable bridge between, say, the Tea Party and Progressives. His ideas and positions should make sense to members from both and everyone inbetween.

  141. Norman Braman's desire to help attractive younger men lead better lives is well known in Florida. Most people in Florida feel fine about his assistance to these 'disadvantaged' younger nameless men. When he unabashedly buys influence from a younger attractive man who happens to be a Senator from Florida, something is clearly not acceptable. Senator Rubio, a young looking 43, is never going to get the Republican nomination, but don't worry, the money will keep flowing to Marcos and his wife and his creditors.

  142. If there was true democracy, all citizens should have to vote and all citizens would be limited to contribute the same amount, maybe 100 dollars tops. But its not a true democracy. if everyone was required to vote ( like go to school or get an education), its likely the republicans would be out of luck. Rubio would have to compete on ideas rather than be a puppet of a rich guy who has his own agenda.

  143. My conservative friend explained to me that the origin of Mr. Braman's name is from India where it refers to the Brahmin - the holy, spiritual caste that for millennia controlled that society. However, my Jewish Bolshevik aunt on my mother's side explained it is a corruption of the Russian Yiddish name, ''Brayman'' - a family of junk dealing cartmen said to bray like donkeys when angered or amused. Mr. Rubio can claim between sips of water that he will not be influenced 'in the long term' due to the unlikely odds of Mr. Braman living past ninety. But, given Braman is a billionaire and seems hail and hearty, I wouldn't bank on that. He doesn't want an ambassadorship he want to own a president. Not the first, not the last. On the other hand - this current crop of Republican 'contenders' is beginning to remind me of ''Avengers 2'' no one seem to know what they're about, they're fighting all the time, and the end of the world is near, but no one seems to care.

  144. Money has always corrupted and interfered with the governance of people and nations. However, at one time, even kings fell on to hard times and economic insecurity. But today, wealth has become so astronomical for a small number, that throwing their money around to buy power and control is like handing out candy to neighborhood kids. The wealthiest literally have more than they can spend. So they buy power and influence to make more money while holding everyone else, 99% of the world's population in near poverty, stagnation heading for environmental disaster and potential extinction. All for money.

  145. Now the money will buy a personal President for the billionaire Mr. Braman.

  146. Strange, that the reporters can detail here shocking levels of political corruption, offering enormous returns to the buyer (how cheap Americans politicians come), and then write, apparently without irony, that Mr. Braman is "a Republican with a strong distaste for wasteful government spending".

    The propaganda bought by persons like Mr. Braman runs so deep that "wasteful government spending" is accepted here at face value. No question of "wasteful" to whom, or what constitutes "wasteful" or whether the tax cuts this billionaire requires in return for campaign investments are perhaps also "wasteful".

    No, just "wasteful government spending". This man and his fellow billionaires have succeeded in polluting political discourse in this country beyond all reasonable expectation. And to think the country was founded by some of the best minds of the time. Now look at us ... run on the ethics of the used car lot.

  147. Worse even, a used car lot full of AMC Gremlins and Pacers.

  148. An insult to used car lots, some of whose owners are decent and honest.

  149. Wasteful = money spent on the poor and not given to the uber rich.

  150. "As Marco Rubio has ascended in the ranks of Republican politics, an auto dealer named Norman Braman has emerged as a remarkable and unusual patron."

    What's so unusual about a very rich guy giving pots of money to a Republican?

  151. So very rich guys/girls don't give pots of money to a democrats?

  152. The problem is no matter which side your on, liberal or conservative, it takes millions of dollars to win a national election so money talks and the rest of us walk. To make matters worse many have amassed such enormous wealth politicians on both sides can't help but be beholding to them . We must take money out of the electoral equation.

  153. If this were about Hilary it would already be called Bramangate and senator Rubio would be calling for a congressional investigation.

  154. Absolutely!

  155. However much you dislike Rubio, he did not do anything illegal. Hilary, on the other hand...

  156. "I don’t consider myself a fat cat,” he [Braman] said. “Don’t make me out to be a fat cat.”

    I dunno. If it hisses, purrs, twitches its tail and struts, what is it then?

  157. ...and if it marks it's turf, it is what it is.

  158. "“Don’t make me out to be a fat cat.”.....The Florida Senate was about to vote on a bill he had sought, granting auto dealers like himself greater leverage over car manufacturers."

    Braman epitomizes what is dysfunctional about American democracy. Instead of one vote in the midst of many, he pays political hacks to curry special favors which - at the end - end up to disenfranchise the public at large.

  159. muezzin,
    I was more upset about Braman and Rubio shifting the tax burden from property to sales taxes. The former represents capital, the latter labor. yet again, working people have to pay more while capital can buy votes and pay less.

  160. "....he has subsidized Mr. Rubio’s personal finances, as the rising politician and his wife grappled with heavy debt and big swings in their income."

    This tells you everything you need to know about another Republican fraudster. I'm sure if this joke enters the dance floor he'll inveigh against our bloated federal budget and how the Government needs to live within its means....like he does.

  161. Why isn’t this enough to disqualify Mr. Rubio for the presidency, or even any public service job whatsoever? Or send him to jail?

  162. Perfectly legal after the Supremes ruled on Citizens United

  163. For that matter why is Ted Cruz considered more of an American than President Obama?
    The excuses the GOP makes for the own candidates drive me crazy.

  164. "Pull the string and I'll wink at you, I'm your puppet
    I'll do funny things if you want me to, I'm your puppet

    I'll be yours to have and to hold
    Darling you've got full control of your puppet"

    Marvin Gaye with Tammy Terrell, "I'm Your Puppet" (1969)
    Writer(s): Oldham, Lindon Oldham, Dan Penn, Penn, Tony Robert Alvarez, Crawford Wilkerson

  165. Thank you, Supreme Court, for commoditizing our politicians and cheapening our ballots.

  166. So voters in general doesn't care about financial gain when they vote?

  167. Truly incredible! "For Sale to The Highest Bidder"

  168. Yes, after reading this article I needed to take a shower.

  169. Isn't it nice that they all have their own billionaires! He looks like such a caring, sharing billionaire!

  170. "Mr. Rubio has traveled on Mr. Bauman's private plane, reimbursing him each time." - with money given to him of course by Mr. Bauman.

    Politicians have become like racehorses. If you're really rich, how many do you own?

  171. Sure is nice to have a Sugar Daddy!

  172. This may sound very simplistic, but why don't some of these politicians take some of this money and apply it to worth while causes. I hear you say, perhaps they see this as worth while, but really?? Rubio? And who knows, perhaps he does give to other causes.

  173. Seems like Marco is a kept man.

  174. Is he different than any other politician?

  175. He has to be. He doesn't have the intelligence to make it on his own.

  176. When I wrote to Marco Rubio to voice my displeasure for his signing of the open letter to Iran, I didn't receive a response (other than an automated one stating my concerns are important). But, according to Rubio, "..when Norman Braman brings it to you, ... you take it seriously.”
    Clearly, I am no Norman Braman, so I guess my concerns don't warrant being taken seriously. Nice.

  177. So Braman hasn't achieved more than most, i.e. he's perhaps more competent than most?

  178. When your "concerns" mirror those of Mr. Braman then you will be pleased with Marquito's actions.

  179. Did you also write to the 357 members of the House who wrote a similar open letter to Iran saying that Congress has a role? (Or did you even know about that, since the NY Times did not report on it?)
    There are lots of serious people who use their wealth or personality to advocate public policy positions -- everyone from Bill Gates to Angelina Jolie. Very few members of Congress don't have access to someone with a private plane -- including Bernie Sanders. And we have rules to deal with that. I cannot see in this article how any rules came close to being broken. In fact, at the end of the day, the donor is not always listened to and we have a new funds for cancer treatment and research. Why are you and the Times not happy? Because it is a Republican promoting an idea in the public interest? What political hacks you are.

  180. Sounds like old fashioned bribery to me.

  181. Only if your are a Democrat. for Republicans, it is just business, unless you are a Democrat politician. I think it is bribery regardless of party affiliation but then I am a Democrat voter.

  182. Why is all this money exchange legal?

  183. I also, have a small backyard that Mr. Rubio has never seen.

  184. Another rich patron and his lap dog politician

  185. No different to Jeb, whose father became a billionaire by collecting: 1. his pension as an ex head of our CIA, all these years, plus 2. pension as former vice president, all these years, plus 3. pension as ex President all these years, plus 4. as owner of Oil-rights is Saudia and Bahrain and UAE, plus private presents and donations. Only god knows what else he has accumulated. I ask you as a tax payer, why am I footing his three pensions plus the daily security detail and upkeep of this one man who could take a lesson from Harry Truman, who, when retired lived simply on his bare pension, with no fuss at all. Unfortunately Rubio did not get this kind of backing, so he had to find it someplace else.

  186. Indeed, "what's the conflict" ? Mr Braman decides everything for Mr. Rubio.

  187. Foundations: aka tax shelters for the wealthy.

  188. Where is the right wing outrage to this "perception" of big money donations and the donor likely "expecting" something in return? Isn't this the fuss being made over then Secretary Clinton and donations to her husbands foundation? In this article, Rubio even followed through on the donors request with the taxpayer funds going to the cancer research center. Such hypocrisy!!!

  189. Clinton foundation/the Clintons are funded by foreign governments, not just american citizens.

  190. Do you not see the difference between getting money earmarked for cancer research vs. giving uranium rights to Russian companies or other business advantages to foreign entities while serving as Secretary of State? Of course you don't. And neither do the Democrats.

  191. "Mr. Rubio, 43, is unabashed in acknowledging the influence of Mr. Braman, a commanding and litigious figure with so much clout in Miami that he almost single-handedly recalled a sitting mayor."

    And therein lies the problem with all Republican politicians and most Democrat politicians...beholden to a billionaire (or two). That Rubio isn't even coy or hesitant about it, even in light of the fact that (as this article points out), his billionaire backer "...almost single-handedly recalled a sitting mayor" is very telling.

    I will never vote for a candidate that is even okay with one citizen who has the power, almost on their own doing, to recall a sitting mayor of a major U.S. city. No one citizen in a democracy should ever hold that much power. Those who are okay with that kind of power do not have my best interests at heart.

  192. I think here we need to say something along the lines of, "Let that candidate who is without sin cast the first stone at a billionaire."

  193. Power corrupts. Absolute power...

  194. Katie: your vote doesn't count anyway. The blinded followers of GOP capitalism think people like Braman earned the American dream, so you will be outvoted.

  195. Rubio's parents are not, never were, refugees.
    They left Cuba, on Eastern Airlines, three years before Castro, for a job in Las Vegas.
    Arranged by "casino interests" in Habana.
    Following in his father's footsteps Marquito, little Marco, is working for a different mob.
    AIPAC.

  196. Did the casino have Mafia links?

  197. Why is it now acceptable to be so openly hostile to Jews? Can you be equally hostile to Mr. Sharpton and use his National Action Network as a derogatory term? Is the Democratic party now so officially antisemitic that any Jewish-related issue is a presumed negative? So I was right to switch to independent.

  198. It seems we have a "creature problem," as this kind of patronage would be called in some academic institutions. Very troubling!

  199. It's always nice to see a billionaire find a pet politician. I'll bet he's taught the Senator to roll over and beg.

    While owner of the Philadelphia Eagles Mr. Braman charged his players for their use of adhesive tape. I imagine Mr. Braman defines wasteful spending as any expenditure that takes money out of his pocket.

  200. Well no one wants "the help" stealing the office supplies.

  201. Bruce: didn't you know that many billionaires "found" Hilary, are supporting her, but is she rolling over and begging? Are you making fun of the support Rubio is getting because he convincingly is telling the nation how wrong the left has been?

  202. Rimantas: Rubio isn't telling the left anything. Were someone not to be the wiser, they'd believe your charge that this absurdity began with Democrats.

    Cheap talking points.

  203. I disagree with Marco Rubio 80% of the time but there is no denying that he's the most talented politician in the country right now.

    It's very easy seeing this country saying no to the multi-millionaire 90's baggage, 69 year old baby boomer, poll tested and focus grouped candidacy of Hillary Rodham Clinton and yes to the 44 year old, likable, Generation X, Spanish speaking, son of Cuban immigrant, amazing speech giving candidacy of Marco Rubio.

    Tener cuidado Hillary; Señor Rubio es muy peligroso.

  204. You left out the part about how a President Rubio would further exacerbate the divide between the 1% haves and the 99% have nots. Like we can afford any more income inequality. You failed to mention how a President Rubio would do the bidding of the fossil fuel industries, further increasing the destruction of our planet, and lead us into more war, taking more money from the needs of America and its people and giving it to defense contractors. You forgot to point out that a President Rubio would nominate more conservative Supreme Court Justices who would make sure the American people never have a voice in their government again while cementing the deal between the Republican run government and corporate America. Any Republican President would be a disaster, and Rubio would be no exception.

  205. Did you forget the bottle of water? Try Googling "Rubio+bottle of water" and pay special attention to the GIFs.

  206. Talented?

  207. I suppose if you've got the overwhelming surplus of money that was systematically stolen and funneled to you over the years you need to have your own candidate so we can have a "competition" between Adelson's man, Koch's man, etc., and we can finally and upfront have The Koch Bros United States of America just like a sports stadium.

  208. My husband and I have grappled with heavy debt and big swings in our income, and if any billionaires are interested, we're for sale too.

  209. Just don't look to the government for help, whatever happens.

  210. Citizens United is a cancer which is destroying the fabric of our society. I know what cancer is.

  211. If he were on the bottom rungs of the ladder he would be looked down upon by those he now counts as his peers as a taker or a welfare queen, hooked on a culture of dependency.

  212. So it is Mr. Brahmans "legacy" to see that Rubio becomes POTUS. The American voter, and democracy, be damned.

  213. The Republicans had better watch out how much mud they fling at HRC re: funding of the Clinton Foundation. There has yet to be any evidence of a quid pro quo such as that described in this article, and we all recall the famous prank phone call in which a fake David Koch called Scott Walker and basically told him how high to jump.

    The Republicans have raised corruption to an art form, with individual gazillionaires shopping around and buying their very own private would-be presidents. Democrats, for sure, have their rich backers, but they have yet to sink to this buy-me-a-president level.

    Anything they throw at HRC will come back at them. This is, per the evidence so far of the handling of Cash-gate, a new campaign, and it's about time. If Republicans think they can get away with slamming the Clintons and not have it turn around to bite them, they've naive. Who among them is pure as the driven snow? Cruz? Walker? Rubio? Bush? Please.

    Bring it on.

    This is sickening. And I don't see any way to stop it until we change the SCOTUS.

  214. We have to change the constitution.

  215. $10 mil is peanuts in a presidential race. And the only reason Rubio is "vaulting ahead" of anyone is because he's "vaulting" over the likes of Huckabee.

  216. He's a Billionaire. There's more & Adelson too.

  217. Everyone realizes that with this history of donations, Senator Rubio, is much more likely to return Mr. Braman's phone calls, listen to his ideas and advice and to follow through on his recommendations. Every candidate to national office will have someone or several people like this in their background. Accordingly, the wealthy, super wealthy, have much more control of this country than ordinary citizens. That is not the government the founding fathers planned, nor is it what many have given their lives to protect. We need a better political fundraising ethic, one that reduces the bias of government for the wealthy and returns it toward that goal of a government for the people.

    There is no chance that a realignment of the political fundraising culture in this country can occur until their is a shift of paradigm in the Supreme Court. For this shift to occur we will need a string of truly progressive judicial candidates to be approved, which requires the election of Presidents and members of Congress who share our concern that political fundraising has gotten out of hand and that corporations are not entitled to unlimited donations or unrestricted speech.

  218. The founding fathers wrote a constitution that allowed slavery and restricted the vote to land-owning(ie affluent) white males. A lot has changed, but money still talks in modern day America--money uber alles.

  219. "he political fundraising culture in this country can occur until their is a shift of paradigm in the Supreme Court."

    I strongly disagree. It is not the supreme court but the people of the republic that must re-take their democracy. Although mass mobilization is a worrisome proposition, it is the only way that this paradigm shift that you call for can be achieved. This is the calling hour of Democracy in America.

    PS: There not their.

  220. Why not adopt the British approach to political funding: strict and equal limits for all candidates. Would the 1% would come out in droves to fight this?

  221. The father son image actually destroys Rubio. He needs a father.

    Well, the nation needs a father - one that can say no. And yes...

    Not maybe.

    This youngster wants it too fast... and lacks depth.

    Insufficient experience...

  222. Marco Rubio is Romney without the depth!

  223. Quid pro quo. Cash. Favors. Simoleons. Votes. Cars. Planes. Coin. Presidents (if you know what I mean.)

    Yawn. We're so deeply corrupt that it is hardly worth an eyebrow.

    But I still very much appreciate The New York Times telling us about it. At least we're well-informed about our deep corruption. This allows me to sort through the various connivances and conspiracies and corruptions on Election Day.

  224. Oh the billionaire has too much money to waste otherwise why he would chose Rubio as his muse.

  225. We're not getting away buying and selling of the memesphere.

    Survival: Primarily a function of processing complex network relationship-value information with sufficient speed, accuracy and power. Examples: animals processing flight from predators; a nation-state (immune-like response) trying to process the generation of a nuclear bomb before its rival; an immune system trying to process viral invaders with sufficient speed, accuracy and power to overwhelm the threat.

    Billionaire-bought pols, that's bad relationship code . . . It distorts, skews both the distribution and the quality of the information processed at the level of culture.
    Let yourself go biological, go animal instinctual and Look at the photo. I think the relationship is evident. I think the editors saw that too and hence picked that photo.
    Gives me the willies and I don't know precisely what those are; some dissonance in some sensing system i guess . . .

  226. Sometimes it's just so depressing reading about the state of American democracy.

  227. So Marco Rubio can't manage his own money yet wants to run the country. Rubio has a plan that all investment income would be tax free. I bet that will work out just fine. Mr. Braman and AIPAC will run foreign policy. What could go wrong?

  228. This goes beyond shaping government to one's own advantage.

    It also establishes laws favorable to the conservative donor class (e.g., the end of compulsory education and child labor laws; judges who deem spoiled and pampered trust fund babies as victims of "affluenza"), as well as an ensured system of conservative social values by which the non-wealthy are forced to abide (limited, if any, reproductive choice, including birth control, and even in cases of rape and incest; education only for those who can afford it; strict definitions of marriage and family).

    By no means are the Democrats saints, but at least their policies and their donor class try to make things as robust as possible for as many people as possible.

  229. Chantel....republican do believe in abortion in rape and incest...tuition has gone up more since Obama been in office then any other president...I agree to strict definition of marriage (man and woman)that is what god said marriage should be who are we to argue.

  230. Rubio has always been a young man on the make, and never has had a job unrelated to his political career. If he continues to be among the frontrunners for the nomination, expect to see more about his misuse of a Fla GOP credit card (which he repaid after getting caught) and using his "law practice" and campaign apparatus to allow supporters to channel money to him and his family.

  231. This mister Braman didn't get where he is at by giving his money away..He own Rubio lock stock and barral it won't be long before he calls in his mark. Rubio is to young to me to hold office of the presidency. If I had to choose a candidate right now it would be Cruz but anything could happen from now till then.

  232. he perfect pair. Bradman the narcissist, who will support a charitable cause fi it has his name on it, and any cause that lowers taxes, and Rubio, the man who stands for nothing that will offend the largest group of voters likely to vote for him.Politics has not been this cynical since the days of the robber barons, when Standard Oil Trust had a line item in its budget for political bribes.

  233. Really nice to get a rich godfather who only wants you to win. He once owned a Football team now he will own a Senator. guess he wants to own a President. Trying to think with all the money did his team ever make it to the show. Well the old saying a fool is easily seperated from his money. Guess the hobby of owning a team got boring. Whats better than owning the oval office. We can thank our impartial Supreme Court. Guess we have get in line behind Goerge W.