America’s Transcendent Issue

Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger

ImageWhen you contemplate all of the problems that beset us in this election year it is hard not to feel daunted by the task of finding solutions. Many millions of American’s are without jobs, with the prospect of future employment seeming illusory. The top 1% of the American population controls vast amounts of the country’s wealth.  http://www.businessinsider.com/15-charts-about-wealth-and-inequality-in-america-2010-4?op=1  Wages of average Americans have stagnated for the past 40 years to such an extent that our middle class is shrinking rapidly. The housing boom of years past has become a bust of monumental proportions and foreclosures are destroying formerly viable neighborhoods. Our once barely adequate “safety net” has been shredded and there are attempts to destroy both Social Security and Medicare as we know it. Despite a weak attempt at Medical reform millions of Americans find health care unaffordable, with many dying and others forced into bankruptcy to stay alive. Due to lack of money America’s once magnificent infrastructure is rotting and solutions are not on the horizon.

The collapse and bailout of our banking industry has cost us trillions and appears to have been brought about by fraudulent practices on the part of the industry, yet no one has been indicted. In fact the remuneration of top executives in this duplicitous industry has actually increased. Efforts to impose stiff controls ensuring that these artificial crises don’t happen again and that these huge financial entities do business ethically, have failed to pass the Congress. We see that the fallout from the American banking crisis has undercut the world’s economy and that economic crises in other industrialized nations appear regularly. Please notice I’m only referring to the economic problems we face and only producing a partial list of those economic problems.

We have seemingly come to the conclusion of an unnecessary war in Iraq, where trillions were spent and perhaps a million were killed, yet the withdrawal of troops is to bases that surround Iraq. We are leaving about 40,000 Americans in country, many as mercenaries (contractors is a euphemism) as we support the largest diplomatic infrastructure in any foreign nation. The war in Afghanistan still rages in a land that has never been significantly shaped by any outside empire, this despite the killing of Osama Bin Laden and the virtual destruction of Al Qaeda.  Hundreds of billions are being spent and the lives of our troops are put in danger, in an exercise with little hope of success. Billions are going towards building Afghanistan’s infrastructure as ours is falling apart. Yet these instances fail to raise the broad spectrum of the military/foreign policy problems continuing to plague us. These issues include a military budget that far greater than that of all other nations. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures 

However, these three paragraphs still do not encompass the broad range of problems we Americans face. There is more to be touched on before we come to the conclusion that I’ve reached, that there is one problem that not only transcends all of these, but its need for immediate solution supersedes any of the others in importance.

On this blog the issue of civil liberties is constantly with us because our host/founder is a distinguished Constitutional Law Professor and Lawyer. Jonathan Turley’s career has been spent fighting for civil liberties and for our freedoms. One result of the tragedy of 9/11 has been the steady erosion of our civil liberties in the name of anti-terrorism. The formation of a “Super Agency”, the frighteningly named (on so many levels)  Department of Homeland Security has centralized LEO’s of all levels, both civilian and military intelligence organizations, into an establishment with unprecedented vigilance of American’s daily lives. We have allowed torture, used brainwashing and unlimited preventive detention. This doesn’t fully subsume the efforts made in the losing War on Drugs that has cost hundreds of billions and in fact has proved to be an utter failure. The major drug dealers receive the main benefits via higher profits created by this enforcement. A side effect, but perhaps far more costly has been the phenomenon of our country having the highest incarceration rate in the world. Our incarceration rate is way beyond Russia and China, not to mention other nations whose names are synonymous with oppression. We have literally created a prison industry, with privatization and hiring out of prisoners to work for private industries in virtual chain gangs. This is a return byAmericato indentured servitude and perhaps slavery. As any of our regular readers on this blog know the above merely superficially touches upon the problems we have in ensuring civil liberties and staving off prejudice.

So far I’ve touched on the critical issues we face regarding the economy, the Military/Foreign Policy establishment and on the erosion of our constitutional freedoms. The last area I’d like to briefly explore is that of the encroachment of religion into our political life and the radical new interpretations of Church/State separation it has brought. It is true that in America there has always been a tension between those who wear their religiosity on their metaphoric sleeves and the right of average Americans to live their lives as they see fit. This encompasses the right to believe, or disbelieve as we choose. I grew up in a time when great literary works were banned from our shores, where movies were censored, where an actual husband and wife on a TV show (I Love Lucy) had to be depicted as sleeping in separate beds and when she was obviously pregnant, the word pregnant couldn’t be used. In my native New York State, our Governor’s wife had to established residence in Reno,Nevada in order to divorce him, since divorce was not allowed in New York. This was how far religion already had encroached upon civil life and the lives of ordinary people in times past.

Today we are faced with the specter of religion once again dominating our society. These new religious zealots disdain separation of church and state; re-write history to suit their narrow views; would force a woman to bear children she doesn’t want and enforce their peculiar notions of sin upon all of us. They would resurrect the marginalization of homosexuals via depriving them of their constitutional rights and even go so far as some as suggesting we ban contraception. They raise a legitimate fear of returning us to the “Dark Ages” of only sixty years ago. Sadly, these problems with religious zealots that I’ve enumerated aren’t even a complete catalog of things we should fear by their renewed rise to political power through overwhelming wealth. 

What I propose to you here is that all of these difficult situations, to those who view them as problems, have arisen out of one overarching issue. This is the source for all of those dilemmas detailed above and therefore must be dealt with before all of the others. It is America’s transcendent issue. This is the problem of the influence of wealth upon our political system. All of the evils (to my mind) listed above arise from the power to control government that money gives. Think about that in context of every issue I’ve detailed above and you will see that at its root is the influence of entrenched wealth upon our political system. The economy is a no-brainer. The Military/Security/Industrial Complex, of which Dwight Eisenhower warned, has controlled our military budget and our foreign policy. This interlocking self interest group has required diminishing our civil liberties to justify the money spent on wars and intrusion into foreign affairs, by promoting a climate of fear. They also use unconstitutional intrusion to intimidate and/or punish those who expose their misdeeds. Religious institutions free of taxation and oversight have developed huge war chests to control politicians and ensure that they adhere to certain litmus tests of “putative piety”. 

From lobbying efforts and emoluments offered politicians, to the vital need for campaign financing that politicians rely on to get elected/re-elected, money drives our system. All of the difficulties we face arise because of the influence of wealth upon our political system. Therefore, in my opinion this should be the transcendent issue that must be addressed if we have any hope of making America conform to the vision of our Founding Fathers. While some may argue that I’m belaboring the obvious, I would put to them that nothing else can be changed until we change our laws on campaign financing, lobbying and corporate personhood. In that mix we should ban religious entities, not from their right to freely practice their beliefs, but from the ability to influence politicians through money that is un-taxed. In America everyone should have the right to have their say, but it is intolerable that the opinions of some “elite” citizens prevail because their money is considered “free speech” as was formulated in the SCOTUS case Buckley v. Valeo http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buckley_v._Valeo and then recently expanded in the infamous “Citizens United Case”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_v._Federal_Election_Commission .

 An example of “Citizens United” impact was seen this week in Iowa where there were massive infusions of so-called “Super-Pac” money for campaign ads, which changed the dynamic of the Iowa Caucus. The Jack Abramoff lobbying case brought out the sickening details of how politicians were bought and corrupted. Abramoff  ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Abramoff ) was recently released from a minor jail term, but most of those he was involved with, like the ubiquitous Grover Norquist and Karl Rove were never indicted. That Abramoff is trying to atone for his behavior by speaking out against money in politics, is but a cruel irony of how powerless the system is to deal with its corruption by money. 

My conclusion is that with so many problems to deal with in our country our efforts to bring significant reform must “follow the money”. If we can’t limit the destructive effect of wealth upon our political system, our efforts at dealing with the many other issues destroying our Constitutional government will fail. I believe we must start here. What do you think? Below are links to organizations that have been formed to fight the influence of wealth and to overturn Citizens United. If you agree with me you might check some of them out to see if they are worthy of your support.

http://pac.progressivesunited.org/page/rein-in-influence?sc=google_pac_rein-in-influence_3&gclid=COzhw7HFu60CFUKR7QodoWUI_w

http://democracyisforpeople.org/

http://www.democracynow.org/2010/10/28/free_speech_for_people_coalition_urges

http://www.movementforthepeople.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/CfAW_ActionToolkit.pdf

http://sanders.senate.gov/petition/?uid=f1c2660f-54b9-4193-86a4-ec2c39342c6c 

Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger

240 thoughts on “America’s Transcendent Issue

  1. Which issue was Transcendent? That was a lot of sentences. I think it was “follow the money”. So with the Newtster it went from public treasury to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to Newtster to the tune of $1.6M. But I lost track of it there. The kids in my Fifth Grade group want to know (we have inquiring minds) if the Buck Stopped With Newt? Or, since he is a RepubliCon, did some trickle down? My group is in Fifth Grade and we are not allowed to cuss but will you ask the question of: Whether s___ went down hill.
    Did some of that $1.6M get taxed and thence did the public get some of it back in the form of reverse osmosis? Our group is meeting today at the first morning break after learning how to read a tape measure. If there are no answers to these questions then we will decide our own answers and report back. Our group is known as The Cult of the Fifth Grade but we really are not a cult like the Tea Party or such groups.

  2. yes, but remember noot was not paid by fannie mae, freddie mac, or bernie mac to be a lobbyist. he was paid to be a historian.

  3. I have been reading that some of the Republican candidates in Iowa have been frightened by the power of this unregulated infusion of money. They discovered too late they have created a monster that has broken its bonds. The Law of Unintended Consequences at work. It goes beyond who is “pure” enough to be the candidate. It goes to who can be bought like a commodity, something the oligarchs have become very good at.

    One upside for those who are sane is that this infusion of unregulated money may result in the selection of the LEAST electable candidate.

    There are enormous sections of the Republican party who are terrified of a Ron Paul candidacy; then there is the “anyone but Romney faction.” Santorum is appealing to one group, but others regard him as, in his own way, crazier than Michelle Bachmann, and a guy who lost his last election contest by 19 points. The only sane appearing Republican, Jon Huntsman, is unacceptable to the large majority of ultra-conservatives, for the simple reason he is sane.

    Yep, Dr. Frankenstein had nothing on those who created unregulated corporate infusions of money into campaigns. One thing they forgot to take into consideration is that money tends to flow toward power. In the USA, power naturally gravitates to whomever sits in the Oval Office. Obama, with all his flaws, is a magnet for some of that money, regardless of what the US Chamber of Commerce says. That cannot be good news for Box Turtle McConnell and John of Orange.

  4. Outstanding post, and I would agree with your core contention, of money piles having besmirched what was left of democracy in this country.

    I would take your “Dark Ages” reference a step further too, because we are watching what happens in a populace losing its critical thinking skills and its connection with history and deep literacy and respect of thought and contemplation.

    OS added: “One upside for those who are sane is that this infusion of unregulated money may result in the selection of the LEAST electable candidate.” Sadly, I have to disagree with this point from a functional perspective, because money has also taken over our voting process to the extent that “least electable” candidates can easily be sworn into office, courtesy of a rigged voting system answering to said money.

    What happens when a people finally realizes that their voting system is, in fact, rigged? How far off is this realization?

    In the dark of early morning, I am haunted by the prospect of the new Dark Age washing over the land, all the while knowing that others are rejoicing.

    Thank you for your post, MS.

  5. Mike

    As always your post is thorough, insightful and right on point. To take an action step, folks might consider checking out the Get Money Out movement (getmoneyout.com) and/or Move to Amend (movetoamend.org). The former organization is fronted and heavily promoted by Dylan Ratigan of MSNBC and radio host Randi Rhodes, among others, with the goal of getting all corporate and union money out of politics. The latter group seeks a Constitutional Amendment to clearly state that corporations are not people and money is not speech. Thanks, Mike.

  6. Mile has put it on the table quite well. I agree with every point. Just in case I did not make that clear.

    It is not unlike a doctor going over a patient in the ER. He says an arm is broken, there are three contusions on her legs, one toe is severed, and there is some serious internal bleeding.

    Those wounds are effects, results, and that type of examination is factually unassailable.

    What treatment would the doctor recommend? Would it always end with treatment of the physical wounds described, or would it go further?

    Would the treatment be the same if the wounds were “caused” by an automobile accident as it would be if the wounds were “caused” by jumping off a building in a suicide attempt?

    Of course, in either case, the damage must be treated and repaired, but the point I am making is that the damage is not always the end of the matter. Sometimes it is the beginning.

    The issues our nation faces is similar. The examination by the good Dr. Mike is spot on. We are damaged goods.

    But what if these damages are the results, the effects of our thinking, as in the case of attempted suicide mentioned above?

    Fixing the wounds is always fundamental, however, that fix will not prevent these things from happening again unless the nexus is followed back to the thinking problem.

    We are an addicted society and our national thinking must be fixed. Our national thinking is that of an addict in many areas, the thinking of a warmongering empire in other areas.

    Mike has our number.

  7. MS You said “the erosion of our constitutional freedoms.” This is a constant theme on this sit. I seem to be having a hard time getting a straight answer (or any answer) on the question of “compared to when”.

    I’m sure I don’t need to explain to you the word ‘erosion” indicates we had more constitutional freedoms previousely and now we have less of them. Many shills here supporting Ron Paul are suggesting that under Obama those freedoms have gotten particularly worse or alternatively no better then under Bush.

    Please let me know what you are comparing today to for the purpose of the term “erosion”.

  8. Mike,

    Is the problem too much wealth influencing government, or a government with too much power over society in the first place?

    I’d say the latter.

  9. Many of the issues that are raising so much alarm now, from vanishing civil liberties, endless wars with bipartisan support, taxpayers paying to bomb and rebuild entire nations in the Middle East, severe and growing economic problems creating ever-more dependence on entitlements, resulting trillion dollar deficits, multi-trillion dollar banking bailouts and other evils of our government were on the radar of some ten years ago:

  10. Thanks for the excellent post, Mike. I signed the Sanders petition though I am doubtful that the amendment has any chance of passing, after all, the oligarchs will not surrender power voluntarily.

    It is obvious to any thinking person that the government has been for sale for quite some time now. As Matt Taibbi wrote:

    “But the ugly reality, as Dylan Ratigan continually points out, is that the candidate who raises the most money wins an astonishing 94% of the time in America.”

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/iowa-the-meaningless-sideshow-begins-20120103

    At this point, I’m not sure that the citizenry can do much about it, short of a massive general strike and civil disobedience. Your vote certainly won’t bring about any fundamental change to the system, as Chris Hedges puts it:

    “. . .they recognize that the political system is broken, that the commercial press, the judiciary, the elected officials are essentially wholly owned subsidiaries of the corporate state. . . “

  11. “Wages of average Americans have stagnated for the past 40 years to such an extent that our middle class is shrinking rapidly.”

    Adding my old stand by to Mikes excellent post.

    “How has a once admired and loved leader of nations fallen from grace in such a short period of time? What has happened to a populace living in the wealthiest nation in human civilization? Why has the United States transformed itself into the malicious beast the world sees through frightful eyes?

    Gluttony and materialism have enveloped all corners of the United States, from Pacific to Atlantic Oceans, from the border with Canada to the one with Mexico. The principles of consumerism and greed are all-encompassing, years ago having replaced virtues long since gone. The clandestine enslavement hidden in mass production and ever-longer working hours has in the last few decades become the value by which we measure one’s worth to society.

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article15280.htm

  12. lzb1—Two recent, glaringly obvious examples of the erosion of our Constitutional freedoms: US citizens recently had their right to due process abrogated by the president with the Awlaki execution and by his signature on the recent NDAA which codifies his power to detain anyone indefinitely.

  13. Well done, Mike!

    The Center for Responsive Politics keeps an eye on the money in politics with their Open Secrets web page:
    http://www.opensecrets.org/

    *****

    Here’s a 2010 article written by Joe Conason:

    The Rise of Sewer Money
    New York Observer
    10/27/2010
    http://www.observer.com/2010/opinion/rise-sewer-money

    In New York there is a traditional name for the kind of anonymous cash now cascading into the American electoral process. It’s called sewer money.

    Political observers in the Empire State know that sewer money is generally nonpartisan, but in the national midterm contest, the largest amount by far is going toward the election of Republicans. Although precise amounts may never be known, thanks to the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case, reasonable estimates still can be made from research provided by Washington’s Center for Responsive Politics, which seeks to improve political and government transparency. Data from the Federal Elections Commission show that conservative, Republican-oriented “independent” groups are outspending progressive, Democratic-oriented groups by a factor of roughly ten to one so far. Organizations such as the US Chamber of Commerce, Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, Americans for Job Security and the American Futures Fund are on track to spend well over $200 million befor November 2, while the Sierra Club, Working America, and the United Mine Workers, among others, will probably spend about $80 million by then.

    The center’s figures may not account for all of the spending on the right and left, but the rough proportions are accurate enough. Nobody disagrees that lifting restrictions on corporate contributions in this election has flooded the airwaves with nasty advertising in many Congressional districts that is designed to elect Republicans.

    Why does sewer money matter? It’s bad enough that corporations and wealthy individuals can use their disparate resources — too often ill-gotten, for instance in the case of Wall Street banks — to influence the outcome of elections toward their own benefit. It’s far worse, however, when that influence can be exercised without acknowledgment of the real interests at work, with voters kept ignorant of the actual donors behind groups with names like “American Crossroads,” “American Futures” and “Americans for Job Security.” Those names don’t reveal anything about the intentions and beliefs of the people hidden behind them — except their need to hide and to deceive.

    What does sewer money want? Usually the purveyors of hidden cash to state legislators and city council members have specific desires, such as the awarding of tax breaks or public contracts. In this election, however, the stakes are much higher, with sewer money directed toward electing extremists on the right whose views on the Constitution, the economy, and many other issues do not resemble those held by most Americans.

    The sewer money candidates favor policies that have been outside the mainstream in this country for more than 70 years, including the abolition of the minimum wage, the destruction of Social Security and Medicare, and the repeal of most laws governing environmental pollution, labor exploitation, consumer protection, and child welfare. They would end the direct election of Senators, returning that function to the state legislatures, where sewer money often ensured the selection of pliable corporate stooges rather than honest public servants.

    Implementing this vision of a return to 19th century standards of governance would mean a grim future for most Americans and would certainly relegate the United States to second-class status, perhaps permanently. In no sense conservative, it represents a radical departure from the consensus that built a powerful, prosperous and free nation. But it would be good for business, or at least so the benighted businessmen pumping out the sewer money seem to think.

    Someone should ask Mr. Rove why the donors to his organizations are so determined to shelter their identities behind phony fronts. And then he could answer the question that cuts to the heart of American democracy at this dangerous moment. What does sewer money buy?

  14. 1zb1,

    A problem commenting and writing here is that I do so much, that at some point, for brevity, I have to assume people are somewhat familiar with my point of view. This is of course not possible because this blog contains so many viewpoints that it would take a photographic mind to keep all the commenters views straight, but I’m never quite able to touch all my own thought bases in my writing and commenting here. That is a long entree into answering your question, that was also posed on another thread. It is by the way quite a valid question, especially in defense of this President and the criticism heaped upon him regarding the erosion of civil liberties. I had answered it before, but perhaps in the rush of comments you missed it.

    I believe the Constitution was a wonderful document and one of the great contributions to humanity, in history, when it was adopted. However, it has some glaring flaws, that have grow worse with time. Giving each State the same number of senators is one instance, where over time serious anomalies have developed that lead to States with tiny, rural populations being able to exert power far beyond their numbers. We see the side effect of this today as the Iowa Caucus and the New Hampshire primary have major effects on Presidential politics.

    I personally don’t believe that the Constitution has been completely honored, or followed, since its institution. There is no “Golden Age” of Constitutional rule that we can look back on and say that we have eroded from that time. The over riding theme of American society and its struggle towards rule of the people, has been a battle between most of our populace and those who have the means to consider themselves elite, thus more fit to rule over the rest of us. As this blog suggests it is the prerogatives given to those who control vast amounts of wealth, that have led to almost all the ills befalling our country.

    Everything has its context though and from your comments on other threads, I’m aware that you pose the question in the context of what has occurred under this President and the harsh criticism he has received. You deserve my answer to this, but I’m am answering you at the peril of derailing my own blog into a debate on the 2012 election. I hope it doesn’t become that since other threads are involved with that question and I think the issue I raise here deserves a full discussion.

    President Obama has not been the President I expected him to be and thus I feel disappointed in him. The Bush/Cheney era codified certain powers in the Presidency that I consider to be anti-constitutional. It is not that the things that malign administration did represented new history, because for instance the assassination of purportedly dangerous foreigners has occurred throughout our history. One can point to our incursions into Latin American politics, the assassinations of Lumumba, Diem etc. as evidence this has been long term American Presidential policy. These practices, bad as they were, were always done sub rosa because it was recognized that they were extra legal. Bush/Cheney not only brought that into the open, but conspicuously bragged about their acts. Many of us expected Obama to rein that in and he hasn’t, hence we are dealing with a failure of expectations as well as extra-Constitutional activities.

    My particular viewpoint has been clear and consistent here in that I’ve castigated the President continuously for his failure to live up to my standards and expectations. Nevertheless, I have also been quite clear that there is a distinction to be made between Obama’s failures and the opposition to his re-election. Considering the alternatives to him, he will have my vote and support. While I firmly believe that this country has actually been an oligarchy since the adoption of the Constitution, I feel it is an oligarchy that is rife with internal divisions. The chief among them is the split between those who believe the citizens are sheep to be shorn by
    a deserving elite and those who feel that fairness to the people makes for a better system. Perhaps as illustration the divide between the Koch Bros.on one hand and Warren Buffett on the other. Both sides have too much power for my taste, but I’ll support the Buffett side, until we can find a means to rid ourselves of rule by oligarchy and return to the spirit of the Constitution, which has never been fully implemented.

  15. “We are an addicted society and our national thinking must be fixed. Our national thinking is that of an addict in many areas, the thinking of a warmongering empire in other areas.”

    Dredd,

    Don’t get me started with those issues, though I quite agree. I think though that we discount the roots of the addiction and the imperialism at our peril. In the end these facets are but the end product of a propaganda of fear and consumerism, foisted upon us in the self interest of the few. That their brainwashing has had a malevolent effect is quite obvious today.

  16. I stepped into the comment section with one eye closed – I expected the wingnut brigade explaining how this was all Obama’s fault. Surprised to see only puzzling who blames the entire idea of government as the problem. Because things are great in places with no government I guess.

    The problem, dear puzz, is that things were much better – and getting even better – from 1932 till 1980. Incomes rising, education levels rising, mortality rates dropping, poverty rates dropping, much better in so many ways. Then around 1980 the government fell into the hands of those who believed IT was the problem & it should be dismantled. They have done that pretty well over the last 30 years and have managed to reverse those trends.

    We have a government of the people, by the people; if it is a problem its is the people that are the problem. What we don’t have at the moment is a government for the people because the whole process is dominated by huge amounts of money . That money has bought a lot of votes through clever ads and manipulated ‘news’ coverage. It has given a small cadre of very wealthy to gain influence well beyond their worth. They have turned the machinery of government against the nation for their own betterment. But that is not the governments fault, it is the fault of people willing to vote against their best interests.

  17. CAT: i didn’t ask for a specific example of what YOU think is an erosion. What I asked for is a “WHEN”. For example, for blacks living in the south during slavery or reconstruction or during segregation they were routinely deprived of those rights.

    The point of course is compared to the past many groups would say they have far greater rights today then ever before. And needless to say there are many ways to “kill people”. Lack of healthcare, unfunded research, outlawing abortion even for the health of a mother, living in poverty, lack of education, pollution, lack of various regulations are all forms by which the :state” takes the life of citizens without due process. Protecting the right of business to exploit people, to poison them, to deny opportunity, to imprision them for private choices are all forms of taking away peoples rights.

  18. “Is the problem too much wealth influencing government, or a government with too much power over society in the first place?
    I’d say the latter.”

    Puzzling,

    This is the source of much of the political disagreement between you and I.

  19. “In the dark of early morning, I am haunted by the prospect of the new Dark Age washing over the land, all the while knowing that others are rejoicing.”

    Kathleen,

    I share your dread and worry for my children and grandchildren.

    Everyone,

    I’ve intruded enough into this discussion, I’m going to sit back and learn from your own viewpoints.

  20. “What I asked for is a “WHEN”.”

    “I personally don’t believe that the Constitution has been completely honored, or followed, since its institution. There is no “Golden Age” of Constitutional rule that we can look back on and say that we have eroded from that time.”

    1zb1,

    That was my answer to your “When?”.

    Everyone, sorry for that one last comment. I’m out of here to the gym.

  21. Castrate the ones in power….after a generation they will not breed….Some say Castro is or was a threat….In hind sight….did he not take the more honest approach….

  22. Obama’s policies (protecting torturers, military commissions, dirty wars, Iranian “axis of evil” antagonism, warrantless surveillance, indefinite detention, extrajudicial assasination, etc.) are in keeping with the neocon agenda.

    There will be no real political process in this country until we come to terms with what happened under the Bush Administration. Unfortunately, Congress is unlikely to investigate because they would reveal their own complicity (it was Nancy Pelosi that took impeachment “off the table”). The judiciary is unlikely to investigate because they’re complicit right up to the Supreme Court that installed Bush in office. And the executive is unlikely to investigate because Obama seems content to continue Bush-era policies.

    Voting behavior has a minimal impact on policy in large part because it is primarily a means of legitimating the power structure that both parties rely on for their influence. Leadership is not a viable means to enact social change because belief in leadership is itself a tool used to enforce conformity. Conformists don’t bring about social change.

    An alternative to 3rd party voting, which is often denigrated as “throwing your vote away” is to use voting as a means to coordinate the attitudes of the disaffected — that is, to use the existing electoral system for a purpose other than installing an individual in office. Such an alternate use of voting would be to vote for yourself as a write in candidate coupled with the advocacy of such a tactic.

    The purpose of such a voting tactic is manifold:

    1. Focuses on individual initiative rather than rely on some external organization for efficacy

    2. If enough people participate, will create a spectacle that the media can’t spin.

    3. Lets disaffected voters know how many others like them are out there — a pre-requisite for more organized behavior

    4. Vote for what you believe in rather than against what you fear

    5. Non-violent

    6. Inexpensive

    7. Able to distinguish the angry of the apathetic

    If a prospective participant is afraid of appealing mostly to disaffected democrats, and fears this might tip the election in the favor of a republican, then, first and foremost, advocacy of this tactic should be directed towards non-voters. Also, keep in mind another way of interpreting how close our elections have become:

    In 2000, the Florida recount was triggered by statute because less than 0.5% of votes separated Bush from Gore. If you deny that the election was rigged, you must then accept that an election settled by less than the statistical margin of error by definition says nothing about voter preference. An election so close might as well be settled by chance.

    A statistically-significant degree of participation in such an action would be 5% of the popular vote, as this is what is required for federal election matching funds. This could be the youth vote. The purpose is to create a numerical “black hole” that the nation will have to examine, both in terms of voter preferences and with respect to the integrity of the voting system overall.

    If you’re like most voters, then you believe polarization is a problem in contemporary American politics. Voting for Democrats and Republicans (read: more polarization) is unlikely to help things much. At some point, you’re going to have to take just a little bit of a risk and change your behavior.

  23. Mike, your anger at Obama (and the anger of others) seems to be because you completely misunderstood who he was. i believe anyone who actually read his website or listened to him would see he was a ‘centrist” and a compromiser. the mistake is yours for not paying attention (and perhaps being a bit disconnected from the reality of politics and history), so perhaps your anger would be more appropriately directed at yourself. (I think you referred to your “analytical gifts”. Clearly they weren’t working in this case.

    For someone like me who supported Hillary but happily voted for Obama (and will do so again), perhaps I had a more realistic view of who he was. Lets face it, he wasn’t the first person to promis change in an election. In my view – and given the reality (which others like to ignore) – he has actually exceeded my expectations.

    Does this mean I am blind to the shortcoming and disappointments (as suggested by the screaming rants for Ron Paul), of course not. But I know of no President who has had to face greater challanges (short of Lincoln and FDR) in a more fractured nation and more complex and challanging realities.

    No matter how you cut it, the reality at this moment in time – not 2 years, 5 years, or 30 years from now – being against Obama is being for a giant step backwards in every way imaginable. Willingly or not, ignorantly or otherwise, being for Ron Paul, or the idea that everyone is all the same, amounts to a giant step backwards in practicle results. The Republican/Tparty wants people to think, Congress is Broken, Government is Broken, All Parties are the same. In that way people stay home, or they vote for candidates that can’t win and make it possible for the worst outcome to happen.

    In my view we are on the battlfield and the hoards are charging forward. And while some people are doing the fighting a lot of other people are sitting in the comfort of their rolls complaining about the flouride in the water. Pardon me if I’ll take on that issue next year instead of this.

    As far as the comments about the Constitution, it is what it is, like it or not. Or should I say it is whatever you think it is. Clearly you don’t like the fact that it was designed to have a reasonably strong central government, or that the President was given powers to deal with challanging situations. It doesn’t take rocket science to know it was a compromise document and many parts (just about all of it) was made as vague as possible to get it approved. Nor do we need to be reminded that the nation was founded on slavery, oppression, and inequality.

    Real progress has been made on many fronts and for many people who formerly suffered in the past. We have a long way to go to reach the place we likely all want. But you don’t get there by going backwards.

    Reality: the forces of regression are willing to do anything to take us backwards – meaning getting rid of Obama. If you are not equally willing to keep that from happening just imagine this conversation 2 years from now.

    The difference between an optomist and a pessimist: An optomist knows how bad things are but doesn’t give up fighting and a pessimist thinks every this is bad so they don’t bother fighting.

    I’ll take being an optomist every time.

  24. Great article, most of the big gov’t problems the US faces are because of gov’t intervention into the economy, LRC.com, mises.org are great resources on all of these topics both of which I read almost daily.

  25. Mike,
    Great post. I can’t agree more to your conclusions. Just like Deep Throat said during Watergate, “follow the money”. With unlimited, secret cash flowing into campaigns, the vast majority of people will not be served or represented. Maybe the OWS movement is a small start in holding the money accountable for our problems.

  26. So Mike, when you say there was no golden age then the word “eroded” would not be accurate since there is nothing to compare it to that was better. In fact, for some groups they might say it has never been better (ie ending DODT).

  27. S.M.

    The title of your article shows just how screwed up the priorities of partisans and the elites who are served by them really are. The problem is not the reelection of a corrupt president, it is the myriad suffering imposed by the elites, sanctioned by their supporters, on the population at large.

    Obama doesn’t need saving, our nation does.

  28. Jill, Things seem to be getting a little better but the doomsayers don’t want that to be the case. Do you really think Obama favors the elite more than Romney? That seems to be the choice.

  29. Jill,

    I think you are wrong. Having people employed is better than having them on the service rolls of government. If employment is not an issue you care about, then why do you bother to vote?

  30. Mike, don’t take this the wrong way, and I reread your piece again just to make sure. I don’t mean to be insulting but it is, for lack of a better term, rather sophmoric on one hand and wrong in its core conclusion on the other, that the transcendental problem to it all is “the influence of wealth upon our political system.”

    No doubt there are people who just woke up from their 1950’s form of idyllic white middle class growing up who may need to be reminded that the world is made up of things other then white picket fences. But most people have at least a vague understanding of the fact that the world is not a perfect place and filled with horrible hunger, sickness, poverty, injustice, and cruelty.

    In any event, to say it is all due to money, or even money’s influence on the political system is both mistaken and counter to the Constitution. You may not like but the drafters of constitution were as concerned about the people abusing power as they were of any other part of government. We don’t often think about it this way but the Checks and Balances approach – Senate, House, Executive, Judiciary – also included the “people”. In other words there were really 4 branches of government. And the founders weren’t really very trusting of any of them. On the superficial level, the Senate was supposed to be a check on the House (in theory representing the people more closely) but while the branches of government got to vote regularly on matters, the people still had a vote on those matters every 2 years.

    I say to you the problem is less about money in politics as it is about ignorance of the people. I call it a willful ignorance because people go out of their way not know the facts or consider new ideas. To paraphrase, “its the people stupid”.

    Perhaps a rereading of Federalist One is in order For example:.

    “The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man; and we see them everywhere brought into different degrees of activity, according to the different circumstances of civil society. A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well of speculation as of practice; an attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power; or to persons of other descriptions whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions, have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co-operate for their common good.”

    (the opening of Fed 1 specifically addresses money so it is really an old story. The tparty was about money, the Civil War was about money… big surprise, how many things aren’t about money)

    Never before in history has so much information and knowledge been so easily available for anyone wanting to be informed. Yet on so many fronts we act in ways counter to our own well being, the well being of the nation, the world, and the planet.

    Ignorance is bliss so we should have a really happy country.

  31. BTW Mike, I’ve been meaning to ask you – and anyone who would like to answer – is there any situation you can imagine when the President should take it upon himself to order the killing of an American citizen? In your view would that be legal under the constitution if he did or would it still be illegal?

    Lets take a hypothetical example: the person is involved in a plot to use a nuclear device in your hometown and there is only one good chance to stop him. And also, what if it came out after a nucleur attack the President could have stopped him but didn’t?

  32. Jill,

    “Obama doesn’t need saving, our nation does.”

    I don’t think there is a candidate running for president who could save this nation–especially when one takes into consideration the state of the other two branches of our government at the present time.

  33. “Mike, don’t take this the wrong way, and I reread your piece again just to make sure. I don’t mean to be insulting but it is, for lack of a better term, rather sophmoric on one hand and wrong in its core conclusion on the other, that the transcendental problem to it all is “the influence of wealth upon our political system.”

    1zb1,

    Please do take this the wrong way because I mean to be insulting. You’ve recently made many comments here, certainly enough to judge your political stance and your overall personality. My judgment is that you are an elitist, pompous ass, with deep seated insecurity. You tend to discuss with invective and to make refutations based on non-sequitur answers to the points you dispute. There is an air of smugness about you in that you really believe that you are smarter than everyone, when the reality is that your forensic skills are mere diatribes and assertions. As to the elitism I claim for you:

    “I say to you the problem is less about money in politics as it is about ignorance of the people. I call it a willful ignorance because people go out of their way not know the facts or consider new ideas. To paraphrase, “its the people stupid”.”

    By this statement it is clear that you see yourself above those grubby people, looking down upon them benignly, but with a revulsion at their inability to think like you.

    “In any event, to say it is all due to money, or even money’s influence on the political system is both mistaken and counter to the Constitution.”

    Given its role as a refutation of my point this is a sublimely stupid statement in an attempt to demolish a straw man of your own creation. Who precisely said that the use of money in politics is approved of in the Constitution? Oh yes it was SCOTUS in a ruling I clearly dispute. However, don’t let that deter you because your presence here is not about discussion, but about a lame attempt to prove how prescient you are. Some might ascribe prescience to you, were it not for the fact that you clearly have a glaring inability to perform the simplest tasks of reading comprehension and a tendency to see what is clearly not there.

    “The tparty was about money, the Civil War was about money… big surprise, how many things aren’t about money”

    The only way to describe the above is asinine. My point is, you ninny, that every major (and minor) problem facing this country is due to the malevolent influence of money upon politics. You admit it is true, but you do so in refutation of what? The Citizens United case establishing corporate person-hood was in effect the legitimization of the corruption of our country. This is the issue from which all others devolve. However, you’re really not interested in that, nor are your really interested in re-electing the President. The election is clearly subsumed in your overweening ego and the need to feel smart.

    That is true for a fact, since you’ve come onto the scene here, you’ve been far more interested in picking fights, rather than getting votes. You pick fights too in a rather smarmy, patronizing manner which clearly indicates to me what an insecure wretch you are.

    Now unlike you I don’t start with the premise that I am all wise, I could be mistaken about your intentions. It would also be a logical possibility that you are little more than a conservative troll, claiming support for Obama and then being so obnoxious about it that you actually diminish support. A stupid strategy to be sure, but based o your writing I would think stupidity of tactics would be a option for you.

    Finally, you have really begun to bore me and you add little to the conversation. That being the case hang around and spread all the nonsense you want, I’m not playing anymore. You are a waste of time.

  34. Pete,
    “yes, but remember noot was not paid by fannie mae, freddie mac, or bernie mac to be a lobbyist. he was paid to be a historian.”

    “Historically speaking Congressman X; you have always agreed to help us and we have agreed to funnel all that money to your account; not to mention the weekends in Cabo……Historically speaking of course”

    Cattulus,
    “At this point, I’m not sure that the citizenry can do much about it, short of a massive general strike and civil disobedience. Your vote certainly won’t bring about any fundamental change to the system.”

    Ahhhhhhh. The voice of reason. You are so right. Any attempt to clean up and defund the system; made through the system is as always doomed. First you take back the power; then you make the changes. To take back the power; you must make them ineffective. The only way to force the changes is to Occupy the whole country; DC in particular; with such massive numbers and to such a point that Government stops until the money and corruption are done away with.

    1zb1,
    “Mike, your anger at Obama (and the anger of others) seems to be because you completely misunderstood who he was. i believe anyone who actually read his website or listened to him would see he was a ‘centrist” and a compromiser. the mistake is yours for not paying attention (and perhaps being a bit disconnected from the reality of politics and history), so perhaps your anger would be more appropriately directed at yourself. (I think you referred to your “analytical gifts”. Clearly they weren’t working in this case.”

    I hate to do it but I must say that you could be right here.(sorry Mike- you weren’t alone) I believe that many of us were deceived about Obama. I believe we all wanted to believe in Obama. I personnally assumed that he would turn out to be more liberal than he presented after he was elected. Perhaps I was making assumptions; based on his race. perhaps it never occured to me that the first Black man to reach the office would be a bought and paid for tool of the 1%. Perhaps I wasn’t aware of the Big Picture then.
    So yeah maybe we were deceived and maybe, had i read his website at that time; I would have assumed he was playing a moderate role to reach the top whereupon he would reveal his true liberalism. Maybe. Sure looked good on paper. But I think in turn that you have missed and are still missing the Big Picture that shows up what a sad sap Obama really is and what a shame he is to all Americans.

    “So Mike, when you say there was no golden age then the word “eroded” would not be accurate since there is nothing to compare it to that was better. In fact, for some groups they might say it has never been better”

    This is primarily word play. It does not follow that because there was no Golden Age; there was not an age better than the current one. If; for instance we label this the Shit Age; it is possible to have any number of ages in between that would correspond to materials whose intrinsic value falls somewhere between that of gold and shit. A Veritable Corucopia of materials come to mind that would fit the bill.

    “Lets take a hypothetical example: the person is involved in a plot to use a nuclear device in your hometown and there is only one good chance to stop him. And also, what if it came out after a nucleur attack the President could have stopped him but didn’t?”

    Eeeeehhhh! This is in no way a valid comparison to the issue in question. No offence but I think you need some work on your Allegory and Metaphors.

    The situation in your example is an Emergent situation where the President is facing an immediate danger to Americans; an immediate threat where seconds count and he must give the kill order to prevent it.

    Contrast that to the situation we are speaking of. The president used his power to order the planning and carrying out of a covert mission to another nation to assassinate from cover an American citizen who was accused of criminal activity.

    These are two completely different scenarios. Your going to have to come up with an example where he plans ahead and premeditatively kills a US Citizen; or has killed.

    AY,
    “Some say Castro is or was a threat….In hind sight….did he not take the more honest approach….”

    Man; don’t get me started. I have some…………………shall we say; controversial opinions about Fidel. Usually doesn’t make me overly popular. But still; they are my opinions and I believe I could put together adequate documentation to support them as well. But we will leave that for another day.

  35. Newt suffered mightily at the hands of his own much treasured Citizens United Supreme Court decision when the hidden money aligned against him produced commercials and ad campaigns causing him to fall 20 points in the polls in a mere 20 days. He ranted and raved but to no avail. The boomerang came back.

    No politician is safe from the boomerang and when enough of them realize that, we will get some legislative action. Until then I will contribute to groups such as the ones Mike S and rcampbell mentioned and I will keep demanding accountability. The internet and all the social media technology are great tools in fighting this battle. We must take full advantage of these tools for they can be well used in leveling the playing field. (Note Mike’s article and the varying responses to it … 15 years ago none of this was possible)

  36. Mike S: “Citizens United case establishing corporate person-hood was in effect the LEGITIMIZATION of the corruption of our country.” [emphasis added]

    Exactly. Corruption has always and will always exist, but the wise do not enshrine it in law.

    To claim the principle of “one person, one vote” while also selling access to the right of “free speech” in the marketplace, sets up a cognitive dissonance that cannot be resolved.

    To further provide the voters with a system that is easily gamed by those with all the “access” money can buy means: game over.

  37. Oh Mike, did your little diatribe help you feel better? I hope so. Didn’t actually say much other then once again you prove with all your “analytical gifts” you are a poor judge of character – or should I say no judge at all.

    Lets see if I get this straight: as near as I can tell I am the only one here who unapologetically supports Obama but because I “pick fights” with everyone else I must really be a troll? That makes good sense ;) You mean to say you and everyone else (apparently you speak for everyone else) are so weak minded that because I don’t curtsy when you, Mr. Turly (his argument on the recess appointment was embarrassing) or anyone else cares to share their brilliance with us you are going to not vote for Obama.

    Of course you and most others who find it good fun to dissect him everyway you can, or in many cases suggest that Ron Paul is an alternative, are not at fault but my clumsy little challenges, (as you put) will cause people not to vote for him. Boy what a sorry lot you all must be if Mike is right on that.

    Come, come, Mike, your feelings where hurt. I didn’t bow down to your brilliant insights into the human condition and of course that great insight of yours that “money in politics” is the root of all evil. And you really don’t think that is sophomoric (heartfelt but still sophomoric)?

    Sorry to hurt your feelings. Sorry to hear you are so weak in mind that you might not vote for Obama because you don’t like my tone.

    In any event, as for being elitist – in other words according to you, I am the one who thinks everyone else is too stupid to get it instead of you and everyone else thinking I am too stupid to get it because I do support Obama. To that charge, I stand convicted. I accept that I am slightly less stupid then a lot of people even if that makes me a lots stupider then many people.

    Let me turn to AMS for a moment: You said, “So yeah maybe we were deceived.” You saw what you wanted to see even when all the facts were put right in front of you but you call that “deceived”? Face it, many of you deceived yourself. Your anger should be with yourself. Take responsibility. And also don’t be so disappointed. The guy you got has actually gotten a good amount of the things done that he promised. Who knows if he gets reelected and takes back the house he might get even more things done that you like even if you don’t like them all.

    As for the ‘Golden Age” thing, I seem to be having a problem getting a straight answer from anyone. Just let me know one of those periods when “civil liberties” were better off. Personally, I don’t think you can name one. That doesn’t mean there arn’t things to fix, but it does mean haveing some realistic perspective based on reality instead of hyperbole.

    As for my example, i did not try in any way to create a metaphor or analogy. In this day and age I am not going to argue what constitutes an “imminent threat” (unless you want to). Assume if you like that the plan to nuke your home town was still days away from actual happening but you only had this one chance to get the guy (or gale) to stop it from happening. What I am most interested in is if there is any circumstance at all when killing an American Citizen by the president is 1) Justifiable; and 2) Constitutional even when the question of immanency (and what is meant in the constitution) is unclear.

    Back to MIKE:

    I beleive many issues are far more complex then many people acknowledge (including me). Whenever I read a Judges ruling – even ones I disagree with – I am often in awe of their reasoning, and usually their brevity. Just loved Judge Jones opinion on intelligent design in Kitzmiller v. Dover.

    It deeply offends me in Citizens United the RIGHT WING APPOINTED COURT has somehow managed to give more rights to corporations then citizens. It is a perversion in everyway of the very notion of democracy and the constitution. Yet at the same time I can certainly understand that we are treading on complicated ground when it comes to also protecting the right to “free speech”. We can spend more time on this later, but I think we can all appreciate that there are potentially conflicting rights. Not to mention that the ruling also impacts on Unions and other organizations similar rights.

    The point being that money and political speech and free speech are not quite so clear cut and obvious in their reality as they may appear in their theory.

    Mike thinks money is the root of all political evil. But as I pointed out the founders were well aware of the influence of money. They were also concerned about the ignorance of the people (even if Mike thinks I’m an elitist for saying so).

    All of you (or should I say many of you) think the way to fix the money problem is to, well, fix the money problem. You are willing to attack one right of one group (ie corporations, unions, trade groups, non profits) for the sake of another right (isn’t that the way it always is – my important right is more important then your important right?)

    But if I’m correct and the real problem is not money but “ignorance” – in the form of people making uninformed choices based on who spends the most money, might a better (or at least an alternative) approach to limiting money could be INFORMATION and EDUCATION. Effective information, widely disseminated would make money superfluous. Instead of just who runs the most attack ads with the most screaming its about who has the facts on their side.

    What if people tuned into the POLITICAL CHANNEL like they do to the financial and sports channel to compare actual facts. I don’t mean the talking heads kind of politics or the FOX MAKE BELIEVE NEWS CHANNEL, or the talking points kind of interviews, but real facts in clear side by side comparisons. (I realize there are bits and pieces of this, ie the OMB, or Fact check or many other sources of relatively objective information that people usually don’t pay attention to.)

    What I’m talking about is fight money with information. You can’t buy votes with money based on misinformation if people make it a part of their lives to get the facts. Special Interest Groups will stop spending money on political advertising only when people stop paying attention to the advertising. Bottom line this isn’t a money problem – its an information, education, and people problem.

    Right now people don’t want to know the facts – will full ignorance. Even AMS didn’t entirely disagree with me on that. When we make it easier to see the truth then it is to see what we already want to hear money won’t matter.

    Side note: the same kind of ignorance applies to our health issues: we are eating ourselves to death based on food addiction and manipulative marketing… but thats for another time

  38. 1zb1 1, January 7, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    BTW Mike, I’ve been meaning to ask you – and anyone who would like to answer – is there any situation you can imagine when the President should take it upon himself to order the killing of an American citizen? In your view would that be legal under the constitution if he did or would it still be illegal?

    Lets take a hypothetical example: the person is involved in a plot to use a nuclear device in your hometown and there is only one good chance to stop him. And also, what if it came out after a nucleur attack the President could have stopped him but didn’t?
    =====================================================
    That one is easy, cause Bush II already did that in Iraq. It brought us victory praise th’ lawd. He did mission accomplished muy proto and set his little booyah down on that carrier deck like Top Gun Cruise baby! So he got re-elected all exceptional and proper.

    What is not easy to figure, yep, what is real hard to figgur, is if a guy learns to fart nukes and the lord president has to kill a lot of innocent democrats who live in his neighborhood on food stamps, is that regal?

    I know I spelled figgur two ways, but remember that it was a famous president who said: “It is a damn poor mind that can only figgur one way to spell a word” …

  39. DRED, I’ll take that as a “CAN’T THINK of any.”

    FYI 100 billion dollars a year of drugs are smuggled into the country; hundreds of thousands of people enter the country undetected. Who knows how much in the way of illegal products are shipped into the country. But of course in your world the possibility of a nuke, dirty bomb, biological weapon or other mass casualty weapon is in the realm of the impossible. How about this one: a few nut jobs fly some planes into a building or drive a truck loaded with explosives into a building. Is that possible. I get it, lets do it your way and just do nothing.

    Oh, and btw, lets vote for Romney so he can do with Iran the same thing Bush (the idiot) 2 did in Iraq. Boy you are a clever one.

  40. 1zb1,

    You are too full of yourself to understand anyone but yourself. As for you affecting my vote that was your really stupid interpretation of what I wrote. Here’s the difference between you and me. I’m a real person, using my real name, who publicly stated long ago that I would vote for Obama. you are merely a pseudonym who gets off on the attack without substance.
    That’s why you don’t even realize that a good many here have also stated the will vote for the President, because you pre-judgments don’t allow you to take in or even understand what others are communicating. You are really having a debate with yourself, in the persona of who you believe are your opponents and you called Tony C. schizophrenic? BTW your use of schizophrenia showed a lack of knowledge of mental health in its’ incorrect usage.

    “In any event, as for being elitist – in other words according to you, I am the one who thinks everyone else is too stupid to get it instead of you and everyone else thinking I am too stupid to get it because I do support Obama.”

    No you’re the one that thinks everyone else is stupid because you wrote it:

    “I say to you the problem is less about money in politics as it is about ignorance of the people. I call it a willful ignorance because people go out of their way not know the facts or consider new ideas. To paraphrase, “its the people stupid”.”

    As for everyone else thinking you’re crazy for supporting Obama, actually as I said quite a few here do support Obama, your tunnel vision leaves you unable to see that. However, agreeing to vote for Obama doesn’t necessarily entail total approval of him, just a choice informed by one’s distaste for the alternative. You present yourself and preen yourself as being politically sophisticated, but your need to feed your debilitated ego, makes you just another schmuck, starved for attention and willing to get if even if it is negative. I’m glad to be of service to your insecurity.

    “Even AMS didn’t entirely disagree with me on that.”

    I think you should re-read AMS’ comment, like with others you’ve got it wrong.

    “What I’m talking about is fight money with information.”

    I can see you only go for the “really big ideas”. How pray tell does the information get disseminated when the media is owned by the very people who don’t want information disseminated? Oops, we’re back to money again. Interestingly, you keep wanting to put the blame on the people and their ignorance.

    “You are willing to attack one right of one group (ie corporations, unions, trade groups, non profits) for the sake of another right (isn’t that the way it always is – my important right is more important then your important right?)”

    First it is interesting to see you as a defender of corporate rights, why it’s almost as if…….they were people. Corporations are legal fictions allowed by the State and as such they don’t have the right to corrupt our political process. However, not being as simplistic(and elitist) as you my propositions are quite different then what your febrile brain imagines.

    Eliminate the concept of corporate person hood.
    Require the media to broadcast political debates and give candidates air time..
    Return the teaching of civics to the schools.
    Limit lobbying and limit campaign contributions.

    That would be a start. I’m just putting that out there btw for the record, since you lack the capacity to comprehend anything you haven’t thought of, but without the hope that your ego besotted pseudonymous persona can comprehend it.

  41. I like your suggestions Mike. Get rid of the money and good things will follow. As I have stated on numerous occasions, I support Obama and will vote for him. The Republican choices are all much worse than Obama overall.

  42. 1zb1 1, January 7, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    DRED, I’ll take that as a “CAN’T THINK of any.”

    FYI 100 billion dollars a year of drugs are smuggled into the country; hundreds of thousands of people enter the country undetected.
    ==================================================
    Don’t blame me bubba, I have said that we should get out of Afghanistan. MOMCOM has no business smuggling drugs ‘n folks in or out of any country bro.

  43. “Just let me know one of those periods when “civil liberties” were better off. Personally, I don’t think you can name one.”
    OK, 1zb1, let’s travel back in time, to the period before Sept 11th, 2001, a day in distant US memory where there was:
    No Patriot Act. The term, “probable cause” was eliminated for the government to search the library records of suspected terrorists and all that is required is the personal opinion of an agent, stating that the requested records are related to an investigation. No search warrant is needed.
    No DHS or TSA. Suspicion free pat-downs and x-rays are required to board a commercial airliner, and thousands of people are placed on a “no fly” list. Thousands more are placed on a “watch” list that triggers enhanced and vigorous searches. Included on the “watch” list is 8-year old Mikey Hicks. No search warrant or probable cause is needed.
    No NSA Warrantless Spying. In 2002, the NSA was ordered by president Bush to intercept and monitor the international and domestic telephone calls and e-mail messages of thousands of citizens and legal US residents. No search warrant or probable cause is required.
    No Total Information Awareness. Computerized database search and “data mining” of all transactional data of all Americans, including domestic telephone records, credit card records, travel data, international financial data, internet search records, email subject lines and email headers. No probable cause or warrant is needed.
    It seems to me that our civil liberties were better off in the period before Sept 11th, 2001, but then again, I’m not a lawyer so what do I know?

  44. “As I have stated on numerous occasions, I support Obama and will vote for him.”

    Raff,

    Say it isn’t so. Have you so quickly forgotten the party line here that Obama must go?

  45. “OK, 1zb1, let’s travel back in time, to the period before Sept 11th, 2001, a day in distant US memory where there was:
    No Patriot Act.”

    Catullus,

    Damn it you have a valid point, but it contradicts some of what I wrote, what’s a guy to do but say I wish I had thought of that.

  46. So Dredd, you want to spend NO money on the “military”? How about NO money on police, fire? Or if you want to spend some money, how much?

    FYI: comparing how much we spend on military to other countries in absolute amounts is completely disengenuous.

  47. “FYI: comparing how much we spend on military to other countries in absolute amounts is completely disengenuous.”

    FYI,

    You should quit before your stupidity reduces you to clown status.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures

    You really think this country needs to spend more on the military than the next 22 highest nations do as a combined total? This juxtaposed with our failing infrastructure, medically uninsured and soaring poverty. There is nothing disingenuous about using absolute amounts, except that it disagrees with another pre-judgment of yours, for which you have no retort.

  48. MIKE is your ego that weak? Really you had to pull out your whole grab bag of high foluton insults. Must be tough to be you.

    “Schizophrenia is a group of severe brain disorders in which people interpret reality abnormally. Schizophrenia may result in some combination of hallucinations, delusions and disordered thinking and behavior.” I’d say I got it exactly correct. A so called far left liberal thinking that voting for Ron Paul is a better choice then Obama is absolutely delusion and disordered thinking and behavior.

    “In 1978, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) created a “secret federal court for issuing wiretap warrants in national security cases.”

    “In 1994, Congress approved the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), which “requires telephone companies to be able to install more effective wiretaps”

    “In 1996, following the Oklahoma City bombing, Congress passed (91–8–1 in the Senate, 293–133–7 in the House) and President Clinton signed into law the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA). The AEDPA was intended to “deter terrorism, provide justice for victims, provide for an effective death penalty, and for other purposes.” The AEDPA introduced one of the few limitations on habeas corpus. For the first time, its Section 101 set a statute of limitations of one year following conviction for prisoners to seek the writ. The Act limits the power of federal judges to grant relief.

    Btw: flying on a plane is not a right unless you are denied equal treatment. In the meantime my solution is you get to fly on every plane they don’t check the passangers. I’ll fly on the ones they do.

    BTW, IF YOU WERE GAY AND IN THE SERVICE YOU WOULDN’T THINK YOU HAD MORE RIGHTS THEN COMPARED TO TODAY.

    But back on point. Mike you are really starting to blabber. We’ve covered this territory over and over already. Are you really that simple minded (you see I can flash insults just like you). And btw: now you are going from sophmoric to dishonest. Pointing out that an issue is complicated is not the same as protecting corporations.

    Lets look at some of your ideas:

    “Eliminate the concept of corporate person hood.” So if a corporation wants to do an ad regarding a particular policy you don’t like you wil block it in your simplistic world.

    Require the media to broadcast political debates and give candidates air time.. WHATS A MATTER, YOU HAVEN’T HAD ENOUGH DEBATES? WHAT WE REALLY NEED ARE DEBATES THAT MEAN SOMETHING.

    Return the teaching of civics to the schools. SOUNDS LIKE MY IDEA: INFORMATION AND KNOWLEDGE. ALL FOR IT.

    Limit lobbying and limit campaign contributions. ESSENTIALLY THEY ARE. the problem is with as Kennedy wrote: “If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech.” He also noted that since there was no way to distinguish between media and other corporations, these restrictions would allow Congress to suppress political speech in newspapers, books, television and blogs.

    The idea that some people here, including you, intend to vote for Obama, is not at issue. A number of people who have been my particular focus claim to have voted for Obama and in one form or another are now voting for RP or otherwise undermine the relection fo Obama base on nonsensical and suspicious arguments.

    You fall into that catagory i call the great wishy washy. You are so busy proving your esoterical brilliance you can’t grasp the implication. Lets get this straight once and for all (for the upteenth time): I get the world is screwed up; that there are glaring inequities and injustices but right now the ship is sinking and we need to patch the holes before we worry about the deck chairs. People need to spend more time below decks fighting back the water coming in then telling others from the comfort of the lounge what to do. If a smart guy like you doesn’t get it then what hope is there?

  49. Oh Mike oh Mike, you are loosing it.

    “FYI: comparing how much we spend on military to other countries in absolute amounts is completely disengenuous.” FYI, You should quit before your stupidity reduces you to clown status.

    1. First you need to adjust for cost of living for each country. So to compare what, say China spends to the US without adjusting for differences in costs of living is on its face absurd.

    2. Second you need to adjust for both population and economic interests. For example we have both 300 million people AND as the largest economy we have economic interests far greater then any other country. for example, as a percentage of GDP it is not the highest and even though China shows lower percent (and Russia more) most military anaylsts believe it is wildly understated.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures

    3. Any cuts in military spending will dramatically impact on the economy and many cutting edge technologies. In other words, dramatic and sudden cuts is both militarily and economically dangerous. For example:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/07/us/a-hidden-cost-of-military-cuts-could-be-invention-and-its-industries.html?hp

    4. I posed what would be a right budget. In other words, you Mike are getting dangerousely close to being a liar in your zeal to defend your ego. You are also starting to demonstrate you are not anywhere near as smart as I originally thought. Seems, if there is anyone here who likes to hear themself talk you would be the one.

    I got to go so you can have the last word on this.

  50. 1zb1,

    A few words. First, I completely agree with your observation that constitutional ignorance is destroying our republic (see my comments on the Cordray thread).

    Second, your reverence for the founders and their original intent stands in direct contradiction to your stance on corporate person-hood. The social compact does not acknowledge the rights of a corporation; much less its pre-societal existence. The whole idea of specifically enumerated powers and a constitution defining our limited government stems from the formula that rights confer power not vice versa. Corporations had absolutely nothing to do with the founding of this nation because, unlike humans within the social compact scheme, they had no power to confer in making a government whatsoever. In direct contradiction to the human equation of rights conferring power, corporations ACQUIRE LIMITED RIGHTS via the power of the people; that is to say power confers rights (to corporations). Citizens United is as much of a load of tripe as Kelo v. City of New London.

    Third, a president who supports the use of torture and extraordinary rendition; suspends habeas corpus without the existence of insurrection or rebellion; carries out a policy of warrantless wiretapping as if the 4th Amendment did not exist and issues executive orders authorizing the EXTRAJUDICIAL EXECUTION of American citizens is a president who uses the constitution as a urinal puck.

    Finally your hypothetical regarding an imminent threat of nuclear proportions would not warrant an extrajudicial execution order since the LEO’s would be legally entitled already to kill the perp (e.g. via sniper) given the circumstances.

  51. Bob, First, I completely agree (and nothing I have said contradicts this) that the idea of giving a corporation (or business entitiy) the same – or in the case of CU even more rights is beyond absurd in my mind and not found directly in the Constitution. However, corporations in one form or another did exist at the time of the constitution and the constitution does provide for the regulation of commerce as well as the right to assemble both of which bear on corporations (ie the right of people to join together for a business purpose is not unlike a union). As such the constitution is not without some interest in the subject.

    The problem i tried to underscore is what happens when we begin to regulate corporate speech different from other speech. So if a corporation wants to do an ad or any other form of speech on a particular subject of concern to its business will all such speech be banned. Where do we begin to draw the line on such speech that has political implications to it (as a great deal of speech often does). Ultimately I was addressing the issue of money in politics (not just corporate money but all money). With greater knowledge, and better information money will have less influence. Money in politics would become a waste of money.

    Regarding your third item: Article 1 Section 9: The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it. (I personally consider 911 and subsequent attempts to attack the US to constitute forms of invasion, which would also include cyber attacks in my view)

    As for your final, I think you can appreciate that in this day and age to think of war in conventional terms (ie launching missiles or sending an invasion force) does not square with reality. For example parts to a nuke device can be hidden in commercial shipments through elaborate plots that are not easily thwarted by traditional means and circumstances.

    BTW: I am not one of these people who believes in ennumerated powers or original intent. The notion that we should run the world in the 21st century as if we are in the 17th century is absurd. The notion we can actually know the original intent in a document that I beleive was intentionally left vague is nonsensical. What is clear (to me) is the founders understood the world was a lot more complicated (and dangerous) then a lot of people seem to understand today.

  52. 1zb1,

    Saints Lions game is too good to step away from now. Watching a movie after that. Will post reply tomorrow.

  53. @Mike: Yes, money is the problem. I said as much in this previous post. I repeat my closing paragraph below (with typos corrected):

    “There is one conspiracy in this world, and although it has morphed throughout the centuries as religions, monarchies, and various forms of oppressive government, it has always been, and shall always be, the rich against the rest, the royals against the peasants, the church commanding their flock of paying sheep, the elite preserving their status and privilege to subjugate others, with brutality and impunity, to feed their greed.”

    I do not believe your solutions are adequate. Our politics were corrupted by money long before Buckley and Citizens, that is what Eisenhower was warning us about. Much of the reason, I think, that Bush and Obama are pushing to make everything the government does “Top Secret” with leaks punishable by torture and indefinite detention without trial is rather simple: To hide the corruption.

    They don’t want you to know that hundreds of billions of dollars in cash has just vanished in the Middle East, or who got it. They want the military budget, the corporations hired, and all money spent to be black ops. They want the meetings, and who attended them, secret. They want the political deals to be secret. And if any citizen anywhere is trying to find anything out about any of it, they want to know: The websites they visit, the emails they send, the phone calls they make, the questions they are asking, because that is what protects their corruption. It is the reason the government has so successfully co-opted all major media, to limit their investigative powers and control the message we receive.

    Part of the solution has to be dismantling Top Secret America, and the dismantling of the giant corporate media trusts acting as propaganda machines. (A duty they accept in return for access, scoops, “leaks” and insider interviews that earn them profits. People do like to watch the royal court and the rich and famous.)

    Combined with the other obstacles to change arrayed against us, such a dismantling seems highly unlikely, short of a miracle.

  54. Mike,

    great article, but I don’t think you mentioned the actual transcendent problem of the United States, which is also the transcendent problem of the entire world:

    Global Warming.

    It looks more certain everyday that we have already waited too long, and that even if all greenhouse gas emission were to end today, civilization as we now know and enjoy it will be gone in 100-200 years. The Earth will flip into a very stable hot phase, and this will last for millennia. The breadbasket regions of the planet will become too hot and dry to retain soil, let alone raise crops. Many millions if not billions of people are going to die because of starvation, lack of water, weather catastrophe, or disease; at least half of all known species will disappear. It’s going to be very very ugly.

    Kinda puts political cronyism and corporate corruption into perspective, IMHO.

  55. “Much of the reason, I think, that Bush and Obama are pushing to make everything the government does “Top Secret” with leaks punishable by torture and indefinite detention without trial is rather simple: To hide the corruption.” (Tony C)

    I certainly agree with that and the only qualifier I would apply is that, in my opinion, this “Top Secret To Hide the Corruption Program” began in earnest as soon as Bush I moved into the office of the Vice President of the United States in 1981. Please note that I do not place the responsibility for this Program on Reagan who was almost killed within 2 months of taking office.

  56. I think the label, Top Secret, has been abused for a long time by the United State government and military. It’s use does seem to be increasing during the Bush/Obama era. The military industrial complex has something to do with it, but politicians wanting to hide stuff is the main culprit.

  57. Tony C.,

    I don’t disagree at all about “Top Secret” it was always a way to cover up, that stemmed from a few good instances where it was needed. Manhattan Project perhaps. As for money in government on other threads I have discussed the fact that this has been a problem since our countries inception, so I don’t believe it is new. For one instance see W.R. Hearst using the influence of his newspapers to start the Spanish/American War. Money has always been a factor. Today it has become more so.

  58. “great article, but I don’t think you mentioned the actual transcendent problem of the United States, which is also the transcendent problem of the entire world:
    Global Warming.”

    Roger,

    I didn’t but if you think about it money is being used to prevent
    Nations from taking steps to deal with global warming, so once again that is where we have to start. Please understand though that in no way was I calling for forgetting about all these other issues.

  59. “I do not believe your solutions are adequate.”

    Tony,

    You’re right, they are not adequate. I’m neither creative, nor smart enough to have all the answers on this. I’m just positing the problem, however, and trying to put focus on where I think we should begin, faced with such an overwhelming amount of problems across so many areas of life.

  60. 1zb1: “However, corporations in one form or another did exist at the time of the constitution and the constitution does provide for the regulation of commerce as well as the right to assemble both of which bear on corporations (ie the right of people to join together for a business purpose is not unlike a union). As such the constitution is not without some interest in the subject.”

    1zb1,

    You completely missed the point of my argument. The mere fact that the constitution acknowledges the existence of corporations does not mean that corporations have any inherent rights whatsoever. Hamilton’s arguments in Fed 84 apply to humans with rights existing before society and before the drafting of a constitution or a bill of rights– NOT corporations.

    “The problem i tried to underscore is what happens when we begin to regulate corporate speech different from other speech.”

    First of all, we already do treat corporate speech differently from other speech; see commercial speech doctrine.

    Second, when a human makes an expenditure of money, he or she is necessarily expressing a product of human cognition; i.e a deliberate choice. The concept of the subject of ‘expenditure of money by a human’ ALWAYS contains the concept of a predicate “I want or need this.” Whenever a human to expresses its wants and needs, within the social compact, it necessarily triggers its inherent right of free speech because the concept of expression itself requires the pre-existence of such a right. For telling a human it cannot express its wants or needs, e.g. through the particular expenditure of money, is to suppress such expression and directly affects the human’s right of free speech.

    When a corporation makes an expenditure of money it is not expressing a product of human cognition or a deliberate choice. Epistemically speaking, corporations are wholly incapable any cognition whatsoever and are therefore incapable of expressing a choice via the expenditure of money. Furthermore, even if we assumed that corporations were capable of cognition and expressing choices they make via the money they expend, it still would not trigger a right to free speech since the concept of the predicate ‘free speech’ is not contained within the concept of the subject ‘corporations.’ That is to say corporations do not exist within the state of nature and have no inherent rights to trigger whatsoever. If we revisit Hamilton’s Fed 84 with regards to the existence of corporations right to free speech, the primary question is not whether we granted the power to the government to regulate such speech but whether the power was conferred by the people to the government so as to create such a right in the first place. Textually speaking, the answer to that question would be categorically no.

    A corporation cannot participate in the franchise, i.e. vote in an election, because it has no inherent right to do so. A corporation, with no inherent right to speak or any right whatsoever to vote in an election, can have no other purpose in making expenditures of money for particular candidates or parties than to influence the outcome of an election in which it had no say in the first place.

    As a friend of mine, who happens to be a constitutional scholar, told me in an email this morning: ““When a corporation expresses itself in a political scenario it cannot be truthfully stated that they speak for every shareholder, and no vote can be accepted from ATT or IBM in any election. The consent of the governed is contained not in the artificial personage of a Corporation, but in each individual that holds stock.”

    Furthermore, the acrimony you direct at Mike S. regarding the influence of money in politics is nonsensical. Granted that Mike could have been more analytical and less ‘touchy feely’ and long winded in expressing the observation; nonetheless the observation is a truthful one.

    “With greater knowledge, and better information money will have less influence. Money in politics would become a waste of money.”

    Not for nothing, but that is a bigger load of naive horse shit than anything I’ve read from the doe eyed liberals commenting on this blog.

    “I personally consider 911 and subsequent attempts to attack the US to constitute forms of invasion, which would also include cyber attacks in my view.”

    I’m sorry, but since you’re not God or have god like powers to change the definition of invasion, much less the definition of truth, your ‘personal consideration’ is not only false but meaningless.

    “What is clear (to me) is the founders understood the world was a lot more complicated (and dangerous) then a lot of people seem to understand today.”

    Actually, the rules of order remain the same. The complications arise from your tortured use of logic.

  61. Bob,

    “When a corporation expresses itself in a political scenario it cannot be truthfully stated that they speak for every shareholder, and no vote can be accepted from ATT or IBM in any election. The consent of the governed is contained not in the artificial personage of a Corporation, but in each individual that holds stock”

    Why doesnt that same logic apply to governments? If IBM cannot engage in actions that represent the will of every individual shareholder or employee, how can any government claim that it acts on “the will of the people” or “consent of the governed” ?

    Not only that but, if IBM makes a decision I dont like, I can peacefully and voluntarily end my employment or financial support of IBM. I am offered no such luxury by the federal government. If they decide drone strikes, indefinate detention, and global military invertvention are in my best interest, and I decide they are not, what avenues do I have to withdraw my support or funding short of fleeing the country and renouncing my citizenship?

  62. ekeyra,

    Working for or purchasing stock in a corporation is not the equivalent of being a party to the social contract.

    Your options are to compel the parties in government to change their policy or be removed if the law demands or to vote them out in the next election.

  63. “A corporation cannot participate in the franchise, i.e. vote in an election, because it has no inherent right to do so. A corporation, with no inherent right to speak or any right whatsoever to vote in an election, can have no other purpose in making expenditures of money for particular candidates or parties than to influence the outcome of an election in which it had no say in the first place.” (Bob Esq)

    I don’t see how it could explained any more clearly and simply than that.

  64. Bob Esq: “Working for or purchasing stock in a corporation is not the equivalent of being a party to the social contract.”

    It is immensely depressing, astonishing even, that this even needs to be spelled out. But apparently it does.

  65. Bob, limited time right now but you seem to have left out you ever actually having read the 1st Amendment:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    “establishment of religion” easily includes an entity beyond an individual. The same goes for “press”. Both terms involve entities well beyond the individual. “Freedom of Speech” is in the same sentence. Nothing in the structure limits this rights just to individuals. Indeed to suggest any of them are limited only to individual rights as opposed to a, for example newspaper or church would render them basically meaningless. Similarly a union or a corporation or any organization is a form of peaceful assembly.

    By your interpretation the entire first amendment would be rendered impractical at best and meaningless at worst.

    “Because speech is an essential mechanism of democracy—it is the means to hold officials accountable to the people—political speech must prevail against laws that would suppress it by design or inadvertence. Laws burdening such speech are subject to strict scrutiny, which requires the Government to prove that the restriction “furthers a compelling interest and is narrowly tailored to achieve that interest.”

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/08-205.ZS.html

    Personally I found the majority opinion weak but the dissent was little better. There are valid points on both sides. The idea that entities have what amounts to more rights then citizens is offensive in the extreme (not just in this matter but so many other matters as well)

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/08-205.ZX.html

    Needless to say Roberts and his gang made much of stare decisis when it came to the nomination process and very little of it once they were on the court as in this case.

    However, in the grand scheme of money in politics this is really of little consequence when you think about it. So instead of 1 billion dollars in an election cycle we have 2 billion with ones sides special interest group versus the other sides. It really doesn’t fundamentally change the problem of the overwhelming influence of money and special interest groups in politics drowning out the voice of citizens, which I think is what we are actually most concerned about.

    What it does underscore, is elections have consequences. A different court would likely have ruled differently in Gore v. Bush or CU. To say, as some here scream that the parties are all the same or Obama sucks, etc. etc. or are not fervently committed to his reelection seem to ignore that central fact. GB and CU proves they are profoundly and completely wrong.

    Now you seem to think that my emphasis on information and knowledge is a “load of naive horse shit”. If that is naive then I dare say the notion that the rout to a better politic is by addressing the money in politics is about as idiotic a notion as ever walked the earth. Money has been a part of politics since there was politics (a few tens of thousands of years ago more or less). On the other hand the ability to communicate information and knowledge now has new means that were never previously available and who knows, might actually make a difference (can you say, blog, facebook, internet, mobile phones as examples or is that too hard to grasp).

    So you keep going after the money think and call me in a couple of centuries while I’ll work on the idea of information and knowledge as the road to a better system. Lets see which gets there first.

  66. Bob,

    What in the world is the matter with this guy/gal?

    Oh well …

    Justified is coming … for an hour all will be right in our world. :)

    =============================================

    “It is immensely depressing, astonishing even, that this even needs to be spelled out. But apparently it does.” (kathleen) … you have no idea … stick around for a while, you’ll see. I have to hand it to the lawyers who post here for they do continue to try and educate.

  67. “Touchy Feely”

    Bob,
    I was trained as a Gestalt Psychotherapist, of course I’m a “touchy feely” kind of guy. As for long winded well you know me too well by now. As for 1zb1 I can understand not liking my blog, but defending money in government not so much. He or she as the case may be, enjoys being contrary for its own sake. I’m bored and unfortunately Denver won, time for 60 Minutes.

  68. there you go again mike…. to say that I “defended money in government” is either a lie or a sign of an idiot. take your pick which applies to you.

  69. Blouise1, January 8, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    “A corporation cannot participate in the franchise, i.e. vote in an election, because it has no inherent right to do so. A corporation, with no inherent right to speak or any right whatsoever to vote in an election, can have no other purpose in making expenditures of money for particular candidates or parties than to influence the outcome of an election in which it had no say in the first place.” (Bob Esq)

    I don’t see how it could explained any more clearly and simply than that.

    By your logic (quoting Bob the author to prove what Bo the author says is true) “the bible was written by the hand of god because the bible says so”, or to put it another way, “what you say is true because you said it.”

    You must have missed the part in nursery school where they told you not to use the word to define the word.

    Too bad the Constitution doesn’t say what you seem to think, and if you read it that would be obviouse.

    And btw: it says a lot of things that really offend me – as in the part about slavery and treatment of indians – but by acknowledging the truth about what our nation was founded on (ie, slavery, genoocide, exploitation, discrimination against woman) instead of the delusional myth of the Republican/Tparty is how you try and fix it. It doesn’t mean you (or I) agree with the principle as stated.

    Just what are you folks smoking here?

    I’m beginning to think not many of you have actually read Citizens United, or have given any real thought to how you actually fix the problem of money/politics/government.

    Let me remind you (because apparently its too complicated for you to grasp on your own), what money in government buys is the opportunity to communicate: advertisements, media content, mailings, phone calls, influence, contracts in order to influence decisions (ie., voters, politicians).

    More efficient means of effective communications directed toward an electorate not engaged in willful ignorance can overcome to a large extent money. Think of modern communications capabilities as a form of asymetrical political warefare.

    Most of you with your simple old school thinking are focused on eliminating money out of politics and government. Given the history of human existence that seems highly unlikely regardless of laws or enforcement any time in the foreseeable future. But don’t let that little bit of reality stop you from doing it your way.

  70. The only simple thing going on here is that someone is clearly so inured into the schema of corruption that they would defend a legal fiction – a shield against liability – as even remotely having personality commensurate with an actual human. You apparently don’t understand what the Constitution says or the spirit it was written with, slick.

    “When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

    The very foundation of this country is based upon the usurpation of tyranny in any form, including economic tyranny. Citizens is not logical in that context and instead is a political decision that favors plutocracy. This is contrary to the Constitution which sets up a democratic form of government, not an oligarchy. As a matter of legal reasoning, the case has some validity, but as Ian Ketterling so famously noted, “Logic is a way to go wrong with absolute certainty.” Logical does not mean correct or ethical or desirable simply because it is logical. Value judgments come into play. Citizens United is a decision absolutely devoid of democratic values and patently and clearly destructive to the ends of equality. So let me remind you that money does far more than create an opportunity to communicate. It creates misfeasance of office and causes dereliction of the sworn Constitutional duty of lawmakers to both protect the Constitution and represent the best interests of ALL of their constitutions and not just the ones who pay for their advertising campaigns come election time. It gets lawmakers to stand aside from their job as legislators and allow the very people engaging in the very activities to be regulated to write their own regulations which by function as ineffective at curbing bad corporate behavior as not having any regulations at all. Your embrace of this clearly political decision is a clear embrace of plutocracy and oligarchy. If the “simple old school” thought that participation in democracy should not be contingent upon how large your campaign contribution is and that an egalitarian government serves all citizens and not just the wealthy offends you? Tough luck for you, troll. I suggest you are in the wrong forum to sell oligarchy in any form.

    I’ve about listened to all of your bullshit I’m going to listen to 1zb1 without calling you what you clearly are: a fascist in the Italian mold and a plutocrat.

    Come on, now. Try to tell me how a corporation is people. That’s the standard play from your type of troll at this point.

  71. Gene, I have said this before and will say again; I will believe a corporation is a person when Texas executes one. Not until.

  72. 1zb1,

    It’s okay darlin’ … you’re used to to preaching foolishness to dummies who are easily impressed because they understand the Constitution even less than you do.

    On this blog you’ve encountered many individuals who are completely unimpressed by your pseudo knowledge and not the least bit shy about telling you exactly how wrong you are and, more importantly, why you are wrong.

    It’s embarrassing for you and so you lash out in a vain attempt to bully those who have called your ignorance, ignorance. Now you are discovering that no one is quacking in their boots … in fact, they seem to find your rants somewhat humorous.

    That’s because there have been so many like you over the years … it’s a ho-hum, here we go again.

    You’ve been given a great deal of good information … if only your ego would allow you to see that. Sadly, I don’t think it will.

  73. Blouise, we keep getting textbook examples of the Dunning–Kruger effect over and over. I really ought to go back and gather up all the examples–there are enough of them to completely fill a trade paperback textbook on cognitive blindness due to bias.

  74. OS,

    It’s disheartening at times but illuminates the difficulties we face in trying to right the ship of state … also explains why we got so far off coarse in the first place.

  75. Thank you all for your support. When I began to write this piece I feared it my be interpreted. by some as too simplistic and by others as too obvious. I didn’t expect a reaction though by someone basically stating that we mustn’t infringe on corporate personhood to protect free speech for everyone. Even the SCOTUS ruling in Citizens didn’t make that argument. There is an oddity to 1zb1’s logic that makes little sense in imaginning a coherent perspective. It strikes me as phony in the sense of someone, from his perspective, pretending he’s a ‘Librul” to in his limited mind, to mess with peoples heads.

    These types typically bore me because I could well imagine disputing “Citizen” with a. coherent conservative. perspective, I would most probably disagree, but could respect the effort as a good faith pleading. In 1zb1’s case sometimg doesn’t ring true.

  76. Mike S.,
    The facts keep getting in 1zb1’s way. Citizens United only makes sense if you are in favor of corporate rule of government. If corporations are persons, why can they give unlimited cash to get someone elected and a real person has a limit on how much they can give to a candidate?

  77. Mike S.,

    It is an arduous task to prepare an article for this blog. The choosing a subject, the research, the organization, the composition, even the physical posting … the effort required is huge. Then, of course, there is the discussion and criticism that follows all that work and putting oneself on the line, so to speak.

    Weekend after weekend you challenge our minds and provoke our interest. Support you and your fellow guest bloggers? Hell yes!

  78. Bob,

    “Working for or purchasing stock in a corporation is not the equivalent of being a party to the social contract. ”

    I think you may have missed my point. Even though I agree wholeheartedly with your opinion that corporations cannot collectively represent their employees or stockholders, I was using the same logic to call into question the validity of the social contract.

    Considering anyone who is a stockholder or employee can at least be said to have accepted those positions voluntarily and explicitly, and that still does not grant corporate executives the right to collective decision making over their lives, how can a non-existent, implicit, social contract grant governments the right to collective decision making over people’s lives?

  79. @ekeyra: Considering anyone who is a stockholder or employee can at least be said to have accepted those positions voluntarily and explicitly,

    I reject that notion. Political and social positions have nothing to do with business, and I reject the very idea that, as a shareholder, a politicians tax treatment of my investment should trump his positions on the social issues I care about, or that my servant in the CEO’s office has any right whatsoever to exercise his own political or social judgment with my money.

    That is outside the realm of his duties, his duty is to run the business, find clients and customers and suppliers and distributors, advertise the product, maintain the factories, and earn a profit.

    If I hire a gardener to tend the roses, I do not give him either explicit or implicit permission to start posting political yard signs. If I hire a factory floor manager and he has a few thousand in petty cash to buy parts or lubricant or other necessities, he does not have implicit permission to donate that money to a candidate of his choice, even if he has some twisted logic about how it will benefit the company. The same is true for the CEO. He is a servant, hired for a specific purpose, and using his own judgment to spend on anything that is outside the realm of business is not within his implicit authority.

    @ekeyra: how can a non-existent, implicit, social contract grant governments the right to collective decision making over people’s lives?

    I am not speaking for Bob (or Gene) but I propose my own viewpoint:

    Because it isn’t a contract, or a compact, it is a birth right and birth responsibility. More specifically, it is mutual responsibility: The members of the society have the responsibility to collectively protect, enforce, or exact justice on behalf of any member, and any member has the responsibility to do the same for any other member.

    Americans are born into a free society, and the responsibility to others has been abstracted from actual physical defense to paying taxes that result in physical defense, enforcement, and pursuit of violators.

    The free society grants us specific rights in return for specific responsibility; although at infancy our parents bear all of our responsibility, and voluntarily, as evidenced by their continued citizenship.

    The burden of responsibility shifts to us as we achieve maturity, and at maturity, we have a choice: Renounce our citizenship and leave, dissolving the mutual responsibility, or stay and accept the mutual responsibility. By virtue of their citizenship, our parents obviously accepted responsibility on our behalf, which both entitled us to the full protection of society, and committed us to obey the laws of the society.

    Man does not leave a state of nature to join a society, it is the other way around: He is born into a society. Not against his will, for we are born without any understanding of rules to be against, and must learn for many years before we comprehend the circumstances of our existence and whether or not we agree with the law. But at adulthood, when we have the right to act without permission from a guardian, we have the option of leaving the society and entering a state of nature if we so choose. There are still wild and lawless places on the Earth, on multiple continents, where that life can be lived.

    A fair society chooses rules that then apply to everybody in it, including the rule makers. In our case, we are not quite fair (but close), and we essentially decide on the rules by majority vote (with many, many caveats).

    The issue is that the mutual obligations of others to protect our rights and our obligation to protect theirs require bright lines to have any hope of working in practice. The decision of the police to stop a robbery, or beating, or murder, or any other criminal activity cannot wait until they have identified the criminal, and the victim, and determined whether or not they should act. If a bank robbery is in progress they cannot wait to see if some of the hostages have rights and others do not, or the bank is up on their anti-robbery payments. They may not even know who the hostages are, or who was killed, or kidnapped, or assaulted. They have to act, and the bright line is: Everybody is protected, and nobody is allowed to break the law.

    Just like the crime shows, if they find a murder victim they cannot identify for some reason, they still expend the funds and effort to find the murderer, and then expend the funds and effort to try him and incarcerate him. On the same grounds: All murders are pursued to best of our ability.

    The information problem was solved by the invention of “jurisdiction.” Fundamental rights are granted to all persons within our borders, additional rights apply after a positive determination of citizenship.

    But there is no contract. If I had been born a wealthy Englishman 300 years ago, I would have argued that point philosophically as a poor choice of wording. Now it is written into law and too late.

    What makes a society different than a mob is the mutual obligation of the members to protect each other. The protection and the obligation are flip sides of the same coin, and the coin must be accepted whole or rejected whole: You cannot get the protection of the group without the obligation to join the group in protecting or avenging any other member. What protects you from murder or robbery or enslavement is the threat the group poses to the criminals that would violate your rights for fun or profit. The protection is not bulletproof, but if the cost of crime is high it acts as a deterrent.

    So it is not a contract you signed, or a compact you agreed to, it is just a system you were born into. The right to be part of our society with both protection and responsibility is your birthright if you are a born citizen, or granted if you are a naturalized citizen, but because our country is free you can dissolve those mutual obligations at any time you choose: Renounce your citizenship and leave the country, for South America, Africa, India, even parts of the Asian territories, and make your own way without us.

    Short of that, as you request, here is your alternative: Figure out how to get a majority to change the laws and Constitution to meet your needs. That is also your right as a citizen, get enough people elected that agree with you to change the system.

    However, I suspect when you try to figure out the pragmatic details and implications of your position, you will find the majority of Americans reject such a system as too much danger and too much personal responsibility and allowing too much outrageous exploitation for their taste. The vast majority of restrictive laws passed, after all, good or bad, were passed as a result of citizens being outraged by the practice of something that was legal at the time.

  80. Okay, Its now early morning my way and I get to see that overnight we have had a few pathetic excuses for barbs but not a single coherent thought. I liked the one with the Dunning–Kruger effect – it perfectly describes what “you-all” been doin’. Not one of you had anything that even resembled a rebuttal based on facts, or law, or reason, or any other basis. Your responses have totally been about elitist kinds of snobbish attacks on me but rather badly done at that).

    Apparently, none of you are capable of distinguishing between my view of what the Constitution actually says as written and what I believe is a just and democratic society. Apparently, none of you are capable of understanding the challenges and conflicts between the many rights we value and trying to protect them or the consequences of such actions. Many of you seem to think you have a deep grasp of civil liberties but the more you talk the more clear it is you only have a childs understanding at best – Simplistic, and unrelated to facts or reality.

    And like children caught with their hands in a cookie jar you have proven yourselves not above lying about what I said to squirm your way out of it.

    Lets try this one more time: At issue is what the constitution actually says, and the problems that creates for a free and vibrant democratic society; and how best to address that problem, in the context of the real world. (or at least those are my issues here and more or less the subject of Mikes’ “Trancedental” thoughts (oh please, give me a break)

    Do I really need to remind all of you that a more or less democratic German people effectively voted in the nazi party and dictatorship; or that in the middle east people who have risen up against dictatorships of one kind seem to be democratically voting in dictatorships of another kind?

    However, since, Gene H. actually quotes from one of our founding documents it is at least worthy of a direct response, even if he uses it in such simple minded and misplaced fashion.

    Some perspective on the Constitution. We could mention that the revolution was inspired by a lot of rich people who didn’t like paying taxes to pay for defending them (sounds just like the Republican/tparty, don’t you think?) or in the south they were afraid Britain was headed toward ending slavery which is why they joined in. Perhaps we might mention that barely more then half the population actually supported the revolution or that only a tiny fraction actually fought in it (coincidently, about the same percent as our current volunteer military). Of course we could mention the part about “all men created equal” somehow not including blacks or Indians (whose lands were stolen), and needless to say, no mention of woman. (many blacks and Indians fought with the British against it because they thought they would be less free. Many who fought for the Revolution were betrayed afterwards)

    But lets not quibble about the small stuff, shall we, and take DOI not on its hypocrisy and think of it as an aspiration instead of a reality. A very nice dream if you will.

    Then of course The Articles of Confederation proved a completely unworkable means of implementing the dream in the real world. Keep in mind that even the the founders recognized they needed some form of united entity to both fight the war and preserve and implement the “dream”. So they came up with something called the Constitution (some of you might have heard of it even if most of you seem never having ever read it).

    Do I really need to remind you that it was a document based on compromises, checks and balances between a central government, states, and the “people” (or at least some of the people). Do I really have to explain to you that the checks and balances included checks on the people as well (Can you say “Senate”).

    Do I really have to explain to you what the constitution itself was actually about or the bill of rights.

    “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    or the Bill of rights:

    “THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.”

    In the end it was all about a means for how people can work together and implicit in that was not just the rights of the people (as paramount as that is) but the necessity of compromise for the rights of the people to be protected. We should have unlimited freedom so long as we don’t try and impose our rights at the expense of others…. and that my “friends” is the giant rub.

    Now, you may want the Constitution to say free speech only applies to “Citizens”, but it doesn’t; you may want it to say that the right to assembly only applies to unions (or whatever group you say); you may want it to say that religious freedom only applies to who you say is a religion; and you may want it to say that “freedom of the press” only applies to who you say is a news corporation; and you may also want to say what exactly constitutes political speech (the most highly protected form of speech) and what is some other kind of speech, but guess what, that is not what it says.

    So first we have that the constitution doesn’t say what you think it says.

    Then we have the problem that given that evil corporations, unions, and each and every form of assembly that you don’t like gets to spend a lot more money on influencing the political process then any of us think is good or healthy for protecting the rights of individuals (who, btw don’t have unlimited rights), you have decided the Constitution must say something that it actually doesn’t say. NEEDLESS TO SAY NO ONE HAS DEMONSTRATED IN ANYWAY THAT MY INTERPRETATION OF WHAT IT DOES SAY IS WRONG. ONLY THAT YOU DON’T LIKE THE RESULT. AND EVEN THOUGH I HAVE MADE CLEAR I DON’T LIKE THE RESULT ALSO YOU ACCUSE ME WITH LIES.

    Then we have the problem that what you want to do creates a host of even more problems for civil liberties then you actually solve (unintended consequences)

    And finally we have the problem that your solution to fixing the problem has never ever worked before in all of human history.

    If CU was decided in the most favorable way to your view, do any of you actually think the influence of money on politics and government would seriously be diminished? I mean, really, talk about idiotic that takes the cake of stupidity.

    So what is ultimately at issue is not our views on the corrupting effect of money in politics and government but how best to kill the beast. In that regard you all live in a world of delusion and at least my notion offers some promise based on history and facts.

    PS, forgive me if this all seems rather sophomoric, first I have limited time and there are better ways to spend it; and second it seems about the level most of you are operating at.

    If CU was decided in the most favorable way to your view, do any of you actually think the influence of money on politics and government would seriousely be dimminished? I mean, really, talk about idiotic that takes the cake of stupidity.

  81. Gene H. Not withstanding my comments above I have to wonder how much do they pay you to be this stupid based on some of your remarks. You should have left it at just quoting the DOI so folks might not realize how ignorant you are.

  82. Mike, are you this desperate that you out and out lie? You are starting to develope some bad habits.

    you said: “As for 1zb1 I can understand not liking my blog, but defending money in government not so much.

    That is not what I have done and you know it… meaning you are even stupider then I thought or a liar.

  83. It’s not a lie to say

    1) that CU was a political decision as it directly impacts the political landscape in a way unimaginable to the Founders,

    2) that violating the spirit of the law just to adhere to the letter of the law is the fallacy of argument from semantics,

    3) that limiting a corporation’s activities – as they are a fiction created by operation of the state and have no stake in the franchise of government for the very sound reasons Bob pointed out – is not going to have “unintended consequences” other than a) corporations will have to do as they are told by the law instead of dictating the law and policy of government and b) the restoration of equality to democracy,

    4) that the aspirational nature of the DOI in no way invalidates seeking to reach that goal (unless, of course, you think slavery and prohibition and denying women the vote are all good ideas), and

    5) that you are without a doubt a fascist/plotocrat.

    While the subject of aspirational language is on the table, let’s talk about another set of goals.

    “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    Justice demands equality among We the People, not among the legal fictions. There is no equity in allowing corporate money to further unbalance the political system that are supposed to represent all citizens in an egalitarian manner while further degrading the legal systems that have kept their monied influence in check these many years. There is no tranquility in store for society if the tyranny of a king is replaced with the tyranny of CEO’s; only discord, suffering by those unable to pay to play and eventually violence. Why? Because promoting the narrow interests of an oligarchy interested only in profits by order of operation neglects the general welfare of We the People. It does not secure liberty of the individual citizens to put those fictions (and actual natural persons) in a position of having superior rights to both free speech and petition simply because they have more money to buy off politicians by financing their political campaigns.

    No. The only simplistic thing here is your naked defense of greed and corporatism over the rights of all citizens to an egalitarian and democratic form of government.

    “We should have unlimited freedom so long as we don’t try and impose our rights at the expense of others…. and that my friends’ is the giant rub. [. . . ] And finally we have the problem that your solution to fixing the problem has never ever worked before in all of human history.” Bullshit. This begs the question that corporations are people and they aren’t. Corporate personality was originally (and should be again) limited to allowing them to contract, purchase property and avail to the courts if civilly wronged or a crime was committed against them. Until recent history, the limitation of corporate speech by government was the norm, not the exception, and both the nation and the Constitution were stronger for it. Giving corporations free speech crosses the line from useful fiction designed to allow business to operate into dangerous expansion of a fiction that now impinges upon the rights of all to a democratic government and threatens all with the promise of oligarchy.

    As to your opinion of what constitutes simplistic? Given the specious reasoning for supporting CU that you’ve laid out? I don’t give a flying rat’s ass what a fascist has to say about anything, slick, let alone their opinion of my intelligence, “my friend”. And by “my friend”, I mean “enemy of the Constitution, civil rights and democracy”. Only an enemy of democracy would have made the “corporations are people, unintended consequences” bullshit argument that you’ve presented here.

    And that is precisely what you are.

    The enemy within.

    So take some of your precious limited time and guess which finger that gets you, fascist tool.

  84. Auction 2012: Top 10 Reasons to Get Money Out

    “1) The Candidate With More Money Wins: From the 2008 elections: ‘In 93 percent of House of Representatives races and 94 percent of Senate races that had been decided by mid-day Nov. 5, 2008 the candidate who spent the most money ended up winning.’

    2) Congress’s Main Job Is to Raise Money, Not Govern – ‘Here is a general rule of thumb for US House incumbents. They need to raise roughly $10,000 a week started the day they are elected.”

    3) 48 Percent Say Most Members of Congress Are Corrupt -‘A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 48% of Likely U.S. Voters believe that most members of Congress are corrupt. Just 28% disagree, and another 24% are not sure.’

    4) Voters Think That Cash is King – ‘A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Thursday indicates that 86 percent of the public thinks elected officials in the nation’s capital are mostly influenced by the pressure they receive from campaign contributors.’

    5) No Trust in Elected Officials – According to Pew Research less than 25% of people believe they can trust our government at all, particularly our elected officials.

    6) Outsider Movements Are Quickly Coopted Headline: Tea Party House Members Even Wealthier Than Other GOP Lawmakers.

    7) Faith in All Institutions Collapsing
    – 83% say of American adults say they have less trust in “politics in general” than they
    did 10 or 15 years ago;
    – 79% say they have less trust in big business and major corporations;
    – 78% say they have less trust in government;
    – 72% report declining trust in the media.
    – A surprising majority, 54%, “believe that my freedoms are being taken away.”
    Pew confirms this.
    Gallup: Satisfaction with Government at All-time Low
    Pew: Public Trust in Government: 1958-2010

    8) People don’t like horse race coverage. Meanwhile, distrust in media reaches all-time high. (Coincidence?)

    9) Cash Determines Voting – What shaped the House vote on the proposed Keystone Pipeline? Oil industry lobbying: ‘As important as the vote total in the House, however, was another number: within minutes of the vote, Oil Change International had calculated that the 234 Congressional representatives who voted aye had received $42 million in campaign contributions from the fossil-fuel industry; the 193 nays, $8 million.’

    10) The Middle Class Is Collapsing

    As we watch our way of life change radically, as we see our great country consumed by corruption and greed, we must have our own debates about what to do.

    You won’t find these discussions in our presidential debates, dominated as they are by money that separates the voters from their candidates with a wall of cash. That’s why those contests feel so empty.”

    Read the rest of Dylan Ratigan’s article here.

  85. Gene, you have completely lost it.

    All court decisions are political. The spirit of the law is to protect speech. It is not to protect speech only you think is okay – that is in fact the real facsit…

    its very funny – and telling of your ignorance – that you only mention corporations in your mindless rants. What about unions or any other association. Do people have a right to join such organizations; do those organizations have the right to participate in the political process, or is only the groups you don’t like?

    And btw: if you really weren’t such an idiotic nut job you would understand that the first amendment gives many forms of freedoms to enitities beyond individuals. But the constitution only gives the right to vote to individuals. So to say that entities have the same or greater rights then individuals is flat out wrong.

    ONLY CITIZENS HAVE THE RIGHT TO VOTE (ARTICLE 1 SEC 2). CORPORATIONS, UNIONS, RELIGIONS, AND NO OTHER ENTITY HAS THAT RIGHT.

    WHAT YOU WANT TO DO IS CENSOR WHAT PEOPLE CAN HEAR AND WHO THEY CAN HEAR IT FROM BECAUSE YOU ARE AFFRAID THEY ARE TOO STUPID TO UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHAT YOU WANT THEM TO BELIEVE AND WHAT OTHERS WANT THEM TO BELIEVE.

    You don’t actually care what the constitution says, why it says it or what it means. All you care about is censoring what is said and who says it.

    You are not even interested in eliminating the influence of money, all you want is to control who has the influence… so a corporation that owned a newspaper would be okay in your book but then you would get to decide what is a newspaper.

    Please grow up. If you really want to get corruption out of the system stop talking like a child in a tantrum.

  86. 1zb1: “establishment of religion” easily includes an entity beyond an individual. The same goes for “press”. Both terms involve entities well beyond the individual. “Freedom of Speech” is in the same sentence. Nothing in the structure limits this rights just to individuals.”

    1zb1: “NEEDLESS TO SAY NO ONE HAS DEMONSTRATED IN ANYWAY THAT MY INTERPRETATION OF WHAT IT DOES SAY IS WRONG.”

    How about the first two sentences in your reply to me, cited above, wherein you claim that the constitution confers a right of free speech to individuals, and other entities, via the first amendment.

    Funny, and here I am thinking the bill of rights is nothing more than further defined restrictions of power.

    Hamilton: “I go further, and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and to the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed Constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers not granted; and, on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why, for instance, should it be said that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed? I will not contend that such a provision would confer a regulating power; but it is evident that it would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretense for claiming that power. They might urge with a semblance of reason, that the Constitution ought not to be charged with the absurdity of providing against the abuse of an authority which was not given, and that the provision against restraining the liberty of the press afforded a clear implication, that a power to prescribe proper regulations concerning it was intended to be vested in the national government. This may serve as a specimen of the numerous handles which would be given to the doctrine of constructive powers, by the indulgence of an injudicious zeal for bills of rights.”

    Rights confer power; not vice versa. Only an idiot would look at the constitution and think he gets his right of free speech from the first amendment. This is as absurd as thinking the right of free speech didn’t exist between 1787 and 1789.

  87. Gene, thanks for proving my point…. and you think money was not in politics before? Fund raising was just invented? News media wasn’t manipulating the content. People weren’t voting for idiots until now.

    Ironically, most people complain how bad it is but continue to vote for the same person and also claim that their person is not among the bad….

    btw: wanted to mention the electoral college was established because the founders did not entirely trust the people anymore then they trusted themselves (government).

    You have this problem in seeing the difference between what something says (which you don’t like and I don’t like but a person with any sense of reality understands can be made even worse if you change it) and finding a realistic way of solving the problem instead of living in a childish delusion.

    Just about every effort ever made to reduce corruption in politics has made it worse – including this current one, obviousely. But in your simple mind you want to continue doing the same thing.

    I take it back, you don’t even want to do anything. All you can do is rant about how horrible it is that corporations can talk about subjects you don’t want them talking about. But to actually come up with a real plan that has unintended consequences is beyond you.

    In your world, if 2 people get together for a common purpose and spend any money whatsoever or say anything you don’t like on what you decide is political that is against the law.

    Think about how that might work out, chump.

  88. “All court decisions are political.”

    Spoken like somebody who has no clue as to how the law and courts work. Where did you get your law degree from? Eddie’s Mobile Law School and Windshield Repair?

    “It is not to protect speech only you think is okay – that is in fact the real facsit…

    its very funny – and telling of your ignorance – that you only mention corporations in your mindless rants.”

    What’s a matter? Flustered? Facts got your tongue?

    “What about unions or any other association. Do people have a right to join such organizations; do those organizations have the right to participate in the political process, or is only the groups you don’t like?”

    Addressed below.

    ” if you really weren’t such an idiotic nut job you would understand that the first amendment gives many forms of freedoms to enitities beyond individuals.”

    Your statement begs the question that money is the equivalent of free speech, but when Citizens United is disposed with, the bad political decision that led to it – Buckley v. Valeo – needs to go in the trash with it. Money is money, idiot. No one is saying that groups can’t have their say. We’re saying that there is a difference between having your say and influencing politics based on financial contributions. Free speech is not the equivalent of graft no matter how much you wish it were.

    “WHAT YOU WANT TO DO IS CENSOR WHAT PEOPLE CAN HEAR AND WHO THEY CAN HEAR IT FROM BECAUSE YOU ARE AFFRAID THEY ARE TOO STUPID TO UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHAT YOU WANT THEM TO BELIEVE AND WHAT OTHERS WANT THEM TO BELIEVE.”

    Shouting doesn’t make you right. It’s not a matter of censorship. Your statement again begs the question that corporations have civil rights. Since – as Bob pointed out – they are not part of the franchise of government and power resides in the people, not the legal fictions, corporations have no inherent rights at all as they are not natural creatures part of the state of nature.

    “You are not even interested in eliminating the influence of money, all you want is to control who has the influence…”

    Actually, you don’t have any idea what I’m interested in, fascist tool.

    I think only individuals should be allowed to contribute to campaigns and that contribution should have a very low cap. The only influence groups – including unions – should have is endorsement and the same right to petition that every citizen has. They want something changed? They can write to their representatives expressing their concerns, but no money should ever change hands. That not only eliminates the influence of money, it puts the influence over government where it rightfully belongs: with We the People. You apparently are too stupid to realize what a democracy is, slick. Democracy is government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system. Got that? The political power in a democracy vests to the people, not the corporations. To suggest otherwise is to endorse corporatism; an oligarchical and usually fascist (in the Italian sense of the term; Mussolini preferred the term “corporatism” over the term “fascism” but it’s all the same) form of government. End of story.

    As to the rest . . .

    Being told to grow up by an enemy of democracy and the Constitution means exactly squat to me.

    And guess which finger you’re still getting, Enemy of Democracy.

    Now shout some more and tell me grow up again.

    It’s funny.

  89. Bob,

    If you keep talking sense, you’re only going to offend the corporatists delicate sensibilities.

    I’m just sayin’ . . .

  90. BOB, have to go but there might be a few things in your comment worth addressing. You may recall that the founders did not believe in the need for the BoR and were actually against it as potentially limiting the rights of people (by specifying certain rights it would limit rights to only those specified). However, as evidenced by the very existence of the BoR, they lost that argument at least in part (though not to the extent to justify enumerated powers only concept).

    The federalist vs anti-federalist argument was, afterall was the essence of the whole debate in the first place. A strong central government vs a a loose confederation. Certainly it had bits of both but clearly the federalists won out overall.

    Naturally, you had to end with gratutious name calling… but thats okay:

    you said, “Only an idiot would look at the constitution and think he gets his right of free speech from the first amendment. This is as absurd as thinking the right of free speech didn’t exist between 1787 and 1789.”

    I get it, so according to you anybody can say anything they want about anything they want to talk about, unless of course, they are a corporation, union, association, religion. and of course liable, or shouting fire in a theatre is okay as well.

    Hey, I got an idea, you go back in time to 1787 and travel through the south telling people you want to do away with slavery. Bet that would have gone over big time. Better yet trying going through the South during the 50’s and talking about doing away with segregation and see what that gets you.

    Grow up already.

  91. It’s not name calling to describe a Corporatist Fascist either a corporatist or a fascist.

    Too bad in your case the Italian shoes fit.

  92. 1zb1: “Naturally, you had to end with gratutious name calling… but thats okay:

    you said, “Only an idiot would look at the constitution and think he gets his right of free speech from the first amendment. This is as absurd as thinking the right of free speech didn’t exist between 1787 and 1789.”

    1zb1: “I get it, so according to you…”

    You’re only an idiot if you truly believe that you get your right of free speech from the fist amendment.

    That’s not name calling; that’ s a statement of fact as clear as stating that only an idiot, having reached the age of 18, would believe the moon is made of green cheese.

  93. Bob,

    Corporations have rights, don’t you know. 1zb1 thinks corporations exist in the state of nature. Of course he’s an idiot. And now you’ve gone and shattered his illusions about green cheese.

    Somewhere in the distance, a half-wit corporatist apologist is crying in front of his computer . . . ah-skert that the Koch Brothers will cancel his check for failing so miserably to spread their fascist agenda and that his dreams of forming his own private space program in hopes of cornering the cheese market are dead.

  94. Gene, time to come up with a new insult… you have worn out the F word.

    I have this picture of you drulling at the mouth like a rabid dog. Slow down a bit… put your mind in gear before engaging your delusions.

    You said, “The only influence groups – including unions – should have is endorsement and the same right to petition that every citizen has.”

    Do you even realize how stupid that is. For example, you just gave enitities the right to petition the same as ciizens, but they don’t have the same right to political speech as citizens according to you…. that make sense (in your fantasy world). do you even understand what the ‘right to petition” actually means in the constitution? Do entities (corporations, unions, whatever) get to make announcements about their endorsements or petitions as in paid advertisements? Do unions get to pay for the cost of workers supporting a political event? What about corporations, or relgious groups, do they have the same right or not? What should unions do about the union memebers who don’t agree with their endorsements or politicals positions? Do they only get to “endorse” people or can they endorse policies? Is an endorsement against a person or policy legal in your scheme.

    You, see Gene, in the real world life is a bit more complex then in your delusion of the world.

    PS I am fiercly prow union… the issue here is what we allow or don’t allow entities of any kind to say or do in the political areana or for that matter on any subject..

  95. Oh, it’s not an insult to call you a fascist when that’s exactly what you are. Italian Fascism says that the priorities of government should be determined by corporate councils; an oligarchy of profit driven private interests. That’s exactly what you advocate in protecting CU.

    So suck it, Fascist.

    Also, save your flaccid “I’m pro-union” bullshit for someone who believes it.

  96. Also, “You said, “The only influence groups – including unions – should have is endorsement and the same right to petition that every citizen has.”

    Do you even realize how stupid that is. For example, you just gave enitities the right to petition the same as ciizens, but they don’t have the same right to political speech as citizens according to you….”

    Begs again the question that money is free speech. Buckley is as big a mistake as Citizens United and patent nonsense. Money is not free speech any more than a corporations is really a person. Money is money and what it buys is corruption and influence peddling.

  97. To be clear: a corporation should be free to express their concerns, but they should not be allowed to inject money into that process. That’s where the corruption rubber meets the road.

    There is only one way to remove corruption from the political and legal process – remove the money.

  98. Bob, what ever this rabid disease that Gene and Mike seem to have, I’m affraid you have caught it. Your statement that include the green cheese is incoherent. (I think you have taken quotes i made of Gene and attributed them to me)

    btw: by your reasonings, if corporations, unions, and any other form of human association don’t exist in nature (which in fact is not true since in fact countless creatures – including human civilization – do exist based on some form of cooperative arangement) by such reasoning, our government itself has no greater claim on our rights then the rest of these entities. in your scheme the constitution itself means nothing since it is really nothing more – by your way of thinking – then just an artifical entity.

    Face the fact guys, like most real Republican/Tparty/Liberterians, deep down the only thing you are really interested is the end of civilization: no government, no rights except those you can protect with a gun; everybody is free until they say or do something you don’t like. Its ookay to admit that what you are really after is anarchy.

  99. Actually, it’s okay to admit what we are really after is democracy – as we’ve consistently stated.

    It’s okay to admit that you’re a fascist too. After all, it’s readily apparent that’s what you are, 1zb1.

    Now, let’s get back to the issue of corruption: Money changes hands and favors are granted. There is only one way to remove corruption from the political and legal process – remove the money.

    Apparently that thought is too complex for your apologist brain to process.

    But you’ve got all the answers, Mr. Corporations Have Rights.

    Tell us all how allowing unlimited corporate campaign spending is going to eliminate corruption.

    I’d like a good laugh before I go to lunch.

  100. Gene, hey we have made real progress when you acknowledge Corporations (and other groups I presume you include) can get to express their views.

    Now the problem is, how do they get to express those views: are they allowed to have paid advertisements on TV or in the newspapers. Can they hire people to hand out literature? Can they do mailings. How much money are they allowed to spend on it making their views known? Can they say they like one candidate or policy over another? How much money are they allowed to spend on all of this? Do they get to join with other groups or individuals to form associations that share the same views? How much money are they allowed to spend on that?

    What constitutes politics, endorsements, business interests, etc? Where is the line drawn? Who says they are over the line or not?

    You see Gene, in the real world things get a bit complicated really easy and real fast.

  101. Corporations should have the same right to petition as individuals and they always have. They can write a letter to their respective representatives and no money should ever change hands. No ads should be purchased. No mailings should be done. They shouldn’t be allowed to spend a dime on it. The Right to Petition? Is not tied to your ability to spend money. That’s the lie created by Buckley falsely equating money and free speech and bolstered by Citizens United unrealistic and politically motivated expansion of corporate personality far beyond its practical scope.

    Now answer the question: Tell us all how allowing unlimited corporate campaign spending is going to eliminate corruption.

    The issue here is corruption, not that corporations have rights because as legal fictions they don’t any rights under the state of nature.

  102. GENE you are really loosing it: i was quoting you…..when you said:

    “Also, “You said, “The only influence groups – including unions – should have is endorsement and the same right to petition that every citizen has.”

    Gene, I’m sorry, if you don’t understand how money is a form of speech then we really are not even living in the same dimension. In our world it often takes money to be heard. Even going back to the Lincoln douglas Debates (ie politicians traveling the country debating each other) takes money to travel; advertisements, print material, publishing a “newspaper”. regulating money is regulating political speech in the real world, but regulating leads to all kinds of un intended effects on speech and other rights.

    It is also a waste of time because money will continue to corrupt the process in one form or another no matter how much you regulate it….

    There are – in my view – better and more effective ways of reducing the corruptiing impacts of money in politics then trying to reduce the amount of it (which is probably hopeless). My way eliminates the effectiveness of money thereby why would anybody waste money on something that doesn’t work.

  103. Let’s put it this way:

    If Mr. X wrote a letter to Representative Y saying, “I want a law that favors me personally and/or financially and here’s $100,000 to help you think about what I’ve said”, Mr. X would arrested for bribery and Rep. Y would be if he took the money and delivered the favor.

    If CEO X wrote a letter to Representative Y saying, “I want a law that favors me and/or my corporation personally and/or financially and here’s $100,000 to help you think about what I’ve said”, then by your reasoning, that isn’t a bribe but rather it’s corporate free speech.

    Calling money fallaciously free speech is simply a circumvention of criminal law because it allows bribery under the guise of free speech.

  104. “Gene, I’m sorry, if you don’t understand how money is a form of speech then we really are not even living in the same dimension”

    Sorry, but because you’re trying to sell two lies instead of one doesn’t make you right. It simply makes you a doubly dastardly liar. I understand perfectly what both free speech is and what money is and they are not the same thing.

    AGAIN: How allowing unlimited corporate campaign spending is going to eliminate corruption? The issue here is corruption, not that corporations have rights because as legal fictions they don’t any rights under the state of nature.

    Answer the question.

  105. **AGAIN: How is allowing unlimited corporate campaign spending going to eliminate corruption? The issue here is corruption, not that corporations have rights because as legal fictions they don’t have any rights under the state of nature.

  106. Gene, you are making it hard to have even this pretense of rational conversation with you.

    You said: “They can write a letter to… ” It costs money to write a letter… ;)

    So if the Government wants to take a particular action that will effect a community or their business they can only write a letter? No advertisements to inform others that this might effect them as well? What about a home owners association, are they only allowed to write letters? What if a union or a town feels some political action will effect their members or community, are they only allowed to write letters?

    Really, can’t you see the problems you have created here in such an idiotic view.

    Now as far as your remark that I am a fascist (kind of makes me think how the fox no news network calls liberals communists) you said the following to justify putting that title on me:

    ” Italian Fascism says that the priorities of government should be determined by corporate councils; an oligarchy of profit driven private interests.”

    Now I dare you to find one place where I said anything that even resembles that statement or suggests it in anyway. And after you spend your time looking and can’t find it I will expect your apology which I will accept. And baring that I will say you are a liar, a liar, and a liar.

  107. “You said: “They can write a letter to… ” It costs money to write a letter…”

    Not $100,000.

    “Now I dare you to find one place where I said anything that even resembles that statement or suggests it in anyway.”

    Okay. Your avoidance of the simple question posited above and your support of Citizens United endorses a situation where the priorities of government should be determined by corporate councils; an oligarchy of profit driven private interests. He who has the most money to give a campaign gets the most say. All the “free speech” money can buy. That is what Buckley and Citizens United represent.

    AGAIN:

    If Mr. X wrote a letter to Representative Y saying, “I want a law that favors me personally and/or financially and here’s $100,000 to help you think about what I’ve said”, Mr. X would arrested for bribery and Rep. Y would be if he took the money and delivered the favor.

    If CEO X wrote a letter to Representative Y saying, “I want a law that favors me and/or my corporation personally and/or financially and here’s $100,000 to help you think about what I’ve said”, then by your reasoning, that isn’t a bribe but rather it’s corporate free speech.

    Calling money fallaciously free speech is simply a circumvention of criminal law because it allows bribery under the guise of free speech.

    AGAIN THE QUESTION:

    How is allowing unlimited corporate campaign spending going to eliminate corruption?

    You’ll never answer that question because you can’t without terminally tipping your hand.

    Sorry, but you are simply a fascist.

  108. Gene, you are getting more and more incoherent;

    First, what the First Amendment actually says.

    “make no laws… abridging the freedom of speech”… it DOES NOT SAY ONLY INDIVIDUAL CITIZENS HAVE THAT RIGHT. What if groups of individuals want to petition or get a particular point of view across not just to their government but to other citizens? is that no allowed by you? Is paying for advertisements not allowed?

    Now pay attention closely here, I know its tough to grasp, but I did not say allowing unlimited contributions (by corporations, unions, or any other group) toward expressing their poltical speech would eliminate corruption. Rather I have said your desire to control what constitutes political speech and how and who can spend money on political speech would not end corruption in politics and government. In fact such efforst would only make matters worse and undermine our broader rights.

    WHAT I HAVE ADVOCATED is thinking in new ways about eliminating the effect of money in politics that does so in a way that protects everyones rights.

    The difference is you want to burn down the house to solve the roach problem but even after you burn it down the roachs will still be there. I say there is a better and more effective way of getting rid of the roachs (undue influence of money) that doesn’t involve burning down the house to do it.

    I realize that is too complicated for you but that is as simple as I can make.

  109. Save your facile Constitutional analysis for someone dumber than you, slick. Corporations have no rights under the state of nature as Bob already adequately and completely pointed out. The Constitution doesn’t say that fictional characters from novels have rights either, but they don’t. They aren’t real. Just so, the limited personality (and “limited” is the key word to the construct created by the legal fiction) of corporations don’t have rights either.

    Now.

    Answer.

    The.

    Question.

  110. Gene: using your example, what if Mr. X wanted to spend a 100,000 dollars on an advertisement promoting a project he thinks is important or a politicains or legislation that benefits that project?

    Who gets to say whether that project or advertisment directly benefits Mr. X or may also benefit others that also like the project.

    Come on man, don’t you get the slope you are on here. Don’t you get that there are countless ways Mr. X can spend money to inlfuence the outcome to his benefit? doesn’t have the right to influence the outcome?

    don’t you think it might be more effective to spend money educating people on how to make sense of what people say then trying to spend money controlling what people say and who can say it.

  111. Gene, do you reckon we could all chip in and buy him a dictionary. And a copy of Black’s while we are at it.

    Nah. never mind. Reading a dictionary, especially a law dictionary, requires more than just word recognition, but comprehension and synthesis skills as well. I know when a task is hopeless.

  112. And remember:

    Corporations don’t have rights. They aren’t real people. They are constructs of the state (a charter) and they have permissions granted by the state. A creature of fiction where power grants rights. Contrast this to natural people who have rights in the state of nature. With real people in a democracy, rights confer power, not the other way around.

    Now answer the question.

    If you can.

  113. OS,

    Yep. But the perpetuation of lies by fascists can only take foothold when not challenged. The secret of the Big Lie not only rests in repetition, but unchallenged repetition.

  114. Yep. Josef Goebbels and his disciple Lee Atwater knew that all too well. Their disciples like Frank Luntz and Karl Rove are perpetuating the technique with the able help of the trolls and bots who post on blogs.

    Herr Goebbels explains:

    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

    Then he goes on to say,

    “The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly – it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over”

  115. Gene, come up for air, get those rabi shots before you get lock jaw.

    You seem to think Corporations have no rights. You use the term “state of natural”. (if that is meant as a reference to the DI it clearly mistaken in this context)

    You also make a point of focusing on corporations but you never want to talk about other forms of human associations such as unions, religious groups, clubs, etc.)

    First you are fundementally mistaken to say that a legal entitiy be it corporations, unions or an other entity does have rights. It has the right to be sued civily and criminally, appear in court; to borrow money, to loose its “charter”. Nothing in the first amendment bars legal associations from petition, from claiming the rights under a free press.

    government itself by your reasoning is not a “state of nature”, which also false. as previousely mentioned people, creatures of every kind form associations of various kinds that are often critical to their survivial.

    Rather then trying to fix the problem of undue influence of money in politics – whether by corporations, unions, or any gorup, not to mention that of wealthy individuals (as in now only the wealthy can afford to run for office) you want to attack the symptom rather then the root cause.

    And you are angry because somebody tells you what you think is not what the problem really is; what you think the constitituion actually says is not what it actually says; and your idea for fixing the problem won’t actually fix the problem and make everything else worse in the process.

    But you keep screaming – i understand that might delay the full onset of lock jaw.

  116. os, ah yes another cleverless nothing from the peanut gallery.

    oh i must mention about Gene, he could not find anywhere I actually said what he claimed so now he decided it was implied.

    I’ll accept that as proof, Gene, you are a liar, liar, and liar when you called me a fascist, which makes you a pig, pig, pig. Oink Oink

  117. 1zb1
    1, January 9, 2012 at 8:18 am
    Blouise, I looked for something in your rant that was actually and argument or fact but there wasn’t anything.

    ========================================

    That’s quite alright, darlin’ … that’s what all the Koch boys tell me. I trust you didn’t think you were my first.

    Carry on, kiddo …. they’ll give you another couple weeks before you’re pulled and given a new assignment.

  118. John Stuart Mill was an interesting man. In Terman’s studies of genius, they analyzed the activities and writings of a large number of brilliant people, including J. S. Mill. Their research showed Mill had an IQ of 200, making him one of the most intelligent men who has ever lived. Mill did not live long enough to see this country actually created, but his thinking influenced the founders who came later, especially his writings on individual freedom.

    J. S. Mill said:

    “Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives.”

  119. As something of a brief closing argument in this giant waste of time (like talking to a rock and expecting it to answer intelligently) lets try to bring it down to this:

    It is fair to say that every effort through the course of human history to eliminate corrupting influence of money in politics and government has pretty much failed (or we would likely not be having this conversation). For every means anyone has come up with to limit it others have come up with news ways around it. In fact the more we try to limit it the more corrupting it has become.

    So most of you seem to keep wanting to do the same things that have failed in the past (you all know the one about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result… well in this case you have all certainly proven the proverb to be true).

    I on the other hand I think its time to try another approach to the problem since the old way has never worked. And for my efforts I have been called just a bout every nasty name your limited imaginations can come up with, My approach relies on the way the world is and your approach relies on the way it never was.

    Now like most high priests of right and wrong that ever existed in the world the only way you have of dealing with anyone who sees the world a little different from your limited views of the existence you have no choice but shout and scream and burn people at the stake. I understand that. The salem witch hunts have nothing over you.

    But who knows, maybe when you wake up from your stupper of self direct anger you might just be able to see how far out of touch with reality you have become.

    In the meantime it scares me to think I’m almost sounding like TC here. God forbid.

    Have a great day folks. Glen, do get those rabi shots real soon.

  120. Gene, in case i did not cover this ( i wouldn’t want you to take my inadvertense as proof of a negative in your twisted mind)

    YOU SAIDl: Tell us all how allowing unlimited corporate campaign spending is going to eliminate corruption. I’d like a good laugh before I go to lunch.

    I did not say allowing unlimted corporate campaign spending would eliminate corruption. I said TRYING TO REGULATE IT WOULD NOT ELIMINATE CORRUPTION, MAY MAKE IT WORSE, AND PROBABLY HAVE UNINTENDED OTHER NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES FOR FREEDOM AND INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS.

  121. Oooo. Utter gibberish that ignores the rule of construction of the Constitution. Just what I wanted for dessert. The 9th Amendment clearly says that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

    The p-e-o-p-l-e.

    Not the legal fictions.

    The only “rights” a corporation has are those granted by the government. Your right as a natural human to free speech exists independent of the Constitution. Begging the question is a logical fallacy. Your ignorant statement again begs the question that corporations are people.

    They aren’t.

    Corporations aren’t people and money isn’t free speech.

    Those are two lies fascists would have you sacrifice democracy to appease their unfettered greed. They are two lies intimately related to one another. They are the conjoined roots of decay that affect our political and legal processes.

    Restricting the “rights” of a corporation isn’t burning down the house to get rid of the roaches. Corporations don’t have rights. People do. Restricting the actions of corporations is necessary to keep them from using their unfair economic advantage to exploit and infringe upon the rights of real people. The personality of a corporation as intended was to allow contracting, the purchase of property and the ability to avail civil and criminal matters to the courts – nothing more. That is all that is required. Corporations enjoy perpetuity and limited liability, something natural persons do not enjoy. Restricting corporations is keeping the roaches right where they belong: in a cage defined by the Rule of Law to prevent abusive practices and economic tyranny. To assert that they have “rights” beyond grant is to give them advantage no mortal can enjoy. Your insistence that corporations have any rights other than what the government gives them – in this case an overreaching of rights bought and purchased by graft and corruption – is prime facie ridiculous.

    Also, you should learn to differentiate anger from laughter, 1zb1. I’m not mad at you. I hate all that you stand for, but you personally? Get over yourself. You personally aren’t worth the energy hatred requires. You’re ridiculous, hence you are ridiculed, as in subject to mockery and derision. Made fun of. The object of humor.

    Now.

    Answer the question.

    No more evasion.

    How is allowing unlimited corporate campaign spending going to eliminate corruption, 1zb1?

    If you are so sure your way is right, you should be able to answer this question.

  122. 1zb1
    1, January 9, 2012 at 1:35 pm
    Blouise… following nonsense with nonsense is, well nonsense.
    ===============================================

    Exactly … isn’t it fun :)

    Gene,

    This guy sounds like someone from last summer …

  123. “I did not say allowing unlimted corporate campaign spending would eliminate corruption. I said TRYING TO REGULATE IT WOULD NOT ELIMINATE CORRUPTION, MAY MAKE IT WORSE, AND PROBABLY HAVE UNINTENDED OTHER NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES FOR FREEDOM AND INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS.”

    Again, shouting doesn’t make you right.

    Regulation would define the impermissible acts. Legally defined impermissible acts are called either “crimes” or “torts”. They should come with sufficient penalty to make sure that once the penalty is applied, the criminal and/or tortfeasor won’t be tempted (or able) to commit the same bad act again. The goal is not elimination of corruption, but rather minimization. One cannot eliminate corruption as a matter of mathematical operation. In any complex system, error occurs. There are no unintended consequences – negative or otherwise – to individual rights created by restricting the actions of a legal fiction. Again, people are not corporations and corporations are not people (your repeatedly ignorant assertions aside). The “burning down the house” approach is yours, not mine. Instead of regulation of corporate behavior – which won’t be 100% effective in eliminating the roaches – you’d rather not have any regulation at all. That is burning down the house. My solution – limiting corporate activity by regulation (regulation so stiff, by the way, it would make prison time and asset forfeiture mandatory for influence peddling – asset forfeiture that would automatically pierce the corporate veil by the way) – is the equivalent of putting out roach motels. My way won’t kill all the roaches, but it will kill the majority of them.

    Now, tell us again how regulation of a corporation – a legal fiction – is going to erode the rights of natural humans.

    That was funny.

  124. Blouise, Did you see the Gingrich superpac ad on Bain that I posted? It could inflict some major damage on Romney.

  125. GENE, LEARN TO read….

    ONE MORE TIME:

    I did not say allowing unlimted corporate campaign spending would eliminate corruption. I said TRYING TO REGULATE IT WOULD NOT ELIMINATE CORRUPTION, MAY MAKE IT WORSE, AND PROBABLY HAVE UNINTENDED OTHER NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES FOR FREEDOM AND INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS.

    OS, YOU ARE RIGHT, i keep forgetting to turn the cap ON…. TAKING the time to use spell check for any of this would only add more waste of time to a waste of time.

    AND REALLY, gene, YOU WOULD NOT BE WASTING YOUR TIME on all this if you werent’ filled with anger and every other line is some form of insult… but not single coherent thought or fact.

    I realize your friends here are to embarrased to tell you that you are making no sense whatsoever… take a breath, regroup… have your ribs… and we can go on from there if you like.

    BTW: i never said corporations (or any group…. you keep neglecting all those other groups in your comments) have any rights beyond those granted by government… the problem is our prime documents do give them certain rights even if you don’t like it. The fact is our particular government as embodied by the constittution is as much about preserving those rights – by a system of government – as it is about what the rights are.

    Show me where rights are spelled out in nature. According to Darwin if we go by nature its survival of the fittest and those most adapted to survivial. So not only are you clueless on the constitution, but even on nature itself..

    Personally, I like to think that civilization and the Constitution was about something more then the rule of the jungle.

  126. GENE, you are making me think you have a learning disorder.

    you said, “Regulation would define the impermissible acts.”

    So i have asked you countless times does your idea of regulation mean a GROUP (meaning any association of people including corporations, unions, clubs, and you name that are all protected by the right to assemble) is not allowed to spend money on advertisements or other forms of communications that promote their views on legislation, candidates, business, or personal interests? Does that mean a media corporation can not print and article or an opinion on any subject that you think is improper?

    Who gets to decide what fits or dosen’t fit into permissible forms of communications? In your mind would that be the same people who censor books?

    Why is it so impossible for you to grasp the near impossibility of what you are suggesting and doing so without denying people other rights.

    How can you be that stupid?

  127. “ONE MORE TIME:

    I did not say allowing unlimted corporate campaign spending would eliminate corruption. I said TRYING TO REGULATE IT WOULD NOT ELIMINATE CORRUPTION, MAY MAKE IT WORSE, AND PROBABLY HAVE UNINTENDED OTHER NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES FOR FREEDOM AND INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS.”

    And I refuted that bullshit too.

    Really, you’re going to have to do better than that, Fascist.

    Also, if you have a problem understanding the nature of rights, both natural and legal? That would be a hole in your education now, wouldn’t it? I suggest reading Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and Thomas Paine to start with and then moving on to Rousseau. Because, really, if you’re referring to Darwin, you don’t have a fucking clue.

    Also, that continual casting of aspersions on my intelligence by someone who manifestly doesn’t have a clue and is an unread dolt is simply funny. Especially since you’re too dumb to realize that “rights reserved to the people” doesn’t mean “rights reserved to the corporations”.

    Now, you claim that there will be “UNINTENDED OTHER NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES FOR FREEDOM AND INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS” if corporate behavior is regulated.

    Prove it.

    How will preventing corporations from unlimited political spending negatively impact individual citizens or otherwise infringe upon their rights?

    Illustrate these hypothetical negative consequences.

    You can’t, because their aren’t any. Again, people are not corporations and corporations are not people. But you go ahead and take a stab at it, slick.

    You get more ridiculous with every post, fascist apologist.

    So far be it from me to stand in the way of an opponent destroying themselves.

  128. 1zb1: “i never said corporations (or any group…. you keep neglecting all those other groups in your comments) have any rights beyond those granted by government… the problem is our prime documents do give them certain rights even if you don’t like it.”

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    How do the words ‘congress shall make now law … abridging the freedom of speech…” confer the right of free speech to corporations?

    They don’t; just like they don’t confer the right of free speech to individuals either.

    Was SCOTUS ever empowered under Article III to confer political speech rights to corporations?

    No.

    Again…

    Rights confer power; not vice versa. Only an idiot would look at the constitution and think he gets his right of free speech from the first amendment. This is as absurd as thinking the right of free speech didn’t exist between 1787 and 1789.

  129. SwM,

    Yes, I saw the clip. I was referring to Newt’s whining about the damage done to his candidacy by the super pacs aligned against him … they told nothing but lies, he sobbed as his standing in the polls fell 20 points in 20 days. Poor baby got boomeranged.

    You remember his support for Citizens United … too funny.

    It’s going to be a battle of who can spend the most money telling the best lies which fits ever so nicely into this thread.

    As to the retread … throw a female at ’em and the response is always the same … it’s a good test ’cause they just can’t help themselves … women are silly, nonsensical creatures created by god as man’s sex toys … it’s as easy a test as drawing out hidden Tea Party idiots by calling them teabaggers … or closet republicans by calling Reagan a senile boob.

    Seems to be the week for sock puppets.

  130. Gene,

    Once again you are stuck with idiot patrol.

    Bob, however, is giving you some relief.

    All in all, a great deal of good information is being imparted for those who are content to just read.

  131. Gene, just so we are talking on the same page here please clearify, when you use the term “corporations” are you also including other entitities such as unions, clubs, religious organization, trade groups, or any other type of legal form of association.” or is it your beleif that the regulation of money in political speech only applies to corporations”

    And while you are at it does the right to assembly include the right of individuals to form groups such as unions, clubs, religious organzations, trade groups and so on?

    And you asked, “How do the words ‘congress shall make now law … abridging the freedom of speech…” confer the right of free speech to corporations?

    You might notice there that it doesn’t confer the right of free speech to people or corporations in that passage. The opperative phases is “make no law ABRIDGING…” as in make laws taking away that right. And, I might add that it exists in a passage concerning groups (ie assembly and religion) I am going to read that as being inclusive of not ABRIDGING those rights of groups.

    In other words, care to show me where people who assembled together were exclused from these rights?

    Oh, I’m sorry, i must have missed the place in the constitution, where Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Thomas Paine, and Rousseau drafted of signed it. They may have influenced the thinking of the day but so were their many influences. Now you really are getting desperate. Is it so difficult to prove your point (kind of missed that somewhere) that you have to now fly outside the constitution to prove that you are actually a persona rather then a rabid dog.

    You challanged me to “Prove it. How will preventing corporations from unlimited political spending negatively impact individual citizens or otherwise infringe upon their rights? Illustrate these hypothetical negative consequences. ” Fair enough, but you haven’t addressed even one of my questions yet. But you can start by answering the one at the top so at least i know we are talking about the same thing.

    As near as I can tell you want to take away the right of virtually everyone except an individual acting completely on their own to make what you consider political speech. the press would not be able to talk about politics so they would loose a free press; no groups of any kind can talk about it so they would loose the rights of assembly (though I suppose you would say they can assemble but just not talk to anyone about it); and religious groups could not talk about anything because it might be considered political speech by somebody.

    Btw; you have a great way of arguing: you say “i refute it” and therefore thats all you have to say. And I do see that the 2 words in your limited vocab both start with “F”. Glen, the more you write the dumber you get…. quit before they kick you out of kindergarten.

    So just a little reminder:

    Gene, just so we are talking on the same page here please clearify, when you use the term “corporations” are you also including other entitities such as unions, clubs, religious organization, trade groups, or any other type of legal form of association.” or is it your beleif that the regulation of money in political speech only applies to corporations”

    And while you are at it does the right to assembly include the right of individuals to form groups such as unions, clubs, religious organzations, trade groups and so on?

    BTW; in your world of one person one dollar politics does someone like Romney (or any rich person) get to put on advertisements promoting their points of view but because I don’t have any money I don’t get to express my point of view. Btw; just what is political speech in your mind. Whats the bright line between political speech and say an advertisment for building a new factory in a town.

    BTW: where does the idea of an entity of some kind promising to make an investement in one location versus another based on who will give them the most favorable worker and environmental laws, fit into your scheme of money corruption politics and how does your idea of laws regulating money in politics deal with that? Do you regulate it? How? if I want to start a group to prevent it from happening do I them become subject to the same laws?

    Isn’t reality interesting as opposed to your delusions.

  132. I have not had a problem posting on any other thread….I suppose one could be paranoid about this as well……Special People…get Special Privileges…

    Or is that Special Attention….

  133. SwM and raff,

    Yep … welcome to the 2012 election year. In the words of my many esteemed ancestors who first stepped onto this continent at Prince George, Maryland somewhere between 1594 and 1602 …”Get thee here, there is money to be made.”

  134. “Gene,
    Once again you are stuck with idiot patrol.
    Bob, however, is giving you some relief.”

    Blouise,

    I must admit I bowed our relatively early leaving the task in Gene and Bob’s capable hands. As you may know I’m a psychotherapist and we are trained to use our instincts to sniff out people with inconsistent ideation. When 1bs1 first appeared on another thread with a hysterical rant calling Tony C. a fascist, my bullshit detector began to hum. I must remind you that since I have come out early for Obama, it is a relative embarrassment to have common cause with an ass. However, things are not always what they seem on first glance. I did call him out for possibly playing the role of an Obama supporter and then acting like an obnoxious idiot, as a sort of stupidly reverse Koch strategy. This is reinforced by his support of Corporate Money, which has been arrayed against Obama.

    Let’s deal though with his main premise, which through all the “sturm und drang” seems to be the way to combat the influence of corporate money against government is to better educate the people. How pray tell would this be financed and accomplished? Why wouldn’t the corporations simply out finance the “educators”? It is a silly solution posed because 1bs1’s purpose was merely to attack……..anyone, yet in his rather delicate mental state allow him to feel like he was providing an answer. Time and again he fails to address the rebuttals that destroy his case, resorting to CAPS to relieve his underlying stress. That he suffers from some sort of oppositional disorder is apparent, however, we’re a tolerant group here and if he would just support his ideas with rational argument, perhaps we’d take him seriously. Then again……..Nah.

  135. It might be a new script – pretend you are an Obama supporter only to makes Obama and his supporters look bad. After about the third post I was suspicious. What he said on New Year’s Eve convinced me that he was not a newcomer to this blog, Mike.

  136. Mike S.,

    “Then again……..Nah.” ;)

    I read that posting where he went all “how dare you” when you questioned his Obama sincerity … and had already, like you, begun to draw that same conclusion for he really fit quite well into the “with friends like this, who needs enemies” category.

    Political operatives serve a useful purpose on this blog as they present the opportunity for the learned contributors to offer truth and explanations that are no longer as readily available to viewers of the established media outlets. I call it the JT Learning for Lurkers Classroom for there are many who come to this blog only to read. It’s a good thing.

  137. “You challanged me to “Prove it. How will preventing corporations from unlimited political spending negatively impact individual citizens or otherwise infringe upon their rights? Illustrate these hypothetical negative consequences.” Fair enough, but you haven’t addressed even one of my questions yet.”

    You’re the one making the incredible claim that preventing corporations from unlimited political spending will negatively impact individual citizens or otherwise infringe upon the rights of individuals.

    The burden of proof is entirely yours.

    Get to work, skippy.

    Now, on with making you look more like a fascist than you do already . . .

    “Gene, just so we are talking on the same page here please clearify, when you use the term “corporations” are you also including other entitities such as unions, clubs, religious organization, trade groups, or any other type of legal form of association.” or is it your beleif that the regulation of money in political speech only applies to corporations”

    And while you are at it does the right to assembly include the right of individuals to form groups such as unions, clubs, religious organzations, trade groups and so on?

    And you asked, “How do the words ‘congress shall make now law … abridging the freedom of speech…” confer the right of free speech to corporations?”

    Actually, Bob asked that . .. and answered it too.

    “You might notice there that it doesn’t confer the right of free speech to people or corporations in that passage. The opperative phases is “make no law ABRIDGING…” as in make laws taking away that right. And, I might add that it exists in a passage concerning groups (ie assembly and religion) I am going to read that as being inclusive of not ABRIDGING those rights of groups.

    In other words, care to show me where people who assembled together were exclused from these rights?”

    You keep mistaking that this is a free speech or assembly issue. You also keep begging the question that a corporation is simply an assembly of individuals. It is not. Kennedy’s opinion in Citizens United begins with a staggeringly stupid 1st Amendment mistake. Kennedy claims that the case is about the constitutionality of discriminating between two categories of First Amendment speakers -corporations and human beings – and much like your entire argument, this begs the question that corporations are simply an assemblage of people. They are not and as they are not they should get no 1st Amendment rights in the first place.

    A business corporation is an artificial entity, a legal fiction, a state-created entity with unlimited life that has highly favorable techniques for acquiring, accumulating and retaining vast wealth through economic transactions. Transactions which nothing to do with politics other than said corporations would like to have no regulation to prevent abusive and/or criminal acts and/or acts that infringe upon the rights of individuals – including the right to be free from tyranny. Business have one and only one purpose – the pursuit of profit; making money. They are amoral, fictional constructs that measure their success or failure by profitability.

    By contrast, human beings die (they lack perpetuity), they do not enjoy economic advantages like limited liability and, most important of all, human beings have a conscience that sometimes transcends crude economic self-interest (unless you’re an Objectivist and/or a sociopath). These real dramatic and critical differences raise a threshold question completely ignored by Justice Kennedy: Are corporations even in the 1st Amendment ballpark?

    So to answer your question about unions, clubs, religious organization, trade groups, or any other type of legal form of associations? The answer is “No. I mean business corporations.” All of these other forms of organization you mention can (and most do) serve other purposes besides making money (even trade associations). This belies your ridiculous assertion that “As near as I can tell you want to take away the right of virtually everyone except an individual acting completely on their own to make what you consider political speech. the press would not be able to talk about politics so they would loose a free press; no groups of any kind can talk about it so they would loose the rights of assembly (though I suppose you would say they can assemble but just not talk to anyone about it); and religious groups could not talk about anything because it might be considered political speech by somebody.” As near as I can tell, you don’t know how to do anything but contort and distort. No one is talking about limiting speech to individuals or groups. We are talking about limiting speech of corporations. Why? They are amoral legal fictions.

    The creation of the corporate form was for one reason – its economic potential. It makes sense to vest it with limited constitutional protection for its property as found in granting the ability to contract, to purchase property and to limit liability. However, it is a illogical and unsupported jump Kennedy makes to vest business corporations with non-economic constitutional rights that flow from respect for human dignity. Machines don’t have a conscience and neither do business corporations. Vesting a corporation with free speech rights is legal fiction run amok that makes as much sense as vesting a machine with rights. Which is to say it makes no sense at all. Just so, we don’t allow corporations to have the 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination (a non-economic right and most would argue a natural right), it make no sense to give them a 1st Amendment (non-economic and natural right of) free speech right just the same.

    The issue here is contributions, both soft and hard money. All of your preceding gibberish is premised on two lies: 1) that money and free speech are equivalent and 2) that corporations are people or a simple assembly of people. Thanks to Citizens United granting corporations a 1st Amendment right to spend unlimited sums to win an election, we are facing a second Gilded Age. American democracy is for sale to the highest corporate bidder and that bidder is an artificial construct, bereft of conscience, and driven solely by profit; a money making machine.

    Also, don’t try to raise the issue that “the press is owned by corporations”. Well, not all of it is and the 1st Amendment creates a specific exemption for the activities of the press, not the legal form in which the press takes. If the Founders had intended for banks and oil corporations to be explicitly granted a right of free speech, they could have enumerated those activities as well, but they didn’t. Just the press.

    “Oh, I’m sorry, i must have missed the place in the constitution, where Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Thomas Paine, and Rousseau drafted of signed it. They may have influenced the thinking of the day but so were their many influences. Now you really are getting desperate.”

    Not at all desperate, slick. The point in raising Hobbes, Locke, Paine and Rousseau is that you don’t know squat about natural versus legal rights if you’re referencing Darwin. That or you are admitting that you’re a social Darwinist which is a kind of mental derangement common among the Greedy Classes (Objectivists and/or sociopaths). Either way, the point was to illustrate that you don’t know what you are talking about. You didn’t then and you don’t now. Good show.

    The rest of what you write is drivel.

    Now, you made some pretty strong claims about how preventing corporations from unlimited political spending will negatively impact individual citizens or otherwise infringe upon their rights.

    Illustrate these hypothetical negative consequences.

    The burden of proof is yours.

    You won’t be able to make it, but it’ll be funny to watch you try.

  138. “As near as I can tell you want to take away the right of virtually everyone except an individual acting completely on their own to make what you consider political speech.”

    I can’t speak for Gene but it soundlike you are finally getting it. Corporations, religious groups, unions, etc. do not have the right to free speech. Corporations; not being people have no rights at all.
    They have no right to express an opinion other than to their members. They have no right to lobby or make donations.

    So yes I would regulate those groups freedom to voice political opinions down to zero.

    “the press would not be able to talk about politics so they would loose a free press;”

    The job of a free press is to report the facts; all the facts without regard to the implications of those facts. That is what makes the press free. The press has no right to express political opinion. They report the facts so that people get good information to make decisions with. So yeah; we need to regulate that very carefully

    “no groups of any kind can talk about it so they would loose the rights of assembly (though I suppose you would say they can assemble but just not talk to anyone about it); and religious groups could not talk about anything because it might be considered political speech by somebody.”

    Politics is supposed to be a proccess whereby the American citizen decides who he wants to hold public office.When a union proclaims that they support Candidate A; is that because they took a vote of their membership and the majority chose candidate A? No Otherwise they would just wait for election day when they all would vote anyway.

    This is not a union expressing the choice of it’s members. This is a union; a group; an organization, a corporation perhaps; attempting to influence how their members will vote in order to benefit the organization. So even though the corporation can not vote because they are not a person; they can influence the outcome by harranging and intimidateing their members to vote their way; thus in effect giving them a vote.

    Thus a man might feel pressured to vote for a candidate he does not believe best for himself and his family in order to please the organization.

    The end result is that many people vote according to the wishes of a small committee from whatever organization they have listened to. You’re damn skippy this needs to be stopped. And don’t give me any of that bullshit about How i would be denying freedom of expression to these groups. They have no rights; because they are not people. The people should not care what they think or want. And they wouldn’t have to if we take their freedom to intimidate and pontificate away.

    “The way to combat the influence of corporate money against government is to better educate the people.”

    This may be one of the stupidist things you have said.

    Just what education would do away with the corruption in the political system. Teaching them to recognize when they are being screwed won’t stop the screwing.

    Educating them to make more reasoned choices will do no good as their are no choices being offered. Fascist or Fascist take your choice.

    You think taking the private money out of politics is a bad idea because it won’t get rid of 100% of it

    Well you can educate all you want; if the corporations still get to put their two cents in the till; you won’t be getting rid of any of it.

    If the Private money was gone it would serve to clear out the legal corruption and thus make any donations illegal.

    No question; you wound up with money from corporation x. tovote for this or that. Can’t have been a political donation. Must be a bribe. Guilty.

    I just never understand how you can support the imaginary, made up,”rights” of corporations but stand by while the rights; the valid, God/Nature given rights of the people are trampled.

    I love the way you took the suggestion to benefit the people and called it unconstitutional because it would restrict the rights of unions, corporations and church groups.

    You sound like a republican now

    What was it you said to Gene? oh yeh well back at you man. You miss the point of the Constitution. It was intended to protect the people from just such tyranny as you seem to reccomend so

    “the more you write the dumber you get…. quit before they kick you out of kindergarten.”

    where does the idea of an entity of some kind promising to make an investement in one location versus another based on who will give them the most favorable worker and environmental laws, fit into your scheme of money corruption politics and how does your idea of laws regulating money in politics deal with that?

    If the envorionmental laws were the same all over the country there would be no issue; and that is how it should be. Protecting the country from pollution is equally important everywhere. What is the sense in allowing a company to emit x number of tons of pollutant B into the air in Maine if you wont allow it in Texas for example.

    States rights; right? Wrong. Need to revisit those puppies in a big way.

    It would take too long to explore that now and we won’t agree so we can leave it at that.

    Suffice to say that States rights should only be concerned with the running of a state. Not used to assume the right of a state to oppress the people beyond what federal statutes hold. Not used to enact policies that are in opposition to the will of the people or the welfare of same.

    As I say; it is more complex.

  139. Gene, your long winded but mindless rant says it all. The “right of the people peaceably to assemble”, is something only you get to decide what is or isn’t an allowable assembly. Funny thing, I did not see your exception for for “Corporations” mentioned anywhere in the constitution. Funny thing about that is the concept of Corporations was well established at the time. Indeed, one might say the Boston Tea Party was directed against a corporate merchilisim. Given the founders distaste for it all you would think if they wanted draw exceptions that would surely be the one.

    Still, it just isn’t there, now is it, except in your delusion? But then again, by your reasoning, any so called news orgainisation owned by a “corporation” would not be entitled to the freedoms of the press.

    Oh, and that threshold question of yours, does it exist to make money? I did not see that little criteria in the constitution either. And your exception to your exception is if it has some other purpose. So, If for example a corporation ownes a steel mill but contributes 10% of its profits to a hospital it would be exempt from your exemption.

    Once again, the operative term here is “Abridge”. There are no exclusions based on the form of enity; there are no exceptions created for particular types of entities. Everything you have said is completely and invention drawn out of your delusion.

    But thank you for demonstrating, not only do you want to regulate what can be said and who can say it, but now you are deciding who has the right to assembly and for what purpose. You know you keep throwing the F words at me (a sure sign you are too ignorant to actually deal in facts or reality), but more and more it sounds you need to take a hard look in the mirror.

  140. “What he said on New Year’s Eve convinced me that he was not a newcomer to this blog, Mike.”

    SwM.

    There was a guy who just around the time I started coming here was doing irrational rants like this, then got a little crazy and then retured 2 or 3 tim3s with a new persona, but the same MO. Damned if I remember the various names, but it does sound like a familiar tune, it’s just that the trolls come and go.

  141. “The “right of the people peaceably to assemble”, is something only you get to decide what is or isn’t an allowable assembly.”

    A corporation is not a simple assembly of people. It is a legal fiction with perpetuity and limited liability. Real people are not perpetual and have unlimited liability. The Constitution was written for people, not corporations. As to corporations being well known? You should brush up on your Jefferson: “I hope we shall take warning from the example [of England] and crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws our country.” – Letter to George Logan (12 November 1816). I don’t decide anything other than what is and what is not a human or a group of humans. Corporations are not human nor a simple group of humans. They are a discrete legal fiction with distinct advantages over real humans (this is part and parcel of why they must be constrained).

    “Oh, and that threshold question of yours, does it exist to make money? I did not see that little criteria in the constitution either.”

    Missing the point again, I see. The point is corporations are 1) fictions and 2) amoral. As fictions, they have no rights, nor as a functionary of an amoral function measured by an amoral metric should they be given any.

    “Still, it just isn’t there, now is it, except in your delusion? But then again, by your reasoning, any so called news orgainisation owned by a “corporation” would not be entitled to the freedoms of the press.”

    I addressed that point, Mr. Doesn’t Read. Press is an activity given a right, not a form of business.

    In fact, I addressed all of those points. That you didn’t like the answers is immaterial to them being correct. The rest of what you say, once again, is drivel, Fascist Apologist.

    Now, back to the homework you were assigned.

    You made some pretty strong claims about how preventing corporations from unlimited political spending will negatively impact individual citizens or otherwise infringe upon their rights.

    Illustrate these hypothetical negative consequences.

    Since you haven’t yet, I’m going to assume that you can’t.

    Your grade is F-, Troll-boy.

  142. And that’s F- as in “Lame Assed Fascist Apologist” just in case you missed it.

    If you don’t like being called a Fascist? And keep in mind I called you a Corporatist Fascist (Italian Fascism promotes a corporatist economic system whereby employer and employee syndicates are linked together in a corporative associations to collectively represent the nation’s economic producers and work alongside the state to set national economic policy – exactly what you advocate in defending Citizens United).

    Then don’t act like one, Fascist.

    It’s really very simple.

    Much like your argument that “corporations are people too!” and the rest of the addled contents of that thing holding down your neck.

  143. MIKE, if you are a what passes for a psychotherapist (gestalt or otherwise), lets hope there really is a god around to save your customers (yes, I did use that term intentionally). Its either that or you have been putting something really fowl up your nose and its destroyed your sniffing.

    Now when you say somethiing like “This is reinforced by his support of Corporate Money”, that makes you a liar or an idiot. Here I thought gestalt was supposed to focus on the here and now and reality. Apparently, that doesn’t apply to you. By your reasoning, if I said the Constitution incorporates slavery (which it clearly did) you would say I favor it which I clearly do not (no doubt one of you idiots will claim otherwise which would really demonstrate what disgusting sorts you really are).

    In Gestalt, you try and deal with the way things are; identify the issues, and come up with ways to effectively cope and fix. You don’t (except probably in your case MS) fix one problem by creating a whole bunch of new problems.

    The Constitution is what it is, like it or not, until you change it. I happen to believe more rights are better the fewer rights; wider interpretation of rights are better then narrower interpretations. Fewer exceptions are better then more exceptions. Apparently, I am alone in that vew.

    The Constitution does not make an exception for Corporations or any other form of association of people. If you start making those exceptions especially when they are done broadly you create endless problems. And when history demonstrates time and again that money/politics/government are not going away any time soon and every attempt to do so only seems to make it worse, then it is time to take a new approach.

    You Said, “Time and again he fails to address the rebuttals that destroy his case, ” THAT IS A LIE. everything that has been said came even close to being called a real argument was addressed. Indeed, there has been so little that actually has been a real argument (including your current rant) that such a point may not say much but, beyond any doubt I will be happy to stack up my arguments and rebuttles against what has been the worst kind of name calling and lies.

    Indeed, I invite you to have Mr. Turly review the comments here and weigh in as objectively as he can, if not on the subject itself but the actual arguments offered.

    You said of my solution, “seems to be the way to combat the influence of corporate money against government is to better educate the people. How pray tell would this be financed and accomplished? Why wouldn’t the corporations simply out finance the “educators”?

    I will accept that as close enough for our purpose of my position, though included in that is the ability to communicate knowledge and information.

    You may recall that I said ultimately what corporate money buys is communications of one sort or another (air time, advertisements, mailings etc).

    So the real challange is not to stop the flow of corrupting money in politics (and its not just from corporations you nitwits) but to immunize people from its effects. How do you accomplish that. what we want to do is reach as many people as possible in an unfiltered fashion as in expensively as possible, with objective information that is easy to assimilate and is considered reliable to the receipient. To be effective there must also be multiple channels of information to minimize the risk of manipulation. The receipients must also be of a mind set to accept information and facts not based on preconceived notions or biases. They have to have basic understandings of the political system and the means by which we are all manipulated by marketing methods.

    This happens to be a subject I have been giving a lot of thought to lately from the standpoint of Health. 60% of the nation is obese or overweight. We are literally eating ourselves to death and bankrupting the nation in the process. We all know this. We all know that the fast food and sugar laden cereals and salt saturated foods are killing us but we do it any way.

    Corporations manipulate our minds with marketing and we follow along even when we know it is killing us. This (poor eating and lack of exercise and other self inflicted habits) is the single greatest cause of sickness and death in the country. Our politicians are on the take of these companies that are knowingly killing our kids..

    So, the problem of eating ourselves to death and the problem of political corruption of money by corporations and any other group you can name are closely related.

    When I was growing up we had civic classes, I went to boys state, we studied history and society. Much of that is gone from schools. Along with the obesity epidemic of the last 40 years we have had the dumming down of America epidemic (you probably all know about the texas text books).

    We will go into this more, but we have a better chance of fixing the system through education and the tools of communications at our disposal then trying to get money out of politics and corruption. We’ve seen it happen in some ways in the middle east. We see it happening right here with this screaming match.

    We can change this, unless of course you really are the hypocrits I think you are and people are as stupid as you think and apparently want them to stay.

  144. Gene: you are a liar, as they say liar liar pants on fire hah hah hah.

    Another mindless rant with not a fact in there: I dare you to find where I say as you quoted:

    “corporations are people too!” .

    You really are beneath contempt.

    In your view anyone who believes that speech should NOT be limited by the type of entity or the content is a F. in the end it is you who are the true Fascist, you are a fraud and a hypocrit, except that you really are too ignorant to understand anything let alone that. Mr. Welch said it best, “You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?” I would have also no sense of your own lack of dignity?

  145. “what we want to do is reach as many people as possible in an unfiltered fashion as in expensively as possible, with objective information that is easy to assimilate and is considered reliable to the receipient. To be effective there must also be multiple channels of information to minimize the risk of manipulation. The receipients must also be of a mind set to accept information and facts not based on preconceived notions or biases. They have to have basic understandings of the political system and the means by which we are all manipulated by marketing methods.”

    Crock of shit, written by me in a Gestalt manner, being in the present. You are so out of it I’m beginning to feel bad for you. No clue, much noise.

  146. That wasn’t a quote, Fascist.

    That was a paraphrase.

    The only liar here is you insisting that limiting corporate behavior would have “UNINTENDED OTHER NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES FOR FREEDOM AND INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS”.

    Now that? That was a quote. Shouting and all.

  147. Again . . .

    You made some pretty strong claims about how preventing corporations from unlimited political spending will negatively impact individual citizens or otherwise infringe upon their rights.

    Illustrate these hypothetical negative consequences.

    Since you haven’t yet, I’m going to assume that you can’t.

    Your grade is F-, Troll-boy.

  148. “You were so right about the shouting thing.”

    Gene,

    This guy seems like he is in a loop of non-reason. There is no getting to him he just repeats his comforting “mantras”, time and again, refusing to let other information in. He is vicious in his attempts to insult though, going for what he thinks is the “jugular”. He doesn’t get that before you can insult someone effectively, they need to somehow respect your opinion.

  149. Gene, can you not read? The tparty (in boston), and Jefferson’s remarks are all indicators of their distaste for corporate types of entitites, but still they did not make an exception to it. And indeed subsequent court rulings during the time period did not limit corporations in anyway you suggest.

    Unions, religious organsations and many other types of groups also exist in so called perpetuity (keeping in mind that they can all be revoked.)

    So what you are saying is a corporation that runs a media business doese not have the right to make political speech because it is a corporation.

    You say you have answered issues but in fact the only clear actual answer you have given that wasn’t just a rant is you explicityly singled out one type of entity from being allowed poltical speech. I think that says it all right there.

  150. Does it impact my ability to contribute to a campaign if Exxon can’t?

    Not in the slightest.

    Does it impact my free speech to tell Exxon to put a sock in it when it comes to political speech?

    Not in the slightest.

    Does it impair democracy when Exxon is allowed to fill the airwaves and print media with one-sided propaganda that bears no relation to the interests of the public and every interest toward bolstering their bottom line by influencing the electorate to vote against the electorate’s best interests and for Exxon’s best interests; which as a corporation are strictly profits?

    Yes it does.

    Does it create corruption when Exxon can give a candidate unlimited soft money support?

    Yes it does.

    Come one now. Show us how not letting Exxon do that negatively impacts my free speech, my freedom of assembly, my right to petition or any other right I as a natural human have and is protected as an enumerated right. The burden of proof is still yours, Fascist. You still haven’t met it.

    Decency? I don’t give a rat’s ass if you think I’m decent. What I care about is that I’m demonstrably correct and you are not.

    *************

    Mike,

    He’s a troll of the most scripted and tedious sort for certain.

  151. “So what you are saying is a corporation that runs a media business doese not have the right to make political speech because it is a corporation.”

    Again, not what I’m saying. The activity of the press is protected by the 1st Amendment, the form of the practitioner is irrelevant.

    Irrelevant much like everything you say, Corporatist.

  152. I guess my only question is:

    Is this troll a Professional Asshole; paid to disrupt this site or is he a Volunteer Asshole with his own twisted Agenda?

    I have to admit that I have repeatedly allowed him to draw me in. It’s hard to resist kicking a little bitch like him. I say bitch because he is willing to say anything to incite anger.

    Of course it is difficult to say if it’s him or us as it seems all of us Rant incessantly and are Dellusional as well so our judgement may be flawed.

  153. Well AMS, you covered some territory. Seems you have a lot of things you want to regulate out there. You want to tell the press what is news and what is not. Who gets to say which is which. Nobody can give opinions anymore or was it news… I guess we will have to have the thought police running around keeping track of that one.

    For now lets not go into the “States Rights’ thing or as I call it the “right to exploit people” which is the battle cry of the old south…. at least i think we can agree on that much its a bunch of bs.

    Environmental regulation is very different from regulating speech. Pollution (in what ever form) is what it is. No individual, business or entitity of any kind has the right to poison the envirnoment. We can objectively determine what is a danger and what is not. Under the constituion the government clearly has the right to regulate commerce. It is quite another thing to say regulating political speech is the same.

    The constituion says what it says. It does not say the 1 st amendment applies to one group and not to another. You have created an exception that does not exist. I happen to believe that any time you create such a wide ranging exception you undermine individual rights rather then strenghten them (which is supposedly your purpose). I also believe that your solution (regulatory exceptions that don’t exist in the C0 actually makes the problem worse or at the very best don’t fix the problem and there are better ways to deal with it.

    You say, “You miss the point of the Constitution. It was intended to protect the people from just such tyranny as you seem to reccomend”. However, in meeting the intention in your way you are actually creating another form of tyranny.

    Lets suppose there really was a workable approach to “corporations” not making any political speech. Lets even say this exception you have invented for corporations but no other type of entitiy is okay. And suppose I wanted to do ads that announce the unhealthy nature of foods and that there should be legislation banning all fast foods and vote against any candidate who supports fast foods. Would that industry or the corporations be allowed to do advertising that described the benefits of their foods. would that be political speech. Would a food company that was privately owned be allowed to do it but not a corporation. Would a union or other association of workers who work for the company be allowed to do it.

    Don’t you see how crazy that all gets. Are you folks here smart enough to not be manipulated by corporate money in politics? (presumably you think you are but personally I doubt it) Are you saying everyone is an idiot but you and they need you to tell them what is ‘right or wrong”. If you are able to resist the influence of corporate money why are you so sure others can not?

    How did you get to the point where you are able to resist the influence? Why can’t others also get to the point. Your approach is to silence the speech. My approach is believing people can learn to think for themselves with a little help. If all of you can do it (at least in your own minds) then let me tell you anybody can.

  154. MS I have never ever been here before or under any other idenity. but I don’t expect any of you to believe that and nor do I care. And even if I had what does that have to do with anything other then demonstrating you can’t come up with anything meaningful at the moment.

  155. AMS; well if it was my “agenda” to draw out anger, stupidity, and mindless name calling that has nothing to do with the subject at hand, I have to say it sure has been easy. Given how easy it was, just imagine if that was actually my agenda.

    I think you would have to add up all the name calling (you added a few here) and we would say who was most on subject and who was most ranting and name calling. And the winner is: NOT ME.

    There really is an irony that a group of people and a website supposedly about “civil liberties” is so clueless about what that actually means.

  156. gh. thats about your level of intelligence with that answer. zero.

    so by your thinking (i use the term hesitently) if a corporation says its a news media they can say what ever they want but if they make steel they can’t.

    Oh i get it, you will have the press police telling us whats a news organization and what isn’t.

    did you hurt your brain on that one.

  157. apparently you have lots of money. I don’t. I can’t buy ads on Television or newspapers or send out mailers. the only way I can get my message across is through joining with other people to do it…. but in your scheme, if I join with others and call it a corporation I can’t do it, but if I call it a trade association or a union, or an llc, or if I am rich and own all of the biz like the koch scum I can do it…. way to go gh

    boy that makes sense (for a dodo bird)

  158. Nice job MS, another nothing. there would have to be other information from anyone here to actually have information to let in. Like your comment now, it actually says absolutely nothing on the subject at hand. Nothing, nada, zero. It about summerizes 99% of what has been said by you and your mindless minions in this “discussion” (more accurately my attempt at discussion and you all attempts at insults)

    Oh, and you so wound me to the core that you don’t respect me. Oh my goodness, my world is so shattered (for one nano second).

    You know, if Mr. Turley is actually wasting his time reading this crap of yours he is either crying that there he has given birth to such lunacy or laughing his butt off. Despite some things I disagree with him on I really don’t think he as full of himself as you folks. At least I hope so.

    I forget which one of you actually thought I made some sense early on when I first started posting. But interestingly, as soon as I disagreed with the party line here (your way or no way) it didn’t go over so well.

    Ah shucs.

  159. angryman, we have had an infusion of trolls and bots for the past couple of years. Some of them, I am convinced, are machine generated. There are sophisticated programs written especially for spreading disinformation and propaganda. This is not exactly new technology, since it was first created to do “psychotherapy” back in the 1960s. That program was called ‘ELIZA.” One version was called, “DOCTOR.” More recently, a program was written by a company called “Don’t Ask Software,” which heaps abuse, depending on what the user inputs. Sound familiar?

    I am also sure there are paid trolls, most likely funded either by the Koch or Art Pope organizations, or if not them, their fellow travelers.

    One thing the writers of the early psychotherapy programs found was that they could disguise the limitations of the psychotherapy program by inserting innocuous and seemingly relevant phrases. If the subject client typed in something the program could not handle, the response might be something like, “You have not said much about your parents,” and wait for a response.

    I notice that the current troll does the same thing but in a different vein. Instead of something sympathetic, it resorts to insults and canned ad hominem attacks. I suspect Randy Simon would be proud.

  160. Gene, its past your bedtime… get some rest. Your brain is overheating.

    YOU SAID: “The only liar here is you insisting that limiting corporate behavior would have “UNINTENDED OTHER NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES FOR FREEDOM AND INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS”.”

    the operative phrase written by you is “you (meaning me) insisting that limiting corporate behavior would have….”

    Now what I actually said is (and I realize it was too much trouble for you to actually include the whole quote because cut and paste is more complex then you are used to handling):

    ““I did not say allowing unlimted corporate campaign spending would eliminate corruption. I said TRYING TO REGULATE IT WOULD NOT ELIMINATE CORRUPTION, MAY MAKE IT WORSE, AND PROBABLY HAVE UNINTENDED OTHER NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES FOR FREEDOM AND INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS.””

    Can you grasp the giant differences between the two? You do realize that taking quotes out of context is the same as a lie.

  161. There is one other thing about a computer generated troll. I does not get tired, will respond to almost every comment and can repeatedly generate long comments, even if they are at times nonsensical strings of talking points mixed in with “ABUSE” type insults.

  162. It would seem to me that an algorithm would be relatively easy to develop, based on the same anti-plagiarism software college professors use, to identify trollbots as spam and send them to spamworld.

    I guess we would be engaging in a kind of software arms race if we did that.

  163. MS: thank you for repeating my notion. I appreciate the free press. I’m guessing that when you deal with your customers and they tell you something you respond “crock of shit” and thats about all you have to say about anything. So much for that 2 week correspondent course in psych that you took.

    (I would rebut your argument but you didn’t actually make one)

  164. If challanging the idocy that permeats this blog makes me a troll, I will wear that with a badge of honor. I’ve read less garbage on the WSJ and thats about as deep as you can get.

  165. It is a reminder of just how much of a blowhard you are that you think anyone would waste their time on creating a program to deal with such narrow minded full of itself sillyness as exihbited by the regulars here.

  166. The response pattern looks as if it were written by Randy Simon himself. Repetitive, simple ad hominems with no substance.

  167. The only blowhard here is you, slick.

    “Now what I actually said is (and I realize it was too much trouble for you to actually include the whole quote because cut and paste is more complex then you are used to handling):”

    Actually, all of your “points” have been addressed, including the full quote here. Your game of “it wouldn’t eliminate corruption” failed too. The goal with corruption is minimizing it. Eliminating it is an absolutist’s game and a fool’s errand. It cannot be eliminated (meaning to “completely remove or get rid of something”). It can, however, be minimized (meaning “to reduce or keep to a minimum”).

    You have yet to illustrate a single way in which restricting corporate speech would have “UNINTENDED OTHER NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES FOR FREEDOM AND INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS”.

    You don’t have any game.

    Run along like a good little Corporatist minion and tell your masters that you’ve failed to win a single person over to your defense of the indefensible Citizens United. You can tell them that you left everyone with the through impression you’re a fascist and an intractable git though. I realize that’s kind of redundant, but then again, so are you.

  168. Gene, it spouts gibberish. Nothing at all of substance, just flailing away and when it cannot generate a logical response, shifts to “ABUSE” mode.

    Koch and Pope have enough money to buy better trolls.

  169. Gene,

    Yeah, I guess John Stuart Mill was right. Richard Nixon said pretty much the same thing. The Nixon White House was trying to recruit staff and people to appoint to key positions, but Nixon complained that all the smartest people tended to be liberals and he would not have liberals working in his administration. Even if he had been able to find one that might take a Nixon job offer.

  170. OS,

    Did you note the use of capitalization and then the absence of capitals … it’s somewhat noticeable in early postings on other threads when the subject was an Obama supporter (mainly lower case – which is interesting in and of itself) but really stands out as he devolves on this thread … rather like reading body language.

  171. Blouise, yes I had noticed that. That quirk can also be programmed easily enough to make a commenter look “human” when in fact it is a computer. There are several here who are more into programming than I, especially Dr. Slarti. But I do know enough to know how it’s done. The misspellings and use of capitals are almost too consistent. Real humans are not all that consistent.

    This particular troll does not pass the human smell test.

  172. No one can resist corporate influence. The corporations don’t need to influence me. It seems we are speaking of two seperate issues. I am speaking of Corporations funding politicians and political campains through donations and lobbyists. I am speaking of other groups endorsing or funding candidates. In other words I reject all private money and I reject the “right” of corporations or other groups to have a political opinion much less express it publically. I reject the “right” of unions to tell their members who to vote for or even to reccomend a choice. I totally reject all corporate or group involvement; financial or otherwise; in politics at any level.

    I believe it was you who said we need to stop doing the same things over and over; try something new. Well this is new. Stop treating Corporations like people and stop allowing these make believe people to influence our choice of leadership. That would be new. And stop saying the corporations have a right to do anything. Get the idea of them having rights out of your head. Look at what allowing them to assume rights not theirs has brought us to. What they should have is not rights but responsibilities. not just to their stockholders but to their employees and to the American land and people whom they could not exist without.

    “The constituion says what it says. It does not say the 1 st amendment applies to one group and not to another.”

    It seems you are creating an inclusion. The Constitution grants nothing to any group. It recognizes the rights of citizens not groups. As I say it was written to guarantee rights and freedoms to the people. I don’t get why you disagree with that. It really makes me pause to try to fathom your reasoning.

    You seem to be more along the lines of advertizing which is really a different matter I could spend multiple thousand of words on. But I won’t. Suffice to say that you won’t like my opinion about them any better than my other ones. I have serious issues with what is allowed and still be called honest advertizing. An Oxymoron if ever one was uttered. I would also add that the Industry is closely tied to the political system as well.

    What a shock. Liers allied with liars who are legally paid to lie about everything from Presidential Candidtes to Toothepaste with impunity.
    This gets alot deeper and to be honest; i havn’t followed it to a conclusion that I feel comfortable making a stand on yet. But like I don’t have to to know there is something fundamentally wrong there.

  173. So I get it Gene, your idea of refuting an argument (according to your link) is to say, “And I refuted that bullshit too. ” You know that seems to be a pretty common argument around here OS uses it to. Doesn’t actually say anything but I guess it makes you folks feel less stupid when you say it.

    Now I have given you countless examples but lets try this way: If you recall CU applied not only to corporations but also other entities such as unions. (BTW: CU was a non profit corporation) Now suppose they declared it your way – in other words corporate money was controlled but then so would have been unions and for that matter just about any entity. If I, the poor person can’t afford to communicate my message on my own, which rich dicks like Romney can, and I can’t join with others promote my speech, how will I offset Romney’s lies?

    On the other hand if we take your furth lunacy that there is an exemption for corporations that you have created in the constitution but doesn’t actually exist, how do I know that someday I join an organization to promote my views but, you Masta GH create an exception for that group because you don’t like my speech (given your hostility to me and my ideas that doesn’t seem so far fetched to me).

    Now we also have under your scheme that a news company that was a corporation would also be bard from any political content because it was a corporation. In that regard, I as a poor citizen would loss that as a way to communicate my politicial speech as well. And in your world opinions would be bard so we would need thought police censures to decide what is political speech or not. Suppose a corporation made a movie on a political subject. That movie could not be shown and little old me would be denied the opportonity to hear what they had to say on that subject thanks to you.

    In other words, I could only heart what you say and from who you say i can hear it from. You will decide what i’m allowed to hear and who I am allowed to hear it from. And you call me the F word. What a joke you are.

    Now, although the First Amendment provides that “Congress shallmake no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech,” §441b’s prohibitionon corporate independent expenditures is an outright ban on speech, backed by criminal sanctions. It is a ban notwithstanding the factthat a PAC created by a corporation can still speak, for a PAC is aseparate association from the corporation. Because speech is an es-sential mechanism of democracy—it is the means to hold officials ac-countable to the people—political speech must prevail against lawsthat would suppress it by design or inadvertence. Laws burdening such speech are subject to strict scrutiny, which requires the Gov-ernment to prove that the restriction “furthers a compelling interest and is narrowly tailored to achieve that interest.” WRTL, 551 U. S., at 464. This language provides a sufficient framework for protecting the interests in this case. Premised on mistrust of governmentalpower, the First Amendment stands against attempts to disfavor cer-tain subjects or viewpoints or to distinguish among different speak-ers, which may be a means to control content. The Government may also commit a constitutional wrong when by law it identifies certain preferred speakers. There is no basis for the proposition that, in the political speech context, the Government may impose restrictions oncertain disfavored speakers. Both history and logic lead to this con-clusion The Court has recognized that the First Amendment appliesto corporations, e.g., First Nat. Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, 435 U. S. 765, 778, n. 14, and extended this protection to the context of politicalspeech, see, e.g., NAACP v. Button, 371 U. S. 415, 428–429. Address-

  174. So ams, in your world nobody can actually say anything. that might be so bad afterall. Just think how much time i would have not wasted here.

    “The constituion says what it says. It does not say the 1 st amendment applies to one group and not to another.” It seems you are creating an inclusion.”

    Thats the point, it does not creat an exclusion for any group. in Gene and OS view it has an exclusion for only the groups they choose (namely “corporations”) but not other groups even if they are similar in nature.

  175. the last few comments from the peanuts gallery is so idiotic as to redefine idiocy.

    the fact is you are so inept and stupid as to be able to know whether I am a troll, or a computer program, or something else. You speculate but obviousely can’t tell. How dumb is that.

    OS, am I mistaken that you have an interest in aviation? or is that some other OS?

  176. I thought with all this conversation about CU it might be a good idea if you actually read some of it… clearly none of you actually have, or the dissent.

    Ahhh ignornace and stupidity must be such bliss for all of you.

  177. isbick or whatever you want to call yourself, you are apparently mistaking me for someone else. Someone who might give a rat’s ass what you think. I don’t really care. To me, you are a plaything, no more than a ball of yarn for a cat. That’s all. When I get bored and tired of playing, I will go somewhere else.

  178. Yep, raff. You can’t hide from teh Google Machine.

    It is late here in the Otteray with fog and rain. Think I will make some hot chocolate, watch the Weather Channel for a minute and turn in. You guys can take the helm on the troll patrol, or just let if flail around in the middle of the night all by its lonesome.

  179. Blah blah blah.

    Still a no sale.

    Actually, my idea of refuting an argument is to do so once and not repeat myself simply because you’re too stupid to understand it.

    Like the press exception. You say, “Now we also have under your scheme that a news company that was a corporation would also be bard from any political content because it was a corporation” – a blatant mischaracterization and contrary to what I said and what the 1st Amendment says. The press has freedom of speech because it is specifically called for in the Constitution. The form in which the press exists – be it corporations or independent journalists – is irrelevant as it is their activity as the press that confers that right. That’s been explained to you 3 times now, yet you continue to misrepresent what I’ve said, endeavoring to create straw men.

    You keep begging the question that corporations are people.

    They. Are. Not. People.

    The issue is corruption in politics. It comes from money – hard money, soft money – it makes no difference. In striking down parts of FECA in Buckley v. Valeo, the SCOTUS took the first misstep of denying that truth of that matter. Citizens United put the government up for sale to the highest soft money bidders. I know what strict scrutiny is and far better than you do, Mr. teh Google Lawyer. The compelling interest is to minimize corruption in the electoral and, consequently, legislative systems. The way to do that is the narrowly tailored solution of setting low maximum campaign contributions for both hard and soft money and to deny corporations the ability to participate in politics period. They aren’t people no matter how many times you beg that question.

    The rest of what you say is repetitive and out of context nonsense.

    So much like my good friend Otteray Scribe, I’m going to have a cup of hot chocolate (it’s rainy and cold here too, OS), and I’m going to let you rant and rave to your lil’ Fascist heart’s content.

  180. Hot chocolate … excellent idea … I’m joining in although it is not particularly cold or raining here which is particularly strange communities on Lake Erie in January.

  181. angrymanspeaks, January 9, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    “I guess my only question is:

    Is this troll a Professional Asshole; paid to disrupt this site or is he a Volunteer Asshole with his own twisted Agenda?

    I have to admit that I have repeatedly allowed him to draw me in. It’s hard to resist kicking a little bitch like him. I say bitch because he is willing to say anything to incite anger.

    Of course it is difficult to say if it’s him or us as it seems all of us Rant incessantly and are Dellusional as well so our judgement may be flawed.”

    Ain’t that the truth….on all accounts…

  182. Interesting indeed, shano. Thanks for the link. Hopefully from here we go back to the reality that a corporations is a fictitious tool and should have none of the non-economic rights that natural humans possess either by operation of nature or operation of law. Anything beyond the very limited personality required to contract, own property and avail to the courts found in the original and barest form of the concept of corporations is not only patently ridiculous but patently dangerous to democracy, equity and justice as well. A great ruling from the 9th.

  183. Shano and Gene,
    That was a very unusual case, but very interesting. As the article suggests, maybe this can be the beginning of the dismantling of the Citizens United debacle.

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