January 22, 2010
Can it get worse?
You betcha! The staid NY Times editorialized, "The Court's Blow to Democracy," and it captured my feelings. With a single, disastrous ruling, the Supreme Court has thrust politics back to the robber-baron era of the 19th Century. Disingenuously waiving the flag of the First Amendment, the court's conservative majority has paved the way for corporations to use their vast treasuries to overwhelm elections and (read carefully) intimidate elected officials into doing their bidding. This was a sneak attack, led by Roberts and Alito--names that will go down in history as the wrecking crew of democracy. They misled or lied in confirmation hearings--they said they would respect precedent. Bull roar!
I'll be back--hopefully with a partial game plan. This fight must involve all of us who believe in social and economic justice, fair play, honest elections. Sleep well Alito and Roberts--you served your ideological brethren well. You will be a hit at the next tea party.
More later. You appreciate the enormous wrecking ball that blasted through our world yesterday. This is, quite frankly, the worst day in American history. Pearl Harbor was awful but we were a democracy willing to lay our lives on the line to preserve that democracy. Not so after this catastrophe. The court has destroyed democracy in our land. This group of five have handed the once proud system to AIG, Goldman Sachs, U.S. Bank, and the other robber barons. Election 2010 may be the last real election.
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Corporations are not people. We all know this, but people do use corporations to shield themselves and their assets and now, according to the supreme court, their opinions and politics.
If it's freedom of speech they want, then perhaps it is time for corporations and groups to list all their members when contributing or posting ads. If real people had their names made public, I would wager that perhaps more care would be taken in contributions, opinions and ads. If the negative campaign ads in particular were obliged to replace the names of vague groups with a list of those in the group, I bet those ads would be toned down a bit and might even lean toward the truth.
Anyone who does not want their name to be known is a coward and not much more.
Why is it OK for conservatives to legislate from the bench and not anyone else?
-Franz Fripplfrappl | Stoughton, WI | January 22, 2010
Fight Back. The Supreme Court subservience to the radical right can be thwarted by passing Full Disclosure laws. That is, require the listing to the last penny who authorized the expenditure of the money for the ad within the ad itself. Not a made-up campaign entity which bundled the money, but the men and women in the corporation(s) who made the decisions to fund the ad. Any candidate who benefits from the money will in effect declare themselves the corporation's whore. Not something too likely to win a populist race.
-Orie Coller | Baraboo, WI | January 22, 2010
Today I have an urgent request. Please consider making yesterday's disastrous Supreme Court ruling for corporate power the main topic of this fall's Fighting Bob Fest. This a such an precedent breaking and so against the Constitutional intent of the founders that all Americans must become aware of its dangers to our democracy. I think it is interesting that the original tea baggers in 1775 (I think) were dumping tea that belonged to the monopolistic corporations that had exclusive license from King George.
Congress needs to immediately propose a law that mimics Wisconsin's law that requires unions to separate out political funds, notify members of the per member amount and provide a form to members whereby they can request a return of their portion of the political funds. That would not be a suppression of corporate power but simply a law to make corporate political speech the same for all types of corporations, including unions.
What we really need; however, is a Constitutional Amendment that reflects the founders' intentions such as: All rights, privileges, and responsibilities herein are reserved for human beings, and or citizens of these United States, and the governments of the United States and its constituent states. All other entities may be given temporary rights by the governments of the United States and its constituent states.
-Bill Dagnon | Baraboo, WI | January 22, 2010
You are absolutely right to feel outraged Ed.
We all should feel that way after the Supreme Court bent over for corporate America. Corporations are not and never have been individuals! It's a no-brainer.
The First Amendment is not a protection for them. It wasn't written for anyone but individual American citizens. We all know that. Er, at least I thought that everyone had a simple understanding of something so obvious. Apparently not.
Robber barons? Same thing different time. Only maybe the names have changed.
-J.P. the populist | Bruce,WI | January 22, 2010
Let me suggest that in future elections people write in "None of the Above" for any and all offices on the ballot.
Or, check out who raised the least, or who was subjected to the most attack ads and vote for them. In other words, shove it right back down their corrupt throats. It looks like we really can't get any worse when people like Palin are actually being talked about as serious contenders for office so honestly, what the hell do we have to lose?
Until then stay home and keep your money in your wallet just like the colonists did after the original Tea Parties. You probably have all you need to get by for a good long while. Get a spine and effin fight back for change. After all, if a bunch of ticked off housewives banging on pots and pans and boycotting the market could do the most to overthrow a dictator in Chile the comfortably concerned in this over fed and bovine nation should be able to do something huh?
Oh, and call Russ Feingold and tell him to take a hike. Tell him Chief Justice Roberts sent you. He'll know what you mean, he remembers how he voted.
-Griebnotz Doerkpfester | Egg Harbor, WI | January 22, 2010
Juan Cole [http://www.juancole.com/] makes several good points today on this subject. The best point, in my opinion, is that the precedent was probably doing little to prevent corporations from acting politically anyway.
Granted, they have to do a little to camo their moves, but it's not that difficult. They would probably want to camo their moves anyway. An ad by Goldman-Sachs would be more credible if it is attributed so a cover organization like the God Loves America Committee. In any case, I doubt that any measures can really stop Money and Power from using their money and power to influence politics in their favor. The Golden Rule.
-Jay | Menasha | January 22, 2010
Eddie, I'll bet the veins on the sides of your forehead were throbbing after reading NYT.
Your ideas of "fairness and justice" are that of a Madistan lefty--not a true Wisconsinite. Why you even believe--truly believe--in the Global Warming Hoax.
If people like me are teabaggers, then people like you are hoaxers.
Roberts, Alito, and I prefer Lipton orange pekoe tea, if you please.
Progressive is the word now being used to cover the damage done to the Democratic party--Geo Will
-Mark Sevelis | germantown, wisconsin | January 22, 2010
The blame exists with us for not demanding our government resolve this issue of corporations years ago.
For over 100 years the people have fought the injustices of the corporations with little help from their elected officials. Even today the lives of coal miners are dictated by the coal companies and the farm workers lives by the corporations called farms.
I only hope that there still is a chance that our elected officials might resolve the issue but based on the results of the healthcare debacle that hope is weak.
-Richard Kanak | Cherry Valley, Illinois | January 22, 2010