January 24, 2010
As kids we played softball in the street almost every day. The rules were clearly understood. Most of us were out after three strikes; it was four balls for a walk; "99 fouls" and you were out! But one kid brought the bats, balls and gloves. He got more than three strikes. He remained at bat until he got a hit. He walked on three balls, and when he went home the game ended.
If there was a close call at home involving the bat owner the game ended early unless we accepted his version of the situation. He was the classic bully, and eventually we brought our own equipment and everyone obeyed the three-strike-four-ball rules.
Would that we could look at the Supreme Court's FEC decision with the simplicity of kids playing pick-up baseball. Bring our equipment--better candidates, grassroots campaigns, better ideas. But we can't win even if we do, because in the game of politics the big kids own the TV and radio studios; they have unlimited resources; they have the big law firms parading behind the flag of the First Amendment when the black flag of piracy would be more appropriate; and, well, let's face it, we now enter into the cesspool of corporate control. Ultimately, the big corporations will completely dominate our Legislature, Congress, the lower courts, the White House. They will re-district, decide who pays taxes and who doesn't. It is only a question of when not whether.
The Washington Post interviewed the $800-per-hour law firms--Foley & Lardner, Covington & Burling, Skadden Arps--who, surprise, surprise, urge us to be calm. One argued that these are tough economic times so big corporations won't jump in immediately. Some consolation! The bully will, for now, settle for a three-ball walk and only five strikes! Gosh! Are we lucky or what?
This decision, that corporations have the same First Amendment rights as a living, breathing, citizen, is contrived, loopy and wrong. But it will alter our politics completely. It has not been a fair fight for decades in our money-dominated-corrupt political system, but we could win. Grassroots mattered, the quality of the candidate was considered. Not any more.
Don't feel relaxed when the Washington crowd tells you the change is minor--it ain't. It is a game changer. It is rule-by-bully!
Well, we have no choice but to fight. See you at Fighting Bob Fest on September 11 in Baraboo.
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I had a dream the other night that I was swinging on a trapeze. Momentum was building and just as I let go of the trapeze of the past and reached for the trapeze of the future, I looked down and saw the safety net of the constitution unraveling.
Just then the alarm went off. I woke up and sure enough, someone's been tinkering with our constitution again.
If justices of the Supreme Court cannot protect and uphold the Constitution, I fear it will no longer be this democracy's safety net.
-Franz Fripplfrappl | Stoughton, WI | January 24, 2010
There is a simple solution. Outlaw political advertising on television and radio and permit it only in print. This could even resuscitate the newspapers.
-Blurondo | Wauwatosa, WI | January 24, 2010
One of the corrective avenues being considered is a Constitutional Amendment banning corporate campaign contributions. Great idea!
But why stop there?
Wouldn't this be an opportune time to bring back a Glass-Stegall Act?
And while we are at it.... since some of Wall Street's banks were deemed "too big to fail" that obviously needs to be addressed.
Break those behemoths up into more easily regulated entities.
Maybe I'm a dreamer.
But if so, why not dream big?
The icing on the reform cake for me would be a return to corporate charters.
We could go from the United Corporatocry of America to the good ol' U.S.of A where our public servants in Washington serve "We the People" rather than selling out to highest bidder.
-J.P. the Populist | Bruce,WI | January 24, 2010