Tag Archives: Politics

Decision 2000…The Decision That Keeps On Giving

Supreme Court

A divided Supreme Court on Thursday swept aside decades of legislative restrictions on the role of corporations in political campaigns, ruling that companies can dip into their treasuries to spend as much as they want to support or oppose individual candidates. (via Supreme Court rejects limits on corporate spending on political campaigns – washingtonpost.com)

And so it goes…The Bush Supreme Court continues it’s record of decisions against people and for the “corporate citizen”. Isn’t it amazing how a the third rail of our government has perverted itself? Instead of protecting the rights of it’s citizens, it keeps abrogating those rights and expanding the rights of a comercial citizen that doesn’t (not in reality anyway) exist.

Walking down this road is going to mean the death of any hopes of keeping politicians honest. With the ability to spend unlimited corporate money to “speak” to and about candidates, the common man has just had his voice squelched. It’s kind of like standing at a burning house and trying to pee the fire out…When the fire company shows up with their unlimited water supply who do you think the flames will be listening to? The analogy breaks down though, because with the fire the result you are both trying to accomplish is to put out the fire…Corporations have only one reason for being and that is to make a profit. Seldom is their ability to maximize profit aligned with the common good of the people.

I guess the next move we need to watch out for is the vote…Is each corporate citizen going to be given just one vote? Or, as it seems more likely now, will we give them a vote for every “real” body they have on the payroll? Or better yet, can they have every vote they can buy? Since we all know the free market rules, I think I’ll just go ahead and beat the crowd and open a voter’s exchange…Wait, better idea, let’s move the exchange to Washington. We’ll let the people have a market to peddle influence just like their “elected” representatives. Do you think congress will allow us to intrude on their monopoly?

Maybe what we need to do is set up a third house of legislation. One just for these imaginary citizens that lawyers are so insistent must have their rights protected. Let them elect their own representative and keep their money grubbing hands off of ours. We can call it “The House of Chairmen”. It can be kind of like the British House of Lords…except, like all good corporate executives they can sit and meetings all day and blame the failures on the other two houses.

The one thing I have yet to figure out though is…How do we keep these corporate contributions from becoming a way for foreign nationals to influence our elections? I mean, think about it, don’t most large corporations claim legal citizenship in other countries just to avoid taxation? If you are not going to pay your fair share of taxes in America, why do you think you should have a say at all in our elections? Damn, maybe those crazy conservatives are on to something after all…Hell they all claim to be fiscal conservatives. Maybe they are trying to force all of these corporations to become real citizens and “pay to play”…Naw…I doubt it even crossed their minds.

I would say this would really have the “states rights” conservatives up in arms…Can’t you just hear Rick Perry talking about secession over this overturning of Texas constitutional rights. Hell in Texas we don’t allow any “corporate money” in campaigns. But, since it always seems to trip them up when the auditors go looking, I am sure he wont be screaming about this usurpation  of a states right to decide what is best for it’s own citizens…

It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans.

~ President Barak Obama

I guess it really is a difference of perspective…Doesn’t it seem strange that it is only the conservatives who equate free speech with money?

The ruling will protect the Constitution’s First Amendment rights of free speech and association.

~ Sen. John Cornyn (Tex.), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

It seems the right of “free association” just got a higher price tag…

Are We About To Witness Judicial Activism From The Right?

THERE ARE MANY complicated aspects of the campaign-finance case the Supreme Court is poised to hear Wednesday, but the issue boils down to this: Will the justices let corporations spend unlimited amounts to elect or defeat candidates for federal office? This course of action would be unwise and unnecessary to resolve the dispute at hand.

via Court Should Take Conservative Route on Campaign Finance Case – washingtonpost.com.

One of my biggest complaints is how the conceptual rights of corporations have expanded in the past few decades to allow these “fictional” citizens to in effect become freer of constraints than actual flesh and blood citizens.

I have never bought into the legal fiction of free speech rights for corporations. To me that is just a legal fiction to allow the “heads” of these corporations to bypass the legal restrictions placed on actual “people” when it comes to limitations on “political speech”.

And now it looks as though the Robert’s Court wishes to review the limitations that have been placed on this fictional person’s rights by preceding courts for the past century. If it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck…It sounds like judicial activism to me…Pretty ironic isn’t it?

Health Care and Senator Cornyn

One of the interesting things about the way politicians work is that once you have sent them an email, even one that was protesting a stand of theirs, they feel the need to add you to their email newsletter list. For this reason, I am always intrigued by the way these newsletters are used to try to position themselves in front of the voters.

Today’s emails brought the latest missive from Senator John Cornyn. In this newsletter he was trumpeting his letter to President Obama about the White Houses request that their supporters send in copies of emails that they receive full of disinformation and…hell, let’s be truthful, lies. Here is a quote from the Senator…

I write to express my concern about a new White House program to monitor American citizens’ speech opposing your health care policies, and to seek your assurances that this program is being carried out in a manner consistent with the First Amendment and America’s tradition of free speech and public discourse.

Yesterday, in an official White House release entitled “Facts are Stubborn Things,” the White House Director of New Media, Macon Phillips, asserted that there was “a lot of disinformation out there,” and encouraged citizens to report “fishy” speech opposing your health care policies to the White House. Phillips specifically targeted private, unpublished, even casual speech, writing that “rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation.” Phillips wrote “If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.gov.”

Now the first couple of times I saw this, I ignored it and just hit delete. The third time I received a reference I was finally moved to reply. Here is the reply I posted at the Senator’s website:

In regards to your latest email newsletter and the letter you sent to President Obama:

Dear Sir:

I find your outrage confusing to say the least. As an outspoken proponent of a much more troubling form of “data mining” by the past administration, get down off of your soapbox.

I received the email request and viewed the video you are up in arms over after I received at least a dozen of the emails full of lies and disinformation. Most were from friends and family who never question the version of the “news” they get from Fox. A minutes worth of research before forwarding these emails would bring up the fact that there in little or no truth in most of them.

Your fanning the flames of fear about the motives of your political opponents is troubling to me. The very fact that you attribute these types of behaviors to your political opponents but not to the members of your own party who seem to be orchestrating the disinformation campaigns is another reason I have found myself on the other end of the political spectrum from you and your party these recent years…

Thank you for your time…You can refrain from replying with the standard email thanking me for my interest and appreciating my views…For I know you do not.

Now, since Senator Cornyn seems to think advertising his letter to the President is a good thing…I’m just gonna post my reply…Free speech and all that sort of thing…And if some large corporate sponsor would like to write off some of the profits they feel obliged to give to politicians…Post a comment and I’ll be happy to relieve you of some of that money…

Happy Tax Day…Have some ice tea on me.

Here’s my contribution to today’s tax day festivities: an effort to get you to think about federal taxes a little bit differently than usual. Normally, when we talk about taxes, we end up talking about percentages of people: the top 1% pay a certain amount, the bottom third pay a different amount, etc. But this is the wrong way to look at things. What we ought to be looking at is percentages of income.

via How to Think About Taxes | Mother Jones.

One of the best analysis of income taxes I have ever seen…Puts a new spin on the talking points you are always hearing. This chart says it all but go read the whole thing, Kevin has done some great work here:

Here is what he considers optimal…

And here is the actual…

What’s with Texas Republicans?

Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Tex.) suggested last week that the party is learning from the disruptive tactics of the Taliban, and the GOP these days does have the bravado of an insurgent band that has pulled together after a big defeat to carry off a quick, if not particularly damaging, raid on the powers that be.

via Republicans See Long-Term Victory in Defeat on Stimulus Plan – washingtonpost.com.

Now, I thought I had pretty much heard everything growing up here in Texas…But to have a Republican happily quoted that he is taking lessons from the Taliban…That takes a Texas Republican.

Then we get my favorite Snetor…

“The president has done a good job reaching out to Republicans, and he has said he wants to approach this crisis . . . on a bipartisan basis. That’s good, and we’re willing to work with him on that. But this bill is not the president’s bipartisan plan,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) said yesterday on “Fox News Sunday.”

Maybe someone should explain to me what exactly bipartisan is supposed to mean. ‘Cause it seems to me the Republicans seem to think it means more of the same or nothing…How has that worked for you folks in the last few years?

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