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Big Money In The 2012 Campaign

The six billion dollar campaign season. We’ll follow the huge money behind the wallet-busting race for 2012.

In this June 8, 2012, photo, supporters of Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney reaches out to shake his hand during a campaign stop in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Republican groups are heavily outspending their cross-party counterparts on television advertising in the early stages of the fall campaigns for the White House and control of the Senate, tempering President Barack Obama's financial advantage over Romney and sparking blunt expressions of concern from leading congressional Democrats. (AP)

In this June 8, 2012, photo, supporters of Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney reaches out to shake his hand during a campaign stop in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Republican groups are heavily outspending their cross-party counterparts on television advertising in the early stages of the fall campaigns for the White House and control of the Senate, tempering President Barack Obama’s financial advantage over Romney and sparking blunt expressions of concern from leading congressional Democrats. (AP)

When it comes to money – huge money – the 2012 political campaign season is shaping up as a season like no other.  Six billion dollars, by some estimates, headed into swaying your vote and the politicians you elect.

In Utah last weekend, Republican big-money poobahs swanning around the mountains with Mitt Romney.  In Boston last night, Democratic high-rollers getting expensive face time with President/candidate Obama.

Superpacs shoveling cash.  The Supreme Court saying;  yes, fine, go for it.  And you too, Montana.

This hour, On Point:  the giant money in 2012, and what it’s buying.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Dave Levinthal, reports on political influence issues for Politico.

Senator Jon Tester, D-Montana.

Fred Wertheimer, founder and president of Democracy 21, a nonprofit group that fights for tighter campaign finance regulation.

Brad Smith, chairman and co-founder of the Center for Competitive Politics. He is a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission.

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times “That explanation does not account for another development that probably has been just as influential as the court’s Citizens United decision in creating the flood of money into the election: the demise of the public financing system for elections, hastened by Mr. Obama’s decision four years ago to abandon it.”

CBS News “Mitt Romney’s upcoming gathering of Republican heavyweights in Utah serves as a “unity moment” for the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, CBS News political director John Dickerson said.”

Mother Jones “Almost 40 years later, that outrage is back. Mass movements like the  tea party and Occupy have channeled popular anger at a political system  widely seen as backward and corrupt. In the age of the super-PAC,  Americans commonly say there’s too much money in politics, that lobbyists have too much power, and that the system is stacked against the average citizen.”

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  • Roy Mac

    This guy is the best the GOP has to offer?

    • Brothersower88

       That is what I said during the primaries about all the candidates.  :(

  • Michiganjf

    C’mon Republicans!

    Your newly tolerated hero is in Park City serving up a whole mess o’ $250,000 meals to some self-interested dirtbags who wouldn’t let you lick the soles of their boots, but they’ll sure dish out some lettuce to buy your votes!

    Why aren’t you all there, rubbing elbows?

    Lose your appetites?

    • Michiganjf

      Park City, guys!

      You’ll get “the opportunity to play golf on Sunday at a private course in the area — all designed to foster camaraderie amongst those most involved in financing Romney’s campaign, and to get them excited about November.”

      WooHoo!

      Exciting!

      Romney’s the best!

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Too bad, that all that MONEY couldn’t buy better TALENT, on both sides?
       The TEA Party makes sure that Mitt has NOTHING to brag about!  They’re AGAINST every one of his accomplishments!  But, they’ll swallow their bile enough to push whoever Cheney TELLS them to?

    • at

       It’s more than too bad, it is a crime that wall street gets to choose who it is we get to choose from.  They think they are the winners and everyone else the losers, and they are proving it 24/7.

    • margbi

      I wonder sometimes if Romney should become President will  he be so beholden to the Tea Party activists that he won’t be able to accomplish any more than the current President? The Tea Party group doesn’t like him any more than they like Obama. 

  • http://twitter.com/TweeterSmart b smart

    i believe the Wu-Tang Clan summed up american politics in there song C.R.E.A.M. or Cash Rules Everything Around Me

    Cash, Rules, Everything, Around, Me C.R.E.A.M. Get the money Dollar, dollar bill y’all

  • at

    Please don’t forget what this whole thing is about.  Both candidates are the figureheads for wall street, but a vote for Romney is a vote that says “Please sir may I have another.  I agree with the deregulation that has destroyed the economy and made a very few people very rich, I do not want the most wealthy to pay higher taxes ever and I want you to destroy the rest of it as soon as possible.”

    Here is some truth: How big banks victimize our economy.

    http://billmoyers.com/episode/full-show-how-big-banks-victimize-our-democracy/

    Please take the time and have the patients to explain to your older Republican friends how the Republican party is destroying the country.  It ain’t your daddy’s republican party.  I have already personally gotten commitments for eight of my Republican friend to vote for Obama and five others to vote against Romney.  The Republic is really on the line, and is under continuous attack by the court and the big boys.  Time to put them in their place.
     

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      at: that’s an incredible Moyers piece. Everyone should take the time to watch/listen. I read Matt’s RS piece but it’s more effective to watch this. Thanks for the link.

    • Steve

      Trouble is:
      It also ain’t your daddy’s Democrat party.
      Sigh

  • Victor Vito

    We can’t act surprised. We have chosen to propel our civilization with the engine of greed.  Everything we do is a function of how much wealth you control.  Elections, education, medicine, retirement, your home…  When money makes the world go ’round, elections and candidates like Mitt Romney are the logical and predicatable result.

  • JustSayin

    The SJC confirms it’s support of fascism. Is anyone surprised by this?  This nation’s founded principle of government by the people and for the people is now almost viewed as a kind of quaint anachronism. Everything is bought and sold in politics without regard to its national consequence. It why the bond between capitol hill and Wall St. is so strong… They have the same beliefs and goals.

  • Steve

    When the money is totaled, please include the “off budget” expenditures of moving the President around the country.  Yesterday, in Dover NH, the police chief said it would cost $20,000 in police overtime.
    The Ds did not want to pay for that, so a “private” donor funded the cost of the police (who was the donor?).  And the President was in Boston as well with much police overtime. . . .

    Then there is the cost (to US taxpayers) of flying Air Force 1 about the country.  And the security details from the Secret Service.

    I guess the question becomes:  what is the cost of the President’s campaign that is offloaded on the public?

    • Victor Vito

      Since this applies to whomever inhabits the White House, I’m not sure what your point is.

      • Steve

         Let me try this: 
        Why doesn’t the D campaign OR the R, when the Rs are in office, pick up these costs. 
        Why should the people of Dover, for instance, be asked to pick up the costs.  It is a campaign expense . . . and should be paid by the campaign.

        And as for the bubble effect:  a President is always in a bubble . . .  unless he is meeting with the cash-rich

        • Victor Vito

          I think protection and travel of the American president should be paid for by the taxpayers, in all circumstances.  I think it would be hopelessly complicated to decide what activities are campaign related or not.  The way to make it fair is to have it apply to ALL presidents.

        • kelty

          Romney has been campaigning all over the state and he was not asked to cover any local costs. It either is the policy for all or not. To only request the President to pay and not other campaigners has the appearance on bias.

    • John in Amherst

      So once elected, a president should be sequestered in the oval office while his political opponents roam the land free to spend as much as they can raise to undercut and defeat him? 

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Compared to ALL the vacations by ‘W’, and his dad, George H.W. Bush?  They had the same protection then?

    • TFRX

      Unless you were so concerned previously, I don’t know that we should care.

      George W. Bush raised campaign $ hawking photos of him looking out the window of Air Force One, pensively, while New Orleans drowned.

  • William

    This seems to be much to do about nothing. P&G spends nearly 4 billion dollars on advertising so spending 6 billion to run for President does not see out of line.

    • Michiganjf

      Yeah, no problem there.

      Say, who does P&G owe all those political favors to for donating all that advertising money, anyway?

    • Michiganjf

      How do Republicans always manage to draw the most asinine equivalence, simply because it suits their backward perspective?

      • TFRX

        William is pulling something out of George Will’s bag of hack tricks.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      HOW MUCH has the Catholic church spent PROTECTING Child-Molesters, and Child-Abusers, versus how much they have spent helping VICTIMS?

  • John in Amherst

    With the SCOTUS reiterating that, at least in the minds of the conservative justices, corporations are people and free speech is the same as money, elections, which are “the voice of the people” are now fundamentally exercises in propaganda in which human beings are props to be manipulated to validate the whims of wealthiest among us.  The U.S. has gone from a beacon of democracy for the world to an oligarchy based on advertising and spin.  Our proud nation has become a joke, and the punch line only makes the plutocrats smile.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    There has been a monetary coup. This is not the first time that the principles of democracy have been subverted by internal enemies, but have we seen such cleptocracy in broad daylight?  With SCOTUS’s ruling against Montana, the corruption of the high court is clear: the sky is pink. Money rules today and the ultra-right don’t care that they are turning America into a third world country.

    Perhaps we need an idea to spark a revolution in thought… wait… science and education and thinking are bad…

    All the radical right’s myths and nonsensical ideas can only be killed with the truth. Unfortunately it may take a lot of very painful truth for their pawns to wake up and turn on them and at that point, the challenge of rebuilding America will be even greater.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      They’re going to starve a LOT of those pawns to death, before they wake up!

  • Guest

    The Congress spends hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars every year to buy votes and ensure their own reelection.  Unions have historically been among the biggest election cycle spenders, dispensing hundreds of millions of member dollars to ensure the election of candidates who will act on behalf of the unions.  Hooray for the Citizens United decision that gives an equal right of free speech to private concerns.  Just as the members of unions are people, the members of corporations (its owners, shareholders, and employees) are people too.

    • Victor Vito

      Are you seriously worried about unions?  What percentage of the workforce is unionized these days?  Being afraid of union influence is similar to being afraid of a guy in the ICU on life support.

      • Guest

        The amount of money that unions spend on elections is the context, not the percentage of the workforce that is unionized.

        • TFRX

          That didn’t mean much when Cokie Roberts equivocated union money and corporate money (in PACs) during the 90s, even though corporations outspent unions 6 to 1.

          It still doesn’t mean much now.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Those ‘members’ of corporations ALREADY HAD a vote each, just like union members!  NOW, SUPER-PACS give FOREIGN corporations, and CRIMINAL enterprises SUPER-VOTER status!

      • Guest

        The issue is not votes, it is free speech.

  • John in Amherst

    Karl Rove spoke years ago about his dream of building a permanent GOP majority.  After installing one GOP president, and then having the upstart Obama intervene, the SCOTUS has now firmly ensconced the idea that elections belong to the highest bidder.  The SCOTUS, stacked with activist conservative justices, has issued a
    series of rulings that will go far in making Rove’s dream come true.  We are entering the era of one party politics.

    • notafeminista

      They got the idea from FDR.

  • Gregg

    I say no limits and full disclosure. I’d ask my liberal friends (and NJ), how much money would be needed to fund enough propaganda to change your mind about issues of the day? If you are pro-choice, pro taxing the rich, pro single payer health care and support open borders then is a well funded campaign all it takes to turn you around? Or are you looking out for all the dupes of lessor knowledge than you? Money is not the problem.

    • Victor Vito

      Two equally qualified and comely candidates run for office.  One candidate outspends the other 10-1.  Which candidate will win?  Are you really trying to suggest money doesn’t matter?  What if the best candidate for an office isn’t the best at raising money?

      • Gregg

        I don’t know about 10-1 but the one example that pops in my mind is that Richard Lugar out spent Richard Mourdock 5-1 and lost. It happens all the time.

        • Victor Vito

          All the time?  I’d be willing to bet that the candidate that spends the most wins the majority of the time. 

        • Victor Vito

          You didn’t answer my hypothetical.  By the way, in the Wisconsin recall election Walker outspent Barrett 7-1 so I don’t think a 10-1 hypothetical is outrageous.  In any case, do you really want money to be the difference?

          • Gregg

            Money is simply a reflection of message. Lousy messages don’t garner much contribution. Walker turned a 3.6 billion dollar deficit into a surplus. No layoffs, no tax hikes. The unemployment rate in Wisconsin is way low. The only place not doing well in Wisconsin is Milwaukee where Barret is mayor. If Milwaukee’s economy kicked ass so would Barrett’s coffers.

        • Guest

          Meg Whitman’s campaign outspent Jerry Brown by $6 to $1 in the California governor’s race; Jerry Brown won.  Linda McMahon’s campaign outspent Richard Blumenthal  by $7 to $1 in the Connecticut senate race; Richard Blumenthal won.

          • Gregg

             Exactly.

          • MrNutso

            It would be worth looking at whether the issue is personal money spent such as Whitman and McMahon (I think) vs. corporate super pac spending.  My guess is that those spending their own fortunes are doing so, because they are not getting “establishment support”, and the races are probably closer with the self funded candidate being the underdog.

      • feettothefire

         Of course money can make a difference. But the only reason it can is because lazy people let it make a difference. I successfully vote in every election that comes my way. I think I make well informed voting decisions. I do so without ever listening to anyone’s political ads. As soon as one rears it’s ugly head on my t.v., the mute button is pushed. Come election season, my right thumb gets a real workout. If I can do this, anyone can. But, the idea that we must be saved from our own unwillingness to inform ourselves and from our willingness to buy all the exaggerated claims, obfuscation, and lies is absurd. Mitt Romney can go out and spend enough money to buy Canada, but I still won’t vote for him.

        • feettothefire

          I misspoke. I do listen to an occasional political ad, usually when I’d like to inject a bit of comic relief into my day. Scott Brown currently has a couple of real beauties running in Massachusetts. They were popping up on my screen with such frequency, I thought I’d actually listen for once, just to see if they were as ridiculous as they appeared. They were. His wife informs us, with loving sincerity, of his wonderful parenting skills and of what a neat husband he is. That’s it. When I decide that good parenting and a good marriage are great qualifiers for the senate, maybe he’ll get my vote. Elizabeth Warren has one to which I haven’t listened , but I have seen it on the screen, muted of course. It’s Elizabeth with a pained expression on her face for what seems like forever. I wonder how many takes that took.    

    • John in Amherst

      Money IS the problem, because it can be used to manipulate people to vote against their own self interests through the media. 
      Full disclosure has been circumvented by the likes of Cross Roads GPS, so what remains are dueling ad buys, and corporate wealth will drown out individuals from here on.  Advertising works, and it does so because 1.) emotion trumps reason for most people, and 2.) a lot of time and effort has been spent on the art of manipulating emotions. 
      The corporate interest contingent will throw bones to the xenophobes and social conservatives in the GOP, because the rich have money enough to wall themselves off, figuratively and literally, from the rest of society.  The freedom to pollute air and water, the freedom to underpay and overwork labor, the freedom to send children to private schools while public education is shortchanged, freedom from the human responsibility to show respect, understanding and compassion to those who differ in appearance, income, luck or custom are increasingly the freedoms that are exercised by the wealthiest among us, the corporate oligarchs who are now free to buy elections.
       

      • feettothefire

        Anyone who’s own self-interest can be easily manipulated by ANYTHING is an idiot. And if emotion trumps reason in most people, as you claim, then most people have no business complaining about anything. In essence, what you just wrote can be paraphrased as, “We’re all stupid so please protect us from ourselves.”

        • Gregg

          I agree.

        • Victor Vito

          There is no law against being stupid, and idiots are allowed to vote. 

          • feettothefire

             Unfortunately.

          • John in Amherst

             Being stupid and being persuaded by sophisticated advertising propaganda are not the same things.  Bamboozled fairly intelligent people are much more worrisome than idiots. 

          • feettothefire

            “Bamboozled fairly intelligent people” is a synonym for “idiots.”

          • John in Amherst

            we disagree

          • feettothefire

             Agreed.

        • John in Amherst

           The notion that emotion trumps reason hardly originated with me.  Human behavior has always been a dichotomy, a dual between reason and emotion.  The more we tip the election process toward emotion and away from reason, the less rational our governance.  In this sense, we DO need to be protected from ourselves.  We need to foster a system in which people enter into reasoned debate about the issues.  What is being fostered is a system in which 30 second TV ads and bumper stickers have supplanted intelligent decision making.  Contests with rules can still be fair contests.  We are exchanging a system that was based on debating the merit of ideas for one driven by images and impulse buying. 

          • feettothefire

             If we can’t keep our emotions in check in the case of something as important as a presidential election, and let a touch of reason enter our decision making process, we should feel nothing less than shame for ourselves. You admit that we behave poorly in turning away from reason and giving in to emotional impulse, but instead of excoriating us for doing it, you give a figurative shrug of the shoulders while implying, “Oh well, that’s the way we are, so let’s make up some rules to mitigate our own foolishness.” I’ll never buy that. 

        • notafeminista

          Which explains banning big sodas and salt in NYC, sunblock in 49 out of 50 states and ‘not for human consumption’ labels on silica gel packets that come with your tennis shoes.

          Where have you BEEN for the last 40 years?

          • feettothefire

             I don’t understand your question. I’ve been right where I am, feeling exactly as I just stated.

          • notafeminista

            My error.  Perhaps I’ve been presumptuous.  You don’t think that the government at all levels has been trying to protect us from ourselves for at least that long?

          • feettothefire

             I think the government has a legitimate role in protecting us from things like drunk airline pilots and filthy slaughterhouses. I don’t think cigarettes, prostitution, drugs, Big Gulps, or anything else having to do with personal decisions is any of the governments business.

          • notafeminista

            Once you start down the proverbial slippery slope…..

          • feettothefire

            Protecting us from drunken airline pilots is much like protecting us from a foreign enemy. It’s something the government can do much more effectively than any of us can do alone. That’s why we have the Military, and that’s why we have an F.A.A We just don’t need a dept. of “protecting people from their own stupidity.”

          • Drew (GA)

            I sure do miss Natural Selection.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Tobbacco was PROVEN to be hazardous to health, in the ’40s!  Tobbacco companies then formed the ‘American Tobbacco Institute’, to smear the clear proof, and make it questionable!  NONE of the tobbacco advertising told the truth about tobbacco use!  Their ads made it look healthy and safe to use it!

        • Terry Tree Tree

          In WHICH state, were people denied the right to work?  BEFORE Right to Work Laws were passed? 
             STUPID sounding law, when you ask THAT question?   HOW MANY states have a Right to Work Law?   WHY was it deemed necessary?
             It was simlply to cut the stregnths of unions, that were helping workers get Job Safety, Decent Work Conditions, Equal Pay for Equal Work, and other Worker Benefits!
             PROVE IT WASN’T?

          • feettothefire

             I don’t even know what you’re talking about. This is a discussion about money and political campaigns, not the “Potpourri of Issues Hour.”

          • Terry Tree Tree

            The ‘Right to Work’ Laws, ARE the result of money spent on political campaigns, AND an example of labelling for emotional voting over reasoned voting!

          • feettothefire

             All of which proves my point perfectly.

    • feettothefire

       I don’t even see the need for the disclosure. Frankly, it should be nobody’s business.

    • jefe68

      So if I’m a billionaire who gives your campaign a hundred million dollars then you owe me. At least that’s the way I would look at it. And you owe me for 100 million.
      I’m trying to get some regulation eased up on air quality so I can get my gas fracking enterprise into producing more for less expense on my corporation. I picked you because I know you will deliver my wishes, and if you don’t I’m never going to give you a red cent again.

      You have no problem with this? Money is not a problem?  

    • Terry Tree Tree

      YES!  FULL DISCLOSURE of who is investing in what issues, or which candidate!

  • john in danvers

    Elections are part of the commons, public assets.  If you can spend money on them, you can own them.  We need elections so cheap that anyone could buy one.  Only  then does the money become irrelevant.  

  • Warren

     Corzine(buddy can you spare 2 billion and head of Goldman Sachs),Daley(JP Morgan),Gensler(GS)Phil Murphy(GS),Gene Sperling(GS),James Johnson(who along with Jamie Gorelick and Frank Raines looted Fannie for 100 mill.),Mark Peterson(GS),David Lipman(GS),Steve Rattner(Lehman),Rubin(Citi),Dudley(GS),Storch(GS),Eric Holder(Wall St.Bundler),Chuck Schumer(Patron Saint of Wall St.),Rahm Emmanuel(Law Firm representing GS),Peter Orzag(Citi).
         Who are these guys?I’ll quote the silly kid who’ll repeat this 50 times today alone……They are the GREEEEEDY Banksters.Unfortuneatly they are all Democrats.They all work for President Obama.Lennin would call you OWS types his “Useful Idiots”
             By the way,the GREEEEDIEST of all,Bernie Madoff ,is a Democrat.What’s the biggest PAC of them all?Why it’s the “Unions” that gave 400million to Democrats in the last cycle.40% of the AFL-CIO is Republican

    • Victor Vito

      What’s your point?  Are you saying everyone is guilty or that Democrats are bad?  I’m just not sure…

      • AwwwGeezNotThisS**tAgain

        Warren (aka Modatroll) has no point, he’s a troll.

        • TFRX

          Nice handle. I “heard” the sound of Carroll O’Connor when I read it.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Thanks Warren, for pointing out that Banksters GOT MONEY, BIG MONEY, while their investors, home-buyers, credit-card-holders, AND the taxpayers that bailed them out, LOST BIG MONEY!

  • Gregg

    “Democrats are considering canceling
    their political convention’s kick-off event at the Charlotte
    Motor Speedway, as party planners grapple with a roughly $27
    million fundraising deficit, according to two people familiar
    with matter.”

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-26/democrats-may-drop-speedway-event-at-charlotte-convention.html

  • Ben Hammer

    I think that it is healthy.  Money is the currency of support.  People who can’t get support aren’t supposed to be calling the shots.  The most critical thing to keep in mind is that influence that is not for sale can’t be bought at any price.

    • Brothersower88

      I always assumed votes were the “currency” of support.  I may be misunderstanding what you mean by “currency of support,” but the person who gets the most votes (electoral college votes for presidential races) calls the shots.

      I agree that informed people cannot have their votes purchased, but their are fewer people actually keeping track of their political officials than sitting at home watching attack adds.  Sad day.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      The candidates that the richest CRIMINALS can support, with MONEY FROM CRIME, is YOUR choice?
         If someone had enough money to ‘support’ building a toxic waste storage site next to your home, when you could NOT move, YOU think that’s ok?

  • feettothefire

    I will forever contend that the problem with political campaigning isn’t money, it’s stupidity, with a dose of intellectual laziness thrown in. Imagine a world in which neither television nor radio exist. How would we get our information about the candidates for office? Why, we’d have to read about them in newspapers and news magazines. We’d have to actually make an effort to inform ourselves about their voting records and their political philosophies. We’d be forced to rely on third party accounts such as editorials, Op Ed columns, political reporting, and perhaps even investigative journalists. Of course, any of these sources are capable of harboring a bias or two, but at least we wouldn’t be relying on the self-serving, spoon-fed crap we will always get from a candidates own campaign. Super-pacs, wealthy donors, and Supreme Court decisions on campaign financing would be irrelevant if people would simply use the MUTE button whenever they hear the ominous tones of a political advertisement begin. It’s really very simple. If I were a mathematician, I could probably illustrate it with a simple mathematical equation. The amount of disingenuous misinformation people are willing to accept correlates perfectly with the amount of money spent cramming all that bullshit down our throats.                                                                                                           m(s)=b(a) = (money spent equals bullshit accepted)                                                                                                                                                            How pathetic is it that the amount of money spent can, in any way, be a determining factor in who becomes our President?

    • MrNutso

      Direct mail.  This was how it was done before cable and the internet.

      • feettothefire

         I always tear up direct mail, otherwise known as “junk mail.”

    • TomK in Boston

      It is pathetic and we could easily ignore all the ads, but sadly the reality is that we don’t.

      Everything that is happening in the USA today is part of our transformation from a middle class society into an oligarchy. Seen that way the most bizarre behavior, like howling about the deficit while proposing to cut taxes at the top, makes sense. Allowing infinite $ into politics does, too.

      It’s interesting that the montana law that the extreme court struck down was a reaction against the previous era of oligarchy, early 20′th century. As the righty time warp takes us back to the gilded age of robber barons, it makes perfect sense that law should go away.

  • Yar

    What would happen if an slate of independent candidates were fielded for all 435 seats in the house of representatives?  The pledge I would like to see from the “clean house slate” is not to take any money while in office, not to trade in the stock market, and not to give any information about pending legislation to friends or members of their family.
    The powerful elite will view this as a coup d’état.  They will attempt to start a civil war in response.  I believe we are already closer to war than we know.  Giving the people real voices in congress should help prevent war.

  • John in Amherst

     Human
    behavior has always been a dichotomy, a dual between reason and
    emotion.  The more we tip the election process toward emotion and away
    from reason, the less rational our governance.  In this sense, we DO
    need to be protected from ourselves.  We need to foster a system in
    which people enter into reasoned debate about the issues.  What is being
    fostered is a system in which 30 second TV ads and bumper stickers have
    supplanted intelligent decision making.  Contests with rules can still
    be fair contests.  We are exchanging a system that was based on debating
    the merit of ideas for one driven by images and impulse buying.  The winners are the sellers with the glitziest packaging and biggest ad budgets.  The losers are everyone who has to live with the results. 

  • Terry Tree Tree

    How many people are stupid enough to think that FOREIGN corporations and CRIMINAL enterprises DONATE to politics, without ‘buying’ something from the candidates?
       MOST of the ‘onerous regulations’ that some well-financed SUPER PACS insist on getting rid of, will NOT help small businesses, NEAR as much as they will help Mega-corporations, that will gobble up MOST of the small businesses, or put them out of business!
       Those that voted for tax-cuts, or other tax-lessening for the ‘Job Creators’, LOOK for the jobs created by the ‘Job Creators’, in the past TEN years!
       They spent TEN$ of MILLION$ of DOLLAR$ to get a single job for Governor Scott Walker, in Wisconsin?  They spent TEN$ of MILLION$ of DOLLAR$, to KEEP Scott Walker’s job!  HOW MANY JOBS WERE CREATED?   WHAT PAY? WHAT KINDS OF JOBS?

  • jim

    isn’t this disgusting and sick?

    with all the money sent in, special interests get what they want. 

    but for voters? well, you get the crumbs, like Ronald Reagan would say.. (recall the trickle down effect)

    no leadership… and voters are still gullible and insecure. 

    THIS IS AMERICA

  • Jack in NH

    Yesterday Durham, NH hosted pres. Obama, but they asked for money to cover overtime security costs, as this was a campaign stop.  Should more towns do this?  And what about the congestion that air force one creates?  should the pres. be able to use all of the resources he does just to fly around with his hand out for money?

    • Adks12020

      I dont know if he should but that’s the way it’s always been.  President’s always campaign.  Considering they have to win elections to stay in office it makes sense that Presidents would be out campaigning and raising money to do so.

    • jefe68

      It seems that an anonymous donor has offered to pay the cost. For small towns this is an issue, I think both parties should pay for all of the campaigning.

  • Michiganjf

    Republicans claim again and again how President Obama has been horrible to business and energy….

    If Republicans are to be believed, then I see absolutely no evidence whatever that the President has been beholden to any large donors whatever!!!

    Prove me wrong Republicans!!!!

    Will you backtrack on all your lame criticism of President Obama and claim he’s in the pocket of big money??!!!

    Which big money?  Business? Energy?

    OHHHH! So he’s good for business and energy then??

    … or point to all the great things he’s done for labor in the last three years!

    Republican “facts” just never add up, do they??

    • Michiganjf

      Tom,

         How about it?

      How do Republicans reconcile their claim that Obama is beholden to big business and energy, yet he’s terrible for both at the same time??!!!!

    • Worried for the country(MA)

       Mr. Obama raised record $$$s on Wall Street in 2008.

      The number one issue in the financial crisis was “too big to fail”.  Too big to fail still exists despite a 2400 page legislation that created 40,000 pages of regulations — and growing.

      Why hasn’t Glass-Steagall been restored?
      What is Mr. Obama’s position on Glass-steagall?

      • Michiganjf

        Okay then!
        So President Obama has been GREAT for business, to which he’s beholden, according to you!

        Now we’re getting somewhere!

        You can start telling all your Republican friends how good President Obama has been for business in America!

        I’m looking forward to seeing the tone of your comments change to pro-Obama!!

        • Worried for the country(MA)

           Sorry but I don’t buy your straw man.

          No budget in 4 years while running up $5+T in debt is grounds for impeachment.

          I certainly won’t vote for him.

          Here is another one.  Obama’s deferral on a Keystone decision until after the election is related to the ‘green’ interests withholding campaign money. 

          Now that I think about his recent flip flop on gay marriage is directly related to campaign funding.  Isn’t that buying a vote?  Oh, it’s OK because you agree with it.  I see.

          • Michiganjf

            Yeah, President Obama has only managed to whittle down PART of BUSH”S 1.3 trillion/year deficit.

            I guess it’s hard to bring Bush’s spending levels down when the country is in an economic depression.

            … makes sense, doesn’t it?

          • Worried for the country(MA)

             Fuzzy math my friend.

            It appears you are including the Obama + Bush $800B TARP in your Bush deficit number but you are forgetting that TARP was mostly paid back within 6 months.
             
            Nice try though.

          • Michiganjf

            WRONG!

            Try again with the truth about the deficit!

            http://www.seeingtheforest.com/archives/2010/01/cato_dont_blame_1.htm

      • Terry Tree Tree

        CAN President Obama re-instate Glass-Steagall?

        • Worried for the country(MA)

           He can LEAD. Isn’t that why we pay him?

          • Michiganjf

            Oh Yeah! Let’s see your figures for the huge individual donations that bought Obama’s votes for gay rights and against Keystone!

            Whoops! Don’t have them, I suppose??

          • Worried for the country(MA)

             I just remember news reports about gay bundlers withholding fundraising unless Obama moved.

            Obama announces his flip flop.

            Voila.

              A week of fundraisers in Hollywood sponsored by gay bundlers. It is now reported that they are now his largest group of bundlers.

          • Michiganjf

            Ha! Way to back yourself up with numbers!

          • Michiganjf

            Even despite the numbers, which you don’t have, it’s SINGLE LARGE DONORS which are the concern for Democracy, NOT the donations of thousands of people bundled together.

          • TFRX

            Your comment has been held anonymously and will not be heard until 60% of the members vote for it.

            Really, look up filibuster and every single thing any Republican supported since the 1980s and are now screaming bloody murder about.

            Your side’s WATBs simply won’t be lead.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            MOST of Congress, using a two-year-old’s favorite word, “NO!”, WILL NOT be lead!  They have stated for four years, that they were NOT concerned with what was best for the Country, just ‘Keeping Obama a one-term President’!

          • Worried for the country(MA)

             He had the majorities for his 1st two years.

            He hasn’t even tried.  He has the bully pulpit.  He could have taken this one directly to the American people and gotten overwhelming support.

            Of course, now it is too late because we are too close to the election.

  • nj_v2

    It’s pretty sad reading all the lame rationalizations why money doesn’t matter (Sure, that’s why all the smartest, most powerful economics interests in the country spend so much, because it has no effect.) and that people aren’t or shouldn’t be affected by what they read or see (and are “stupid” if they are). And, of course, money is used for activities other than advertising.

    The irony is that these people are all advocating for something that isn’t in their best interests (assuming that they’re not paid shills for corporations) while arguing that people who can be manipulated by ads are “stupid” and undeserving of participation in the political process. 

    Money isn’t speech, the first amendment was never intended to justify this kind of concentration of influence. 

    Systemic reform is needed: Public financing of campaigns, removal of limits on third party participation, limits on campaign donations, full disclosure of donators and amounts.

    • Scott B, Jamestown NY

       The Supreme Court and Mitch McConnell know same adages we all do: Money talks. The Golden Rule – He who has the gold makes the rules. Power corrupts.

    • nj_v2

      Add to last paragraph: Reverse/eliminate corporate personhood, stiffen corporate chartering legislation to emulate what existed in the earliest years of corporate charter law.

  • Mark

    A central tenant of the first amendment free speech guarantee is the prohibition of compelled speech.  The citizens united decision left more concerns and questions than it answered.  How can a corporation be given free speech rights, such as is entitled to a person, when it compels speech by vast numbers of other workers for example, who work for a corporation.  A corporate message doesn’t necessarily represent the thoughts of lowly, hourly workers, but nonetheless by virtue of the corporate structure, those workers are compelled to be associated with a corporate political message they may or may not agree with.  

    • Consultant

      I guess the same thinking applies to unions?

      • Mark

        Yes…i think you’re implying that this is somehow a partisan issue…it’s not…let’s stay focused on the infidelity to the constitution.

  • Consultant

    It’s great to see all the libs /dems complaining about the $ being spent – they were quite silent 4 years ago when the “Campaigner in Chief” walked away from public money when he realized he could crush his opponent with private $.  Now that the shoe is on the other foot – the whining begins – better get used to it – you are about to BE crushed.

    • TFRX

      Another right-winger whinging when a Democrat won’t unilaterally disarm.

      I can get all of that on Fox and Friends, thanks.

  • Drew (GA)

    All of the Rights, None of the Responsibilities. Thanks again SCOTUS.

    If a Corporation was an individual it would be a Sociopath. How can anyone be surprised when Corporate America fillets the populous then proceeds to dance around in our skins?

  • David

    The current system of campaign donation reporting is unsatisfactory, so why not try this. All political donations would be made to a candidate via a new donation “clearinghouse” with standing and privacy restrictions similar to those of the IRS and credit reporting agencies. An individual or corporate donation would then be randomly combined with other donations made to that candidate and forwarded to the candidate’s campaign account, the donations now being anonymous. This eliminates the surest way of a candidate knowing someone gave money, namely a) handing money directly to the candidate or his/her surrogate, and b) donors depositing money directly into a candidate’s account.  Sure, a donor could tell the candidate about the donation and the amount, but many people and companies would lie about donating and/or the amount. And given how easily anything can be fabricated via the Internet, a receipt would hardly be fool-proof evidence. This is not a perfect alternative, but it at least puts doubt in a candidate’s mind as to whom he/she owes allegiance.  Plus, like now, donors and amounts donated could still be made public, but neither the public (nor the donors theoretically) would know FOR SURE to whom the money went.  The principle of “money as free speech” would also be preserved to a large extent.

  • Steve_T

    Thanks Supreme Court. We continue to loose faith in this Nation and you are not the help you should be. I hope you can swallow what you’ve done.
     When the people needed help you turned and gave it away. How can you live with what you have done to America?

  • nj_v2
  • Mark

    Citizens united does not jive with historical constitutional jurisprudence.  For constitutional originalists- did corporations exist when the constitution was ratified?  Did the framers intend the first amendment to protect businesses?  If money is treated as speech, how does that jive with the federal governments constitutional ability to tax?  If money is speech, how can the government tax money (it being speech).  Couldn’t the government, according to the constitution, regulate the quantity of speech simply through Article I’s taxing authority?  None of it makes any sense.

    • Adks12020

      Corporations most certainly existed when the constitution was ratified. A major source of funds for the settlement of the colonies was joint stock companies, precursors to the modern corporation.  The government of England ruled but the settlment was funded and led by joint stock companies that were given the charters by the crown. The rest I don’t know.

      • Mark

        Corporations are a statutory creation.  Tell me what statutes the United States Congress passed prior to the ratification of the Constitution.  None.  How could they pass statutes regarding corporation if Congress hadn’t even been created. And wouldn’t the American revolution indicate a basic rejection of  the “charters of the crown” anyway?  

  • Charles A. Bowsher

    Where the “Supreme” Court missed the boat on Citizens United is that Corporations are already represented in the polling booth by their employees, their customers and their stockholders.  If their can be no restraints on Corporations, then their should be no restraints on the Unions.  Stupidest “Supreme” Court in the history of the United States.

     

  • atakemoto

    My power is in not having a TV and therefore not being subjected to these ads.

  • Tina

    Don’t the PEOPLE involved with CORPORATIONS get more than the ONE VOTE ALLOWED TO EACH PERSON when they get to COUNT AS PEOPLE ONCE when they get influence as an INDIVIDUAL and AGAIN when they get influence as part of a corporation??!!  I do NOT understand why Citizens United does not violate the concept of ONE PERSON/ONE VOTE.

    Thanks!

    • Consultant

      I guess the same thinking applies to unions?

      • Gary Trees

        Also, do corporations get only 1 vote? Or, due to sheer size, should they get a proportionally larger number of votes? And, if corporations get extra votes for being so big, what of obese people.  MOAR VOTES FOR THE FAT!

      • Tina

        I think the Supreme Court ruling DID apply Citizens United to unions, too, yes; BUT, BOTH corporations and unions have “members” who also exist as regular, individual citizens.  The power these individuals get from their aggregated membership is far greater than the power I have as a regular citizen who is NOT associated with either a corporation or a union — AND the individuals involved get to have their voice heard several times over:  as a member of the aggregated group, and as a regular citizen.  I also do not have enough dollars to aggregate into a statement that is as large, and therefore powerful, as the statements that hyper-rich individuals can make.  I DO try to use my individual voice by calling my congressional/etc.  representatives, federal, state, and local, but my voice is small, and possibly unheard, in the context of these larger “voices”.  And, I cannot be a “threat” to any politician, as the withdrawal of my “voice” (that is, my MONEY!) will NOT cause the politician to lose his/her next election. Surely, I could join a group that would take my “voice” into the aggregate:  it is extremely hard, in this time of such great polarization, for me to find a group that believes all the things that I believe in:  that is to say, one group may represent my ideas/beliefs on straight political matters, but be at odds with my social ideas/beliefs, or be at odds on just one topic that is nevertheless critical, in my judgment.  

    • Guest

      The issue is free speech. 

  • Wackerdr

    Sometimes freedom means having to accept something you don’t personally agree with. I don’t like (or agree with) Citizens United, but since legally, corporations are considered to be “people”, then we must accept the decision by our Supreme Court that corporations have the right to make monetary donations as a form of political speech.
    What I don’t understand is… if I — as an individual — am limited in the amount of money I may contribute to a candidate, why aren’t the corporations given the same monetary limit? After all, they’re “people too.”

    • J__o__h__n

      No it doesn’t.  Corporations are not people.  Money is not speech.  We need to elect presidents who will appoint justices who realize this. 

    • MrNutso

      You are limited in the money you can directly give to a candidate, but not money you can spend on electioneering, or can give to other electioneering groups.

    • Guest

      Corporations cannot contribute to federal candidates.  Contributions to PACs are not considered contributions to candidates.

  • Mark

    If the a group that I don’t agree with adopts a stretch of highway, and I intentionally litter on the highway to express my disapproval of the group who sponsors it- is my litter speech?

    • Gary Trees

      Bravo.  I completely think you would be within your constitutional allowance of speech. 

      • Steve_T

         No it’s illegal to litter.

    • TFRX

      Have you been following the Klan’s efforts to Adopt a Highway?

      It’s something Dave Chappelle might write, except it’s true.

  • Charles A. Bowsher

    Our only hope is that we just might realize that;

    “They may have all the money, but we have all the votes.”
    -Charles A. Bowsher

    • feettothefire

      That’s a very good point. Now all we need is a voter turnout that’s not worse than every other Democratic nation in the world.

      • Charles A. Bowsher

         Except that our votes here in Kentucky go into one of those Diebold Black Boxes that has no paper trail other than a four digit number I key in to begin the process.  Recounts here are a matter of punching a button, not an actual re-counting of votes.

        • TFRX

          It’s a good thing Diebold’s masters never promised to deliver any state’s EVs to anyone.

          • Charles A. Bowsher

             Amen brother, Amen!

          • TFRX

            (Appreciate your recognition of my full-on deadpan mode.)

  • Tina

    Did I hear or read that Congress decided to get rid of the $3 box that is included on our federal tax forms for public financing of elections, or did I just have a nightmare, much like Citizens United itself?!! 

    • MrNutso

      It’s going.  Since it’s unlikely that anyone will use public financing again and the money was being used for activities like conventions which should be paid for the party.  Conventions aren’t even needed anyway.

  • BHA in Vermont

    The ONLY positive thing about Citizen’s United is that it is the only example of “trickle down” working. All the rich people want their candidate to win so badly they are willing to pay millions for ads which help pay for “little guys and gals” jobs.  But once every 4 years and the actual amount spent isn’t moving very much money down the chain,

  • Jeff in Belmont, MA

    Where are the hackers out there? Let the corporations and rich fat cats contribute millions of dollars but do they really think they can do it without being revealed? What if the corporation YOU work at is revealed to have given millions to Romney? I’m waiting for the Supreme Court to pass down a ruling that states that it is illegal even reveal the source of these huge pay-offs.

    • Drew (GA)

      There aren’t any Hackers (benevolent) out there any more, they’ve all switched to the Dark Side and become Crackers (malicious). Hackers don’t get paid, Crackers get to roll in it.

      • TFRX

        Just a shout-out to someone who uses the terms “hacker” and “cracker”. There is a difference, and people don’t always appreciate it.

  • Scott B, Jamestown NY

    How much more could be done with the billions of dollars if it were invested in education, public safety, infrastructure, et al, and not spent on buying political access and influence, if not the outright buying politicians and laws?  How many schools, or more importantly – the kids, could use more teachers or arts programs, or updated equipment and educational material and facilities?  How many fire and police personal would that pay for in financially strapped towns and cities?  Wouldn’t those millionaires and billionaires be better served making the ways they get their products to market, or their customers better access to them, through improved roads or wires and not  systems that was new in the first half the the last century? 

    • Scott B, Jamestown NY

       Adopt a school, a highway, a highway dept!

    • MrNutso

      It’s the libertarian part of it.  Sure I could spend my money to help others, or even pay higher taxes, but it’s my money and I want to use it to buy more money.

      • Scott B, Jamestown NY

         That’s the thing – Study after study after study show that these alleged “job creators” aren’t creating jobs, but rather, they’re investing money into ideas that make money with other people’s money. 

        Those businesses that are sitting on +$2 Trillion keep saying they just want to know what’s going to happen, aka “Do something and get over with!”  If they know what taxes will be  – lower for this, higher for that, can’t hide it there, get a break (but not too big, GE got billions back like they took a loss, WTF?) on something they did- then they’ll start spending.  Does the avg person want to open invest in anything when everything is up in the air?  Just tell me what I gotta pay and I’ll figure out what I can and can’t do. Otherwise by money stays in the coffee can, where the bank can’t use it to bet on Wall St or otherwise lose it, and charge me for keeping it there. 

    • TFRX

      I’m curious about that, but I’m also curious about the machinations which may lead some of this money to be tax-deductible, like when I give to Foodshare.

      I’d love NPR to dig down into that.

      (And did you notice that Colbert picked up another Peabody for his PAC coverage? The man seems to have been made for these times.)

      • Scott B, Jamestown NY

         Most people would probably see that a truly charitable organization (OxFam, United Way, Salvation Army, local church or school) is vastly different than a PAC.  Food and education vs power and influence. Seems cut & dried, black & white, pick your favorite adage. Unfortunately the current Supreme Court and many in Congress serving their donating masters (and not the people) would not.

  • TFRX

    “Obama pledged at the time to fix, and I’m concerned because he didn’t do it” says Leventhal.

    Yep. Another person from the moderate mushy middle who can’t help but wonder why President Obama couldn’t do something more with a GOP who’d filibuster ice water if we were stuck in Death Valley.

  • http://www.facebook.com/drpmeade Paul S Meade

    This is a very nice philosophical conversation. If progressives do not utilize the same tactics then the corporations that run the country will consolidate the situation that we now see in place and their power over everyone. 

  • Drew (GA)

    Tom asks “Can’t we think it through?”. The type of individual that could think it through is the same type of person that realizes Commercial Media is poison. That person stops watching television, how many are willing to do that? Garbage In, Garbage Out.

    • feettothefire

       Good for you. There’s a very good reason someone long ago called the television the “IDIOT BOX.”

      • Drew (GA)

        There’s an Incubus song called Idiot Box that I love even though it’s not really my kind of music, check it out when you have time.

  • TFRX

    So a century-old Montana law is now all of a sudden unconstitutional?

    Where are our states’ rights geeks when we need them?

    • Greg

      How far this country is down the path to fascism?

      Already there.

  • Scott B, Jamestown NY

    “Citizens United” is another example of those on the Right (those on the Right in the Supreme Court in particular) refusing to learn from facts, history, and experience, that money corrupts politicians and government, which is why states like Wyoming had the law, that the court just struck down, in the first place.

    • Brothersower88

      I don’t like the ruling with Citizens United, but if it is to be overturned, all non-human/citizens/voters should lose the ability to contribute to political campaigns including unions, non-profits, foreign governments, lobby groups, corporations, etc.

      • Scott B, Jamestown NY

         If it were up to me alone (like that’ll ever happen lol), all funds would go into ONE pot.  Each person running would be allotted so much money, with small amounts being given when there are umpteen people all trying to get on the ticket.  Obviously it would  increase to each person as the process winnows down, through the primaries and finally the final election.  People might be smarter, or at least hesitate a bit, when they realize that half their money is also going to the other person(s). The candidates would have to live on a budget and think about where the money’s going and what their messages are, maybe even have to stick to fact and express actual ideas (gasp!), rather than hammering talking points and promoting fear. It’d be nice to see equal time mandates throughout the media, so that if R-Candidate  buys some much time on Fox, then D-Candidate gets his ads on, too.  Which, again, would promote facts and ideas, as each could run ads saying how the other one’s ideas and fears are all wrong.  

        That’s how it is in my dreams, anyway, where I’m President of Freedonia. (Thank you, Groucho and siblings)

        • Brothersower88

          From these tenants, I think I would like living in Freedonia :)

          Might I suggest that contributions could only be made by people who have a right to vote in that particular race.  No sense letting someone from MA influence my representative in MI.  It just creates a conflict of interest.

          • Scott B, NY

             Good call! No “moneymandering” !

  • Ellen Dibble

    In past years I would chip in a little for a candidate of my choosing, and would weigh in on surveys, “liking” this or that candidate.  Not anymore.  I consider phone surveys to be fishing expeditions, make that “phishing” expeditions, the better to manipulate the likes of me — whom they’ve defined enough to tell me they’re being “very selective.”  So I don’t answer phone calls.  And as to not identifying myself one way or the other on the net, that’s pretty important to me.  I think a democracy demands an appreciation that there are at least two good alternatives, and we are picking the better, arguing their platforms in an almost mathematical fashion into the two best options we can come up with.
         Right now, we seem to be trying not to improve the two sides but to demonize one side or the other.  You could get yourself into a position where people feel they are voting AGAINST one another, not FOR something.  Two fighters will improve the mettle of one another, given a fair fight.  You root for the going of the best fight, two fine fighters.  But if you’re going to go with mud slinging I think you diminish the two approaches.  “You” the people (the financiers of the campaign, I suppose) who are turning our governing of our government into a destructive system.

  • Adrian from RI

    Tom, should you not ask why so many people spend millions of dollars on politicians?  Fredrick Bastiat around 1840 wrote that the purpose of the law is to be an instrument of justice. However, now the law has been turned into an instrument of plunder.  It was Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956) who wisecracked: Government is a broker in pillage, and every election is a sort of advance auction in stolen goods. Now elections have turned into a frenzy of plunder. Now politicians are nothing more than mudfarmers and people pay politician to either protect themselves from being the victim of plunder or to use the political processes to partake in the plunder.  Is it not about time we go back to a constitutional government that protects my Inalienable Rights?

  • Drew (GA)

    On Point Caller!!! Turn off the TV, ignore the Campaign Ads, and read. Then go vote. Nice!

    • feettothefire

       Ah, the beauty of simple solutions. We could have skipped the whole show and pasted that line up top. That’s a political ad I’ll buy.

  • CTPete

    What is the difference between the copper mine barrons of 1912 and the wall street or energy barrons of 2012?

    • Drew (GA)

      A hundred years?

    • TFRX

      Without copper I wouldn’t even be listening to a radio, and I’d be clickety-clacking these words onto a manual Underwood.

  • Ellen Dibble

    We say Obama never kept a promise, and that Romney flipflops. It could be that each is the best politician money can buy, to quote a caller, and part of being a politician is running on the most electable platform (as determined by whoever is “running” you) and then answering to those you are actually indebted to.  Surprise, surprise.  It seems only the Supreme Court can actually stand up to Big Money.  And we see how independent those folks are.  Ahem.

  • MrNutso

    How much knowledge or awareness is need?

  • Barbara Eskin

    I think Dave Levinthal’s expression that Republicans have a different “philosophy” about campaign finance is a joke. It is not a matter of philosophy but one of self-interest. It should be patently obvious that the very rich should not be given the right to essentially buy votes in order to consolidate their interests. Democracy is supposed to give power to the people, and not power to the very rich portion of the people.

    • TFRX

      Yep.

      The mainstream media demands nothing more of Republicans than that they win. Afterwards, everything they do is described as genuis and clever and resonating with voters.

      Only when Dems are in the picture do we hear the hand-wringing about “how” and “tone” and “*he could have been different than other politicians, oh woe is us”.

      (*Marco Rubio is embarrassing himself as of late on this count.)

  • Ellen Dibble

    Noted in the Pakistan Herald, if you click a politician, there will be lengthy video on almost every day responding to the issues of the moment, taking a stand, explaining the way he or she is maneuvering and why.   Also, you can see a running counter showing how many people have viewed that particular video.   Oh, if only I were voting where politicians laid it out for us like that.

  • Greg

    Shorten the election time to 2 months.

    Free tv air time on our public airwaves.

    Only public money spent.

    Paper ballets. Counted by hand.

    Without these our congress and president are being bought bought and paid for by the rich and foreign entities.

    • TFRX

      I’d like to add, as a half measure in lieu of free TV air time: Moratorium on poltical broadcast ads for 5 days before election day.

      I know it’s a half-measure, but still illustrative of how inured we are to this circus, because it sounds radical.

    • AnnabellDuPree

       You are giving the name Greg a good name around here.  Something it has lacked for some time now.

  • Elizabeth in RI

    Of course they are trying to buy these politicians – why else would they spend such large amounts of money? It’s got to be buying them something of significant value otherwise they are cheating their share holders. The ridiculous amount of money and the need to always be fundraising is why our politicians are no longer doing their jobs of representing “we the people”. It is simply stupid for your guest to be saying that these super PACs and other big spenders are ‘educating’!! The question is how do we fight back when so many Americans actually believe what the these super PACs say?? How do we take our country back from the corporations?

    • Guest

      Donating money or expressing a point of view does not necessarily mean that a politician has been bought.  It may simply be that someone considers one candidate’s policies to be better than the other candidate’s policies.

  • Brian

    Late to the conversation, so this may have been asked/addressed already, but I want to know the what the scale of this increased in campaign funding will do to the kickbacks campaign contributors will see or expect.

  • TFRX

    “Terabucks” are in the bidness of giving voice to the voiceless? Am I hearing things? What, exactly, did poor little billionaires, or corporate “bundlers” ever lack for in comparison with John Q. Public?

  • Scott B, Jamestown NY

    It’s high time that the people had a national referendum on the issues of limiting campaign money, disclosure of donors, and term limits for those in Congress AND the Supreme Court.

    Also put ending the Electoral College. At one time it served a purpose,  making sure the a small state like Vermont was a important as a larger state like NY.  But now all we see are presidential candidates hit the same swing states every election. One person, one vote, with equal importance. 
    The party that lost seems to call for ending the process, but as soon as things swing their way it all flips, with the looser screaming to end it and the winner saying it’s just fine. 

    The people need to remind Congress that they’re serving US, not themselves, not their party, not their campaign backers.

  • Greg Petrics

    If businesses are going to be treated like people in matters of speech, then it’s only fair to change the tax code so people get treated like businesses in matters of taxes. For instance, allow me to deduct my expenses of being alive just as a business gets to deduct its expenses of being a business. For example, my cost of commuting has never been deductible according to the IRS, but driving IS a business expense. If a business can speak freely, why not let me deduct my commuting costs? After that you should also let me deduct all of my food costs. Deductible! All of my entertainment costs. Deductible! The list goes on and on, and I imagine most Americans would have little or not taxable income in such a scheme. But it’s only fair; if businesses are going to be considered as people, then people should allowed to be considered as businesses too.

    If this doesn’t make sense it’s because BUSINESSES and CORPORATIONS ARE NOT PEOPLE.

    • Greg Petrics

      I’m from Stowe, VT btw.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      EXCELLENT EXAMPLES!!

    • Elizabeth in RI

      Good point Greg.  I’ll believe that corporations are people when they send one to jail for the various bad acts that they often commit. Until then they shouldn’t have the same rights!

    • notafeminista

      Then stop demanding that businesses and corporations act in a socially just and resposible manner.  That which is not human cannot behave as humans do.

      Which way do you want it?

      • notafeminista

        *responsible.  …editor loaded up on decongestants this morning.

      • Greg Petrics from Stowe, VT

        I actually agree with you. Let’s let the market sort it out. 

        The only caveat is that just like people, businesses should be forced to comply with the laws of the places in which they do business, and if they want to be people, people should be entitled to all the tax advantages of being a business. It’s only fair!

        • notafeminista

          I don’t think businesses want to “be people”.  That nonsense was started when the Left started demanding social justice from what was considered up until that point a legal entity and/or description.

          Well shucks.  If I run a business and people are going to start demanding that said business behave like a person, then I’m going to make sure the 14th Amendment applies to my business as well as me.

          Which way do you want it? 

          • Greg Petrics from Stowe, VT

            That’s a good point actually. Businesses do not want to be people. But they are being given the privileges secured by the Bill of Rights all the same. 

            We’re in a tough situation here where a logical argument has been taken to almost the very end. At this point we are arguing about “which way do you want it” because we’re reaching logical impasses at both sides. It’s tough. To me the solution is to draw a clear distinction between people and corporations. 

            I’m happy to cede any laws that demand social responsibility and other “human-like” behavior from business to you notafeminista (but if the market demands it, that’s on you, not the government) in exchange for no Bill of Rights-like protection for corporations.

  • Joan

     Brad’s “opinion” that spending more money leads to better educated voters is uncorrelated political double talk.  A better education system and higher literacy rates produces a better educated electorate.

  • notafeminista

    How come only one candidate is pictured?

    • Brothersower88

      That’s what I said when I looked at it too. 

      Both parties get huge donations from wealthy groups, corporations, and individuals. 

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Bias, promoting THIS candidate?

      • notafeminista

        Implying only the pictured candidate gets “big money”.

        Doesn’t answer the question though.  Why is only one candidate pictured?

  • Andy

    National campaigns are ridiculously protracted, and therefore, expensive.  Decrease campaign length and use only public funding. Have 3 months of debates and news interviews, then vote.  Fair elections shouldn’t be a “free speech” issue.  

    • notafeminista

      Um….what?

  • manganbr

    Rather than ruling narrowly on the legality of the Hilary documentary, the court strategically steered the case in a direction to render a ruling with the widest applicability. If the government argued for the right to ban books (and I’m not sure they did), they didn’t have to. There is a qualitative difference between a book or movie, which one has to choose to read or watch, and a 15 second ad that comes on in the middle of a Simpson’s rerun. Television advertisements are a different medium that has certain advantages, and it’s why super funders choose to funnel most of their money into that form. Regulate tv ads separately, and let these funders pour all the money they want into books and movies.

  • Sam

    There are more restrictions and more disclosure on donations to college athletes than on politicians running for office.  How can anyone argue that this is not ‘government for sale’?

  • MrNutso

    The purpose of a corporation is to maximize shareholder value.
    Shareholders should want corporations to spend as much money as possible to buy elections and get laws passed that are favorable to the corporation and will increase the value of the corporation.

    • Bill5

           The purpose of the U.S. Constitution is to promote and protect the interests of the people (not corporations) of the U.S.  Corporations are created to conduct businesses to provide goods and services for the benefit of the consumers, and in the process make a profit for the corporation (but according to a level playing field defined by rules and regulations).  The level playing field means, among other things, that the corporations should not buy elections at the probable detriment to the interests of the citizens (the means to the end ARE important).  As a share holder in many companies, I DO NOT WANT my companies to corrupt the primary purpose of my country.  I’m afraid the increase in shareholder value (which is an important objective) in many cases really ends up as increase in wealth of the upper management as facilitated by the Board of Directors.

  • jefe68

    The bottom line is corruption in my view. As Mr. Wertheimer has alluded too.

  • andypeace

    In the 1890′s, 2 decades after the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, then President Rutherford B. Hayes said that this is the government of the corporations, by the corporations, and for the corporations. SCOTUS has finally legalized this Republican corporatist ideology.

  • Elizabeth in RI

    Your caller Annetta was 100% correct – why aren’t corporations required to ask share holders if they support the way the money is being spent when union members now have to be? When did the Supreme Court become so completely politically biased?? Again, how do we fight back when the only people that can change this are already bought and paid for?

    • Drew (GA)

      “When did the Supreme Court become so completely politically biased??”

      Completely bias? The year 2000 wasn’t just the turn of the century.

    • Guest

      All shareholders vote every year on the corporate board of directors, and have the opportunity to put forth issues on which the shareholders can vote.  If shareholders disagree with a corporate board of directors, it can vote in a new board.

      • TribbleTrouble

         Do you know any other fairytales?

  • Greg

    The lady is correct.

    Our 3 branches of government are fascist/corporate owned.

  • Bruce

    Thanks OnPoint for giving us another glimpse into one of many dark corners within the Conservative Nirvana which has helped transform Wall Street into a Casino, international trade into an outsourcing orgy and our electoral system into an auction…

    Citizens United–another decision in the splendid tradition of Dred Scott and Bush vs. Gore…which together with voter suppression efforts underway in several states the GOP hopes will deliver them victory in Nov. and achieve their goal of  enlarging and entrenching the power of the wealthy. 

    • Bruce

      I guess we’re about to be whacked by another perversely partisan decision by SCOTUS on Thursday.   If you’re unemployed, working or middle-class and struggling with the cost of health care or health insurance, brace yourself.  You’re likely to take another hit so that Conservative defenders of the pre-ACA status quo can continue stonewalling and obfuscating while 40-50 million Americans are denied access to health care. 

  • Mark

    My last comment for today:  Let’s assume for a moment that Corporations are entitled to the same free speech rights as individuals.  Still, no right under our constitution is absolute.  Every right is subject to varying levels of scrutiny by the courts.    Nonetheless, this Court has decided that when it comes to corporate spending in elections, free speech rights trump any “compelling government interest” in providing fair and transparent elections.  If the basic element of democracy is the ability to choose representatives in government, wouldn’t that be a “compelling government interest.”  If not, I don’t believe anything exists that could be considered “compelling.”  

  • Davesix6

    Why aren’t Unions required to do the same?

    • Elizabeth in RI

      They are – and now they even have to ask for permission

    • Greg

      The unions’ money and power is so minuscule in comparison to these billionaires and foreign money you should like capitalist who has been asleep for 40 years and has just woken up and thinks unions are what they once were.

      • William

        The unions own Ca, NY, Il, and have demonstrated a great deal of power as displayed by Obama giving the UAW  a huge piece of GM.

        • MorisAckerman

           Just rhetoric.  I notice it is the major blue states that contribute more than their fair share to the federal budjet that are your problem.

          • William

            Disorganized response. Focus.

        • Greg

          You don’t follow what happens very well. You only follow the propaganda they tell you well.

          The Obama “bailout” of the car industry actually weakened the unions considerably and billions of our tax dollars were sent to Chine to set up factories there.

          Since you hate the unions, now that you know the truth you should be happy that Obama did what he did.

          • William

             I don’t hate unions. I hate their wasted efforts to increase their power at the cost of “the other guy.”

          • Greg

            What other guy?

          • William

            The guy that pays inflated costs for goods and services which are produced by union labor.

          • TomK in Boston

            Right, the USA is better off when working Americans are paid like chinese.

            Funny thing how the peak of the middle class coincided with the peak in union membership, huh? 

          • William

            If that was true why do people not want to join unions when given a choice?

          • TFRX

            Fantasy time again.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          EACH union member got $20 MILLION Dollars BONE-US, in addition to $29 MILLION in PAY, like Rick Waggoner, the CEO that bankrupt GM?

        • TomK in Boston

          You’re in a talking point fantasy world. Unions were powerful once and now they are on life support. Thanks to very successful class warfare they are getting weaker every day, and so is the middle class. Union membership as a % of the work force is less than 1/3 of what it was at the peak. Meanwhile corporate profits as % of GDP are at record highs, and you guys keep chanting “corporations on the one hand, unions on the other” like they were equal forces. Give me a break. 

          • William

            The UAW-Obama theft of GM from the legal owners displays that unions are not weak or going away. The run away costs for public sector salaries and retirement packages are driving states and cities into bankruptcy. Not only are unions very strong now, but excessively corrupt.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            HOW MANY public sector union pay checks are BIGGER, than the BONE-USes given to MANY CEOs, that bankrupt their comlpany, like Rick Waggoner got $20 MILLION BONE-US, to bankrupt GM, and got $29 MILLION in Pay?

      • Steve_T

         All tho I agree with your statement. I have to use your own words. “Don’t tell me what I think”

  • Ian

    “Follow The Money”

  • Greg

    The rich want to buy our government with their pocket change and rule us like serfs?

    Time to eat them.

    • William

      Are the rich the problem or a bloated, corrupt government that spends too much money and has too much power? If there is 3.5 trillion dollars being spent in one year I can see more than the rich gathering around the feeding trough.

      • ClemMo

         It is both of them that are the problem.  The government in itself is not a problem.  The fact that it has become a government owned and populated by the rich IS the problem. Try not to confuse yourself.

        • William

           If government was smaller, less powerful and had less money to spend we would not see such massive amount of corruption and spending to “put the right guy” into office.

          • Greg

            Government is the only thing standing between us and the power of multi-national corporations.

            We need our government to answer to us.

            Smaller government doesn’t mean it won’t be corrupt.

            Please use your head.

          • William

            Recent events indicate that you are wrong. The federal government won’t work with the state of Az. law enforcment agencies upholding federal immigration laws.

          • Edith

            We have to be realistic about the situation in which we live.  The size of the government is not the problem.  The problem of the government is that it looks upon those it’s supposed to be regulating as its ‘clients’.  Witness BP. Witness Goldman Sachs.  The examples are many.  A weak puny government that can be easily controlled by corporations whose only interest is profits at the expense of public safety and health (if it is more profitable to them, they do not care if your water is polluted with carcinogens) is not in the interest of the average person.  Certain industries need to regulated and we need good public servants to do that.  
            The reason we see so much money to get the right guy in office has nothing to do with the size of government as it does to do with weakening its authority to regulate. Polluters and others want smaller government so they can do what they want without any interference from the little people.  Small government leaves a power vacuum for other powerful forces (ones we can’t necessarily vote for) to step in.  

          • William

            We can look in our past and see the disasters that are caused by a huge government. FDR and his failed economic policies and war on business prolonged the  Great Depression by years. Witness the brith of the welfare state under him and LBJ. Lack of regulations? Not a chance and if anything these new regulations are being written by the industries that they are meant to regulate. (Goldman Sachs). Nothing good will come to this huge expansion and spending by government and if you think spending levels on elections are high now, wait a few years and see what happens.

  • Scott B, Jamestown.

    Why is it corporations can donate money, without regard as to what their employees and shareholder might wish, but unions have had umpteen laws passed that makes it hard for them to do similar without getting permission from individual members for any issue they might object to.

    • notafeminista

      Was that before or after the AFL-CIO donated 35 million to Candidate Obama in 2008.

      • Scott B, Jamestown NY

         That was before the Supreme Court said that unions started having to jump through hoops to do things like collecting dues, having to dissect dues so individual members can opt to not have X-many cents go for something they disagree with, and others; and made corporations people. Yet those individuals within the “person” of the corporations, employees nor stockholders, don’t get that same right to say where corporate political contributions are spent. 

        The amount of money in politics alone is ridiculous, but this is hypocrisy.

        • notafeminista

          Only ridiculous when your guy stands to lose.  Even with 35,000 a plate fundraisers.  Talk about your limousine liberals.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      ANOTHER example of helping the GREEDY rich, and HURTING the working people?

  • Dfrenkel

    This is supposed to be a REPRESENTATIVE democracy.
    So only people with a right to vote for a candidate should be able to contribute to his/ her campaign, otherwise it is an effort to interfere with the implicit contract between citizens and their representatives.
    In the presidential election people can vote but corporatiins cannot. Corporations themselves are not a democracy and when their officers donate to a campaign they fail to respect some of their shareholdes wishes and they interefere in the process of selecting sineine to represent

  • Ellen Dibble

    One of the campaigns had a spokesperson Sunday morning saying that the collaboration that is disallowed between Superpaks and candidates only relates to nonmonetary issues.  The Superpaks can collaborate all they want on how to spend the money.  Say WHAT!?  So I’ll tell the campaign that the anonymous arm will pay for “owning the field” this month, and the campaign can pay its own way when it makes more sense?  When the ads are more useful when they have the candidate’s own John Hancock on them?  Hmmm.

  • GMG

    I disagree with the last caller about electing judges.  This just leads to more of the same politically popular but ineffectual tough-on-crime practices that voters love, but that are turning our country into a police state.  Mob rule is not something we should encourage in the judiciary, and lifetime appointment helps to prevent the politicization of court rulings.

    • Steve_T

        lifetime appointment helps to prevent the politicization of court rulings.

      Really, you believe that? OMG

  • Salzburg

    Having personally experienced the countries that limit campaigning to only three months before the elections. I highly recommend it. The atmosphere is so much better.

  • Cindycb

    Brenda from Texas – right on!
    Corporations as individuals… soon who will be running this country – I love Google but no way! So we started with George and if we’re lucky we’d end up with some entity like Google!Secondly, I feel like the Supreme Court is bought just as our Congress has been.Time to make the vote still about the people! Corporations and other organizations can lobby, not purchase, their needs and views within regulated, reasonable laws — and that’s enough.

    • ClemMo

       Absolutely the wrong approach for dealing with this cancer.  Why should they be allowed to lobby?  Only real people or groups of them should be allowed to approach a congressman like that.  There are millions of political workers who live around DC and who need to experience unemployment instead of their present affluence because their profession is a huge part of the problem, and it will only snowball itself given any opportunity.

  • Steve_T

    Caller Brenda Hit the nail on the head. I hope she was heard as a person concerned for the direction of the country, and I hope more begin to think like her. We need to do something yesterday. After this all plays out in the end we the people, will have made our choice….. Or will it be made for us?

  • Ellen O’Neall Waite

    Citizens’ United decision equating corporate speech and money
    with individual speech and money still makes no sense to me because corporate
    choices for expenditures pass through votes of multiple individual humans by
    virtue of corporate governance rules.  There
    can be and are dissenting voices that get obscured and lost along the way to a corporate
    decision.  Also worth remembering that direct
    election of Senators was finally added to the Constitution in 1914 by the 17th
    amendment in part because of heavy money influence on legislative appointments in the past 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001436729213 Wes Nickerson

    The way things are now, the candidates with the most money have the most speech. This situation is fundamentally unfair and unequal. One way to create fair, equal elections would be for each candidate to receive equal money for their campaigns through public financing of elections. That way the candidates can be judged on their merits, rather than giving preference to the one with the loudest voice.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Levinthal ended the hour by pointing to a new possibility for people to donate by Twitter.  To me, this is fiendish.  It allows for almost instantaneous manipulation.  So a campaign puts out an ad, or a photo moment, a statement on this or that, and they want to know how it plays?  They look at Twitter donations.  And once they have a donation at time X, they know not only (I believe) where you are “at” in the twitter world, how to reach you; they also know what particular moment in time you were moved to issue your support.  They might conclude that people who play video games on line, especially those in such and such a state, are going to be on board when we play ads that feature gun control.  Something like that.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      VERY GOOD OBSERVATION, Ellen!

  • Hillarion

    What’s fundamentally going on is one part of a whole set of activities that is reversing the (presumed) progress of civilization. We are DE-civilizing ourselves. It’s a great shame, because it’s taken centuries to reach where we recently have been.

    There is no law that says corporations are people, as Thom Hartmann pointed out his book _Unequal Protection_. The concept came from a headnote (opposite of a footnote).

    I used to have considerable respect for the Supreme Court. I have lost almost all of it, and I’m surely not alone.

    Perhaps Winston Churchill’s saying applies, to the effect that Americans come up with the best solution after trying everything else. I really don’t look forward to increasing corruption and its consequences. Assuming our society doesn’t go into the political equivalent of anaphylactic shock (or is it already there?), the eventual righting of the seriously-listing ship of state will come after misery that I hate to contemplate.

    I’m a bit over 3/4 century old, and won’t be surprised to see Social Security abolished. At this age, my likelihood of suffering for decades is lessened. Suffering, perhaps; decades, not likely.

    I have been saying for some time that Greed has become exalted — sacred. Book title: The Era of Sacred Greed.
    Now, I would add Sacred Hypocrisy to that rarefied category.

    Do we need to become the World’s Largest Banana Republic before the ship of state is on an even keel? (Or will the ship have sunk?)

    • Hillarion

       Sorry; minor goof; should be “pointed out in his book”.

      Previews, and ability to edit a recent post, are desirable features not found here, afaik.

    • Drew (GA)

      “Or will the ship have sunk?”

      I had something to say but it’s hard to speak when you’re underwater.

    • TomK in Boston

      That’s exactly right. The way I look at it, there was the gilded age of robber barons and financial casinos alongside sweatshops and extreme poverty in the early 20′th century, it led to the Great Depression, and we learned some lessons and built an amazing middle class society. I thought the changes we had made were permanent, but a new gang of oligarchs has arisen and they are stripping away all the gains and returning us to a gilded age of robber barons and financial casinos alongside sweatshops and extreme poverty. It’s shocking to me that history can repeat like that. 

      The only times on record when the income of the 1% exceeded 23% of total income were 1928 and 2007. Inequality is the best leading indicator of a major crash. It’s astounding that with inequality at such extreme levels the right is obsessed with the threat “redistribution” of income from the top to anyone else. The only redistribution that has been going on is the flow of every cent held by the middle class to the romneys.

      I have no respect for this Extreme Court. It’s time to think about impeaching roberts and scalia.

      As someone said, I’ll consider that corporations are people when texas executes one.

  • http://pushkin2.pip.verisignlabs.com/ Eugene

    Anonymous donation for political causes leaves open a possibility that it is done on behalf of foreign governments. The same applies to donations by corporation, which could be conduits for foreign influence: they could be owned by foreign governments and individuals and managed by foreigners. This creates a loophole for wealthy foreign governments (China, Russia, etc.) to influence political landscape in the US.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Good!  Someone else sees it!

    • Greg

      There is no question that foreign entities are buying up the 2012 elections.

      The newly “elected” U.S. government will be illegitimate come the day after Nov 6th 2012.

      • Pagassae

        Can you say:  CHINA?

    • usgrant1863

      This is a problem. I haven’t fully resolved how to protect the confidentiality of citizens while effectively barring contributions from foreign nationals. We have the exact same problem in the voting booth. How do you exclude those not legally permitted without some burden on citizens. Good point and an unresolved issue.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    INTERESTING!  Someone is so scared of my comments, that they are erasing some of them?

    • Steve_T

       You are not alone.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        I wondered if it was happening to others!

        • Drew (GA)

          Might not be being erased, might just be rearranged and not showing up where you’d expect them to be. The Almighty Disquss is both Wise and Mysterious.

          • Pagassae

            And frequently just broken.  Much like Hal.  haha

  • http://pushkin2.pip.verisignlabs.com/ Eugene

    A principal difference between donations made by private citizens (even the wealthy ones) and by corporations is that in the first case the person making decisions pledges his own money, in the second – a manager often pleads someone else’s (shareholders’) money. In fact, there is nothing that would prevent a manager to support a cause that is exactly opposite to the interests of the shareholders. For example, he can decide to fund a campaign to strip shareholders of their rights and give him more power to make decisions like that in the future. This is in addition to the fact, that a manager could be a foreigner who otherwise would not be allowed to influence election process in the US.

    • Worried for the country(MA)

       You can apply your corporation argument to unions.

      • nj_v2

        Oooo, unions. Booga booga!

        Sure, apply it to unions, too. Happy now? 

      • TomK in Boston

        Considering that corporations and oligarchs are on steroids and unions are on life support, that would be pretty silly. But I give you credit, Worried, you never miss a “false equivalence” talking point.

        • Pagassae

          You are exactly correct. “Worried for the country” is just a right wing bot, with never an original thought in its head. All it knows is the Republican party line of BS, lies and propaganda.

        • Brothersower88

          Poodles are dogs.  Greyhounds are dogs.  We shouldn’t compare the dogs because one is faster than the other?

          What classifies them as dogs is not diminished by what distinguishes the bread.

          Similar comparisons could be made for unions and corporations. 

          Both are collective groups that have political aims and finances to influence politicians. Just because one currently does it better than the other doesn’t mean they should be classified differently. 

          Good regulation should cover all the dogs, not select breads.

        • Brandstad

          Unions have bankrupted the auto industry and progressives have bankrupted the US Federal Government.

          • Greg

            More like the criminal elite have bankrupted the federal government.

            16 trillion went to:

            Wars contractors and mercenaries

            Corporate welfare

            No corporate taxes being paid

            Lowest taxes ever for the rich

            Wall Street endless bailout

            Pharma drugs bought at the highest prices in the world

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Rick Waggoner, CEO of GM, that took it into bankruptcy, got Pay of $29 MILLION, AND BONE-US of $20 MILLION!   
                WHICH union members got a $29 MILLION per year Pay, AND a $20 MILLION BONE-US?

        • Greg

          You are so right. I didn’t have the exact right words for what “Worried” always says. But you hit the nail on the head.

          False equivalence.

        • William

          Unions are on anything but lifesupport. They will double down on their radical agenda and drive states like CA and Il off the cliff.

          • Zero

            Look at corporate profit to wage ratio, which is the same as right before the Great Depression, before labor unions got their power.  Look at CEO wages to middle income earners, which is around 385:1.  In Japan, it’s 10:1 because they have strong labor unions.  You need to look at numbers instead of listening to right wing propaganda.

    • Pagassae

      Exactly correct. I would like to know how much money CHINA is pumping into the US elections???

      Thanks to Citizens United, it is now entirely possible for this to happen. THE VERY DEFINITION OF CORRUPTION.

      • Greg

        China is laughing at the sheer corruption of the U.S. system. They can’t even beat that in China.

        You bet they are buying U.S. senators, congressmen and presidents.

        • Pagassae

          At last we agree!  History will record that an entire Nation was sold out by its supposedly democratically elected representatives.

          The Congress represents foreign money and Wall Street, and that is all. It is on the take, and bought. Nothing but paid for whores.

          Treason I say.With all that implies, and the harsh punishment it deserves.

  • Dee

    Re : The “backward thinking” of the Supreme Court…

    The Governor of Montana is absolutely correct when he called 
    The Supreme Court’s ruling on The Citizen United Case “back-
    ward thinking” by the court.

    It has been a disgraceful ruling ever since it was enacted in 
    2010 and it must be amended –as it makes a mockery out 
    of democracy. And as William Pitt, the Elder, the 1st Duke of Chatham pointed out in the 18th century:” Unlimited power is 
    apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it.” 

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Pitt,_1st_Earl_of_Chatham

    We have already seen this in the House & Senate under John 
    Boehner and Mitch Mc Connell during the reign of King George
    and his rip off artists and torturers in the CIA & FBI and Zion-
    ist Think Tanks in Washington and in the Pentagon. 

    Many like myself on the Left are still waiting for them and for senators like John McCain , Joe Lieberman and Jon Kyle to be taken out in CHAINS from their chamber offices for the misuse 
    and abuse of US tax payers monies to promote the illegal wars on Iraq and the expansion of that illegal war into Afghanistan, Liyba and now the Horn of Africa today. They are all part of the outlaw Bush/Cheney Administration which must be reined in today. 

    See the Harper’s Magazine column on this by Scott Horton…
    http://harpers.org/archive/2008/12/0082303

    Dee

  • usgrant1863

    I used to believe in disclosure until recent abuses of individuals based on their contributions in several campaigns, both by abusive opponents and by allies in government. The differential treatment of OWS and Tea Party (who are both suspicious of corporations’ influence over politicians) is a case in point. I now see a reason for ability to participate anonymously.

    Voters’ best campaign finance reform? Ignore negative advertising. It’s where the money gets spent. If it didn’t work the money wouldn’t be there. The negative advertising is almost universally unfair to the target’s rationale and motives.

    I’d feel better about campaign finance reform if it didn’t feel like jiggering the rules until politics produces the policy results desired by a particular world view. If it were only process and not outcome focused, campaign finance “reform” would be more persusasive, but I’m always conscious that the shoe will eventually be on the other foot.

    I find myself agreeing with the Supreme Court as my own view has evolved. Limiting money means rich candidates and media corporations are the only ones with the full set of tools. I don’t see why owning a printing press or broadcast station should set some corporations apart from others. Corporations and unions are aggregations of individuals. You can’t take assets away from corporations or unions without taking them from shareholders or members. The same seems true of speech.

    Campaign finance restrictions invite excessive governmental entanglement in the content of political speech. The very thing the Constitution seeks to prohibit.

    • GeneKruppaLives

       Thank you for the news from Bizarro World where money and power does not corrupt.

      • usgrant1863

        I am in fact a long time Democrat with a lot of public policy experience. Enough to realize the smart guys are not always right and that people accept decisions they make for themselves better than decisions imposed upon them.

        I do not have multiple personas. I happened to catch this section on the radio in the car. My full time job is unrelated and no one pays for my opinion or blogging. (Projection?)

        I fully accept that power corrupts, but I recognize that concentrating political speech power in government is far more corrupting than the free market of ideas.

        Make your case (ideally without the sophomoric name calling and ad hominem attacks) and be willing to lose. Democracy fundamentally depends upon the willingness to accept defeat. Take away people’s right to even make the case, and you also take away the legitimacy of the system.

        As a lawyer I know the shoe is eventually on the other foot. To mix metaphors, the pendulum swings. If you set rules to disadvantage the “enemy” whether Republicans, conservatives, or big bad corporations, there will inevitably come the day the same rules work to your disadvantage.

        I’m not rich. Grew up decidedly blue collar. But it seems to me there are plenty of rich Democrats and Republicans. Both sides have big funders as demonstrated by President Obama’s own abandonment of public financing. The annual game of trying to deny the other side money while preserving access to your own monied interests is gaming the rules to influence outcomes

        The beauty of the Constitution is it is process focused not outcome or policy focused. Process matters. I have no desire to empower government to regulate political speech and spending money to disseminate ideas is speech, no matter who is doing it.

        • RobertELee

           You are an excellent liar, but the two posts that agree with you were make by yourself none the less.

          • usgrant1863

            Believe what you want. It’s still a free country, thanks to US Grant and not the golden boy Lee. What you believe will not change objective reality.

            For every Soros there is a Koch. The money argument is a useless diversion. Both sides have monied friends. Let them argue, spend their money on ads, and make up your own mind. Blind followers are a plague on Democracy regardless of their party or nonparty.

          • RobertELee

             Well that didn’t refute a darn thing Tommy proposed.  Also you have a huge hole in your reasoning, you obviously are able to totally overlook the ability of the media to be used to subconsiously influence people.  Like it has continuously since W.Wilson hired Edward Bernaise’s firm to influence the population of Europe and then the big boys decided to turn their new wonder marketing techniques on America and the first humanitarian thing they did with it was manipulate women into smoking cigarettes as a symbol of independence and having their own little penisis.  Here is some information that your reasoning sorely needs.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgfCBWgsMf0

            By the way I agree with you about Grant and Lee.

          • TommyTomson676

            That doesn’t really matter. What matters is what he would say is wrong with have total campaign finance reform with absolutely no contributions form anyone, only government supplied air time on radio and TV given equally to anyone who gets enough names on a petition to run, the process of which would disallow anything but volunteers to collect the names, who are not paid to do it.  How can that be gamed usgrant?”

          • usgrant1863

            And can you define the edge of a campaign? Where does free speech stop and start? Is it campaign finance if I never say vote for Obama or against Romney? If the ad is all issue and no candidate? Defining this edge of regulatory reach was in fact the problem in Citizens United. Is it campaign finance if I buy a television station and select stories to support one candidate and defame another?

            Granting the power to government to criminalize speech seems uniquely unwise in a democracy.

            I realize both Tea Partiers and Progressives disagree with me on this (both demonize the influence of big money). I’m probably even in the minority. But I fear the cure of regulated political speech is worse than the disease.

            And P.S., you could set rules of petition to favor one party over another. As a Democratic organizer we have far more volunteers to mobilize early in election cycles. Set the number of petitioners high enough and early enough and you could effectively handicap Republicans and third parties.

          • Jam3eThree

             What a spurious straw-man of a case. If you haven’t noticed it is the very same people who both pushed Citizen’s United and have been using the media they own to speak with the power of a hundred million voices.  Who do you think owns the mass media? It wouldn’t be criminalizing speech it would be stemming the Tsunami of corruption that has infected everything. When one of the big boy’s hedge fund managers makes an anonymous donation in order to get legislation passed that screws everyone but his investors it isn’t free speech — it’s  a criminal act, it’s corruption.

            You are deeply confused.

        • Zero

          It’s not spending money to disseminate ideas; it is spending money to drown out other ideas. 

          If there is unlimited funds, a few dozen people are going to pick our politicians.  The richest will be able to pick who they want as republican and as democrat.  The likelihood that a liberal-progressive like FDR comes through the ranks is miniscule because he or she could be drowned out with advertizing for someone else.  Moreover, politicians have to bend their will to monied-interests, rather than trying to please everybody.  It is usurping political representation for the majority, making our voices as unequal as our wallets.  Democracy is also about having equal power of voice.  And yes, the Supreme Court is right: money equals speech, but those who have the most money get the most say, and that is the antithesis of the very things this country was founded own.

          This isn’t about Government regulating political speech.  The rich guy and the middle income earner both can donate $2,500 and have their voice heard.  This is about drowning out voices.   

        • Bruce

          “Both sides have big funders…[and indulge] the annual game of trying to deny the other side money…” implies a false equivalence that is simply not supported by the facts.

          Such right-wing populists as George Wallace also employed rhetoric with a faux “blue-collar” tone saying in effect that “there’s not a dimes worth of difference between the Dems and the GOP…”  He was wrong then, and his Tea Party heirs are no less disingenuous now. 

          Obama’s great fundraising success in 2008 was made possible for the most part by a campaign that garnered support from a huge number of small to medium size donors.  If you compare the profiles of Romney vs. Obama donors in the current campaign, Obama supporters are much less likely to come from the ranks of the 1%. 

          To date, depending on any one of numerous non-partisian sources you can find on the web, Romney has collected 3 to 7 times the amount of donations from corporations and super-rich individuals as Obama.  There is an especially wide disparity between Romney and Obama in receipts from the managers of hedge-funds and private-equity firms as well as Wall St. investment bankers with the most of their support not surprisingly going to Romney, the poster child of unregulated, vulture capitalism.

          No intelligent, unbiased observer can deny the corrosive effects that the super packs and a few eccentric billionaires have had, thus far, on our electoral process particularly at the state or district level, where a handful of plutocrats can dominate the media market and manipulate the voters as they did during the GOP primaries and the Wisconsin’s Gov. recall election.

          “Take away the peoples right to make the case, and you also take away the legitimacy of the system.”  Precisely…and corporations are not people, my friend, no matter what tortured logic or sophistry that you learned in law school informs your opinion. 

              
           

    • Conner44

       This is the most twisted rationalization I have ever seen.  It is truly
      laughable and does not even deserve deconstruction.  We will all just
      rely on the judgement of the American people to ignore negative ads. 
      What utter nonsense.  Campaign finance reform is “jiggling the rules” 
      This view is so twisted I don’t know where to start. So I won’t.  I will
      rely on the intelligence of the majority of the  OnPoint audience to
      realize what utter sophistry this is.  Well done sir you like Carl Rove
      are a genius at leaving reason behind in support of your adjenda.

    • Adrian from RI

      Usgrant1863 you are on the right track. I fully agree with the U.S. Supreme Court’s January 2010 ruling in “Citizens United v. FEC” that the government may not restrict political spending by corporations, labor unions and other organizations in candidate elections. It was a well reasoned decision in defense of Freedom of Speech without all kind of qualifiers. For an exhaustive analysis read “Citizens United and the Battle for Free Speech in America” at:
      http://www.theobjectivestandard.com/issues/2010-spring/citizens-united.asp

      • JamesMc44

         What do you want to bet that Adrian and Grant are really the same person and that Grants four likes are all given by himself?

        I will give you odds on it.

        • SuzyQ1234

           Is that possible?  I can only give one like for each message.

          • JamesMc44

             Do demonstrate I will give your above comment 9 likes.

          • SuzyQ1234

             Hmmmmm. . . .

          • JamesMc44

             He’s just another corporate sycophant — probably paid to spread their lies and infection.  Or else a seriously sick and egoistic puppy pulling a one man circle jerk.

          • JamesMc44

             DavieSix6 is the same person too.  In fact if anyone agrees with Grant, it is almost certainly only another personna he made up.  There is no limit to it.

          • SuzyQ1234

            What an incredible jerk!  Thank you for showing me this.

          • Conner44

             Yep, your are correct.  Now that you mention it, it is obvious from the post themselves that it is the same person.  I agree — what a jerk.

    • Davesix6

      usgrant1863 I Absolutely agree 100%.
      It seems to me the ruling by the Supreme Court recognizes that the 1st Amendment doesn’t just apply to the media and a select few special interest groups.
      It in effect allows for more points of view to be presented and lets the people decide what’s right.
      Something the left can’t stand!

    • JJJimmmanyC

       I hope your corporate masters do a claw back on your posting commission.  You have truly done their cause more harm than good.

  • Worried for the country(MA)

    $6B?  Crazy!

    Look at the positive side.  This is a $6B private stimulus.  Maybe it will help the economy (in at least 10 states).

    Personally, I believe a lot of this money is wasted.  I can’t remember ever being swayed by a campaign ad.

    • Ray in VT

      I’ve often wondered if anyone has done a good study as to the economic impact of all of this campaign spending.  One or two of our tv stations here are definitely raking in the cash these days.

      • Sam from New York

        It doesn’t help the TV stations. By law, the TV stations have to sell the air time at their lowest rates. They like it if there is enough spending to sell otherwise unused airspace, but when there is this much money involved, they buy up all the ad space at the lowest rate and the TV stations lose money.

    • Guest

      I can’t remember being swayed by a campaign ad either.  I wonder how many commenters on here would say that their vote will go to the candidate who spends the most money.

      • Sam from New York

        Campaign ads don’t usually sway voters. They do 2 things: 1) Positive ads drive up name recognition, which sways low information undecided voters. 2) Negative ads drive down turnout for the opposing candidate. Actually changing someone’s mind is rare and usually not the goal.

  • Zero

    I think Romney uses Just For Men, Touch of Grey.  He has the experience to know what he’s doing and still young enough to do it.  I guess.

    • Pagassae

      He has a staff to manage everything. Mr. Plastic needs as much help as possible.

  • Will

    How hard would it be to pass an amendment that says “The Bill of Rights only protects human beings” That seems like a reasonable statement and would stop the abuses of the Citizens United decision.

    • Drew (GA)

      I guess you didn’t hear the Supreme Court Ruling. The matter is settled as far as they are concerned. The highest court in the land has spoken.

      That’s how hard it would be, not to mention how expensive it would be.

      • Pagassae

        The real highest court in the land is the American people. The criminally corrupt Congress and the corporate controlled SCOTUS need a strong and bitter lesson of who is really in charge. So too does corporate America.

      • Zero

         I somewhat disagree.  I think if we can get the right wing to call harass there congresspeople, and the left wing to not be satisfied with the “Disclosure Act,” (which would slightly mitigate the damage, but perhaps prolong the problem my making it look somewhat acceptable) we can get a massive political movement against corrupting influences.

        The right wing most of all needs to realize that Citizen United also works against them.  They are constantly talking about entities like Unions and Corporations funding democrats.  But they are for Citizen United simply because the liberals hate it.  That’s the major problem with conservatives: they don’t really know where they stand on an issue, rather they build an identity against whatever liberals are for.  

      • Greg

        The court is a corporate/fascist court and should be impeached. 

    • Zero

      I think it is still ambiguous.  How about: Only individual, breathing human beings can contribute up to $2,500 (increasing with inflation) to the politicians political coffer once a term.  Only money from the politician’s political coffer can be spent on advertising on major mediums such as television and radio during election season.

      I think that’s pretty reasonable.  And the next step would be to eliminate lobbyist donations other than the $2,500 once a term.  

    • Roy Mac

      It would be easier–yet still excruciatingly difficult–to go to the heart of the issue and impeach, and convict, the 3 justices who have done the most egregious damage to our republic:  Scalia, Thomas, and Alito.  Scalia because he is such a self-righteous asshole and Thomas because he and his wife are such flagrant criminals.  Alito because I don’t like him and don’t think he’s any better than any other suck-up lawyer feeding at the public trough.  So there!

  • Drew (GA)

    It’s starting to get pretty crowded in this corner isn’t it people?

    You know, the corner we’ve been steadily herded into for the past thirty years. I’m afraid we’re going to be all out of room pretty soon.

  • Sam from New York

    Plausible language for a Constitutional Amendment: Congress and the States may place restrictions on the time place and manner of speech, including the use of money to amplify speech and particularly during the time period leading up to an election.

    Time place and manner restrictions are already allowed. This just changes the interpretation of the 1st amendment to be more consistent with the pre-Buckley v. Valeo era. It doesn’t actually alter the 1st Amendment itself.

  • Dee

    Addendum:  Re: The “backward thinking” of the Supreme Court 

    I should add the “backward thinking” by the Supreme Court 
    yesterday that went into upholding the racist Arizona Immig-ration Law of 2010. Where are the rights of the individual (s) upheld– over the Police state in this ruling also? 

    Or indeed, the case of “unreasonable searches” by the Police 
    in Strip Down cases based on heresay evidence by prison of-
    ficials a few weeks ago. 

    Or Indeed the Court’s striking down of Wisconsin union workers bargaining rights without even hearing from those workers in-
    volved to begin with? I recall Justice Stephen Breyer & Justice Sonia Sotomajor,& Ruth Bader Ginsberg being very upset by this…

    These are all Supreme Injustices against Americans civil Liber-
    ity by the Court’s Conservative members -and I predict people 
    will be in the streets with their GO NOW! signs for the justices 
    involved –like they did for Mubarak of Egypt….Dee 

     

  • Pingback: Media Roundup: Supreme Court Rules on Montana

  • SuzyQ1234

    You guys should look at JamesMc44s comments on Grants post.  Kind of scary but I am glad he exposed the jerk.

    • Conner44

      It does suck that someone can do this, but is is better to know about it than to be ignorant.

  • Dee

    No one should accept a Romney for President as his wealth 
    was built upon hanging the little guy out to dry….And the 
    Chapter 11 payments Bain Capital received from the govern-
    ment, plus the 14 % percent capital gains tax he received, 
    while people like myself had to pay 23–24% percent out of 
    my hard earned income…Dee

    • Worried for the country(MA)

       No one should accept an Obama for President as he presided over a federal government for 4 years with a budget while running up over $5T in new debt.  This debt is a legacy of criminal theft against our children and grandchildren…worried.

      See you in November Dee.

      • at

        The real legacy of criminal theft is what has been pulled on the American people over the past few decades.  Selling them out to the super rich by means of legislation.  The difference between the Dems and Reps is only a matter of scale.  The Republican will sell out the people much faster than the Dems.  It’s not that government is the problem, it’s that the corporate tyrants own the government; that has caused all the problems.  A vote for Romney is a vote for more deregulation of banking and more outsourcing, the end of any hope that the richest of the rich will ever pay a fair share, and further increase in the already absurdly bloated military.  If having a few nucs is good enough to protect N. Korea from the entire world, having devastating overkill should be enough to protect us, without all the million dollar per year per soldier deployments in which the only ones who win are CIA backed corporations.  Which are not beholding to our government or us because they are international, yet now rule our very nation by fiat of purchased laws.  Go on being blind to this and falling into their trap of divide and conquer if you want, but more and more people are seeing this, and see Obama as the lesser evil and know we need the time to organize against this evil corporate influence that he will  afford us but Romney will not.  Romney will move fast, like Bush did, and screw everything up for decades to come — except for the most wealthy and their sycophant lapdogs feed off these parasites.  The parasites of the parasites and the deluded — that is Romney’s popular base.

        • Zero

           I don’t know dude.  Allowing banks to have (continue) dark markets, little to no consumer protection would cause mass prosperity.  I also think that if we only made the rich slightly more rich (perhaps, give them enough for another summer home), then we will have lots of high paying jobs with great benefits.  Not to mention, a war with Iran would be a huge boast to our economy.  I know they have weapons of mass destruction, I know it, I have no empirical evidence, but I know it. 

          • at

             lol — yep there is nothing better for the economy than producing expensive stuff and destroying it.  It is obviously a better investment to produce an 18 million per copy helicopter and then have is wrecked or shot down or just junked when the 35 million dollar one comes along, than putting that money into infrastructure or education or research or the exploitation of space.
            You know how many people think that war is good for the economy?  Exactly as many who don’t understand that it was the spending itself that got us out of the great depression, not the spending on a war.

          • Zero

            Yeah seriously, republicans like to say that it was WWII that got us out of the depression, but they ignore the fact that the war effort was a nationalized manufacturing project. 

          • TFRX

            I have just a bit to add on:

            Everything the government built with a bronze plaque or cornerstone reading “193X” paid dividends for decades to follow.

            And the multiplier effect for military spending is dwarfed by that of domestic construction.

            Remember when righties used to care about the infrastructure?

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Like the National Defense and Interstate Highway System?
               Is that the last time the ‘right’ did the right thing about infrastructure?

        • William

          Obama has pretty much made your statments a mute point with his strong endorsement of the MB in Egypt.

          • URAnIdiot

            Oh he is really a secret Moslem sent by the Iranians to undermine America.  That’s why he is so trigger-happy when it comes to killing terrorists and anyone around them.  It’s all just a ruse, he really had Osama bundled away to a secret resort — that’s why he wasn’t arrested.

          • Bryan

            “Moot,” not “mute.”

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jane-Anderson/1485469902 Jane Anderson

        Isn’t it strange how Republicans all of a sudden became so good at math AFTER Bush turned our surplus into a deficit?

        • notafeminista

          Stranger yet is the only defense of President Obama is that the other guy did it.  The other guy the Left spent 7 years denouncing as stupid, slow-witted and inflexible.   Is that really what you are saying?

          • TFRX

            I don’t know what others say, but it’s hard to miss how the right just clammed up when Shrub was blowing a hold in the budget and not submitting a single balanced budget during a five-year economic expansion.

            Things were looking up for the rich, and on average, median income for Americans did squat, and the silence from the right and in our Beltway press was deafening.

            Unless you have a pile of links to your efforts at, say, FoxNation or Pajamas Media from then you’d like to show us. Until then you’re just another rightie who can’t be bothered to check about a right-winger’s “fiscal conservatism” because it’s simply their birthright to be believed as such.

          • notafeminista

            It’s worse yet to watch the Left clam up when they see their guy doing exactly and precisely (only more of it) the same things the inflexible, dumber than dirt Texan did. Right?  Isn’t that how the Left referred to President Bush?  I don’t hear you disagreeing on that particular point.  And then hear them say, “Well….President Bush did it, so therefore it’s okay.”

            Don’t you get it?  President Obama was marketed and sold as being smarter, faster and better than the Republicans.  How come it is then, not only this administration not better than the previous one, but significantly worse.  Nothing has worked.  We needed the money from the Recovery Act to bring shovel ready jobs and lower unemployment below 8%.  Hasn’t happened.  Guatanemo Bay.  Still open.  Troops out of Iraq for the most part, due to a plan agreed to by President Bush before leaving office.  (Don’t hear anyone talking about that much, but people are sure willing to lay that Recovery Act business on him). 

            President Obama won.  And it’s time for him (and his base) to start accepting the responsibility for his record that began Jan 20, 2009.   No President inherits anything.  President Obama, like the 43 presidents before him, applied for, and was accepted for this job.  Period.

          • TFRX

            Every bit of your complaining about “broken promises” holds water like a sieve. You didn’t give a crap about these things when Shrub did them, we don’t want to hear them now.

            Many things that are half-measures (thanks, obstructionist righties) have worked better than you and your media puke funnel can stand to admit, simply because you are determined to take down the country to defeat one man.

            And as Pew and other reputable pollsters have shown this month, people still blame Bush for running the country’s economy off the rails.

          • notafeminista

            Mr. Bush isn’t president anymore.  Whether or not he did these things should now be irrelevant because the brilliant, non-partisan Harvard Law Review editor and occasional Consitutional instructor is now in office.  He was marketed (and sold) as being better than the previous administration.  WHY isn’t he and his administration behaving as such?

        • Worried for the country(MA)

          First, I’m not a GOPer.

          I wanted to throw something at the TV when I heard Cheney say “deficits don’t matter”.

          • TFRX

            No, you’re a right-winger.

            Whatever.

            Nobody on the right could spell “deafasitt” when Shrub was in office. Now everyone who says “I was screaming bloody murder about it at the time” is miraculously on this board.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jackwilco Jack Wilcock

    Tax all political contributions above $100 at 90%. The corporations and large contributors would then directly fund our government that they hope to own.

    • Greg

      That won’t work. The corporations are buying our government for a very small amount of money for what they get back from the laws being written to benefit them.

      I read that the money spent by Wall Street to lobby Washington in the last few gave them a return of over 2500%.

      It is the smartest and easiest way for them to make money. 

      Spend a tiny amount on Washington and reap hundreds of billions of dollars because of it.

  • Jeff, Columbus OH

    My big question is this: If the big donors want to contribute all that money, so be it.
    But why do they also claim the “right” remain anonymous if they are so sure that their ideas will win in the marketplace of ideas. If that’s how they feel, they shouldn’t be afraid for us little people to know who they are.

  • at

    I kind of like that photo. The Romney persona with the fake smile (no big wrinkles at the corners of his eyes = fake smile) yet over his shoulder is a more accurate illustration of his true character (the guy with the sunglasses who has his back).
     

  • Jason Gonzales23

    Real oversight not to have Lawrence Lessig on this show. His book Republic Lost makes the most compelling argument for campaign finance reform I’ve heard.

  • feettothefire

     This may sound blasphemous to most people, but what I’d really like to see is repeal of the fourteenth amendment, to be replaced by a constitutional amendment requiring citizens who wish to vote in federal elections to take a civics/American History test in order to gain the PRIVELEDGE to do so. It would be taken at the age of eighteen, and perhaps every ten years thereafter. It’s always been puzzling to me that immigrants wishing to become naturalized citizens are required to know more about this country than most Americans do. Entrusting the sacred duty of the vote to a bunch of dolts who think the Constitution is just an old ship in Boston is ridiculous. I believe very strongly in protecting our rights as citizens, but this is one I’ve always thought far too important to grant simply because of an accident of birth. At least it would remove from the process some of the dummies so easily impressed by political ads.

    • John

      I might help more if we were not constantly attempting to slash humanities budgets in secondary and higher education.

  • Brandstad

    How can Obama have any supporters left when he waisted the 2 years that he controlled all branches of government?  

    Obama likes to forget that time period because if any voter thinks a little about it, they know that durring that point of his presadency the only reason he didn’t get everything he wanted to accomplish durring his presadency was a result of his own lack of leadership with the Democrats that controlled the other branches of government.

    • jimino

      Putting aside for now the fact that the Dems never controlled the Senate given the unprecedented use of its filibuster rule by the Reps, what did Obama really want to accomplish that he didn’t? 

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jane-Anderson/1485469902 Jane Anderson

      Nope.  Wrong.  Everything was filibustered in the senate.  Remember a simple majority is not enough in the senate.

      • Worried for the country(MA)

         They were filibuster proof until Ted Kennedy croaked.

    • Pagassae

      I support Obama. I would not vote for Romney or any of the Republican liars in 10,000 years. Only a fool would!

  • at

    What the Mormons believe is really funny, and scary if you consider the consequences.  Black people are black because they didn’t stand with God against Lucifer etc.  You know, the same group of people who use to dress up like Indians and slaughter wagon trains on their way to Oregon, and steal their supplies. The highly moral Mormons.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKqqGX0DEMM&feature=related

    Do you really want the first non-Christian president in such troubled times?  Especially one who thinks that he will become a God and that God is a physical human who lives on another planet?  Haven’t the nuts on the Christian right been bad enough for  you?
     

    • Ray in VT

       I would agree that the LDS believe some things that, to me, are very strange, but, then again, being an atheist, I can say that about every faith.  I would take issue with calling them non-Christians, because I think that they do believe in Jesus, although perhaps with some different messages.

      Their historical views of blacks, who could not be brothers until 1979 (I think), and Native Americans, who God turned red after falling into idolatry sometime around 1000 C.E., are pretty bad, but the main branch of the LDS abandoned those racial views, as far as I know, years ago.  The Mountain Meadows Massacre is another dark mark upon the faith, but we can hardly blame the current adherents for that past crime.

      I have known a few Mormons, and they have all been very nice, hard working people, although most of them have been rather socially awkward.  I am far more concerned with Mr. Romney’s social and political views than his religious ones.  Granted the religious ones often can and will inform the other two types that I mentioned.

      • ColonelClink

        “Charlie don’t surf” and Mormons can’t dance.

        I wonder if the old white male hierarchy are such nice people?  Reports of how they treat their own, and those who attempt to leave them, suggest otherwise.  I go with -at- in that, if informing the Christian voters about how totally at odds Mormonism is with the authentic forms of Christianity will stop them from voting for Romney then the wanna-be emperor’s magic underwear must been shown for what it is.  Lies and illusions slathered on a powerful but erroneous economic and social vector.

      • Brothersower88

        There are some critical theological divisions between Mormons and Christians which necessitate Mormonism to be a seperate religion.

        Mormons don’t hold to accepted views in their trinitarian theology, christology, and pneumatology.  There are other limiting factors, but these already seperate them from the religion of Christianity.

        I agree that they could be great people, and I admire their faith; however, it would be a mistake to say they fall under the umbrella of Christianity.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=543257090 Suzanne Rahm

    The state of Montana passed a law in 1912 that reflected and corrected ingrained corruption. They knew that the copper barons were buying influence.  They stopped that by passing a law that prevented corporations from donating money to candidates.  And it has worked for 100 years.  It is a model that should be replicated on the federal level. 

    With the court decision overthrowing this law, the country now faces the prospect of they type of corruption that Montana faced, but without the “face” to it!  Montanans knew that it was the copper companies that were corrupting the system.  Superpacs operate without transparency.  We have no way of knowing who is buying and selling our lawmakers.

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

    DEMOCRACY vs THE MARKET

    Lost in this discussion is the basic distinction between democracy and the
    market. Democracy is often described as a marketplace of ideas… and the market
    is often described as a place where consumers vote with their dollars. But these
    descriptions confuse the real distinction between the two.

    In democracy each citizen’s voice, their vote, weighs the same…
    and they have that vote merely because they are citizens, regardless if they are
    penniless. It’s the reason the political Right, which has a minority agenda to
    protect the interests of money, inherently distrusts democracy.

    They’ve just never trusted the rabble. This is a tradition in the US where the
    Senate was, in Madison’s words, created to protect “minority of the opulent”.

    In the market money rules and those with the most money have the
    biggest influence. Those without money have no “vote”. This is why the Right
    inherently loves the market.

    What the Right wing members of the USSC have done with Citizens United is
    made our already defective political democracy even more dysfunctional. For them
    the constitutional protections of wealth were not enough. They are not content
    unless the rich rule… where our democracy is just another commodity for those
    with money to buy. This is why we see the biggest defenders of Citizen United,
    predictably, are on the Right. And if that’s not despicable enough, they
    actually want those who are corrupting our system to have legal anonymity.

    • TheSanePeople

       long time — no see

      welcome back

      • ulTRAX

        Thanks! I’d be debating politics all day if I had as much free time as the Right wingers here. Oh, but then some of them get paid to post!

    • notafeminista

      But opulent was not a distinction between the so-called haves and have-nots.   Madison was making a distinction between federal and state governments.   Neither should have more power than the other.

      • ulTRAX

        As usual, you have no idea what you’re talking about. Here’s more of
        Madison’s quote and he is CLEARLY talking about using the government to protect
        the interests of wealth: In England, at this day, if elections were
        open to all classes of people, the property of landed proprietors would be
        insecure. An agrarian law would soon take place. If these observations be just,
        our government ought to secure the permanent interests of the country against
        innovation. Landholders ought to have a share in the government, to support
        these invaluable interests, and to balance and check the other. They ought to be
        so constituted as to protect the minority of the opulent against the
        majority. The senate, therefore, ought to be this body; and to answer these
        purposes, they ought to have permanency and stability.

        • notafeminista

          You just refuted yourself.  Did you read the entire quote?

          “Landholders ought to have a share in the government to support these invaluable interests and to balance and check the other.”

          In other words, so one doesn’t have more power than the other.

          • ulTRAX

            Thanks for
            that shameless Orwellian rewrite of your own claims. But then that’s what I
            expect from you. Madison is clearly NOT talking about states as YOU
            first claimed. Here are your words again: 

            But opulent was not a distinction between the so-called haves
            and have-nots.   Madison was making a distinction between federal and
            state governments.   Neither should have more power than the other.

            Suddenly, and without having the integrity to retract your false claim, you
            AGREE WITH ME while pretending I somehow got it wrong. Madison is talking about
            building CLASS interests into the very fabric of the Constitution as I said.

            What was my original statement? That a distrust of the rabble is a tradition in
            the US. Claiming the Senate was to represent States, as we learned in 4th
            grade, placed an acceptable veneer on the rationale for the Senate. People then
            were not meant to see the actual minutes of the Constitutional Convention. only
            the official rationale in the likes of the Federalist Papers.

          • notafeminista

            What part of “check and balance” is that you are incapable of comprehending?

          • ulTRAX

            I LOVE it…
            you’re offering now a revised version of your already revised history!

             

            Bottom line, if
            you can’t make a point without gross distortions of what you’re already on
            record claiming, then you really haven’t made a point… have you Fluffy? The
            issue was NEVER whether there would be check & balances, but WHO would be
            offered that ability in the Constitution. You originally claimed it was 
            the States, NOT the wealthy. Then you changed your mind and said it was the
            wealthy but that I was still somehow wrong. And now you’re rewriting your own
            history AGAIN!

            At times like this, when someone’s SO out of touch with reality… any hope of
            a retraction… is hopeless. And no, a retraction means nothing to me since I
            know you have no integrity. A retraction is for YOUR sake… to prevent yourself
            from making a fool of yourself again… and again… and….
             

             

    • feettothefire

       Madison’s words from more than two centuries ago aside, I still fail to understand the insistence of so many who claim powerlessness to be the default position of the majority of Americans. It was the majority of Americans, at least those who bothered to vote, who booted Jimmy Carter from office after only one term. It was also the majority of voters who  booted  George H.W. Bush, another one term president. Historically,  Roosevelt/Truman  to  Eisenhower  to  Kennedy/Johnson   to  Nixon/Ford  to  Carter  to  Reagan/Bush  to  Clinton  to  Bush  to  Obama, seems like a pretty good ability of the American public to affect change, at least in the executive branch of government. Claiming impotence for the millions of citizens with the ability to affect change through the considerable power of the vote, because the landed gentry  has more influence makes no sense. Claiming that money helps those in positions of power and privilege because everyone else lets that be the case is a much more apt case to make. The Founding Fathers at least pretended to value a “well informed public.”  No public that can be so easily manipulated by the presence of money in the political process can be called “well informed.”                                                                      The “occupy movement” is attempting to bring change. In my opinion, they’re doing a lousy job of it. Instead of blaming the lazy general public, aka, the “99″, many of whom don’t bother to vote at all let alone inform themselves, they blame the 1% who are laughing at them all the way to the bank. They’re laughing because they know no matter how many “Occupiers” man the front lines, far more of the 99% are more interested in Kim Kardashian, “America’s Got Talent”, and “Fifty Shades of Assorted Crap.”                            

  • Pagassae

    The picture of Romney sums it up pretty well:

    THE FACE OF BIG MONEY. Total fraud.

    • notafeminista

      Except its only half the story.  Romney ain’t the fraud.

      • Pagassae

        Wrong. Romney IS the fraud. Have you been asleep for the past year? Are you an amnesiac too???

        • notafeminista

          Romney isn’t a fraud.  And fraud isn’t your grump or you would not be supporting President Obama’s re-election campaign. 

          You’re bad because Romney is rich.  And you don’t like wealthy people.

          • notafeminista

            *you’re mad.  …editor has a head cold.

          • Greg

            Romney is rich because he bought companies with borrowed money, raided their pensions and closed them down.

            Then he put his money in offshore accounts in the Cayman Islands and in secret Swiss Bank accounts.

            Then he paid a 14% rate and less in taxes although most middle class people pay a much higher rate.

            Romney is the worst of the worst, a criminal elite.

          • Pagassae

            EXACTLY!

          • TFRX

            Romney’s dad was also well-off. Don’t forget how much a leg up that gives one.

            But George Romney became rich paying the kind of tax rates that some people here insist would impoverish Mitt Romney.

            Funny, that.

          • Pagassae

            One of your daily delusionals. How do you know that I am not rich?  To some people I am. DUH.

            I have nothing against the rich as long as they earn their money honestly, as I did. And not by screwing others to get it…as ROMNEY and BAIN have done. And are still doing. 

            Why does patriot Romney keep money overseas???  Why did he dodge the draft? Why did he OUTSOURCE jobs and put the companies he bought into bankruptcy? Why did he steal the penisions of those he left with nothing?

            YOU CANNOT HONESTLY ANSWSER ANY OF THESE QUESTIONS WITH A STRAIGHT FACE.

          • notafeminista

            Sure I can. 

          • Terry Tree Tree

            HOW STUPID!  GREEDY rich, who LUST after the power of money, YES!  Rich people, NO, most of us would like to be rich, IF we could get rich, WITHOUT stealing from, scamming,lying to, abusing,  defrauding, or stabbing someone else in the back, to get it!
               What sane person would ‘envy’ those low-lifes?
               Your continued comments that EVERYONE ENVIES the GREEDY rich, with the repulsive ways they get and keep money and power, is nauseaous!

      • Zero

        Anybody who goes around saying he follows the principles of Adam Smith and then turns around and says he is for things that Smith was against is a fraud. 

        • notafeminista

          Tell me which of Adam Smith’s principles our current President finds appealing.

          • Alan in NH

            besides the point, isn’t it? Since when are Adam Smith’s principles, whatever they are, a litmus test; but if one claims them as one’s own and then acts differently, shouldn’t one question the veracity of that person? And I don’t recall Obama making such a claim…

          • Zero

            First off, it is Romney who goes around saying he wants to follow the principles of Adam Smith, not Obama.  But Obama certainly agrees with Smith about corporate personhood and unions and too big to fail. 

            Romney constantly alludes to Smith, but he constantly twists him up.  For example, Romney said that closing loopholes would increase market competition driving up wages.  That is straight out of Smith, but Smith says that the evenness of businesses would drive down product costs which is true, but it has nothing to do with labor wages.  Smith says quite clearly that unions give bartering power to the majority, which allows them to drive up wages.  This is self-evident.

            Romney is the hypocrite who takes advantage of the right wings lack of education.  Go read Wealth of Nations.

    • Brothersower88

      You should check the donations from both candidates before saying something like this. 

      Both parties have huge donators in their corner.

      • Pagassae

        I am not blind to the reality. However, I believe that Romney is incompetent, and a liar, a vulture capitalist, a draft dodger and more.

        Obama is clearly the better choice, as flawed as he, and the process, is.

  • dmorris

    Disclose, disclose, disclose.  Who is behind the Super-PAC ads and what is their influence in local, state, federal government?

  • Worried for the country(MA)

     Daylight is the best disinfectant for bigotry.

    IMHO you can take your bigotry somewhere else.

  • Bryan

    The fact that we need to
    debate in the first place whether the Citizens United decision does or does not
    harm our democracy is a clear indication of the woeful state of politics today.  Brad Smith’s insistence – in the face of
    mounting evidence to the contrary – that unlimited corporate spending does not lead
    to corruption is flabbergasting.  What
    response could a person of good will have other than to say, as Fred Wertheimer
    did, that one completely disagrees?

     

    Money buys influence, pure
    and simple.  If that weren’t the case,
    then why would corporations and wealthy individuals bother to make such large
    contributions and create such expensive campaign ads in the first place?  As far as the ads go, as Wertheimer pointed
    out, the notion in the Citizens United case that corporations have the same “free
    speech” rights as individuals to run such ads is without precedent.  Smith does not seem to appreciate this point.  His glossing over the evidence of corruption
    flowing from the Supreme Court’s decision reminds me of those in “The Emperor’s
    New Clothes” who insisted on denying what was plainly before their own eyes.

  • TomK in Boston

    Corporate profits as share of economy:

    http://i1217.photobucket.com/albums/dd392/gtimes7/corporate-profits-as-percent-of-gdp.png

    Wages as share of economy:

    http://i1217.photobucket.com/albums/dd392/gtimes7/wages-to-gdp.png

    That sums up our problem pretty nicely. Seems to me that Unions are needed more now than at any time since the dark days of the 30s. I’m afraid all those fights will have to be fought again, if we want to keep a middle class.

  • Obi

    Is it a coincidence that the supreme court let go of control of campaign financing right after Obama got elected?? 

    • JGC

      True, but  Obama also let go of campaign financing before he was elected. Right? Didn’t he abstain from public financing at the start of his race?

      I think there should be a limit on how much a campaign can spend. 

  • MCN

    Public corporations use public money to further the agenda of the board or CEO
     

  • MCN

    If commercial and other forms of big money was not anonymous, the public would be able to understand the interests behind the message.

    Combine anonymity with modern expertise in manipulating people’s reactions, and it you have what we have today.

  • Houston

    If Corporations are now considered “people” then under the definition of a “Corporation” are they also, now responsible, and legally liabel for what they do (i.e. Board of Directors)
    Why are they permitted to have *both* sides of this corporate protections related argument….they should now be on point, and on the hook for being sued, and going to jail, too… 

  • Wh Fincke

    My comment here is a repeat of one made on 5/30/12 by JS in SD to the following news program.
         Former Justice Predicts Cracks in Citizens United Decision   By NBC’s Pete Williams
              http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/05/30/11969505-former-justice-predicts-cracks-in-citizens-united-decision#c66631180
         To me, it is an EXCELLENT campaign finance reform proposal that really makes sense.  Having been posted publicly, I presume it is OK to repeat it here.  I have organized it in outline form for more clarity, but none of the words have been changed.
    COMMENT
    JS in SD      #1.12         Thur.,  5/30/12  (1:11 AM)         19 Votes
    1) The law needs to be changed so that only those eligible to vote in an election can give to candidates in that election.
         a) In other words, only those who are legal residents that are eligible to vote in a given state can donate to candidates in statewide elections such as senators, governors, etc.
         b) By the same token, only those that reside in a given congressional or state assembly or state senate district can give to candidates in those elections.
    2) The same should apply to ballot measures or initiative. Only those eligible to vote on those items should be allowed to donate.
    3)  The same would go to national elections, only those eligible to cast a vote for president can make a donation to a presidential candidate.
          a)  This will take all of the big money from corporations and outside interests out of politics.
          b)  No more corporate money, no more union money, no more special interest groups – only people eligible to vote get to make contributions.
    4) Also, candidates would not be allowed to use their personal wealth to fund their campaigns beyond the personal donation limit.
         a) This would keep wealthy people from trying to buy elections the way Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman did in CA (where I should point out that both failed in their attempts).
     
    ANOTHER ALTERNATIVE would be to have all campaigns financed with public funds.
    1) Anyone who gets enough valid signatures on petitions to have their names placed on primary ballots would get a set amount of money to spend in the primary election.
    2) Then the winners of those primary elections would get a set amount to spend in the general election campaign.
         a) If there is no primary involved then anyone who gathers the required signatures and meets the requirements to have their names on the general election ballot would get a set amount of money for their campaign.
         b) Money would not be able to be carried over from a primary campaign to a general election campaign. This would keep those who have no challenger in a primary from saving that money to outspend their opponents in the general election.
    3) In addition, like in the alternate proposal above, candidates would be precluded from using their personal wealth to supplement the pubic funding.
     
    Either of these systems would level the playing field allowing average citizens to have a realistic chance at getting elected. No one would be able to use their connections to wealthy individuals or personal wealth to give them a big monetary advantage in the elections.

    • Houston

      Excellent!

      • Pagassae

        Ditto.

  • feettothefire

        Further down on this board, the conversation has drifted into the usual discussion of Obama’s failures  vs  Bush’s failures. Mostly it seems to involve issues concerning the economy. Here are a few  simple questions from someone who believes no president has, or ever has had, the kind of power to steer the economy many here believe they posses. Why won’t the liberals here who believe that the president CAN effect the economy admit that Obama has done a really lousy job of it? Why were the conservatives who also believe in the power of the presidency to control economic matters, and who love to criticize Obama for his performance, so silent when Bush was mucking it up with annual deficits and a big whopper of a meltdown? How does anyone who failed to criticize Bush’s deficits get to criticize Obama’s deficits without coming off as simply partisan?  It’s very hard to take seriously, people who will gladly criticize the actions taken by one president after having been silent when a previous president did the same things. It’s equally difficult to be impressed by those who will criticize the economy of a previous president, while not taking issue with the lousy performance of the current president? At least try to be consistent.                                        

    • JustSayin

       Partisan politics is just a form of secular religion. They have their fervent faiths and hatreds of the ‘other’. Their unassailable doctrines of truth that must be protected, from the immoralities of freedom.

      To embrace rationality and useful public discourse seems an irrational act, and held in contempt by the the party system acolytes. Irrationality is required for faith in a propaganda system driven by a overt fascist oligarchy bent on mind control.

      There is a reason rational people have abandoned party politics. Rational people don’t argue with the faithful, because it hints at solidity of the beliefs in extremism.

      “Speaking the Truth in times of universal deceit is a revolutionary act.” – George Orwell.

    • Gregg

      Bush added $4T of debt in 8 years and Obama called him “unpatriotic” then added $5T in 3 years. They are hardly the “same things”. But how on earth can you possibly say Conservatives were silent? They threw out Congress in 2006, the President in 2008 and the Tea Party began to coalesce. Conservatives were outraged. Now it’s an order of magnitude more dire. What is the basis for your comment?

      Certainly things happen the President has little control over like bubbles expanding and bursting, terrorist attacks, world recession and natural disasters. But there are tons of things a President does that affect the economy greatly. He sets the agenda and signs the bills. He gets the credit and the blame.

      • TFRX

        You’re right in that they’re not the same things.

        Bush had a 5 year expansion and never came close to submitting a balanced budget. Obama saw more jobs created in 3+ years, much in recession, than Bush did in eight.

        Funny how when a Republican turns the car keys over to a Democrat the rig seems to always be in crappy shape.

        • Gregg

          The unemployment rate under Bush was around 5% for both terms. How many jobs did you expect him to add when 4% is considered full employment by many economist? What’s more impressive, finding a needle in a haystack or finding 100 in a needle factory? Your talking point is shallow.

          What’s a budget?

          • TFRX

            I’m not repeating anyone’s talking points.

            After the big recession which Shrub hung onto like a life preserver, he ended up creating very little in the way of employment. We barely broke even.

            Stop talking about “averages”. That’s how you drown; crossing a stream that “averages” a foot deep.

            Median income did squat during a five-year “expansion” during which nobody in Fox News or even what passes for the real media cared about the deficit.

            And a budget is something every right-winger gets credit for being fiscally responsible about, so much so that they never have to worry about balancing or reducing the deficit during an economic recovery. I’d give a shit about your opinions if I thought you cared about Bush doing so much less with so much more opportunity.

          • Gregg

            I thought you were talking about jobs created (or saved as Obama said to pad the numbers), excuse me. My point stands.

          • ulTRAX

             And pray tell, WTF did Bush do with the economic expansion? Did he THEN finally try to fulfill his promise to start paying down debt? Hardly. After the 2003 speed up of the 2001 tax cuts the on-budget deficit leaped to 567 BILLION in FY04 and the LOWEST it got was 342 BILLION in FY07. You accept the braindead argument the deficits were all because of spending even though in constant dollars, revenues were LOWER than Clinton’s last year for SIX YEARS.

            Are there any intelligent Right wingers out there?

      • feettothefire

         Certainly you’re not trying to claim that conservatives decided to give the Democratic Party control of Congress in 2006. I think Democratic voters and independents may have had a bit to do with that outcome. President Bush wasn’t thrown out by conservatives, either. Obama was voted in by Democrats and those same displeased independents. Bush wasn’t even eligible for another term. Don’t forget, there are Democratic and Independent voters who have at least some effect on election outcomes.                                   The basis of my comment lies in the fact that I wasn’t in a coma for eight years of the Bush presidency.  The Republican Party coalesced around the Bush presidency despite all the “liberal” policies it championed, just as the Democratic party has done with Obama, despite widespread disappointment with him. Of course Bush had conservative critics. Some of them spoke out loudly. My criticism above isn’t directed at them, anymore than it’s directed at liberals honest enough to be critical of Obama today. It’s directed at the vast majority of both parties who refuse ever to utter a peep of criticism of “their” man (or woman,) even when their own beliefs are at odds with what their man is doing. Please, o’, please don’t try to tell me that the majority of Republican conservatives were vocally critical of Bush’s economic policies during his eight years in office. As I said, I wasn’t in a coma.                                                             As to the issue of debt, if one believes it to be a bad thing, one criticizes it. It doesn’t matter if it’s 4 trillion, 8 trillion, 3 years or 8 years. Most Democrats won’t take issue with Obama’s debt increases, and most Republicans at the time, even if they were unhappy, remained mum about Bush’s. That giant brain Dick Cheny even declared, “Ronald Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.” Did he mean Republican deficits don’t matter but the next Democratic president’s will? I’m quite sure deficit spending adds to the national debt. Quite simply, I’m talking about critical integrity, EVERYONE’S critical integrity. You’re comparing presidents.

        • Gregg

          It wasn’t solely the spending in 2006 but that was a large part of it. Conservatives were outraged over expansive big spending government, certainly much more so than Dems are now with Obama. Not even close. Prescription drugs, the farm bill and “No child left behind” are examples. Conservatives were angry Bush was so willing to work with Democrats like Ted Kennedy who wrote NCLB. Other items like the Dubai ports deal, his immigration plan (more Kennedy) and the Harriet Meyers nomination caused a near revolt. Conservatives led the charge to defeat them all. I don’t know how much you were paying attention to right wing pundits at the time but I was. There was outrage big time. I don’t see that at all from today’s Democrats. I see the hypocrisy you describe.

          I don’t have the time nor inclination to dig up dated evidence but I’ll give you a couple examples on the debt issue. Also, keep in mind the last deficit controlled by Republicans in 2006 was $151B. Now a trillion would seem peachy, so I still say the outrage is more warranted now from both sides.

          Conservative consistency:
           http://www.humanevents.com/2005/12/20/us-debt-soars-on-bushs-watch/

          Liberal Hypocrisy:
          http://blogs.investors.com/capitalhill/index.php/home/35-politics/1372-paul-krugmans-breathtaking-hypocrisy

          • feettothefire

             Now THERE”S some honest criticism of a Republican president from a conservative thinker. Thanks for that. But I’ve already
             acknowledged the fact that Bush had his conservative critics. Perhaps he did have more than Obama has of liberal critics. But that’s usually the way it goes. Every president in my lifetime has had much more criticism from his own party after re-election than in his first term, since they no longer have to please their base in order to be re-elected. Johnson, Nixon, Clinton, Bush. Even Reagan’s popularity among Republican’s dipped for a while. I can easily guarantee you that the left will begin to tire of Obama’s presidency if he wins a second term, whether they want to or not. But, just as with Bush, the overwhelming majority of them will be silent. I think you and I simply disagree on what the term “big time” means. Your post above is the first lengthy, comprehensive list of what you consider to be Bush’s shortcomings I’ve seen from a Republican or a conservative in the seven months I’ve been coming here. I’m still waiting to see similar criticism of Obama from a dyed-in-the-wool liberal. Usually, what I see is more of the same kind of tit-for-tat oneupsmanship you and TFRX are already engaged in below. My original comment, which began this particular thread and concerned the lack of consistency in political criticism, has devolved in a mere TWO replies into the usual “Bush was worse than Obama,” “No, your crazy. Obama’s worse than Bush.” TWO replies. That’s ridiculous.

          • feettothefire

             Democrats are never outraged over expansive, big spending government.  That’s what they do. Of course they’re not going to criticize Obama for it. Expecting Democrats to do that would be like expecting Republicans to be critical of tax cuts.

      • Zero

        That is the biggest lie.  The Bush Tax Cuts and the two wars were $4T by themselves. 

        • Gregg

          The tax cuts brought in more revenue, they didn’t “cost” a dime. The wars were paid for and the deficits were shrinking. There is no way to back up your claim. It’s the tiredest, most thoroughly debunked talking point there is. And save the old fantasy static world projections from CBO that prove nothing. They love to trot that one out, maybe not you. It doesn’t matter, Obama is President now and owns this mess.

          • ulTRAX

            Back to making
            sleazy claims? Of COURSE you are! That’s all you do here day after day… week
            after week, month after month. Sorry to hear about your brain damaged buddy
            Moda. For the good of the forum, it had to be done… wink wink nudge nudge, know
            what I mean!  

            Getting back to revenues, the question you refuse to deal with is more revenue
            than what? And that has to be what the old Clinton tax rates would have brought
            in over slashing revenue as Bush did. All you can EVER argue is revenues
            eventually rebounded… but that’s a red herring since no one claimed that tax
            cuts slash revenue forever… though all the rounds of Bush tax cuts come
            pretty damn close.

          • Conner44

            You are one sick puppy.

          • ulTRAX

            Thanks for more proof you’re incapable of writing an intelligent post. Better luck next time.

      • ulTRAX

        The
        conservatives revolted against Bush and put the Dems in control of Congress in
        06??? ROTF!!! Thanks for another of your amusing Orwellian rewrites of history!
        There are no old-school fiscal conservatives left in the GOP. They have been
        purged and replaced with Tax Cut Crazies who pretend to be fiscal conservatives
        but are at war with the very concept of fiscal responsibility. You know the
        type… those who actually believe that REDUCED revenues after irresponsible
        tax cuts = a revenue boom. Don’t bother with your bulls*t numbers… they’ve
        all be discredited before. The reality is since 2001, in constant 2005 dollars,
        revenues have FAILED to exceed Clinton’s last year in all but 2 years… and
        then only totaled a measly 140 billion. Yet they claim, with a straight
        face, there’s NO revenue problem. Why does the GOP embrace fiscal
        irresponsibility? Because they’ve been hoping a budgetary train wreck was their
        best chance to undo the New Deal and Great Society… something they can never admit
        to, but hope to accomplish through deception.   

        • Conner44

          Your logic is even poorer than your cutting ‘n pasting.

          • ulTRAX

            And your proof my logic is poor is where? Oh, I get it… you’re satisfied with whatever claims the Orwellian Right makes. Proof not necessary there… nor do you believe YOU need to prove any empty claim you make.

            Thanks for an example of a self-sabotaged intellect.

      • ulTRAX

        Greggg wrote:
        Bush added $4T of debt in 8 years and Obama called him
        “unpatriotic” then added $5T in 3 years. They are hardly the
        “same things”.

        Actually looking at daily debt numbers, Bush added $4.9 trillion in relatively good times… and Obama
        to date about 5 trillion. No one should be happy about either of those numbers.
        But Bush was handed a surplus which he pissed away even after running on debt
        paydown. He passed round after round of irresponsible tax cuts even after the
        surplus disappeared. Obama was left with an economy in free fall… far worse
        than even the Reagan Recession. Obama also had a disloyal opposition…
        unwilling to take ANY responsibility for the disaster their ideas created, but
        instead looking for scapegoats so they could absolve themselves and do it all over again. You’re
        right… Bush and Obama are apples and oranges.

           

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Campaign Financing, and Campaign Laws, need to consider ALL facets of the WHOLE process!
       BILLIONS OF DOLLARS, spent to get ONE person a job, while ‘Austerity’ is IMPOSED on the working class, is intriguing!
       SO are the MILLIONS OF DOLLARS, spent to get ONE individual a job, in the other positions of Senator, Congressman, Governor, State Legislator!
      If ANYONE had $MILLIONS to back their resume, they could get a job that pays MUCH LESS?

  • Tina

    I thought that one of the guests suggested that it was the Citizens United Supreme Court decision that deemed corporations to be persons.  (At least I THINK that was his implication.)  However, I believe that there was a much earlier SCOTUS decision that did the “dirty work” — maybe around 1900: earlier or just after.  And then there may have been an intervening decision that used that first decision as precedent, so that the Citizens United decision was made on the backs of several previous (ALL flawed, in my opinion!!) decisions.  Can any legal historians clarify this?  Thanks in advance, in case I don’t have a chance to thank you later.   

    • TFRX

      It wasn’t even a decision. It was a coda added by a friggin court clerk, regarding a case about the 14th amendment.

      If you’re saying, “When did court clerks get to do that?”, well, so is everybody else.

  • RChicago

    Oh the good that could be done with that money and yet it is wasted on people fighting for power.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      You don’t expect ‘Job Creators’ to actually CREATE JOBS, with the money they got to create jobs, when they can buy influence with politicians?

  • Conner44

    I welcome this expenditure.  It all adds to the economy rather than sitting in someone’s vault.  In the end, it doesn’t really matter as there are numerous elections that have disproved the notion that elections are bought.

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  • Romney Bin Bush

    God forbid that unions and other non-profits make campaign contributions! Can you imagine teachers, nurses, or other peons adding their 2 cents to the political debate? That would be SOCIALISM!!! Its how they do it in North Korea! No, the American Way is to use your inherited money to make even more money and tilt things your way to make even more money. This is how our bankers and job creators do it. Do not let Kenyan communists subvert our American Way!

    • Bryan

      Sardonic humor and irony are virtually
      the only weapons people of modest means have to influence opinion in the battle
      against corporate dominance and egregious wealth inequality.  Three cheers for your excellent summary of
      the specious arguments apologists for the wealthy parrot ad nauseam, which they
      often justify by their supposed desire for “fairness” or “balance.”  As has also been well said, reactionary
      conservatives only complain about “class warfare” when the lower orders finally
      fight back for a change.  

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ONPOINT
TODAY
Aug 22, 2014
Attorney General Eric Holder talks with Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol at Drake's Place Restaurant, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014, in Florrissant, Mo. (AP)

The National Guard and Eric Holder in Ferguson. ISIS beheads an American journalist. Texas Governor Rick Perry gets a mug shot. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Aug 22, 2014
In this image from video posted on Facebook, courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, former President George W. Bush participates in the ice bucket challenge with the help of his wife, Laura Bush, in Kennebunkport, Maine. (AP)

The Ice Bucket Challenge: ALS, viral fundraising and how we give in the age of social media.

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Aug 22, 2014
In this image from video posted on Facebook, courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, former President George W. Bush participates in the ice bucket challenge with the help of his wife, Laura Bush, in Kennebunkport, Maine. (AP)

The Ice Bucket Challenge: ALS, viral fundraising and how we give in the age of social media.

 
Aug 22, 2014
Attorney General Eric Holder talks with Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol at Drake's Place Restaurant, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014, in Florrissant, Mo. (AP)

The National Guard and Eric Holder in Ferguson. ISIS beheads an American journalist. Texas Governor Rick Perry gets a mug shot. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Why Facebook And Twitter Had Different Priorities This Week
Friday, Aug 22, 2014

There’s no hidden agenda to the difference between most people’s Facebook and Twitter feeds this week. Just a hidden type of emotional content and case use. Digiday’s John McDermott explains.

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Our Week In The Web: August 22, 2014
Friday, Aug 22, 2014

On mixed media messaging, Spotify serendipity and a view of Earth from the International Space Station.

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Your (Weird? Wonderful? Wacky?) Roommate Stories
Tuesday, Aug 19, 2014

We asked, and you delivered: some of the best roommate stories from across our many listener input channels.

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