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High Court Rules Against Political Spending Limits

The Supreme Court strikes down overall limits on personal political campaign contributions. We’ll look at the court’s vision of wide-open, big-money politics.

Republican activist Shaun McCutcheon of Hoover, Ala., right, leaves the Supreme Court in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013, after the court's hearing on campaign finance. The court ruled in his favor on April 2, 2014, greatly reducing U.S. restrictions on campaign finance. (AP)

Republican activist Shaun McCutcheon of Hoover, Ala., right, leaves the Supreme Court in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013, after the court’s hearing on campaign finance. The court ruled in his favor on April 2, 2014, greatly reducing U.S. restrictions on campaign finance. (AP)

If Nazis can march in America and protestors can burn the American flag, said the chief justice of the US Supreme Court yesterday, then surely the First Amendment also protects big money contributions in American politics.  And with that, the Roberts court tore another huge cap off American campaign finance controls.  If you’re rich enough, you can now pour millions directly into whatever political party coffers you please.  Supporters call it freedom.  Critics call it the further hijacking of American democracy.  This hour On Point:  the high court’s move on big money politics.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

David Savage, U.S. Supreme Court correspondent for the Los Angeles Times. (@davidgsavage)

Shaun McCutcheon, plaintiff in McCutcheon vs. Federal Election Commission and CEO of Coalmont Electrical Development Company in McCalla, AL. (@GenConservative)

Bradley Smith, chairman of the Center for Competitive Politics and Visiting Copenhaver Chair of Law at West Virginia University.

Fred Wertheimer, founder and president of Democracy 21, a non-profit that advocates for transparency in government and campaign finance reform. (@FredWertheimer)

From Tom’s Reading List

Los Angeles Times: Supreme Court lifts overall limits on congressional campaign donations “In a 5-4 decision, the court’s conservative majority struck down Watergate-era aggregate limits that barred political donors from giving more than $123,000 a year in total to candidates running for seats in the House of Representatives or Senate. The court said this limit violated the free-speech rights of the donors, and it was not needed to prevent ‘corruption’ of the political process.

The Wall Street Journal: Supreme Court Strikes Down Aggregate Campaign Contribution Limits –”The court left intact the limits on the amount an individual can give to specific candidates and political committees, currently $5,200 to a candidate for the primary and general elections, with higher limits to political committees. Chief Justice Roberts wrote that Congress’s interest in fighting corruption doesn’t justify the burden on political speech posed by aggregate limits.”

POLITICO: Supreme Court strikes down aggregate campaign giving limits – “The sweeping ruling has the potential to once again reshape the campaign finance landscape — bringing more campaign money back under the control of political parties after four years of record spending by outside groups.”

Read The Supreme Court’s Decision In McCutcheon vs. F.E.C.

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  • SteveTheTeacher

    Wake up and smell the Caviar.

    - More than half of the members of congress are millionaires.

    - The wealthy are given disproportionate voice on advisory and policy making panels.

    - The wealthy own the mainstream media.

    Consider the esteem awarded to the top of the top. People like Warren Buffett, George Soros, etc. are lionized. The tacit equating of a person’s wealth with their value as a human being.

    The US is a plutocracy.

    We can still change that, but given the corporate take over of the electoral process, I think a focus on grassroots organizing may be more effective.

    • pete18

      So what do you suggest the solution is?

    • HonestDebate1

      I don’t care about no stinkin’ plutocracy. God bless the rich but I’m a free man they have no say over me. I make my own decisions. I’ve got a life to live. I think I’ll go fishing.

      • dust truck

        “they have no say over me…”

        yet. Though many rich are trying to use the government to enforce their own rules on the rest of us. You okay with that? What if a rich guy tells you can’t go fishing anymore?

        • pete18

          What if a government tells you you can have your health plan that you like anymore? No problems with that?

          • Don_B1

            And you are just O.K. with Rep. Ryan’s budget, which will raise your taxes if you are in the middle or lower classes?

            Even if you are not directly affected by those tax increases, which puts you at least in the bottom of the top 10%, when cancer or Alzheimer’s strikes, the treatment that would have prevented it or stopped its advance will not be available because of the cuts to N.I.H. in Mr. Ryan’s budget proposal. And there are a myriad of other diseases from antibiotic resistant diseases (e.g., TB, anyone?) that will kill by the thousands, maybe members of your family.

            Welcome to the coming Tea/Republican dystopia.

          • hennorama

            pete18 — Thank you for adding to the list of Typos/Autocorrections/Freudian Slips That Make Me Smile:

            “government tells you you can have your health plan that you like”

            It appears you agree with President Obama. What prompted the change? ;-)

          • pete18

            Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

          • hennorama

            pete18 — indeed, which is why the title of the list includes typos, autocorrections and Freudian slips.

        • Human2013

          What if the rich turn the water so toxic that ocean life is no longer viable.

          • sickofthechit

            They’ll still be able to fish and eat and breath. We (people) are the next mass extinction.
            charles a. bowsher

          • Don_B1

            On recent examination the cause of the mass extinction some 250 million years ago has been revealed as likely the result of huge amounts of methane released by bacteria.

            There is at least the equivalent amount of methane in the Arctic permafrost and as submarine (under the Arctic Ocean floor) clathrates, which sufficient warming of the Earth will release into the atmosphere and the ocean water. Over 90% of life on Earth was destroyed by that as animal breathing and vegetative respiration was severely hindered and water life that depended on forming shells were prevented from forming those shells.

        • HonestDebate1

          I was endowed by my creator with the unalienable right to fish. We’d have to rewrite the Constitution to prevent it. I’m more worried about liberals and environmentalist than rich people in that regard. Rich people cannot impose squat.

          How much money would Ted Cruz need to spend to get your vote?

          • dust truck

            lmao. Do you do standup? That’s some hillarious stuff there.

            Hillarious? Get it? Hillary. Oh, I kill myself.

          • HonestDebate1

            So the money doesn’t matter then?

          • nj_v2

            I’m going to go fishing in the local stream which is polluted because of heavy metals and other pollutants dumped there for decades by an unregulated industry whose owners made fortunes because the detrimental results of their business were externalized to the general population.

            Enjoy your fish in your little unreality bubble.

          • HonestDebate1

            The water is clean, the fish are tasty.

          • nj_v2

            Translation: “I got mine, screw everybody else.”

            Just when i thought i couldn’t have any less respect for your twisted ideas.

      • OrangeGina

        that is precisely the attitude that they want you to have, and is precisely the attitude that Pastor Niemöller warned us about.

        • HonestDebate1

          Obama has you right where he wants you. Are you an Occupyer?

  • Oh bummer

    Obama signs bill exempting presidential appointees from Senate confirmation

    http://dailycaller.com/2012/08/10/obama-signs-bill-exempting-presidential-appointees-from-senate-confirmation/

    • dust truck

      you paid by the post?

      • Oh bummer

        Believe it or not, some Americans are not willing to look the other way when it comes to improprieties by the democratic party, as you obviously are.

        • dust truck

          Answer a question with a question. Clever.

    • hennorama

      Bum Homer — thanks for yet another “Obama did it” non sequitur.

      The linked piece is from August 2012. FTA (emphasis added):

      The bill skated through the Senate three months after being introduced in 2011 and was passed by the Republican-controlled House 261-116 in July.

  • John Cedar

    These headline writers sure are amazingly consistent. The SCOTUS makes a favorable landmark decision for free speech, and they all write the same clinical headline. The NYT’s didn’t even call it a victory for Koch Brothers.

    Yesterday Rush played a dozen or more snippets of the MSN gleefully reporting that Obama was taking a victory lap. Then he contrasted it against a dozen snippets of Bush being described with the word hubris, for celebrating his second election win.

    And what does that all mean? it means that corporate David is still up against infinitybazillion dollars worth of Goliath MSN free political advertising coming from Oprah, Letterman, The View, Jon Stewart…pretty much all media save for Fox and WSJ, which are fair and balanced.

    Thomas was correct that the court should have lifted all limits with this ruling. If not, then the court should have required that for the purpose of determining campaign donations, a failr market value shall be assigned to celebrity endorsements and to SNL and company’s biased attempts at comedy, and to every free concert…and pretty much to all media save for Fox and WSJ, which are fair and balanced.

    • HonestDebate1

      I heard that, it’s amazing.

    • anamaria23

      All media including talk radio which is 90% right wing dominated and floods the airways 24/7.
      This President has been described as arrogant, weak, feckless, incompetent, by leaders of the Repub Party for all the world to hear, let alone a Commie, a murderer, and all manner of humiliations.
      Name one Democratic member of Congress who declared the sitting President incompetent, weak, naïve during an international crisis before the world.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        You can start with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi under Bush II. The list is endless.

        Actually, Obama’s entire 2008 campaign (and first term) was about smearing Bush II. Is Obama a prominent Democrat? I’m not sure.

        Obama called Bush’s irresponsible run up of the debt “unpatriotic” . He has yet to weigh in on whether his own run up of $7T in debt is unpatriotic.

        • anamaria23

          You are twisting the point of my post.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            No, I was intentionally highlighting the ideological lens and filter through which you see the world.

          • anamaria23

            When, during an international crisis, was a sitting President called weak, incompetent, naïve by his opposing party for all the world to hear . When was the likes of a dictator like Putin preferred over an American sitting President by the opposing party. They had to be called off by some more responsible. I daresay it is unheard of.
            Actually, Mitt Romney’s whole campaign and STILL is about smearing Barack Obama. That is a given in campaigns.

          • William

            Senator Ted Kennedy sought help from the old USSR to try and stop President Reagan from getting reelected.

            http://www.forbes.com/2009/08/27/ted-kennedy-soviet-union-ronald-reagan-opinions-columnists-peter-robinson.html

          • anamaria23

            Kennedy and Reagan are long passed away. The discussion is re: 2014 and commenced with Limbaugh’s claim to perpetual victimhood at the hands of the media, while he commands 3 hours each day to his partisan rants.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            I’m not sure what Limbaugh has to do with anything. The left tried to silencing him by organizing attacks on his advertisers.

            The response to speech you don’t like should always be more speech — not less.

          • Don_B1

            And when liberals do get a little time on air to express their views and make their case, all you can say is that it is illegitimate and should be ignored or suppressed.

            Equal rights to free expression? Not in your book!

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Liberals get far more time on the air than poor little Rush. The media is controlled by the left.

          • William

            Compare Rush to MSNBC/NBC/CBS/ABC/CNN…he gets 3 hours, 5 days a week, compared to 24/7 for the the MSM.

          • J__o__h__n

            NBC, ABC, and CBS air nothing but political propaganda 24/7? Even for right wing nonsense talking points this one doesn’t even come close to reality.

          • Don_B1

            MSNBC gets at least 3 hours of strong hard-rightwing propaganda each week-day and runs “Caught-in-prison” junk for at least 12 hours a day each weekend.

            But NBC/CBS/ABC/CNN run so many programs that reinforce false rightwing thinking it is not funny.

            You have not made your case by citing false complaints of the “MSM” being liberal, when they kow-tow to rightwing blowhards all the time.

          • William

            You lost the argument once you start name-calling.

          • anamaria23

            90% of talk radio is right wing. Additionally, the internet blogs are increasingly dominated by right wing posters. This very site is predominately right wing commentators.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Talk radio isn’t the only speech. Who has more influence talk radio or the NYtimes or NBC “news”? The MSM is influenced heavily by left wing groups like media matters or TPM ,etc. — especially during political season.

            And who in the right mind pays attention to internet blogs?

          • William

            This forum seems 70 percent Liberal vs 20 percent Conservative. Talk radio with the exception of sports is mostly Conservative due to the failure of Liberal radio talk shows to draw much of an audience.

          • anamaria23

            Vice versa.

          • nj_v2

            Totally bogus/false equivalence.

          • Don_B1

            The initial “revelation” of the supposed overture to the Russian leaders was in a book in 2006. The Forbes article asks why it did not draw attention, and when the timing is looked at, it would seem to be perfect fodder for Republicans at that time. So why didn’t they use it then? Probably because it could not be backed up. To research that would take longer than this program, so right now it has to be discounted, but at least kept near the table.

          • William

            Paul Kengor mentioned Ted Kennedy’s outreach to the old USSR in his book “The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the fall of Communism.” He reported that Tim Sebastian a UK reporter for the London Times found documents in the Soviet archives outlining Ted Kennedy’s appeal to the Soviet Union for assistance in defeating President Reagan.

            I would doubt that Forbes would print the article without doing their own research.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Your implication that this criticism is unique to Obama is a result of ideological blinders.

            The criticism of Obama’s foreign policy is bipartisan. Even the leftist media has been giving Obama poor grades — especially since the Syrian red-line.

            Sure, some criticism is over the top. It always is. The general rule is criticism of the sitting should stay on our shores (unlike what Ted Kennedy did to Jimmy Carter).

            After 6 years in office, Mr. Obama has earned his reputation for leadership skills and ‘flexibility’. btw – everyone thinks Putin is a thug. They are probably just jabs at Obama’s leadership style. I doubt anyone takes them seriously.

          • dust truck

            …seems more like you’re creating a strawman to beat.

        • Don_B1

          Even Republicans that are not members of the Tea Party, hide from the record of President George W. Bush!

          President Obama did not cause the Great Recession and every step he took to help create a strong recovery was opposed by Tea/Republicans.

          The steps that President Obama took were to ensure that the middle and lower classes did not take the full brunt of Great Recession and the unnecessary Lesser Depression that has followed it because of the cruel and ignorant pushing of austerity policies by Tea/Republicans.

          The “extra spending” of the federal government by new laws was through the ARRA (stimulus bill) of February 2009, which was less than $800 billion; while the other spending was mainly due to laws already on the books, such as SNAP and extended Unemployment Insurance because so many workers were thrown out of work by the Great Recession.

          Because the U.S. economy is 70% consumer spending and the vast majority of consumers were cutting back on spending for direct reasons that they were out of work or underwater on their mortgages and for indirect reasons that they were afraid they might be next in line for one of those devastating problems, there was a big drop in spending and businessmen, those wonderful (non-)job-creators, thus did not expand their business with more production and workers because they could not see that they would sell.

          And then the Republicans in Congress forced more cut backs on the initial support of the states (in the ARRA) so that states continued cutting workers, mostly teachers and first responders, further cutting the sources of consumer spending.

          Thus the rest of the “$7 trillion” you complain about is the lack of growth in the economy, which Tea/REpublicans did everything to ensure would happen, planning to blame it on President Obama, where it mostly does not belong.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Revisionist nonsense.

            The recession ended in June 2009. We can argue whose policies caused the recession but that is a different matter. [My personal take it was a bipartisan problem but the Dems should take at least 50% of the blame].

            Obama owns the tepid recovery. He had a Dem. congress and controlled the policies. The stimulus was terrible — loaded with political payoffs and pie in the sky waste like Solyndra. The economy should have been booming within those first two years after Obama’s election. He didn’t even pass a budget for the first 5 years.

      • HonestDebate1

        “This war is lost”

        • sickofthechit

          A war where we pre-emptively invaded another country is lost with the first casualty whether it is an injury or a death. charles a. bowsher

          • HonestDebate1

            Alrighty then.

      • William

        Senator Harry Reid (D) called President Bush “A loser”

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/05/06/AR2005050601814.html

        • J__o__h__n

          Too bad the Supreme Court didn’t and we could have avoided that failed presidency.

          • William

            Same with Obama. How many times did he lie about Obama-care?

          • sickofthechit

            How many people have the “death panels” killed???

  • Fredlinskip

    As far as I can tell it boils down to the difference between a ‘Republic’ and a ‘democracy’, a Republic being in theory a system where minority views are not completely overrun by the majority.

    This gives license for such practices as allowing the minority of those who are exceedingly rich to bend the rules completely at the expense of everyone else, for example.
    It also grants license to gerrymander state districts so that a person’s vote for representation in Congress matters very little, since the outcome is already preordained.
    It grants license to minority in Senate to exploit Filibuster rule (nowhere in constitution) as never before, to render that body impotent.

    This is Republicanism as we all have grown to know and love.
    It has nothing to do with right and wrong or “for the people, by the people”.
    As Lombardi would put it it’s all about “just win, baby”..

    Of course this obviously undermines the intent of our forefathers, but hey, as long as the majority of Americans simply don’t understand whats going on- screw them, screw the constitution, and screw American government as outlined in that instrument!

    Just win baby.

    • red_donn

      Well, I’d say it’s a stretch that this is entirely outside of what the Founders wanted. After all, the restrictions on who could vote, the inability to vote for Senate representation, and the agreements regarding the Electoral College all served to protect the power structure of the day.

      It doesn’t serve us well to imagine an idyllic period in the faraway past. Better by far to take the advances the Founders made, in large part due to farsighted language, and the advances we have made on that. Likewise, the failings of each generation should not be swept under the rug.

      • Fredlinskip

        Unfortunately attempting “to imagine an idyllic period in the faraway past” seems to be the sentiment of the “originalist” members of our higher court.
        And of course the failings are often swept and history too often seems to somewhat repeat itself.

        • red_donn

          Indeed. It would be well worth the time if the Court, and the American people at large, were more acquainted with the political theory of the time. It is essential to note that the liberal writings of the period consistently talked about state power, but took it for granted that individuals had relatively little power over each other. There was almost no conception of curtailing the power of private interests, because the only major powers up till that point had been church and state.

          An attempt to apply the classical liberalism of a largely aggrarian society, which naturally formed groups that today would be considered roughly anarcho-communist, without accounting for the rise of new powers in society, is doomed to fail.

          • Fredlinskip

            My comment was meant to follow the maxim of “Keep it simple Stupid”.
            Because as soon as you start examining things at greater depth, you start opening “cracks” that people, lawyers, propagandists, can use to espouse their own (perhaps correct, perhaps incorrect interpretations) theories.
            I hoped to state the case so plainly, that the thesis my comment would be difficult to dismiss.
            Appreciate your post.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Speaking of free speech, Charles Koch is finally sick of the smears and attacks from Harry Reid, the media and their ilk on the left.

    “Koch: I’m Fighting to Restore a Free Society
    Instead of welcoming free debate, collectivists engage in character assassination.”

    “Collectivists”? Yeah, that might be a more appropriate label than ‘liberal’.

    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303978304579475860515021286?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop&mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052702303978304579475860515021286.html%3Fmod%3DWSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

    • jimino

      Like “we” the people?

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        “We the people” was about fighting government tyranny. “Collectivism”, in this case, is about increasing government power. Diametric opposites.

        You’ve highlighted a problem with ‘labels’. It’s too easy to twist the intended meaning. Organized religions, are by their very nature, are collectivist. However, I sure Koch was not referring to organized religion in his piece.

        • dust truck

          If you have to define it, then it clearly doesn’t have the same meaning anymore.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Lost in translation.

            If you read the well written Koch piece there is no ambiguity.

          • dust truck

            “Well written”

            lol, that’s like saying Ayn Rand novels are “well written.”

            You guys live in such a bizarre reality.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            “Those in power fail to see that more government means less liberty, and
            liberty is the essence of what it means to be American. Love of liberty
            is the American ideal.”

          • sickofthechit

            So do away with school breakfast and lunch programs because they are infringing on the child’s “liberty”. Which liberty is that? To starve? charles a. bowsher

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Charles Koch would enjoy debating that kind of substance vs. the vitriol and smears spewed at him from the left.

          • Guest

            Well written only to one who as accepted reality according to the norms of the extreme right wing.

        • OrangeGina

          Since the government now belongs to the rich and powerful of BOTH parties, we /are/ fighting “government tyranny”.

          • jimino

            took the words out of my mouth before I had the chance to reply

    • OnPointComments

      Is it possible for anything to be more ironic than Harry Reid questioning someone else’s character?

    • pete18

      Good article, I think one of the more compelling things about it is the list Koch gives about what his company does, both in their environmental practices as a company and in how they treat their workers. That along with the many more liberal things they support politically (gay marriage, etc) is such a contrast to the boogie man image
      the left always tries to portray. But of course why would they want to let reality get in the way of an effective fund raising villain?

      • nj_v2

        Wall Street Journal Ed page?! A self-serving, distorted litany of whitewash is a “good article”?!!

        Koch employees have won “environmental awards.” LIke what? Did they recycle their lunchroom cups?

        Hahahahahahahaha!!

        There’s no lower limit of intellectual vacuity the Koch-sucking, right-wing clown posse here will stoop to.

        http://www.oilwatchdog.org/meet-koch-industries/

        “The Kochs are on a whole different level. There’s no one else who has spent this much money. The sheer dimension of it is what sets them apart. They have a pattern of lawbreaking, political manipulation, and obfuscation. I’ve been in Washington since Watergate, and I’ve never seen anything like it. They are the Standard Oil of our times.”

        - Charles Lewis, founder of the Center for Public Integrity

        http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=516

        USA: Koch Industries Indicted for Air, Hazardous Waste Violations
        by Brian Hansen, Environment News Service
        October 2nd, 2000

        WASHINGTON, DC — A Texas based oil conglomerate and four of its employees were indicted last week on 97 counts of violating federal clean air and hazardous waste laws. The charges come less than one year after the company was slapped with the largest civil penalty ever levied under federal environmental statutes.…

        (snipped)

        http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/en/campaigns/global-warming-and-energy/polluterwatch/koch-industries/koch-industries-environmental/

        Koch Industries Environmental Record

        The Koch companies have a notorious environmental record.

        Some of the more egregious examples include:

        In 2009, the US Justice Department and EPA announced in 2009 that Koch Industries’Invista subsidiary would pay a $1.7 million penalty and spend $500 million to fix environmental violations at facilities in seven states, in an agreement with the US EPA and Department of Justice.

        In May 2001, Koch Industries paid $25 million to settle with the US Government over a long-standing suit brought by Bill Koch – one of the brothers bought out in 1983 – for the company’s long-standing practice of illegally removing oil from federal and Indian lands.

        In late 2000, the company was charged with covering up the illegal releases of 91 tons of the known carcinogen benzene from its refinery in Corpus Christi. Initially facing a 97-count indictment and potential fines of $350 million, Koch cut a deal with then-Attorney General John Ashcroft to drop all major charges in exchange for a guilty plea for falsifying documents, and a $20 million settlement.

        In 2000, the EPA fined Koch Industries $30 million for its role in 300 oil spills that resulted in more than three million gallons of crude oil leaking into ponds, lakes, streams and coastal waters.

        In 1999 a Koch subsidiary pleaded guilty to charges that it had negligently allowed aviation fuel to leak into waters near the Mississippi River from its refinery in Rosemount, Minnesota, and that it had illegally dumped a million gallons of high-ammonia wastewater onto the ground and into the Mississippi.

        Koch’s negligence toward environmental safety has led to tragic losses of life. In 1996, arusty Koch pipeline leaked flammable butane near a Texas residential neighborhood. Warned by the smell of gas, two teenagers drove their truck toward the nearest payphone to call for help, but they never made it. Sparks from their truck ignited the gas cloud and the two burned alive. The National Transportation Safety Board determined that “the probable cause of this accident was the failure of Koch to adequately protect its pipeline from corrosion” and the ineffectiveness of Koch’s program to educate local residents about how to respond during a pipeline leak.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          As usual you ignore the substance of the article. Are you critical when Dems write op-eds in the WSJ?

          Like this one from Obama:
          http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052748703396604576088272112103698

          No. I didn’t think so.

          • nj_v2

            “Substance of the article”?

            It’s a self-serving puff piece.

            You ignored the substance of the record of Koch industries and posted irrelevant deflection.

            Exactly what we’ve come to expect from the forum conservoclown posse.

        • pete18

          Oil watchdog ? Ha-ha-ha -ha!

          Corp watch? Hee-hee-hee-hee!

          Green peace? Ho-ho-ho-ho!

          • nj_v2

            Which of the historical references to the environmental violations do you dispute and why?

            Go ahead, i’ll wait…

          • pete18

            What? My dismissing of your sources is not enough? Let’s see if we can find some sauce for this goose.

          • nj_v2

            Translation: “I got nothin’”

            Go ahead, give it your best shot. It was a simple question.

          • pete18

            You get what you give.

          • nj_v2

            That’s lame, even for you.

            Translation: “I still got nothin’”

            Thanks for letting everyone know what you’re about.

          • pete18

            Remember all this the next time you post
            your source giggles.

          • nj_v2

            Yes, i’ll remember your vacuous, impotent, lazy trolling.

            My ridicule was accompanied with factual rebuttal of the impressions made in Koch’s self-promotional ad in the WSJ, which was inaccurately referred to as an “article,” so there’s that.

            There were no specifics in the puffery. They won “awards.” For what? From whom?

            I posted a summary of environmental violations and fines for the Koch sucking industries which directly contradict the warm, fuzzy picture painted by the Journal’s puffery. These are a matter of public record.

  • Oh bummer
    • dust truck

      Irrelevant to this article, but I know you like democrat beating.

      • Oh bummer

        No, I like transparency, something candidate Obama promised more of in 2008.

  • Steve_in_Vermont

    There’s the old story about a man who approached a woman at a bar and asked if
    she would go home with him for the night. She said no, he then asked if she
    would for $ 10,000.00. She accepted his offer at which point he asked if she’d
    consider $ 10.00. “Of course not (she replied) what kind of girl do you think I
    am”? to which he replied “We’ve already established what kind of girl you are,
    we’re now just negotiating the price”. Recently there was a lobbyist in a bar
    who approached a politician…….

  • LMGale

    It’s ridiculous that in an age of unprecedented access to communication- not just traditional verbal and literary mediums, but also new interactive social mediums and the knowledge with which to continue innovating them- Big Politics is still so wrapped around the axle about money as a means to move the masses. A generation is growing up quickly that established our sense of financial stability during a recession created by the people who stand to gain the most from the masses retaining some sort of respect for their system of accounting. We don’t. You can’t buy everythnig. Someday, with that crap you call “currency,” you won’t be able to buy anything that actually has value.

  • OnPointComments

    Is it possible to have too much freedom of speech?

    No.

    “If the First Amendment protects flag burning, funeral protests, and Nazi parades — despite the profound offense such spectacles cause — it surely protects political campaign speech despite popular opposition.” –Chief Justice Roberts

  • Jeff

    This is a great moment in our society, why should anyone (including the government) be able to stop an individual from spending money to get a message out to the public?

    • dust truck

      Except it’s not merely a message. It’s buying influence and power.

      • OnPointComments

        You mean like the $44 million the SEIU gave to Democrats in the 2012 election cycle?

        • OrangeGina

          It’s called fighting fire with fire, friend. You think the Democrats are going to just throw up their hands and say they are not going to play the game?

          • OnPointComments

            Thank you for confirming my suspicion that it’s not all political spending to which you object, just the political spending with which you disagree.

          • Jeff

            Exactly, this is about freedom all around…let anyone give any amount to any candidate, if that equals a purchased vote then let another person use their money to inform the public about that alleged purchased vote. BTW, it is 100% illegal to purchase a vote and if you know of a situation where that is occurring then by all means inform the FBI.

          • Don_B1

            But if, when actually, the BIG MONEY can buy all the media at least in main watching hours and big circulation vehicles, what chance does anyone else have of getting their message of the corruption of politicians to the necessary majority of voters in a way that it will have credibility?

            [Which is why most of the mainstream media is painted ultra liberal by the rightwing: to diminish the possibility that a counter message will be believed.]

            And while you are naïve in many of your beliefs, you are not naïve enough to not know that politicians (at least most of them) know how to “do the dance” of accepting donations without making a direct promise to vote for someone’s pet project.

          • BHA_in_Vermont

            Incorrect. Her point was you don’t defend yourself with a baguette in a sword fight.

          • J__o__h__n

            Don’t you mean freedom bread?

          • Don_B1

            They are only trying to fight fire with fire. The SEIU was FIFTH in the ranking of big “outside” spenders, so there were a total of FOUR that EACH spent MORE money.

            So at least a FOUR to ONE advantage is not enough for the right wing.

    • sickofthechit

      Because that person and others like him or her used their money and influence to elect politicians who were willing to skew the tax system so they could personally benefit by getting things like the Bush TEMPORARY tax cuts passed so that they got to keep more of their money, cause the treasury to have less available for programs that would help the majority of people instead of just the few. Now their next line of attack will be to gut any remaining environmental protections as regards clean air and water. They don’t care because they will always be able to afford to get clean air and water for themselves and live in a gated community and avoid the leftover dregs of society they have helped create. Great Plan! Charles A. Bowsher

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    I was expecting a segment on Benghazi today. What happened?

    • dust truck

      BENGHAZIIIIIII.

      Hillary is clearly hiding something.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Nah. 4 dead Americans — what difference does it make.

        • sickofthechit

          Look to your Republican CONgressman who refused to increase security funding for the State Department in the years leading up to the disaster if you really care about the truth. charles a. bowsher

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            I’m an independent from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. All my reps are Dem. lemmings that do Obama and Reid’s bidding with 100% certainty..

    • hennorama

      WftC — Dana Milbank, an opinion writer for the Washington Post, has it right, in my view. His opinion piece about the hearing is titled,

      “Latest Benghazi hearing is another Republican flop”

      An excerpt:

      Lawmakers had another go at Michael Morell, a former deputy and acting CIA director and the man who revised the infamous “talking points” that said the September 2012 attack on American facilities in Libya had grown out of a protest. The talking points are key to the Republicans’ claims that President Obama tried to hide the true nature of the terrorist attack because the presidential election was just weeks away.

      Morell, a now-retired career intelligence official who served under six presidents and was with George W. Bush in Florida on the day of the 2001 terrorist attacks, has the credibility to validate the conspiracy theories Republicans have been floating about Benghazi. But instead, he used the rare public session to rebut the accusations.

      Morell, a now-retired career intelligence official who served under six presidents and was with George W. Bush in Florida on the day of the 2001 terrorist attacks, has the credibility to validate the conspiracy theories Republicans have been floating about Benghazi. But instead, he used the rare public session to rebut the accusations.

      “I never allowed politics to influence what I said or did — never,” he testified. “None of our actions were the result of political influence in the intelligence process — none. . . . The White House did not make any substantive changes to the talking points, nor did they ask me to.” He called the talking points — which turned out to be wrong — “the best available information at the time.”

      Did he have a conversation with anyone at the White House about the nature of the talking points?

      “No, sir.”

      His thoughts on the false information Susan Rice gave on TV the Sunday after the attacks?

      “What she said about the attacks evolving spontaneously from a protest was exactly what the talking points said.”

      How about the claims that somebody in the administration told the military not to assist on the night of the attack?

      “I am aware of several requests by CIA for military support that night, and those requests were honored and delivered.”

      See:
      http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dana-milbank-latest-benghazi-hearing-is-another-republican-flop/2014/04/02/80fa7936-bab7-11e3-96ae-f2c36d2b1245_story.html

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Milbank finally wrote a column that wasn’t an attack of Glenn Beck. Good for him.

        Just because Morrell didn’t directly throw Hillary or Obama under the bus there were many contradictions in his testimony and it opens up even more questions.

        • hennorama

          WftC — TYFYR.

  • J__o__h__n

    Nazi marchers and flag burners have a right to the content of their speech but that has nothing to do with contribution limits. Chief Justice Roberts is once again intellectually dishonest with his legal slight of hand equating regulating volume of speech with content. Rich individuals should not have the right to drown out other speech because they have more financial resources. Money is not speech.

    • OnPointComments

      If I have a different point of view from the New York Times, has my freedom of speech been infringed because the NYT spent millions on a printing press and I didn’t have the money to buy one too?

      • J__o__h__n

        No, a printing press is not a political contribution.

        • Jeff

          What’s the difference? Both simply allow free speech and get a message out. No limits on the media outlets that tend to be left wing…meanwhile business, oh we have to have limits…unions, naw, no limits there either. I sense some bias from your viewpoint.

          • J__o__h__n

            Corporations, unions, and individuals should be subject to regulation limiting campaign contributions.

          • Jeff

            So should an entire union be subject to the same rules as an individual business owner??? How about bending the rules? Could an individual offer up a gift to other individuals if they freely give their own money to a political campaign? See where this leads, a person cannot even give their own money away to further a political viewpoint, they must play games and play by different rules than a union (or even a business entity does). So if an individual can only give, say $2,000 to a candidate…should a major union only be able to give $2,000 to any candidate? Or should they play by different rules? Or should we just get rid of these stupid rules which limit free speech anyway?

          • jefe68

            Money is not speech. It’s that simple in my opinion. All of it should be done away with.

          • Jeff

            That makes no sense, so we need more rules about who can make a commercial? A government agency to disallow any sort of commercial or even TV show/movie that might have a political undertone? Yes get rid of all the laws and limitations…or we can live under the totalitarian government where we have to watch what we say and/or spend money on due to the chance we might break some sort of government rule.

          • jefe68

            Destroying campaign finance laws is not a way to help our nation, and in my view can easily lead to an oligarchy.

          • Jeff

            Please name the oligarchy we had during the FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy and LBJ years…you know before we had any of these campaign finance laws.

          • jefe68

            There have been plenty of corruption through the years.

            If money gives influence, which in turn can effect legislation,regulations and that’s a form of corruption. That’s an influence over policy that I don’t have through my vote. If an extreme minority of billionaires have more access to the system than you or I then that’s the path to an oligarchy.

            If you don’t get this, well that’s not my problem.

          • Jeff

            Good dance, you didn’t answer my direct question…do you seriously think that today’s regulations have completely stopped corruption? If you think that’s true that’s not my problem.

          • sickofthechit

            Try public financing of campaigns instead. charles a bowhser

        • OnPointComments

          If I have a different point of view from George Soros or Thomas Steyer, has my freedom of speech been infringed because Soros & Steyer gave tens of millions to PACs and I didn’t have the money to do the same?

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        The NYTimes is run by trust-fund elites.

      • BHA_in_Vermont

        No, you write a letter to the editor of the NYT.

        • Jeff

          Once again the NYT decides to print that letter or not…you’re furthering that other person’s point. BTW, the NYT has just flat out decided to NEVER print a letter questioning global warming…or is it climate change…even if the facts on that issue change.

  • Bigtruck

    What we are really doing is re-considering that whole monarchy
    thing. If money is speech, (funny to think that someone can actually says that with a straight face) and by its unregulated nature it will all go to one place, that will be American corporate Monarchy. This uber entity will now either buy its government or more true to form be its government surrounded by serfs. Either way America is a failed experiment. we have failed our children, greed has won.
    Have a nice day.

    • sickofthechit

      I started flying a white flag (a cloth diaper) on my front porch after Citizen’s United. It remains there to this day.

  • creaker

    You are now entitled to as much free speech as you can buy.

    We’re only a couple of steps away from giving people and corporations a share of votes based on their financial assets – and government entitlements will be awarded like dividends.

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      Money equaling Free Speech is an oxymoron.

      • creaker

        You are free to live wherever you want in this country – but money will decide whether you are living in a mansion or a tent in the woods.

      • sickofthechit

        The formula is “Money = Free $peech” (copyright charles a. bowsher 2014)

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

    Money |=| Speech

    Corporations |=| Persons

    Voting = Speech

    Speech = Speech

    Writing = Speech

    You can’t buy lunch with speech, but you can buy lunch with money.

    This SCOTUS is *illegitimate*. They are bought and paid for. As a body, they are enacting unconstitutional acts.

    • Jeff

      You sure can buy lunch with speech, ask our former president Mr. Clinton and see how much he charges for a speech. Are you suggesting we shouldn’t allow anyone to make money by speaking?

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        Are rich people ‘more equal’ than other people?

        • MrNutso

          Didn’t you read “Oligarch Farm”?

        • Jeff

          Can’t find a big donor to support your idea, maybe you need better ideas.

          • jefe68

            Hmmmm, inanity at work.

        • Human2013

          Ask Darryl Issa? Listen to this guy talk for two seconds and you are sure to throw up your lunch.

      • CeCe Bee

        apples and oranges, getting paid to do a job, whether it’s speaking or presenting or sitting at a desk hasn’t nothing to do with this decision or the 1st amendment. Spend your money on politicans/political campaigns if you want, but just limit the amount directly to a candidate. Take out a darn ad, hold a rally, spend your money as you want to speak as loud as you want, but everyone should be limited to how much they can give to any onepolitican or political campaign – and nothing is keeping you from speaking with your money otherwise!

        • Jeff

          Ask yourself, why is there a limit? Is the limit different for individuals than it is for unions/businesses? If the limit is different then we have just treated everything differently…BTW, unions can give much more than an individual business owner can based on your “limit” rules. Also, why is there no limit on the NY Times when they write opinion pieces for far left liberals…yet if a business owner wants to put out an ad for an individual politician we have a limit…does that really make sense?

          • nj_v2

            “Unions”

            “Far left liberals”

            Oogga boogga!

          • pete18

            “The Koch Brothers”
            “The one-percent”
            Oogga-bogga-dogga!

    • Mari McAvenia

      If money is really “speech” let’s think about all that “dirty money” floating around in the underground economies. Is that foul speech, laced every other word with F bombs? SCOTUS has a very warped sense of justice. Basically, they’re saying that money is a person. Sick stuff, this.

  • nj_v2

    Money is property, not speech.

    Corporations are fictitious, intangible entities, not people.

    The Constitution needs to be amended to state this in clear and unambiguous terms and to prevent regressive, right-wing, corporatist Supreme Courts from issuing decisions that move the country more fully toward oligarchy.

    Make it happen! Don’t upvote this post unless you go to the site and sign the petition!

    https://movetoamend.org/

    We the People, Not We the Corporations

    “On January 21, 2010, with its ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are persons, entitled by the U.S. Constitution to buy elections and run our government. Human beings are people; corporations are legal fictions.

    We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens Unitedand other related cases, and move to amend our Constitution to firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.

    The Supreme Court is misguided in principle, and wrong on the law. In a democracy, the people rule.

    We Move to Amend.

    “. . . corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires. Corporations help structure and facilitate the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their ‘personhood’ often serves as a useful legal fiction. But they are not themselves members of “We the People” by whom and for whom our Constitution was established.”

    ~Supreme Court Justice Stevens, January 2010″

    • sickofthechit

      Already signed it, but Move to Amend is missing part of the point. I contend that they should be arguing that corporations are already represented by their owner/stockholders, their employees and their customers. charles a. bowsher

      • nj_v2

        Tell them!

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Should the Supreme Court give corporations the right to spend as much money as they wish to further their political goals in the guise of “free” speech?
    –Tom Ashbrook

    “Sure. They’ve given them everything else. How about a Get out of Jail Free card. Or mints on their pillows.”

    • sickofthechit

      They already possess the Get out of Jail Free card. Name one corporation that has ever been jailed in the first place. charles a. bowsher

  • atakemoto

    Since when did purchasing political influence equal freedom of speech?

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    “One man one vote” becomes “one dollar one vote”.

    The more money you have the more you influence elections and votes in the legislature.

    How about we just go straight to corporations and the rich buying politicians outright, like the “good old days”.

  • Coastghost

    The word and notion “aggregate” seems to be playing a prominent role throughout the discussion: “aggregate limits” on political contributions are being swept aside, this is the putative topic.
    The discussion itself is being contributed to in the studio by representatives of corporations (CPB and whoever owns the LATimes these days), a non-profit organization, a state academic/post-secondary institution, and a public utility.
    The interests of aggregate bodies are being expressed in every case. Are the voices speaking “aggregate voices” or “individual voices”? How can anyone tell?
    Certainly: every voice emanating from the studio(s), irrespective of all call-in contributors, is speaking with a leveraged privilege that no other voices realistically possess. Ashbrook, Savage, McCutcheon, Smith, and Wertheimer wield double-voiced capabilities that pedestrian citizens (we ourselves, that is) do not generally attain to.

  • Human2013

    Yet another blow to our democracy. Some congressmen report spending up to 70% of their time begging for money. Does this mean that they will now spend 100% of their time reaching out to the wealthy. At what point do they legislate, at one point do they act on behalf of their constituents?
    And we go around the world trying to convert govenments to a democracy…maybe China has it right.

    • sickofthechit

      No, I guess we could consider that fact one possible benefit of this decision. Now they need only call a few dozen donors, why worry about the small fry? charles a. bowsher

  • MrNutso

    That’s exactly what’s going on. They are buying legislation. It’s just very easy for both parties (donor and legislator) to deny it.

  • creaker

    We’re on our way back to the original intent of the constitution – when votes were limited to property owners.

  • MrNutso

    Mr. McCutcheon just tipped his hand: Political Marketplace.

  • OnPointComments

    Have you noticed that when anyone speaks of undue influence from political contributions, they never give specific examples of illegal quid pro quo corruption that have been uncovered?

    • J__o__h__n

      RIP Charles Keating.

    • geraldfnord

      A Democratic President and Congress are going to the mat for an health scheme that is much more advantageous for our incredibly wealthy insurance companies than is any other advanced nation’s—remember, this is the Heritage Foundation’s plan, and so _designed_ to be better for large property-owners than anyone else, they showing obvious signs of God’s favour.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    American Democracy

    I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday {support your Supreme Court nomination) for a hamburger {campaign donation} today.
    J. Wellington Wimpy for Congress

  • geraldfnord

    Once you accept that the wealthy ought to be much better-off than most of us, why shouldn’t you accept that they should have much more influence politically. It just makes sense, in the same sense that letting the player with the most Monopoly money change the rules of the game to make sure she _stays_ the player with the most Monopoly money makes an awful lot of sense—to the player with the most money.

  • Scott B

    The Justices that gave the go ahead for Citizens United said that they knew what they did potentially opened up campaign financing to abuse by political groups, and said after they saw the debacle they enabled, they didn’t think it would happen. Have the watched the news? Do they not know Congress and politics? What cave do they live in; what rock do they live under, that they don’t understand the nature of money in politics.

    They know “money talks” as well as anyone, and blatantly admit so in this, yet the conservatives on the bench continue to effectively disenfranchise voters by the millions.

    • MrNutso

      SCOTUS is working on the premise that they are ruling on what is constitutional and it is up to citizens to do what is right.

      • Scott B

        The key word is “premise”, and (as I said), they made their decision thinking that those benefiting from their decision would do the right thing and not abuse the system. The Justice literally said that they didn’t think they would do what they did.

        Have they met the political crowd?

  • sickofthechit

    Mr. McKutchin has the mistaken notion that free speech means IF he is able to out shout louder, with a bigger megaphone than the other point of view, then his point of view should win. Some “free” speech. I shudder to think how much his “Free Speech” is going to cost the rest of us in the future. charles a. bowsher

  • Spence Blakely

    It’s not about free speech, but unequal influence. How many pols would be persuaded by hate speech and how many by lots of money?

  • AnneDH

    MONEY IS NOT SPEECH in the context of politics in that one individual could have more than another. A person’s literal voice (or pen or typing fingers) has more potential to sway opinions then just sitting down and writing out a check. BAD DECISION.

    • sickofthechit

      BAD SUPREME COURT FIVE-no treat for you.

  • J__o__h__n

    Is it illegal to cry “money” in a crowded Congress?

    • sickofthechit

      No, but it is cruel to yell “Publicly financed campaigns for all!”

  • sickofthechit

    Once again current chief justice roberts (not capitalized out of disrespect) proves that presidents should not be able to appoint the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court when there is a vacancy. Instead, when there is a vacancy, the remaining Justices should elect one amongst themselves as the new Chief Justice. Being able to appoint the replacement Chief Justice yields to much Judicial Power to the Executive Branch. charles a, bowsher

  • ianway

    For me this really helps me understand the position of so many of my young friends: our political system is hopelessly corrupt, hopelessly broken, and anyone who buys into it is a complete fool. The idea that we are a democracy where everyone is equal and equally represented is a complete and very bitter joke.

    • sickofthechit

      If you give up it will only get worse. If your generation doesn’t step up, register, vote, advocate, work hard then you might be right, but there is still a chance to turn the tide. It is going to take a lot of work from a lot of people to turn the tide. We can do it. Read Edgar A. Guest’s poem “Would you be Great?” charles a. bowsher

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    The Life of Riley

    All of the SCOTUS types were political animals when one of their benefactors appointed them to the federal bench. A judge is just a political creature in a silk robe with a mandate to dispense “justice.”

    What a revoltin’ development this is!
    Chester A. Riley

  • drwacker

    What are you whining about, Tom? Isn’t this the same court that upheld the ACA and overturned DoMA? I don’t know yet if I agree with this decision, but I have to trust that our top court takes their job very seriously AND that they have a much better understanding of both the law and the Constitution.

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      So, a correct decision offsets a wrong decision?

      The Supreme Court has to try and get it right *all* the time.

  • geraldfnord

    So, presumably, any person or small group of people bringing the most powerful megaphones on the market to a public gathering have a perfect right to use them at top volume…anyone in the crowd is free to buy a megaphone of equal power, and it’s obvious that then all the speech will be as comprehensible as if no-one had a megaphone!—and if it isn’t, then the louder side are those with more money to spend, and so better people who really should be making the decisions anyway, as Peter Thiel might have it..

  • Tiki Archambeau

    The top 1% already had “free speech” just as the rest of us did. Now, the Supreme Court granted them carte blanche to have MORE free speech than the rest of us. This has always been the goal of conservatives and why they fight so hard for so few of the populace.

    The logic of Roberts and conservatives on the Supreme Court is utopian, so untethered from reality that they’re ironically dragging reality to the far right along with them.

  • sickofthechit

    This guys a rube. If someone donates $3,000,000 to a political organization, your dern tootin that Boehner is going to know about and phone them immediately to thank them then add, “Call me anytime”. charles a bowsher

    • Steve__T

      Na, he’ll invite them to a dinner of top elite’s. Then they will all stand around after dinner to see just how much more they can get out of them.

  • J__o__h__n

    “It won’t be a big decision because there aren’t a lot of people who will give that much money.” Bradley Smith is clueless.

    • sickofthechit

      I don’t think he is clueless, he is deceitful though. charles a. bowsher

  • Scott B

    Do the majority Justices really think that someone donating that $5 on their tax return gets the voice, and influence, of an Adelson or Koch Bros.? It’s becoming clearer that this country is becoming a plutocracy, with the only voice being heard is money at is what now is a pay-for-play cash bar that is the government, parties, candidates, and apparently now the SCOTUS

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Money is free speech. The lack of it is a permanent gag.

    • OnPointComments

      You seem to be fairly prolific in expressing your free speech. Are you rich?

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      We all are able to speak without having money.

  • J__o__h__n

    It is also how we elected Warren G Harding.

  • William

    What does anyone expect? We now have a government annual budget of 4 trillion dollars and growing. People want access to that money and the power of government that goes with it.

  • sickofthechit

    I just want to stifle this guys free speech because he is another one of these fast talking sleaze mongers who sound convincing but are simply very adept at sleight of word.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    SCOTUS on the march to destroy our civilization is what Fred really means. He’s right.

  • http://saultannenbaum.org/ Saul Tannenbaum

    Apologies to Anatole France: The Supreme Court in its majestic equality now allows rich and poor alike to contribute without limit to political campaigns.

  • sickofthechit

    To fix the system you go to strict campaign finance reform with public financing of campaigns. Use the power of the government to set aside equal blocks of time for candidates to address the people on all the networks. We need shorter campaigns and longer periods of time in which to vote. charles a. bowsher

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Repeal Article I. Problem goes away.
    {representative government: a inconvenient fiction}

    • ognywogny

      Everyone in this debate calling everyone else naive, but you went to the core of the sham which is USA. Good on you!

  • MrNutso

    Tell me Brad, what are the negatives that occurred under the prior system.

    • AF_Whigs

      The ongoing ACA fight has shown that the Right can’t always get what it wants. That’s a problem for them, so clearly something had to change. With more money they’ll be able to convince more people that they don’t need healthcare.

      • sickofthechit

        Not that you care, but you get my vote for best and funniest comment of the day. charles a bowsher

  • art525

    We have the best supreme court money can buy. I hope Mr Roberts got paid well for selling the country to the Koch brothers.

    • J__o__h__n

      Even worse than being corrupt, he is a true believer.

  • ins9

    I believe that this discussion largely misses the point. In our Democracy, as in all others that I’m aware of, there is one vote per person. This clearly, unequivocally intends that each person should have an equal say in who is elected. Our Constitution doesn’t say that some should have more votes and others less – one vote per person – equal say for all. The intent is inescapable. Anything that undermines each citizen’s having an equal say violates the whole principle of democracy. Allowing the wealthy to give larger
    contributions, thus exercising greater say in our elections, undermines the
    intent of one person one vote.

    • OnPointComments

      If I give $1,000,000 in political contributions, I get to vote one time in an election.

      • MrNutso

        But maybe you get to vote for the candidates that you donated to, where as I who does not have spare money for campaign contributions will likely not be able to vote for the candidates I support.

      • jefe68

        Yep, but you also get more access than I or 100′s of millions other Americans.

        Are really that naive?

      • adks12020

        ….and the person you vote for would have a better opportunity to win that election because of that money…and would also be inclined to oblige your wants and needs in return for that large donation more than the needs of someone that didn’t highly influence their electability.

      • art525

        Sleazy NJ governor Chris Christie demonstrated what all that money buys when he went to Las Vegas last weekend to grovel at the feet of Sheldon Adelson. Adelson who gave so much money to various right wing Repubs last election. Christie “mispoke” and refered to the “occupied territories” in the Israel Palestine struggle and then he had to go see Mr Adelson for a private meeting where he had to prostrate himself for his sin. $1,000,000 buys more than a vote, it buys policy positions by bought and sold politicians.

        • sickofthechit

          Adelson actually spent $15,000,000 on McCains failed primary and something like $30,000,000 on Romneys presidential campaign

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            I guess money doesn’t really matter that much.

          • Steve__T

            Unemployment Extension Set to Pass, But GOP Digging in on Minimum Wage, Pay Equity

        • OnPointComments

          President Obama made a brief statement about the Fort Hood shooting yesterday, then he was off to a Chicago fundraiser that included a roundtable discussion (entrance fee up to $32,400 each) and a private reception (entrance fee up to $10,000 each).

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    So let’s fund more FBI stings of Congressmen. Abscam works for me.

    Lengthy jail terms: a real awakening, long overdue.

    • sickofthechit

      Term limits to. McConnell shouldn’t even be able to run. I hate to say it, but I think he is going to bumble himself into a fifth term and the leadership of the senate….depression ensues. charles a. bowsher

  • MrNutso

    Adelson wasn’t going around saying how great Newt was. He was giving Newt money.

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    Can you compare the result of deregulation of the banking system to the probable result of deregulation of campaign finance?

    People will push the limits, whatever they are. Remove the limits and what happens?

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    SCOTUS finding: corporate big bucks, no whammies

    Let’s call it the Keating Decision. Yesterday: the death of the Congressional corrupter without peer. John McCain’s enabler, Charles Keating.

    • sickofthechit

      To many people to young to remember…

  • PBann

    It is called pay to play and if anyone doesn’t think money talks they know nothing. I worked in politics for years and money talks.

  • CeCe Bee

    You can use your money to speak a lot, and really loud, that’s the FREE PART – just limit how much of that money overall any one citizen can give to THEIR candidates or
    to a political campaign… and that DOES NOT limit your right to speech!

    Limits ensure that money does not overwhelm the ability of someone else to speak, especially the ability to respond.

    And it keeps politicians separate from obligation, or the appearance thereof, to any one donor or organization!

    And it keeps most of us sane during these 18 month-long campaigns with overly dramatized, errant campaign ads.

    Yes, let’s read all of the courts decisions – but at the end of the day, if I could bet a pot of money on the outcome of this decision – I’d be rich… and so would most people in this country — 5 to 4 – big surprise, right.

    • sickofthechit

      More Republicans elected to more offices nationwide at the local, state and federal levels. We will regretfully become the Republican States of America. charles a. bowsher

  • sickofthechit

    Citizen’s United. The real problem with that decision is that it was reasoned as if by a third grader. Corporations were already represented in our political process by their owners and stockholders, their employees, and their customers.
    Where exactly does the corporation enter a polling booth and cast their votes? Who casts their votes for them if they are “persons”. Can they (corporations) be sent to jail when their operations injure someone? Can they suffer pain? If not, then they are not a person. charles a. bowsher

  • Thomas DeMeo

    It seems that the voters simply can’t pay attention to what Congress actually does. We can only pay attention to who influences them. Congress has successfully shifted blame away from themselves and to the evil people who unfairly influence them.

  • ognywogny

    Bradley Smith is a bought and paid for hack just like the 5 bought and paid for stooges on the SCOTUS

    • ognywogny

      Let me revise that listening more to Smith. He is a BOUGHT DOG of the Koch’s!

      • OnPointComments

        Oh no. Another case of Koch Derangement Syndrome. You haven’t been kissing Harry Reid, have you?

        • ognywogny

          You are another fascist who will disenfranchise the people. You belong to Koch also, lemming!

        • ognywogny

          In your case, another case of FAUX news paranoia syndrome. People with collander hats shouldn’t throw spaghetti.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Charles Koch:

        “Those in power fail to see that more government means less liberty, and liberty is the essence of what it means to be American. Love of liberty is the American ideal.”

        • sickofthechit

          Their version of “Liberty” only covers them, not the people whose air and water they pollute, whose bodies and children they poison.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            ” whose air and water they pollute,”

            No, that is the EPA testing on human subjects.

    • sickofthechit

      I have a sign hanging on my front door that proclaims in large letters
      “IMPEACH THE SUPREME COURT FIVE”
      Kennedy Alito Roberts Scalia Thomas”

      Their initials just happen to spell KARST which is the weakened geologic substructure that underlies much of Central Kentucky and is known for unexpectedly leaving sinkholes . Kind of like Citizens United or the McKutchin decision has done to democracy.

      charles a. bowsher

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Justice is blind. Makes it easier to mug her.
    Now we’re going to bind and gag her.
    –Jon Roberts, Chief Supremo

  • nj_v2

    Hold on, i’ve got to go get my high boots to keep from getting overrun by the stuff Mr. Smith is spewing out. It’s piling up pretty quick.

    If we throw enough water on a fire to knock it down (enact legislation to control spending abuses) and don’t put out the fire completely (the rules are gamed and dodged so we still have a problem), then the solution is to stop putting water on the fire (repeal laws regulating spending).

    Yeah, that makes a whole lot of sense.

    Now he’s making bogus comparisons between spending money to establish a communications/media company and spending money on political organizations and candidates.

    CPP overview:

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Center_for_Competitive_Politics

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Global Heating: a countervailing issue. I wonder who’s going to buy Mother Nature some air time.

  • sickofthechit

    brad smith is a rude, fast talking guest is violating the other guests free speech rights and tom’s (though he doesn’t deserve it since he can’t control his guest any better). Cut his mike until the others can catch up on time spoken. That is what free speech is in this forum. charles a. bowsher

  • originalname37

    Why do campaigns need so much money? Is it just for TV ads? If so, isn’t the real problem that so many people are getting their information from TV that more TV ads = more votes? Shouldn’t we try to fix THAT?

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      The airwaves belong to the ‘people’ and we lease their use to corporations – and we should stipulate as part of the lease the *free* use of the airwaves for the primary purposes of the democracy.

    • hennorama

      originalname37 — TV/radio/online advertising is most of it at the margins. The base costs of office space, travel, consultants, hiring staff, etc., are relatively small by comparison.

      And to some extent, the strategy is not to get more votes necessarily, but also to discourage voting in general, allowing for the votes of a relatively small number of the “correct” voters to have disproportionate influence on the outcomes.

  • Roger Johanson

    If ever there was an oxymoron, it’s “free speech.”

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    We’re going to take away the speech from you the little people who pay taxes. And give it to General Electric, who doesn’t.
    –Jon Roberts, Legal Visionary for All Time

  • originalname37

    Also, what ever happened to the “equal time” doctrine?

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      Eliminated, under law, during Reagan’s term.

  • OnPointComments

    If someone gives millions and millions to NPR, have they bought undue influence over NPR?

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      The government pays for ~7% of the NPR budget, I think.

      • Jeff

        What about the major foundations that fund NPR? I’m sure they do have some influence on NPR, but they are free to donate if they choose…using your limit rules logic we should limit NPOs from getting a lump sum from individuals (or a particular group) because it would cause too much influence over that NPO. So if it’s good for government then by all means it should be good for NPOs, right?

        • J__o__h__n

          NPR discloses its donors. The Koch brothers get more than a totebag.

          • Jeff

            As does the McKnight foundation at NPR. You don’t think the heads of those foundations don’t have more connections at NPR than the average donor?

          • sickofthechit

            Last I checked NPR is not abranch of our government.

          • nj_v2

            Don’t confuse them. They have their schtick all worked out.

      • OnPointComments

        I imagined John D. and Catherine T. McArthur calling Tom and telling him what the subject will be for tomorrow’s show.

    • CeCe Bee

      Geez, how many apples and oranges can someone throw at this debate… really… NPR is the news, not a representative of the people NPR isn’t voting in the halls of Congress, but someone who contributes a lot of money to political campaigns is likely to.

      • Jeff

        But using your own logic we MUST have limits on their contributions…the same ones we use for politics. BTW, how crazy is it that you don’t think the National Public Radio shouldn’t be a representative of the people, informing us, getting public funding and supposedly trying to perform a public service. Can’t you see how similar that is to a “representative of the people”, when this entity is receiving government funds to inform the people, in the name of the government?

        • CeCe Bee

          Representatives of the people can not be compared to news organizations… period – who cares if somone believes ny times or npr is liberal… and FOX is on the right…

          • Jeff

            I’m fine with being influenced by the funding, the problem I have is that NPR uses my tax dollars and claims to be a representative of the government. They also claim to be unbiased…but they all have some bias.

          • CeCe Bee

            Our tax dollars, thank you – and representatives decide how it’s spent – I don’t like how some of the money is spent and neither should you.

          • Jeff

            Sure, for people who pay taxes…47% of people don’t pay Federal Income Tax (which the NPR funding is taken from).

          • sickofthechit

            I was unaware that paying taxes was a requirement for citizenship. Exactly where is that in the Constitution?

          • Jeff

            We were talking about paying for NPR, what the hell are you doing bringing up citizenship? The founding fathers thought you should own property to vote because property was taxed…I don’t disagree with that thought process.

          • CeCe Bee

            And besides, NPR is no more a representative than state universities. You can not compare actual representatives of the people with businesses, companies, nonprofits, or cooperations – all of which get some type of funding/subsidy from the government.

    • Roger Johanson

      Standard right wing distraction from the issue. NPR works hard to inform the public and to air even the views of the crazies. Big political spending seeks to misinform and provide a carefully crafted misrepresentation of issues to sway the votes of those who barely pay attention to public issues.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Should Union spending be limited? Media Matters spending? Planned parenthood spending?

  • Scott B

    This is yet another prime example of those on the Right denying fact, history, and experience. The history of man is strewn with example after example of how money corrupts people and governments, let alone just the history of the US, and why we had limits (some might say “supposed limits, with soft money, etc) on political financing. But now, somehow, this is about free speech for the .1% that spend millions backing candidates, as if those donors won’t expect, ears (and laws) bent their way, and their backs scratched in return, as history has shown again and again.

  • AF_Whigs

    So how does this fit into the Right’s red herring of wanting “smaller government”? Their increasingly-naked dismantling of equal representation in our country is sickening. Calling this a “free speech” issue would be laughable if it wasn’t so damned disheartening.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Speech is just another way of saying: Shut UP!

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Let’s just bribe them. And keep the money for executive bonuses.

  • art525

    Bradley smith is ridiculous.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Repeal Article I. Problem goes away.

  • Tiki Archambeau

    Listening to Fred Wertheimer argue that money in politics is not a problem is like listening to someone defend how flat the earth is.

    • nj_v2

      I think you’ve got the guests mixed up.

      • Tiki Archambeau

        I think you’re right. Sorry Fred!!

  • CeCe Bee

    I hope Fred Wertheimer can tell us how to get the Supreme Court to make EVERY contribution from anyone to any candidate or political organization – transparent and public information.

    • sickofthechit

      Not really. The Koch’s and the other wealthy want zero disclosure
      because they are “afraid they will be targeted” by those who oppose.
      them, They want to be able to contribute anonymously as far as the rest
      of us go. charles a bowsher

  • J__o__h__n

    I hope there is an unintended consequence and the politicians really squeeze the rich for fortune threatening sized contributions now that there are no longer limits.

  • Potter

    Isn’t this an activist court? The very kind of court the Republicans are against?

    • Jeff

      You don’t understand activism…the FDR, Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations never had these rules…we’re going back to our roots as a nation with this decision.

      • J__o__h__n

        Activism is usually measured by departure from precedent and overturning acts of Congress. The Roberts Court is an activist court. And almost all controversial decisions have been 5-4.

        • Jeff

          Freedom of speech is right there, in black and white for all to read. Activism is a departure from the actual words in the US Constitution. Very easy to understand and very easy to see…overturning congressional acts that violate the words in the US Constitution is not activism.

          • J__o__h__n

            A 5-4 decision from a radically conservative Court said that they violated the Constitution. Where in black and white for all to read does the Constitution state that money is speech?

          • Jeff

            Yep, so radically conservative that Obamacare was deemed constitutional…which Roberts did so he would have leeway to do what he wanted in other aspects of the law. Which is he is now doing…do you want this or Obamacare, which is more important?

          • Potter

            You may think this way, but the government should not work this way.

          • J__o__h__n

            It was a different 5-4 composition.

          • Potter

            It’s a matter of interpretation what the words mean and what the intent was. We are not living in the world of the past either.

            But you are right if you are suggesting that the Congress can make new laws. They should, but again money interests will prevent that from happening… since it was very hard for campaign finance reform to happen n the first place and then the Supreme Court gutted it. The Court is activist, no question about it since it is turning around past decision.

      • jefe68

        How far back do you want to go?
        Pre 14th Amendment?

        • Jeff

          New Amendment, new rules…I have yet to find an amendment that overrules free speech or specifically addresses campaign financing rules…care to point that one out for me?

          • jefe68

            I’m not the one who wants to go backwards into some idea of what the founders intended. You did.
            Prior to the 19th Amendment women did not have the right to vote. Which means prior to 1920 they did have the same rights as men in terms of speech.

            One could also argue that Blacks also did not have the same free speech rights as white men because of the Jim Crow laws. While the15th Amendment gave African Americans the right to vote It took a century to gain those rights.

            I must say you really do have a very simple minded and dare I say naive view on what’s going on here. Especially in a historical context.

          • Jeff

            You fail to understand my point, new Amendments = new rules. Great run around to basically say “yeah, you’re right, there is no amendment about those things so we shouldn’t violate free speech rights of individuals”.

          • jefe68

            No, I’m not saying that. Free speech, and the way the court interprets it is the point.
            Laws are written without making Amendments by the way. Which is what this case was about. Campaign finance laws.

            Right now only 150,000 individuals are the largest donors in campaigns.
            If you think that’s good for free speech, you are very much mistaken.

            Nice runaround by the way, of not answering the question, how far back to the Founders idea of government are you on about?

          • Jeff

            As far back as we have amendments for…if there is no amendment then we go as far back as we can. See the 13th-15th Amendments if you’re going down the slavery tangent, it’s not a real point.

          • jefe68

            I never mentioned slavery.
            I was talking about speech as it pertains to voting and having a voice in society. Voting is an expression of having a voice.
            Again, you don’t answer the questions posed to you. You just post asides.
            Lets stop here. It’s clear we don’t agree and this back and forth is a waste of time.

          • Potter

            one note Jeff. The amendment process is gridlocked. (see my above). This is your panacea. You have no solution. You don’t even think we have a problem right?

          • Potter

            Your point is empty in today’s world. Your solution is no solution.

          • Potter

            We are talking about interpretation of what free speech means. If money is speech, then allowing rich people to pour more money into our elections means that rich people get MORE SPEECH. Right??? We are objecting to giving rights to people to speak more because they have money. They DROWN out the others because of the enormous amounts of money needed to partake in our elections. A person without money hasn’t a chance to be heard nor get elected.

            We do need an amendment to address this perhaps but I’d be happy with new laws.

          • red_donn

            Precisely. My analogy of the matter is to consider several people taking bullhorns to a town hall meeting, in order to shout everyone else down without regard to procedures of debate and discussion. Within minutes, the entire discussion would be hijacked by the few people with the devices, irrespective of the quality of their ideas. Taking away the bullhorns is not a matter of violating their free speech, it protects the free speech of others.

      • Roger Johanson

        This NOT going back to the founders’ intent in any sense. This is not FREE speech. It is the right of the wealthy to control the dialog with calculated obfuscating speech and attack ads.
        YES – it is an activist and highly political court.

      • Potter

        Our roots were equality and democracy. This is a very different country than the one the original laws were made to guard against. You don’t understand our roots!

        • Jeff

          The original laws had no limits to campaign funding, do some basic research man.

          • Potter

            Basic research shows that the country was never set up to keep in stone the original laws. The original laws counted slaves as 3/5 of a person. What is SACRED about the original laws? The founders never meant to have their laws canonized. But the INTENT of the founders is clear. And how we have been progressing is clear.

          • sickofthechit

            I believe a reading of the writings of the times would reveal that the founders expected the Constitution would be revisited and revised every 20 years ago to keep it current.

          • Jeff

            We have the amendment process…that is correct, you want to do something use the amendment process…you can even cancel out old amendments using that process.

          • Potter

            The amendment process is EXTREMELY hard to bring about, The country is so divided or uninformed or demagogued by money interests that makes this even harder. It’s a CATCH 22: the very people that have the money to prevent such an amendment that lessens their influence will will block the process. The Supreme Court is already on their side. We are STUCK. The wheels that the FOUNDERS provided us with no longer work. This is the point.

          • Potter

            yes we are long due BUT we don’t have any worthy of the job… or so it seems. Nor is there the will…. yet.

          • Jeff

            SEE THE AMENDMENTS 13-15. END OF TOPIC ON SLAVERY.

          • Potter

            Right. That was a change that was able to happen when government processes were working. They are not working now. (see my above).

      • sickofthechit

        So is slavery is next on your all’s agenda?

        • Jeff

          Accusing someone of being pro-slavery is about as low as you can get, I’m going to apply Godwin’s Law at this point and you lose any credibility you had and every point is null and void.

    • hennorama

      Potter – I believe the full term is ” unelected judges who legislate from the bench.”

      And “Yes” as to your question.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Retire federal judges at 65. Good enough for commercial airline pilots; good for the silk robers.

    • J__o__h__n

      Roberts is 59. Ginsberg is 81. Age isn’t the problem.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    The Founders were not representative of the population as a whole. In that regards, they were like today’s federal judges. Of all stripes.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    So when’s the last time you had YOUR phone call taken by YOUR member of Congress? Without the gate keeper telling you: Please, go away.

    • sickofthechit

      They don”t say please go away. They say thank you for calling, I’ll be sure to pass that along to the CONgressman.

    • OnPointComments

      I wrote my congressman, and the next day I got a reply. I gave him $0 in political contributions.

  • wanders123

    These decisions make the ordinary involved U.S. citizen feel more and more powerless. Private and corporate money have had increasing influence on American politics in the past 60 years. Eisenhower warned about the military-industrial complex’s influence, and here it is, along with individual influence.
    The only way to truly reform and save our democracy is to create a level playing field for would-be candidates with real reform of election spending, and the guys receiving the millions and billions aren’t about to enact that. Catch-22 for those of us who feel the need to solve some really daunting problems in the country and the world.

  • adks12020

    Bradley Smith wants to know how Citizens United has made politics worse?! Seriously? Turn on the TV or radio during an election. All you hear is dozens and dozens of highly slanted political ads that are made simply to confuse issues and convince the public to vote for the candidates that wealthy donors want elected. There are so many more of these highly charged, hugely biased ads than ever before. The American public is more divided than ever on political issues but only because of these fringe groups gaining control of the airwaves. They create conflict between our citizens and eliminate our political power. Our Congress can’t seem to pass anything because they are afraid of these fringe groups campaigning against them. Wake up man!

    • Jeff

      So that didn’t happen before Citizens United? Or do you have a bad memory?

      • adks12020

        Of course there was money influence before Citizens United but if you haven’t noticed a difference since then you haven’t been paying attention.

    • sickofthechit

      The majority are ads he supports so he doesn’t see the problem.

  • sickofthechit

    Million dollar checks will be scoffed at after this decision. The opening bid will be in the tens of millions, and those with a real yearning for “Free $peech” (copyright charles a. bowsher 2014) will be spending in the Hundreds of millions of dollars. The Robert’s court will be long remembered as being a destructive force of Free Speech, if we are allowed to even write about it in the future….charles a. bowsher

  • polarvortex

    If I give 1 million+ dollars to my congress person, they better do what I want. Otherwise they won’t get the 1 million next time around. That’s influence.

    • MrNutso

      My wish is that I have unlimited money, so I can donate the maximum to all candidates and party apparatus of one party. When they get elected I will hold a press conference to say that I spent $xxx,xxx,xxx and I expect them to vote for the policies I support.

  • Oh bummer

    “It’s not the people who vote that count. It’s the people who count the votes.” (Joseph Stalin)

    • J__o__h__n

      It is only a few people who count the votes so it doesn’t matter – Bradley Smith

  • sickofthechit

    Bradley smith may have made one statement that I agree with. We don’t need more regulation of campaign finance. What we need is better regulation of campaign finance. We need publicly funded campaigns. If we want free speech, democracy, that is how it can be achieved. There are already to many campaign ads of dubious truth on the airwaves. this most recent decision will only make matters worse.
    charles a. bowsher

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    With $1,000 contribution, a free General Motors ignition switch. Ugh, one of the working ones.
    –Wacko Q. Thudpucker {For Congress: 10th district}

  • Blue_To_Shoe

    You have to give Bradley Smith credit…He had the whole false equivalency talking points strategy down to a very disciplined level.

    I guess he feels his strategy of saying “freedom of speech” every time he spoke worked for him so much, that no one was supposed to noticed that he literally answered no questions asked of him.

    • sickofthechit

      Big trouble is they have hundreds if not thousands of clones like him who have taken the treatment or drunk the Kool-aid and they are creating more and more. This is starting to remind me of Sauron and Saurman more and more. charles a. bowsher

  • cdmiller

    Political contributions are not free speech, any more than money is free. Money has the proven power to corrupt, and if in the information age we are not looking at the bad examples of corruption the world over, and corruption of power and money over the the ages, we are fooling ourselves.

    I understand the desire to gain political influence by spending money, but this ruling will make the political system worse, not better. Adjust the money limits if they are wrong, don’t remove them!

    Really good hour — I enjoyed the explanations off the mad men who think unlimited spending of money is anything but unlimited imbalance of power.

  • CeCe Bee

    Hopefully this blow torch of a decision will allow cleaner legislative with campaign reforms that limit overall money amounts from anyone or organization – and provides complete transparency.

    As far as I’m concerned all political contributions should go onto corresponding pools, one blue, one red, one “purple or other”, one green, etc… — and candidates get a percentage of the corresponding pool – the other percentage goes to our community colleges and universities, help people get an education and get a job.

    One day future generations will look back on this greed and money squandering with anger, dismay, disappointment.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Transparency is great.

      However we should start with complete transparency on government audits. The Truth the Vote founders were assaulted with 17 audits from multiple government agencies — all after they decided to become citizen activists. The process for determining these audits need to be completely open and transparent.

      You can’t have open donor lists when government can be used as a weapon to create enemies lists.

    • sickofthechit

      That’s if they can see it through the fog from unlimited coal burning and the burning of the planet these people see as no big deal.

  • yaya

    The GREAT LIE of our time is Corporations are People – MONEY is SPEECH – SPEECH IS POWER. Ergo, if you are not of MONEY, you are not a
    True American. You have no power. You are nothing. Now buy our crappy products. Oh wait, we exported your jobs. You have NO MONEY!!!

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    SUCKERS!!!!

    Somewhere, our founders await the moment when America’s Backbone stiffens with Freedom once again.

  • John Davids

    I was utterly livid this morning while listening to Bradley Smith’s reasoning for why its OK for money to equal speech. He rambled on about how “thats just how it works” more-or-less. Saying that if you have more money, you can buy a better attorney in court. Or if you have more money, you can buy more ads and that the govt shouldn’t be able to limit what you can and can not spend your money on.

    WRONG. Thats exactly THE POINT, Brad. We all totally agree that virtually everything in this country revolves around money. We all already know that money = speech in the free market. One of the few things that should be INSULATED from the influencing power of money is OUR ELECTIONS. We don’t WANT to turn our country over to the free market. Thats the entire PURPOSE of having a democracy…leveling the playing field. The idea is supposed to be that it doesn’t MATTER who you are, how much money you have, where you came from, what your views are. 1 person = 1 vote. Thats how this is supposed to work.

    Oh and then his other point of how money doesn’t corrupt and there is not a single shred of evidence that unlimited money in politics corrupts. I practically spit my coffee all over my windshield. IS ANYONE BUYING THIS TRASH????

    • OnPointComments

      According to Opensecrets.org, Barack Obama raised $715 million for his 2012 presidential campaign, compared to $446 million raised by Mitt Romney. Does that mean that Barack Obama is 1.6 times more corrupt than Mitt Romney?

      • John Davids

        I fail to see the point. Nice straw man tho.

        • OnPointComments

          My comment was supposed to be a reply to a comment somewhere else that said money=corruption. Only Disqus knows why it ended up here instead.

          • John Davids

            Far out. I hope you can see how your response to my post looks a lot like straw man building. NBD, carry on :-)

      • pete18

        Yes.

  • Oh bummer

    “A little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing.”
    Thomas Jefferson

  • sickofthechit

    Not really. The Koch’s and the other wealthy want zero disclosure because they are “afraid they will be targeted” by those who oppose . them, They want to be able to contribute anonymously as far as the rest of us go. charles a bowsher

  • ocdhickson

    The reason the democrats are so unhinged about this ruling is because they’ve been illegally bundling campaign contributions in excess of the limits (see Norman Hsu) and this ruling just gives Republicans a way to legally catch up.

    But let’s not mention Hsu since he was a Clinton bundler and that would spoil Hil’s coronation.

  • Adrian_from_RI

    Surprise, another proper decision by SCOTUS. Over the last 40 or so years we have gotten ever more laws regulating campaign financing. All these laws have done no good because these laws treat a symptom and not the disease of corruption and injustice. Tom, maybe you should have an Onpiont program to discuss the question: Why do so many people feel compelled to spend millions of dollars on politicians? Could it be that people seek to influence politicians for the same reason that Willie Sutton robbed banks, namely that is where the money is?

    Our Declaration of Independence stated that the only legitimate function of my government is to administer justice which consists of protecting my inalienable rights to my life, my liberty, and my property and to leave me alone to pursuit my own happiness. However, we have now degenerated into the kind of democracy that Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) warned us against, namely mob rule where everybody wants to live at the expense of everybody else (The 47% and growing). A contemporary, Frèdèrick Bastiat (1801-1850), wrote in his booklet “The Law” that the purpose of the law is to be an instrument of justice, but over the last 120 years the law has evermore been turned into an instrument of plunder.

    Now elections have turned into a frenzy of plunder; an unseemly haggling to determine who will be at the table and who will be on the menu. Most politicians are now nothing more than mudfarmers and people try to bribe politician to either protect themselves from being the victim of plunder or to use the political system to partake in the plunder.

    However, I am afraid that the socialists have nothing to worry about. Despite all the money from the 1% it seems to me that President Obama got elected by the 47% plus 4%. Nevertheless, is it not about time we go back to a constitutional government that protects my and your Inalienable Rights? Nobody would waste good money on politicians if it would again be unconstitutional to take from some to give to others. Besides, no amount of money would convert a politician’s believe system from just to unjust, from moral to immoral or visa versa. All my representatives here in RI are Wesley Mouch type looters and no amount of money could make them into Bill of Right’s respecting Jeffersonians.

    • Jeff

      Amazing points, I agree.

    • OnPointComments

      I agree.

      The focus is on money spent by private individuals, corporations, and other entities, which pales in significance to the really big money that government spends buying votes.

      “With respect to the two words ‘general welfare,’ I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.” –James Madison

      “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.” –James Madison

    • jimino

      I feel your pain. All those military personnel deployed in war zones, elderly Americans who have worked their whole lives and now are living on Social Security (and especially the ones in nursing homes paid for by Medicaid, they’re REALLY on the take!), disabled adults and children, full-time low-wage workers (especially those who had the gall to have children).

      I’m curious, did you count all those corporate “persons” who don’t pay any income tax despite billions in profit in your figures? It may be worse than you think.

      And what really takes the cake is that those at the top of the income and asset ranking have NEVER made more and accumulated more assets. How do they make it through the day with the terrible lot they have been handed. My hankie is wet with tears just contemplating their horrible existence. It’s so debilitating I have to stop.

      • Kevin Burber

        Not that this needs saying, but what the heck – Let’s not forget that that 43% pays MORE as a percentage of their income considering all other forms of taxation – sales tax, real estate tax, etc. They actually SPEND their money because they have to – to buy food and clothing and shoes, etc.
        Oh…wait…I totally forgot…all that money that the 1% is accumulating should trickle down.

        Uh-huh…and Santa is coming next December.

    • hennorama

      Adrian_from_RI — I realize this doesn’t fit with your screed, but you are misinformed if you believe your parenthetical comment is accurate — “(The 47% and growing).”

      Please note the following web headlines from late last summer:

      Washington Post: The famous “47 percent” are now down to 43 percent

      Washington Examiner: The 47 percent is now the 43 percent: Number of Americans paying no income taxes drops

      CNBC: Now it’s the 43 percent: Fewer paying no income tax

      Fox News (funny how they figure it out later than everyone else, isn’t it?): Infamous ’47 percent’ not paying federal taxes, now 43 percent

      Sources:
      http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/08/29/the-famous-47-percent-are-now-down-to-43-percent/

      http://washingtonexaminer.com/the-47-percent-is-now-the-43-percent-number-of-americans-paying-no-income-taxes-drops/article/2534887

      http://www.cnbc.com/id/101015065

      http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/09/10/infamous-47-percent-not-paying-federal-taxes-now-43-percent/

      There’s also this helpful video:

      http://youtu.be/nM7orhQIzKM

  • BLF

    What is the expected dollar impact this ruling? In past election cycles only ~600 individuals met the overall limit. Will this affect only this group? How much more money will be given?

  • jsmetz

    So… the top 1% of the wealth-hoarding classes in the US have finally figured out how to get rid of this pesky, north American idea of democracy with all of it’s threats to accumulated private and personal wealth as perceived by those who think themselves threatened. This “pesky idea” was born in the Declaration of Independence in July, 1776, and was best articulated by A. Lincoln at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in November, 1863: “…that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” Today, the wealth-hoarders have figured out that you just buy enough of the necessary law-makers and judges, and tell them how to vote on the issues you define for them by way of the unified voice and expensive PR made possible with purchased media. So, what else is new. The remaining destruction of democracy and democratic institutions can now proceed quickly. Clarence Thomas – once again the Court’s prime defender of those really wealthy people who feel put upon – wants to get rid of all monetary limits on paid for “free speech.” That’s a dumb idea, but I can’t afford to buy ad space on Fox News to say it in a way that Thomas might hear it. Where is my First Amendment right as a citizen of the US without a lot of money: “…to petition the Government for redress of grievances?”

    • harverdphd

      The 1% is a myth

      • nj_v2

        ^ Troll

      • OnPointComments

        The liberals don’t seem to realize that 1% is a mathematical calculation. There will always be a 1%, no matter what.

        • jefe68

          If only that was the case about the regressive right.

          • pete18

            If only that was the case with your use of “regressive right, trolls, Mark Twain and right wing clown posse!” Those terms are part of the 99%.

  • red_donn

    If there is a debate occuring, in a crowded plaza or auditorium, it would be considered rude and problematic if a few people arrived with bullhorns, and used them to shout everyone else down. Whether or not the person purchased the device or made it with their own hands would be irrelevant – this does not give them the “right” to shout everyone else down, irrespective of the quality of their own arguments. Within minutes, the whole discussion would exist only between those people with the devices, not arising out of the group’s consideration of ideas.

    Taking away the bullhorns and insisting they follow the same procedures of debate and discussion as everyone else doesn’t hinder their free speech, it protects the free speech of others.

    • OnPointComments

      A debate occurring in a crowded plaza or auditorium is fundamentally different from the broad concept of free speech. Could the government say that you have a right to free speech, but only when called upon to step up to the podium in the crowded plaza or auditorium and speak without amplification? Should the government be able to say that your right of free speech ends when the cost to broadcast or publish your ideas, or support those with similar ideas, equals $X dollars? In my opinion, the words “Congress shall make no law” means just that, Congress shall make no law no law abridging the freedom of speech.

      • Steve__T

        So the SCOTUS does it instead of Congress.

        Results = same. Freedom of Speech = Money.

      • red_donn

        The trickiest part of my analogy is, without doubt, determining what the plaza relates to in the actual socio-political scene.
        One cannot argue, for instance, that the bullhorn is precisely analogous to founding a media company or news outlet, otherwise we’d be encouraging the undemocratic restriction of those resources.
        Personally, I feel that the work of Ackerman, Ayres, and Lessig is promising as a method of constructing a properly democratic
        It can, and should, be pointed out that the development of our national communications, including the foundation of television, was not a purely democratic one. The original few tv networks were only made possible by the government laying the infrastructure and granting licenses, originally with the provision that news services had to be provided. This opened the path

      • red_donn

        Furthermore, when considering restraints within a system, a comment I read elsewhere suggested, rather nicely, that the notion “of the people” might preclude any expenditures that dwarf the means of other people. This is to say that, when expenditures of a very small percentage dwarf the opinions and voices of a much, much larger percentage of the population, the concept of “we the people” is necessarily diluted. This notion is echoed in the provisions of some of the authors I mentioned in my rather overlong post.

  • OnPointComments

    I agree that this is the reason liberals want to limit campaign spending:

    “…the legacy mainstream media, Hollywood, academia, publishing, the legal profession, the mainline churches, and the arts, i.e., almost all of the leading opinion-making areas of American life, are dominated by liberals (though conservatives dominate talk radio, evangelical churches, and have Fox News). The one place where the playing field is more or less level is in campaign spending. Limit campaign spending, and left-leaning opinion-makers utterly dominate American political discourse.”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2014/04/02/breyers-dangerous-dissent-in-mccutcheon-the-campaign-finance-case/

    • nj_v2

      Hahahahahahaha!!!!

      The mainstream media are “liberal.”

      Hahahahahahaha!!

      Please, stop, my sides are hurting!

    • William Malmstrom

      The mainstream media is OPENLY bought by advertisers. At least Congress PRETENDS they are not bought and paid for. The media is not liberal – they are in favor of whatever their wealthy owners and advertisers are in favor of.

  • hennorama

    Is this the ideal:

    Unlimited contributions, with universal disclosure and transparency, and no tax advantages?

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Universal disclosure only after complete transparency on the weaponizing of government. How do we avoid audits, enemies lists, etc. ?

    • jimino

      Who could possibly oppose that the speakers of speech be identified?

      • OnPointComments

        The NAACP, for one. In the Supreme Court case of NAACP v. Alabama, the court sided with the NAACP and said that “compelled disclosure of affiliation with groups engaged in advocacy may constitute [an] effective a restraint on freedom of association.”

        • jimino

          Not on point, as they say in the legal world.

          It is illustrative that you would cite with approval a case that truly involves the “weaponization of government” in an attempt to preserve institutional segregation by state intimidation.

          • OnPointComments

            If you’d like more recent examples, look at conservative organizations that were targeted by the government. Contributions and memberships dried up once it was known that affiliation meant retaliation by the government.

          • jimino

            Give me some examples please.

          • jimino

            uh oh. I asked for facts, which is always a dead end when arguing with someone like this..

          • OnPointComments

            “Our donors dried up,” said Toby Marie Walker, who runs the Waco Tea Party, which filed for tax-exempt status in July 2010 and didn’t receive approval until this past March [2013]. “It was intimidating and time-consuming.”

            “When Mr. Kookogey launched Linchpins of Liberty, he had secured a commitment for $30,000 from a nonprofit group that gives money to a wide range of causes. But after the IRS inquiry dragged on, the group eventually rescinded its offer, telling Mr. Kookogey to apply again once he ironed out his tax status.”

            http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:jdbD4dazv9gJ:online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324031404578483451068388078+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Hey Henny, looks like you agree with Clarence Thomas. His proposal was no limits but only direct to the candidates, transparent contributions. No power broker middlemen.

      • hennorama

        WftC — Thank you for your response.

        Posing a question is not necessarily indicative of one’s opinion.

        My question is an actual open question, to which I myself have not yet formulated an answer.

  • nj_v2

    Koches at work:

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/04/01/3421088/koch-brothers-tennessee/

    Koch Brothers Quietly Seek To Ban New Mass Transit In Tennessee

    The Tennessee Senate passed a bill last week that, if approved, would broadly ban mass transit projects in the region, an anti-transit effort that’s gotten some help in the state from Charles and David Koch.

    On Thursday, the Tennessee Senate passed SB 2243, which includes an amendment that “prohibits metropolitan governments and any transit authorities created by a metropolitan government from constructing, maintaining or operating any bus rapid transit system using a separate lane, or other separate right-of-way, dedicated solely to the use of such bus rapid transit system on any state highway or state highway.” The amendment is aimed at Nashville’s proposed $174 million rapid bus system called the Amp, but would apply to any mass transit system proposed in Tennessee’s cities.

    The Amp, a proposed 7.1-mile bus rapid transit system that would cut commute times along one of Nashville’s major corridors, has been staunchly opposed by the Tennessee branch of Americans for Prosperity, a lobbying organization founded in part by the Koch brothers. AFP’s Tennessee director told the Tennessean that SB 2243 was the result of a conversation he’d had with the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Jim Tracy. In addition, AFP pushed the Senate to vote on the bill — efforts that led to StopAmp.org, one of the lead groups opposing the Amp, thanking AFP in a press release after SB 2243 passed the Senate. The transit system’s opponents say it would create traffic problems and safety issues due to its middle-lane location, a claim that a spokesman for the Amp Coalition disputes.…

    (snipped)

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      thinkprogress hahahahaha

      Sorry I couldn’t resist.

      • nj_v2

        What factual information in the article do you dispute and why?

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Oh, and I posted a very clear hadcrut4 graph for you on the other show thread that shows identical warming 1910-1940 and 1975-1998.

    • OnPointComments

      Have you ever driven in Atlanta? Three lanes of stopped bumper-to-bumper traffic, and a fourth lane reserved for buses and car poolers that is mostly empty. I’m glad to see that Tennessee has more sense than Georgia.

  • William Malmstrom

    Best example of money corrupting our politics: When Congress was debating how to make health care more affordable, ultimately coming up with the ACA. At that time the MAJORITY of voters favored a single payer system. Yet the President and Congress didn’t DARE even mention single payer as a viable contender. The political class didn’t snub single payer because they feared the voters. What they feared was the moneyed interests who bought the issue. Congress ignored what the majority of people wanted. To prove corruption one doesn’t need to point to a specific quid-pro-quo, one only needs to look at examples like this where the money men are on one side and the public is on the other. almost always the biggest donors get what they’ve paid for, whether the Supreme Court admits it or not.

    • OnPointComments

      Times change. According to a Rasmussen report dated March 31, 2014, thirty-six percent (36%) of voters now support a single-payer health care system where the federal government provides health insurance coverage for everyone. Perhaps seeing how the government performed with the ACA has influenced opinion.

      • Kevin Burber

        I don’t know…an awful lot of people like Medicare.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          Small problem. Doctors don’t.

          • Kevin Burber

            Correct…very small problem…especially when most can’t make a living without it…especially now that the wealth has accumulated at the top so that the average Joe has zero chance of affording a hip replacement on their own. Still, docs are not forced to accept Medicare. They can kill two birds with one stone – cut their workload in half and accept only cash patients.

      • jefe68

        So in your world the US should do nothing to change our dysfunctional health care system. In your world, if you can’t afford health care you should just do without.

  • John Cedar

    That vast amount of campaign money is spent after the elections are over, out of the treasury on free$tuff for democrat voters.

    • OnPointComments

      The dollars that elected politicians spend from the federal treasury dwarf any campaign contributions.

      Beyond the amounts spent from the treasury, politicians want to make laws mandating how nonpoliticians spend their money:
      Vote for me, and I’ll make your employer pay you a $10 an hour minimum wage.
      Vote for me, and I’ll make your employer pay you overtime pay.
      Vote for me, and I’ll make your employer buy you health insurance.

  • Oh bummer

    Lie of the Year: ‘If you like your health care plan, you can keep it’

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2013/dec/12/lie-year-if-you-like-your-health-care-plan-keep-it/

    • hennorama

      Bum Homer — King of the NEENER

      Never
      Ending
      Empty-headed
      Non sequitur
      Equaling
      Rubbish

      • Oh bummer

        Obama never made that promise?

        • Steve__T

          It’s 2014. Calenders are free, you should use one.

          • Oh bummer

            Send one to Obama’s half-brother in Kenya who lives in a mud-hut. I’m sure he could use a candle.

        • hennorama

          DIRT, NEENER

  • warryer

    So how about you and every other non 1% voter pick a candidate and vote for that person. Somebody who will not accept said unlimited donations?

    My math may not be that good but 99% sure seems a lot bigger than 1%. A vast majority if I am not mistaken. This is a democratic republic after all.

    • harverdphd

      The 1% is a myth

      • warryer

        The top 1% wealthiest people is a myth? yea ok.

        1% represents a quantity with respect to the whole population. There is no myth about a fact.

        Even you can’t deny there are a lot more “un-wealthy” people than wealthy people.

      • nj_v2

        ^ Troll

      • jefe68

        Someone should tell them that.

    • jimino

      I think you confuse economics will politics. Nevertheless, the “1%” have never done better than they have since Obama was elected, so I expect they voted for him if economic matters were important to their decision making process. Why wouldn’t they?

      • warryer

        Of course they would, thats not what i’m talking about.

        My question is why are people complaining? Seek out a candidate that has your own interests and vote for that person. It should start becoming quite obvious (if not already) who is receiving the big money…. TV commercials aren’t cheap.

        Voting Red or Blue is voting for the billionaire propped candidate. Red or Blue you are going to get the same.

        Seek out somebody who has your interests or if not, seek to run yourself.

  • harverdphd

    Shop at GAP

  • Oh bummer

    “Politicians are the lowest form of life on earth. Liberal Democrats are the lowest form of politician.” –General George S. Patton

    • hennorama

      Mom Bur, He — quick question:

      What’s the name Mr. Ashbook’s show?

    • Steve__T

      No You got them all beat.

      ~Steve__T

      • Oh bummer

        General Patton was warning future generations about Obama.

    • Fredlinskip

      Of course that was when Democrats represented mostly Conservative interests.

      Thomas Jefferson after hitting the wine cellar all night:
      “What the hey there Elmo?”

      • jefe68

        Stop feeding the troll.

        • Oh bummer

          You’re the troll.

      • Kevin Burber

        Exactly…and it illustrates the power or Education in preserving Democracy. I have found over and over that people often are not well-informed on the very subjects that they speak most loudly about.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Pure speculation but perhaps it was when he was taking heat for slapping the “coward”.

    • jefe68

      By the way Mark Twain has much better quips about politicians than Patton.

      • Oh bummer

        General Patton described Obama perfectly.
        God bless General Patton.

  • orwelllutz

    Any intellectualization on the meaning of the Supreme Court’s McCutcheon decision is deception at its core. For hundreds of years, NOT JUST FOR DECADES, American leaders have referenced the clear belief that concentration of wealth in the hands of the few threatens democracy. One should not look for great intellect in John Roberts or his cronies on this court.

    Do not compare this Supreme Court head with Brandeis or other jurists. Roberts and his political allies are simply handing the government to the oligarchs and laughing at our powerlessness to combat them. In fact, the Supreme Court is a political tyrant that needs to be constitutionally limited by the people. Constitutional amendments must be allowed to be initiated with the people, rather than those who are bought and paid for at both State and national legislatures. One of today’s dissembling arguments, the suggestion that current law has been ineffectual, is illegitimate simply
    because current law has been crafted by the oligarchs to appear to do what it does not. Consider what the people’s enemies are doing with financial regulation envisioned after the last crash. The minions of wealth are good at castrating well-intentioned law, then blaming the well-intentioned for the lack of results.

    Free speech in this contact is akin to allowing free speech to Orson Well’s
    government of Oceania; or the propaganda spewing from media owned by the wealthy. Free speech that is pure propaganda and lies must not be given to those who obviously would rule us with that weapon.

    4/3/2014

    • OnPointComments

      Specifically, which “propaganda spewing from media owned by the wealthy” and “free speech that is pure propaganda and lies” has caused you to change your vote against your better judgment?

  • Shag_Wevera

    Democracy, plutocracy, kleptocracy, oligarchy… Let’s call the whole thing off!

  • creaker

    “The poor must work for this, in presence of the majestic quality of the law which prohibits the wealthy as well as the poor from sleeping under the bridges, from begging in the streets, and from stealing bread.”

  • double_a_fla

    If freedom of speech allows me to donate to any political candidate, including candidates outside of my voting district, then freedom of speech should allow me to VOTE for ANY political candidate, including any US candidate outside of my district. How’s that work for everyone?

    • OnPointComments

      It makes no sense.

  • John A Gordon Jr.

    It is totally absurd to call this a freedom of speech issue. If we at all take into account the impact or “range of influence” of a person’s speech- then Warren Buffet is far more “free” than I am. With my limited dollars I may be able to buy a piece of poster-board and a marker and exercise my free speech on a street corner. Mr. Buffet with his limitless funds is far far more “free” to have his speech reach and impact every person in the country> in HD slick videos in prime time. “Equal free speech, under the law?” I don’;t think so!

    • OnPointComments

      I don’t know of any provision in the Constitution for “equal” free speech.

  • http://www.dofr.org/ Declaration of Reindependence

    A government of some people, by some people, for some people.

    It can be fixed if you choose to make your voice heard. http://www.dofr.org

  • Fredlinskip

    Chief Justice Roberts in defense of the ruling states,
    “There is no right in our democracy more basic, than the right to participate in electing our political leaders.”
    If one increases the power of a few to influence elections, doesn’t it stand to reason that this decreases the power of the many?

    For those “originalists” diligently scouring our constitution as to forefathers thoughts, one need not look further then “We the people” (not hard to find- right there at the top).
    One thing hard for anyone of integrity not to concede is that it was founders intent to promote government “of the people, by the people”.

    So now we have a ruling promoting government “of the few, by the few”.
    Is there really any doubt that this was not founder’s intent?

    Well fine. Let’s at least have a constitutional amendment and change those first few words to “We the few aristocrats that rule over everyone else”.

    Perhaps we can abolish our whole constitution for the one of Saudi Arabia or something- our constitution does not appear to be written plainly enough for our Supreme Court justices to understand..

    • OnPointComments

      Which one of these few who have the power to influence elections has caused you to change your vote against your better judgment?

      • Fredlinskip

        “Which one of these few who have the power to influence has caused (me) to change my better judgment…” that there’s too much $ in politics??

        That might seem to be a question you might want to ask Roberts (although he seems to be a bit preoccupied with rewriting the constitution at the moment)

        • OnPointComments

          Your premise is that there are a few who have the power to influence elections. Elections boil down to one person one vote, so I assume that this “power to influence elections” caused you to change your vote, from one candidate to another, all because the powerful few influenced you. Which of your votes did you change against your better judgment, and which of the powerful few influenced you to do so?

          • Fredlinskip

            We are talking about America here?
            Most House seats are “safe” seats in gerrymandered districts. People’s vote for that body (in most cases) isn’t worth a whole lot.

            Politics should not simply be all about full time fund raising- therefore putting moneyed interests above that of constituents.

          • Cutler Hamilton

            The powerful few you talk about include people like Addelson, Koch Brothers, Soros, Bezos, anybody really. They write the checks, SuperPACs produce the commercials (whether they are based on fact or not, usually not), the electorate gets influenced in some way, sometimes we end up more polarized than ever before (like now), people start calling each other names, the clown show starts, and we all just want it to end.

            We want truth in advertising, media, and leadership. Not some dumba$$ on a comment board asking some stupid question about how influence in political elections work. Are you really that stupid or just here trolling to get attention. I think the latter.

      • jimino

        So your point is that the money they spend is a fool’s errand and the propaganda it purchases is of no value during political campaigns and the promotion of the candidate they prefer be elected?

        Really?

        • OnPointComments

          Which one of those few who have the power to influence elections has caused you to change your vote against your better judgment?

          • jimino

            Only in the right-wing nutosphere can spending billions of dollars have no impact on things but $100 in food stamps sway 47% of the population.

          • OnPointComments

            I thought it was unlikely that you’d answer my question, and I was right.

          • jimino

            I don’t see myself as the audience for much of this “speech”, but I do check to see who Americans for Prosperity and Club for Growth endorse and make it a point to work against them. So I guess it does have some influence on my vote.

          • Cutler Hamilton

            The question you pose is not the point of this SCOTUS decision. Determining which person(s) is left to the private opinions of individuals. If someone really wanted to list individuals they disagree with, then they would also have to include local people who drive them just as crazy as some of the political leaders in office today.

            The point of this whole debacle of a SCOTUS decision is that it ignores the origin of democracy as a concept. Now, more than ever, if you have the resources and the money, you can influence an entire nation without repercussion. That power is far too overreaching for any corporation or well-paid individual. If you want a prime example of what happens when a few rich people take over a gov’t with whatever resources they possess (and the vast majority does not), look no further than Russia. Putin has placed a solid foothold in power by surrounding himself with money and oligarchs. Most of the TV stations are state-owned and spread his own propaganda.

            The major difference between the US and Russia now is that, this type of system has only been allowed to perform in elections 3 times. It’s relatively young, unorganized, and the amount of money being spent is nothing compared to what will happen in future elections.

            Your vote does not count now no matter what happens as long as this decision is upheld. It doesn’t matter if you agree with the right or left. Democracy has been hi-jacked or is in the process of being hi-jacked by the rich. Good luck to all of us on the sidelines.

  • Fredlinskip

    The ideal to be worked towards, I would think, would be “of, by, and for the people”.
    Whenever it is obvious we are heading in some direction other than this, one can rest assured we are not going in the direction envisioned by our forefathers.
    IMO.

  • jefe68

    Temper, temper.

  • jefe68

    Justice Louis Brandeis:
    “We can have a democracy or we can have great wealth in the hands of a few,” he said. “But we cannot have both.”

  • OnPointComments

    Did the propaganda spewed out by Fox News change your vote? If not, how did you escape the influence of the propaganda when others were powerless?

    • Cutler Hamilton

      Nah, fortunately Gerald is educated enough to gather his own facts and realize that Fox News spews out falsified stories, hypes up everything for ratings, and feeds off the elderly and poor. Most of them are located in red states that don’t invest in education, infrastructure, and health care. Basically, we educated people have been able to pick up on a trend or “fad” that you have not.

  • tamarinera

    Dear Mr. Ashbrook and NPR:

    I was riveted by this segment of On Point. I believe most Americans think decisions like this are outrageous and that our very democracy is threatened.

    What disappointed me about the episode was that nobody mentioned the movement to amend the US Constitution to reform how money affects our politics. Mr. Wertheimer’s Democracy 21 seems like a well-intentioned organization (and please keep the work up!), but it is not proposing a game-changing strategy.

    There is a rapidly-growing movement to AMEND THE CONSTITUTION using the constituent assembly route. With enough states in agreement (28), congress MUST call a constitutional assembly. The proposed amendment includes three points: 1) that money is not speech; 2) that corporations are not entitled to the same rights as natural persons; and 3) that Congress and the states can limit election-related spending to ensure that all citizens, regardless of wealth, can express their views to one another and their government on a level playing field.”

    Already, 13 states have called for a federal constitutional assembly, so much of the work is already done! Organizations such as Move to Amend (www.movetoamend.org), and several others, are coalescing the people’s will. They are growing incredibly quickly, working with their state legislatures to push the federal congress to act.

    The last caller in this On Point segment in fact asked directly, “What can we do?” It was a superb opportunity to mention this course of action, and the many other Americans who have already started to act. Unfortunately, neither Tom Ashbrook nor Fred Wertheimer, who answered the question, either know about this movement or chose to speak of it. Mr. Wertheimer’s answer, “It takes a LONG time to get these laws made,” only serves to discourage people by making it seem an insurmountable challenge.

    The reality is that amending the constitution with an assembly is entirely possible, and utterly called for in these circumstances. It may require the collective effort of a large number of Americans, but there is no reason this should be “hard.” There is simply some work to do, and it’s time we all got to it.

    We are the ones we’ve been waiting for: it’s our nation, after all. Move to Amend is the perfect place to get involved.

    I wish NPR and On Point had seen this great opportunity to cover, or at least mention, this inspiring movement that is for some reason largely ignored by mainstream press.

    Ii appreciate your your attention. I would be happy to discuss this further or formalize a letter with my actual name and information, should you want direct contact. Thank you.

    • http://freeourfreemarkets.org/ Steve Banicki

      It would be nice, but amending the constitution is a tough road and too many people are financially benefiting. 38 states would need to ratify it. That seems hard but let’s go for it.

  • http://freeourfreemarkets.org/ Steve Banicki

    It is not just the Supreme Court ruling. If you are in the middle class or lower you are screwed when it comes to elections. The constitution needs amending as it relates to campaign finance and overturning Citizens United (CU). Political campaigns have become big business and those involved in the business are spread far and wide in our society and are not about to give up their power and money making machine easily.

    Don’t blame the Supreme Court. Blame voters for not amending the constitution and blame the founding fathers for making it so difficult. The Court is doing their job; interpreting the constitution. It is up to congress and the voters to take steps to amend our founding document. Amending the constitution is not an easy task as described by the steps below.

    “Article V of the Constitution prescribes how an amendment can become a part of the Constitution. While there are two ways, only one has ever been used. All 27 Amendments have been ratified after two-thirds of the House and Senate approve of the proposal and send it to the states for a vote. Then, three-fourths of the states must affirm the proposed Amendment.
    The other method of passing an amendment requires a Constitutional Convention to be called by two-thirds of the legislatures of the States. That Convention can propose as many amendments as it deems necessary. Those amendments must be approved by three-fourths of the states.” LexisNexis.com
    In other words, those who benefit from Citizens United must vote to overturn it…. http://lstrn.us/1lDXNXQ

  • ashish kumar

    Allahabad High Court Vacancies 2014
    newsfever in/allahabad-high-court-vacancies-2014-for-clerk-recruitment/

  • donny_t

    Clarence Thomas is an idiot but he does make a point. Why not remove ALL limits on campaign contributions? For the same reason we block Al-Qeada websites. Not everyone is entitled to say whatever they want.

    With freedom comes responsibility. With free speech comes responsibility. This is something so basic and yet the Supreme Court is so detached from real life and not politics, they dismiss it.

    Also, how is this preventing Shaun McCutcheon from his free speech? He can contribute the same amount of money like everyone else. I would agree with Fred; this court is highly deviant … I’d say perversely so.

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Pallbearers carry a coffin out of a military transport plane during a ceremony to mark the return of the first bodies, of passengers and crew killed in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, from Ukraine at Eindhoven military air base, Eindhoven, Netherlands, Wednesday, July 23, 2014. (AP)

Secretary of State Kerry to Israel. Obamacare back in the courts. Mourning as remains of Malaysia Flight 17 victims come home. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

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Jul 25, 2014
Guest Renee McLeod of Somerville, MA's Petsi pies shows off her wares. (Robin Lubbock / WBUR)

There is nothing more American than a piece of pie. We taste and talk pies.

 
Jul 25, 2014
Pallbearers carry a coffin out of a military transport plane during a ceremony to mark the return of the first bodies, of passengers and crew killed in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, from Ukraine at Eindhoven military air base, Eindhoven, Netherlands, Wednesday, July 23, 2014. (AP)

Secretary of State Kerry to Israel. Obamacare back in the courts. Mourning as remains of Malaysia Flight 17 victims come home. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

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