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October 04, 2010

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Since the secretive, astroturfing billionaires financing the coming destruction of the U.S. Government and the murder of Americans refuse all transparency and disclosure (even many of the republican thug candidates don't know who precisely is running campaign hate ads in their favor), the Democratic Party is free to run a national ad campaign in the closing days of the election season insinuating and accusing these subversive elements of ... well. ... everything ........

..... every paranoid, shadowy, corrupt, subversive, foreign-influenced (could the money be coming from North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Russian Mafia, the KKK, the Pakistani military, the Chinese government, etc?) insinuation should be made.

What are the connections between the vermin who financed James Earle Ray, Sirhan Sirhan, and Lee Harvey Oswald and the unknown dark forces financing Republican campaigns today?

Who are these people? They are the enemies of the United States of America.

Why do they refuse to identify themselves? Because they plan to kill the United States of America.

I once had a crazy Peace Corps Volunteer buddy who, in the dark of the night, would place a little peanut butter on a biscuit, place it on the floor in his bedroom, shut the bare overhead bulb, and then have us wait for, say, ten minutes in complete silence.

You could hear them creeping from their hiding places, crawling down walls, sometimes dropping from the ceiling.

He would flick the light back on and in the split seconds before they disappeared, scuttered, scrabbled back to their dark refuges, dozens, sometimes hundreds of vermin (the Nazi variety) -- rats, huge brown Asian cockroaches, geckos, the occassional centipede, horrifyingly large spiders -- would cover the entire floor, all ignoring the others in pursuit of the prize.

That's one commercial. No dialogue.

But this question -- superimposed on the fading scene: "When will the malign forces bankrolling the republican candidate in your district tell us who they are and what they want?"

I'm not really sure what to say about all of this other than "Welcome to the new normal". Court decisions are normally not reversed quickly, we will be living with this crap for probably at least another generation.

The one thing I find kind of touching in a strange way is Schwarzenegger's tirade. I figure he's personally a decent guy, and I figure he's generally well meaning, but I wonder what the hell he thought the end state of the conservative dogma his party has been living by for the last thirty years was going to be, other than precisely this.

WTF was he thinking all these years.

The animation was cute, but I don't see too many Beckoids having Damascus road experiences any time soon. If they do any shooting, the target will not be the radio.

I don't mean to be overly cynical, I just really do think the country is seriously on the skids. We're running on fumes.

My dream is to milk another 10 years out of the software industry, retire, and play music. It might not happen, my job could go to India or China more or less any day.

If I'm really, really lucky, my wife and I will stay healthy enough to have a few laughs together before it's time to wrap it up. I'll probably be dead before the really disastrous environmental sh*t hits the fan, if it ever does.

I've had a nice ride, and frankly most of it has been due to serendipity. Born at the right time, as they say.

I have no idea what folks in their 20's, 30's, or even 40's have to look forward to. My advice to them is stay the hell out of debt and learn to grow their own food.

'My advice to them is stay the hell out of debt and learn to grow their own food.'

Good advice.

The tragedy is that most of the people who will support the candidates the money supports will be screwed by the very people they vote for.

stay the hell out of debt and learn to grow their own food.
Won't be enough. The values voters will come and steal that food, you commie.

The Founders distrusted democracy because they feared the mob would invariably vote itself a free lunch at the expense of the wealthy. Little did they imagine how things would turn out: the wealthy have learned to buy themselves the votes of the mob, and pretty cheap, too.

It boggles my mind that the 9% of Americans who will be entirely at leisure to go to the polls on Nov. 2nd because they have no jobs to go to will very possibly vote for the GOP. But what can you expect? A few tens of millions of dollars of TV ads can persuade people that night is day, let alone that the answer to unemployment is tax cuts for the Koch brothers.

--TP

Tony,

With a few exceptions (cf Louis XVI) the rich have always known to buy off the mob, and it's always been cheap, actually very cheap. What boggles the mind is the fact that most rich folks believe that somebody else will ride in the tumbrels.

When everything stops, all bets are off. Civilization is still in the musical chairs stage, but the music is slowing.......

What a coincidence that, just at the moment when Democrats had an unprecedented lead over Republicans in fund-raising, the Roberts court found the GOP an inexhaustible supply of new money. It's almost as if Roberts weren't an impartial umpire.

I guess 'umpire' was the result of overjealous spellchecking. You know what lawyers live on, don't you?

Is the part of Soros really in a position to complain about stuff like this?

Anyway, take your complaints about Citizens United to the ACLU. The decision was demanded by respect for the 1st amendment, and the massive complaints about it on the left tell me all I need to know about what you REALLY think about free speech. What WAS the Court supposed to do after the government claimed it had the authority to ban books, roll over and play dead?

'My advice to them is stay the hell out of debt and learn to grow their own food.'

that's because you're a ridiculous and wasteful liberal.

the massive complaints about it on the left tell me all I need to know about what you REALLY think about free speech

once again, you demonstrate that you're a really shitty mindreader.

give it up.

Is the part of Soros really in a position to complain about stuff like this?

Oh yes, Brett is right, since Soros funds a massive propaganda machine anchored by a television network, just like the right has. Brett is right, because if Liberals were sincere they would just be like Socrates and drink the hemlock, and not try to raise money at all. And of course Brett the Libertarian is right to finger the premiere American Civil Libertarian org, since it's well known that the ACLU's motto is: the key to free speech is spending money on it.

And of course he's right in his apparent estimation that the real problem with our politics is that poor people's votes and influence are likely to swamp everybody else's.

Libertarianism as Authoritarianism. Only in America.

Right. Soros is hardly as big a backer of the Dems as Murdoch, Coors and Koch (combined!).

That's an absurd comparison.

What makes it even more absurd, however, is that Soros is not getting any quid pro quo.

He's not funding candidates that will lower his taxes, give him sweetheart government contracts, allow his corporations to pollute, make unsafe products, shield him from liability, etc.

The problem isn't wealthy individuals/corporations getting involved in politics. It's wealthy individuals/corporations getting involved in politics in order to trample on the public good in pursuit of greed, self interest, and profit.

So yeah.

It goes beyond campaign financing. Sure, that's a big issue - a very frustrating one. If money = speech and corporations = people, well... we're in a box and I'm not sure how to get out.

The other issue is the revolving door between politican office and cushy private sector "jobs."

That's even harder to fix.

Yeah.

No doubt.

Political, not politican, office. Oh for an edit feature.

The flaw that I, personally, note in Brett's comment is that Soros is an actual human being, while Fox / News Corp are not.

Want to straighten this stuff out? It's very, very simple.

Corporations are not people. They are not even groups of people gathering together in some common interest.

Corporations are legal entities to which we grant the privilege of owning property and entering into contracts. We do this specifically to create a legal distance between the corporation and its owners, so that their liability can be limited to what they have invested.

Corporations have no claim to protected political speech, or any of the other rights that belong to natural human beings.

None.

I get the "but what about the first amendment!" issue, but first amendment guarantees belong to the people who wish to speak, not the medium through which they speak.

We make this distinction every day in other, similar contexts, without any problem or confusion. Your phone conversations are protected (until fairly recently) based on *your* fourth amendment rights, even though they cannot occur without the intermediary of the phone company. And they are enforced at the level of the medium, i.e., the phone company and its infrastructure.

It's not rocket science.

I have nothing against corporations. But they're not people.

Folks who are pissed off about Citizens United should get over it, because it's a perfectly logical ruling, in fact an inevitable one, once you stipulate that corporations are people for purposes of interpreting the Bill of Rights.

Welcome to the new normal.

What WAS the Court supposed to do after the government claimed it had the authority to ban books, roll over and play dead?

Rule more narrowly.

Brett, do we have to do this over and over and over again? There are parts of the ruling that people here object to. Though we may not all agree on every aspect of the ruling, I think most of the commenters here, from what I've read, don't care much about the fact that the court ruled in favor of Citizens United (or about the book-ban piece). It's that, in doing so, they ruled on a bunch of other crap that they didn't need to, the most problematic of that crap being the no-holds-barred funding of TV commercials by immensely wealthy corporations.

Right. What HSH said.

I get the "but what about the first amendment!" issue, but first amendment guarantees belong to the people who wish to speak, not the medium through which they speak.

Or the size of the amplifier. Which is really the issue here.

".... immensely wealthy 'anonymous' corporations."

After this November election, I'm giving up my voting franchise at all electoral levels.

Frankly, I hope the Roberts Court rules that individual humans are NOT people. Only corporations and other entities are people.

It's time for anonymous individuals to band together for new and different forms of expression against fascism.

The other issue is the revolving door between politican office and cushy private sector "jobs."

That's even harder to fix.

Make it illegal for any ex-Representative, Senator, Congressional staffer, or executive political appointee, to lobby for ten years after office. Being caught engaged in an act of lobbying gets you ten years in a medium security prison, no parole.

Being an elected official is not supposed to be a ticket to profit and security.

Problem mostly fixed.

I have no idea what folks in their 20's, 30's, or even 40's have to look forward to.

Y'know, russell, I'm a lot less inclined towards histrionics over politics than I was back in my younger, "If [x] gets elected I'm moving to Canada" days.

However.

I'm 46, my partner is 58. When we met, he was an actor/writer/director with a part-time day job, and I was an aspiring academic. Needless to say, neither of us has much in the way of a nest egg. We're now both full-time wage slaves, pulling down decent middle-class salaries for NYC (and I mean really middle-class, not 150 thou apiece).

And I'm getting pretty f*cking nervous. Obama's appointment of Alan Simpson (who essentially views Social Security is a scam) to the Catfood Commission was a big wakeup call for me. If this is as good as it gets -- with a Democratic president and Dem control of both houses -- then one can only conclude that the fix is in. What little safety net there is for people like us is marked for at least partial, if not total, destruction. And thanks to that lovely SCOTUS decision discussed upthread, the forces that want it destroyed now have unlimited power to sway public opinion with misinformation and scare tactics, to the point that large numbers of my fellow citizens will happily vote for their own impoverishment.

On a very self-interested level, we're both thinking that maybe it's time to split. I've got another 20-25 productive years in me. There are several other countries in the world where I'm confident I could live quite comfortably, with better working conditions and protections, and not face the prospect of retiring in poverty. None of those places is perfect, but in none of them is the political discourse so utterly warped and distorted and just flat-out neurotic as here. And I don't see it getting any better in my lifetime.

I look forward to further advances in corporate rights:

The private armies they'll be able to build once extended Second Amendment rights.

After the Fifteenth Amendment is interpreted correctly as applying to corporate persons, they'll have votes: one per employee, and three-fifths per benefitless "independent contractor".

The ads the Democratic Party should run in early November hardly need lie at all.

Though complete fabrications used against Republican liars and cheats is fully appropriate and patriotic.

http://thinkprogress.org/2010/10/05/foreign-chamber-commerce/

Do you suppose foreign corporate money is also finding its way into astro-turfing the Tea Party?.

Why do I think Tea Partiers might turn viciously on "foreign" influence? An advert could speculate about Pakistani military money funding the Tea Party.

But, but, but George Soros is a foreigner, they sputtered.

Also a naturalized American citizen since 1961, I believe. But his name has a funny, suspicious ring to it, according to Redvermin.

But his name has a funny, suspicious ring to it

His last name is a palindrome.

Need I say more?

On a very self-interested level, we're both thinking that maybe it's time to split.

I know people who have left the US recently. Not because of the qualitative weirdness of the political climate, although it is weird, but because it's just too freaking hard to make it here if you're not some kind of high-end white-collar professional.

Some of the folks who left *were* white-collar professionals, they were just able to find a better quality of life in other places. Less stress, better schools, better public services.

I'm talking about intelligent, hard-working, productive people, with families and kids. Families and kids are mostly why they left.

I demand that the smart weapons US corporations build also be enfranchised.
---
A potentially toxic proposal that comes up from time to time is to give parents* etxra votes for their underage children. Who is surprised that people wit "quiver-full" tendencies favor that idea?

*Which parent would that be btw? Fathers for sons and mothers for daugthers?

Anyway, take your complaints about Citizens United to the ACLU.

It's worth noting that Brett is either being deceptive by omission here, or has never actually read the ACLU's amicus brief for this case, or doesn't understand the issue, or some combination of the three.

The brief concerns itself with the issue of "electioneering communications" -- i.e., printed and broadcast materials which clearly identify a candidate for office -- an issue which, as applied to Citizens United and their right to run their pay-per-view movie, pretty much everyone here has agreed CU should have won.

The brief has nothing to say -- literally, nothing -- about the wider issue of corporations giving money from their general treasuries directly to candidates and campaigns, which is an issue the Roberts court did have to rule on but did anyway, and is the issue under discussion here.

Don't take my word for it. Read it yourself.

Go its own way, just referring to someone else..

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