From today’s NYT:

The dominant story line of this year’s midterm elections is increasingly becoming the torrents of money, much of it anonymous, gushing into House and Senate races across the country.

Your Supreme Court, hard at work taking Democracy apart in America:

click for larger graphic

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See video here: Money Talks Louder Than Ever in Midterms

Category: Digital Media, Politics, Really, really bad calls

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

26 Responses to “Elections: Money Talks Louder Than Ever”

  1. franklin411 says:

    This is a Constitutional crisis as great as that which the nation faced in 1936, when the Supreme Court ruled in Tipaldo v US that *any* form of economic regulation at *any* level of government (yes, including the state and local levels) was un-Constitutional. FDR’s Court Packing scheme, which would have allowed the President to appoint one new justice for every justice over the age of 70, failed in Congress, but as Barry Cushman has pointed out, it also stopped the Court from overreaching. Tipaldo was repealed in early 1937 as the Court sought to defend itself against public opinion, and a Constitutional revolution was born.

    America has to have a Constitutional revolution such as the one we had in 1937 today. The question is…what will stoke it? Are the people as intelligent today as they were in 1937–it was largely the chorus of demands that the Court be reformed in 1936 that produced Court Packing in 1937 and forced the change?

    Or will death save our Democracy? Should we be praying for John Roberts to suffer a medical event? Or for Scalia or Thomas to succumb to the grim reaper?

    My money is on Thomas to die of heart disease first–statistically speaking, he’s the most likely to fall victim to it. The question is whether the occupant of the White House at the time will appoint a wise man such as John Paul Stevens, or a moron like Roberts.

  2. WFTA says:

    Free Speech– for all who can afford it.
    You have to love this country.

    Can you believe there are people in my industry who are still concerned about Cap & Trade? Christ, they can just buy global cooling.

  3. AHodge says:

    remember before “we” blame everyone else.
    money works because negative ads for idiots work. we will get the quality of govt we the citixens together insist on the detail of. best you can hope for from “democracy”

  4. NoKidding says:

    Don’t see why corporate donations are a big deal. If someone is for sale, there is always a way to get the deal done. Let anybody take any dollar amount from anybody else for any reason, just make sure its reported so the voters can see (if they care).

    Since the regulators and the press are useless for any investigating tasks, award a 100 pct non-reporting fine to whistleblowers. America does not have the stomach for jail time, so don’t go there.

    Every day I think I missed the boat on UPRO, but it keeps running. Who would have thought yet another bad jobs report would trigger an up day. Yeah, QE2 coming, but its been coming for 6 months now. It plays like a network TV show where they rehash for two minutes of drama after every commercial break, so you get to see the whole story twice per viewing.

  5. Andy T says:

    Ok Barry…

    Let’s take your “populism/progressivism” schtick to the next step…

    Let’s say we started passing laws that restricted Corporations/Unions from contributing to campaigns, lobbying, buying advert space, etc, etc, etc….

    Which Corporations get limited/restricted? How big do you have to become before you’re considered “evil” and “untrustworthy?” i.e. At what point did Steve Jobs go from being just a hard working entrepreneur to an evil “Corportist” intent on taking away Democracy?

    Or, or technology CEOs/Corporations “somehow” better than other CEOs?

    Who gets to decide this?

    How many employees must a Corporation have before they’re ruled “too big” to contribute to campaigns?

    What about restrictions on the individuals who work for the Corporations and Unions? Can they contribute? Can they lobby? Can they vote? Can they volunteer their efforts to causes?

    What if it’s a bunch of lousy/evil “oil company” employees who want to lobby/demonstrate on an issue? Do they get restricted?

    You see where this leads, right???!!???

    Do you understand why this is a slippery slope that we probably don’t want to go down? Once your start restricting the rights and privileges of some, where do you stop? Where does the line get drawn? And, more importantly, who gets to draw that line?

    Have fun in your idealized fantasy world. While you’re there, let’s go ahead and start redistributing wealth in an “ideal” way….

  6. John says:

    Barry,

    Part of the answer for any American political problem includes:

    1. More eligible American citizens voting

    2. More American voters voting differently, that is, not for a Republican or Democrat

    Regarding voting differently, the point is to send a message. This could mean voting for a candidate from a so-called minor party or someone not officially running for office.

    **

    One possibility, out of millions and not just two, is to vote for me. If elected, I promise to work to:

    * Change the dates for general elections to one day after income taxes are due

    * Change the Alternative Minimum Tax to 20% of any compensation over 20 times the federal minimum wage

    * Immediately break up any financial institution whose bankruptcy would cause systemic problems

    * For any company that accepts government bailouts:
    Fire the top management and entire board of directors
    Clawback any compensation related to activities that lead to the bailouts
    Pay government wages to the new top management and board of directors until the bailouts are paid back

    * Prosecute top executives of investment banks, ratings agencies, mortgage lenders, government regulators, etc. for any illegal acts, perhaps under laws concerning
    Terrorism (they did more economic damage to this country than any jihadist could imagine)
    Racketeering
    Corruption

  7. DeDude says:

    We have a combination of the activist GOPsters on the supreme court giving citizen rights to corporations, and the GOPster senators blocking attempt to ensure that at least the identity of the donors are known. Hey lets get some more GOPsters elected so we can make sure democracy is not saved. Idiocracy indeed.

  8. willid3 says:

    well we do have the best government that money can buy after all. it does the best job for their bosses. and that ain’t us

  9. franklin411 says:

    @Andy
    That’s an easy one.

    Steve Jobs is a human being, endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

    Apple is a corporation created by the people through government. A corporation’s rights are always alienable by government, its creator, just as our rights as humans are always alienable by the Creator.

  10. WFTA says:

    I think some people are missing the point: It’s not about supporting the candidate that the corporation/union wants. It’s about spending enough to (quite certainly) defeat any incumbent who dares to resist in the next primary.

  11. DeDude says:

    We should basically ban anybody not running for office from advertizing for or against a specific candidate or political party less than 2 months before the election. Outside of that period they can all have all the free speech they want. Candidates should be restricted in how much they can receive from individuals and organizations but then be given 5X in matching public funds (if they obey restrictions as today). Any donations in excess of 1000 x the minimum wage to an organization that engage in political speech should be publically available (name, date and amount of donation).

  12. Andy T says:

    Good Point Franklin….

    So, if I’m Bill Gates and I want to spend 1BILLION of my own money to fund one of those ‘non-profits’ that in turn spends money on political action, this is “ok.”

    What if Bill Gates wants to fund a group focused on creating laws that might inhibit or damage other technology firms? This is theoretically “ok,” right? But, what if I’m the firm that’s the TARGET of Bill Gates’ (the individual) evil intentions. Under the current rules, the corporations under attack by Bill Gates can also spend huge amounts of money to protect their interests.

    In a world where we somehow “limit” or “restrict” corporations from spending money, what defense would they have against rich “individuals” who also happen to have other interests?

    Can you see where there could be some problems once we start limiting the rights of some, but not others?

    Of course, the progressive/populists would suggest that we just start limiting the rights everyone to contribute/campaign/lobby….to make it “fair.”

    Good luck with all that….

  13. DL says:

    I agree with Andy T @ 3:20

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    There’s really not much that the Supreme Court could do (whether constitutional or not) that would get the money out of politics.

  14. nemo says:

    I’d be fine with campaign contributions only from individuals. No corporations, no unions, no PACs, no “non-profits”.

    We already have limits on how much individuals can contribute.

    http://www.fec.gov/pages/brochures/citizens.shtml

    Let’s keep those limits low. In fact, let’s make them even lower.

    Anything that severely chokes off the flow of money into political campaigns would be a huge improvement in American civic life.

  15. nemo says:

    “I’d be fine with campaign contributions only from individuals. No corporations, no unions, no PACs, no “non-profits”.”

    But of course, that fantasy will only become reality through action by Congress. I won’t hold my breath waiting for Congress to vote big money out of politics.

  16. NoKidding says:

    nemo, no act of congress or courts or executive order will convert that fantasy to reality.

    Man is corrupt. There is no rule system that can stop it. Trusting a central authority is like investing it all in one stock – concentrating risk.

  17. obsvr-1 says:

    Sunshine would be a great disinfectant, disclose all of the contributors.

    re: TV campaign ADs — Thank God for TiVo

  18. franklin411 says:

    @Andy
    No, I’m not even playing your game. You made one assertion–that corporations (unnatural entities created by man) have the same rights as people (natural entities created by God). That assertion is false.

    The basic liberties of man cannot be limited by man, because man was created by God with those liberties. Only God, the Creator, can limit them.

    Corporations are created by man with certain rights and liberties. Man, as the Creator, can limit these rights and liberties. How far should they be limited? That’s a question for man to settle through the political process.

    But let’s not inject, as the Roberts Court so profanely attempted to do, mankind’s creations with the qualities only God can infuse.

  19. Bob A says:

    corporations are proxies for the top 2% …
    90% of whom dont give a crap about anything but their money
    when the top 2% can buy elections more or less at will there is no democracy.. just fraudocracy

  20. GREYDOG says:

    We need publicly financed elections, term limits for congress, and while I’m dreaming, congress needs to take a huge cut in benefits.

  21. Tarkus says:

    I thought the court wasn’t “activist” and was making decisions on what the founding fathers intended.

    Didn’t the founding fathers say corporations were equivalent to the individual? Or was that superior to the individual?

  22. drey says:

    “There’s really not much that the Supreme Court could do (whether constitutional or not) that would get the money out of politics.”

    Actually there are legislative remedies which would mitigate the influence of private money but congress is loathe to tackle them, of course. For starters, blocks of free air time could be provided for major party candidates, kinda like the way they do it in, umm, let me think, EVERY OTHER DEMOCRACY ON THE PLANET?

    The authority already exists to require networks (they DO have a public service obligation, at least theoretically) to provide time free of charge, all that’s lacking is the political will to do it.

  23. RW says:

    Well, it makes the point, but no need to invoke God in rebutting the ridiculous position that corporations have rights comparable to individual people. Modern limited liability companies are an entirely artificial entity created by a contract between the investors, the management and the government. They have no legal rights or even existence in the absence of official government recognition and no rights as individuals independent of the legal hi-jinks required to formally grant shelter from personal liability for corporate owners and operators (AKA people).

    The classic 1930′s text by Berle and Means, The Modern Corporation and Private Property, remains a first-class history of how the modern corporation evolved and ultimately changed our notions of private property. Worth reading if only to remind folks how powerful people ignorant of (or indifferent to) history — e.g., the reactionary majority of the Robert’s SCOTUS — can force everyone else to relive it.

    But I go along with Drey here too: If congress were doing its job an activist SCOTUS would be a lot less threatening to our democracy. We are faced with systemic failures on so many levels it is little wonder that anger, fear and rumor spread like wildfire.

  24. drey says:

    @RW -

    “systemic failure” indeed. I can’t think of two better words to describe our political system. I’ll take your analysis a step further – if the people were doing THEIR job, the congress and supremes could not get away with not doing theirs…

    And the suggestion that corporations – legal, anonymous entities by definition – should enjoy the same first amendment protections as living, breathing individuals is freaking ludicrous.

  25. Frwip says:

    I see two positives to this situation :
    1 – It makes it clear how utterly rotten the system has become.
    2 – It’s going to make the price of corruption much, much higher.

    I particularly like the second point. I’ve always shocked how cheap political corruption has been until now, how little the ‘tards in Washington have been willing to settle for to sell us down the river.

    Now, the armament race is wide open. No rules, may the richest f**k win (and it’s going to cost them a s**tload of money now. I’m not sure the plutocrats realize that. )

  26. cyaker says:

    Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collapse:_How_Societies_Choose_to_Fail_or_Succeed the Wikopedia review of Jared Diamond’s book

    I only have two questions.

    1 given that Unions have shrunk and been hollowed out what percentage of “Corporattions and Unions” represents Unions.?

    2 Where and when do we reach bottom?

    In parting I would ask you all to remember “Rollerball”