Maybe China isn’t the best example since its government didn’t recently stage a coup and hire Lanny Davis to defend it, unlike some other countries I could name, but I find this aspect of yesterday’s campaign finance decision chilling. Greg Palast:
I’m losing sleep over the millions — or billions — of dollars that could flood into our elections from ARAMCO, the Saudi Oil corporation’s U.S. unit; or from the maker of “New Order” fashions, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. Or from Bin Laden Construction corporation. Or Bin Laden Destruction Corporation.
Right now, corporations can give loads of loot through PACs. While this money stinks (Barack Obama took none of it), anyone can go through a PAC’s federal disclosure filing and see the name of every individual who put money into it. And every contributor must be a citizen of the USA.
But under today’s Supreme Court ruling that corporations can support candidates without limit, there is nothing that stops, say, a Delaware-incorporated handmaiden of the Burmese junta from picking a Congressman or two with a cache of loot masked by a corporate alias.
Maybe we can look forward to ads where creepy guys explain “I’m more comfortable talking to Denise about the Honduran coup”.
On the bright side, every dollar the terrorists spend corrupting our political system is one dollar less at their disposal to employ in terrorist attacks to kill us in our beds at night.
American political corruption is an important means of siphoning off money that would otherwise be employed in evil-doing. American political corruption is as old an as wholesome a tradition as apple pie, Mom, and babies wrapped in American flags and kissed on the head by politicians.
I’m curious to know how much foreign governments and companies contributed to politicians prior to the 1900s. Surely France and England has some skin in the game in the early years of the republic, no?
There’s actually a fairly easy fix for this.
Pass a constitutional amendment through 3/5 of state legislatures, which states simply that only those citizens eligible to vote may contribute to political campaigns or candidates. Other entities have the right of free speech, but they must reveal in their advertising the source of their funds – the original donors.
That last provision would pretty much stop the use of PACs and other entities (Chamber of Commerce, etc) from being used to launder political money – listing the corporations who funded the ad would take up most of the 30-second spot. Otherwise, when people see an ad against carbon emissions legislation where it prominently displays Exxon’s name as the funder, they know who’s trying to buy their opinion.
But the first provision is the most important.
Good point. The more money Hugo Chavez spends on American elections, the less he has to fund the FARC.
I think I’m going to e-mail my wingnut uncle about how great it will be to have Citgo playing a bigger role in American politics. I wonder what he’ll say.
How long until the supremes give the vote to corps?
After I watched Olbermann’s special comment last night, I was even more depressed by yesterday’s Supreme Court decision.
The events of this week have certainly caused me to lose sleep because I’m afraid our nation is headed off a cliff. How did I go from feeling so positive about our future one year ago to feeling despair?
Why would corporations buy what they already own?
Arguably, foreign dictatorships and terrorist groups can probably run America better than Americans can. Why not give them a shot at indirect governance? They really can’t do that much worse of a job than the Republicans did in the past/will do in the future.
1. Pledge to work with Republicans in a bipartisan fashion
Maybe it’s time to bring back the fairness doctrine…
I am going Galt for a while. Really. This decision, on top of everything else, has made me realize I need to breathe away from American politics. The Supreme Court has simply given away every American’s right to be heard. It will take one hundred years to even start to repair the damage.
Dammit, nobody told me I would be living in Bladerunner!
It’s a perfectly good example. If dollars are speech now (officially if not unofficially), who has more speech than China?
Oh, and with this post you’ve somehow gotten what looks like an ad encouraging people to fill out their census forms. In Chinese.
The Grand Panjandrum
This is troubling, but the immediate effect will be at the state and local level where politicians have smaller campaign budgets. Any city council person, mayor or elected state official is at the mercy of corporate America. Expect any state or local politician who isn’t already a corporate shill to have very strong opposition backed by corporate money.
BTW: Don’t forget that today marks the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. How long will it last in this environment of judicial activitism and anti-individual rights?
For the love of God we need ONE speck of good news this week. I beg John to put up a series of pet adoption posts. No less than five. Please.
Brick Oven Bill
It wasn’t a coup DougJ. Behold Article 239 of the Honduran Constitution:
No citizen that has already served as head of the Executive Branch can be President or Vice-President.
Whoever violates this law or proposes its reform, as well as those that support such violation directly or indirectly, will immediately cease in their functions and will be unable to hold any public office for a period of 10 years.
The purpose of Article 239 is to prevent the rise of a Central American despot and encourage representative governance to the extent that the Hondurans are capable.
The Honduran military stepped in to preserve these ideals, by removing a man who was clearly operating outside of his constitutional authority, which is why the White House is so freaked out about the subject, and why it might make for a good TV commercial.
I feel like the elevator to hell that we’re all riding on went from descending at a steady clip to terminal velocity in about five days. Everything sucks, and we are all so screwed. Ugh.
Yes, that’s the ticket. Phurry photos and the heart-warming stories behind them. Perhaps a nice shot of a baby ostrich?
Of course, there isn’t yet any actual evidence that Hugo Chavez has been funding the FARC, but let’s go ahead and assume that the Washington Post saying that captured laptops say things they didn’t, or that Swedish rocket grenades sold to Venezuela before Chavez ever took office, counts as evidence.
There’s a lot more evidence that Colombia’s government is funding, working with, and helping spy for the death squad narco-paramilitaries, which work in Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela, but what matters is alleging that Colombia’s civil war continues its 40+ year progress because of Hugo Chavez — for Colombia, it’s always their neighbors faults.
I guess you’re a glass-half-empty sort of chap, eh?
(They have drugs for depression, you know. Talk to your doctor. Or perhaps take your foot off the hyperbole pedal.)
We are all Axl Rose now.
Another problem I see: this ruling, along with the takings ruling in (I think) 2003, basically gives corporations the ability to seize anyone’s property via eminent domain. All they need to do to facilitate a new development is bankroll a local politician’s campaign, in exchange for which said local politician declares your neighborhood “blighted” and uses emininent domain to facilitate “redevelopment”. Bingo, you get forcefully relocated so corporation X can site a new corporate headquarters exactly where they want.
Well, that’s just not true. The ban on contributions from the general treasury is still in place, as is the ban on expenditures coordinated with candidates.
I’m not saying i like this decsion or anything, but it’s impact is being overstated. Since a decision in 2007 (Wisconsin Right to Life II) that substantially broadened the definition of what an “issue ad” is, corporations have been able to spend on ads that say something like “so-and-so is a socialist who wants to hand our government over to terrorists, call his office and tell him we don’t like traitors”, whereas now they can just say “vote against so-and-so”. It’s a difference to be sure, but i’m not sure how much impact it will actually have
Can we please create “proof that the system works” as a new tag? I think it’d be appropriate for this post.
Can we get some wingnut to pick up this theme? Isn’t this scarier than a few brown people living in this country illegally?
I think the Roberts Court, being nationalist as well as corporatist, is likely to rule against this practice. But it’s going to be an unholy tangle of law. The Roberts Court is ruling by whim rather than legal theory, and that means a lot of conflicting decisions.
Here, have some rescue kitteh.
Smudge doesn’t like Salmon pate, I’ve discovered.
ETA: a little of the story behind Smudge. Spent Christmas alone for the first time in years. During that time, went to the local animal shelter and looked at the kitteh room. This 9-month-old jumped all over me, and climbed on the door when I came back after filling out paperwork. Like all the kittehs, she had a respiratory bug, which was treated by the vet while she was getting spayed.
The BJ community picked her name. Being a white cat, she makes it difficult to wear black. :)
“Dammit, nobody told me I would be living in Bladerunner!”
Thanks, Emma. Had to laugh at that.
@Robin G.: This.
But, of course, liberals are the fascists.
John Roberts says, “Oh. Snap.”
What alarms me is how well negaitivism seems to have worked for the Republicans. They have spent the whole first year of Obama’s presidency, plus the election demonizing him.
Guess what? It has worked fantastically, with virtually no collateral damage to the GOP. Do you ever hear about some of the more odious shit they do, like McCain and Lieberswine going to Israel and undermining Obama by saying that no matter what happens, Israel is entitled to do whatever it wants?
The TSA thing? If Democrats did that they would be accused of treason. It might be partially the message but most of it is the media.
Even little shit like Scott Brown wondering whether Obama’s mother was married when she had him. He’s basically calling the POTUS a bastard! Its incredibly disrespectful, and he should have been called out on that by someone (I actually would have put parts of that interview in a campaign ad, along with his glowing comments about Palin). Question both his judgment about Palin and the comments about Obama’s mother.
The Grand Panjandrum
Of course, this makes David Vitter a shoo-in with all that money flooding in from Pampers and Huggies.
It’s been a really depressing week. At some point we’re going to hit bottom and then there’s nowhere but up. That’s the happy thought that’s keeping me going.
Are we still bothering to phone our Representatives on the health care bill? I’ll phone again today and insist on talking to the legislative assistant, or whatever they’re called. Dang it, I’ve got to go look it up now, to see who to ask for. It’s in the comments somewhere.
From Charlie Savage, at the NYT:
“Detainees Will Still Be Held, but Not Tried, Official Says”
Fuck it, I give up.
God damn it all!
I used to think that Idiocracy pointed the way to our future, but now I’m thinking The Road.
Proof that the system works. (Fuck it, I’m going to use it even if it doesn’t become a tag.)
@Emma: Bladerunner? I wish. Think somewhere between Soylent Green and The Road, at least by 2030.
So, any bets on if and when Obama going to make some recess appointments?
This is good for capitalism, what you don’t trust corporate ceo’s will act in good faith? I for one welcome our corporate overlords.
@S. cerevisiae: I think that after viewing The Road, the Supreme Court should rule that cannibalism is okay as long as it’s a well-funded ‘association of individuals’, otherwise known as a ‘corporation’, and they claim that they were really, really hungry.
S. Cerevisiae: Nah, they still need slaves. Between Bladerunner and Neuromancer, IMHO.
asdf, you’re welcome. We all need a giggle right now, even if it’s coated in bile.
@Stooleo: Um, hello!? They just came back from recess. How many recess appointments did YOU see?
This, except, maybe more in spirit than in reality:
The dystopia will be televised.
@Scruffy McSnufflepuss: I had this thought as well. The influx of foreign capital into US politics could have very unpredictable results. I’m not sure the effects will be at all positive, but the interests of our moneyed class are not, I think, identical to the global moneyed class. It could make for interesting times, with full understanding of all the caveats about living in interesting times.
So I guess this means George Soros can openly fund candidacy campaigns now?
Chad N Freude
@El Cid: We have been on The Road to Idiocracy for quite a while.
Palast writes of Manchurian candidates; let’s look at the possibility that the anti-activist, strict constructionist, plain language, intent of the founders worshipping, stare decisis loving Justices of the SC were actually planted by some combination of the Chinese, the Saudis, the Russians, Al Qaeda, and Angela Lansbury. That would explain a lot.
Chad N Freude
@El Cid: Every cloud has one.
Chad N Freude
@Chad N Freude: Tee shirts with a picture of the Queen of Diamonds in judicial robes.
I’m hearing that New Zealand is a pretty nice place to live.
The dystopia will be live.
@SGEW: Real American Gladiators, anyone? or maybe “Dinner or Death”? They could clone Richard Dawson to host. I’m sure the future version of “Survivor” will be much more interesting.
But dealing with these guys is so haaarrrddd.
Don’t worry yourself about it. Others here have informed me we will do the right thing and follow the law. When we get the chance.
I’m looking for other countries to move to for the next couple decades, myself. Preferably, somewhere that’s unlikely to get nuked in the event of World War III.
What does everyone think Rahm’s plan to shift the K Street funding from R’s to D’s was about?
He just wants some of that fat cash.
The Moar You Know
@El Cid: I cannot think of a worse idea. It won’t make Democrats get a spine, and when the Republicans retake the majority, as they inevitably will, they will…shit, words fail me in trying to describe what a horror a Republican majority would do without any brakes on their power.
We need a Democratic party that is a party and not a disparate collection of special interest groups united around the tenuous identity of “not Republican” – which is all we have now.
@Scruffy McSnufflepuss: New Zealand. Definitely New Zealand.
@Corner Stone: This is unconscionable, and I don’t want to excuse the Obama administration on this, because they’ve been absolutely shitty on the matter, but Congress has been even worse and made finding alternatives pretty much impossible. So we have the administrations’s position: horrible; Congress: worse; the Republicans: still waterboarding.
It’s at moments like this I just want to say fuck them all. But I recognize if I do that, we’ll end up with door number 3.
@The Moar You Know:
Um, how about “2001-2008”?
I would suggest Uruguay.
South of Brazil, kind of tiny with nothing anybody wants. Spanish speaking descendants of many European countries.
Has some ocean view against the Atlantic, and according to Wiki “In October 2009, the unemployment rate was 6.4 percent.”
Sounds kinda nice.
In fact, the more I read about it, the more I think they are kicking our asses
“Uruguay is one of the most economically developed countries in South America, with a high GDP per capita and the 47th highest quality of life in the world. In 2007, it became the first Latin American country to legalize same and different sex civil unions at a national level.”
@Scruffy McSnufflepuss: “in the event of WWIII”—I think that’s pretty much a certainty unless someone can manage to wrestle our nukes away from us without getting nuked themselves as we move toward our little experiment with fascism in 2012 or 2016. South America, maybe New Zealand or Australia are probably your safest bets.
Hey, a little less hate for us creepy guys, if you please! If you cut us do we not bleed? Don’t we deserve a little face time with pretty actresses in blatantly dishonest ads trying to put lipstick, deoderant, lingerie and an attractive wig on a pig? We all gotta live, right?
How about if a candidate takes more than $10k from a particular company, they have to have that company’s logo plastered on their pinstriped suit, like a NASCAR driver?
Several times, in fact. Don’t worry, though.
The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and you have burned so very, very brightly, Roy!
Of course it the punchline in the mess is it was the conservatives who gave the country to the People’s Republic of China in the end. So what the frap was the Cold War about?
You can almost see their reasoning; “On NOZ, the rabble are winning. The government is ours because we are rich white men. Jesus gave us this country and killed all the brown people for us. This is unfair! I know, Chines money!” Without really thinking it threw that the PRC might think; “You know, those Republicans are losers from what our embassy tells us, and there was that Cold War were the Republicans couldn’t fuck with us hard enough. Now the Democrats, they listen to money too,..”
Davis X. Machina
Everybody involved in Abscam was just ahead of their time, I guess.
Did this remove the $2,400 per candidate per election individual limit as well? Or the $115,500 biennial total donations limit? Why are corporations, as “people,” not subject to the same limits as ACTUAL people?
Tangentially, why can I not deduct “operating expenses” from my income and only pay tax on profit? If corporations are people, why are people who aren’t corporations getting unequal treatment?
I’m thinking Sweden, if only because my ancestors came over here from there for a better life when their government was screwed up and economic times were tough. It’s only right that they should return the favor and take us back now that the shoe is on the other foot.