Thursday, January 21, 2010

Our Charming Corporatist State

... on steroids and growth hormones.

Analysis: High court ruling a game-changer for campaign spending

...[T]he first task for every federal candidate in this midterm election year will be to read the Supreme Court's ruling Thursday on campaign finance for a reality-check road map to their political future. The 183-page decision promises to completely change the way independent spending on elections is conducted.

In Citizens v. Federal Election Commission, the justices in a large sense have erased the subtle but important distinction between corporate donors, which are subject to regulation, and individual donors, who largely are not.

"It's about money," said Lawrence Noble, former general counsel of the Federal Election Commission and a national expert on campaign spending. "It's about free speech and it's about the ability of corporations to influence elections through the use of their treasury money."

The FEC will now be tasked with taking this high court opinion and crafting new rules to ease limits on corporate spending. The big winners will be businesses, unions and advocacy groups seeking to influence the elections, mainly through what are called "issue ads." Other beneficiaries will be television networks like CNN and radio stations that regularly air these campaign commercials ....

If you thought that the government bailing out big banks was nauseating (I certainly did), get ready for the final merger of our large federal juggernaut merging with General Electric, CitiBank, and the rest. Get ready for a Congress and White House that is of, by and for the corporate interest.

And get ready for the Red Chinese Army and every other international entity that controls a multi-national corporation to have major input into American politics, or as Republican Justice John Paul Stevens put it:

"Under today's decision, multinational corporations controlled by foreign governments" would have the same rights as Americans to spend money to tilt U.S. elections ...

The threat against which President Theodore Roosevelt fought a century ago has now come to pass. The Fortune 500 will now have an ever LARGER influence over every aspect of the U.S. Government and American life, for companies are "people", with freedom of speech, rights of privacy, all those wonderful constitutional guarantees that individual citizens have far less of.

One corporation. One government. It's gonna be a good time.

(And I couldn't think of a prettier topic for our 3000th post ...)


Anonymous said...

Just what the world needs....more corporate communism.

Anonymous said...

hopefully this run away government now has a little brakes to slow them down. Thank you Mass!

Anonymous said...

I am, again, flabbergasted by our representation voting against our best interests. I can't understand how they can do this and turn around and look us in the face. My fiancé and I are starting to scope out small independant islands to escape to. I hate to be a conspiracy theorist... But if it walks like a duck... You know the rest...

handel said...

Blah-dity blah-dity bla-ditty.
The howling on this runs a little on the hypocritical side.
Let me get this straight...our beloved unions don't want unlimited donations from corporations but think that they (the unions) should have the right to give unlimited funds?

Comon...If the want is to have all of it out..REAL campaign reform...Then get the union out of it as well, with their extorted funds from members.

I'm betting that THAT idea would be frowned on (by both the union as well as the democratic party)...hand meet glove.

Lessee now, Is it the hand that gets the glove dirty, or the glove that gets the hand dirty?
Or maybe in this case, They're both dirty.


Anonymous said...

I am the flabbergasted Anon and I want corporations AND unions out of the process. But why clarify to you Handel, you'll read into it what you want.

My 2 Cents said...

What was that, some kind of code? It certainly wasn't English.

Advocacy isn't the threat. Stealth is the threat. Parties and special interests are already disguising themselves as independent political advocacy groups; lying to the public, misdirecting people to vote for the wrong things for the wrong reasons. The lies about health reform sponsored by big drugs and big health insurance were outrageous. Now they have their Manchurian candidate. God help us.

Who were these "citizens?" How did this case even get to the Supreme Court? What great injustice was remedied by this ruling? The corporations and special interests are behaving like the banks and major financial institutions, arrogantly thumbing their noses at the public even as they are under heavy criticism and scrutiny.

We need an ironclad political and advocacy advertising disclosure law-immediately.

handel said...

All this talk about the "corporations".
"OOO the bad corporations! BOOGITTY BOOOGITTY!!"

This decision means that the unions ALSO get to continue with funneling their big donations as well.
I'm wondering...all the worry and about 'corporations'-is the union also considered a...'corporation'?
A 'special interest'?

It IS a biz.
It DOES funnel alot of money to their chosen candidate and favorite (DEM) policies.
Its pockets ARE deep.
And its influence IS strong.

Of course it is a corporation and a special interest. And if THEY get to push their agenda with unlimited funds, then so should the 'corporations'.
CORRECTION! The OTHER 'corporations'.

Anonymous said...

American elections are a joke, a big marketing campaign, wherever the money comes from. They are far too long, the primary system is uneven and confusing, impossible to track and easy to manipulate. District politics is so corrupt with legal manipulation it is pathetic.

Election periods need to be shortened down to 3-6 months with strict limits on campaign funds. The American public gets taken by these elections that are conducted year round. From the moment someone is elected, they are out raising money for their next term? It's the money, stupid.

And if you think labor has pockets nearly as deep as corporations, you are a complete idiot. Not saying the labor ranks aren't complete idiots - they are. It's why they don't have deep pockets.

handel said...


The problem with elections isn't that they are 'too long'.
It's not even the amount of money in them...
The problem is the lack of thought from the electorate.
You can have TONS AND TONS of money from corporations AND unions and have it last for very loooooong period of time...but, if the people take the time to do their OWN research based off of facts (not emotion), then all the money in the world wouldn't make a bit of difference.
The problem is a lack of discipline from the electorate which causes them to make emotional decisions rather than thoughtful ones..
Which is why they voted for a slogan rather than a record this time around.
(And now are paying the price for that foolishness).

And yeah, The union pockets are plenty plenty deep. And yeah, the influence is plenty far reaching. MORE than the corporations.
Take a moment to not be emotional and think rationally...maybe do some research?'d see that.

Anonymous said...

__The union pockets are plenty plenty deep. And yeah, the influence is plenty far reaching. MORE than the corporations.

Yes, the AFL-CIO and SEUI have Goldman Sachs and the Federal Reserve corporate underdogs completely by the balls. I'm scared shitless!

Yes, apparently the electorate is hopelessly ignorant.

Anonymous said...

America and the World would have been a WHOLE LOT BETTER if that shmuck bush hadn't been "elected." What a scumbag---and the person to whom all fingers point for a majority of America's economic woes.

And, of course, he let 9/11 happen.

handel said... sound as if your current on all the polls.
As well as current on the latest elections.

A man in a a state of panic.

No one is buying it anymore with it.


Jonathan said...

Congratulations Handel, you drove some traffic to your blog.

Put up a link to your "childrens books" on Amazon. I'd love to see your creativity.

Anonymous said...

I just want healthcare reform.

I need a knee surgery, but I cant get it because all insurance companies I've applied for say its a pre-existing condition (I injured it, then got laid off, and changed insurance so now Im screwed).

Im so sick of healthcare being a for-profit business, instead of it being for-patient. Imagine a pure system where 100% of the money goes to providers and 0% goes to insurers.

Anyone who spouts crap like "hopefully this run away government now has a little brakes to slow them down. Thank you Mass!" is really only saying "Hey, my life is pretty great. Fuck everyone else who unluckily happens to be in worse situations. Sucks to be you!"

Fuck you.

Unknown said...

Anon 9:38, you completely destroyed whatever you were saying by your irrational last paragraph. Intellectual arguments, please.

I too want a changed healthcare system. I just don't want the kind of change Congress was working on. That doesn't mean I hate people in worse situations.

And as for the 'corporatist' decision, it's just free speech. That's the price we pay for having the 1st Amendment: sometimes we enjoy it, sometimes we don't.

Anonymous said...

And as for the 'corporatist' decision, it's just free speech. That's the price we pay for having the 1st Amendment: sometimes we enjoy it, sometimes we don't.

No. A corporation is not a person, no matter what disingenuous mental contortions the activist conservative judges contrived to justify their pre-determined ideological farce.

A corporation is not a person; therefore, it does not deserve "first amendment rights." I am trusting the Congress and President to obstruct this Republican ploy for flagrant corruption.

handel said...

Anondeedondee 9:38..

I don't think anyone is saying it 'sucks to be you. (Well...except me, but NOT for the healthcare reasons.
There isn't anyone that thinks that healthcare doesn't need a fixin'. But a Govt revamp with govt in charge is such a dumb way to do it. Only unions with their vast wisdom think that's a good way to go.
The things we should be doing is workin on costs. There are tons of things that we can do on that, which the current govt plan really does nothing to help on.

As for your statement: "I'm so sick of healthcare being a for-profit business, instead of it being for-patient."

I'll tell you what...What do you do?
Do you do it for free? If not, WHY not? When you have a garage sale, why do you SELL your stuff for as much as you can get for it? Why not just give it away to someone?
Why BE and DO exactly what you want others to do...go on.
Set the precedent. Be the example.
For that matter...why does the UNION CHARGE 'dues'?
Why for free?

(paging mr hulett...)

handel said...

Hi jonathan.

Do I know you? You obviously have some knowledge of me. Well that's nice! As long as you aren't the type to have pictures of me with my mouth cut out and lipstick over the hole.

Theres really no need for a link to my 'childrens books'. Not that I don't value your opinion of the work.
(cuz i DO. I REALLY DO).
But we both know that I wouldn't get a real opinion due to your obvious disliking of my handel'ness.
We BOTH know, that you would say I (sniff sniff) that I 'suck', and should go back to drawing with crayons and that you could draw much better with the pencil up your pooper (which is hardly fair, due to your having probably a lifetime of practice with that technique.)

So lets just leave it at "I suck" and my work obviously "sucks".

There! I saved us both a TON of wasted time!


My 2 Cents said...


If you think the Reps want a "different" kind health care reform you are either a committed conservative or dumb as a post. There is no alternative plan. All the Republicans want to do, (and have successfully done for nearly 80 years), is obstruct health care reform and maintain the status quo. Tort reform? Interstate insurance availability? Subsidy checks? These aren't plans, they are ways to avoid real reform and allow the health care establishment run free and untouched like a sacred cow.

I love hearing McCain and the commentators on Fox News talk about, "starting again from scratch" because of the Mass. elections. Sure, that should delay the process until (hmmmm) the 2010 elections? Then, with a few more votes in Congress they can put the final nail in the coffin and, (once again), kill off reform for good.

Sorry, I agree with 9:38.

Unknown said...

Anon 10:28:

Well, you may have a point, although I think corporations are in many ways considered 'legal persons' (

However, the first amendment reads that "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press..." I'm not quite seeing a limitation to 'individuals', and since 'the press' would include large media groups (themselves corporations), this may be more broad.

I think what this really illustrates is the complexity of the issue, which culminated in a very narrow decision (5-4). Attacking either side emotionally fails to acknowledge this.

Unknown said...

Anon 10:43:

I think you fail to see the free-market implications of the 'Republican solutions' that you listed. While health care is a very deep and complex issue, I believe that the real problem lies with insurance companies. Due to government regulations, there is no 'real' competition in the health care marketplace. This of course is one of the main reasons behind the 'public option': to provide competition. However, the best way to provide competition would be to remove restrictions upon where insurance can be purchased. That way, I (a California resident) could purchase my insurance from Arkansas (for example), where my premiums would be 50% less (I know this, because I recently went in the opposite direction).

We could argue the solutions all day, but my point is that the real goal should be for health care costs to come down – and if they came down, more people would be able to afford it, thereby reducing the ranks of the 'uninsured'.

The problem is that the Democrats don't have the solution. And really, neither do the Republicans. They're all beholden to their corporate interests.

handel said...

Hi "two cents".
(and that's bout what its worth. Jus kiddin! I do dat.)

you say that the repubs 'don't really want health care. They don't really want 'REAL REFORM'.
So tell me..what in YOUR opinion counts as "REAL REFORM"?

That's your idea (and the lazy lefts) idea of "REAL REFORM".

Well there is NO free. Mainly cuz it affects everything else. Drives the cost up on everything if the govt takes it over. Not just raises YOUR taxes..but raises costs on e V E Y T H I N G!
As well as bringing down quality.

"REAL REFORM" isn't a matter of just doing one thing..its a matter of doing several things to bring down costs. Making it more affordable..for everyone.
Not FREE...but more affordable.

As I said..there are tons of things you could do. Tons of things that have been repubs. But the left is more concerned with da' hatin and being overly emotional than to really work on those things or admit those suggestions even for consideration.
REASON:..cuz the left is more after power plays than seeking..."real reform".

thanks! been fun!
outta here.

rufus said...

Nope. Republicans are obsessed with their agenda of making Obama fail. At all cost.

Republicans have nobody competent in their ranks to put as the next presidential candidate. I mean, Palin is practically a cartoon character.


Anonymous said...

who would have thought the past year could have been this bad or driven even this deep into the ground. Perhaps the 49% did, and I apologize for a bad choice. With two lemons running for president, I wish Hillary would have been the nominee I think she has a some business sense.

handel said...


Ya know..I used to have a bird named 'rufus'. He regurgitated alot and for some reason ate his own feces.
But that's neither here nor there..

republicans aren't making obama fail. He's doing that all on his own. In just one year, its been one screw up after the other. Repubs have nuttin to do with it. With congress in total dem control as well as the white house, there is very little repubs can do. So don't blame dem incompetence on repubs. ( I only WISH I could brag about makin him wipe out. But I had nuthin to do with it. All websters fault.)

Believe me..theres lots of competent people on the right. With real records.
And believe me..the people NOW know the dangers of voting for a slogan rather than a record.
I doubt they'll make the same mistake twice.

It'll be different the next time around.

Anonymous said...

I would definitely vote for a cartoon character over what we have now. Great idea!

Anonymous said...

Jesus, handel. Get a job.

Or if you have a job, give back the money you wasted today by spending all your time going off on narcissistic rants on the TAG blog today.

So much for "outta here." I had my hopes up and everything

Anonymous said...

As for your statement: "I'm so sick of healthcare being a for-profit business, instead of it being for-patient."

I'll tell you what...What do you do?

In all honesty, and no sarcasm intended, I really think that if instead of paying for private healthcare or my company paying for healthcare, all of that money could go into a government fund instead of private, for-profit insurance companies that take god-only-knows what percentage to line their pockets. Just eliminate the middle man.

As it is, the idea of at LEAST a government option can drive competition, and competition always benefits us.

Anonymous said...

This imaginary 'money' that candidates collect is a number on a book on a corporation that is insolvent because the number on the Federal Reserves balance sheet is far bigger and uglier than most people understand. That Fed number makes ALL the decisions, no matter how many stupid rallies or town hall meetings or political action committees are formed in DC or at the Supreme Court, no matter how many times you pull the lever at the voting booth, no matter how many hanging chads you count or how many elections you rig. Cut healthcare, that number is still the same. Change healthcare, that number is still the same. Leave the troops, bring home the troops, doesn't matter. That big fat number still sits there. That's your small government. That's your big government. Your corporation. Your labor. Your election. Everything. That number controls how much you pay for everything today, and more importantly, tomorrow. It controls how much you get paid and how much you will get paid tomorrow. Everything else beyond that number right now is just smoke and mirrors.

Anonymous said...

The stupid that visits here sometimes is absolutely incredible.

You're basically cheering the fact that a board room has unlimited cash to buy politicians. I don't care what your ideology is... that's just dumb.

The free market has already played out... and it's called monopolies. Check your facts. Health insurance companies basically own 90% of the market in every state. That goes for all major industries... food, energy, owned by just a couple companies...

Anonymous said...

From Lawrence Lessig's website:

"Whether or not you support Obama or his agenda, this lack of change has demonstrated the established system in Washington will not work. Why? Watch the latest video from Change Congress founder Lawrence Lessig to learn what's wrong with the current system and how it can be fixed."

Is the change described in this video possible?
I hope so.

g said...

Great video, thanks for sharing.

rufus said...

handel's a blubering idiot!

even Cuba has a better health care system.

The fact is, the US will have to choose between sustaining an expensive military force or a healthcare system that benefits everyone. Handel is right in pointing out that healthcare is not free. But I don't think that the only way to pay for it is to increase taxes. Rather, some of the budget that goes into keeping the industrial military complex would have to get redirected towards said healthcare system.I doubt the generals will support this.
It's a matter of reviewing your priorities.

get a life handel, and a brain for that matter....


Anonymous said...

I admit, I thought the guy would have lasted more than a year.

Anonymous said...

But I don't think that the only way to pay for it is to increase taxes. Rather, some of the budget that goes into keeping the industrial military complex would have to get redirected towards said healthcare system.I doubt the generals will support this.
It's a matter of reviewing your priorities.


But on top of that, everyone seems to FORGET that we ALREADY pay for healthcare. Either you pay for it individually, or the company you work for pays it.

SO, instead of sending your money to Blue Cross, pay it on April 15th to the government. You likely wont be paying any MORE, and then the insurance companies wont glut/profit/abuse you by 50%, or whatever their cut is.

Its like getting a 50% discount!!!! Why arent people in favor of this? Do you really think government is more corrupt than insurance companies? The vested interest of an insurance company is PROFIT. The vested interest of the government (despite the snark) is the PEOPLE. At least on paper. And at least we can make changes by voting. Cant do that with Aetna.

Steve Hulett said...

Well there is NO free. Mainly cuz it affects everything else. Drives the cost up on everything if the govt takes it over. Not just raises YOUR taxes..but raises costs on e V E Y T H I N G!

I'm with you, Handel. I wouldn't tamper with our very cost effective health care. We pay way less than everyone else. So if a few losers don't get it, what do we care?

Anonymous said...

At $1 billion/week, Iraq has been the most wasteful disuse of American taxpayer money in our nation's history. Imagine if all that money had been more thoughtfully used to overhaul our healthcare system.

Yes, the same money would've been spent. But at least we Americans would've gotten something for our dollars, instead of a useless nationbuilding that will have no benefit to us (who paid for it).

Socialism indeed.

Anonymous said...

Oops--misuse, not disuse. If only if it had been disused!

Steve Hulett said...

Our beloved unions don't want unlimited donations from corporations but think that they (the unions) should have the right to give unlimited funds?

Comon...If the want is to have all of it out..REAL campaign reform...Then get the union out of it as well, with their extorted funds from members.

I'm absolutely with you on this, Handel. Unions and corporations should be excluded from donating. They aren't citizens with speech rights, and shouldn't be allowed to participate.

If individuals want to give money or scream on a street corner, they should feel free. But not companies or unions.

You've got an idea I agree with.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Handel the Troll doesn't care whether unions can do it or not, so long as corporations can.

Corporations are not a personhood. If they are, and if an individual incorporates himself, then I should still be able to personally sue him and bankrupt him, taking all his personal posessions.

r said...

"Either you pay for it individually, or the company you work for pays it."

Well, if you're unemployed, (10%, although some experts say it's closer to 20%) you might not be able to afford paying it yourself. So carefull crossing that street, you don't wanna end up in a hospital.

What is really impressive is the indiference of those who enjoy good health towards those who have health conditions. Everybody will need some kind of care in the future. We're all getting older, and we're heading to the hospital someday. They take plastic, I'm sure.


handel said...

Aww comon Stevie! That's a very passive way of arguing. The whole fold your arms and close your eyes "oh your absolutely right.." thing? Really?
Your better than that. Your SMARTER than that.
That's the type o' arguing that ug-O feminists (with hair on their chin and 'smert glasses') partake in. (or passive men).
I'm gonna chalk it up to you just being tired from a long day at work...typin up the latest edition of 'pegboard'.
"Corporations are mean and evil--part 2000".

And anon 3;12:
I actually DO think that the unions can give ALLLLL they want. (as if they don't already). Just as long as the SAME right is given (not denied) to everyone else. Including those evil, evil corporations. The other corporations, not just the corporation known as the 'union'.


Anonymous said...

I see. So you're objectively pro-corruption.

Got it.

Steve Hulett said...

I know this is a stretch for you Handel, but try not to be a dick.

But I do love your Sonatas.

Anonymous said...

It's called a troll. It specializes in making overtly provocative statements, then lashes out with insults and attempts at pop-psychology. It NEVER is interested in substantive debate.

Don't feed it, and it will go away.

handel said...

Steve, I think thats good advice for everyone on here. Seriously.

Anonymous 3:36:
I'm objectively pro FAIRNESS. And no, I don't think you do 'get it'.

Anonymous 3:37:
Just good clean debate. Unless your of the mindset that one side should only be heard. Ironic being that THATS exactly the current conversation.

Anonymous 4:10:
See Steve Huletts comment about 'dicks' and aspiring to not be one.
It really is good advice.

I'm done. have fun all and damn those evil EVIL corporations....that you all owe so much to for giving you a job, and providing for your families.
Damn em'.


Anonymous said...

Forget the troll.

Lets change congress as posted above:

Anonymous said...

war and defense = print money
healthcare = print money
bailout = print money
social security = print money
we all lose anyway as long as no one understands how the economies of empires work.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait till November, counting the days till my state sends these morons ruining the country a message. People need a job. Focus on it instead of paying each other off!

Anonymous said...

Do you honestly think the "ruining" of the country started a year ago? Stop being an idiot (read "partisan") - both the GOP and the Democrats have played a part in getting us to where we are. Pretending it's all the fault of one or the other just plays into their hands.

Anonymous said... had 8 years to make it work and see what bhappened. It's going to take more than a year to fix this leaky ship and clean out all the poop that was left behind by W and his cronies and manipulators.
Obama isn't batting a thousand, but I'll still take my chances with him than anyone in the GOP who seem to only care about themselves and the corporations that feed them. It's easy fixing things for the rich and their friends - not so easy to fix things for everyone. There will be plenty of missteps along the way, but the general direction is correct.

Anonymous said...

The cheering of this shoddy judicial activism by Repubs only serves to verify the stereotype that they are toadies of large corporations (as if it were seriously in doubt).

More fundamentally, the decision is based on shoddy, unsupportable logic. If corporations are "a person", are they allowed to vote? Can they run for office? I dare one conservative to logically defend this crap.

Corporations are not a person. And money is not "speech."

Anonymous said...

Yeah- poor corporations! Don't they have enough influence already? They just bought a Senator in Massachusetts. They are the ones from whom we REALLY need to take the country back. This election proved convincingly that, if you spend a fortune and throw enough propaganda at the gullible, you can manipulate them to cut their own noses off to spite their faces.

They got to the same suburban voters that got W re-elected in 2004. Do they all take out their brains with the garbage?

Congratulations, Mass., you now have your own Palin, charming, pretty and clueless; the perfect Republican. (At least he knows who Curt Schilling played for. That's much more important than solving our problems). Obstruct, obstruct, obstruct- now there's an effective political strategy!

Anonymous said...

Here's some more reasoned truth.

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