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Excerpt: "Senator Mitch McConnell's speech Friday at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington is simply bonkers. ... In the upside-down world of regressive Republicanism, McConnell thinks proposed legislation requiring companies to disclose their campaign spending would stifle their free speech."

Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)
Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)



Corporate Feelings

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog

19 June 12

 

erhaps you'd expect no more from the Republican leader of the Senate who proclaimed three years ago that the GOP's first priority was to get Obama out of the White House. But Senator Mitch McConnell's speech Friday at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington is simply bonkers.

The only reason I bring it up is because it offers an inside look at how the Republican goal of getting rid of Obama is inextricably linked to the Republican Supreme Court's decision equating corporations with people under the First Amendment, and to the Republican's current determination to keep Americans in the dark about which corporations contribute what.

In the upside-down world of regressive Republicanism, McConnell thinks proposed legislation requiring companies to disclose their campaign spending would stifle their free speech.

He describes the current push to disclose the sources behind campaign contributions as a "political weapon," used by the Democrats, "to expose its critics to harassment and intimidation."

Harassment and intimidation? It used to be called accountability to shareholders and consumers.

Five members of the Supreme Court think corporations are people. Mitt Romney agrees. And now the minority leader of the Senate - the highest-ranking Republican official in America - takes this logic to its absurd conclusion: If corporations are people, they must be capable of feeling harassed and intimidated if their shareholders or consumers don't approve of their political expenditures.

Hell, they might even throw a tantrum. Or cry. Corporations have feelings.

This isn't just whacko. It also defies law and logic. What are corporations anyway, separate and apart from their shareholders and consumers? Legal fictions, pieces of paper.

And whom do corporations exist for if not the people who legally own them and those who purchase the products and services they sell?

Clearly, McConnell doesn't want corporations to be forced to disclose their political contributions because he and other Republicans worry that some shareholders and consumers would react badly if they knew - and thereby constrain such giving.

And the reason McConnell and other Republicans don't want any constraint on corporate political giving is most CEOs are Republicans who want to use their firms - and the money their shareholders legally own - as secret slush funds for the Republican Party, funneled through front groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Crossroads GPS.

Such nonprofits have spent significantly more than Super PACs on elections since 2010, according to the Center for Public Integrity and Center for Responsive Politics. Nonprofits have spent $95 million on elections since 2010, while Super PACs, which are required to disclose their donors, have spent $65 million, the Centers found.

Crossroads GPS has disclosed on its tax returns that 23 donors to it have each given $1 million or more to finance its campaign activities so far this year. But Crossroads claims status as a nonprofit under IRS rules - a "social welfare" organization" that doesn't have to disclose its donors - even though anyone with half a brain knows its overriding purpose is to influence elections.

McConnell and other Republicans conveniently forget secret campaign money was at the heart of the Watergate scandals forty years ago. And that even the Supreme Court in its heinous "Citizens United" decision upheld the constitutionality of disclosure requirements on corporations and other outside groups.

Mitch McConnell wants to give some cover to his Republican colleagues who will be voting later this month or early next month on the bill to force full disclosure of corporate political expenses. But his speech at the American Enterprise Institute doesn't provide cover. It cloaks the whole Republican enterprise in hypocrisy.


Robert Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written thirteen books, including "Locked in the Cabinet," "Reason," "Supercapitalism," "Aftershock," and his latest e-book, "Beyond Outrage." His 'Marketplace' commentaries can be found on publicradio.com and iTunes.

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+42 # BradFromSalem 2012-06-19 10:05
It has been my contention that "We the people" is a statement that can be understood that the commons has agreed to create a fictitious entity called a Government. Its purpose is to provide a charter by which we can all safely prosper. A Corporate charter is not much different in that the persons the charter is granted have created a fictitious entity by which they may prosper safely. Since the US Government has not been granted in its charter the authority to create a fictitious entity that would become a real person instead of a fictional entity, corporations cannot be people. To go a step further Corporations are fictions subject to their creators rules. Fictional characters also perform at the discretion of the author, and we the people are the ultimate authors and creator of Corporations. Any Court ruling otherwise is indicative of insanity, such as when a person hears voices in their head. The voices are fictions and when the voices tell you to run into the street naked, you get taken to a hospital for psychiatric care. A majority of the Supreme Court, the Senate Minority Leader, and the Republican nominee for President; among too many others, are insane. To believe that Tom Sawyer truly loved Becky is exactly the same as believing Exxon is madly infatuated with anything other than prospering. And to paraphrase Jessica Rabbit; "Exxon can't help itself, it was drawn that way.
 
 
+46 # Granny Weatherwax 2012-06-19 11:02
Very good laydown. Thank you.

Diane Feinstein proposed in the early 2000 to extend the "three strikes you're out" California law to corporations - that was a great idea that should be revived if corporations are people, my friends.

movetoamend.org
 
 
+28 # Reductio Ad Absurdum 2012-06-19 12:02
Let's arrest and imprison felonious corporations.
 
 
+6 # jimyoung 2012-06-19 14:52
Maybe that's why they want to keep the donor's secret. Then if they do have to reveal them, watch them set up elaborate laundering paths with names as phony as some of their astro-turf organizations. And yet, look at what they want if you want to work for them, your facebook accounts and passwords. A bit unbelievably hypocritical to me. Are we going back to where the powers that be are the biggest threats, so much so that Franklin wrote under the name "Silence Dogood"? On the other hand why not agree to revealing our true identities, accounts, and passwords, just as soon as the politicians, corporate officers, bankers, and lobbyists all reveal all of theirs. As an act of good faith, they could recover as much of the Presidential, Vice Presidential, and other official records (about 22 million emails) that they were legally required to keep. Would a national 3 strike law count the Presidential records as one strike, Cheney's Vice Presidential records as the second, the emails as a third, and just for good measure, the still missing Energy Task Force records as a 4th strike?
 
 
+3 # AndreM5 2012-06-19 11:23
I only have a problem with your use of the words "fictitious" and "fictions." Governments and corporations may be constructs subject to legal limitations and rules but I have a hard time thinking of them as fiction since they have such huge real world impact. Note the many deaths and wars by governments, often fought to support corporations. Neither are persons, my friend, but certainly your examples of Tom Sawyer and Jessica Rabbit (true fiction and not persons) do not work well in comparison to governments and corps.
 
 
+3 # BradFromSalem 2012-06-19 12:23
AndreM5,

I understand your point but I would counter that there are two issues here. A government theoretically engages in a war primarily to carry out it's charter to ensure the safety of the people who have created that government. A corporation may make a deadly product, but that product will enhance the prosperity of its shareholders.

In the latter, we have government not fulfilling its safety responsibility. In the former, if the war is only for the benefit of some corporations, then due to the danger to the general population it is not acting properly.

Since government is the direct creation of people, that is where "we the people" need to force change. The current reverse relationship between government and its creations, corporations has to be corrected. Yes, they both have real world impacts, but that is where we confuse either one as people. Their impacts are part of what they have been chartered to do, We the People are still ultimately responsible to make sure the people using those fictions are acting they way we want. A slightly more complicated, but closer to reality example is the mosaic novel series "Wild Cards" Each chapter featured a different character, but each book (about 15 so far) had to be consistent. The editor, George R Martin, acted as the government, making sure that all the stories (corporations) acted within the rules of the agreed upon world.
 
 
+2 # BradFromSalem 2012-06-19 13:42
For clarity, in "Wild Cards" each character is written by a different writer.
 
 
+35 # Craig Jones 2012-06-19 10:12
This coming election is all about extending the Supreme Court's power with a couple of upcoming appointments, writing tax laws that will allow the super wealthy 400 families to pay no inheritance taxes (the Death Tax), and continue the dismantling of the middle class with wage reductions and inferior educational opportunities. It is becoming more and more difficult to stay engaged these days with all the rampant stupidity at the controls.
 
 
+30 # REESORT 2012-06-19 10:14
Corporations are not people.
Shareholders are people.
Let's get money out of politics so our Congress will have time to do their job.
 
 
+22 # Barbara K 2012-06-19 10:25
Money is always the root of the evil involved in just about anything and especially in politics. Agree totally, get the money out, get some new laws or go back to the old one that was screwed up by the once supreme Court. That ruling was strictly to make it easy to buy the elections. There are some justices there that need to be impeached. I've seen McConnell on the Senate floor many times over the past few years, and he never makes sense. But the past few years his only goal has to "Make Obama a one term president". Let's make this McConnell's last term, please. Get the insanity out of our Congress, and then we can get something done, like passing the over 300 Bills that the Reptiles have Blocked.
 
 
-64 # cypress72 2012-06-19 10:55
Once again, the goal of every Democrat starting on January 20, 2001 was to make George Bush a one term President, so stop making McConnel's statement sound so utterly evil. It's not. It's politics. All I know for sure (unless there's Marshall Law between now and 2016) Obama WILL NOT be President on January 21, 2017. I'm counting the days.
 
 
+26 # Merschrod 2012-06-19 11:20
Dear Pecky, (That's a type of Cypress with holes in it.) Please present the quotations and examples of Democratic Congress folks who made a statement to the effect that they would make the Shrub a one termer. Where are the examples of the Democrats crashing the economy, holding the nation's credit worthiness hostage, and so forth.
 
 
+17 # Bodiotoo 2012-06-19 13:09
Quoting Merschrod:
Dear Pecky, (That's a type of Cypress with holes in it.) Please present the quotations and examples of Democratic Congress folks who made a statement to the effect that they would make the Shrub a one termer. Where are the examples of the Democrats crashing the economy, holding the nation's credit worthiness hostage, and so forth.

I agree...as a democrat I was open to even an illegally obtained presidency the opportunity for Bush II to do the job as "our" presdient. Republicans I know could not stand any mention of the man without going into a full rage about his being "attacked"...pu re nonsense. Republicans have been on full attack mode since before Clinton even took office.
 
 
+12 # Merschrod 2012-06-19 14:11
Bo, I'm happy to have you aboard :>) The full mode attack and the paralyzed government has been a complete disaster for Americans in general. I've lived in countries where this dysfunctional behavior goes on term after term - that is the opposition does anything it can to stop a President from accomplishing anything and the country keeps going down hill - Ecuador is a good example. In the meanwhile the multi-nationals have a field day (in our case in-action is what has done in our import/export disaster). A divided nation is one thing, but when half would rather destroy the whole rather than than move on, then the goose is cooked. Obama could have locked up the part of the Shrub regime, but he chose to move on. The neo-cons chose to bring down the system.
 
 
+29 # Skippydelic 2012-06-19 11:27
There's *always* a goal of making a President from the opposing party a one-term President!

The problem here is that McConnell made it an *over-riding* priority, to the extent that the GOP has done NOTHING BUT try to make Obama a 'one-term President', at the EXPENSE of the American people!
 
 
+13 # Anarchist 23 2012-06-19 12:48
cypress72-Pleas e at least learn to spell-it is Martial Law-Not Marshall Law. If you think this country will be better off with 'Gott Mitt Uns'-I have a bridge I can sell you cheap as I will probably be moving to Argentina-they already had their Fascism!
 
 
-12 # Todd Williams 2012-06-19 13:31
Yea. Sure. Whatever, dude. Give it up. Wanna bet?
 
 
+10 # mdhome 2012-06-19 14:25
Cypress, what the hell is Marshall Law?
 
 
+2 # ericlipps 2012-06-19 16:41
Quoting mdhome:
Cypress, what the hell is Marshall Law?

Isn't there a comic-book character by that name?
 
 
0 # rockieball 2012-06-22 11:53
You can only shop at Marshall's Department Store. Wal-Mart is forbidden under Marshall Law.
 
 
-51 # phantomww 2012-06-19 10:56
So it is bad for CEO's to spend shareholders money on politics that the shareholder may not agree with but it is ok for unions to support Dems with union members dues even though the union members may not want to? Seems kind of contradictory.

But I expect that from reich.
 
 
+32 # BradFromSalem 2012-06-19 11:35
Big Huge Honking difference.

First, the corporations have tremendously more money at their disposal, and I am understating this difference. By the way, drop the CEO terminology when talking about a corporation. CEO's are actual people, and I have this gripe with lefties and righties.
Second Unions are much more democratic institutions than corporations. Union rank & file are much more likely to vote out leadership they disagree with.
Third, corporations do a lot of their political activism in secret while very little, if any, Union activities are done secretly.

Trying to make Unions appear to be the equivalent of Corporations is an exercise in absurdity and a prime example of creating a false equivalence. And false equivalencies are the initial thread when building a web of lies.
 
 
+16 # Todd Williams 2012-06-19 13:40
Yes, LL. Ain't it always so? Then the Right talks about "union thugs." The only thugs I'm aware of are the ones who have attacked union workers in the auto industry in Detroit and the coal fields of Mingo County, KY and into WVA. Talk about head bustin' thugs. And how about the United Farm Workers and the Texas Farm Workers who have been beaten and stomped. ORGANIZE! FIGHT BACK! I personally saw a big time farmer's son aim and attempt to fire a revolver at a farm worker in the Willacy County, Texas onion strike years ago. A sheriff deputy stuck his thumb in front of the hammer, thereby saving the worker's life. I am getting sick and tired of reading this facist crap about "union thugs."
 
 
-13 # phantomww 2012-06-19 17:26
CEO stands for Chief Executive Officer. It is a title like President and Senator. Maybe you don't like referring to a doctor as a doctor because they are really people.

Both entities (corporations run by a CEO and a board and unions run by elected officials) get money from their members/shareho lders and contribute to political parties and/or groups or individuals. Just because one side has more money is irrelevant. There is no difference.

As for your comment that union activites are not done secretly, please tell me just how much money the unions spent in WI?
 
 
+2 # BradFromSalem 2012-06-19 19:09
phantomww,

Do you really think that I do not know what a CEO is? All I said is that a CEO is not a Corporation. Some are good people. My gripe is when Righties and especially Lefties refer to these people interchangeably with Corporations. CEOs are people, Corporations are not.
 
 
+1 # phantomww 2012-06-20 10:17
LL, yeah I kind of figured you knew that which is why I was a bit surprised with your response. Maybe I just read it wrong and I go agree that CEOs are not the same aas the corp so to interchange them is kind of dumb.

Beside, we have more important things to debate, which is a lot more fun :)
 
 
+8 # Barbara K 2012-06-19 18:21
LiberalLiberyar ian: You forgot to mention that the Union WORKERS are the ones who donate to campaigns, not the Unions themselves. I don't know why the Righties can't get this difference. No Union worker is forced to donate anything. I know this first-hand.
 
 
-10 # lnason@umassd.edu 2012-06-19 19:09
Barbara K:

You are correct that the law requires unions to allow members to "opt out" of paying for political activity but the vast majority of union workers do not know their rights. Unions do not typically publicize this right and management never mentions it lest they be prosecuted for interfering with internal union activities.

The end result is that union workers remain largely ignorant of their rights and end up "donating" to candidates whom they do not actually support.

Republicans have proposed legislation to require unions to inform their memberships of their rights in this matter but the unions and Democrats have adamantly opposed it. Wonder why....

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
 
 
+27 # AndreM5 2012-06-19 11:38
Not contraditory in the SLIGHTEST!

Corporations are not democratic institutions, they are run by dictators in the form of the CEO and Board. Few have ever had to answer to their shareholders. Have you ever worked for a corporation?

Unions by definition and legal formation are DEMOCRACIES! They elect their leaders, they vote on group action, even on the size of their dues. Have you ever been in a union?
 
 
-35 # edge 2012-06-19 11:42
Agreed, AND when Obama the magnificent pledged to use Public Financing and lied you all were in an uproar...RIGHT? NOT!!

Robert Reich the hypocrite!
 
 
+11 # engelbach 2012-06-19 12:59
Reich's article is not a defense of Obama. Reich has been highly critical of Obama's policies.

Think before you shoot.
 
 
+13 # Todd Williams 2012-06-19 13:44
Not! I was not in an uproar. Fire to fight fire. It's come to this and it'll get a whole lot dirtier, meaner and nastier. Dems must win at any cost and I mean that sincerely. The time for cutting bait is done. Dems need to fight back and get down in the mud and get nasty. The time for glad handing and civility is over. The enemy is out for blood and the Left needs to take this seriously! I sick and tired of being led to the gas chambers without a fight!
 
 
+11 # BradFromSalem 2012-06-19 13:53
edge,

Why are you changing the subject to an old election? And why do you call Obama "the magnificent". Either you are serious and think that he is in fact magnificent, or you are attempting to be sarcastic.

I am very tired with the Right Wing fantasy that the vast majority of persons in the Progressive movement ever believed
that Obama was anything more than slightly left of the Republican Lite Clintons. This is a meme totally created to be used as a tool to ridicule the Left. It is as ficticious a concept as Corporate Personhood. (see I even tied my rant back to the topic. That's a rhetorical trick I learned on one of the many days the Righties were all out sick due to a bad case factitis.)
 
 
+12 # DPM 2012-06-19 11:53
phantomww. But the Republicans say unions SHOULDN'T be allowed to do that and have made it a priority to change that practice. Will they do the same with corporation money. Will you support both union and corporate money being withheld from political campaigns?
 
 
+12 # warkovision 2012-06-19 12:03
A union member if he or she so wishes, can declare their "Beck rights" and be refunded all dues that are not used just for collective bargaining and general non political union expense.
 
 
+5 # jmcg 2012-06-19 13:27
My previous comment seems to have disappeared. I would just add about Beck Rights that they are mandated by Federal Law and that the unions have to publish notice of those rights to all their members at least once a year. So union members do not have to pay for political action with which they do not agree. Union members are also usually far better informed about any political action their union might be taking. It would appear that shareholders do not have those same rights.
 
 
+8 # jmcg 2012-06-19 12:50
Perhaps you are unaware that union members have what are called "Beck Rights" This is the right, under Federal Law, to deduct whatever percentage of their union dues that are not spent directly on collective bargaining or contract enforcement from their dues payments. Unions are required to publish notice to all members of those rights at least once a year. So union members do have a way to not pay for political action with which they may not agree. Shareholders do not necessarily have that option.
 
 
+5 # engelbach 2012-06-19 13:01
Which side are you on?

The 1% who own most of the wealth and use their political lackeys to enact laws that serve the rich, or the working class, whose unions are far weaker than the corporations but are their only way of fighting back.
 
 
+6 # Bodiotoo 2012-06-19 13:12
Quoting phantomww:
So it is bad for CEO's to spend shareholders money on politics that the shareholder may not agree with but it is ok for unions to support Dems with union members dues even though the union members may not want to? Seems kind of contradictory.

But I expect that from reich.

Time to get money out of politics. PERIOD!
In this day an age we have unlimited access to "PUBLIC AIRWAYS"
Union moneys should be spent on getting improvements for union workers.
Corporation money should be spent on improving out put, workers benefits, and reasonable profit for shareholders. Not funding out landish lies and misconceptions.
 
 
+1 # Old Uncle Dave 2012-06-19 15:48
Quoting mdhome:
Cypress, what the hell is Marshall Law?


It's what Matt Dillon [quote name="phantomww "]So it is bad for CEO's to spend shareholders money on politics that the shareholder may not agree with but it is ok for unions to support Dems with union members dues even though the union members may not want to? Seems kind of contradictory.

The part of Citizens Unite that lets unions spend unlimited money is also wrong. NOBODY should be allowed to buy an election. That's why we need public financing of elections, so anyone has a chance, not just the rich or people with with rich supporters.
 
 
0 # reiverpacific 2012-06-19 19:46
Quoting Todd Williams:
Your'e damn right about that. I'm an armed LIBERAL and there are plenty of us out there. Read the autobiography of Malcom X. That'll give you some perspective on a pissed off guy!

O-o-o-! Show us yer big muscles (or worse) next time!
Is that a gun in yer pocket or are you just pleased to see us?
Loosen up man!
Quoting phantomww:
So it is bad for CEO's to spend shareholders money on politics that the shareholder may not agree with but it is ok for unions to support Dems with union members dues even though the union members may not want to? Seems kind of contradictory.
But I expect that from reich.

Infantile and shallow at it's best.
Try -why are we living in Plutocracy which is pledged to destroy unions so they can dominate all public discourse and collective bargaining?
Certainly there have been corrupt unions but in the end, they tend to police themselves and vote en bloc. I've never yet known a Union member who would even have considered voting Rethuglican; it's self-defense in the union's case.
Not so the Corporate State and it's puppet judiciary, who are bought and buttressed in their robed, subjugated glory by their true bosses and are pledged to drive the nation to it's wholly-owned conclusion.
 
 
+8 # dkonstruction 2012-06-19 11:01
While i certainly agree that big money is a real problem, to some degree this has become an excuse to cover "mistakes" by the democrats. Wisconsin is a good example. while the outside money sent in to the state to defeat the recall of Scott Walker it is simply self-serving to say that the money was the only or even the biggest problem. It allows the democrats (and in the case of Wisconsin the unions as well) to simply avoid having to deal with the question of why they were not able to convince the majority of working class voters (and for the unions, non-union workers) why it in there interest to support a democrat over a republican. It also allows the democrats to avoid any critique of their "move to the center" (which as the repubs move to the right keep moving the "center" further and further to the right) strategy that for the most part has been a complete failure (most recently in Wisconsin when they chose to nominate a middle of the road milk-toast candidate instead of a truly progressive one that represented the fire of the hundred thousand plus that took to the capital in protest). So, while i agree that we need to continue to work to overturn Citizens United too many on this board (and beyond) are seeing this as if it is the magic bullet that will solve all of our problems (as they did when they annointed Obama as the new Savior) instead of at the same time engaging in any "self-criticism " or serious analysis at the failures of the democratic party
 
 
+6 # Merschrod 2012-06-19 11:28
Excellent statement DeKon.

The framing and messaging by the republicans was excellent and the Democratic message was poorly framed. Plus the candidate was, yes, lackluster.

Sad story, but the Dems need youth and pizzazz. Look at Gore and Kerry, for example - brillant perhaps, but no pizzazz and the framing complex and the framing too convoluted. Perhaps Romney will loose b/c he does not have Pizzazz, and his framing just does not seem joined at the corners!
 
 
+5 # Bodiotoo 2012-06-19 13:15
It was the "right" that declared Obama the "savior" a PUT DOWN that has been leveled over and over. I do not know one liberal that expected Obama to walk on water.
 
 
+8 # Todd Williams 2012-06-19 13:46
I'll tell you exactly why the Dems couldn't get Walker. They were not mean and nasty enough. They wanted to win in Wisconsin? Then they should have fought as dirty as Walker and his outside backers did. When is the Left gonna awaken and see swhy we are always sucking the hind tit? I'm fed up with nice, considerate liberals.
 
 
+3 # jimyoung 2012-06-19 15:10
I have to tell you I left the Republican party just because they decided, as a fund raiser told me, "We have to fight dirtier than Democrats." After 5 generations of Republicans, from the very founders, I became fiercely independent about the same time Elizabeth Warren left the party. I didn't like the Republicans seeming to fight at least 6 times dirtier (seeming ratio of Republicans convicted of corruption) to 20 times dirtier with time shifted, distorted stories that often accuse others of what they do so much more of themselves. I don't believe in trusting (Catholic) confessions to absolve me of any planned counter-command ments actions, or even ignoring karma the way so many of them seem so unconcerned with.

There is no way I could maintain any self respect fighting dirtier than Republicans.
 
 
+5 # noitall 2012-06-19 11:29
"If corporations are people, they must be capable of feeling harassed and intimidated if their shareholders or consumers don't approve of their political expenditures."

If shareholders are willing to be kept in the dark, are not asking the question of their CEO, then their "peoplehood" has been usurped. I think that there would be some action toward responsibility to the shareholders if the shareholders were to SELL until their requests were answered. It is their choice to be used or not.
 
 
+6 # Archie1954 2012-06-19 11:43
Is speech communication or not? If it is defined as communication then McConnell is out to lunch for suggesting that communicating the amout paid is impinging on "free" communication (speech).
 
 
+3 # noitall 2012-06-19 13:47
One says stupid things when he's bought and paid for. His 'free' lunch is his integrity...the re's no such thing.
 
 
-19 # jwb110 2012-06-19 11:45
Take a page from sarah Palin. "Lock and reload." The 2nd Amendment gives the citizens of the US the right to bear arms in defense of a Gov't that no longer represents them and/or uphold the Constitution. Use your rights before you lose them.
 
 
-5 # Todd Williams 2012-06-19 13:49
Your'e damn right about that. I'm an armed LIBERAL and there are plenty of us out there. Read the autobiography of Malcom X. That'll give you some perspective on a pissed off guy!
 
 
+7 # LegendBert 2012-06-19 11:58
Wasn't this called graft, patronage, bribery and just plain corruption before the Supreme Court was politicized?
 
 
+1 # mdhome 2012-06-19 14:17
If it wasn't it sure should have. bribery is just plain unamerican.
 
 
-26 # lnason@umassd.edu 2012-06-19 12:13
I used to believe in complete transparency in campaign donations but over the past couple of years I have changed my mind. I've seen the small children on conservative donors scared out of their minds when protesters surrounded their homes chanting, carrying signs, and intimidating innocent families. I've seen major donors lied about -- one oil executive was accused of "spilling" millions of gallons of oil even though NO oil was spilled since it was all caught in secondary containment and recycled. I've seen "enemies lists" and physical attacks by overzealous partisans. And those who have been committing the violence and intimidation seem even to be proud of their efforts to defund the opposition.

Reich is wrong. If he doesn't know it, he needs to read the paper more carefully.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
 
 
+6 # Todd Williams 2012-06-19 13:06
Even if those events you described actually happened (which I doubt), they are only a tiny part of the entire issue. Why didn't you address the larger problem of corporate donors and their political lackeys who reject laws that would, for instance, halt the wholesale destruction of our planet? Where are your priorities Nason? Of course, I don't expect you to answer my query because of your penchant for posting once then moving on to your next "liberal" target. I am totally onto your charade and it's phony.
 
 
-6 # lnason@umassd.edu 2012-06-20 13:41
Todd:

Those incidents have happened repeatedly. That is why I changed my position. Please do a google search and you'll find dozens of them. I particularly find objectionable the protests staged at opponents' residences -- and there have been many of them -- sometimes even noted and photographed on RSN. As for the enemies list and the lies told about Romney's donors, you need to check out Obama's website "disclosing" a brief history of those donors -- it was packed with lies and innuendos though you will have to google further to satisfy yourself that many of slimy allegations and innuendos are indeed lies.

I apologize for not always responding -- sometimes it seems pretty useless when I suspect that no amount of factual information will change someone's mind.

Finally, what you seem to see as "the entire issue" is too amorphous to discuss. I probably agree with you on some matters and disagree on others. Get specific about something and you can get a response from me.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
 
 
+7 # Bodiotoo 2012-06-19 13:17
Read the right wing controlled media for "facts" are you kidding?
 
 
+3 # mdhome 2012-06-19 14:15
As it should be, if you are doing something others don't like, expect protest. Republicans: hypocrisy is they name.
 
 
+1 # dovelane1 2012-06-20 05:27
Just out of curiosity, are you as critical of the conservative mistakes, and the conservative's use of violence and intimidation as you are about the "supposed" progressive's mistakes?

I am not seeing you mention anything on the other side of things. I might be willing to give you a little benefit of the doubt if you were more fair in your critiques of everything.

Is it your priority to get to the whole truth, or just the part of it that allows you to think your opinions are really valid? Of course, if you think your opinions ARE the whole truth, why should anyone listen to or respect your point ofview?

This is, of course, my point of view at this point in time.
 
 
-5 # lnason@umassd.edu 2012-06-20 13:48
Dovelane:

I assure you that I post similar complaints on Conservative websites.

Though I must say that responses to those posts are usually a bit more civil and less personally vindictive. Your comment is neither personal nor vindictive but you can see what others assert above.

My overall policy in these matters is to be a curmudgeion. If I agree with a position I am disinclined to say much but if I believe that there is a problem with the position, I try to convince those that hold that position that they are in error.

I am much more successful with conservatives. For a significant number of lefties (not all of course), putting one's thumbs in one ears as one yells, "Lalalalalala" loudly is about as cogent as it gets, present company excluded.

Cheers,

Lee Nason

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
 
 
0 # Cassandra2012 2012-07-09 14:40
Quoting lnason@umassd.edu:
Dovelane:

I assure you that I post similar complaints on Conservative websites.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts


What 'conservative' websites? It is virtuallynimpos sible to get in a word edgewise on the rightwing radical websites ...
 
 
+3 # cordleycoit 2012-06-19 12:42
Talking about legal fictions look at the electoral process a person gets enough money pre selling their vote to get to run for the party which auctions off their body to the highest bidder. The elected person then does the bidding of whomever owns them. Washington is filled with boot lickers then head for whatever body parts their owners need massaged. The Republican Congress is a good example of what the taxpayer's money is going for; "Manley men doing manly things with other men." rather than rational governing.
 
 
+5 # Vardoz 2012-06-19 13:03
A congress that so blantantly ignores the needs of the people and the nation and whose only agenda is to defeat a sitting president at any cost to the nation and it's people during a depression is criminal and they should be kicked out. This destructive agenda is a threat to the health, safety and Welfare of the preservation of our nation. This should be illegal since it goes against everything that our constitution stands for.
 
 
+6 # dick 2012-06-19 13:07
There is no ACTUAL debate, just a pretend one, as usual. John Roberts KNOWS that Corporations are not We, the People. He's laughing at us, We the Wee Little People. This is NOT philosophy or ideology; it is a naked POWER grab. ONLY power speaks to power. The discussion should be about TAKING AWAY the POWER of the John Roberts-Wall St.-Obama Axis of evil, restoring POWER to people. Roberts-Wall St.-Obama need to intensely FEEL the power of the people to render them impotent. That will take MASSIVE, non-violent, peaceful ACTION, against Banksters, their enablers. Big banks should be totally boycotted, hamstrung. Their bought & paid for political cronies also. Send $ to Liz, NOT Barry, DNC.
 
 
+6 # Doll 2012-06-19 13:27
Murphy Brown was a fictional character; Sponge Bob square pants is a fictional cartoon character; Tidlywinkys (or whatever) were fictional characters; corporations are fictional entities.

It seems that the Republicans have a decades long inability to distinguish real people from make believe people.
 
 
+6 # BradFromSalem 2012-06-19 14:21
Doll,

You are 100% right.
They justified torture because it worked on "24"! The Ayn Rand lovers believe that because the heroes in her books were victorious that her philosophy is thereby shown to be valid and correct.

Is the inability to distinguish fiction from reality an indicator of insanity?
 
 
+6 # mdhome 2012-06-19 14:12
Republicans: hypocrisy is they name
 
 
0 # tedrey 2012-06-19 14:41
Subject: Democrats: Stand against unrestrained campaign spending

Hi,

According to the Democratic National Committee's 2012 Presidential Election Year Survey, no attempt to keep money out of politics will be considered a priority in this year's election. We must demand that this year's Democratic election campaign openly make clear that elections must be decided by votes rather than by floods of secret money.

That's why I created a petition to the Democratic National Committee, which says:

"Many Americans think it vital to limit unrestrained and secret campaign spending, and to fight to reverse the ruling in Citizens United. Please make campaign financial reform a plank in the Democratic platform, and fight for it in this campaign."

Will you sign this petition? Click here:

http://signon.org/sign/democrats-stand-against?source=c.em.cp&r_by=1129255

Thanks!
 
 
+3 # ronnewmexico 2012-06-19 18:00
Republicans..ce rtainly anyone even moderately informed cannot support most of them or their positions, but in the situation of human or corporate rights it seems both parties are far right, and calls for reform.....it seems once again the democrats must (as FDR is most famously quoted)...must be forced to do the right thing. If we can make it impossible for them to be elected by not doing the right thing...that is when and only when they will do the right thing.
Tiill then a rhetorical campaign on this issue is all we will hear.
Shortly they will find the consequences of this thing of citizens united.....perh aps to late then as with Wisconsin... the writing is on the wall already.....rig ht nor wrong, truth nor falsehood,...mo ney...... the money is all it takes to win the day. All else be damned. It doesn't matter a whit.
A close look and revamp of the american educational system so peoples may not be so easily influenced by 30 second adds, and actually be able to think things through as opposed to regurgitate memorizations. That may be the question and real solution ......why is this so?
 
 
+7 # reiverpacific 2012-06-19 18:37
"Bitch" McConnell -chinless and witless wonder of the right, is a MEDIEVALIST ('Fascist' is too kind a title) who would most likely have been a bootlegger in Eastern Kentucky if he were not so well-connected, bought and paid for by the huge number -for the state's size- of like-minded "special interests" in his home state and their lobbyist-fueled D.C. cronies who would have retained slavery and who continue to perpetrate mountaintop removal in Appalachia (and there is a wonderful spirit of resistance in the "hollers" by some true salt of the earth but still repressed activists). You have to have lived in KY to "get" him at all; a transplanted Louisville politico, bald-faced, corrupt and bereft of ideas, like those of you reactionary shills who are permitted to post on RSN -but who won't acknowledge one time, we can't post the other way.
His one approaching-hon est inference (he never actually comes out and says anything concrete) is in admitting to being dedicated, with his "Foreheads Villainous Low" contemptible contemporaries- in what passes for a Congress and Judiciary, to blocking anything Obama has tried to do and force him to concentrate on building a huge ware-chest to be re-elected rather that trying to be a working president.
OK, I have been disappointed in much of Ob's term but the alternative is unthinkable, especially in terms of the judiciary.
 
 
+3 # dovelane1 2012-06-20 05:45
German poet and philosopher Goethe wrote: "Truth is fire, and to speak the truth is to flame and burn." I believe that is what you did, and what many people who comment are attempting to do.

When we speak truth to power, we flame and burn. We must do it with passion, but we must also make it non-violent.

So much of what corporations are built on is based on competition, rather than cooperation, which ends up fostering violence towards everyone who disagrees with them, or interrupts the flow of money into their bank accounts, and threatens the power and status they assume they have.

I believe those, such as McConnell and the Koch brothers, who want to have power over others are afraid to have power WITH others. It is fear that drives these people to act as they do. Anytime fear enters into the equation, the results of their decisions and actions will be negative, same as it is for everyone else.

In the end, I believe fear is our worst enemy. Most of the time, I believe we end up reacting to those who are afraid, with fearful reactions. I think that is why we must not be afraid to speak the truth as we know it, at this point in time. If we get better information, our truth may change, but we all can only say what is our truth at this point in time.

To my knowledge, only zealots and people who are afraid cannot change their minds, or say they might be wrong.
 

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