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Campaign funding free-for-all?

Mark Mardell | 18:18 UK time, Thursday, 21 January 2010

US Supreme Court.jpgFrom the British point of view, one of the notable features of American political campaigns is the volume and viciousness of the political adverts, and the amount of money spent on them. Both attacking an opponent in the way that is commonplace here, and spending the amount of money on it, would be illegal in Britain.

So it is perhaps a bit of a surprise that the Supreme Court has just ruled that the current laws in America are too tight, and that corporations should be allowed to spend just like individuals. It's bound to apply to unions, too. Liberals are alarmed that it will mean big business dictating the outcome of a campaign.

At the moment, the plentiful adverts are paid for by specially set up groups. The ruling was about this trailer for an anti-Hillary Clinton movie paid for by Citizens United. It's not a big business of course, but a pressure group. But legally speaking it is a not-for-profit corporation which is why it fell foul of the current rules.

The judges said stopping that ad airing was a restriction on freedom of speech, "censorship vast in its reach...subverting vibrant public discourse".

One Democratic senator has said the ruling undermines democracy and guts free elections. Commentators like ABC's Terry Moran seem equally alarmed.

Will it make a whole heap of difference? Spending is bound to increase, but don't unions and corporations find a way around the rules anyway? One analyst has told a colleague that businesses won't be delighted: they don't want to spend huge amounts on political campaigns in the current economic environment.

And can American politics get any nastier?

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  • 1. At 6:51pm on 21 Jan 2010, U14284230 wrote:

    " corporations should be allowed to spend just like individuals"

    this is the underlying problem with america. the corporations end up with the "same rights" as individuals. when convenient to them and at other times they ask for special treatment. Either way the real individual americans get reamed

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  • 2. At 7:01pm on 21 Jan 2010, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Mark Mardell:

    Pretty much, with campaign funding for all whom has the $$$$ to donate their causes in the United States with the recent ruling from the United States Supreme Court on Thursday.

    -D-

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  • 3. At 7:02pm on 21 Jan 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    The decision is not a surprise at all, given the history of Supreme Court decisions affecting corporations, and given the current makeup of the Court.

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  • 4. At 7:06pm on 21 Jan 2010, Maria Ashot wrote:

    Oh, dear; oh, dear. You are so right. It is going to get even worse.

    And it is a terrible blow to the environment. All that wasted energy, paper & ink.

    What were they thinking? Or were they thinking at all?

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  • 5. At 7:10pm on 21 Jan 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Unfortunately for our country the government of the people, by the people, for the people has become a government of special interests, by special interests, for special interests, and in all fairness that is a truly bi-partisan circumstance that can be found in Washington and at all levels of government regardless of who is in power.

    The recent examples of millions of dollars in donations from the insurance and pharmaceutical industries to the Sen. Brown campaign, and the donations from an electric company to a Senator from Alaska that has submitted a bill to block energy legislation that affects her benefactors are just the latest examples of business interferrence and manipulation in policy-making.

    It is likely that Brown would have won without those political contributions, and that the energy legislation may be flawed, but I would certainly feel a lot better is decisions were made based on logic and merit rather than who paid the most.

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  • 6. At 7:10pm on 21 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    If I was an American that judgement would really worry me, powerful, rich corporations, with slick advertising executives, sounds like a nail in the coffin of democracy to me.

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  • 7. At 7:21pm on 21 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    1. general penitentiary:

    It's no good, I've been trying really, really hard, but I shall never understand the USA.

    I thought everybody was worried about the huge amounts of dosh that gets spent on electioneering? And agreed it needed to be curbed? Let alone the influence that organisations with a lot of loose cash lying around can bring to bear?

    And now big corporations can spend as much as they like to get their own 'favourite' elected? I suppose it'll save on the lobbyists and their plain brown envelopes. They won't really be needed now, will they?

    Why not just give big business the right to elect senators themselves and save the hassle and the expense? You could base it on the valuation on the stock market; Microsoft could elect three, say, GE and Pfizer two, Boeing one and so on.

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  • 8. At 7:25pm on 21 Jan 2010, vagueofgodalming wrote:

    Mark, the greatest sin on the internet is to mention Hitler. But, running it a close second is linking to a thumping great pdf without providing a warning. At long last, sir, have you no sense of decency?

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  • 9. At 7:26pm on 21 Jan 2010, Rather_Be_Cycling wrote:

    Oh please, this merely validates what the Democrats and Obama did in the last election. By forgoing Federal matching campaign funds, they could and did raise and spend an unlimited amount of money. The Democrats, not the Republicans, destroyed campaign finance reform in the United States. They bought the 2008 election fair and square and there's no going back. It's a going to a free for all next time. That's Democracy. You put your money where your mouth is. So spare me all the wailing about "rich corporations".. they usually bank on both sides anyway. The unions, however, are 100 per cent Democratic.

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  • 10. At 7:31pm on 21 Jan 2010, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Mark:

    And can American politics get any nastier?

    As being from the United States, and, American Politics can get very much nastier and meaner....So, what and watch the forthcoming show.

    -Dennis Junior-

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  • 11. At 7:35pm on 21 Jan 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Well I'll be..

    For once I'm with the conservative wing of the court.

    The government has no role in shaping political discourse in the country. If anyone has a link to where the Constitution gives the executive or legislative branches of the federal government the right to restrict political speech in any way, and I'll consider changing my opinion.

    Until then, I'm in agreement with James Madison:

    [In a republican government] the censorial power is in the people over the Government, and not in the Government over the people.

    Any other setup is not a republican government, and we are a republic.

    Oh, and Mark, things can get much worse.

    The Coffin Handbills used by supporters of John Quincy Adams against Andrew Jackson in the 1828 presidential campaign. Jackson's mother was called a prostitute, and his wife an adulteress. [Wikipedia]

    Mudslingin' is as American as Mississippi mud.

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  • 12. At 7:41pm on 21 Jan 2010, David Cunard wrote:

    Networks and independent television stations are not obliged to air any commercial and could just as easily refuse to run them. Print advertisements seem to be more-or-less useless, so where else would such messages be seen? We are inundated with billboards and I don't see that one more will make a difference to a political campaign. In the last (US) General Election it was the internet which made all the difference.

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  • 13. At 7:48pm on 21 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    Anybody know if this just applies to US-based companies, corporations or organisations, or can anyone join in? GazProm? Electricite de France? The People's Liberation Army? The Asociation of Fundamentalist Madrassas? Er, the NHS next time the US tries to do something about health reform?

    I begin to see interesting possibilities.

    What about those 'US' companies that actually have their registered head offices outside the US? There's at least one in the Bahamas, I think.



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  • 14. At 7:50pm on 21 Jan 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 7, squirrelist:

    "It's no good, I've been trying really, really hard, but I shall never understand the USA."

    Oh, I don't know. You do ok.

    "I thought everybody was worried about the huge amounts of dosh that gets spent on electioneering? And agreed it needed to be curbed?"

    Yes to the first and yes, but it doesn't matter to the second.

    Yes, Americans are worried that money plays too much a part in the election of our leaders, and we know that Amercian corporations have more money than God, but they get that money from us, and they get it by selling us stuff. If a corporation becomes obviously partisan, it runs the risk of angering half of their customers. The affect will be that of an undeclared boycott which, while certainly not cutting off more than say a few percentage points off the corporation's income, would be very hard on their quarterly reports. The officers of corporations must make money to keep their jobs. Bottom line: corporate America is aware that the People do not like them interfering in politics and most corporations will continue to give money to both sides.

    It doesn't matter what the majority thinks in this case. The Constitution takes precedence. We could amend it, but the Bill of Rights is the most sacred of sacred cows in America. We don't dare touch it.

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  • 15. At 7:56pm on 21 Jan 2010, zaphodian wrote:

    Ladies & Gentlemen, can we please ask you to welcome the United States of America, this week sponsored by??



    Next week, get a law by post, just make the cheque out to the US & receive the law of your choice by return mail................you couldn't make this up :(

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  • 16. At 8:01pm on 21 Jan 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    The Supreme Court like every other political institution in the US is owned by the private sector.
    Truth has never been a part of the system and real issues are always avoided. The anti-government Republicans increase governmental spending, although much of that is consultants, privitation of pubic services at higher costs and whenever possible reducing corporate taxes and taxes of the wealthy leading to greater debt. But they stand before their irgnoirant followers who buy into the nonsense and lies they tell and are simply happy that a Democart was defeated even though they will see no advantage and often are punished by their own votes. Corporations run the US. The Republicans couldn't bailout the banks fast enough or the auto industry yet they call healthcare socialism. Ignorant hypocrits who vote to send their jobs overseas. The "people" as such have been excluded from the system and are only targets for disception and misrepresetation, which they eat like candy. Remember the "WMD's..oh, there weren't any....need to call those people heroes who have been dying for the oil companies, that makes everything better.

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  • 17. At 8:04pm on 21 Jan 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    squirrelist (#7) "It's no good, I've been trying really, really hard, but I shall never understand the USA."

    That's evident, but I will have a go at explaining it anyway.

    There is a saying that we (in the US) "have a government of laws, not of men" (probably first stated in that form by John Adams). Our highest law is our written Constitution, as interpreted by the US Supreme Court. The latter is the principle of judicial review, first asserted explicitly by our fourth Chief Justice, John Marshall, and ever since accepted by our other branches of government.

    The notion of a corporation having the rights of a person dates from 1886 in Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company. It is a good example of how constitutional law is developed through interpretations and decisions of the Court, as the Constitution itself does not anticipate every situation explicitly. The theory behind this particular interpretation is that people do not lose their individual rights when they come together in associations. (A corporation is merely one form of association, as stated in the present USSC case.)

    This is a different view of corporations than exists, for example, in Canada (I provided a link to a comparison of Canada with the US on this subject in a previous thread.) That may be unfortunate, but that's the way it is. The division of the Court was 5-4, however (as it so often is), indicating that the matter of regulating corporate expenditures is not exactly cut-and-dried. (That's an American idiom, I suppose; perhaps it means something else in UK.)

    To regulate corporate expenditures in the US for political purposes, it is not sufficient that everybody be worried about the consequences of large corporations spending their money in this way; it is necessary that the law be changed. Because the law is built on several Supreme Court precedents, this would require a constitutional amendment -- not an easy thing to do.

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  • 18. At 8:05pm on 21 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    12. At 7:41pm on 21 Jan 2010, David Cunard wrote:

    "Networks and independent television stations are not obliged to air any commercial and could just as easily refuse to run them."

    Oh yeah? They'll be trebling their advertising sales people to sell as many prime-time slots for as much as they can get from next week. Murdoch'll be revising the rates this very minute, probably.

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  • 19. At 8:05pm on 21 Jan 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 13, squirrelist:

    "Anybody know if this just applies to US-based companies..."

    No, all foreign entities are barred from trying to influence American elections in any way. In the case of corporations, it would have to be registered with a state to take part (that act is what makes it a corporation), and even Delaware requires that the corporation be based in the U.S., which means it comes under U.S. tax and other laws and has to submit to U.S. government regulation.

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  • 20. At 8:08pm on 21 Jan 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    To add to my previous remarks, the document to which I linked in #17 contains not only the USSC decision, but also a brief introduction. The introduction likens the ownership of a corporation by its stockholders to slavery, which is of course illegal. This is nonsense and not worthy of being given any consideration. By linking this document, I do not imply any endorsement of the introduction (or for that the matter the decision).

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  • 21. At 8:11pm on 21 Jan 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    "Spending is bound to increase, but don't unions and corporations find a way around the rules anyway?"

    Absolutely, and the not-for-profit organizations you mentioned are the vehicle used to deliver millions of dollars to support candidates whose stated policies support specific special interests.

    This issue involves both conservatives and liberals, and neither side is exempt from responsibility.

    When it comes to who has the most say in government policies, labor unions are almost irrelevant compared to the effectiveness...and deep pockets of corporate America. Obviously, neither should be welcome but don't let distractions cloud your vision or logic when it comes to understanding who runs our government...and it ain't us!

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  • 22. At 8:12pm on 21 Jan 2010, zaphodian wrote:

    14. At 7:50pm on 21 Jan 2010, Andy Post wrote:


    Yes to the first and yes, but it doesn't matter to the second.


    But it does, those corporations aren't giving those millions away due to homespun charity, they're doing it because they're getting something for it, & now they can get more, & unless you're a shareholder you wont be considered at all. This decision is utterly ludicrous & it's not going to help at all.

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  • 23. At 8:18pm on 21 Jan 2010, Rather_Be_Cycling wrote:

    Only a "liberal" can extoll big trade unions as "democratic" and distain big corporations as "totalitarian". In essence, they are the same. Collectives owned by members in one instance, by shareholders in the other. If unions can contribute (often without their members' approval) unlimited funds to candidates they like, why can't corporations? Why should the government dictate how one spends one's money in the first place? Especially in a democratic election process. And no matter the faults of our system, how can anyone in Great Britain complain.. we at least have a leader we actually voted for. And can vote out in three years times. Not at his convenience.

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  • 24. At 8:18pm on 21 Jan 2010, steve_in_MI wrote:

    More of the same. Joy.

    I'm an ex-pat, married to an american, and living in Michigan. I dread election time...every commercial is from some special interest group or candidate promising the end of the world if you vote for the other guy...or that the other guy will eat, has already eaten, or will allow others to eat your children etc etc.

    It wouldn't be so bad...but 'election' season here runs for months and months. I've already seen ads for some senate re-election campaigns as early as October of last year...13 months before the election ! Most of them run fast-and-loose with the truth, twisting the facts to suit their case, and avoiding those that contradict...

    Now we potentially have a huge new reservoir of funding for more of the same.

    What's next -

    Congressman Jim Republican R-TX (bought to you in part by Exxon, put a tiger in your Oversight Commitee)

    Senator Bill Democrat D-NY (bought to you in part by Phenoxinudrug, same results, new formulation, from your friends at GlaxSmithBeechSquib)

    Maybe they can wear Advertising placards on their business suits...

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  • 25. At 8:19pm on 21 Jan 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Rather_Be_Cycling (#9) makes a good point. This decision is just a generalization of a 1976 decision Buckley v. Valeo, which applied to individual spending for political purposes.

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  • 26. At 8:21pm on 21 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    15. At 7:56pm on 21 Jan 2010, zaphodian wrote:

    "Next week, get a law by post, just make the cheque out to the US & receive the law of your choice by return mail................you couldn't make this up :( "

    I propose a new version of Godwin's Law, to be called "Squirrel's Law":

    All internet discussions on America inevitably end praising the American Constitution irrespective of whether it's common sense or not.

    (What's the address of the Supreme Court again? Do they take Sterling or Euros? Or does it have to be American Express Travellers Cheques?)

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  • 27. At 8:22pm on 21 Jan 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 18, squirrelist:

    "Oh yeah? They'll be trebling their advertising sales people to sell as many prime-time slots for as much as they can get from next week."

    Yeah, probably. What's wrong with that? It's business: makes money, increases tax revenues.

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  • 28. At 8:28pm on 21 Jan 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Andy Post (#11), that is the conservative position, but you are avoiding the crux of the matter. The question is whether when Madison (and others) used the word "people" (or "persons") they meant to include corporations as an individual entity along with living, breathing people.

    Corporations are formed by people, of course, and these people naturally retain their individual rights, but the substantive question is whether, when governments grant charters permitting the formation of corporate entities which allow money to raised and held separately from the assets of the shareholders, the use of money so raised can be regulated. I don't believe the answer to this question is so trivial as you make it seem.

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  • 29. At 8:31pm on 21 Jan 2010, FaustKnits wrote:

    7. squirrelist

    "And now big corporations can spend as much as they like to get their own 'favourite' elected? I suppose it'll save on the lobbyists and their plain brown envelopes. They won't really be needed now, will they?

    Why not just give big business the right to elect senators themselves and save the hassle and the expense? You could base it on the valuation on the stock market; Microsoft could elect three, say, GE and Pfizer two, Boeing one and so on."


    And Goldman Sachs would get 50. Oh, wait, they already own all 100. Your post would have been funny if it didn't hurt so much.

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  • 30. At 8:32pm on 21 Jan 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 9

    "By forgoing Federal matching campaign funds, they could and did raise and spend an unlimited amount of money. The Democrats, not the Republicans, destroyed campaign finance reform in the United States."

    The difference is that most of the political contributions made to President Obama's campaign came from individuals.

    I doubt enforceable campaign finance reform will happen in my lifetime, regardless of which party is in power.

    The sad truth is that our political system, when it comes to campaigning, requires a huge amount of money for advertising, travel and other expenses. The whole thing is so out of hand it is disgusting.

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  • 31. At 8:33pm on 21 Jan 2010, bayleyco wrote:

    The founding fathers didn't worry about a political system based on free speech being "nasty" and neither should visitors to this country. It is not their destiny- they can always go back where they came from.

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  • 32. At 8:36pm on 21 Jan 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 22, zaphodian:

    "But it does, those corporations aren't giving those millions away due to homespun charity, they're doing it because they're getting something for it,"

    No kidding. Corporations always act in their own self interest. It's illegal for them intentionally not to do so. The American people have a legitimate interest in having the government help corporate America. Corporate America creates jobs.

    " & now they can get more, & unless you're a shareholder you wont be considered at all. This decision is utterly ludicrous & it's not going to help at all."

    What they get is a place in line. They get their lobbyists accepted. It's pretty much a case of the government taking a chunk off the top of corporate profits just because it can. It's really a virtual tax. This decision will result in a big increase in that tax.

    The big corporations have unfettered access to politicians already. Now they have to pay for our elections. Before this it was much cheaper for them.

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  • 33. At 8:37pm on 21 Jan 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 23

    "Only a "liberal" can extoll big trade unions as "democratic" and distain big corporations as "totalitarian"."

    The issue for me is not whether contributions from LABOR unions are better or worse than those from corporations, but the fact that ALL contributions from special interests corrupt and undermine the effectiveness of the system.

    The point I tried to make in an earlier post is that compared to corporations labor unions are irrelevant. They only represent a small percentage of our workforce and no longer enjoy the political power or influence they once had.

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  • 34. At 8:38pm on 21 Jan 2010, zaphodian wrote:

    26. At 8:21pm on 21 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    I propose a new version of Godwin's Law, to be called "Squirrel's Law":

    All internet discussions on America inevitably end praising the American Constitution irrespective of whether it's common sense or not.


    :) It does cause some trouble doesn't it? I'm still undecided as to whether America is better off for having concrete documents to argue over or we are for assuming our rights exist regardless of proof. I'm swayed by all the semantics involved here & now though, as soon as there's any kind of confusion about what was meant when what was written was written everything that was at stake has gone, it's an odd world.

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  • 35. At 8:50pm on 21 Jan 2010, zaphodian wrote:

    32. At 8:36pm on 21 Jan 2010, Andy Post wrote:


    What they get is a place in line. They get their lobbyists accepted. It's pretty much a case of the government taking a chunk off the top of corporate profits just because it can. It's really a virtual tax. This decision will result in a big increase in that tax.

    Maybe so but surely the more they pay then the further up the line they get, yes there'll be more money if there's a bidding war but it's going to make it harder to say no as the sums of money go critical. I appreciate that the corporations have to act in their best interests but remain unconvinced that they'll ever act in yours.

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  • 36. At 8:54pm on 21 Jan 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 28, GH1618:

    "Corporations are formed by people, of course, and these people naturally retain their individual rights, but the substantive question is whether, when governments grant charters permitting the formation of corporate entities which allow money to raised and held separately from the assets of the shareholders, the use of money so raised can be regulated. I don't believe the answer to this question is so trivial as you make it seem."

    Good points, all, but it's a slippery slope. Where do you draw the line? And who makes that decision?

    We're talking about possible corporate corruption of the government in this thread, but that's not the case the Court was considering.

    The specific case grew out of a documentary on Hillary Clinton. Produced last year by Citizens United, "Hillary: The Movie" was a scorching attack on the then-presidential candidate. The filmmakers wanted to promote it during the heat of the 2008 primary season, but a federal court blocked any ads, as well as airings on cable television's video on demand. [CNN]

    That's censorship. Government censorship is never trivial. The government cannot be allowed to limit free speech in this manner. Regardless of their veracity, all views must be heard.

    If you've lost faith that the People will see baseless propaganda for what it is, you've lost faith in the country.

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  • 37. At 8:59pm on 21 Jan 2010, rodidog wrote:

    "One Democratic senator has said the ruling undermines democracy and guts free elections."

    Meanwhile, he gladly accepts large amounts of money from special interest groups and unions. Of course, that's Democracy in action, especially since the money is going to him.

    "Will it make a whole heap of difference? Spending is bound to increase, but don't unions and corporations find a way around the rules anyway?

    Yes, so let's end this farce once and for all. Companies will spend the same percentage they always have. This time people will know which politicians are receiving it.

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  • 38. At 9:01pm on 21 Jan 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 34, zaphodian wrote:

    "...we are for assuming our rights exist regardless of proof."

    Having very near a millennium of history does make a difference, yes. In fact I would say a huge difference. America doesn't have that kind of anchoring influence. We're still trying to find out just who we are. It keeps changing.

    We have so many cultures within our borders. The only thing that really binds us together is the rule of law. If that goes, it's game over.

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  • 39. At 9:03pm on 21 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    9. At 8:05pm on 21 Jan 2010, Andy Post wrote:
    Ref. 13, squirrelist:

    "No, all foreign entities are barred from trying to influence American elections in any way. In the case of corporations, it would have to be registered with a state to take part (that act is what makes it a corporation), and even Delaware requires that the corporation be based in the U.S., which means it comes under U.S. tax and other laws and has to submit to U.S. government regulation."

    I don't think that can be right; I know one that operates only in London--and one that operates only on US bases in Europe-- which are incorporated in Delaware. Delaware is basically an offshore tax haven that's even less regulated than the Cayman Islands was once.

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  • 40. At 9:04pm on 21 Jan 2010, Jeremy P wrote:

    I know this may be hard for those from the old country to understand, but in America, the right to free speech is considered to be quite important. Not only people you like speaking, but people you don't like. It's equality. Some day you'll understand.

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  • 41. At 9:08pm on 21 Jan 2010, VANewsMan wrote:

    How typically hypocritical for the Left to cry fowl when they follow the same corrupt political patterns that the Right does. Please explain to me how it is any better for a special interest union to get special treatment an a health care bill than it is for a pharmaceutical company to try to derail it? Obama is himself the biggest hypocrite of them all because he broke his own promises regarding campaign spending in order to get himself elected.

    As bad as this could be, I can't say that I disagree with this ruling. The SCOTUS is correct in that free speech protection overrides any law that seeks to limit how any entity can influence campaigns. What we really need here isn't more rules. We need more transparency and less confusion in order to see who is really in whose back pocket. The US media should be doing its part to help us ferret out these deals instead of pushing their own political agenda.

    More important than all of this is the realization that these huge spending sprees only work because the American population is too gullible and excitable. If the ads weren't so successful, people wouldn't spend money on them. The public needs to exercise much more common sense and needs get a health dose of skepticism about ANY public statement by a politician, a corporation, or any other special interest group.

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  • 42. At 9:19pm on 21 Jan 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Andy Post (#36), I don't have an objection to the decision as applied to Citizens United, which is an advocacy group. My view is that a corporate entity should not be construed as a "person" in all respects where the Constitution mentions persons, which is merely a Supreme Court interpretation, not explicitly stated in the Constitution.

    "Where do you draw the line? And who makes that decision?"

    I would first make a constitutional amendment that chartered legal entities such as corporations, which hold their assets apart from those of their stockholders and protect the stockholders from individual liability, are not "persons," do not acquire the rights of persons from their stockholders, and are subject to such regulation as government sees fit. Then it is Congress (and state legislatures) that would draw the lines and make the decisions about the details of regulation.

    I don't expect such changes to made in a very long time, if ever.

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  • 43. At 9:20pm on 21 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    17. At 8:04pm on 21 Jan 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    "The theory behind this particular interpretation is that people do not lose their individual rights when they come together in associations."

    I don't see the relevance. If all the shareholders in a company were identifiable individuals, I can see how the theory would equate to practice. But in big corporations, or multi-nationals, in the latter 20 years or so at least, that .hasn't been the case. And it's those that will be spending on political campaigns; not the mom-and-pop business with 20 shares spread around the family.

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  • 44. At 9:26pm on 21 Jan 2010, charlieatlantic wrote:

    The McCain-Feingold Bill should never have been passed in the first place.

    Why the delay? The Supreme Court does not pro-actively and instantly strike down laws which are unconstitutional, it waits for challenges and then considers them. These can take years, even decades to surface or be timetabled. Much of this bill was in violation of the First Amendment and had to go. The way this entry is written makes it look as if the court just randomly decided against restrictions which had been settled from the beginning. Not so. Corporations and Unions are both free, and have a First Amendment right to this speech. VANewsMan is right: freedom of information laws and transparency are the answer, not violating the constitution.

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  • 45. At 9:27pm on 21 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    40. At 9:04pm on 21 Jan 2010, jpetrisor wrote:


    I know this may be hard for those from the old country to understand, but in America, the right to free speech is considered to be quite important.

    I knew the 'free speech' argument would come up. Where does it say the freer the spending, the freer the speech?

    That's actually what some people are saying.

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  • 46. At 9:33pm on 21 Jan 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 35, zaphodian :

    "Maybe so but surely the more they pay then the further up the line they get,..."

    Nope, the recently replaced CEO of the corporation I work for (not even 500 employees) got an invitation to the White House to discuss how the stimulus money should be allocated for our business sector. You don't get much higher up than that! The CEOs of the biggest corporations can even talk with the President if need be. It isn't instant access, though, and they'd better have a really good reason.

    "...yes there'll be more money if there's a bidding war but it's going to make it harder to say no as the sums of money go critical."

    The government relies on lobbyists to do a lot of the work for it. Politicians are mostly lawyers. Smart guys, but they don't really know much about anything but the law. When it comes to setting standards and creating regulations for emerging technologies for instance, they're clueless. How could they not be? All fields of endeavor require expertise of some sort. That expertise is required to make decent laws.

    I also have a feeling that Americans are approaching saturation when it comes to political ads.

    "... appreciate that the corporations have to act in their best interests but remain unconvinced that they'll ever act in yours."

    They already do for me and for just about all of my friends. They pay us very well and then pay for our health care to boot, which is really of very high quality. I wish the rest of the country had access to it.

    They also rely on us to get stuff done. Corporate slaves we are not... ahem, but I do have to get some work done today.

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  • 47. At 9:36pm on 21 Jan 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    squirrelist (#43), yes, and that's why there is not universal acceptance of theory of corporations as "persons." The decision was 5-4. You may remember that Justice Sotomayor recently raised the question whether the (judge-made) doctrine should be re-examined. That raised a lot of eyebrows.

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  • 48. At 9:36pm on 21 Jan 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    This ruling disgraces every soldier and veteran who is/has served, been injured or died for the sake of freedom and democracy in our country.

    I am very distraught and heartbroken over this awful ruling. It is as if the Bush cronies are still at it, in the form of the two justices Bush elected during his term.

    A corporation is not a person. A person is a living, breathing being that is born and dies. A corporation is a network of investors (sometimes foreign) with their own agendas. Yes, they pay taxes. But this still does not make them a person. Corporations are not alive and they are not a US citizen.

    I am praying that President Obama and Congress will pass a new law stating that a corporation is not a person and does not deserve the same rights as a person.

    This ruling is not about freedom of speech. It is about greedy corporations legally taking over our country and destroying democracy.



    What's next, computers and robots? Will artificial intelligence be allowed to be classified as a person?

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  • 49. At 9:37pm on 21 Jan 2010, NYCNYUSA2010 wrote:

    The law as it was written was flawed. That's where the Supreme Court steps in. It's an unfortunate part of the way our politicians do their "work." Sometimes (most times) our laws are poorly written and that's what can sink an effort to clean up a problem.

    I'm a Democrat and I don't believe that constraints should be placed on contributions. What I do believe is we should know who made a contribution and how much of one that person/entity made. A better law might have required that all meetings with public officials (except in matters of national security and a few other select situations) should be taped and made available to the public. Then you know who met, what they talked about and can gauge that knowledge against what laws/favors are being pushed by a particular politician.

    The way our system is set up the Supreme Court has the final say on whether laws pass Constitutional muster. If I'm happy to accept the court's ruling when it goes in my favor, then for the system to work, I also have to accept its ruling when it doesn't.

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  • 50. At 9:38pm on 21 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    Wait a minute, the current system with special interest groups is wrong and corrupt, so the way to fix it is make it legal, then suddenly everything is alright!?!

    As for the argument that how can the Democrat complain, since they do the same, surely this is hat people were moaning at? Rather than using the courts to resolve the issue so they can't, if they do, everyone should do the same? Surely this a backwards move, giving more power to corporations, who are at leastly partially foreign owned?

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  • 51. At 9:41pm on 21 Jan 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    "How typically hypocritical for the Left to cry fowl ... " (from post #41)

    We only do that when we are grousing.

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  • 52. At 9:43pm on 21 Jan 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    If a corporation is sued, it is the corporation and not a person being sued. The corporation may have to pay fines, but no one goes to jail, because a corporation is a network and not a single person.

    If a person is sued, it is the person who may have to pay fines or go to jail.

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  • 53. At 9:44pm on 21 Jan 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 28, GH1618

    "Corporations are formed by people, of course, and these people naturally retain their individual rights, but the substantive question is whether, when governments grant charters permitting the formation of corporate entities which allow money to raised and held separately from the assets of the shareholders, the use of money so raised can be regulated. I don't believe the answer to this question is so trivial as you make it seem."

    Very true, particularly when we are talking about small business, but when it comes to large conglomerates and multi-nationals we are not dealing with individuals interested in a specific policy or legislation, but a large interest group interested in shaping policy to support its interests...which sometimes conflict with the interests of private citizens.

    Incidentally, this issue is not limited to corporations and labor unions, churches and other institutions, many of them non-profit and tax-exempt, often influence policy to achieve specific social or religious goals.

    This issue is, obviously, very complex, which is one of the reasons it has not been solved, but it is infuriating when you see a large group with huge financial resources get their way and influence policy that is often detrimental to the little guy.

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  • 54. At 9:45pm on 21 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    40. At 9:04pm on 21 Jan 2010, jpetrisor wrote:

    " Some day you'll understand."

    And perhaps one day some people will understand that in 'the old country' 'free speech' is equally important. The difference is that we do not believe anybody with a lot of money has 'a right' to more 'free speech', or to gain a greater advantage through it, than those with only a little or none.

    I get really fed up with being patronised and treated as though we are still living in some kind of feudal society. It's 2010, not 1776 or 1066. Even in Europe.

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  • 55. At 9:55pm on 21 Jan 2010, zaphodian wrote:

    38. At 9:01pm on 21 Jan 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Having very near a millennium of history does make a difference, yes. In fact I would say a huge difference. America doesn't have that kind of anchoring influence. We're still trying to find out just who we are. It keeps changing.

    We have so many cultures within our borders. The only thing that really binds us together is the rule of law. If that goes, it's game over.


    I can see that the US is a unique place, some might say more of an experiment in human nature than a country but since even in the UK I could argue that there is a divide between the law for the rich & the law for the poor which needs to be constantly fought against then how is allowing the mega rich corporations more leeway going to help with good governance?

    If it helps any the culture debate is an issue everywhere, just try saying that people are just people anywhere & you'll have all kinds of interesting conversations, good laws need to be clear laws.

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  • 56. At 10:00pm on 21 Jan 2010, zaphodian wrote:

    46. At 9:33pm on 21 Jan 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Nope, the recently replaced CEO of the corporation I work for (not even 500 employees) got an invitation to the White House to discuss how the stimulus money should be allocated for our business sector.


    If that's a regular occurrence then great, if it's just froth then not so good but it's good that it happens at all.


    They already do for me and for just about all of my friends. They pay us very well and then pay for our health care to boot, which is really of very high quality. I wish the rest of the country had access to it.


    But if it's not in the corporations' interest that all have access to it they're required by law to work against it, an interesting conundrum.

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  • 57. At 10:03pm on 21 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    50. At 9:38pm on 21 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    "Wait a minute, the current system with special interest groups is wrong and corrupt, so the way to fix it is make it legal, then suddenly everything is alright!?!"

    I think that's it. More or less. Sort of.

    But maybe I'm just perplexed (getting to happen a lot around here lately!) or there's some kind of distorting lens in mid-Atlantic that's messing up my vision.

    (Time to retire to the Squirrel Home for the Bewildered, I think.)

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  • 58. At 10:03pm on 21 Jan 2010, Via-Media wrote:

    28 GH1618

    You are exactly right about the "Corporation as person" fallacy. 1886 was in the midst of the "gilded age" of untrammeled commercial power in the U.S., the age of monopolies, an era in which it was generally acknowledged that politicians, from presidents to Congress, represented the interests of big business. So it is ironic indeed that so much of subsequent American law is based on a situation that was quickly checked at least in part by the original Progressive Movement (Republican Teddy Roosevelt included) and the brave muckraking journalists.

    Still- what else can this Court reverse? Perhaps direct election of senators?

    The voice of the individual is drowning, and this is another step down the long road toward hereditary oligarchy.

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  • 59. At 10:05pm on 21 Jan 2010, zaphodian wrote:

    54. At 9:45pm on 21 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    I get really fed up with being patronised and treated as though we are still living in some kind of feudal society. It's 2010, not 1776 or 1066. Even in Europe.


    I said the very same thing to the Squire only this morning as I welched his chickens, he's a great man, it was only last year he had my aged mother flogged for breaking wind..........(tugs forelock & backs slowly away)

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  • 60. At 10:11pm on 21 Jan 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    In some respects this opens up the playing field.

    People like George Soros have been breaking the spirit of the restrictions for years.

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  • 61. At 10:17pm on 21 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    59. zaphodian:

    Oh it was your old mum? The Vicar of Bray mentioned that to me only yesterday, when he threatened to put me in the stocks for that pamphlet I nailed to the church door. . .

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  • 62. At 10:20pm on 21 Jan 2010, hms_shannon wrote:

    post59 zaphodian

    Oi boyo,less of the welched chickens,well indeed...

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  • 63. At 10:26pm on 21 Jan 2010, zaphodian wrote:

    61. At 10:17pm on 21 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    Oh it was your old mum? The Vicar of Bray mentioned that to me only yesterday, when he threatened to put me in the stocks for that pamphlet I nailed to the church door. . .

    You're allowed nails where you are, high & mighty indeed your squirrelness


    62. At 10:20pm on 21 Jan 2010, ukwales wrote:


    Oi boyo,less of the welched chickens,well indeed...


    It was only the welching got done, the weather was too cruel for flummelling :)

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  • 64. At 10:38pm on 21 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    63. At 10:26pm on 21 Jan 2010, zaphodian wrote:

    "You're allowed nails where you are, high & mighty indeed your squirrelness"

    No, not iron ones, used the ones they tore from my fingers when they put me in the castle dungeon last year.

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  • 65. At 10:41pm on 21 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    59, etc. etc. . .

    I think we'd better stop this ;-)

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  • 66. At 10:46pm on 21 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    Squirrel, Zaph & ukw - Now come on lads ye lord of the manner won't be happy at your lack luster attitude. Do ye lads think that this is Sunday, now back to the fields ye all!

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  • 67. At 10:46pm on 21 Jan 2010, xpat73 wrote:


    Another shockingly bad decision by the right wing on this court.

    The Founding Fathers meant to protect the speech of the individual and freedom of the press. They did not mean to protect corporations and unions from spending huge sums of money on their candidates...

    It's ironic that the right wing are always using "originalism" and "textualism" of the US Constitition...i.e. "where in the Constitution does it say there is a right to healthcare?" A fair point...but perhaps the right wing can tell me where in the Constitution it says that corporations and unions paying money to politicians is "speech."

    What happens if the corporation has China as a majority shareholder? Interesting.

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  • 68. At 10:49pm on 21 Jan 2010, xpat73 wrote:

    If corporations want to be treated as indivduals when it suits them, perhaps they should be treated like individuals for all purposes. Perhaps they can also be criminally prosecuted and given the death penalty where appropriate, or given a long "prison sentence" where the corporation is not allowed to do business for 25 to life!

    The whole idea of "corporate personhood" is a legal fiction.

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  • 69. At 10:54pm on 21 Jan 2010, Ted Daniels wrote:

    Buy My Vote!!

    CHEAP!! CHEAP!! CHEAP!! CHEAP!! CHEAP!! CHEAP!!
    Eliminate the Middle Man!!! Forget about obnoxious overpriced annoying TV ads!!
    Come right to the Source!!

    All you have to do is pay my medigap coverage for the rest of my life, and that won't be long; hell, I'm 70 now!!

    Act fast, this offer will expire as soon as your competitor ponies up!!

    http://graycard-buymyvote.blogspot.com/

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  • 70. At 11:03pm on 21 Jan 2010, wolfvorkian wrote:

    t's no good, I've been trying really, really hard, but I shall never understand the USA.

    squirrelist - consider yourself fortunate.Understanding insanity is not something most strive for.


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  • 71. At 11:08pm on 21 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    66. At 10:46pm on 21 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    Squirrel, Zaph & ukw - Now come on lads ye lord of the manner won't be happy at your lack luster attitude. Do ye lads think that this is Sunday?

    But I did me 12 hours on Sunday, you mean I can't just have ten minutes off now? I'll be writing to Wat Tyler about this, just you see!

    (Work you into an early grave, they do, and then they spend all that money you've made for 'em telling you the b*s*d that makes the laws that let 'em do it is good for you!)

    Oh, good evening Judge Jeffries, yes, very busy, just on my way back to work, sir, your honour.

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  • 72. At 11:18pm on 21 Jan 2010, zaphodian wrote:

    64. At 10:38pm on 21 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    No, not iron ones, used the ones they tore from my fingers when they put me in the castle dungeon last year.


    They gave you yours back? Damn those progressives!

    66. At 10:46pm on 21 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:


    Squirrel, Zaph & ukw - Now come on lads ye lord of the manner won't be happy at your lack luster attitude. Do ye lads think that this is Sunday, now back to the fields ye all!

    'tis all very well to spake Murrell of David but thine was promised a potato for my troubles :)

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  • 73. At 11:21pm on 21 Jan 2010, firefly wrote:

    The Supreme Court has probably already been 'bought' by big business interests and tragically, it's probably just a matter of time before American influence on the rest of the world doesn't make Britain follow suit.

    My belief is that the CEOs of today are the emperors and tsars of tomorrow. They will own everything, the judiciary and army will be controlled by a minority of rich men and the people will no longer have democracy.

    Basically, a return to the dark ages.

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  • 74. At 11:25pm on 21 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    70. At 11:03pm on 21 Jan 2010, wolfvorkian wrote:

    "squirrelist - consider yourself fortunate.Understanding insanity is not something most strive for."

    Put it down to my formative years; I trained originally as a psychiatric nurse :-)

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  • 75. At 11:29pm on 21 Jan 2010, firefly wrote:

    Why do Americans keep harping on about liberals?

    What's wrong with being liberal anyway? Isn't liberal all about freedom?

    Don't the Americans have a statue of liberty? Isn't that what America is supposed to be all about?

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  • 76. At 11:36pm on 21 Jan 2010, TeaPot562 wrote:

    Congress should never have passed McCain-Feingold. Whenever Congress passes a "Campaign Reform law", they word it to protect incumbents against challengers. Politicians, like other people, have their own interest at heart.
    TeaPot562

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  • 77. At 11:38pm on 21 Jan 2010, publiusdetroit wrote:

    The portion of the McCain-Feingold Law which was struck down by the Supreme Court is a reasonable judgment. (The entire Law was not struck down in the decision.) If anyone thinks that the wording struck out of the Law was actually inhibiting the flow of campaign funding from corporations, I have a bridge and a tunnel in Detroit I will sell to you at markdown prices. (Bill of Sale and Deeds printed on authentic, high-quality copier paper.) Campaign funding has grown since the law was enacted, not decreased. From where did that money originate? Now it may become easier to track who is giving how much to whom so that we may become a better informed electorate.

    Politicians and their campaign committees are the ones deciding how those contributions are spent in support of their campaign. We get bombarded by media advertising throughout the campaign that is usually annoying. Attack ads used by candidates against each other always convince me the candidates are hopelessly corrupt and complete idiots, as stated in the attack. I find it very easy to believe all the attack ads. They do such a good job attacking one another, they lose my vote.

    What if a candidate who was campaigning that they will "Rebuild America" actually demonstrated that they would do so by physically rebuilding something, of public interest, using campaign funds for the renovation?

    McCain raised 352 million dollars for his campaign. Michigan was written off early in the campaign as an Obama State. We saw very little of Candidate McCain in this State throughout the Presidential election campaign. What effect might it have had if the McCain Campaign came to Detroit and stated their candidate was committed to "Rebuilding Detroit" and put people to work renovating the Belle Isle Conservatory on the public park of Belle Isle? The public structure is old and in need of repairs.

    McCain could have kicked off the renovation in person, then made regular trips to monitor the renovation throughout the campaign. Plenty of news coverage. People would gather to see and hear him speak each time he returned to monitor progress. A tasteful sign would designate "McCain is Rebuilding Detroit" as a constant reminder of McCain rebuilding America. $100-150 thousand would have done a lot of badly needed renovation to a public structure. Voters would go to Belle Isle to watch progress.

    $100 thousand dollars would not have bought much media advertising time nor space. $100 thousand dollars working to renovate a public park structure would stay in the hearts and minds much longer than a 30 second sound byte.

    Now expand these small projects across the Nation. Each project another beacon of McCain "Rebuilding America". Each project getting local, regional, and National news coverage.

    Would it equate to votes at the polls?

    Would the gesture have remained as a positive reminder of what a Republican candidate had done for the people of the City of Detroit and the many people from outside the city who visit the park and the Conservatory?

    If candidates were to do something on this order I would welcome every cent a corporation donated to the political campaigns and encourage them to give through buying their products and services.

    Just an idea.

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  • 78. At 11:39pm on 21 Jan 2010, firefly wrote:


    BRAZEN AVARICE!!!!!!!!!!BRAZEN AVARICE!!!!!!!!!!BRAZEN AVARICE!!!!!!!!!!BRAZEN AVARICE!!!!!!!!!!BRAZEN AVARICE!!!!!!!!!!BRAZEN AVARICE!!!!!!!!!!BRAZEN AVARICE!!!!!!!!!!BRAZEN AVARICE!!!!!!!!!!BRAZEN AVARICE!!!!!!!!!!


    America's rightwing Republicans are pushing hard to destroy America's morality. Along with violence, war and torture, the theft of other nations' resources and the dismantling of human rights, the xenophobia and racism, it is fast becoming a plutocracy!

    The shameless greed of the rich and powerful will eventually cause a revolution as it did in many parts of Europe and Asia.

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  • 79. At 11:40pm on 21 Jan 2010, TeaPot562 wrote:

    Since 1990, Archer-Daniels-Midland has made many political contributions to congresspersons from corn-producing states. They distill far more ethanol than any other manufacturer.
    MicroSoft was very slow discovering that a large company needs friends in Congress. Guess which of the two companies above keeps getting sued by the Justice Dept. for violating Anti-trust laws?
    TeaPot562

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  • 80. At 11:45pm on 21 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    72. zaphodian:

    Now we gotta be nice to Master Murrell. 'E's one of they alchemists. They do say as 'ow 'e can turn them worthless bits o' paper the lords an' ladies call 'shares' or summat into real gold!

    Or mebbe he's the one they call Mad Murrell the 'ighwayman. He just takes t'gold outta people's pockets. Either way, he's got more 'n'us, I'll warrant.

    An' don't talk to that army chap wot calls 'isself a artist. 'E's a fakir that one. (Ee ah wish a'd been able to stay at school, mebbe I'd be able to spell better. Never mind, once them corporations get advertising, mebbe we'll get us a proper nice King who'll give us a better life. Won't see it in my time, though.)



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  • 81. At 11:57pm on 21 Jan 2010, Crackerjack wrote:

    "Corporate America" will not just be a phrase anymore. It will be a country.

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  • 82. At 00:04am on 22 Jan 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 50, David

    "Surely this a backwards move, giving more power to corporations, who are at leastly partially foreign owned?"

    I agree, but in an oblique way it simply legalizes something that was going on anyway. The McCain-Feingold Law, while well intended and desperately needed, was unenforceable. The system is so corrupt that making it legal may be the only way to achieve transparency and give it a semblance of morality.

    At least we may now hear first hand what the CEOs of Exxon-Mobil, AIG, the head of the Teamsters, and advocates of divine intervention have in store for us mortals. Personally, I plan to vote for whomever is not endorsed by any interest group.

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  • 83. At 00:08am on 22 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    77. At 11:38pm on 21 Jan 2010, publiusdetroit wrote:

    "Now it may become easier to track who is giving how much to whom so that we may become a better informed electorate."

    Would it? Seems to me it would be perfectly easy to set up a "Polar Bears for Palin as President Inc." subsidiary, put in a few nonentities on the board and a few million into its bank account and it's "Roll cameras! Action!". And would anyone really be any wiser?

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  • 84. At 00:50am on 22 Jan 2010, BK wrote:

    I'm entirely amazed at the number of apparently intelligent people who want corporations to be voiceless in politics, while allowing unbridled vocalizing by Unions and other non-profits in the same elections.

    Unions and non-profits provide no jobs, manufacture nothing, farm nothing, mine no minerals, produce no intelligent properties (software, hardware), sell nothing, deliver nothing and carry large dollar reserves collected for one reason, e.g., a "strike chest" and spent on another, e.g., campaign support. The closest any Union comes to enhancing the business environment for their constituents could be through an Apprentice training program...though most of those have become archaic and spend too much time aggrandizing the Union vs. training the skills or craft.

    Every business is impacted by the changing political terrain, through regulation changes, taxation, changes to the educational systems, diverting funds away from essential infrastructure, and the like. It's about time business got it's voice back in spite of the four dissenting Socialists on the Supreme Court.

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  • 85. At 01:12am on 22 Jan 2010, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 83 squirrelist-

    "Would it? Seems to me it would be perfectly easy to set up a "Polar Bears for Palin as President Inc." subsidiary, put in a few nonentities on the board and a few million into its bank account and it's "Roll cameras! Action!"."

    That was what was taking place to circumvent the portion of the McCain-Feingold Law that was just struck down by the Court. The 527 organizations grew in number once McCain-Feingold became law.

    McCain-Feingold was just a poorly written law that has been steadily shot full of holes through a number of legal actions because it was so poorly written. People reacting to this latest decision by the Supreme Court have not been paying attention. McCain-Feingold was little more than a shell after Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc. in 2007.

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  • 86. At 01:25am on 22 Jan 2010, rollingpennies wrote:

    I agree with general penitentiary, when a corporation is put in jail(like solitary confinement) or sentenced for murder not a "safety violation" held to a three strikes and your out conviction status or held accountable is the same way an individual is then maybe it will be time to talk about their right to free speech. While I'm at it what about the free speech limitation of confidentiality (agreements???) coercion and all this we own your thoughts and hybrid plants and anything else corporate money can buy?

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  • 87. At 01:31am on 22 Jan 2010, rollingpennies wrote:

    BK you need to stick to things you have reliable information on. You lack a great deal of knowledge and correct information about unions and non-profit organizations.

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  • 88. At 01:35am on 22 Jan 2010, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 84 BK-

    "The closest any Union comes to enhancing the business environment for their constituents could be through an Apprentice training program."

    Apparently you have not been represented by a labor union while working for a large corporation. Labor unions do enhance the business environment for their members in a large number of ways. Negotiating wages, working conditions, benefit packages, monitoring compliance to OSHA safety regulations, workplace grievances...

    The list goes on for some length.

    Contracts between labor unions, representing their members, and companies are negotiated by the union and the company, and become signed agreements between the two parties. Offer, acceptance, and consideration. The three points of a contract. Both parties are in agreement of terms therein when they sign the contract.

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  • 89. At 01:59am on 22 Jan 2010, McJakome wrote:

    22. At 8:12pm on 21 Jan 2010, zaphodian wrote:
    14. At 7:50pm on 21 Jan 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    “Yes to the first and yes, but it doesn't matter to the second.
    But it does, those corporations aren't giving those millions away due to homespun charity, they're doing it because they're getting something for it, & now they can get more, & unless you're a shareholder you wont be considered at all. This decision is utterly ludicrous & it's not going to help at all.”

    This is what is called a “quid pro quo,” and if proven constitutes bribery and is illegal. Perhaps we should just enforce the laws we have better instead of complaining about needing an amendment.

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  • 90. At 02:07am on 22 Jan 2010, chronophobe wrote:

    Oi, you lot wot's bowin an scrapin an pinin for a right proper King. Hear this, and the scales shall from yer eyes be fallin (but try to forget what Ollie's Army does next, eh?)

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  • 91. At 02:19am on 22 Jan 2010, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 41 VANewsman "The public needs to exercise much more common sense and needs get a health dose of skepticism about ANY public statement by a politician, a corporation, or any other special interest group.

    That's the best idea I've heard all day. But I'm pretty sure it won't be covered under anybody's insurance plan. Or even that you can get it over the counter at all.

    But I bet General Penitentiary knows where to find some ...

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  • 92. At 02:20am on 22 Jan 2010, american grizzly wrote:

    "The sad truth is that our political system, when it comes to campaigning, requires a huge amount of money for advertising, travel and other expenses. The whole thing is so out of hand it is disgusting."
    SaintDominick

    I had the chance to watch the drama unfold in Massachusetts. I have worked in many communities there for almost half of my career. Seems to me that Coakley surrounded herself with politicians. Where Brown was talking to the people, the people were making their own signs. Taking the initiative, involved, and galvanized to take action in line with their beliefs for a candidate. It was great to watch everyday people, power to the people. Yes some gave money, but most gave enthusiasm.
    The Republican Party didn't bother to invest in the Democratic stronghold of this predominately one party state. But guess again 50% are independents. So Browns answers were more forthright in some of the changes people want or don't want. The healthcare debacle, and the pragmatic approach are now back. Fix what doesn't work, and save what does. The big healthcare plan is scrapped. But healthcare reform isn't it is just a new thought process to making change. Now it is time to hunt incumbents, and those that don't produce for the electorate. So take your vote and go out and bag a big one. Better a fresh face, than a corrupt, corpulent party hack, who doesn't remember what public service is. The good thing is money doesn't make all the difference, people still do.

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  • 93. At 02:25am on 22 Jan 2010, Steve wrote:

    There are other ugly aspects beyond advertising. For example attempts by a major political party (which I will not name) to prevent Ralph Nader from running for office by trying to bankrupt his campaign via litigation.

    The BBC doesn't really help either. It's always just a case of bouncing between Democrats and Republicans. Politics should be much wider than this. Where are the BBC articles exploring the idea that neither the Democrats or the Republics actually have the the best interests of the US public at heart?

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  • 94. At 02:47am on 22 Jan 2010, Markorion wrote:

    Game, set and match to the corporations

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  • 95. At 03:10am on 22 Jan 2010, thefrogstar wrote:

    Uumm... what was the question?

    An excellent read, though.
    The quality of the (written) English is very good, and that is what still ties us together.

    A written US constitution may have benefited the English as much as the Americans.

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  • 96. At 03:32am on 22 Jan 2010, xpat73 wrote:

    Nothing stops the people that own or work for a corporation from speaking and giving money as people. But the corporation is a creature of the state. It is not a person. Taking “rights” away from corporations takes no rights away from people. Corporations have no rights other than those permitted them by law.

    The "press" in the 1st Amendment is the printing press.....not corporations.

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  • 97. At 03:41am on 22 Jan 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    68. At 10:49pm on 21 Jan 2010, xpat73 wrote:

    "The whole idea of "corporate personhood" is a legal fiction."
    __________

    And America would be a much poorer place without it, and would not likely have risen to the economic heights it has achieved.

    Ah, Solomon v. Solomon.

    Take a course in basic commercial law before you decide whether corporations are a good thing or a bad thing.

    America desperately needs campaign finance reform, and this court decision has not helped matters much, but getting rid of the corporate form would be a very great mistake.

    There is, however, no particular discernible reason why non-human persons who can never be on the voters' list should be guaranteed the right to drown out the free speech of those who can afford only to whisper.

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  • 98. At 03:46am on 22 Jan 2010, xpat73 wrote:

    As if corporations didn’t already most of the US government, now they can own all of it. This wouldn’t happen in Europe because the European people wouldn’t stand for it, but in America the people are such stupid sheep they let corporations and the government walk all over them, that’s why you are all out work because your government let corporations give your jobs to china.

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  • 99. At 04:36am on 22 Jan 2010, PursuitOfLove wrote:

    Mark: "From the British point of view, one of the notable features of American political campaigns is the volume and viciousness of the political adverts, and the amount of money spent on them. Both attacking an opponent in the way that is commonplace here, and spending the amount of money on it, would be illegal in Britain."

    Exactly. Because Britain, in its magestic infanint wisdom, has come to the correct conclusion that allowing corperations to fund advertisements and campaigns and invent and spread about lies and falsehoods about their candidate's opponent(s) serves noone but the corperations. It doesn't benefit the average person, which, in the end, isn't that what democracy is supposed to do? By enforcing campaigns be funded by a limited amount of tax payers money each election cycle, Britain is insuring that every election is squarely about how best to help the British people, as aposed to how best to help the corperation(s) who just so happened to contribute the most money toward buying off the candidate of their choice. Britain truely is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, where as America most definitely is not anymore (if it ever was.) With today's Supreme Court ruling, the United States has loudly and emphatically declared that we no longer believe in the principles of freedom and democracy, so perhaps you Brits aught take a long, hard look at why it is you are our ally and perhaps start making moves to distance yourselves from us.


    "Will it make a whole heap of difference? Spending is bound to increase, but don't unions and corporations find a way around the rules anyway?"

    First, it was over a century's worth of "laws," not "rules," that the Supreme Court has now declared null and void. So at least back then unions and corperations didn't dare try to find ways around those laws because they would have certainly been punished for their breaking of the law. But now that the laws governing how much influence a corperation can have in the working of government don't exist anymore, there are no restrictions to worry about, and thus no need to think up new ways to get around the "rules." Corperations (and only corperations, the unions will be swallowed up by them) can, and will, have as much say as they want in our political process from here on out. That means no more politicians being accountable to their constituants, just the corperations. That means the corperations will eventually purchase every politician, who will in turn nominate judges that suit the corperations' desires so as to not get on the corperations' bad side in order to at the very least avoid being exiled from office.

    It is no exaggeration to say that the Supreme Court has potencially delivered a fatal blow to what little democracy was left in this country. We already were the democracy who's corperations, as you first observed, had the most influence in its politics. Well the Supreme Court has just opened the flood gates for them to swallow our governmental institutions whole. It is not far fetched to imagine a future in which everything will be run by the corperations. Every. Single. Thing. Think of an American corporate equivalent
    to Nazi Germany, if you will.


    "One analyst has told a colleague that businesses won't be delighted: they don't want to spend huge amounts on political campaigns in the current economic environment."

    Fine. But what happens when the economy picks up again?


    "And can American politics get any nastier?"

    Thanks to the Supreme Court's distain for our constitution, the ways in which it was once illegal for it to get nastyer (even by American standards) have now been made absolutely acceptable and most welcome, so obviously yes. It'll be like a permanent episode of Prime Minister's Questions full of lies and deceit. Enjoy the ride!


    God help America!!!

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  • 100. At 04:40am on 22 Jan 2010, PursuitOfLove wrote:

    P.S. (And we all know which party the corperations favor!!)

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  • 101. At 04:52am on 22 Jan 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    49. At 9:37pm on 21 Jan 2010, NYCNYUSA2010 wrote: The law as it was written was flawed. That's where the Supreme Court steps in. It's an unfortunate part of the way our politicians do their "work." Sometimes (most times) our laws are poorly written and that's what can sink an effort to clean up a problem.
    I'm a Democrat and I don't believe that constraints should be placed on contributions. What I do believe is we should know who made a contribution and how much of one that person/entity made.
    _______________________

    The most sense I have seen so far. If this happens, it might be better than we have ever heard. Just make the lists and names available on the internet, and contributions illegal and punishable if it is not permanently available, or inaccurate. Fine the contributor and the campaign an equal amount to the real contribution. Fat chance we see that kind of justice, but if we see transparency, the job will get done. Thanks

    KScurmudgeon
    in dudgeon

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  • 102. At 04:57am on 22 Jan 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    48. At 9:36pm on 21 Jan 2010, LucyIllinois wrote:

    This ruling disgraces every soldier and veteran who is/has served, been injured or died for the sake of freedom and democracy in our country.

    A corporation is not a person. A person is a living, breathing being that is born and dies. A corporation is a network of investors (sometimes foreign) with their own agendas. Yes, they pay taxes.

    _____________________________________

    Does someone know where to find the percentage of gross tax assessment payed by the top quintile of corporations, and the percentage paid by individuals? Let that be the measure of citizenship and loyalty.

    KScurmudgeon

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  • 103. At 05:18am on 22 Jan 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    41. At 9:08pm on 21 Jan 2010, VANewsMan wrote:


    I am ashamed to admit your comments are on the money. Allow me to add:

    How typically hypocritical for the Left to cry fowl when they follow the same corrupt political patterns that the Right does.
    _______________________________

    Both parties are equally hypocritical, disingenuous, having no memory for their own natures.
    _ _ _ _ _
    Please explain to me how it is any better for a special interest union to get special treatment an a health care bill than it is for a pharmaceutical company to try to derail it?
    _________________________________

    A lot of folks, I hope, are embarrassed by the efforts to pass this thing when a controlling majority could not make it happen.
    _ _ _ _

    Obama is himself the biggest hypocrite of them all because he broke his own promises regarding campaign spending in order to get himself elected.
    _________________________

    Um, not quite. Fairness cannot happen unless both parties accept the same rules. This time both made their own choices - McCain most likely saw he could not match Obamas fundraising. We are looking at the effects on power of today's decision (and maybe at the reason for it).
    _ _ _ _ _

    As bad as this could be, I can't say that I disagree with this ruling. The SCOTUS is correct in that free speech protection overrides any law that seeks to limit how any entity can influence campaigns.
    __________________________________

    Here we differ. I can think of many 'entities' I don't believe have a right to meddle in our politics. Foreign entities, for example. Really, the heart of our discussion should be this should be a 'government of the people', charged with protecting the rights and interests of the people, or a government 'of business interests', charged with the promotion of narrower business interests. I'm in it for the humans - all of them.
    _ _ _ _ _
    What we really need here isn't more rules. We need more transparency and less confusion in order to see who is really in whose back pocket. The US media should be doing its part to help us ferret out these deals instead of pushing their own political agenda.

    Amen!

    KScurmudgeon

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  • 104. At 05:25am on 22 Jan 2010, frayedcat wrote:

    I don't mind hearing what the corporations pay to say as long as they don't hide and cheat and lie. They can only hurt us if we let them.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6cX61oNsRQ&feature=channel

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  • 105. At 06:56am on 22 Jan 2010, zaphodian wrote:

    80. At 11:45pm on 21 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:


    Now we gotta be nice to Master Murrell. 'E's one of they alchemists. They do say as 'ow 'e can turn them worthless bits o' paper the lords an' ladies call 'shares' or summat into real gold!

    Or mebbe he's the one they call Mad Murrell the 'ighwayman. He just takes t'gold outta people's pockets. Either way, he's got more 'n'us, I'll warrant.


    Ah alchemy, the insider dealing of yesterday & the fountain of spin, I do hope he's the highwayman, us poor folks respect anyone with a horse.


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  • 106. At 06:58am on 22 Jan 2010, zaphodian wrote:

    103. At 05:18am on 22 Jan 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:


    What we really need here isn't more rules. We need more transparency and less confusion in order to see who is really in whose back pocket. The US media should be doing its part to help us ferret out these deals instead of pushing their own political agenda.


    Great idea but if the media can be bought, & there's every reason to think that it can at least be heavily influenced then all you'll ever get is snow & hysteria.

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  • 107. At 07:14am on 22 Jan 2010, Martin Ellis wrote:

    I can't see that this makes much difference. Americans fool themselves by thinking that their republican - democratic system is inherently superior to any other model. True, the Federal Government has less power than in many other systems; but, on the other hand, the people are easily misled because they are, on average, very ignorant. An ideal republic would be governed by a senate full of wise, honest and well-educated men dedicated to public service, and not by a senate with a large proportion of self-serving corrupt crooks. But ideal systems never exist for more than a fleeting moment. Frankly, it seem to me that the Chinese "people's republic" model currently isn't any worse than the US model - at least, it's OK as long as no one person takes total power. China is advancing rapidly while the US is very clearly in decline.

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  • 108. At 07:53am on 22 Jan 2010, shiveringofforgottenenemies wrote:

    The Supreme Court made a correct decision. This situation only arose because the candidates the Democrats fielded for the 2008 election were "provacative". I don't mean because Hillary Clinton was a woman and Barack Obama black, but because their campaigns were to a large part based on the fact that Hillary Clinton was a woman and Barrack Obama was black (as opposed to half-black). In other words, the candidates themselves were "show-biz"...fabricated "celebrities"...fake and artificial personages and in many ways ficticious.

    Give SOLID STATESMEN, given real issues and not slogans, given campaigns based on substance instead of vague promises and delusions, I doubt that you will have the substance to make a movie and so this situation is unlikely to arise again...unless the Democrats go BACK to running more candidates created from whole cloth by the party publicists..cardboard men (and women) set before the public to shake their caps and bells and entertain and amuse!

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  • 109. At 08:37am on 22 Jan 2010, zaphodian wrote:

    107. At 07:14am on 22 Jan 2010, Martin Ellis wrote:


    Frankly, it seem to me that the Chinese "people's republic" model currently isn't any worse than the US model - at least, it's OK as long as no one person takes total power. China is advancing rapidly while the US is very clearly in decline.


    Yep, & if you complain in China they give you a free holiday for years & years, it's a modern utopia :)

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  • 110. At 10:24am on 22 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    To be filed under "First Amendment: Free Speech; Section 1, Exploitation of; Subsection 2: You are not going to believe this, but.. . .; Sub-sub-section 3: Only in America":

    A US company has been engraving references to Biblical (New Testament) verses on the rifle sights it sells to the US (and Afghan and Iraq, among others) military.

    They do not, however, apparently, include references to Exodus 20:13, Deuteronomy 5:17 or Matthew 5:39.

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  • 111. At 11:17am on 22 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    Sorry I still don’t get the ‘well the situation was bad before and the system abused, at least this way we know who is abusing the system’ resignation coming through here. So there is a problem and rather than deal with it you give in!?! Some people will note which corporation/union/church/other is paying money to whom, most people will just take notice of the pretty adverts.

    As for the no it’s the unions who will be worse, cods, none of them should be allowed to get away with this. Whether it is a union, church, charity or corporation makes little difference, it is a rich powerful group buying not only a politician but his/her votes as well.

    Are you guys really going to be happy that Pat Robertson can now legally endorse his chosen candidates?

    On the it’s only US companies so that’s okay, here’s a bit of a wake up call for you: My company is based in the UK, but we have a US subsidiary (it has Inc on the end and everything), what is going to stop the parent company sending instructions to the US subsidiary? Nothing. Also a number of your US banks have large Chinese shareholders, again by legitimising this practice you are resigning yourself to potential foreign influence. I understand this already happens that’s not the point, the point is rather than trying to stop it you are in effect appeasing corporations and their shareholders.

    The US is already accused of being a plutocracy, this decision goes one step further to proving it.

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  • 112. At 11:53am on 22 Jan 2010, Solanales wrote:

    I am shocked and saddened by the grievous U.S. Supreme Court decision to open the floodgates for corporate contributions to political advertising. What's preventing well-heeled companies in foreign lands from controlling U.S. elections? A very conservative court created out of partisan bickering for two decades may have ironically given the American people an issue around which to unite.

    The tea is steeping; the "party" is just about to begin.

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  • 113. At 11:53am on 22 Jan 2010, Rik Hill wrote:

    Connect the dots....How did Obama get elected? Thru a lot of little folks donating little bits of money. THAT will NOT happen again. Not surprising how little american mainstream media coverage this court ruling is getting given that the media is corporate owned. We will now truly have a government of, by and for the corporations. So much for our so-called democracy.

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  • 114. At 12:05pm on 22 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    111. At 11:17am on 22 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    "Sorry I still don’t get the ‘well the situation was bad before and the system abused, at least this way we know who is abusing the system’ resignation coming through here. So there is a problem and rather than deal with it you give in!?! "

    Since last night, I've come round a bit. It'll all come out in the wash and get sorted. After all, Obama and 'Congressional leaders' have come out and said they'll come up with something to correct it (in a bipartisan sort of way, of course) although it might mean passing a constitutional amendment which only needs a two-thirds majority.

    I've thought about this carefully, and I can't really detect any flaws there, or problems about getting it through, can you? So, the ones who say "Don't Panic!" are right.

    (Posted by Squirrel with nice warm cozy feeling inside.)

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  • 115. At 12:17pm on 22 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    111. At 11:17am on 22 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    "The US is already accused of being a plutocracy. . ."

    That would be a Disney Plutocracy, I take it? 'Favourite sayings: "Grrr, grrr", "Sniff, sniff", "Bark, bark" ' I've discovered.

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  • 116. At 12:22pm on 22 Jan 2010, American Sport Fan wrote:

    The Danger with this ruling is that Corporations will be allowed to dictate what happens in Washington. That's not a good thing. But there are things we can do and the danger is not just to the democrats, who are a party of the people, but to conservatives republicans as well who stand to be cast aside by their corporate masters when they no longer serve their corporate master's needs. This is a dangerous ruling, as it means less free speach. Less Freedom of Government and less freedom over all.

    WE The People can do the Following

    1. Impeach John Roberts
    2. Continue to Pass campaign finace regulation that make it clear that only public funds can be used for campaigns. This would mean no private citizen or corporation can donate to a campaign.
    3. Better educate the public, whose ignorance has caused them to make some bad decisions over the years. Including the dibacle in Massachuecettes.
    4. Break up corporations that have become too big to fail. That's what got us into this mess in the first place.
    5. Give Massachuetes Back to the British,

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  • 117. At 12:23pm on 22 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    Squirrelpost:

    (Not with a nice warm cozy feeling inside.)

    To all: Looks like General Penitentiary has been U-boated.

    Wrong rank, obviously.

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  • 118. At 12:25pm on 22 Jan 2010, GolemII wrote:

    Great Decision!!!

    It's baffling why so many people have a problem understanding the following:

    "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." - Amendment 1 of the US Constitution

    While I realize that Europe generally has a problem with the idea of free speech (See Geert Widers' Trial), it is actually an idea enshrined in the US Constitution. Now, the same amendment which makes it illegal for congress to abridge free speech also makes it illegal for them to abridge the right of the people to peaceably assemble. Corporations are nothing if not peaceable assemblages of the people - whether workers, management or shareholders - and they have just as much right to petition the government and speak freely as a corporate body as they do on an individual basis.

    Laws limiting free speech on the basis of how many people have joined with you or the configuration of your assemblage are antithetical to the very idea of free speech and assembly.

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  • 119. At 12:27pm on 22 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    Squirrel - I think has more to do with the god of death and money (as you well know you vulgaris you).

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  • 120. At 12:31pm on 22 Jan 2010, American Sport Fan wrote:

    Re107

    The problem is Sir that corporate donations have created this situation where Candidates can not take a serious stand on issue because 1.)They will lose donations and 2.) Corporate money will be used to make that stand seem "unamerican" and subversive in effect scaring people who are to ignorant to think seriously about what is good for them. That is why Corporate influence is so bad, even in massachuetes who should be given back to the british.

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  • 121. At 12:35pm on 22 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    118. At 12:25pm on 22 Jan 2010, GolemII wrote:

    "Corporations are nothing if not peaceable assemblages of the people"

    Like, er, let's see. . .Xe (nee Blackwater)? Or the US 'All Protection and Security' (or 'All Pro Legal') which is offering "High Threat terminations," dealing with "worker unrest," armed guards and "Armed Cargo Escorts" for Haiti?

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  • 122. At 12:36pm on 22 Jan 2010, American Sport Fan wrote:

    Re 118

    The thing about free speach is this decision endagers free speach. Think about it, since it basically paves the way for Corporations to dictate law and influence everyones lives. If they don't want something to be said in congress and they have to do is give money to a candidate they think will work for their interests, not the peoples. Heck It wouldn't surprise me if The corporations did away with free speach, simply because they find it to be such a nuisance

    PS Give MAssachuetes back to the British.

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  • 123. At 12:38pm on 22 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    GolemII – This would be the same US that had the anti-Communist witch trials in the ‘50’s who hounded people out of the country because something they may have said. Yes us in the ‘old’ country are sometimes confused by what American freedom actually is.

    Also aren’t the libel laws against your constitution? And I expect you have no issue with holocaust deniers or someone in the press suggesting that the US deserves to be nuked (I do have issues with both of these, by the way, but I don’t claim to support unfettered free speech)>

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  • 124. At 12:42pm on 22 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    119. David Murrell:

    Look, I come round to the right way of looking at it and nobody takes me seriously.

    Grrr, grrr, sniff, sniff. [broken/unsuitable Essex joke deleted]

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  • 125. At 12:44pm on 22 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    119. David Murrell:

    Oh, did you mean 110? I'd forgotten that for the moment.

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  • 126. At 12:49pm on 22 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    118. At 12:25pm on 22 Jan 2010, GolemII wrote:

    "It's baffling why so many people have a problem understanding the following:"

    i.e. . . .that it's not about 'freedom of speech', it's about the freedom to throw lots of money about so that others' 'free speech' gets drowned out.

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  • 127. At 12:56pm on 22 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    122: Who's M Assachuetes? Why do we want this (Greek?) person extradited?

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  • 128. At 12:59pm on 22 Jan 2010, GolemII wrote:

    David,

    Libel is a tort issue and is aimed at preventing (one off) intentional damage to a private party via another party asserting as fact something which is patently false...not a blanket prohibition of speech of a particular group.

    The 'Hearings' in the 50's weren't trials. They were political grandstanding which were intended to address the influence of the Soviet Union on the US. They legally prohibited nothing. But they did out several actual soviet agents.

    The thing about free speech is it requires that you let everyone speak...even if you fundamentally disagree with what they have to say. If someone wants to deny the holocaust they are more than free to do so in the US, just as I am free to marginalize them and make fun of them mercilessly. The idea being that ideas and speech in favor of those ideas should never be legally prohibited. They should be argued against and the best idea shall rise to the top. When you limit speech, you often limit new ideas with which the current leadership doesn't agree. In short, you limit intellectual competition....which is also something in which Europe has very little issue engaging.

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  • 129. At 1:00pm on 22 Jan 2010, publiusdetroit wrote:

    If candidates taking money from special interests groups is such a terrible vice that undermines our system of government; why did 130 million voters cast their ballots in support of the two major Presidential candidates who took millions of dollars of special interest money to support their campaigns? It was not any secret at the time of the 2008 Presidential election that both Obama and McCain were receiving huge amounts of PAC monies. It was constantly being reported in the news media.

    Were these voters not only endorsing, but justifying the use of special interest money for the election of a Presidential candidate by casting a vote supporting someone 'owned' by special interests because of the money the candidate accepted from special interest groups?

    Suddenly there is such wailing over this recent decision of the Supreme Court which, once again, shot down a piece of very poorly written, very ineffective legislation. Where was this great gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands when the Court ruled on Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc. in June 2007; prior to the last Presidential election? That ruling signaled that the McCain-Feingold Act was inept legislation and, for the most part, unconstitutional. Where were the angry voices when the McCain-Feingold Bill was going through Congress in 2002? It was seen as an inept piece of legislation prone to Constitutional challenges that would prove the Bill was inept, even then.

    If the electorate does not want their political representative beholden to special interests due to campaign funds received from special interests groups; don't vote for that candidate receiving those funds. If the candidate is not elected; they cannot serve the special interests who paid them to get elected.

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  • 130. At 1:00pm on 22 Jan 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 121, Squirrelist

    Or certain "religious" institutions that call for political assassinations and believe the people of Haiti deserve what they got because of their pacts with the devil...

    I can't wait to hear the "Reverend" tell me who I should vote for!

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  • 131. At 1:01pm on 22 Jan 2010, GolemII wrote:

    Squirrelist 121:

    If you have a news story you care to cite demonstrating where Blackwater, et al have attempted violent overthrow of the US government, I look forward to reading it. Thanks.

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  • 132. At 1:03pm on 22 Jan 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    51. At 9:41pm on 21 Jan 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    "How typically hypocritical for the Left to cry fowl ... " (from post #41)

    We only do that when we are grousing.
    __________

    Very droll.

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  • 133. At 1:06pm on 22 Jan 2010, PartTimeDon wrote:

    The law the Supreme court has ruled against is only 8 years old. It's not as if all campaign finance legislation has been taken away. There may even be some cross party support to frame a better worded replacement.
    I wonder how this would have played if McCain had won in '08...

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  • 134. At 1:08pm on 22 Jan 2010, GolemII wrote:

    AmericanSportsFan 122:

    I sincerely hope you aren't American...and I hope you don't live in Massachusetts, as you clearly don't know how to spell it.

    The ruling does nothing to give corporations any more power than any other group of American citizens joined together to petition the government. It simply puts them on par with those other groups.

    Regarding your other assertions, they are ridiculous. This ruling is about public free speech, not lobbying.

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  • 135. At 1:20pm on 22 Jan 2010, American Sport Fan wrote:

    Re 127

    I'm talking about the State or rather commonwealth of massachuetes, whom I as a new yorker have a natural distrust off. You have to understand, this goes back to a natural rivalry between the cities of Boston and New York. Bostonians have a tendency to be jealous of their neighbors to the south and will take everything that is told to them as fact. Even if those so call "facts" are fabricated out of whole cloth. This is most true when it comes to sports, where the Redsox the main game in town. Fans of that team will take managements word as gospell and will rarely criticize it, even if management deserves criticism. New Yorkers on the other hand, will criticize anyone and everything because they care. They want their town to be successful. They want their state to be sucessful, they want their teams to be successful and will speak their minds if they don't feel the people in charge are acting in the best interests of new yorkers. This extends to fans of their sports teams, where Yankee fans (such as Me) feel free to criticize management, because we care about our team.

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  • 136. At 1:26pm on 22 Jan 2010, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 120 AmericanSportsFan-

    "That is why Corporate influence is so bad, even in massachuetes who should be given back to the british."

    If you are referring to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; why give it back to the British who stole it from the original inhabitants?

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  • 137. At 1:27pm on 22 Jan 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    If the representatives of the Left in this blog had bothered to read my yesterday entry in an adjacent thread they would have actually cheered:


    On Jan. 21st, Meerkat has reported:

    "The decision almost certainly will also allow labor unions to
    participate more freely in campaigns and threatens similar
    limits imposed by 24 states."


    Now, what's wrong with THAT? :-)))

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  • 138. At 1:28pm on 22 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    128. At 12:59pm on 22 Jan 2010, GolemII wrote:

    "When you limit speech, you often limit new ideas. . . In short, you limit intellectual competition...."

    A few months ago, I looked through a contract of employment from a US company. (Provided to someone who was to work in the EU.) That committed the signatory not to offer similar consultancy services to any other company for five years after the expiry of the one-year contract; to relinquish all intellectual property rights from anything during the period of the contract, whether they had anything to do with the company's business, let alone its time, or not, never, ever, to say anything whatsoever about the company, its work, or its clients -- not even to name any; to relinquish the legal rights of people in the EU and be bound by the law as it obtains in the State of Virginia.

    (Much of this would be unenforceable in Britain and the EU. But the company would no doubt be racking up a challenger's costs in a court in Virginia, wouldn't it?}

    Ah, yes, the wonders of US corporately-sponsored freedom of speech . . .

    Have a look around the real world.

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  • 139. At 1:33pm on 22 Jan 2010, PartTimeDon wrote:

    Ref 122. Not sure we'd want Massachusetts back. We have enough problems with an Irish independence movement as it is.

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  • 140. At 1:33pm on 22 Jan 2010, American Sport Fan wrote:

    Re 134

    I am an american, and I am a new yorker. I have a natural distaste for massachuetes since they tend to judge anything from New York as being bad. If you are from new york and go to boston they don't treat you very well. I once attended a Yankees redsox game at Fenway park and the young kid from the consession stand asked me who I supported, being from Upstate New York, I told him I supported the Yankees. His attitude immediately charge from pleasant to nasty. I have never forgotten that. That is why I don't like massachuettes.

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  • 141. At 1:33pm on 22 Jan 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    This Supreme Court decision could easily be interpreted as another attempt to marginalize or limit the ability of the working class to voice their opinion by legalizing the ability of corporations, mega-institutions, and the wealthiest members of our society to spend unlimited resources in "info-mercials" designed to influence government policy.

    As such, the issue is not free speech, but legalizing the ability of the wealthy to influence the opinion of the middle class and the poor to pass legislation that supports their interests.

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  • 142. At 1:43pm on 22 Jan 2010, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 122 AmericanSportsFan-

    "The thing about free speach is this decision endagers free speach. Think about it, since it basically paves the way for Corporations to dictate law and influence everyones lives."

    The road for corporations to "dictate law and influence everyones [sic] lives" was paved long, long ago. Standard Oil, U.S. Steel, Union Pacific, Dow Chemical, Dupont, the "Big Three" automakers, Colt Firearms, Armour Meat Packing, and a very, very long list of others were not riding on a goat path to Washington, D.C. all these many years.

    You have a lot of catching up on history in order to become a well-informed elector. I suggest reading Samuel Elliot Morrison's, The Oxford History of the United States fine, comprehensive book.

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  • 143. At 1:45pm on 22 Jan 2010, American Sport Fan wrote:

    Why give massachuettes back to the British because they basically sold America out on tuesday night. They have universal healthcare and they voted not to share it with the rest of American that's why.

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  • 144. At 2:06pm on 22 Jan 2010, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 143 AmericanSportFan-

    "They have universal healthcare and they voted not to share it with the rest of American that's why."

    New York can have universal health-care as well. The good citizens of the State of New York only need to have their State legislature design a universal health-care bill, then vote the bill into law. Massachusetts is not hindering your State legislature from doing the same thing they did.

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  • 145. At 2:07pm on 22 Jan 2010, GolemII wrote:

    Squirrelist 138:

    It's very nice that you were offered the chance willingly and in what I would presume to be in possession of your full faculties, to sign or, more importantly, not sign a contract for employment.

    As this is a completely separate issue than the one we have heretofore been discussing, I assume you want to start a new conversation about employment contracts. Otherwise, I would suggest you stay on topic.

    SaintDominick 141:

    The court decision is about free speech and only about free speech. Whether you or I have more money or more skill or more inclination to get out a particular political message is irrelevant. Free speech does not erode as you gather more wealth or more fellow citizens who agree with you and are willing to support you in expressing that message publicly. In fact, gathering support from your fellow citizens in order to take political action is something we in the US like to call 'democratic behavior'.

    It's fine well and good that you dislike corporations. You might be ignorant in that decision, but it's your decision to make. But what is not your decision to make (at least in the US and as a consequence of our First Amendment rights) is who is allowed to exercise free speech.

    You see, the Bill of Rights (Amendment 1-10) are protections FROM government, not of government. They stipulate what the federal government does not have the right to do. They are interesting precisely because they encompass the very things that, should government not have prohibitions against limitation, government would use to subjugate the society. We worked very hard to rid ourselves of a despot in the 18th century....we don't particularly want to allow another to rise in his place.

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  • 146. At 2:09pm on 22 Jan 2010, American Sport Fan wrote:

    Re 142

    I am well aware of What standard oil, Amror Hotdogs, and Colt FireArms have done to this country. That's why this opinion was so shockingly bad yesterday. It basically paves the way for a facist take over this country. Fasicism is defined as Government of the poeple by the business interests. Corporations basically try to tell us what fashions to wear, how to cut our hair, what tv shows to watch, whose records to by and so on. They try to manipulate the system so that much needed reforms are not made. That's why healthcare has stalled, because corporations don't want healthcare because it cuts into their profits. They are willing to spend as much money as it takes to get health care defeated. They value their profits ahead of their customers and that is disturbing.

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  • 147. At 2:26pm on 22 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    GolemII – Yes us poor yokels back in the Old Country have difficulty understanding free speech which is why European countries dominate the first 14 countries on the Press Freedom Index, you then get New Zealand, Australia, Japan and then back to Europe (Germany) then joint 20th position is Luxembourg (Europe) UK (Europe) and the US. How strange since your constitution enshrines it.

    On a personal level I have an issue when freedom of speech is taken as a right only. The belligerent ‘I can say what I want’, irritates me, yes freedom of speech is a right it is also a responsibility. You have the right to say things that are true, or opinions that you can substantiate, you don’t have the right to blatantly lie, or at least you shouldn’t.

    Going back to your its okay to deny the holocaust if it’s an opinion, is so much hogwash, there are people still alive who survived the Holocaust their opinion counts because they were actually there. Unless the hypothetical denier can supply evidence that contradicts the survivor’s accounts, allied soldiers who found the death camps accounts, sworn testaments from the trials that followed, then they, as far as I am concerned, don’t have the right to say what they want. Their lies and disinformation causes real pain to real people, a fraudulent opinion is not sufficient justification.

    If people were all reasonable human beings I would agree with free speech, sadly they are not. Some say what they want to score points, assuming that everyone accepts that their lives, experiences and pain are just part of a political game.

    Also as others have pointed out freedom of speech should be based on everyone having an equal ability to say what they believe, not on how big your bank balance is.

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  • 148. At 2:28pm on 22 Jan 2010, American Sport Fan wrote:

    re 144

    It's not that simple, this is something that needs to be address on a national level sinse health care companies are national entities. You can't have one set of rules for South Carolina and another set of rules for New York, it neeeds to be addressed on a national level. Unfortunately, the Republican party is pro-corporation. They basically side with business interests against the needs of tthe poeple.

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  • 149. At 2:38pm on 22 Jan 2010, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 146 AmericanSportFan-

    "Fasicism is defined as Government of the poeple by the business interests."

    An interesting definition of Fascism. If differs from the definition to which I am familiar. Can you give me your source for your definition so that I might have a closer look?

    Business interests already try to tell people what fashions to wear, how to cut their hair, what TV shows to watch, etc. That is called advertising. Advertising pre-dates the Constitution. Should we ban all advertising because it is a method of speech used by business interests?

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  • 150. At 2:43pm on 22 Jan 2010, GolemII wrote:

    Let's see, what these 'Big Bad Businesses' did:

    - Rockefeller reduced the price of kerosene from $1.00 when he started to $0.10 by the 1880's so that people could actually afford to heat and light their homes. He also made over 300 products out of what was formerly waste products.

    - Carnegie lowered the price of steel rails from $160 down to $17 per ton, which allowed the American economy to take off given the importance of steel to industry at the time.

    - Both men gave more of their income, in constant dollars, to philanthropic pursuits than anyone before of since.

    Using business as a scapegoat is the tactic of either the jealous and lazy or the populist who wants to appeal to jealous and lazy in order to gain politically. Remember, business could function without government, but government can't function without business.

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  • 151. At 2:56pm on 22 Jan 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 142, Publius

    "The road for corporations to "dictate law and influence everyones [sic] lives" was paved long, long ago. Standard Oil, U.S. Steel, Union Pacific, Dow Chemical, Dupont, the "Big Three" automakers, Colt Firearms, Armour Meat Packing, and a very, very long list of others were not riding on a goat path to Washington, D.C. all these many years."

    You are absolutely right, this decision simply legalizes what was already taking place. I guess it is the shock of seeing corruption, arrogance and greed become legal that is disturbing so many of us.

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  • 152. At 3:10pm on 22 Jan 2010, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 148 AmericanSportFan-

    "It's not that simple, this is something that needs to be address on a national level sinse health care companies are national entities."

    Are you saying that the health-care system Massachusetts has in place is too complex a concept for the citizens of New York to comprehend and duplicate? That the people of Massachusetts are able to outsmart the insurance companies and set up a health-care system of their choosing, but the people of New York are not that clever?

    That goes against your 'Massachusetts, bad; New York, good' premise.

    I'm sure if the New York State legislature asked the Massachusetts State legislature how Massachusetts got their health-care system going; Massachusetts would be kind enough to lend a hand.

    Hawaii and Vermont also have health-care systems set up in their States. The New York legislature could get in contact with either of them, if the New Yorkers natural dislike of Massachusetts is an issue they cannot overcome.

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  • 153. At 3:12pm on 22 Jan 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 145, Golem

    "The court decision is about free speech and only about free speech. Whether you or I have more money or more skill or more inclination to get out a particular political message is irrelevant. Free speech does not erode as you gather more wealth or more fellow citizens who agree with you and are willing to support you in expressing that message publicly."

    I understand the importance of free speech for all, and the need to preserve one of our most fundamental rights, but I also understand the dangers inherent in allowing certain institutions or political groups dominate or influence public opinion.

    Obviously, we all have the ability to think and the freedom to reach conclusions and make decisions, but do you honestly believe the woman that told Sen. McCain in a tremelous voice that Barack Obama was an A-rab would not be persuaded by those who want her to believe whatever is important to them?

    I think it is important to understand that this decision simply legalizes what was already taking place, and that it highlights the irrelevance of the McCain-Feingold law.

    BTW, I have nothing against corporations...I was in a management position before retirement and although I regret some of the decisions I made I find comfort in knowing that I made them consistent with established policy. I suspect followers of the Goebbels model will also find comfort in knowing that their activities were within the law.

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  • 154. At 3:16pm on 22 Jan 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    Yuck.

    My gut reaction is that things could get very ugly.
    Future campaigns will consist of candidates shaking the hands of CEOs more than citizens, rally events will look more like stadium concerts than town meetings, and no presidential candidate will ever again visit the likes of Malcolm X Park or Vern Park here in Philly. Candidates will never again witness the breadth of diversity of those whom they represent.

    There will be many points of light...
    and they will be the headlights of gas-guzzling race cars covered in huge endorsements peeling toward us through the smog and dirt at 200mph competing to bowl us over*.

    Run for the hills, folks. The air is clearer there.


    BUT - in an effort to find the 'silver lining' of the bright side-
    Perhaps all the stoopid mud-slinging we've seen has been because candidates have had so little cash that they've been confined by their air-time budgets.

    Perhaps, if candidates have the cash to run 30 minutes spots where they actually tell us about their platform, then they won't have to make a series of cheap 30 sec adds that punch at the opponent's weak spots. Perhaps.

    _________________
    * You know, maybe Washington DC should take a tip from NASCAR & make candidates actually wear the logos of the companies that endorsed them. That'd be really helpful.

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  • 155. At 3:18pm on 22 Jan 2010, GolemII wrote:

    David,

    Thank you for explaining that you do not support free speech. That explains your stance on the ruling. You need not say anything else....but now in the US, at least, you are certainly 'free' to do so if you would like.

    Thanks for citing an opinion survey which means nothing. Whether or not some reporter somewhere claims to feel 'pressure' is of no consequence to actual free speech. But nice try.

    Freedom of speech is both a right and a responsibility, that is correct. But what you apparently are too myopic to see is that one cannot have responsibilities without rights. Without the ability to speak freely, one does not have the ability to exercise responsibility over that speech. What you are advocating is a small group of elected officials determining what it is you can and cannot say, ostensibly such that no one gets their feelings hurt.

    Your use of the Holocaust is also a bit trite. If you deny the Holocaust you are an idiot, but so what? Doing so publicly simply makes you a public idiot on the order of a man denying gravity. Neither you nor I have anything to fear from someone like this as long as we are free to point out the obvious in return. But now suppose a government comes along which agrees with your holocaust denier and makes it illegal for you to suggest it actually happened. Wouldn't freedom of speech be an asset there? Of course it would.

    Those who would deny others the ability to speak openly, publicly and freely about their beliefs are afraid of those beliefs. If you have any intellectual wherewithal, you don't get concerned about someones political statements if they are false. You also don't get concerned about which of your fellow citizens has the right to speak because you value your own rights enough to protect theirs even if you disagree with them.

    I would ask you then, who do you believe should have the right to tell you what you can and can't say? Do you fancy Nick Griffin deciding that for you?

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  • 156. At 3:26pm on 22 Jan 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 150, Golem

    "Both men gave more of their income, in constant dollars, to philanthropic pursuits than anyone before of since."

    Bill Gates' philanthropy is not too shabby either...

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  • 157. At 3:26pm on 22 Jan 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:


    So... does this Supreme Verdict strengthen or weaken K Street Lobbyists?

    (discuss amongst yourselves.)

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  • 158. At 3:31pm on 22 Jan 2010, steelpulse wrote:

    I had better not comment, Mark. I am in enough trouble for my well argued, though I say myself - criticisms of the legally minded over here in Great Britain. They I am afraid seem rather loath to let real life intrude into their proceedings or considerations - allegedly.
    The Supreme Court Of The United States and their rulings are of no interest to me. And I troubled myself to see the the 90 minute - alleged - "puff" advertisement that was broadcast on C-Span too. For the Supreme Court of the United States.
    November 2009 was it? The broadcast. Made earlier in that year too. I looked at just one part sentence of the above precise and sighed. "and that corporations should be allowed to spend just like individuals". Think about that, with say you or me as the individual who would be allowed to spend what we could AFFORD for advertising.
    Yup! So I will say no more.
    Who paid for that C-Span thing by the way? I forget. Big business or an individual?
    Water of life = I fete for Law
    I am completely spent you know, Mark? lol

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  • 159. At 3:32pm on 22 Jan 2010, frayedcat wrote:

    150 GolemII Troll - you have pointed out the problem, by using as your example rare exceptions where individual moral or ethical standards or behavior influenced corporate behavior, the point being that this is not the norm.

    The health care reform bill 'cadillac tax' is a very good example...economists speculate (a) that employers will find cheaper plans due to the tax, then (b) that because historically wages go down when employer health care costs go up, wages must necessarily go up when employer health care costs go down.

    The public says "HAH!!! like fun wages will go up - wall street, JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Exxon PROFITS will go up....not wages." Just like their profits have escalated in the midst of our financial crisis.

    Corporate ethics and morality are the problem, and we cannot rely on their ethics or morality as any part of the solution.

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  • 160. At 3:39pm on 22 Jan 2010, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 151 SaintDominick-

    "You are absolutely right, this decision simply legalizes what was already taking place."

    McCain-Feingold may now be defunct. However; the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 remains in effect. We are not completely without election funding laws. McCain-Feingold was only a poorly written attempt to bolster the FEC Act with the intention of closing some loopholes. McCain-Feingold may have had good intents. It was just very poorly written and executed.

    It would be far more effective for the U.S. electorate to pressure their legislative representatives to write new campaign laws that will be effective; than to throw up our collective hands and wail about the demise of provisions in the McCain-Feingold Act that have proven to be unconstitutional; thus, illegal. Write new laws that are constitutional and effective.

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  • 161. At 3:40pm on 22 Jan 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:


    "Fasicism is defined as Government of the poeple by the business interests."
    -- AmericanSportFan (146)

    "An interesting definition of Fascism. If differs from the definition to which I am familiar. Can you give me your source for your definition so that I might have a closer look?"
    --publiusdetroit (149)

    Ah Detroit, that is the shiny and sparkly New and Improved Version of 'Fasicism' as presented by uneducated pretty talking heads who are hired to rant foolishly in order to improve video ratings through fear-mongering.

    We must be wary, or the FOXy ones will redefine the word with Idiocratic Idiom Idiocy. Will TRUTHINESS reign supreme?!?!
    -Stay Tuned, Kids -- for another exciting episode of AMERIKUN NEWZ!!

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  • 162. At 3:41pm on 22 Jan 2010, Rather_Be_Cycling wrote:

    Sorry, liberals and progressives simply cannot lecture about "campaign finance reform" or the evils of unlimited amounts of money poured into a campaign. By anyone. It was YOUR candidate, The Annointed One, Barack Obama himself, who opted out of Federal Matching Funds, the first candidate to do so since the McCain-Fingold Bill was passed. He, not the greedy 'ol Conservatives, put the nail in the coffin of campaign finance reform. And that's a fact that speaks louder than pious platitudes about the evils of money.

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  • 163. At 3:52pm on 22 Jan 2010, bepa wrote:

    If this ruling stands, and it probably will, the US will become the United Corporations of America.

    International corporations will maintain a presence in the US and then funnel money into political campaigns to influence the politics of America by buying politicians and advertising them with the expensive ads that voting Americans are swayed by.

    This will be the end of America as a democratic republic.

    The American military machine is now up for bids. America's military might will be going to the international corporations that are most clever in producing ads that the American population will believe and use that support by manipulated voters to place politicians who will make laws favorable to the corporations. ....

    The Democrats are too weak and the Republicans are clueless in their greed.

    America is run by an oligarchy that is manipulating the people through advertising with clever political ideologies that resonate with Americans and hiding behind red button issues like abortion and nationalism.

    Next we will see our access to the internet limited by an end to net neutrality.

    This is a slow erosion of freedom of speech and of the press and a manipulation of the political process by a powerful oligarchy.

    The justices on the Supreme Court have no faith in the people of America and want an oligarchy to control the nation.

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  • 164. At 4:07pm on 22 Jan 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    "He, not the greedy 'ol Conservatives, put the nail in the coffin of campaign finance reform." (from Rather_Be_Cycling at #162)

    No, this is just partisan blather. There is no connection between Obama having opted out of public financing (as other candidates have done) and this decision. This is about the status of corporations under the constitution and the views of the justices on that subject, and nothing else. Obama did not nominate any of the justices who decided this case.

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  • 165. At 4:11pm on 22 Jan 2010, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 163 bepa-

    "The Democrats are too weak and the Republicans are clueless in their greed."

    Obviously; this is exactly what the U.S. electorate want representing them in government. 98.6% of the electorate voted for either the Democratic Presidential candidate, or the Republican Presidential candidate in the last election.

    Not a single corporation, political action committee, labor union cast a single vote; nor are they capable of casting a vote. It was the voters who cast the votes that elected a President from one of the two parties.

    Blame corporations all you like. The people are the voters.

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  • 166. At 4:12pm on 22 Jan 2010, bepa wrote:

    Philly Mom..

    The multi national/transnational corporations won't need lobbyists. They will own the politicians.

    The corporations will need people who are clever at manipulating the voters..so that America can continue the illusion of being a democratic republic. So they will pick political reporters and own the news sources most commonly looked at by Americans.

    This is a take over...and it is happening slowly. By the time the Republicans catch on it will be over.

    "of the 100 largest economies in the world, 51 are corporations while only 49 are countries."

    Thats how big they are...

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  • 167. At 4:14pm on 22 Jan 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    InterestedForeigner (#97) "Take a course in basic commercial law before you decide whether corporations are a good thing or a bad thing."

    I am with you on this, but the point raised by xpat73 (in #68) was the legal doctrine of corporations being treated as "persons," which, in the present case, has interfered with what many believe to be a legitimate attempt to regulate them.

    A while back, in another thread, I posted a link to a document comparing the Canadian doctrine on corporations with that of the US. The Canadian view seems more sensible to me. Do you agree?

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  • 168. At 4:24pm on 22 Jan 2010, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 166 bepa-

    "The corporations will need people who are clever at manipulating the voters..."

    No. I think an articulate 10 year old is all the corporations will need to manipulate the ill-informed voters.

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  • 169. At 4:26pm on 22 Jan 2010, AndreaNY wrote:

    138. squirrelist: "A few months ago, I looked through a contract of employment from a US company. (Provided to someone who was to work in the EU.) That committed the signatory not to offer similar consultancy services to any other company for five years after the expiry of the one-year contract;..."
    *************
    That provision was routinely ignored when I was consulting, most likely because many departures (including my own) represented no significant loss to the consulting firm.



    155. GolemII:
    **************
    Amen.





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  • 170. At 4:29pm on 22 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    145. GolemII:

    I don't think you got the point; some here want to portray 'big business' as being fine upstanding eithical and moral supporters of absolute freedom, and that just doesn't gel.

    I've worked for quite a while in publishing. Every editor and publsher regularly gets letters from company lawyers threatening legal action because their name has appeared in a context they don't like, or doesn't suit their image or PR, shows them in an unfavourable light (however minor) or because they want to suppress some information that has come to light and they would prefer not to be widely known.

    Many go straight into the waste bin once we've checked the sources and the reporter's notes or recordings. Some halt production (which costs money--holding up just one page can be very, very, expensive) while we consult our company lawyers to make sure a) if we are taken to court, we'll win; or b) if we are and lose we can afford it. (Which costs time and money. More time and money if the lawyers get nervous--I mean even more nervous than usual--and decide they want a barrister's opinion as well. And you wouldn't believe what that costs on a Friday night or a weekend.

    This is a ploy often used for quite trivial reasons, because big business knows this sort of thing costs. Occasionally, we decide it's not worth the hassle and shrug our shoulders and abandon it. (Though that tends only to result in a strong desire to go looking for something juicier and potentially more damaging next time, of course.)

    And I have to say that it's a ploy used very often (though not exclusively) by American companies (and sometimes by American government agencies.) Often when in British law they haven't a leg to stand on.

    And, of course, companies have been known to threaten to (or actually) withdraw their advertising as well. Or instead. (Less common, now, because there is always the risk the media will enjoy explaining why X's ads or commercials have suddenly vanished . . .)

    So please don't tell me that as regards freedom of speech, big business is happy to let it run free and untrammeled. . .Like I said, sorry, that's not the real world.



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  • 171. At 4:31pm on 22 Jan 2010, bepa wrote:

    publius detroit

    Lets face it ands say it... Most people are fools. And there are enough fools that vote that the government can be controlled.

    Gore won the election nationally by 500,000 votes but the Supreme Court gave the election to Bush. Bush represented the corporations that wanted cheap oil and they decided Iraq was weak and vulnerable. They went in for the oil.

    Imo the people involved with corporations do not fully understand human motivation and erroneously believe they can control people by using financial rewards. The corporate leaders..that oligarchy ...is motivated by power and money..and they think others are like them. They do not understand other motivations..like religion or freedom of thought ...

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  • 172. At 4:34pm on 22 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    To stand up for American Sports Fan for a moment, there is nothing entirely new about the link with big business and fascism. It is one of the recognisable aspects between certain big businesses and fascist regimes (especially if you ignore the red herring bit of National Socialism), however, fascism is anti-capitalist in nature the certain big businesses are controlled by the government. AFS is being slightly extremist, though I do get what he is getting at in a way.

    GolemII – Hmm seems I didn’t make myself clear, for which I apologise. In an ideal world, one populated with reasonable human beings, the right of freedom of speech would be without restrictions. This is not an ideal world, something your government accepts it monitors and places restrictions on people that spout certain views, especially views which directly attack the nation. In an ideal world militant American Muslims would not be monitored, would not be placed on lists that restrict their movement, would not be detained and questioned. Unless they actually act out their threats these militants are just expressing their free speech. What your government realises is that words can be used as a weapon, that an idealistic view of free speech is not practical in the real world.

    Since this is not an ideal world and people abuse their rights, my belief is, which in some ways matches that of your government is that freedom of speech should come with a sense of responsibility. It is not that I want the responsibility without the right, I want those who use the right to accept the responsibility.

    On the issue of freedom speech I exist in a country where I am ‘free’ to exercise my right, since this is being placed on a UK media website, domiciled in the UK (the .co.uk should have been a hint). See I know exactly what my rights are on that scale. Also I have not only the intellectual ability to understand viewpoints, I also have the gumption to use my real name when expounding my views rather than hide behind a pseudonym. Unlike some I use my right of free speech in full view, not only do I say what I want I let everyone know exactly who said it.

    Anyway this matter of freedom of speech is a deflection from the main point. Even if the point of the Court’s decision did concern freedom of speech the implication for democracy in the US are much greater. It is not freedom of speech that would concern me, it is the manipulation and control of the political system that would be my focus of concern.

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  • 173. At 4:36pm on 22 Jan 2010, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 161 Philly-Mom-

    "Ah Detroit, that is the shiny and sparkly New and Improved Version of 'Fasicism' as presented by uneducated pretty talking heads who are hired to rant foolishly in order to improve video ratings through fear-mongering."

    These pretty talking heads would not be influenced by the corporations that purchase time to air their corporate commercials which pay for the talking head's broadcasts? ;-)

    You will have to excuse me if I'm wrong. I do not watch any of them. I am sure these talking heads are all upstanding, highly moral citizens.

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  • 174. At 4:38pm on 22 Jan 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    "I'm entirely amazed at the number of apparently intelligent people who want corporations to be voiceless in politics, while allowing unbridled vocalizing by Unions and other non-profits in the same elections." (from BK at #84)

    This misses the point. For one thing, it is inaccurate. Unions and other non-profits are corporations. The important question is whether advocacy is part of their purpose.

    Consider, for example, my condominium association (a non-profit corporation, as most are). It's sole purpose is to maintain the common property of the owners of the building. Funds are held by the association for this purpose, and there are written restrictions (CC&Rs) on the use of these funds. If the board were to take association money and give it to a campaign for a mayoral candidate, for example, that would be a misappropriation of funds, even if the board thought that the candidate would be better for our property values than another.

    If restrictions can be placed on the use of money by condominium associations, why can similar restrictions not be placed on publicly held commercial corporations? When I buy stock in, for example, General Motors, I am making an investment (as in my condominium), not a political contribution, and I believe restrictions on the use of corporate funds for support of particular candidates to be reasonable.

    Unions and other advocacy groups are another matter. When I give money to an advocacy group, I expect them to use it to advocate. That is why I do not object to the particular application of the present ruling to Citizens United. If the group exists for the purpose of political advocacy, and people who give money to it know that, then they may spend as much money as they can collect as far as I am concerned. I agree with that aspect of the Supreme Court ruling, but dislike the implications in the broader context of commercial corporations.

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  • 175. At 4:45pm on 22 Jan 2010, frayedcat wrote:

    "Unhappy events abroad have retaught us two simple truths about the liberty of a democratic people. The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic State itself. That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group or by any other controlling private power.
    The second truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if its business system does not provide employment and produce and distribute goods in such a way as to sustain an acceptable standard of living. Both lessons hit home. Among us today a concentration of private power without equal in history is growing." - FDR, 1938

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  • 176. At 4:45pm on 22 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    163. At 3:52pm on 22 Jan 2010, bepa wrote:

    "Next we will see our access to the internet limited by an end to net neutrality."

    What's 'net neutrality'? Google, for example (like other US corporations) is no less susceptible to orchestrated campaigns than anyone else, if they can suggest something might just possibly risk contravening US law. (Regardless of whether it does anywhere else.) They close down blogs all the time; and they'll drop people from their Adsense thing as well: both without explanation or appeal.

    ISP's are subject to similar pressure too.

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  • 177. At 4:46pm on 22 Jan 2010, GolemII wrote:

    Squirrelist 170:

    This is a ruling about political free speech. We have already addressed in another thread the topic of tort law, which is what your post is entirely about. It has nothing at all to do with this discussion. I can sue you for any number of things and not one of my law suits constitutes Congress abridging freedom or speech or assembly.

    You are simply arguing against something that isn't part of the topic.

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  • 178. At 4:52pm on 22 Jan 2010, frayedcat wrote:

    "These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America. What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power. Our allegiance to American institutions requires the overthrow of this kind of power. In vain they seek to hide behind the flag and the Constitution. In their blindness they forget what the flag and the Constitution stand for. Now, as always, they stand for democracy, not tyranny; for freedom, not subjection; and against a dictatorship by mob rule and the over-privileged alike..........The savings of the average family, the capital of the small-businessmen, the investments set aside for old age — other people's money — these were tools which the new economic royalty used to dig itself in. Those who tilled the soil no longer reaped the rewards which were their right. The small measure of their gains was decreed by men in distant cities. Throughout the nation, opportunity was limited by monopoly. Individual initiative was crushed in the cogs of a great machine. The field open for free business was more and more restricted. Private enterprise, indeed, became too private. It became privileged enterprise, not free enterprise." - FDR, 1936

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  • 179. At 4:55pm on 22 Jan 2010, bepa wrote:

    #165 publius

    Publius

    You need to know some facts.

    Obama won 52% of the national vote ..but only 63% of eligible voters turned out to vote. That means Obama won about 33% of the votes of eligible voters.

    And that was a high turnout election. Normally the turnout is around 50% in the US


    I supported Obama and still do..but this is a system that is very vulnerable to manipulation.

    The US is the ONLY western nation that does not give health care to all its citizens..with the result that 18,000 Americans die every year because they can not afford the health care that would save their lives.

    This is a system that is broken. Maybe the oligarchy thinks they can sacrifice American lives and continue to have a strong nation..but imo this lack of regard for the lives of ordinary Americans will weaken America.

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  • 180. At 5:00pm on 22 Jan 2010, GolemII wrote:

    David Murrell 172:

    People aren't monitored in the US because of their unpopular points of view. They are monitored only when they advocate violence and that advocacy has been proven a demonstrated predicate to actual occurrences of the violence they advocate. Regardless, they still have absolute freedom of speech with regard to the, arguably evil, opinions they espouse.

    Regarding my comment on your freedom to express your opinions in the US....alas sarcasm is lost on some people. As regards my real name, the great thing about ideas, is it shouldn't matter from where they come - only what they are. It's very nice that you decided to register on a blog with your real name. Your 'heroic' status is secure.

    The main point is freedom of speech...the ONLY point really. You can't change that fact merely by monotonously repeating the 'Corporations are evil' mantra.

    By the way, you never did tell us with whom you would be comfortable limiting your freedom of speech. Is Nick Griffin OK with you? Hugo Chavez?

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  • 181. At 5:03pm on 22 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    GolemII – I think you fill find only a small number who question the freedom of speech aspect of the ruling. While I find the Hillary Movie adverts unpleasant I see no reason to have them banned. What many of us are worried about is the implication that corporations gaining influence of the political system, corporation have no interest in freedom of speech, unless it is possible their own freedom that is limited.

    McDonalds tried to silence two protestors in the UK (McLibel), resulting in the longest trial in British history, because of pamphlets they were handing out. Eventually the British courts found in favour of the McDonalds as some of the claims were not true (but some were), but this was an American corporation stifling freedom of speech, claiming defamation, to protect its profits.

    Corporations be their very nature are amoral, even if the people who work for them are completely moral.*


    * Please note that is amoral not immoral, which are different.

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  • 182. At 5:03pm on 22 Jan 2010, bepa wrote:

    #176 Squirrelist

    It will get worse.

    They will allow alternative ideas as long as they are weakly expressed and they will be shouted down by people who are nasty and arrogant.

    Factual information will be ignored, obscured or unavailable. Ideology will be used to control people and the few that are looking at things with a cold eye will be a small minority.

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  • 183. At 5:08pm on 22 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    177. GolemII

    After this, I give up, because it's pointless.

    Some people, as I understand it, see no possible way in which the exercise of ''free speech' by wealthy corporations would affect the equal right of those less wealthy, or of individuals to their 'free speech' or others' access to it.

    I am saying that wealthy corporations alreadyuse various means which they can because they have more money to restrict or block others' free speech or access to it if it doesn't suit them. So why should their new-found freedom to spend as many millions as they like on political advertising and media influence be used any differently?

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  • 184. At 5:09pm on 22 Jan 2010, bepa wrote:

    #180 GolemII

    I want access to international television channels. I want to hear every point of view. I do not want any filtering or massaging of opinions by American media corporations...which is what we have now..combined with news trivia.

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  • 185. At 5:13pm on 22 Jan 2010, GolemII wrote:

    Bepa 171:

    Gore won the election nationally by 500,000 votes but the Supreme Court gave the election to Bush.
    --------------------------------------------
    Please familiarize yourself with our electoral college system and the actual final count (done by independent media organizations) which demonstrated unequivocally that Bush had indeed won Florida. Bush would have widened his 537-vote victory to a 1,665-vote margin if the recount ordered by the Florida Supreme Court would have been allowed to continue, using standards that would have allowed even faintly dimpled "undervotes" -- ballots the voter has noticeably indented but had not punched all the way through -- to be counted.

    I realize you hate him, but you should be very careful when you make untrue political statements like that...as David Murrell et al (You apparently included) would appear to advocate the government do something to stop you.

    It's funny how freedom of speech is only important to some people when it's used to say something with which they agree by someone with whom they agree.

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  • 186. At 5:14pm on 22 Jan 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    180. At 5:00pm on 22 Jan 2010, GolemII wrote:
    David Murrell 172:

    People aren't monitored in the US because of their unpopular points of view. They are monitored only when they advocate violence and that advocacy has been proven a demonstrated predicate to actual occurrences of the violence they advocate. Regardless, they still have absolute freedom of speech with regard to the, arguably evil, opinions they espouse. "



    Well that is news. You see there was once this man called Hoover who ran the FBI He monitored every legislator, Martin Luther King and every other civil rights activitist,in addition to trade Unionists, folk singers etc etc. He openly boasted the extent to his surveillance.

    And if you think for a moment it all stopped when he did, then one can only presume you beleive in the Easter bunny as well.

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  • 187. At 5:22pm on 22 Jan 2010, Michael Paquette wrote:

    One of our most treasured of freedoms - Freedom of Speech - is made an absolute mockery by the ruling.

    Sure everyone can speak but it now takes a lot of money to be heard.

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  • 188. At 5:22pm on 22 Jan 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    179. At 4:55pm on 22 Jan 2010, bepa wrote:
    #165 publius

    Publius

    You need to know some facts.

    Obama won 52% of the national vote ..but only 63% of eligible voters turned out to vote. That means Obama won about 33% of the votes of eligible voters.

    And that was a high turnout election. Normally the turnout is around 50% in the US"

    Excellent point. The farce which is called democracy is dying on its feet. National elections everywhere are declining. In Oz voting had to be made compulsory (even down to local level) otherwise no one would bother.

    Of course part of this is deliberate. No genuine attempt is made to educate people politically and unlike the original democracies everything is representative and rests on money.

    It suits the various elites very well if people take this view.



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  • 189. At 5:23pm on 22 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    182.bepa:

    Umm. Won't be just 'weakly expressed' ones that get shouted down, either. . .

    Why am I using the future tense? :-p

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  • 190. At 5:24pm on 22 Jan 2010, GolemII wrote:

    Simon21 186:

    You appear to have missed the tense of the auxiliary verb I used. I said "Aren't" not "Weren't". Hoover's actions were the genesis of all sorts of controls on law enforcement to prevent them from being repeated.

    However, I fear because I am not a conspiracy theorist, you and I will likely disagree on this particular topic.

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  • 191. At 5:26pm on 22 Jan 2010, bepa wrote:

    The underlying problem for America is that it has developed an unusually strong military. If less money were spent on the military then fewer people from other nations would be interested in controlling American politics.

    In the end imo the US will be unable to sustain this kind of military build up and it will bankrupt the nation.
    American children are not getting good enough educations and are in high percentages developing weight problems related to poor diets and lack of exercise. Many of those children are not able to join the military because of poor health and poor education.

    So I suppose in some way the natural order of things will limit this craziness..but its a sad way with some human suffering that is needless ..if America put money into human resources instead of a military build up...



    "If you can't be a good example...
    Then you'll just have to be a horrible warning."

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  • 192. At 5:27pm on 22 Jan 2010, Simon21 wrote:

    162. At 3:41pm on 22 Jan 2010, Rather_Be_Cycling wrote:
    Sorry, liberals and progressives simply cannot lecture about "campaign finance reform" or the evils of unlimited amounts of money poured into a campaign. By anyone. It was YOUR candidate, The Annointed One, Barack Obama himself, who opted out of Federal Matching Funds, the first candidate to do so since the McCain-Fingold Bill was passed. He, not the greedy 'ol Conservatives, put the nail in the coffin of campaign finance reform. And that's a fact that speaks louder than pious platitudes about the evils of money. "


    So that makes it right? And this President has not stacked the Supreme Court

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  • 193. At 5:33pm on 22 Jan 2010, frayedcat wrote:

    # 181 - AMORAL? Corporations are amoral by their nature? D'ya think? I disagree and, since Enron, I believe so does the law. "They" act -the actions impact others and the world - the consequences of the actions are reasonably foreseeable and measurable - there is a choice made between alternatives and consequences.

    Stanford definition: the term: “morality” can be used either

    descriptively to refer to a code of conduct put forward by a society or,
    some other group, such as a religion, or accepted by an individual for her own behavior or

    normatively to refer to a code of conduct that, given specified conditions, would be put forward by all rational persons.

    What you are saying is that morality does not apply to a "group" of individuals or persons acting in concert. You can't have the rights of "persons" (ie, free speech) and none of the obligations or duties of "persons" (ie, morality).

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  • 194. At 5:36pm on 22 Jan 2010, jimjoy wrote:

    From a purely Constitutional standpoint they were right even though they overturned 100 years of precedent. For the last 100 years, or more, the Courts and Legislature have bent the Constitution to the whims of the present because it is so tough to amend. The Supreme Courts knows darn well that that their ruling has the potential to do great harm to the political system, but as they must, they ruled on the Constitution as it is written not as it has been contorted. Maybe this will force the structural change to the political system that American’s so desire.

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  • 195. At 5:42pm on 22 Jan 2010, bepa wrote:

    #188 Simon 21

    No MSM political commentator ever gives the real numbers that vote a candidate into office. That is always hidden. They will call landslides a voter turnout that gives an elected official less than 50% of the possible voters.

    We do not have realistic honesty in our news media. its all rah rah..and how great America is..while the nation is having serious problems in its elections.

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  • 196. At 5:53pm on 22 Jan 2010, David Cunard wrote:

    #181. David Murrell: "McDonalds tried to silence two protestors in the UK (McLibel), resulting in the longest trial in British history, because of pamphlets they were handing out. Eventually the British courts found in favour of the McDonalds as some of the claims were not true (but some were), but this was an American corporation stifling freedom of speech, claiming defamation, to protect its profits."

    Not quite: Read this!

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  • 197. At 5:57pm on 22 Jan 2010, wolfvorkian wrote:

    GolemII said:

    People aren't monitored in the US because of their unpopular points of view.

    This has to be said by a very young person who has no understanding of why encryption schemes like PGP were invented.
    Squirrelist - It is truly pointless, I couldn't agree more.

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  • 198. At 6:02pm on 22 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    Squirrel's Second Law of the Internet:

    In any given forum where Americans are present, anyone who expresses 'liberal' (Brit. Eng.) views will sooner or later be compared to Fidel Castro or Hugo Chavez.


    (The Second Law has a corollary: But will not retaliate by comparing said poster to Franco, Papa Doc Duvalier or Pinochet.)

    Laws 3-10 are in preparation.

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  • 199. At 6:04pm on 22 Jan 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    [WARNING: The following is a comic rant fraught with NorthEastern Urban American idiom and cultural references to local sports, economics and inter-city rivalries. --love, mom]

    Holy AmericanSportsFan, Batman!
    That guy's asking for one nor'Easter of a Philly-SmackDown! Rocky Style!


    Aw now Honey...
    Don't you go talkin' smack about Massachusetts just 'cause the Red Sox beat yo' sorry Yankee Curse. They jus' speakin they' mind like any old fool over here's allowed to do, ya hear?
    - 1st, 15th AND 19th Amendments, Baby!

    Now I been to Fenway and I think the stadium is WICKED GOOD. Ol'Babe let go a good thing. That Green Monster is like a trip in the Way Back Machine. They ain't nuthin like it, an you can just take yo' Corporate Sell-Out Yankee Toy Boys and bite my Philadelphian Rear End.

    Ho Yeah - an just 'caus yo Rich Yanks beat our Phillies, don't you start gettin' snippy back at me, Honey. 'Cause now we beat Ol'Penn's curse, we ain't got NUTHIN holdin' us down NOW, Honey.


    Fascism?? YOU wanna tell us that Fascism is about Corporate Sponsorship???
    An' you from NEW YORK!?!?

    Aw now, they ain't no city that's mo 'bout Corporate Sponsorship than YOURS, honey. Sry. All them pretty Sky Scrapers - who owns em? Big Business. Your bright shiny new Stadium - who built it? Big Business.

    Heck - Manhattan's such a sell-out joke that not even yo off-Broadway theatre is free anymore. It's as bad as Time Square, Honey. All yo' Thespians commute to NYC from PHILLY 'cause they can't afford to live on yo' wee-wee little isle any mo!

    Ho yeah - you wanna piece o'me???
    Philly has mo Monuments & Statues than NYC. Philly has mo Murals than NYC. Philly has fewer Corporate Sky Scrapers than NYC. Philly has mo green space than NYC. Philly has mo Po Folk than NYC. Philly has mo Bike Lanes than NYC. Philly has cheaper eats and less traffic than NYC. Philly's got your Chinatown, and Italian Market, and will even up you one bona fide Gayborhood! Sweeet!

    Real Fascism is mo about killing people who don't like your ideas. Whereas hyper-Capitalist Corporate Sell-Outs only wanna get rich off the people. NYC is One Big Business Sell-Out.


    And as for healthcare... do you realize how freakin huge the Health Industry IS??? Not every city has a car factory, but every city as multiple hospitals, clinics, doctor offices... Think about it, babe.
    - At least the Health Care Machine is a SERVICES INDUSTRY, as opposed to... oh, say... NEW YORK'S WALL STREET.


    Ahem... er... yeah.
    Rant Over. Sorry for the excessively competitive language.
    Jus' figured a big brawny New Yorker sports fan could handle it.

    Happy Friday, with Love from Yo' MaMa.



    Oh - parting shot:
    Our Phillies & Eagles come from one o' the poorest towns on this here East Coast. They didn't do so bad, did they? You jus' remember that when you cheerin' on yo' Yanks and you Jets...
    You got the best teams money can buy, honey.
    I rekon that make you pretty 'Fascist', don' it?


    ZING!!! 3 point long lob!

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  • 200. At 6:05pm on 22 Jan 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    " ... but as they must, they ruled on the Constitution as it is written not as it has been contorted." (from jimjoy #194)

    Not true. There is nothing in the US Constitution that states that a corporation is to be considered equivalent to a person. The status of corporations under the Constitution is entirely based on judicial interpretation, not on the words of the document itself.

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  • 201. At 6:16pm on 22 Jan 2010, bepa wrote:

    #194 jimjoy

    There will be no change in how elections are run. This Supreme Court ruling will suit the corporations and they are now in control. Its over imo. They won. Obama is too weak to stand up to them.

    Rush Holt ( NJ) and some other politicians are trying to have a new law to limit spending on elections. I can't even find information on it in the news on the computer. One of the politicians is from Maine...

    The idea is to restrict political contributions to only those people living in the district and once $50,000 has been amassed by a candidate by local contributions then the government gives an equal amount of political funding to all candidates who have reached the $50,000 goal.

    Good luck even finding information about this...

    Learn from the mistakes made in the US...Keep those corporations out of Europe or regulate them...and do not let them into your political systems. Take a weaker economy if you need to..but keep them out.

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  • 202. At 6:16pm on 22 Jan 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    David Murrell (#181) "Corporations be their very nature are amoral ... "

    This is correct, and the case of Enron cited by frayedcat in #193 is not a counter-example. Morality is a characteristic of people, the actual living and breathing kind, not corporations. The Enron fraud was committed by individual people, and the corporate structure did not shield them from responsibility.

    What the corporate structure did do was allow such a fraud to be committed on a massive scale, which is why regulation of commercial corporations is essential to the public welfare.

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  • 203. At 6:18pm on 22 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    196. David Cunard:

    Yes, one forgets exactly how it ended; we tend to remember the time and the cost. . .And then they tried to get 'McJob" out of the Oxford English Dictiobary. They even had an electroinic ad in Piccadilly Circus.

    Of course, I believe employees in all fast-food chains are well-paid and have caring employers, their products are not in any way exploitative, and as part of a balanced diet are thoroughly beneficial.

    (Think that covers my back, wouldn't you say?)

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  • 204. At 6:21pm on 22 Jan 2010, PartTimeDon wrote:

    180 GollemII

    Got to take issue with your assertion that Bush would have won Florida.
    If the standard as set by each county board was applied to all votes, counted or uncounted, Gore would have won by 171 votes. He would have won by slightly less if the standard used was the same as the state wide intent-to-vote standards Bush himself implemented in Texas.
    That doesn't even take into account the butterfly ballot which Pat Buchanan himself opined was designed to swing votes away from Gore to him.
    To cap this, an estimated 3% of all black men were disenfranchised incorrectly as having comitted crimes. A number were actually fellons and a number did reregister, but most were not informed until they turned up and were denied their right to vote. Many had committed crimes in neighbouring states but should still have been allowed to vote. Many were SUSPECTED fellons.
    Strange though that the impartial Florida executive did not follow the same process for traditionally more conservative hispanic and white men...
    Bush may have got more votes officially, but the will of the people was clearly not respected.

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  • 205. At 6:43pm on 22 Jan 2010, frayedcat wrote:

    #202 and 181 - I think you are both wrong - criminal law basically incorporates the police power of establishing and enforcing a standard of "morality" under the constitution ("...and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States..." and corporations can be found guilty of federal crime (Arthur Anderson the corporation was convicted and found guilty of crime in the Enron incident). Tort law also uses the 'morality' (reasonable person) standard to determine liability, and corporations can be sued in tort.

    "The American Law Institute's (ALI) Model Penal Code (MPC) provides the major alternative standard for corporate criminal liability currently found in American jurisprudence. The MPC sets forth three standards for corporate liability, each depending on the type of offense or violation. The option that applies to most criminal offenses provides that a corporation is criminally liable if the criminal conduct was "authorized, requested, commanded, performed or recklessly tolerated by the board of directors or by a high managerial agent acting in behalf of the corporation within the scope of his office or employment." (13) The MPC standard still uses a respondeat superior model, but in a limited fashion: a corporation is liable for the conduct of only some agents (its directors, officers, or other higher echelon employees)."

    http://goliath.ecnext.com/coms2/gi_0199-7362640/Trends-in-corporate-criminal-prosecutions.html

    THEREFORE, corporations are NOT amoral, but are held to standards established on a moral basis. They are NOT without intent, but rather are responsible for their intended acts and the consequences.

    So MAYBE this decision by the Court will expose corporations, as "persons" to greater scrutiny and liability for their actions, and the US will become a better place ...

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  • 206. At 6:44pm on 22 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    201. At 6:16pm on 22 Jan 2010, bepa wrote:

    "Learn from the mistakes made in the US...Keep those corporations out of Europe or regulate them...and do not let them into your political systems."

    Ugh. We have the horrible example of Berlusconi in front of us already. . .(Italian half of Squirrel sobs into spaghetti.)

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  • 207. At 6:47pm on 22 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    Squirelist writes
    "Every editor and publsher regularly gets letters from company lawyers threatening legal action because their name has appeared in a context they don't like, or doesn't suit their image or PR,"

    strangely enough some bloggers get the same letters. almost.
    but then it is easier to just U boat them. sink them. for what reason. Not even a posting was made.

    What is the law by which someone is banned for being into blacksmithing .

    Is there a law that covers the censorship of some that does not apply to others.

    Where else can someone be banned for life and not receive a trial.
    No evidence presented.
    guilty for LIFE no time limit no allowed to be better behaved.
    Don squirrelist Stu Philly. does the right to freespeach only go to a few.


    what is the godwins law about people pretending not to notice others getting taken away?
    How is it that paid lobbyists can complain using their vast resources and an individual gets skinned?

    The power of the lobbyist is not restricted to washington but extends to the blogs.

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  • 208. At 6:51pm on 22 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    so while some are guaranteed freedom of voice non corporate types can be silenced by complaints from those with the biggest coffers.

    so the rights of the individual human are below that of the corporations.

    but you all missed that.

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  • 209. At 7:05pm on 22 Jan 2010, seanspa wrote:

    Corporations aren't evil - people are. That, and stupid. Fancy paying 40 grand a piece on something for which there is no evidence that it works, and clear evidence that it does not. And then people for for it with their lives.

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  • 210. At 7:09pm on 22 Jan 2010, kevfirst wrote:

    Strange to see such a non-partisan institution ruling along party lines again. It doesn't bode well for the current review of Prop 8 and it's looking truly terrible for democracy in general. If I had to single out one thing that ruins democracy in the US, it would be pay-per-vote politicians; they don't vote with their conscience nor with the will of their constituents, they vote how they are told to vote by the corporations and institutions who bought their seat. US corporations now have unlimited power to decide who is elected and, once elected, how they will vote. Both Democrats and Republicans fall foul of the same pressure. Even the most staunch supporters of democracy can't do anything until they are elected and that doesn't happen without huge sums of money.
    Clearly the decision is based on getting an advantage for Republicans. They take by far the major slice of corporate money. With it comes an agreement to vote the way their "sponsors" tell them to vote. E.g. The new Euro-diesels have been banned for years in a blanket anti-diesel campaign bought and paid for by big oil. Even though these cars are known to beat anything out there in terms of mpg and emissions. Clearly it makes no sense scientifically and for their constituents, but it gets them in power and there is a price for that. There are almost as many examples as there are decisions. The deregulation of the banks was bought and paid for by the banks - and look where that got us. Now the vampires of health care insurance are free to stuff government with the people and the laws they choose; knowing that all the money will come back, and then some, by the obscene profiteering made possible by the new rules they bought. The whole system is corrupted by corporate money already - upping the anti just makes it worse. There can be almost no reasonably educated, rational person in the world, let alone government, who truly believes these decisions are made in the public interest.
    With no well-funded independent media for checks and balance, the bleating American public is fed egregious lies and thinks they are getting a good deal from their puppet politicians (as long as he beats his chest and prays the same way they do). The pittance of well produced, insightful media available reaches about 1% of the nation; whereas 25% of the nation will watch Sarah Palin spout nonsense and lies on Fox News that any 10 year old in most European countries can see through.
    I heard Newt Gingrich (former Republican speaker of the house) describe the decision as a huge win for democracy yesterday. He claims that this allows the citizens to finally have the free voice given to them in the constitution. He left out the bit about them needing a billion dollars in the bank to get in the game and about the bipartisan support for the restrictions that were just overturned in the house and senate. The restrictions were aimed at limiting corruption. Effectively, the Supreme Court has decided that corruption is the intent of the constitution.
    The US Supreme Court is made up of 5 right wing, religious conservatives, 3 liberals and 1 still on the fence. They swear to rule on the law as it stands and avoid making law. But they are hand-picked by the sitting president precisely because that has never happened. Democracy is on it's knees and sinking fast.
    If Obama wants to achieve anything, he must first work out how to remove corporate money from reaching, or doing the bidding of, elected officials. That one move would allow government to function again the way it is supposed to: of the people, by the people and for the people.

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  • 211. At 7:10pm on 22 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    what is the godwins law about people pretending not to notice others getting taken away?
    How is it that paid lobbyists can complain using their vast resources and an individual gets skinned?

    The power of the lobbyist is not restricted to washington but extends to the blogs.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    some are of the view that mulitnational firms or corporations are like terrorist organizations, moving from country to country, wherever they see their potentional....What I dont understand is that these organizations like the firms and corporations pay someone or two to be their lobbyist in the senate..Whem occupation, which is also aa form of terrorism, but more organized and with save haven at one place, the place they occupy, can have lobbyst and mulitinational firms moving from country to country whereever they see the potantial to exploit can also have lobbyist, terrorist organizations can do that too..

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  • 212. At 7:12pm on 22 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    and if the lobbiest can do it everywhere else then why not here.
    I sea a U boat coming.

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  • 213. At 7:17pm on 22 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    GolemII (post 180 - apologies for the delay, was travelling home on an over crowded commuter train) - Surely advocating violence is simply an unpopular view? In true free speech if I for instance said that all Martians needed to be rounded up in camps and those that resisted everything they got (if Martians existed, which they don't yet), I would simply giving my opinion. As long as I didn't personally do anything, then I wouldn't have done anything wrong. I would have course done something illegal, which is kind of my point, the law already limits free speech for good reason.

    True free speech can only exist within an anarchic state, where everyone is free do say and do what they want. Such a state has never really existed, there are always social rules in play, limits on what is acceptable behaviour. There is a good reason for this, without these social rules society would fall apart.

    True free speech, like true free will is an illusion. Try and tell your boss exactly what you think of him and see what happens. If you take it a trbunial or court, it is probable that they will find against you, they will limit your free speech.

    Sarcasm is all well and good, I enjoy a bit of sarcasm myself, as many will have noted on these boards, but it only works if it is clear. Of course it shouldn't matter where ideas come from, as long as they are good ideas, but it does the providence of the source of the ideas is important. Anonymity, even partially, obviously diminishes that providence.

    I don't believe that I have said corporations are evil, I have said they are amoral, while others have questioned this, I believe that Mr Cunard has adequately explained the reasoning behind my thoughts. A corporation in and of itself is incapable of having a morality, any sembalance of morality is garnered from the morality of those within its structure.

    I don't agree entirely that this is a matter of freedom of speech, momentarily return to the judgement, the matter may have raised on the supposition that it was, but the results won't be.

    What is being gained here is not free speech, it is paid for speech. Some, most or even all those who benefit from the judgement will promote a poltical cause under the guise of freedom of speech. In truth, many of them will knowing lie to reach their political goal. Take the Hillary Movie for a moment, I doubt that the gentleman who said that Hillary Clinton was the most dangerous person in the history of American politics actually believed that. If he did then his judgement is beyond question, I assume that he is a reasonable well known commontator (apologies my splling suffers when I am at home), it is hard to believe he is that niaive.

    At the heart of my concern is just that what is being promoted as free speech isn't. I have no issue with free speech, no true liberal does. If anything it is the conservative who has most to fear from free speech because it very nature can threaten the status quo. Then again I am not really most Americans think of as a liberal, nor in truth what is implied in the UK media. The threat of this judgement, in regards to free speech is that it becomes devalued, yet another commodity to be traded and bought.

    As I have said above true free speech is an illusion, one which I like but I do not believe can be achieved, more an ideal to strived for.

    As to Nick Griffin, as a human being I find him to a vile racist, who I would prefer to return to hide under a rock. Do I believe he has a right to voice his opinions, yes, indeed I would like to see him pinned down by the spot light more often. His power comes from lies and insinuations, despite his denials he enjoys being marginalised because it gives him the persona of a matryr. Stick him in the spot light contront him on his views and his past and expose him for the fraud that he is.

    As for Hugo Chavez, to be honest I do not know enough about him to voice an opinion. He appears more to be the bete noir of the USA than the UK. I do know that Magic would like to see him censured. Possibly the question would be better directed to him

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  • 214. At 7:20pm on 22 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    so the rights of the individual human are below that of the corporations.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    corporations have earned their rights as humans..humans have to first learn to be corportations and then they will get their rights..Its your home version of either you are with us or against us..us here means corporations.

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  • 215. At 7:21pm on 22 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    Personanongrata - I hate this U boating, it stifles conversation. If the rumours of the General being torpedoed are I hope he returns in some guys, even if he is a persona non grata to some at the moment.

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  • 216. At 7:23pm on 22 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 217. At 7:25pm on 22 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    DM but would it not be a good time to get those that run this to for once answer how it is that the general was taken out back and shot in the dark of night?
    For what crime was he murdered?
    This is not an issue I raise from the dead. It is one that is apparent to all that would look out the window.

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  • 218. At 7:33pm on 22 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    Chinese have their own way of cencorship accepted by the majority of chinese but rejected by a few minority, that minority gets a loud noise in places where people accept censorship as long as its not as direct and obvious like the chinese..Most people here would have to be fool if they cannot tell from three or four comments who will get banned and who wont..Since I am the most intelligent I can tell from just one post.

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  • 219. At 7:38pm on 22 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    We do not have realistic honesty in our news media. its all rah rah..and how great America is..while the nation is having serious problems in its elections.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    And this is the same nation whose people and leaders used to laugh and make jokes about sadam's referendum result...How quickly the time has caught up with you..or perhaps the nation laughed at saddam's referndum because it was building an anti-saddam momentum.

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  • 220. At 7:39pm on 22 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    Personanongrata - I am unsure what crime the poor General could have commited considering the actions of some of those that remain.

    I fear the conspiracy, for yesterday it was the General, today who could be next one to be assassinated. Even suggesting the conspiracy exists may be enough to become targetted and I would believe that I am a big enough target already.

    General where ever you may be, this soldier salutes you. You died for your principles and in the end there can be no nobler reason. May shame rain down on those that engineered your demise, for they are cowards!

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  • 221. At 7:43pm on 22 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    Oops I have just reread 215 and the terrible error I made, I of course meant 'in some guise' not as I wrote 'in some guys' which gives the message a whole different connetation!!!

    For shame, for shame...... I think I will go stand in the corner for a moment, to cover my blushes!

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  • 222. At 7:47pm on 22 Jan 2010, American Sport Fan wrote:

    Re 152

    No what I am saying is that the people of Massachusetts choses to be selfish. They chose to take their anger out on the wrong people and as a result, the situation in Washington will only get worse. Scott Brown will not look out for the interests of people like Ted Kennedy did. Scot Brown will take orders from his masters at Wells Fargo, Verizon, and Commcast. That is why I am so deeply upset with Massachusetts. I understand their frustration with washington, and the fact that the unemployment rate is rather high, but the voters had looked closely they would have realized that it was the republicans who were responsible for this mess and that by voting for a republican, they would only be making the situation worse.

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  • 223. At 7:54pm on 22 Jan 2010, frayedcat wrote:

    See also this article regarding corporate morality. The result in this over 100 year old debate is that corporations are held to and judged by moral standards.

    http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/3179.html

    That is like the parenting part ..... now it is time for the kids to grow up and be civilized.

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  • 224. At 7:56pm on 22 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    Scott Brown will not look out for the interests of people like Ted Kennedy did.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Actually ted kennedy is dead. And people tend to forget in their emotionality the reality when it comes to remembering the dead..Remember ted kennedy's first 10 and 15 yrs as senator, not his last decade and then compare scot brown with him.I am sure if scot brown sat on this seat for as long as ted, people will say the same things, who knows better, that they are saying about ted kennedy..However if this is your way to come to terms with the defeat, then carry on..

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  • 225. At 7:59pm on 22 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    220 LOL Dm.
    How about a tune for this occasion.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5CwHsEF2Tuc


    218 here we have censorship supported by the many and reviled by the few.

    This started way back and as in all these cases. those that seek to stifle debate become more emboldened when they are given so much help by the "free thinkers"


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  • 226. At 8:03pm on 22 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    and the nation that for 9 years ago waged war on taliban saying no negotiations with them are forced to re-integrate taliban by december 2010..and by july 2011, the time line set by obama, enough taliban would be reintegrated so that obama can live up to his promise about the troops..Ironically speaking, this is the only plan which obama will be able to follow through, because its not dependent on senators, congress people and americans. Officially, as of thursday , sterday, taliban have made the mule where they wanted to stand..

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  • 227. At 8:06pm on 22 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    Maybe you were banned because you post too many youtube links..look what happened to sofaking, the guy who just posted links to the songs..

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  • 228. At 8:12pm on 22 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    Pesonanongrata - What a great tune and a suitable epitaph. Made me smile.


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  • 229. At 8:20pm on 22 Jan 2010, Feohme wrote:

    Strange decision this by the Supreme Court and simple not logically consistent.

    The decision seems to be predicated on the finding that Corporations have the rights of individuals under US Law. Surely if this were the case, then they would have to be given the FULL rights of an individual under US Law - up to and including the right to Vote and stand for public office.

    Any yet these full rights have not been afforded to them by the state. Accordingly, the state has, de facto decreed that Corporations only have partial rights. If this is apparantly acceptable, then there is a clear precedent for impossible limited rights on Corporations and then should be no constitutional bar on limiting their 'freedom of speech'.

    The decision is clearly flawed - unless the jurist believe that Corporations should be given the right to vote etc. Exxon for President anyone?

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  • 230. At 8:37pm on 22 Jan 2010, kevfirst wrote:

    Jimjoy wrote: "The Supreme Court knows darn well that that their ruling has the potential to do great harm to the political system, but as they must, they ruled on the Constitution as it is written not as it has been contorted."

    On the face of it, this comment (the whole thing, not just this quoted piece) has merit. That is indeed the job of the SC. However; there is clearly a lot of interpretation required to reach such decisions. The SC justices are all highly qualified (the highest) legal scholars. If things were black and white, surely they would reach a unanimous decision. They didn't. Instead they voted along the same old lines. Lines that I, with no legal training whatsoever, could easily predict before any of the - so called - deliberations began. The decision was already in place, the deliberations simply a way to get there without making it appear so.

    Purely on the constitutional right to free speech, the decision is correct. But there are other rights and principles in the mix that contradict each other, and the job of the SC is to interpret them in balance and rule in favor of the most important aspects of the constitution. If a group wanted to influence an election by threatening to shoot anyone who voted a certain way, then that illegal threat would trump their right of free speech to make such remarks. Is free speech lost? Yes, it is; because it infringes on other (in this case, more important) liberties and rights.

    In reviewing the limitations on corporate spending on elections, the SC had to weigh the right to a fair democracy. Since it is clear that democracy is unfair when giant corporations can buy politicians and their votes, then they have to weigh which principle is the most important.
    That said, corporate money doesn't necessarily corrupt elected officials. Obviously, in practice, it does; but, it's not "necessarily" so.

    Jimjoy is correct in my opinion. Though the restrictions put in place over 100 years of precedent were designed to tackle and limit the problem, they didn't tackle it constitutionally as they should have. Almost like in the example of the threat to shoot voters, they chipped away at it by banning certain phrases one by one; the goal is right and the effect is right, but they never actually challenged the fundamental right to make such threats.

    Now that Obama has lost the super majority, penning true legal restrictions on corporate money is going to be all but impossible. The Republicans know that this decision was made to give them an advantage and they aren't about to throw it away. I hope they now go on to challenge corporate money "full stop", rather than attempt to water it down little by little only to be overturned by the whim of a partisan SC. So the question is: Is corporate sponsorship of elected officials legal when weighing up the letter and the intent of the constitution?

    I'd like to see the day when all political ads are allotted standard slots on standard media channels; where my right to free speech is equal to that of the CEO of The Bank of America; where politicians accepting funding of any kind, outside a standard government grant, was illegal; where the US media has its own version of the BBC - raising the bar for all private media; where SC justices are appointed by democratic elections; where politicians represent the people and not corporate sponsors. Come on Obama, walk the walk. How often do we see a constitutional genius in the white house? Fix this corruption and fix the whole political system.

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  • 231. At 8:46pm on 22 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    cvolonel artist. when did I say I was banned. sofa king 9bless his memory) was also Kiki dread. and my he knew his music. I suspect he still does. and yet he is banned. did the generalpenitentiary post lots of links?
    not that I remeber.
    did he do as has happened to him before and repeat posts removed more than once.
    Nope.
    what did he do?
    I'll tell you what I think. I think he was banned because someone said "this is Jack" and he is banned.
    Yet posters like Zenads are back in different names all the time.
    They do not get banned.
    Banned for life for past crimes.
    Not even terrorists get that sort of jail time.
    this is the BBC corporation. but BRITISH.

    Yet it behaves like a private company with no accountability to the people.
    censorship of some for the benefit of others being paid for by the British people.
    I have been informed that the BBC blogs are not part of the separate entity of BBC america and are UK based. that means this blog SHOULD be subject to some sort of fair due process.
    Was Jacks forge Or any of the other names he appeared under given that trial?
    were they allowed due process?
    I say I doubt they were.

    This site is subject to British rules not american.


    PS why did you say you do not care how many Muslims were killed.?


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  • 232. At 8:49pm on 22 Jan 2010, McJakome wrote:

    98. At 03:46am on 22 Jan 2010, xpat73 wrote:
    "As if corporations didn’t already most of the US government, now they can own all of it. This wouldn’t happen in Europe because the European people wouldn’t stand for it, but in America the people are such stupid sheep they let corporations and the government walk all over them, that’s why you are all out work because your government let corporations give your jobs to china."

    As if Brussels didn't already control most EU people. now they can own all of them [by forcing the constitution/treaty on them without allowing the people to vote]. This wouldn't happen in America because the American people [under Constitutional law] would never stand for it, but in Europe the people are such stupid sheep [excepting the French, Dutch, Irish and Poles] they let the Brussels bureaucrats and their governments walk all over them. That's why their native cultures are endangered, due to Politically Correct, defeatist, culturally suicidal policies.

    I wished not to emulate you, but to hang you by your own petard [metaphorically speaking], your bizarrely anti-American, Eurocentric, skewed PC "logic."

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  • 233. At 9:03pm on 22 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    Kevfirst - Well said, probably better than my rambling efforts did.

    JMM - Hmm I get what your saying, I don't agree with your EU analysis, but i get the point. One question, why just French, Dutch, Irish and Poles. Surely the Germans should be added to that list and have you ever read half the posts on the Politics boards? British sheep to the EU, I wish!

    Persona - I apologise someone seems to have just to conclusions. Do I what I have decided to do (long over due on my part admittedly) ignore the poster, its not worth the time or effort - You could be watching Pop Star to Opera Star, or paint dry either would be better ways to spend your time. Oh and I have been invited to a film screening next Saturday by a certain woman who wasn't my girlfriend which was a surprise!

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  • 234. At 9:04pm on 22 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    PS why did you say you do not care how many Muslims were killed.?
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The thing is, i am highly intelligent..and if you are just intelligent you will know why I will not answer this..

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  • 235. At 9:08pm on 22 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    "this is Jack" and he is banned.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    So the code word to have someone ban is to just say "this is jack"? I think mods ban for posting too many youtube links, links of songs, and i also think they count the number of posts removed, and when the person has reached his quota of removed posts, he is banned..Now, what will you prefer? a complete ban or get a status of a ranter and keep on posting?

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  • 236. At 9:10pm on 22 Jan 2010, bepa wrote:

    I like facts...

    and this link will give you factual information about which politicians gets political donations and where the money comes from and how big the donations are.

    http://www.fec.gov/DisclosureSearch/mapApp.do

    It will be interesting to compare this information with how money is given in the next elections...

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  • 237. At 9:11pm on 22 Jan 2010, McJakome wrote:

    107. At 07:14am on 22 Jan 2010, Martin Ellis wrote:
    “Frankly, it seem to me that the Chinese "people's republic" model currently isn't any worse than the US model - at least, it's OK as long as no one person takes total power. China is advancing rapidly while the US is very clearly in decline.”
    I would rather be a free citizen in a declining country where I can’t be jailed, disappeared or killed because I disagree with the ruling politburo, than a semi-slave citizen in a “rapidly advancing” authoritarian dictatorship.
    Even the one-party state of Massachusetts clearly allows opposition and abides [albeit with gritted teeth] by the wishes of the people. And just how much power and protection from their government do the people have in any so-called “Peoples Republic?” Thank you kindly.

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  • 238. At 9:21pm on 22 Jan 2010, American Sport Fan wrote:

    Re229

    Thge decision shouldn't come as a surprise when you consider who appointed the judges who made up the majority of the court. All five of them were appointed by republican presidents who believed in the rights of corporations at the expense of the individuals. These men were appoint by Reagan, Bush the Older and Bush the Younger.

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  • 239. At 9:40pm on 22 Jan 2010, hms_shannon wrote:

    235 colonelartist
    How come you are so lucid to night? may be you have taken more water with it,or some one else is on duty...

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  • 240. At 10:23pm on 22 Jan 2010, McJakome wrote:

    Are the moderators allowed to break "house rules" with impunity? One of these hallowed commandments is. "Thou shalt not reveal the true identity of another poster." Never-the-less the moderators appear to have permanently revealed my full initials instead of allowing me the partial revelation of McJakome.

    Have my rights been violated by this breach of "house rules?" Is my right to free speech inclusive of some privacy, or must I bare all, will I nill I? I suggest that "freedom of speech" is not as simple as it would appear at first glance. Yell "FIRE" in a crowded theater and you will find no protection under "freedom of speech," and I believe that to be true whether in US, UK or EU.

    However, Germany came out ahead of the US in "freedom of speech" even though you could be jailed for singing "Deutschland Ueber Alles," Britain's prince could have been jailed for his Halloween costume and missionaries are forbidden to approach someone unless invited. I admit to feeling hypocritically good about the latter, though disapproving that it clearly violates freedom of speech.

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  • 241. At 10:30pm on 22 Jan 2010, McJakome wrote:

    I did not know about the McFreedom of McSpeech business in the UK. I will have to look it up. I did note that the usual sources felt free to deride the result, while admitting that some of the information/accusations had been wrong.

    Freedom of speech does not mean that slander and libel are allowed. I do know that slander and libel laws differ between the US and UK [and probably EU]. I won't comment on that because, unlike some, I don't regard difference as necessarily bad.
    Vive la differance, as they say!

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  • 242. At 10:41pm on 22 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    JMM - I think I may have confused matters, it was the freedom of the press Germany beat the US. I doubt Germany would beat on freedom of speech, Germany still suffers a collective guilt over WWII*, hence the illegality over the verse of the national anthem.

    I am not sure why the Prince would have gone to prison, he didn't break any laws, just good judgement. It is illegal to wear, or even own Nazi regalia (I request immunity from Godwins Law) but not in the UK.


    * While no one should forget what happened in WWII, I think the national guilt is misplaced. Fewer and fewer Germans were ever involved in the events, feeling guilty for something you didn't do is misplaced. The same works on slavery, no one in the US or UK alive today owned slaves and shouldn't feel guilty some of our ancestor did. And I firmly believe that one of my ancestors was probably a slave in the UK.

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  • 243. At 10:51pm on 22 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    JMM - So I am one of the usual suspects, oh well. Not a shocker there.

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  • 244. At 11:21pm on 22 Jan 2010, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 230 kevfirst "Come on Obama, walk the walk. How often do we see a constitutional genius in the white house? Fix this corruption and fix the whole political system."

    I enjoyed reading your post, and agree with most of it. But that last paragraph -- man, that is a tall order, even for a man of Obama's considerable talents. That is, I would argue, the work of a generation of progressives. Maybe more.

    There just is no way I can see to do an end run around the system as it exists, warts and all. Well, you could do what Bush did, and lie (WMD's, anyone?). But that is wrong. So it's all hard work, and time, time, time, methinks.

    And he can't do this stuff alone. All progressives need to man the barricades, and keep the end in sight. It's a marathon, not a sprint.

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  • 245. At 00:05am on 23 Jan 2010, xpat73 wrote:

    That's a good question that's been raised. Who does own the corporations?

    Here's some data (from 2007):
    Top 1% own 38%
    Top 20% own 53%
    Bottom 80% own 8.9%

    Now, who gains power when we become more permissive with the role we allow corporations to play in our elections and in lobbying?

    As an ideal, we should strive for a system that gives each and every citizen an equal voice in what their government does. When we turn government and power into commodities, i.e. when we apply free market principles to the process of governance, we are doing nothing less than selling our country to the highest bidders.

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  • 246. At 00:10am on 23 Jan 2010, xpat73 wrote:

    I still haven’t seen anybody who’s a fan of Citizens United really address the China/Saudi Arabia/[favorite overseas bogeyman] problem:

    If corporations are US citizens based upon being created by one of the 50 states, is there any exception to the ability of non-US owners to exercise that corporation’s “rights as a citizen”? Does the Saudi Royal family have the inalienable right to create “Americans For Mid-East Peace, Inc.”, a subsidiary of a dozen shell corporations that the Saudis control, and spend $1B blanketing local television in support of congressional candidates who are less friendly to Israel?

    IANAL, so I would love to see an answer to this.

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  • 247. At 00:56am on 23 Jan 2010, McJakome wrote:

    243. At 10:51pm on 22 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:
    "JMM - So I am one of the usual suspects, oh well. Not a shocker there."

    In what way do you think I pointed a finger at you? You are a reasonable sort [on most if not all issues] able to conduct a respectful disagreement without unjustly flaming your opponent.

    By "the usual suspects" I was intending to, politely and within house rules, refer to those who hold unreasonable views, who can not defend them in a civil way, and who react to disagreement by flaming, defaming and otherwise disrespecting the would be interlocutor.

    If I gave the impression that you were included in that company, I most sincerely apologize [even if, for some reason, you see yourself there].

    And to belatedly answer an earlier query, Guido will come when you least expect him, AM or PM, though he prefers "tiffin" for some odd perverse reason.

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  • 248. At 01:00am on 23 Jan 2010, McJakome wrote:


    242. At 10:41pm on 22 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:
    "I am not sure why the Prince would have gone to prison, he didn't break any laws, just good judgement. It is illegal to wear, or even own Nazi regalia (I request immunity from Godwins Law) but not in the UK."

    Of course I meant had he worn them in Germany.

    Thanks for the clarification. But please enlighten me as to what "Godwin's Law" is. It sounds medieval, or possibly from the time of the Tudors, but as the Bard said, "What's in a name?"

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  • 249. At 02:52am on 23 Jan 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    frayedcat (#205), this disagreement seems to me to be approaching quibbling over terminology. Yes, as you say, corporations may be sued for wrongdoing, and can even be charged with crimes. Nevertheless, it is the people running the corporation who have malice, if there be malice, not the corporation itself. My point is only that corporations are not evil per se. It is people who are (sometimes) evil, within or without a corporate structure.

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  • 250. At 08:54am on 23 Jan 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    DM wrote: "And I firmly believe that one of my ancestors was probably a slave in the UK."





    But now you are a British citizen, not a British SUBJECT, right?

    With a right to a referendum on, say, EU Consti..err..Lisbon Treaty?

    [let alone on the Coburg-Gotha monarchy]

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  • 251. At 08:57am on 23 Jan 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Perhaps it would be for helpful (from a purely pragmatic point of view) if we concentrated a little less on Saudi shell companies, and a little more on Yemeni casing outfits?

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  • 252. At 09:52am on 23 Jan 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #222
    No what I am saying is that the people of Massachusetts choses to be selfish. They chose to take their anger out on the wrong people and as a result, the situation in Washington will only get worse. Scott Brown will not look out for the interests of people like Ted Kennedy did
    ___________________

    What are you basing that statement o? Do you live in Mass? JMM and I both do we may disagree on the better canidate but we at least know Scott Brown.

    Brown is a moderate republican.

    I am sick of all the Kennedy syncopant who don't realize he was a hypocrite on so many issues including the evironment. He was weak on national defense and favored labor unions over independent workers and small business.

    He was a drunk driver and a lush!

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  • 253. At 10:01am on 23 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:



    234. At 9:04pm on 22 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:
    PS why did you say you do not care how many Muslims were killed.?
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The thing is, i am highly intelligent..and if you are just intelligent you will know why I will not answer this..

    I don't. For those who are not aware, the co[o]n[el]artist (who has insisted that we consider him a Muslim) wrote:

    "Personally I couldnt have cared if americans had killed all the muslims or whoever they wanted to kill"

    ["What a Difference a Year Makes"
    Post 297. 6.59pm 21st January"]

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  • 254. At 10:27am on 23 Jan 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    squirrelist wrote: "Anybody know if this just applies to US-based companies, corporations or organisations, or can anyone join in? GazProm? Electricite de France? The People's Liberation Army? The Asociation of Fundamentalist Madrassas? Er, the NHS next time the US tries to do something about health reform?

    I begin to see interesting possibilities."

    What "possibilities" are those? For so-called Europeans and other foreigners to interfere in America's freely chosen way of life because you and they don't like so many aspects of it, including those that have absolutely nothing to do with you or any other non-American, such as health care?

    I mean what kind of thinking gets someone thousands of miles away in another country to contemplate their NHS lobbying in America so that Americans can have the same thing? Even as a joke. Very strange.

    Squirrelist has anyone ever told you that you are not American?

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  • 255. At 10:39am on 23 Jan 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    bayleyco wrote: "The founding fathers didn't worry about a political system based on free speech being "nasty" and neither should visitors to this country. It is not their destiny- they can always go back where they came from."

    Exactly. And the same goes for the expats that attain American citizenship after growing up in another culture and then start demanding that America should be like theirs.

    And also, here in America they don't put you on trial and in jail just because someone was offended by your opinion of them, or because you don't believe in the holocaust.

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  • 256. At 10:50am on 23 Jan 2010, crash wrote:

    well said " allent2"
    Has there ever really been spending limits?
    if you are liberal enough cnn will show you on tv all day,60 minutes will call you a genius,and the demos will kiss your axe.
    I am hoping our next president is a handicapped lesbian of arabic descent this would then show the world USA is a mecca of freedom!!!!

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  • 257. At 11:59am on 23 Jan 2010, Lorentz wrote:

    You ask "can American politics get any nastier?".
    Money, partisanship, self-interest groups, and perhaps less than appropriate levels of impartiality, then mix in tumultuous events that cut across society, appear to echo the events in the build up to the end of the Roman Republic.
    I'm not suggesting that the end of the US Republic is in sight, but that there is 'new' ground that is yet to be broken that will test the boundaries of what is deemed acceptable.

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  • 258. At 12:21pm on 23 Jan 2010, McJakome wrote:

    257. At 11:59am on 23 Jan 2010, Lorentz wrote:
    "'You ask "can American politics get any nastier?.'

    I'm not suggesting that the end of the US Republic is in sight, but..."

    We could get lucky, more democratic and less republican, less corporatist, or we could get so involved in internal fights that we have no time, interest, money or other resources to be involved in external matters. If that is the case, I hope you like the world some of you have wished for, dominated by the committed democrats of Brussels and Beijing.

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  • 259. At 12:51pm on 23 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    254. At 10:27am on 23 Jan 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    Squirrelist has anyone ever told you that you are not American?

    Yep. Occasionally. So?

    (Is that supposed to mean I should feel proud or miserable?)

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  • 260. At 1:05pm on 23 Jan 2010, Via-Media wrote:

    Squirrelist:

    Your earlier mention to the Biblical references on the rifle scopes stuck in my mind when I read this at the Bad Astronomer's [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    Please pay close attention to the caption on the poster...

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  • 261. At 3:13pm on 23 Jan 2010, RGBviews wrote:

    It is now clearer than ever that the USA is no longer a democracy. Corporations decide which representatives and senators will be most receptive to their paid lobbyists in Washington. Government policy is simply a commodity to be bought and sold in the USA. No wonder we laugh whenever the US advocates the spread of democracy around the world.

    The American people may just as well stay at home on voting day and let the corporate boards cast their votes.

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  • 262. At 3:37pm on 23 Jan 2010, Via-Media wrote:

    Squirrelist:

    I got moderated at 260, but I was trying to refer you to the Bad Astronomer's blog at Discovery.com. His 2nd post referenced the issue you raised re: the Biblical references on the rifle scopes, and had a picture/poster that seemed particularly of interest to the Squirrel Party...

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  • 263. At 01:10am on 24 Jan 2010, RGBviews wrote:

    AllenT2 wrote "....For so-called Europeans and other foreigners to interfere in America's freely chosen way of life..... " Am I correct that this American is actually saying that one country should not interfere in another countries way of life? .....Incredible! It would be nice if his government listened to his ideas. Am I also correct that he is saying individuals in the US choose their way of life? .....Again incredible! This is what the corporations and the media have led him to believe. AllenT2 there is a whole world out there waiting for you to discover.

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  • 264. At 01:39am on 24 Jan 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    255. At 10:39am on 23 Jan 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    And also, here in America they don't put you on trial and in jail just because someone was offended by your opinion of them, or because you don't believe in the holocaust.
    __________

    Well, actually we do.

    Ever heard of Ernst Zundel?

    This is not an issue where you get to pick whether to "believe" or not "believe". The holocaust was a fact. Holocaust denial is an hate crime. As a society, we're done with that issue. Move on.

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  • 265. At 03:09am on 24 Jan 2010, Christy Robinson wrote:

    I'm a Texan liberal (yes, we exist). I'm terribly frightened about this ruling. It's disheartening. It completely dismantles McCain-Feingold, a piece of bipartisan legislation that most Americans are terribly proud of. The idea that money is the same thing as speech and therefore deserves protection is about as ridiculous as the idea that corporations are the same as actual people. This, honestly, is probably the worst U.S. Supreme Court ruling since our Dred Scott decision of 1857 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dred_Scott_v._Sandford).

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  • 266. At 03:29am on 24 Jan 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    Interestedforeigner wrote:

    "Well, actually we do.

    Ever heard of Ernst Zundel?

    This is not an issue where you get to pick whether to "believe" or not "believe". The holocaust was a fact. Holocaust denial is an hate crime. As a society, we're done with that issue. Move on."

    He was arrested and deported back to Canada on **immigration charges**.

    It isn't against the law to express an opinion of hate against anyone in America nor is it against the law to deny the Holocaust. In a free and democratic society that is how it should be.

    I believe the Holocaust happened but to arrest and imprison people for not believing that it happened is the same kind of sick and evil thing the Nazis would have done!

    As for so-called "hate laws," they are just as sick and evil! They are just ways to try and control the way people think. They are no different to the kind of laws in communist countries that are used to persecute, imprison and murder citizens for simply expressing opinions.



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  • 267. At 03:35am on 24 Jan 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    squirrelist wrote: "Yep. Occasionally. So?

    (Is that supposed to mean I should feel proud or miserable?)"


    In response to: "Squirrelist has anyone ever told you that you are not American?"

    Maybe you should listen to them?

    How you feel about your nationality, "proud or miserable, is your business but it has nothing to do with America, and especially things about America that most certainly do not affect you or have anything to do with you as a non-American.

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  • 268. At 04:05am on 24 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    How you feel about your nationality, "proud or miserable, is your business but it has nothing to do with America, and especially things about America that most certainly do not affect you or have anything to do with you as a non-American.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    And what do you say to the afghanistanis, or iraqis or pakistanis, who say the same things to you about your country's interference in their countries? Your VP is in iraq right now interefering in iraqi elections, your defence minister was in pakistan telling them that they should start the war in another part of the tribel belt, and publicaly admitting that blackwater aka Xe works in pakistan, iraq and afghanistan. Without uk, america could never have started the war in iraq and brought in power the people who were ready to serve your government more than they served their own people..9/11 was entirly an american incidence and didnt affect the english in anyway, but they voluntarily made it theirs..and americans allowed them to make this incidences theirs..So now wether you like it or not, you have to accept this kind of interference..People who send the military to distant land to change the regimes, (highest form of intereference) should be able to tolarate this low level intereferce on some blog..

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  • 269. At 04:57am on 24 Jan 2010, chronophobe wrote:

    "How you feel about your nationality, "proud or miserable, is your business but it has nothing to do with America, and especially things about America that most certainly do not affect you or have anything to do with you as a non-American."

    Nothing is so ugly as a xenophobic citizen of the global hegemon. Having people from the rest of the world interested in what you are doing, and how you are doing it, is one of the burdens of empire. Man up, and get over it.

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  • 270. At 07:22am on 24 Jan 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    chronophobe wrote: "Nothing is so ugly as a xenophobic citizen of the global hegemon. Having people from the rest of the world interested in what you are doing, and how you are doing it, is one of the burdens of empire. Man up, and get over it."

    Dictionary.com defines "xenophobic" as: an unreasonable fear or hatred of foreigners or strangers or of that which is foreign or strange.

    Dictionary.com defines "hegemon"y as: leadership or predominant influence exercised by one nation over others.

    Now you tell me what your statement has to do with what I said below.

    "How you feel about your nationality, "proud or miserable, is your business but it has nothing to do with America, and especially things about America that most certainly do not affect you or have anything to do with you as a non-American."

    I have no problem with fair and unbiased critique of America when it comes to things that affect people outside of America but I have no tolerance for foreigners insulting our way of life and by telling us how we should run things in our own country in matters that have nothing to do with them or that affect them in any way.

    Most people from any country would not tolerate that.

    This is just another topic on America that has nothing to do with non-Americans and yet so many here, and throughout European countries, think it is their place and that it is proper to **insult and attack** America over such things instead of respectfully offering their views or opinions. All that is is an expression of intolerance and anti-Americanism.

    No, the people that need to "man up and get over it" are those that need to learn and appreciate the meanings of the words respect and tolerance, especially as it relates to the citizens of other free and democratic countries and how they choose to live their lives while not affecting or harming others.

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  • 271. At 07:53am on 24 Jan 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    colonelartist wrote: "And what do you say to the afghanistanis, or iraqis or pakistanis, who say the same things to you about your country's interference in their countries?"

    Is that a joke?

    Before America went into Iraq and Afghanistan the people there had no vote in how their countries were run! That is, unless you consider the terrorist hosting and murdering Taliban and the murdering Iraqi government under the murdering Saddam Hussein democratically legitimate in representing their respective fellow citizens.

    As for Pakistan, that country is being used as a base for terrorists and those same murdering Taliban to attack Afghans and NATO soldiers while their military and their government never fully commits to addressing the problem. Any attacks against such legitimate targets in Pakistan is just fine with me. I say keep expanding them.

    "Your VP is in iraq right now interefering in iraqi elections, your defence minister was in pakistan telling them that they should start the war in another part of the tribel belt, and publicaly admitting that blackwater aka Xe works in pakistan, iraq and afghanistan."

    No, he has been mediating to come to some kind of agreement that would encourage, preserve and respect stability of their young democracy and the views of all Iraqis, something that never existed under the murdering dictator that used to run the country. The same things occurred post WWII in Germany.

    I already addressed Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    I also don't have a problem with Blackwater if they are providing necessary or useful services.

    "Without uk, america could never have started the war in iraq"

    Oh really, how so? UK military contribution was always a very small portion of the overall military effort and certainly not a crucial one.

    "and brought in power the people who were ready to serve your government more than they served their own people."

    So the Iraqi elections are just a sham?

    "9/11 was entirly an american incidence and didnt affect the english in anyway, but they voluntarily made it theirs..and americans allowed them to make this incidences theirs."

    They, and any other free and democratic country, especially in the West, were certainly right to make 9/11 an incident that required their attention and action then and now.

    "So now wether you like it or not, you have to accept this kind of interference..People who send the military to distant land to change the regimes, (highest form of intereference) should be able to tolarate this low level intereferce on some blog.."

    You are confused. My post that you are responding to had to do with foreigners sticking their noses in America's domestic policies on matters that have absolutely nothing to do with them or that affect them in any way. Things like the subject of this topic, our health care, our right to bear arms, etc, etc.

    My remark was not against the act of foreigners respectfully sharing their views and opinions about America but against them insulting America's way of life and them thinking it is their place to be telling it how it should run its own country when it comes to things that have absolutely nothing to do with them.

    Understand?

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  • 272. At 12:31pm on 24 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    262. At 3:37pm on 23 Jan 2010, Via-Media wrote:

    "a picture/poster that seemed particularly of interest to the Squirrel Party..."

    Ah, I see. Got there. Hmm. "Eternal vigilance for both democracies and squirrels. . .it is the price of freedom."

    There's a kind of lesson in what happened to that link, wouldn't you say?

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  • 273. At 12:42pm on 24 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    267. At 03:35am on 24 Jan 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    "In response to: "Squirrelist has anyone ever told you that you are not American?"

    Maybe you should listen to them?


    Well, people can tell me I'm not Inuit, Cherokee, Masai or Chinese as well if they like; and they'd be perfectly right. But it'd be a bit pointless listening to them, I'd have thought.

    (I think you mean I don't think like you think Americans are supposed to think. Is that it?)

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  • 274. At 1:11pm on 24 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    269. chronophobe:

    Ah yes, the 'white man's burden' . . .Well, I'm happy enough being sort of half (?) at hone in one country and half in another, myself. . .Like quite a lot of 'Brits' these days, I think. Gets up to about 80 or 90 per cent sometimes, depending. . .

    Can't see why we shouldn't take an interest in the wide, wide world out there, but there we are. . .Be very boring if I was only allowed to be sarky about Gordon Brown or David Cameron and not Sarkozy (Ugh!) or Berlusconi (AAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRGH!!!!!!!). . .

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  • 275. At 1:17pm on 24 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    271. AllenT2:

    As one or two people have pointed out, this is really a blog for Brits (or, since the Beeb is pretty well supra-national/international on the 'net now) for people outside the US wherever they are; you don't have to read it if it upsets you. . .

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  • 276. At 1:54pm on 24 Jan 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    squirrelist, becasue of your French Conenection you may want to read that about superior French Culture:


    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/8474488.stm

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  • 277. At 2:29pm on 24 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    276. powermeerkat:

    Don't bother; those interminable complacent self-indulgent pompous 'debats' on the telly and the radio don't just drive me mad, they have my French friends groaning as well. They can go on for hours. God knows who listens to them or watches them, just the relatives of those who're on them I should think. Every time I try to listen to or watch one I usually fall asleep within 10 minutes.

    It's all for Parisians and a few graduates of the ENS or Sciences-Po really I think.

    And I know all about the way some French mags go on about the same handful of 'pop' stars, film stars and Princess Caroline of Monaco . . . they make 'Hello' look like a periodical devoted to quantum mechanics . . .

    Haven't seen the film though; probably won't. Where I spend my time in France there actually isn't a cinema within a couple of hours' drive any more. But I must admit, what the French find funny in some films mystifies me as well.

    (You only catch me writing this because the Vampire Emperor isn't about.)

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  • 278. At 4:31pm on 24 Jan 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    So

    "Big money first" and "the little people are important too"

    becomes

    "BIG! MONEY! FIRST!" and "(inaudible)"

    Disgusting.

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  • 279. At 5:27pm on 24 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    Allen2, You justified the highest form of interference by your government in other countries, war and occupation. Whether iraqis or afghanis didnt vote doesnt effect you or your country in any way.Did anyone tell you that you are neither an iraqi or an afghaniistani or a pakistani. Not one single iraqi or afghanistani or pakistani attacked your country, they fought against your troops in their own countries. Now, watch closely the confereance about afghanistan next week in uk, again an interference in afghanistan.this time, after using billions of dollars in war, your country along with uk are planing to use money to buy talibans sympathies in the name of re-integration. Personally, if I had a choice between someone interfering in your country's matter on a blog and actually waging war, i would prefer the lesser of the two evils, that is harmless comments on the blog..And so should you, considering uk supports your intereferance in form of wars..The citizens of uk have a right to interefere and comment about what goes in your country, they have compromised the safety of their own country by supporting yours.

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  • 280. At 5:45pm on 24 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    My remark was not against the act of foreigners respectfully sharing their views and opinions about America but against them insulting America's way of life and them thinking it is their place to be telling it how it should run its own country when it comes to things that have absolutely nothing to do with them.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    What would you say to afghanistanis, whom your country insulted first by invading their country, and then actions and words that their way of life (not voting vs voting) was not better than yours..And now insult them by supporting a president who won by fraud.as far as your way of life, everyone from latitude and longitude of the planet earth has now seen what it is..and people are not at all impressed by it..corruption everywhere, people more than willing to cover it up, incompetency in every area, and accountabilty nowehre to be seen..discrimination, using other people armies to kill their own people. Change your way of life, change whole of it..

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  • 281. At 6:22pm on 24 Jan 2010, charlieatlantic wrote:

    David MurrellTrue free speech, like true free will is an illusion. Try and tell your boss exactly what you think of him and see what happens. If you take it a trbunial or court, it is probable that they will find against you, they will limit your free speech.

    David, this is a clear misrepresentation of 'free speech'. Freedom of speech, especially in the US Constitutional context, does not imply freedom from the consequences of speaking, but that the government cannot prosecute you for what you say, or prevent you from saying it.

    If you were to shout horrendous things at your wife day after day, she may well divorce you. This would not mean you had lost your freedom of speech, it would mean that there were consequences to what you chose to say. The First Amendment does not promise that you can speak with impunity, that people will not judge you for your words, or that you can stay a member of every private club regardless of your conduct. It does, however, legally prevent the federal government (and, since incorporation, the state governments) from touching you.

    The court in your analogy would not be limiting your freedom of speech. To do that they would have to prosecute you for what you had told your boss. The court wouldn't have taken away your freedom of speech, they would be expecting you deal with the outcomes of your free action. Just as you have a private right to speak freely to your boss, he has a private right to fire you.

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  • 282. At 7:18pm on 24 Jan 2010, McJakome wrote:

    281. At 6:22pm on 24 Jan 2010, charlieatlantic wrote to David Murrell RE: "True free speech, like true free will is an illusion."

    I agree with you [but also, paradoxically, with David Murrell to a certain extent], but you have to remember when arguing that point with DM that he is British and Britain is less tolerant of free speech than the US.

    British libel [and slander?] and censorship by prior restraint [referencing the press and cases in court] are things that most Americans have trouble with. About the courts, our forfathers insisted on open trials, and by extension mostly open to the press, as a reaction against what they perceived as the tyrannical British usage.

    I believe that the British [and European] idea is that certain social goods triumph over individual freedom. I'm just saying, not criticizing, different is just different.
    "Vive la diferance, n'cest pas!"

    I move in the British direction when presented with the extreme libertarian views aspoused by some people here. For example, the idea that guns are good, that they are the great equalizer and we would be better off if everyone had them is balmy! In fact, looked at logically the best shooter would be king, and the poorest would be slaves [if not just dead].

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  • 283. At 02:33am on 25 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    "Squirrelist has anyone ever told you that you are not American?"

    NO POOP

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  • 284. At 02:41am on 25 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    242 DM most Germans I met were way less racist and way more racially aware than other nations. Especially americans.


    183
    "I am saying that wealthy corporations alreadyuse various means which they can because they have more money to restrict or block others' free speech or access to it if it doesn't suit them. "

    proof is in the pudding. Anyone heard from the general recently?
    sorry U boat number one.

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  • 285. At 03:04am on 25 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    "40. At 9:04pm on 21 Jan 2010, jpetrisor wrote:
    I know this may be hard for those from the old country to understand, but in America, the right to free speech is considered to be quite important. Not only people you like speaking, but people you don't like. It's equality. Some day you'll understand."

    YEA ????

    then why Have none of you taken up an angry position on the constant bannings of jack in whatever guise he is in.General Penitentiary the U number at the top.
    is it because you all don't believe in defending those that annoy you?

    Hey how come you all care more for the rights of corporations than people.

    The British broadcasting CORPORATION. paid for by licence fee payers engages in using it's power to remove those deemed offensive to advertising (or something) and you all say NOTHING>
    And what's more many here that go on about free speech have said nothing over two years of it.
    they just pretend it isn't happening then go on about free speech.
    LOL and then they want people to think they are fair or impartial and so respecting of freespeech they would see banning as a crime. As they say to the mods"look It IS him"

    But go ahead thinking you care.
    if it helps YOU.

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  • 286. At 3:04pm on 25 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    Charlie are you the one that says no health care but then goes down and hypocritically uses it when it is there free.

    I thought that would be selling out on your Ideals.
    That you were beyond that.
    That you personal desires are not worthy of bending to when there is a principle at stake.

    You know a hypocrite is just someone that lies to themselves right?

    What degree did you attain at Oxford BTW. a Music degree?

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  • 287. At 3:13pm on 25 Jan 2010, fearless6 wrote:

    I'd encourage everyone to heed the words of the American philosopher and linguist Noam Chomsky - probably the ONLY voice of reality in America - "Campaign funding is a remarkably good predictor of election and also of policy. You can pretty well detect policies by looking at where the campaign funding comes from." In 2009 he said, "If this law is changed corporations can buy elections directly instead of indirectly."
    PLEASE everyone google "Noam Chomsky, big business dictates the presidency" and listen to the wisest man on the planet. On every subject, from wars to economics, this man makes good sense but has just one very small voice.

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  • 288. At 4:11pm on 25 Jan 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    REe #287

    Noam Chomsky is not a philosopher.

    Nor is he (and never has been) a political scientist.

    As far as I am concerned he's a cabaret artist, although as unfunny as a former (?)comedian, sen. Al Franken.

    And since Motherland of the World Proletariat [USSR] fell apart - quite (justifiably) embittered.

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  • 289. At 4:37pm on 25 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    And ever since Saddam failed to destablised the iranian government and had to end the war in 88, the americans had been after him and two years of hard work they managed to launch a war against iraq, and finaly overthrew him. The path to his death went through newyork, afghanistan and then iraq..Now, 7000 americans killed since 9/11, in return of direct control in iraq, afghanistan, pakistan, more power on gulf states and rest of the middle east..Not a bad bargain at all..A country can afford to loose that many people in return for such rewards as power in certain areas especially where resources ooz out of earth.

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  • 290. At 5:10pm on 25 Jan 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #289

    colonelartist wrote:

    "A country [U.S.] can afford to loose that many people in return for such rewards as power in certain areas especially where resources ooz out of earth."




    Like in Afghanistan? Or Bosnia? Or Kosovo? :-))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

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  • 291. At 5:26pm on 25 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    "A country [U.S.] can afford to loose that many people in return for such rewards as power in certain areas especially where resources ooz out of earth."




    Like in Afghanistan? Or Bosnia? Or Kosovo? :-))))))))))))))))))))))))))))
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    yes, like bosnia and kosovo, now tell me how many decimter points did americans die in kosovo and bosnia? Israel can afford to loose a few citizens to maintin occupation, and usa could afford to loose a few in return for the larger rewards...their risk taking consultants surely tells them that they can risk a few lifes in return for larger rewards..

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  • 292. At 6:13pm on 25 Jan 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    " ... listen to the wisest man on the planet."

    Is the most over-the-top example of idolatry yet in this forum?

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  • 293. At 6:40pm on 25 Jan 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #191


    Again,'colonelartist' is no answering a pretty straightforward question.

    So let me repeat:


    What riches (oil, gas, diamonds, gold, uranium, etc.) were there/are there in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo, etc., that greedy Yankee imperialists wanted to lay their dirty paws on?

    Itemize them!

    You may start with Afghanistan.

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  • 294. At 7:11pm on 25 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    293

    so meer' While you are in the honestly answer mode will you answer that question you left alone about your comment that you were kicked out of the KKK for being too enthusiastic?

    seeing as you have now reached the stage of thinking questions posed in a honest manner should be answered.

    I seem to remember that question was repeated a few times. and you failed to answer. or will you just request this offensive question to you gets removed?

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  • 295. At 7:17pm on 25 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    Afghanistan,----oil pipeline route

    Bosnia, Kosovo----- the right to say "we protected muslims" and stable europe.

    Itemize the other places please

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  • 296. At 7:21pm on 25 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    You may start with Afghanistan.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The soviet invaded afghanistan to reach the warm waters, the americans invaded it from the warm water side to get to the black gold..the road to iran passes through hirat..Direct...the road to other central asian countries goes also through afghanistan..the road to china passes through afghanistan and those areas of pakistan that are being destablised...usa is the new bear..the grizzly bear..which acts like a pack of hyneas.

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  • 297. At 7:32pm on 25 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    Bosnia, Kosovo
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    divide and rule. Serbia is still pro-russia and will be..the day kosovo gets recognition as an independent state and bosina gets into EU, (they willrather break up EU or divide it into different blocks than include it) is the day you can gloat over american liberation of bosnia and kosovo..dividing yugoslavia into different states is just a temp.solution, the conflict will re-emerge..

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  • 298. At 7:35pm on 25 Jan 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    The issue that started this string was whether freedom of speech can be stretched far enough to require unlimited political financial contributions by non-human persons.

    Here is a real issue of freedom of speech.

    The images are beautiful, some to the point of being elegiac. The artist must love the subject matter very deeply.

    Yet the state is prosecuting her:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8473285.stm

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  • 299. At 8:55pm on 25 Jan 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    U.S. doesn't need Afghanistan for any pipeline.

    It is certainly doesn't need it to gain access to Iran (that's what has U.S. Navy for, incl. our VIth Fleet).

    And most certainly not in order to have access to China.

    [Many people seem not to realize that US is to a much larger extent a Pacific nation than it is an Atlantic one. Particularly now (Cf. APEC)]


    I have no doubt that America-haters will continue to ascribe nefarious motives to anything we do (or will do).

    But in that case they have to come up with something better than that.

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  • 300. At 9:16pm on 25 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    It is certainly doesn't need it to gain access to Iran (that's what has U.S. Navy for, incl. our VIth Fleet).

    And most certainly not in order to have access to China.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    After the failure of airforce, the usa is now going to use its navy to fight against iran...genius, iran has radars and can intercept the missiles from your navy fleet...its not iraq nor afghanistan, with no missile intercepting system..And since when does usa uses its own forces to fight a war? the last time its soldiers fought a war was in vietnam..usa needs infantry, and that infantry isnt going to come from usa military, it will be the afghans, the tajiks, the uzbeks and the baluchis.And those are found in the places where usa is trying to control..

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  • 301. At 9:27pm on 25 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    You think the playing with universal health reforms is a divide, the real divide would have come if usa military had fought the these two wars itself instead of using the local militiamen and americans would have to count the dead soldiers in thousands...

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  • 302. At 9:45pm on 25 Jan 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Nearly a thousand US soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan, and more than 600 from other NATO nations.

    More than 4000 US soldiers have been killed in Iraq.

    http://icasualties.org/

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  • 303. At 10:35pm on 25 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    Nearly a thousand US soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan, and more than 600 from other NATO nations.

    More than 4000 US soldiers have been killed in Iraq.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    5000 fallen soldiers in two wars , two occupations, 9 yrs, two regime changes..Real wars, real occupations in 9 yrs cause more casuaaities..its the price usa can pay without any difficulty...Your main goal was to keep the casuality rate extremely down, that you couldnt acheive without using the militia made up of criminals and thugs...which soldier in real war would think about eating pizzas from pizza hut, burgers from burger king, shopping for souverneers, spa...This is a first class trip for charter tourists rather than a war...

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  • 304. At 11:58am on 27 Jan 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Yes, I (as a Native American) will continue to support the right of (remunerated?) Taliban/al Qaida spokesmen to promulgate their murderous chieftains's views on both HYS, and MM's current blog.

    1st Amendment aside, I think it's really helpful if everybody and their grandmother can see where those specimes are coming from.

    [we can already see where those 'casers' are posting from, as well]

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  • 305. At 10:20pm on 27 Jan 2010, Sara Linder wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 306. At 10:21pm on 27 Jan 2010, Sara Linder wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 307. At 2:13pm on 31 Jan 2010, McJakome wrote:

    304. At 11:58am on 27 Jan 2010, powermeerkat
    If by "Native American" you mean that you are a descendent of the original inhabitants of the continent, then you know, more than most, the lies, distortions and ignorant assumptions that have been used to justify taking the continent away from the Native Americans.

    I don’t know of any native blood in my family, but I did support the Onondaga when I was a student in Syracuse. New York wanted to widen the highway that already bisects the reservation. One of their arguments was that the miserable poverty of the Onondaga might actually be helped by payments made for theland.

    We [the descendents of the past centuries’ illegal immigrants] caused the poverty in the first place by taking away most of the Hotinosonih lands and undermining their culture. Few seem to realize, or care, that we are doing similar things in, say, Afghanistan.

    Like the Native Americans, the Afghan peoples are tribal. They have a long history of tribal feuds and mutating coalitions. They resent outside interference, react strongly and sometimes violently against it. They suspect outsiders want to take away their land, their livelihoods, their way of life. They have been invaded often enough that the suspicions are not unreasonable.

    Strong and independent Hotinosonih [the Six Nations] was broken by outsiders [British and American agents during the Revolution] manipulating them for their advantage. The same thing happened in the Ohio area.

    Those who do not remember, and most importantly understand, history are doomed to repeat the same, often bloody, mistakes.

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  • 308. At 05:32am on 01 Feb 2010, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Mark:

    Will it make a whole heap of difference? No, it will not be making any difference in the campaign free-for-all funding!

    Spending is bound to increase, but don't unions and corporations find a way around the rules anyway? Well, yes, they find ways to take advantage of the rules with allowing many donors giving the limits and, recruiting more people!

    [This is my own opinion...]

    -Dennis Junior-

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