The Agitator #38
by Oliver_Halle
 The Agitator
August 20, 2012 09:37 AM | 1666 views | 5 5 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

For the first time ever it appears that Super Pac money will exceed the contributions that each candidate will directly receive directly into their campaigns. This is the result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United. There are those who believe that somehow this private money from sources that don’t have to be revealed is a counter balance to the mainstream media, perceived by some as the liberal media or “lamestream” media. I wonder if you tally up all the listeners to conservative talk radio---Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Michael Savage, Dennis Prager, Glen Beck, Laura Ingraham, Michael Gallagher, Dennis Miller---and many more---would they somehow offset the numbers that get their news from the mainstream media? And remember, these are very partisan talkmeisters who push their agenda openly with no ambiguity. Since Air America is long gone there are only a handful of liberal talk shows that mostly can be found on satellite radio, and which contain relatively small listening audiences. Citizens United didn’t level the playing field in the political arena; it tilted it and overturned a long history of banning these kinds of contributions that our state representatives thought fostered corruption of the election process. And when those without any money tried to unite and get attention that couldn’t be had without money, the Occupy Wall Street movement was condemned because of the handful of extremists that latched onto the movement and gave it a bad name.

Mitt Romney denounced the Bush TARP program that saved the auto industry and countless jobs, but was okay with the Wall Street bailouts. Then Paul Ryan blamed Obama for the 2008 closing of a GM plant in his district even though it was Bush who occupied the White House at the time. Ryan was okay with TARP as long as it protected an industry that encompassed voters that could reelect him. Yet this same guy hates government spending unless it’s for defense, talks about the need for the marketplace to work without government interference, unless of course it affects his political future. We haven’t heard the Romney-Ryan plan yet to pay for the staggering costs of our seriously wounded veterans that will need care for the next sixty to seventy years. And that doesn’t take into account future wars and veterans costs.

Romney complains that Obama has defamed him with allegations concerning his role at Bain Capital, and he takes a very strong defense posture at releasing his tax returns beyond two years. Romney has even demanded apologies from Obama, which seems really odd for someone who presumably needs a thick skin to be president, and who should know how to fight back if he’s going to be dealing with some of the worst bullies in the world, both domestic and foreign. But the same Romney, when asked if he thought Obama was an American citizen answered with the glibness he learned at Harvard Law School, that he had no reason to think Obama wasn’t. That response is a long way from John McCain who responded to a woman that accused Obama of being a Muslim. McCain answered directly, firmly, and left no doubt that he was sincere. Perhaps the difference between Romney and McCain is that McCain learned something about leadership when served this country in uniform, while Romney took advantage of whatever deferments he could get during Vietnam and talking tough at the same time in support of the war. Maybe it’s about time for Romney to let the American people see his Selective Service records to learn what his priorities were to avoid service during the time of the draft.

Comments
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ll.s
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August 22, 2012
I disagree with the Supreme Court, Corporations are not people and they should never be allowed to buy our Politicsions as they do, only citizens who are actual people should have a say by a vote not corporations thats bull crap to say it squelches free speech go to college companies cant talk. a corporation is an entity and if its going to have free speech its members should be held liable also, for all the terrible destruction it does to people and the environment look what Monsanto is doing to the earth and the people who have no choise but to eat the poison it produses just to name one about to own all the agriculture in the world and the meat industry poison the water with animal wait and the conditions these poor things have to endure waiting to be slaughtered and other factories polluting the air i could go on and on.
B D Lane
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August 22, 2012
I do not disagree with the assertion that money buys influence. I say this in the last blog article that I wrote after reading the Citizens United ruling. However, I believe--as the majority of the Supreme Court does--that it squelches free speech to make rules about who can and cannot put money behind policy positions.

Also, I cannot remember which reporter put the argument forth--I think somewhere in the NY Times, but I apologize for not exactly sourcing the idea--but I tend to believe that there is also an "over saturation" point in which more money doesn't do much. That makes a great deal of sense to me as well.

Certainly we should always show civility over points of disagreement. Any other form of debate is ineffective shouting, a form of discourse in which I have no interest. ;)
Oliver G. Halle
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August 21, 2012
Barbara,I am quite sure that we differ on a lot of issues, but I appreciate your alwasys polite and civil expressions of disagreement. I believe that money corrupts, and that money in politics has gotten out of control. Considering the special interests that pour money into congressional races from outside the district, or senate races from outside the state, you have to wonder what's in it for the contributors. Those who pay for access get access; those that can't or don't pay don't get access---they get form letters. I have personal annecdotal experience thta supports my argument.

Mr. Ward's response to your comments sums up for me your disagreement with the specifics of what you wrote. We agree that SuperPac money has to be disclosed, and I can't imagine why someone giving millions of dollars to a PAC that supports a particular candidate wouldn't want the candidate to know the source of the money. But I don't believe for a millisecond that the money comes for free. If you do, we can agree to disagree.
Frank Ward
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August 20, 2012
Ms. Lane, your comments on transparency are not wuite correct. You are right on 527s but with the advent of Citizens United you now find corporations giving in large abundance to 501(c)(4) and 501(c)(6) groups WITHOUT those groups having to disclose their donors. As long as such groups can fool the feds into believing that political advertisements are not their primary purpose but that they they are simply social welfare groups they can get away with donation excesses without being identified to the public. This enables corporations to show one image to the public while hiding their true thoughts and goals. Transparency is certainly not evident in these shenanigans.
B D Lane
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August 20, 2012
There are several points with which I don't agree in this article, Mr. Halle, but there's only one that I wish to dispute.

You say, "There are those who believe that somehow this private money from sources that don’t have to be revealed is a counter balance to the mainstream media..."

Actually this is a misrepresentation of Citizens United as part of the majority ruling affirmed that those who contribute to Super Pacs MUST reveal who they are. Thus when you see an ad that has been put out by a Super Pac rather than a campaign, you can KNOW who gave that Super Pac money. This is different from the 527 groups, which did not have to reveal contributors. This is MORE transparent, right?

While Justice Thomas concurred with the main thrust of the Citizens United ruling, he disagreed with revealing contributors. In his dissent, he pointed to the bullying tactics of the Left who engaged in sometimes criminal acts of reprisal towards people who had contributed to PACS that supported traditional marriage. However, Justice Thomas lost the argument.

The ruling carried by the majority posits that knowing the source of funding is essential in allowing the electorate to weigh the credibility of information presented to them.
Oliver Halle of east Cobb is a retired FBI agent and has law degrees from The University of North Carolina and New York University. He commanded a Swift Boat in Vietnam, where he earned the Bronze Star with the Combat V for meritorius action. While with the FBI he helped investigate and prosecute members of the Columbo organized crime “family” and later launched the investigation that resulted in the conviction on corruption charges of Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell.

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