@GaryO "How can you justify your premise that centralized power attracts the
bad guys more than decentralized power?"When Willie Sutton was
asked why he robbed banks, he said, "...because that's where the money
is."When someone bribes a public official, why do they do it?
Because the public official has power to get things done for them. If an
official has control over every single tiny aspect of your business life, it
pays to get control of him. If he didn't have that control, why would it
matter?Totalitarian governments are always rife with corruption. In
a dictatorship, bribery is a way of life. There's a reason why.
@Tyler D "Sure, things like 'persuasive speech' would be the
driving commodity, but that's exactly how the Founders envisioned
it."Right, they did. Now consider how persuasive speech is
delivered: television, radio, Internet, newspapers, books, magazines, music
concerts, conventions, rallies, billboards, posters, lawn signs...too many
different methods to name -- almost all of of them paid for with you-know-what.
To limit spending on such items is to limit speech."So while you
rightly conclude that money in politics is a bad thing..."I
conclude that money in politics is a necessary thing, and that the actions that
make it a bad thing (bribery, etc.) are already illegal."...you
fail to see that it causes the very thing you want to eliminate."What I see is that, I cannot abridge the speech of a man I think is having too
great an influence, without doing the same harm to my own liberty. The real
solution to the problem is more free speech, not less.(Don't be
blinded by Koch Derangement Syndrome. Some people around here have got a pretty
bad case of it.)
When we have a political system that now requires elected officials to spend the
majority of their time pursuing campaign contributions, something is wrong.
Hey Nate -" . . . the more people we engage in the political
process, the less power one individual will have to call the shots . . ."Uh huh . . . But calling money free speech does the EXACT opposite.It concentrates power in the hands of just a few wealthy individuals. It
eliminates Democracy and replaces it with Plutocracy."Centralized power is the magnet attracting the bad guys. So we should
decentralize power, and put the federal government in charge of fewer
things."No way. You invented a phony reason to justify your
states-rightist's prejudice. That makes NO sense. How can you
justify your premise that centralized power attracts the bad guys more than
decentralized power? The bad guys are on the fringes, nibbling away at the
fabric of society by propagandizing and bamboozling undiscerning individuals.
Look at the Koch brothers' relationship to Tea Party organizations . . .
Rich patrons who have turned millions of pliable people into peons willing to
sacrifice the well-being of themselves and their families so the Koch brothers
and their wealthy friends can grow richer.As a result, this
Tea-Party-infested Congress routinely obstructs all attempts at good governance.
Nate,Taking money out of politics would be the best thing we can do
for democracy. Sure, things like “persuasive speech” would be the
driving commodity, but that’s exactly how the Founders envisioned it.
Those who chose to participate in the process are the ones that will be heard, a
fact that would encourage mass participation, especially at the state &
local level.Money perverts all this, and contrary to your ideal of
decentralized power, money encourages centralized power. I simply don’t
understand this thinking on the Right of wanting to put out the fire of big
government by pouring gasoline on it. Back to your well stated
point about persuasive speech, taking the money out of the process would make
elected officials beholden to those who elect them, not a rich guy in another
district or state.So while you rightly conclude that money in
politics is a bad thing (unlike the five SC justices who think it’s not
corrupting unless it’s a direct bribe), you fail to see that it causes the
very thing you want to eliminate.
@Tyler D "Is that a more accurate description of our post-Citizens United
world?"Yes, but it still misses the point: the more people we
engage in the political process, the less power one individual will have to call
the shots, regardless of how wealthy he is. Democracy causes an elected official
to be beholden to a majority of the voters, not just a selected few.Suppose you could take all the money out of politics. You would still be stuck
with the same problem: the political world would be flooded with whatever
commodity was now recognized as being most likely to produce votes. (Persuasive
speech, or whatever it may be.) And the candidate would feel beholden to whoever
provided the most of that commodity. And someone would be crying out for that
commodity to be limited. And limiting that commodity would probably be
unconstitutional.The real solution to the problem of money in
politics is to remove the incentive for bad guys to buy political office -- make
it less attractive to the buyer. Centralized power is the magnet attracting the
bad guys. So we should decentralize power, and put the federal government in
charge of fewer things.
It's rather funny how this runs completely counter to the argument used
against Count My Vote which is the claim that CMV would make it so that only
well-funded candidates (like Bennett) could run.
More Republitalk I see.In Right Wing America, money now equates to
free speech.Speech has traditionally been defined as COMMUNICATION.
The spoken word, the written word, the telecasted word . . . And images. Images
are communication too, and therefore can be thought of as speech.If
money is now speech, as Right Wingers claim, then we have to broaden the meaning
of speech to include more than just communication. Speech is now INFLUENCE.Bribery is a wonderfully effective means of influencing people.
Republicans who work for the Koch brothers while pretending to work for their
constituents are influenced by big money. But that's Ok, because it's
just free speech.The murders and dismembering of rival drug cartel
members, the threats, and the bribing of public officials just across the
border in Mexico are meant to INFLUENCE, and they therefore qualify as free
speech according to the expanded Republican definition. Should we be surprised
that greedy and ruthless Mexican drug cartels have so much in common with
Republicans?Right Wingers have polluted the language, the thinking,
and the very soul of America with their broadened definition of "free
Senator,I am disappointed.All,If money is
speech and speech is good then money is good and the more of it in the political
process the better.Our politicians will be more ethical, more
sensitive to the needs of the average constituent, and more likely to vote their
conscience. When I call and a wealthy campaign donor calls we will both be
given equal access to the politician's calendar and time. People will be
elected to office without regard to their ability to cuddle up to the wealthy.
My voice (my speech) will be just as loud and well heard as that of any other
person - even if they give hundreds of thousands away during the political
season. The people will see these benefits. They will feel more and more a
part of the system and more invested in America. Hence, there will be less
future strife.Honestly, this is just a great idea. What could
possibly go wrong . . .
Tyler DYou can say that again.
What was omitted from the Brigham Young quote was to make it fit the 200 word
limit and keep the main idea. Government is the people. That
Governments become corrupted is not due to the people, but the influence of the
few. Mr. Bennett is not right. People who want to contribute to as many
candidates as possible are seeking to influence. Currently, many of the
uber-wealthy use their influence far from where they live and where they can
vote. That's not big government, that's small minds with large
influence. If all government is anathema, then why vote at all?There are political forces at work, Mr. Bennett, that seek to limit
access to the polls while also amplifying the voices of the powerful few. I
would love to discuss with Bennett why he celebrates this culture. Perhaps
citizens, as well as speech, have different values for him.
@Nate – “I wonder if the best campaign reform might not be a reading
comprehension test for voters.”Thank you Nate…You’re correct in so much as I went from point A to point E and assumed
people would make the interim connections, but since I apparently assumed too
much I’ll try to correct my error.Rich guy A wants to support
Candidate B with “an obscene amount of money,” but the law forbids
him from doing so directly… what to do, what to do?No problem!
Someone sets up a PAC that (shockingly!) mirrors all the positions
Candidate B. Rich guy A then gives that aforementioned ridiculous amount of
money to the PAC whose sole purpose it is to elect someone who holds all the
views of Candidate B.Problem solved… no laws are broken, free
speech is alive and well, and our voices are heard… well, some voices
anyway.Is that a more accurate description of our post-Citizens
@Nate – “I wonder if the best campaign reform might not be a reading
comprehension test for voters.”Thank you Nate – is it
safe to assume this was directed at me?You’re correct in so
much as I went from point A to point E and assumed people were smart enough to
make the interim connections, but since I apparently assumed too much I’ll
try to correct my error.Rich guy A wants to support Candidate B with
“an obscene amount of money,” but the law forbids him from doing so
directly… what to do, what to do?No problem! Someone sets up a PAC that (shockingly!) mirrors all the positions Candidate
B. Rich guy A then gives that aforementioned ridiculous amount of money to the
PAC whose sole purpose it is to elect someone who holds all the views of
Candidate B.Problem solved… no laws are broken, free speech is
alive and well, and our voices are heard… well, some voices anyway.Is that a more accurate description of our post-Citizens United world?
What scares me about a Justice like Breyer on the Court is that he seems to have
no rational constitutional reason for dissent. Only that he doesn't like
the speech he hears from no limits on money. Scary thinking for a judge who
supposedly has an appreciation of our Bill of Rights. Really scary.
It's only a good thing if you're very, very wealthy Bob. The rest of
the citizens in this country essentially have no voice left since the big voices
are now allowed to completely drown out the smaller voices with their
mega-campaign-donations.It's called "bribery"
Nate.I happened to agree with the free speech aspect of the ruling.
But, I strongly feel that it is terrible for our country. As is
Citizens United.You describe a "power of the people" Grass
roots campaign. I think most of us agree that is a great way and very good for
politics. And this is why the ruling on free speech is the correct one. But,
rulings apply equally to the good and the bad.Sheldon Adelson
spending hundreds of millions is not exactly grass roots. George Soros and huge
unions spending millions is not exactly grass roots. Lockheed
Martin spending hundreds of millions is not grass roots.These groups
have the financial clout to change the outcome of elections. These are not
"hundreds of millions of people with a message". These are individuals
or corporations that are purchasing things favorable to them. Corporations do
not pay money for nothing.You and I probably agree that grass roots
is great for politics. However, we probably define it differently.out of posts
@JoeBlow "Sorry, but it is not about reading comprehension."That wasn't directed at you. We are commenting on a specific court
decision, and there were a couple of people who didn't seem aware of what
was decided, even though Bailout Bob covered it in his first paragraph.
@JoeBlow "So, you really see a big distinction?"Yes, I
do.When I give money to a candidate, he controls how it is spent,
and the message produced by it.When I produce the message, it is
mine. He is prohibited by law from controlling my message, or even coordinating
with me on its production. My message can help him, hurt him, or a mixture of
the two. It is my choice. Hundreds of millions of people with a message are what
we call grass roots. This is a good thing. Now, thanks to the
Supreme Court, there is no limit to the number of candidates I can support, in
the same way that there is no limit to the number of candidates a newspaper may
endorse. My influence has increased, as has yours. In a democratic republic,
power belongs to the people.In the Brigham Young statement quoted
above, the portion omitted was his solution: that many people participate in the
economy and enjoy prosperity, so that their combined wealth counteracts the
weight of the few. The answer to concentrated power is overwhelming grassroots
@Midwest MomAnd what did Brigham Young say we should do about it?Teaching gospel principles, religious morals, and change people
hearts?As a founding father noted the Constitution was written only
for moral people. And where did those people learn those morals? From
Religion!Improve the people, don't empower the government and
limit the people.Bennett is right on this one.
Nate, So, you really see a big distinction?I am limited on what I
can give directly to the candidate who will use the money to run a campaign,
(lets say to put out political ads) but I can run all the ads I want myself and
spend without limits to do so.How is the end result functionally
different?Sorry, but it is not about reading comprehension. It is
about the ease in which one can circumvent the system and accomplish the exact
First Amendment:"Congress shall make no law respecting an
establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or
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." Does anyone see any reference or applicability to
the individual citizen in the First Amendment?
@Tyler D "The next time the Koch brothers or George Soros (pick your
partisan poison) decides they are going to give an obscene amount of money to
your local congressman..."...they will pay a penalty up to twice
the amount contributed. The per-candidate spending limit is still in place.@Steve C. Warren "Maybe we need a constitutional amendment requiring
all politicians who receive more than $5,000 from one source to dress sort of
like NASCAR drivers...."Again, the per-candidate spending limit
is still in place. It's $2600 for one election. This hasn't
changed.I wonder if the best campaign reform might not be a reading
comprehension test for voters.
Steve Warren and Joe Blow -- Both fabulous ideas. It would be ideal if
representatives were not allowed to vote on any legislation affecting their
sugar daddies (a clear conflict of interest), but at the least, full disclosure
about who is donating to these politicians and how much they are giving is
essential. I fully support the NASCAR concept. LOL
I'm still just agast that the Deseret News has openly and whole-heartedly
supported this ruling, as well as many good Latter-Day Saints who for
political reason do so as well.It's almost like their hatred of
"all things Obama" has tainted them to the point of no longer
recognizing Right from Wrong. Good vs. Evil.BTW -- I'm
still trying understand how unlimit Money is a Good thing in our Democractic
political process, and how it accomplishes the polar opposite, or fights
the Gadianton Robbers, who also destroyed the once righteous Nephites.
That is one way. However, Steve, their clothing is not large enough to list
everyone who has paid them off.How about this. If you receive money
from an oil company, you must recuse yourself from voting on legislation that
affects oil companies. Or big union contributions bar you from voting on
legislation that affects unions.You know, kind of like a judge not
sitting on a case where his brother is the defendant or sitting in judgement of
a company with which he owns a lot of stock.
Maybe we need a constitutional amendment requiring all politicians who receive
more than $5,000 from one source to dress sort of like NASCAR drivers whose
jumpsuits prominently display the names of their sponsors. The politicians would
be required to wear this clothing whenever they're doing something related
to their office, including campaigning. During a climate-change hearing, for
example, senators' clothing would show us which oil companies contributed
more than $5,000 to them.
There are a few issues on which I believe that very liberal folks, such as
myself, and very conservative folks should be joining forces to combat. NSA
spying is one and this is the other. It doesn't matter your
stripe, we all recognize that in nearly all election cycles, any social issue,
and every political decision the person/organization/group that has more money
almost always wins. Our Congress is comprised of more wealthy individuals than
ever before. Our Nation is slowly creating a ruling class wherein political
inroads are nearly unforgeable if you don't have the means (or someone who
will support you using their means). We all have to admit that the
marketplace for ideas is no longer pure. Our topical debates are no longer won
or lost based on substance but rather spending. In this case, the enemy of your
enemy is your friend. It should be a combined effort to pass a Constitutional
amendment to get rid of this deplorable system and then, once that is taken care
of, we can go back to having true debate among ourselves - until that happens,
politics is just a fiction.
"Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come
upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold
and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and
shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the
last days. Behold, the hire of the laborers who have reaped down your fields,
which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have
reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth." James 5:1-4
Sincere thanks for this thread and to the Des News for letting the people speak
on this issue. If Mr. Bennett can look at this thread and not feel himself
slightly put "in check," then he needs two teaspoons of reality. This is
a pure example of Reps. and Dems. finding true common ground and politicians and
justices can't feel the heat rising on this issue, they would be wise to
read A Tale of Two Cities. At the risk of sounding overly dramatic (well, you
have to be when you're speaking with a tiny megaphone while the Addlesons
of the world are using concert quality mikes and speakers...) your "let them
eat cake," moment is upon you.
And limited government? Please… this is pouring gasoline on a fire
(“fire” meaning government power).====== Agreed.Anyone claiming they are for "Limited Government",
and then cheering "Unlimited Spending" under the false guise of
Free Speech fooling themselves.
If you're fabulously wealthy, then you would naturally believe your money
doesn't corrupt politics or politicians.If you're like the
other 99% of people, you understand that you don't have the same voice as
very wealthy people and corporations.If you're not fabulously
wealthy, and you support the very wealthy in this, then someone has sold you a
bill of goods....namely, corporate media.I'm sorry, money does
NOT equal speech. The SCOTUS got it wrong on this one.
Reading the first 2/3 of this article (the nice historical outline up to his
attack on liberals) I kept thinking “what does this have to do unlimited
campaign contributions?” I’m still trying to connect the dots that
are apparently so clear to Mr. Bennett.The next time the Koch
brothers or George Soros (pick your partisan poison) decides they are going to
give an obscene amount of money to your local congressman, who’s call do
you think he’ll take when his secretary says, “congressman, I have
Joe Shmoe from Anytown USA and Mr. Soros on the lines?”And for
anyone who still believes money is not inherently corrupting to representative
democracy, ask yourself what a billionaire typically expects in return for his
money. Even the most philanthropic minded still want their name on a building
they bankrolled. How much more will they want from a living breathing
congressman whose daily actions or inactions can mean a return on investment
that would make a hedge fund look like a passbook savings account. And limited government? Please… this is pouring gasoline on a fire
(“fire” meaning government power).
In absolute terms, these rulings are correct. But they do not make things
better, and there's no way to deny this puts a lot of power into the hands
of the few that can buy it.
The American Revolution was about liberty and Justice for ALL, throwing
off the shackles of the Wealthy Elite ruling the masses.Most Ironic
of all -- Today's "Tea-Party" supports these King-men,
while trampling the rights of indivual citizens.
Bob, you are wrong on this one. More money causes free speech to be reduced.
That big money controls the dialogue and smothers weaker speech.
I'll predict the contestants in the 2016 presidential race right now. It
will be Hillary Clinton vs Jeb Bush for the simple reason that they have access
to the biggest donor networks. In our new political era access to money will be
the only thing that counts.
If speech is free, then why the $ value?The late British socialist,
Tony Benn, had this to say, and I think he was absolutely right."What democracy did was to give the poor the vote.And it moved power from
the marketplaceto the polling station. From the wallet to the
ballot."What Citizens United and McCutcheon do is diminish the
ballot, in favor of the wallet. That the courts call it freedom is
incomprehensible, unless you realize that some of these justices are guests of
special interest meetings and at least one justice has a spouse who is a
lobbyist.Said Brigham Young, "One of the great evils with which
our own nation is menaced at the present time is the wonderful growth of wealth
in the hands of a comparatively few individuals. The very liberties for which
our fathers contended so steadfastly and courageously ...are endangered by the
monstrous power which this accumulation of wealth gives to a few... its
seductive influence...threatens to give shape tolegislation...according to
history, such a tendency among nations once powerful was the sure precursor of
The Des News censors rarely let my comments through even though in every
rejected comment I've posted, I've tried to remain civil and avoided
personal attacks. Also, each and every time one of my comments have been
rejected I can look on the same thread and see many of the more party line
comments, which contain intolorence, pettiness and simply support the Des News
positions. Free speech is a tricky thing. Mr. Bennett is not in a position to
reap the profits of the Koch brothers or the Addlesons of our nation, but you
can tell he'd like to be back in their good graces. Our democracy was dealt
a death blow by Citizens United and this is simply the icing on the cake. Now we
read where Mr. Addlesons flew,the GOP likely candidates out to Nevada for a
little meet and greet/audition. Lovely, Republicans! And bravo! This is what
you've left yourself with. A miserable field of candidates cowtowing to
the elite of our nation. This Supreme Court will be remembered for this.
Reminds me of the saying "I have a bridge to sell you"Bennett writes "liberals are now insisting that one’s free speech
rights should decrease as one’s net worth increases."Constitutionally, looks like the case is settled. The bribery in our politics
is now completely legal and limitless.Money in politics corrupts.
You know it and I know it. Corporate money, Union money, Koch
brothers money, Soros money. It all corrupts. I see not difference in those
dollars.Constitutionality aside, Do you think the money in politics
corrupts the system?Bennett also writes "Liberal
commentators claim this decision undermines democracy; Conservatives declare it
a victory for free speech."Maybe both can be true. It could be
construed as a victory for free speech, but we KNOW it compromises the decisions
of our elected officials.