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Can Democracy Withstand The Power of Big Money?

(Photos by Robin Holland)

This week on the JOURNAL, Bill Moyers spoke with libertarian journalist Nick Gillespie and progressive legal scholar Lawrence Lessig about the impact of last month's controversial Supreme Court ruling allowing corporations and unions to spend unlimited funds from their general treasuries on political communications in periods shortly before elections and primaries.

While many have argued that the Court's decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission affirms free speech and the First Amendment, others have expressed grave concern that the ruling may open the floodgates of corporate money into America's elections and undermine the voices and trust of ordinary citizens.

Criticizing the Court's ruling as a blow to citizens' faith in government, Lessig said:

"I think it's an ominous sign about the future of this Court and any kind of reform. Because though I support free speech, and even free speech for corporations, what this means is increasingly people are going to believe their government is controlled by the funders and not by the people... Congress has lost the respect of the people, and it's only going to get much, much worse... Increasingly, members are thinking not about what makes sense... They think about what's going to make it easier for the lobbyists to help channel money into their campaigns. They've produced the fundraising Congress, where their obsession is, 'how do I make the people who will fund my campaigns happier?'... The problem that I see is that when speech gets read by the ordinary American people as just another way in which Congress is focusing on the funders rather than focusing on the people, it erodes the trust in this government."

Gillespie defended the Court's decision and suggested that shrinking the scope of government is the best way to drain money from politics:

"I think it was a victory for free speech, in the end. If anything, it didn't go far enough. Campaign finance regulation is always a suppression of speech... What I would argue is that we have too many campaign finance reforms. They do stifle free speech - that's what they're designed to do - particularly political speech... Who are the corrupt politicians? Name names, because that's what this is about. Who are the people who are dancing to the tune of their corporate masters?... We have seen an explosion of corporate lobbying after Obama went into office. This past year has been the biggest bumper year for lobbyists ever. What I would argue is it has nothing to do with patrolling speech or even elections - what it has to do with is the fact that the budget that's on the table now is $3.8 trillion. As long as the government is shoveling that kind of cash around, people are going to be sniffing out ways to get their share."

What do you think?

  • What's your perspective on the Supreme Court's decision in the Citizens United case?

  • Do you believe that a system of campaign finance laws is capable of limiting the influence of money, or do you agree with Gillespie that lobbying and corruption are inevitable with a large federal budget?

  • Do you agree with Lessig that Congress has lost the people's respect? What reforms would increase your faith in Washington?


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    Comments

    DCEDDY wrote, "It would be nice to know who is behind the destruction of our society."

    "Politicians"?

    :-)

    Seriously, when every breath you take and every move you make is "machievellian", you MUST destroy everyone else to "win" that "game".

    Where we are as a species - human, I'm assuming for the majority - at this point in time

    Is UNIQUE. The species has NEVER had to deal with 7 billion of it's memebers living together at the same time - there was barely 7 billion humans in ALL of the timeline before NOW.

    So it's like ALL the people who ever lived (million years BEFORE NOW)

    all showed up at the same time.

    It's weird, in a way, isn't it?

    What the heck happened that made the species THINK it this was a good idea?!

    Let's see what 7 billion people on one 3rd rock from the sun "feels" like...?

    Uh, besides crowded and miserable and sickly...?

    Besides ethically, morally and spiritual shell-shocked from all the selfish "isms"...?!

    Don't know if you, DC, ever listened to the song "Cross of Changes" recorded by the group called "Enigma"...?

    It's a GOOD question posed to the religionists of authority and one they WILL NOT answer...check it out.

    This ruling angered me greatly. I just don't understand how a corporation can be counted as a person. A corporation is a thing, not a person.
    A corporation or union is MADE UP of persons, and as people they have one vote each, one voice each. A CEO of a corporation can already use his money to speak out loudly against the very people that got him rich. Now those in control of those corporations or those unions can collect money from the workers that give them that very power and wealth, or the members who’s dues they collect, and use that to speak out TWICE (now as a corporation) against the very members who got them the money?
    I said “twice”, but it is actually exponentially, because that CEO or union leader can use the money of ALL the collective workers, sometimes to influence an election against the very rights, health or welfare of those very workers paying for it.
    I am afraid for my country.

    Yet another angle to consider, huh? Corporation Xe, meet the Patriot Act...
    Posted by: Anna D.

    Posted By: David C.
    Right! It will be like a battle between the Shape Shifter and Electronics Man.
    The people would be the marshmallow critters who will scurry about trying not to get crushed by the Mêlée.
    It would be nice to know who is behind the destruction of our society.
    The people who signed our constitution are probably spinning in their grave.
    I would have thought we would be able to hold our system off government together for more than two hundred twenty seven years.
    It all began nine years ago when Bush Incorporated stole the presidential election.
    The Obama Factor is a failure and the marshmallow people are between the Corporation Xe and the Patriots Act “hard places”.


    DCEDDY wrote, in part, "The people headed in the right direction are not the problem it is the Sociopathic Materialists who have taken the wrong direction and they are in charge."

    But they are such CHEERFUL

    and "good" humoured Sociopathic Materialists.

    Who does not "feel" safe when the Patriot Act meets Corporation Xe and no Judge need approve the POWER the drink vodka from the butt "employees" have to surveillance YOU and ME...?

    Yet another angle to consider, huh? Corporation Xe, meet the Patriot Act...

    I like very much that you used the word “preposterous” in referring to the Roberts court decision concerning the Citizens United case. Yes. We need to keep in mind that the actions these days by so many money-saturated, imploding branches of government are not only corrupt and shameless but also LAUGHABLE.

    These various Solemn Deliberations and Sacred Responsibilities which are more and more transparently pro-Greed, self-serving and outrageously corrupt need to be seen AS FARCICAL.

    For the sake of the sanity of the ever increasing number of people who see both the absurdity and the tragedy of what is transpiring we need a contemporary Mark Twain or a Moliere or a Swift or Bertolt Brecht to “put these people in their place” as the over-reaching, transparently corrupt, bumbling and money-grubbing clowns they really are.

    Mitch McConnell’s glutinous face and flabby persona would be an excellent place to start or better still the wonderful Uriah Heep appearance of John Roberts at his nomination hearings that you showed on your program in which he does his go-for-broke unctuous Puppy Dog Routine.

    The pretensions of these various Special Interest Stooges should now elicit nothing but howls of laughter from the public. In this regard I miss George Bush and his “Bushisms” and regret that with the current administration we appear to have moved on to slicker, more media-savvy ground. We need a revival of “Lil Abner” with a new Stubby Kaye singing “Jubilation T. Cornpone” and dedicating it to our current crop of “leaders”. Meanwhile, however, U tube does offer a more modest version but one in which those delightful and timeless lyrics ring more true than ever.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09q9ZfA2fRo
    Yours truly, John Hepworth

    It's over, DC, you just NEED to believe no one is moving in the "right" direction...
    Posted by: Anna D.

    Posted by: David C.
    It's not over until the last man (or woman) is left standing.
    The people headed in the right direction are not the problem it is the Sociopathic Materialists who have taken the wrong direction and they are in charge.
    I understand perfectly well. By the way I agree with most of your post.
    How's that for poetry?

    DC typed, "We need to be headed in the best possible direction and there is no one interested in finding that direction."

    You have got to be kidding me...it appears it's not just my writs you have a hard time understanding...

    On these blogs we have done the math to solve health care costs, decided on a constitutional convention, figured out how to create jobs, solve the energy crisis, clean up pollution, form non-political
    parties to send representatives of industry, labor, science, the fine arts, agriculturalist, etc. on a you-tube budget so they have no corporate master...etc etc etc.

    The ONLY reason nothing is moving forward is because we MUST throw a whole bunch of psychos and sociopaths out of the "institutions" of government and into their very own "special" people "institution" where everything can be "theoretical" - like they INSIST it is - and no more damage is done by them, anymore, in/to the REAL world.

    The BIGGEST bit of BANALUKI channeling out 24/7 by the "media" is that there is an "elite" that has earned 95% of the fruits of the world's labors...

    It's over, DC, you just NEED to believe no one is moving in the "right" direction...

    Anna D.
    It would be a boring life if everyone was a "Rocket Scientist". As it is we need all kinds of people to make the world go around.
    Thanks to the orbit and spin of the earth and the circling galaxy; we are always going around in circles. "What goes around comes around" is particularly true.
    We need to be headed in the best possible direction and there is no one interested in finding that direction.
    I guess circling the field will have to do. (:->

    Tom Shillick opined, in part, "Profound self-deception or disingenuousness is clearly no bar to judicial membership."

    Okay, so what is the BIG WORD for the mental condition that LAW suffers from when it gives "god" rights to a THING?

    Nuts?

    DCEDDY - We have a DEMOCRATIC CAPITALISM that does BUSINESS with communism, fascism, EXTREMISM, zionism and even LOVES barbarism...

    What a relief to realize that DEMOCRATIC CAPITALISM draws a MORAL line SOMEWHERE...

    It has CHOSEN to draw the MORAL line at doing business with "FEMINISM".

    Whew!

    Since I live in the part of the country where mercenaries, FILTHY rich doctors who do organ transplants for GLOBAL drug lords and war lords, and SHAMANS can freely hold seminars about prophecy predictions and "end times"

    (I recycled that flyer that came in the mail last week inviting me to the "end times" seminar to soon, it would have been EDUCATIONAL to quote from it - "religion" indeed!)


    well, it's not as if I don't have LOW hanging fruit around in the way of picking out the HOLY man of my dreams that I can rearrange myself for like a metamorph...

    YES YES YES

    your WORDS have convinced me to go out in the world of meth, mortgages and casinos and find a "soul" mate!

    Scheesh...

    I wake up every day and remind myself that I am living in a mental institution where SANITY is mercilessly beaten out of a "soul" by made-up and self-proclaimed AUTHORITIES who openly profess a hatred for "government"...

    The FACT that there is NO PLACE left to put down a dainty little foot without stepping on some war lord or drug lords SACRED COW,

    Welcome to the United States of BANALUKI.

    Think it's not that bad...?

    Xe is about to get another billion dollar contract. Unlike the regular Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines which follow orders to stand down once a WAR is won

    Because the mercernary force of Xe is a CORPORATION, they, like the health insurance companies, do NOT have an "off" switch.

    Wonder which candidate Xe'll be promoting...?

    And if that isn't enough, Xe has HOMELAND SECURITY rights -

    no PERMISSION is necessary for Xe to intercept your phone, internet, TV,

    to access ALL your bank and medical records

    to rough up family and friends

    And somehow,

    ALL THAT is my fault because I'm NOT "perfect" enough of a "lover"?

    That's WHY I don't fit in...?

    Well, golly-gee, glad that was all cleared up today - thanks guys!

    Anna D.

    If we men and women cannot pull together for each other; then we should at least pull together for the sake of the Children.
    They are our future.
    Today's decisions and actions are tomorrow's reality.

    There is more to reality than what is seen. The power behind reality is also real. Space is just as real as is matter.
    Sociopathic Materialism is a force in which we must contend in order to bring about the reality that is in our best interests.

    Anna D O'Anna D where art thou Anna D.

    As usual I am with you when it comes to your premises but when it comes to conclusions you are from Venis and I am from mars...

    My conclusions are that we need to recognize each other for what we are and be what we were meant to be. In the meantime back at the ranch; we need to understand that it is best to work together to the benefit of everyone.
    The same goes for politics.
    We are not Republicans or Democrats we are people who need to survive threats to our nation and to the individual.
    Trying to be what we are not is foolishness that ends badly for everyone.
    Non-nagotiable ideals are getting us into "frozen assets". We need all possible possibilities to prevent our mutual oblivion.

    “In remarks to Georgetown University law students, O'Connor said, "This rise in judicial campaigning makes last week's opinion in Citizens United a problem for an independent judiciary. No state can possibly benefit from having that much money injected into a political campaign." “

    This invites the question independent of what? Historically, the judicial branch supports the reactionary power elite as best it can just as it does now. So it’s difficult to see how the infusion of large amounts of money from various power elites will result in more than marginal changes. I shall not forget O’Connor’s remark on the News Hour that the decisions of Supreme Court justices have nothing to do with their personal values. Profound self-deception or disingenuousness is clearly no bar to judicial membership. Chief justice Rhenquist demonstrated beyond any doubt that social, economic, political and moral issues can take precedence over legal precedent and that the latter can be a dues ex machina for the occasion. When done to ameliorate broad social injustice it is referred to as “judicial activism”.

    Many judges run unopposed because lawyers do not want to risk the prejudicial consequences of coming before a judge who they ran against. The legal profession is too hermetic given the effects it has on people’s lives. Their fee structures effectively deny access to courts and justice for the vast majority of Americans. Economically, the legal profession operates like a Mafia extracting rents, albeit legalized, from clients and society generally. Opening the judicial branch to justice for all is overdue, though just letting the money flow in may make it even more independent of the commonweal than it already is.

    The supreme court’s decision is part of the larger public policy strategy of deregulation that began during the Carter administration. Intellectually, that was grounded in a bogus economics of efficient market theory. The larger intellectual context of that was a recrudescence of Social Darwinism in America. These facilitated the transfer of wealth to the power elite and a shift to a two class society. The socialization of the losses of the financial industry while the banksters are allowed to keep a couple decades of looting and economic distortions of the economy shows that American capitalism as morphed into plutocracy and kleptocracy rather like an M.C. Escher drawing. The heist perpetrated on Americans by the Bush and Obama regimes does not even rise to the level of taxation without representation. It’s simply theft. What would the Founding Fathers DO?

    ????Strange what is happening to this comment section????

    Back on the subject of corruption in the Justice system.

    A comment on what to do about the problem. Your guest proposed it was important for people to believe that the system is fair.

    The tough question is how to do that.

    The great wisdom of the ages is that for a country to be healthy:

    1. It requires a healthy Justice system.

    2. For that to happen you need simple laws that are understood by all so that they can be believed in.

    3. The logic here is that the only way to have a free society is to have self enforcement.

    Keep digging, but I think you will eventually realize that giving government more power will inevitably lead to more corruption.

    Power tends to corrupt and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely.

    Your Democratic Party idealism that the government is the answer flies in the face of this reality.

    At every turn the more power is vested in the government, only the greediest and most corrupt among the population will be left in charge.

    Let's deal with the grubby, Charles Dickens-like REALITY of today's "masses" for a change, shall we?

    Since there is a new game in town called "we-can-get-rid-of-them-by-having-more-babies", political punsters noting that soon "non-white" in USA is going to be 39% of "voters",

    how about a second spent on the variety of CULTURE among "whites"?

    Over and over again, DCEDDY and I rub up against the FACTS as we were taught them in our "cultures". (Okay, I'm assuming s/he's "white", as am I. I'm so "white" that I often win the whitest person on the beach contest :-))

    There are also MANY many many versions of "christianity", "jewish", and "moslem".

    MY "version" interprets the male/female thingy this way:

    "Male and female are, practically regarded, two distinct varieties of the same species living iin close and intimate association. Their viewpoints and entire life reactions are essentially different; they are wholly incapable of full and real comprehension of each other. Complete understanding between the sexes is not attainable. Women SEEM to have more intuition than men, but they also APPEAR to be somewhat less logical. Woman, however, has always been the MORAL STANDARD-BEARER and the SPIRITUAL LEADER of mankind. The hand that rocks the cradle still fraternizes with destiny."

    The "feminist" movement in the USA has been CLEARLY documented to be brought on by the widespread destruction of the family from alcohol abuse. The rise in alcohol abuse among men was due to the numbing repetitiveness and long hours of their "factory" jobs.

    Stop re-writing HISTORY.

    D.C. repeats this primitive made-up crap (man, I sure hope you are JOKING when you throw out this inanity), "Maybe women where created as a man's help mate... but after she talked him into going for the apple trap that all turned around."

    AD - There was a HUGE and PERMANENT divergence of "culture" among the "whites" that happened so long ago, that there is no REAL documentation to point to when, exactly, it happened. My culture calls that old testament bible stuff "banaluki" (as does one comediene, a Mr. Black). I thought EVERYONE agreed that we are NOT going to set our collective HUMAN RACE destiny, here in USA, based on "BANALUKI". There ARE many people who think that as a PRACTICAL idea for solving the no-soup-for-you of Charles Dickens's social observations,

    "banaluki" is OFF the table as a CIVILIZED POWER-play by INCOMPETANT POLITICIANS.

    More made up "interpretations" from DCEDDY, "Women's lib is still convincing men that they should let them run the show. I fail to see how getting ride of their man, working three jobs to meet the cost of living and having to do all of the home duties is an advantage."

    AD - It's preferable to being at the mercy of a sociopath, or worse, isn't it?

    DCEDDY, "I would think working together to make life as pleasant as possible would be a better goal."

    AD - What a smell red herring this is...the DEMOCRACY is alive and well in USA because "we" do business with all the INSANE "isms" of the 20th century - communism, fascism, zionism - and the favorite - barbarism - but let's draw the line at doing business with "feminism"...?!

    DCEDDY, "The only thing that helps people out is a good job that pays the cost of living and other people that are a comfort instead of a challenge."

    AD - Why are you preaching TO ME about that? Because NO ONE CARES OR IS LISTENING TO YOU ON WALL STREET OR IN WASHINGTON? Well, duh.

    My peeps, male and female, figure it is about $40 an hour and everything is covered - the occasional bout of bad health and the kind of pursuit of hobbies that advances PROGRESS in standard of living through enhanced life-maintenance techniques.

    DCEDDY, "Love one another" is still the best advice. Raising children is people's most important task."

    AD - We are SO FAR beyond in madness and criminality that this kind of preaching of the obvious is insulting. Seriously.

    Just keep in mind this FACT, DCEDDY, the kids I've RAISED in some way come from a completely different "white" culture than yours. No one ever gave YOUR "side" ANY authority to interpret "the golden rule" for us.

    We are at "war" with each other, have been for a LONG time, and will continue to be to,

    let me borrow YOUR banaluki WORD

    to the "end time" :-)

    Now, for the growing 39% (or wha'ever) with a plan to have more babies as a way to getting rid of "whitey"...

    take a break from YOUR hatred and re-evaluate which "whitey" you are going to end up with as "master" - AGAIN - before you choose sides.

    Not sure black and latino women would agree to killing any baby girls as a means of population control, but you never know about the "moral standard bearers" and "spiritual leaders" in those "races" that can't even IMAGINE what that means - "WOMEN are spiritual leaders?! WOMEN don't even have souls - they are animals..."

    Better stop, DCEDDY, with the "banaluki". You're embarassing yourself and losing the respect of the kids who want a solution to pollution that is not dilution - and they KNOW that the "chicks" are going to be part of the "solution".

    Ironic how you don't like the two things about being a woman that MEN have "created" for women as an amusement for themselves in some way or another - "beauty" contests, and of course, "babies"...
    Posted by: Anna D

    Posted by David E.
    Maybe women where created as a man's help mate... but after she talked him into going for the apple trap that all turned around. Women's lib is still convincing men that they should let them run the show. I fail to see how getting ride of their man, working three jobs to meet the cost of living and having to do all of the home duties is an advantage.
    I would think working together to make life as pleasant as possible would be a better goal.
    All the 'isms" in the world are doing nothing to help people out.
    The only thing that helps people out is a good job that pays the cost of living and other people that are a comfort instead of a challenge.
    "Love one another" is still the best advice. Raising children is people's most important task.

    "To "Anna D."

    Gordie says: So, WHAT is your solution? Do we vote them out? That'll require about four generations. What is YOUR solution?

    Article V is the ONLY lawful means for the PEOPLE to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Marches on Washington won't do it; writing endless well thought out comments won't do it; trying to vote them out won't do it. ONLY an Article V Convention will do it - become familiar with it OR get ready for a full-on Revolution."

    Well, Gordie, I happened to actually be in a country that HAD a revolution while I was there - a peaceful one, for the most part.

    Reagan had nothing to do with it, although that's what "history" in USA is teaching...whatever the "ism" from the INSANE 20th century IS in the USA in 2010, it's the only "ism" still doing GLOBAL damage because

    imho

    it has embraced ALL the tactics and schticks

    of the other "isms"

    communism
    fascism
    zionism

    and your basic 3rd world timeless, back to nature favorite - barbarism

    yesiree, we do BUSINESS with them all...

    DCEDDY opined, in part, "I am glad I am a man mostly because men do not have to win beauty contests or have babies."

    Ironic how you don't like the two things about being a woman that MEN have "created" for women as an amusement for themselves in some way or another - "beauty" contests, and of course, "babies"...



    To "Anna D."

    Gordie says: So, WHAT is your solution? Do we vote them out? That'll require about four generations. What is YOUR solution?

    Article V is the ONLY lawful means for the PEOPLE to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Marches on Washington won't do it; writing endless well thought out comments won't do it; trying to vote them out won't do it. ONLY an Article V Convention will do it - become familiar with it OR get ready for a full-on Revolution.

    Visit: http://www.article-v-convention.com

    Gordie Hayduk
    Veteran, Voter and Mayflower Descendent

    Deep down inside, we're SERIOUS about the "Just War".
    And one thing is CLEAR. War is always declared without any worries about who and how it is going to be "paid" for...rihgt?
    Posted by: Anna D

    Posted by: David E.
    Your post sure did rihg my bell...
    A quote from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek written by Annie Dillard.
    "I had been my whole life a bell, and never knew it until at the moment I was lifted and struck."
    We are all bells that need to be struck now and then to see if our bell still rings true...
    I have always admired women for who they are and what they represent.
    I am glad I am a man mostly because men do not have to win beauty contests or have babies.
    I have taught women's self-defense. Most of the women in my life have had strong personalities.
    I only intend to challenge you with no ill intent.
    As far as I can tell; there is only one of me other than the "me, myself and I" play on words.
    On the subject of war; the only things wars produce is death and destruction.
    War of words can be fun as long as people have thick skins and kind hearts.
    We need to choose the right path before we venture into untried territory.
    The stakes are high and our survival as a Democracy is in jeopardy.
    We need to be of one accord to avoid a corrupt slave state of affairs.


    Gordie wrote, in part, "Imagine Congress receiving 1-million letters the first month; 5-million letters the second month; 25-million the third month; 125-million the fourth month... Pass it along and save the Republic."

    We have PROOF after PROOF that

    THEY DO NOT CARE

    Even when their eyes saw the reality of a million people in their faces in D.C at the inaguration,

    it did NOT make a dent in their "governing", did it?

    THEY DO NOT CARE.

    Adjust your thinking to that FACT and adjust tactics.

    It's ALWAYS all about the money - they have the money.

    Who are "they"...?

    Drug lords and war lords...

    Now how did the "war" on "drugs" work out - did sending emails begging the local pusher to stop work...?

    You're not dealing with a different "class" of politician and business man in D.C than the street pushers - same "value" system...


    The Answer: An Article V Convention

    Each month on the 15th write a brief letter to your members of Congress saying:

    I demand that you represent my interests by calling a convention as delineated in Article V of the U.S. Constitution. Issue a press release to the media so everyone will know your position. Failure to do so will result in me not voting for you.

    Imagine Congress receiving 1-million letters the first month; 5-million letters the second month; 25-million the third month; 125-million the fourth month... Pass it along and save the Republic. Remember, Freedom Is Not Free!

    Visit: http://www.article-v-convention.com

    Gordie Hayduk
    Veteran, Voter and Mayflower Descendent

    DC Eddy opined, "Preventing the ship of state from sinking will take the right words and the right actions.
    It is also about insufficient funds to do what is necessary to stay afloat. It takes a lot of fluid assets to keep this nation from sinking. The water needs to support the ship not sink the ship."

    One trillion is the CASH amount in circulation among the GLOBAL drug lords and war lords.

    That's BIG MONEY, right?

    And there's agreement that BIG MONEY has bought:

    MEDIA (the fourth estate of FREE SPEECH)

    POLITICIANS

    JUDGES

    and, of course, CEOs and "shareholders"...

    There is NO WAY that PROGRESS, USA-style, can advance if it has to "compete" with GLOBAL BIG MONEY.

    It's in the hands of drug lords and war lords...what part don't you "understand"?

    And threatening ME with microwaving and shut up the birdie because I don't understand "bird brain" tweets...

    How am I supposed to follow YOU two as "leaders"...?

    I don't.

    POLITICIANS need to cease to exist as a "class" in government. Period.

    I don't NEED you two. I have already clearly ascertained that I have both the education and the talent to continue to advance REAL civilization. And both of you would not be targeting me for your virtual reality women-beating if YOU did not also know that.

    You two make it possible for drug lords and war lords to do business as usual because you are the petty hooligans who are just in search of getting some piece of the carcass for yourselves.

    Yes. I am at "war". And I made it clear WHY - search "Just War" on wiki.

    Not for ONE SECOND do I believe that a REAL "warrior" is going to microwave a chirping birdie to feel-the-POWER. That's PSYCHO.

    You, two, on the other hand, would if you could.

    Deep down inside, we're SERIOUS about the "Just War".

    And one thing is CLEAR. War is always declared without any worries about who and how it is going to be "paid" for...rihgt?

    You wrote, as a more subtle threat to me than the microwave thingy was, "What slips between the lips can sink nations."
    Posted By: Anna D.

    Posted By David E.
    Ya. It does come off as out of the microwave and into the food disposal.
    Food for thought that is...
    ( :- >
    Again I was referring to the universal you not the individual living and breathing person which this thread should be all about.
    When I can figure out what you are saying; I am usually in agreement.
    Again; I am talking about the universal you that applies to all individual you's guys and girls; the problem is not only that the words can cause confusion, the actions that ensue can cause nations to fall.
    After the words comes the "sticks and stones".
    We need the right words and the right actions to extract ourselves from the micro wave and prevent the ship of state from sinking.
    Preventing the ship of state from sinking will take the right words and the right actions.
    It is also about insufficient funds to do what is necessary to stay afloat. It takes a lot of fluid assets to keep this nation from sinking. The water needs to support the ship not sink the ship.

    I see my friend predicting we are following the fall of the Roman Empire are right.

    Personally I would limit campaign contributions to those people that one represents. And end corporate personhood.(Judges should be appointed)

    The more I learn about the American political system the more I start thinking of moving to Cuba.

    Make up your mind, DC.

    Where is the POWER?

    You go on and on about how the pluto crazies are in charge

    and now you want me to believe I can bring down the whole USA...???

    That's more than a little confused in your own head, ain't it?

    You wrote, as a more subtle threat to me than the microwave thingy was, "What slips between the lips can sink nations."

    Uh oh - culture clash...look out. I was taught a sing-songy that went like this:

    "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me."

    Wanna stick your hand in the vat of toxic mixed "stuff" and see how MY cultural song is teaching kids TRUTH?

    This message to Bill Moyers mainly. (Purchasing a political seat ?). You gave me another Brilliant Idea..I think the Best thing for all Elections in the Future, is to eliminate All campaign money special interest monies of all kind. Just make it equal for all candidates by having them post there own value's and short video, like a campaign Tube video site. And have a special TV channel set up to play these districts video's for people to watch and vote.( This provides (=) money and Time for all political people running ) Wm andrews Discoverer of a Vacuum Universe and New Forms of Energy. C/C.. This better leaves the founding fathers printed on money, resting better in there graves from Corruption and big money ?

    For those that understand this country is on the path to destruction and scratch their head at the reported economic statistics, you would do well to take the primers at 'Shadow Government Statistics':
    http://www.shadowstats.com/

    Once you understand the way the government has massaged the stats then it all makes sense and re-enforces the understanding of doom.

    Anna D.
    Beware the Jabber Talker...

    Sometimes, the word is mightier than the sword.
    The right word has moved nations. Fear is just such a word. When the word fear overcomes the words Courage, Wisdom, Justice, Equity and Compassion what follows is Chaos and Rage.
    It is important to choose your words carefully. What slips between the lips can sink nations.

    Fantastic show. I am utterly disgusted with the corruption running rampant in this country. I wonder if HELL is big enough for all these selfish, greedy, corrupt, unethical people who don't deserve to spend even one second in heaven, ever! PLEASE put this entire one hour episide on DVD and give it away for FREE (or sell for $1.99) so that every citizen can watch it. I will personally walk the streets and pass out thousands and thousands of copies to every single person I come in contact with from now and until the next election. God help us all.

    Bravo, Mr. Moyers! If there is a single issue that stands above all others in its dire implications, it is that of money in politics. It is disturbing that the floodgates have now truly opened for direct corporate influence in elections. The only silver lining--if it can be called that--is the overwhelming bipartisan opposition to the Supreme Court ruling. It seems there is something Americans can agree upon after all.

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=457641440290&ref=mf

    Thank you Bill.

    Bill, your concerns belong to all of us who fear for the loss of our once great republic. The corruption of special interest money in our political system as well as the indifference of the corporate owned media that no longer speaks truth to private interests and money forcasts a bleak future for our culture. Our grand children will surely curse us for letting this once in a lifetime gift to mankind vanish before our eyes !

    The pendulum has surely swung and is now permanently stuck in a position of extreme corporate plutocracy but the blame lies with the voters over the past sixty or more years who always has the chance to vote for the candidates with the least campaign funds and chose instead to vote for the candidates with the largest campaign funding. Call it human nature or ignorance or even stupidity but unfortunately we must now all live with the faults of our one-person, one-vote forefathers.

    The pendulum has surely swung and is now permanently stuck in a position of extreme corporate plutocracy but the blame lies with the voters over the past sixty or more years who always has the chance to vote for the candidates with the least campaign funds and chose instead to vote for the candidates with the largest campaign funding. Call it human nature or ignorance or even stupidity but unfortunately we must now all live with the faults of our one-person, one-vote forefathers.

    We are in so much trouble! Thank you for how well this was reported on. I have lost faith in our media but this reporting had me glued to the TV. Keep it up with reporting the issues that matter, you gained a more frequent viewer and maybe a loyal one, up to you.

    Bill, as someone who has reported on this issue in the past, do you honestly think this outcome changes anything? Corporations were pouring money into elections before McCain/Feingold they did after its passage and they will continue to do so. The only thing that changes is that they no longer need to attempt to hide it if they wish. Lewis Black, comedian says it best: "Corporations have been in bed with politics and elections forever. The only difference in recent times is they dont attempt to hide it. We all knew it was happening before, and now we have to hear about it? Ewwww."

    I am a Canadian , but this interest me because here in canada we have pretty much the same system of appointing judges.

    My observation of what is taking place in the USA is this, your court system is looking and acting more like the Russian the Russian KGB.

    In both countries we have laws, laws written by lawyers whose main objective is to create arguments ..which make them very rich and the taxpayer who pay the bills, very poor.

    English Teacher scribed, "Either take an English composition course and PASS or stop posing gimberish that only elves and you can understand!"

    Your sentence cannot be properly diagramed, and also has spelling errors.

    To Anna D:
    Your compositions are horrible. Either take an English composition course and PASS or stop posing gimberish that only elves and you can understand!

    Stop posting garbage. Your posts give me a headache.

    In unpaid service to mankind :-)

    I have decided to take one WRONG presentation of "facts" from the PAID "servant", "allenwretch" and do a little "ehdjewkayshun":

    He wrote, in part, "Let me tell you how a solar powered houses work. In the NE you need 400% more solar capacity than high sun states out west for one thing. The deep cell battery banks costs many, many thousands of dollars and have to be replaced every 4 or 6 years. If you get 10 years from an inverter that cost a thousand $ or more your lucky."

    AD - The "plan" is to utilize all available energy sources to feed into an infrastructure that can accept the energy. Meaning that no one is asking the NorthEast to build solar arrays because it is OBVIOUS that that's not where the sun shines :-)

    Now, who are YOU YOU YOU

    to get up everyday and think up of new ways to PREVENT the building of solar arrays in the parts of USA where there IS enough sun shine?

    By focusing on the money and politicians for a "solution" to the problems that politicians in pursuit of money for ME ME ME created by pretending they are "government"

    is not "thinking" nor is it "problem solving".

    Used to be Repubs represented "industry" and Dems represented "labor".

    As noted, when "industry" goes "bad", then "labor" does nothing other than game the system.

    No one ever pays much attention to WWII survivors who keep reminding us that they accepted an industry "job" from the occupying force because they were told they were building a factory. Now remember, this was the time of the heyday of "industrialization" and building a factory was as sacred to the times as building a "church" was in the Dark Ages.

    Here's my point, NO ONE OF NORMAL MIND could have BELIEVED what that factory that they were building was going to be doing with "people"!!

    USA society is long overdue for a "political" reorganization. But instead of "political" parties, a better organization would be to herd together into "special interests" the REAL PEOPLE who are doing REAL LIFE MAINTENANCE JOBS.

    For instance, USA LOST it's technological progress edge on th eglobal stage when SCIENTISTS got enough money that they were willing to cherry-pick DATA for "corporations". ANd of course, enough appartchiks burrowed into "regulatory" government agencies to make sure no one questioned the spin.

    So, personally, I would "feel" ethically and morally "safe" if I knew that there was a "political" party of SCIENTISTS who would take an oath, or sign a contract, take your pick,

    that they would NOT cherry pick data

    and that they promise to USE "science" in service to improving the LIVES of HUMAN BEINGS.

    "Whistle blowers" UNITE!

    :-))

    There's your "new age" labor force...NO ONE wants to build a "factory" based on the "extortion" of "labor".

    The way the "media" trumpets paid-for "opinion", even the FBI is starting to SEE that it's the hitler-wannabee who is writing up the definition of "terrorist".

    "Never forget the past" is wisdom. Re-writing the past is psychotic.

    I think there is some common ground here. However...I think the influence of FOREIGN entities will rise...especially from China...and maybe Japan in the distant future.

    Mr. Eddy, you seem to have trouble understanding what you read.
    Posted By: John

    You are right...
    I thought you were supporting the supreme Courts decision to allow the unlimited corruption of our representatives with election funding.
    I thought you were trying to confuse the issue.
    You are right; contributions to elections is an automatic corruption of the government and the best fix is public funded elections.
    The corporations already have the advantage of lobbyists.
    Your second post was much clearer.

    Response to D.C. Eddy/February 18, 2010.

    Mr. Eddy, you seem to have trouble understanding what you read.

    “Public Financing of Federal Elections”

    There is nothing deceptive or misleading about that. Nor is the observation that we could implement “Public Financing of Federal Elections” without changing anything else in our political system.

    “Public Financing of Federal Elections” would eliminate the problem of “Big Money” deciding who we vote for and when they get to Washington - having to do what they are told to do.

    “Public Financing of Federal Elections”, nope, not hard to understand, Nothing deceptive about it. Yup, simple, would work.

    One key element that is missing in this debate is the role of the Fourth Estate, that is, the press.

    All the millions or potentially billions of dollars that special interest money might spend on advertising to influence elections will go to...guess who? The media!!!

    So how can we expect our "watch dog" media to objectively influence public policy away from the corrupting influence of special interest big money when they stand to be the biggest winners financially?

    Are television stations going to turn down ads? No! And in a time when even television is struggling to survive amidst the competition of hundreds of channels, why would we expect their ad people to not step in to oppose attempts to limit election spending? Same with newspapers, which are also foundering.

    What I am saying is that we cannot trust ad-driven media to objectively report the dangers of high money electioneering!

    I of course except the Moyers Journal...

    I did the math - wasn't hard at all!

    600 trillion USA $$$ on a made-up "balance sheet" of financial instruments that are ALSO "toxic assets"

    is EXACTLY equal to all the STUFF that Wall Streeters can see when they look west across the Hudson

    IT'S REAL STUFF, Kids!

    ...vats here and there, dilapidated warehouses, rusty bridges, numerous superfund sites (ie. corporate headquarters for pharma companies like Schering and Ciba)

    and if you want to go "global" - land mines EVERYWHERE, neglected rockets, allenwretch's "products" choking birds on Hawaii's beaches (man those people on carnivale ocean cruises are slobs!)

    you get the point

    well that's all REAL STUFF

    so where is the "debt" number coming from that is metaphysically translating to "slave state" under a "dick-tator"...?

    BUY BUY BUY all YOUR suff and there is no "debt"...!

    The loop is closed:

    Financial toxic assets =
    toxic waste

    So WHO is the "regulator" that is POWERFUL enough to stop everyone from LIFE MAINTENANCE (PROGRESS) today?

    The "corporation"...?

    Which one...?

    It leaves all the forces and voices of federal politics in place but ties the politician to the voter. Except for advertising it removes the power of big money from the politician. Yet, it leaves the right and practice of big money to petition the government.
    Posted by: John

    Sorry John but you still have it wrong. You are either purposely trying to distort the facts or you have been deceived. Your post has all of the ear marks of the Karl Rove method of disinformation.

    We have a major disaster going on right now. We have a high level attempt to deceive people and a lot of gullible people who are buying into lies and deceit. The lies and deceit are intended to create a slave state run by a dictator.
    People are going to have to get their act together to preserve our nation as a nation consistent with a democracy.


    I take issue with the idea that corporations have the same free speech rights because they are not a single individual, they are groups of shareholders. When a corporation makes a donation or runs an add or pays a lobbyist who are they representing? Their employees, the communities they do business in, people who own a few shares of stock, or the few people at the top who really benefit from these actions. After all, they are all shareholders. It seems to me that a corporation shouldn't be making a political statement unless it is in the interest of all of these groups of shareholders and not just the CEOs and boards of directors.

    From this list we can see that we are still massively depend on crude for our non sustainable lifestyle.
    There is no replacement for crude...crude is in the details of our life.

    Posted by: allenwrench


    All that "stuff" you list came into being because of all the chemicals that were "waste" product from the manufacturing of gasoline.

    Every single "factoid" in your posts, Sir, are WRONG.

    Every single one.

    WRONG.

    Which is all anyone needs to know about "politicians" - they are neither scientists nor religionists.

    They are bs artists and CAN NO LONGER BE TOLERATED AS POLICY MAKERS.

    Go start a market for trading in the commodity of superfund site "waste"...do something useful with your "factoids"...make it the new "bubble"...

    Some of you might disagree with the 'dieoff theory' and say solar, wind and nukes will save the day and replace all that nasty fossil fuels we use.

    Let me tell you how a solar powered houses work. In the NE you need 400% more solar capacity than high sun states out west for one thing. The deep cell battery banks costs many, many thousands of dollars and have to be replaced every 4 or 6 years. If you get 10 years from an inverter that cost a thousand $ or more your lucky.

    When you get up in the morning and want to make waffles you look at the forecast for sun. If it is not going to be sunny that day then waffles are out and make pancakes. Your batteries would be discharged too much with running the waffle iron. Forced air heat and air condition is out 100%

    Same with electric ranges, dryers, water heaters, etc...all are out with off the grid solar systems. If it is cloudy for days on end you pull out the gas generator and recharge your battery bank just like a submarine does. If you got lots of snow, be ready to get on the roof to clean off the solar panels. Then every 20 years or so the whole system has to be replaced costing $40,000 to $70,000 or more.

    Here is what you can get for $5000...enuf to run a ;puter and light bulb.

    http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_6970_200350820_200350820

    Now, a survivalist may be very thankful for this type of life. But the average American would not be so happy. I'm not telling you this to discourage you from going solar or partial solar. Am just bringing the dreamers down to earth. Just realize they are not seamless and fungible alternatives to fossil fuel and nuke power generation.

    When the cornucopians can pave roads and make roofing shingles out of corn instead of asphalt. When they can fly jets on 100% algae oil, make tires out of sewage sludge instead of crude...maybe their time will have arrived

    (BTW, peak uranium is an issue to as well...we don't have an endless supply of it. Same with coal. And we get most of our uranium from foreign sources!)

    Even if we did find out how to burn water for energy, petrochemicals make up a large portion of crude's importance to mankind. Roughly 9% of every barrel of crude goes to petrochemical use. If we stopped burning crude this instant, we would still suck the wells dry, albeit not as quickly, just from petrochemical use.

    Some work has been done with making plastics from corn, but it can't touch the variety of plastic and rubber products that crude produces.

    http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/plastic.html

    So even if we all stop driving we will just be postponing the inevitable that our artificial way of living is going to change in the not so distant future.

    A partial list of products made from crude:

    Solvents Diesel Motor Oil Bearing Grease
    Ink Floor Wax Ballpoint Pens Football Cleats
    Upholstery Sweaters Boats Insecticides
    Bicycle Tires Sports Car Bodies Nail Polish Fishing lures
    Dresses Tires Golf Bags Perfumes
    Cassettes Dishwasher Tool Boxes Shoe Polish
    Motorcycle Helmet Caulking Petroleum Jelly Transparent Tape
    CD Player Faucet Washers Antiseptics Clothesline
    Curtains Food Preservatives Basketballs Soap
    Vitamin Capsules Antihistamines Purses Shoes
    Dashboards Cortisone Deodorant Footballs
    Putty Dyes Panty Hose Refrigerant
    Percolators Life Jackets Rubbing Alcohol Linings
    Skis TV Cabinets Shag Rugs Electrician's Tape
    Tool Racks Car Battery Cases Epoxy Paint
    Mops Slacks Insect Repellent Oil Filters
    Umbrellas Yarn Fertilizers Hair Coloring
    Roofing Toilet Seats Fishing Rods Lipstick
    Denture Adhesive Linoleum Ice Cube Trays Synthetic Rubber
    Speakers Plastic Wood Electric Blankets Glycerin
    Tennis Rackets Rubber Cement Fishing Boots Dice
    Nylon Rope Candles Trash Bags House Paint
    Water Pipes Hand Lotion Roller Skates Surf Boards
    Shampoo Wheels Paint Rollers Shower Curtains
    Guitar Strings Luggage Aspirin Safety Glasses
    Antifreeze Football Helmets Awnings Eyeglasses
    Clothes Toothbrushes Ice Chests Footballs
    Combs CD's Paint Brushes Detergents
    Vaporizers Balloons Sun Glasses Tents
    Heart Valves Crayons Parachutes Telephones
    Enamel Pillows Dishes Cameras
    Anesthetics Artificial Turf Artificial limbs Bandages
    Dentures Model Cars Folding Doors Hair Curlers
    Cold cream Movie film Soft Contact lenses Drinking Cups
    Fan Belts Car Enamel Shaving Cream Ammonia
    Refrigerators Golf Balls Toothpaste Gasoline

    From this list we can see that we are still massively depend on crude for our non sustainable lifestyle.
    There is no replacement for crude...crude is in the details of our life.

    Posted by: S.N.: "You know, a lot of Americans are too busy eking out a living to have the time or energy to educate themselves in current politics. They leave the house at 6:00 a.m. to make the commute to their 40-hours a week, 2-weeks vacation a year jobs and get home at 6:00 p.m. They listen to corporate-owned talk radio in the car. They watch corporate-owned TV before they go to bed for the next day's grind"

    ---------------------------------------------------------

    Ahhh..you hit the nail on the head.

    The politicians learned a long time ago that the 'Domesticated American' is impotent when it comes to controlling political policy.

    Consumer strikes en masse could change many things. But the politicians have a way of forgetting and going back to old ways. As such, it would take continual strikes to keep the knuckleheads in DC going down the right path.

    After all 70% of the economy is based on the consumer.

    BUT such strike would take a measure of self-sufficiency that 99.9% of the modern day people lack. They can't miss one paycheck or will be behind on their mortgage or If they are unable to go to market for a few days they will starve.

    Will America get better? Stay the same? Get worse?

    Look at the tends and you decide. No god can fix this mess - let alone a bunch of corrupt politicians.

    We have built a defective model for long term population support. We can only keep on keeping on as long as the crude is free flowing and affordable by the masses.

    It would be one thing if we all reverted back to rural living, burning trees for fuel and housing and living within our comfortable means allotted to us by nature, as our ancestors did back in the day. But seven billion people can't burn the trees!

    We must accept that we have built our world on unsustainable means - a means built artificially on fossil fuel.

    http://i685.photobucket.com/albums/vv219/keepitlow456/popchart.gif

    And when we live out of balance with natures intended means there is a price to pay to come back in balance with nature. And the price usually extracts pain from us in the adjustment process.

    It has been estimated that for the earth to sustainably support its population without fossil fuels a 90% dieoff must occur. I don't know if that is the right figure, but I do know humans could not live as they do unless it was funded by artificial means via fossil fuels.

    http://dieoff.org/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_malthus

    So if this dieoff happens, of course there will be great amounts of pain in the world. But it is natures intended balancing act. It also reminds us that nature does not bow to humans - it is humans that always bow to nature.

    Posted by: S.N..... A large number of Americans get their political information only from TV or talk radio, which are owned by corporations. These people are being fed propaganda that keeps them satisfied with the status quo.

    --------------------------------------------------------------

    Yes, that is right.

    Nowadays you must get your journalism from all sources. The TV is biased as well as most newspapers, magazines, etc., Moyers show is good, but he is retiring. He is the last of the dinosaurs when it comes to fair journalism.

    Here are some sites for keeping track with what is going on.

    http://www.doomers.us/forum2/

    http://www.politicalforum.com/

    http://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/

    Great podcasts, Download and make CDs and listen to in your car or while cooking if short on time.

    http://www.preparedsociety.com/forum/

    http://www.metrofarm.com/mf_Food_Chain_Radio.php

    Another great podcast source.

    http://peakoil.com/forum.html

    http://www.whenshtf.com/index.php

    Banned me for s short time. They did not like what I posted about religion. Too many religious devotees 'confuse faith with fact' it seems. No room for delusional thinking nowadays as our world is decomposing before our very eyes...I wont lie to you.

    http://forum.prisonplanet.com/

    Never would let me join the forum. Full of sales garbage and hard to navigate through...but offers some gems if you dig through the mess.

    http://www.ar15.com/forums/board.html?b=10

    Mostly a bunch of 'know it all' knuckleheads with AR's. But some good stuff here and there.

    http://motherjones.com/

    http://www.libertyaholic.com/

    http://www.frugalsquirrels.com/vb/index.php

    Another Christian based site that banned me when I critiqued the delusional religions most people get sucked into. Still, lots of good 'how to' info.

    http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/

    http://neithercorp.us/npress/

    http://dailyreckoning.com/

    http://www.survivalblog.com/

    I don't get Mr. Gillespie's logic.

    1) If corporations, with all their money, are allowed to buy air time to promote their own interests, they will drown out the millions of individual people (real "persons") who don't have the resources to make themselves heard. The Dr. Margaret Flowers story is a case in point. Though she was able to get her foot in the door of Congressional hearings, she was soon shut down and locked out.

    2) Gillespie chastises us for not giving the American public more credit as far as knowing what's going on. Please.... A large number of Americans get their political information only from TV or talk radio, which are owned by corporations. These people are being fed propaganda that keeps them satisfied with the status quo. They don't understand that their welfare is not what corporations lobby for or that they SHOULD be angry enough to organize and attempt to make themselves heard.

    You know, a lot of Americans are too busy eking out a living to have the time or energy to educate themselves in current politics. They leave the house at 6:00 a.m. to make the commute to their 40-hours a week, 2-weeks vacation a year jobs and get home at 6:00 p.m. They listen to corporate-owned talk radio in the car. They watch corporate-owned TV before they go to bed for the next day's grind. Even those who know that the whole system is corrupt don't have the time, or resources, or energy to fight corporate influence in politics. Politicians and the people running corporations have no idea how the other half (and it IS getting to be more just the haves or have nots) lives, and now, our voices will be quashed by the corporations' noise.

    Wow! Thank you Bill for that program.

    I listened carefully to both speakers. When I put both commentaries together I have a better understanding of what the court was thinking.

    I find it interesting that the conservative side of the court sided with the Liberal argument of “free speech”.

    The opinion of each concerning voter control of Congress was very compelling.

    After listening to each I have to conclude that the remedy that will meet the needs of both speakers is:

    Public Financing of Federal Elections.

    It leaves all the forces and voices of federal politics in place but ties the politician to the voter. Except for advertising it removes the power of big money from the politician. Yet, it leaves the right and practice of big money to petition the government.

    Those who speak of "Democracy" as if it can be preserved by regulations and more of them are confused. The US Constitution as it existed before 1820 is astounding in its philosophical beauty.
    Posted By: E.B.

    What many people do not understand is that without regulation, there is chaos...

    The express reason for stop lights is so that people do not run into each other.
    The constitution was intended to provide a document to proclaim the system of fundamental laws and principles that prescribes the nature, functions and limits of a government. This country was proclaimed a government of the people, by the people and for the people ("people" being live human individuals).
    A Democracy is based on the principles of social equality and respect for the individual within a community (reffering to a nation).
    What we have going on now is just the opposite. It is the people subjugated to the government that is controlled by big money institutions.
    It is the governments responsibility to reverse this process back to the original intent not posture for political points and submit to corruption and greed.
    We need the necessary funds and organization to support a quality society of informed and compassionate people.

    E.B. wrote, in part, "When most of the voters do not understand the constitution's intentions (most is hard for a dictatorial beast to understand), the nation will decay as it steps onto the path of dictatorship via fascism similar to Germany in the late 1800's to early 1900's."

    It's amazing, isn't it how they CHOOSE not to see that they have "stolen" the "identity" of "fascists"...?

    And I totally agree about - something, not sure what - missing in the brains of people with the "authoritarian" sociopathic cluster disease.

    They truly NEVER get what the POINT is/was of a GOVERNMENT charter...and especially such a charter as was writ up in the "consitution"...

    Experiential LIVING TRUTH...do the mechanists and secularlists still acknowledge that they are missing the ONLY piece of the "math" that matters...?

    Or have they totally gone off the deep end, philosophically speaking...?

    I don't know how bad their "mind" is (Reagan, obviously, had dementia as Prez) since I could not waste any more time in trying to figure it out because there is too much to do in the way of LIFE MAINTENANCE and they are just Pluto Crazy and need to be CONTAINED - NOT "in charge" as "managers"...

    Those who speak of "Democracy" as if it can be preserved by regulations and more of them are confused. The US Constitution as it existed before 1820 is astounding in its philosophical beauty. When most of the voters do not understand the constitution's intentions (most is hard for a dictatorial beast to understand), the nation will decay as it steps onto the path of dictatorship via fascism similar to Germany in the late 1800's to early 1900's. Humans are arrogant in assuming a clockwork world where they are the clockmaker. Current conditions could easily explode into "WW3", an intensifying of the 100 years of constant war.

    Can Democracy withstand the unraveling of Government?
    The citizens have been disenfranchised and replaced by sociopathic machines with malicious intent.
    This is not a question; it is a fact.
    THE DEMAND SIDE PARTY

    Since the death of President Kennedy our government has been on the downward slope to annihilation...

    The lone star state has something to do with everything.

    There is an on going struggle to undermine the government and throw our country into a state of chaos. We the people need to know what is going on so that we can prevent a "take over" that will create a slave state that is run by a dictator.
    The only thing that will be accomplished is death and destruction.
    THE DEMAND SIDE PARTY

    The founding fathers would be flabbergasted by the pay and benefits received by our elected representatives. They originally made the pay so little to encourage those that "serve the people" to not get too comfortable and stay too long, with the hope that cronyism would be kept at bay. Unfortunately, Congress has worked its way around the the original intentions and gamed the system quite well for itself using tools such as gerrymandering to the extreme and a dysfunctional public education system that doesn't educate but brainwashes. Corporations are but the supporting cast in this tragic play of a human society destroying itself. But maybe we are just watching the natural progression of the state on Internet Time, and the USA will break apart into competing associations similar to Rome.

    Avery Ray Colter wrote, in part, "I think I share Bill's confusion as to just what this Supreme Court would define as corrupt."

    Inside the vat, we are all one :-) so nothing can be "corrupt"...

    Sorry, couldn't resist...

    A great question but you are asking it of 5 people in the Justice Arm of government's "shared power" structure who basically already BELIEVE something about "law" that the rest of us mere mortals seem unable to comprehend as "real"

    AND they are unwilling to explain to the "stupid" masses why it is so important TO THE MAINTENANCE OF LAW AND ORDER (AKA as PEACE) for a "thing" to be "human".

    I think I share Bill's confusion as to just what this Supreme Court would define as corrupt. It seems to me that a worshipper of "the invisible hand" would think it right and proper for democracy to be just one more commodity to trade. Indeed, they already regard the market as democracy incarnate.

    The founding fathers would be flabbergasted by the pay and benefits received by our elected representatives. They originally made the pay so little to encourage those that "serve the people" to not get too comfortable and stay too long, with the hope that cronyism would be kept at bay. Unfortunately, Congress has worked its way around the the original intentions and gamed the system quite well for itself using tools such as gerrymandering to the extreme and a dysfunctional public education system that doesn't educate but brainwashes. Corporations are but the supporting cast in this tragic play of a human society destroying itself. But maybe we are just watching the natural progression of the state on Internet Time, and the USA will break apart into competing associations similar to Rome.

    Concerened citizen,

    Well, should you REALLY want to learn more about "the devil", the most censored and unknown book on the planet goes into great detail about "cosmically insane" beings who started the fires of "hell" on this planet about 500,000 years ago.

    Seems to me that "the devil" wants his current public relations image to remain intact and that's why the book that gives "just the facts, ma'am" is hysterically censored, since 1934, in the USA.

    POWER over the free will of others is the game, greed is just a means to that end. "Religion" is the preferred playground of POWER

    WAY more than Wall Street and D.C.

    But you're right about selfishness being the ultimate ugly in this life.

    Been thinking about Roger Rothenburger and his Pluto Crazies and the suggestion that voting in more Dems is a possible solution...

    And then - OMG! :-)) - when I realized a nascent “plan” is already in place to get Palin on the Prez ticket – using Florida as the “math” state – I realized that they want her because after another orchestrated “inside” 911 job, she’ll quit being Prez to let someone who “burrowed” in with her cartoon show take over as Prez! - well, I have a story to share to explain a common "street people" perspective on "politics"...

    For consideration:

    Because of hurricaine energy dumping rain too fast, a municipal water works that provides water to around 3 million people just outside NYC was starting to flood over. All workers were called to the scene to secure as much of the factory as they could to prevent the mixing of waste and flood water with the treated water. Unfortunately, management also played “worker” during the emergency work. An untrained “manager” decided, without asking anyone, to mix two vats of chemicals together to hurry up the evacuation. All the regular crew knew that those two vats should NEVER, NEVER be mixed together into one vat. Well, that happened a little over a decade ago, and the chemical reaction started by that mixing is still going on. It is being monitored continuously – it lets off colored vapors, hisses and pops, changes pH, etc etc etc…quite the science experiment in “chaos”. The changing pH means that the vat constantly is immersed in different containers in order to be contained because it always starts to leak out of any container it is immersed in as it is constantly changing its chemical properties.

    “So what is it doing today?” is the question everyone asks at the factory during the shift changes.

    Which is what “we the people” ask everyday since 911 about “politics” – what ongoing toxic reactions are happening today?

    And the reason nothing “changes” is because the entire chemical reaction (ie “unintended consequences”) in that “politics” container is the result of mixing two vats of “stuff” that NEVER should have been mixed together. So all the decisions, policies, analysis, social engineering – ALL of it – are “chemical reactions” that can never possibly solve the problem because they are mixing and merging and re-merging and re-mixing together in the vat that IS the problem, itself – see where I’m going…?

    Being the impish and amateur political wonk that I sometimes CHOOSE to be, it did not take but one quip to my friend who WAS the lawyer in charge of worker and environmental safety at the factory (she was fired, eventually, but took them to court and won a big settlement) to finally give that vat a name that stuck – “D.C.” (District of Columbia). On days where it pops and hisses, it’s noted, for instance, as “vat emitted wall street-ing energy at 2 PM”. Colored vapors are noted according to the “terrorist alert scale” – except a couple of additional colors had to be added – grey, purple, black, etc., and container changes are called “burst economic bubble replaced with new bubble composed of_____”.

    Something to be said for street smart “education” in a state where so much of it is labeled “superfund environmental disaster site” and how it all relates back to “politics”, “war’ and “greed”…not sure what they know, or care about, in Florida, but I guess we are going to have to figure it out before we decide that our existence from sea to shining sea, outside of the bubbling “political” vat, is REAL and the only reason we ask everyday, “…what’s it doing today?...” is because we need to keep the “stuff” contained and not leaking out over the rest of us.

    Who knows when the chemical reaction will cease…? And who knows what it will actually end up being once it has achieved “stasis”….speculation is it won’t be anything “good”….hope is it’ll exhaust itself out and cease to be a threat.

    In the meantime, it’s tucked away and some loyal “knight”, 24/7, with techno equipment, is keeping it ALL contained. Now that’s “news” in the classic sense, no?

    There already is a third “political” party that was created, organically, from the tension of the two extremes present in both the Dems and the Repubs….let me guess…? “Too hard” to get a 3rd party candidate on the ballot…? Really…?

    “Neocon” is the code word for the stuff in the vat being lethally out of containment…no one is voting for that scenario and there is a plan for what to do should it happen – a plan that evolved when considering MAD (mutually assured destruction)…but some things are better left on a need to know basis, right?

    To Anna D:
    I am sorry you disagree, but Greed is evil defined by uncontrollable lust for money, power and selfishness.

    Everything this world suffers from comes from Greed and it is evil. If you do not believe there is a devil that is your prerogative and free will. The greatest feat that the devil has done is convincing people he does not exist but we see his handiwork everywhere.

    Media is the real "evil" in the room, no?

    A Grade B schlok movie that was repugnant in its naked aggression - politics of personal destruction - MOTIVATES 5 out of 9 Supreme Court Justices to use the stupid movie to do what?! Does anyone really get what the motivation is here besides JUSTICE, herself, getting all "barracuda" as a means to an end...?

    What is "the end"...?

    I disagree about "greed" being "the devil".

    The usurpation of GOVERNMENT by "poitics" is clearly MEGALOMANIACAL.

    It's about POWER. Greed and cheap are merely the castles on the chess board.

    If it WAS just about the love of money, "religion" would not have been targeted by psychopaths...what $$$ is there in the thrill of being a Jim Jones....?

    "They serve the god of Greed, Satan. No, these people are not worshipers of God but imposters who are after votes in the name of God."
    Posted by: Concerned Citizen

    To Concerned: Right...
    The Rupubs had no intention of doing anything about abortion or any other moral issue. In fact they did just the opposite and undermined the moral principles of our nation in a way that has placed us as a threat to the world. There are maniacs who are trying to bring about "end times" and by my calculations that will not be for another thousand years. In the meantime our children and children's children will suffer for this foolish endeavor. Things are bad enough without self-destructive behavior. Religion (as it has become a pawn of conservative politics) has become a threat instead of a solution.
    People need to "get real" before chaos turns the earth into an inferno.

    Posted by D. C. Eddy:
    Unfortunately; it is more like the defenseless working people trying to survive being eaten by lions while the so called Christians root for the lions. The really ironic part of the scenario is that the Christians will get their turn in the arena with the lions. And that is the truth. The squabble and fuss parties are undermining the stability of their own nation as they support the agenda of those who are “ripping off” everyone. When do the people "get it" and do what is necessary to fix the problem?

    Me:
    Setting aside the complexities of its electoral and legislative processes, our plutocracy’s political process is rather simple: Wealthy conservatives keep the always politically clueless poor Christian Right and other moral conservatives in their “Big Tent” using their always at-the-ready list of hot button issues and words. This is what kept the republic juggernaut running all the way from Reagan through Bush W., during which time the wealthy took trillions of dollars from the middle class (including the clueless fundamentalists), destroyed whole government agencies, eliminated government regulation of the financial system which resulted in our current collapse, prevented health care reform, prevented environmental reform, etc.

    But now the democrats finally set down their pipes and their pleasures long enough to put their people in power. The populace was in such a panic that it even managed to overcome its prejudice and elect a black president. So why can’t they get anything done? My take on the situation: Things got so bad for the democrats during the 30-year republican juggernaut that to win any elections they had to shift significantly to the Right by embracing here-to-for republican positions. Among other things, they got religion! Today’s so-called “moderate” democrats now reside further to the Right than did moderate republicans a decade or two ago. Today, in both the house and the senate one-third of the democrats are really republicans. That’s why the democrats in congress cannot achieve any agreement among themselves. And both the house and the senate really have republican majorities.

    The solution—well the real solution is in my book “Beyond Plutocracy—but the much more limited solution within our current plutocracy is to elect MORE NOT FEWER democrats to congress next November. Of course, the always clueless electorate will move just the opposite direction, electing more republicans to congress. This will bring on even more gridlock. And, rest assured, anything that gets passed by that congress will not be fun for the economic bottom half.

    From a post by Chris: In parts of the world a "FULL EMPLOYMENT is accomplish, by reduction of the working hours right across the board."

    In “Beyond Plutocracy” at www.beyondplutocracy.com I empower the electorate to directly set and adjust over time the length of the “standard workweek.” And in Beyond’s chapter 25, Government, Business, and the Definition of Labor, I recommend to a future truly representative congress (that has been honestly elected in the new electoral system I propose in the book) a more rational way to calculate reward for work.

    In the system I propose the number of hours people work on average varies quite naturally with expansions and contractions of the economy. Employers find it most economically rational to retain employees and distribute available work among them rather than dumping trained, proven and, therefore, valuable workers overboard creating distress, panic, economic failure and deeper, longer contractions. Thus, it is “we the people” directly regulating the length of the standard workweek over time—the electorate also directly regulates the amount of the minimum wage over time—coupled with myriad decisions by employers and employees across the land that sustains employment during economic contractions. And government is spared huge unemployment expenditures, job creation programs, etc.

    The Golden Goose hopefully has not been delt a fatal blow by the Stupid Idiots Clubs (Dem & Rep)of Washington, BUT, at least fewer golden eggs will be forth coming, SO, watch for a golden egg to be melted down & sprayed on many regular eggs & passed as "the real thing".

    "They" did not talk JOBS until forced to & now "They" will want too add to the Stimulus Tax Money" that has been saved to spend near election time (probably the 2012).

    To OBAMA NO MATTER WHATs--It is Poiltics Stupid! President Obama was--is & may always be a Politican 1st & foremost. They don't care about any color but green! (Dem or Rep)
    "THEY" are NOT going to Change! Sorry! (I really mean sorry!)

    Billy Bob, Florida Obama denied my Dem. PRIMARY VOTE! & I'm still mad as hell about!

    I just watched this show and there were two very important issues that weren't brought up and are at the crux of this question.

    One is the relative loudness of any message or 'speech'. If I'm on my soapbox at the corner proclaiming my opinions, folks are free to stop and listen, walk on if they don't agree, even argue and pull up a soapbox next to mine. What this ruling provides is that this fellow next to me can get a big loud amplifier that can be heard all over the city and completely drown out my little voice. At it's best any campaign rules like McCain/Fingold are designed to level the playing field and to allow all voices to be heard.

    The second issue is the truth or merits of any argument. There is a thought/plan/idea out there, exemplified by Bush/Cheney and Fox that if you tell a lie often enough and loud enough, people begin to believe it as the truth. They then act and, more importantly, vote as if it were the truth. Several examples come to mind, the 'Swift boating' of John Kerry, the 'Birther' movement etc. And timing is very important, hence the 60 day extra scrutiny rules before any elections. What do we have in place now? How can we combat or argue against any lies or even spin put out there by well-heeled corporations looking to influence elections?

    This decision is indeed the disaster that's being proclaimed. Instead of just digging our way to hell with shovels, the Supreme Court has just handed the corporations the ability to use backhoes, bulldozers and dynamite.

    To D.C. Eddy:
    "Unfortunately; it is more like the defenseless working people trying to survive being eaten by lions while the so called Christians root for the lions."

    Just because the Repug party says its against abortion does not mean they are actually children of God. Repugs say they protect the unborn human fetus but have no problen enslaving, butchering and killing human adults, women and child in the quest for corporate global imperialism. They are enigmas and deceivers.

    They serve the god of Greed, Satan. No, these people are not worshipers of God but imposters who are after votes in the name of God.

    "The working class leap into the 21 CENTURY," the Modern gladiators
    "defending the heart and soul at the mercy of... in the amphitheater...!"
    Posted by: Chris

    Nice metaphor...

    Unfortunately; it is more like the defenseless working people trying to survive being eaten by lions while the so called Christians root for the lions.

    The really ironic part of the scenario is that the Christians will get their turn in the arena with the lions. And that is the truth.

    The squabble and fuss parties are undermining the stability of their own nation as they support the agenda of those who are “ripping off” everyone.

    When do the people "get it" and do what is necessary to fix the problem?

    We are up to our ears in alligators and the government is driving around in their speed boats making waves that only drown the victims.

    "I have a dream" has turned into a nightmare.



    My comment relates to the question: Can Democracy withstand the Power of Big Money? It is sad to say that we actually no longer have a true democracy, if we ever did. The latest Supreme Court decision actually supplanted the sovereignty of the vote by money,on the basis that corporations are personhoods, the title conferred on them by Chief Justice Waite in 1886. Subsequent Supreme Courts gave corporations the rights accorded to people in the 14th amendment (property rights) The present High Court rationalized that money is a type of speech; therefore, corporations were given the unalienable rights accorded people in the 10th amendment (human rights). The corporations were given carte blanche to use investor's money available to them to support or punish members of congress, as the choose.
    The majority of the court correctly stated that people have the same rights as corporations to "persuade" representatives about how to vote on legislation. However, the Court apparently did not consider the inequality of the persuasion factor -- MONEY. No one person or groups of individuals could hope to compet with the multimillions or billions of dollars that are available to corporations. To expect the people to compet with corporations on that basis would be like putting a Jeep and a Sherman tank in arena and having them fight it out. The probable winner in every contest is evident, especially when it is considered that if a member of congress has the temerity to resist the importuning of corporate surrogates, they may find themselves facing multimillion dollar advertisement campaigns designed to unseat them in the next election.

    Congress is"scrambling" to propose legislation to blunt the expected deluge that the Supreme Court has virtually encouraged corporations to turn loose in the corridors of power all over the country. The Supreme Court has turned the constitution up side down. We must not let this situation stand. Every citizen should inform their representative and senators that they(we)want them to initiate the process of amending the constitution to return the people, government and corporations to the respective positions envisioned by the Framers.
    If we do not take action that is possible for each of us, then we will deserve what we get. Cecil O'Neal

    Posted in part by: D. C. Eddy
    "I would think that it would be possible to partition the government to recall all of the
    money they gave away as a misappropriation of funds......" and
    "The money should have been used to improve the quality of the nation and provide
    jobs for those who needed jobs."
    To recall "all of the money they gave..." is only a wishful thinking - an
    "American pipe dream!"
    A "DREAM" can become reality when the people are EMPOWERED to EXPRESS their WILL on ISSUES!
    As the "Economy was loosing 700,000 jobs a month" it is hardly an encouraging hope
    by the "OBAMA report: 95,000 jobs to come each month." ERIE TIMES 02-14-2010.
    In parts of the world a "FULL EMPLOYMENT is accomplish, by reduction of the
    working hours right across the board." In our country - system, this "SOCIALISM RULE"
    applies only for the elite, the special interest groups - some work only "two or
    three days a week at full pay and retired at 50 years of age!"
    "A pension plan" It is a plan at the full rate they had earn, when they worked."
    The "special rules - LAWS to benefit the ELITE."
    The "workers pension plan" is less than 30% (percent) of their earning!"
    "The working class leap into the 21 CENTURY," the Modern gladiators
    "defending the heart and soul at the mercy of... in the amphitheater...!"

    The Democratic Party & the Republican Party have TAX Parties (not Tea but TAX) where they take money from "earners" and then give it away..to anybody but the earners!!!
    Posted By: Billy Bob

    Good point Billy Bob,

    I would think that it would be possible to partition the government to recall all of the money they gave away as a misappropriation of funds.
    It was not used to provide the needs of the nation; it was used to support private institutions.
    It sounds like the whole thing was illegal.
    The money should have been used to improve the quality of the nation and provide jobs for those who needed jobs.
    The banks would receive government money to distribute per direction of the government and the banks would receive interest on the new assets. The stock market could invest money in the new businesses and they could carry a deficit balance long enough to recover their losses.
    Any comments?

    Congress never seems to look at themselves and stop spending when it comes to their salaries, health care, and wars. It's also too much money when it's for us. I'm pretty sick of it also. They get medicare or federal blue cross but that is too expensive or "socialistic" for the rest of us.

    OOOOPS! Nancy(1\300 or what ever)
    Sorry Billy Bob

    No democracy 1\50th=control

    When Reid (1\50) determines how the Senate functions there is NO DEMOCRACY...think about it!!!

    When Nancy (1\50) & Harry (1\50) get together they equal a Majority & determine how the Legislature functions!
    The Democratic Party & the Republican Party have TAX Parties (not Tea but TAX) where they take money from "earners" and then give it away..to anybody but the earners!!!

    They TAKE our money and tell all they are "GIVING" it away!

    I believe in supporting police, firemen, military (to a point), utilities, mass transportation, BUT I have decided I do NOT like Government GIVING my money away! TAX money should be INVESTED in areas as mentioned, but NOT GIVEN!
    Where does the money go & did we get a fair measure for our INVESTMENT?

    TAXES should be INVESTED not GIVEN! ACCOUNTABILITY!!!!!!

    Billy Bob underwater in Florida

    It's a confusing and frustrating situation that we are currently experiencing. Our government has been slowly taken away from us and it's been a steady erosion over a few generations. I don't imagine getting it back is going to be easy but at the very least I must think it is possible. We are lucky in that the Law and the spirit of the law are on our side. I posted those quotes from T. Jefferson to illustrate this point.

    Posted by: Michelle Elliott
    "It was founded on the principle that all persons have equal rights, and that government is responsible to, and derives its powers from, a free people...."

    "The Government is dysfunctional, not responsible, not accountable, corrupt and
    protected by immunity laws," irrelevant of his/hers conduct or violations...!
    "Government Derives his power from, a free people... "
    May be in some other country...!"
    There are various political party that were denied a right "as free people" to be placed
    on the ballot...! The power was "denied in Florida and in other states," in the primary
    elections, the people were denied their power- WILL to be place on the ballot!
    From County Government to School board to municipalities to states authorities
    to Departments and/or agencies, they have UNLIMITED DICTATORIAL POWER!
    In response to your question "Can we really do much better than this? "
    Yes, "to derive its power from free people" EMPOWER the people to express their "WILL on ALL ISSUES"!

    "[Our] principles [are] founded on the immovable basis of equal right and reason." --Thomas Jefferson to James Sullivan, 1797. ME 9:379

    "An equal application of law to every condition of man is fundamental." --Thomas Jefferson to George Hay, 1807. ME 11:341

    "The most sacred of the duties of a government [is] to do equal and impartial justice to all its citizens." --Thomas Jefferson: Note in Destutt de Tracy, "Political Economy," 1816. ME 14:465

    "To unequal privileges among members of the same society the spirit of our nation is, with one accord, adverse." --Thomas Jefferson to Hugh White, 1801. ME 10:258

    "In America, no other distinction between man and man had ever been known but that of persons in office exercising powers by authority of the laws, and private individuals. Among these last, the poorest laborer stood on equal ground with the wealthiest millionaire, and generally on a more favored one whenever their rights seem to jar." --Thomas Jefferson: Answers to de Meusnier Questions, 1786. ME 17:8

    "Of distinction by birth or badge, [Americans] had no more idea than they had of the mode of existence in the moon or planets. They had heard only that there were such, and knew that they must be wrong." --Thomas Jefferson: Answers to de Meusnier Questions, 1786. ME 17:89

    "[The] best principles [of our republic] secure to all its citizens a perfect equality of rights." --Thomas Jefferson: Reply to the Citizens of Wilmington, 1809. ME 16:336
    The recent decision ignores these fundamental principals from which our Constitution developed.

    Gillespie believes SURVIVAL OF THE RICHEST or MIGHT MAKES RIGHT when it comes to giving inanimate objects like corporations unfair disproportionate voice by using their rich treasuries to drown out us average Americans who can only contribute very small amounts in comparison.
    Besides corporation shareholders, employees and stakeholders already get individual votes and the right to contribute funds. Why allow their associated corporations to flex their monetary muscles to voice their opinions? This is an unfair advantage and an atrocity to our democracy.

    "I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties." --Thomas Jefferson: Reply to Danbury Baptists, 1802. ME 16:282
    What I find offensive about "the right" and people like Gillespie and Reagan is that they want natural rights to the detriment of society. They want to restore, have succeeded in forming, a survival of the fittest mentality to the social order which has created an uncivilized overcast to society in United States.

    Just for the record:

    Inalienable Rights

    "The government of the United States is the result of a revolution in thought. It was founded on the principle that all persons have equal rights, and that government is responsible to, and derives its powers from, a free people. To Jefferson and the other Founding Fathers, these ideas were not just a passing intellectual fad, but a recognition of something inherent in the nature of man itself. The very foundation of government, therefore, rests on the inalienable rights of the people and of each individual composing their mass. The Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson, is the fundamental statement of what government is and from what source it derives its powers. It begins with a summary of those inalienable rights that are the self-evident basis for a free society and for all the powers to protect those rights that a just government exercises."
    Can we really do much better than this?

    I tend to think that the problem is not in the system of government set up for us but in our beliefs. We argue whether capitalism or socialism are better forms of economic structure but is this really rational? Is it better to eat or sleep? What kind of argument is this? Maybe both would work very well if they were properly balanced. Well, that may be just too reasonable. This is what's basically wrong with the current Supreme Court decision; it's lopsided, unintelligent, and simplistic. That's pretty much what Steven's says in his dissent.

    So long as special interests have a reason and the means to continue as they have been there will be no stopping them.

    So long as the representatives of the people are not held accountable in the most immediate and severe of manners their is no sensible reason to trust them.

    So long as the people being represented do not understand the laws which are being placed upon them and so long as our 'representatives' can continue to exacerbate this condition, with bloated documents and convoluted texts, to their own advantage there is no hope of timely responses to abuse of trust.

    Furthermore, so long as the people have neither the time nor the resources, both of which are largely and unquestionably under the control of those referred to as 'Funders', to improve themselves the situation quite simply can not be realistically expected to improve.

    If we understand the system of government we have, only then can we even begin to make it work.
    Roger Rothenberger said, "I believe The Supreme Court is the most functional branch of our government. The notion that justices somehow apolitically and objectively interpret our constitution is laughable."
    Past post:
    When these issues arise like the decision in this case, I always come back to believing that the fundamental hurdle is the erroneous belief that the Supreme Court "interprets" the Constitution. The justices can no more interpret the rules they are bound to uphold than a referee could perform his job in the sports venue if he decides to interpret the rules. The Umpire or referee interprets the action by the rules. According to Article III, The Justices of the Supreme Court interpret the case in light of the Constitution. The case is viewed within the bounds of the Constitution and Precedence. The reality presenting itself before them is to be viewed under law. Fundamental to their job is to balance rights, laws, reality, precedent with the questions of the particular case. The majority in this case did not do this, because if they did, they would have sided with the dissenters. Their decision is an ideological coup d'etat.

    Do you agree with Lessig that Congress has lost the people’s respect? What reforms would increase your faith in Washington?

    I agree that Congress as a group has lost people's respect...

    I am sure that there are still many Congress People that are well respected. The problem is that the few have corrupted the many.
    Congress needs to have the courage to overcome the few.

    It is like the story of the army of thousands that retreated because they heard that there were two enemy combatants.

    Our system of government depends on people with the courage to do what is right despite the challenge.

    Our Democracy is based on a Representative Government. If they do not represent all of the people it is not a Democratic system; it is an Oligarchy.
    Thanks to political pressure our Supreme Court has confirmed the fact that those with the most money run the government which is now a Monoplacy with a capital MONEY.


    I love free speech and the US constitution. But what does that have to do with the proposition "money is speech"?
    Or as Bill Clinton might say: "It depends upon what the meaning of is, is." Does "is" mean "equals"? If so:

    Money = speech AND speech = money.

    How is that for: reason? Thus
    "I say my mortgage is paid off to the tune of $400,000." There you have it.
    Speech acting as money and we are all out of the debt hole. While absurd...

    This is not a joke. Use venn diagrams if you are confused. Speech is greater than (>) money. It is a subset of speech which conveys: "Do it." Money is far less articulate than speech.

    Am I merely being humorous? No!

    Dear Fellow Citizen: Realize how far from integrity we have drifted in "honoring" our constitution. All service people and elected officials swear to protect and defend that document which begins with "We the People".

    Not: we the lawyers, nor, we the judges.

    Remember what Senator Sam Ervin said
    in the Watergate Hearings when John Ehrlichman challenged his authority.

    "Because I understand the English language, (Sir). It is my mother tongue.


    Roger Rothenburger...
    Thanks for the very comprehensive post.

    I too have spent many years researching social systems and human intentions.

    My conclusion is that people are neither rational nor realistic...

    We base our concepts from the perceptions of reality on wishful thinking and insufficient information.

    Our languages are insufficient for accurate descriptions and analysis of information.

    A prime example is the fact that Freudian Evolution proved that reality is a designed system because it is designed for specific practical function just like an automobile is designed for transportation.

    To get back to the subject at hand which was also designed to hold things...

    Government is a designed system that is intended to provide people with the ability to work together for common cause. The best form of government is a Republic that is based on what is good and the best solution for groups of people. Democracy is a means to serve the needs of the people with their input. Now we need to add a Technocracy to provide an efficient system of government to meet people's needs and desires.
    Economics is the life blood of the society and funds available must be consistent with the need to financially support quality lifestyles.
    Economics is a design system that is a man made device; not a religion.

    We the People cannot tolerate corrupt government or we will surely self-destruct.

    I self published my first book called Earthland: the Real and the Ideal. I distributed it in China when I went there with a Group from the American Philosophical Association. This was fifteen years ago when China first became interested in capitalism.
    Now we are at their mercy; how ironic.

    IF U WANT TO UNDERSTAND HOW MONEY CORRUPTS, TAKE A LOOK AT A MUCH OLDER RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MONEY AND RELIGION, OR TURN ON YOUR TV ANY SUNDAY MORNING.

    In order to form a democracy you first need representitives who answer to the peoples wishes, not certain individuals with lots of cash.

    Next you need a voting system which is gives results reflecting the peoples wishes.

    Everybody knows that don't they so why haven't they been implimented in the USA.

    Most of the population are politicaly ignorant and the advertising on TV and newspapers does little to address that problem. So the same old groups control the country for their own benefit and the large corporations through misinformation and plain old lies.

    The voting system could be improved by simply having a dollar note which is unique, yes they can be forged, recorded for each voter who simply presents it for voting. Since each precinct would have a list of voters who have the right to vote along with the note number the chance of stuffing boxes could be avoided.

    No private money can be used to run for office, all of it comes from the government and each candidate has the same amount.

    There are two points that I have not heard included in the discussion about this issue.
    1) One is the assumption that unlimited amounts of speech is possible. Mr. Gillespie's claim that more speech is better ignores the fact that, in the mainstream venues most likely to reach the public, if a corporation buys add time, there is less time available for others to buy. Also, the price of ads could go up beyond the pocketbooks of individuals and small entities.
    2) Corporations are unlike individuals in that they raise the question of, Who speaks for them? Who decides to give money to certain candidates? If the owner or CEO make that decision, then they are using money from others in the corporation who may not agree. Employees may not necessarily benefit, but since they're hired, they don't have a choice. Corporations are unlike even other organizations such as citizens groups or labor unions, whose members voluntarily form associations.
    3) This point HAS been made, but I'll make it in a somewhat different way. Ads and campaign contributions obviously DO have an influence. If that weren't the case, corporations wouldn't spend more money buying ads or making campaign and lobby contributions. They do market research to see whether there is a cost-benefit in general, even if they can't always determine the impact on specific individuals.

    Thanks, Bill, for your wonderful shows! You are a rare "public watchdog," and we'll miss you tremendously!

    Sorry Bill, I really do like you. But for me, that disillusioning sense of the iron grip of capital on power (and thus on all of us) first became shockingly inescapable back in the days when Bill was pitching the heinous imperial duties that fell to LBJ's watch. All manner of outrages have rained down since, but I've never sensed a darker, more agitated mood than right now, when the reality behind the veil has become so damned transparent. What's got everyone just so riveted at present is indeed the narrow "crony capitalism" that Mr. Lessig and others see Congress as so eagerly serving - coupled with a sense of resulting decline. It's socialized risk and privatized benefit in countless highly specific instances (each one embedded in a set of files in some lobbyist's briefcase). But I would just respectfully submit that even if we were able to scale back this tide of extreme and infuriating overreaching, it would still be the same predatory system where money is power and power is money. That is, non-crony capitalism is "better", just not all that much.

    Posted by: Roger Rothenberger in part
    "Having a meaningful role to play in government, and 4) enjoying the ability to
    have a real effect on the nation in which they live;"

    Dr. Flower did play a meaningful role in democracy, by the rules of the Constitution.
    She did provided the real effects - the real picture of "Free Speech!" She was arrested.
    The real effects were seen when Ralph Nader was denied at the debates.
    Though "he had a prepaid ticket" His the “unalienable right to liberty,
    free speech were abridge!"
    and in part posted by Roger Rothenberger
    "and people would not have to put all their hope in a president as if he were a king."
    It ALL depends. The only hope is when you are "EMPOWERED..."
    The paragraph under dictator - Tito in Slovenia, says a lot!
    They "put all their hopes...!"
    "People had sure jobs, social security was on a very high level, the pension was guaranteed," Krevil says. "So you didn't have to save anything, I mean, you could spend anything you got. You didn't get much, but with that you could live very well."


    Sorry Bill, I really do like you. But for me, that disillusioning sense of the iron grip of capital on power (and thus on all of us) first became shockingly inescapable back in the days when Bill was pitching the heinous imperial duties that fell to LBJ's watch. All manner of outrages have rained down since, but I've never sensed a darker, more agitated mood than right now, when the reality behind the veil has become so damned transparent. What's got everyone just so riveted at present is indeed the narrow "crony capitalism" that Mr. Lessig and others see Congress as so eagerly serving - coupled with a sense of resulting decline. It's socialized risk and privatized benefit in countless highly specific instances (each one embedded in a set of files in some lobbyist's briefcase). But I would just respectfully submit that even if we were able to scale back this tide of extreme and infuriating overreaching, it would still be the same predatory system where money is power and power is money. That is, non-crony capitalism is "better", just not all that much.

    A 5-4 decision, that's not convincing at all.
    Elected officials represent the electorate and are chosen by those who show up to vote. Corporations don't have voting rights for that reason, so why should they be working to influence the outcome of the elections? For their self-interests certainly and not for the common good. Americans are apathetic as it is about the campaign advertising, particularly the negative ones. Can we expect this advertising now to suddenly turn positive? Would we then have to complain to the FCC if the opinions expressed are misleading and not based on fact as propaganda,both in political campaigns and business advertising, can be? I don't even want to hear the news media tell me who I should be voting for. I most definitely support the idea of campaign financing from tax dollars rather than see my taxes being spent on pork barrel initiatives or pay-to-play no-bid contracts that fleece the American taxpayer. I don't know what percentage of eligible people are registered to vote, but I have seen locally in a college educated community that less than half of the registered voters have been showing up for the primaries and general election. It becomes very difficult to encourage people to become civically active with their local government much less vote.

    This is an abusively long post—2000 words! Ol’ Bill’s gonna kick me out for sure—but IMHO worth the reading.

    By now those that have been reading my (Roger Rothenberger) posts and interacting with me in this “Can Democracy Withstand The Power of Big Money?” blog understand that I am a one-trick pony. I have written a book “Beyond Plutocracy,” available free at beyondplutocracy.com that offers a partial redesign of our government that turns our current plutocracy into a true democracy. In Beyond I add a new branch to our government, the demos, consisting of the entire electorate deliberating, voting, and achieving consensus on a fixed set of three electoral and nine economic issues. The electorate is empowered to elect a truly representative congress and to directly set nine economic parameters within which our government and nation must function. As a way of attempting to show you that in Beyond I address the kinds of problems you folks are discussing, I will reference it as I respond/comment here on issues raised in five of your recent blogs.

    =====

    D. C. Eddy wrote, “There needs to be more back ground checks to assure that leaders are not walking time bombs.”

    Me: In the free, at-large, ongoing demos electoral system I propose in Beyond it takes a long time—many months, even years—for candidates to finally win an office or seat, all the while being closely examined and discussed by the members of the electorate. Any members may bring any information into these discussions including formal background checks. After all, all adults are members of the electorate including those who make formal background checks.

    =====

    Anna D wrote (cut and pasted from wiki by Anna and further shortened by me, Roger): Violations of the (Social) Contract

    … The social contract and the civil rights it gives us are neither "natural rights" nor permanently fixed. Rather, the contract itself is the means towards an end—the benefit of all—and … is only legitimate to the extent that it meets the general interest ("general will" …). Therefore, when failings are found in the contract, we renegotiate to change the terms, … Locke theorized the right of rebellion in case of the contract leading to tyranny.

    Me: In Beyond I use the phrase “social contract” to convey the spirit of the demos and the consensus that the electorate achieves. Resulting in the consensus of the ENTIRE electorate the consensus democracy practiced in the demos achieves the general interest and will of we the people, all of the people. I do not think in terms of natural or inalienable rights. While we thinkers idealize, in the real world might makes right. The only way that any “rights” are ever achieved is by “rights”-minded people winning the seats of power and creating and enforcing them. We can only move beyond plutocracy to true democracy and our ideal of “rights” by creating and using a power greater than the power of the plutocrats that now sit on the throne. I agree, rights are not fixed; they evolve over time. In Beyond I initially populate the demos with 3 electoral and 9 economic issues. In Beyond’s introduction I propose, There should also be a special area of the demos where the Constitution is discussed and debated. The members of the electorate could debate [among many other things] What new issues should and what current issues should not be included in the demos? Thus my recognition that our demos social contract must be a living, evolving contract.

    Anna D: Since civil rights come from agreeing to the contract, those who choose to violate their contractual obligations, such as by committing crimes, abdicate their rights, and the rest of society can be expected to protect itself against the actions of such outlaws. To be a member of society is to accept responsibility for following its rules, along with the threat of punishment for violating them. In this way, society works by "mutual coercion, mutually agreed upon" (Hardin 1968).

    Me: Yes. Punish with fines and even imprisonment. But in Beyond’s chapter 8 I argue adamantly against our government’s current practice of disenfranchisement. I am against the use of it for any reason. It is a way of rendering one’s political enemies silent and powerless. Millions of Americans now suffer disenfranchisement who I believe should have the right to vote while the seats at the pinnacles of both private and public power are filled all too often by people I consider to be criminals.

    Anna D: Sorry, but forming ever more defragmented tribes based upon selfish, ill-informed and irrational interpretations of REALITY (mind, body, interests and pocketbook) [as I discuss in Beyond, Roger] is "contracting" out SOCIAL UNITY into increasing chaordic designs...no thanks. People already CHOOSE their "friends". The only social unit that does have the "body, mind, interests, and pocketbook" issues in common is the FAMILY.

    Me: The demos is limited to and focused upon nine economic and three electoral issues. The discussion of the nine economic issues centers specifically on those issues, not on otherworldly irrational interpretations of reality or any of our complex subjective social issues. And the computerized tallying and processing of votes on the economic issues always results in a moderate “golden mean,” nine numeric values—no irrational numbers allowed!—that evolve slowly and peacefully over time. The system automatically gravitates away from all extremes and toward moderate norms. In the demos electoral system any number of people may run for office presenting themselves, platforms, proposals, etc. The president and senators are elected from the nation at-large and house representatives from states at-large. Voters reach out to each other in support of favored candidates. In the legislative branch the current haggle among the plutocrats as to how they should operate their plutocracy becomes replaced by a haggle among people that honestly represent all of us as to how we should run our democracy. We are all crazy; always have been; always will be. There is no good reason to limit power to only those that are rich and crazy. The legislature would continue to be a nasty “horse trading” haggle. But its current dysfunction has little to do with the haggle. It has to do with the profoundly undemocratic procedural rules and “old boys” clubs that have been put in place. In Beyond I make two changes to both the senate and the house that significantly democratize their processes.

    =====

    Michelle Elliott wrote: … because of the ill use of the impeachment process with the previous president, the people shied away from Justice and impeachment when it was necessary. Supreme Court Justices must not be allowed to act according to their whims. They should be held accountable. But … no one demands they be impeached and removed from office. … This system is workable the way it is, but we're not working it.

    Me: Unlike seemingly everyone around me, I believe The Supreme Court is the most functional branch of our government. The notion that justices somehow apolitically and objectively interpret our constitution is laughable. We are all political animals with axes to grind, including the members of the Court. It is precisely because of the political views they are believed to hold (close to their chests) that justices get selected and confirmed in the first place. So it’s a surprise when they behave politically? The problem lies not in the Court, which, I believe, functions as well as it can, but in the process by which justices are selected and confirmed. Our current process produced a Court that swings too wildly to the Left and then to the Right and back again. In Beyond’s chapter 23 I propose a change in the way justices are elected to the Court that makes it permanently centered and more truly representative of the entire electorate. I also suggest limiting terms to ten years rather than today’s lifetime. If a lemon is picked we don’t have to wait for the last gasping breath.

    =====

    Michelle Elliott wrote: The suggestion of a new system for voting which may be very good and helpful, cannot cure the problems in a representative government if the people are not involved. The people feel hopeless and impotent. They are paralyzed and put all there hope in a President as if he were a King. If we don't get involved in the system, the foxes will. Basically, the foxes have taken over. Fox News, it's very appropriate.

    Me: In Beyond being a member of the demos and voting on the twelve demos issues—the three electoral and nine economic issues—is not merely a right or privilege as voting is today but a civic duty. One can’t achieve the consensus of the entire electorate if the entire electorate doesn’t vote. (Participation in demos deliberations is optional.) In Beyond’s introduction I write, “With everyone 1) studying both high and low politics and the theory and practice of true democracy (including actual “guest” participation in the demos) for four years at the high school level, as is proposed here, 2) possessing equal voice and vote in the demos on truly important issues, 3) having a meaningful role to play in government, and 4) enjoying the ability to have a real effect on the nation in which they live; political interest, thought, and expression would flower throughout the land. An electorate that for generations has been deliberately misled and rendered politically confused, apathetic, and impotent would, in time, become astute, politically streetwise, and perfectly capable of looking after its true self-interests.” Under my consensus government, as I call it, the foxes would not be in charge of the chicken coop as they are today, and people would not have to put all their hope in a president as if he were a king.

    =====

    Billy Bob wrote: … It is the SENIORITY SYSTEM STUPID! (of Congress of course)
    There are many excellent ideas herein, however, if Congress is not CONTAINED then little will be GAINED! Prehaps said another way: It is WASHINGTON STUPID! (not Rep. or Dem or Tea party)! OR: It is the ASLEEP-AT-THE-WHEEL Mainstreet STUPID!

    Me: All true. That is why, as I wrote above, I apply two repairs to congress: “Two proposals in this book are designed to make the senate and the house more democratic by breaking up their current “old-boys’ clubs” with their excessive concentrations of power and self-serving legislative rules and processes: 1) All current systems of seniority and appointment in the senate and the house are scrapped, all committee and other chairs and positions being filled by the secret voting of their entire memberships. 2) All rules regarding parliamentary and legislative processes within the senate and the house are determined by the secret voting of their entire memberships. The debate of and voting on legislation being proposed and considered remain public.” Why secret voting while populating committees and making procedural rules? For the same reason our own voting is secret. We don’t want the local brutes beating up folks in the neighborhood because they didn’t vote the way the brutes wanted. I don’t want the house and senate heavies beating up the newbies because the newbies didn’t vote the way the heavies wanted. Why continue public voting on proposed legislation? So we the people know who to beat up as we vote in the demos.

    =====

    Me, a final comment: So, you see, most of the big ticket items you all lament about I’ve pondered for decades, found sufficient solutions for and spent ten years putting into Beyond. You can’t get to true democracy by begging the plutocrats to behave better or to treat you better or by trying to stick a random boxful of band-aids onto the plutocracy. The problem is too big. Its power is too great. My solution in Beyond is the only one of which I am aware that rises to the occasion and really gets the job done, that moves us beyond plutocracy to true democracy.


    "Can Democracy Withstand The Power of Big Money!"
    Yes, "Empower the People!"

    As my thanks to Mr. Moyer, to the members and supporters of the Journal,
    and ALL Blogers, when you sit down during the day or night to RELAX,
    I hope that you find comfort for your heart and soul by
    listening to the music melody played by Lojzeta Slak at the link:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJJyUiea4uk

    As we head into an election year, the new strategy for killing reform is claiming that members of Congress who vote for it will suffer at the polls.

    For months, our opponents have spread lies about reform to scare voters away. But the simple truth about what reform would actually do -- save jobs, guarantee all Americans affordable, stable coverage, and significantly reduce the deficit -- is something most Americans strongly support.

    The question is, come November, will the voters know the facts?

    OFA supporters have asked for a way to show every member of Congress that if they fight for reform now, we'll back them up this election season.

    That's why we're launching "You fight, we'll fight" -- a volunteer pledge bank where you can commit your time to back up candidates and officials who fight hard for health reform.

    We're shooting for 1,000,000 hours pledged to spread the word to fellow voters. And if we get there, we'll publish the total hours pledged in USA Today, so there will be no doubt that health reform is both good policy and good politics.
    http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/commitforhealthreform

    I not only can't imagine the world without Bill Moyers, I don't want to. There's not much else out there. I don't understand why Dave Brancaccio's "Now" will not longer be aired? There's still the best news program on the air, Amy Goodman's Democracy Now.

    K Johnson 2-11 12:26am EXACTLY!

    To digress:

    It is the SENIORITY SYSTEM STUPID! (of Congress of course)

    There are many excellent ideas herein, however, if Congress is not CONTAINED then little will be GAINED!

    Prehaps said another way:

    It is WASHINGTON STUPID! (not Rep. or Dem or Tea party)!

    OR:

    It is the ASLEEP-AT-THE-WHEEL Mainstreet STUPID!

    He knows all-sees all, (not really)
    Billy Bob Florida

    The suggestion of a new system for voting which may be very good and helpful, cannot cure the problems in a representative government if the people are not involved. The people feel hopeless and impotent. They are paralyzed and put all there hope in a President as if he were a King. If we don't get involved in the system, the foxes will. Basically, the foxes have taken over. Fox News, it's very appropriate.

    We went through an absolutely awful impeachment of President Clinton, which was basically unfounded. That's not what impeachment is for. But it gave the masses a distaste for a very necessary procedure. Where impeachment is useful and necessary: for violations of law and the Constitution by those in power, it is not being implemented. The last administration violated the law and the Constitution, but because of the ill use of the impeachment process with the previous president, the people shied away from Justice and impeachment when it was necessary. Supreme Court Justices must not be allowed to act according to their whims. They should be held accountable. But even here, on this blog, where most everyone agrees that this decision manipulates the meaning and spirit of the law these justices are required to uphold, no one demands they be impeached and removed from office. If we don't demand it, it won't happen and if it doesn't happen we and future generations lose. Voting is not likely to change anything. It's going to take more than voting, I'm afraid. This system is workable the way it is, but we're not working it.

    I believe that the courts have totally stretched the meaning of an Individual especially if you consider the time the constitution was written.
    A corporation is a legal entity with certain specific legal capabilities.It is not a sentient being or voter, these latter being critical.
    To say as this Supreme court decision does that the Board of Directors acting on behalf of the Company has the right to assume the Political direction each of its shreholders may or may not support as a right arising out of freedom of speech is totally ridiculuos.
    It was not necessary as Corporations if they frame the Articles of incorporation properly are already allowed to make political contributions ( the amount should be capped, and require shreholders to approve) this decision was a Politically motivated not legally sound decision.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    The facts of this case has just begun to resonate the damage, how might this case affect taxes on corporations big and small? If you take the idea of money is speech for a base Axiom where does this take the nation? I could care less about a company wanting to way in on an idea/bill in congress. I believe just as many corporations that cross the line will be also burned by changing tides, it might make the swings of the “toss the bums out” voter cries happen more often but the results will be the same the pendulum will swing back and forth over time. What really scares me are taxes, some wise accountant will find the sweet spot in how to get things there way without being overt about it. They will figure out a formula that equates flat out buying an election “legally”. And an individual owner will not pay a dime in taxes on the money used to buy this election, and likely if the rules are not checked so will the cooperation. You can see this extreme action now with the “holds” of a single Alabama Senator on some 70 administration positions. If many billons of dollars were not at stake between the State of Washington (Boeing) and (Northrop) Alabama this sidebar would not be happening. If the senate was a fair and balanced place both states senators would abstain like a judge would have too. Never in the senate would that happen.

    In my humble onion the power will grow even more out of balance and the middle class will pay the price. The middle class provides all to our nation. We build it; we make it, fix and service* it. The rich just own it -that is all. *(fight for it)
    If the middle class bell curve breaks so will our nation. There will be no fix, just blood shed and sorrow. I say let there be true free speech no cooperate adds of any kind, just registered voters only. Only from cash that has had its taxes paid on it “in full” should be used for political lobbying period. No caps no hiding be hind a corporate name or organization. If you can not give a candidate your money in your own name it should be against the law.

    What about the foreign influence, how do we keep corporations that are solely or partly owned by foreign states and individuals from now waying in on us? The lines of the right & the left here are disasters, many on the right hate ideas like the US being in the UN. What are we doing now if foreign Company can now way in directly on our elections?
    I say it is time for the states to start passing a new amendment to the US constitution, I doubt any thing could pass the grid lock in DC to fix this mess. Please act now call your local state official and act. I say no limit on cash to your political choice if it comes from a breathing person with the legal “right” to vote in the USA.

    Thannks, Roger, for the reply. You opined, in part, "All members of the electorate are empowered to reach out to each other in support of their champions, people that resemble them in body, mind, interests and pocketbook."

    Don't know if you spent any "free" time watching a travel channel series called, "Meet the Natives"? The "Natives" did not resemble me in "body, mind, interests and pocketbook" but rather represented a simpler FACT.

    Cut and pasted from wiki:

    Violations of the (Social) Contract
    The social contract and the civil rights it gives us are neither "natural rights" nor permanently fixed. Rather, the contract itself is the means towards an end — the benefit of all — and (according to some philosophers such as Locke or Rousseau), is only legitimate to the extent that it meets the general interest ("general will" in Rousseau). Therefore, when failings are found in the contract, we renegotiate to change the terms, using methods such as elections and legislature. Locke theorized the right of rebellion in case of the contract leading to tyranny.
    Since civil rights come from agreeing to the contract, those who choose to violate their contractual obligations, such as by committing crimes, abdicate their rights, and the rest of society can be expected to protect itself against the actions of such outlaws. To be a member of society is to accept responsibility for following its rules, along with the threat of punishment for violating them. In this way, society works by "mutual coercion, mutually agreed upon" (Hardin 1968).


    We're back to "government" as a SOCIAL CONTRACT.

    The "Natives" had evolved beyond "mutual coercion" to "mutual cooperation".

    Since the Supreme Court acts as both JUDGE and JURY, and since the peurile bash-Hillary movie was all they had to RULE upon, they, obviously, took the opportunity to LEGISLATE from the bench.

    Did Roberts LIE during his confirmation? If so, then as with a "marriage", if there were false pretenses that the other spouse was not aware of, such as misrepresentation of MOTIVE for entering into the contract in the first place (neocon agenda), then the CONTRACT is null and void.

    Sorry, but forming ever more defragmented tribes based upon selfish, ill-informed and irrational interpretations of REALITY (mind, body, interests and pocketbook) is "contracting" out SOCIAL UNITY into increasing chaordic designs...no thanks.

    People already CHOOSE their "friends". The only social unit that does have the "body, mind, interests, and pocketbook" issues in common is the FAMILY.

    Which means HOME MAINTENANCE is not an abstraction to be "bundled and sold" to corporations.

    I would suggest that most people lost their respect for the Supreme Court after the 2000 presidential elections.

    Simple fix is requiring Unanimous decisions from the Supreme Court. Had they stuck to the case as presented to them, I'm sure they would have unanimously agreed that the movie was "Grade B" schlok :-)

    Roger Rothenburger,
    People can be smart and still be criminally insane.
    Rove may be the perfect example.
    There are people who are both paranoid and sociopathic and are a high level threat to other people.
    It is a bad idea to underestimate your opponent. It is important to assess people realistically. Some very charming people are a threat because of their devious and deadly mental instability. They can do great good or great evil depending on their perception of reality.
    There needs to be more back ground checks to assure that leaders are not walking time bombs.
    There is also mob psychology that can turn peaceful people into raving maniacs. We live in troubled times when facing reality is essential to our survival.
    What is not done is just as dangerous as what is done.

    Anna D wrote: M. Zipes wrote, in part, “No matter how the campaign laws are written (and have been written) smart people will circumvent them and as a result we have more lobbyists in Washington than ever before.”

    "Smart people"...?

    SMART PEOPLE...?!

    Okay then, no wonder why nothing is "changing"...
    CRIMINALS are "smart people"...

    ========================

    Well, not all smart people are criminals. I’m a smart person that has spent a very long time thinking about how to design an electoral system that doesn’t give advantage to smart criminals or undue advantage to the wealthy or to any other faction of the populace.

    My electoral system, presented in my book “Beyond Plutocracy,” available free at www.beyondplutocracy.com, is not periodic but ongoing. Throughout his or her adult life, each member of the electorate keeps a voting “riding” on one candidate for president, one for a senator and one for a house representative that he or she may change at any time. Candidates have unlimited time to run for office for free and present themselves and their proposals. No one is stuck choosing the lesser of evils preselected by the wealthy, as is done today. All members of the electorate are empowered to reach out to each other in support of their champions, people that resemble them in body, mind, interests and pocketbook. My system automatically results in a congress that demographically resembles and honestly represents the entire electorate as it makes laws, rules and policies that govern corporations, the market economy and the rest of society. My system does not use quotas, complexity or even require political parties. People simply get to vote for whom they really want.

    My system does not limit free speech in any way. Just as today, the wealthy may buy any media and other electoral advantages they may find. But unlike today, my free, ongoing, at-large electoral process also gives non-wealthy people the means and unlimited time to reach out to each other across their states or the entire nation in support of candidates that serve their needs and interests, even as they also go out into their neighborhoods and communities, organize, and educate friends, neighbors, co-workers and others as to their true interests. This means that smart people in the economic bottom half will have all the time they need to educate people in their communities, draw their eyes away from the mass media liars, and select candidates that really do represent their interests in government. Over time everyone will gain political street smarts and become perfectly capable of seeking their true self-interests in our government.

    “Term limits” folks may find interesting the way I handle limits: The term of an office or seat consists of two portions, a shorter first portion and a longer second portion. Remember, from above, voters can withdraw their support from a candidate or officeholder at any time. In my system, once a candidate has achieved office, no matter what happens to the officeholder’s electoral support he or she stays in office for the shorter first portion of his or her term. But he or she continues in office for the second portion of the term only so long as he or she continues to enjoy sufficient electoral support. Once out of office, a candidate may run for the office again, but only after a waiting period equal to the first portion of the office’s term. This encourages voters to try new blood. And yet, they also have the ability to be served again later by someone they really like.

    We are all cynical. No one is more cynical than I am. But an honest electoral system and true democracy are not as impossible as you may have come to believe. One just has to think deeply enough. One has to go beyond merely tweaking the current electoral system and replace it with a new system that really works. This is what I do in “Beyond”. I spent decades thinking about the problem and another decade writing the book. I KNOW I have devised an honest electoral system that really achieves truly representative government.

    I saw the show and frankly was quite disappointed in both guests and Mr. Moyers who failed to question the many unsubstantiated statements made by both guests. Also, I have read most of the comments and am thankful and encouraged by the authors who made them.

    I have a question. Five citizens of the United States who have been appointed to the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, made a landmark decision which among other things provides corporations unlimited access to First Amendment rights (not just speech.) It went further by removing any monetary restrictions. And if that were not enough, these 5 Americans did not even designate whether corporations must be owned and/or controlled by American citizens. As a consequence, any foreign country can overtly or surreptitiously bombard us with propaganda of any type and worse, influence elections by supporting politicians that are sympathetic to their needs. We already know that politicians are highly susceptible to financial influence. My question - are the actions of the five Supreme Court justices treasonous and if so what checks (as in checks and balances) are placed on the decisions by the Supreme Court? I think I know ultimately what the answer might be but would value the opinion of others.

    Anne Linn wrote, in part, "I have a lot of faith in the youth of today, and we need to see more of their voices."

    Hmmm, the population of this world has doubled since I arrived on this third rock from the sun...

    Indeed, each hormonal driven generation in their breeding years :-) seems to take on a different flavor, a "rebellion", a heat to "succeed"...

    My generation's main complaint was that we were "too smart" for the "jobs" that had been overly standardized by the "greatest generation",

    so we went ahead and created our own jobs - over and over and over and over and over again

    because each "job" kept getting cut up into lazy-mind, standardized pieces to be farmed out "globally"...

    I always thought it was theft. But the theft I seem to have agreed to when I signed the agreement that anything I did while inside the toaster belonged to the toaster...

    And now the vacumn hose has been turned on to maximum, thanks to D.C. speed-traders, and EVERYTHING is being stolen...via "paper" of course...

    Yup, it is mostly "young" voices, quite a few with foreign accents, that call day in and day out, hack into the computer, steal "identity"...I must admit, I never could have "created" so many of the modern jobs that the "young" have dreamt up with "technology"...

    Looks like "smart people" finally found "jobs" that utilize all their talents!

    But what, exactly, did they "rebel" against...?

    M. Zipes wrote, in part, "No matter how the campaign lawa are written (and have been written) smart people will circumvent them and as a result we have more lobbyists in Washington than ever before."

    "Smart people"...?

    SMART PEOPLE...?!

    Okay then, no wonder why nothing is "changing"...

    CRIMINALS are "smart people"...

    Mr. Gillespie...
    He looked the image of a greaser and his lack of comprehension of what Libertarians are all about was dismaying.
    Without government society could not exist. It is efficient and responsible government that makes liberty possible.
    We have a dysfunctional government.
    THE DEMANDSIDE PARTY

    It's frustrating to listen to educated people propose new ways of trying to get an "honest" Congress by addressing monetary issues. No matter how the campaign lawa are written (and have been written) smart people will circumvent them and as a result we have more lobbyists in Washington than ever before. What is not addressed is the basic nature of people, who when achieving positions of power, try to stay in that position. Our first President understood that and stepped down after two elections. Sadly he didn't see far enough into the future to propose legislation to limit terms of office. Our current Congressional problems can only be cured by limiting terms of office. When our legislators understand that the laws they pass are laws that they will have to live under when they return to private life, will we have bills and laws that will benefit the large majority of Americans. I believe that only the issue of term limits should be addressed with conviction. Newt Gingrich understood the need for term limits and was successful in getting a Gingrich-led congress which unfortunately forgot about term limits after their election. (More than likely if Gingrich proposes another contract he will have some version of term limits included.) I would be much more attentive to speakers on Mr. Moyer's program who come forth with a usable plan to invoke term limits.

    Tocqueville revisited:

    In the following passage, Posted by RE Mant, substitute: "wealthy" for "poor" and "poor for "wealthy" ; "corporation" for "community" or "people"; "oligarch communities" for "democratic communities".

    Tocqueville on Democracy in America, again: "As the great majority of those who create the laws have no taxable property, all the money that is spent for the community appears to be spent to their advantage, at no cost of their own; and those who have some little property readily find means of so regulating the taxes that they weigh upon the wealthy and profit the poor...In countries in which the poor have the exclusive power of making the laws, no great economy of public expenditure ought to be expected...In other words, the government of a democracy is the only one under which the power that votes the taxes escapes the payment of them...When...the people are invested with the supreme authority, they are perpetually seeking for something better...The thirst for improvment extends to a thousand different objects; it descends to the most trivial details, and especially to those changes which are accompanied with considerable expense, since the object is to improve the condition of the poor, who cannot... (or won't)... pay for the improvment. Moreover, all democratic communities are agitated by an ill-defined excitment and a kind of feverish impatience that creates a multitude of innovations, almost all of which are expensive...As it frequently changes its purposes, and still more frequently its agents, its undertakings are often ill-conducted or left unfinished...."

    There you have it. Tocqueville was speaking in a different age but greed and self interest apply equally to all classes of society. And that is why we have laws and regulations. And also, why it was intended that corporations exist at the pleasure of the Government ... (read " The People")... and to serve the public interest. Corporations have "privileges" not "rights".

    Support bipartisan bill S. 752 and H.R. 1826 The Fair Elections Now Act. Google it. There is plenty of information on the web.

    Libertarian Gillespie appeared to me to be aggressive, closed=minded and very sure of himself.
    On the other hand, Lessig was quiet, reasoned and rational. It seems like the shouters like Gillespie are getting the attention these days, whether they make any sense at all: Let's all go back to no government, huh?
    Child labor, extreme pollution and poverty, no health care except for the rich ....sounds like Haiti. He wants to trash government, or continue on a reductionist course, all the while keeping a blind eye on the ascending power of the multinational corporations with their mantra of extract, consume, shop, throw out. (catch this website for more of this shift: www.storyofstuff.com/)

    The Supreme Court's decision simply ratified this astounding shift in power.

    Nothing is inevitable. This is supposedly a government "for the people." How can large institutions "buy" this influence at expense, literally, of all of us? Simple: we are letting them do it by buying their products, watching their commercials and electing their hired guns (formerly called legislators).

    There is always a shift. It will come. Something will happen, a climate event or a military challenge to the U.S. from China or maybe both.

    I am very sad to hear of Bill Moyer's "retirement". His show and voice are vital to the discussion of what is happening to our society and world. I have a lot of faith in the youth of today, and we need to see more of their voices. Perhaps Bill can work on a new show with the young voices and ideas.

    # Do you agree with Lessig that Congress has lost the people’s respect? What reforms would increase your faith in Washington?

    Here are three quotes regarding Libertarianism that last weeks programme sent me looking for…..

    Noam Chomsky
    “There isn't much point arguing about the word "libertarian." It would make about as much sense to argue with an unreconstructed Stalinist about the word "democracy" -- recall that they called what they'd constructed "peoples' democracies."
    The weird offshoot of ultra-right individualist anarchism that is called "libertarian" here happens to amount to advocacy of perhaps the worst kind of imaginable tyranny, namely unaccountable private tyranny. If they want to call that "libertarian," fine; after all, Stalin called his system "democratic." But why bother arguing about it? “


    Daniel Patrick Moynihan
    "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts. “

    Jim Hightower
    “The original Greek word "idiotes" referred to people who might have had a high IQ,
    but were so self-involved that they focused exclusively on their own life and were both ignorant of and uncaring about public concerns and the common good.”


    I love your show Bill and don’t even want to think about what Friday nights will feel like after you’ve retired, however, if anyone has earned a peaceful and terrific retirement you have. God bless you for the magnificent work that you have done. Yours truly, John Hepworth

    Thanks Tom Sciamanna , love that quote from Adam Smith.

    Bill, I did something I have never done with any of your broadcasts before. I changed channels! I couldn't help it. Gillespie, like all other disciples of Ayn Rand confound and dismay me no end. He summed up the libertarian philosophy very well when you asked him if he'd not be happy to have tax payer funded elections, thereby increasing the power of democracy. Like all "Randians," he answered: "Why should I have my taxes pay for that?" Exactly. Someone long ago, in the mists of time, asked somewhat the same question: "Am I my brother's keeper." Both Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt knew that unrestrained money power was a terrible threat to our democratic republic. They both fought like hell to contain and restrain that power. We seem to have come full circle since the Gilded Age was upon us. In 1980 Ronald Reagan and his libertarians sold the American people a bill of goods: "Greed is a good thing." But I recall that the good sisters who taught me in grade school told me that greed was one of the seven deadly sins. It still is. No less an authority on capitalism than its founder Adam Smith had this to say about big business: "Any legislation proposed by business should be examined with the most suspicious attention, coming as it does from an order of men whose interest is never exactly tha same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public, and who accordingly have upon many occasions both deceived and oppressed it." Says it all, doesn't it? By further way of apology, you must understand that we Italians are very demonstrative and participative--even when confronted by a tv screen or a movie screen! Both sets of grandparents came over from Italy around the turn of the twentieth century. They were miners and factory workers. My father and uncles were all union men. We knew--know--that corporations do not give away anything out of the goodness of their hearts. Let me conclude with heartfelt thanks for your Journal. Never miss it; and, I promise to try not to turn the channel again. One suggestion. How about having Jim Hightower on some day? He's a real, fighting progressive, a voice for the common folk.And, I believe, Jim is one of your homies.

    Shondradawson opined, in part, "We, the people, must bear in mind that our American precedents were conditioned to subjection under a monarchy, as were their descendants, going back thousands of years."

    Never for one minute

    had I felt a pressure to bend my knee to a Big Giant Head as a USA citizen, so I must respectfully disagree that "we" are begging for one.

    It wasn't so much a "monarch" that inspired the Declaration of Independence as the "religions of authority" that replaced the sovereignty of God with a Big Giant Head.

    Yup, it is distinctly pressure from without, and not from within,

    that brings the IDEA into my head that I MUST bend a knee in homage to a Big Giant Head channeling through talking toasters.

    Face it, there is no way to steer the Supreme Court decision regarding "what" has "free speech" rights and "what" does not into some semblence of sanity.

    The Founding Fathers would recognize this decision for what it really is, so I agree with that idea.

    However, I doubt that their lucid and dignified minds would accept the "thingication" of HUMANITY in a way that would be PC enough for the "modern" class of "statesmen" scratching and clawing their way to the Big Rigged Slot Machine in D.C.

    But then, I must have been living in an alternate reality version of USA because I can't say that we've had too many experiences in common...I found the simple wisdom "work makes one free" to be a true experience.

    Maybe there just aren't enough immigrants here in USA from those countries in Europe that walked away, in the millions, from their delusions of the 20th century...?

    Ukraine's elections, yesterday, were declared a "model of democracy" by the "peacekeepers" who were on hand to make sure the election was not STOLEN like the last go-round...the people put in office the person who supposedly "lost" the election a few years back...

    People here in USA are not ready to give up:

    More misery for others =
    more money for ME ME ME.

    And, yes, the 5 Supremes knew what misery can be made with the hand over of the "right" of free speech to the THING were they can store the fruit of other people's labor as their own - into infinity and beyond.

    I think I'll go tell the birdie outside to shut up

    :-))

    If we could stand up and do anything together, than we would have some power to make it better. If we could stop working like the french do to get their way. If we could stop buying stuff. Anything would work. The minute you try to do anything like that in this country there's always someone there to take advantage and make some money off of it. The day we could all get together... Now that's utopia. Maybe someday.

    Anna D.
    Could you post your last post again in English.
    It sounds like it could be important.
    Dave (:-)>

    I honestly can see no other way to take back our governments, than to collapse the present one.
    We can do this by simply not supporting the present, by not voting.

    It has been well documented, that no matter which party is in control of government, the outcome is always the same..they win and we taxpayers / citizens lose.

    You can take off one dirty pair of sock and put on another dirty pair and the smell is still there.

    Today political parties know full well, that once we give them the ok to assume power, that we have done so with the knowledge , that the system is dirty, therefore they take your vote as a vote and justifacation to continue on the same path.

    Stop giving your money to political parties, put your money and time into community orientated projects, become a threat to these canadidates who are nothing more than talking heads for the people with deep pockets.

    Please think about how and why these parties need your vote..and remember 90% of the time, they ignore us until the next election and they do their spin to suck us in one more time.

    I say end this abuse.

    Re: Ernee Douglas February 7, 2010 9:18 PM about my post about how to really fix what's really wrong with our government:

    Thanks for your positive comments about my book “Beyond Plutocracy”. You said you “will suggest it for reading to the DEMAND-SIDE PARTY and listen to comments on such a system. Perhaps, your ideas would get at the root of most of many of the issues in this forum.”

    Using Google I was not able to find any site or forum with the name “demand-side party”. Could you steer me in the right direction?

    I was attracted by several, but not all, of the items you listed as your platform planks in the Moyers site “A Single-Payer Solution?” blog. My guess is that most people who perused the list would have the same mixed reaction. Thus, you would have great difficulty gathering a sufficient following for a successful movement with such a long and controversial list of planks.

    I faced this problem when I wrote “Beyond”. There are so many things wrong with our current system. Do I just start proposing a laundry list of what I consider to be wise repairs? Instead I decided to address what after years of pondering I came to see as the central problem: the fundamental mal-distribution of power within our government that overwhelmingly favors the wealthy. Our government is a plutocracy that needs to made into a democracy.

    Now, our congress already functions in a quasi-democratic fashion; legislators propose, deliberate and vote on legislation. But the legislature is populated mostly by wealthy and wealth-serving people. So the problem becomes how can we populate congress with people that resemble and honestly represent the entire electorate? That brings us to our electoral system, a set of crooked dice that is overwhelmingly dominated by wealthy corporations and individuals. My principal cure for plutocracy is an absolutely honest electoral system that really does result in honest representation of the entire electorate. (As an insurance policy against plutocracy, I also place nine economic issues including the sole power to tax directly into the hands of the electorate.)

    Now, here’s the heart of what I am saying to you: It is very unlikely that many folks would get behind any long serious list of detailed repairs, not mine, not yours, not anybody’s. That kind of stuff really has to get hammered out in a legislature. But we can all get behind one clearly and persistently presented proposal: A correct and sufficient repair of our electoral system, which everyone knows is a crooked, store-bought system that always sticks us with the best government that money can buy. That, I suggest, is what a “True Democracy Movement” and a third party should be all about.

    Once an honest electoral system is achieved all members of the electorate, rich and poor alike, will have a much easier time running for office, getting behind candidates and ideas, and actually reaching the floor of congress to propose legislation such as the items in your demand-side party planks.

    http://www.commondreams.org/print/52592
    "In a message to democrats,
    Wall St. sends cash to GOP."

    as a big fan of the Bill Moyers show i was deeply disappointed to see a light-weight like Nick Gillespie on a show which has a reputation for intelligent guests. Asserting that buying politicians is equivalent to free speech is a metaphor for what is wrong with the US. i.e. if one is rich, one can have anything he wants. ... jsenka

    This decision by the supreme court was wrong on so many levels. This will aggravate the disconnect the public feels with our elected officials. I don't believe congress has the will to change the rules that would effect the money supply for reelection. There hasn't been any meaningful election reform that I am aware of. Possibly a feeble effort that gets diluted later or not enforced. It's impossible for the people to constantly monitor the elected officials for ethics violations.... "At one time that was the job of the media"..... I also believe a constitutional amendment would not be possible with our current elected officials. All I can say is this decision further erodes our confidence of government "For The People". Unless we demand change with mass demonstration it will just be more of the same. H.Beasley

    Thank you, Michelle Elliot, Jan Bergeron, Rothenberger, for your intellectual and creative power and passion.

    Thank you to all the other posts for steadying a trembling faith...

    Much of my reading and study over the past six months has been concentrated on the US political and economic systems, given the state of present conditions.

    What is underscored in the discussions and debates currently rising and raging, if it has been addressed at all, is the Founding Fathers (Federalists) of this country took great pains and deliberation in designing a constitution that would preserve a republic and democracy for the people. It was no mean aspiration or feat, as the men of that time were well-versed in ancient history. Our founding fathers knew that virtually no democracy or republic has ever lasted more than three hundred years in Western or Eastern civilization.

    We, the people, must bear in mind that our American precedents were conditioned to subjection under a monarchy, as were their descendants, going back thousands of years. Our Founding Fathers (and the Anti-Federalists should be included in that circle) endeavored to change subjects into citizens. They sought to change followers of monarchy into leaders of democracy.

    In other words, changing the conditions of rule on paper was not the true task or challenge at hand: it was changing the conditions of rule in mind...they fought a war for independence, which is not to say, the people freed themselves...

    Generations later, we, the people, look to the President, to the Representative, to the Senator, to the Supreme Judge, to a leader, to deliver us...it is a monarchical condition of mind to look for a leader to follow: yet, the Constitution was designed for the people to lead. American history has shown, how little inclined we have been to do so...

    Now, as we find this nation in decline, I still believe the founders of this nation were well-meaning. I think perhaps the Constitution was written in their time, but not in its time, the people were willing to believe in its conditions, but perhaps not ready for them...

    The founders, with remarkable foresight, remembered what is forgotten to our peril: that democracy cannot be realized when the people believe in it, not when the people fight for it, no, not even when the people are willing to die for it...

    Democracy can be realized only when the people are ready to live by it...

    We, the people, must cease to be subjects of the Constitution.

    We, the people, must condition ourselves to be citizens, so this republic shall not perish from the earth.

    I would love to see Our Campaign Elections operate on a "Budget" just like the majority of people have to deal with. Give each party a "set limit" of funds and see how creative they can be with what they've got.
    Now this would basic "common sense" and real progress.
    Loretta Huston

    Thanks Jan Bergeron for your input. There's a lot of good posts here.

    "What reforms would increase your faith in Washington?"

    Term limits for Congress (fed and states)!


    "The Romans were the superpower of their day. We should learn from them that NO superpower is omnipotent." -allenwrench | February 5, 2010 7:54 PM

    Yes, talking about "The Power of Big Money" and the Romans, the Romans didn't survive the regular killing of their born and preborn boys and girls. In the end, they only cared about their own selves and their power/money to the detriment of their children/future society.

    May the "Big Money" powers of Planned Parenthoods, For*ds, Rocke*fellers, Soro*s', et al get with the program and stop killing us off slowly with the real weapons of mass destruction (from Maafa21), the abortion vacuum extractor.

    gbm3

    i wrote the president last september concerning the people that were willing to "speak out" about health care and the fact that programs like Mr. Moyer's had prominent person (s) on that told the brass facts and truths concerning big pockets in the insurance industry. my comment to the president was that if i can watch pbs and listen to all sides of a story this was a good thing. however, i also wrote asking why he wasn't out there telling the same stories. the right controlled the conversation up to even now! i asked him why he was not publicly agknowledging the people in the know that were willing to speak out about big payoff's, bottom lines, corporate greediness that got us here in the first place, who would speak out for us? i got a letter back stating he feels my pain etc... and stated he was not giving up. well now with the supreme court ruling there is now a larger problem looming over the citizens of this country & news of a one world like gov't probably will come to fruition, simply because now foreign companines can weigh in on our "freedoms" and the small voices (individuals) will be drown out by the big corporations & their lobbyists. We need finance reform like never before. our politians are getting rich (er) & are not about to get off the gravy train any time soon. hey, what ever happened to all the states that passed term limits? oh, that's right, the supreme court ruled it unconstitional!!!! it's all about money...always has been, probably always will be. free speech isn't going to change that.

    So many comments about the senseless equation between a legal entity and an actual person and the duplicity of rights for those with the power to be heard above the rest of us, show that most of you would have been better Supreme Court Justices than the ones there now.

    Posted by: Michelle Elliott


    Time for the pertinent line from the novel "Doctor Zhivago":

    "All is swamped by Pharisaism. To live life to the end is not a childish task."

    We have a third political party - The Independents - that evolved organically from the land dumps of the two "official" parties.

    What I have heard lately out of the mouths of self-proclaimed "libertarians" has nothing to do with:

    The government's only role is to protect the individual against FORCE and FRAUD.

    The mono cause people are flocking to "Libertarians" claiming it's ideas...

    here's the 90 IQ perky argument - "....smoking is legal, but social pressure is working to get the smokers to stop...so government should make fewer things illegal..."

    Sigh.

    Was it legal for tobacco companies to hide scientific data?

    If it wasn't legal then, now it certainly IS legal...

    A "corporation" has the right to not incrimiinate itself...so it has the right to hide bad data.

    Pluto crazies...

    gmb3 started it by quoting allenwrentch, "The Romans were the superpower of their day. We should learn from them that NO superpower is omnipotent." -allenwrench February 5, 2010 7:54 PM

    Personally, Gents, I prefer this assessment of why Rome fell, "Even a good religion could not save a great empire from the sure results of lack of individual participation in the affairs of government, from overmuch paternalism, overtaxation and gross collection abuses, unbalanced trade with the Levant which drained away the gold, amusement madness, Roman standardization, the degradation of woman, slavery and race decadence, physical plagues, and a state church which became institutionalized nearly to the point of spiritual barrenness."

    Don't let the top of your heads blow off before you figure it out that NO ONE at the final G-8 table has the "nuts" (poker parlance).

    The G-20 need to go back home and salvage THEIR cultural wisdom and add progress to it

    and just sit back, munch popcorn and watch the game....THEN decide if it's worth it to come steal what's left of the carcasses...here's a hint, don't go trying the "guilt" thingy as a way to political prowess as a "special" people...you see, everyone has that same story in their 10,000 year "historical" background and the only people who will make it, once again, are the producers of wealth, not the consumers.

    How much longer do the Chinese expect that they'll have to keep killing the GIRL babies...?

    So many comments about the senseless equation between a legal entity and an actual person and the duplicity of rights for those with the power to be heard above the rest of us, show that most of you would have been better Supreme Court Justices than the ones there now.

    Another very obvious point to make. Within a family, there can be many different view points and opinions. How each individual processes an experience can be very different than their siblings. Each person in the family is entitled to "freedom of speech". Not the Family as a whole.

    So how do we make the LEAP from an individual to a Corporation, consisting of a large body of individuals, being counted as a "person" with the same "Freedom of Speech" Rights?
    It's mind blowing that We are even having this debate.
    Loretta Huston

    While I vehemently disagree with the Citizens United decision, I must wonder what the subtext of this issue really is. I believe the discussions on this topic needs to begin with whether we feel the Amercian voting electorate is ill-informed or ill-educated enough that they would believe attack ads sponsored by corporations? My personal feeling is, yes, when we are no longer the leaders in eduction, literacy, or science.

    Finally, to answer Mr. Moyer's question during the interview, yes, I believe the Supreme Court is corrupt, and I found the tacit agreement to the contrary by Lessig and Gillespie to be nonsense. Do we really think that just because these judges are given life tenure that they are no longer part of the political process? Do we really fool ourselves into thinking that the Supreme Court is not a political body, when its members are selected in a highly political process? Do we expect an elected President to select the best legal minds if they don't agree with him?

    Dear Bill Moyers,

    Would you please do a program on Alexis de Toqueville, DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA.

    Anytime someone comes peddling the high concepts of freedom and liberty, you have to ask them what they mean. Since I don't believe there's ever been one that actually worked, what exactly would a true libertarian society look like? Kind of like a city with no stop lights, stop signs, or speed limits??? You're going to need lots of body bags and piles of money to clean up the resulting chaos.

    I suspect that a truly libertarian society would end up looking a lot like Pre-earthquake Haiti. Basically a low-functioning government basket-case with no rules regarding labor, trade or the environment resulting in a society with some really rich people and lots and lots and lots and lots of really, really, really poor people. The UN Peacekeepers wheren't there for the scenery. They were there to keep the poor from killing the rich.

    The bottom line is that there are already too many really rich people and corporations who are at liberty to enrich themselves at the expense of everyone else. Unlike the rest of us, they can drop a moneybomb on whoever they want in order to get whatever they want. Or at least threaten to do so, which is often enough to make it happen.

    So if you're content to be used as a cheap source of protein by some billionaire, go ahead and buy into Gillespie-style libertarianism. And as you're being digested you have the freedom and liberty to whine about it.

    Don't get me wrong.
    Working-class Americans, for the most part, are a great and caring people, but we've got the attention span of a Cocker Spaniel and the political IQ of a bag of hammers. Exhibit A is right here where I live in Oklahoma. The people here are wonderful but the delegation we send to D.C. is so regressed I'm surprised they can still walk upright. So, Gillespie is either lying or not paying attention if he thinks we citizens have the necessary knowledge to sort through the propaganda. Exhibits B and C: George W Bush and Scott Brown... I could go on...

    Mr. Moyers,

    On another subject--Thank you for giving us another look at the great Howard Zinn. With his death the era of the intellectual as rockstar/activist is coming close to an end. I hope you will consider giving us some time with Noam Chomsky before you close out The Journal. I think an hour with you and Professor Chomsky together again would be great television and a service to your viewers.

    Thank You,

    Andrew B.


    THE DEMANDSIDE PARTY

    LET EQUITY, FREEDOM, JUSTICE, AND LIBERTY RING TRUE THROUGH AN EFFICIENT SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE FOR THE PEAPLE AND BY THE PEOPLE.

    Bill: I am extremely sorry to hear about your retirement and I can't think of anybody that could follow in your footsteps. You have been a voice of civility and reason thru out your career. I have been disturbed in recent years with the influence of corporate interests with PBS. I understand the need for financing after the powers that be started reducing public financial support. Their are things that I have learned from PBS and only PBS that corporate media would never address. It will be a sad day in our history when corporate media is our only source of information. We would be well served with a constitutional amendment restoring public subsidies to all media sources regardless of their views. I have thought to myself over the years if only Bill Moyers would run for president. You would be somebody I would be proud to call president. Sadly in todays political climate it's not something I would wish on anybody. Thanks you for your service to the public good you will be sorely missed. H.Beasley

    Why is the defense of Citizens United always that more free speech is always a good thing, and less free speech is always a bad thing? We have libel and slander laws which restrict free speech. We have laws to cover cyber-bullying, for example the case where the girl committed suicide after being bullied. It is not at all clear that more free speech is always better, rather we must examine the consequences and reasonably ban or regulate harmful speech.
    Many who defend Citizens United ignore completely the logical jump from a group of citizens exercising rights they individually have to rights they collectively have. The go-to example here is the right to vote for individuals but not for corporations. Is there any mechanism to ensure that a group, such as a corporation, is exercising the sum of individual rights? If I own a single share of stock in a corporation and disagree with their message, my right to speech is being compromised, not extended. What if more than half of the stakeholders in a company disagree with the message? How about if only a third do? How does the lofty goal of increasing free speech square with cases where that speech is opposed by many of the very people making up the corporation?

    "The Romans were the superpower of their day. We should learn from them that NO superpower is omnipotent." -allenwrench February 5, 2010 7:54 PM

    Yes, talking about "The Power of Big Money" and the Romans, the Romans didn't survive the regular killing of their born and preborn boys and girls. In the end, they only cared about their own selves and their power/money to the detriment of their children/future society.

    May the "Big Money" powers of Planned Parenthoods, For*ds, Rocke*fellers, Soro*s', et al get with the program and stop killing us off slowly with the real weapons of mass destruction (from Maafa21), the abortion vacuum extractor.

    gbm3

    We see reading, writing, and arithmetic as core education, but in these times technology and the human mind would be a significant addition. We expect people to be reasonable but we are not taking into account how that really works. Reason is accomplished by sorting through what we know. Our minds are made to deal with the natural world, with little deception. ( did you see the movie, the origin of lying?) Deception is difficult and complex. There has to be enough info in the mind to counter it. If the information is flooded with deception it becomes real and reasonable. Allowing entities that want more money and power to further control information outlets as this decision does is very dangerous in this real respect. Real "reasonable" input is rare in our current media and avenues for attainable information. We're basically creating a dysfunctional society. Especially since most people don't read and that's the best avenue for attaining reasonable information. I keep hearing, be it true or not, that Fox, the most propaganda driven outlet for information, is the most watch for news. How's that working out for us?

    On Feb. 5 you posed the question, "Can Democracy Withstand the Power of Big Money". Immediately following this segment, you answered this question in your next segment covering Dr. Flowers' attempt to deliver a letter to President Obama, which suggested that single payer, universal coverage was the only model that would bring us real healthcare reform. Unfortunately, due to the influence of "Big Money" flowing from insurance and pharmaceutical companies to Washington, our representatives, including those in the White House, will never truly make our healthcare system efficient, efficacious and universal.
    I hope Mr. Gillespie was watching.

    The supreme court is (again) wrong. The ability to influence political campaigns, in any way, including by contribution, should be limited to those with the power to cast a vote. He who can attract the most money, from the most voters, (as opposed to corporations, unions and/or 'residents' legal or illegal), should be the criteria for campaign contribution. No vote, no 'support'. That would bring it back to one person, one vote. As it is and as the supreme court has decided, No Vote can contribute the most and make the candidate most obliged to the purse of the fat cat instead of to the will of the people.

    I turned the channel after both panelists agreed that “corporations are associations of persons.” By law, they are not. And any judge should know this.

    1a) The five Supreme Court justices who, in the People United decision, asserted that corporations are associations of persons should be impeached and removed from office for gross incompetence and ignorance of the law.

    b) “Corporate entity” includes any entity whose existence is based on privileges granted by law. It is, by law, recognized as having an identity separate from the people who own, operate, work for, do business with, or are in any other way involved with it. It has the privilege of transacting business, entering into contracts, incurring debt, etc. The law usually grants some kind of limited liability to it’s owners.

    c) Corporate entities include but are not limited to: limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships, limited liability companies, corporations, reits, remics, chartered financial institutions, incorporated associations, most labor unions, etc.. It specifically does not include unincorporated associations, sole proprietorships and general partnerships.

    2) Libertarians are two-faced, fork-tongued hypocrites. They say they want free markets and to get government out of the marketplace. If they really wanted that, then they would want to abolish all corporate entities because laws that grant persons the privilege of doing business as a corporate entity, with limited liability, is governments’ most pervasive, intrusive and distorting intrusion into the marketplace. But what libertarians really want is to let corporate entities do whatever the hell they want without government regulations, restrictions or punishments.

    3) The Supreme Court has always had this wrong. The issue isn’t political or commercial speech versus other kinds of speech. The nature or content of the speech is not the issue. The real issue is who is speaking:, corporate entity versus person.

    4) When the corporation’s very existence is a privilege granted by law, it is absurd to assert that it has rights under the constitution.

    5) Every person involved with a corporation, owners, operators, employees, each has an individual right to free speech, including political speech. To grant the corporate entity speech rights independent of and in addition to the speech rights of the persons involved with it is to effectively multiply the rights of the few persons who control the corporate entity. It also allows the few persons who control the resources of the corporate entity to use those resources to amplify their speech above that of you and me. This is hardly fair or equal protection of my rights.

    This is supposed to be a country of one person, one vote. Perhaps the solution to the problem of influence buying opinion and paid lobbyists crafting most of our legislation is to a) limit campaign contributions to individuals only, b) give each contributor a limit on the dollars contributed thus creating a kind of a "one voter, one dollar" system, c) make political action committees illegal and d) require political ads to be paid for from monies raised in (b) above. Also, any "free speeches" need to clearly identify the source. No more "Citizens for a Healthy Heathcare System" type ads that look like they are coming from a grass roots group of concerned citizens that are really paid for by industry. We must eliminate the wolf in sheep's clothing.

    The problem is not free speech. The problem is money buying influence and opinion.

    Why does Mr. Lessig think an exception to the First Amendment should be carved out that exposes people who are speaking as part of a corporation to government sanction for voicing their opinions? Imagine if corporations like the New York Times, Washington Post, and so on, were prevented by law from endorsing or attacking political candidates. Is that "democracy"? No — it's state control of the media.

    And supposing we except these media organizations (which happen to be corporations) from speech restrictions, what then? Then we've given an arbitrary advantage to certain corporations just because they own newspapers or TV stations. Is that democracy? No, it's corporate favoritism.

    The Supreme Court didn't "grant" anyone anything. They overturned an unconstitutional law. Deciding otherwise would've flouted any reasonable interpretation of First Amendment. 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. End of story.

    Also, "Ernee Douglas": you don't understand what the word "fascist" means. Here's a hint: the platform you keep posting which advocates government-directed nationalist corporatism, is pretty darn close to fascism.

    Bill, You should have had Greg Palast on also. One of his main points on the ruling is that it will potentially allow countries like Saudia Arabia to be able to lobby with BILLIONS, (not the current millions) of corporate dollars for influence.

    A future idea might be to have a panel discussion of defining the main political philosophies in this country; liberal, conservative, libertarian, progressive, communist, and socialist. If we talk about a full debate of ideas in political campaigns, the fourth estate needs to initiate this discussion. I believe it is necessary to go back to the basics as we have been drowning in assumptions and convoluted agendas for too long.

    Mr. Gillespie's point that money will always attract interested influence is of course correct but his solution is sophomoric at best and nefarious at worst. Are we to believe that the private sector can do the jobs that government now performs better? I think not. And does the "free market" really provide a disinterested alternative to government? I think you have to be either terribly interested, in the monetary sense, or terribly naive to believe that. No "free market" is disinterested, and all are shaped critically by the laws within which they operate, if you think about it for even a second.

    For that reason all the "shrink government" hawkers are worse than useless. Certainly government functions should be streamlined and continually pruned to increase their efficiency, but they cannot be replaced by any magic free market. That simply leaves the goats to guard the cabbage patch, as we've done by ceding health care to the private sector.

    Government waste and inefficiency are certainly problems, as is our having ceded control of them to corporate interests (which is why e.g. health care is so impossibly expensive), and that is why a Constitutional amendment is direly needed. How about one (subject to refinement) mandating exclusively public funding of campaigns for federal office, using the airwaves we already own, and limiting the term of office to a single one of, say, six years. This would help get rid of the very real threat to all officeholders that if they don't vote the interests of particular lobbies they will lose their next elections. Coupled with limiting the exercise of First Amendment rights by non-natural persons, as proposed currently by e.g. Public Citizen, that would be a major step in the right direction, and I would hope some serious work by right-minded Constitutional scholars could make it even better.

    My opinion on the matter of the Supreme Court decision that gave corporation the power to influence on a massive level.The citizen will not stand for that ruling by the Supreme Court.The court violation of the founding father understanding of the vote of the citizens at the constitution convention.When you read the Federalist Papers they clearly says the vote belong to the common man/woman.Not the machines of corporation.It remind me of a story in a Syfy movie;when corporation(Fairchild)had influence over the people lives.Shara Palen forgot to ask the Tea party how that working out for you on the Supreme Court decision.

    RE: How to really fix what's really wrong with out government:Roger Rothenberger
    Great book Roger. I will suggest it for reading to the DEMAND-SIDE PARTY and listen to comments on such a system. Perhaps, your ideas would get at the root of most of many of the issues in this forum. Maybe, a majority in our party may start a movement advocating your ideas of a "Demos". Perhaps we could call it the "Demos movement" Although, changing the system may scare those who hate change...Maybe your book can convince them otherwise. Cheers everyone!

    How can Mr. Gillespie not see the effect of the money from insurance company supported issue ads that scare the American public about health care reform. He makes it sound like the American people make their decisions based on reason. I wish! How naive. These companies have the money and power to frame the debate with their spin. They are in business, which means they know how to sell their product, and they've got the money and experience to sell their point of view in ways that just are not available to most other people.

    Canada banned corporate (including labour-union) donations to political parties, and there’s a good reason for it. Voters are people, natural persons, not legal entities. Only those who can actively participate in the electoral and democratic process should be allowed to shape, direct or even “manipulate” public opinion.

    Nick Gillespie is a libertarian firebrand who tends to go overboard on his political leanings. He sees no problem with Big Money flooding into the political process and then calls “freedom of speech”. Sorry, but freedom of speech is a human right, not a corporate right.

    The US Supreme Court was clearly wrong to allow companies and, above all, unions to engage in “political communications”. Nothing opens the door to special interest more so than this decision, and democracy will be worse for it.

    How to really fix what's really wrong with out government:

    Capitalism, the market economy, is our best form of economic relationship. It motivates personal and local decision making, creativity, improvement, entrepreneurship and productivity; and it creates much wealth. But capitalism has a very deep flaw. It tends toward monopoly. It concentrates excessive power, wealth and advantage into the hands of all too often ruthless, greedy elites who then exploit the rest of the populace and override the common good. America is not really the democracy that it claims to be but a plutocracy that is dominated by a powerful, wealthy minority.

    Capitalism is redeemable, that is, a sound, balanced, equitable market economy can be achieved by the wise management of an honest government. But we don’t have an honest government that includes and represents the will of the entire electorate. Its most fundamental dishonesty is its electoral system. Elections are left to a marketplace, mass media, two political parties and state electoral district systems that are mostly owned, operated and dominated by the wealthy. Elections, offices and the favors of our government are bought and sold just like any other commodity. The result is that a wealthy and wealth-serving elite holds a permanent hegemony of seats, offices and power in our government and we get stuck with the best government that money can buy.

    I have written a book entitled “Beyond Plutocracy – True Democracy for America” that is available free at www.beyondplutocracy.com. It offers a partial redesign of our government that, I believe, really fixes in just the right way what is really wrong with it. I add to our government a new fourth branch I call the demos, a nationwide electronic network in which the entire electorate deliberates and votes on three electoral issues—the election of the president, all senators and all house representatives—and nine economic issues. Unlike today’s periodic elections, demos voting is ongoing. Throughout his or her voting life, each member of the electorate keeps a vote “riding” on each demos issue that he or she may change at any time.

    Unlike today, voters are not stuck voting for the “lesser of evils”. In an absolutely honest demos electoral system all members of the electorate, rich and poor alike, are empowered both to run for office and to freely come together statewide and nationwide in support of their champions, those that resemble them in body, mind, interests and pocketbook and that honestly represent them. The resulting senate and house automatically demographically resemble and serve the true and balanced interests of the entire electorate as they create laws, rules and policies for our market economy and all the rest of society. No quota systems, political parties or complex electoral schemes are required. People simply get to vote for whom they really want.

    As added insurance against plutocracy, I move nine economic issues of central importance to our nation out of the other branches of our government and into the demos. Participating in a new kind of democratic process I call consensus democracy, the electorate deliberates, votes and achieves full consensus on these issues. Unlike our current plutocracy, which only achieves the consensus of a simple majority of elites, and majority-rule democracy, which only achieves the consensus of a simple majority of the electorate, consensus democracy achieves the consensus of the entire electorate. It automatically avoids all extremes and produces a moderate “golden mean” that changes slowly over time as demographics, conditions and our decisions change.

    The electorate has the sole power to tax at the federal level, which gives it direct control over the size of our government. It sets the overall size and distribution of the tax burden. It sets the minimum wage, the length of the “standard workweek” and the amount of national debt or savings. It also controls the portion of tax revenues that are allocated to four major areas of the government including the military and entitlements. The representative branches then further fine tune revenue distributions and set budgets within these areas.

    Our government will never become OUR government, the government of “we the people,” all of the people, until we add to it an honest electoral system. An honest electoral system makes possible an honest, just government which in turn makes possible an honest, equitable market economy and “the good society” we seek.

    Until our government’s electoral system is correctly repaired, little else can ever work right or get adequately repaired. If you are frustrated and enraged by the current state of our nation and moved to action, make it the right action, the only possible effective action: the creation of and participation in a True Democracy Movement that results in the addition of an honest electoral system to our government.

    Is there no one who stops at the word "free" speech...and its exact opposite meaning of what this country has..... which is "paid for" speech? There is nothing free about any speech in any election in this country, and I submit that this is the real issue that does NOT follow the meaning and intent of the Constitution.
    Unless the CORPORATE media wants to DONATE some of their tv time to election ads, (maybe 5 weeks would be quite sufficient before every election,) we continue in violation of the real Constitutional meaning. And, there is NO truth in expression of opinion of a Corporation. In their ads or lobbying, they NEVER represent and should never pretend to speak for all members OR workers, by buying speech for advertising OR lobbyists. It is a sham.It should be treason.

    Furthermore, the rudeness of this so called libertarian was disgusting. Wny do you have to have such people on your show??? He must be in the pocket of Republicans. He has mixed up the word democracy with money in his pocket, evidently., and is quite happy with unregulated capitalism.
    Many believe that PBS is being threatened with extinction if they do not allow the Republicans to spew their lies. That would really propel a billion man march by the populace...on Republicans who have led us since Reagan to economic ruin, have abused our military by sending them all over the world to clean up after their abuses, and try to take over the elctions by crook, not just hook. Yes, the country is split. If that is the best the other 29% can do, then so be it.

    Bill,

    Thank you for a most interesting discussion. Both speakers had merit to their positions.

    I think this situation of big money dominating Washington has evolved to the point that the only practical remedy is to simply eliminate it.

    We must go to “public funding” of all federal elections.

    Nothing else will change. The lobbyist, rich, influential, powerful, and corporate free speech will still be there.

    Today, those that control/raise the money for a race decide who will run. Our Congressmen and Senators have to do what they are told or “that money” will go to those that will. “Public funding” will eliminate that control.

    If anyone has a better idea on how to fix Congress, I would sure like to hear it. And please, the French solution of chopping heads off is not acceptable, however the thought gives pleasure.

    nya, my friend... RE: The US Supreme Court decision ... " they have life tenure. "

    Have faith, stand with me and the DEMAND-SIDE PARTY. Any of the Justices who joined the majority could be brought up on impeachment charges for legislating from the bench. If any congressman stands in the way...we can impeach them too.

    I am stunned at the missed opportunities in the interview! Mr. Moyers, there are people out here in the real world who depend on YOU to ask the question that crack the nut! Mr. Gillespie wants the uninformed citizen to believe that there is a level playing field and that the massive influx of corporate funding will increase the volume and the diversity of the discourse. IF LOTS OF MONEY WILL NOT DECREASE THE VOLUME AND DIVERSITY OF THE DISCOURSE THEN WHY ARE CORPORATIONS SO EAGER AND WILLING TO SPEND BILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO GET UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH THERE FAVORITE CANDIDATE?
    Gillespie believes that the public will be able to know that Mr. Gillespie IS NOT a homosexual pedophile after limbaugh, o'reilly, hannity, beck, and several hundred other conservative owned entertainers have been making that point five days before election day. Here is how they do it. Rush immune from any accountability. All Rush has to do is ask the question, "Doesn't Nick Gillespie look like he might be gay? Then he will distance himself from that statement by saying "I'm not saying he IS gay, I'm just saying he looks like he might be, or words to that effect. Then he will make the case that it would be a shame to elect a homosexual pedophile to high office. The seeds are sown. Poor Nick cannot respond in time and the damage is done, Nick is toast. If there were no sponsors for Rush's show he would still be on the air. He only has to take care not tic of his own base. That's what deep pockets can do. They can buy the public air waves.
    The health care plan was swift boated by a massive infusion of funds and lies from the right. The "if we can defeat the health care plan we can break this President" attitude, sums up the conservative value system.
    These were all opening to stick a pin in that blow hard, why did you let them pass?

    "THE ONLY FUNCTION OF GOVERNMENT IS THE PROTECTION OF THE PEOPLE!"

    Why do we allow conservitives to speak gibberish without challenge.

    Thank you for the space.

    It was modestly encouraging to see both Gillespie and Lessig in hearty agreement on the issue of corruption. Yet while I tremendously enjoy Gillespie’s work at Reason magazine and Reason.com, I couldn’t help but feel that he failed to throw light on the core issue of the discussion, which was skirted by all three parties and replaced with the “too many lobbyists” red herring.
    Like the tacky, oversized paper Ikea globe-lamp hanging from my ceiling, our power-bloated Congress—a body of 535 men privileged with the power to dip their fingers into nearly every crevice and cranny of a private society made up of some 300 million citizens and a GDP constituting nearly a fifth of the planet’s total wealth—cannot help but attract a few moths. Whether acting as individuals or as organized groups of profit-seeking business men, teachers, steel workers, Jews or elderly people, humans beings always have an interest in using existing conditions and structures for their own benefit. Similarly, there will always be those unscrupulous souls among us who are willing to exploit those existing conditions and structures at the cost of their fellow men. (You know a few of them from your office.) Thus when a lobbyist goes to Washington with a fistful of dollars and an itch to buy a piece of legislation that will benefit his respective corporation, special interest group or union at some unknown cost to the taxpayer, he is behaving in a manner that is entirely predictable, entirely human, and which nearly every political philosopher since at least Hobbes has recognised at as an irremediable part of the human condition. That is, we utilize whatever our environment’s prevailing conditions are to benefit us as best we can. You do it too whether you realize it or not—though perhaps not as brazenly as the average lobbyist.
    But we take our eye off the ball when we start throwing stones at those knavish lobbyists for doing what we know humans beings do, while we scarcely even look askance at the system that allows them to engage in their nefarious deeds. Lord Acton hit the nail on the head on this one: It’s power that corrupts both men and institutions—and the greater the concentration of power, the more egregious and ubiquitous the corruption becomes. Lobbyists lobby congressmen because they know that they have the power (at least by precedent) to give them what they want. But like beer at a college frat party, take away the power and the party-goers disperse. The flip-side, of course, is that the greater the depth, breadth and concentration of Congress’ authority to tax, redistribute, regulate, inflate, bail-out, prohibit and invade, the greater the number of people hovering around the keg.
    Despite all of Jefferson’s modern detractors who rail against his quaint but antiquated notions on limited government, he did warn us about this. And while we stand around scratching our heads and wondering how we ended up with such corrupt public servants and such a dysfunctional government, I can almost hear his “duh” ringing in my ears. I suspect that one glance at the fattened cow in D.C.—with its exponentially expanded scope of legislative, regulatory, and fiscal powers and the ever-growing swarm of parasites that come to feed on them--would have sufficed for the sage of Monticello to share with us the only three appropriate words remaining: “Told you so.”

    --“Most bad government has grown out of too much government.“
    --“Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.“
    --“I think myself that we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious.“

    The US Supreme Court decision to grant freedom of speech to corporations is an assault on democracy. I also have little faith in the objectiveness of the justices just because they have life tenure. I am sure that, like the rest of us, they have their political and other biases.

    I suggest each election a pool of eligibles of sufficient size to assure enough candidates for an office be selected randomly from the general populace. These pools must be selected from populations large enough to make selection to membership in the pool unlikely in order to discourage the formation of a class of professional politicians. For this election these candidates would be the only ones who can stand for election if they so choose. They would make speeches, personal appearances, etc. as necessary to secure election. They would not be able to run again. Next election a new candidate pool would be randomly selected.

    Posted by: James Wood

    What was always flumoxing when I considerd it, was that USA's connecting infrastructure was built through LOCAL "elections" and government. It was never top down!

    The locals only called for the calvalry when some vicious band of deperados were on the war path to STEAL everything and MURDER the producers of the wealth they sought to steal...the signature ACT of the barbarian - kill the goose laying the eggs...

    Issues are still "local" in USA. People USED to know who was the engineer, the teacher, the architect, the GOOD doctor, the inventor, the farmer, the "smith", etc etc etc and the "politician" was not at the top of the list when BUILDING a civilization hence they weren't elected to LEAD the community in whatever the project was that they had previously agreed to LABOR FOR.

    (why do NONE of you professional bloggers USE the word "civilization"? Very weird, no? What the heck are you all trying to have POWER FOR? Yourselves?)

    Now, money "talked" even back then, but the talk wasn't "perception is reality" crap. There ALWAYS was the knowledge that the "talker" could get decapitated :-) Can you imagine miners out west tolerating psychoanalysis spunked at them in the way of "...you guys are TOO stupid to be a talker like me..."

    So, I agree, with the internet we can find the qualified people in the area for taking the baton of civilization further down the field for a season of public service in LOCAL government. If there are no volunteers, then have a draft - put all the names in the bag and pull one out. Of course, any 2 year service should not be punitive - person can go back to the "farm", or stay with it...depends on their personal CHOICE after 2 years. Somehow, I doubt there would never be QUALIFIED volunteers form the REALITY class of REAL people with REAL skills - the "producers". After all, "producers" are "producers" of wealth because they have intelligence, talent and a capacity to actually separate the "rights" of a talking toaster form the "rights" of their grandchildren.

    I wish all doctors had the devotion and concern to their patients as Dr. Flowers.

    With regard to campaign finance reform, the most expedient and effective solution is to pass into law a 2-term limit (like the POTUS) for all elected representatives of federal, state and local government and require that elected officials subsequently be barred from lobbying or influence peddling. This would blunt the influence of the plutocracy and restore democracy to the people (not personhoods.) The reality is that this will never happen - classic fox guarding the hen house scheme.

    For now, five conservative members of the Supreme court have effectively dismantled any chance of campaign finance reform and opened the door to egregious influence peddling. A new constitutional amendment addressing campaign finance reform will not be passed since it requires a 2/3 majority of the House of Representatives - you remember them - they are those same foxes.

    Are only rapidly dimming hope is for the American people to demand change through voting. I, for one, no longer hold out any hope of meaningful change because the Republicans and Democrats have perfected a system of managed gridlock. Managed gridlock is a system whereby the one party protects its backside by blaming the other party - the end result being that only the plutocracy wins and the rest of us lose. The deep partisanship that exists in this country has been cleverly cultivated and is a tool used by both parties to ensure gridlock. Given that the majority of people are illiterate, ill-informed and/or passive, I will give you 100 to 1 odds that change is not going to come anytime soon and certainly not in my lifetime. Finally, if by any chance you share the same thoughts as I do then you should understand that this ship is sinking and like on the Titanic the rich will take over the lifeboats by force or money to save themselves while most of the rest of us will drown or wish we had.

    I cannot believe Bill Moyers had Nick Gillespie on his program. Gillespie is not a journalist. A journalist reports on facts. Gillespie is self-promoting. There is no word in my current vocabulary for the likes of him. Like all self-proclaimed libertarians, he says 'the system' will work if left unfettered - in other words, if everyone leaves everyone alone on a macro level. And like all self-professed 'libertarians,' he says there are elements that work to harm individuals. I cannot believe Mr. Moyers had Gillespie on his program, but since he did, I would've like to have seen him 'call out' Gillespie on this contradiction.

    We live in an amazingly ignorant society. Maybe Mr. Moyers is still living with the informed intelligence of the last generation. That informed intelligence is gone. People are susceptible to the bleating of people like Gillespie, who get attention by telling...who? well, whomever was reached by 'Bill Moyers' Journal' this week that they can have whatever they want at the exclusion of any & all oversight, insight, regulation & normal application of common sense. This guy Gillespie is an amazing fraud & I am so disappointed in Mr. Moyers for not telling the viewing public. If I could've imagined Gillespie worked for anyone, it would've been for the RNC, since his schizophrenic professions play right into the hands of corporately-elected representatives. Mr. Moyers, people will stand & argue (bleat, yell, whine) that they want 'gov't out of politics!' & in the same breath talk about how they're wronged by institutions, corporations & other entities & that they have a right to representation, review & recourse. That's putting it nicely. We're talking basic willful ignorance about how our system in the US works. This is where you get the Sarah Palins & other willfully ignorant media whores of late. I can't believe Gillespie was on the 'Journal.' He is misleading to people. I really don't think Mr. Moyers truly understands how ignorant the American public has become - highly dysfunctional, drug-addled, confused & myopic from computer games & reality tv, victimized for years now: they'll believe anything. I am ashamed that Gillespie was on the 'Journal.' Frighteningly misleading, ignorant & self-promoting. A good junior high school teacher would not have let his blather stand in the classroom.

    Where do you find these people? Can Dr. Flowers REALLY be so cosmically naive? Does she REALLY not know how DC works? Sheesh.

    Posted by: kevin faber

    OBVIOUSLY, she doesn't give a flying fig how the game is played.

    It's called CHARACTER and COURAGE, you idiot, not naivete.

    Eric Schichl good take, my friend. THE DEMAND-SIDE PARTY addresses the lobbyist issue. We will simply eliminate them. You're right, when other parties fails, others come along, although a party taking control hasn't been done for a long time. Consider yourself an honored member of THE DEMAND-SIDE PARTY and stand beside me as we take our country back.
    Ernee Douglas (Chip's brother)

    here is my take I agree lobbyist are the source of most of the problems this nation faces and maybe taking the supreme court at its word make sense if free money equals free speech and everyone is entitled to it then everyone is entitle to the same amount of money this is my first attempt to reform the constitutiona and strongly believe that if the conventions happen at the county level farthest from the lobbyist we will get a better law making class. our attempt sot insulate congress from its actions have effectively made it more prone to those influences. As for the rise of third parties not being easy I think the founders made it that way deliberately to avoid every minority getting a deal that is not how a republic works. When a party looses touch a third party emerges and will eventually replace it Ie republicans emerged because the whigs lost touch with the voting public. We now have a ton fo third parties and maybe a third one will a merge which will be a pox on both your houses.

    THE DEMAND-SIDE PARTY UPDATED PLATFORM

    So far we have a party platform of:

    Single-Payer Health care

    Minimize profits for corporations.

    Provide equitable wages for the working people.

    Eliminate non-productive institutions.

    Eliminate lobbyists.

    Not allow corporate money to politicians.

    Provide "new money" to support the fiscal needs of our nation.

    Absolve the national debt.

    Abolition of corporate person-hood – the idea that corporations have the same Constitutional protections as human beings

    Cancel NAFTA and the WTO

    Abolish the Federal Reserve

    Redistribution of wealth from the Rich to the Poor and Middle class

    Abolish Monopolies enforcing anti-trust laws

    Abolishing the corporate owned mainstream media

    Enforce accountability

    Separation of State, Church, AND Commerce be established

    Rotation in Congressional committees

    Impeached all of the current corporate influenced Supreme Court Justices

    It is understandable that reasonable people can reasonably disagree about constitutional law. But, when 5 conservative Supreme court justices decide differently from 4 non-conservative judges then it smacks of political partisanship. If the members of the Supreme Court are going to act purely along party lines then clearly these people have failed the Constitution of the United States and the Republic for which it stands. Jurisprudence has once again been rocked to the core not because of the decision but because of how the decision was rendered.

    THE DEMAND-SIDE PARTY UPDATED PLATFORM

    So far we have a party platform of:

    Single-Payer Health care

    Minimize profits for corporations.

    Provide equitable wages for the working people.

    Eliminate non-productive institutions.

    Eliminate lobbyists.

    Not allow corporate money to politicians.

    Provide "new money" to support the fiscal needs of our nation.

    Absolve the national debt.

    Abolition of corporate person-hood – the idea that corporations have the same Constitutional protections as human beings

    Cancel NAFTA and the WTO

    Abolish the Federal Reserve

    Redistribution of wealth from the Rich to the Poor and Middle class

    Abolish Monopolies enforcing anti-trust laws

    Abolishing the corporate owned mainstream media

    Enforce accountability

    Separation of State, Church, AND Commerce be established

    Rotation in Congressional committees

    There's someone to the left of a Harvard Prof.? Didn't even imagine it till tonight's program!
    These 2 argue about rather more trees are oaks or maples & never see the 'PROBLEM'.

    Many good people have been elected to Congress----
    What happened?

    Congressional structure has evolved work-arounds to OUR Constitution, such as the Seniority System!

    If an individual is in a position to 'deliver the goods', then it becomes a smart investment to keep that 'tool' in office.
    Right!
    Deminish the deliverability of 'the goods' by any individual and the 'INVESTMENT' is less valuable.
    Require frequent rotation in Congressional committies(a lot of thought will be required to avoid loopholes)so a particular interest group-say bankers-may have influence for a maximum of, say, four years & new members will rotate in (not all at the same time,) thus removing the decades of 'delivered goods' from say, some tool we call Barnie. Barnie is on the 'bankers committee' for 4 yrs. & then leaves for at least 4 yrs--or 6 or 8--whatever places THE PEOPLE's interest above the bankers & thus his influence not so valuable.

    Squelch the SENIORITY System! OR, re-live this as though we are from Transalvania.

    Get past the symptons & define THE problem within realist realms!
    Billy Bob Florida

    Who does Gillespie think he's kidding? Health insurance "reform" showed the system works? It showed exactly what's wrong with the existing system, because Congresscritters did EXACTLY WHAT THE LOBBYISTS TOLD THEM: vote against it. And not ONE media outlet, INCLUDING PBS, asked why GOP members were attacking a government-run, taxpayer funded system for the public, while enjoying a GOLD-PLATED government-run, taxpayer funded system for themselves...

    And if Justice Roberts is going to insist on proof of influence, there's no chance of change. It isn't influence that's needed, it's ACCESS: given a choice between returning the call of a $100K donor & a $100, whose call do you think the Congresscritter is going to choose? Get a clue.

    You can look at the smaller picture - that corporations will now brand, market, and sell their politics the same way they do their products. Or you can look at the bigger picture - that corporations will now yield more influence over our democracy than any religion ever could ... yet we have separation of church and state.

    For all intents and purposes, capitalism is a religion ... and corporations are just denominations unto themselves.

    The Constitution should be amended ... and the separation of State, Church, AND Commerce be established ... once, and forever.

    Where do you find these people? Can Dr. Flowers REALLY be so cosmically naive? Does she REALLY not know how DC works? Sheesh.

    The responsibility rests squarely on each of our shoulders. If you're looking for the guilty you need only look into a mirror.

    No reforms under the current paradigm will get us there. Fighting against something is another form of violence that takes us deeper down the rabbit hole and affirms the power of the opposite.

    Our best option is to exercise our power on an individual basis and withdraw from the sick paradigm. Turn off the television. Withdraw from consumerism. Buy food that is grown locally. Move your money to a local bank. Bike to work or take public transport. Don't spend a penny more than you have to. Leave your enclosed synthetic, geometric space and go out into the open when you're bored and walk until you actually start to notice the trees and the bushes and the birds around you.

    If you are not willing to do any of the above, then pop another Prozac and consider yourself addicted to the insanity. A miracle is the only way out.

    Dear Mr. Moyers
    Upon reading through the above commentary it seems reasonable that a good basic response would be to eliminate the Democratic and Republican parties. The biggest single problem with American democracy is the parties themselves.

    I suggest each election a pool of eligibles of sufficient size to assure enough candidates for an office be selected randomly from the general populace. These pools must be selected from populations large enough to make selection to membership in the pool unlikely in order to discourage the formation of a class of professional politicians. For this election these candidates would be the only ones who can stand for election if they so choose. They would make speeches, personal appearances, etc. as necessary to secure election. They would not be able to run again. Next election a new candidate pool would be randomly selected.

    The Anaemic vs. The Scary. We can do better than this kind of 'debate' on this important subject, surely.

    I lost faith in The Supreme Court as the righter of all wrongs after Bush v. Gore, and the debacle during the Bush years with the US Attorneys, which are still in place leaves us with the very hard and disappointing realization that our Justice Department is well and truly broken as well as the other two branches of Government.

    And the fourth branch? Thank you, Mr. Moyers, for continuing to point out its concomitant demise.

    I would be sad, but I do believe change IS coming.

    We have a name for our new party thanks to D.C. Eddy. The Demandside Party. Anybody want to add anything more to our plattform?
    We have a party platform as:
    Minimize profits for corporations.
    Provide equitable wages for the working people.
    Eliminate non-productive institutions.
    Eliminate lobbyists.
    Not allow corporation money to politicians.
    Provide "new money" to support the fiscal needs of our nation.
    Absolve the national debt.

    The simplest solution is a constitutional amendment defining the words people and persons. The founders would be shocked that in the 21st century we would be debating what a person is.

    RE: What do you think?
    In your first part of your program you had a weak centrist Lessig that looks like he dresses up in his grandma's clothes facing off with a fascist Gillespie that probably would leave his grandma out in the cold. The whole first part of the program was centered on right. The second part of your program was center. Dr. MARGARET FLOWERS gives proof of how both the Democrat administration and congressmen are corporate whores just like the Republican fascists. I bet she doesn't dress up in her grandma's clothes or would never leave her grandma out in the cold. She shows how the two parties are actually just one party owned by a club of corporate fascist pigs. Although, most of Obama's constituents wanted a single payer health care plan, Obama went to bat for the insurance companies instead. Could this be because he received over a million dollars in backroom deals from them when he was running against Hillary in the primaries? Obama is going to be richer than he already is when he gets out of office...he will get to make million dollar speeches for the health care industry, the banking industry, and the rest of corporate America...just like William Jefferson Clinton did...only Obama is a better speaker and probably will make more than Clinton.

    We have the best foundation for good governance, the failure is us. We just need to enforce the laws and Constitution, and things would be much better. From my perspective, we're just a very ill educated, confused mass.

    In order to hear everyone each of us has to give time and space for everyone to be heard, who wants to be heard. In this case, there was no chance that an entity would be denied a chance to speak or make their views heard. It was a case that limited (did not ban) their time and space so others could be heard. This particular group has too much power to be heard and that hurts the rest of us, who don't have that kind of power. This decision allows for corporate dominance of the issues and candidates. That's already a problem and this group of people did not need more space and time for their interests. How this can make sense when all one has to do is look at our society to see that the people without a voice are ordinary citizens. And ordinary citizens are the people who were suppose to be protected by the first amendment. Corporations really don't need a voice to influence, they have lots of money. We needed the protection! Our forefathers set up a Republic and those first ten amendments were fought for and set up to protect the individual, single person, with the least political power so that they would have some if not equal power to larger or more powerful interests.

    RE: Do you believe that a system of campaign finance laws is capable of limiting the influence of money?
    Only if you get rid of the corporate owned whores in congress who makes the laws, otherwise they will leaved loopholes for their pimp masters.

    Mr. Gillespie laughs at liberals for viewing corporations as bogeymen, yet he does precisely the same thing with government, as do do all good libertarians. He says corporations are nothing more than a group of people joined together for commerce. True. Government is just a group of people joined together to express how they want to be treated in this world. We have had the narrow focus of money-speak in charge before in our history. We've had "Potter Towns" owned by business. We've had the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory disaster and other horrors of sweatshops where profit was the ruling force. "Serfs and Lords" has always had a lot of expression on this earth. So along comes this group of people called a representative government where we can actually say what we think of this stuff. That's not done often and I for one do not want to go back to just money-speak. If I must be ruled by something, I prefer it be by people I can toss out every now and again (government). Those board rooms have never invited me in unless I can speak their language which is pure money.

    Do you agree with Gillespie that lobbying and corruption are inevitable with a large federal budget? I find it amusing that Bill Moyers at his age is still drinking the kool-aid by reading Gillespie's disillusioned fascist propaganda.

    Do you agree with Lessig that Congress has lost the people’s respect?
    This question is joke and not worth my time to answer.

    Don't let Cspan fool you, it's a whore that works for the 6 big pimps...News Corporation, Viacom, The Walt Disney Co., Time Warner, CBS Corporation and General Electric

    One thing all great societies have in common when they fall is a dysfunctional justice system. Any society is capable of limiting corruption but its justice system must be working properly for that to happen. So, I have to agree with Nick Gillespie, that at this time our system of justice is not up to the task. When power can drive a country into war on lies and no one is held accountable there's a deep failure within justice. Very few with money and power are being held accountable. That breeds corruption. Ditto; the financial crises. So we see a lot problems around impotent justice.

    RE:What’s your perspective on the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case?

    The fascists responsible for and voted in favor for the recent Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case are as follows:

    Antonin Scalia appointed by Reagan. Who elected Reagan? In 1983, 50 corporations controlled the vast majority of all news media in the U.S... Ronald Reagan's FCC in 1983 amended rule 315 to allow commercial broadcasters to start sponsoring political debates. Before that, they were required to offer fair and equal access to all candidates because a debate was considered a news event. The result was that they didn't sponsor any debates and debates were sponsored by non-broadcast entities with the networks only covering them as news. The removal of the Fairness Doctrine has affected what we see and hear in the commercial broadcasting landscape. Stations that lie and deceive on a constant basis like Fox News, CSPAN, and the rest of fascist monopolized mainstream media could not operate under the Fairness Doctrine.

    Anthony Kennedy appointed by Reagan who was elected by who was elected by those who were influenced and dumbed down by a more consolidated corporate owned mainstream media.

    Clarence Thomas appointed by G. H. W. Bush who was elected by those who were influenced and dumbed down by corporate owned mainstream media. When Bush 1 left office fewer than two dozen of these extraordinary creatures own and operated 90% of the mass media" -- controlling almost all of America's newspapers, magazines, TV and radio stations, books, records, movies, videos, wire services and photo agencies.

    John G. Roberts appointed by G.W. Bush who was elected by who were influenced and dumbed down by corporate owned mainstream media. The two dozen creatures was further monopolized down to 6 when Bush 2 came to office. They were News Corporation, Viacom, The Walt Disney Co., Time Warner, CBS Corporation and General Electric which reflects the conservative views of its owners, most notably Fox News Channel, headed by Rupert Murdoch through his parent company News Corp., as well as Roger Ailes, the CEO of FOX News itself. And all 6 of those giant corporations are navigated by a few thinktanks.The Heritage Foundation is running the most effective media operation in American politics. Heritage has succeeded with a savvy strategy: Raise a lot of money from rich people with a right-wing agenda. Hire writers, commentators and out-of-office politicians who share that agenda, and call them "fellows," "policy analysts" and "distinguished scholars." And, always, back them up with a public-relations juggernaut that's second to none.

    Samuel Alito appointed by G. W. Bush who was elected by those who were influenced and dumbed down by corporate owned mainstream media which is owned by News Corporation, Viacom, The Walt Disney Co., Time Warner, CBS Corporation and General Electric.

    When I see that peoples that say that corporations have the right to free speech, and that corporations are people then I say prove it to me that they are, some say that corporation are a accumulation of people, then I say yes they are a group of peoples, but not as individuals, and in a corporation the Ceo and the top brass are the ones who makes that final decision not the indivisual person.

    When these issues arise like the decision in this case, I always come back to believing that the fundamental hurdle is the erroneous belief that the Supreme Court "interprets" the Constitution. The justices can no more interpret the rules they are bound to uphold than a referee could perform his job in the sports venue if he decides to interpret the rules. The Umpire or referee interprets the action by the rules. According to Article III, The Justices of the Supreme Court interpret the case in light of the Constitution. The case is viewed within the bounds of the Constitution and Precedence. The reality presenting itself before them is to be viewed under law. Fundamental to their job is to balance rights, laws, reality, precedent with the questions of the particular case. The majority in this case did not do this, because if they did, they would have sided with the dissenters. Their decision is an ideological coup d'etat.

    Free speech is not FREE. It takes a lot of money to make it possible.

    Excessive socialism killed the USSR. Excessive capitalism killed the USA. So far, at least, as we knew it.

    Posted by: DG

    Nice try, DG.

    Why not explore who lied, stole and murdered their way INTO "government" in both USA and USSR

    And you'll find the common thread to BOTH "isms"...

    Hell will freeze over before "they" get a shot at "strong government" in Russia...

    No comment on USA's future - how's it looking so far to everyone with "them" and their "isms" in a "strong government" role...?

    Kind of ODD that Dr. Flowers keeps getting arrested while NO ARRESTS are being made at the "tea party" events

    where it appears to me that the "tone" is much more threatening to the President...very odd...

    But the question is, what has the Supreme Court done lately for people like Dr. Flowers...?

    I think the best remedy would be to impeach the five Justices for exceeding their authority. They must be bound by precedent and The Constitution. They can't make a ruling on unsubstantiated opinion using 1984 double speak. Justice Steven's clearly defines their violations.
    I also think it's extremely necessary that we move to publicly financed elections. I think this is estimated to cost each voted about $6 a year; seems like a awfully good investment. The airwaves are public and a certain amount of airtime, legislated by congress, should be turned over to candidates and issues.

    This Supreme Court decision is fundamentally flawed with no foundation in law. Justice Steven's concludes correctly, "The Court’s blinkered and aphoristic approach to the First Amendment may well promote corporate power at the cost of the individual and collective self-expression the Amendment was meant to serve. It will undoubtedly
    cripple the ability of ordinary citizens,Congress, and the States to adopt even limited measures to protect against corporate domination of the electoral process. Americans may be forgiven if they do not feel the Court has advanced
    the cause of self-government today."
    Thank you Justice Stevens for your adherence to The Constitution.

    Limits and responsibilities go hand and hand with rights.
    Freedom is not boundless. The old saying is that you have the freedom to speak but not the freedom to yell fire in a crowded building. Freedom of speech does not include the right to defame, lie, cause chaos,and insight riots or violence.

    Nick Gillespie calls himself a libertarian yet he speaks for anarchy. He talks about freedom of speech when this case is an issue of power. He's confused. Larence Lessig appears to understand the reality of this ruling in how it'll overpower the ordinary citizen. If you read Steven's dissenting opinion, you'll see how this ruling is not bound by precedent or The Constitution. Five of the Supreme Court's judges have exceeded their authority in this ruling. A ruling is not a matter of opinion, it's a matter of law.

    To: allenwrench

    Ditto! Furthermore, is China a fully communist country? Not in the area of production and distribution, anyway.

    They've got so much advantage lately because they seemed to find the proper (as for them!) combination of a strong central government that sets goals and pushes through its agenda quickly and effectively, and undoubtedly capitalistic economy.

    It seems to me that success any country's future, including ours, lies in some sort of a hybrid society like that.

    Excessive socialism killed the USSR. Excessive capitalism killed the USA. (So far, at least, as we knew it!}

    To: allenwrench

    Ditto! Furthermore, is China a fully communist country? Not in the area of production and distribution, anyway.

    They've got so much advantage lately because they seemed to find the proper (as for them!) combination of a strong central government that sets goals and pushes through its agenda quickly and effectively, and undoubtedly capitalistic economy.

    It seems to me that success any country's future, including ours, lies in some sort of a hybrid society like that.

    Excessive socialism killed the USSR. Excessive capitalism killed the USA. So far, at least, as we knew it.

    If Gillespie is arguing that lobbyist and corporate influence is already here, and implies this as being bad, than why the hell would we want to INCREASE their influence? Amendment! Also, enjoyed your essay, Bill and “way to go, Margaret!”

    Yet another excellent episode of Bill Moyers Journal. There are few places on television today where viewers can find this kind of thoughtful discussion and debate...and with the expansion of corporate political speech, critical voices like Moyers are more vital than ever.

    This show will be very missed following Moyers' impending retirement. Please check out the following link if you want to make sure PBS continues to broadcast quality public affairs programming like this!

    Save Quality Journalism on PBS!

    I do believe this recent Supreme Court ruling is an injustice for the American people.

    The way I interpret this ruling... corporations and special interests having first amendment rights... therefore takes away first amendment rights from invididual American citizens. I don't wish to see America as a communist nation.

    I would definitely support a constitutional amendment that seeks to restore democracy, and the rights of invididual American citizens.

    I'll try again. This post originally went to the healthcare blog by mistake.

    I think we have to realize that when we debate the rights of corporations to influence politics we are actually talking about the power of a plutocracy. With our current system most stocks are held in mutual funds, many of which are in turn held within still larger retirement portfolios. The individual stockholder is far too removed from the process to be involved in any way. So the influence we are talking about is actually being wielded by a very small group of very wealthy individuals who occupy the various governing boards. The recent SCUS decision only gives more power to this elite few.

    The commenters who call Gillespie stupid are foolish--he knows exactly what he is saying, whether accurate or not. Mr. Lessig was a disappointing choice to represent a truly pro-free speech perspective.

    Reclaim Democracy provides some items specifically retorting the common argument of corporate "speech" proponents. Perhaps you could learn who wrote this retort to the ACLU, for example, to debate Gillespie next time: http://bit.ly/cUUHwX

    Oh that bill was passed without funding and accounts for 1 trillion of our National Debt

    Posted by: Richard

    As were the wars!

    Any yapping political commentator who is channeling the "math" that Obambi has increased the "deficit" by oh-so-much! now that ALL that crap spending done by the neocons has been added IN to the "deficit"

    would have been FIRED for such PERFIDY in the alternate reality USA used to inhabit before "perception became reality"...

    I did stop TV cable service yesterday and it "feels" so good! People should try it.

    Wed have to play "whack a mole" when it comes to voting out 35 incumbant senators...at least half of the newbies might REALLY be FOR something

    - like a World's Fair :-) and unanimous Supreme Court decisions -

    you know, stuff that has nothing to do with watching thy neighbor's crotch...

    No "government" is safe from "politicians" and that's our problem to solve...a government run by politicians.

    Statesman, REAL explorers of science to be in service to HUMANITY, architects, fine artists...real people who know how to LIVE in reality, not "perception"...

    Hey, if Gillespie can be delusional, so can I...free speech for ALL...right, Boyo?

    The issue about voting would be trivial if all the commentary were truthful and honest. But it wont be. The big money corporations will produce TV documentaries that will spin facts to their advantage. This genre of political persuasion has become so convincing that the majority of voters (including highly intelligent ones) can't tell fact from distortion.
    So, because of this alone, the Supreme Court ruling should be reversed.

    "Monopoly

    The game is over when someone has all the money and owns all the property and hotels.

    So lets start a new game, and divide up the monopoly money evenly again.

    Anyone for a new game? How about Life?
    =
    MJA
    Posted by: Michael J Ahles"

    AD - Operationally, putting a completely new currency in place is needed. 600 trillion issued as "financial instruments" PLUS 1 trillion in "cash currency" to support the constant movement of drug lords and war lords...that's a "global" DELUSION that cannot be a POWER source for life-maintenance....

    "Some time soon Russian Gazprom may bankroll a member of Bratva for U.S. Senate or Congress.

    Posted by: V.PERKOV"

    AD - As self-promoting as the propaganda printed up and distributed as "world history" IS in the USA, what really happened leading up to the murder of the last Czar of Russia and USA role in that event has been COMPLETELY FICTIONALIZED and replaced with Ayn Rand.

    "Bill Mar wrote, in part, "If you understand anything about Ayn Rand, the founder of the libertarian movement (so called), you understand that this secular religion is based upon a faith in, and subservience to, members of a select elite who are believed to have somehow earned a demigod status by "self-made" material success."

    Okay, Bill Mar, I'm listening...but I still find this simple ditty from the website when Bob ran for President in 2008 to be true:

    "The only role of government is to protect the individual against force and fraud."

    "Politicians" (elected, appointed, or lobbied in across the safety net) are in something THEY are calling "government", currently, to LAWFULLY commit force and fraud against any and ALL individuals.

    I'm not sure any CULTURE in humanity's past, present, or future, other than this 2010 virtual reality culture, could have "created" this particular problem with regards to "governing".

    So it's our problem to solve.

    Glad I have learned to don a body condom before I visit the blog....that childhood visit to the "monkey house" zoo taught me early that masturbators intend to shoot their spunk AT you for aggression's sake - a power play...

    What "amigo" cut and pasted from the brainwashing "seduction" of analyzing "history" with a psychoanalyst's "language" and "knowledge" was one big load that would have hurt if it hit you in the eyeball.

    :-))

    Who wants to send me 150 bucks per hour to re-arrange her "history" from a this-is-a-BARBARIAN RAID on the fruit of someone else's LABOR perspective...?

    LOL

    We all have the paperwork.

    And we're back full circle to the last REAL sustainable wealth

    that this planet's jealous people could accuse of being stupedeously lush

    that was accrued through an agricultural base - "Mother Russia" and Czar Nicolai...

    Putin noted, "...everyone is calling me for something, I'm not calling anyone..." Russia is very firmly in the hands of the Russians - no more "ists" or "isms". There's nothing in it for Putin's Russia to have someone "burrowed" in USA "government", is there?

    As always, USA is BEHIND Russia when it comes to crashing "isms"...

    At least they're taxing vodka heavily in Russia in hopes of saving family life from the ravages of drunkeness...much more humane than taxing food in Phoenix...but in AZ, the "tea baggers" would spend exactly one NY minute mounting their rides and Mad-Maxing it to City Hall with guns a-blazing if the tax was INCREASED on beer - Cindy McCain would be leading the charge...

    Wonder what the snack food is in Russian that they munch on as they watch what is going to jump out of the big bowl of crazy in soap opera fashion here in USA...?

    Most Americans know what they want and are mostly in agreement according to the polls. Therefore:

    1)To vote intelligently for that and get the attention of Congress, we all must pay attention to what the candidates and then the elected DO and NOT what they Say! This means citizens informing themselves and acting upon that information as it applies to what they want. All individual actions.

    2)The founders thought many citizens would do their time in government and then go home to the farm. (Who would be able to be a lifetime politician?) When in goverment they would not enact any laws that would harm them when they returned to the farm. Our professional politicians have done away with that and formed an elite class that has special privileges such as retirement at the same pay even only after one term, not paying Social Security and exempting themselves from many of the laws that ordinary citizens must live under.Healthcare, anyone? Might be acceptable if they had earned it. If Patrick Henry objected to taxation without representation, he should see it with representation!

    With enough of todays citizens very unhappy with the current system, perhaps the time has come for an amendment to the constitution that has been going around and simply states:

    "Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Represenatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States."

    Of course, Congress would not shoot themselves seriously and pass it, but the states could. A collective action. I believe this would best solve Many of the basic problems! Ben Franklin said that people who willingly give up freedom for security deserve neither!

    Corporations are, after all, legal persons.

    With reference to the request that Nick was asking about - name a lobbyist who was bought by money, think Billy Tauzin previous D -LA. I may not be able to prove it, but he almost immediately resigned from the House and now is chief lobbyist for Pharma after navigating the bill establishing Part D Medicare. Oh that bill was passed without funding and accounts for 1 trillion of our National Debt

    The privatization of a nation’s money supply is the biggest threat to human rights, not only in the United States but in the entire world. Restoring the sovereign authority to issue a nation’s money to the government is the most important reform any nation can enact.

    With the exception of coins, our money is created as loans that must be repaid with interest. Since banks create only the principal of those loans and no one creates the required interest, banks must continually issue new and large loans to keep the system from collapsing, while expanding the total debt and devaluing the currency as a consequence of their actions. The growth of this pyramid scheme has a mathematical limit when money cannot create fast enough to replace that removed by interest payment and the repayment of old loans. An increasing number of loan defaults occur when that limit is reached, causing banks to stop lending and creating a severe contraction in the money supply.

    i watched your program friday 2/5/2010 and was glad to see that someone besides myself understand how the lobbyist have corruped washington d.c. and every state in the union.i am 65 years old and have never understood how the supreme court who control the law of the land could pass a law that will corrupt our government even more with all this money flying into the coffers of all our representitives in d.c. it makes me think that the suprem court is corrupt and on the take from big business.we will never see congress pass an amendment to repeal this law.the only way to stop it is for the states to pass a law that any elected official from their state cannot be involved or take any money from a lobbyist or he or she will be immediately be re-called.mr.gillespie scares me with idea of a honest government.

    Ultimately, this is about buying votes in congress. How many votes are cast in a year, and who influences them?

    Congressional issues are NEVER on any principle. They are a hodge podge in which the flow of money is the ultimate issue, and, the prospect of winning of losing the next election based on how any congressman voted on a particular bill.

    Finally, yes, if Exxon or McDonalds supported a particular candidate, I can stop being their customer. But How, how do I stop being a customer of say, "Citizens United" or "Patriots for Freedom", or, "The Service Employees Union"? How can I "vote" against groups on the left or the right, who "incorporate" themselves and exercise free speech - because they do NOT function in the free markets of products and services, but only are in the business of twisting congress to do their bidding? What are the chances that if Exxon or McDonalds support one candidate, I am going to find BP or Burger King supporting a candidate on the opposite side?

    One thing that really bother me is the assertion that the libertarian made regarding government obstructing citizen united's first amendment right.

    FEC is not a government agency. bush administration did not block the movie.
    It was the political parties that did it.
    Yet neither bill moyers nor Mr. Lessig
    corrected this the most important point.
    The whole debate was a farce based on false assumption.

    Posted by: Roy Conant |

    To AllenWrench

    Did Thoreau put the hex on you, or what? Read his journals -- He was the quintessential 20th century pampered and spoiled Ivy League legacy student. While composing prose of privation, the pillars of his privation included such instructive examples as his mom doing his laundry every week and mooching dinner off his friends in "Conantdom" three or four nights a week. For myself, I'll derive my political philosophy from my experience without reliance on the faux poverty, noblesse-oblige inspired, drivel of a 19th century "Trustafarian."

    Roy Conant
    www.lothlorienwoods.com
    www.americanpoems.com/members/roy-conan

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Hmmm, does anything you mentioned disavow the truth of Thoreau's quotes I used?

    Thoreau once said when people invited him to dinner they put their pride in how fancy and expensive a meal they could make. Whereas he put his pride in how simple and inexpensive a meal he could make.

    Thoreau touched a raw nerve in you my friend?Where do you put your pride?

    Thoreau was the granddaddy of voluntary simplicity movent. Lots to learn from Thoreau, if you open up your mind.

    If one sticks to: true, false or don't know in one's replies they can avoid this trap by arguing facts and not personalities.

    Those that can't argue facts, argue personalities, just as you have done.

    Psychologist William James once said, "A great many people believe they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices."

    Wonderful dialogue. This sets an example for the way opposing views can express themselves. The Moyer's program I think was courageous in providing the platform for these two gentleman to work things out on. A large number of PBS viewers will disagree with Gilespie's viewpoint (and I do in spades); however, it is vital that it's still heard. The flaw that I see in the equal rights argument is this: an individual has limited resources, even if that individual is Wealthy, to express or persuade. A corporate entity has endless resources to persuade. If a media company and I both want to influence an election who will have greater impact?

    While Gillespie states that socially disharmonious lobbying would create friction and a self correcting mechanism within shareholder community, I'd like to meet the shareholder that disagreed with policy that increased a stock price or company cash-flow.

    Also, to the points in the youtube video, while the NY Times and other papers Gillespie cites are influencing tenor and public opinion from a distance, they aren't shaping policy the way corporate interests do. How can you equate journalism with Lobbying? In that sense the argument is very shallow.

    If organizations like the NYT shaped policy, do you think Health-care would be stalled?

    Posted by: D.C.Eddy: "I think a big part of the problem is that those with a gold parachute do not realize that gold is a metal and the only way it will open is on impact.
    If the economy does collapse; their "gold" will not be worth the paper it is written on.
    Not only that; they can not eat gold and if they could it would have no nutritional value.
    If things continue as they are going the chaos will affect everyone's life and we will be at the mercy of our enemies.The last major depression is proof that those who suffer most are those who have the most to lose."

    --------------------------------------------------------------

    Capitalist's don't think this way DC.

    Let me paraphrase one of my mentors. 'People back in the day used to be the people of next year. The people nowadays are the people of today,'

    People had to look ahead to next year and prepare for it today if they wished to survive. Nowadays people don't give that any thought. Greed has taken over and the one with the most toys wins the race.

    Sure capitalism creates jobs...but it also kills jobs. The reason capitalism supported US jobs back in the day was because China was not open to the US markets. And India was a backwards country that had nothing to offer to the US.

    Once China opened up and India advanced, businesses learned they could make tons more money exporting jobs to those countries to make things cheaper.

    So why on earth would a capitalists make something in the US and break even or just make a small profit, when they can make oodles more money shipping the jobs overseas?

    Beside the jobs exporting problem for American workers, Wall Street added to it when it first learned it could make more money breaking up companies than running them The golden age of leveraged buyouts and hostile takeovers made many of Wall Street rich in the 80's and 90's. No need to build up a company, when dismantling it made quick profits.

    Just as a select few made millions, the work force lost millions in future wages. So, this was class warfare at its best. A transfer of wealth from the worker to the rich...all supported and backed by the full faith and credit of our beloved gov.

    Do we need a 100% socialist country?

    NO

    Do we need a 100% capitalist country with no concern for social ethics?

    No

    What we need is a mix of these two...the only question is how much of each?

    Socialism is what saved our country from going bust with the Wall Street debacle. Maybe we needed to go through a terrible depression and die off to clean house. But that is not the way things went down. So we must give credit where credit is due and the saving grace that kept America as well as the world going turned out to be socialism and not the free market capitalism.

    Money is not speech.

    Corporations are not citizens.

    As far as I know, the owners of IBM have as much freedom to speak as I do. Why should that have more than I do?

    Maybe Bill might want to get behind this effort to amend the Constitution to require public funding of elections.

    www.movetoamend.org

    Concerning the "Corporatocracy" mentioned in an earlier post, it is hardly a recent development:

    - The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the large centers has owned the government ever since the days of Andrew Jackson.

    Franklin D. Roosevelt

    I think a big part of the problem is that those with a gold parachute do not realize that gold is a metal and the only way it will open is on impact.
    If the economy does collapse; their "gold" will not be worth the paper it is written on.
    Not only that; they can not eat gold and if they could it would have no nutritional value.
    If things continue as they are going the chaos will affect everyone's life and we will be at the mercy of our enemies.
    The last major depression is proof that those who suffer most are those who have the most to lose.

    If voting could really change things it would be ILLEGAL!!!!!!!!!

    Why Are Americans Passive as Millions Lose Their Homes, Jobs, Families and the American Dream?
    By Harriet Fraad, Tikkun
    Posted on February 2, 2010, Printed on February 6, 2010
    http://www.alternet.org/story/145481/

    This is the cover article for the January/February issue of Tikkun magazine. For more on the article and the magazine go here.

    An unnatural economic and psychological disaster has struck America. Five contributors, each interacting with and shaping the others, have devastated the American moral, economic, psychological, and social landscape. Each is fed by related streams, but each contributes its own force to the disaster. The American dream in which each generation surpassed the previous generation in real wages has all but disappeared, along with dreams of an intact family, a steady job, a home, and an honest supportive community.

    This article looks at each of five collaborators in the crisis in order to answer the following questions:

    How did this happen? What forces are responsible?

    Why are Americans passive as millions lose their homes, their jobs, their families, their hopes of justice, and the American dream?

    Why do Americans remain disorganized at home while their European and Asian counterparts flood into the streets and strike in militant, organized protest? Why do others believe in their potential to reclaim their lives while we do not?

    What happened is a result of at least five major, interrelated forces. One is a transformation of American morality, and with it the loss of belief that the social and political realms could be shaped by morality, ethics, and secular spirituality. Another is an economic depression. A third is a transformation of the family, which has been the foundation of American emotional life. A fourth is the decimation of Americans' social participation in all areas, from bridge clubs and PTAs to political parties. A fifth is the tranquilizing and numbing of the American population with psychotropic medications.

    1. The Crisis in Morality and Social Ethics

    Let us begin with the first of our contributors: American ethics, morality, and spirituality. The same forces that decimated our economic, psychological, and social landscapes have transformed our sense of morality and social ethics. The shared dream of an ethical, moral society that dominated the United States until the 1970s has systematically eroded. In the 1960s it was common to believe that morality and spirituality include a concern for all human beings, rich and poor alike. The biggest push against those social ethics began with Reagan's presidency in 1981. It continued in Reagan's second term and was reinforced by each president until its (we hope) final act in the presidency of George W. Bush.

    Reagan's basic ideology was that people are poor because they lack incentives. He claimed that poor people's noble drive to get rich is eroded by social programs that permit them to survive or, in his term, "freeload." In this framework, income tax cuts increase the incentive to work and get rich, so all are expected to benefit from them. In 1980 the highest incomes were taxed at 73 percent. In 2009 those same high incomes were taxed at half that rate, 35 percent. Of course the percentage of tax on the highest incomes is actually even lower, since the wealthiest Americans can hire tax accountants to help them evade taxes. Reagan used his famous veto power to cut a huge range of social programs from biomedical research, to social security for disabled Americans, to clean water, to expanded Head Start. At the same time, he increased the military budget while decrying big government.

    That pattern has been repeated ever since, which is how, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States went from being the most egalitarian western industrialized society in 1970 to the least egalitarian in 2009.

    In addition, the Soviet model of socialism failed. It did not provide the kind and ethical societies that are part of a socialist vision. The mass of people believed that the Soviet Union was communism. Left-wing class analyses of the failure of Soviet Communism, such as Bettelheim's in the late 1970s or Resnick and Wolff's in 2002, were not widely read or embraced. Both of those analyses demonstrate that the USSR and its satellites exemplified class societies in which a bureaucratic class appropriated wealth and made crucial decisions affecting the lives of the mass of people. They explain that the USSR failed because it was not a communist society. It was not a society in which the people in each workplace decided what to produce, and also collected their own profits and decided together how to distribute those profits. Because these left-wing class interpretations were few and largely unembraced, a socialist or communist dream seemed doomed to end in rigid, bureaucratic, and undemocratic societies that were rejected by their own people. People lost faith in a secular dream.

    Slowly there has been a transformation of our morality and ethics. Where our morality once required the United States to embody our ethics in the world and empower all citizens, it has shifted so that our morality now consists of requiring conservative personal and sexual behavior. Within that morality Clinton committed an impeachable crime by lying about having sex with an intern, while Bush and Cheney did not commit impeachable crimes by lying about the threat from Iraq and thus causing the deaths of over four thousand U.S. soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, or by torturing prisoners. It is not considered immoral to spend between six billion and twelve billion dollars a week on the war in Iraq while cutting school and social programs for needy families because "there is not enough money." The secular morality that made America a proudly democratic and egalitarian nation has deteriorated. We are experiencing a national moral, ethical, and spiritual crisis.

    2. The Dying of the Economic Dream

    A second contributor to American passivity is the economic crisis from which we are suffering. Let us look at our history in order to understand what happened. From 1820-1970, the United States experienced a unique period of ever-increasing prosperity. For 150 years, U.S. salaries rose together with ever-increasing worker productivity. For 150 years, each generation was able to afford a better standard of living than the generation that preceded it. That was the American dream.

    Unlike their European counterparts, Americans did not enjoy working-class solidarity with other workers whose families and social organizations, unions and political parties were inflected by a history of overt class struggle fought as proudly permanent members of the working class. Europeans organized their working unions along political lines. They fought for better conditions as part of the ideology of long-term communist and socialist struggles for ownership and control of their workplaces.

    The U.S. labor movement is not informed by a struggle for worker ownership of the businesses that produce U.S. goods and services. Decisions about what to produce and the right to appropriate and distribute profits are left to corporate boards of directors. Americans accepted the capitalist system in which each generation had relatively prospered. American labor fought for an increasing amount of income that would permit workers to consume more goods and services, a system in which each generation could move to jobs considered more prestigious and lucrative within the capitalist hierarchy. Blue-collar workers' children could become white-collar, and white-collar children could become professionals in the next generation (particularly if they were not just white-collar but white, period). U.S. growth permitted ever-increasing real wages and possibilities for consumption. Even in the Great Depression from 1929-1939, real wages, the amount that one could buy with one's wages, were able to rise because prices fell even faster than wages.

    That ever-increasing prosperity stopped in 1970. By 1970 the introduction of computers, better telecommunications, and more efficient transportation enabled jobs to be outsourced to lower-paid workers overseas. Competing factories in Europe and Japan, which had been decimated by World War II, were now vying for U.S. markets. Then China emerged as a manufacturing giant. Competition reduced the U.S. share of both domestic and global markets. The outsourcing of American jobs to cheaper labor markets was not stopped by militant unions, which were unable to achieve the powerful "runaway shop" laws that were won in other nations. Nor did militant unions force the creation of a tight safety net to catch workers in financial distress.

    For a long time, there was a relative scarcity of white male workers available for the jobs reserved for white males in America's racially and sexually segregated job markets. White male workers, who were accustomed to receiving increasing real wages and living a lifestyle of ever-greater consumption, could no longer support their families on their frozen wages. Americans' sense of self worth was in large part dependent on their net worth. They became increasingly depressed. Their sense of personal value was cut with their salaries. This happened as the advertising industry burgeoned. Advertising continuously and relentlessly sells consumption as the path to happiness. Consumption was undermined and with it stability, prosperity, and a sense of personal success.

    3. What Produced the Crisis in Personal and Family Life?

    Economic desperation pushed many more women into the labor force to increase money for the household. Previous to the 1970s, most white, nonimmigrant American women entered the labor force only in times of particular and urgent family need: upon divorce, or if a husband died, was ill, unemployed, or deserted his family. Women's labor outside the home provided some safety in times of emergency. In 1970, 40 percent of U.S. women were in the labor force, mostly part time. By the year 2008, 75 percent of U.S. women were in the labor force, mostly full time. Many women enjoyed the greater autonomy, variation, and creativity that jobs could provide. Many others were forced by economic necessity to work outside of their homes in routinized dead-end jobs with scarce assistance from governmental supports for day care, after-school programs, or elder care.

    Women's work outside of the home helped to improve the standard of living for most families, but it did not compensate families for lost white male wages. Women's wage work imposes not only the obvious expenses of additional clothing and transportation, but also the costs of purchasing some of the goods and services that women previously produced at home free of charge, such as cooking, mending, cleaning, shopping, and child care. Those goods and services are crucial. Once they become commodified in the marketplace, they become expensive. The latest figures from Salary.com indicate that if a stay-at-home mother in the United States were replaced by paid domestic products and services, the cost would be $122,732 a year. The domestic products produced and services rendered by a mom who works outside of the home would cost $76,184 per year.

    Even with women flooding into the labor force, families were still financially hurting. Working women had no time to perform full-time household labor and child care, and there was still not enough money for consumption. More money was accumulating at the top while the mass of Americans suffered from frozen wages. The wealthy then promoted the credit card to lend to Americans the money that they formerly would have earned in growing wages. Families became dependent on credit card debt. Since the interest rate on credit cards ranges from 15 percent to 25 percent, Americans descended into debt at record-breaking levels.

    The living standard of Americans deteriorated psychologically as well. In American culture, women provide most of the emotional labor to make home a warm and comfortable place for men and children. It is women who usually arrange children's social lives and activities, from play dates to dental appointments. Women are usually the directors of adult social life as well. Indeed, women are usually in charge of emotional life for the entire family. The more women work outside of the home without social support in the form of child care programs and domestic help, the more stressed, overworked, and emotionally unavailable they become. Overwhelmed women have less energy for the roles of social director and organizer, as well as emotional and physical caregiver. Households are hurting emotionally. When Bush took office in 2000, he cut many of the already hobbled social programs that allowed families to survive. Families are in trouble.

    Women are no longer willing to work outside of the home, do the lion's share of the domestic work, and simultaneously take care of their children's and husbands' physical and emotional needs largely unaided either by their husbands or by social programs. For the first time in American history, the majority of women are abandoning marriage. Women now initiate two-thirds of divorces. Half of first marriages and 60 percent of second marriages end in legal separation or divorce. These impressive figures do not include the many people who end their marriages outside of the legal system.

    When men's emotional relationships with women break down, they have little intimate emotional support. Women usually count on other women to emotionally sustain them. Women still manage to befriend and support each other on a personal level in a way that few men can. These changes in households and family life are a third tributary to America's deluge of disaster. Americans have lost both the financial dream of ever-increasing prosperity and consumption, and also the emotional family dream of a stable family connected by a present wife creating emotional connection and domestic order. In short, Americans have lost what was the comfort of home.

    4. Americans' Increasing Isolation from One Another

    A fourth disaster is closely related. The freeze in U.S. real wages coincided with the beginning of Americans' increasing isolation from one another. Beginning once again in the 1970s, nearly all social connections between Americans declined. The decay in U.S. social life was an almost total phenomenon. It extended from inviting friends to dinner, to joining bridge clubs or bowling leagues, to volunteering for noncontroversial activities such as the PTA or Red Cross blood drives, to participating in more controversial activities such as working for a cause or a political candidate.

    There was growth in social participation in evangelical religious groups; gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) groups; internet groups; and self-help groups. However, membership in self-help groups, America's greatest social participation growth area, was outnumbered two to one by drop-outs from bowling leagues alone, according to Robert Putnam's 2000 book, Bowling Alone, which I have drawn on for statistics throughout this section.

    Several inconclusive theories have emerged as to why Americans have dropped out of U.S. social life and civic life.

    Women dropping out of social activities because of working full time outside of the home accounts for only 10 percent of the overall dropout rate.

    One might attribute U.S. social desertion to the phenomenon of busyness, but that too is an insufficient explanation. The average American watches four hours of television a day, which would be difficult to manage with an intensely busy schedule. The Internet may seem like a replacement for social interaction, but the Internet isolates people as well as connects them.

    Extensive television viewing may be a culprit since more people relate to their television sets than to each other, and the heaviest viewing correlates to the least social participation. But surely this is a symptom as much as a cause of the problems that isolate Americans. I say this because extensive television viewing is reported by the viewers themselves as so unsatisfying that it leaves them "not feeling so good." Their descriptions portray it as an addiction that compels without satisfying. An overwhelming number of viewers watch for the purpose of distraction or entertainment. Television functions as an escape from loneliness, changed gender expectations, and looming economic disaster.

    Perhaps the greatest reason is that Americans are psychologically and also physically exhausted. They have fewer vacations and longer workweeks than any of their Western European counterparts. Activity in society, including activity in politics, has become a luxury good for those fortunate few who have extra time and energy. The Left's natural constituency, the mass of Americans, is exhausted, disillusioned, and in despair. To add to their despair, the tremendous wealth at the top of society has been used to fund right-wing media outlets like Fox News, to name just one example. Right-wing media promote the idea that there is no alternative to the status quo. At the same time, the skewed distribution of wealth allows vast sums to be given to politicians who advance the fortunes of those who pay their way. Immense wealth is invested in weakening the regulations against enormous giving at the top. These developments increase the conviction that ordinary people make no difference in politics. They have no voice. The force of the Left is further weakened.

    5. The Drugging of America

    The fifth tributary that helped to create our deluge of disaster is both a cause and an effect of America's social breakdown. This is the numbing of Americans with psychotropic drugs. In 2006, Americans, who make up approximately 6 percent of the world's population, consumed 66 percent of the world's supply of antidepressants. In 2002, more than 13 percent of Americans were taking Prozac alone. Prozac is one of thirty available antidepressants. Anti-anxiety drugs, such as Zoloft, are so widely prescribed that in the year 2005, the $3.1 billion sales of Zoloft exceeded the sales for Tide detergent.

    Many of these drugs, which are also called "cosmetic drugs" or "life-enhancing drugs," are diagnosed for loneliness, sadness, life transitions, or concentration on task performance. They have been "normalized" through extensive direct-to-consumer advertising and marketing to doctors who are financially rewarded for recommending them to colleagues. Regulations that once restrained the widespread promotion and sales of these powerful drugs have been relaxed to the point of near nonexistence. The United States is the only Western nation that permits direct-to-consumer drug advertising. We are also the only nation without price controls on drugs. Psychiatric drugs are so ubiquitous that the pharmaceutical industry is the most profitable industry in America, and antidepressants are their most profitable products.

    What Can We Do?

    The current disaster did not just happen with the recent burst of the stock market and housing bubbles. Americans somewhere knew for a long time that we could not pay our credit card bills or our mortgages. Somewhere, unconsciously, we had to know that disaster was approaching. We responded with denial, withdrawal, depression, and dissociation accomplished with the aid of extensive television viewing and preoccupation with scandals and celebrities.

    Each of the five tributaries flowed together to drown the mass of Americans in debt, family dissolution, isolation, and drug-induced apathy. In response to the original questions that inspired this article, we now need to ask another question: what can we do about it? Americans may now be looking for change. They elected a president who promised change. That change has not happened. Where else can we look?

    Capitalism needs and breeds consumerism. We are surrounded by advertisements for products. Ubiquitous advertising has a blighting side effect. The presentation of all human connection now carries a price tag for a branded product. Scenes of connection with a group of friends include, for example, Budweiser beer. The devoted mother is washing your clothes with Tide. The sexy woman, whom men want and women want to be, seems to come with the sleek Toyota. Ads appear whenever we turn on our computers or read newspapers or magazines. Product placement is present in almost every film. Television, America's mass entertainment, embraces product placement and explicit advertising directed to all ages. Capitalist consumerism coveys the message that relationships happen with and through products. There are too few scenes of people trying honestly to connect and surmount their real economic, social, and emotional problems through honest discussion and negotiation. We need more images of people who enjoy their connection and work through the difficult times involved in creating close, mutual, nurturing relationships. How do we manage to effect change within this environment? Where are the contradictions that create openings?

    A Time When Noncommercial Values Are Attractive

    One opportunity for change has emerged due to the recent capitalist collapse, which has intensified American suffering. People can no longer afford the brand-name products seen on TV. Their economic woes reveal the relentless hustling of now unaffordable consumer products. They try generics, unknown brands, and less consumption, and often find them just as good. This presents us with an opening to question. New, noncommercial values can form.

    Since Americans are hooked on the mass media, and the media loves anything new, the Left can create media-attracting new actions. The anarchist group that formed around a book called The Coming Insurrection got full media attention when a well-publicized group jumped on stage at Barnes & Noble in New York for a spontaneous reading that began, "Everyone agrees it's about to explode." The action was widely covered for its novelty.

    We can look to the four areas that have grown in the current social drought. They are, in order of their growth, self-help groups, internet groups, evangelical church groups, and GLBT groups.

    Self-Help Groups

    The largest self-help groups are Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. Alcohol and drugs have proved to be a personal and social disaster for millions of Americans, who cannot function on the job and suffer havoc in their personal lives due to these substances. Huge alcohol and pharmaceutical lobbies push these substances on individuals desperate for relief from their problems. The individual solution of self-medicating with drugs and alcohol-promoted so efficiently by capitalism-failed terribly. In the face of that failure, millions join together in small groups where they share their pain and suffering within a supportive, nonjudgmental collective that operates without salaries, advertisements, or financial charges. These twelve-step groups give the Left a window of possibility. We can add a thirteenth step to their twelve-step programs. We can add a step to organize against big pharmaceutical and liquor advertising, which profits on false promises. The Left desperately needs to address people's despair and give them support. We can learn to incorporate nonjudgmental personal and political support, as well as psychological and political dimensions, to Left groups where both nonjudgmental attitudes and psychological support have been sadly lacking. The Left has tried too hard to focus on being correct and not enough effort on reaching people where they are hurting. We need to listen to people without judgment as they do in twelve-step programs.

    The GLBT Movement

    We can also study the contradictions that helped to produce GLBT organizations. Advertising creates omnipresent images of happiness accessed though products that relate to sexual attractiveness. The sexy woman rides in the man's sleek new car. The virile man drives a big truck and smokes Marlboros. Multibillion-dollar industries such as the diet, cosmetic, and fashion industries promote products to enhance sexual attractiveness. Popular culture celebrates heterosexual coupling and family as ultimate happiness while avoiding mention of collective joys or homosexuality.

    The GLBT movement works to include those in their identity group who are excluded from the grand celebration of personal couple happiness built around sexual pairing. The very pressure to channel complex desires into heterosexual coupling helped lead GLBT people to, as a group, articulate collective visions of resistance and envision new possibilities.

    Since most families and relationships are breaking down, American people desperately need connection. Organizing creates connection. Collective dreams have a chance to replace the individualistic desires cultivated in capitalist America.

    What We Can Learn From Evangelicals' Failures ... and Successes

    Conservative evangelical groups create a collective vision and connection while celebrating capitalist success as God's blessing. They provide some of what people desperately need and the Left ignores, such as strong verbal support for important work in the home and a focus on the hard work of child rearing. Conservative evangelicals manage to accomplish this while sex role stereotyping that labor, as well as opposing every form of non-church-based material support that actually allows families to stay afloat. They typically oppose single-payer health plans, Head Start for all, sex education (unless abstinence-based), family planning, maternity and paternity benefits, minimum wage hikes, etc. In the end they cannot deliver the support that families need. The savior they pray to has not saved them from financial and personal desperation and divorce.

    Evangelicalism's reduction of morality to personal morality and particularly sexual morality has an embarrassing side effect. Googling "evangelical scandals" results in 3,729,000 hits in five seconds. Evangelical scandals have resulted in reduced credibility. There is now an opportunity for the wider ethical spiritual morality of the community associated with Tikkun and left-leaning evangelicals connected to Sojourners who develop their social, economic, personal, and political morality, and who see political activity as an expression of morality taken into the world. We on the Left have an opportunity to champion our own moral, ethical, and spiritual vision to Americans who desperately need both morality and hope for a better world. Evangelical promotion of the centrality of personal connection and family gives the Left an opening to advocate material and psychological support for all kinds of families. The Left urgently needs a family program to address the mass breakdown of U.S. homes and families.

    The evangelical groups can, ironically show us what we are missing. The failure of evangelical morality, which excludes social, economic, and political morality, may create an opening for a much-needed left-wing program of social, political, economic, and personal ethics and morality for which many hunger.

    Internet Organizing

    There are explicitly political possibilities afforded by the net. MoveOn.org and other political groups organize and mobilize through the Web. In Iran, members of the opposition evaded censors, communicated with each other, and aroused national and international support through Twitter and Facebook. The Facebook account of Neda Soltani's murder focused Iran and the world on the violent repression of Mousavi's supporters. That possibility exists here.

    The four social growth groups springing up in America's desert of political opposition point out possible avenues for a Left that desperately needs direction. Let us return to our original questions:

    Why are Americans passive as millions lose their homes, their jobs, their families, and the American dream?

    Why do Americans remain at home, disorganized, while their European counterparts flood into the streets in militant, organized protests? How did this happen? What forces are responsible? We can see that the cycles of capitalism with its relentless need for consumer spending and capital accumulation at the top have devastated America. We can also see that unbridled capitalism has created mass suffering and then turned the rage of those who suffer against all who need governmental assistance and against additional scapegoats such as homosexuals, feminists, liberals, socialists, and immigrants. We can create new roads to reclaim this nation by organizing and activating the mass of Americans who know that the ostensible "recovery" will never return what they have lost. We dared to elect a president who championed change verbally, who campaigned on unity and respect for all, and who preserves the structures that destroyed our lives. En masse, we have turned to self-help groups, evangelists, psycho-pharmaceutical drugs, and sexual identity politics, which do not solve the multifaceted crisis in which we are drowning. America needs another way. Perhaps we can provide it?


    Harriet Fraad is a psychotherapist-hypnotherapist in practice in New York City. She is a founding member of the feminist movement and the journal Rethinking Marxism. For forty years, she has been a radical committed to transforming U.S. personal and political life.

    © 2010 Tikkun All rights reserved.
    View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/145481/

    Posted by: David Eubank states, "The solution is really very simple.
    Listen to the message,... find out what their idea, agenda behind the message is.
    "... you may not be comfortable with, with the same intensity of those ideas you are."

    Many of us, perhaps the majority - millions of us had "listen to the message,
    their idea and their agenda behind the message."
    The message is "CHANGE" "more of the same, ramped corruption, deeper whole,
    no health care, more war, confiscation, unemployment etc."
    "Being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life,
    health, liberty, or possessions... "

    The supreme court ruling in Citizens United v. FEC will continue to constrain citizens
    in their property and liberty to express their "free speach and will" at the ballot.

    "The philosopher John Locke believes that individuals have certain rights—to life,
    liberty, and property—which were given to us as human beings in the “the state of nature,..”
    The people did not give “tacit consent” to obey the laws passed by minority - Oligarchy,
    when "we choose to live in a society." If we "all have unalienable rights to life,
    liberty -free s peach, and property" than the laws and issues should be put on a referendum,
    so that people "can express their will" by a "MAJORITY" rule at the ballot!
    We have Bankruptcy Act, Local Government Unit debt Act, Immunity Acts and others
    that amounts to"Legal license to commit fraud" confiscate property, papers, funds
    by the power of the Bankruptcy courts and not to be held liable, in violation of the
    the CONSTITUTION!

    "LAWRENCE LESSIG:we've got to begin to think about a constitutional
    change that makes possible or secures reform."

    LAWRENCE LESSIG: "Call a Convention."

    BILL MOYERS: "Call a Convention."

    "Senator Raskin believes the only real solution is to change the United States
    Constitution itself. "

    Empower the people to "EXPRESS THEIR WILL" on ALL ISSUES!

    "The democracy belongs to the "We the people" and this is our opportunity to
    clarify that in the Constitution of the United States."
    LAWRENCE LESSIG:"And we have these unalienable rights?
    "People no longer trust the integrity of the institution."

    "AMEND THE CONSTITUTION!"
    "The solution is not very simple" when the "WILL of THE PEOPLE" is CONSTRAIN
    and/or denied on ALL issues at the ballot!

    Mr. Moyers, We are approximately the same age. We have experienced many things, you from the inside and me from the outside, but we both know that the recent Supreme Court ruling is the proper ruling. if the ruling had gone the other way then only a single citizen would have the First Amendment right to free speech thereby excluding groups of two or more citizens from said coverage. Therefore if you and I agreed upon a single point and voiced our opinion together then we would be in violation of the Constitution. This is not a good thing.

    Furthermore, We know that the availability of more money to the "K Street Gang" will have no greater effect on the out-come of legislation than the existing capital does now. The need is for our "public servants" to be exactly that.

    Greed and the need to maintain one's position of power are powerful forces. It leads otherwise well-meaning men and women to sacrifice the "public good" to the gods of corporate well-being, personal fortune and reelection.

    Until and unless our "public servants" actually become Public Servants the legislative process in Washington will not change no matter how little or how much money is available to secure a vote either aye or nay.

    Here ends my epistle.

    Bill and everyone,
    Last night's program was one of the most disheartening I've seen since last year's election. It caused me to awaken in the middle of the night to contemplate the fate of this country.

    First, the depressing debate over the Supreme Court's decision: I'm always put off by the Libertarian viewpoint that government should not be involved in anything-that citizens should just have to fend for themselves: there are so many needs for the citizens of our nation, no individual or small organization could meet them--the rich do not take care of the poor, strong men abuse the rights of those less able to stand for themselves.

    Without government intervention there would be no national highway system, no national parks, no public schools, no racial or gender equality, no environmental protection, and no consumer protections.
    Child labor laws would not have existed.
    Money and power corrupt those who possess them--witness our current economic mess, and the current healthcare crisis as the most obvious examples.

    Then, Dr. Flowers' gut-wrenching interview increased my despair for our system of government.
    Where are the ethics of our legislators, of the President, and the Supreme Court justices? Why are the requests of the people disregarded and voices who speak for the people ignored and negated ?

    As the only developed nation that refuses to provide universal healthcare to its citizens, we should feel embarrassed and ashamed. Over 45,000 people die every year because of lack of access to healthcare--that is the equivalent of 15 9/11 attacks--our own American holocaust. Yet the insurance companies, big pharma, and big business rock on...putting out ads and media attacks that that are intended to foment fear, hatred, and mistrust among Democrats and Republicans. But these ads do more than that: they make citizens fear the possibility of change--even to their own detriment.

    What can we do? What group can we join? Who will stand for all the people? Is anyone left who has moral courage and the backbone to take on the most rich and powerful interests in this country?

    I wish I knew...

    Kathy Swarts MSN RN
    Ashland, Oregon

    About the only place I find any hope anymore is in seeing the collective wisdom of the citizenry, at least as on display here.

    Just from this one blog, I found so many creative, informed and insightful comments and as I kept reading I kept hearing little pearls of wisdom dropping and figured there are enough ideas already posted to either fix the whole mess or at least get us started.

    So, I very presumptuously created my own small collection of other people's comments as I begin to see how they all fit together to show the way forward. I also added a couple form the petition at Public Citizen.

    The ideas exist, the passion exist, the outrage exist. How hard could it be to put it all together (okay, damn hard) and turn the devils on each other rather than on us? A little impishness, a bit of Gaelic mischief for the higher good might be in order.

    “Corporations do not purchase commercials if they do not produce a return on the investment (ROI).”
    At the onset of the next campaign season, those of you who have cable just cancel your service until after the election. The corporations will have wasted a ton of money. The cable companies may rethink their willingness to accept any ads! I don’t have cable, just the network garbage anyway so no loss for me. All I watch is PBS.

    “We own the air waves; all that is needed is free air time provided by television and radio and free voter's guides for elections.”
    I have tried to find the story I heard on NPR about French elections so I could review it but no luck; as I recall it went like this: all candidate get the same thing: 30 minutes for round 1 and 30 minutes from round 2, then vote and done! I like that. They even allowed the hunting and fishing candidate the same amount of time as every other candidate. Gee, in that system, maybe Nader could even be on the ballot and have had a chance.

    And NO we shouldn’t have to pay the networks to put this on…they’re our airwaves, aren’t they? Why do we have to rent them back for democracy to continue? They can contribute the time in lieu of paying taxes on their income for that day.

    “Because continuing pressure in an alternative/parallel market is the only way to effectively alter corporate behaviour. That is as true with political behaviour as it is with economic behaviour.”
    There is already a movement to take your money out of BigBank and move it to your community bank or credit union. I checked yesterday and my local tiny bank (our town’s population is 1,500) is offering a better CD rate than ANY MAJOR BANK! This little bank didn’t play dumb games before and they are still sound. VOTE with YOUR money and move it!
    Someone at Public Citizen suggested a boycott of anyone displaying the Chamber of Commerce logo as they are so happy about the decision!

    “Obama should simply threaten to use Constitutional powers of the Executive and Congress to increase the number of seats on the Supreme Court”
    WOW! Like I said earlier there are a lot of really well-informed people here. I sure did not know this but how powerful. Mirable dictu!
    Do we really need anything other than this? Oh yes, the man I voted for should now use this! I see where there might be a problem.

    The same kind of comments can be found I’m sure in numerous blogs on all kinds of sites. I picked two of my favorites from Public Citizen because these, too, show how to turn it on them and heck, with a little luck, maybe the corporations and congress will be dogging the supreme court to “take it back!”

    Okay, it’ll take a little more than luck for that to happen but I did get a little giddy thinking about BigPhar/BigOil/BigBank and their hired henchmen on the hill trying to get a refund!

    From action.citizen.org
    “If corps. are persons,let them pay the top rate in income tax and 15% of their gross Social Security tax as well.People die,so revoke corporate charters for review every 75 years.”
    Well, shucks, maybe we should welcome these new “persons/citizens/speechmakers” as part of the gang and let them help us shore up Social Security. I had always heard ‘corporations don’t pay taxes’ so maybe now they can? Hey, this whole horrible decision is beginning to sound a little better to me. Do unto them!

    We are, in fact, going beyond either capitalism or socialism...the next "ism" on this fascist course will soon be barbarism.”
    Well, I just liked this one!

    It all seems so simple.
    *Anyone who wants to run for office gets public air time. The same amount of time.
    *We all quit watching any broadcast that carries these ads. We’d be better people and they would have wasted a ton of money!
    *Let us vote online after watching them campaign for 30 minutes. If the ‘net is safe enough for all financial transactions it must be safe enough for voting!

    Bill, don’t leave us now! Will you at least make appearances or write on your blog or something. I’ve found “a world of ideas” from you and you deserve whatever you choose, but dang it we’re sure going to be lost without you.

    So, there’s something going on March 20? Hmmm.


    To summarize our conflicts,
    There are two major sets of laws.
    "Human Made Laws" and
    "Natural Laws".
    What we are experiencing is the collision of these two sets of laws.
    Human Laws are far more flawed and irrelevant to our changing times.

    The Natural Laws are far more enduring and relevant, and in the end stand firm and true.
    For instance, we will always be "divided" as people, we live with the "Law of duality", or "Yin and Yang". We have two hemispheres of our brains, and we have the insatiable rational mind, which will always lead to debate about everything.

    Another natural law, "What goes Up must come Down". And with the greatest Economical "growth" in History, We are now experiencing the greatest "growth in Debt" because we absolutely Can Not Afford to keep growing our economy without destroying all life on this most complex Planet we all call "Home".

    Another natural law is that of "entropy" or continuing disorder a result of greater "complexities", makes it ever more challenging to meet the demands of conflicting minds.

    And then of course we live with the Natural Law of "Relativity", people generally can only relate to what they have personally experienced and will always "justify" their own self-interests.

    So the Drama will only become more magnified as we come to a Closure with this "exhausted system" but hopefully we can rapidly transition into this next "Paradigm Shift" which will be an entirely different system, than we now know.

    Times are indeed Changing Rapidly regardless of who wins an argument or not.

    Loretta Huston
    Eugene, Oregon

    Mr. Moyers,

    The conspiracy theorist in me and my sister wonder whether corporate money at PBS is behind your upcoming retirement concurrent with the cancellation of NOW - two hard hitting shows that Corporations (some who donate heavily to PBS) can't be too happy about having on the air.

    Please re-consider your retirement. We need you! Especially now, with the cancellation of NOW and the influx of more corporate money into politics.

    Thank you for your years of hard-hitting journalism. You will be sorely missed.

    Mary (New York City)

    The problem is who controls the Issuance of Currency . Until the power of issuance is returned to the People through their representatives in Congress nothing will change . We need to establish a debt free currency ISSUED by the People , not BORROWED at interest from a privately owned Bank . The Supreme Court ruling is just a natural outcome of turning the Nations money supply over to a Private Corporation owned by the English Monarchy in 1913 when Congress , suffering from a fit of treason , passed the Federal Reserve Act .

    I’m sorry, this is a repeat of a previous post which had a lot of typos:

    Hi Bill,

    When Obama asks anyone to step up who can provide a more effective set of health care reform proposals, he seems to be lying since t/he/y did not consider single payer and what other industrialized nations have been doing more effectively than we... (Well there may be fine print I’m missing, but this seems like what he meant.)

    I can understand if he said that he tried and given current political realities, this was the best they could do. We can’t fault him for trying. But to blatantly ask if there were any other better set of proposals out there without a more systematic consideration of what’s out there is disingenuous, Mr. President. On the per capita cost basis and based on number of lives saved, there seem to be many other better solutions out there in other countries, not our own.

    Seems like the Supreme Court decision is really the death knell for any meaningful health reform, reform that may be good for living people but may be bad for corporate profit. The faltering health care legislation once again demonstrates the power of corporate interests. The Court's decisions, I'm led to believe, really enhances it. We will get health care reform legislation; but it won’t be too good for living people (us) as much as for the living dead (insurance corporations).

    A deep felt thank you to Dr. Flowers for all her hard work for the people. We are desperate for Single Payer. We have been betrayed by the "Democratic" party. Mr. Moyers, to you sir: Another deep appreciative thank you for calling out these crooks and liars for their daily misdeeds and letting the people know. I can only wish PBS were carried in more counties than is presently done. PBS has shrunk over the last two decades.

    Can Gillespie explain who in the corporation is approving this speech? Is it the CEO? If that is the case isn't it really just the CEO's voice? If it is the board of directors then the same problem arises. At the very least shareholders should have a vote/say in how the corporation's money is used during elections. Gillespie, despite what he says, makes it seem like a corporation is an individual like you and I.

    Also, Gillespie doesn't appear to grasp Lessig's point that corporations can have a "voice", but at the same time not be able to fund elections. Let them release commercials, but don't let them fund elections. As Lessig stresses, elections should be citizen-funded.

    Hi Bill,

    When Obama asks anyone to step up who can provide a more effective set of health reform proposals, he seems to be lying since t/he/y did not consider single payer and what other industrialized nations do more effectively than we do...

    I can understand if he said that he tried and given current political realities, this was the best they could do. Can fault them for trying. But to blatantly ask if there were any other better system out there until when a year without a sincere consideration of all possibilities- that's disingenuous Mr. President.

    Seems like these other countries already have more effective health care systems than us at much lower cost, a lot more than the current set of proposals may achieve.

    On the basis of per capital cost and lives saved, there seems to be many better solutions out there.

    Seems like the Supreme Court decision is really the death knell for any meaningful health reform that may be good for living people but bad for corporate pocket books- the living dead.

    The faltering health care legislation once again demonstrates the power of corporate interests.

    The Court's decisions, I'm led to believe, really enhances it.

    Dear Mr. Moyers,

    Money is owned. It is property.
    Corporations are owned. They are property.

    During session on Jan. 21, 2010, the Supreme Court uttered some convoluted, esoteric, words and pulled from the Citizens United magic hat - a donkey.
    Then holding it up for all to see, they declared it the rabbit of free speech!

    When the Constitution was being written the Federalists had this same ‘donkey’ argument with Ben Franklin.

    Ben Franklin’s donkey argument went something like this:

    IF a man owned a donkey (property) he could vote.

    - (This was the Federalists the argument. They are the Federalist Society, Original Intent judges and lawyers of today. They think of the Constitution as a Codex of democracy and that they have the Original and thus the correct knowledge of what the founding fathers meant – not being, necessarily - what the founding fathers actually said.)

    IF by the next election the donkey had died. The man had no property. Then the man could note vote.

    Then Ben asked who held the right to vote, the man or the donkey?

    The founding fathers said the man.
    Our Supreme Court says the donkey.

    This was an extreme "Power Move" for More "Corporate Control." This absolutely has nothing to do with "freedom of speech". A Corporation is "BIG Business" and not an individual person. It goes to show that we place far too much power in the minds of the "select few". Our Supreme Court Justice System is only made up of basic "Human Beings," that have clearly revealed "short-sighted, biased" Abuse of Power.
    We the People are Not Ignorant, We all know Big Money Rules.
    We've already experienced, "Exce$$ive Spending", contaminating our electoral process, and it's downright nauseating and a crime, this money could actually be used towards a more successful transition into this "Greatest Paradigm Shift" of all that we are ALL faced with in today's world.
    If we are to successfully transition into a more Sustainable Future, we need to Work together and direct these "fictitious dollars" towards a more "Clean and Renewable" system.
    I would love to see Our Campaign Elections operate on a "Budget" just like the majority of people have to deal with. Give each party a "set limit" of funds and see how creative they can be with what they've got.
    Now this would be basic "common sense" and real progress.
    Loretta Huston

    This was an extreme "Power Move" for More "Corporate Control." This absolutely has nothing to do with "freedom of speech". A Corporation is "BIG Business" and not an individual person. It goes to show that we place far too much power in the minds of the "select few". Our Supreme Court Justice System is only made up of basic "Human Beings," that have clearly revealed "short-sighted, biased" Abuse of Power.
    We the People are Not Ignorant, We all know Big Money Rules.
    We've already experienced, "Exce$$ive Spending", contaminating our electoral process, and it's downright nauseating and a crime, this money could actually be used towards a more successful transition into this "Greatest Paradigm Shift" of all that we are ALL faced with in today's world.
    If we are to successfully transition into a more Sustainable Future, we need to Work together and direct these "fictitious dollars" towards a more "Clean and Renewable" system.
    I would love to see Our Campaign Elections operate on a "Budget" just like the majority of people have to deal with. Give each party a "set limit" of funds and see how creative they can be with what they've got.
    Now this would basic "common sense" and real progress.
    Loretta Huston

    To AllenWrench

    Did Thoreau put the hex on you, or what? Read his journals -- He was the quintessential 20th century pampered and spoiled Ivy League legacy student. While composing prose of privation, the pillars of his privation included such instructive examples as his mom doing his laundry every week and mooching dinner off his friends in "Conantdom" three or four nights a week. For myself, I'll derive my political philosophy from my experience without reliance on the faux poverty, noblesse-oblige inspired, drivel of a 19th century "Trustafarian."

    Roy Conant
    www.lothlorienwoods.com
    www.americanpoems.com/members/roy-conan

    I have lost all confidence in my elected officials. I haven't been this ashamed of the government inside the beltway since the Vietnam Era. I believe that after 8 years of dictatorship, We The People had great hopes for real change. It is obvious after one year, that we live under the control of a Lobbyarchy that controls both parties. Voting is pointless. Massachusetts is simply a backlash phenomenon which is also pointless. If we voted everyone out, they would just get jobs as lobbyists in our revolving door system. If there was a third revolution, and The People marched to the Capitol with their pitchforks and torches, like the bergers marched on Frankensteins Castle, what would they replace the monster with?

    I’m baffled by Mr. Gillespie’s simplistic notion of an Athenian-type democratic utopia where voters follow and react to every decision made by their legislators. There’s no evidence of that in the United States except in unique circumstances. Instead, a good government creates a system of checks-and-balances, which frees citizens to live their lives, create wealth and raise their families – without the distraction of monitoring every campaign contribution to their local, county, state and federal representatives.

    Government shouldn’t only belong to the people (or corporations) that have the luxuries of spare time and money to invest in political campaigns. If the electorate doesn’t trust its representatives to act in the people’s interest, and has to increasingly bear the burden of governmental oversight itself, then the checks-and-balances of the representative system are broken, and need to be repaired.

    Thank you Mr. Moyers et al for providing this avenue for free speech. It stands out from the pack of talking point enabler programs. I thoroughly enjoyed Lessig & Gillespie, who should both be applauded for the civility of their tone.

    Nick said that groups of people should be allowed to lobby (represent their members). I agree with that.

    However, that's not what corporations are. Employees may not agree with a corporation's lobbying for expanded H1B (imported) labor.

    Investors may own shares of a company simply because they bought an indexed mutual fund in their 401k (S&P 500, Russell 2000). There's absolutely no indication that the corporation represents this "association" of people.

    I think Nick is confusing the corporation as a group of people (with shared interests) with the kind of group of people represented by the NRA, AARP, etc. The latter is far more consensual, with assumed support for the resulting lobbying.

    I wouldn't have a problem with people in an interest in a corporation forming a lobbying group called "friends of Spacely Sprocket, Inc." To me, that would be a consensual relationship where the lobbying is directly tied to the goals of those who joined.

    The typical corporation influencing legislation isn't that.

    FWIW: I don't agree with the other guest's position to publicly finance campaigns. This is an example of how libertarianism can't effectively address "big government" arguments. It becomes an either/or proposition. No government (corporations dominating politics due to a non-consensual relationship of those associated with the corporation). Or, total takeover of campaigns.

    The solution is really very simple. Listen to the message, find out who's message it really is and find out what their agenda behind the message is. Look at who gives politicians money. As a voter demand that candidates post open corporate donation disclosures, who gave them what. If they don't they don't get your vote. Democracy requires work, participation. Anyone who has posted here or anywhere else on the internet has the power to control the message. You gotta work for it and pledge to yourself not to be lead astray by those who would own your opinion and your vote. In the end if you can not trust anyone else trust yourself. Put your support behind good candidates that truly represent you and not necessarily the ones with the most money. In the amount of time it took for you to write your post you could have researched any political candidate. Then spend a little more time and post what you find out. That is the power of free speech. However if you are to be trusted by yourself you have to be honest and objective with yourself. You have to establish a set of objective self principles and you have to listen to ideas that you may not be comfortable with, with the same intensity of those ideas you are. Base your decisions on facts not slick messages. As voters we can teach corporations they are wasting their money.

    this is just nuts. we people have the power and the right not the corporations. since when is money a actual voice . its a slap in the face to us the people . i dont know about you but im tired of being slapped around like my brother says its time we take our balls out our purses and be heard!!!! loud AND CLEAR!!!

    With the Supreme Court decision perhaps there will be more balance instead of the unions spending outlandishly for their candidate(s).

    As for the "doctor lady" who wants a single payer system, she is obviously too young to remember how the insurance companies came to use their discretionary policies. They got the idea from Medicare's DRG's, the government's way of decreasing costs!

    Dear Bill,
    Mr. Lessing was a lousy debater. He failed to point out that 1. Special interest spending doesn't just provide a perception of a corrupt Congress, it corrupts it absolutely. If the corporations weren't getting something for their money, they wouldn't continue to spend. They're not that dumb! 2. If the Supreme Ct decision provides for more free speech, then the guys with the most money have the loudest voice and there is no way individuals can compete with corporations. 3. With special interests now able to flood the airwaves with lies and distortions on the day before the election, there is no way a candidate will have time to correct the lies, and if there's going to be free speech, there also needs to be someone monitoring when that right is abused, for with freedom comes responsibility and too often the campaign ads spread lies and assume no responsibility. Think of the Swift boat ad that had little or no factual information, but it destroyed Kerry's chances. And think of the more recent assertions that Obama isn't a citizen, despite the fact that it's been proven that he is a legitimate American citizen. Now, with the Supreme Ct. decision we'll hear more and more falsehoods and the public is too unaware and too gullible to disbelieve them.
    Sheryl Olb

    Excellent show...Interesting dialogue, perspectives, and guests...Many Journal viewers have open minds to different viewpoints and political perspectives and philosophy..Thanks for bringing some political diversity to the show.

    Monopoly

    The game is over when someone has all the money and owns all the property and hotels.

    So lets start a new game, and divide up the monopoly money evenly again.

    Anyone for a new game? How about Life?

    =
    MJA

    After the Supreme Court decision and its implications, would it be simpler to just auction off Congressional seats to the highest bidder and avoid all the election ruckus?

    What reforms would increase your faith in Washington?


    "EMPOWER the PEOPLE to "EXPRESS THEIR WILL - SPEACH" directly on
    ALL SSUES" at the BALOT - REFERENDUM! In TRUE DEMOCRACY
    the Issues should be on the ballot. THE ISSUES that should be
    UNCONDITIONALY on referendum, are :
    LAWS, WARS, DEBT, FINANCING, HEALTH CARE, ECONOMY, EDUCATION etc.
    no IF'S or BUT's.
    The POWER to FILIBUSTER should be in the "WILL of the PEOPLE!"
    At the present time, these ISSUES are decided by the "OLIGARCHY!"
    Yes, indeed, "AMEND the CONSTITUTION!"
    EMPOWER the PEOPLE!

    Can Democracy Withstand The Power of Big Money?

    Well, Thoreau summed it up...

    "Trade curses everything it touches and even though you trade in 'messages from heaven' when trade attaches itself the whole thing becomes cursed."

    But do not worry about the big corps buying politicians...for they have already been bought and paid for long ago. And whether we get candidate A or candidate B means very little. For politicians are all cut from the same cloth and will say anything to gain power. But once they get power...all bets are off.

    In another thread on this blog, the doctor lady said how disappointed she was with healthcare reform after working for the Obama election. Well, she could have worked for McCain? She could have supported a guy that can't even be honest about how many houses he owns. Would things have worked out any better with McCain for her dream of healthcare reform?

    In the TV interview, I think Nick brought up we only have 2 parities Dems and Reps. (No doubt wishing his Libertarian party to be the 3rd party on any ticket.) But in reality, the same thing that would happen to any tea bagger prez that would get in would happen to any Lib prez. The good old Dems and Reps would not work with them. It would be just one big political war day in - day out in DC.

    Government is not meant to benefit the average person. Government is meant to benefit the politicians that seek power and fortune and those that finance the politicians. And it was mentioned that the trillions of dollars that are thrown around each year in the budget are just too much temptation for the greedy capitalists to do right by.

    Our interest rates are at effectively 0%...for the banks to borrow. But when it comes to effective rates for citizens, the interest rates skyrocket to 25% to 30%. Quite a gap that separates the average citizen from the banks.

    What can change all this?

    Well, nature will take its course and change will come to America. We will decompose slowly or decompose quickly, but either way change will be forced on America.

    Taxes will go up, utilities will skyrocket as our fossil fuels are depleted. Healthcare will be unaffordable by most people and employers will no longer be able to provide it. Education will drive most into debts that can never be repaid.

    But, just as the average citizen is squeezed to death from these cost of living increases, the gov will prod them on to keep on spending as the patriotic thing to do to keep the Ponzi scheme going.

    China said that America need to be taught some lessons and fell some pain.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=123373020

    America does not need China to administer pain, for our politicians will have brought down America through their greed and corruption.

    Soon gay marriage will be legal and being gay will be as normal as apple pie. Marijuana may get legalized, no doubt to fund more taxes for the gov. Then the citizens of the US can be doped up 24 / 7 to relive some of their pain.

    Our food supply will keep decomposing, becoming less healthy as factory made genetically modified foods are the norm and life in the US will take a turn a la' 'Soylent Green.' In short, we will see a declining of standards in all areas of life in America.

    No, I have no answers or quick fixes for what ails America. And I may be wrong in my evaluation of how things will turn out. But my survival mentor says to prepare for the unthinkable one must first think the unthinkable.

    All we can do is to look towards trends to see the direction we are headed in. We can go in 3 directions...better....worse.. a standstill.

    The successful survivalist has watched trends and prepared best they can to meet the challenges that the trends forecast. Panic is for those not prepared. So we develop self confidence by mastering the skills needed to overcome any situation that arises to threaten our life.

    I'll leave you with a piece from Walden that is apropos to America's plight...

    "Some of you, we all know, are poor, find it hard to live, are - sometimes, as it were, gasping for breath. I have no doubt that some of you who read this book are unable to pay for all the dinners which you have actually eaten, or for the coats and shoes which are fast wearing or are already worn out, and have come to this page to spend borrowed or stolen time, robbing your creditors of an hour. It is very evident what mean and sneaking lives many of you live, for my sight has been whetted by the experience of others; always living on the limits, trying to get into business and trying to get out of debt, a very ancient slough, called by the Latin - 'Res Alienum' or 'another's brass' for some of their coins were made of brass. Living, seeking to curry favors, lying, dying, and buried by 'other's brass'; always promising to pay, promising to pay, tomorrow, and dying today insolvent."

    In Ohio's early Constitution, the people had the right to decide if a corporation could exist, how long it could exist, what business it engaged in, and deny it buying other corporations. The early Americans rightfully wanted control over the monied interests and state constitutions exhibited that "people" had the power, not entities created by people. The corporation existed at the behest of "the people" and for the public interest. Flash forward to the late nineteenth Supreme Court decision where corporations where said to have the rights of living human citizens, and a new monster is created to slowly eek the life out of democracy by the people and for the people. Jefferson rightfully spoke against the rise of monied interests over democracy, as did Lincoln. How few are the American leaders who speak truth to power these days, money as speech rendering those we elect to eunuchs unable to propogate on behalf of citizens, they castrated by those who pull the strings and wield the knife.

    Howard Zinn had it right. Nothing significant changes unless the people act to effect those changes. The way is open - in the coming election (and future ones, if necessary) concerned citizens must demand that the candidates they vote for support a constitutional amendment to deny corporations status as persons.

    Let me comment on just the third question here:
    Do you agree with Lessig that Congress has lost the people’s respect?

    Yes, Congress HAS lost the respect of all those people who are NOT allied with those special interests that are held so dear by all those who get anywhere near to holding a seat in (what should be) OUR Congress.

    Take a look at Mitch McConnell (HE'S a Senator!?!). This walking emetic has sold what soul he ever did have to his Military-Industrial Complex henchmen. That venal and corrupt face should not be anywhere near a governing body that claims to represent We the People. It looks more like it belongs on a picture in a Dorian Gray attic. And, it is clear that he is quite REPRESENTATIVE of this whole bought-and-sold gang of crooks who are now in ALL branches of the government. And this seems to be the only form of REPRESENTATION to be seen in it.

    Something MUST be done to rid this country of these swinish caricatures.

    To WHAT in this government -- executive or judicial or legislative branch -- do the people of this country owe ANY allegiance or loyalty! This is, of course, a rhetorical question and the answer is obvious.

    What is to be done about it? This is not clear at present, but what MUST give these traitors fits is the haunting fear that LIFE FINDS A WAY TO RID ITSELF OF THOSE WHO WOULD DESTROY IT!

    The Recent Supreme Court Ruling about Free Speech being given to Companies during elections and has opened up elections to increased lobbying was not written in the US Constitution. Free Speech was only about people and not corporations and it is a misruling and arrogant to allow this to stand. It is a complete violation of the US Constitution. The Supreme Court will need to reverse this ruling because it is against the Constitution and what it stands for.

    The United States is not the property of the biggest corporations.
    By Law, The US Constitution It belongs to the People.
    The Arrogance of power will not stand.

    Walter Richters
    Chesterfield, VA

    It is important that powers like Mr. Gillespie are heard. It was interesting to hear the blind and twisted reasoning he expressed, and wonder at its origin. Since Gillespie believes that the market (the disenfranchised American people) will bring control to the spending, then HOW does that happen? How is any number of muted voices louder than a a multimillion dollar megaphone.

    According to Mr. Gillespie the money and favors distributed in Congress by corporate lobbyists has no effect at all, except that they want to exorcise free speech. If this is true then why do they continue to spend it? If what Mr. Gillespie is to be believed; then if I went to purchase a toaster at Walmart, and they said we are going to keep the money, but you don't get a toaster...according to him I would keep going back over and over again with only the hope of getting a toaster, just because I need to exorcise my power of free speech.

    Corporations do not purchase commercials if they do not produce a return on the investment (ROI). The same is true in Congress...They would not spend the money if it had no ROI.

    If I may modify a saying from the recent Massachusetts Senate campaign in which the Republicans stated "Its not Ted Kennedy's seat, its the peoples seat!"; Then: Its not any corporations government, its the peoples government!

    I am so sick and tired of abuse of power, business, individuals, government. It sounds like many of our systems have become flawed and need repair.

    The Supreme Court ruling has me wondering how long it will be when we see our elected offical wearing their sponsors logos to the office. Guess they might as well start designing the patches.

    I'll always have Bill Moyers' back, and love what he has done his whole life, but this was the first show in all the Journals that I was disappointed in. Should of had a stronger voice of reason to hit back at Gillespi's claims, but then of course he wouldn't have come on with M. Moore. I've been a reason subscriber for five years unfortunately, and libertarian comes off as short and sweet and novel but it's really just as wack as Jon Kyl from Arizona. I'm under 25 years and I was sitting there yelling at the TV because even I knew what should've been said to Mr. Nick Gillespi. Occasions like this make me want to raise my glass to the splendid career Bill Moyers has had. Thanks my friend.

    Some time soon Russian Gazprom may bankroll a member of Bratva for U.S. Senate or Congress.

    By design corporations are set up to survive into perpetuity, so any agendas, ideology or cause taken up by a corporation will have a greater power just by having a longer life expectancy than those same causes taken up by individual’s. I find it amazing that anyone can actually believe that our constitution gives a corporation a right to free speech. It gives individual people those rights; it also gives them the responsibility of honesty and integrity in the facts of their opinions. If WE are allowing corporations to have the rights of people then why not give it to the churches too, I think the same reason for separating church and state should also apply to corporations, it creates a far greater opportunity for abuse than is currently the standard. Personally I don’t care who supports the advertising as long as it is held to a standard of truth I don’t believe that the public can have too much honest information. An opportunity must be given for untruths to be exposed before an election, which is why I think there should be a cut off time for ads before an election.

    American Colonies were founded and financed by London Corporations, American Revolution was financed by colonial corporations, foreign governments and foreign corporations, so why should the Supreme Court decision surprise us, United States is not a Democracy, we are a Corporation with a new CEO every four years.

    To: Ted Morgan

    So, ...

    You are saying it couldn't get any worse if your district sent someone to Congress who actually represented China, or North Korea? (. . . perhaps, through the auspices of an innocent looking domestic subsidiary of a foreign parent corporation)

    Put simply, I think that the Supreme Court ruling was correct.

    I do not know what laws would work.

    My congressional representative is a snake—a sorry little creep. He is an agent of the health insurance providers. One of his predecessors was an agent of large banks.

    Neither of my senators is a free agent.

    To: John

    I would add to your list the following:

    Six months before any election, every candidate for office must produce:

    Her income tax records covering at least the last five years.

    His "rap sheet" of arrests and criminal investigations, including his driving records for the past twenty years.

    History of lawsuits during the past twenty years, including files of divorce proceedings, child custody proceedings, personal injury, malpractice, etc.

    Full disclosure of romantic liaisons within the past twenty years.

    Full disclosure of any ethical incidents that have been disclosed to his malpractice insurance carrier in the last ten years.

    Full disclosure of all conflicts of interest, including investments, contracts, consulting agreements involving water rights, mineral rights, right of way, human trafficing, etc.

    A resume particularly describing education, qualifications for the position sought, experience, and goals to be achieved.

    Prepare a performance plan to be used in evaluating his success during his term of office and judging his retention for a second term.

    I'm sure we could think of a lot more that would prevent the likes of John Edwards from ever getting close to public office.

    If we eliminated all the dishonest, compromised, incompetent candidates, in favor of dedicated, honest public servants, then corporate influence would not be such a problem.

    To whom it may concern...
    We could pave the roads with gold with the money being wasted on elections.
    We own the air waves; all that is needed is free air time provided by television and radio and free voter's guides for elections. The money saved would pay for all of the road repair for the next one hundred years.
    Scientists have proved that advertisement is effective and because it is affective, billions of dollars are spent on advertisements that are another waste of money.
    No wonder our prices are so high that people are losing their homes.
    Built in corruption is a fatal error for any organization.

    Each Judge that voyed for this decision shold recieve a large container of Tar and a large bag of Feathers!!!!!!!!!!

    Is this the United States of America???

    Freedom Truth Justice and the American way.

    "Twenty-six states already allow corporate donations in this context. Do you think places like Utah, Missouri and Virginia are more corrupt than states that don't allow corporations to voice opinions on political matters?"

    Either he doesn't know Missouri or he's lying through his teeth. Missouri is very corrupt. Example: Ex-Gov. Blunt bundled up and sold all the licensing offices. Big, big mistake from a people's point of view.

    Take the money out of the political process, "We The People" can have the will of the people represented.

    Fund all Federal, State,and County elections from the Peoples money.

    What can we do about corruption?
    Campaign Reform: to restore integrity, representation and reduce corruption

    Level the field - take the money out of politics at least the election process, no more lobbyists , no more special interest ?

    Anyone legally eligible to run for office will be able to, and will compete equally.

    All public television and radio stations will provide free air time of xxxx hours to each and every candidate equally. No one can buy give or receive additional air time.

    The “People” Government “tax payers” will provide xxxxx dollars in campaign funds for each candidate to cover campaign costs other than broadcast television or broadcast radio expenses each will receive the exact same amount. No one will be allowed to spend additional funds.

    Candidates will be required to establish viability and legal requirements of xxxxx to be considered for air time and campaign funds. Petition signatures voter nominations?

    The People / Federal government will provide xxxxx for Federal /National elections each Federal/National candidate xxxx hours of television and xxxx radio hours of air time for each election.

    The People / Federal Government will provide xxxxx dollars in campiagn funds for each candidate to cover campaign costs other than broadcast television or broadcast radio expenses.

    All public and private entities that broadcast use or produce FCC communication will provide free to approved candidates xxxxx amount of air time Federal candidate xxxx, State = xxxx, County =xxxxx, City =xxxxx. Hours of television and hours of radio air
    time at no cost to candidate.

    Federal government will provide for Federal/National elections / candidates?
    State government will provide for State elections / candidates?
    County government will provide for County elections / candidates?
    City government will provide for City elections / candidates?


    Thank you for your time.

    John

    To Carol Clever: Unfortunately, tax laws allow corporations to deduct political contributions and "money speech" as a normal and usual expense of doing business. I encourage you to read my earlier post about possible remedies.

    Roy Conant
    roy_conant@qwest.net
    www.lothlorienwoods.com (treehouse)
    www.americanpoems.com/members/roy-conant

    To: Alan

    Right! WTF, Bill?

    Is Bill working on a strategy to unite Libertarians and Liberals in some sort of common ground?

    If so, Nickie boy in his cute leather jacket seems to be resistant to any such temptation.

    Surely Bill knows enough about Ayn Rand's libertarian followers to understand that the core concept of democracy is an anathema to them.

    These people are Nietzschean worshipers of the Ubermensch. Their highest ambition is to serve in the private army of an oligarch, thereby distinguishing themselves from the 95% of mankind who are useless parasites (in their view).

    These people are social misfits who had an epiphany after their inchoate desires were articulated in the overwrought novels, Atlas Shrugged, and Fountainhead, These novels introduced the acolytes to Rand's secular religion involving faith in and worship of "self made" captains of industry.

    We're talking about acolytes like Greenspan, who internalized Rand's crap and went on a crusade to reform the world in the image of Ayn Rand's fevered imagination.

    Even William F. Buckley had enough sense to understand that Ayn Rand was an atheistic materialist who was outside any legitimate intellectual tradition.

    Bill! Bill! Bill!

    Don't ever do this again. Don't ever let your show be commandeered by someone who might as well be from the Church of Scientology, so far as concerns their ability/desire to enter into meaningful dialogue.

    The only campaign finance reform that makes sense is to place limits on politicians. The Supreme Court's decision in the Citizens United demonstrates how difficult it is to regulate persons, real and corporate. I propose: " No person holding or seeking to hold a position of public trust shall accept any contribution from any source other than a registered voter eligible to vote for the candidate."

    To: Bill Mar

    I question the value of the consumer boycott. There has been a continuing boycott of GE for what seems ages, to what seems no effect.

    Rather, I would use the power we have (consumption) to elect to purchase from folks I trust to make appropriate humanitarian, economic, political, and environmental decisions enhancing rather than destroying. When we boycott, we are essentially reinforcing strictly economic decision making -- a boycott is economic as is a company's decision to carry/sell a product or a service.

    Soon enough, major corporations will get the message and in the meantime we'll have created market diversity and meaningful alternatives. For example, Organic/Free-Range/Pesticide & Herbicide Free foods and Fair Trade products from third world countries.

    In the 60's when we began organizing buying clubs, those morphed into co-ops, which morphed into private companies dedicated to providing more "gentle-on-the-earth" products (e.g. Whole Foods), which morphed into major grocery chains (WalMart, Safeway, Kroger) adopting and offering major Organic/Free-Range products.

    Rather than encourage a company to make short term economic decisions (the real effect of boycotts), it is better to create effective competitive alternatives. I am still a member of and shop two co-ops, shop at a locally owned health-food chain (New Seasons in Portland, OR)and shop at independent co-ops whenever I can in my travels

    Because continuing pressure in an alternative/parallel market is the only way to effectively alter corporate behaviour. That is as true with political behaviour as it is with economic behaviour.

    Thank you for reading my post. I appreciate your interest and welcome the dialogue!

    Roy Conant
    www.americanpoems.com/members/roy-conant
    www.lothlorienwoods.com (my treehouse)

    On tonight's show, Gillespie was saying that there was no proof that corporate money would influence voters. If that is true, why do corporations waste money on advertising? Obviously advertising influences people and is generating results - selling products and services, bringing in customers. Why wouldn't we expect that advertising around campaigns wouldn't also work? And how do we challenge that advertising (a) if a few voters don't have the deep pockets of corporations and (b) if there isn't enough time i.e. if it is done within a few days of an election.

    Mr. Lessig's style is somewhat demagogic.

    Mr. Gillespie concluded this conversation with a perfect word "utopia". Free speech IS utopia, cliche. Tongue is free, speech is not.
    As the saying goes: "The one who is paying orders the music."

    Supreme Court on Corporate Speech


    The decision to allow corporate money pay for political lobbying raises some glaring questions.
    In public corporations the owners of the companies are the stockholders. It seems the earnings minus expenses of the companies should belong to the stockholders..

    Do the corporations deduct lobbying expenses from their incomes taxes? If so, both the stockholders and the American taxpayers are forced to bear the costs of lobbying. Also stock holders may be paying for lobbyiists who are at odds with their interests.

    Instead of corporations paying for lobbyists, the overpaid executives who select and hire the lobbyists should be payiing the costs out of In times of imense government deficit the American taxpayers should not be bearing the costs of tax losses if lobbying ia a deductable expense.

    Mr. Gillespie’s faith in the American electorate to see through lies and distortions is ridiculous. How else can you explain the success of Fox News and Sarah Palin? People are very gullible and willing to believe just about anything. If we have to depend on the judgment of the American people to protect our democracy, we’re in trouble.

    To: Roy Conant

    Your suggestions are good.

    An additional idea along the same line:

    Use the power of consumer boycott. It works reasonably well in Europe. Genuine commercial corporations would come to heel pretty quickly if consumers boycotted any company that stuck its nose into politics.

    Still, there would be corporations (domestic subsidiaries of foreign parent corporations, exporters, wholesalers, rentier, REITs, etc.) who would have nothing to fear from a consumer boycott.

    If corporations are persons, then stockholders are slaveholders - no matter how fractionated their holdings. Corporations must be freed from their slaveholders and all such stock as is bought and sold to facilitate further enslavement permanently banished from existence. Corporatons must be set free with the empty promise of 40 acres and a mule....

    I quote the 13th Amendment: "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude ... shall exist in the United States or any place subject to its jurisdiction."

    An underground railroad to freedom is once again required -- Let's railroad them, shall we?

    Nick Gillespie got the health care debate 100% wrong. Reform was not unpopular from the start. It was corporate money that corrupted the politicians and the bill. It was money over people. The opposite of what he claimed.

    1 What’s your perspective on the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case?

    A corporation is born with the granting of a charter delegating to it a subset of the sovereign powers of a state government.

    Such a corporation may be a mere subsidiary of a foreign corporation.

    The parent foreign corporation was delegated powers by its own government. These powers could be far more closely tied to the home government than is common in the United States.

    The shares of a domestic corporation can be entirely owned by a foreign government, even if it is not formally a subsidiary.

    Even if the shares of a domestic corporation are spread among citizens of the U.S., those shareholders today have little power to control management decisions pertaining to salaries, bonuses, stock options, investments in polluting activity, or any other aspect of corporate operations.

    It has been a long time since the main goal of corporate management was to "maximize shareholder value." This is because stock options dilute share holder value, resulting in massive compensation to managers that is paid for by the shareholders out of diluted stock.

    The opinion of the Supreme Court was not based on an actual "case or controversy" because the Supreme Court expanded the issues in the case beyond what was considered at the trial court and in the appeal briefs. Therefore, there was no opportunity to produce evidence of the abuses that might have lead 24 states to outlaw direct corporate participation in elections.

    2. Do you believe that a system of campaign finance laws is capable of limiting the influence of money, or do you agree with Gillespie that lobbying and corruption are inevitable with a large federal budget?

    Gillespie's argument is typical Ayn Randian worship of the power elite. Most libertarians would like nothing better than to be the "knights" in the service of a materialistic, worldly demigod/hero. Corruption has nothing to do with the size of the federal budget, per se. Corruption has everything to do with the process of manufacturing consent. Politicians only get in front of parades that already are in progress.

    3. Do you agree with Lessig that Congress has lost the people’s respect? What reforms would increase your faith in Washington?

    No, people admire their own congressman. What they don't like is the institutionalized inertia and unresponsiveness. America must be lighter on its feet if it is to compete in the modern world. As it stands, we have a system that was designed to preserve the powers of a slaveowning aristocracy 200 years ago. It is no longer capable of meeting the challenges of globalism.

    However, there is a cure for this particular problem. The cure is the FDR precedent. The Constitution as it stands gives Congress and the President the power to increase the size of the Supreme Court. FDR only needed to threaten an obstructionist Supreme Court with the appointment of additional judges. The Supreme Court stopped its obstructionism kowing that FDR was fully capable of following through on his threat.

    To Bill Mar:

    Interesting. If the corporate managers are a subset of the natural born citizens, they overlap. Good point because this ruling also allows for foreign influence on campaign financing, as well. I'm appalled. I hope there is lots of media coverage on this. The average citizen takes prodding to understand what has happened.

    What is it with this
    MTV refugee and the diffident, no it's more
    than diffident, that other
    guy was self-effacing, what is it?
    We know that the aggregate impact of the Rupert effect is disastrous for democracy,
    if we want to hear some MTV
    right wing dissimulator, we can tune to
    FOX, and the other guy , a joke, he was falling
    all over himself to concede that well if you
    want to limit government,
    if you want to destroy it then you should be
    for campaign finance reform,
    Bill! Bill! Bill!
    get a hold of yourself, get a hold of your show,
    we don't need you to be listing to the right on your last PBS voyage.

    Missing in the dialogue, prescriptions, and proscriptions is the fundamental truth that the center never willing reforms itself. All meaningful reform begins on the margins and, if sufficiently widely adopted, moves to the center. Once a significant minority of citizens adopts a practice, the center must either reform or collapse. Almost inevitably, to save what perquisites may be saved, the center adapts.

    Tip O'Neill's political biography is defined by his famous declaration that all politics is local. That is no less true in this case. The management of and solution to the political influence of money rests with each of us - in our homes, our work, our localities, and our states. These are the margins at which effective reaction and reform must begin.

    Given that, then, the question we must answer is "What can we do on the margins to effectively balance the volume of political speech?

    I submit there are many ways to mitigate against the influence of "money speech," that we have many tools at our disposal which may be effectively used. Further, we must ensure the use of these tools is non-partisan - The outrage about the influence of moneyed interest is felt across the political spectrum, but the power of money is not held just by those who possess it:

    Herewith is a short laundry list of possibilities:

    1.) Income: State and local governments define different kinds of income for tax purposes (e.g. tax-exempt,personal, and corporate) which are often taxed differently. Taxing political income (for media and other advertising institutions) would in no way deny corporations the right to their "money speech." Rather, doing so would simply require they would have to spend considerably more -- none have bottomless well of stockholder money available.

    2.) Income: Remove the tax-exempt status of any organization engaged in issue or candidate monetary, in-kind, or other support. Tax organizations so engaged on their gross-receipts.

    3.) Income: Repeal the ability of corporations, sole proprietors etc. to "expense" political expenditures of any kind, whether in advertising, candidate contributions, in-kind contributions, lobbying, or contributions to political organizations. For major "C" corporations effectively taxed at 50% doing so means they would effectively have to spend twice as much for the same effect.

    4.) Elections: Article I, Section 4 gives the states the right to determine the time, manner and place for holding elections. Require:

    4.a.) Party affiliation not listed on the ballot - the effect would be to make it a lot more difficult for outside interestes to "buy" an election.
    4.b.) Candidates to agree to spending limits or not appearing on the ballot or in the publicly-funded voters' pamphlets. (Note: This would not restrict their right to speak and campaign for write-in votes)
    4.c.) Multiple run-offs with the top two vote-getters (without regard to party) advancing to the general election. The State of Washington recently passed an initiative mandating the top two vote-getters advancing to the general election which has survived SCOTUS review.

    5.)Citizen Initiatives/Legislative Referendae: When total political spending is more than 1.5:1 in favor of the winning side the affected initiative or referendum automatically qualifies for a new vote in the next state-wide election.

    This list is not exhaustive, but is simply meant to illustrate the panorama of tools available to us. If enough tools are used on the margins, employing the legitimate and recognized authority of local and state government, to effectively counter non-citizen "money speech," the center must follow.

    Article I, Section 4 allows the Congress to make or alter state regulations pertaining to elections of Senators and Representatives - which Congress will do if each of us insists our local politicians heed our instructions to effectively employ existing tools.

    It can be a slow and messy process, but there are many examples during my lifetime of changes which have moved from the margins to the center: Civil Rights, Voting Rights, Clean Air & Water, Recycling...

    All of these suggestions are available to Congress (except for my comments about initiatives and referendae). Ideally, they could move to implement them quickly; but it is more likely they will do as they have always done and follow the lead from the margins.

    Roy Conant
    www.lothlorienwoods.com
    roy_conant@qwest.net
    www.americanpoems.com/members/roy-conant

    I am no legal scholar and this is a difficult issue of Constitutional law, but I feel that this decision went far beyond the scope of the case that was before it and is a bad one. First, I have a lot of trouble with this idea of Money equaling Free Speech. I don't see them as synonymous. Free Speech is available to anyone. Doesn't matter if you are wealthy or unemployed, you still have the equal right and ability to give your opinion and make sure you're elected officials are made aware of those views. This is true even if it's just scribbling on a napkin and stuffing it in an envelope to your representative. Money, while it can be used like Free Speech, is only available in significant amounts from a very small percentage of Americans. So while Free Speech is available to all Americans, Money is the purview of the few. Money is inherently unequal.

    Bottom line, if we muzzled every corporation and non-profit in the nation tomorrow we would not have silenced a single individual's free speech. Think about that.

    PS Fonze vs. Ralphie with classes....heeeeyyyyyyyy!!

    A very good debate. Between the filabuster and constant campaigning, congress is not doing the peoples business. It's not congress's fault it's all our fault. Public elections would save us billions in pork giveaways. .....

    To: David

    I love Venn diagrams!

    Let's see ...

    The intersection of the set of all natural citizens of the United States with the set of all corporate managers who design advertising campaigns designed to influence American elections ...

    Could the intersection actually be empty, or nearly so?

    What if the center of world finance moves to Shanghai?

    To: American Programmer

    C'est dommage. Wait . . . Ya Basta!

    In any language, spontaneous human reactions should take precedence over calculated messages disseminated by a noise machine that turns true political discourse into so much white noise to be filtered out like a set of noise canceling headphones.

    I guess bribery now falls into the venn diagram of "free speech"

    Gillespie also says that more speech is better speech while ignoring the fact that this increased speech is increasingly being concentrated in the hands of the powerful and the privileged. I don't equate blanketing the airwaves by a relatively few people with more speech (overall).

    I continue to hear people like Nick Gillespie assert that this court decision won't result in further corruption of the political process. Gillespie says he has faith that the voters will see through any dissembling. He has more faith than I do. I believe that if corporations decide to spend their millions to sway a campaign they have a good chance of doing so. Look at what big money has done to the initiative process in California.

    People like Gillespie also say they doubt that corporations are unlikely to actually spend the millions or billions that many of us fear they will spend. Only time will tell, of course, but I find it difficult to see why corporate communications would not be affected. If a company views a given candidate as being favorable to their interests or another as being very unfavorable why wouldn't they spend money in the campaign? It's a simple cost-benefit business decision. Companies have demonstrated that they are willing to spend millions to change public opinion (think Chevron's "People Do" campaign). Why wouldn't this extend to political campaigns?

    To Bill Mar:
    It is sad but true, the Republicans look so much alike, that it is hard to tell them apart. They all are so polarized that they are not individuals anymore.

    Rod Serling could have made a hit TV episode with a theme centered on corporate influence of our society today.

    Look at our society, our nation's economy cannot survive unless we BUY SOMETHING. TV is flooded to the gills with commercials. I literally cannot watch a show on TV anymore; there are too many commercial interruptions.

    Corporations have polluted our government to the point that, we are not considered anymore when it comes to job loss overseas versus corporate profits, loss of retirement benefits, Wall Street stealing our 401Ks due to their intentionally gambling with our risk, loss of health benefits, little or no vacations, health insurance scams, credit scams, etc

    To: Jerry H.

    You don't think the contributors would have a wire transfer record to prove their contribution to the party or candidate of their choice under your anonymous scheme?

    No, my friend. There is precedent for the real solution. Use the FDR approach.

    Obama should simply threaten to use Constitutional powers of the Executive and Congress to increase the number of seats on the Supreme Court.

    The FDR approach did not require a constitutional amendment. It worked as jawboning. Because the S.Ct. knew he could do it.

    Obama needs to grow some nuts if he wants to be another FDR. FDR was not a wimp.

    GREAT show! If this nation survives another century, it is because of people like you Bill, who are protecting our democracy.

    Nick Gillespie is like every other libertarian I have ever met. As he sat there in an egoistic fog, he completely ignored anything that was being said around him, often interrupting and espousing fiction as fact, untruth as truth. The sad thing is that he was never taken to task for his lies.
    I sincerely hope this is not going to be the future protocol of the Journal. Where blowhard conservatives are allowed to shout down intelligent discussion while the host sits passively and quietly by, out of "respect" to the guest.
    Please Mr. Moyers, don't turn your program into another McLaughlin Group. I stopped watching that claptrap years ago. And tonight was the first time I've ever turned your program off in disgust.
    If you are going to invite dishonest Republicans and otiose "libertarians" onto the show, please set aside at least 30 minutes to bring to light their deceptions, hypocrisy, and unctuousness. I'm not sure that will be enough time, but at least try.

    I have a solution to propose that I think won't require a constitutional amendment because it doesn't infringe on anyone's right to speak by spending money. What it does is force them to spend anonymously:

    The government can set up a fund for political contributions and campaign funding. All political spending must come out of that fund. All political contributions must go into it.

    At the time of the contribution, the contributor gives the money to the fund and specifies separately which campaign it is intended for. The contribution goes into that campaign's pool of money and all information regarding who contributed it, how and when is immediately destroyed and lost. (Suitably drastic penalties should apply to anyone attempting to circumvent these restrictions.)

    This does not silence the spending of money as a form of political speech. Anyone can spend as much as they want for who or what they want to support. What they cannot do is use that spending to buy influence. While anyone can claim to have donated a large sum to a campaign, no one will be able to prove it and politicians will not have to consider themselves beholden to wealthy interests.

    It's not a perfect solution and a constitutional amendment declaring that citizens are human beings and corporations aren't would be better, but this idea doesn't require large super-majorities of Congress and the states to set in motion.

    Who is naive here? Gillespie repeats the idea that the cure for objectionable speech is more speech. But not all speech is created equal, not all speech is equally loud.
    Think the swift boat veterans for "truth", and the terrible damage that did to Kerry, multiplied ten fold, a hundred fold, a thousand fold.
    All corporations have to do is threaten to flood a congressional district with false and misleading ads, in the last thirty days of a campaign, leaving a candidate no time or money to counteract the ads, and that will be enough to buy his or her obedience.

    To: Diana

    As explained below, it is practically impossible to get teh 2/3 vote (67 senators) in the Senate required to front a constitutional amendment. There is a better way.

    Under the Constitution as it stands, the Congress can increase the number of judges on the Supreme Court and the President can nominate additional judges to fill those new seats.

    FDR threatened to do it. But the mere threat was enough to bring an obstructionist court back to its Constitutional role.

    This court issued its decision the day after Scott Brown won the 41st seat in MA. Clearly, the court was reassured that an activist agenda can now be pursued without fear that the FDR approach can be used.

    However, the 60 vote rule that has paralyzed the Senate is not in the Constitution either. So, if Obama has the guts, we can fix this problem really quickly, like FDR did.

    It is obvious that this court is signaling that womens' rights will be the next to go. You know Roe v. Wade is history, if this court continues another term.

    Why doesn't your guest know that money buys megaphones to broadcast speech? It is not speech.

    The gentleman was afraid his taxes would be spent on a candidate he doesn't support, but when he buys something from a corporation, a portion of that money will be spent on politicians he doesn't support just as much as with public funding of campaigns.

    Sorry, Bill, I had to turn this one off. Nick Gillespie was more than I could stand. He was rude; he did not allow Lawrence Lessig to finish his comments; in fact his aggressiveness matches that of the Supreme Court decision.
    I was getting so ANGRY. and that seems to be happening more frequently recently. To hear this kind of upside-down thinking, in the year 2010, on one of the most respected shows in the country, is more than I can stand. I think we have already entered the Second American Civil War. It started in 2009 but its roots go back considerably before thank. Our democracy is under attack.

    Imagine what happened to Toyota happening instead to an American company. Given enough time to stall, the company could influence elections and put in Toyota "mouthpieces" in to deflect votes on settlements and car safety. The people who will be elected from this waivering in the Supreme Court will give us elected officials who are empty "vessels" that are brainwashed to a corporate policy as their only motivation for office.

    One thing I can agree with Libertarian that no law can stop the money system. People will come with way to turn democracy into a Republic.

    The libertarian was such duche, I want my 36 minutes back. What a waste of brain cells.

    Mr. Lessig stop with spray tan. what are you trying to do. Agreeing with your opponent does not give a good impression of you, it just highlights your weakness. Alpha males never kowtow.
    Sadly you are not alpha male, so only nerds will follow you. What a shame.

    Civilization is a pyramid scheme in which the rich rule and run things. New Deal was happy accident of history which is not gong to be repeated. So people stop crying over spilled milk.

    Do you know why winner are called winners because in the law affect them they get it changed, unlike liberals who cry like babies instead of creating a new system.

    Is Nick Gillespie a sadist with a personality disorder?

    He mistakes for "reason" an obsessional extension of logic, ad absurdum. Logic does not equal reason. People (individuals and societies) do not operate according to reducible rules of symbolic logic.

    Nick the domineering Dick has confused his obsessive-compulsive train of thought with messy reality. Reality is not logical, although it may be rationally explained. His attempts to achieve political control of reality (in the name of limiting control!), beyond attempting to explain it, by subduing it with his intellect, are foolishness.

    His attempts to impose his control on the rest of us, while calling it the promotion of freedom, are dangerous. He may believe he is acting on principle, but that too is inventing logic to justify ("rationalize") irrational desire. I don't want to be subjected to the fruits of his desire. I want to retain Constitutional control of our polity, not sacrifice it on this starry-eyed alter of adolescent idealism.

    I object to Bill's judgment in extending this forum to him.

    Dear Bill,
    My deepest thanks for your many years of enlightened discussions. You have improved my life many times! I can't believe you are not going to be on PBS anymore!!!
    Please redo this show with another pair of debaters. Neither man got to the heart of the matter.

    To: American Programmer

    Your comment reminded me of a stage play I saw in college. It was called the La Folle de Chaillot, a poetic satire, by French dramatist Jean Giraudoux.

    The play has a scene where an army of robot like corporate "salary men" march down the stairs of the mad woman's house and are locked in the basement.

    I was speechless when I heard the Supreme Court decision, we can't accept it! We need to support an amendment to overturn it! What the hell is going on? I feel like I'm in a country unknown to me! I plan on being in DC on March 20th, it's past time we inform congress that we are sick of all the corruption and bribary. We must have regulatory reform of the financial system now. I am disgusted with a foreign policy that preys on the instability of third world countries' to steal their natural resources and pollute their enviroment in the process. We need to stop the military industrial complex and the corporations that manufacture the war toys from waging war because it's good for business and stop paying private mercinary contractors hundreds of millions. (I think Channey is raking in billions from this endeavor.) The imperialistic attitude of our government is destroying all that "we the people" stand for. What other country has military bases scattered around the world like we do? I can't name one. Are we any safer, does our economy benefit from the cost of supporting these bases? I think not. Can we afford to spend a million $ a year for each soldier in Iraq and Afganistan fighting to accomplish 'the mission'......WHAT IS THE F***ING MISSION! I'm sick of war, I'm tired of pretending we live in a democracy and I'm disappointed with the apathy I see in my fellow citizens. It's time our voices are heard, it's time we get rid of elected represenatives who have forgotten who they represent. It's time to promote PEACE, to bring our soldiers home and rebuild our country before it's too late. The Romans never thought their empire would fall.....but it did! Why can't we learn from history? We're supposedly promoting democracy around the world right? It's time we insist on democracy here at home! See you in DC March 20,2010!!!!

    I used to work for a private corporation that paid me, but it also made a profit on the services that I provided. I was disturbed later to discover that the corporation was an avid financial supporter of a political party with which I completely disagreed. Their contributions were certainly more than I could afford personally. Effectively, I was forced to support a party I did not want to. How is it that this supreme court decision can be considered free speech in this circumstance? It must be amended.

    Gillespie....
    Wow, the man is a propagandist, not an "intellectual". How in the world did he get on the show?
    If he wants to live the "libertarian experiment", move to Russia. YES Russia. The model sold to them by the world bank and the leaders at the time is a semi-libertarian experiment. They have very low taxes, and other than political speech (which Putin has squelched), most everything goes, along with little regulation.
    What do you get? A collapsing infrastructure, a corrupt Judicial system, and no middle class.

    The rubber will meet the road on this issue, when our friends in the corporate sector pass along, say fifty cents per gallon on your upcoming gasoline purchases, or one dollar per pill on your upcoming prescriptions to underwrite their political fundraising activities. The money will not likely be coming out of their pockets. Something to which we can all look forward.

    Our society today could have been dreamed up in the mind of Twilight Zone's creator, Rod Serling, where corporate America controls all we see, hear, and do in life. It is really come to that and is frightening.

    Look at the Republicans, they all look like they came stamped out of the same corporate cookie cutter. They all look alike, have same haircuuts, wear same suits, speak with one tongue; no to the American worker rights, and yes to cutting taxes and deregulation on the rich corporations. They make me sick.

    To Nancy:

    Your post is most heartfelt and sincere. I admire your passion for freedom and democracy.

    However, you must realize that it is impossible to get the 3/4 vote required in the Senate to put up a Constitutional Amendment.

    There is a better way. It is the way that FDR did it.

    FDR was faced with a reactionary, obstructionist, ideological, right-wing activist court. You remember what FDR did. He threatened to increase the number of justices to eleven or 13.

    The Constitution does not specify the number of judges on the Supreme Court. Congress can set the number of judges by passing legislation setting the number.

    FDR did not have to follow through on his promise, because the threat was credible enough to get the attention of the Supreme Court of his day. They knew he could do it.

    Today's Supreme Court will respect nothing less. Why do you think they came out with this decision the very next day after Scott Brown won the Massachusetts Senate seat?

    Clearly, the MA result reassured the Court that Obama's political power was gone. If Obama has no power, then the Court need not fear a reprise of the FDR tactic.

    Lessig has the better argument-- lobby and special interest spending influences our congresspeople, and (most believe) vastly disproportionately to the actual head count of lobbyists and corporate funders.

    If this were not true, industry and the lobbies would not spend as they do to obtain access to Americans through election-year airtime purchases and lavish media budgets.

    Deny as Gillespie might, unbridled election spending produces the entirely expected result-- to deny American voters the due benefit of one-man, one-vote.

    By his unusual attack on lobby spending for promoting a damaging loss of public trust in a public institution, Lessig has a good chance of prevailing.

    But failing that, we see an abyss full of antidemocratic chimeras emerge-- including complete capture of congress by special interest money.

    Some believe that already has happened-- how else to account for the neutering of health care reform?

    The best discussion (in print) of Citizens United issues is found here--

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lawrence-lessig/how-should-we-get-big-mon_b_154864.html

    What I hear Nick say is that the the people who combine their money and influence through national and international corporations should not be held accountable for the influence they can buy in government but that it is the people who make up the branches of government that are to be held soley responsible for being influenced by corporate money and power. That this age old process can be undone by the avenging average citizen who is, especially in hard times like these, dependent on the government and corporations to supply most of the positions and wealth that allow them to meet the daily needs for themselves and their families.

    Lawerance sees the wealthy, in the legal guise of a corporate person, as the source of the american peoples' civic depression. the solution coming when government chooses to reform itself by cutting off its' largest source of funding in favor of saving the political souls of its' average citizens.

    I know I have over simplified their positions but personally, I don't have faith in either mans' intellectual fairy tale ending.

    I am sorry Bill, but nothing bothers me more than a stupid person pretending to be an intellectual.

    Nick Gillespie misses the mark every time during the discussion. The fact is CEOs and shareholders already have free speech and votes just like everybody else. By allowing their associated corporation’s treasury to amplify, and push their political views is an atrocity and abomination to our democracy.

    Corporations have WAY TOO MUCH MONEY to be allowed to bully their voice over the average American. Our political parties are polarized today due to corporation and special interest money. How can Gillespie deny that, is he blind?

    The point is negative ads DO have an influence on an election and the number of times negative advertizing runs does have a negative effect on a free election.

    Either Nick Gillespie is on the same payroll as Rush Limbaugh or he really does not have a clue. If advertising would not have an effect on swaying voters, then why do businesses spend millions of dollars on TV commercials? Commercials are so plentiful now; I cannot watch TV anymore due to the constant interruptions.

    Our society today could have been dreamed up in the mind of Twilight Zone's creator, Rod Serling, where corporate America controls all we see, hear, and do in life. It is really come to that and is frightening.

    To: michael krajovic

    I mostly agree with you. But, I would correct you on one point.

    We are taught in the MBA program that the purpose of a corporation is to "Max V", which is to say "maximize shareholder value."

    I have had extensive experience with top level management in the corporate world over the last two decades - as a consultant. It became clear to me shortly after my MBA that the "Max V" notion was merely a theory used to simplify economic equations.

    In reality, the purpose of corporations is to maximize the perks, bonuses, salaries, power, and privileges of a manager elite.

    The Corporate Board of Directors is often composed of stooges who have no real idea what is going on in the company.

    The shareholders are prevented from raising issues from the floor at shareholder meetings.

    And, most convincing, the managers are able to accumulate gigantic wealth at the expense of the shareholders by diluting common stock through the issuance of "stock options" to management.

    You may recall that many such stock option grants are backdated to simulate success during the term of the option, even if there was no real increase in shareholder value.

    Some will argue that the use of stock options gives management the incentive to increase overall shareholder value. In fact, it is easy for insiders to manipulate the price of stock so that the price is temporarily high during the "window" during which options may be exercised.

    There is no way the average shareholder benefits from this shell game. Hence, the conclusion that corporations exist to serve management, not shareholders.

    Obviously, the largest shareholder has great influence over the selection of management and may well be the CEO, if not the foreign parent of the domestic subsidiary. As such, the CEO is tied into a network of financial royalty based in the world's financial capital, where ever that may be. The world financial capital may soon be Shanghai.

    Your point that "Max V" is not necessarily related to the interest of a free people, is well taken. An even more compelling case can be made that the care and feeding of an elite group of corporate managers is not in the interests of a free people.

    I must confess that I found my mind wandering constantly during this "exchange" with Gillespie and Lessig.

    I found myself not caring what they thought. I didn't care about them as humans or whether they had feelings themselves. They meant nothing to me.

    I found myself wishing I had a huge amount of money with which I could put candidates in office who think and care as I do, who would stop at nothing and be very clever at crafting legislation to help me in my quest to become richer and more powerful.

    Then I realized that I had very succcessfully been practicing CorporateThink.

    Orwell would be proud of me.
    I think Gillespie succeeded in helping me achieve CorpThink: his abstract intellectualism cavalierly ignores how "free" speech that is purchased by the highest bidder is not free---it is democracy prostituted.

    Lessig was too much the gentleman and maybe a little too much the respectable scholar to not tell Gillespie where to shove his opinions. But it would have been a more honest exchange if he had.

    I never got a headache from watching your program til tonight.

    I can't stand this any longer. Mr. Lessig could have shot down any argument by Mr. Gillespie by saying 4 simple words: CORPORATIONS ARE NOT PERSONS

    The simple amendment to our constitution to undo the damage this so-called "non-political" supreme court did is to add 1 word to the 14th amendment...NATURAL persons, not just persons.

    Mr. Gillespie goes by the premise that the people won't allow things to get out of hand. PLEASE!! Sadly, most Americans today know more about Edwards love child then about how our government operates. Why? BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT CORPORATE MEDIA FEEDS US!!

    Congress has become so corrupt over the last 30 yrs. & it all comes back to the money. The senate needs to be completely overhauled. They are serving no purpose in their present state.

    And Gillespie, like so many others in the mostly corporate media, has completely misread the healthcare crisis. People are against the present bill because it's not what it started out to be. It's not healthCARE reform, it's become health INSURANCE reform, which any logical thinking person realizes is not going to happen...why? BECAUSE OF THE MONEY!!!!

    Two people you should have on the program are Thom Hartmann (to really make clear what's happening in/to our government today) & economist Ravi Baktra (to explain what really needs to be done to save our economy & prevent us from going into a deeper 2nd republiCON depression)

    Do I believe that government can be cleaned up?

    Certainly! But remember, the few who chose to take action in the American revolution of 1776 were barely a majority, and not everyone chose to join the Continental Army of Washington.

    We dont need the participation of the sadly apathetic of our country. We just need ENOUGH citezens who care enough to take political action against these discusting greedy self serving people in our government.

    1) Your panelists are wrong in claiming that corporations are associations of people; by law, they are not. “Corporate entity” includes any entity whose existence is based on privileges granted by law. It is, by law, recognized as having an identity separate from the people who own, operate, work for, do business with, or are in any other way involved with it. It has the privilege of transacting business, entering into contracts, incurring debt, etc. The law usually grants some kind of limited liability to it’s owners.
    Corporate entities include but are not limited to: limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships, limited liability companies, corporations, reits, remics, chartered financial institutions, incorporated associations, most labor unions, incorporated homeowners associations, et. al. It specifically does not include unincorporated associations, sole proprietorships and general partnerships.
    2) When the corporation’s very existence is a privilege granted by law, it is absurd to assert that it has rights under the constitution.
    3) Every person involved with a corporation, owners, operators, employees, each has an individual right to free speech, including political speech. To grant the corporate entity speech rights independent of and in addition to the speech rights of the persons involved with it is to effectively multiply the rights of the few persons who control the corporate entity. It also allows the few persons who control the resources of the corporate entity to use those resources to amplify their speech above that of you and me. This is hardly fair or equal protection of my rights.
    4) The Supreme Court has always had this wrong. The issue isn’t political or commercial speech vesus other kinds of speech. The nature or content of the speech is not the issue. The real issue is who is speaking:, Corporate entity versus person.
    5) Since the Supreme Court confirmed its delusion that corporate entities are persons - only persons can speak, if corporations can speak, they must be persons - how long will it be before a corporation asserts its right to run for and hold public office?
    Get ready for Bank of America as chair of the Senate finance committee; Con Agra as chair of the Senate agricultual committee; Blackwater International as chair opf the Senate armed services committee...

    Nick Gillespie believes in the destruction of the "big bad" government. Conservatives like him reinforce specious arguments to support this mind control by powerful interests. We can and will pass an amendment to control campaign finance.

    Power does not exist in a vacuum.

    Power will either be exercised by a government "of, by, and for the people" or it will be exercised by Warlords.

    It is very naive to argue that a hamstrung, enfeebled, and paralyzed government will result in more power to "the people."

    If the power flows away from the duly elected representatives of the people, it will flow into the hands of warlords -- economic or military.

    It was none other than Theodore Roosevelt who warned that the power of a legitimate national government must be increased in order to match and keep pace with the power of corporations. TR said this at a time when corporations had out-grown the power of any state government to control their depredations. In the time of Theodore Roosevelt, corporations had become Frankenstein monsters.

    As citizens of a free Republic, we should have higher ambitions than merely to attach ourselves to an oligarch as faithful indentured servants in the great man's retinue, much less his private army. Yet, this is what libertarians have dreamed of since their inchoate cravings were so well articulated in the novel "Atlas Shrugged," written by their guru, Ayn Rand. It is the various epiphanies of disturbed, antisocial minds engendered by this overwrought novel that inspired Greenspan and a host of other acolytes to this secular religion.

    The Supreme Court has taken the position of Ayn Rand. It has asserted that those whose wealth and financial power establishes their worth in the art of "manufacturing consent" should be in no way prevented from enfeebling, paralyzing, and ultimately destroying the legitimate role of government as envisioned by Teddy Roosevelt and as fought and bled for by legions of patriots over the last 200 years -- especially those who fought in the true American Revolution, the Civil War.

    Imagine if corporations devoted to the cotton economy had been in possession of the technology necessary to manufacture consent in 1860! Imagine if the interests of the British cotton trade had been disguised behind the facade of "local" candidates who had been bought and paid for by British corporations?

    Imagine what would have happened if foreign commercial interests during the industrial revolution had been able to suppress the voice of nascent American industry in favor of the land owning gentry of the South!

    Well, now the technology exists to do just that. Our citizens are overwhelmed by a vast sea of information on the internet. Only those with an agenda can cherry pick and selectively organize portions of this sea of data to create a seemingly irrefutable narrative good enough to survive a superficial inspection by a media conglomerate bereft of professional journalists during the last, critical 60 days prior to an election.

    Instead of citizens meeting together, rubbing shoulders, discussing the needs of their community eye to eye, our citizens are now isolated, under siege, frightened, and helpless in the face of a noise machine of unprecedented scope and ubiquitous presence.

    If it were possible to limit political campaigns to public financing, it might restore some semblance of the democracy won on the Battlefields of Gettysburg and Vicksburg.

    However, this Supreme Court is clearly under the control of radical anti-democracy ideologues. It seems determined to undermine any efforts to protect democracy. This Court is prepared to overrule any effort to defend democracy.

    FDR dealt with a situation similar to this when he threatened to pack an expanded court with new appointees.

    There is nothing in the Constitution that limits the Supreme Court to nine justices. No Constitutional Amendment is required to change the size of the Court to eleven jurists.

    FDR was able to end obstructionism by a reactionary Supreme Court without following through on his threat to increase the size of the Court. However, the current Supreme Court may well be more stubborn.

    There are at least three members pf the Supreme Court today who are so pathologically ideological, that they will stop at nothing to turn America into a Mussolini style corporate state.

    Congress must recognize the threat and act immediately. Obama must take this to the people and make clear that the stakes in this battle could not be higher.

    If America is at the mercy of corporate interests, World War III may well be close at hand. American military power is cresting right now. In another ten or twenty years, China will be the greatest military power in the world. Even now there are plans afoot to provoke a war with China in hopes that a surprise pre-emptive nuclear strike will cause chaos, starvation, disease and a mass die-off there -- and that all our debts will be canceled. This pre-emptive strike may well be extended to Iran and North Korea, as well.

    If we fail to regain control of our government, we may be pawns in an imperial game that is organized without our effective consent. This game could have far reaching unintended consequences that could result in misery worldwide, including in the homeland.

    The stakes are enormous. The Supreme Court must be forced to abandon its activist, right-wing mode and to conduct itself in the manner that the Chief Justice promised during his confirmation hearing.

    Gillespie is not only wrong, he's an idiot. How can my $25 campaign contribution ever equal what Exxon/Mobil can afford to spend?

    Corporations are not living breathing beings. They are constructs. Whose sole purpose is to make profits for their shareholders.

    The only way We The People can ever hope to gain control of the government is to insist that all federal campaigns are 100% publicly financed. Our elected officials are supposed to work for us, not for the moneyed special interests.

    Just because a guy wears a t-shirt and leather jacket, it doesn't mean that he isn't a coorperate stooge. How can Gillespie compare the largest corperations with small non-profits? He is the worst kind of liar. If Gillespie had his way, the White House would have a billboard over it that says halliburton, and our soldiers would have to wear coorperate patches, while they fight wars for profit. Finance reform does not limit free speach, since any person can make public statements without hiding behind a cooperate spokes persons. Gillespie is on the fringe. The best chance he has to effect his kind of change is to burn down the country, so he and his can start over again.

    CATO man's assertion that "congress" is responding to public opinion on health care is totally untrue. Poll after poll show that the majority of people, as well as their doctors, support SINGLE PAYER. You sure picked a couple of losers to debate the "supreme" court finding. Both accept the premise that corporations rightly have free speech rights.

    Dear Bill,

    I think everyone including the Supreme Court forgot to consider intention rather than just the rights of who was speaking in this discussion. Putting the debate between individual and corporate rights aside for the moment, intentions are more important that rights, because what good are rights if they empower and enable harmful intentions?
    By definition, a corporation's purpose is to increase shareholder wealth. How can anyone rationally associate spending money in a political campaign for the specific purpose of increasing shareholder wealth as a positive influence on a goverment process that was intentionally established by our country's founders for citizens to come together to make decisions about our mutual common interests? This is a direct and obvious contradiction to the intention of our democracy that clearly demonstrates the lack of principles present in our society and even more shocking, in our Supreme Court. Only in a primative society would something so obvious as the influence of money in politics be overlooked and ignored as not being real. The only logical conclusion would be that the majority of the Court believes that maximizing shareholder wealth is in the best mutual interest of the nation. But this is a very controversial personal opinion and its bias should not be forceably inflicted on the
    American people as was the effect of this decision.

    As a people including our highest Courts, we have clearly lost our perspective and our ability to recognize what is so, and what works and what does not work. Anyone who believes that money to pay for lobbyists and political ads does not have an impact on elections, must then answer the question why those sophisticated corporations continually increase their spending to do it. If it was ineffective, they would not be investing their shareholder's wealth to continue the practice. Ultimately the core issue facing our society is about our ability to remember and re-embrace our American democratic governmental process as a way for common people to come together to decide what is in their best mutual interest. Until we do this, our government will continue to degrade its function into simply dividing up tax payer money between special interests, then passing more laws and regulation to try to clean up the mess this creates.

    Without people remembering their sense of responsibility to our common interests and electing their representatives to pursue these more noble intentions through our government, no rights, including the right to free expresion, will save us from our own demise.
    In summary the Supreme Court ruling was correct when simply defining the issue in principle, but incorrect and blatantly ignorant of the current abuses and state of affair in our political process. While having a law to protect against slavery or a woman's right to vote seems utterly needless today, it was very much needed at that time in our country's history. While not a big fan of affirmative action, it is needed during this time in our history. Someday soon, hopefully it will also seem utterly riduculous to think such a law is still needed. And right now, regardless of how strongly we feel about the right of free speech, our congress needs not judicial ideologues of a utopian free speech society favoring corporate interests, but practical judicial action framed by the context of today's core problems to help to keep out the special interests that are destroying not only the integrity of our democratic process, but its actual ability to function to serve the common interest and to ensure justice and liberty for all.

    I'd like to see a program devoted to ideas of people who have read Justice Stevens' dissent. The discussion that I'm about to turn off (2-5) doesn't seem to address any of his concerns, such as the fat that the Congress and other legislatures have spent more than 100 years attmpting to put reasonable restrictions on the speech of corporations.

    If we're going to create (or even debate) a Constitutional amendment to address this, we must look at the arguments of the people who dissented from the opinion of the Roberts court.

    Ed Reynolds

    Thank you Bill for not letting this outrageous Supreme Court decision just be yesterday's news. I'm still reeling from all the potential ramifications of it. It's really quite shocking, and will come back to haunt us sooner than later. Forget about grass roots, or those we elect to represent our interests waging a losing battle against the real powers that be now...multinational corporations.

    If Mr. Gillespie thinks that's liberty, or what our Founders intended he's just as deluded as thinking this new playing field will make politics "more participatory". Sure, when Americans are struggling to just stay afloat we're going to go up against unlimited resources to insure our vote? This power play is only sure to breed more cynicism and apathy, and rightly so.

    Maybe in Gillespie's weird, intellectual utopia corporations should have the same rights as We the People, but I don't particularly like the notion of Exxon dictating our environmental future, or defense contractors the wars. There's more than enough of those sweetheart deals pervasive in Washington already.

    That's what Americans abhor, and never bought into, not some catch all "big government" boogeyman Gillespie's out to get. I think they call that bait and switch. What this decision really means is that our last best hope for any notion of true democracy was just spit on. God bless America. We're gonna' need it.

    Did Gillespie miss the fact that unknown inexperienced millionaires bought their election to Illinois Lt. Governor nominations in both the Republican and Democrat parties this past Tuesday? I'm not buying his logic that money doesn't influence elections. Or that it won't give us negative results. Not at all.

    Power does not exist in a vacuum. It will either be exercised by a government "of, by, and for the people" or it will be exercised by Warlords.

    It is very naive to argue that a hamstrung, enfeebled, and paralyzed government will result in more power to "the people."

    If the power flows away from the duly elected representatives of the people, it will flow into the hands of warlords -- economic or military.

    It was none other than Theodore Roosevelt who warned that the power of a legitimate national government must be increased in order to match and keep pace with the power of corporations. He said this at a time when corporations had out grown the power of any state government to limit their powers. In the time of Theodore Roosevelt, corporations had become Frankenstein monsters.

    As citizens of a free Republic, we should have higher ambitions than merely to attach ourselves to an oligarch as faithful indentured servants in the great man's retinue, or even his private army. Yet, this is what libertarians have dreamed of since their archetypical cravings were articulated in the novel "Atlas Shrugged," written by their guru, Ayn Rand.

    The Supreme Court has taken the position of Ayn Rand. It has asserted that those whose wealth and financial power establishes their worth in the art of "manufacturing consent" should be in no way prevented from enfeebling, paralyzing, and ultimately destroying the legitimate role of government as envisioned by Teddy Roosevelt and as fought and bled for by legions of patriots over the last 200 years -- especially those who fought in the true American Revolution, the Civil War.

    Imagine if corporations devoted to the cotton economy had been in possession of the technology necessary to manufacture consent in 1860! Imagine if the interests of the British cotton trade had been disguised behind the facade of "local" candidates who had been bought and paid for by British corporations?

    Imagine what would have happened if foreign commercial interests during the industrial revolution had been able to suppress the voice of nascent American industry in favor of the land owning gentry of the South!

    Well, now the technology exists to do just that. Our citizens are overwhelmed by a vast sea of information on the internet. Only those with an agenda can cherry pick and selectively organize portions of this sea of data to create a seemingly irrefutable narrative.

    Instead of citizens meeting together, rubbing shoulders, discussing the needs of their community eye to eye, our citizens are isolated, under siege, frightened, and helpless in the face of a noise machine of unprecedented scope and ubiquitous presence.

    If it is possible to limit political campaigns to public funds, it might restore some semblance of the democracy won on the Battlefields of Gettysberg and Vicksberg.

    However, this Supreme Court is clearly under the control of ideologues. FDR dealt with a situation similar to this when he threatened to pack an expanded court with new appointees.

    There is nothing in the constitution that limits the Supreme Court to nine justices. No constitutional amendment is required to change the court to eleven members.

    FDR was able to get end obstructionism by a reactionary Supreme Court without following through on his to increase the size of the Court. However, the current Supreme Court may well be more stubborn.

    There are at least three members pf the Supreme Court today who are so pathologically ideological, that they will stop at nothing to turn America into a Mussolini style corporate state.

    Congress must recognize the threat and act immediately. Obama must take this to the people and make clear the that the stakes in this battle could not be higher.

    If America is an the mercy of corporate interests, World War III may well be close at hand. American military power is cresting right now. In another ten years or twenty years, China will be the greatest military power in the world. Even now there are plans afoot to provoke a war with China in hopes that a surprise pre-emptive nuclear strike will cause chaos, starvation, disease and a mass die-off there -- and that all our debts will be canceled. This strike may well be extended to Iran and North Korea, as well.

    If we fail to regain control of our government, we may be pawns in an imperial game that is organized without our effective consent. This game could have far reaching unintended consequences that could result in misery worldwide, including the homeland.

    The stakes are enormous. The Supreme Court must be forced to abandon its activist, right-wing mode and to conduct itself in the manner that the Chief Justice promised during his confirmation hearing.

    Dear Bill,

    Your viewers who assume that America is a democracy are sadly mistaken. It is already a plutocracy. Surely someone has noticed that the government is controlled the corporate money of big corporations! We, the people, have lost, and we only have ourselves to blame for electing the wrong people.

    By the way, why isn't Dr. Margaret Flowers a congress woman? Can't the people where she lives elect her, so she has a salary and staff while she fights for single payer Health Care? I guess the big corporations decide who gets on the ticket as well. That really is a plutocracy.

    plu·toc·ra·cy (pl-tkr-s)
    n. pl. plu·toc·ra·cies
    1. Government by the wealthy.
    2. A wealthy class that controls a government.
    3. A government or state in which the wealthy rule.

    There was a time that non-mercantile corporate entities were not allowed to do business in the District, that the District was reserved STRICTLY for access by NATURAL people and voters. The robber barons ended that. There was a time when state corporate charters put PUBLIC GOOD before shareholders or profits and ENFORCED this provision. The robber barons ended that. There was a time when our founders ensured that we remembered that we fought a revolution to put the access of individuals ahead of that of corporate interests. The robber barons ended that. As a result, corporations (which often include many good-hearted people of conscience) are, as entities, psychopaths. Which does them a disservice (especially for those small companies that are the engine of our economy) and of course destroys everything our founders and the patriots of the early republic worked so hard to create. Money is not in the Constitution because the founders (writing in multiple forums) didn't think it was necessary. George Mason in particular was emphatic that FREE speech is not just available speech, but speech that DOES NOT COST US ANYTHING. To pay for speech was anathema to the founders, this is EXACTLY how the Crown functioned. It is exactly what prompted that event of which they were so afraid, the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror. They incorporated Article V SPECIFICALLY to give us a bloodless remedy to fix our Constitution when it fails us. I would say the time to convene an Article V Convention (long overdue for many of us) has come. THIS MINUTE. Add foavc.org to the list of those of us fighting this abomination of a SCOTUS that has become a monarchy and a country that has become an oligarchy.

    I agree with the Court, and thank them for their lucid opinions, majority and minority. I prefer the simplicity of full disclosure to the tangle of PACs and Chapter whatsis corporations, the creation of a campaign finance reform Industry.

    Corporations don't need to buy elections. Their lobbyists "assist" in writing legislation, because they are the "professionals" and "experts." The regulatory boards are full of ex-industry officials. If Congress set up a BS Detection Agency it would soon be filled with professional BS'ers.

    Let's create a Full Disclosure RFID tag for politicians that broadcasts the logos and names of their sponsors. We can put it in their Star Spangled lapel pins.

    I think the point everyone is missing is that our media is corporate owned & they set the price for freedom of speech.Without coverage by the corporate controlled media, nobody gets elected. Congressman Paul's bid for the presidency was a perfect example.

    Those few who run the media corporations even shamelessly censor who they sell ads to, as seen with the denial of the gay friendly United Church of Christ commercials. Even if I had the wealth to purchase airtime to express my opinion, there is a good chance it would not become public.

    Those few individuals who run the multi-billion dollar Corporations, can pay thousands of people to go door to door to get their favorite candidates names or corporate favorable amendments on the ballot. I can't because I am a just a citizen without access to corporate money.

    Those same individuals can commit millions of corporate dollars to political campaigns. They get to to tell their bought politicians how to vote and even write the legislative bills to be introduced.

    #1)I think every aspect of the political process should be strictly volunteer and candidates only allowed to speak on public TV & public radio.

    #2)Campaign donations should never be tax deductible, only be allowed by individuals old enough to vote and only using money they earned.

    #3)Ads and political propaganda may be aired/printed in the for profit media by third parties but they must follow the guidelines set in #2.

    If we follow those 3 simple rules, we the people can once again rule our Republic.

    Maybe we will never motivate the ignorant & apathetic in this nation to become "political" but we can keep the corporations from using the ignorance and apathy of the masses to their advantage.

    1. Can Democracy withstand the power of big money? Only when Democracy becomes more important than money. Would our Congress and their Lobbyists leave tomorrow to fight in Afghanistan for what they believe in?
    2. Regarding campaign finance: As soon as you take one dollar from someone you owe them a favor. Who do they think they're kidding? Campaign contributions should be totally outlawed and the campaign issues and interviews should flow through The League of Women Voters.
    3. Has Congress lost the people's respect? Yes, and just as important, they've lost touch with middle America. We use our teabags twice, don't drive fancy limosines and most of us don't have health coverage.

    Bill,

    Your guests on this issue might be excellent at *something*, but not this. This is not their issue, they do not understand it, therefore, their opinions are meaningless. (I finally fast-forwarded to Dr. Flowers because they were making my head spin with their irrelevant comments). Here's a short list of some of the people who COULD educate your viewers on this issue (from all along the political spectrum):

    Doris Haddock (or her representative)
    Kevin Phillips
    Bruce Fein
    Sen. Russ Feingold
    Rep. Donna Edwards
    Thom Hartmann
    Kathleen Hall Jamieson
    Joan Claybrooke
    John Nichols
    David Cobb

    Now, before you do another show on the issue that does nothing to help your viewers contribute to solving the problem, please invite guests who can help us understand how to do so. And, again, STOP contributing to the whining, and start contributing to the solving.

    You're from Texas, by god, you should (and I know you do) know better!

    Thank you.

    I have just watched this debate and have not taken the time to read through all of the comments, so it is possible that my concern has already been addressed. It seems to me that the fundamental issue that was never overtly stated in this discussion is the inequity between the power of the citizen's vote and the power of monetary influence to effect political change. Even the recommendation at the end of the discussion for some sort of citizen-funded campaign approach does not prevent a corrupt process, unless some formula is employed to ensure that people without money, but with a vote, are equitably represented in the outcome of the election.

    Ask yourself a simple question.

    How much money would a Supreme Court justice need to vote in favor of Citizens United?

    Now a fact.

    Justice Kennedy is the least wealthiest member of the court and is getting paid an annual salary of $203,ooo and is 74 years old.

    It just couldn't be right?

    Now that corporations (note: corpo means body in italian) have been granted personhood, we can marry the corporation of our dreams! We can file joint income taxes! Oh, but what if they're gay...hmmm...well then we'll just call the 'jolly' corporations! Many persons who identify strongly with their company will feel fulfilled at last.
    Now we will finally be able to love our corporations corpos and minds totally!!!

    I fear it is already too late. The Supreme Court was only recognizing the fact that our country is a Plutocracy. It has been so for a long time. It is painful to watch Mr. Obama betray his popular supporters by giving Wall Street what it wants (Summers & Geithner are Wall Street Lobbyists: the fox is in the hen house) and the Health Insurance Industry what they want: No National Health Insurance even though it will cost less than the for profit system we have etc. Next time Obama asks for those dollar donations and does not get them, he will be turning to the Big Money to get re-elected.

    Gillespie is such an (word censored by Bill's kids), consistently interrupting and talking over Lessig, that it's impossible not to conclude his politics are undemocratic and unprincipled. Nobody this personally rude can be trusted to compete or argue fairly, or to recognize or support a civil society.

    The important point of the high court was not free speech; it was the damage the ruling caused to all the campaign finance reform acts across the nation by making them all null and void.

    Everyone should have a chance to speak, even if they get together and speak by one voice under a corporate structure.

    The concern is the literally billions of dollars that big business can bring to bear upon issues. There is no power over the great masses that equals that of slick advertising on issues and the influence that money has over career politicians. Anyone who misses this point is sadly uninformed.

    1 What’s your perspective on the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case?

    A corporation is born with the granting of a charter delegating to it a subset of the sovereign powers of a state government.

    Such a corporation may be a mere subsidiary of a foreign corporation.

    The parent foreign corporation was delegated powers by its own government. These powers could be far more closely tied to the home government than is common in the United States.

    The shares of a domestic corporation can be entirely owned by a foreign government, even if it is not formally a subsidiary.

    Even if the shares of a domestic corporation are spread among citizens of the U.S., those shareholders today have little power to control management decisions pertaining to salaries, bonuses, stock options, investments in polluting activity, or any other aspect of corporate operations.

    It has been a long time since the main goal of corporate management was to "maximize shareholder value." This is because stock options dilute share holder value, resulting in massive compensation to managers that is paid for by the shareholders out of diluted stock.

    The opinion of the Supreme Court was not based on an actual "case or controversy" because the Supreme Court expanded the issues in the case beyond what was considered at the trial court and in the appeal briefs. Therefore, there was no opportunity to produce evidence of the abuses that might have lead 24 states to outlaw direct corporate participation in elections.

    2. Do you believe that a system of campaign finance laws is capable of limiting the influence of money, or do you agree with Gillespie that lobbying and corruption are inevitable with a large federal budget?

    Gillespie's argument is typical Ayn Randian worship of the power elite. Most libertarians would like nothing better than to be the "knights" in the service of a materialistic, worldly demigod/hero. Corruption has nothing to do with the size of the federal budget, per se. Corruption has everything to do with the process of manufacturing consent. Politicians only get in front of parades that already are in progress.

    3. Do you agree with Lessig that Congress has lost the people’s respect? What reforms would increase your faith in Washington?

    No, people admire their own congressman. What they don't like is the institutionalized inertia and unresponsiveness. America must be lighter on its feet if it is to compete in the modern world. We have a system that was designed to preserve the powers of a slaveowning aristocracy 200 years ago. It is no longer capable of meeting the challenges of globalism.

    One thing that has been overlooked. Organizations like Citizens United are legal entities formed as a 527. Those who make massive contributions to these organizations are large corporations that use corporate funds to influence our government or the public. These funds belong to the stock holders of the corporation, but the corporation is not required to report these donations to their stock holder or the government. They don't represent the people whose money they use in this manner. It is not the voice of the corporation, its stock holders or employees, but the voice of one or a few of the top officers of the corporation. They hide behind names like Citizens United to give the appearance that they represent us, the citizens of our country and ensure there is no way to determine the actual source of the contribution. They fear retaliation from the public should they know who they are. Its propaganda is a often distortion of the truth and sometimes a flat out lie. Don't be fooled by the name of an organization that sounds like it represents you because it doesn't.

    In the case of news papers who support candidates, at least you know who is responsible of the the the words they print. They don't hide behind the name of another organization. You know who to contact if you don't agree with them.

    Reform should include disclosure of who funds these organizations and how much they donate. Let's add a little honesty and integrity our electoral process.

    Please Mr. Moyers - let Nick know he's no Johnny Cash. there's only one man in black. Nick looks alot like the guy who argued that the Aggie Bonfire was safe, double decker bridges in California are a good idea. tell the guy to wear a tie and look his age - he looks like the washed up singer for The Cure.

    One thing that has been overlooked. Organizations like Citizens United are legal entities formed as a 527. Those who make massive contributions to these organizations are large corporations that use corporate funds to influence our government or the public. These funds belong to the stock holders of the corporation, but the corporation is not required to report these donations to their stock holder or the government. They don't represent the people whose money they use in this manner. It is not the voice of the corporation, its stock holders or employees, but the voice of one or a few of the top officers of the corporation. They hide behind names like Citizens United to give the appearance that they represent us, the citizens of our country and ensure there is no way to determine the actual source of the contribution. They fear retaliation from the public should they know who they are. Its propaganda is a often distortion of the truth and sometimes a flat out lie. Don't be fooled by the name of an organization that sounds like it represents you because it doesn't.

    In the case of news papers who support candidates, at least you know who is responsible of the the the words they print. They don't hide behind the name of another organization. You know who to contact if you don't agree with them.

    Reform should include disclosure of who funds these organizations and how much they donate. Let's add a little honesty and integrity our electoral process.

    I totally agree with BillMar on this. He made the sometimes fuzzy (to me at least) definition of Ayn Rand's idea of Libertarianism completely understandable. (thank you BillMar whoever you are) I am backing an overturning of SCOTUS 2010 as well as SCOTUS 1886... which started this ruckus in the first place.

    Dear Bill,

    First, I want to say thank you for a lifetime of service. You work has made my life a richer experience.

    Now, this show tonight with Lawrence Lessig and Nick Gillespie.

    We have come to expect libertarians to be "free marketeers" -- although I can make a strong argument that capitalism is destructive of democracy.

    But to balance the far right we have a guy who, in the middle of cheerleading for corporate rights (!??), makes a glaring factual error:

    "Corporations are associations of people" -- LL.

    Corporations are not associations of people. A corporation is a legal fiction created by the state charter.


    "I believe in Free Speech for Corporations. I think corporations are great." -- LL

    I am so disappointed by this. This issue is so very important. People have come to look to Bill Moyers for education, for a quality alternative to the mainstream, a strong presentation of populism.

    Let's bring out the facts and the history. I humbly request that you please bring on someone like Richard Grossman, Thom Hartman, Ted Nace, Ralph Nader, David Korten, Gerry Mander, Joel Bakan
    or anyone from POCLAD

    Kindest Regards,
    Bill Huston
    Binghamton NY
    607-321-7846

    I totally agree with BillMar on this. He made the sometimes fuzzy (to me at least) definition of Ayn Rand's idea of Libertarianism completely understandable. (thank you BillMar whoever you are) I am backing an overturning of SCOTUS 2010 as well as SCOTUS 1886... which started this ruckus in the first place.

    It has always been clear to me that freedom of speech is censored on many levels and in many ways in our nation. One obvious demonstration of this of this the Bill Moyers program would NEVER be allowed on any other network except PBS. We get arrested when we speak out on Capital Hill and we might notice that we would not find Amy Goodman and Free Speech TV on the networks. So to say that we have an open balance of fair and just free speech in our nation is simply a lie. The Supreme Court ruling is unjust and against the separation of powers and does not protect our constitution. We have become an abused and used people and we will all pay a very high price when we are trampled upon by our corrupt corporate dictatorship and Supreme Court.

    Nick Gillespie..Reason Tv.....Reason Foundation.....Board members.....David Koch...Reason Foundation........pro privitization of most government functions.....foundation supported by Dick Scaife family money.......same money that funded the Arkansas projec to the tune of 2 million to destroy Clinton......David Bossie who along with FLoyd Brown worked as a chief investigator to harass the family of a woman Susann Coleman who committed suicide, trying to get the family to allege that she had an affair with Clinton aspart of the Arkansas project......Bossie who just happens to be the president of the PAC of Citizens United.......How did they get 5 justices to rule for corporate money to buy all elections from this day forward? I suppose you believe Supreme Court justices cannot be bought........


    My what a little Google can uncover........

    After the Supreme Court ruling allowing corporations to run political ads for or against issues/candidates, are municipal corporations (cities and towns) now allowed to fund political ads? If so, can the ads be funded by taxpayers money or by money otherwise raised to fund political ads?

    The view that people will be led by advertising like sheep, whatever its source, says very little about their virtue. Is not demagoguery just as bad? Such people should ask themselves: "What is best way to improve virtue, through conversation, or absent it?" I think the answer is clear. This is the same as the view that we can stop violence by taking away guns. I think it is fairly clear, as well, that those, who, like Lessig, hold it lean toward the sort of well-meaning totalitarianism described so well by Tocqueville:

    "I think then that the species of oppression by which democratic nations are menaced is unlike anything which ever before existed in the world: our contemporaries will find no prototype of it in their memories. I am trying myself to choose an expression which will accurately convey the whole of the idea I have formed of it, but in vain; the old words "despotism" and "tyranny" are inappropriate: the thing itself is new; and since I cannot name it, I must attempt to define it. I seek to trace the novel features under which despotism may appear in the world. The first thing that strikes the observation is an innumerable multitude of men all equal and alike, incessantly endeavoring to procure the petty and paltry pleasures with which they glut their lives. Each of them, living apart, is as a stranger to the fate of all the rest - his children and his private friends constitute to him the whole of mankind; as for the rest of his fellow-citizens, he is close to them, but he sees them not - he touches them, but he feels them not; he exists but in himself and for himself alone; and if his kindred still remain to him, he may be said at any rate to have lost his country. Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications, and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent, if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks on the contrary to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness: it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances - what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living? Thus it every day renders the exercise of the free agency of man less useful and less frequent; it circumscribes the will within a narrower range, and gradually robs a man of all the uses of himself...After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp, and fashioned them at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a net-work of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided: men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting: such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to be nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd...They devise a sole, tutelary, and all-powerful form of government, but elected by the people. They combine the principle of centralization and that of popular sovereignty; this gives them a respite; they console themselves for being in tutelage by the reflection that they have chosen their own guardians. Every man allows himself to be put in leading-strings, because he sees that it is not a person or a class of persons, but the people at large that holds the end of his chain. By this system the people shake off their state of dependence just long enough to select their master, and then relapse into it again. A great many persons at the present day are quite contented with this sort of compromise between administrative despotism and the sovereignty of the people; and they think they have done enough for the protection of individual freedom when they have surrendered it to the power of the nation at large. This does not satisfy me: the nature of him I am to obey signifies less to me than the fact of extorted obedience."

    It is not enough either to argue for publicly funded elections. Government always rests on a balance of power, and that in turn on money, as Machiavelli and Harrington pointed out long ago. Indeed, the experience of Dr Flowers in the next segment is a perfect example of why money matters, since clearly the government will not listen to anything else. Those who argue otherwise are for ending private property no less than corporate property.

    Tocqueville on Democracy in America, again: "As the great majority of those who create the laws have no taxable property, all the money that is spent for the community appears to be spent to their advantage, at no cost of their own; and those who have some little property readily find means of so regulating the taxes that they weigh upon the wealthy and profit the poor...In countries in which the poor have the exclusive power of making the laws, no great economy of public expenditure ought to be expected...In other words, the government of a democracy is the only one under which the power that votes the taxes escapes the payment of them...When...the people are invested with the supreme authority, they are perpetually seeking for something better...The thirst for improvment extends to a thousand different objects; it descends to the most trivial details, and especially to those changes which are accompanied with considerable expense, since the object is to improve the condition of the poor, who cannot pay for the improvment. Moreover, all democratic communities are agitated by an ill-defined excitment and a kind of feverish impatience that creates a multitude of innovations, almost all of which are expensive...As it frequently changes its purposes, and still more frequently its agents, its undertakings are often ill-conducted or left unfinished...."

    Can democracy withstand the power of big money? Can it exist with out it?

    Our society today could have been dreamed up in the mind of Twilight Zone's creator, Rod Serling, where corporate America controls all we see, hear, and do in life. It is really come to that and is frightening.....and HERB BARKER you have a starring role!

    I want to thank you Bill for bring the raw truth to the air. Do think people listen? I had such high hope for Obama. I still think he is better than what we had. I was just looking at where is best Health Ins and found Taiwan listed as number one. It so simple and provides health care to everyone. I am so involved in trying to end the Occupation of Palestine and siege of GAZA. As you were talking with the Pediatrician, I finding myself in same situation of trying to get some progress on the 60 plus years of devastation to a people. As I read some the posting, one person quoted how the Roman fell and think we should look at that closely because I feel we are almost there. Just my frustration.

    The points that were completely missed in your program was this:


    1. Corporations are quasi governmental entities with powers delegated to them by charter from a sovereign (the state). They are not just a sort of club.


    2. Shareholders of corporations currently have nothing to say about the bonuses and stock options that are given to corporate management. Nor are stockholders able to control the investments being made by the managers. It has been a long time since the real goal of corporate manager was to maximize shareholder value, let alone to allow shareholders a say in management decisions.


    3. A corporation chartered in Delaware, or any other state of the United States, can be a wholly owned subsidiary of a foreign corporation. And, the parent foreign corporation (which was delegated powers by some foreign government) may well be utterly under the control of a foreign government.


    Of course a libertarian would have no problem with this. Libertarians, since the days of their founder and secular goddess, Ayn Rand, have yearned for the day when warlords could again walk the earth unhindered by the mass of useless, parasites that compose (in their view) 95% of mankind. Read Atlas Shrugged for heavens sake! It's all there.

    As usual, a great program, but must say that Nick Gillespie is either the most naive individual you have ever had on your show or is in the "pocket" of corporations. I would only suggest that he look at business law to understand why individuals choose to form a corporation.

    On the other hand, the most realistic person you have interviewed in many programs is Dr. Margaret Flowers and I would hope that you either introduce your program or sign off each week with an update of whether the President has agreed to "have a beer with her" at the White House. I would hope that if he can not meet with her that at least his wife, also a mother, would do so.

    congratulations!!
    Nick Gillepsie was a welcome and refreshing
    addition to your normal stable of liberal pap.
    More 'other points of view' will always be welcome.

    congratulations!!
    Nick Gillepsie was a welcome and refreshing
    addition to your normal stable of liberal pap.
    More 'other points of view' will always be welcome.

    I am sorry Bill, but nothing bothers me more than a stupid person pretending to be an intellectual.

    Nick Gillespie misses the mark every time during the discussion. The fact is CEOs and shareholders already have free speech and votes just like everybody else. By allowing their associated corporation’s treasury to amplify, and push their political views is an atrocity and abomination to our democracy.

    Corporations have WAY TOO MUCH MONEY to be allowed to bully their voice over the average American. Our political parties are polarized today due to corporation and special interest money. How can Gillespie deny that, is he blind?

    The point is negative ads DO have an influence on an election and the number of times negative advertizing runs does have a negative effect on a free election.

    Either Nick Gillespie is on the same payroll as Rush Limbaugh or he really does not have a clue. If advertising would not have an effect on swaying voters, then why do businesses spend millions of dollars on TV commercials? Commercials are so plentiful now; I cannot watch TV anymore due to the constant interruptions.

    Our society today could have been dreamed up in the mind of Twilight Zone's creator, Rod Serling, where corporate America controls all we see, hear, and do in life. It is really come to that and is frightening.

    How could you give air time to Nick Gillespie?


    If you understand anything about Ayn Rand, the founder of the libertarian movement (so called), you understand that this secular religion is based upon a faith in and subservience to members of a select elite who are believed to have somehow earned a demigod status by "self-made" material success.


    It is absurd to expect a libertarian to engage in a reasoned discussion of the concept of democracy, because that concept is an anathema to them. They believe that the superman should be in no way hindered by the common horde of useless, parasites that compose 95% of human kind.


    These people have more in common with the warlords of Somalia than with Jefferson or Madison.


    The dream of people like "Nick" is to be the loyal retainer to a powerful financial warlord. They dream of finding a wealthy person that needs a private army of "knights" to protect or advance a particularistic agenda. Nickie boy in his sexy leather jacket imagines himself as one of those knights.


    That is why the "gun nuts" are generally synonymous with the libertarian movement. If they had their way, each would not only be armed with 50 caliber machine guns mounted in the back of their pickups, Somali style. In addition, they would even have rocket launchers and, who knows, even nuclear weapons.


    Again, Mr. Moyers, how can you give a forum to people like this????

    One of the only times in resent memory when I was proud to hear the President and people from all walks of life unite to agree our Government is bought and payed for. Gillespie is simply an Internet arm of the Republican status quo. We need more people like lawrence Lessig. Many thanks to Bill Moyers Journal for having the courage to work on behalf of the American people.

    Corporations get my money because they have a product or service that I wish to consume. It is not a support contribution to a political initiative.

    In one sense, it is not corporations who are spending their money in the political arena, it is the top few uber-rich folks who control the corporation and are using its funds in some manner for political influence. Looking at the history of action and abuses by large corporations (Montsanto, Pharma's, etc.) it is very evident that they do not have the common citizen's best interest in mind, only the search to become ever richer. If you were this selfish, wouldn't you like to be able to take a company's money and use it in ways to make you richer? That is what these corporate leaders are doing.

    Also, there is a lot of evidence that smart, disciplined pathological people (psyco/socio/charateropathic) have risen to or near the top because of their lack of concern for others and this is scary that these people can so influence the political process.

    Here one of several very in-depth treatments on the subject (I have no affiliation):

    http://www.ponerology.com/

    There are also other books like "Snakes In Suits" that are good to study. Check some of this out through the books or searches and your opinion of these corporations (not the workers, the leaders and what they do) might change to where you would feel as many do that we should even further restrict them rather than let them more off the leash.

    Also, check out news aggregation sites like sott.net and search on corporation and/or psychopaths to find lots of articles from many sources that will surprise you as to the crimes and abuses of many corps and also the pathologicl penetration.

    I work with US businesses to help them do business in Asia. I began my work to help promote US exports but in the last few years most of my clients have been asking me to help them move US jobs to China so they can cut labor costs and avoid environmental regulations. They are also trading away technology for short term gains (mostly their own) and when I ask them why, they tell me if they don't do it their European or Japanese competitors will. I can almost symphathize with them but these people are selling their children's future. I don't want these corporations spending freely to affect our elections because they are not voting with America's welfare in mind. Many of them are even owned in part by the Chinese Government now and by foreign stockholders. Why should they have a say in OUR elections? They aren't 100% American. We citizens are.

    If money=speech, then the concept of "free speech" has been turned into an oxymoron by the Supreme Court ruling.

    Talk is cheap.

    Legislation will cost you plenty.


    The most likely legal classification to reverse this ruling will be when the Supreme Court will be required to confirm the legal definition of whether a corporation needs to be a “domestic” corporation to actually merit the rights of “free speech” or if all corporations have it whether they are American or not. If we define all corporations having the right to free speech, then does that include when a corporation owned predominantly by non-citizens or not? When British Petroleum (BP) or Toyota as a corporation spends millions to convince Americans to do what is in their corporate best interest, do they have the right to do what Exxon Mobil or Ford has the right to do under this ruling? If that is the case, then our entire legislature will be able to be entirely lobbied by corporations that can be entirely obligated only to their citizens and aren’t even required to answer to Americans as shareholders.

    RE: Supreme Court ruling allowing unlimited campaign spending.
    The Founders hated corporations. Reading The Federalist Papers or any of their personal journals makes that obvious. Our Republic was supposed to be ONE PERSON, ONE VOTE; not one dollar, one vote.
    Money buys votes, so the wealthy will always run the country, unless we return to one person one vote.

    I have signed up to the change that www.sherrodbrown.com advocates--a constitutional amendment is needed!!

    We no longer have a government "of the people, by the people, for the people". Instead our form of government has changed from representative democracy or republic to Corporatocracy. Big Business has a huge hand in all of the legislation written and passed because they control both sides of the aisle. Big Business writes legislation that increases regulations to stifle competition with small businesses while at the same time they dispose of regulations that hurt their bottom line. Unfortunately, the Democrats and the Republicans are both complicit in this game.

    When Rep. Henry Waxman of California begs Jamie Dimon of Wall Street to stay with the Democrats instead of giving donations to the Republican, you know something is wrong.

    The big question should be; What do we do about it? In my view, if Obama taught us nothing else, he taught us the power of ordinary people organizing around a common purpose to create change. We need to reach out to others who feel the same way and educate others who are receptive to change. We need to stop pretending that we can just elect people who have our same values and get something done. We need to get off the couch and push ourselves away from the computer and educate, motivate, and agitate until we get the change WE DESERVE.

    We need to demonstrate in the streets like the Canadians did when their P.M shut down Parliament. Where is our resolve America, where is our passion Progressives? March on Washington D.C. on March 20, 2010 for a Progressive Day of Action.

    The ideology of libertarianism is intellectually incoherent.

    What is a market? A socially constructed institution set up for the exchange of property rights. Who establishes and protects property rights? Governments, granted if they're not failing. To take government out of the market, deregulation, is a dead end.

    What are the limits to free speech? When your speech begins to inhibit my speech. Corporate speech inevitably crowds out everyones ability to speak up.

    The Supreme Court is both the judge and the jury.

    Because of that FACT, instead of constant 5-4 "rulings", they need to produce a unanimous decision.

    Freedom of religion is impossible if there is no free speech.

    Meet the new "god" in town :-)

    Agree with the dark and brooding Gillespie that bringing this "god" out to stand on the soapbox in town square is pretty much the way to finding what "free speech" actually IS

    when the government's role is to protect an INDIVIDUAL against force and fraud...

    People with life skills that are far above and beyond what politicians and lobbyists provide towards a REAL "civilization" can certainly hold their own on the soapbox, especially when they follow the performance of a "talking toaster"

    :-))

    The Romans were the superpower of their day. We should learn from them that NO superpower is omnipotent.

    Especially if they fail to change in ways that need to support their longevity.

    Here is a good book on the subject. Get it from your library.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collapse_(book)

    Here is a site that suggest our world will be downsized no matter who we have in office.

    http://dieoff.org/

    I "...agree with Gillespie that lobbying and corruption are inevitable with a large federal budget":

    - ...Yet after hundreds of years of democracy, Romans found that their government could no longer keep pace with the speed of change and the special demands that came with being a superpower. Foremost among those demands was that the government should remain responsive to the needs of the majority of the people and not be hijacked by special interest groups. ("Emperors of Rome" [2007, Potter])

    I also "...agree with Lessig that Congress has lost the people’s respect":

    - The fact was that the [Roman] Republic had broken down...the Senate incompetent and corrupt. Rome had grown into an empire and needed an emperor to manage its affairs. ("Imperial Rome" [1965, Hadas])

    http://cikehara.blogspot.com/2009/03/when-it-comes-to-imperial-presidency.html

    YOU HAVE A BIG PROBLEMS MISTER AMERICA. LOOK WHAT HAPPEN TO THE ROMANS AND YOU WILL SEE THAT SENATORS ARE NOT PEOPLE OF THE COUNTRY. BUT PEOPLE OF BANKS, LARGE COMPANIES, WHO SUFFER THE BASE THE PEOPLE WITH NARROW REVENUE.

    What I'd like to know is since when is a business equivalent to a human person entitled to the Constitutional protection of free speech?

    Person = Human
    Corporation = Person?
    Corporation = Human?
    Sorry, this does not compute.

    The recent Supreme Court ruling would have it that money is speech and therefore must enjoy the priviliges of speech, which is to say, Constitutional protection. This case is about an ostensibly derrogatory movie about Hillary Clinton released in 2008 during the presidential campaign and the presumed Constitutional "rights" of corporate speech (i.e., money) to protection under the Constitution.

    But it's a farce masquarading as a legal decision. As the Supreme Court voted in favor of the corporate entity bringing the suit, then corporations are now able to speak as loudly with their wallets as they want.

    The corporate 'speaker' still won't be able to enter a voting booth (oddly enough), but that's irrelevant. Money is property; it is not speech. Because if money is not simply property but is speech, then all bets are off and We the People are doomed. Welcome to serfdom.

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