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Author Topic: Campaign spending: We aren't yet corrupt enough, apparently  (Read 1762 times)

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Offline TriesteTopic starter

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Campaign spending: We aren't yet corrupt enough, apparently
« on: January 21, 2010, 11:27:45 AM »
http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/01/21/campaign.finance.ruling/index.html?hpt=T1

I wonder how long it'll take for companies who just received bailout packages to start making massive contribs.

Offline Vekseid

Re: Campaign spending: We aren't yet corrupt enough, apparently
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2010, 11:47:09 AM »
I once again reiterate my opinion that Clarence Thomas is too stupid to be on the Supreme Court.

Edit: This in regards to his opposition to disclosure laws. Wtf.

Offline TriesteTopic starter

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Re: Campaign spending: We aren't yet corrupt enough, apparently
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2010, 11:56:17 AM »
What really made me want to throw things was the discussion on how the American people can make their own distinctions, etc.

It's hard enough trying to distinguish special interest groups when you know who they are. You have special interest groups like "The Susan B. Anthony List". Susan B. Anthony, women's rights, right? That group is an anti-abortion special interest group.

Try making your own distinctions when nobody has to disclose their funding. They could be funded by Heinrich fucking Himmler (so to speak, obviously) and be protected.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Campaign spending: We aren't yet corrupt enough, apparently
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2010, 01:12:55 PM »
I once again reiterate my opinion that Clarence Thomas is too stupid to be on the Supreme Court.

Edit: This in regards to his opposition to disclosure laws. Wtf.

I think it's early senility.. has to be. No one can be that fractured in the head.

Online PaleEnchantress

Re: Campaign spending: We aren't yet corrupt enough, apparently
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2010, 02:27:39 PM »
I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry . . .

Offline MercyfulFate

The Supreme Court is making horrible, horrible decisions
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2010, 07:39:23 PM »
http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010/01/us_supreme_court_ruling_on_cam.html

This is just terrible, and basically allows corporations to dominate politics more than they already do. I'm usually a pretty die-hard advocate of free speech, but the Supreme Court saying this is about free speech is disgusting. Now, what truly matters more? Your single vote, or XYZ Company's $2,000,000 contribution to the candidate that will get into office and scratch their back?

This is just so baffling I don't know what to think anymore.

Offline Mnemaxa

Re: The Supreme Court is making horrible, horrible decisions
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2010, 07:44:59 PM »
You say this as if it had ever been different.  Now the spending will just be public.

Offline Mnemaxa

Re: Campaign spending: We aren't yet corrupt enough, apparently
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2010, 07:46:47 PM »
It doesn't really change much.  They just don't have to concern themselves with the niceties any longer, that's all. 

/bitter amusement.

Offline consortium11


Offline MercyfulFate

Re: The Supreme Court is making horrible, horrible decisions
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2010, 07:54:16 PM »
Didn't see that, but it happened today actually. Sorry.

It's not just that it's public, it's that there's now no limits on what they can spend. This is potentially the most dangerous decision the Supreme Court has ever made. I'm not much of a Keith Olbermann fan, but his rant on this was absolutely true. Almost every politician can be fully bought now since there is no limit on what they can actually spend, making their money far more important than any of our votes.

Want to reign in Wall Street like Obama is trying to do post-Scott Brown election? Nope, just buy off everyone who might vote for it. Want a Wal Mart in a town staunchly opposed to one? Buy your own mayor, or whoever you want to make it happen.

This can also have massive ramifications on the media as well, as Olbermann said this can be as bad for people like him as it could be for the Rush Limbaugh's as well.

Worst of all, the opposite should have been happening. Massive corporations with resources so large it's incomprehensible should not be allowed to control our political system. Instead it swings clear the other way, and now...we'll see what happens.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2010, 08:05:30 PM by MercyfulFate »

Offline consortium11

Re: The Supreme Court is making horrible, horrible decisions
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2010, 08:03:20 PM »
No worries... just thought it would be better to have all the discussion in one thread...

Offline TriesteTopic starter

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Re: Campaign spending: We aren't yet corrupt enough, apparently
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2010, 09:03:02 PM »
Merged.

Offline Morven

Re: Campaign spending: We aren't yet corrupt enough, apparently
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2010, 05:40:46 PM »
On this one, I have the cynic's view that it won't change all that much.

It's worth remembering that the rules also restricted unions, environmentalist groups, etc. as well as corporations.  Of course, corporations have more money.

Offline MercyfulFate

Re: Campaign spending: We aren't yet corrupt enough, apparently
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2010, 05:54:19 PM »
On this one, I have the cynic's view that it won't change all that much.

It's worth remembering that the rules also restricted unions, environmentalist groups, etc. as well as corporations.  Of course, corporations have more money.

It's horrible if it's not curtailed, and I'm a cynic as well and we all know they've already tried controlling politics for a long time. Problem now is it allows them to pretty much have unlimited power with it.

Say with global warming, oil companies and energy conglomerates have been fighting hard against them as we know. Now what they can do makes that look like child's play.

My Political Science professor was a former ambassador and has written many books on everything from Russia to the Middle East, and he was almost sick over this as I am.

There's talk of there being actions to stop it, and dear god I hope they do.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2010, 05:56:19 PM by MercyfulFate »

Offline Jude

Re: Campaign spending: We aren't yet corrupt enough, apparently
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2010, 04:06:32 PM »
I actually love the idea of Corporations coming out swinging with political beliefs, so long as they have to identify themselves in the commercials.  Then I can spend my money in places which I deem politically responsible and punish corporations that back candidates I don't agree with.  This could turn into a PR nightmare for them and they may regret ever opening their mouth to begin with.

Offline consortium11

Re: Campaign spending: We aren't yet corrupt enough, apparently
« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2010, 04:34:56 PM »
I actually love the idea of Corporations coming out swinging with political beliefs, so long as they have to identify themselves in the commercials.  Then I can spend my money in places which I deem politically responsible and punish corporations that back candidates I don't agree with.  This could turn into a PR nightmare for them and they may regret ever opening their mouth to begin with.

The issue is when a corporation (or a group of them) donate to the "Society for the Widening of Healthcare in America" or any other generically titled group who in turn do the actual spending. It'll take a level of investigation that's beyond what we can expect of a reasonable citizen to determine exactly who funds such work.

Offline MercyfulFate

Re: Campaign spending: We aren't yet corrupt enough, apparently
« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2010, 04:37:54 PM »
The issue is when a corporation (or a group of them) donate to the "Society for the Widening of Healthcare in America" or any other generically titled group who in turn do the actual spending. It'll take a level of investigation that's beyond what we can expect of a reasonable citizen to determine exactly who funds such work.

True, and while Jude's point would be good for those of us with a brain, the "mindless masses" as I call them, would follow whatever they're told.

If XYZ Corp. decides to spend a million dollars on an attack ad against candidate X calling him a baby-eating abortion fanatic, even if it's not true too many will buy into it.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2010, 04:40:36 PM by MercyfulFate »

Offline Jude

Re: Campaign spending: We aren't yet corrupt enough, apparently
« Reply #17 on: January 24, 2010, 05:45:44 PM »
The issue is when a corporation (or a group of them) donate to the "Society for the Widening of Healthcare in America" or any other generically titled group who in turn do the actual spending. It'll take a level of investigation that's beyond what we can expect of a reasonable citizen to determine exactly who funds such work.
Setting aside the fact that all you'd probably have to do is pull up Google and plug in the name (especially because it has to be made public who is donating where, according to the ruling)...  Don't you think that the fact that people are willing to take the "Society for the Widening of Healthcare in America" seriously without knowing who they are and what interests they're supporting is more of an indication of problems in our society, than it is a reason to pass legislation controlling corporate donations?

If the masses in the United States are so naive and vulnerable to such obvious deception, maybe we should be asking ourselves why we fail as a nation when it comes to critical thinking and then doing something about that instead of trying to control the people who would deceive us.  And public gullibility and failing to exercise the basics of critical thinking effect far more than just the election process.  If you ask me, Campaign finance reform was a bandaid, aimed at circumventing the underlying issue, of a fundamentally ignorant, inept public.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2010, 05:50:25 PM by Jude »

Offline MercyfulFate

Re: Campaign spending: We aren't yet corrupt enough, apparently
« Reply #18 on: January 24, 2010, 05:50:14 PM »
Don't you think that the fact that people are willing to take the "Society for the Widening of Healthcare in America" seriously without knowing who they are and what interests they're supporting is more of an indication of problems in our society, than it is a reason to pass legislation controlling corporate donations?

If the masses in the United States are so naive and vulnerable to such obvious deception, maybe we should be asking ourselves why we fail as a nation when it comes to critical thinking and then doing something about that instead of trying to control the people who would deceive us.

For one, that's a much wider problem than simply the election campaigning process.

You're absolutely right that it's a bad sign for our society, sadder yet is it's the truth. Look at the Swift Boat thing against John Kerry, it was pretty much all malarkey and yet people bought it hook, line and sinker. People thought the "death panels" were real because pundits told them it was.

People don't even do the most basic of critical thinking about these things anymore, it makes me feel like I'm not even part of the same country some times. The same ones who deride President Obama for "dithering" and not accomplishing anything, also say he's destroying the country. The same ones who support the death penalty cry about abortion being murder, and on and on.

Illiteracy is rampant in this country, poor education or a complete lack of it, jailing a million non-violent offenders, etc. I need to stop before I rant forever and break my keyboard.

Offline Jude

Re: Campaign spending: We aren't yet corrupt enough, apparently
« Reply #19 on: January 24, 2010, 05:57:13 PM »
I think the real problem is the feedback loop.  It's relatively obvious to anyone who takes a glimpse at our society that we're habitually making poor choices over time as it relates to politics, but the only people who could call us out on it refuse to do so, because it's bad for ratings and/or re-election.

Populism is on the rise, because it's easier to blame all of the nation's problems on everyone else, instead of forcing the American Public to take a hard look at themselves.

Offline consortium11

Re: Campaign spending: We aren't yet corrupt enough, apparently
« Reply #20 on: January 24, 2010, 06:15:01 PM »
Setting aside the fact that all you'd probably have to do is pull up Google and plug in the name (especially because it has to be made public who is donating where, according to the ruling)...  Don't you think that the fact that people are willing to take the "Society for the Widening of Healthcare in America" seriously without knowing who they are and what interests they're supporting is more of an indication of problems in our society, than it is a reason to pass legislation controlling corporate donations?

If the masses in the United States are so naive and vulnerable to such obvious deception, maybe we should be asking ourselves why we fail as a nation when it comes to critical thinking and then doing something about that instead of trying to control the people who would deceive us.  And public gullibility and failing to exercise the basics of critical thinking effect far more than just the election process.  If you ask me, Campaign finance reform was a bandaid, aimed at circumventing the underlying issue, of a fundamentally ignorant, inept public.

Yes, it is an issue, and a massive one. It's a failing of virtually all democracies and one that plays into the hands of strategists and spin doctors... a few months ago it was revealed over here in the UK that senior Labour figures were planning on setting up a website with the sole purpose of smearing Tory politicians with completely baseless attacks. I wish everyone looked into the details of nearly everything they're told and who was paying for it and why. While attacking the messenger doesn't invalidate the arguement, it does put it in context.

But

You can't legislate making people look behind the facts and figures.

I'm an idealist... but I temper that with pragmatism. I wish people would look harder at what they're told... but I understand they won't. Someone hears an ad on the radio just as they're parking up saying something. They want to look into who this group are, but by the time they get home they've got to cook dinner, look after the kids, get some preparation in for the next day at work and the thought just slips their mind. They remember some of what they're told but the name of the sponsor just slips their mind. They don't really worry about it. A few days later the topic comes up round the water cooler and they say something along the lines of "well I heard this ad that said...". And slowly but surely something that could be completely biased propaganda becomes a mainstream thought.

Offline TriesteTopic starter

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Re: Campaign spending: We aren't yet corrupt enough, apparently
« Reply #21 on: January 24, 2010, 08:14:24 PM »
Actually, I'm not really sure that it provides for transparency. I looked at the ruling, and it looked to be covering only the fact that campaign finance is limited. Granted, I didn't read the whole thing, so perhaps the transparency thing was covered in a later section.

Still, there is nothing to say that "The Society for the Widening of Healthcare in America" cannot donate to a campaign and then refuse to disclose ITS donors, etc etc. If I recall correctly, it's pretty much only tax law that requires such things... which leaves loopholes... and, well, even if it doesn't, Google isn't omniscient.

This is leniency with no transparency, and that is seldom good when it comes to government.

Offline Jude

Re: Campaign spending: We aren't yet corrupt enough, apparently
« Reply #22 on: January 24, 2010, 10:00:27 PM »
Yes, it is an issue, and a massive one. It's a failing of virtually all democracies and one that plays into the hands of strategists and spin doctors... a few months ago it was revealed over here in the UK that senior Labour figures were planning on setting up a website with the sole purpose of smearing Tory politicians with completely baseless attacks. I wish everyone looked into the details of nearly everything they're told and who was paying for it and why. While attacking the messenger doesn't invalidate the arguement, it does put it in context.
You don't necessarily need to look into who is influencing what in order to reject or ignore it.  As I said before, the fundamental problem here is that people in the United States are stupid enough to uncritically accept points of view parroted to them Corporate Ads to begin with, but it doesn't stop there.

There's a wide variety of opinions, notions, and "facts" that citizens of the United States swear by that are completely and utterly incorrect.  I see misuses of logic and information all the time, even on E.  Something as basic as correlation is not causation is lost upon a large number of Americans.  The effectiveness of advertisements, rhetoric, and carefully constructed symbolic speech is a testament to just how gullible we've gotten.

Campaign finance laws censored corporations in order to protect us from an influence which the backers of said law didn't think we had the mental faculties to resist.  Maybe we don't at current, but I reject the notion that it's impossible to give us the tools to resist it.
You can't legislate making people look behind the facts and figures.
No, and that would defeat the point.  If the citizenry isn't willing to exercise their power responsibly, do they really deserve an effective, responsible government?  In a Democracy the Government reflects the opinions of the people who vote.  Claiming that corruption is the reason our government fails to serve us adequately is just a nice way of denying the responsibility for the consequences of our actions.
I'm an idealist... but I temper that with pragmatism. I wish people would look harder at what they're told... but I understand they won't. Someone hears an ad on the radio just as they're parking up saying something. They want to look into who this group are, but by the time they get home they've got to cook dinner, look after the kids, get some preparation in for the next day at work and the thought just slips their mind. They remember some of what they're told but the name of the sponsor just slips their mind. They don't really worry about it. A few days later the topic comes up round the water cooler and they say something along the lines of "well I heard this ad that said...". And slowly but surely something that could be completely biased propaganda becomes a mainstream thought.
And maybe that's what it takes.  Perhaps we need to have an election season where corporatist influence affect the electorate in a huge way and people are unhappy with the result.  Unfortunately the only way that becomes a cathartic experience and a turning point for our country is if people see the real lesson in it instead of spouting off populace bullshit in response.

Critical thinking can be taught, the trend of ignorance and stupidity can be turned around.  The problem right now is a cultural one.  In America right now "going with your gut" (as our wonderful 43th president liked to say) is respected.  Confidence, justified or not, is a virtue.  A lot of people like simplistic explanations, black and white demarcation, and call actually due diligence dithering.  And large portions of the American electorate is incredibly anti-intellectual.

Our culture is just shit.

EDIT:  I heard both NBC and Fox (and typically if they actually agree on something there's a bit of truth to it) that the transparency regulations will remain.  The article you linked to mentions that much of the original legislation will be unaffected, so I am assuming that it the portions requiring accountability are in the unaffected portions of the law.  Truth be told, I'm not sure if corporations are allowed to donate to third party organizations that advertise on their behalf freely as a result of this overturning, or if they're simply allowed to directly advertise themselves (I thought it was the latter from the reporting I'd heard on the matter).

Either way it doesn't change my opinion much, but the latter definitely seems preferable, as it is more transparent.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2010, 10:11:13 PM by Jude »

Offline nerdyanddirty

Re: Campaign spending: We aren't yet corrupt enough, apparently
« Reply #23 on: January 28, 2010, 12:58:12 AM »
I agree with those who say this won't change much. As much as we may not like what they say, they do indeed have the right to say it. It stinks, but thats a republic.

The best way to minimize corruption is to minimize the ability of politicians to do corrupt things by minimizing their power.

Offline kylie

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Re: Campaign spending: We aren't yet corrupt enough, apparently
« Reply #24 on: January 31, 2010, 01:21:39 AM »
Quote from: Jude
     Perhaps we need to have an election season where corporatist influence affect the electorate in a huge way and people are unhappy with the result.  Unfortunately the only way that becomes a cathartic experience and a turning point for our country is if people see the real lesson in it instead of spouting off populace bullshit in response.
     Sounds like deja vu to me.  Iraq War, trickle-down economics, resistance to health care reform...   How many misleadings does it take? 
It isn't only about the source of the info.  It's about the quality and quantity.

Quote from: nerdyanddirty
I agree with those who say this won't change much. As much as we may not like what they say, they do indeed have the right to say it. It stinks, but thats a republic.  The best way to minimize corruption is to minimize the ability of politicians to do corrupt things by minimizing their power. 
          The country is large and the government is huge.  I don't think that's an entirely bad thing, but to the point:  Until there's a broad agreement on what sorts of power to devolve and how, it seems to me that a loose flow of advertising money is fairly likely to lead to more badly informed demands by citizens.  While advertising isn't always perfect, there are some people who know how to use it very effectively -- provided they have lots of money to air it.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2010, 01:24:55 AM by kylie »