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Archive for the ‘Campaign Finance Reform’ Category

If you haven’t seen this video yet, you should take the time to watch, because what’s going on now in Wisconsin and may play out in other states as well is not about state deficits or budget cuts. It’s about union-busting and the power that goes with it. Breaking the unions is a stepping stone to that “permanent Republican majority” that the GOP have been working towards for years. It’s also about the money that the Citizens United ruling allowed to flow directly to the Republicans, and the corporations that are throwing it at them. And they’re not going to stop. It’s about plutocracy.

Just look at what Republicans are doing now. Redefining rape, de-funding health care, draconian laws against women, abortion, pushing for laws that make the killing of abortion doctors “justifiable homicide,” guns in schools, churches and bars, deregulating everything like big polluters, oil companies, repealing laws from the FDA, EPA, FAA, and these are just a few. Do you really want Republicans who are puppets to corporate rule to have a permanent majority? Look what happened in Arizona. They’re willing to do just about anything to get there, and trashing the country is of no concern to them. Just like John Boehner shrugged off job losses, they’re willing to trash the very Democracy they claim to love so much:

“So be it.”

They. Don’t. Care.

Watch this video below from Rachel Maddow and pass it along.

You can also read this piece for more background on what Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is really doing from Ezra Klein. Pass it along too.

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Yesterday the U.S. House voted to abolish public financing for presidential campaigns.

Democrat Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL) proposed an amendment to the bill saying “it would have safeguarded our security funds for local law enforcement.” She was referring to the security budget for the upcoming 2012 Republican convention in her city, Tampa, Florida. She went on to say:

“I’m waving some red flags here with the help of my hometown to say this is expensive and we’re going to fight tooth and nail to have it covered,” she told the Buzz. “We’re not going to have the local taxpayers foot that bill.”

Well, her amendment was quickly killed, the voting commenced, and abolished public financing.

Voting in favor of the bill was Rep. Mike Bilirakis (R-FL). Well, later in the day, the following details came out concerning Rep. Bilirakis:

A spokesman for Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor, notes that the lawmaker has been working with the governor’s office to get the convention designated as a National Special Security Event and obtain federal funding that way.

“Rep. Bilirakis is acutely aware of the security needs of the upcoming political conventions, especially in the aftermath of the Rep. (Gabrielle) Giffords shooting,” Creighton Welch said.

So Rep. Bilirakis gets to vote “against the cake” but eat it too.

Sounds like a big old slice of hypocrisy to me. But then Rep. Bilirakis is an old pro in that department. Just check his Twitter feed sometime for starters.

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The South Florida Raging Grannies “salute” the SCOTUS justices who ruled in favor of Citizens United.

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From the files of: Who could have predicted THIS? comes the news that little brother Jebbie Bush, the former Governor of Florida, will be one of the first to jump to take advantage of the recent Supreme Court decision allowing unlimited political fundraising from corporations.

From The New York Times:

A group of prominent Republicans is forming an organization to develop and market conservative ideas, copying a successful Democratic model and hoping to capitalize on the fund-raising and electioneering possibilities opened up by a recent Supreme Court ruling.

Republicans who are donors, board members or both include Haley Barbour, the governor of Mississippi; Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida; Ed Gillespie, like Mr. Barbour a former chairman of the Republican Party; Fred Malek, an investor and official in the Nixon and first Bush administrations; Robert K. Steele, a former executive of Wachovia and Goldman Sachs who was a Treasury official in the second Bush administration, and Kenneth G. Langone, a founder of Home Depot and a former director of the New York Stock Exchange.

And the Supreme Court’s decision last month in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission potentially will allow the organization to take unlimited contributions from corporations and individuals to use to advertise for or against political candidates.

“This administration as well as Citizens United — when you combine the two the prospects for funding these types of efforts are greatly enhanced,” Mr. Coleman said.

The Corporate States of America. Let the games begin.

Anyone who wants a preview, for starters just take a look at what the shadow brother Jeb Bush has done to Florida.

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According to an article in the New York Times, the SCOTUS ruling in the Citizens United case that now allows corporations to spend unlimited cash in campaign contributions and essentially “buy” elections was just the beginning of an orchestrated plan to “dismantle the entire regulatory regime that is called campaign finance law.”

The plan was set in motion by James Bopp Jr., the first adviser for Citizens United, who has spent 35 years on the idea of changing campaign finance laws and regulating donations “as an affront to free speech.”

From the New York Times:

“We had a 10-year plan to take all this down,” he said in an interview. “And if we do it right, I think we can pretty well dismantle the entire regulatory regime that is called campaign finance law.”

“We have been awfully successful,” he added, “and we are not done yet.”

The involvement doesn’t stop with Mr. Bopp. Not surprisingly there is a lot more to the story than was first reported after the ruling, and several familiar names and groups are linked to the plan.

For instance, there’s a reason Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky was one of the first to happily rush to the microphone to express his agreement with the ruling last week. McConnel has been involved with helping Mr. Bopp work on the regulations since 1996 according to the Times.

Also involved is The Republican National Committee and their so-called “purity tests” for GOP candidates, as well as Theodore B. Olson, the lawyer who argued the case, who was a solicitor general in the Bush Administration, and Bush’s appointments of so-called “conservative justices” to the Supreme Court, the shift in the court which made the ruling a five to four decision.

Bopp is also involved with Ralph Reed and the Christian Coalition, far right groups who fight election laws, and he brands Obama as a “socialist.”

It almost sounds like part of a larger ongoing plan to game the system hoping to skew the advantage to one party, doesn’t it? I’ll bet a lot more familiar names are involved as well that we’re not hearing about yet.

The only problem is that they didn’t think this through very well. They’ve opened up a lot of potentially disastrous outcomes, and not necessarily in their favor, because they won’t have any more control over where the big donors come from than anyone else, like foreign countries, for instance. Especially if Mr. Bopp is successful in his next step, shielding the donors identity. So much for free speech.

This from the so-called “National Security Party” who claim they are the only ones who can keep us safe. Stupidity can be dangerous.

To read the full article: New York Times

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In the wake of the Supreme Court decision in Citizens Untied v. Federal Election Commission which ruled that corporations are now considered “persons” when it comes to campaign finance laws, some might be surprised to learn that in Florida, even before that ruling, they already were.

In state elections, Florida Campaign Finance Laws consider a corporation an individual, which allows a maximum donation of $500 from each corporation to a candidate. In cases where people own several different corporations, that can add up to a lot when those donations flow to one candidate. So in Florida, that means the ruling has extended those laws to include campaigns for federal offices.

Florida corporations already accustomed to these laws know how to use it to their advantage to sway candidates, like Charlie Crist, as illustrated here according to The Tampa Tribune:

As attorney general in 2005, Crist opposed a large Florida Power & Light rate increase. In 2006, the company gave $225,000 to an independent expenditure committee that attacked Crist and backed his opponent, Tom Gallagher, in the Republican primary for governor.

After Crist won the primary, the company gave the Florida Republican Party $170,000, trying unsuccessfully to woo him back.

Crist recently tangled with the company over another rate increase.

With a big U.S. Senate race coming up between Republicans Crist and Marco Rubio, and Democrat Kendrick Meek, those laws could have a big impact, and the GOP candidates will likely reap the benefits, an idea clearly apparent not only to Crist, but Rubio as well. Here was Rubio’s reaction to the Supreme Court ruling:

GOP Senate candidate Marco Rubio hailed it as a “victory for those who truly value the freedoms outlined in our First Amendment” and said the regulations, including the McCain-Feingold law, have hampered participation in the political process. “The best way to ensure our political system is less reliant on money is not to pass laws which infringe on fundamental rights, but rather to elect leaders who value policy and principles over politics and special interests.”

Right. So far there’s been no reaction to the SCOTUS ruling from Crist.

Florida became a blue state in last year’s elections, but thanks to this Supreme Court ruling, it’s possible that the GOP could buy its power back in both state and federal elections through what now amounts to legal bribery.

With that kind of financial advantage, Florida could easily be put back into the “red” column politically. Florida’s economy is already suffering and the state unemployment rate is one of the largest in the country at 11.8 percent, thanks to the current Governor Charlie Crist, and his predecessor, Jeb Bush, both Republicans.

Florida can hardly afford being more “in the red” than it already is.

To learn more about the Supreme Court ruling, how it will change campaign finance laws and elections, and what you can do about it, see: The “Hostile Takeover” Of Our Democracy”

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(Update below)

Yesterday’s Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission is a disaster in the making and a threat to Democracy itself. The Supreme Court ruled that corporations are now “persons” and entitled by the U.S. Constitution, for all intents and purposes, to pour unlimited amounts of cash into the political process to buy elections and run our government. They are free to pour their profits into ads and back any political candidate they choose, and to advertise against any they oppose.

Think about that. ANY CORPORATION CAN NOW BUY ELECTIONS. The coming 2010 elections? Bought and sold. Presidential election in 2012? Just use your imagination. If anyone thinks this is no cause for alarm, they’re wrong. Think about what’s been happening over the last few administrations. Think back to the last eight years of the Bush Administration. Look at the aftermath of 9/11 and the war in Iraq and go from there. Civil liberties, regulations and the rule of law have been chipped away little by little and now with this ruling, all bets are off.

You’ve probably heard a lot over the past 24 hours how this decision is about free speech, and it’s good for “the people to have a voice in the electoral process.” But the “free speech” and “the people” they are speaking of are not you or me. It’s the big corporations, the banks, the insurance companies, big oil. You name it, the list goes on and on.

The majority of those saying this is a good thing are those on the right. The GOP are cheering, and that alone on a good day would be suspect. But what they’re not yet beginning to grasp is the big picture. They’re either thinking about the near future and what this means for them, especially if they’re beholden to one of those corporations with billions in profits. Salivating would probably not be an exaggeration. But they’re either blinded by the almighty buck, or they are woefully ignorant of what happened yesterday. Because they don’t realize that they are just as vulnerable to this as any of the rest of us are. Their rights and so-called “job security” by way of legal bribery will mean nothing more than anyone else’s when this “hostile corporate takeover” of our democracy plays out and swallows them whole. Someone else will always be there to sell the last one out to the highest bidder. Those bidders will have deep pockets, and (spoiler alert) they won’t just be from this country. No, no, foreign corporations will be able to cash in on America as well. The Supreme Court Of The United States (thanks to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, and their appointed, so-called “conservative justices”) has now officially and legally made it possible to “outsource” our Democracy.

To learn more about the decision and find out what you can do and how to take action, I’ve put together a few links below. It’s a somewhat short list because this is the first chance I’ve had to actually sit down and start writing and put it together. Over the next few days I’ll have more and I’ll put them up as I go along. But in the meantime, educate yourself as much as you can and spread the word, because as usual the media (with a few exceptions, like Rachel Maddow, and Countdown) aren’t covering this like they should, and there is a LOT of misinformation coming out both intentionally and otherwise. We need to fight back on this, or we all lose.

Read the entire decision: Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission

A couple of good articles from The Nation, and Open Secrets Capital Eye

Move To Amend a project of the Campaign To Legalize Democracy, Resources and to sign the Motion To Amend

Use OpenSecrets to Monitor Any Increased Appetites for Independent Expenditures in the Wake of the Supreme Court Ruling

To learn more about the legislation introduced by Alan Grayson (D-FL).

Updated:

To send a letter asking your members of Congress to take action to ensure fair elections.

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