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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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Rachel Maddow debunks the Republican’s election narratives one by one. Every argument they’re making is covered and Ms. Maddow does an excellent job of steering you through all the smoke and shattering every last mirror.

If you haven’t seen it by now, do yourself a favor and watch it.

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The amount of misinformation coming from the members of The Grand Obstructionist Party lately has been bad enough, but today the desperation and the increase in “the stupid” from those in Florida has been staggering. Let’s call them what they are:

Flat. Out. Lies.

They are as stupid as they are damaging and dangerous. I just want to make a request:

Stop it. You’re embarrassing yourselves, and you’re embarrassing your country.

And don’t you dare call yourselves “patriots.”

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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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It isn’t just the Democrats who need, or are probably getting a wake up call right about now after yesterday’s election. I think there are a lot of them to go around. So here, in my opinion, are a few more random wake up calls. Who knows, perhaps they’ll help prevent future post-election headaches.

Wake Up Call For The Republicans:

  • (And this is my personal favorite) Today you’re probably sitting there on your imaginary pedestals and thinking that all of us Democrats, liberals and progressives are now going to just form a line, fold up our tents and go home, only to slit our wrists when we get there. NO. WE’RE NOT. The majority of us don’t give up that easily and you ain’t seen nothing yet, so enjoy that fantasy while it lasts.

For the voter who votes for a Republican believing that they will fix things right up, just like magic:

  • NO MEANS NO. Or to put it another way: What part of “no” don’t you understand? The Republicans don’t have a plan. Seriously. If they did, don’t you think they would have presented it and saved you by now? The best plan they had was to sit around doing nothing more than planning how to get back in power so they could pillage the country again after the Democrats cleaned up the mess they made. But here’s the thing. What they fail to grasp is that Dubya messed things up so badly for eight years that there is no precedent for complete and utter Bushclusterf-ication of this magnitude. They are magical thinkers who seem to believe if they get that power back, they will merely blink twice, open their eyes and all will be better, shiny, and new. Uh…no. When they open their eyes, they will still have to dig around looking for that pony because Bushclusterf-ication takes a lot more than eight years to clean up. Most sane people realize that. THEY DON’T. THEY ARE STUPID. THEY HAVE NO PONY FOR YOU, BUT EVEN IF THEY DID THEY WOULDN’T SHARE IT WITH YOU BECAUSE THEY ARE REPUBLICANS!

If you voted for the Republican version of Scott Brown because you’re still under the impression that Republicans are the “Party of Family Values”:

  • That’s just adorable! Sadly though, you are quite naive, but you know that now because this morning you woke to find that you elected someone who POSED NUDE IN COSMO AND ALL BUT AUCTIONED HIS DAUGHTERS OFF TO, WELL….JUST ANYONE ON NATIONAL TELEVISION WHILE MAKING HIS VICTORY SPEECH! Because I sympathize and realize this is probably a lot to take in all at once, I suppose it’s probably best not to bring up the curling iron. Maybe later…

For “Tea Baggers”

  • If you voted for the “Tea Party” version of Scott Brown because he owns a truck and therefore he must be just like you? Good for you! But I would venture to guess that his other truck is probably a Mercedes, Lexus, or something along those lines. Or he has a whole fleet of trucks of the luxury persuasion, the likes of which you could never dream to afford. But as I said, good for you! I’m afraid the only wake up call you will receive is this: YOU DRIVE A TRUCK.
  • If you vote for a “Tea Party” candidate because, in addition to owning and loving your truck as much as your Mom, AND you don’t like to pay taxes, even better! You’ll need that truck because those roads won’t build themselves! (Please see the previous wake up call, in bold, above, and add the word: “CONGRATULATIONS!”)
  • If you voted for the “Tea Party” side of Brown because he ran on the promise that “as God (or Cosmo) is my witness, I will protect you from evil affordable, Government run health care!” and you said “Don’t want none of that! Oh Yeah!” as you popped your ballot into that magic Diebold machine, well than I have a bonus wake up for you, because guess what? Thanks to your vote, your candidate now has FREE GOVERNMENT RUN HEALTH CARE ALL THANKS TO YOU! AND YOU GET THE BILL, ALONG WITH YOUR OWN, WHICH YOU’RE WORKING THOSE TWO JOBS TO PAY FOR, SO IT’S A WIN WIN! I’m sure he’ll be forever grateful.
  • If your situation is identical to the voter above with the exception that you don’t have health insurance? Ooh, bummer. But look on the bright side: HE DOES!

These aren’t really tips or wake up calls, they’re just things I want to get off my chest.

For The “Pun-Ditz:”

  • Chris Matthews, (oh where to begin?) and this has nothing to do with politics, but the former “Cheers” is the place “where everybody knows your name.” Since you were broadcasting from the very same last night, aren’t you just a bit ironically embarrassed that you didn’t know the name of the candidate when the cameras came on? You’ve been blithering about him for days as if he were your latest man crush without taking a breath, and the name B-R-O-W-N really isn’t all that tough. Chastising others for their Teleprompter use can come back to bite one, can’t it?
  • Chris Matthews Part Two: About being “schooled” so brilliantly by Rachel Maddow last night: it’s best not to get into an intellectual discussion on a topic you only pretend to be an expert on unarmed. If I may borrow a term from Ms. Maddow, it exposes one as being “divorced from reality.” Stop embarrassing yourself. It’s not pretty to watch.
  • I was thinking there were other “Pun-Ditz” to mention, but I only watched MSNBC last night, so Chris Matthews was about it since Joe and Mika aren’t “Ready For Prime Time Election Coverage” and weren’t there. Not to leave them out altogether, because let’s face it, those two are about as bad as it gets. But there’s enough material on them for an entire post all to themselves, so maybe another time…Thank goodness for Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann or MSNBC would be completely unwatchable!

And finally, there is one more wake up call that I’ve just got to mention. That would be the one Sarah Palin is probably pretty angry about today. Who knew there was another candidate out there who is just as attention grabbing and tacky, if not more so, than Caribou Barbie? Poor little Sarah is quite possibly eating the “trucks and guns” dust that Brown left behind in his rush to be crowned the “King Of The Tea Party” and she never even became “First Runner Up.” Of course she’ll still get that hefty speaking fee at the “Tea Party” rip-off conference, unless it’s followers find out what a rip-off it is before it’s to late for a refund. Oh well. Now clueless little Sarah is just yesterday’s news and she can’t “quit” her endorsement of Scott Brown. She’ll get to live with her new role as “has been” every time her coworkers on FOX drool while they talk about him with her nonstop.  So to Sarah I say: MEET THE SHADOW OF YOUR 15 MINUTES IN THE LIMELIGHT….. Next?

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