Social Question

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

The Supreme Court's 5-4 decision last week gave corporations the right to unlimited political spending. What effect do you think this will have on popular democracy in America?

Asked by Espiritus_Corvus (10005 points ) January 26th, 2010

Think of the coercion this can have upon our elected representatives. If a candidate supports issues that might hinder corporate profits, such as being against the bank bailout, or for taxes on foreign imports, consumer protection, environmental rules, or worker safeguards, healthcare reform, etc., they can now find themselves in a maelstrom of vicious ads costing tens of millions of dollars paid for by corporations, suffocating any ads that the candidate with limited campaign funding might put out in response.

Do we want foreign owned corporations, especially those owned by foreign governments, to exercise an undue influence in our politics? Imagine what an enterprise owned or influenced by the Chinese or Russian governments might try to do to a politician who campaigns too ardently for human rights?

Does this sound fair and democratic?

Do you believe that corporations should have more rights than individuals in the US?

Do you believe that this will benefit the individual citizen in any way?

Do you have any thoughts on this decision that you would like to share here?

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95 Answers

___'s avatar

Little honestly.The fact is that PAC’s and the like largely allowed for the same sort of things to happen, they just changed the name to something plainsounding like “peoples action committee for change now”. Additionally, the same speech protections were already being allowed for unions if i’m not mistaken. What I have a problem with is the fact that the decision does not overturn the individual limit on campaign contributions. While it is true that this would allow people to donate whatever they wished.. who cares?

Anyways, in the end, a corporation is a collection of people, i don’t think people, or corporations, should be told what they can and can’t contribute money to.

I’d like to clarify that the real problem i believe is that this is already occuring simply under a different name

lilikoi's avatar

Business as usual…

lilikoi's avatar

In the end, corporations are not people. Businesses should absolutely not be allowed to influence politics. If you can’t see why that is a bad idea, you are a total idiot.

Judi's avatar

I think we will look more like a monarchy in 50 years.

lilikoi's avatar

I don’t see it being a monarchy but an oligarchy, and I think the change will be gradual… maybe take several generations.

SeventhSense's avatar

This is nothing new. Corporations just used different methods and loopholes to achieve the same thing before. If anything people will become more sophisticated in the discerning of the truth behind a candidate. Politics and everything under the sun is about money. Surprise surprise.
And anti corporation for the sake of being anti corporation is just short sighted. Corporations are what drives the economy. Corporations are run by people and corporations provide value in countless forms through their contribution to society.

___'s avatar

@lilikoi An oligarchy is really not a far stretch I suppose.. we already give a lot of our power to a small group of people. as for your earlier point, i’d like to point out that corps have been doing this for a long time by different means, if you really think that they have spent no money on politics since 1907 I’d look at recent campaigns again ;)

lilikoi's avatar

I’m not saying they haven’t been doing this for a long time – that’s why I said “business as usual”. I am well aware of who has lobbyists and how much they get paid.

But to argue that corporations are run by people, and therefore they basically are people, and should have the same rights as people is overlooking the fact that by forming a corporation you trigger a lot of protections from liability for the people that are running it. The corporation is in essence, legally an entity separate from the people that run it. That is, when you sue a corporation – for that is the only real way to hold such a “person” accountable (you can’t send them to prison) – you do not sue the people comprising it.

When it is possible to give a corporation 30 years to life or the electric chair, then you may have my support for bottomless campaign donations.

HankMoody's avatar

I think it means we will see a lot of advertising and candidates will run the best campaigns money can buy.

SeventhSense's avatar

@HankMoody
Such a departure~

Ron_C's avatar

I have addressed this question before. The bottom line is that if you like Russia’s government run buy an oligarchy, you’ll love the New American government. We have just had a billion dollar Presidential campaign. Future campaigns at all levels of American government will be decided strictly by who raises enough money.

I would guess that the best we can hope for is a scrolling line listing corporate sponsors while our politicians are speaking on television.

kidkosmik's avatar

@Ron_C If not a scrolling line maybe a NASCAR jacket?

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Anyone here who thinks this will be business as usual, has no idea what this will do to local, strategic campaigns. The process of codifying the attribution of individual rights to corporations has been going on since the 1890s. This is the final nail in the coffin of the democracy.

Ron_C's avatar

@kidkosmik I mentioned the NASCAR jacket; tried not to be redundant.

Thanks @Espiritus_Corvus

CaptainHarley's avatar

I suspect you underestimate the ability of the American voter to make distinctions between political candidates which do not involved the amount of money spent on ads for them. The unions are just as guilty of political spending as are the corporations. There are organizations which present the facts about various political candidates, and the “blogosphere” is very effective in doing much the same thing.

Polly_Math's avatar

I think this could well be the beginning of the end of democracy as we know it (which is presently no great shakes). Welcome to America, Inc.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

@CaptainHarley
Believe me, after the last eight years, I find it impossible to underestimate the American voter. And maybe you haven’t noticed, but the unions are corporations.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus

My Masters’ thesis was on the unions.

Ron_C's avatar

@CaptainHarley no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American voter. Didn’t you see the old people on medicare protesting government backed health insurance. Bush was voted for by almost 50% of the American voters, twice!

CaptainHarley's avatar

@Ron

And with good reason, although I don’t want to get into THAT discussion.

Nullo's avatar

Nothing much, really.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@Ron_C It was truly sad to hear old people yelling, “Keep the government out of my Medicare!” Sigh.

Anyway, it’s certainly an interesting question. One other difference between corporations and “real” people is that corporations are essentially immortal. All the money and influence concentrated in a body that will last beyond one generation. As someone said, it certainly does sound like a monarchy.

Anon_Jihad's avatar

Dollars aren’t votes, and voters who rely on propaganda to make their minds for them aren’t going to vote in any different of a pattern at all. The generally stupid and easily manipulated masses will still do the same stupid shit. And now corporate funding will be far more easy to follow as it will be on the books as opposed to behind closed doors due to the complete lack of risk in being up front. If anything this kind of clears matters up.

SeventhSense's avatar

@Dr_Dredd
You can will your money to your heirs as well, set up a trust etc.

Cruiser's avatar

@Ron_C I do have to agree with you in that elections can very much be won by the candidate that raises and wastes the most money!!! HELLO!!! Corporate money is what bought and sold this past presidential election. B. Obama broke every and all records of campaign fund raising and SPENDING on his campaign!!! How many hundreds of Millions of dollars???? 800 mil is a number that comes to mind. Is that fair enough for you Ron?? Perhaps we should turn back the clock 2 years, apply your rules and see what’s fair!!! .HS Ron!!! Great idea!!! Why didn’t I think to censor corporate political funding!!! We would not be in this mess!!

ETpro's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus wrote, “The process of codifying the attribution of individual rights to corporations has been going on since the 1890s. This is the final nail in the coffin of the democracy.”

I totally agree. Prior to this, corporations could funnel money into election advertising through funding of political action committees. But this opens floodgates and drastically increases their control. It is a very sad day for Democracy, one that may eventually lead to the American people flooding into the streets to take their country back, or whatever is left of it after the oligarchs extract everything they want and move on.

I’m stunned to hear conservatives applauding this. It may look like it plays to their advantage today, but it plays only to the advantage of those who run the world’s largest multinational companies with the largest cash flow. From the city council up, they can now buy the votes they need to set aside any regulations, any transparency, and de-legitimize any competition, outlaw it. They can and they will use the full power of the law to maximize profits.

Conservatives were outraged at the justices that found an implicit right to privacy in the Constitution in Roe V. Wade. If that was judicial activism, this is judicial takeover of the entire US Government. There is no earthly way that the Founders, when voting to ratify the 1st Amendment, meant to give Hugo Chavez and his Citgo Corp. the right to funnel hundreds of millions into a US election to win rules favorable to him. They had just fought a brutal war to throw off the Chains of Bondage of the British East India Company. They are turning over in their graves hearing that these 5 men have just determined that corporations are, for the purposes of 1st Amendment Freedom of Speech, the same as US Citizens. They even specifically stated that the rule applied to all corporations, not just US owned ones.

SeventhSense's avatar

@ETpro
It is quite tragic but commercial code rules the day and has for the past 150 years or so. Old money is part and parcel of Presidencies as well. Consider that we had two families that dominated politics for the last two decades. The real tragedy from all the campaign money is that it keeps brilliant men and women from little means from being contendors. But hey if Hugo backs a man or woman from the bottom that may not be such a bad thing.

ETpro's avatar

@SeventhSense Ha! I never thought of it that way.

DrMC's avatar

I’ll just jump in here

Those promoting the democratic party are likely to be upset, and those promoting the republican party are likely to be happy.

the real issue IMHO involves that little old video that became banned.

How does literature become banned in a nation with free speech?!?

This is America – I think?! Isn’t it!??

So this little pile of propaganda never saw meaningful light of day because it was an “attack add” -

Which ever side you are on, if you haven’t read 1984 – now is the time. Once people of all sorts and colors cant tell the truth during election-time you do NOT have democracy.

Whatever distortion it requires to retain that freedom is necessary.

The majority of the press is largely controlled by a minority of individuals. Squelching any opposition, harassing opposing viewpoints, in the media and in nice little comfy places like fluther is excessively imbalanced. That one could complain about the results of this judicial action, means you have your hand on the pulse of mainstream media, and not mainstream America.

If you don’t like what has happened after this judicial action, first blood should not have been drawn with “Hillary”. A cannon large enough to take out corrupt manipulation by the dems now opens a floodgates. Keep it in mind the next time you try to pollute pure principles with relativistic personal gain. A legal eye for an eye.

SeventhSense's avatar

@DrMC
Which makes no sense since in the last election Obama raised much more money. Most people faill to see the real impact of this and just imagine if their candidate doesn’t win it’s bad.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@SeventhSense That’s true, but the heirs are separate people. Taking this ruling to the extreme, the corporation would be considered the same person over time.

ETpro's avatar

@DrMC The video wasn’t banned because it was an attack add, but because it was actually paid for by a corporation to push a political agenda that was in their financial interest, but was being packaged as a grassroots amateur documentary film-maker’s work. It violated campaign finance laws. At least it did into 5 men decided there are no such things as campaign finance laws.

Conservatives won’t be so thrilled when corporations do what they always do, maximize profits. One easy way to do that is to sell the people on massive new government spending programs. Let’s outsource the prison system entirely, then arrest all the homeless and poor so taxpayers can be safe once again (Translation = pay higher taxes to feed and house millions more in private, for-profit prisons.) And we really need to get cracking outsourcing defense as well. Once people catch on to what this can cause, corporations may need their own armies for protection. I wonder id, as persons, they enjoy 2nd Amendment rights too.

SeventhSense's avatar

@DrMC
The majority of the press is largely controlled by a minority of individuals. Squelching any opposition, harassing opposing viewpoints, in the media and in nice little comfy places like fluther is excessively imbalanced.
I don’t get the last line. Are you comparing the incredible diversity we have here with the likes of say Rupert Murdoch’s trash machine?

___'s avatar

I think he’s saying that trying to silence opposing viewpoints in any forum is wrong.

Nullo's avatar

@SeventhSense
The New York Times is no flower show either, you know. You can practically feel the bias on your skin.

SeventhSense's avatar

@___
I don’t think so but I’ll wait to hear from him

SeventhSense's avatar

@Nullo
To the average person weaned on Fox, I imagine anything which is comprehensive feels threatening.

DrMC's avatar

@SeventhSense yup, suppressing, opposing viewpoints is not debate, it’s just more of the same you get everywhere you turn. – a person rises 100% in my view if they can look at both sides.

I really was infuriated that the “Hilliary” was suppressed. I bought it merely because it was banned. I still would rather vote for Obama regardless (I didn’t).

The media in my experience is strongly progressive, anti liberal, anti libertarian, anti conservative, anti white, .....

The Hilliary propaganda movie was tripe, definitely a shameless attack add that would have done little .. now however – it did more good for the republican cause as banned, Now you have a bunch of Angry hillbillies.

Ron_C's avatar

@Cruiser the unique thing about Obama’s campaign is that he raised his money form individuals, not corporate money. The legal presence of legal unlimited corporate money will completely dampen candidates that don’t want to become obligated to corporations. Would individuals donate to a candid icy when they know that a rich, immortal corporation already had control. I can’t believe that you see limiting this undue influence as censorship. The individuals in the corporation aren’t censored, they also aren’t forced to support the view of their boss.

There is a form of government where this practice is the rule, that’s a monarchy. It is likely that the U.S. will split up into little fiefdoms. Enjoy being a serf.

SeventhSense's avatar

@DrMC
I’m not following your line because I don’t know the Hillary references.
But if the media is unbiased in your opinion how is that a bad thing? I don’t believe it is. Although, NEWS should have zero political leaning. It should just inform robotic facts and let us decide. The opposite of that is the Limbaughs, the Franklins, the O’reilly’s and Kennedy’s. That’s not news but editorial for lazy people who want to be told how to think. I don’t think that Fluther is biased though. They just moderate to keep civility and of course to keep a viable business going which is what this is here.

DrMC's avatar

@SeventhSense it’s (Hilary the movie) out there if you’re interested. If I can find it you will too. At least the internet allows for opposing views.

Stock purchases, votes, decisions are based on a perception of reality and position.

He who controls this perception can misuse it. Do you not think so?

Would you want the stock market manipulated and cornered for their gain, while your retirement withers? Honesty, reality, these are virtues unto themselves.

The majority meme within fluther is pro-progressive, but fortunately there is a high percentage of educated free thinkers and liberals, so I keep coming back. Being a liberal means you can tolerate and handle opposing views. Being a progressive means your mind is closed to reason, and your mouth is open to the cool aid of the messiah.

By the the way a true liberal would gasp at the statement “But if the media is unbiased in your opinion how is that a bad thing?”

How can you say this?!. Did you not get memed in public school like I did?

CaptainHarley's avatar

Face it… America is an economic oligarchy, where greed trumps everything else, including ( most of the time ) the will of the people. It takes a lot to get people worked up in this Country, but when they DO get worked up, they can definitely change things. Right now, with Brown elected to fill the deceased Teddy Kennedy’s Senate seat, and the recent election in Virginia, we are seeing a sea-change in the electorate. The next few years should be interesting. : )

SeventhSense's avatar

No I resisted all attempts at indoctrination. I was a born rebel and I imagine i will die as such. But to the extent that organizations have the purpose of creating a viable business there will always be bias in everything I suppose. I mean it takes an incredible person to not allow their opinions to enter in and even in creating a balance their opinion is still at work. The exception is a completely equitable public forum but the prospect usually becomes as interesting as dry toast. And I of course am as hypocritical as the next man because I used to love the Washington Post editorial Week in review. A nice synopsis and I concurred with most all of it.
As per the talking heads in finance, you really don’t have to listen to them. Just look at Buffet. He always said he buys when people are frightened and sells when they are optimistic.
@CaptainHarley
Thanks for reminding me about Massachusetts. A supreme insult to all Ted accomplished.

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

The Supreme Court generally lags the times (conservative in the 30’s when FDR was attempting to push a liberal agenda, liberal in the 50’s when the nation was swinging back conservative). Look at popular culture today. Corporate executives (both fictional and increasingly real-life) are the bad guys and have been for a while now. Everybody has been feeling the effects of excessive neo-liberal market discipline and shock doctrine let alone Dilbert-type inanities/insanities in the workplace. Like @CaptainHarley, I believe we are in for “interesting times”. There’s going to be a lot more hurt and many applecarts are going to be overturned, and people are going to have to make unaccustomed sacrifices, but I think some degree of balance will be restored and we’ll feel a lot better about ourselves as a country again.

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

That is until Generation Y’s kids start going to college after a decade or so of “good times”. They will find fault with the new status quo and the cycle will start all over again! At least that’s what the generational theory of Strauss and Howe predicts, and I have to say they nailed the 90’s and 00’s.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

Bad decision. Corporations will be able to buy elections I’m worried.

augustlan's avatar

Ideally, I wouldn’t allow any campaign donations, be they individual or corporate. I’d like to see all campaigns allotted an equal amount of (publicly funded) money, airtime, etc. to use to get their message across. I know there are problems with this scenario, but I’d love to see that be the base starting point.

ETpro's avatar

@CaptainHarley Indeed. I think the result of the SCOTUS decision will ultimately be terrible not just for liberty but for both parties. But in the short haul, it’s definitely good for Republicans. They may get to do what they have wanted to do and we can all see whether it produces another recession or depression.

Siren's avatar

Our next president will be sponsored by WalMart. He may not even be human, just a puppet that looks human or CGI that you watch on tv and an actor in real life.

Nullo's avatar

@SeventhSense
Are you insinuating that I get all my news from Fox?

Cruiser's avatar

@Ron_C Hello again Ron….I hope you got some sleep cause your reply to me last night was borderline insane. to quote you…the unique thing about Obama’s campaign is that he raised his money form individuals, not corporate money.”

We can’t continue to have a conversation here if you continue to ignore reality sir. Yes Obama did generate a massive amount of support from individual and suspect contributions by his credit card donation drive but you need to get in touch with massive amount of money he got from corporations many who miraculously were benefactors of his bailouts. Time to get back to reality Ron! This is just the short list of Corporations Obama is now beholden to.

University of California $1,591,395
Goldman Sachs $994,795
Harvard University $854,747
Microsoft Corp $833,617
Google Inc $803,436
Citigroup Inc $701,290
JPMorgan Chase & Co $695,132
Time Warner $590,084
Sidley Austin LLP $588,598
Stanford University $586,557
National Amusements Inc $551,683
UBS AG $543,219
Wilmerhale Llp $542,618
Skadden, Arps et al $530,839
IBM Corp $528,822
Columbia University $528,302
Morgan Stanley $514,881
General Electric $499,130
US Government $494,820
Latham & Watkins $493,835

Ivy's avatar

I’m late to this question and forgive my sarcasm for just about anything our government does, but weren’t we promised more transparency in government? This latest outrage certainly qualifies as a transparent green-light to tightening an already well-used noose, but the execution has been ongoing. Throughout 2009 the buzz word was ‘fascism’, and now its ‘oligarchy’, but whatever you call it, anyone who can’t see beyond the talking heads, hasn’t been adding up the ongoing facts. For those with a sense of humor for the bizarre, here’s The Daily Show’s take on the Supreme Corp:
http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-january-25-2010/supreme-corp

JLeslie's avatar

I agree with @augustlan

Also, this is the first I have heard that the Supreme court was hearing this case. I wish the media had been more on top of it.

A few people above mentioned how ignorant and easily swayed the American public is. I couldn’t agree more. I keep hearing politicians say things like, “I know the American public can see when things don’t make sense, I trust people to make the right deicisions with their vote.” Bullshit. I mean do they really believe that? I think behind closed doors they tell their spouses how they cannot believe how dumb people are. Money and advertising just helps feed into the marketing schemes of each group. But, I am also thinking about the fact that shows on Fox news and even some shows on MSNBC are so extreme, they are almost like an hour commercial for a party or candidate. Elections and politics are so corrupted now wth media and money.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

This is not really the bugaboo that many people seem to think it is. Most “for profit” corporations aren’t going to risk alienating up to half of their customers by advocating strongly for particular candidates. For issues, yes, of course—and why shouldn’t they? But that’s why it’s important for the free flow of information—especially at election times!—to be unimpeded. Mostly it will be PACs (both pro and anti business) that will fund parties, since corporations are already prohibited from contributing directly to individual candidates.

Nullo's avatar

@SeventhSense Here’s a gem:

“A Lifesaving Tool Turned Deadly: Radiation Offers Powerful New Cures, And Ways To Do Harm.”

No, this isn’t a headline from the 1950s. This is from the front page of the Jan. 24 2010 edition.
Quality news right there.

ETpro's avatar

@CyanoticWasp The concern is that corporations will do exactly what they were created to do, maximize profits. Think, for a moment, how a $500 million campaign war chest might be used to buy advertising to help accomplish that.

It isn’t that it will go to support a particular party, it will go to buy politicians jobs if they promise to support a particular agenda. It will go to run primary challenges and opposing party candidates against any politician who doesn’t do what the big multinational corporations want of him or her.

One way to maximize profits would be to eliminate corporate taxes and capital gains taxes and move the entire tax burden to the payroll tax. Get rid of equal pay laws. Get rid of worker protections. Get rid of liability laws. Push for government spending with certain industries, or mandate that all Americans must buy this or that or the other. Giving corporations carte blanche to buy themselves lawmakers who will play step-and-fetch-it for the corporatocracy is an extremely slippery slope.

Anon_Jihad's avatar

Again people, remember while money speaks a great deal, corporations have absolutely no ability to partake in or influence over voting. So pick your politicians better and this will have little to any effect.

SeventhSense's avatar

@Nullo
You’re really going to have to be clearer:
Re: NY Times
One article among a series about the increasing risk of radiation poisoning from machines…and your point is?

Nullo's avatar

@SeventhSense
My point is that the headline in question isn’t exactly telling the world something that it didn’t already know: radiation therapy has its risks. That was old news fifty years ago.

ETpro's avatar

@Anon_Jihad I wish I could just put my faith in the discernment of the American people. But I’m thinking we wouldn’t be in the mess we were in if they always made the best choice and never let adverting sway them, and adding another $500 million in attack ads isn’t likely to improve their judgment.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

There is an old saying from the admen of Madison Avenue, “A lie told enough times becomes the truth.” If there was no truth in this, America wouldn’t buy half the crap they do, Rush Limbaugh would still be a top 40 disc jockey on Pittsburg radio named Jim Christie, and Glen Beck would still be a third rate, coke-driven shock-jock in Tampa.

JLeslie's avatar

@Anon_Jihad That sounds really naive to me. Read @Espiritus_Corvus statement immediately above, there is truth in what he says.

SeventhSense's avatar

@Nullo
Read the article

Anon_Jihad's avatar

@JLeslie There is no truth in that comment, only opinion. That was a naive statement.

@ETpro Well then you have no faith in Democracy.

SeventhSense's avatar

@Anon_Jihad
You mean the corporate media doesn’t put people on the air who generate income based on their charismatic, shocking or provocative personalities? Now who’s being naive?
“If it bleeds it leads”.

kidkosmik's avatar

@Anon_Jihad Oh come on! We all know this stopped being a democracy when JFK was assassinated. Right?

Anon_Jihad's avatar

@SeventhSense And it all boils down to Democracy being a silly system to use as the masses are stupid and swayed easily. But it’s the best we’ve got and I’ll stick by it until something superior is devised.

SeventhSense's avatar

@Anon_Jihad
You deflect. The point being that corporations have no influence is naive.

JLeslie's avatar

@Anon_Jihad No one is talking about getting rid of our democracy, well we are really talkin about the Republic I think; we are talking about people having unfair advantages in becoming our representatives due to money expenditures by big business.

CaptainHarley's avatar

The United States has NEVER been a democracy, thank God!

Ron_C's avatar

@CaptainHarley you are right. We are just shifting from a representative democracy where our representative didn’t give a crap what their constituents thought to one where the corporate constituents put a guy into a job to assure that they protect the corporation. Of course both forms could give a crap what the individual constituent wants, no it will be blatant. Before it was more circumspect.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@Ron_C

I sure do wish I knew what the solution was, short of outright revolution. : (

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Jeezuz. Finally somebody starts entertaining a solution. Up to now, I found nearly everyone here frighteningly complacent with this shit. The lack of awareness for the first 75 years since the 1890s, then cynical complacency for the last 45 has got us where we are now. How about talking about what must be done to get our elected officials to represent the people who actually vote them into office?

CaptainHarley's avatar

Um… elect people who don’t give a crap about money? [ he says, hopefully ] : )

Ron_C's avatar

@CaptainHarley the last time this happened was when the East India Company and the English king controlled trade and leadership. The ultimate result of corporate ownership of the country is revolution. The good thing is that the left and right will have to join to over-come this. In the short term, the right will benefit. Once things are under control, all the people left on the right will be corporate drones following orders from their bosses.

I don’t think we will see a revolution, you hear all of the talk vilifying congress and a call for new leadership. I did it too, before I heard this ruling. The next round of elections will have many more corporate candidates with expensive advertising. The election after that will solidify corporate ownership. Americans are sheep despite all their tough talk. Most people don’t see the problem. In 6 or 8 years when they do, it will be too late.

CaptainHarley's avatar

I’m not quite that pessimistic.

Ivy's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus: “How about talking about what must be done to get our elected officials to represent the people who actually vote them into office?”
I’m sooo listening, even if I am cynical to the nnnth degree ~ I’ve never, not ever, been complacent, or even disinterested. But the airwaves and net are abuzz with talking non-stop about it, and as Leonard Cohen put it, “the homicidal bitchin’ that goes down in every kitchen” just adds to the babble. In my humble opinion, the American people have never been so betrayed by our elected officials, or divided into so many splinter groups, all carrying signs that say ‘hurrah for our side’ and seriously wanting to take the other side down or out. Is it possible to even get a boycott off the ground in our citizenry right now? The voting majority of American people have been so deeply lulled for so long into believing there was no end to our ridiculously greedy way of life, that they refused to even see everything slip-sliding away into this. Everyone’s angry about at least one something and everyone’s looking for someone to blame, but most Americans are guilty of sucking whatever marrow they could get out of the “good times” that got us into this mess. The only ones that don’t share in the guilt are the ones that didn’t share in the ‘good times’, the marginalized and down-and-out who bear the hardest brunt for it, and wish all the talking would produce some .. just one .. tangible result in their poor, extremely stressful lives. It does take a village and it does start locally and action always comes after talking stops. Every revolution seemed to begin in the back room of some saloon somewhere, but revolution has always been a fight for the young who grow impatient with talk and want action, and revolution is always bloody and costly and EVERYONE pays. So without more talking or a revolution that will be over in the blink of an eye as “they” hold the big guns, I’m editing the question you asked above to “What must be done to get our elected officials to represent the people who actually vote them into office?

kidkosmik's avatar

@Dracool Unrelated. I love your avatar. Loved Gary Oldman in Dracula!

Ivy's avatar

Thanks, kidkosmik. Oldman rocks as a character actor and Dracula was one of his most memorable characters; great movie! I have a photo of him in character with a red top hat and red silk tails that I bring out for my Christmas avatar:).

Ivy's avatar

I wanted to add this to the discussion of what can be done. I just received this from Ralph Nader’s team. It’s the end of his synopsis of the State of the Union Address last night:

“American taxpayers will be paying nearly $800 million a year just to guard the U.S. Embassy and its personnel in Baghdad. That sum alone is greater than either the annual budgets of OSHA ($502 million to deal with 58,000 work related deaths in America) or NHTSA ($730 million to deal with over 40,000 road fatalities.) I’m sending this column to the White House. You also may wish to send your observations to President Obama. Citizens should be more than spectators to the annual state of the union spectacle.”

SeventhSense's avatar

@Nullo
And as usual you’re adding to the collective ignorance by jumping on a headline and imagining that you understand something when you haven’t a clue. But reading a series of articles is not something that you are apparently wont to do or you would see the error in your once again inflammatory statement: My point is that the headline in question isn’t exactly telling the world something that it didn’t already know: radiation therapy has its risks. That was old news fifty years ago.
There’s a reason the Times is called “All the News that’s fit to Print”. It’s comprehensive and truly balanced but one has to be open minded enough to suspend their opinion until a truly accurate one can be formed by investigating all the data. And yes there’s a distinct difference in using a headline to attract attention and one which aims to mislead and sway opinion. But again you have to read beyond the headline.

So I can only concur that with your faulty deduction based on nothing but a knee jerk response, and of course your support of Focus on the Family’s Wildmon and other biased sources, that actually Fox News is probably too highbrow for you.

DrMC's avatar

Does anyone really believe that these changes in the law will in any way at all change the way the wealthy elite groups (read both parties) already covertly fund their pet projects?

With these deeds in the light of day it can be counted at least, judged for what is by the common man, no longer cloaked in stealth.

Perhaps by razing pretense we can rebuild propriety. That this nation allows for men created equal, and trusted with democratic decision making capability is a farce.

Lets move away from bickering and pretense now. It’s a form of inefficiency and dishonor.

Nullo's avatar

@SeventhSense
Feel better? Good.
No, I don’t read series of articles in the NYTimes. That publication (and yes, it is biased) costs money that’s better spent on my bank account.
Wildmon is affiliated with the American Family Association, not Focus on the Family.

Drgrafenbergmd's avatar

@Nullo Thanks bud, you inspired me with that last one

http://www.fluther.com/disc/73716/could-a-support-feature-suppliment-the-great-answer-feature/

I agreed and would support you @SeventhSense
If we had the feature

Nullo's avatar

@Drgrafenbergmd
The written word does not convey inflection and tone, and thus sarcasm does not transmit readily. Therefore, I must ask: is your comment serious or sarcastic? @SeventhSense and I are on opposite sides of a question; you cannot possibly support both sides.

Drgrafenbergmd's avatar

Naw bud, I believe in discourse. I happen to agree with SS right now but Im sure we share many opinions also, this is an important subject and all fleshing out of it is benefitial. As long as thats what we are doing with our responses we should probably spend more time on it actually…

SeventhSense's avatar

@Drgrafenbergmd
I agree. I like to think of discourse as fluid and ideas trans formative and changeable. I know some believe that they have an opinion and that’s it but personally I don’t see the point in discussion at all if we can’t both influence and be influenced by the collective. Even if it’s in a minor way. I think we are going to find that these methods of discourse will one day be considered the foundation of a quantum leap of civilization. In the history of mankind never has there been the immediacy of an international and immediate exchange of ideas as there is with the internet. It’s like having tea with the world every day.

Kraigmo's avatar

How come Corporate America can donate billions of dollars to Republicans and Democrats, in massive quid pro quo schemes causing bad laws and corrupt bureaucracies, because the Supreme Court calls it “free speech”.... but if I fuck a whore and pay her fifty bucks, that very same Supreme Court will call me a criminal?

ETpro's avatar

@Kraigmo Because the corporatocracy hasn’t decided to go into that business yet. Don’t look for $50 tricks when they do, though.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

It was a bad decision. Business already had lobbyist.

ETpro's avatar

@Russell_D_SpacePoet I’ll say. Business already largely owns Congress and the Administration. What more do they want? Looks like the answer to that is, A;ll of it.

Ron_C's avatar

@Kraigmo the surprising thing is that you can get a hooker for $50.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

@ETpro Big business will own it all now. Not that they didn’t already. Big business’s influence on the government is one of our countries biggest problems.

ETpro's avatar

@Russell_D_SpacePoet Sad but true. Now that they fully own it, maybe they will finally lose the rape and pillage mentality and take responsibility for it. Business actually does much better when the middle class does well than when only billionaires catch a break.

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