Thursday, January 21, 2010

Well, we're really screwed now: corporations given the right to buy elections

"Corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed."  Abraham Lincoln
OK, this is going to be all over the news, but this morning the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that corporations can spend as much as they want to get a candidate elected, and that restraints on their spending are violations of the 1st Amendment right to free speech.

Labor unions and other organizations were also given the right to spend freely, but I do think we'll be a little outclassed, don't you?

I imagine U.S. Chamber of Commerce members will be dancing in the streets.  The chamber recently spent $2.5 million in the state of Maine to oppose federal health care legislation, even though no local ballot question was pending, but that state is represented by moderate Republicans Sens. Olympia Snowe, considered to be possible swing votes in the Senate battle.  ABC.   They're also claiming part of the credit for getting Massachuetts' Scott Brown elected, and plan to spend $100 million more to defeat health care reform.  Think Progress. 

Now, clearly there are lots of Massachusetts folks opposed to the current version of health care reform who voted for Scott Brown, but ask yourself:  do you think you might have been overly influenced?  (You'd never admit it to me, so just be answerable to yourself.) 

The Chamber is also launching a campaign against the creation of a new federal agency to protect consumers from financial abuses. Denver Post

For those of us who think big money already plays too large a role in elections, the news couldn't be worse.  Do we really want the U.S. to be a country where you can only have democracy if you can buy it?

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