You Want the Good News First or the Bad News?

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This much is clear: as we approach the second anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, we’ve still got a lot of work to do just getting people to know what the decision was all about. A new poll from the Pew Research Center for People and the Press finds that only 54 percent of registered voters they surveyed had heard of Citizens United and knew that it allows raising and spending unlimited independent money on political ads.

The good news is that of those in the know, fully 65 percent say the new campaign finance rules “are having a negative effect on the 2012 presidential campaign. And among those who have heard a lot about these new campaign finance rules, 78 percent say the effect has been negative.”

Nonetheless, all that cash is working, according to an analysis by the Associated Press: “The millions of dollars’ worth of political advertisements airing before the early primary elections are turning out to be money well spent: The ads have affected primary results more than other forms of campaigning, including personal appearances by candidates, campaign speeches or town hall meetings… The AP’s study of advertising purchases, campaign stops and demographic data offers the first tangible signs of how new super political action committees… are poised to remake presidential politics this year.”

Harvard Law professor and consumer advocate, Democrat Elizabeth Warren talks with supporters at the J & M Diner in Framingham, Mass. September 2011. (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)
Harvard Law professor and consumer advocate, Democrat Elizabeth Warren, center, talks with supporters at the J & M Diner in Framingham, Mass., Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011, during her first day of campaigning for a shot at challenging incumbent Republican Sen. Scott Brown in 2012 for his U. S. Senate seat. She and Senator Scott Brown have recently pledged to curtail super PAC advertising in their race. (AP/Josh Reynolds)

On a brighter note, rival U.S. Senate candidates Elizabeth Warren and incumbent Scott Brown in Massachusetts have called for a “cease-fire” on third party super PAC spending in their race. Senior officials from both campaigns will soon meet to come up with a plan. But as Politico.com reports, don’t count on it. “Whether the talk amounts to anything more than public posturing to distance themselves from the millions of dollars in negative attacks launched by the groups remains to be seen. Experts are skeptical that groups will unilaterally disarm knowing that this race could tip the balance of power in the Senate.”

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  • leftofcenter

    Camapign finance reform is just a convenient talking point to pull out before an election. What’s also disturbing is how many people think it’s perfectly ok for a millionaire to spend their own money and literally try to buy an office. Bloomberg would be great. He wouldn’t answer to anybody by spending all of his own money. Sorry, but that’s completely missing the point.

  • Richard Ellmyer

    Dreadnaught Citizens United Fires First Blasts At American Democracy

    Not since the notorious Dred Scott decision of the United States Supreme Court in March 1857, which held that people of African descent, and their descendants, brought into the United States and held as slaves were not protected by the Constitution and could never be U.S. citizens, has a ruling by our highest court, namely Citizens United, challenged the very legitimacy of our American democracy. Dred Scott defined persons as non-persons where Citizens United did exactly the opposite, declaring non-persons to be persons.

    The predictably dangerous effects on our American political system are already abundantly clear in the avalanche of unaccountable SuperPac advertisements confronting television viewers and voters in the Republican presidential primaries. This is only the beginning. A tsunami of unlimited, unidentified SuperPac money will soon engulf the airwaves of our entire country as the general election campaign for president of the United States of America begins in ernest.

    To help us Americans who have not anonymously contributed vast amounts of money to a SuperPac understand what’s going on here, Huffington Post reporters Dan Froomkin and Paul Blumenthal have created a remarkable, easy to understand, five part video series featuring Stephen Colbert. You will not find a better or more entertaining explanation of the reality of the fateful Citizens United decision then these videos. I urge you to try the first one. You will be hooked.

    Huffington Post’s Dan Froomkin and Paul Blumenthal Present

    Stephen Colbert: “God Bless Citizens United” Part One (3:50)
    http://embed.5min.com/517246719/

    Stephen Colbert: “God Bless Citizens United” Part Two (3:41)
    http://embed.5min.com/517247806/

    Stephen Colbert: “God Bless Citizens United” Part Three (4:46)
    http://embed.5min.com/517247959/

    Stephen Colbert: “God Bless Citizens United” Part Four (3:53)
    http://embed.5min.com/517248600/

    Stephen Colbert: “God Bless Citizens United” Part Five (4.32)
    http://embed.5min.com/517248673/

    The Supreme Court is misguided in principle, and wrong on the law. Our American democracy is based on government of, by and for REAL People. Go here. Sign the petition. Stand up for the kind of American democracy you were taught to believe in.
    http://www.movetoamend.org/

    Richard Ellmyer
    Certified Oregon Change Agent by governor John Kitzhaber
    Portland, Oregon
    [Did I miss you in my last commentary? Go here: http://topics.oregonlive.com/tag/Richard%2520Ellmyer/index.html ]

  • Anonymous

    Changes to the law before the 2012 election will not happen.
    Oligarch dominance of media means the public will not soon be fully informed.
    It’s OK to vote, but if we get more Congresspeople of the “cutter” variety, what will the informed People do then?
    Contingency plans should be in the works. 

    Democratic Convention organizers announced this week that Obama will kick it off on Labor Day by campaigning to one billionaire- Bruton Smith at his Charlotte Motor Speedway. NASCAR types are fixated on Obama’s race, but not the political one, so he will not attract them. Three days later his Coronation will occur in Bank of America Stadium (skyboxes for high rollers) after two days  in Time Warner Cable Arena persuading Hillary to trade roles with Joe Biden, and auctioning off the Internet. Boy, and some of you think these are the “good guys”? The symbolism alone spells FEUDALISM and FASCISM in large letters. I’m voting my conscience- some probable loser from a third party.

    Without an organizing miracle against all odds and against the National Political Police (FBI, Homeland Security, National Guard and covert security apparatus, and wrong wing jackpot macoute thugs) 2012 will probably snuff out the last flickering flame of democracy in the USA. By all means vote, and don’t stop at ballot voting. But don’t send any of these One Big Business Party jokers any money. 

  • Anonymous

    lefto… Know what I always say; that the liberal class has 4 reform myths:
    1.Campaign Finance Reform
    2. Egalitarian Educational Access
    3. EPA Regulation of Energy and Chemical Corporations
    4. Single Payer Healthcare

    Anything more could risk next quarters’ unearned income.

    But the way things are going you’d have to be earning $250 K or more to benefit.
    And Sisyphus’ rock would be at the bottom of the hill every morning thanks to wealth power. We could have these good things and more if we had the guts to cap wealth and income. Only People power can  save us now, and not through the Internet. If we keep grasping at a Constitution already owned by the Oligarchy and hoping it protects our meager possessions we’ll end up losing it all. Corporate royalism and elite covert contract must die, no matter the “pursuit of happiness.”
    People can change the interpretation of founding documents by intimidating the Elite. No overlords cede power without a struggle.

  • Anonymous

    See Liberal Class Myth #1 below. Colbert is humorous but a waste of time, and how do you amend when politics is bought?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ER4QQQAYFXES2PLQWICAQAC5BU nine yarder

    Dear Bill, I’d like to propose a topic for Moyers & Company.

    The first part of the topic would be to discuss a plan for a Constitutional Amendment to enact new campaign finance laws.  The panel of 2 or 3 guests would discuss a way forward for a citizen’s action plan.  The action plan would be to recruit and organize a council of about a dozen prominent and influential Americans with experience in Constitutional law, Finance, Politics, Media, and other fields, who will participate in drafting the amendment.  Somebody (you, I hope) would have to propose this plan to a potential council chairperson who would get the ball rolling.

    Ground rules for the council:

    1) The proposed Amendment must be no longer than one type-written page, expressed in plain English.

    2) All members of the council must agree on the wording of the amendment.

    Once the proposed Amendment is agreed on, three of the council members would appear on Moyers & Company to present the document and discuss the process which was used to arrive at a consensus, and the plan for taking the document to the public.

    Since the document would be one page long, it could be posted in public venues where it would be available for all citizens to view and discuss.  This would be followed by a petition campaign in all states, sponsored by volunteer groups.  A citizen could easily read the full Amendment in five minutes in order to decide whether or not to sign the petition.

    From that point on the hope would be that the petition campaign would force each of the states to follow the route to enact the Amendment as it was written, with only slight change, but adhering to the intent of simplicity, brevity, and clarity.

    Best regards, Gerard Croce, Chester Springs, PA

  • Iris

    A MUST READ FROM:   Federalobserver.com         – Vol. 12,  No.  21
              
    The Bankers Manifesto of 1892The Father and his more famous son.Revealed by US Congressman Charles A. Lindbergh, SR from Minnesota before the US Congress sometime during his term of office between the years of 1907 and 1917 to warn the citizens.”We (the bankers) must proceed with caution and guard every move made, for the lower order of people are already showing signs of restless commotion. Prudence will therefore show a policy of apparently yielding to the popular will until our plans are so far consummated that we can declare our designs without fear of any organized resistance.The Farmers Alliance and Knights of Labor organizations in the United States should be carefully watched by our trusted men, and we must take immediate steps to control these organizations in our interest or disrupt them. At the coming Omaha Convention to be held July 4th (1892), our men must attend and direct its movement, or else there will be set on foot such antagonism to our designs as may require force to overcome. This at the present time would be premature. We are not yet ready for such a crisis. Capital must protect itself in every possible manner through combination (conspiracy) and legislation.The courts must be called to our aid, debts must be collected, bonds and mortgages foreclosed as rapidly as possible.When through the process of the law, the common people have lost their homes, they will be more tractable and easily governed through the influence of the strong arm of the government applied to a central power of imperial wealth under the control of the leading financiers. People without homes will not quarrel with their leaders.History repeats itself in regular cycles. This truth is well known among our principal men who are engaged in forming an imperialism of the world. While they are doing this, the people must be kept in a state of political antagonism.The question of tariff reform must be urged through the organization known as the Democratic Party, and the question of protection with the reciprocity must be forced to view through the Republican Party.By thus dividing voters, we can get them to expand their energies in fighting over questions of no importance to us, except as teachers to the common herd. Thus, by discrete action, we can secure all that has been so generously planned and successfullyhttp://www.federalobserver.com/archive.php?aid=7124[Color fonts and bolding added.].

  • Anonymous

    Damn, and I though mortgage payers were the easiest to control. 
    FDR misinformed me again!

  • Anonymous

    No, the new Amendment should repeal Corporate Personhood and make the charters conditional.
    A second new Amendment should deny money expenditure as a form of free political speech.

    This Campaign Finance Reform horse hockey is a liberal class myth that has outlived its utility. 
    You can’t reform electoral politics without a business firewall.

    Anyway, it would be refreshing if Bill&Company could get someone to come on air and take responsibility for such an effort.

    Why not go the tenth yard? Answer that nine yarder.

  • leftofcenter

    Two weeks ago I heard  atalk show host talking about this. A caller said why are corporations allowed to have people’s rights and do this stuff? The host’s response? The corporation isn’t evil. It’s the people running it that are.

    That’s blissfully ignoring the facts (IMO). Here’s another angle that no one’s mentioned so far. How does this affect NPR, Pacifica and the CPB? NPR and PBS both get a huge amount in corporate support. Having said that, do you seriously believe that either one would air actual criticism of Citizen’s United (and risk losing their sponsors)? No they won’t. Meanwhile Pacifica gets funding from the CPB, some foundations and wealthy individuals (George Soros being one). Again, in this capitalist society, do you dare to have angry sponsors?

    Like Noam Chomksy’s frequently said, you have to do a huge amount of work to actually be informed. Now, unless it’s their job, how many people are willing to do that?

  • David Eddy

    Citizens United should be called Corporate Power United….
    Allowing people to corrupt our language with deceptive titles has got to stop.
    Not only is the big money corrupting the government; it is causing chaotic politics.
    That money should be used to provide jobs for the people out of work not profits for corporations.  The leaches are sucking the life blood out of  our economics and our social systems.  The madness has to cease or we will all be cooked in our own juices.
    Suicidal social systems are a sorry sight.  It is like watching people jump out of a building to avoid the flames.
    We need to get back to reasonable politics that works for the people not against them and wealthy people who do what is right for the nation not their personal bottom line.
    patriots care about their nation and traitors tear it apart.

      
     

  • David Eddy

    Personally, I would like to recommend a new political party called the Fixit Party.
    This party would be made up of people who can see a problem and make it go away.
    Anyone nominated to a post would have to be qualified to fix things and not be people who destroy things.  These people would be trained in the essential art of making things happen not just talk about it.  They would also have to understand Plato’s Republic and govern in accordance with Plato’s definition of “good”.
    If we do not start fixing things, the only solution will be wars, both internal and external.
    Life will be hell on earth which may very well be what we deserve but not what we want.
    We have had Hippies, yuppies, whoopees and whopsies, now we need qualified Systems Specialists who can provide the guidance for efficient and humanitarian government.

  • David Eddy

    Personally, I would like to recommend a new political party called the Fixit Party.
    This party would be made up of people who can see a problem and make it go away.
    Anyone nominated to a post would have to be qualified to fix things and not be people who destroy things.  These people would be trained in the essential art of making things happen not just talk about it.  They would also have to understand Plato’s Republic and govern in accordance with Plato’s definition of “good”.
    If we do not start fixing things, the only solution will be wars, both internal and external.
    Life will be hell on earth which may very well be what we deserve but not what we want.
    We have had Hippies, yuppies, whoopees and whopsies, now we need qualified Systems Specialists who can provide the guidance for efficient and humanitarian government.

  • cb

     As of the SEC filing date, the Colbert Super PAC has brought in $1,023,121.24.   Legally spending unlimited funds on political ads to bring attention to the danger and inequity of the ruling.