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POLITICS: Monied interests given a megaphone

Letter by Michael O'Connor, Gig Harbor on June 19, 2012 at 5:33 pm with 31 Comments »
June 20, 2012 10:04 am

Re: “Voters should beware of super PAC money” (letter, 6-16).

The writer had some good comments about super PACs but didn’t go far enough. The U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision allows unlimited campaign spending by groups with huge resources.

The ruling equated political spending with free speech and gave these groups the same free speech rights as individual citizens. In doing so it may have honored pure free speech principles but, I think, did a great disservice to our democracy.

In a political system where each citizen is free to speak his opinion, the court has given a megaphone to these groups. So now we have the super PACs – groups that can gather money from businesses, unions and political campaigns (disassociated from the candidate of course) without limit and spend it anonymously to flood our airwaves with negative ads full of lies and innuendo.

In the age of electronic media, our citizens seem to be making decisions based on short sound bites from the Internet and talking heads on radio and TV rather than reading available in-depth coverage of issues in print news media or even the voters pamphlet. How else to explain Dale Washam’s election?

The combination of unlimited PAC spending and limited voter self-education puts us at risk of relinquishing informed decision-making to unscrupulous demagogues. The Supreme Court has forgotten that the basis of democracy is the individual citizen, not whoever has the most money.

Leave a comment Comments → 31
  1. billybushey says:

    If super-pacs and corporations are people, then US Attorneys should be able to treat a board of directors as “the person” and be able to arrest them for alleged crimes. That might change a few tunes. Just like with actual persons, all that would be needed is probable cause for a warrant. Deny them all bail as potential flight risks and let’s see if they still want to be “people”.

  2. Wasn’t Washams election a direct result of the Democrats failed pick 3 and we’ll keep swapping votes around until we get who we want election scheme? If memory serves correctly he recieved less 1st votes than 2 other candidates yet won the election because he had more 2nd place votes.

    I think we can lay that directly at the feet of the people/party that came up with that election scheme.

  3. In just a few short years we have seen the damage this ruling has done.
    Remember when the supreme shock his head in disrespect to the President?
    Turns out the President was correct…..again.

    Lets work together and over turn this mess before it’s too late and the corporations own more of the nation than they already do!

  4. menopaws says:

    Big oil and Wall street—pour lots of money into Karl Rove’s Super Pac—in this country every vote is believed to be for sale….I guess we’ll find out if that is right in November

  5. BlaineCGarver says:

    Give up Soros, and Hollywood, and a host of other Super Buck Lib money first, Hypocrits.

  6. averageJoseph says:

    First things first. Perhaps one reason Washam was elected is people were sick of Pearsall/Stipek’s corruption and lying on her resume.

    So Michael, are you saying my Union shouldn’t be allowed to use my dues for political purposes?

  7. “Give up Soros”

    Have you ever looked at how much he donates?
    Compare that to the 3 or 4 billionaires giving 10’s of millions to the baggers and mittens on the right, then get back to us.

    The money pouring in to the far right makes the evil unions look like poor folk giving pennies.

    Hypocrite indeed.

  8. truthbusterguy says:

    If super pacs help us get rid of obama and put progressive liberals back in their closet for another 20 years I support the idea 100%.

    About time we leveled the playing field to combat the union, jew, and hollywood money.

    Thank you SCOTUS

  9. sumyungboi says:

    If people want to give super pac’s money, that’s their business. If corporations want donate to super pac’s the board members are free to quit and the shareholders are free to sell.

    letter writer: “The combination of unlimited PAC spending and limited voter self-education ..”

    The contempt for voters in this letter is stunning. There’s one thing that always seems to be left out of these discussions, that being that the other side is always free to do the same thing. Oh, that’s right, they already do with the labor unions.

    Let’s all just be really, really honest for a minute. This has nothing to do with anything more than the left losing sole control of the narrative. Started with talk radio, then fox news, the blogosphere, and now super pacs. Drives the left insane.

    BTW, I think Washam was doing a fine job fumigating the place until the joint attack by the public sector unions and the TNT. Heaven forbid that some mid level manager be expected to do his/her job and not mess around on facebook all day. Or the TNT comment section. But, we live here where the good ol’ boys and girls will not allow guys like Washam. Too bad.

  10. menopaws says:

    The Koch Brothers and Wall street give MILLIONS more than Soros and all of Hollywood combined….The right is just jealous because their celebrities are that Dweeb Norquist and the fat junkie Rush……..I might also add that Soros survived the Holocaust—tell me what kind of life changing experiences the Koch Brothers bring to the table beyond their greed in wanting a pipeline to load OUR oil on ships to India and China……..The country club set has more and will always want more……..They found their boy–he stands where they tell him to stand and hides in his trailer while they tell him what to say about immigration, etc……..Super Pacs were invented for him–no voice of his own, but corporate America will speak for him….

  11. sumyungboi says:

    menopas: “The Koch Brothers and Wall street give MILLIONS more than Soros and all of Hollywood combined ..”

    Time they pony up then, the rules are the same for both sides, homes.

  12. combat the union, jew, and hollywood money.

    And youse guys think my criticisms of Israel are antisemitic……

  13. averageJoseph says:

    Are you quoting someone bB?

  14. sumyungboi says:

    aJ, yes, he’s quoting the guy pretending to be conservative.

  15. menopaws says:

    Why should they pony up??/ Your vote for sale?????? there is a name for those who sell themselves……

  16. sumyungboi says:

    menopaws: “Why should they pony up??/ Your vote for sale?????? there is a name for those who sell themselves……”

    Don’t make me laugh, cuz, ever hear of labor unions? You people are so funny when you’re mad. :)

  17. averageJoseph says:


  18. truthbusterguy says:

    Superpacs are people too.

  19. Bb- agree. No need for a weak slur. If he brought up a debate as to why they donate ‘d’, that might be interesting.

    From a guy who grew up in a Jewish community (but is Catholic), this is a very interesting topic.

  20. “Romney entered June with $17 million in the bank, one-sixth of the $109.7 million amassed by Obama. That gap was narrowed as the Republican National Committee reported $60.8 million cash on hand, more than double the Democratic National Committee’s $29.7 million.
    In May, the first full month since Romney was assured of winning the nomination, he received $7.1 million and the RNC $25.9 million from a joint fundraising committee. Obama brought in $8.7 million and the DNC $13.3 million from a similar fundraising apparatus, which allows donors give larger contributions at one time.”

  21. http://classic.cnbc.com/id/47899947

    Hey Mike, what are your feelings on BHO’s only friend being a bank exec?

  22. CT7 – not saying this is at all relevant for most folks but the Koch brothers are Catholic while Soros is Jewish…

  23. averageJoseph says:

    bB, how does someone else’s antisemitism cancel out yours?

  24. aJ – I have issued this challenge to you everytime you claim that I am antisemitic – show me the quote – you clearly have no problem pulling up quotes in your attempts to embarrass me yet somehow you can’t quote me to support your vile claims.

    I am very strongly against Israeli policies regarding Palestine and the US support for those policies. I have no problem with Jewish people.

  25. BlaineCGarver says:

    As an individual, I cannot compeat with The Brady Bunch/Handgun Inc/other anti-2nd Amendment groups. When I join the NRA, my 40 bucks a year allows me to be part of that Pro-Group….the same applies to other blocs of like minded voters…..At least the Koch brothers are American….Soros is just another rich forigner looking for the downfall of America for the Socialists and Commies.

  26. averageJoseph says:

    When did I call you an antisemite (good golly)?

    … and if you’re going to be so thin skinned check your own vile claims at the door bro. You’ve done your share calling others racist and such. ;)

  27. When did I call you an antisemite (good golly)?

    June 21, 2012 at 8:37 am

  28. averageJoseph says:

    No bB, I was following your premise from June 20, 2012 at 5:02 pm when you stated “And youse guys think my criticisms of Israel are antisemitic……”

    And I followed your premise of “my criticisms of Israel are antisemitic” with “how does someone else’s antisemitism cancel out yours”.

    So… to perfectly clear… I never… once… not one single time, ever… called beerBoy antisemetic.

  29. Wiggle.

    Since I do not archive your posts you are free to reinvent the past.

  30. averageJoseph says:

    You have it backward. (the main reason I DO archive is to keep you … ya know, from reinventing the past.) ;)

    Besides, an old “friend” of mine once said on November 6, 2008 – 9:49am, “basic rule of internet rhetoric you make the assertion – you provide the supporting evidence. It is taken as a sign that you don’t really have anything to back up your claims if you come back with”… “Since I do not archive your posts you are free to reinvent the past.”

  31. philichi says:

    Obama had way more funds than McCain in 2008. Should the supreme court have taken from Obama and given to McCain?

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