Another day – another Supreme Court decision in favor of big money in our politics...

Another day – another Supreme Court decision in favor of big money in our politics. Yesterday – in another 5-4 ruling – the right-wing of the Supreme Court struck down an Arizona law that provides public financing of elections. The law was intended to level the playing field between people with huge fortunes and rich friends – and just average folks running for office, by supplying matching public funds to candidates who are being outspent by private money.

The law made sure that electoral politics in Arizona wasn’t a “whoever has the most money wins” sort of game. But the high court ruled that any attempt by the government to “equalize electoral opportunities” – as in make sure both candidates are on a level playing field financially – is unconstitutional. But what is constitutional to the Conservative Supreme Court nowadays? The corporate takeover of our democracy – as was decided last year in the Citizens United case.

Thanks to this most recent ruling – look for even more corporate-owned candidates to spring up – as in more people who deny global warming – more war hawks – and more shills for Wall Street billionaires.


JLC's picture
JLC 11 years 48 weeks ago

A few days ago, you had a caller who mentioned that Section 4 of the Fourteenth Amendment states that the validitidy of the public debt shall not be questioned. Attached is an interesting article presenting legal and constitutional arguments why the President should just ignore the debt ceiling:

louisehartmann's picture
louisehartmann 11 years 48 weeks ago

Thanks! JLC

DRichards's picture
DRichards 11 years 48 weeks ago

Civil Liberties and the Bill of Rights

Taught By Professor John E. Finn, Ph.D., Princeton University,
Wesleyan University"What impressed me most about this excellent course was Finn's demonstration of the intellectual bankruptcy -- not to say incoherence -- of much of the Supreme Court's constitutional jurisprudence, especially regarding privacy and equal protection. It's hard to disagree with his not-so-implicit suggestion throughout these lectures that the Court, all too often, simply makes up standards, rules, and tests to justify its rulings, without reference to the text of the Constitution, its original meaning, or the intent of its framers and ratifiers."--- Leonidas

RichardofJeffersonCity's picture
RichardofJeffer... 11 years 48 weeks ago

The best Supreme Court money can buy!

Bandy Legged Marsupial Cave Rabbi's picture
Bandy Legged Ma... 11 years 48 weeks ago

I went to the site for your show, "Conversations with Great Minds", to see your interview with Lester Brown (although at first I thought you said, "Conversations with Great MIMES", which struck me as somewhat of a contradiction in terms). I read his book, "Plan B 3.0", some time ago. It was refreshing to hear some positivism and potential answers. In addition to you, Thom, I listen to Mike Ruppert's podcast regularly, and positivism is not his strong point, to say the least. But there are places for both - a positive optimistic viewpoint, and also the courage to take a good, long, hard look into the abyss without looking away. But it's nice to hear that just maybe the abyss is not quite so deep after all ...

gerald's picture
gerald 11 years 48 weeks ago

Guarantor Responsibility

Let me say that payments or taxes by the rich and transnational corporations are not sacrifices. They have accumulated the money and profits to make generous payments or taxes. On June 28, 2011 I received a medical bill and on the bill it said Guarantor Responsibility. I LIKE THE WORDS, GUARANTOR RESPONSIBILITY BETTER THAN SHARED SACRIFICES. The rich and the transnational corporations have the money and profits to make generous sacrifices for our country. YES, THE RICH AND TRANSNATIONAL CORPORATIONS DO HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO PAY THEIR TAXES. They have a Guarantor Responsibility in paying generous graduated income taxes. For the rich they need to be taxed at ninety-one percent for income and profits over $5 million a year and seventy-five percent for income and profits over $2.5 million per year. These are only a couple of examples.

DELETEBusGreg 11 years 48 weeks ago

Hello Thom, great show as usual.

Here is a link to a story done by BBC-UK on Japanese retail sales.

In the paragraph " Natural Factor" you find this:

"A hot summer could result in more spending, especially with corporations allowing employees to take longer summer holidays." said Mr Iwashita. (bold is my addition)

"The picture may not be bad if summer bonuses are spent domestically, such as on travel," he added." (bold is my addition)

Would be nice if our selected leadership and corporate Boards of Directors would see the light.

greg, Slab City

gerald's picture
gerald 11 years 48 weeks ago

The Anti-Christ will never let herself be number two in the world. Before the United States of Mortal Sin is delegated to the number two status in the world, she will unleash a nuclear holocaust from her eight hundred and eighty-five military bases throughout the world. Most of these bases possess nuclear weapons.

TarryFaster 11 years 48 weeks ago

Today (the 28th), on your show you had the guy who wrote a book called, The Psychopath Test. I tried to call, several times, but there was some problem with your phone line(s). I wanted to know if he, and/or you, is/are familiar with -- Ponerology. It is, as far as I'm concerned, the defining work on the subject of psychopaths in positions of power.

Here are a several very interesting links on that vital subject:

BeninTucson 11 years 48 weeks ago

My Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (AZ-8) has said about corporate lobbying reform: "Elections must be decided by the American people, not by special interest groups with bulging checkbooks." Let's unshackle THE PEOPLE'S representatives, from unknown moneyed interests, and provide them with the necessary freedoms to successfully execute their civic duty of representing their constituency in public office.

Will you sign this petition? Click here:



Tucson, AZ

David Abbot's picture
David Abbot 11 years 48 weeks ago

The worst thing that sane people could possibly do to the Supreme Court majority and the other republicans, would be to let them get away with whatever they want to do, because the sane people who object to their destructive plans are basically the only thing that is keeping them from destroying the earth and everything on it. In Mutant Message Down Under, I read an interesting thing: an Aborigine group told a white woman that they were going to die and would reincarnate somewhere else, because "civilization" has ruined the natural environment that they used to live with on this planet.

If the republicans do manage to destroy the earth, it would be nice if after that they were forced to reincarnate somewhere away from sane people.

bvcardinal's picture
bvcardinal 11 years 48 weeks ago

I Sincerely hope your audience knows that Big corporations like 3M, Target, Walmart,.................... Wall Street ( yes, Wall Street ) ........MicroSoft .....George Soros.... and thousands more ALL contribute to Democrat Candidates....

When are you going to be the real HERO and start telling your audience the real ( whole ) truth.?

We are tired of playing 1 team against another -Dems vs GOP for a winner take all ( sports ) mentality ...

We want winner for US All .........( US meaning U.S.)

Be THE hero, Thom !

ginico55's picture
ginico55 11 years 48 weeks ago

this morning I heard on the Bill Press show a report that guy that was re-elected to the Wisconsin Supreme Court when they found a lot of uncounted votes in a very Republican district is being investigated for alledgedly assaulting another Supreme Court Judge during a meeting instigated by her to discuss the case on the constitutionality of the Congressional meeting held without proper notice. I believe that most of the court members were present. Alledgedly he got irritated by what this member was saying and got up to leave on the way out he pushed her and got her in a headlock. Other members witnessed this, but some on the right are trying to protect him and state that she instigated the assault. report was from John Engle - I have not seen a word on the regular news channels or news papers. Hope this is publicized soon! Seems like this is not the first time that he has exhibited aggressive behavior -

bvcardinal's picture
bvcardinal 11 years 48 weeks ago

Do you ( WE ) really want the Government ( our taxes ) to support Candidates????

Because, BOTH Parties ( think of your local and State Party Candidates, too! )....would be given equal State and Federal (tax) dollars to run for office....under the law....

That's like paying an extra 3 dollars for Bayer they can advertise to us and make us think their asprin is better than any other asprin.....asprin is all the same !!!

Why would we want the governments to tax us and then pay people to run for office using OUR money????.....Foolish, eh?

delster's picture
delster 11 years 48 weeks ago

I was watching a lecture by the late Joseph Campbell who very eloquently explained the downfall of societies in history who no longer valued culture, music, art, and who fell into a state of dangerous religious dogma as forced upon by government union with religion and business. The one classic example he used was Hitler and Nazi Germany where citizens fell into step with the powers that promised success and reward for obedience. As I watched this lecture made sometime in the late 70's or early 80's I came to believe he was addressing the future of the United States that most of us are experiencing. It is somehow an equation for the failure of a society we have fallen in to. Most of us know the outcome of this already.

tricraig's picture
tricraig 11 years 48 weeks ago

Since, I believe, the Citizens United case allows unlimited campaign contributions by corporations and unions (emphasis added), what is to prevent unions from opening up their membership to anyone who wants to join? I would join in a heartbeat to advance progressive causes.

If the Repugs are so afraid of unions, let's give them something to really be afraid of.

JonG41 11 years 48 weeks ago

Does the Supreme Court decision about the AZ law also strike down the Portland, Oregon law giving city matching funds for candidates outspent by private donor-supported candidates? Or does the decision only overturn state public campaign finance laws while city laws are intact? I have heard Thom, on many occasions, describe one example of this law being used and it helped an outspent city council candidate defeat an electric utility-backed candidate. News of repeated matching funds to the outspent candidate helped weaken the utility-backed candidate.

DELETEBusGreg 11 years 48 weeks ago

to: bvcardinal

Hey, Dopey!

It's Democratic Candidates,and thankfully the abovementioned contributors are there. It would on the other hand be nice if the multi-nationals, Banksters, insurance giants, the war proffiteers and the Koch brothers would stop their financial support of those in congress who are hell-bent on committing economic treason on our nation. (Ayn-Rand Paul, Ryan, Bachmann, Boehner, Can't-or, "butterface" McConnell) and the rest of the "wrong for America" right wing conspirators in the Republican Party, aided and abetted by the TEA Party; as in Theocratic Evangelical Activists (or Anarchists).

As far as Thom is concerned, he's doing just fine.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 11 years 48 weeks ago

Could it get anymore disgraceful and ironic that the Supreme Court, whose ultimate responsibility is the interpretation of the Constitution, continues to rule against "We The People" in order to establish injustice and insure domestic intranquillity and demote the general welfare of 98% of us?

How is it possible Clarence Thomas can get away with not disclosing $700,000 of his wife's Heritage Foundation income and still be viewed as fit to rule on cases with ties to corporate interests that certainly will come before the court?. ......What a freaking joke!

I wonder what Shays' Rebellion is going to look like this time around?

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 11 years 48 weeks ago

from JLC's link at:
"Tiefer, however, was more optimistic: 'I, for one, think that conservatives on the Court are faithful to their conservative principles of jurisdiction and they don’t alter them merely because on the merits they might be partial to one side.' If the Obama administration chooses to ignore the debt ceiling, they’ll have to hope he’s right."

....yeah, right...."faithful to their conservative principles"....conservatives don't have "principles"...they are criminal bullyboys who will do anything they can to screw us. They don't play fair...fair is not in their vocabulary. Thinking they have principles is about as dumb as Obama thinking he can get the Republicans to compromise.

I suppose the Supreme Court was faithful to their conservative principles when they committed treason and wheedled Bush into the Presidency on the stupid excuse that "it would do irreparable harm to George Bush". What? Was he going to throw a tantrum and go running to his daddy? They were "faithful to their conservative principles" alright because conservative principles is to do whatever they can, no matter how illegal or morally wrong, to use their powers to get what they want. And it is not beneath them to use any of the tactics that organized crime has used...especially sex.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 11 years 48 weeks ago

Palindromedary, Immoral conservative principles, organized political crime, MOBOCRACY, it all fits when you stop and think about people like the Koch Bros. and their involvement with right wing elected officials.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 11 years 48 weeks ago

2910-10K: Mobocracy, Plutocracy, Corporatocracy, Criminocracy, Oligachy, Hypocritocracy, Trickdownpissocracy, Letthemeatcakocracy.

Yes, I believe that much of what America has devolved into is a giant criminal organization. The two party system, the supreme court, the criminal justice system all corrupt. This has been a long time in our government stopped going after and prosecuting organized any eventually blurred the lines between right and wrong.

In order to circumvent democracy, they have resorted to becoming drug-lords, made deals with organized crime figures to get Castro assassinated, most likely assassinated JFK, RFK, and MLK, medically experimented on it's own citizens, created plots against American citizens to elicit a reaction favorable to what they wanted, invaded sovereign nations for less than legal or honorable reasons resulting in the many deaths of our soldiers and many times more civilians in those countries. And I believe that they were responsible for 911 as well...outright, calculated, treasonous murder of our own civilians.

They expect us, the little people, to do right and be honest and moral while they, the state and the rich and powerful, continues to do otherwise. It is currently a giant, criminal, invasion, looting, and killing machine that, if I were religious, would have to say "will burn in hell!" But I believe that most will just have a well-rewarded, but very undeserving, lifetime of wealth, health, and a delusional sense of entitlement and well-being while those they have hurt will starve and die off with nothing but their fantasies. Unless these people are overthrown, somehow, deposed of their riches and power (good luck!) we will continue to disintegrate.

The realities of a pretend democracy are becoming very apparent to most people. But there are those who still think that voting in a corrupt system will make a difference. It's going to take something other than voting for yet another two-faced, lying, slick-tongued politician (spouting "hope you can believe in") or writing or phoning to your representatives in order to really change things.

I believe that there are those in politics and in our system of government who do care and who are working to change things but I believe most are so overwhelmed by the power of the criminal system they have to either give up and play their game or dare to be potential martyrs. I believe that some get into politics thinking they can make a difference.....but, not all are cut out to be Serpicos.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 11 years 48 weeks ago

"Nuclear Power Subsidies: The Gift that Keeps on Taking"

"Government subsidies to the nuclear power industry over the past fifty years have been so large in proportion to the value of the energy produced that in some cases it would have cost taxpayers less to simply buy kilowatts on the open market and give them away, according to a February 2011 report by the Union of Concerned Scientists."

"Subsidies were originally intended to provide temporary support for the fledgling nuclear power industry, but the promised day when the industry could prosper without them and power from nuclear reactors would be “too cheap to meter” has yet to arrive. It is unlikely to arrive any time soon, as cost estimates for new reactors continue to escalate and the nuclear power lobby demands even more support from taxpayers. Piling new subsidies on top of existing ones will provide the industry with little incentive to rework its business model to internalize its considerable costs and risks."

jstrahan's picture
jstrahan 11 years 48 weeks ago

Is it possible America will wake up and save itself from self destruction through Republicans being successful in convincing enough independents that Obama is solely responsible for our economic and employment demise. Twenty years ago I would never have been able to even consider such a possibility. Today it is a real possibility. Racism has come out of the closet and can now be plainly seen and won as a badge of honor by some of our white sisters and brothers instead of smoldering under the covers in the past. Republicans have for 50 years hollered from our mountain tops that the Democrats base party platform is to take away from the whites and give to people of color. Corporations for ten years have written their own laws under Reagan and the Bush father and son and were self regulated. 50,000 factories were closed. Not only were 8 million jobs exported but tax credits were provided them by Republicans. Wall Street, banks, and the oil and gas industries were permitted to self regulate. The result was we very nearly had the 2nd Great Depression and we did have the worst oil spill in history in the Gulf of Mexico. Republicans have made a mockery of Congress, especially in the Senate and the only solution appears to likely not be achieveable. Greed and oligopolies now dictate our way of life. Three Supreme Court Justices have been bought and paid for. The right wing controls most radio talk shows, most printed news sources, and most of the cable news networks. Americans values have deteriorated so far that if we don't get what we want exactly we don't show up at the polls such as in the last mid term elections and tea party candidates were swept into office and provided control of the House. Republicans recently have won control of state legislatures and Governor offices. The minorities and young voters made this possible simply by not showing up at the polls. The reason- Obama was not God and could not deliver on every promise he made. People forget you have to fight for what you want. Nothing is free. This is a very stupid country and Republicans,despite a complete void of decency, integrity, and honesty, have made so many look the other way when they refuse to prevent health insurers from determining who lives and who dies depending on their bonuses, dividends, and balance sheets. They look the other way when Corporate America and the wealthy have achieved record earnings while Americans lose their jobs, homes, dignity, retirement, health care, families,hope, etc. Who is responsible. We are. The average American who did not stand up and say we are not going to take this any more. Those who failed to show up and vote. Those independents who so easily were convinced that Democrats were taking away from the whites and giving to people of color. Congressmen who sold their soles to win election and now have no way out. Free trade agreements that reward American companies manufacturers overseas with slave labor that are permitted to sell back in the U.S. without tariffs. Anyone dumb enough to ignore years of evidence and accept that cutting taxes for the wealthy and Corporate America will produce jobs. Too many people who don't want to get involved unless something happens to them instead of someone else. Too many sex change operations by Democrats who no longer know how to act like men and do the job they were elected to do.The ease with which it is acceptable to lie as a way of doing business in Congress and passing it off as simply "politics". Failure of citizens to hold their Congressmen and President accountable for their actions. Too many relying on someone else to stand up and insist America does not belong to Corporate America, the Republicans, and the Supreme Court. The only thing that will prevent our becoming a Third World Economy is for the average American citizen to take to the streets and demand that our families be protected to the same extent that Corporate America. We must clearly establish what values we want to govern this country. We must extinguish all sources of fraud and corruption and demand our representatives protect our rights as laid out in the Constitution. We must insist lying in the conduct of business is no longer acceptable and transperancy is the guiding principle for the future. We need to determine what corporations want to conduct business in this country fairly under the laws of this country or invite them to get the hell out. We must tell leaders of Wall Street, banks, corporations, etc. that if your fail to follow our laws in the conduct of your business you will go to jail. We must insist on equal protection for the individual and businesses. We must insist that any violation of our laws and regulations resulting in damage to our land, air, or water will no longer be tolerated and repeat offenses will result in shut down of businesses in violation of such laws. We must accept that the only way we can afford health care in this country is medicare for everyone by simply pointing out Medicare operates on 2% overhead and private health insurers operate on 30% overhead.We must no longer allow countries such as France, Germany, Japan, and South Korea to not provide for their own defense while demanding we provide such defense. We must protect our economic interests to the same extent countries in the European Union and China do by reserving our jobs and markets for American citizens and companies who manufacture in the U.S. Everyone else can go to hell. Perhaps then the world will be willing to sit down and discuss world trade on a reasonable and fair basis. We need to finance all elections by public finance. We need to discontinue free interchange of employment amongst Wall Street and Corporate America and the government. We need to publish listing of all lobbyists, a record of all discussions between lobbyists and government representatives or employees, and make this information available to the public. We need to demand that all bills presented by a Congressman and written by a lobbying firm be identified as such. We need to give this country back to the people and we should start by re-electing Obama, maintain control of the Senate by the Democrats, eliminate the filibuster rule in the Senate, and make the Democrats the controlling party in the House. Then we need to expel all Democrats who are not Democrats.

gerald's picture
gerald 11 years 48 weeks ago

@jstrahan, we should not forget - what goes around, comes around and the more things change, the more they remain the same! We, as a nation, have had these problems since Washington and the birth of our nation. Idealism offers you and me hope but realism rules our lives!

leighmf's picture
leighmf 11 years 48 weeks ago

I can't stand anymore. SOS SOS UBS RBS UPRR LNC 555 CDR GHW MOB GOD HELP ME.

stradric's picture
stradric 11 years 48 weeks ago

At least the Supreme Court is being consistent. I'll give them that. Essentially this ruling will allow people with private funding to easily outspend publicly funded candidates. Their reasoning? Why because money=speech of course! That old gem. Therefore, the more money you have, the louder your voice is according to the Supreme Court. How that idea is not offensive to more people is a bit concerning to me. What's next? The amount of votes we get becomes based on our net worth?

ronwanless's picture
ronwanless 11 years 48 weeks ago

Having been involved in community organizing as a pastor in the United Methodist Church and before that as a seminary student on the west side and near northside of Chicago, organizing is one of the few ways we can beat the corpratization of our nation. The cards are stacked against us, but organizing can beat money. My home state of Wisconsin may be a case in point! Ron Wanless

Bullhorn Journal's picture
Bullhorn Journal 11 years 48 weeks ago

Another example of the fundamental fear of the right, the fear of democracy. They know that if elections are open, fair, universal and removed from the influence of wealth that their vision of the world will be severely, and justly, margianalized.

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 11 years 48 weeks ago

The Supreme Court decision equating money with free speech codifies and legalizes an idea that wealthy people have more of a right to free speech (as well as more of a lot of other political rights) than the not wealthy and poor It mandates that "people vote with dollar bills in this country" as has long been popularly believed.

It also means that there is no democracy by the definition of political science. For a society to be considered a democracy rich and poor must be equal before the law - or we are still living in feudalism.

In general the privatisation of our government - and in this case, the privatization of elections - is the taking of government from the public (the people) and putting in the hands of privte unaccountable authority to be treated as their personal property. We already know about government as the private, personal property of wealthy persons. It's called feudalism and monarchy.

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 11 years 48 weeks ago

As much as I often disagree with the Supreme Court on many occasions I think judicial review is a good thing. I think that interpretation of the law is an appropriate role for the judiciary and among the laws is the Constitution.

It is essential that the Constitution be interpreted by a body of judges that are appointed by elected officials but are not elected themselves. It is imperative that the judges not need to pander for popularity. One of the main purposes of a constitution is to prevent a "tyranny of the majority".

Dredd Scott and other bad decisions would likely have been made anyway by Congress or other means had there been no judicial review. They are simply the product of the thinking of their times.

Democracy, like any other human system, is flawed. All we can do is put enough checks and balances in place to make less likely that our worst inclintaions prevail.

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