Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Saturday, 30 January 2010

The Empire Strikes Back

I received some interesting responses to my random musings about the place of the military/industrial complex in American politics. Here's one from Mike.

Bob, if you ban corporations from political speech are you going to ban trade unions? How about trade associations like the US Chamber of Commerce? At what point do groupings of like-minded individuals become evil corporations who lose their free speech protections? AARP? NAACP? WWF? They're all big businesses who just happen to subscribe to a point-of-view! Why should their speech be any more protected than IBM or Microsoft or Exxon? What do you have against the profit motivation? Is it OK for groups like to buy full-page ads in the New York Times running down General Petraeus (Betray Us!) but a corporation can't argue the evils of Cap & Trade?

Just like your buddy Obama, you don't trust your fellow citizens to make good choices or decisions.

That's just pure elitism.

-Mike Tanis


That would be President Obama to you.

What you may have failed to consider is that trade unions and the NAACP are PEOPLE who have peaceably assembled and who have a right to speak freely and to petition the government. Corporations are not collections of people and neither is the US Chamber of Commerce.

By the way, I'm a Vietnam veteran. I flew missions there from 1966 though 1968. I totally agree with MoveOn that the War in Iraq was a whole series of moronic blunders, possibly the worst collection of foreign policy decisions of the last 200 years. Many of our most senior military are really disturbed by the justification for launching the war, the way we handled prisoners and by our failure to have a plan to handle the country after the invasion.
MoveOn.Org is made up of two entities and both have rights granted to them under the IRS code and various state and federal election laws. The 501(c)(4) organization can accept contributions, but these are not tax deductible. Civic Action, the 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization, primarily focuses on education and advocacy on national issues. Political Action, a federal political action committee, formerly known as MoveOn PAC, gives contributions to candidates across the country to advance causes in Congress and help elect selected political candidates.

Frankly, I'm not really in favor of PACs or 501(c)(4) s and I think contributions to PACs and to 501(c)(4) organizations should be limited only to individuals and should be limited for individuals to some reasonable amount. Above a reasonable amount huge contributions are simply buying patronage or votes on policy issues.

I'm not actually a member of the middle class but I deplore the way that corporations have sold our children into debt slavery over the past two decades. Inflation adjusted wages are up 20%, while housing costs have risen 55% and health care costs are up 155% over the same time period.

I think that it is reasonable that the legislative and executive branches of government be able to establish limits and laws governing spending on elections by real people, membership associations, PACs, megalithic corporations and other organizations. Does it really make sense to give a handful of corporations over a TRILLION dollars, buy up more trillions of their bad paper, hide all this in an unaudited FED balance sheet and then give the same corporations the green light to spend our own money to elect the political lackey of their choice?

That's my 2 cents me an elitist...