Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Idiocy of Moderation

Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; but urge me not to use moderation ~ William Lyon Phelps (2/2/1865 to 8/21/1943) An American author, critic and scholar who taught the first American university course on the modern novel. In addition to a radio show, he wrote a daily syndicated newspaper column, lectured frequently, and published numerous popular books and articles.

This rant came about in response to a post from so-called Moderate Willis Hart attacking, yet again, what he calls the "extreme Left". This post from the so-called Moderate was deceptively titled The Indecency of Extremism. I say "deceptive" because, one might think that, given the title, this individual would cite examples of arguments from both the "far Left" and the "radical right" that he finds "indecent". This isn't the case. Instead he whines exclusively about visiting a Left-leaning message board and being attacked when he defended John McCain against charges that he was "a North Vietnamese collaborator" (Which, as far as I can tell, may or may not be true).

The blogger says he pointed out that, while he is no McCain supporter (this was during his bid for the presidency), he felt he needed to point out the inaccuracies of this (supposed) extreme Leftist's argument. When I read Mr. Hart's post I was, naturally, insulted. After I laid out some of my issues with what Willis wrote another moderate chimed in to agree with Willis. I had suggested I might write a post for my blog, and title it "The Idiocy of Moderation". In response the OTHER Moderate repeated Willis' baloney about the problem being, "extremists on BOTH sides of the aisle who absolutely refuse to budge [from] their ideologically entrenched positions".

This, I say, is complete nonsense. I will get to my reasons why, but first I'm going to relate what my issues with the Moderate blogger's post are. to being with (and as I already said), the title of the post implies that the Hartster is going to clue his readers into the reasons why "extremists" on both sides are "indecent" - but that turns out to be a lie since the entire post is a whine about how Liberals attack him whenever he visits their message boards (a frequent complaint of his). This is a tad ironic given the fact that he often accuses a certain left-leaning pundit of having "thin skin".

Secondly, this accusation that John McCain is guilty of collaborationism that Willis implies originated with the extreme Left isn't true. When McCain ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000 the group Vietnam Veterans Against John McCain made "controversial allegations against Senator John McCain concerning his time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam". A video (see below) put out by the group features allegations from ex-Senator Bob Smith (a REPUBLICAN from New Hampshire) and Rep Robert Dornan (a REPUBLICAN from California). The group is not a Left-wing version of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (who made slanderous allegations regarding John Kerry's service in Vietnam).

In wrapping up his post Hart asks, "don't these people realize that you can defend somebody simply because it's the right thing to do and NOT because of political considerations?". He concludes, "it really doesn't seem that they do". The "these people" and the "they" that Hart refers to are Progressives. These are the "extremists" that Hart is indicting for the (supposed) ill treatment he was subjected to. As one of "these people" who Hart regularly slanders I take exception. I do realize you can defend someone for the reasons Hart gives.

During the video Congressional staffer Tracy Ursy says, "Certainly you do what you need to do to stay alive. Nobody would fault anybody for that", and I agree with that statement. I would not go so far as to say McCain is guilty of collaborationism. But I think it's pretty clear that he did all he could to keep all the facts from coming out. And I think it is legitimate reason to criticize him for these actions (in keeping the facts hidden).

Now, in regards to the allegations implied by Hart on numerous occasions and echoed by this other Moderate that I referenced earlier; that is, that "extremists" on both sides are responsible for the current budget crisis - I categorically reject this notion. It's part and parcel to the BIG LIE perpetrated by the Republicans - which is that the American people should blame both sides equally for the 14.32 trillion dollar national debt. Democrats and Republicans do NOT share equal responsibility for the 14.32 trillion dollar national debt. That debt is MOSTLY Reagan's and W's. Obama is adding to it now, but (1) he's doing it to prevent a depression, and (2) the wars on the books now, unlike with bush who ran them off budget.

Also, while the other previously mentioned Moderate believes "we are where we are because of extremists on BOTH sides of the aisle who absolutely refuse to budge on their ideologically entrenched positions", the fact is he's dead wrong (and is playing right into the Republicans hands by propagating this misinformation). Progressives are not being allowed to participate in the negotiations. They are being totally SHUT OUT (as usual). The negotiating parties are the radically-right Republicans and the Moderate and Conservative Democrats. Nobody on either side has suggested that the middle ground lies somewhere between Paul Ryan's Path to Prosperity and the Progressive People's budget.

The progressives ALWAYS budge. Did we get the public option? No. Was the ridiculous and totally unnecessary Stupak–Pitts Amendment excluded from the Affordable Care Act? Yes, but the president "compromised" by issuing an equally ridiculous and unnecessary executive order "preventing" government funds from being used for abortions (even though the Hyde Amendment already accomplishes this).

The conservative position regarding Social Security is that it should be abolished and replaced with a voucher system (shifting much more of the costs onto the backs of future seniors). The Democratic position appears to be that raising the retirement age and decreasing benefits should be examined. Neither is the Progressive position, I can assure you of that. And on it goes - the Progressives state their position and are ignored by both sides. How the hell can we be part of the problem when nobody gives a damn what we have to say? We can refuse to budge, but no one will care.

This is the idiocy of the Moderates - they really believe the solution to all our problems lie in the middle. What they fail to realize is that the middle has shifted significantly to the Right. The radicals on the Right are the only extremists we should be blaming, because only they are threatening to not raise the debt ceiling if they don't get their way. Even though they voted to raise it multiple times when bush was president. But with a Democratic president they hold the middle class tax cuts hostage until he caves, and they get exactly what they want.

What are the Democrats threatening to do? Wait until the last moment before they cave again? According to this other Moderate "we gotta start talking WITH each other not AT each other". Then he says "if we don't come to our senses soon, its all gonna go down the toilet". In response I have to ask - what's with the "we"? Everyone knows President Obama is willing to compromise (by giving the Republicans a large chunk of what they want). With the Democrats things that shouldn't be on the table are, and with Republicans nothing is on the table. Even tax loopholes for corporate jets are sacrosanct. Democrats aren't the ones who are refusing to negotiate in good faith.

The other Moderate says, "I am a Blue Dog Democrat and I gather from your past post you don't think much of me". Yes, you are correct. Moderates are part of the problem. If you truly "sympathize with a lot of progressive issues" then why not STAND WITH US? We need to send a message to the Republicans, which is that their threats aren't going to work this time. But no, standing with the Democrats and the American people would involve standing against the Republicans. Which is something you are apparently unwilling to do. Because you refuse to admit one side is to blame while the other is not.

SWTD #84, wDel #6.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Countdown to Keith Olbermann

Stop organizing life around the people who don't get the joke. Fuck them if they don't get a joke ~ Bill Maher (dob 1/20/1956) American stand-up comedian, television host, political commentator, author and actor on the 1/21/2011 episode of his HBO program "Real Time", referring to Keith Olbermann's Worst Person in the World" segment and his departure from MSNBC earlier the same evening.

The detractors of Liberal pundit Keith Olbermann cheered when he announced he was leaving MSNBC on 1/21/2011. Loyal fans such as myself were shocked at the abruptness of his departure. Yes, I was aware of his clashes with management, but I also knew that Countdown was MSNBC's highest rated show, and that Keith still had almost two years left on his contract.

After a few miserable weeks mourning the loss of the awesome progressive pundit word leaked that Mr. Olbermann would be returning to his role as champion of the American people via Al Gore's Current TV. I (metaphorically) jumped for joy upon hearing the news! The only question that remained was HOW LONG would Keith be off the air? MSNBC would probably prohibit Keith from jumping back into the fray for as long as they could; because they knew that the sooner Keith returned the more viewers they would lose; they wanted time to build an audience and acceptance for Keith's replacement, Lawrence O'Donnell. I admit I like Lawrence's show, but I'm going to follow Keith to Current TV.

In case you did not know, Keith makes his triumphant return TODAY (Monday, June 20, 2011) on channel 358 on DirecTV and channels 196 and 406 on Dish Network. The program will still be called "Countdown" and the time slot will also remain the same... 7pm Central time. Be sure not to miss this historic event! I like Lawrence's show OK, but I'll tune into Keith first and catch the repeat of "The Last Word" later.

150 days will have passed since Keith Olbermann announced he was leaving on 1/21/2011 until his return on 6/20/2011. 105 of those days were weekdays on which new episodes of Countdown COULD have aired. Seeing as the name of the program remains the same, I'm assuming that the format will also remain the same. This means fans can look forward to the return of Keith's insightful and passionate "Special Comment" and the intentionally hyperbolic "Worst Person in the World" segment. Regarding the Worst Person segment - his critics seem to not get it. Either intentionally (so they have something to bash Mr. Olbermann for) or because they are just that dense.

Following are some comments regarding the aforementioned segment I pulled from a blog dedicated to hating on Mr. Olbermann, the first from the blog proprietor...

Willis Hart: For years, Keith Olbermann has been doing this idiotic shtick entitled, "Worst Persons in the World". He claims that it was never meant to be taken literally, that it [is] in fact a metaphor. Never mind the fact that the tone of his voice, his self-righteous indignation, etc., made it actually SOUND like he means it... (1/20/2011 AT 4:26pm).

And just recently another commenter on the same blog voiced a similar opinion regarding Keith's Worst Person segment.

Dennis Marks: Olbermann is one of those human cartoons. How can anyone take him seriously at all when he goes on about how someone is the "worst person in the world" for being a talking head on another network who happens to beat him in ratings. [An obvious reference to Bill-O.] (6/18/2011 AT 2:38pm).

The proprietor of Contra O'Reilly, who believes Keith Olbermann to be "a mean-spirited, cowardly, paranoid son of a bitch whose forte is strictly to throw bombs/hyperbole from the comfort of his studio", says Keith Olbermann's Worst Person segment is ad hominem. But Keith Olbermann has made it clear that the title "The Worst Person in the World" is not intended literally and is intentional hyperbole.

Keith Olbermann has explained where the idea came from.

KO: They aren't really the worst persons in the world, of course... The epithet tracks directly to [among others] George Carlin... who startled me decades ago by the simple but irrefutable argument - the astonishing observation hidden inside the safety of a joke - that by the process of ranking, there truly had to be, somewhere, the worst doctor in the world. More terrifying still, he noted, "Somebody has an appointment to see him tomorrow!"...

When I pointed this out to the WTNP Blogger he said, "I have seen many of Mr. Olbermann's worst persons segments and for a lot of them he clearly ISN'T kidding around - he's pissed". This is a prime example of what I was talking about when I suggested that Keith's critics are "just that dense". Only the TITLE of the segment is a "joke", the actual offenses being highlighted are VERY real. The targeted individuals have actually done things which most people (or Liberals, at least) will find objectionable.

The individuals named aren't murders or rapists, so they aren't literally the Worst Persons in the world, but neither are their offenses a "joke". I think anyone who has seen the segment and isn't a idiot should be able to understand what the joke is. But obviously, for whatever reason, the Keith haters still use this against him. I agree with Bill Maher who said, "fuck them if they don't get a joke".

Also, the charge that the Worst Person segment is ad hominem is blatantly false. Wikipedia says that an ad hominem is "an attempt to link the truth of a claim to a negative characteristic or belief of the person advocating it". In the Worst Person segment Keith is highlighting outrageous and despicable things said and done which NEED to be highlighted. has never concluded that anyone is guilty of doing something despicable because, for instance, they're a fat drug-abusing hypocrite (in the case of Rush Limbaugh).

He may have called Rush a fat drug-abusing hypocrite, but that charge was NEVER used to "prove" Rush was the worst person in the world. I think anyone who describes this segment as "ad hominem" doesn't really understand what "ad hominem" means. The Worst Person charges always stand on their own and have never been "proven" with ad hominems.

Finally, there is one additional accusation from Blogger WTNPH that I'd like to address: on 11/23/2010 the Hartster said...

Willis Hart: Edward R. Murrow covered the London blitzkrieg in 1940 - out on those very same London city streets, day after day after day. What, folks, has Mr. Olbermann ever covered (other than his ass, I'm saying)? I mean, seriously here, has he ever even been out of the studio? That, me-buckos, is at least one major distinction between these two news "reporters".

In response I said, "this is, by far, your lamest anti-Olberman argument yet. He hasn't put his life in danger to cover a story, so he isn't a "real" reporter? [Olbermann's program is] a political OPINION show - and a damn fine one at that. Formulating political opinions doesn't require you to put your life in danger. For you to suggest otherwise is completely idiotic".

Also, while Keith is a fan of Edward R. Murrow, he does not consider himself the "reincarnation" of the man (another charge that that has been leveled on the WTNPH blog). Being a fan of someone BUT not emulating their life exactly (even if you happen to work in a similar news-related profession) does not make someone a fraud. When Keith Olbermann started Countdown he said...

KO: Our charge for the immediate future is to stay out of the way of the news.... News is the news. We will not be screwing around with it... As times improve and the war [in Iraq] ends we will begin to introduce more and more elements familiar to my style.

Clearly Keith Olbermann does not view himself as a serious news reporter on par with Edward R. Murrow. He's a pundit who puts forth his opinion regarding the political news of the day. Frankly I believe Mr. Olbermann does a fantastic job in his chosen niche. He does not need to do a damn thing to gain credibility as a serious news reporter because he isn't trying to be a serious news reporter! He's a political pundit, nothing more - not that there is anything wrong with that.

After Keith left MSNBC, Willis claimed that Keith Olbermann's "nightmare has just begun", and that "never again will he ever get a format like this; a show in which he doesn't have to debate people [and can engage in] hit-and-run style journalism". Hey, I acknowledge that Current TV probably has a smaller audience than MSNBC, which has a smaller audience than Fox Nooz. I'm sure the Keith bashers will bring this up frequently following the re-launch of Countdown on the Al Gore (and Joel Hyatt) network. None-the-less WTNPH was dead wrong because KEITH IS BACK - and I'm confident that his presence on the network will boost it's ratings significantly.

My prediction is that hiring Keith Olbermann was a smart move by the Current TV executives that will pay significant dividends.

Note: For the record this post, in tribute to the Worst Person segment, contains some hyperbole. I, for instance, do not truly believe that the re-launch of Countdown is "historic". As to what else is hyperbole versus what I genuinely believe... I'll leave that intentionally ambiguous.

SWTD #83, wDel #5, KO #2.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Right-Wingers Don't Understand the First Amendment

[Corporations] are not the same as us. They do not have the same rights as all of us. And that decision is wrong on the law, and wrong for America, and an enormous danger for the political process as we go forward ~ Russ Feingold (b. 3/2/1953) an American politician from Wisconsin who served as a Democratic party member of the U.S. Senate from 1993 to 2011, in a speech on the Citizens United Case delivered at the Fighting Bob Fest on 9/10/2010.

The First Amendment says: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Move to Amend says: On 1/21/2010, with its ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are persons, entitled by the U.S. Constitution to buy elections and run our government. Human beings are people; corporations are legal fictions. The Supreme Court is misguided in principle, and wrong on the law. In a democracy, the people rule.

Dervish Sanders says: I agree with the folks at "Move to Amend". Clearly the Founders did not intended for corporations to be considered people. Just as Thomas Jefferson warned us that inherited wealth is incompatible with democracy, he also warned us of the dangers of allowing corporations to become too powerful. Now I'd wager that most people believe one of the functions of the The Supreme Court is to determine if laws are Constitutional (if there is a question). It's one of the checks and balances set up by the Founders, right?

Actually the power to rule laws passed by Congress and signed into law by the president "unconstitutional" is NOT a power granted to the Supreme Court by the Constitution. The SCOTUS granted itself this power with the 1803 Marbury v. Madison decision. A horrified Thomas Jefferson declared that the ruling by the Marshall court paved the way for Judicial tyranny. Specifically Jefferson said...

If ... the judiciary is the last resort in relation to the other departments of the government ... then indeed is our Constitution a complete felo de so (suicide pact). ...The Constitution, on this hypothesis, is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist and shape into any form they may please. (Letter to Judge Spencer Roane, Nov. 1819).

This is exactly what the Roberts Court did on 1/21/2010 when they ruled in favor of "Citizens United" (a conservative political organization). The Conservatives on the court molded the First Amendment - exactly as if it were a mere thing of wax - changing it's meaning so that it pleased them (and the corporations they serve). This act, as predicted by Jefferson, edged our nation closer to plutocracy. It seems conservatives have no problem what-so-ever with judicial activism when the Conservative judges rule to further empower the wealthy elites.

What the Supreme Court did, specifically, was to strike down "a provision of the McCain–Feingold Act that prohibited all corporations, both for-profit and not-for-profit, and unions from broadcasting electioneering communications". McCain–Feingold said that "broadcast ads mentioning a candidate within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of a general election" are prohibited. Citizens United thought they could bypass McCain–Feingold with a "documentary" trashing Hillary Clinton. Hillary the Movie was set to air on cable TV as an on-demand movie when the FEC objected and filed a lawsuit. The airing of the documentary was stopped when a lower court ruled that, under McCain–Feingold, Citizens United could not broadcast their film 30 days before a primary election.

But the douches at Citizens United insisted that their film wasn't electioneering (and thus exempt from McCain-Feingold) because, "the movie did not say explicitly that people should vote for or against Clinton". When the CU a-holes decided to petition the SCOTUS - Judge Roberts and his Right-wing buddies agreed to hear the case (instead of laughing and turning them down as they should have). Not only that, but Judge Roberts said, "I'll do you one better". Instead of ruling on whether or not the Hillary-bashing movie was OK to air whenever (because it didn't tell people who to vote for and was thus not a political ad), Roberts decided the court should decide if corporations should be able to air any political ad, anytime, and spend as much money as they liked on them.

What Roberts proposed what that his court should overturn decades of settled case law, something he specifically promised he would not do during his confirmation hearings. Former "Law & Order" actor, TN Senator, and failed 2008 presidential contender Fred Thompson thinks Roberts, "was very forthright in explaining that he would not tell the senators how he was going to vote but that he would follow the law and the intent of the framers". Fred believes Roberts has done just that, but Fred is wrong. Roberts lied in his Senate confirmation hearings and should be impeached.

Justice Scalia, another corporate fascist like his buddy Roberts, authored a concurrence in which he states that the First Amendment, "never shows why the freedom of speech that was the right of Englishmen did not include the freedom to speak in association with other individuals, including association in the corporate form". Scalia also "argued that the first amendment was written in terms of speech, not speakers", and that "it's text offers no foothold for excluding any category of speaker".

Both Roberts and Scalia are members of the Federalist Society, which is "an organization of conservatives and libertarians seeking reform of the current American legal system in accordance with a textualist and/or originalist interpretation of the U.S. Constitution". The stated goals of this organization are, of course, total bullshit. Their real goal is to reinterpret the Constitution so that the law favors the wealthy elites (even more so than it currently does).

Justice Thomas also concurred, even though the hypocrite supposedly believes "America was founded on a philosophy of individual rights, not group rights". But he was talking about his opposition to Affirmative action. So, when the government grants additional rights of groups of individuals it is WRONG if the purpose is to promote equal opportunity and address existing discrimination, but when it does the same in regard to groups of individuals who get together to form a corporation - it's the bee's knees?

Conservatives claim that the considerations afforded by Affirmative action amount to special privileges, while people who get together to form a corporation are not asking for anything special, only that they not be stripped of their first amendment rights. But the fact is, they are not. These people retain their individual right to free speech, but do not gain the special privilege of a free speech group right. Clarence Thomas may be a hypocritical dipsh*t, but he's right (even if he conveniently forgot when he wrote his Citizens United concurrence), that the Bill of the Bill of Rights affirms individual rights, not group rights. There is ONLY ONE group that the First Amendment mentions, and that is The Press. All other groups can suck it.

Individuals have the right to associate with other individuals, but they do not then gain additional rights to speak as a group under the First Amendment. Only the Press does, which is why the Founders specifically mention it. Seeing as any specific press organization is also a corporation, why would the Framers single out the press if they were already covered (by virtue of being a corporation)? Clearly the Bill of Rights was intended to apply to individuals and not groups. Neither did the Framers intend for corporations to be able to spend unlimited amounts of money influencing elections or buying off politicians. Congress is within it's rights to pass laws restricting campaign spending by these entities.

I agree that "judges are like umpires. Umpires don't make the rules. They apply them". John Roberts said this during his confirmation hearing. Then he did the exact opposite when he ruled in favor of Citizens United, changing the meaning and intent of the First Amendment. Both of the justices appointed by President doofus made similar statements before Congress, and because fibbing to Congress is illegal, both should be impeached. Alito, in his confirmation hearing said, "courts should respect the judgments and the wisdom that are embodied in prior judicial decisions", but when Roberts said prior judicial decisions (regarding this issue) were a "mistake" and that he was obligated not to repeat them, Alito concurred.

In elections whichever candidate outspends the other generally wins. This is according to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), a non-profit, nonpartisan research group that tracks money in politics and their effect on elections. In a 11/5/2008 article examining the 2008 election, CRP reports that "Money Wins Presidency and 9 of 10 Congressional Races in Priciest U.S. Election Ever". Their research shows that "in 93 percent of House of Representatives races and 94 percent of Senate races... the candidate who spent the most money ended up winning".

According to the 2/17/2011 broadcast of the Rachel Maddow Show, "In 2010, post-Citizens United, 7 of the 10 top outside spending groups in the election were all Right-wing. The Chamber of Commerce, both the Karl Rove groups, the American Future Fund, Americans for Job Security - all of these Right-wing groups. The only non-conservative groups that cracked the top 10 were the public employees union, the SEIU, and the teachers union. That's it".

The Sunlight Foundation confirms that spending on the Republican side outpaces spending on the Democratic side. Their 2010 report says, "the big change... is that independent groups are now spending more money on influencing the election than political parties", pointing out that "the outside groups are supplanting traditional party spending largely on the Republican side of the aisle. There are currently eight outside groups that have each spent at least $2 million exclusively on aiding Republican candidates. These groups are American Crossroads, American Crossroads GPS, American Future Fund, The 60 Plus Association, Americans for Job Security, Club for Growth Action Fund, Club for Growth and Tea Party Express".

I say you are naive in the extreme if you think this ruling will not allow corporations to get the politicians THEY WANT elected. Corporations will run adds FOR the politicians who dance to their tune and AGAINST those who do not. Obviously Righties believe that "free speech" is dependant on how much money you have. The more money you have, the more FREE speech you can buy. Those of us who don't adhere to corporatism recognize that this ruling is straight up fascism. Most people don't even bother voting. Of those that do vote, some of them will vote for the politicians the ads tell them to vote for. Outside groups wouldn't be spending these huge sums of money if this were not true.

My conclusion is that money is corrosive to the political process. We need to reduce the amount of money spent on elections, not increase it. Money is not speech, corporations are not people, and the first amendment only applies to individuals (and the press). For this reason we must re-elect Barack Obama so that he can appoint the next one or two Supreme Court Judges and move the court away from the radical Right. Hopefully then this very bad ruling can be overturned.

Conservative Q&A Re: The Citizens United Decision

The following questions and assertions were made during a heated debate I engaged in with a Conservative on another blog. This debate was what prompted me to compose this blog post. I've written on the topic before, but this commentary greatly expands on my prior posts...

Conservative position: A law requiring shareholders in a corporation be allowed to vote before any corporate money is spent supporting a political candidate would be wrong because shareholders all CHOOSE to invest on a corporation. Their choice to invest means they approve of the company's policies (including it's political support).

My response: This claim is utter nonsense. The primary reason people invest in corporations is to make money, not political statements. In deciding whether or not to invest an individual usually looks into past performance of the corporation, they usually do not investigate the political positions of the corporation, which are not a part of the company's prospectus. A law requiring a vote by stockholders (the OWNERS of the corporation) before any money is spend for political reasons is completely reasonable. If everyone who buys stock is assumed to agree with the CEO politically, then what is the harm in holding a vote? The only reason anyone would oppose such a law is because they want corporate CEOs to be able to spend corporate money for political reasons - even if such expenditures would be OPPOSED by their stockholders.

Conservative position: The New York Times is a corporation. Putting in the censorship regime you favor would gag any political opinions from being expressed in it.

My response: The First Amendment says that no laws shall be passed abridging the freedom of the press. the New York Times is a press organization and thus political opinions expressed in it can not legally be gagged. Furthermore, I do not favor a "censorship regime"; I favor adherence to the First Amendment as written. The First Amendment guarantees individual rights. It does not guarantee group rights for corporations or any other entity (with the exception of the press).

Conservative position: Do you honestly support the idea that caused the court decision in the first place... the government gag on a film [Hillary: the movie] people made that was critical of a US senator?

My response: I fully support reasonable laws governing how our elections are conducted. Citizens United was not "gagged" in regards to Hillary: The Movie. They were only prohibited from airing their "documentary" during a certain period of time. The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (also known as McCain-Feingold) said that "broadcast ads mentioning a candidate within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of a general election" are prohibited. They were free to air their "documentary" any other time.

Conservative position: What ever happened to, if you don't like what someone says, ignore it? We need to stop looking for excuses to censor and to bar people from the political process.

My response: I am not looking to censor or bar any individual person from the political process. I simply believe we should follow the First Amendment as written. The First Amendment protects individual rights, not group rights. Corporations (aside from press corporations) do not have rights under the First Amendment.

As for your argument that political ads can be ignored... this clearly does not happen. Why else would politicians spend so damn much to get elected? Why do they hire slick PR firms to carefully craft their message? Money has a HUGE impact on elections. This is a FACT that cannot be denied. Politically informed individuals may ignore political commercials they know are pure spin, but the average citizen is most often not informed enough to be able to identify what is true and what is spin (or an outright lie).

If you agree with the Citizens United decision it is my opinion that you do not believe in democracy. Only a supporter of plutocracy would say our election results should be determined by who spends the most.

SWTD #82