Super PACs Worry Even Republicans

The United States Supreme Court.

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Super PAC Disclosure Requirements Hot Topic Of Conversation Among GOP Candidates

“What is happening now is what I predicted,” McCain told CBS. “The United States Supreme Court — in what I think is one of the worst decisions in history — struck down the restrictions in the so-called McCain-Feingold Law, and a lot of people don’t agree with that, but I predicted when the United States Supreme Court, with their absolute ignorance of what happens in politics, struck down that law, that there would be a flood of money into campaigns, not transparent, unaccounted for, and this is exactly what is happening.”

Super PAC Disclosure Requirements Hot Topic Of Conversation Among GOP Candidates

There is probably an advantage for many Republicans in the lack of limits of corporate campaign contribution. However, with the destruction of Newt Gringrich in the Iowa caucuses after a pummeling by a Super PAC sympathetic to Romney, there is some concern in the ranks of the party, as you can see from the article linked to above.

That we should at least know who is funding these Monster Super PACs would seem to be simple intelligence. Otherwise, we have licensed the wealthy to do advertising hit jobs on any candidate they wish with no accountability whatever. Of course, our Supreme Court composed of members whose connection with the 99% is tenuous at best, may find political hit jobs to be a legitimate form of political speech since that is one way in which corporations and the rich like to communicate.

James Pilant

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North Carolina Sold to Wealthy Conservative Activist? Could your state be next?

“State for Sale” reads the lead story on the Huffington Post this morning. It’s a very sad story –  how one man freed by the Citizen’s United Supreme Court to spend as much as he wants can essentially buy a state legislature.

That state legislature has now redistricted to favor conservative candidates and passed voter id laws to restrict the poor, college students and minorities from voting.

Is your state next? Of course, it is. All you need is one of the country’s wealthy “elite” and a little political ambition. Most state campaigns are only a few thousand dollars. Spend two or three times that much and the legislature will fall into your lap like a ripe apple.

What will the new legislature do? Cut university funding and repeal taxes? You bet!

This is the brave new world of Citizens United. Aren’t you glad you’ve lived to see the day when corporate personhood become the law of the land? It arms every wealthy conservative activist with the tool for victory – the power to use as much money as he wants.

James Pilant

A conservative multimillionaire has taken control in North Carolina, one of 2012’s top battleground

Even some North Carolinians associated with Jesse Helms think that Pope has gone too far. Jim Goodmon, the president and C.E.O. of Capitol Broadcasting Company, which owns the CBS and Fox television affiliates in Raleigh, says, “I was a Republican, but I’m embarrassed to be one in North Carolina because of Art Pope.” Goodmon’s grandfather A. J. Fletcher was among Helms’s biggest backers, having launched him as a radio and television commentator. Goodmon describes Pope’s forces as “anti-community,” adding, “The way they’ve come to power is to say that government is bad. Their only answer is to cut taxes.” Goodmon believes that Pope’s agenda is not even good for business, because the education cuts he’s helped bring about will undermine the workforce. “If you want to create good jobs, you need good schools,” he says. “We’re close to the bottom out of the fifty states in education spending, and if they could take it down further they would.” He says of Pope, “It’s never about making things better. It’s all about tearing the other side down.”

The article is written by Jane Mayer.

Read more

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5 Most Costly Lies in Finance (via Kathy Kristof at CBS Money Watch)

Kathy Kristof
I am not always kind to Ms. Kristof. I find her writing fluffy with topics better associated with one of those women’s magazines like “Seven Better Ways to Make Your Man Appreciate You.”

Nevertheless I like this one and she has a done a service by hitting the golden oldies in business lies. I teach college and am often surprised how few of my students understand the most basic lies, cons and fallacious offers in the business world.

Here’s an excerpt. –

Unfortunately this confusing Wall Street-speak could put you in in a fog when approaching financial transactions. And that can make you vulnerable to people who would like to trick you out of your money. When salesmen and con artists see that your normal radar for bad advice, toxic investments and outright scams is getting nothing but fog (the potential result of all the hot air on Wall Street), they ramp up clever lies to separate you from your cash.

I recommend you go to CBS and read the five lies. You might say something nice about Ms. Kristof while you are there.

James Pilant

Who’s The Most Profitable Dead Celebrity?

During this period of economic insecurity and multiple crisis. It is always surprising to turn to the novelty part of the news to see something odd. Those parts of the newspaper, magazine or web publication are clearly labeled.

They tend to go with descriptive names, “News of the Odd,” or “Strange News,” you know, stuff like that.

Well, it’s definitely clearly marked on the CBS web site.

They call it “Money Watch.”

Today, the top number one item on Money Watch asks “Who’s the Highest-Earnings Dead Celebrity?”

I (being the fool I am) am worried about the foreclosure crisis that is gathering steam with new revelations day by day. But that’s not newsworthy. Newsworthy is dead people earning money. Strangely enough, that has never made it onto my radar as a major issue (or a minor one).

So, once again I call attention to the ability of modern media to transfer our attention from the important to the trivial.

It’s not a big deal except it cripples democracy, damages thinking, and elevates the statistical anomaly to a kind of temporary annoyance.

James Pilant

(It’s Michael Jackson.)

Pets to Benefit from Holiday Cheer

Generally speaking the occasional pet story doesn’t bother me. However this was the leading or top story on CBS News’ web site. The only other thing going on was the crisis in the treasury department and the Federal Reserve Board. And they have mentioned the largest economic crisis since the Great Depression. Now I freely admit that later in the business news they became more serious. But really, doesn’t this belong in the “popular” news or how about just moving it down a hair so it isn’t the number one story.