A bill in the state of Montana is being introduced by State Rep. Steve Lavin (R – Kalispell) that would give corporations the right to vote.
According to ThinkProgress, HB 486 would give “…a firm, partnership, company, or corporation [who owns] real property within the municipality, the president, vice president, secretary, or other designee of the entity is eligible to vote in a municipal election…”
You can read the full text of the bill here.
Corporate “personhood” has gone far enough. It was bad enough when the Supreme Court ruled in 2010 in Citizens United v. FEC that corporations (and other entities, like labour unions) could have unlimited, undisclosed independent campaign spending in elections, which created “Super PACs.” It was bad enough when the Supreme Court ruled in the same year in SpeechNow.org v. FEC that individuals could have unlimited contributions to Super PACs.
It was bad enough when a major presidential candidate said that “corporations are people, my friend.” And it was bad enough that the Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear a case challenging the last hurdle in the way of outright buying elections: unlimited contributions directly to a candidate’s campaign.
Now they are giving corporations the right to vote! My outrage cannot be adequately expressed via text, and I do not wish to use caps lock.
The Montana bill would essentially give someone the right to vote twice in an election. This is ironic, since in the months up until the 2012 elections the Republican Party was running around with their heads cut off screaming about the virtually nonexistent problem of voter fraud, which usually involves a person voting multiple times.
This is all while Montana was pushing through one of those infamous voter ID bills, one that would only allow a person to vote in elections with either a driver’s license or a tribal ID card. This would be possibly one of the most restrictive voter ID bills in the country, as similar laws being fought over in other states and in the courts mostly allow for passports and other forms of government issued identification that are not a driver’s license.
To be fair, the bill was essentially killed only a few weeks ago after it was tabled in Montana’s State Administration Committee.
I can only imagine what could happen if HB 486 were to ever become law anywhere in the United States. Some company… sorry, someone (since corporations are people, my friend) with enough money and power could create countless shadow companies and put their employees, colleagues, or friends “in charge” of them, thereby creating an endless number of “people” to vote in elections.
If anything is a threat to our democracy, it is not the few dozen of people who try to vote twice by pretending to be someone else. If anything is a threat, it is the efforts by some in this country to deny people the right to vote based on the colour of their skin or how much money they make. If anything is a threat, it is HB 486 and the deluge that can follow.
If you live in the state of Montana, please contact your state representatives and tell them to kill this bill!
With the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare), saying that the individual mandate is constitutional because of the federal government’s taxing ability, Republicans are saying that the President Obama and Democrats have broken their promise to not raise taxes on the middle class. Democrats have responded with, basically, “We’re doing the same thing Mitt Romney did.”
The Congressional Budget Office says that the individual mandate, which again was proposed by Republicans as an alternative to the much preferred public option, is estimated as affecting a little more than one percent of the entire US population, which is those who can buy healthcare but refuse to, in which case they will be fined for it. According to the Washington Post, “When the individual mandate is fully phased-in, those who can afford coverage — which is defined as insurance costing less than 8 percent of their annual income — but choose to forgo it will have to pay either $695 or 2.5 percent of the annual income, whichever is greater.”
In a 2009 op-ed for the for USA Today, Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney wrote, “Our experience also demonstrates that getting every citizen insured doesn’t have to break the bank. First, we established incentives for those who were uninsured to buy insurance. Using tax penalties, as we did, or tax credits, as others have proposed, encourages ‘free riders’ to take responsibility for themselves rather than pass their medical costs on to others. This doesn’t cost the government a single dollar.” Mitt Romney, the Republican Presidential Candidate, was at the forefront of the idea for an individual mandate.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said during an interview on Meet The Press, “The penalty is on people who have the wherewithal but refuse to buy health insurance, figuring they won’t be sick and if they do, other people will have to cover it. So these free riders — as they were identified by Governor Romney himself, he said that people who have the ability to pay and don’t can’t expect to be free riders. And I think he had it exactly right.”
However, we would not even be fighting over the individual mandate the Republicans hate so much if Republicans had not proposed it and done away with the public option supported by President Obama, and we would not be fighting over people having to pay penalties for not having health insurance if we had a single-payer system where everyone was guaranteed healthcare. That would be socialism though, and we can’t have that. I don’t even know what that is, but Sean Hannity tells me that it’s bad.
Republicans keep spreading lies and misinformation about the Affordable Care Act, because they know that is the only way to get rid of it. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told Fox News that the Supreme Court has “unearthed the massive deception that was practiced by the president and the Democrats, constantly denying that it was a tax.” They denied it being a tax, because it is not a tax. It is a penalty. Even their own presidential candidate once said that, but of course Mitt Romney will flip-flop and say something else in order to beat President Obama come the Fall.
President Obama is being heavily criticised for the Fast and Furious “gunwalking” scandal that came to light following the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry by gun traffickers who were being sold guns by the ATF. The operation began when the Tuscon, Arizona branch of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) planned on selling guns to Mexican gun traffickers. These guns would then be tracked back to the Mexican drug cartels as part of a sting operation in hopes of finally breaking the drug cartels that have been wreaking havoc on the Mexican-American border.
The president is being criticised for asserting his executive privilege to withhold certain documents concerning the operation. Congressional Republicans, the Republican National Committee, and the Romney campaign all jumped on President Obama for this action, saying that he is going back on his promise for having a transparent government and that him and Attorney General Eric Holder, who recommended the president use his executive privilege, are trying to coverup a flubbed operation that resulted in the murder of a federal agent. They either fail to remember or simply ignore the fact that President Bush invoked his executive privilege six times. This is President Obama’s first.
The Republican controlled House of Representatives voted along party lines to hold the attorney general in contempt of Congress and linking him to the failed operation and its supposed coverup. This could land Holder in prison or at least with a hefty fine, but more than likely not.
The other criticism of trying to coverup the operation, Deputy Attorney General James Cole wrote in a letter to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), who is chairing the Congressional probe into the matter, that the Justice Department releasing 7600 documents concerning Operation Fast and Furious should have been ample evidence that no coverup is trying to be made. The Californian Representative seemed to ignore that bit of information, and the attorney general was still voted in contempt.
President Obama and his administration are claiming that Republicans and the Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney are doing nothing more than politically motivated attacks to make him look bad in an election year instead of doing what they promised when they won the House in the 2010 midterms, which was creating jobs and helping the economy, seeing as they have killed almost any bill put forth by the Democrats of the Democratic president that would do such a thing.
Politicians and pundits alike on the right appear to be unaware of the fact that Operation Fast and Furious began during the Bush Administration in 2006 when it was known as Operation Wide Receiver. When Fox News had something to say about it, they conveniently left out these important details, or would simply ignore them when they were shown right to their faces. Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly either do not care about the facts or will outright ignore them if they do not fit into their notions of President Obama being the Black Hitler and will do and saying almost anything in order to criticise him.
So why is it that President Obama is being blamed (again) for something that began during his predecessor’s administration?
As most of my followers around the interwebs know, I live in Texas (unfortunately), and the primaries for US Senate in Texas are right around the corner. Watching the GOP primaries unfold makes me laugh (when it doesn’t make me cry), because it shows the kind of in-fighting and identity crisis that the GOP is experiencing in this political climate.
Currently, the top contenders for the Republican primary seat that is being left vacant by retiring Senator Kay Baily Hutchinson (the key figure who killed the DREAM Act, so good riddance) are Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who is being backed by Governor Rick Perry (you know, the guy who held that giant prayer rally in Houston), and former state solicitor general Ted Cruz, who is being backed by former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin, both of whom (Perry and Palin) are Tea Party favourites. Both sides seem to be trying to call the other side moderates and that their candidate will cause the most disruption in Washington DC in order to win Tea Party support.
A spokesman for Ted Cruz’s campaign said, “…conservatives are supporting Ted Cruz over David Dewhurst to take our country back from go-along, get-along moderate politicians.” I watched a political ad today attacking Dewhurst, where they quote-mined a bunch of news articles in order to make it seem like he’s a moderate somehow. The problem with this is that Lt. Gov. Dewhurst is one of the most conservative politicians in Texas (which is a bad thing).
Now it seems that Dewhurst will win the Republican primary over Cruz. Once there, he will be going up against the Democratic candidate, which is expected to be former Texas House Representative Paul Sadler. Knowing Texas, the Democrats will lose unfortunately.
However, what it’s come down to is that conservative Americans have moved so far to the right that calling someone a liberal is overdone. They made liberal such a dirty word in America that they are moving along to the next thing: moderate. It’s bad to be a moderate. It’s bad to reach across the aisle. It’s bad to work with others like grown adults do. It’s bad to compromise, because we would rather see America suffer than have to work with those damn Democrats. We would rather kick and scream and whine to get what we want, and if we can’t get it, then no one can have anything.
The Tea Party is eclipsing, if not taking over, the Republican Party, and conservatives are becoming more and more conservative in response to claims that even the most conservative of them are moderates, which they are not. It’s a race to the right, and the losers are the American people, especially those that stand in their way. While the Tea Party is fighting itself to see who is the most conservative, it is creating an atmosphere that is extremely hostile to liberals, gay, religious and ethnic minorities, women, the poor, and anyone who is not a white, straight, male, Christian conservative.
In the Republican primaries for the US Senate in Indiana on Tuesday, long-time Senator Dick Lugar lost 40% to 60% to Richard Mourdock, Indiana’s state treasurer. This in it of itself is shocking; Lugar has been in office since 1976 and had been considered one of the greatest minds on US foreign policy.
What led to his loss is even more upsetting. During the campaign Mourdock railed against Lugar for compromising with the Democrats and reaching across the aisle. He continued to call him “Obama’s favourite Republican,” trying to paint Lugar as a moderate and friend to the Democratic Party, saying that he would oppose bipartisanship if he were in office.
This is the disturbing things about the Republican Party.
Anyone who has taken any political science or American history class will tell you that things only ever got done in Congress when parties compromised with each other and decided to work together for the benefit of the country. Someone just won a Congressional primary on the ticket of ignoring common knowledge and the slogan of “We Will Not Work With You, Only Against You.”
“Bipartisanship,” “compromise,” and “working together” have almost become dirty words to Republicans and the Tea Party. The right has become so radical that it has simply refused to do anything that would possibly get anything done if it meant being an adult and actually working with people to do what is necessary for the country.
This may be a good thing after all though. As the Tea Party ultra-nationalists alienate the moderate and establishment Republicans, they will eventually go so far to the right that they will form a third party that will split the vote for the conservatives, giving Democrats and liberals the chance to elect real progressive politicians who can bring real change to this country.