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Gabrielle Giffords is beginning to scare the shit out of gun nuts with her ads about responsible gun control.  Her Super PAC, Americans for Responsible Solutions is beginning to run attack ads against those running for office who oppose even something as simple and necessary as universal background checks.  This has the gun nuts in a panic.  Why?  Because she has finally dropped the polite way she tried to convince both Republicans and Democrats to pass universal background checks without success.

Therefore, her PAC seems to think that the best way to fight for their cause is to let people know who is against changing the gun laws.  Both Giffords and her husband are gun owners.  They do not want the government to take away the guns from any law-abiding citizens.  They are looking for ways to keep them out of the hands of those who are not law-abiding citizens.

Recently, in Arizona, they ran an ad against the Republican, Martha McSally, running for Gabby’s old seat.  One features a wrenching testimonial from a woman named Vicki who weeps and stumbles over her words as she recounts how her 19-year-old daughter was hunted down and murdered by an enraged ex-boyfriend.

“He had threatened her before. I knew. I just knew,” Vicki says. A narrator then declares that McSally “opposes making it harder for stalkers to get a gun.”

Almost immediately the right-wing and gun nuts began howling their disapproval.  Can you imagine that someone might actually use the same political campaign tactics that groups like Americans for Prosperity or Citizens United regularly use would actually be used against one of their favorites?  How horrible!

These are the same people who talk regularly about the Second Amendment and the right of law-abiding citizens to own guns.  They are also the same people who say that “bad guys” should not own guns.  Yet, they are the same people who vote against any changes to the law including universal background checks that just might keep “bad guys” from owning a gun.

Somehow in their warped brain, keeping a stalker from owning a gun and shooting and killing another person is an infringement against law-abiding citizens right to own guns.  I have heard that argument all of my life, and it still makes no sense to anyone who has a functioning brain.  The opponents of the ad are even calling out the PAC for “smearing” Gabby’s good name.  Like Giffords had nothing to do with the ad.

The editorial board of the Arizona Republic is disgusted with the Vicki ad. “It is base and vile. It exploits a family’s tragedy to score cheap political points.  And when the ad makes news because it goes too far, Gabrielle Giffords makes news with it. Because it’s her group.”  But just to make sure everyone knows that the Arizona Republic is only blaming the group, the writers add:

So we ask again, Americans for Responsible Solutions, do you know what you’re doing?

Do the people who control your messaging know they are marring the legacy of a congresswoman known for her decency and good judgment, who practiced civility in office with such consistency she did not just reach across the aisle but found cherished friends there? [...]

Perhaps the Tucson shooting changed Gabby Giffords. Perhaps she is the one who controls the message. But we doubt it.

That’s not who she is.

See?  They don’t want people to think that they are saying anything bad about Giffords.  Obviously she would never do any such thing as use a type of “in-your-face” ad.  She is too nice for that.  Obviously, it is the group who are behind this and the Arizona Republic believes they are doing it behind Giffords back.

Besides, has the Arizona Republic now taken the stance that only they know who Giffords is?  Are they the ones who are supposed to write her legacy?  Giffords tried using “civility” to make changes to gun laws.  She was blocked by the very people she is now targeting in her ads.  Why wouldn’t she switch gears?  She was brutally shot in the head by a wacko with a gun.  Since then, she has witnessed mass shootings at a movie theater and a school.  She apparently has had enough.

The gun nuts and right-wing media have been real quick to make heroes out of crack-pots like Cliven Bundy and the crazy militia people who showed up willing to shoot Federal Law Enforcement officials over illegal grazing by Bundy’s cows.  Yet when someone has the audacity to show an ad that shows the trauma these mass shooting cause, they are the first to cry “foul.”

I think we need to see more of these ads at the national level.  We need to see just how devastating these shootings are to the families of the victims.  The case that the Vicki ad talks about is something that happens way too often.

I believe that Gabrielle Giffords and her PAC, Americans for Responsible Solutions is just what we need during this election.  I have believed for a long time that something needs to be done to keep guns out of the hands of the so-called “bad guys.”  Every time someone like Giffords has tried, too many politicians have blocked their efforts.  Would it be too far of a stretch to call these politicians abettors to these awful crimes since they won’t do anything to help prevent them?   We will never have a chance to get responsible solutions until the abettors of the gun nuts are voted out of office.

Keep up the good work Gabby!

The media is still abuzz with the NFL and its Domestic Violence problem.  The media is still talking about it.  People are still calling for Roger Goodell’s head, and the right-wing media is still calling all the fuss “the chickification” of the NFL.  Some people with more sane minds are actually beginning to speak about this issue with more intelligence.  Some are saying that at least the NFL problems have finally brought this abuse to light and open discussion.

I am not so sure that is really the case.  Yes, we keep hearing about all of the NFL players involved in domestic abuse cases, but we rarely hear about any cases from any other field.  Yet there is one case that is even more egregious than all of the NFL cases and you probably haven’t even heard about it.  This case involves a District Court Judge in Alabama.

District Court Judge Mark E. Fuller was arrested and charged for hitting, kicking, and dragging his wife around a luxury hotel room last month.  He has not been removed from his job either!   The problem is that removing a federal judge from the bench is not as easy as people may think.  Even if he is convicted of a felony, that does not necessarily mean he will be removed.  When removing a judge from the bench, everything is based on his job performance as a judge and not his personal behavior.

This is a real problem when you consider that this man sits in judgment of others.  How is it possible that someone who has been arrested for domestic violence can judge the behavior of others?  Yet, that is exactly what is going on here.

Police responded to a 911 call and reported Fuller’s wife, Kelli Fuller, had “visible lacerations to her mouth and forehead.”  She told police her husband “pulled her hair, threw her to the ground and kicked her… and that he “hit her in the mouth several times with his hands.”  This sordid information was released back in August.  Even before the Ray Rice incident hit the headlines.  Yet, there was virtually no coverage.

Like Ray Rice, Judge Fuller entered pre-trial diversion, or “offender-rehabilitation” programs that required counseling, and would be able to expunge his records if he fulfills the requirements of the program.  As a result, there will be no trial in the matter.  So, like Rice, he was able to avoid punishment for his abuse.

Of course Judge Fuller issued a statement: “This incident has been very embarrassing to me, my family, friends and the court.  I deeply regret this incident and look forward to working to resolve these difficulties with my family, where they should be resolved.”  Now, I don’t know about you, but that last part of his statement is troubling to me.  The part that says “working to resolve these difficulties with my family, where they should be resolved” is something that shows no remorse on the part of the Judge.

Yes, working to resolve these difficulties with his family is a good place to start.  But, saying “where they should be resolved” is telling everyone that the judge thinks it is no one’s business but his family’s.  That is where I have a problem.  Leaving domestic abuse to be settled among the family is the worst thing you can do.  The victims need protection from their abusers.  Not left to “resolve these difficulties” inside the family.  Sorry, but I have seen too many times when resolving difficulties inside the family only led to more abuse.

There has finally been some pushback about Judge Fuller keeping his job.   “Domestic abuse cannot be tolerated, explained away or swept under the rug. It must be confronted head on, and abusers just be held accountable,” Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala.) told the Montgomery Advertiser last week.  Yet, it took six weeks for either of the United States Senators from Alabama to voice their opinions calling for Judge Fuller to step down.

Rep. Terri A. Sewell (D-Ala.) said in a statement posted on her website, “If an NFL player can lose his job because of domestic violence then a federal judge should definitely not be allowed to keep his life-time appointment to the federal bench.”

So, like Ray Rice, a Federal Judge was arrested for beating his wife in a hotel.  Like Rice he avoided trial by entering a pre-trial diversion program.  But, unlike Rice, he has so far kept his job as a Judge.  Worst of all, you probably haven’t heard a single thing about this in the national media.  You probably won’t unless he actually steps down from his post.  Then, the right-wing media will surely jump all over it and defend the Judge as much as they have defended the NFL abusers.  I am sure they will tell you that it was all Mrs. Fuller’s fault.

In the meantime, people will be having their cases heard by this Judge.  They will go into court expecting a fair trial from a Judge that should be in jail for abusing his wife.  NFL players should be suspended, punished and/or fired for their abusive actions.  So should Federal Judges.  Yet, as usual, the double-standards in these kinds of cases remains fully visible for all to see.

 

I have always been a firm believer in the thought that history is extremely important to the future.  I believe that the axiom of “if we fail to remember history, we are doomed to repeat it.”  I further believed that all of the “reforms” that are being introduced to “improve” public education was simply a money scam to enrich corporations.  While that is partially true, there is a more insidious element to these so-called reforms.

I am not just talking about programs like “no child left behind” or “race to the top” either.  Some of the so-called reformers are truly just trying to line their pockets with tax money.  Others are more quietly trying to distort education into more of a propaganda machine.  After all, the easiest way to ensure the survivability of your ideas, even if they have failed miserably, is to indoctrinate children in school.  Forget the facts, just each what you want taught so future generations believe your ideas.

We have seen this type of indoctrination in the world before.  Both history and science were radically changed in Germany in the 30s to prove the superiority of the Arian Race.  In communist countries like Russia and China, indoctrination was the name of the game.  They did not teach capitalism in schools.  To them, capitalism was evil and they were going to make sure their children hated it as much as they did.  In every case, this indoctrination worked.  At least until their governments fell.

Here in the U.S. we are facing the same problems.  The trouble is that no one is really paying attention to the indoctrination that is being forced on our children.  In this case, the guilty parties are political activists not necessarily the government.  Yes, it is only possible in states where these activists gain enough political power to get their idiots elected to office.

The major contributor and therefore the major usurper of education is currently the State of Texas.  That is because of its size, if they approve a certain text-book, that is usually the only one offered by publishers to other states.  Which means that regardless of where you live, your children are potentially exposed to their indoctrination propaganda.

The main culprits in this movement is a combination of right-wing conservatives and the Conservative Christian Cult.  We have all seen the arguments over creationism being taught as legitimate science.  But, that is just the beginning of their plot.  They have gone way beyond the idea of creationism.

Texas has tried to change text books in history and other academia by inserting what is basically been called lies and disinformation.  A group of 10 scholars in politics and history examined these text books and concluded that they are intended to trick students into believing right-wing myths about government, racism and whether or not America is supposed to be a “Christian nation.”

Despite the fact that the founding fathers founded our country based on “Enlightenment” or philosophical ideals, these text books are trying to make children believe that it was founded on Christian doctrine.  They even go so far as saying that the founders drew inspiration from Moses, on the grounds that Moses created the idea of a “written code of behavior.”   This despite that Thomas Jefferson argued that there should be a “wall of separation between church and state.”  And the fact that civilizations believed in codified behavior long before Moses was even born.

Texas schools push sex “education” that rarely even mentions contraception.  As a predictable result, Texas maintains an abysmally high teen pregnancy rate while teen pregnancy rates in other states are dropping.

On top of this, they even try to argue that segregation was really okay.  One book argues that white and black schools had “similar buildings, buses, and teachers,” which the researchers argue “severely understates the tremendous and widespread disadvantages of African-American schools.”

Of course, they also found a whole lot of propaganda supporting unregulated capitalism.  One book argues that taxes have gone up since 1927, but that “society does not appear to any more civilized today than it was” back then.  Of course things like the federal highway system, reduced poverty and sickness, and improved education aren’t mentioned as making “society more civilized.”  Imagine that!

So, what do some of the people who reviewed these text books really think?  Emile Lester, a political science associate professor at the University of Mary Washington in Virginia, was one of the reviewers. The State Board of Education and “these textbooks have collaborated to make students’ knowledge of American history a casualty of the culture wars,” he writes in his report.

Edward Countryman, a professor of history at Southern Methodist University who also worked on the report, concurred, accusing the State Board of creating textbook standards that have a “combination of incoherence, poor construction, and attempted indoctrination” in lieu of actual intent to educate students.

The Texas State Board of Education made it very clear that they intended to push right-wing ideology on the students from the very beginning.  In July, the Texas Freedom Network reviewed the 140 people selected to be on the panels reviewing textbooks. Surprise, being an actual expert in politics or history guaranteed you couldn’t get a spot ont he board.  More than a dozen Texas academics with expertise who applied were denied.  Yet conservative political activists and individuals without social studies degrees or teaching experience got places on the panels.

Only three of the current 140 members of the panel are even current faculty members at Texas universities. Yet, a pastor who once owned a car dealership somehow got a spot.  So, 140 people in Texas seems to have a large sway of what is put into textbooks, even in your state, and only three have the credentials usually needed for such work.

Before you think that this is no big deal, remember your history.  Propaganda and indoctrination are things that made Germany, Russia, China, and many other dictatorships last longer than they should have.  If you can get to the children, you can control the future.  The Constitution and actual freedom don’t mean anything to these people.  They are only interested in making sure their failed ideas continue to resonate in the national dialogue.

I strongly urge all parents to read the text books your children are using in the classroom.  If you don’t, you won’t even know that your child is being indoctrinated into a belief system whether you agree with it or not.  In every case in history, that was the beginning and the reason many dictatorships endured.  Although the Cult is more interested in forming a theocracy, a theocracy is a form of dictatorship.  As some have already shown in history, it is easy to do.  All you need do is rewrite history and ignore true science.

John Boehner has been the worst Speaker of the House in my memory.  He has probably been the worst Speaker of the House in our country’s history.  Especially when you consider that he has ruled over the least productive House in history.  But of course, it isn’t his fault.  He has to deal with a caucus that has too many “knuckleheads” in it.

When speaking to the American Franchise Association, Boehner described the House majority over which he lords as a “paper majority,” and then said:  “On any given day, 16 of my members decide they’re going to go this way, and all the sudden I have nothing,” he said. “You might notice I have a few knuckleheads in my conference.” [...]  He added that “dealing with Democrats is one thing, dealing with the knuckleheads is another.”

Now you must also remember his other rants against his own caucus in the past.  Remember when he did his comic routine about his members who didn’t want to do anything about immigration reform?

“Here’s the attitude,” Boehner said in reference to those who want to stay away from the immigration issue. “‘Ohhhh. Don’t make me do this! Ohhhh! This is too hard!”

“We get elected to make choices,” Boehner continued. “We get elected to solve problems and it’s remarkable to me how many of my colleagues just don’t want to.”

Don’t forget how Boehner scrunched up his face and raised his voice while pretending to be his colleagues and drew some laughs from the audience.

In 2012 he had even more flattery to pass along to his caucus.  “We got some of the smartest people in the country who serve here, and some of the dumbest. We got some of the best people you’d ever meet, and some of the raunchiest. We’ve got ‘em all.”

There are two things to remember about his speech to the American Franchise Association.  The first is that the American Franchise Association is staunchly against raising the minimum wage.  Especially since they are the largest group that believes a 40 hour work week should mean you still live in poverty.  Something that Boehner and his party agree with. Secondly is that he was pitching to get them to elect more Republicans to office.  He has a “paper majority” in which a few wiseacres can separate themselves from the herd and force the House leadership to pull legislation from the floor. But elect them all anyway.

I am not a political strategist.  But, I don’t think that calling your caucus members “knuckleheads” is the best way to get people to vote for them.  If I were a political strategist, I would be making tapes of Boehner’s speech and running ads against every Republican candidate showing the people just what their leader thinks of his caucus.  I doubt that any Democrats will do so, but that would be a nice trick.  You don’t even have to paraphrase.  Just run his speech as is.

The worst Speaker of the House is basically telling the American People that the best way to vote is to elect “knuckleheads”.  That is his solution to fixing our problems.  It is his idea on how to best create jobs, repair our infrastructure, protect civil rights, and improve our economy.  No wonder he has ruled over the least productive House of Representatives in history.

So, if you want to get even less done, by all means take Boehner’s advice and elect the knuckleheads!

 

The 2014 mid-term elections are just a couple of months away.  Yet, we are seeing a whole lot more about the 2016 elections, especially the crowded Republican field, than we are about the mid-terms.  Maybe that just goes to show us just how unimportant most citizens feel that Congress has become.

The biggest problem that I see so far is that the Republicans are trying to find someone they can tie their banner to and ride to victory in 2016.  The field is full of right-wing nuts, so-called libertarians, and members of the Conservative Christian Cult.  We continuously hear how the Republicans really care about equal pay for women, yet they keep voting down the Pay Fairness Act.

The one candidate who seems to be making more tracks than anyone else right now is the faux libertarian Rand Paul.  Yes, I said faux libertarian.  Rand Paul is less of a libertarian than I am.  He only trots out his libertarian credentials, which aren’t really his but his father’s, when it suites him.  He is more in line with the Cult than true libertarianism.

Something is coming out that to me is just as disconcerting.  He is beginning to sound just as stupid as George W. Bush sounded.  I am not saying Bush was stupid, but he certainly sounded stupid.  Rand is following up on that theme.  Maybe he thinks it will help him get elected since it didn’t hurt W.

Paul is always talking and always walking back his talking as soon as someone questions him about it.  It is only Wednesday, and Paul has inserted foot twice.  As W was famous for, Paul seems to be suffering from “foot in mouth disease.”  Maybe he should check with his health plan since I am sure it is covered.

First, Paul said that if he was elected President, the first thing he would do is sign an executive order that would overturn every executive order issued in the history of the country.  That means that every single executive order issued since George Washington would hit the waste bin.  So, one reporter asked if that includes small meaningless executive orders like the Emancipation Proclamation or the desegregating of the military.

His reply:

Well, I mean, I think those are good points, and it was an offhand comment, so obviously, I don’t want to repeal the Emancipation Proclamation and things like that. Technically, you’d have to look and see exactly what that would mean, but the bottom line is it’s a generalized statement that I think too much is done by executive order, particularly under this president. Too much power has gravitated to the executive.

Oops!  If that sounds like double-talk to you, you are not alone.  But then, Paul seems to favor double-talk.  He does have one trait that seems to fit him.  When called out on these stupid comments, he simply changes course and pretends the first didn’t happen.

Then, when Paul wanted to show his Libertarian side and his dislike for foreign intervention he went off about the Middle East problem and ISIS in particular.  But, he wasn’t really railing against ISIS, he was using John McCain as proof that you don’t know who to trust.  John McCain had gone to Syria and met with Free Syrian Army leaders whom he called moderate.  McCain wants to arm the Free Syrian Army in their civil war.

During the trip a story broke that McCain was meeting instead with “anti-American” lunatics.  There was even a photo to prove it.  Where did this story originate?  From a Hezbollah Paper.  The New York Times has since debunked this story.  But, that didn’t stop Paul from making his point.

Here’s the problem. He [McCain] did meet with ISIS, and had his picture taken, and didn’t know it was happening at the time. That really shows you the quandary of determining who are the moderates and who aren’t. If you don’t speak Arabic, and you don’t understand that some people will lie to you — I really think that we don’t have a good handle on who are the moderates and who aren’t, and I think the objective evidence is that the ones doing most of the fighting and most of the battles among the rebels in Syria are the radical Islamists.

In a not surprising rant, McCain went off on Paul when contacted by the Daily Beast about Paul’s comments.  “I can’t believe Rand is still repeating this stuff, which came from a Hezbollah newspaper in Lebanon! He’s getting his information from Hezbollah. It’s outrageous…I don’t know if Rand is dishonest or misinformed.”

Which brings me back to my original point.  Rand Paul seems to be taking the same tract as W did in his run for office.  Sound as stupid as you can, then pretend you never said it.  With backers like FOX News, that is an easy thing to do.  FOX News never backtracks on their stupid stories.  They simply double-down and pretend that they are always right.

I think the worst part of all of this is that Rand Paul seems to be the leader right now.  Of course you have the Canadian Senator Cruz making sounds like he wants to run too, but Paul is getting the most ink.  What does that say about the state of our politics?  I know his supporters at FOX News are doing everything in their power to dumb-down the Republican base, but does Paul really think that is good way to get elected President?  If so, maybe we are in worse shape than we thought.

 

The NFL is still taking heat over domestic abuse problems.  And, they should take heat for it.  As they struggle to get a grip on the problem, basically their perceived problem of bad publicity, they continue to show just how inconsistent their policies on this issue really are.  As you all know by now, Adrian Peterson was charged with negligent injury of a child for using a switch on his 4 year old son to discipline him.  An arrest warrant was issued on Thursday.  He voluntarily turned himself into law enforcement.  The Minnesota Vikings deactivated him for Sunday’s game.  But, they have reactivated him this week.

As usual, the NFL has done nothing yet.  Besides doing nothing, the NFL hasn’t even said a word about it.  They are apparently “investigating” the situation before making any announcement.  Ray Rice is still suspended indefinitely, but he filed an appeal yesterday.  In these two cases, the league is standing behind their “due process” language saying they really can’t do much until due process has been completed.  There is another case in San Francisco against a 49er player for domestic abuse as well who played on Sunday night against the Bears.

Even if we buy into the “due process” argument, how can the NFL use that argument with Greg Hardy of the Carolina Panthers?  Greg Hardy was accused of choking his then girlfriend and drug her around by the hair and threatened to kill her.  Hardy was “convicted” in a one day bench trail in Charlotte.  He received 18 months of probation and a 60-day suspended sentence for the misdemeanors he was charged with.  He is appealing the decision and asking for a trial by jury.  Yet, the Carolina Panthers waited until the last-minute to deactivate him.  Even though he was deactivated to play Sunday, he was still paid by the team.

The Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, while accepting a civic award last week, began to cry while speaking about domestic violence.  “When it comes to domestic violence, my stance is not one of indifference. I stand firmly against domestic violence, plain and simple,” he told the audience in Charlotte. “To those who would suggest we’ve been too slow to act, I ask that you consider not to be too quick to judge.”  At that time, Hardy was still eligible to play.

What is the major difference in all of these cases?  The Ray Rice incident had video.  The Adrian Peterson incident has pictures and tweets from Peterson.  The Hardy case and the one in San Francisco have neither video or pictures or tweets.  As a result, the NFL can hide behind their “due process” garbage without too much public outrage because there isn’t anything to show what happened.

I was particularly struck watching the pre-game shows on Sunday.  The one I was really interested in was the NBC pre-game show because it had Tony Dungy on it.  Dungy talked about how he “asked his players to be honest with him” when he had situations come up with Colts players.  He bragged about how they let one player go and punished another.  If I had been able to ask a question of him, I would have asked about the “distractions” these cases brought to the team.  Remember, Dungy said he would not draft an openly gay player because he didn’t want to put up with the “distractions” that would bring.

On Monday night football on ESPN, they had the audacity to question Ray Lewis about his thoughts about domestic violence.  I say the audacity because it was Ray Lewis, former player for the Ravens, who was wrapped up in a murder one Super Bowl Sunday.  He only escaped being part of the defense in an agreement to testify against those involved.  I would think that would sort of disqualify his opinion on domestic violence.

When it comes to handling social issues, this conflict shows exactly why the NFL can’t seem to handle these problems.  The NFL is not alone in this problem either.  They have a very willing partner in the NFLPA.  The NFLPA is very willing to negotiate punishments in their contract for things like drug use or performance enhancing drugs, yet they are loathsome to negotiate punishments for Domestic Violence.  The NFLPA is backing Ray Rice in his appeal and have remained silent on the Hardy incident, as well as others.

It has been suggested that any player who is arrested for domestic violence be deactivated, with pay, throughout the “due process”.  That is an idea that I support.  Players should not be allowed to participate in activities until their cases are resolved one way or the other.  By deactivating them they do not lose any money.  That takes away the argument of punishing them before their case is resolved.

But, in the Hardy case, there already has been a conviction.  So why is the NFL dragging its feet?  “If the NFL is saying there hasn’t been disposition (of the case), I think they’re ducking the issue,” Belmont Abbey law professor Steve Ward told Sports Illustrated. Ward, who is a former prosecutor in Charlotte, North Carolina, told SI that fewer than 5% of bench trials are appealed and Hardy is manipulating the system.

We all know that football is a violent sport.  But, that does not mean that it needs to be filled with men who abuse their family members.  The type of violence on the football field is not comparative to domestic violence.  Beating someone up is hardly the same as tackling a running back.  The league has a long roster of players who are what some would call “model citizens.”  It is this majority of players that are being disrespected by the NFL and the NFLPA.

The NFL and the NFLPA are going to keep their heads in the sand on this issue simply because deactivating these players, some of whom are vital pieces of their teams success, will only hurt the bottom line of their product.  And, until sponsors start saying enough is enough, the league will continue it pathetic path of inconsistent policy in these matters.

As usual, in an election year, we are faced with an onslaught of political ads on TV and Radio.  These ads don’t necessarily “support” a candidate, they just go after one of the candidates in the race.  Meaning the ad is something for the other candidate.  However, the ads aren’t being run by a political party.  They are being produced and paid for by Political Action Committees.  The biggest problem with a PAC is that they don’t have to say from where or whom they get their money.

As we all know, this is called “dark money.”  In fairness, both sides use PACs to help their candidates.  However, there are far more “conservative” PACs than “liberal” ones.  Of course, most leaders of corporations are Republican because they want the “free market” system.  As a result, Democratic candidates are usually at a disadvantage in raising money because they have to fight their opponent and the PACs.

The Citizen United decision by the Supreme Court has made it extremely easy for corporations and/or other rich business people to literally “buy” an election.  And, they can do it in total anonymity.  The PACs don’t have to list their donors.  My question to this is why?  Why is it so important for people to be able to donate money without saying who they are giving to?  Is it possible that they are hiding something?

Now we get to an interesting thing.  The SEC has been looking into a new rule that would make it mandatory for all publicly traded corporations to release to their shareholders their political spending.  The rule first came up in a petition in 2011.  The SEC has held the rule open for public comment.  As of this month  more than 1 million comments — most of them in favor of the mandate have been received.

Thanks to that pressure, the Center for Political Accountability reports “almost 70 percent of companies in the top echelons of the S&P 500 are now disclosing political spending made directly to candidates, parties and committees,” and “almost one out of every two companies in the top echelons of the S&P 500 has opened up about payments made to trade associations.” The center calls that a dramatic increase from a decade ago when “few, if any, companies disclosed their political spending.”

However, the new rule would make such disclosure mandatory not voluntary.  This brings us to another question.  The Republicans have already passed laws that allow union members to “opt out” of having their dues used for political activity by the union.  If unions cannot use money from members who “opt out”, why can’t shareholders have the same option of opting out?  Why is it okay for corporations to hide their political activities from shareholders, and unions cannot?  Would the answer be because unions generally support Democrats and corporations generally support Republicans?

Let’s take this another step further.  Suppose you are a very good customer of a business.  If this SEC Rule becomes law, you discover that the business you have supported with your spending supports political issues that are against your beliefs.  Shouldn’t you have the right to take your business elsewhere to a business that more reflects your beliefs?  If dark money is allowed to continue, how can we make such decisions?

There has been a huge backlash against Burger King recently.  It has nothing to do with politics, but rather their intention to move their corporate headquarters to Canada in order to avoid paying U.S. taxes.  That type of business decision is made public by law.  Shouldn’t the political choices of corporations also be made public?

I know that most people do not make their purchase decisions based on political beliefs.  If that were the case, WalMart would probably be out of business.  But, the fact that these corporations are allowed to hide their political activity flies in the face of open democratic governance.  If the Supreme Court says that money donation is a form of free speech, there is no reason to hide who is donating it and to whom they are donating.

Of course, there are a lot of people opposed to this new rule.  Mostly groups like the American Petroleum Institute and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  Those lobbying groups represent corporations that would have to disclose their political spending under the new rule — including the budget spent on those lobbying groups themselves.   As a result of pressure from these groups, the SEC has taken the new rule off of their agenda.  Meaning it will be a lot longer before any decision is made, if any.

The reason this rule is important is because it could be the first shot to end dark money.  The right is full of conspiracy theories.  The one conspiracy theory they seem to ignore is the fact that “dark money” allows billionaires to purchase candidates without being caught.  What could be more un-American than holding shady elections where candidates are for sale?

This new rule should become law.  Furthermore, I believe that this rule should apply to all companies whether or not they are publicly traded.  Customers have a right to know who the company is donating money to as well.  Whether you are a large corporation like Koch Industries or a small mom and pop shop on the corner.  After all, history has shown that only those trying to overthrow a government need secrecy!

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