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Archive for the ‘Things That Suck’ Category

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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There was a time just a short fifty years ago when the middle-class prospered.  It was a time when workers were protected and safety regulations were put in place.  Middle-class wages were rising, and injuries and death at the workplace went down.  The reason was very simply the unions.  Unions gave workers a voice at the table.  They helped usher in safety regulations.  They actually benefited the middle-class.

Then the Republicans started their campaign against unions.  They argued that it was the unions that were shipping jobs overseas by demanding a fair and livable wage for the workers.  They argued that all of the safety restrictions were actually hurting companies and keeping them from making money.  They said companies know what’s best for everyone.

So, what happens when corporations are allowed to regulate themselves?  We often hear Republicans complain about too much regulation on the part of the Federal Government.  They argue that companies and industries should be allowed to regulate themselves since these companies and industries “know better what needs to be done.”  As a result, there are a lot of industries that have fallen under the radar when it comes to regulations.

One example is the Electric Industry.  Specifically those companies that burn coal to make their electricity.  The by-product known as coal ash is mostly unregulated by the Federal Government.  As a result, the companies handle the coal ash as they see fit.  Mostly they are held in ponds, or empty mines.  The unfortunate side of coal ash is that it contains many toxic agents including arsenic.  These toxins have been proven to be hazardous to individual health.

In Ohio, 77 workers for American Electric are suing the company for failing to provide proper safety equipment while working with coal ash.  They state in their complaint:  “Repeatedly, individuals were not provided with protective equipment, such as overalls, gloves or respirators when working in and around coal waste,” the lawsuit says. “These working men and women, already exposed to the contaminants at the job site, then, in turn, carried the coal waste home to their families on their clothes and shoes, thus even exposing family members to the deadly toxins.”

In the complaint, the plaintiffs claim that they asked supervisor Doug Workman whether or not it was safe to work with coal ash. “By sticking his finger into the coal waste and then placing his fly-ash covered finger into his own mouth,” the lawsuit reads, ” [Workman] then misrepresented to the working direct claim plaintiffs that coal waste was ‘safe enough to eat.’”

Workers at the Gavin landfill in North Cheshire, Ohio were allegedly told that coal ash was only a mixture of “water and lime,” and that it contained “such low levels of arsenic, it made no difference.” The workers were allegedly told that “lime neutralizes the arsenic,” according to the [West Virginia] Record’s report.

The lawsuit offers a different argument.  “Coal waste contains a multitude of contaminants that are dangerous to human health, and individuals can be exposed through contact on skin, inhalation and ingestion,” it reads. “These toxins have been shown to be directly related to incidences of cancer, respiratory disease, heart disease, chromosomal abnormalities and birth defects, among others.” In addition, the physician-led organization Physicians for Social Responsibility states that coal ash toxics “have the potential to injure all of the major organ systems, damage physical health and development, and even contribute to mortality.”

In North Carolina this year tons of coal ash were dumped into the Dan River.  A few months later another “dumping” took lace in another river in North Carolina.  Since the state has control over the clean up, there are still tons of coal ash that have never been cleaned up and never will be.  The State argues that everything is just fine.  I wonder if that is because the current Governor is a former employee of Duke Energy who was responsible for both spills.

So as we can see, self-regulation does not work.  In Ohio, workers were refused the proper safety equipment needed to protect themselves and their families from these toxins.  In North Carolina millions of people are wondering if their drinking water is really safe to drink.  Yet, Republicans tell us that everything is just fine.  All we need to do is allow these companies to continue regulating themselves, and the world will be peachy!  That is one of the biggest problems we will face should the Republicans gain control of both houses of Congress.

The Republicans are marching us swiftly back to the 1890s when companies ran the country.  When workers were simple pawns of the rich to make more millions for themselves.  When it was just fine to allow millions of workers to die making money for their bosses.  These are the kinds of things that unions helped eliminate.  Plus, middle-class Americans prospered more when unions helped protect workers.  Why do you think  Republicans hate unions so much?

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You just can’t stop the images from flooding into your mind.  The death and destruction.  The faces of fallen friends.  The faces of the women and children killed.  You see danger behind every tree or wall or fence.  The fear grows with every step you take.  Your eyes are glancing from side to side looking for the danger.  You are on edge.

That isn’t taking place in Iraq or Afghanistan or even Vietnam.  It is happening as you take a walk down your street in your hometown.  Something triggered all of the memories of those conflicts.  Sometimes it isn’t even war that brings these memories.  It is natural disasters or plane crashes or even boating accidents you worked.  Something that you have witnessed while serving is suddenly flooding back into your conscious memory.

Even after you realize you are home, the dread lingers.  The guilt of having survived while others were not so lucky.  The thought of your friends killed while you lived haunt you.  Survivor’s guilt is what they call it.  It is real.  It is affecting everything you do.  It affects your ability to sleep or work or even laugh.  It affects every fiber of your existence.

You begin to feel like “damaged goods”.  You begin to feel like you aren’t worthy of living anymore.  You begin to feel like your family don’t want you around in “polite” company anymore.  You begin to shrink from society and shelter yourself away from others, including those who love you.  You never fully realize what is going on.  You think that somehow you are the cause of the problem.

Far too many times, you settle these internal conflicts with what you believe to be the only answer that is best for all.  You commit suicide.

That is just a very brief and incomplete example of what is called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  PTSD affects millions of our veterans everyday.  It is something that haunts memories and lives.  There are many ways veterans cope with PTSD and most of them are self-destructive.  Many will seek help from the VA.  Others too often turn to alcohol or drugs.  Anything that will “make me feel better” at least for a while.  But, they don’t help, they make things worse.

According to statistics, 22 veterans commit suicide every day!  That is 154 veteran suicides every week or 8000 per year.  Why, you ask, don’t these troubled souls get the help they need?  That is a fair question.  Many don’t get the help they need because they don’t fully understand what is happening to them.  Many don’t seek help because they think it is admitting a flaw in their personality.  Real vets don’t feel this way, they think.

Most try to cope with PTSD by themselves.  As a result, they don’t seek the help they need, and eventually push their families aside.  Especially when their family tries to convince them to seek help.  Psychological problems are difficult for anyone to accept.  People with psychological problems have been shunned by society for hundreds of years.  Besides, they don’t need help because they are “heroes”!  Heroes don’t need to be helped.  They are above all of these problems.

How do they know they are heroes?  Because every single day, someone is calling them a hero.  Every single day they hear the term used like “we want to thank all of our heroes for their service”.  In their own minds they start to become mythical.  They buy into the hype and never get the help they need.

That is how a simple word “hero” can affect people.  I know that everyone who uses the word thinks they are paying a compliment to those who have served.  They have risked everything in defense of our country.  They deserve the compliment.  But, sometimes, the simple word “hero” actually de-humanizes veterans.  It puts them on a pedestal that they are afraid of falling off.  They start to believe that if they seek help, they will no longer be a “hero”.  Heroes don’t have flaws.  They suck it up and move on.

We need to see our veterans for what they really are.  They are humans who served our country in some of the most god-awfull circumstances.  They have seen things that most people will never see.  They have lost some of their friends.  They have seen carnage we don’t want anyone to see.  It will affect them!  It will change them!  It will haunt them!

When people start using words like “hero” to describe our veterans, they don’t think about what that may mean.  They don’t understand that it can taken an excuse to “thank you” and then forget you.  No one means to be like that.  No one means to forget veterans.  But, all too often it happens.

I know very few veterans who need hero-worship.  We need respect.  We need jobs.  We need to take care of our families when we finally hang up the uniform.  We simply need to be a “normal” part of society.   What we do not need is to be called a “hero” and then forgotten.

 

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Yesterday was primary day in six states.  The two states most watched were Kentucky and Georgia.  In Kentucky, Mitch McConnell won the primary over his Tea Party rival.  In Georgia, the “establishment Republicans” again ousted the Tea Party candidates.  All of the pundits are claiming that the Establishment Republicans” are winning the battle over the Tea Party.  Thus, they believe that the Republicans have a definite advantage in gaining control of both houses of congress.

But, in actuality, the Republican Establishment no longer exists.  All you have to do is look at Mitch McConnell and know that the moderate Republican is dead.  The Tea Party has won the battle for the Republican Party.  If they had not already won, moderate Republicans wouldn’t be sounding like ultra-conservatives.  Which is exactly what they sound like.

So what we have is a party that has been successfully hijacked by the most radical lunatics around.  The real problem that the news media isn’t covering is that the real losers in all of this is the American People.  Specifically, any American who works for a living.  There are all sorts of laws being quietly passed that will either make it harder to get unemployment insurance checks, form a union, or speak up for your rights.  I will give a few examples later.

The Republican Party has called itself the party for business, especially “small business”.  They have touted for generations how they want “small business” to succeed in the economy.  They claim that the “small businessman” is the backbone of our economy.  Yet, they continually allow large conglomerations to put small businesses out of business.   They allow this to happen by offering property tax incentives and corporate tax incentives for larger companies to open business in the communities.

I know that Wal-Mart is the poster child for everything wrong with the pay inequality and worker’s rights issues.  But, let’s be fair.  They earned that title.  When Wal-Mart wants to move into an area, they first seek property tax breaks on the property they want to build on.  Then they demand that they receive tax breaks on their profits for several years.  Then they pay their workers far below the poverty line.

As a result, small businesses in the communities find themselves on the brink of collapse.  Why?  Small businesses don’t get the property tax breaks that Wal-Mart gets.  They don’t get the tax breaks on their profits like Wal-Mart gets.  Finally, through their tax dollars, they are forced to subsidize Wal-Mart because they keep their employees below poverty forcing them to utilize the social safety nets.

For example, there are several studies that estimate that Wal-Mart employees receive food stamps, Medicaid, and subsidized housing.  They get all of this because Wal-Mart keeps hours low so they don’t have to offer benefits.  Pay low so they can make more profits.  These reports show that each Wal-Mart store costs the taxpayers approximately $1.25 million dollars each year.  You read that correctly.  Each Wal-Mart store costs the taxpayers approximately $1.25 million dollars each year.   The numbers do not include the warehouses they operate or contract out either.  It is just the stores.

These same studies show that if Wal-Mart were forced to pay their employees around $14 per hour and have all employees at 40 hours per week, they would have to raise their prices about 1.4 percent.  That means that box of Mac and Cheese you buy there will go up one penny!  But, it would also mean that most of that $1.25 million dollars per store would be saved by the taxpayers because Wal-Mart employees wouldn’t need so much assistance just to live.

That would make it more fair for the small business owner in town.  It means they would have a better chance to compete with the giants that are removing the small business from our economy.  We are not just talking about Wal-Mart either.  Other giants of the retail and fast food industries are just as guilty as Wal-Mart.  Maybe it isn’t fair that Wal-Mart gets the most exposure, but since they brag about being the largest employer in the country, they do deserve more scrutiny.  Especially when you consider that Wal-Mart earns about $16 billion in profits each year while the taxpayers are subsidizing their operation by over a billion dollars per year.

With all of this in mind, the Republicans are still against raising the minimum wage.  Many of them are actually trying to reduce or eliminate the minimum wage altogether.

Now let’s get back to how the workers of America are about to be screwed by the Republicans.  a recent study from Gordon Lafer, a political scientist from the University of Oregon published a paper for the Economic Policy Institute on bills affecting workers all over the country.

One example, employers are allowed to pay waiters and waitresses less than the federal minimum wage because they get tips. But they are required to pay the non-tipped staff — busboys, dishwashers, etc. — the full minimum wage.  In some states Republican lawmakers are getting around this by allowing restaurant owners to force their employees to pool their tips, thereby turning the busboys and dishwashers into tipped workers and allowing owners to pay them below the minimum wage as well.  As a result, every employee loses money — but not the employer.  Their argument and the way the sold this was that of being “fair” to the non-tipped workers. After all, those waiters and waitresses had been getting the big bucks, right?  Not according to the report which said “the poverty rate among waiters and waitresses is 250 percent higher than it is among the general work force.”

In other states they passed laws allowing employers to pocket the tips for themselves, which makes it much simpler all around.  So what they really did was legalize wage theft. Employers are stealing their employees blind.  I guess the Republicans believe they deserve that right.  They are the “job creators” after all.

Furthermore, there appears to be an eagerness of Republicans to use the power of the state to stifle local control.  You know, the party that claims government needs to get out of the way?  There are the famous examples of cities enacting a higher minimum wage only to have it struck down by conservative state legislatures. They have done the same with paid sick leave laws throughout the country.

The worst examples are against the unemployed.  Some states have attempted to mandate that unemployed must undergo forced drug testing before they can receive any unemployment insurance checks.  And, it gets even worse because now you may have to jump through more hoops than a hula-hoop factory makes:

[A] bill sponsored by ALEC members that was passed in 2012 stipulated a series of deadlines at which an unemployed worker would have to start accepting a lower-paying job or lose unemployment benefits. After 13 weeks, she would have to accept any job paying at least 75 percent of her previous wage; after 25 weeks, 70 percent; and after 38 weeks, 65 percent. To ensure compliance with these byzantine regulations (the red tape Republicans so often claim to oppose), the bill required anyone receiving unemployment insurance to submit detailed weekly reports showing that she had applied for at least three jobs per week. It also mandated that the State Department of Labor to audit 1,000 recipients per week.

What they are really saying here, is that if you had a good paying job and lost it, you must take a lower paying job if you are out of work for 13 weeks.  Then, you must accept an even lower paying job as time goes by.  All that experience and cost of education you have doesn’t count anymore.  So, if an employer needs someone to fill a position, all they have to do is pick out the applicant who has been out of work the longest and then lower the salary.  Nice trick!

It goes goes on to say:

The overall thrust of this state legislation is to create workers who are docile and employers who are empowered. That may be why Republican legislators in Idaho, Wisconsin, Michigan, Maine, Ohio, Minnesota, Utah and Missouri have been so eager to ease restrictions on when and how much children can work. High schoolers should learn workplace virtues, says the conservative commentator Ben Stein, like “not talking back.” Early exposure to employment will teach 12-year-olds, as the spokesman of an Idaho school district put it, that “you have to do what you’re asked, what your supervisor is telling you.”

This is not something out of 1984 either.  This is really happening in this country!  This is all taking us back to the “good old days” when we lived in factory towns and coal towns.  You know, when the rent was owed to the company.  We all had to shop at the company store.  When the “company” actually owned us because we needed a job.

This is the reality of what the Republican Party has become.  It has become a party that no longer is interested in freedom.  It is no longer interested in the “American Dream”.  It is no longer interested in preserving small business.  It is only interested in lining the pockets of their multi-million dollar masters.  The next time you hear people like Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin, or Mitch McConnell talk about “we the people”, please remember they are not talking about the American Worker.  They are only referring to the 1% crowd.

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As expected, the Republicans have once again stalled the Fair Paycheck Act.    Scott Walker, that wonderful Governor who thinks unions are Satanists, says that pay inequality is a “bogus issue”.  Another “screw the poor” Governor, Rick Perry, says that the debate about fair pay is “nonsense”.  Then there is Charles Murray of the American Enterprise Institute, and supporter of GOP Governor hopeful Gregg Abbot, says that inequality pay is nonsense and backs up his statement  saying:  “Women prefer to stay home with their children.  And they also choose lower-paying jobs.”

Unfortunately, both sides of the argument are missing the whole point.  This isn’t just about pay inequality, it is about discrimination that has a lifelong effect on the people receiving less money than their counterparts.  Conservatives argue that the pay inequality is based on comparing apples and oranges.  They like to show how congresswomen receive the same pay as congressmen.  Of course, they fail to mention that is because it is the “law” that says women and men in congress get the same pay.

Liberals often cite reference material showing that women make as little as 77 cents per dollar compared to men.  Women of color make even less than their male counterparts.  These statistics are based on comparing like jobs among men and women.  Women often get less money for doing the same work as men.  That is pay inequality.

But, it goes even further than that.  Lower pay for women costs a whole lot more in future earnings than just their pay.  By making less money, women receive less money in their 401K plans, if they have one, and they receive less money from Social Security because their wages are so low.  If a woman makes less pay than a man does for doing the same job, their contributions to their 401K plan is automatically less than the man’s because they don’t have the money to put into the plan.  Plus, matching contributions from the company are less as well.  Since Social Security is based on lifetime earnings, they will receive less money in Social Security payments because they make less money.

That is a big deal.  Anyone can see that women who will be getting less income in their retirement will be forced to rely more on social service safety nets.  That means you can be forcing them to live in poverty their whole lives, including during retirement.  All because you don’t believe a woman should make as much as a man.  That is absurd!

Conservatives argue that there are already laws about equal pay.  But, they won’t let anyone enforce them.  They continuously cut budgets for the Department of Labor.  They continuously enforce archaic laws that require silence about pay among employees and no reporting of differences by the companies.  They continuously argue for “tort reform” which will limit the damages a company must pay for violating any laws.  They also have been arguing that these laws will cause “frivolous law suits”.  They are only frivolous if you think that women and men should be paid differently.

Besides, talk about frivolous, wouldn’t trying to eliminate a law of the land over 50 times be considered “frivolous”?   That is how many votes the house has held to reduce or completely repeal the Affordable Care Act.  That only proves that “frivolous” is solely dependent upon your view of what is right and what is wrong.  According to them, it is “right” to vote out a law that helps millions of people, but it is “wrong” to sue for equal pay for equal work.  That should tell you all you need to know about the Republican’s worldview.

Liberals need to change their tune when they argue for equal pay.  We need to stop just pointing out just the pay inequality at work, and start showing everyone how much it will affect women when they retire, or try to retire.  This isn’t just a woman’s issue either.  It is a family issue.  Married women are also affected.  Their comfort in retirement is on the hook, as well as their partner’s.  If a woman receives less than she should have during retirement because their pay was lower, then the whole family is affected.

No, pay inequality is not just a workplace issue.  It is a lifetime discrimination issue.  Republicans don’t seem to think that is a problem.  But, then what do you expect from a party who just passed a budget that cuts all safety nets for the poor, elderly, disabled, and veterans.

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The right-wing of the Republican Party is at it again.  This time the crying is over the “clean” debt ceiling bill that passed the House last night.  It passed only because of the Democrats and about 25 reasonable Republicans who don’t want to go through all that nonsense again.  199 Republican members of Congress voted to default on the nation’s debt! 

That wonderfully patriotic Canadian Senator from Texas is threatening a filibuster in the Senate against the bill when they try to vote on it.  Which means that his patriotism is for the country of Senator Ted Cruz only!  Mr. Cruz said :  “Under no circumstances will I agree to the Senate’s raising the debt ceiling with just 50 votes. I intend to object and force a 60-vote threshold. They don’t have to vote for it, I think Republicans should stand together and do the right thing. We should have every Republican stand together and follow the responsible course of action, which is to insist on meaningful spending reforms before raising the debt ceiling.”

Okay Mr. Cruz.  What “meaningful spending reforms” are you talking about?  It was always my understanding from Civics Class that was what the budget talks were supposed to be all about.  Isn’t it incumbent on those negotiators to work out “meaningful spending reforms”?   Didn’t Congress recently pass a two-year budget?  Besides, the yearly national debt is lower than it has been in over 12 years!

But he is not alone.  The Tea Party lost its cool big time last night.  Some even before the vote was held.  They are calling on their members to “throw John Boehner out of his office as Speaker of the House” and elect a “real conservative” in his stead.  One example:

Freedomworks’ Matt Kibbe dubbed the vote the “Boehner debt hike,” and marked it as a key vote in their score card for members as well.

“Governing with Democratic votes to raise the debt limit with no reforms attached is an all-time low for Speaker Boehner,” Kibbe said in a statement. “Based on reports, the Boehner debt hike spends money we don’t have to increase entitlement spending and grow the debt. In other words, with the money they spend today, they’ll come back and borrow to pay for tomorrow.”

There is that wonderful lie the right keeps throwing around.  “the Boehner debt hike spends money we don’t have to increase entitlement spending and grow the debt”.  How should I say this nicely, Mr. Kibbe, We the American People are not that @#$%^&* stupid!  Raising the debt ceiling does not spend money to increase entitlement spending!  Raising the debt ceiling merely allows us to pay on the debt Congress has already run up!

As you can see, the conservatives, the Right-Wing, the Tea Party, or the Wackos, whichever description best suits you, have learned nothing from shutting down the government!  They are merely interested in their own wacko, 19th Century economic ideals.  They don’t care if they crash the entire world’s economy!  They don’t care about the American People!  They don’t care about working people!  They don’t care about the poor!  They only care about lining their own pockets!

They only reason they want to “shrink” the government is so they can hand out lush contracts to their cronies by privatizing everything the government does!  Then, they can “retire” from government office and take a nice seven-figure salary from these very same cronies.  Just ask Jim Demint over at Heritage, it worked for him!

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Everyone knows all about the Republican Party’s attempt to restrict voting rights.  Quite simply they believe that if you cannot convince Americans to vote for you, change the laws so only those who do agree with you can vote.  They also have skirted the anti-corruption laws by chipping away at the law with actions like Citizens United.

Some of you may already know about this case, but I am betting that not many do not.  They are at it again.  This time it is almost unbelievable what they are attempting to do.  Republican lawyers are going to argue before the U.S. Supreme Court later this year that it is a “constitutional right” to deliberately lie in campaign ads!  You may want to read that sentence again.

The case concerns a challenge by a national anti-abortion group, Susan B. Anthony List (SBA),  which tried to put up a billboard in 2010 attacking Rep. Steven Driehaus, D-Ohio, saying that he was pro-abortion because he supported Obamacare.  Mr. Driehaus stopped the billboard by threatening to sue the billboard company.  He also filed a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission (OEC) that the ad would have violated a state law making it a crime to knowingly lie in a campaign ad. The OEC found probable cause to proceed with a case, which, in turn, prompted a series of court challenges that is now before the Supreme Court.

The SBA list president, Marjorie Dannenfelser said:   “We are thrilled at the opportunity to have our arguments heard at the Supreme Court and hope that not only will SBA List’s First Amendment rights be affirmed, but those of all Americans. The Ohio Election Commission statute demonstrates complete disregard for the Constitutional right of citizens to criticize their elected  officials.”

I am afraid you read that correctly.  Ms. Dannenfelser claims it is her group’s constitutional right to knowingly lie in campaign ads.  This is yet another potential knife in democracy’s back because if the Supreme Court says the SBA has a constitutional right to say  anything— overruling state law that requires truth in political campaigning—it will surely encourage more lowbrow behavior in elections, as opposed to campaigns based on facts and real  debate.

Of course that is the Republicans objective.  They don’t want to be held to proper standards.  Think about this for a minute.  If you go to court in a law suit or criminal case, if you lie during testimony, it is called perjury.  If you are convicted of this crime, you are sent to jail.  Now, this group specifically, and the Republican lawyers who are speaking on their behalf, want you to vote into office the very people who will write those laws based on lies.

But of course that ties in with Citizens United as well.  In the same court case, you would have to divulge the “source” of your evidence for it to be upheld.  Yet, in campaign dark money, you do not need to disclose who is paying for the ad.  If we are going to truly fight corruption in our election process, wouldn’t it be a good idea to hold elections to the same rules as court cases?

Wasn’t it a Republican Congressman, who during the ACA Roll-out hearings, that said “lying to the American People is not a crime, but it probably should be”?  But then, he wasn’t referring to his supporters who outright and deliberately lie in their ads.

If the Supreme Court rules in favor of SBA List, there will be no holding back the mudslinging.  The difference will be that the mudslinging won’t even have to be close to the truth.  Candidates and their supporters will be able to say anything they want.  Yes, I know that it already takes place, but a favorable ruling by the Supreme Court will make it legal.

I really didn’t think it could get much worse than it already is.  This case shows the complete resentment of the Republican Party towards a true democratic process.  Yet, they expect us to give them the reins of government.  I do hope the American People wake up to the tyrannical practices of this deranged Republican Party and soon!

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