Congress

I'm Rich Uncle Pennybags, and I Approved this Message

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The Wall Street Journal's Jess Bravin and Brody Mullins report on the first move by congressional Democrats to revive campaign finance restrictions in the wake of Citizens United:

The proposal, drafted by Sen. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.) and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D., Md.) in consultation with the White House, also includes a ban on election expenditures by companies that have taken government bailout funds or received federal contracts.

The Schumer-Van Hollen plan seeks to expose the funding trails behind political advertisements placed by outside groups, including a requirement that corporate chief executives appear in commercials to say they "approved this message," much as candidates must….

[Schumer] said he hoped the proposed legislation would discourage companies and unions from spending freely on political advertisements. The disclosure requirements "will make them think twice," before attempting to influence election outcomes, he said, adding, "The deterrent effect should not be underestimated."

Read the whole story here. In the video below, Reason.tv provides 3 reasons not to sweat Citizens United.

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  1. You know, with all this activity from the government intelligentsia nd the comments from Our Most Beloved Father and Leader, makes me think the Supreme Court’s decision was spot on – has to be.

    1. God Bless Clarence Thomas

      1. The guy in DC I most want to have a beer with.

      2. Pity he is such an ass in other areas. I don’t think that there is any SC justice that is not massively wrong in some area.

        1. Clarence Thomas is the “least wrong” by far.There is no government official who is better at securing and restoring liberty.

          1. In fairness, this is like saying, “She’s the best bag lady in New York!”

  2. The disclosure requirements “will make them think twice,” before attempting to influence election outcomes, he said, adding, “The deterrent effect should not be underestimated.”

    Isn’t one big point of political speech to influence elections? Another would be to influence policy between elections.

    1. I hope they pass this legislation and the SCOTUS kills it. The bitch slapping would be worth it.

      1. Who wouldn’t enjoy watching a Chuck Shumer thrashing?

        1. I can imagine Shumer getting spanked.

          with a ping pong paddle.

          in a thong. a latex tank top. and assless chaps.

          1. Is that on Chuckle’s Youtube channel?

  3. also includes a ban on election expenditures by companies that have taken government bailout funds or received federal contracts.

    So General Electric will be prosecuted for running ads applauding/pushing the “green jobs” agenda?

    Bet me.

    1. I can’t imagine this could possibly get by the current supreme court, that you lose your speech rights if you are on the dole. It’s a dopey as the thing they just struck down.

      1. Let me get this straight: the government as a contractor should not be able to condition its contracts on certain things? This is the libertarian website, isn’t it?

          1. Instead of drinking, let’s all piss in his mouth. It needs freshening.

            1. Who knew the right had such piss-drinking fantasies? Well, OK, it was heavily implied I grant you…

              1. We’re not “the right”. We’re comfortable with all kinds of fucked up that “the right” are afraid to let others know about.

                1. This is why I think MNG and Tony are the same person. Like Tony, MNG sees only left and right, but never forward.

                  1. MNG doesn’t even know what an html tag is

          2. Drink?

            Judges?

            Only out of despair, in that a supposedly intelligent person would support this idea.

        1. You drive on public roads, you have to eat shit for dinner.

        2. MNG,
          No, because the government is not any contractor: it has the power to change its own contracts unilaterally, and as such, has a set of restrictions as to what it may or may not do in exercising its power, i.e. the Constitution for the feds, and the Fourteenth Amendment for the States. Generally speaking in legal terms, it means that Constitutional law supersedes contract law – you can’t, for example, sell yourself into slavery.
          There was a Supreme Court case (can’t remember which one) which said that a person’s rights cannot be restricted for accepting welfare or any kind of gov’t money. This would make any contractual clause which restricts a person’s freedom of speech unconstitutional and therefore illegal. Whether that person is a natural person (an individual) or a legal person (a corporation) is irrelevant, as the Supreme Court has found in Citizens United.

        3. So you’re in favor of the government saying that you lose your right to free speech if you do business with them?

          Would you support the government taking away the right to bear arms if you do business with them?

          Would you support them taking away your right to habeus corpus, or the right to not be compelled to incriminate yourself, or …

          1. Although the thought of NEA grant recipients not being able to vote is interesting…

            1. How about teachers. They would lose their right to place op-eds and make political statements! They not only take money (directly and indirectly) from the government, but they also get benefits and whatnot from unions!

              Oh noes!

              Yeah, the selective enforcement thing would seem like the likely outcome. Followed by fighting – but never repeal of the law – over that enforcement.

              1. Perhaps MNG would be so kind as to enlighten us as to which rights, such as assembly and speech, he would give up in exchange for gummint money.

                1. And again, “Congress shall make no law…”

                  I’m not sure how MNG can read that to include allowing laws restricting speech upon signing a contract.

                  I think its pretty clear, “no law.”

                  1. If I sign a contract to work for the government, they may have a law requireing me not to speak about what I do. State secrets.

          2. “””Would you support the government taking away the right to bear arms if you do business with them?””

            What, like forbid me from carrying my weapon on federal property?

            Don’t you surrender some rights when entereing a state or federal courthouse, building or military installation?

            1. A better example would be giving up 4th amendment rights becuase you live in a federal housing complex.

          3. Military personnel give up some of their rights. For an example, see Article 88 of the UCMJ.

        4. Hey, maybe this is a good thing. If no corporation can speak if on the dole, maybe they’ll all get off the dole!

          Yeah, right. I imagine selective enforcement would win the day.

        5. Sure it can condition its contracts on certain things, but not giving up your constitutional rights. Imagine, any company or person taking x contract, or y subsidy, or z tax break must agree to allowed unwarranted searches or not create electioneering communications. The taxing and spending power would be the backdoor to take away any rights.

        6. the government as a contractor should not be able to condition its contracts on certain things the surrender of basic rights?

          I would have to answer yes, MNG.

        7. The government can not condition benefits on the relinquishment of rights that it is expressly prohibited from abridging in the Constitution. So, for instance, the government cannot abridge the free speech of Social Security disability recipients simply owing to the fact that they receive government transfer payments and cannot bar welfare recipients from voting merely because they receive government welfare.

          The other problem with this idea is that if it is to be applied to the TARP recipients who have already paid back their loans, it is likely an ex-post facto law (if the intent is seen as punitive, which from their statements it clearly is). Finally, it probably is a bill of attainder (although Courts have been very reluctant to rule that selective taxation applies, selective restriction of free speech would almost certainly be seen as such)

        8. so, people on welfare will now not be allowed to vote or exercise speech near election time?

        9. Wow – I’m actually more with MNG on this one than most of you…As I am a vigorous opponent of corporate welfare, as all libertarians should be, and because I believe that no one is “entitled” to a government contract, I believe that Congress can constitutionally set rules barring the distribution of contracts for companies who have engaged in political advertising with intent to affect elections. Congress should not make any restrictions on freedom of speech and political advertising by corporations should be absolutely legal; however, restricting who can qualify for contracts which no one is entitled to to begin with to avoid the appearance of quid pro quo is a perfectly constitutional right of Congress. Unless you believe corporations have the right to receive government contracts?

          1. Oh one one more question: so by most of y’all’s logic, ACORN, practicing their constitutional right to give advice (even if the action it is advising is illegal), can not be restricted by Congress from receiving federal contracts?

    2. As long as they can’t give any money to election campaigns, or hire former congresspersons to lobby, either, I’m okay with this.

    3. GE gets a pass. They are “the press”, you see.

  4. This could be a boon to all those CEOs with secret dreams of becoming movie stars.

  5. As corporations are wholly created and empowered by State legislatures and protection of stockholder rights/interests is certainly a compelling and inter-state interest in the general welfare, I would just pass a bill denying federal funds to any state which does not enact provisions to protect stockholders from having corporate funds (their money) spent without their approval. For any electioneering expenditures corporate management would have to recieve 2/3 or more approval from all shareholders. Add a tough disclosure to anything that makes that hurdle and viola.

    End of story.

    1. All you need is the disclosure. Shareholders agree to let management make decisions on their behalf. That’s how it works. If you don’t like the things management is doing, you vote with your dollars by selling your shares and moving on to another company.

      End of story.

      1. So you’re against lessening the influence of shareholders in the management of enterprises in which they invest? Boy, you must hate LLCs…

        Incredible.

        1. Maybe he just opposes government intervention where none is needed.

          1. This is the crux of the matter: the profound ingnorance of corporations. State legislatures create corporations and imbue them with a characteristic like seperation of management and owernship. The status quo is government intervention moron, it prevents ownership and management under the corporate form. For government to relax that requirement is hardly intervention.

            You really are retarded buddy. Try a book instead of Hannity next time..

            1. “You really are retarded buddy. Try a book instead of Hannity next time.”

              Ooooooooooo, that’s a great one!

              1. Saying the government changing the rules of corporate management in this way is “intervention” is like saying the NFL changing the face-mask penalty is “NFL intervention.” Look, you’re ignorant on this subject, it’s OK, you can still WORK for a corporation…

                1. Um, you don’t HAVE to play in the NFL. So you don’t HAVE to play by their rules. But that’s beside the point.

                  I agree with you that it is within a State government’s power to regulate the rules of Corporate governance, but most of the details are left to the Corporation’s own charter. But Corporations are usually not passthrough entities. Thinking that every expenditure of capital needing approval from the shareholders is a good way to run a business is deluded at best – it would make running a corporation an administrative nightmare!
                  The idea of a corporation is a group of people delegating spending power on part of their capital to an executive, who has to report to a Board of Directors as to the use of said capital. The Board is elected by the shareholders, and acts on their behalf. If the Board feels that money is being misspent, they can oust the executive. If the shareholders feels the Board is not representing them appropriately, they can vote them out in a General Assembly, or, more easily, by taking their money out.

                    1. terrible spelling!

            2. There’s no reason why a company cannot choose to organize itself another way. You don’t have to issue common stock, after all.

              1. Please enlighten us. I have never heard of a corporation without common stock. What state’s law allows that?

                1. LLC’s, Partnerships (including LLP’s), Foundations, many non-profits, don’t issue common stock. They all fall under the definition of “corporation” as used in Citizens United.

                  1. ah, ok a corporation in the non-technical sense then.

                    1. wtf? corporation in the non technical sense?

                      common stock is only held by public companies. “corporation” applies, TECHNICALLY, to many more corporate entities than mere public companies

    2. Add a tough disclosure to anything that makes that hurdle and viola.

      What’s the stringed instrument for?

      Voil

      1. Like many I’m curious, John Thacker is John Taglerio’s male split personality like Suki is his female split personality, right?

        1. Why is it that whenever someone clearly shines a bright light on your stupidity, you attack their person.

          Becaus you know, you haven’t answered his question.

          1. Gobbler
            You really are retarded squared, aren’t you. Sigh, what IS his question Gobby?

            1. “What’s the stringed instrument for?”

              Illiterate. Dipshit.

              1. Er, yes, you’re angry because I didn’t answer his question about instruments?

                OK Gobby, it’s OK, you can go back to Mars or wherever now. That’s a boy, no sudden movements, look everyone is being veeeery nice…

                1. Again with the personal attacks. The foundation of a MNG debate.

    3. “I would just pass a bill denying federal funds to any state which does not enact provisions to protect stockholders from having corporate funds (their money) spent without their approval.”

      Why?

      1. We have all kinds of laws requiring corporate management to comply in order to make sure that shareholder interests and money are protected by said management (principal/agent problems, you know). This could certainly rationally fall under that.

        1. “Because they can” is not an answer to the question: why?

          1. Two reasons: it’s good to empower shareholders vis-a-vis management and its good to limit corporate influence in politics.

            One would think that a bunch of people who spend so much time studying rent-seeking would get the second part. Do you think corporate treasury funds are going to be unleashed to establish Libertopia? WTF?

            1. “Two reasons: it’s good to empower shareholders vis-a-vis management”

              So your position is that at present, shareholders are not empowered?

              “its good to limit corporate influence in politics.””

              Why?

              1. Yes.
                Because the corporate form poses unique threats to the political process, and because they are artifical constructs that are made for certain purposes, of which political participation is not one.

                1. “Yes.”

                  [citation needed]

                  “Because the corporate form poses unique threats to the political process, and because they are artifical constructs that are made for certain purposes, of which political participation is not one.”

                  Just like unions?

                2. “because they are artifical constructs that are made for certain purposes, of which political participation is not one.”

                  [citation needed]

                3. (Let’s say) I feel like flag burning poses unique threats to the political process, since it naturally threatens incumbant politicians and encourages an emotional reaction to the country and its politics far in excess of what the actual act consists of. That reaction poses a unique threat to the political process.

                  Can we then ban flag burning?

                  Also, Sting, Bono and a host of other celebrities hold an disproportionate amount of power in swaying voters. Are they prohibited?

                  And finally, and most importantly… how about police associations? Do they have to get 2/3 approval?

            2. “its good to limit corporate influence speech I don’t like in politics”

              FTFY

              1. Therein lies the core of MNG

    4. MNG: Since unions are also created by law, shouldn’t you also include them for fairness? No federal funds for any state that doesn’t protect union members from having their dues spent without their approval. Election-related expenses require a 2/3 vote of all members. And full disclosure.

    5. Again: say goodbye to election coverage, any political coverage, really, from the NY Times under that formulation.

      No way the Times is going to A) get 2/3 approval, or B) submit for approval ahead of time.

      What’s that you say, NY Times et al are excluded as “media.”

      Citizens United already says that is an impossibly false construct to achieve. It can’t be done.

      1. I would love to see the NYT try to get 2/3rds support for their OP/Ed page.

    6. As a shareholder, not having to bother with corporate decisions is a feature that saves me time and effort. All I have to do is buy and sell at the right times.

    7. That is silly. The management of a corporation decides how it will spend money. Should every transaction the corporation makes need 2/3 shareholder approval? Every advertisement they put out? If you don’t like the way a corporation you hold stock in operates, you sell your shares. Or if you are a large enough shareholder, you try to change the management.

    8. I would just pass a bill denying federal funds to any state which does not enact provisions to protect stockholders from having corporate funds (their money) spent without their approval.

      Idiocy of the highest order. No company could function if it had to hold a shareholder’s meeting every time it had to cut a check.

      The whole point of corporations and passive investment in general is the delegation of decision-making by the passive owners to management.

      For any electioneering expenditures corporate management would have to recieve 2/3 or more approval from all shareholders.

      Bizarre. The dissolution or merger of the entire enterprise can be done with a majority vote, but running an ad requires 2/3 vote.

      Seriously, MNG, you need to get your panties unbunched on this.

      And what principled reason is there to say corporation require extraordinary approval to expend funds in this way, but unions don’t? What’s the logic behind protecting shareholders, who can easily exit the corporation, but not union members, who cannot easily exit the union?

    9. As the governemnt is wholly created and empowered by citizens, I would pass a bill to prevent the government from spending any money without approval of 2/3 of citizens.

      you have to be the very definition of blinkered.

    10. Wait, we’re back to this disingenuous crap?

      Shareholders don’t want their companies to seek advantages through lobbying? If it helps the corporation make more money in the long run, it’s pretty obvious that the organization is acting in good faith as regards its shareholders. It’s a shame that the Feds don’t act in good faith regarding their citizens, but it’s telling that every “solution” seems to be aimed at everyone but the people who are actual betrayers.

  6. Contract law doesn’t trump the Constitution. Viola.

    1. If you think making management to get an OK from the shareholders as a violation of free speech, then you might have a point.

      1. because corporations are direct democracies

      2. I think, then, that before Congress enacts anything , they should have to get 2/3 approval from the people. Congress can vote on it, the Pres can sign it, and if they get 2/3 approval of the people, then its law.

        1. 2/3rds of the people, not 2/3rds of those bothering to vote, right?

          I had this in my old condo association, they needed 2/3rds vote to pass something, not showing up was a vote against. Easiest way to vote NO ever.

      3. I own some GE stock. I didn’t get approval for Jeff Immelt for those three Manhattans he had with dinner last night. Should I sue?

      4. No it’s a violation of two parties to enter contracts. Specifically: the right of owners to delegate decision making to management.

        Even if you made a certain type of corporation follow the law you propose, Congress should not have the power to stop me from setting up a new corporate entity and delegating management.

        I’m not saying that in general Boards of Directors suck and sometimes ignore shareholders, and that the problems of large corporations with many shareholds start to resemble the problems of democracy as well as beurocracy. But the truth is the very reason those problems come up is the same reason government cannot impose solutions that will work: too many cooks, no local knowledge, etc.

        1. I’m not saying that in general Boards of Directors suck and sometimes ignore shareholders, and that the problems of large corporations with many shareholds start to resemble the problems of democracy as well as beurocracy. But the truth is the very reason those problems come up is the same reason government cannot impose solutions that will work: too many cooks, no local knowledge, etc.

          From: Can Capitalism Survive? Creative Destruction and the Global Economy
          -By Joseph Schumpeter

          As entrepreneurs innovate, they reap economic rewards. Production then expands and new forms of economic organization emerge, such as the modern firm, which grows to capture economic opportunities. As the size of the firm increases, so too does its bureaucracy. The functions of ownership and control gradually separate. Eventually, the owners find that their connection to, and knowledge of, the economic process has been severed. They lose the ability to see the necessity of social institutions, such as private ownership and voluntary contract ? institutions without which there would be no economic progress. Isolated from economic reality, their sympathy for the capitalist system begins to wane, and, with it, the social support for the institutions that form the foundation of capitalism. These render the capitalist system open to attack from hostile parties.

  7. Citizens United is going to be the Roe v. Wade of the left. Mark my words.

    I for one can’t wait until we get GOP Senators to vote yes or no on a bill barring corporations with significant foriegn ownership from electioneering communications. Heads will explode over that one! It’ll be our partial birth abortion bill…

      1. I knew I was picking up some good info in the morning links thread.

    1. Roe v. Wade is the Roe v. Wade of the left.

      MNG sounds like the Pat Robertson of the left – says a lot, makes no sense.

    2. Bullshit. The Citizens united decision is staggeringly obviously correct to anyone who has read the 1st amendment. Roe v Wade, while good in its effect and good for the cause of personal autonomy and freedom, is a convoluted and highly questionable decision with a pretty weak constitutional basis.

      1. Well, Citizens United has to actually stand on the actual clear text of the Constitution; there’s no way that it could possibly eclipse the juridical brilliance of a decision that stands on a “penumbra”

  8. Note to self: Never, NEVER, take a govenment bailout. NEVER.

    1. First they offer you money. The next day they show up with 1/2 the previous offer and Luca Brasi.

      1. You should hold out for the Luca Brasi. Definitely worth it.

  9. “in consultation with the White House”

    Can we put an end to the stupid fucking argument that only Congress deserves blame for the laws? The executive branch is just as much responsible, the president campaigns on laws and often writes the fucking bills for congress to vote on.

    1. I figure if you sign the damn thing, you’re just as much to blame as as the jackasses that voted on it.

  10. “I would just pass a bill denying federal funds to any state which does not enact provisions to protect stockholders from having corporate funds (their money) spent without their approval.”

    That would fix the whole damn thing. If there are no scraps at the table, nobody would fight over them.

  11. its good to limit corporate influence in politics.

    It’s even better to limit political meddling in private business enterprises.

    1. exactly. classic example of the fox guarding the hen house. and the bastards have the gall to tell us they need more power to protect US from THEM.

  12. MNG – would teh NY Times, et al., then have to get shareholder approval to run an op-ed on a candidate, or voice support for that candidate, or his policies?

    If the papers have to get shareholder approval on every piece that deals with politics, then I’m thinking your going to see very little political reporting.

    If you’re answer is no, they are/would be exempt, then you’ve violated one principle from Citizens United – that there is no rational way to exclude media companies from “corporations.”

    Its just unworkable.

    1. teh NY Times, et al. will part of our officially State Licensed Media.

  13. “…throughout the summer, hedge fund and private equity managers accelerated their political donations. In June alone, they sent $1 million to the Democratic Senatorial Congressional Committee, whose chairman, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., was publicly undecided on the tax hike [on hedge fund managers]. In August, after the generous donations from investment moguls, Schumer came out against the tax hike.”

    1. Maybe Senators who accept contributions shouldn’t allowed to vote on issues affecting their contributors.

      1. And maybe newspapers, that have their pension funds heavily invested in “green” industries shouldn’t be allowed to write about climate change:

        [W]hy are the media so invested in the warming notion, given the countervailing evidence, the fact that the last climate theory (the global cooling scare of the 1970s) was so quickly disproven, and that it is self-evident that CO2, that most persecuted of molecules, is essential for life[?]

        Well, the BBC, a prime proponents of warming theory, or AGW, has heavily invested its pension fund in the theory, and thus have had a major non-scientific reason for their bias. As revealed this weekend in The Express:

        “The corporation is under investigation after being inundated with complaints that its editorial coverage of climate change is biased in favour of those who say it is a man-made phenomenon. The ?8billion pension fund is likely to come under close scrutiny over its commitment to promote a low-carbon economy while struggling to reverse an estimated ?2billion deficit. Concerns are growing that BBC journalists and their bosses regard disputed scientific theory that climate change is caused by mankind as ‘mainstream’ while huge sums of employees’ money is invested in companies whose success depends on the theory being widely accepted. The BBC is the only media organisation in Britain whose pension fund is a member of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, which has more than 50 members across Europe.”

        The IIGCC is an interesting group. As their website explains:

        “The IIGCC is a forum for collaboration on climate change for European investors. The group’s objective is to catalyse greater investment in a low carbon economy by bringing investors together to use their collective influence with companies, policymakers and investors. The group currently has over 50 members, including some of the largest pension funds and asset managers in Europe, and represents assets of around ?4 trillion.”

        Wait. . . . I hate to be a skeptic, but did they just say . . . “Four Trillion Euros”?

        They did.

        The Chairman of IIGCC investment group is Peter Dunscombe, who also happens to be the BBC’s Head of Pensions Investment.

        Cui bono, my friend, cui bono?

        http://www.express.co.uk/posts…..-eco-bias-

  14. I would just pass a bill denying federal funds to any state which does not enact provisions to protect stockholders from having corporate funds (their money) spent without their approval.

    I love how a Corp I own stock in, and can freely sell, can spend money “without my approval”, but MNG thinks the govt can do any damn thing he wants w/o my approval. Can I sell my shares of the Obama admin?

    1. Isn’t stock fraud illegal?

  15. So now George Soros will have to say that he approves every commerical made by the majority of leftist and environmentalist groups?

    If so, then maybe I endorse this bill.

    1. Aye deesapprrroove uf zees post.

  16. Once again, MNG leaves the debate coated in a layer of glistening shit. It’s so funny.

  17. Further to an email above that I posted, that this would CLEALY be unconstitutional. As stated in my earlier post, the government cannot condition benefits on the relinquishment of fundamental rights that it is otherwise prohibited from abridging; this is called the “Doctrine of Unconstitutional Conditions” and has been touched on by the Supremes several times.

    See this

    http://www.rbs2.com/duc.pdf

    1. One wonders whether there are a bigger collection of lawyers so completely ignorant of the Constitution and Constitutional jurisprudence than our current Congress.

      1. Ignorance and contempt are two different things, OMG.

    2. As the author in the above link argues, the exceptions to the doctrine have been narrow (so NO precedent of an exception to the doctrine allows a COMPLETE restriction on the right to free speech) and applied only when there is a clear nexus between the benefit received and the right restricted. Also, the denial of the Constitutional right actually is more of a waiver, that is that it must be knowing and consensual.

      There is NO nexus between the PAST receipt of TARP funds and future political speech. Further, by definition, one cannot consent to an Ex Post Facto law (something unconstitutional in and of itself).

  18. My understanding is that candidates are not required to appear in ads and state that “I approve this message”. The law is that radio and tv stations have to give their best (i.e.) lowest rate to ads that meet that criteria, so all the candidates go along.

    Which would open up an interesting possibility. Perhaps the guy who owns the Mens Wearhouse could spend 5 seconds of the add promoting some non-controversial bill (say proclaiming Arbor Day) and get his ad runs and the lowest possible rate.

    Lots of possibilities for shenanigans.

  19. Can’t we dispense with this corporation bogeyman? With the country roughly divided 50/50 between the major parties, what corporation that provides goods and services to the public is going to take a chance at running an ad for or against a particular candidate? (Didn’t they see what happened when John Mackey penned a simple op-ed on health care reform?) The “corporartions” that are going to run political candidate ads are going to be formed for the specific purpose of running ads or taking particular political positions, or will be unions, in which the vast majority of their stockholders agree with the political points expressed (or, in the case of unions, can’t do much about it if they disagree.)

  20. Like many I’m curious, John Thacker is John Taglerio’s male split personality like Suki is his female split personality, right?

    Maybe Suki is right, instead of me, and you are Epi/Chad/Tony.

    Want to figure out how to spell my name right, fuckhead?

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