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The Bernie Sanders Delusion

Like Ralph Nader and Jerry Brown before him, the Democratic socialist believes that Americans would embrace his progressive agenda if only it wasn't for the campaign finance system.

Feel it. ||| RedditRedditFor those who nurture an ideology that has never achieved significant electoral power in the United States, it can become all too easy to believe that only shadowy cabals and/or single-structure impediments are blocking reforms that would otherwise be broadly popular. If only we got rid of X, goes the belief, Policytopia would be within our grasp.

But enough about libertarians. (I kid, I kid.) Bernie Sanders, the Democratic socialist, is the latest iteration of a recurring political character over the last quarter century—the progressive stalwart from "the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party" who believes that progressive policies are being held back not by a more centrist public, but by a corrupt campaign finance system. Like Jerry Brown in 1992 and Ralph Nader in 2000, Sanders appears to sincerely believe that a political revolution lies on the other side of eliminating superPACs.

"We've heard a lot of great ideas here tonight," Sanders said, with contestable accuracy, at the end of the last Democratic presidential debate. "Let's be honest and let's be truthful. Very little is going to be done to transform our economy and to create the kind of middle class we need unless we end a corrupt campaign finance system which is undermining American democracy." The solution? "We've got to get rid of superPACs, we've got to get rid of Citizens United, and what we've got to do is create a political revolution which revitalizes American democracy." That's all.

Sanders' opening statement at the debate bemoaned "a corrupt campaign finance system where millionaires and billionaires are spending extraordinary amounts of money to buy elections." His first answer promised "a government that works for all of us, and not just big campaign contributors." Asked about the questionable political viability of national single-payer health care, in a country where Obamacare has almost never polled north of 50 percent, he said this:   

Do you know why we can't do what every other country, major country, on Earth is doing? It's because we have a campaign finance system that is corrupt, we have superPACs, we have the pharmaceutical industry pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into campaign contributions and lobbying, and the private insurance companies as well.

Detecting a theme?

There were no questions at the debate that couldn't be steered back to campaign finance reform; no left-of-Obama policies that couldn't be depicted as popular among the public. Asked how he might bring a polarized polity together, Sanders responded:

The real issue is that Congress is owned by big money and refuses to do what the American people want them to do. The real issue is that in area after area, raising the minimum wage to $15 bucks an hour, the American people want it. Rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, creating 13 million jobs, the American people want it. The pay equity for women, the American people want it. Demanding that the wealthy start paying their fair share of taxes. The American people want it. […] The point is, we have to make Congress respond to the needs of the people, not big money.

Do the American people really want these policies? Not exactly. Taxing the rich is certainly always popular as a general proposition. But on "pay equity," a HuffPost/YouGov poll in 2014 found just 32 percent favored legislation to fix the male/female pay gap, compared to 37 percent who considered the current laws to be "about right." Everybody wants to "rebuild our crumbling infrastructure," but when you start asking specific trade-off questions, like the Reason-Rupe poll did in 2014, you'll see that, sure, 46 percent of Americans want more transportation-infrastructure spending, but 73 percent say the federal government spends existing funds inefficiently, 85 percent are opposed to raising the gas tax (which funds most road infrastructure), and 58 percent preferred tolls over more gas taxes. A Sanders policy mandate that does not make.

What about a $15 minimum wage? This idea is overwhelmingly popular in expensive liberal cities like New York, but there isn't a lot of national polling data on mandating #NewYorkValues (or L.A. values, Seattle values, or even Long Beach values!) on the federal level. A Hart Research Group poll from last year found 63 percent support for a $15 federal minimum wage by 2020, but we could stand to see more Gallups and Pews weigh in on the specifics. Even making big-city minimum wages mandatory on the state level has run into opposition from bona fide blue governors like Jerry Brown (about which more below), for reasons that almost certainly have more to do with economics than campaign contributions.

Ralph Nader at Madison Square Garden in 2000. ||| Green PartyGreen PartyWatching Bernie Sanders repeatedly hack the debate conversation back to how campaign finance was single-handedly blocking the broadly popular progressive agenda gave me a powerful feeling of déjà vu. Sixteen years ago I watched another indefatigable old northeastern progressive make the same case in the same way, day after anti-"corporation" day. Like 2016 Sanders, Ralph Nader in 2000 caught fire with a progressive left disillusioned with the coronation of an unlovable establishmentarian (Al Gore was nobody's leftist back then), drawing some of the biggest crowds of any candidate that year. (It has largely gone down the memory hole, but Nader filled Madison Square Garden and dozens of arenas around the country to paying audiences.)

Nader was fond of saying, then as well as now, that "Most of our stands and positions are supported by most Americans." As I once uncharitably observed,

Most Americans, it seems safe to wager, are not in favor of abolishing the death penalty, doubling the minimum wage, taxing every stock transaction, beefing up the Internal Revenue Service, reorienting the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to "fight global infectious diseases," charging broadcast companies "billions" in spectrum "rent," rewriting the Constitution to create European-style proportional representation, and erecting a Museum of Tort Law in Winsted, Connecticut. Yet Nader seems to believe that if we just remove the corporate blinders from our eyes, Americans will naturally embrace this political program and the Greens will become a "majoritarian" party.

The Naderite/Bernist faith in the popularity of their ideas is part of their unlikely charm (one shared in similar fashion, if not ideology, by Ron Paul). They come off as incorruptible, genuine and principled, all rare and attractive traits in politicians. But charming delusions are still delusional, and Sanders fans who are convincing themselves about the majoritarian appeal of Bernie's policies (even the ones I agree with!) will surely be in for quite a shocker if that rubber meets the road in federal policymaking. Indeed, there's an argument to be made that the Democrats' historic political decimation in statehouses and Congress has come at least partly as a result of the party shifting over the past decade from Bill Clinton-style economics to a more Sanders/Elizabeth Warren-friendly critique.

This speech is AMAZING. ||| YouTubeYouTubeWhen you see the Nader/Sanders similarities, it's tempting to make sweeping conclusions about a Democratic fringe now becoming mainstream. But this trend is actually nothing new. Want to see the most Bernie-like speech you'll encounter this week? Take a look at the 1992 Democratic National Convention address by Bill Clinton runner-up Jerry Brown, in which the former Governor Moonbeam thunders for the minimum wage, warns of a society "breaking down" over income inequality, calls for the elimination of superPACs, and warns that "there is no such thing as a billion-dollar populist." Some excerpts:

Instead of government by the people and for the people and of the people, President Bush and his allies give us government of, by and for the privileged.... [They are presiding over] the growing concentration of wealth beyond any boundary of nation or conscience and its influence over our governing institutions through money.

Whatever nice programs we speak of, whatever dreams we share, unless the basic fact of unchecked power and privilege is acknowledged and courageously challenged, nothing will ever change. […]

Except for the influence of power and money, how can we explain why high price corporate lunches are tax deductible but not the hard-earned tuition payments of struggling students? You tell me 'cause you know the answer. It's money, it's contacts, it's everything that's wrong with this country. […]

Let's put it simply. The words of politics will remain empty forever unless we challenge and challenge honestly and directly and in a measurable and credible way the corrupt money and the influence that today powers our campaigns and puts our words and faces across TV screens in five and ten and $20 million campaigns. We got to get at that root or we're never going to build the trees of progress.

The disintermediation of political gatekeepers, which Nick Gillespie and I talk about at length in The Declaration of Independents: How libertarian politics can fix what’s wrong with America, means that political parties can no longer just wave aside the deeply felt beliefs of their own grassroots. On the Republican side, at least until recently, that meant a resurgence of fiscal conservatism among a new bloc of politicians and their supporters. The Democrats could have chosen any number of issues to challenge their own establishment with; unfortunately (from a libertarian perspective, anyway) they chose Democratic-socialist economics.

Will those policies prove to be majoritarian, as Bernie Sanders and many of his supporters believe? I'll take the under.

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  • sarcasmic||

    People would love his policies if Big Money wasn't allowed to contribute to election campaigns. Duh.

  • Glide||

    Bernie's opponents take donations from corporations! Which are groups of people who form a group in order to promote their common self-interest with political lobbying! CORRUPTION!

    Bernie, in complete contrast, only takes donations from unions! Which are groups of people who form a group in order to promote their common self-interest with political lobbying! PURITY!

  • commodious spittoon||

    Corporations are entities which work to secure more profits for directors and investors. Corruption!

    Unions are entities which work to secure higher wages for select workers. Purity!

  • sarcasmic||

    Corporations care only for profits, which means they have bad intentions. Unions care only for saving their workers from being exploited by their greedy corporate employers, which means they have good intentions.

    You're looking at principles like some small-minded ideologue. Only the people and their intentions matter, not stupid principles.

  • Frankjasper1||

    "Unions care only for saving their workers from being exploited by their greedy corporate employers"

    Makes you wonder why the proggies support public sector unions since they love themselves some government.

  • sarcasmic||

    Someone has to stick up for public sector employees when evil anti-government Republicans get in there and try to screw them over.

  • rotten||

    Because, as you know, everyone who works for the union does it for free. Just because they care about the workers. If you stop paying them, they would keep working there, right?

  • Frankjasper1||

    I don't understand your post here

  • toots||

    No one should work for free - CEO's or Union Employees. I don't understand why it is bad for a person who works for the public to get paid. People who take advantage of migrants and "right to work" employees are well paid for their service. Groups like ALEC work diligently to change laws to enrich the rich and protect corporations from litigation. Most unions do not do that.

  • kbolino||

    Most unions do not do that.

    I have a bridge for sale...

  • Frankjasper1||

    It isn't bad for people who work for the public to get paid. Not sure why they need to be in a union..seems like a conflict of interest.

  • retiredfire||

    "Unions care only for saving their workers from being exploited by their greedy corporate employers"

    Hahahahahahahahahahah.

    Either you've never belonged to a union or you have and never went to any of the meetings.

  • kinnath||

    Fuck Bernie Sanders

  • Scarecrow & WoodChipper Repair||

    You want to feel the burn from feeling the Bern? Yeah, no, better you than me.

  • Hugh Akston||

    unless the basic fact of unchecked power and privilege is acknowledged and courageously challenged, nothing will ever change

    Well said, Moonbeam. Now about CalPERS...

  • Sevo||

    And the Dills Act.

  • Scarecrow & WoodChipper Repair||

    It's sooooooo amazing how expanding government is top of their list, but not so much on the public's list. It just shows to go ya how ignorant the public is, how long a row the elites have to hoe to edumacate the public.

  • ||

    But enough about libertarians.

    I don't think libertarians have ever suffered from the delusion that libertopia is just one policy away.


    Well, maybe for a moment....

  • Akira||

    This.

    What attracts me to libertarianism is that the philosophy makes no pretense of giving everyone a free lunch in every area of policy. Most libertarians will freely admit that the market doesn't give every single person everything they want, but it will get as close as possible to that goal. Libertarians will admit that there will always be poor people because some people are just shit-stupid when it comes to managing money and prioritizing expenses.

  • Free Society||

    "We've got to get rid of superPACs, we've got to get rid of Citizens United, and what we've got to do is create a political revolution which revitalizes American democracy."

    Because only unions should be allowed to shovel unlimited amounts of money into a (Democrat) candidate's campaign.

  • ||

    Isnt this the same shit we keep getting from Obumbles? 'People would love my policies if the just understood them better'. 'If only I could effectively get my message out people would love this shit'.

    What these fuckwits won't acknowledge is that the reason people don't like their policies is because they do understand them.

  • sarcasmic||

    What these fuckwits won't acknowledge is that the reason people don't like their policies is because they do understand them.

    They won't acknowledge it because they cannot comprehend it. Their policies are born of good intentions. Anyone who doesn't like their polices must have bad intentions, or must have been duped by advertising sponsored by corporations with bad intentions. No one with good intentions could possibly dislike their policies. No way. Impossible.

  • Mindyourbusiness||

    Road to Hell, &c...

  • ||

    Isnt this the same shit we keep getting from Obumbles?

    Yes, except Bernie is also racist. Otherwise, his Presidential campaign would be based on shaming people for lauding him as being charismatic and articulate rather than just hating his policies. The fact that Bernie chose to run on issues people don't like in and of itself is testament to how certain he is that BarryO's policies would work if implemented by an OWG.

  • Robert||

    It's the same shit that everyone keeps getting on all sides. Even radical libertarians think people would think the same as them if they just knew or understood better. People like & dislike all sorts of things for all sorts of reasons, most of them both good & bad.

  • PapayaSF||

    This is only one of his delusions.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Paternalism is all about making decisions for other people because you think you know what is best for them.

    Yeah, progressives assume you would want what they want if only you weren't so ignorant and misinformed.

    But in its bare essence, it isn't just contemptuous of the qualitative preferences of average people. It's also racist.

    The reason poor, inner-city blacks and Latinos have problems is because wealthy progressive whites aren't making their choices for them?

    Think about what that means.

  • In League with the Dark Ones||

    Nah, progressives believe everyone would be progressive if it were for racism or wealthy corporations like Koch Industries buying elections for the Republicans.

  • brady949||

    Bernie looks like Gordon B. Hinckley in that gif

  • adampeart||

    So you're saying he looks prophetic? And Yoda and Spencer Kimball bore a striking resemblance.

  • Michael Bluth||

    No way could Bernie match his wit.

  • ||

    "My opponents are better at buying off voters than I am! No fair!"

  • brokencycle||

    Do you know why we can't do what every other country, major country, on Earth is doing? It's because we have a campaign finance system that is corrupt, we have superPACs, we have the pharmaceutical industry pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into campaign contributions and lobbying, and the private insurance companies as well.

    I know the health insurance companies were pro-Obamacare, at least as it became more inevitable that it was going to pass. I wouldn't doubt if big Pharma also was for it - especially with the tax on medical devices, which are the natural substitute/competition for drugs.

  • Juvenile Bluster||

    Oh great. Who linked the Bernie-bots here?

    I mean, the least you could do would be to actually read the article.

  • Sevo||

    At least the handle has a bit of truthiness.

  • brokencycle||

    I did read the article. I also am no "Bernie-bot." On the contrary, my comment was more to point out that companies actively supported the bill not actively campaigned against it like Bernie claims.

  • Dev Martin||

    You're on Google News. Shocking, I know. Diversity of opinion. The horrors.

  • MarkLastname||

    Huh, I would've figured they would link the Volkische Beobachter before they'd link Reason. I know they linked some socialist magazine (it had the word 'socialist' in its name) as an editor's pick I think not long ago.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Has it ever occurred to you that maybe, just maybe, a lot of people simply don't want to do what "every other country, major country, on Earth is doing"?

  • Juvenile Bluster||

    And has it also occurred to them that the reason many other countries are able to do that is because of the medical innovations that come out of the US?

  • The Last American Hero||

    It's why all the really good doctors in the US got their medical training in Europe... oh, wait.

  • Hyperbolical (wadair)||

    This is a significant point.

    Once the US goes the way of "every other country, major country, on Earth", the innovation will creep along or even stop, with no profit or motive to continue. It's just amazing how stupid progressives are about basic economic incentives.

  • PapayaSF||

    "But Mom, all the cool kids are doing it!"

  • toots||

    The way it is now isn't working for about 90% of Americans. We can do better, and separating money from politics is a start. Separating religion form politics - also good! Universal health care, education, equal pay.... what are you afraid of?

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    fuck off troll....

  • SilentCal||

    "The way it is now isn't working for about 90% of Americans."

    Citation needed.

    "Seperating money from politics."

    Or you know, not have a government so powerful people have to buy it to be successful.

    "Seperating religion from politics"

    You won't get much argument from us libertarians here, but you do realize the US is one of the best in the world with this right? In a lot of Europe and elsewhere, you literally have state sponsored churches that you pay taxes to, here we have certain politicians who like to talk about their beliefs a lot, but this is, while often exasperating, not a legitimate breach of separation between church and state.

    "Universal healthcare, education, equal pay... What are you afraid of?"

    An overly litigious society with stagnating innovation and poorly run institutions that sacrifices personal liberty for dependency on an over powerful state.

  • MarkLastname||

    I'm pretty sure every sentence you just uttered has been a campaign slogan for a major candidate in the last few cycles. It sounds about as inane as someone trying to make a defense for lower corporate tax rates by making a rhyme out of all the big companies' mottos.

  • B. Woodrow Chippenhaus||

    Well maybe those people should go and form their own country then!

    /derp

  • sarcasmic||

    I know the health insurance companies were pro-Obamacare

    Why wouldn't they? It forces people to buy their product under penalty of law. What company wouldn't support that?

  • brokencycle||

    I agree. That is my point. Bernie is arguing that people don't like Obamacare because companies campaign against it and throw lots of money at painting it negatively. In fact, there are plenty of companies that have spent money trying to get it passed. So Citizens United isn't the cause for the dislike, but rather, it may have helped its passage.

  • Sevo||

    brokencycle|1.22.16 @ 12:34PM|#
    "...In fact, there are plenty of companies that have spent money trying to get it passed...."

    Cite?

  • sarcasmic||

    Um, sure. I have no idea what that means.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Like when PA made auto insurance mandatory "Because it would save everyone money if everyone has it". I got a new insurance bill doubling my rates so fast that I think they had it printed before the law passed.

  • blcartwright||

    Remember, that was 'no fault' insurance, which made it impossible to rate the quality of drivers. Good drivers had to pay more to make sure it wasn't the bad driver's fault.

    Auto insurance is still mandatory to cover financial responsibility to others (liability) - cover the car if the bank still owns it, and cover the people you may hurt. You are not required to carry collision coverage on a vehicle owned free and clear.

  • ||

    Meh. Drive by idiocy.

    Someone trolling or copy/paste from a Salon commenter.

    Speaking of...has anyone heard from shreek lately?

  • brokencycle||

    I don't think I have ever read a Salon article in my life unless it was linked from here. Like the others who replied, you're missing my point. My comment was to point out how wrong Bernie is. There wasn't all this corporate money fighting Obamacare like he claims, or at least it was counterbalanced by other corporations pushing Obamacare.

    I don't think money makes any difference in elections except in rare cases. If money could buy elections, we would already be watching Jeb and Hillary duke it out for the presidency.

  • sarcasmic||

    In the mind of the progressive left, there is absolutely no reason why anyone wouldn't support them and their good intentions except by having bad intentions.

    So whenever they lose an election, that means that either the majority electorate has bad intentions (unlikely), or they were duped by advertising sponsored by corporations with bad intentions (bingo!).

    That is why they want to keep Big Money out of elections. Well, not all Big Money. Just the ones with bad intentions, as in anyone who disagrees with the progressive left. Big Money with good intentions, like non-profits and unions, is just fine. After all, they will spend their money to promote the candidates with good intentions.

  • brokencycle||

    I completely agree with you. The problem is there is no evidence to support their conclusions.

  • sarcasmic||

    Evidence, shmevidance. They have good intentions, and the policies they support are born of those good intentions. If someone doesn't like the policies then they don't like the intentions, which means that they must have bad intentions. It means they're bad people. Can you come up with another explanation as to why someone wouldn't like well-intentioned policies? Huh? And don't give me any nonsense about results. When policies don't have the intended result it is always because of something else. It is not the fault of the policy. Someone interfered with or obstructed the people with good intentions. People with bad intentions. It's the only explanation.

  • blcartwright||

    or they didn't have enough money. Tax the rich more.

  • Sevo||

    He and Playa had a bet on investing; turd tapped out in short order. Last anyone has heard from him.

  • adampeart||

    So have you actually ever lived in another "major country on Earth?" I've noticed most regressives err progressives have only glanced over at the greener grass on the other side without actually going to the other side to discover the grass is actually green indoor/outdoor carpeting one could find in the Brady bunch's backyard.
    By your standard(which is fairly accurate) government is easily corrupt-able yet you want to give them more power to be less corrupt? That's like pouring water into a flooded river and expecting the levels to recede.

  • sarcasmic||

    Government is only corrupt because it doesn't have the power to control the special interests that control it. That's why it needs more power: so it can control the special interests that control it. Because the intention is to control the special interests that control it, there is no possibility that the result will be the special interests controlling a more-powerful government. Intentions are magic.

  • Frankjasper1||

    I think he/she just borrowed a paragraph from the article that Bernie said to be fair. They werent stating that...just didn't quote it so it looked like their own

  • HolgerDanske||

    So have you actually ever lived in another "major country on Earth?"

    It's funny how "advanced nations", and other euphemisms only include countries that they like, or imagine that they like based on no real evidence.

    Ask any Bernie-bot if they would like campaign finance laws comparable to those of Denmark. It should be fun to watch when you tell them what those laws actually amount to. Anyone can give as much as they like, and there is only a reporting requirement if donations exceed a certain amount.

    Ironically enough, super-PACs aren't really a thing in Denmark.

  • Frankjasper1||

    Just fyi...brokencycle wasn't saying that. He was quoting what bern said in the article (just didnt use quotes)

  • Frankjasper1||

    Brokencycle first paragraph was what Bern said and can be found in the article

  • KDN||

    People really need to learn HTML. Or quotation marks.

  • JWatts||

    A lot of forums strip out HTML syntax, but quotes work well everywhere.

  • Free Society||

    we have the pharmaceutical industry pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into campaign contributions and lobbying, and the private insurance companies as well

    They were doing that before superPACs, except with less transparency. But maybe if bribing congress critters is so unseemly, you can spend more effort in arguing to roll back the power of the state, so it has less power to rent out in the first place.

  • R C Dean||

    Do you know why we can't do what every other country, major country, on Earth is doing?

    Well, this country was founded to be different from every other country, major country, on Earth, so there's that.

    Plus, what, exactly are they doing that we ought to do, but aren't?

  • blcartwright||

    I have a friend at work from Ecuador.

    A few years ago he told me, "In my country, we have free health care and free college."

    I asked, "So why did you come here?"

    "Oh, we are so poor."

  • Microaggressor||

    #FeelTheBern
    #MakeAmericaMoreLikeVenezuela
    #TPStockpileIsReady
    #DeodorantFreeLifestyle

  • Juvenile Bluster||

    Now, now. Contrary to the smell of many Bernie supporters, you're allowed to have deodorant. Just one kind though. There are kids starving out there. And apparently they need to eat deodorant to survive, or something.

  • Microaggressor||

    The price controls necessary to contain the monopoly pricing will take care of that abundance problem.

  • Robert||

    Apparently he thinks too much work goes into producing varieties of competing products, & that we could save $ if products were standardized.

  • In League with the Dark Ones||

    Don't forget to buy mustard or pickles before company comes over.

  • Harun||

    Bernie doesn't want to ban deodorant. He just wants the Deodorant & spray Paint Collective Factory #17 to produce one kind instead of 23.

    Now, its pretty obvious such a deodorant would have to work for both sexes.

    It would need to be strong enough for a man, but made for a woman.

  • Dev Martin||

    Old Spice Fiji is all you need. Everyone loves it. Some women even say they wear it. Problem solved. Next!

  • WoodchipperPatriarch||

    He doesn't want you deodorant free. He just wants everyone to have the same deodorant. That they get issued one stick of each year. To use on special occasions. Like Bernie's birthday fete.

  • Rhywun||

    "Smells like patchouli"

  • MarkLastname||

    One stick a year for the whole population, everybody gets one turn on their birthday or something? Mine's in October so I bet it'll be pretty hairy by then :(

  • mtrueman||

    I would have thought that Libertarians shared at least some of the ideas of Nader like reforms to the voting system. Alternative voting, none of the above, and that sort of thing. Do Libertarians believe that their abysmal showings on election night are due to the unpopularity of their positions?

  • Frankjasper1||

    Burn that strawman

  • mtrueman||

    Do Libertarians agree with Nader that they (and the nation) would be better served by the kinds of voting reforms that Nader has spoken of, or not? As I said, I that there would be some agreement. The author says:

    "If only we got rid of X, goes the belief, Policytopia would be within our grasp.

    But enough about libertarians. (I kid, I kid.)"

    It's not really clear whether or not the author believes that improving reforms are possible. My guess is that he does, but it's more important to him to maintain his cynical pose, if only to spin his column out to the required length.

  • Frankjasper1||

    The article is about eliminating SuperPACs and big money. And how everyone would be a progressive if not for them. Not sure you read it and thus i dont really know what you are trying to say. Burn that strawman

  • mtrueman||

    "i dont really know what you are trying to say"

    Take some time and look into Nader's voting reform proposals. Ask a parent or teacher for help if necessary. These alternative voting systems do tend to be a little more complicated than the present system.

  • Frankjasper1||

    That's nice what does it have to do with the SuperPac/big money corrupting politics?

  • mtrueman||

    "That's nice what does it have to do with the SuperPac/big money corrupting politics?"

    The article is inaccurate. It is not true that Nader "believes that Americans would embrace his progressive agenda if only it wasn't for the campaign finance system." Nader also goes on at length about other possible voting reforms that would make for a better system. It is these reforms I would have believed Libertarians would be in agreement with. Haven't you grasped this yet? I don't know how I can put it any more simply.

  • Frankjasper1||

    Great...they aren't one or the other. Not sure why you keep harping on voting reforms when the topic is about big money corrupting politics which has not to do with actual voting reforms.

  • mtrueman||

    "Not sure why you keep harping on voting reforms"

    Because the article is inaccurate. Nader never claimed that he would be more successful "if only it wasn't for the campaign finance system." Nader promotes voting reforms like alternative voting and none of the above etc.

  • Robert||

    Ever hear of a news hook? Or any hook? Since the topic of election reforms was broached, why not discuss it more fully than just about campaign finance? Of course it's hard to do in HyR format, with evanescent discussions true to its name.

  • ||

    Do Libertarians believe that their abysmal showings on election night are due to the unpopularity of their positions?

    Yes. 'Go buy it yourself!' will always be less popular than 'Here have free shit!'.

    In case there's any confusion; Fuck You. Cut Spending.

  • mtrueman||

    "Yes."

    All the more reason to take a closer look at some of the voting reforms Nader has proposed. Don't let some hack at Reason be your only guide to Nader's proposals. Look into them and decide for yourself.

  • Frankjasper1||

    The article was about getting rid of big money...not all his voting reforms. Please try to stay on topic...TIA

  • mtrueman||

    "For those who nurture an ideology that has never achieved significant electoral power in the United States, it can become all too easy to believe that only shadowy cabals and/or single-structure impediments are blocking reforms that would otherwise be broadly popular."

    That's the first sentence of the first paragraph. (The 'topic' sentence according to my third grade English teacher.) It's about electoral reforms that could improve the system, especially for the more marginal positions, such as Nader's movement or the Libertarians.

    Got anything interesting to say, now might be a good time to say it.

  • Frankjasper1||

    That is an intro sentence...not the thesis. What does that have to do with his other voting reforms?

    Lawd oh lawd stop being stoopid

  • Frankjasper1||

    What does the jist of the article have to do with all his voting reforms when it specifically delves into detail about the big money influence preventing a more progressive wet dream?

    Please again try to stay on topic. you are distracting

  • mtrueman||

    "What does the jist of the article have to do with all his voting reforms"

    You might save us both time if you looked at Nader's positions for yourself and not expect me to explain them to you. You may find them interesting and actually agree with them as I suspected Libertarians might. Cultivate your intellectual curiousity. Broaden your outlook. You don't do that by putting your fingers in your ears and shouting "off topic!"

    Got anything interesting to say? I'm beginning to suspect not.

  • Frankjasper1||

    Well then write an article so we can discuss...derp

  • Frankjasper1||

    Yo man...this would be the topic or thesis "If only we got rid of X, goes the belief, Policytopia would be within our grasp."

    And then go onto to cite examples/evidence to support the thesis.

    The X = big money/superPACs and policyTopia = the prog vision.

    Nothing about his other voting reforms or anything to do with that. You should write a separate article to cover that spec

  • mtrueman||

    "You should write a separate article to cover that spec..."

    Come up with the right amount of money, and I might take you up on that. Otherwise, you are engaging in caricature. Nader's position on voting reform is a lot more nuanced and 'Libertarian friendly' than you seem prepared to admit. I put this down to ignorance, and the author of the piece isn't helping you. He's successful only in stoking your prejudice.

  • Frankjasper1||

    It doesn't take any money as there are free blogging sites. Go write up a piece and link it here so the reason commenters can discuss

    Again for the last time the topic sentence: "If only we got rid of X, goes the belief, Policytopia would be within our grasp." The X = superPACs/big money

    The rest of the voting reforms you mention have naught to do with the topic at hand. For example if one supports voting ID, that is irrelevant here.

    Lawd oh lawd

  • mtrueman||

    "Go write up a piece "

    You want to commission an article? Fine. Let's discuss your offer.

  • Frankjasper1||

    No you wanted to discuss. Write it big dawg

  • mtrueman||

    "For example if one supports voting ID"

    Voting ID is not one of Ralph Nader's proposals. You may have him confused with another Nader. Again, don't be afraid to ask a parent or teacher for help.

  • Frankjasper1||

    I understand that. you clearly don't understand you were posts on nader's voting reforms are irrelevant to the topic at hand.

    Please get back on track

  • mtrueman||

    "Please get back on track.."

    Please get an editor. Is there a parent or teacher there?

  • Frankjasper1||

    An editor? Aren't you supposed to be blogging your article on Nader now?

    Coming from the guy who doesn't understand an intro sentence vs a topic sentence...lulz

    Lawd o lawd

  • mtrueman||

    "An editor?"

    Yes, an editor. Or anyone capable of whipping sentences like the following into coherence:

    "you clearly don't understand you were posts on nader's voting reforms are irrelevant to the topic at hand."

  • MJGreen - Docile Citizen||

    So we could make in an informed choice on election day 2000?

    The fuck are you talking about? Our trolls have really stopped trying recently.

  • mtrueman||

    "The fuck are you talking about?"

    A Reason reading Libertarian who has no clue about the alternatives to the current voting system that Nader and others have been discussing for years.

  • Frankjasper1||

    Yea that isn't the point of the article. Write your own and we can discuss

  • mtrueman||

    "Yea that isn't the point of the article"

    I'm commenting about the article. The author's point, whatever it is, is his concern.

  • Frankjasper1||

    The article isn't about nader's voting reforms

  • mtrueman||

    "The article isn't about nader's voting reforms"

    My comments are. Surely you must have figured that out by now.

  • Frankjasper1||

    That's nice...you want a cookie?

  • mtrueman||

    "you want a cookie?"

    At this point, I'll settle for a cookie. Or you can surprise me with a more substantive, thoughtful comment.

  • MarkLastname||

    I'm not sure what your point is.

    FDR took the US off the gold standard, arguably one of the most productive policies of the era and one most conducive to recovery after the Great Depression. Good for him. He then proceeded to fuck it all up with his new deal, his NIRA, his price controls and cartelization of industries.

    In short, my dislike of his overall policy decisions is not inconsistent with my approval of one of his policies.

    And so we're supposed to be canonizing Ralph Nader because he had a good idea amid a slew of bad ones?

  • mtrueman||

    "And so we're supposed to be canonizing Ralph Nader because he had a good idea amid a slew of bad ones?"

    Not only did he propose a good idea, he proposed one specifically designed to give smaller parties more of a chance on election day, a proposal that would benefit the Libertarian Party. It would also widen the scope of candidates to choose from. I don't get the editor's animus against Nader. Or the refusal of all but you to recognize the truth in my original remarks here. This jasper1 can only harp on about how I'm off topic and pretty much nothing else.

  • ||

    Don't let some hack at Reason be your only guide to Nader's proposals. Look into them and decide for yourself.

    Maybe it wasn't clear; Fuck You. Cut Spending.

    I've looked a Nader's proposals and until the actual size of government is shrinking (a.k.a. not socialism) it's a way for more special interests to get more government to pay more attention to more issues. Just more footholds. I'm not intrinsically opposed to electoral reform but the nations that have NOTA ballots (and other 'alternative' schemes are hardly free from corporate influence and corruption.

    Seriously, what part of prima fascia socialists advocating voting reform is hard for you to understand?

  • mtrueman||

    "I've looked a Nader's proposals"

    It's his voting reforms I was thinking of. I think they share something that Libertarians might find worth looking at with more sympathy.

  • Frankjasper1||

    That's nice. What does that have to do with railing on about superPacs/corporations/big money?

  • mtrueman||

    "That's nice what does it have to do with the SuperPac/big money corrupting politics?"

    The article is inaccurate. It is not true that Nader "believes that Americans would embrace his progressive agenda if only it wasn't for the campaign finance system." Nader also goes on at length about other possible voting reforms that would make for a better system. It is these reforms I would have believed Libertarians would be in agreement with. Haven't you grasped this yet? I don't know how I can put it any more simply.

  • Frankjasper1||

    Again voting reforms for a better system has nothing to do with the topic. Please pay attention skippy.

  • mtrueman||

    "Again voting reforms for a better system has nothing to do with the topic."

    That's because the 'topic' as you see it is tendentious and overly narrow. It's a caricature and fine for propaganda purposes, but it misses what I believe to be some interesting common ground between folks like Nader and the Libertarians. Am I making myself clear? I get the feeling I'm not.

  • MJGreen - Docile Citizen||

    It is not true that Nader "believes that Americans would embrace his progressive agenda if only it wasn't for the campaign finance system." Nader also goes on at length about other possible voting reforms that would make for a better system.

    Why do you think one statement contradicts the other? How are the two statements connected?

    Again, weak.

  • mtrueman||

    "Why do you think one statement contradicts the other? "

    It comes down to the meaning of "if only." It shows the author is engaged in caricature and is not afraid to stooping to intellectual dishonesty.

  • Frankjasper1||

    Bruh the title of the article is about Bernie Sander's recent delusions. The topic of the article is about bernie sanders insistence if only big money would get out of politics = progressive utopia. Nader was a supporting example to the thesis.

    If you want to write an article about Nader, do it.

  • mtrueman||

    "Nader was a supporting example to the thesis."

    Ralph Nader does not support this thesis. You must have him confused with another Nader. Ralph Nader holds positions with which I believe Libertarians have some common ground.

  • Sevo||

    You guys are engaging a liar of a magnitude which Bo could only dream about. Trueman will trot out any lie at any time to support his 'argument' and regarding cites, well, you're not going to get any for lies.
    Help yourself, but most everyone here has discovered that you'll get more satisfaction reasoning with the local Irish Setter.

  • mtrueman||

    Finally a voice of reason chimes in. Thanks for reminding these fools of the stature of mtrueman. You're my biggest fan, and flattered that you dream of me,

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|1.22.16 @ 9:54PM|#
    "You're my biggest fan, and flattered that you dream of me,"

    You get exactly the same attention as would a roach infestation, and for the same reasons.
    Oh, and fuck off, slaver.

  • mtrueman||

    "You get exactly the same attention as would a roach infestation"

    Don't be so hard on yourself. You have so much more to offer than an infestation of roaches. For a start you faithfully read my writing. No roach can boast so much.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|1.22.16 @ 11:58AM|#
    "I would have thought..."

    No, douchebag, never happen.
    Why don't you go back to your pathetic blog and quit bothering adults?

  • Frankjasper1||

    Hey regarding yesterday, i think you got my confused with someone else...i was re-pasting another post regarding bernie-care... but dont know to do the block off things.

    Just didn't want you to think i was a bernie-bot!

  • Sevo||

    I certainly did not think you were, and I apologize if I screwed up a post suggesting so.

  • mtrueman||

    Apology accepted.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|1.22.16 @ 2:38PM|#
    "Apology accepted."

    My most loyal reader again 'misunderstands'.
    Or, more properly is such an ignoramus as to presume he got an apology.
    Fuck off, slaver.

  • mtrueman||

    "Fuck off, slaver."

    You're just as entertaing when you're bowing and scraping in apology over what I assume to be yet another of your absurd outbursts,

  • Sevo||

    Fuck off, slaver.

  • mtrueman||

    Running out of steam, I see. Nap time!

  • R C Dean||

    Do Libertarians believe that their abysmal showings on election night are due to the unpopularity of their positions?

    That's a big part of it, yeah.

  • MarkLastname||

    "Do Libertarians believe that their abysmal showings on election night are due to the unpopularity of their positions?"
    Yeah.

    Most people aren't very smart. A majority of Americans likely genuinely do support price controls and tariffs. Because they're stupid.

    Pretty sure the main reason I hold my opinions on things is precisely because I think a lot of people out there are too stupid for me to want them to be making decisions for me. I forego my right to do the same for them. I won't make them by efficient inexpensive Japanese cars if they don't try to make me buy shitting gas-guzzling Detroit-made cars. Needless to say, they have yet to live up to their end.

  • Mick Kraut||

    Liberals do not actually care about campaign finance reform nor do they care about SuperPACs...The only care about those SuperPACS and donors who do not support liverviewpoints.

    I have yet to be convinced by anyone that the left's continuing crusade about "money in politics" is anything more than a crusade about money in their opponents politics...they are not winning on ideas, so they want to choke off the money to those organizations that oppose them, which makes perfect sense really as when you scratch a liberal you uncover a totalitarian/fascist...

  • Frankjasper1||

    This.

  • The Last American Hero||

    Obama went back on his 2007 promise to use public financing for his campaign when McCain called him out on it. He did the math and realized he would have more money than McCain.

    That is all you need to know about how serious the left is about campaign finance reform.

  • Frankjasper1||

    How would he have used public financing?

  • Dev Martin||

    Sprinkle "reasoning" fairy dust everywhere. Wait, I thought that was the solution to everything. And unicorns.

  • R C Dean||

  • Frankjasper1||

    Bernie-bot on the Chapman Bernie Healthcare thread claims health insurance is a national security issue.... apparently 10% uninsured will give the 90% diseases that wipe out the people and the economy...yet somehow single-payer would be able to cure and prevent this

  • Dev Martin||

    I say LET THEM ALL DIE. Wait, where am I? What have I done?

  • Frankjasper1||

    Whut? I would like to know what disease this is and how single-payer would stop it

  • Dev Martin||

    Well...I don't know if it would save the middle class or the rich, but you can't deny it will help poor people who are sick. I think if we had something really contagious, we wouldn't care if people had insurance or not and would just treat everyone. Single payer would not change that.

  • HolgerDanske||

    Well...I don't know if it would save the middle class or the rich, but you can't deny it will help poor people who are sick.

    The US has the world's highest standard of living, and for a lot of diseases (like cancer) the best overall survival rate. You're expected to arrange for your own healthcare unless you're poor, in which case you can get medicaid. Which is not ideal, but it's treatment.

    In countries with single-payer healthcare for everyone, only the rich can afford better treatment options. Everyone else is stuck with something like medicaid (or worse), because they already paid for healthcare once through their taxes.

    Ask any American who is on medicare, medicaid, or get their medical treatment from the VA if they would rather keep their current medical plan, or have commercial insurance and get treated at a nice modern University hospital in the nearest major city.

  • Frankjasper1||

    Huh?

  • ||

    Whut? I would like to know what disease this is and how single-payer would stop it

    In all fairness, I've interacted with plenty of libertarians who are afraid of a disease that's endemic and/or widespread with a phenomenally high morbidity/mortality rate while being, *simultaneously*, heretofore unknown and readily/cheaply/effectively vaccinated against (but just not, because individuals and choice).

    They'll mock Bernie for his statements on deodorant and then paint a picture where we *must* vaccinate every person who *can* be vaccinated lest 20% (or more!!eleventy!1!) of the world's population drops dead because 10% (or more!!eleventy!1!) didn't get vaccinated. Otherwise, all the bodies piling up could, through mysterious mechanisms, not only cause an undue fiscal burden on the survivors but give them the weird notion that they could solve or even prevent their problems by making people do things against their will.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    More or less the reverse phenomena of Trump on the right. The vast majority of support for either of the two comes from people disgusted with the present system and willing to blow it up, *not* people who are systematically committed to some ideology or other (certainly not socialism). That's pretty much it. Just because some dumbass kids-in-adult-bodies think Noam Chomsky is awesome and democratic socialism is the wave of the future, doesn't mean that the other Sanders supporters think the same way.

  • Mickey Rat||

    I fear that Trump's and Sander's support are two of the largest groups of disaffected people who Gillespie assures us would break libertarian if they had a chance.

  • The Last American Hero||

    He may have been right. In another universe where Team Red only ran Rubio, Paul, Christie, Kasich, and Huckabee - perhaps. Unfortunately, the Donald and Cruz are also vying for the "fed up the current system vote" and Team Blue decided to have a coronation rather than a primary season.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Nick's half right. These people probably made up a good deal of Ron Paul's support base, but we're talking about a mode of politics rather than an ideological orientation. They can be won over to a libertarian campaign -- but not by campaigining as if one is simply attracting all the Nick-type beltway libertarians out there with careful policy proposals and bleeding heart-style appeals to brotherhood of man and such.

  • R C Dean||

    Yeah, the fed-up-with-it-all crowd wants a candidate with bloody knuckles.

    Since libertarians live an target-saturated world, you'd think this would be dead easy for a libertarian candidate. But, apparently not. Sad.

    I suspect that we will look back on this campaign (and the Tea Party movement) as enormous missed opportunities. A whole block of voters and people was in play and opposed to the status quo, and ripe for the picking, but the libertarian movement just frickin' blew it.

  • Harun||

    I hope you are right, but some poll had 40% of Iowa Democrats also state they were "socialists."

    Remember, the Soviet Union is long gone, and there are adults now who don't even get why socialism is a bad word.

  • Dev Martin||

    Or they don't confuse it with totalitarianism or fascism. Like some people.

  • Frankjasper1||

    Socialism = totalitarianism in reality

  • Horatio||

    When my puppy raping ring is inevitably broken up I want to hire socialism's PR firm. I mean, look what they did for Che!

  • Mickey Rat||

    Should how well much of Sander's agenda pols matter to whether it should happen? Repealing Citizen's United is an attack on free speech and press, fixing the wage gap would mean the government fixing wages to some extent, giving the government monopsony power over health care is not something the government should have authority to even contemplate. These are not areas where democracy should have reign over the people.

  • Harun||

    That's just because you believe in liberty rather than democracy.

  • Warren's Strapon||

    "We've heard a lot of great ideas here tonight," Sanders said, with contestable accuracy


    Bravo, Matt.

  • toolkien||

    To my mind are Super-Pacs a "good thing", no. PAC's became necessary because the government was getting more and more aggressive and interests needed to unite against its encroachment. They didn't succeed in beating the government back down, the government continued to grow, and the PAC's grew with them, and now they are insidiously intertwined. The forging of our corporo-fascist monstrosity of a society began when government got outside its box. It's a 150 year course of ramp up. At every turn, the failure to push government back into its box has led to this. Gratefully, it's all about to implode.

    But the likes of Sanders wanting to do away with them is simply to grab full power of what has been forged, not to undo it. So fuck him.

  • Dev Martin||

    Sounds...delusional.

  • R C Dean||

    PACs and super-PACs are artificial responses to artificial restrictions created and imposed by government. As such, they are vastly inferior to a free system, where people could give what they wanted, to who they wanted.

  • ajkelly451@gmail.com||

    Although I agree that his socialist positions aren't necessarily supported by the general public, he is right about an important component of his argument. The political system indeed revolves around catering to the ultra-rich. Crony capitalism at its finest. http://journals.cambridge.org/.....id=9354310

  • Frankjasper1||

    Sanders want to give power to the people by giving himself and the federal government more power?

  • Real American||

    these socialist retards (redundant, I know) don't care about money in politics, they just don't like it when money supports ideas and candidates that are opposed to their ideas and candidates. It's almost as if they only care about accruing as much power as possible! Really, it just shows how they are continually attempting to turn humans into perfect utopians beings without sin, rather than recognizing that humans are corruptible, so there should be strict limits on their power to hurt others through official government action.

    These socialists simply fail to recognize that money in politics isn't going away and there is no way to make it go away. Overturning Citizens united or publicly funding campaigns just moves the money around. It still ends up in the same spots - politicians with power and those that already have $ and power will still exert oversized influence.

    The best way to deal with the problem is to make spending on politics matter as little as possible. If these politicians and the government they run couldn't do much of anything (i.e., had limited and enumerated powers!), regardless of how much money you gave them, then the incentives to "buy politicians" would be severely reduced. Billions of dollars aren't spent to elect dog catchers because they have no power. That is the lesson here.

  • Dev Martin||

    If Bernie wins, doesn't that necessarily invalidate your main points? After that, he just needs to make it easier to do what he did, and harder to do what Hillary attempted to do.

  • Frankjasper1||

    That doesn't mean big money in politics went away...derp

  • Dev Martin||

    Except it does. Bernie would win on financing like my two small donations. He will work to change the influence of, or ability to have, Super PACs. Next election cycle big money in politics would be reduced. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean it will never change back, but at least Bernie acted against his hypothetical greed, got in there, and changed it. Nobody else is going to go against their campaign funding interests to do that. It has to start somewhere. There has to be one "good guy" who makes it easier for "good guys" to get in. Or it will never happen. And eventually become unfixable.

  • Frankjasper1||

    Bernie hasnt won yet fyi.

  • Robert||

    Yeah, but how do you get that?

  • rkb||

    So he sounds like Ralph Nader? Who fucking cares. The differencr beteween now and then is its worse so we are listening to him. People are fed up with the system. It is an extremely legitimate problem buddy. It is fixed, big pharma, the CDC, Obamacare, there are very big problems with all of these things and the fact is people with a shit ton of money are calling the shots in our government. If you don't see the issues with the corruption, my only argument is who else? Hillary Clinton? She's literally mid-scandal right now, possibly going to be investigated by the fbi for the emails aND her "foundation". Trump or Cruz? They do not talk about the middle class because they are not for the middle class. They are for the wealthy. The only dilution is thinking anything will possibly improve with another candidate besides Sanders.

  • The Last American Hero||

    Paul could begin to put government back in its box.

    But I'm afraid my much hoped for Paul/Walker Fast and Furious Ticket won't happen.

  • Frankjasper1||

    Sanders would pillage the middle class. Maybe if he got serious instead of pie in the sky programs:

    He wants to offer:
    - free daycare
    - free healthcare
    - free maternity leave
    - more social security
    - public campaigns
    - free college
    - 15 min wage
    - 200 billion a year on infrastructure and 13 million construction jobs (where are these people?)

    Somehow paid for all by the rich to benefit the middle class. What could possibly go wrong?

  • Jordan||

    It must be a coincidence that "soak the rich policies" always end up soaking the middle class (see: income tax, AMT, etc).

  • Frankjasper1||

    Feature, not a bug

  • Dev Martin||

    Oh let them have their fun in their very, very tiny, shrinking corner of the world.

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    you are a blithering idiot, rkb

  • classical liberal||

    woah woah! That term is highly offensive to Bernie supporters and other pinkos!

  • reasonate||

    Yeah, lets fix America by gutting the first amendment.

    In the words of a certain well known libertarian: Give me a break.

  • Dev Martin||

    Much like the second amendment, the first amendment is an individual right. Perhaps you're confusing it with that contradictory theory, a collective right. But of course you didn't really form a complete thought, so who am I to know what you meant by it?

  • Jordan||

    Is it your opinion that the government can ban the New York Times?

  • Horatio||

    Don't be silly, that corporation is owned by people who goodthink

  • Dev Martin||

    Obviously, no. I assume you were hoping for support of the First Amendment (and the Bill of Rights in general) as an individual right?

    Freedom of the press is a "fundamental personal right" which "is not confined to newspapers and periodicals. It necessarily embraces pamphlets and leaflets. . . . The press in its historic connotation comprehends every sort of publication which affords a vehicle of information and opinion."

    Branzburg v. Hayes 408 U. S. 704 https://supreme.justia.com /cases/federal/us/408/665/case.html

  • HolgerDanske||

    So if the NYT cannot be banned and closed, how can CU?

    What qualitative difference is there between the two entities that you could perhaps codify into law?

  • Brian||

    *crickets*

  • Dev Martin||

    Money is not speech.

  • Brian||

    Speech is speech, you idiot. You're avoiding the question and replying with meaningless, empty slogans.

  • HolgerDanske||

    How about a more appropriate comparison to CU than the NYT.

    Do you think that Michael Moore's movie, "Fahrenheit 9/11" should have been banned?

    Like the documentary produced by CU, it was critical of a presidential candidate and released during an election year.

  • Jordan||

    In other words, the First Amendment applies to corporations.

  • Dev Martin||

    No more than the second amendment applies to militias. Militias which, at the time, were composed of ordinary citizens who had a gun and knew how to use it. Militias were the opposite of the standing armies we have today. The second amendment was an individual right to own a weapon. As are all of the amendments in the bill of rights.

    The framers of the constitution and the bill of rights, and every President until the civil war besides Hamilton believed in egalitarian principles and attempted to prevent any sort of aristocracy like the British. After Hamilton decided that all of those who had taken up America's debts from the revolution would be repaid in full by the new federal government, making a whole class of investors much richer than the rest of the new agrarian union, Jefferson quickly put a stop to that trend and no Federalist was ever elected President again.

    The early government would be having none of this CU rubbish you're trying to push.

  • blcartwright||

    Dick Morris made a documentary movie that says, "Don't vote for Hillary" and the FEC ruled he couldn't say that, because that was "trying to influence an election". Well no shit Sherlock. What is the first amendment about? How is a documentary film any different than the pamphlets of the 1770's?

  • Gleep Glop||

    How can Sanders blame high gas prices on a conspiracy of oil companies and not have a decent explanation of their recent decline? More to the point, how can people support this?

    I think it's because Sander's supporters are Fundamentalist Progressives and their faith will never be shaken. Political sympathies have replaced religious sympathies.

  • Harun||

    Gas is still high in my area, but that's due to taxes.

  • Frankjasper1||

    When prices are high = oil companies screwing consumers
    When prices are low = like ZOMG climate change

  • Harun||

    Why do corporations need to have free speech?

    Examples from California:

    Two recent ballot initiatives:

    1) Some bizarre ballot initiative to make it easier to drug test doctors. In reality, it was the trial lawyers using this as a cute way to get support, but the actual law would have let them sue more easily. The ads were hilarious - doctors drinking whiskey while their beepers went off. I was wondering "why is this an issue?" until I learned that it was a sneaky way to help trial lawyers. So, how would you defeat this without insurers, doctors, and hospitals forming PACs and paying for counter-ads?

    2) Initiative wanted to put power of pricing health insurance in the hands of a politically appointed commission. This is a dagger directly to the heart of insurers and HMO's. Its literally a policy directed straight at them, but because they are "corporashuns" they would not have been allowed to fight this under Sander's rules.

    These are two real life instances from 2014 that convinced me that corporations not only have a theoretical right to political speech, but a practical one as well.

  • Zeb||

    And that's just in the realm of politics. There are plenty of other day to day reasons why it would be ridiculous if government could arbitrarily restrict corporate communications.

  • Dev Martin||

    No matter how I take these points, I always end up picturing you down on your knees, for one reason or another. And I don't think it's just theoretical either.

  • R C Dean||

    Freedom of expression + Freedom of association = free speech for corporations.

    Its really no more complicated than that.

  • Dev Martin||

    The authors of the Bill of Rights are turning in their graves.

  • classical liberal||

    He just posted the majority of the first amendment and you still don't get it?

    Sigh...I guess this is the product of public education...

  • Dev Martin||

    That didn't make any sense. He posted an imaginary equation.

  • blcartwright||

    People have free speech, and the right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    People are free to associate with whomever they please. That means they can form groups, to do such things as petition the government.

    Rights a person has as an individual do not disappear when he forms a group with other people. That's how the two join together.

  • Sevo||

    Dev Martin|1.22.16 @ 4:47PM|#
    "The authors of the Bill of Rights are turning in their graves."

    Yes, they are, and YOU are the reason.

  • Libertarius||

    No no no, you just don't understand that somehow you lose those enumerated rights when you form a corporation. Not a union, mind you--just a corporation.

  • Sevo||

    Harun|1.22.16 @ 12:54PM|#
    "Why do corporations need to have free speech?"

    Someone actually posted that!
    Fuck off, slaver.

  • Trigger Hippie||

    With all due respect Sevo, he followed that question with the reason WHY they need free speech.

  • Zeb||

    The most ridiculous part of all this could be the notion that "what the American people want" is even a sensible thing to talk about. Seems much more likely that there is a tremendous diversity of opinion among the American people and reasonable people can disagree.

  • Frankjasper1||

    What the american people want is what progressives want....because they know best

  • Zeb||

    Oh, right. False consciousness and all that.

  • Dev Martin||

    Who attracts the most voters from other parties?

  • Frankjasper1||

    What parties might those be? What does that have to do with progressives?

  • Brian||

    Listening to politicians, apparently, no one wants lower taxes.

    Funny, that.

  • Brian||

    Who's Ralph Nader?

  • Frankjasper1||

    Who is this mtrueman character? Is he one of the trolls like JackandAce, Tony, AmSoc?

    He clearly doesn't understand the difference between an intro and topic/thesis sentence.

  • mtrueman||

    " Is he one of the trolls like JackandAce, Tony, AmSoc?"

    He is far worse than any of those pikers.

  • Frankjasper1||

    That is what i thought. thanks

  • Horatio||

    He is worse.

    He's an...herbivore! Gross :)

  • Brian||

    The answer is Hitler, right?

  • Sevo||

    Frankjasper1|1.22.16 @ 1:16PM|#
    "Who is this mtrueman character? Is he one of the trolls like JackandAce, Tony, AmSoc?"

    He fancies himself a 'deep thinker' and throws out self deprecating remarks like below in transparent false modesty.
    Actually, he's not real bright, has a blog that he hopes will get clicks when someone mistakenly clicks on his handle. "Pathetic" is the most accurate description.

  • mtrueman||

    "Pathetic" is the most accurate description."

    Any attention, even pity, is preferable to being ignored. Thanks again for your continued readership. U should appreciate Jasper1. He's certainly no deep thinker.

  • Frankjasper1||

    Who is this mtrueman character? Is he one of the trolls like JackandAce, Tony, AmSoc?

    He clearly doesn't understand the difference between an intro and topic/thesis sentence.

  • mtrueman||

    " Is he one of the trolls like JackandAce, Tony, AmSoc?"

    He is far far worse than any of those pikers.

  • Delius||

    The real silliness behind Sanders and others railing against "Big Money" is that they give no reason for why the interests of "Big Money" are at odds with everyone else's. Why would billionaires be against pay equality, for instance? Are they all just evil patriarchal pigs?

    Why would they be against rebuilding infrastructure? Businesses and the "billionaires" that run them stand to gain more from improving infrastructure than anyone else. If a bridge collapses and its employees can't get to work, they all just get an unexpected day off; the employer loses an entire day of profits. Unless they can telecommute, of course, which, hey, look! More infrastructure that helps businesses.

    It is like he and others of his ilk simply cannot conceive of rich people as, you know, PEOPLE. Is it so hard to conceive of a rich person who is concerned about environmental damage? Actually, it is hard to conceive of someone who is concerned about environmental damage not being rich; the truly poor have more pressing concerns like feeding their families. It's all relative, course. You have to be rich, but not $$$$$$RICH$$$$$$, apparently.

  • Dev Martin||

    Then it's a good thing Bernie's main campaign focus is fighting for economic equality ("feeding their families"), and not your straw man environmentalism.

  • Frankjasper1||

    How is the middle class not feeding their families? Um what?

  • Dev Martin||

    The quote was from the post directly above it. Come on. This isn't hard.

  • Akira||

    "Economic inequality" is a made-up problem. A person's economic circumstances are better or worse depending on how easily they can afford their needs and amenities; it's not determined by where they stand in relation to someone else.

    Imagine a hypothetical country where every single citizen makes $30,000 per year. Then, one of them invents something really useful and suddenly makes $100,000,000 per year in royalties. How are the others worse off? How does this harm them?

    Imagine another country where every single person makes $5,000 per year. That's obviously not enough to enjoy a comfortable standard of living. How is this a good thing? There is total income equality, so this should be utopia, right?

    So if a place with vast disparity between incomes can be good, and if a place with one flat income across the board can be bad, what basis is there for saying that income equality is a goal that we should strive for? What is the reason for saying that income equality is a virtue?

  • Dev Martin||

    So where's the counter to the idea that big money corrupts politics. Be specific. You're reason.com after all. At least acknowledge that is what this *whole article* should have done. Instead of a convoluted mess.

  • ||

    So where's the counter to the idea that big money corrupts politics.

    This is based on several false premises which can't be countered (How does one counter the idea that the majority of Bananas are orange?). The article cites that the ideas are popular or one step shy of success and proceeds to demonstrate that they are neither. The only way it's a convoluted mess is if you believe, irrefutably, corporations are not just corrupting but inherently corrupt and government is *the* solution.

  • Dev Martin||

    But there is a whole body of work suggesting that big money *is* corrupting politics. This is not some theory of the universe. All you have to do is cite that work and pick it apart. Failed on all counts. I've heard more convincing arguments about politics from a drunk guy at a bar.

  • Frankjasper1||

    Who is being corrupted? Team red, team blue or both?

  • Dev Martin||

    The majority of American politics. It doesn't matter which side. It's also not everyone. It's harder to win without it, but not impossible. So some congresspeople were elected by truly representing the people well. That's not a simple caricature of an answer. No black. No white. No good sound bites. Fuck it.

  • Frankjasper1||

    So both?

  • blcartwright||

    So make politicians not worth corrupting.

    The only reason money is spent on politicians is because they hold so much power. If you whittle away at that power, the money will go away as well.

  • Sevo||

    Dev Martin|1.22.16 @ 2:23PM|#
    "But there is a whole body of work suggesting that big money *is* corrupting politics."

    All in "Mother Jones" or the NYT, right?

  • Dev Martin||

    Well definitely not here. It's not in the hivemind's playbook.

  • Zeb||

    It doesn't matter whether it corrupts politics or not. Big money still has the right to speak/communicate. Even if these people are completely right about the corrupting influence of money, Citizens United is still a correct legal decision.

  • Jordan||

    Politics are inherently corrupt. The only way to prevent people from buying favors is to prevent the government from having the power to sell them in the first place.

  • Horatio||

    The counter is recognizing that politics is corruptible, full stop. The solution is not to give political actors more power, but less. This way the impact of their corruption is lessened. Also, push what remains of political power as far down locally as possible, that way corrupt political actors at least are (1) affected by the policies they enact, (2) can be directly confronted by the affected citizenry, and (3) the impact of their corruption is localized.

    Good enough?

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    Far too nuanced for this new troll DM.

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    Far too nuanced for this new troll DM.

  • Dev Martin||

    Don't worry. This is a hit and run. I learn fast.

  • Frankjasper1||

    This devmartin???

  • reeblite||

    all the analyzing in the world is not going to change the fact that the people want true change, not trumped up change, not hillary change, but sander's change. plain and simple. bernie's going to be the next president. when the media, the bloggers and everyone else finally realize it? he'll already be president.

  • reeblite||

    #to know bernie is to love bernie.

  • Frankjasper1||

    Not sure if serious.....

  • bluecanarybythelightswitch||

    I'm afraid so... any mention of Sanders gets the bern-bots mobilized.

  • Brandon Hale||

    So the article seems to be about Bernie's ideas not being as popular as he thinks and that corrupt campaign financing isn't the sole reason for this. Well you're only half catching on to what Bernie is saying. Those same people that contribute so much to enforcing their wills on politicians also exert that force in media, who people rely on for information. It's just so naive to think that even more people wouldn't agree with Bernie's policies if media actually relayed all of the pertinent facts about them, such as us paying more in healthcare than any other major country as well as being the odd one out in not providing universal healthcare. When a person starts to think about that for a second they start asking more questions. You're also, as well as pretty much every media outlet, severely underestimating the impact of social media. That wasn't around in the days of Ralph Nader. It's also ironic the impact it's having on this election because it's something corporate media cannot exert control over. I can't even count the number of people I've got supporting Sanders now simply through Facebook. So, as far as delusions go, enjoy living in yours pal.

  • Frankjasper1||

    He wants to offer more goodies = that will be more expensive. The US public spending per capita by itself exceeds all those countries...single payer isn't going to make it cheap all the sudden.

    Healthcare coverage is not the same as having healthcare or if it is even good.

    WOW LIKE ZOMG YOU GOT PEOPLE SUPPPORTING SANDERS THRU FACEBOOK

  • Frankjasper1||

    Curious by why did Vermont scrap their universal healthcare deal?

  • Dev Martin||

    Mostly because Shumlin is an idiot.

  • Frankjasper1||

    Could have sworn it was due to need 11% payroll tax additions and 9% income tax additions.

    Nah he was just being an idiot. A liberal gov running on singlepayer scrapped....tells me all i need to know.

  • coloraDOOM||

    I left the state over the plan.

  • Dev Martin||

    Nobody that I know likes Shumlin or thinks he represents the state. They want him gone. He is not running for reelection.

  • Frankjasper1||

    Ok cool story and all but what does that have to do with single payer being very expensive and being scrapped due to cost?

  • Dev Martin||

    Don't bring up the state I live in if you don't want to hear about it. I'm not big on fairy tales.

  • Sevo||

    Dev Martin|1.22.16 @ 11:49PM|#
    "Nobody that I know likes Shumlin"

    Dev, do you think you're the first lefty imbecile to show up here and try mis-direction as an argument technique?
    Fuck off, slaver.

  • Zeb||

    Right. The main reason not to support Bernie is that his policies would be disastrous. It's as if people look at Greece and say "yes, let's have some of that. That's the way to run a country".

    Bernie gets some of the problem right. There is a lot of cronyism in politics and businesses spend too much time and money on courting politicians. But to say the solution is to give more power to government is absurd. All that does is provide more opportunity for corruption and cronyism. Regulations are good for particular, well connected businesses. Freedom is neutral and lets businesses fail or succeed on their own merits and not the whims of some politician or bureaucrat with favors to sell.

  • Adam L||

    Campaign finance reform doesn't seem like a left/right issue to me. When a person or organization contributes lots of money to a candidate, that person or organization is looking to buy favor. That's why they do it. So if/when the candidate is elected, they are very likely to advance the person/organization's agenda, regardless of whether or not it's popular among the electorate. Not 100% certain, of course, but certainly the people who give money have more influence over the politician than the people who don't.


    In short, our political process isn't really "one vote one voice." I assume we all agree on that, don't we? So the real question is, do we want "one vote one voice?" I do. Do my fellow commenters disagree? Truly interested to know. Thanks.

  • Frankjasper1||

    Are they buying favors necessarily or are they paying up because they don't want to be hounded? I think it is both, some are buying favors while others may want to be/stay in good graces by being extorted for campaign cash.

    A lot of the bills don't make it to the floor...they are specifically designed to extract donations. "Hey this may hurt your business, pay me to make it go away"

  • Jordan||

    Do my fellow commenters disagree?

    Yes. What you advocate requires granting the government the power to censor books. films, newspapers, and websites.

  • Adam L||

    How so?

  • Horatio||

    You must acknowledge trade offs before understanding the immoral implications of your wishes. to limit speech/money in campaigns you have to hand govt more power over speech. So you're trading the current level of corruption for more of it, but now with reduced liberty - the only thing govt was supposed to protect in the first place

  • Adam L||

    I hear you. I'm not convinced that limiting money is the same as limiting speech though. Can you walk me down that road a bit? Thanks

  • Horatio||

    Sure. If I donate my time to a campaign, is that speech? Theres no difference between that and donating money, and the difference between donating $2000 and $2000000 is degree, not kind.

    The practical problem is you've given govt (specifically incumbent legislators, the very people who are the problem) the power to decide how much is "too" much and let them write the rules. Do you think they will hurt themselves?

    The other problem is you are lacking any justification about the issue itself. Some context: Americans spend more on Halloween candy than campaigns. Also, the presidential cycle all but proves that money can only buy so much. Again, the solution is to limit power, rendering discussions like this moot.

  • Adam L||

    I'm trying to find a way to limit the influence a person or organization can have on a politician. Are you saying it can't be done, an entity other than the government should do it, or it shouldn't be (or doesn't need to be) done at all?

  • Horatio||

    Mostly that it cannot be done without accomplishing the opposite of your intent. Perhaps you should posit a solution you think might work and we'll go from there.

  • kbolino||

    I'm trying to find a way to limit the influence a person or organization can have on a politician.

    If there are 1 million voters in your district, then each voter has the same 0.000001 share of influence.

    Unless you are alleging electoral fraud, in which case pony up your evidence, there is already a system to limit the influence a person or organization can have on a politician. It's called an election.

  • Brian||

    I'm trying to find a way to limit the influence a person or organization can have on a politician. Are you saying it can't be done, an entity other than the government should do it, or it shouldn't be (or doesn't need to be) done at all?

    You could try using a constitution with severe limits on what politicians can do, and strong, clear protections on the rights of individuals to not be interfered with by politicians.

    If your idea is to skip that, give politicians the power of gods, and then try desperately to figure out a way to keep people from influencing them, then I think you've become your own worst enemy.

  • blcartwright||

    I'm trying to find a way to limit the influence a politician can have on a person or organization.

  • Brian||

    Adam L:

    I hear you. I'm not convinced that limiting money is the same as limiting speech though. Can you walk me down that road a bit? Thanks

    God, it's like you people don't even know the case history of the SCOTUS cases you hate.

    Citizens United went the way it did because it banned books.

    Perhaps you should think of a way to engage in political reform that doesn't involve book burning and publisher imprisonment, moron.

  • coloraDOOM||

    Late, I know.
    The problem you see is that people or groups with money can influence our government into making their lives better, or grant their company a monopoly, or force people to be members of unions.
    Your proposed solution grants more power to the thing being bought.
    The libertarian solution is to reduce what can be bought to a point so small it's not worth the effort to buy.

    I also have a hard time seeing limiting speech from companies. Would the NYT be able to write about politics at all? It is political speech, by a corporation.
    What money would be too much? If you and three friends made flyers and put them around town would that be illegal? What if you pooled your money and made a radio ad?

  • Jordan||

    Because books, films, newspapers, and websites all require money to produce and distribute. So publishing a book in favor of a candidate is spending money to influence an election.

  • Rational Exhuberance||

    When a person or organization contributes lots of money to a candidate, that person or organization is looking to buy favor. That's why they do it.

    I've never looked to buy favors when contributing to politicians.

    And much as you may dislike money in politics, based on first hand experience, I can tell you that no money in politics is even worse, because it only concentrates power further: it means newspapers wield even more power, as do people with direct access to politicians, while the rest of us are SOL. Of course, rich people then just end up buying their own newspapers.

  • Adam L||

    I think the average small time donor isn't looking to buy favor, sure. They're just supporting their candidate. But when an organization or rich person gives thousands or millions of dollars I believe they think they'll get something tangible from it.


    Interesting points you make about no money in politics. Where is your firsthand experience from? Thanks

  • kbolino||

    But when an organization or rich person gives thousands or millions of dollars I believe they think they'll get something tangible from it.

    So don't vote for the candidate. A million dollars to the campaign of a guy who didn't win is not going to buy them anything.

  • Rational Exhuberance||

    In short, our political process isn't really "one vote one voice." I assume we all agree on that, don't we? So the real question is, do we want "one vote one voice?

    No.

    More importantly, even when it comes to voting, people should not have the right to deprive their fellow citizens of life, liberty, or property.

  • Adam L||

    Not sure I follow. Why are you against one vote one voice?

  • kbolino||

    Why are you against one vote one voice?

    It's meaningless, for one thing...

  • John Titor||

    Well Adam, let's say that we're voting for the Hit-and-Run President. For some reason, the vast majority of commentators don't like you, for whatever reason. One candidate announces that he acknowledges the hatred the majority feels for you, so if he becomes President he promises to double the cost of your Reason subscription fee (if you don't have one, too bad, he'll make you have one) and to lock you in a stockade twice a week and shove a thorny dildo up your ass. The other candidate believes it's wrong to abuse the rights of one individual simply because the majority of the group wants to. So you vote for that guy, and everyone else votes for the dildo-armed maniac. So, should we have a right to deprive you of your life, liberty or property simply because there's more of us than you, or should you have inalienable rights that are untouchable by the mob?

    Secondly, why the hell do so many Americans not understand how the bloody electoral college works? You don't have a proportional voting system, so any claim of 'one vote, one voice' is utterly vapid and nonsensical.

  • Adam L||

    Electoral college is only for presidential elections, which I know was the point of the original article here, but my questions have been more general in nature.

    I don't follow the dildo analogy. Are you saying that our current system protects me from the dildo-maniac because I can buy a politician?

    Overall, the responses to my comments here seem to circle around not trusting the government to set appropriate limits on buying political influence, which I understand, especially coming from a bunch of libertarians. What I'm having trouble understanding is if people feel that buying influence is a problem or not. Maybe folks think that it's unfortunate but inevitable?

  • John Titor||

    When a person or organization contributes lots of votes to a candidate, that person or organization is looking to buy favor. That's why they do it. So if/when the candidate is elected, they are very likely to advance the person/organization's agenda, regardless of whether or not it's popular among the electorate. Not 100% certain, of course, but certainly the people who give votes have more influence over the politician than the people who don't.

    Congratulations, upstart colonial rebel, you have successfully shown why democracy breeds corruption and favouritism. Now come back over to the glorious constitutional monarchy.

  • bacon-magic||

    Matt,
    You win the best Gif/alt-text for the month. Go to Nick's office and don the Jacket for the rest of the month.

  • jasono||

    Definitely a hit and run piece!

    People don't want livable wages? Simple, affordable health care without useless ripoff corporate leaches in the middle? A working infrastructure?

    Yeah, sure, we just want to lie down and let the corporatists rape us all.

  • Frankjasper1||

    What are livable wages exactly? Where are you getting there isnt a working infrastructure? How would single payer make it affordable? Vermont proved it wouldn't

  • Frankjasper1||

    What are livable wages exactly? Where are you getting there isnt a working infrastructure? How would single payer make it affordable? Vermont proved it wouldn't

  • Jordan||

    Ignoring your use of loaded words, here in the real world, people understand that these things have trade-offs.

  • Frankjasper1||

    Not uhhh!!!

  • Rational Exhuberance||

    People don't want livable wages? Simple, affordable health care without useless ripoff corporate leaches in the middle? A working infrastructure?

    Yes, those would be nice to have. The problem is that progressives are clearly incapable of delivering them, because "we pass laws to make it happen" doesn't work. Trying to get affordable healthcare by mandating single payer is like trying to legislate "pi" to be "3".

    Yeah, sure, we just want to lie down and let the corporatists rape us all.

    No corporation has ever "raped" me or taken my money against my will. The only entities that do that a robbers, thieves, and government.

  • coloraDOOM||

    so many upvotes!

  • blcartwright||

    Of course people want livable wages, but that's your responsibility.

    Has there ever been a time when you applied for a job and the person doing the hiring said, "How much money do you need?" Of course not. You are selling your labor, and they are making an offer of how valuable they think that labor is to them.

    If you want a job that pays $15/hr, apply for one. If you're not qualified, that's not the employer's fault.

  • Frankjasper1||

    I've never understood people who idolize career politicians like Bernie Sanders as if he were the messiah? It is weird.

  • Rational Exhuberance||

    no left-of-Obama policies that couldn't be depicted as popular among the public

    Obviously, if they aren't popular already, it must be because the Koch brothers have turned the masses into brainless zombies with their political spending!

  • josh||

    no one asks themselves how people win races when they're outspent. it happens of course, and they can't really be described as outliers either. it's something as simple as people caring enough. the one common factor that all those exceptions share is that ordinary people got off their ass and did something about what they otherwise just bitch about.

  • mmccandless||

    I think Sanders' critique is broader then your team is giving it credit for. While the types of direct spending that were ushered in via the Citizens United decision certainly are an impediment to democracy, more insidious forms of financial intrusion into our electoral process exist as well. One that comes to mind is the existence of Reason Magazine. Did it occur to you to disclose your nearly $400,000 in donations from Exonn Mobil when reporting on climate change, or your almost $2,000,000 from Koch Industries when reporting on deregulation. Probably not, or rather I am sure it did but disclosure is something for those liberal nut jobs, right?

  • wspackman||

    Wow, touche @Candles. Well done!

  • Frankjasper1||

    What does this have to do with citizens united?

  • Frankjasper1||

    What does Exonn Mobil ahave to do with climate change here?

  • Frankjasper1||

    The boogeymen are out in force today...donations oh the horror!!!

  • Sevo||

    Oh MY! No, no one here ever heard of such a thing! Next, you'll tell us that Sanders is a slimy commie!

  • Trigger Hippie||

    Wait?! Koch Industries indirectly funds Reason Magazine and Reason.com?!

    Guys, did you know this?! I had no fucking clue!

    It's as if the Koch brothers fund an ideology they adhere to and receive contributions from people of a like mind!

    *Gasp!*

  • wspackman||

    Better wake up Matt, Americans are already overwhelmingly embracing Sanders polices, in spite of CU. The point of his exposing the ugly mechanisms of CU is only to point out that we didn't get to where we are though an actual democratic process. CU will be dismantled not because it stands in the way but because it's an evil and corrupt tool.
    The real problem with this article is your unethical twisting of polling data to just make shit up. Your first actual attack is on equal pay. You suggest that the HuffPo/YouGov poll says that Americans don't believe in or don't care about equal pay when the real topic of the poll is balancing policy goals against regulatory burden. The same distortion applies to infrastructure spending. Does anyone in their right mind actually believe that a critique of the efficiency of government spending would suggest that we don't want the programs for which that spending is allocated or that we don't believe in or care about equal pay?
    With regard to the failure of Nader and Brown to advance these agendas, obviously the corrupt economic robbery of the middle class was not finished so even though it's safe to say that most people did support their policies, they just weren't pissed off enough yet to do anything about it. But that tipping point seems to now be a reality. The two highly popular candidates from each party are pretty good clues that the time has come.

  • Frankjasper1||

    Do you even understand what CU was about?

    Americans =/= bernie-bots

    Yea the pay discrepancy is based on aggregate numbers...not specific instances of discrimination. The paycheck fairness act does not address this. It is just more government for the sake of govt to which doesnt even address the problem that isnt in the first place.

    The middle class is and has not been destroyed

  • Sevo||

    wspackman|1.22.16 @ 6:26PM|#
    "Better wake up Matt, Americans are already overwhelmingly embracing Sanders polices,..."

    So you're in favor of free shit? My goodness, when will people like this grow up?

  • Dev Martin||

    I guess I succeeded in devolving enough of you that you're making my case for me now. Enjoy.

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    Socialism is a mental disorder.

  • Frankjasper1||

    It really is...see the bernie-bots

  • Brian||

    It's so illuminating when new outsider proggies come in to post on an article.

    Just reading the news and press releases, one would think that progressives have, at a minimum, some sort of thought-out policy ideas, and that they arrive at different conclusions due to possibly different priorities, or risk/reward decisions, or possibly different interpretations of law, etc.

    And, that's giving them too much credit.

    They show up and assert that corporations can't have first amendment rights, not realizing they're denying publishers and news papers their first amendment rights.

    They think "money isn't speech" is a great justification for campaign laws that ban speech. Money isn't speech, but speech is speech, right? Come on.

    It's like they're not even thinking. Just feels. Your arguments are useless against them; they don't know what to do with arguments and thoughts.

  • Frankjasper1||

    They really are robots...they post one thing usually a platitude of talking points then run

  • Dev Martin||

    Actually I not only asserted it, but I also provided a citation of a Supreme Court decision to back it up. I must have missed yours. Corporations as individuals is a very new thing, I'm afraid. The founding fathers would be sickened.

  • Trigger Hippie||

    To reiterate the point brought to you earlier(not by me, mind you), which you never bothered to address: By your definition the NYT should have it's freedom of speech repressed due to it's business structure as a corporation. Would you agree to that? Or is a press orientated business structure exempt from your narrowly defined view of what constitutes a corporation? Define your terms.

  • Brian||

    Dev Martin:

    Corporations as individuals is a very new thing, I'm afraid. The founding fathers would be sickened.

    Actually, corporate personhood as a legal concept has a history going back to the founding of the country.

  • Dev Martin||

    You guys have people writing Wikipedia pages for you? Who knew. I suggest putting more emphasis on weaving together disparate court cases prior to the civil war and 14th amendment as it's looking a little weak before that.

  • Brian||

    So, this whole "only individuals have rights" stuff.

    Does that apply to the second amendment, too?

  • Brian||

    In 1818, the United States Supreme Court decided Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward – 17 U.S. 518 (1819), writing: "The opinion of the Court, after mature deliberation, is that this corporate charter is a contract, the obligation of which cannot be impaired without violating the Constitution of the United States. This opinion appears to us to be equally supported by reason, and by the former decisions of this Court." Beginning with this opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court has continuously recognized corporations as having the same rights as natural persons to contract and to enforce contracts.

    Is 1818 too late to be valid?

    This from a person who just cited Branzburg v. Hayes (circa 1972) as establishing that corporations can't have rights?

    It would seem that, when looking at the actual case law, that corporate personhood has been the norm, and it's only until recently, with Citizens United, that people are acting like it's some never-before-seen concept, as if the idea of corporate personhood just came out of the blue.

    It's like "Gee, we never really thought corporations like newspapers could have first amendment rights. But then this campaign finance law thing didn't go our way. Who knew the NYT could print practically whatever they wanted? Corporate personhood? Weird!"

    Even though it's been going on for a few centuries now.

  • blcartwright||

    U.S. Code 1 https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/1/1

    1 as in fundamental, in the beginning, on which every else is based

    the words “person” and “whoever” include corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies, and joint stock companies, as well as individuals;

    It's been in there a long time before CU, which only recognized it's existence. It did not create it.

  • Brian||

    Actually I not only asserted it, but I also provided a citation of a Supreme Court decision to back it up.

    You realize that the topic at hand is the wrongness of Citizens United, i.e., a Supreme Court decision, right? You'r appealing to SCOTUS rulings to invalidate a SCOTUS ruling.

    Your referenced SCOTUS case (Branzburg v. Hayes) established that newspaper reporters can't use first amendment rights as an excuse to avoid testimony before a grand jury. It didn't establish that the first amendment only applies to individuals, not corporations.

    Your quote of the opinion is the judge saying that individuals have first amendment rights, as well as newspapers (i.e., corporations).

    You're bastardizing a SCOTUS ruling into something it wasn't, to claim that Citizen's United, another SCOTUS ruling, must be wrong.

    Since you agree with appeals to SCOTUS for discovering the truth, then, this implies that, once one correctly interprets Branzburg v. Hayes as not establishing that corporations can't have first amendment rights, then, you really have no SCOTUS case law supporting your case, and we have Citizens United supporting ours. Which, by your own standards, makes us right and you wrong.

  • Dev Martin||

    Who is this "we"? Should I be getting paid? You could have told me...

  • Brian||

    "We" as in people who agree with the Citizens United ruling (i.e., a SCOTUS ruling), including a few others here, as well as the ACLU.

    To defend your claims, you only seem to be making passive-aggressive accusations of being on a payroll.

    Do you want to go ahead and lump in the ACLU into the conspiracy theory?

  • Brian||

    I get it though:

    You've met someone who actually understand the history and the facts of what it is we're talking about here, whereas you don't have a clue.

    And the only explanation you can come up with, is that I'm being paid for my expertise.

    Meanwhile, you, the simple, Bernie Sanders supporter, can't be expected to have the time or the resources to figure out and understand what the hell's really gone on.

    Whatever makes you feel better.

  • Dev Martin||

    And you're projecting.

  • Frankjasper1||

    So you are saying Brian really wants to get rid of the citizens united decision? Not sure if serious....cause that would have to be valid in order to project.

  • Frankjasper1||

    Does anyone else think bernie looks like a pedophile?

  • freeewill||

    I read what i could, this guy is as bad as any communist...Government keeps the poor poor, most middle class workers are government parasites sucking the life line out of the private sector...and this guy wants to make it worse...He wants to take more from the wealthy so they'll layoff employees and go on government assistance

  • coloraDOOM||

    woo!
    That was lively! We should get more articles like this.
    keeps us on our toes.

  • drmaddogs||

    Exchanging one form of corruption for another, not solving anything. If Bernie wishes to eliminate a corrupted Electoral process he then must discuss corruption after election itself.
    Where are the attacks against the corrupted Individuals?
    Why do Presidents get hundreds of millions of dollars of slush funds in tax free foundations?
    Why does Pelosi get 200 million while in office, 'smart investing' in these 'terrible corporations'?
    Why do the Clintons get hundreds of millions while Hillary is a 'Public servant'?

    Does Bernie expect us to believe to much money in lections.. creates these corruptible elected?

    No.. the elected make money after election, not during election, Bernie doesn't solve corruption, he only changes winners and losers in corruption.

  • Frankjasper1||

    Bernie-bots Vermont scrapped their plan due to costs and the VA sucks. Truth hurts

  • MSimon||

    Matt Welch is the under taker.

  • SomebodySmart||

    Campaign reform, nothing VOTER REFORM is necessary. Jurors make a commitment to be fair, to listen carefully and to weigh the evidence. The judge determines what evidence the jury can observe. Even with that, plenty of innocent persons get convicted. There are no such restraints on voters. A bunch of fat, stupid, ugly old ladies that watch soap operas, play bingo, read tabloids and don't know the metric system cannot be trusted to elect federal candidates most likely to adhere strictly to the Doctrine of Enumerated Powers.

    They say the Superbowl will get more viewers than the chess tournament. That's because chess is for smart people.

    The only thing that will ever work is, every time a cop chooses to get itself shot trying to enforce unjust laws, or to punish the government for enforcing unjust laws, orthodox libertarian extremists shove the dead cop into the faces of those idiots. "See that, pothole? See what happens when you elect candidates who don't wanna legalize drugs? You didn't pull the trigger, but you did pull the lever. Defend liberty with ballots, or drug dealers will defend liberty with bullets. Any objection? Objection overruled, casket closed. If you wake up one morning and have no cops left, who are you gonna call when you need a toilet plunger shoved up your butt? Who are you gonna call when you need a flash grenade thrown into your playpen? What will it take before you finally understand that drug enforcement will not be tolerated?"

  • Cloudbuster||

    Whenever someone says Ctizen's United should be repealed, remind them that the suit was about campaign finance law being used to suppress an uncomplimentary film about Hillary. Only the hardcore progs (who you can't reach anyway) think that actual political speech suppression is a good thing.

  • Cloudbuster||

    Oops. I mean "reversed," not "repealed."

  • blcartwright||

    I did that to a Bernie-bot on Twitter "So you want the government to be able to ban books and movies" and she replied "WTF is he talking about?"

  • Slim Strontem||

    The Burn may have a point.
    Vying special interests may have inhibited a successful demagoguery for total centralism.

  • kinnath||

    Vanilla

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