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Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

The decade began with this court stealing an election by ordering the vote-counting to stop. Now they've ended it with the coup de grace to democracy itself. How long before America begins longing for a Putin with the guts to do something radical about the destruction of our Constitution and the corporate takeover? For example, Obama could have stood there at the State of the Union and ordered the marshalls to enter and arrest the five judges on charges of treason. He could have ordered the disbandment of the National Chamber of Commerce as a subversive organization. That's what a an American Putin would have done, and I don't think it will be long before we see this kind of sentiment arising in the public. It's a known historical cycle--democracy ending in paralysis, the people choose authoritarianism.

sam magus

Santa Fe, NM

Feb 10 2010 - 2:26am

Web Letter

I don't agree that transparency would have any significant impact on the Supreme Court's decision. We have gone to far down the road to total corporate control of the message and special interests have so corrupted the government process either locally statewide or federally that simply providing more information to an electorate that is so alienated would do little, if anything, to change the political process.

The perfect metaphor is Obama versus medical reform. Another example of what the wealthy can do when they control the message. We are at the magic moment of a generational shift, but the young American voter has been so lied to and the message so polluted that they can't really make effective well informed decisions. Another example of polluted messages is the Scott Brown election in Massachusetts.

The impact of Alito's reaction at the State of the Union is yet to be evaluated, but I would quip that that is what is going to be remembered.

james l. pinette

Caribou, ME

Feb 9 2010 - 10:47am

Web Letter

Dear Lord, I wish that transparency were the solution! There is so much money available that any transparency will be overwhelmed. Plus, just the threat of money being used against a candidate or incumbent would have just as much effect as the actual expense.

One needs only observe the so-called debate on healthcare to see what the stench of corruption from Wall Street looks like--or "smells" like.

People who don't belong to the top 10 percent who earn 80 percent of the income are not even considered American. When politicians say "the American people," they mean "those who can donate a million dollars for my campaign."

james l. pinette

Caribou, me.

Feb 2 2010 - 12:15pm

Web Letter

I strongly support rules requiring open shareholder votes as a prerequisite for any corporate political expenses. I would also require the exact same rules for the membership of any union doing the same. Both might result in some surprises!

But much of it comes down to how the votes of the shares of institutional investors would be controlled. Banks, insurance companies and mutual funds own large blocs of stock. But so too do unions pension funds and such politically active funds as state employee pensions, which often have elected ex-officio members on their boards.

The author shows a peculiar blindness by talking about transparency for primary corporate voters only.

John D. Froelich

Upper Darby, PA

Feb 1 2010 - 10:07pm

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