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Corruption is in the eye of the beholder

22 January 2010

I’ve pretty much stopped reading about U.S. political campaigns because it’s all about which candidate has raised the most money, not about which candidate is supporting what position, or is allied with which faction or is pushing what idea. How much money the position, faction or idea is worth to the candidate… that’s what you read about.

Foreign campaign contributions are illegal in this country, “corporations” tehncially don’t exist, and above all, are not people and most bribery is penny-ante stuff.  Not that Mexico is a hotbed of rampant honesty, but at least we have the good manners and common sense to refer to cash given to politicians in return for future favors as “corruption”, and don’t try and doll it up with some legalistic interpretation used by the totally corrupt regimes around the Hemisphere in giving legal blessing to criminality.

(Greg Palast):

In today’s Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Court ruled that corporations should be treated the same as “natural persons”, i.e. humans. Well, in that case, expect the Supreme Court to next rule that Wal-Mart can run for President.

The ruling, which junks federal laws that now bar corporations from stuffing campaign coffers, will not, as progressives fear, cause an avalanche of corporate cash into politics. Sadly, that’s already happened: we have been snowed under by tens of millions of dollars given through corporate PACs and “bundling” of individual contributions from corporate pay-rollers.

The Court’s decision is far, far more dangerous to U.S. democracy. Think: Manchurian candidates.

I’m losing sleep over the millions — or billions — of dollars that could flood into our elections from ARAMCO, the Saudi Oil corporation’s U.S. unit; or from the maker of “New Order” fashions, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. Or from Bin Laden Construction corporation. Or Bin Laden Destruction Corporation.

Right now, corporations can give loads of loot through PACs. While this money stinks (Barack Obama took none of it), anyone can go through a PAC’s federal disclosure filing and see the name of every individual who put money into it. And every contributor must be a citizen of the USA.

But under  today’s Supreme Court ruling that corporations can support candidates without limit, there is nothing that stops, say, a Delaware-incorporated handmaiden of the Burmese junta from picking a Congressman or two with a cache of loot masked by a corporate alias.

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