Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Prairie populists answer Citizen United v. FEC

Culture war comes home to los ranchos de Bob Hope - Koch Brothers confab mobbed by liberals as populists fight back

Rancho Mirage – The City of Rancho Mirage contracts with the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.

They got their money's worth when thousands of populists whipped up by speakers such as former Texas Commissioner of Agriculture Jim Hightower, Rick Jacobs of the Courage Campaign, some Code Pink ladies, and the President of Common Cause, former Illinois Congressman Bob Edgar, poured out into Bob Hope Boulevard to get themselves arrested for annoying conservative bigwigs. Even Van Jones, the former green jobs deputy in the Obama Administration showed up to describe the rally as "the beginning of our fight back."

The deputies obliged 25 of them as they decried the use by the owners of Koch Industries of the 2010 Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. FEC, which held that a corporate entity has the same rights of free speech under the First Amendment as a human being.

As a result, the multi-billionaires have funded numerous Tea Parties, think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute, Americans for Prosperity, contributed to campaigns, donated to political parties, and funded media advertising buys.

They bought out the plush Rancho Las Palmas resort for the last weekend in January and invited conservative luminaries such as House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, 2012 Republican candidate Herman Cain, hundreds of corporate CEO's, and even persuaded Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia to attend.

When the cops had to shut down Bob Hope Boulevard due to the loud and unruly crowd gathered outside the hotel, the resort canceled the event and paid participants $150 apiece for their trouble. The Koch Brothers and their cohorts had to head for the house. They didn't have to go home, but they couldn't stay there.

Another skirmish in the culture war that is heating up for 2012.

It's all part of the liberal answer to the shift in paradigm caused by the Citizens United case. By bestowing human status on corporate enterprises, the Supreme Court allowed for-profit entities the same rights given to not-for-profit outfits designated as such under IRS subsection 501(3)(c).

They just call big business corporations 501(4)(c) organizations and go on from there. In fact, there are designations for other “civic” organizations such as volunteer fire departmenLinkts, funeral and cemetery associations, fraternal orders – and the like.

Former Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold founded Progressives United to bring the message of prairie populism home to an American electorate that has been treated to a constant barrage of cultural warfare in his home state as the governor and legislators battled through the winter to dismantle the unions that represent public employees.

The development is significant because most of the ideas behind union representation, health care and retirement pensions came out of the populist stats such as Wisconsin.

The election cycle of 2012 is going to make 2010 look like a Sunday afternoon ice cream social.

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