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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 5/6/09

Campaign Finance Is Just Another Term for Bribery

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Message Ernie Ferguson

And, so the notion that a corporation had the rights of a person was formally snuck into our law. Stare Decisis meant that this legal brick could begin to be built upon.

So, over 150 years later, in a decision called Buckley v Valeo where the Supreme Court deemed money contributions to campaigns and/or politicians as tantamount to free speech, the final shoe was dropped.

In 1836 you have a preamble to a decision that states that corporations are protected by the 14th amendment which previously only applied to citizens of the U.S. In 1976 you have Buckley v. Valeo that contends that the donation of money is considered free speech.

So, now greasing someone's palm is considered free speech.

And since proving that individual votes are the result of political contributions made by corporations is as difficult as proving that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer well, hell, we're kind of stuck aren't we? Causality is very difficult-especially when you are dealing with the law-which loves certainty.

So bribery became legal. Everyone knows it's going on. You can tell when your Congressman or Senator votes against the interests of his constituency. It's not real hard to follow.

The Senate votes down a banking bill that would allow something charmingly termed "cramdown". Well, "cramdown" is not a technique for producing foie gras. Cram down allows a bankruptcy judge to alter the amount of principal a mortgage pertains to.

It is a concept that would allow a bankruptcy judge to look at the current value of a property and determine if a borrower was made a mortgage on an over-valued property or on a property whose value subsequent to the mortgage issuance declined sharply due to unforeseen market factors.

Like the property is located in the heart of Detroit. Or the property was in one of the bubble areas like Massachusetts or Northern California. "Cram down" could have been called many things that would have made it sound better. However, name aside, its purpose is to keep honest, hard working borrowers in their homes by altering the value of the loan and thereby lowering the payments.

And guess what, the bill was defeated by a majority of Democrats and Republicans. Why? Well, follow the money. Wall Street was and is adamantly opposed to the cram down provision.

This bill would clearly be in anyone's constituent interests. I don't care what section of the country or the political leanings of the state or congressional district. But it was voted down. That's because those millions of dollars from the banks talked a lot louder than the voices of the voters. And those dollars didn't just go to those nasty Republicans. They went to Democrats and the couple of Independents that are seated in the Senate too.

The most honest, most idealistic legislator is governed by one thing when they get elected. How do they get re-elected? Well, all that money isn't coming from their voting constituency. It comes from corporations and a few extremely wealthy individuals. The real money I mean.

And, when it comes right down to it the legislators can only be so idealistic. Ultimately, they have to pay off their contributors or those contributors will fund their opponents.

It's bribery plain and simple. But it is 100% legal and enshrined in the temple of Law.

It won't change until we force the change. The money is lined up against it.

It's not like this in other countries folks. The stuff that is going on in our Congress and in our Senate is blatant pay to play in most countries, but not in ours. We've shut our eyes for decades to a basic fact. The folks that finance the campaigns of our representatives are writing the laws of our land. And when they don't like a piece of legislation that piece of legislation doesn't make it out of committee.

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I was born in Asia. I grew up an Army Brat. I lived in a lot of places in the States and lived in Europe and South America before I had turned 13. I came of age in the late 60's and early 70's. I have two undergraduate degrees from Missouri State (more...)
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