Early voting report – Illinois

Wow, what a pleasant surprise. In my town of 19,000 (with its 2,187 churches and 2 bars) the voting has been fast and furious. I voted yesterday, expecting to pop in city hall, and get back to work.  Nope.  There were 25-30 people ahead of me, waiting for one of four booths. The pleasant voting clerk was advising people after me that the wait was more than an hour.  (it turned out to be 1.5 hours)  Yet, every time she mentioned the wait, PEOPLE STAYED AND VOTED.

The idea that there was some enthusiasm gap is clearly a media concoction, and bears no relationship to reality. People were not only excited to vote, they were determined to vote.

What was even more surprising was the discussions I overheard. This is the reddest part of Cook County, the largest county in Illinois. People supported McCain almost 2-1 here in 2008. Yet, it seemed that people were voting Democratic at the same pace as Republican, a major shift to the left. Reports from the South Side of Chicago also show extremely strong turnouts from Chicago’s black wards.

In a year where a deluded, misinformed and certifiably crazy Sharron Angle seems to be winning in Nevada, where a raving lunatic like Rand Paul can survive his gestapo beating up and stomping on Move.On members, and where Eric Canter (R-Va)  gets the local police to arrest Democrats at open house meetings – for the crime of being Democrats, it was easy to predict that Democrats and liberals would be demoralized. Add to that, every MSM was proclaiming a blowout by the GOP, and repeatedly claimed that the Democrats had no interest in this election. Perhaps, if only they had  stayed on that message longer and louder, they could have turned off people from this election.   Then again, the presence of Tea Baggery  has had several impacts on this year’s election.

First, it mobilized  a group of functionally illiterate, unread, misinformed, and willfully ignorant christian conservatives.

Second, Tea Baggers forced an already rabid GOP even further to the reich. Right. Whatever.

Next, The noise and constant free coverage that MSM provided the Tea Baggery movement also shook up someone else. Like the undecideds, the liberals, the progressives. Seeing just how insane, ludicrous, and ignorant the Tea Buggery movement is was one hell of an incentive for voting this year. We owe them all a vote of thanks.

Voting is important, even when, no, make that especially when the US Supremes foolishly lifted the cap on corporate interference in our political system. Citizens United will go down as being one the worst decisions made by any Supreme Court, following closely on the heels of Dred Scott.

Not only does the Citizens United decision make a screwed up system even worse, not only does it invite the wholesale purchase of desperate politicians, and not only does this decision allow one large corporation to have a voice a million times stronger than any individual, CU also shows that corruption in our political system does not stop in congress, but exists just as much in our Supreme Court.

Get out the Vote, folks. It is important. Vitally important.

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The corporate state

The Supreme Court has put what will prove to be the nearly final nail in the coffin of democracy in its 5-4 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission by removing limits on corporate campaign contributions. While the latest blow came from a Roberts Court, the underpinnings of this disaster go all the way back to the Court finding that corporations are citizens for purposes of the law. Once having given birth to a new class of “citizens” in the corporate form, the ground was set for the final takeover of American politics. Today’s decision is as far reaching as the SCOTUS’ 2000 putsch installing Bush as President. Both decisions are based on the thinnest of Constitutional principles and make clear the 5 Justice majority of this right wing enemy of freedom will go to any lengths to support the “golden revolution.”

For those who may need a bit of historical reference on this issue, the most important decision leading to the Citizens United ruling was that in First Nat. Bank of Boston v. Bellotti which was the first to anoint an artificial entity (corporations) as citizens entitled to the protection under the Constitution. A corporation is not a person in reality, it is a collection of persons who have banded together for purposes of making money. Of course each of the persons who have decided they want the protections afforded this artificial entity are entitled to the same freedoms as any other person in the United States. But why the corporation itself should be afforded status as a person is a step of logic that only those who are enemies of democracy and citizen control over government would favor.

Despite this fundamentally flawed ruling, the Supreme Court ruled in Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce that upheld the limits on corporate spending struck down in today’s ruling by recognizing a new governmental interest in preventing “the corrosive and distorting effects of immense aggregations of [corporate] wealth . . . that have little or no correlation to the public’s support for the corporation’s political ideas.” The new decision by the SCOTUS specifically overruled this rationale thereby declaring that the government has no such interest and even if it does, the corporate interest in buying elections supersedes it.

The corporation as citizen decision looms as one of the most devastating since the Dred Scott debacle. With the Citizens United ruling there it is unclear if any restrictions on corporations can be imposed by Congress or the states with regard to campaigns and the political process. Corporations, which now own nearly every aspect of life in America, are now free to complete their take over of the entire political process.

They already have nearly complete control over Congress through lobbying and other means of political extortion. They are already able through PAC’s to dominate elections.  Now they will not need to go through this subterfuge any more and they are free to directly fund all the elections they wish. How can citizens hope to have any impact on democratic institutions when they will be outspent by corporations.

This threat applies to both right, left and center politics. Some will say that the decision not only favors corporations but unions as well. That is an illusion.  Corporate wealth dwarfs unions abilitiy to provide political funding by many billions of dollars. The real victim in this decision is you and I, people who struggle to redirect this government, whether to the right, left or simply toward good government. It is we who have lost all hope of impacting future elections.

We have today witnessed as effective a takeover of government as if bayonet wielding troops had ransacked Washington D.C. This “golden revolution” is breathtaking if it were not so diabolical. Elections which already were tweedle dee and tweedle dum are now simply shadow matches to keep us occupied while big money interests complete their pillaging of our nation.

Election “surprises” such as the Massachusetts GOP upset are nothing compared to the impact of this decision by the SCOUTS. Democracy is over. Long live the corporation.