The response of the large agribusinesses is telling - first they supported the law, then when small farms were exempted, they opposed it. That should have made it clear to our lawmakers that what this law was really about was squashing the smaller competition under a mountain of government red tape. From that perspective it failed, but now food is going to cost more while safety will exactly the same - enforced by customers, not once-every-three-years inspections.
Bob Geary wrote:
"No question, Republicans share a vision for how the economy should work. The public sector should be smaller and spend less. Investment decisions should be made by corporations, small businesses, banks and individuals, and not by government. In this set-up, working people will sink or swim according to their talents. But the fear of sinking will be excellent motivation to improve one's skills."
That assertion is provably false. Government has expanded and restricted economic rights and civil rights under Republicans as well as Democrats. It was a Republican administration that bailed out the big banks, threw hundreds of billions away in failed stimulus efforts, nationalized AIG, took over GM and Chrysler, expanded Medicare, and is hemorrhaging money in the home mortgage markets. There may be *a few* Republicans who hold the views that Bob describes, but they are in the far minority. The majority of both Democrats and Republicans subscribe to a philosophy of gaining power through political favor - the only thing that changes between the two sides is who gets the loot extracted from American taxpayers. Here's the "choice" American's can make: on the left, we have a party that is in bed with large corporations, imprisons people for years without charging them, escalates foreign wars, erodes civil liberties, and spends like a drunken sailor. On the right, we have a party that is in bed with large corporations, imprisons people for years without charging them, escalates foreign wars, erodes civil liberties, and spends like a drunken sailor. It's not hard to understand why rank-and-file Democrats are demoralized, and why the Tea Party will fall apart when they realize that all their effort changed nothing.
Wow. Hasn't anyone told Crowther about Godwin's Law?
"A left libertarian wants to be left alone, too, but he doesn't think that what he wants is more important than what other people need."
No, left libertarians, like all libertarians, think that they shouldn't FORCE other people to pay for people's needs. Doing something wrong in order to help people is still wrong.
"Many of them refused to vote for Obama, or have already given up on him, because they wanted a liberal messiah and got a pragmatic centrist who shies from confrontation."
What they got was another George Bush who blithely continued trampling of civil rights, studiously avoids even talking about the crimes that our government continues to perpetrate against humanity, and who escalated our foreign wars. At what point should liberals say, "you know, maybe Obama isn't actually a liberal, given that few to none of his policies are actually liberal?" and start opposing him?
So lets sum up:
1) Opposition to the current regime is sedition and treason. Where have we heard that before? Oh rrrriight, the Bush Administration and the Hard Right!
2) The confused people who participate in the Tea Parties are racist anti-intellectual xenophobes. Ad hominem attacks will get you everywhere!
3) The progressives and the Hard Left are peaceful and nonviolent. Never mind that leftist protests in Greece burned three people alive in a bank a few days ago, and have been tearing up cities for years in WTO protests. Oh, and what happened to all the opposition to the wars? I guess foreign wars and killing innocents every day are ok when it is your guy in the White House, eh?
The only thing more sad than the Tea Parties is the "progressive" movement's response, crystallized here in Mr. Crowther's essay. Mr. Crowther decries the corporate influence on the Tea Parties while studiously ignoring that his progressive "presumptuous President" has been intimately involved in the biggest corporate handouts the world has ever seen - TARP, the stimulus, and "health care reform". What could be more of a golden goose than the use of government force to coerce people to buy specific products from large corporations? Not to mention the "progressive" refusal to discuss, prosecute, or even repudiate the human rights crimes, torture, and Constitutional violations of the previous Administration, while continuing many of the same policies.
You mention B.J. Lawson as "a diehard Libertarian who'd take the country back to the 19th century if he could." Your statement appears to imply that Mr. Lawson advocates a return to forcible government suppression of labor unions, government-enforced and supported legal slavery/Jim Crow segregation, and the removal of women's suffrage.
Of course, nothing could be further from the truth, and I find your characterization of Mr. Lawson insulting and dismissive. In fact, Mr. Lawson's planks and beliefs are the exact opposite of such policies. His positions may seem odd to you, but they are consistent, and based on the idea that society is improved by more individual freedom and responsibility - and that freedom includes economic freedoms as well as social ones. You may disagree, but characterizations such as this "19th century" quip do everyone a disservice.
She agreed to those terms when she joined, and has been enjoying the benefits of membership since then. Now, when the organization exercises their rights under the agreement, she's suddenly unhappy with the situation? At what point is she responsible for the consequences of her own decisions? If she's not happy with it, she should change careers, establish a competing MLS, or change the group's policies. (Which she appears to be doing, since she got elected to her local board. Good for her.)
Regardless, slanting this as a flexing of corporate power that will get worse because of Citizens United is pretty preposterous. This is a group of citizens being politically active on a subject they care about. Mr. Geary seems to believe this is a bad thing, but I welcome it. We need more citizen's groups getting involved and making themselves heard.
So ... the complaint is that a voluntary, private, non-profit organization with democratically-elected leadership was politically active in what it saw as a successful effort to protect its members from a bad law?
That sounds like a terrible ... wait, isn't that exactly how the system should work? Is Mr. Geary suggesting that we should ban groups that are similarly organized, such as the ACLU and Moveon.org, from being politically active?
Fortunately, the Supreme Court recognizes that the First Amendment applies to everyone, not just the people you agree with or groups that are organized in a certain way. That's what Citizens United was all about.
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