Can we Please have a new Law to Expose the People Pulling the Strings?

Gentle readers. I’m sorry for getting political.  The Supreme Court decision on 1/21/10 declaring that Companies, Unions and anyone with tons of money and an axe to grind can buy all the time they can afford to express their political views and influence ours, is just so very wrong to me.  I have a suggestion to combat this.

The Problem.

It seems like Freedom of Speech is no longer free, that is if you really want to be heard.  An average citizen can scream at the top of their lungs, but the wealthy corporation can buy huge oil-fired amplifiers that “go to eleven”, drowning everyone else out in the process.

— if you want to comment, feel free to, I’ll print any support, slings and arrows and about anything else as long as it stays within reasonable, and polite bounds.  I also promise not to do this very often and when I do, I’ll endeavor to be as moderate and populist as possible.

The Wizard of OZ law.

Companies and other large groups hide behind shell committees with nice names like “Citizens for a Completely Free America”, “Concerned Fiscally Responsible Patriots”, “People for Healthy Puppies”, etc.  They don’t want to get their hands dirty in politics or reveal who they actually are – they prefer to stay behind the curtains and manipulate the controls, just like in the “Wizard of OZ”.

I believe it is time to use their tactics against them.  They can advertise all they want, but there should be “rules” governing the advertisement:

  • The advertisement can be no less than 30 seconds long.
  • At the beginning of the advertisement, the group must disclose in large readable type what companies and persons are involved in the advertisement, along with a clear voice-over.
  • Every 15 seconds of the advertisement, a box at the bottom of the picture comprising of no less than 10% of the viewable “safe image” of the screen must scroll the names of all the corporations that have contributed financial payment to the advertisement.  The type must fill the scroll box and roll at a speed that is legible to the average person.
  • Time must be allotted at the end of the advertisement for the CEOs of the corporations/unions that have contributed to the advertisements to announce that they are the CEO of “X company”, and that they approve the message.  It must be clear, recorded and available on the company website.

No more hiding behind the curtain calling your group some flag-waving, patriotic, catchy name.  We as citizens must see the truth, must see who finances the advertisements and know who’s pulling the levers and twisting the valves, just like in “The Wizard of OZ”.

I’m sure that you can think of additional ways to ensure that the public knows the truth, and to make it very difficult for people to hide behind the curtain.  Let’s beat them at their own game.

Feel free to send this to anyone you wish if you agree with it.  I don’t care about the credit for the idea as much as I care about doing something about only a few wealthy people holding sway and power over all of us.

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9 thoughts on “Can we Please have a new Law to Expose the People Pulling the Strings?

  1. Agreed. This is the point in our nations history where Americans are no longer represented by their government. Now money officially calls the shots. The rise of the aristocracy.

  2. Danilo:
    Compared to me & my compatriots in Texas, you are a raging leftist bomb-thrower, as has been discussed here and elsewhere. However, in this case I agree COMPLETELY.

    Personally I believe that the Supreemes were correct on strict 1st Amendment grounds, but I agree that the 1st amendment should NOT be allowed to be used to HIDE support. Note for example we now know that the USSR funneled funds to certain leftist groups during the 60’s (like SDS and the Weather Underground); one of the cheapest ways to destabilize the West using the 1st amendment AND the cover of darkness.

    Your suggestions work both ways (that is, both ends of the political spectrum), for both unions and corporations, which marks it as a fair proposal.

    I would modify it slightly in a way to cover PACs and other groups: instead of attempting to list all the sources of funding on the screen, give teh web link to the organization’s FUNDING PAGE, which lists ALL donors BY DONATION size, and which must be updated within 24 hours of accepting ANY donation.

  3. Harry! You flatter me. I can’t throw hardly at all with my left hand!

    I tried to keep it moderate in nature. I believe that anyone, left or right, that throws money out for political influence shouldn’t be able to hide behind the curtains. I don’t think it’s a left or right issue, it’s more populist from my viewpoint.

    The USSR funneled money to peace groups in the mid-late 80’s as well — they didn’t know where the funding was coming from — but this is common knowledge as well.

    Of course the US “never” did anything like that — oh wait…

  4. You have hit the problem right on the head. I agree with your suggestions. People have personal, family, civic, religious and employer/employee functions. So many lenses through which the individual must view an issue. Corporations are not people. The only function of a corporation is to make profit. In some cases, that tends to color their “speech.”

    One of the many beauties of being on the bike (mine’s a BMW GSA) is that I can escape the partisanship that blankets and even infects so much of what we do. On the road, we’re all just riders, and most of us always wave back.

    Cheers.

  5. The problem is that by electing so many Republican presidents over the years that the Supreme Court is as out there as it can be. They have over the past decade tried to bestow the same rights on corporations as private citizens. That is stoopid!

    P.S. Just bought a Breva 1200 Sport and it is already my all time favorite ride!

    Thanks.

  6. So long as this requirement would apply across the board, and be explicit as to who is “speaking,” collectively and/or individually, no problem. Corporations are certainly not alone in hiding behind the name of a PAC or an interest group. Nor are they unique in their ability to raise and spend large amounts of money with which to “speak.”

  7. Agree that it should go across the board. Corporations aren’t alone indeed, but they are definitely the “face” of the issue.

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