Beyond The ‘McCutcheon’ Decision

The Roberts Court

The Roberts Court

Everyone’s taking about the Supreme Court’s perfectly predictable “Citizens United 2” McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission decision.  It’s what we are NOT talking about that worries me.

Ironically, the far right that many on the left see as the only beneficiary of a decision that treats money and free speech as if they are the same thing, is also not happy with it. They wanted, and may still get, the end of all campaign finance reform.

This decision keeps individual giving caps in place and, in the Right’s view doesn’t go far enough, although in their war of many slashes and cuts, they clearly see laws and policies trending in their direction.

If the escalation of the email that has inundated my in-box is any indication, Dems and the progressives see it in apocalyptic terms–the end of democracy as we know and the final nod towards plutocracy, if not fascism. Many of those emails denouncing the Supremes for serving the class interests that put them there, included a new pitch for money.

Money, honey—that’s the name of the game in our political system. And, it’s the game the Democrats play too. They have to, they will tell you, to stay “competitive.”  They are always denouncing big money while trying to get as much of it as they can.  If that’s a contradiction, so be it!

Think of how the hundreds of millions poured into politics helped finance the paralysis and stalemate we find ourselves in.

It keeps the game going—and growing. It reinforces the informed sense that politics is now a big business with an army of party apparatchiks, lobbyists, consultants, and staffers feeding off the trough.

And then there’s parasitic army of commentators and pundits that their presence justifies who argue endlessly about each up-tick and down-tick of what they achieve, or more likely, do not get done.

Please recall that despite the forecasts of doom, President Obama won re-election, beating the brigades of billionaires and shrill media attacks. He attracted smaller donations, and utilized the “big data” that the NSA has made infamous to advantage.

Electoral manipulation, or is it “persuasion” wears new faces every day, and goes way beyond the Supremes. Consider the blatant, and so far successful, efforts underway to make it harder for minorities to vote. Where’s the outrage about that?

The big money boys can be beaten, but only when you organize from below, which is something that seems to have gone out of favor with so much of our political buzz is generated in the beltway where an odious gang of cynical crooks and dopey curmudgeons from both parties wrestle with each other, to the disgust of much of the public who tell pollsters how little respect they have for these loudmouths in suits.

If the Congress disappeared—not that it should—who would miss it?

If you want some real scandals not in the media, look critically at the media. It is central to our political order. Yet media doesn’t cover its impact, and mostly denied it has one. It tells critics no one pays attention and then tells advertisers the absolute opposite.

Look at the increase in media concentration and what passes for information programs. Why do you think the public is so uninformed Comic David Letterman leaving in a year rated more attention than the daily deceptions in what singer Peter Tosh once called ‘politricks.’

Look at the rise of Fox News that has been #1 for the past 49 quarters and learn about how Murdoch & Co used intimidation and big bucks to buy their way on the air and, then, profit from a system in which the big cable providers (and, we, their subscribers) that run his faux news pay for most of it, not advertisers.

The other day I was chatting with one of Public Citizen’s articulate Democracy for the People organizers fighting big money in politics with hundreds of protest events in cities across the country.

I asked if their efforts are covered in the media. He pointed to a picture here or photo there, but conceded that its efforts had been mostly blacked out by outlets that are currently trouncing Russia on the hour for violating democracy in….the Crimea and Ukraine. (Oligarchs run those countries just as the 1% runs ours.)

Saving democracy here is not considered such a sexy story, perhaps because there is no incarnation of “evil” like Putin to bash.

As we focus on the McCutcheon decision, let us remember the other decisions we overlook because they are don’t come to us in black robes.

At the same time, the Roberts Court knows the political system is corrupt, but they don’t want to do anything about. Writes Jeffrey Toobin in the New Yorker,

“If you think that the Supreme Court’s decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission was bad, just wait: worse may be on the way.”

He notes that the Court majority says they opposed corruption but then define it away:

“Roberts is defining “quid pro quo” corruption almost as outright bribery, which Congress can outlaw. But the implication of what Roberts is saying is that anything short of outright bribery is protected by the First Amendment.”

Underscore that word “anything!”

This decision will hurt the Republicans, argues Peter Beinhart in The Atlantic because it cements their reputation as the party by, for, and of the rich.

He writes,

“Last Sunday, Matt Dowd, George W. Bush’s shrewd and independent-minded former political strategist, called it “ridiculous” to think that “trumping out to Las Vegas to kiss the ring of a billionaire casino owner” will help Republicans “get elected president.” He’s right. It confirms the very image Republicans most need to overcome.

The GOP’s increased reliance on big donors also makes it less likely the party will craft new policies that appeal to the blue-collar voters it needs to win.”

So, yes, the Court decision is bad for those of us who still believe, naively perhaps, that politics should not be dominated by the superrich, and their corporate order.

But no, McCutcheon is not going to sink the Good Ship democracy that, like that Malaysian airliner, may have already been heading for those waves. What used to be Davey Jones Locker now belongs to John Roberts and his Men in Black.

Finally, speaking of what does get over-covered. Malaysians are in the street protesting exploitative coverage of their airline tragedy. They see Fox and CNN as indistinct American media. They are calling for a boycott, denouncing US TV as unprofessional and misleading for labeling Malaysia as terrorist, among other crimes and misdemeanors.

What do they know about our media that most Americans still don’t?

News Dissector Danny Schechter blogs at and edits His latest book is Madiba AtoZ: The Many Faces of Nelson Mandela ( Comments to

74 Comments on "Beyond The ‘McCutcheon’ Decision"

  1. Saw an interview with McCutcheon last night. The guy is barely coherent but managed to say “freedom” about thirty times, inserting it even when it didn’t make sense. How this guy managed to get a case in front of the Supreme Court is beyond any thinking person. I wonder who his corporate sugar daddies are.

    • Anarchy Pony | Apr 5, 2014 at 2:29 pm |

      “You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means…”

  2. BuzzCoastin | Apr 5, 2014 at 12:27 pm |

    the end of democracy as we know it and the final nod towards plutocracy

    this prognostication
    happened well over 100 years ago now
    the question is
    What tl do about it?

    • Anarchy Pony | Apr 5, 2014 at 1:14 pm |

      I like to think it involves guillotines, but I’m a dreamer.

      • upvote quandry:
        …but righteous violence…
        …theatrical bonus points assessed…

        ÿ demand the ability to half-upvote!

        • Anarchy Pony | Apr 5, 2014 at 5:27 pm |

          Would gallows be more or less preferable?

          • …likely involves slower death…
            …seems somehow more inhumane…

            i would like to ☎ a ≈

          • Upon further consideration, ÿ votes gallows first, and then after 2 minutes or so, guillotine.

            Can we bring back the rack too?

    • Jin The Ninja | Apr 5, 2014 at 2:24 pm |

      it’s a well-defined liberal/progressive historical revision.
      ‘they’ took over the country
      ‘they’ are erasing ‘our freedoms’
      ‘they’ are wall-street, big oil, prison inc, spy inc. etc.

      no dudes, ‘they’ founded this country, with the conceit of democratic illusion.
      but they were very very afraid of democracy. they wrote in protections against the plebs to the very document ‘you’ revere. plus ‘they’ stole the land and named it something else, pretended an italian ‘discovered’ it and engaged in petite-imperialism ever since, all the while solidifying and furthering the deep state to now, where they no longer feel the need to hide it. it’s at the same time more transparent and more obscure.
      this so-called ‘descent’ is the end game. it always was (italics).

      • After just the tiniest bit of actual research, I’ve always found it hard to understand how people can be so taken in by a bunch of individuals and their scratchings on a piece of hemp when most of them, including the author of the “legendary founding document”, were unrepentant white supremacists.

        America is/was the “open source” equivalent to the British East India Company. Thank you for your submissions, the entry period has now closed.

        • The founding fathers were not White Supremacists, they were Freemasons, Illuminati and mostly Deists who believed in free thought, democratic reform and had a “separate but equal” mentality toward the preservation of racial identity and cultural preservation. They understood Power Structures and the long and complicated histories of Europe and Africa, the history and wisdom you have forgotten… and they forged a Nation in a wake of bloodshed that Christianity set it motion on the continent.

          • cool story, bro

            ÿ’m not 5 anymore. also, ÿ have a library card and internet connection.

            thanks for playing.

          • Agreed. And the “Founding Fathers” grew up in a time when indoctrination into the mysterious ways of the holy order was decidedly more overt and submission was the norm. You seem to like armchair psychoanalysis, so do some on your so-called heroes.

            Liberal theory has never been about “true” equality, and appealing to an older, more blatantly corrupt, exploitative, racist, and sexist version of said theory holds no coin in mÿ realm.

          • You’re a human paraquat… cointel sock puppet.

          • hm yes…

            ÿ iz 1 of the Ill Umen Naughties..

            comes with the territory of being the next “Emperor of these United States” and “Protector of Mexico”…

            ÿ iz also “investigative journalist”. let me set up a meeting with that holy lesbo from the motherjones piece and ask her about mental masturbation…

          • Anarchy Pony | Apr 5, 2014 at 6:26 pm |

            You’re Joshua Norton III?

          • Yes, ÿ am what you said

          • Anarchy Pony | Apr 5, 2014 at 6:33 pm |

            I was sure you were dead. For decades.

          • ÿ was resurrected. by science.

          • with the movement to rightly honor the great Norton I by finally naming the Bay Bridge in His honour, now seemed as good a time as any other…

          • He is dead, on the inside… the only thing that keeps him going is his boner for trolling Disinfo.

          • lol

            …it’s full of stars…

          • In all my years of being active on (and only disinfo)… I’ve never had a greater displeasure than being stalked by you. I’m not mad at you, I am disappointed though and I forgive you for being a narcissistic, sociopathic troll.

          • I think the concept of psychological projection explains it pretty well.

            For whatever reason people enjoy having enemies. When none are readily at hand they invent them.

          • I have no enemies other than people who use religious freedom to circumnavigate all other civil liberties… but thank you for choosing me as your enemy.

            Are you finished? Do you feel better?

          • ÿ dunno…

            Are you finished? Do you feel better?

            ÿ would also add:

            Do you need to have the last word?

            Will you continue your passive aggressive snarkiness if ÿ don’t reply?

            what is the air speed velocity of an african swallow?

            What is the sound of one hand clapping?


          • I’m just mildly amused by your trolling and I’m done working in my Victory Garden for the day… I’m still on the topic of McCutcheon and have my hands free to type while I’m listening to Dan Carlin’s Common Sense Podcast on the topic. I figure if I can eat up some of your time (time you’ll never get back) like a highlander, I can run interference on you doing destruction to people who are actual vulnerable to trolling. My ADHD Super Powers allow me to compose music while listening to a podcast and eating trolls for an early dinner.


          • Jin The Ninja | Apr 5, 2014 at 8:28 pm |

            “I’ve never had a greater displeasure than being stalked by you. I’m not
            mad at you, I am disappointed though and I forgive you for being a
            narcissistic, sociopathic troll.

            not trying to argue with you. however, in my 4 years of disinfo, and the multitude of flame wars i’ve engaged in, i have never felt so disrespected, so unnerved, as i had by YOU yesterday.
            i felt more threatened by YOU, than when i laughed off ted’s threats to punch me in the face. i have witnessed epic disrespect by trolls, and even a few regulars (which is fine in the context of the respective conversations), but none were in the tone of yesterday, so i am sorry you feel that way, but instead of being a snarky martyr, perhaps think about how you’ve engendered this behaviour.

          • If I had the acceptable blood quantum would you love me then? If I could see through you any more clearly, you would be completely transparent.

            “I don’t mean to sound cold, or cruel, or vicious, but I am, so that’s the way it comes out.” Bill Hicks

          • Jin The Ninja | Apr 5, 2014 at 8:39 pm |

            blood quantum?
            #queer #hapa #mixedpeopleproblems.

          • This is for Jin & #255… for reasons I think are obvious.

          • Jin The Ninja | Apr 5, 2014 at 9:04 pm |

            i’m hardly trolling you.


          • ÿ is 99.9% sure El-P would tell you to never even think about his fucking music ever again.

          • Jin The Ninja | Apr 5, 2014 at 9:08 pm |

            interesting edit, jason.
            so does that mean you
            i’m taken, but thanks bro. i don’t roll that way (downhill).

          • I’m not your “bro” fuccboi, and like I told your Trollmate… thinly veiled homophobia isn’t cute.

          • Jin The Ninja | Apr 5, 2014 at 9:21 pm |

            i’m queer, BRO. it’s a bit hard to be homophobic against

            a str8…
            #gaystraightalliance #youarenotspecial

          • Well, your Trollmate is for sure a homophobe, it’s safe for me to assume you were are also since you refer to people with titles like “little emo”, and since you had to have noticed #255 is homophobic and never called him out about it.

            Also the preferred nomenclature is Two Spirit, which you should know living in Iroquoi Territory.

          • Jin The Ninja | Apr 5, 2014 at 11:09 pm |

            this is a #teachablemoment brought to you by #intersectionality

            don’t you dare, deem to condescend to me about queer politics. where the hell were you when :


            i am going to tell you something about glbtq people.

            what we call OURSELVES is what matters. if you don’t understand that we want to label ourselves by our cultural and political affiliations- that we do not want str8 folks telling us what we are, who we are, then you are NO ally- and everything you have feigned is indeed bullshit.

            i explained the essence of queer politics here :


            let me also tell you something about myself:

            i am not, and never have been CULTURALLY NdN. i made that VERY clear in the last thread. i consider myself hapa/eurasian/multi-racial. i don’t need to feign plastic shaman to make myself feel better. i have plenty of things to draw from that i was actually raised in. NdN-ness is a part of me, because it is. not because i play pow-wow.

            two-spirit identity is a very serious and very political and very cultural term of gender identity. i was not raised in cree or dene spirituality. i was not raised inside an indigenous culture. while i certainly identify with many aspects of two-spirits- it is simply not at all appropriate for me to appropriate that term.

            queer for me is an all encompassing term, it is about my non-whiteness, my gender identity, my orientation, my radical politics.

            so to call me ‘homophobic’ is not safe, it’s ridiculous on a grand scale. and on the subject of #255, i call out homophobia all the time on this site. what he wrote was questionable, i didn’t ‘like’ it (literally and emotionally) but it wasn’t cutting or rabid or even offensive. it was callous. but then when i have you calling me ‘nothing’ ‘non existant’ ‘a troll’ threatening to ‘destroy’ me, it really pales in comparison. and for the record ‘little emo’ really means what it says. it is analogous to calling someone ‘aggro.’ it has no special hidden meaning.

            and done.

          • I gave Andrew my word that I wouldn’t engage you anymore so I should inform you of that. My role In LGBTQ activism will have to remain a mystery to you… you would surely be impressed with what I’ve done for the community at great risk to my own safety.

          • Jin The Ninja | Apr 6, 2014 at 12:57 am |

            do you think my reading skillz are so lacking?
            andrew asked that you not 1- self-aggrandize 2- make mean-spirited comments. he didn’t say anything about engaging with impassioned rhetoric. you’ve already failed at 1.
            so much for promises…

            an ally is there to support, not to steal the glory.

          • Echar Lailoken | Apr 6, 2014 at 2:21 am |

            I think dude is a bit touched. It may be best to let things slide. Alos please put away the hash tags.


          • This community has gone to shit and yeah its been a tough go watching it go… although Buzz and Matt have tried to be a saving grace, it’s too late. You win, you’ve killed right along with mediocre hacks like Graham Hancock and Luke Rudkowski.

            Disinfo died with RAW and has become a haven for Trolls and Occultards… a match made in loser heaven.

          • ¡ZOMG!

            what is dot-commers from 1.0 still around in Bay Area bitching about the 2.0 crowd?

            it’s like a suuuuuuuppperrr sssllllooo-mmmoooo car accident… ÿ… can’t… look… away…!!!


          • …ÿ almost forgot…

            I think the concept of psychological projection explains it pretty well.

            For whatever reason people enjoy having enemies. When none are readily at hand they invent them.

          • Echar Lailoken | Apr 6, 2014 at 8:46 am |

            It may be a good idea to take a break from the internet for a few days. I hope you get feeling better.

          • All I see are three people who have to get the last word.

          • ÿ will not use # (as hashtag) on disqus

            ÿ will not use # (as hashtag) on disqus

            ÿ will not use # (as hashtag) on disqus

            …good afternoon, good evening, and good night…

          • Jin The Ninja | Apr 6, 2014 at 12:03 pm |

            you are right, i am embarrassed and saddened.

          • Echar Lailoken | Apr 6, 2014 at 12:28 pm |

            It’s cool. We all slip sometimes. Have a great day.

          • The two of you make me want to step up my compassion practice.


          • I will admit to playing with some questionable lines, no doubt, so in the interests of transparency, I shall freely volunteer the following in defense of my character.

            Back in meat space, I am frequently hit on by men, women, and individuals of whom I am unsure how to identify them or what pronouns to use. Any one of those three categories can still make me uncomfortable in the approach.

            On the whole though, I sincerely doubt I could successfully live (and *love* living) in a city that is so free about sexuality if I were indeed homophobic as the charge has been made. I am not as free as my city, but I am certainly no choir boy/girl/other prude. (Sorry Ted, I couldn’t wait for you :(((()

            Maybe I should post this up again too for posterity…

          • Jin The Ninja | Apr 6, 2014 at 12:52 am |

            i can honestly say, i never felt a tinge of homophobia from what you wrote. and i am often charged as being ‘overly sensitive’ to those sort of things. we can agree on ‘questionable’ but demonstrably not attacking or denigrating or marginalising. and mostly benign in comparison;)

          • Jin The Ninja | Apr 5, 2014 at 9:26 pm |

            feigning indignation on behalf on my persecuted minority isn’t ‘cute’ either. especially when you threatened to ‘destroy me.’ on another thread.

          • If you plan to label me as playing a victim, you probably should have thought about that before you tried to be aggro and post about how you always “shut me down”… bro.

          • You know, it’s been getting quite tiring seeing your boasting and put-downs clogging up the Recent Comments most of the time these past several days. You seem to be involved in multiple pissing matches and it’d be nice to see you post something important instead, because I seem to remember you have in the past.

          • “Am I Wrong?” “No Walter, you’re not wrong you’re just an asshole”

            You’re right and you have my word… I’ll stop gnawing on trolls in the absence of any moderation whatsoever.

          • Jin The Ninja | Apr 5, 2014 at 10:46 pm |

            i was referring to the comment about civil religion.
            aggro? maybe. smartass? yes.

            although i did in that instance.

          • Jin The Ninja | Apr 5, 2014 at 9:15 pm |


            honestly, a disagreement about a now-dead neoatheist and the history of the jesuits, should never have precipitated this reaction from you. we can agree to disagree.

          • I think the concept of psychological projection explains it pretty well.

          • Homophobia isn’t an endearing personality trait.

          • I think the concept of psychological projection explains it pretty well.

          • It does actually… in clinical studies homophobes are more stimulated my homo-eroticism than by straight sex.

            Clearly you’re really smart soo… as an “investigative journalist” you should do an expose piece exposing those who defends LGBTQ rights as all just having latent LGBTQ tendencies.

          • in clinical studies homophobes are more stimulated my homo-eroticism than by straight sex.

          • That typo made me laugh too… but you’re still a bigot and I’m out of the closet about being 6.66% gay for Ben Franklin.

          • Maybe not a typo???

            But anyways, yes, you’ve been right about everything else you’ve posted about here so far, so you must have successfully figured this one out too.


          • If it were a Freudian Slip it would be limited to skull fucking conservative men (as requested on Craigslist)… fixed it.

          • Tell it to Ted Haggard.

            Pro Tip: Never ask a gay man to share chocolate. Sure he’ll probably get you off like a champ, but you’ll never feel the same way about chocolate.

          • Comments can’t be blank.

          • Anarchy Pony | Apr 5, 2014 at 10:03 pm |

            I wonder why the natives called George Washington “town destroyer” then?

          • Because that was war time and natives invaded colonies as often as he invaded native towns. The

      • Who are the “they” you speak of?

Comments are closed.