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Old 01-02-2002, 02:41 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba:
Let's say we ignore the First Amendment and eliminate a politician's ability to use the mass media advertising of TV, mail, newspaper, etc. The immediate result is that the press becomes supreme arbiter of whose voice is heard. The press will choose who wins the election.
I see people like to throw around the First Amendment like a pair of dirty panties, so let's see what it really says:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Nowhere does it guarantee a politician the right to amass ridiculous amounts of money from any possible source. Limiting money does not imply limiting speech. With such logic as above, we could say that money laundering laws breach my First Amendment rights as well.

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(You could say that already happens. But Ross Perot buying airtime in 1992 proved that it's possible to attract a sizable number of votes and be a political outsider. Making it impossible to buy airtime would have hurt Perot, not helped him.)
How many political candidates buy half-hour infomercials on the issues? Only Ross Perot and only once (unless you remember Lyndon LaRouche). What do candidates really buy? 30-second blurbs, where they gloss over the facts, distort the facts over their opponents, and go on smear campaigns, while making vague promises on certain issues. This is a problem under both the Republican and Democratic parties, not just one of them. Last I heard, libel and defamation, while "speech," are not automatically protected under the First Amendment.

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That's no good, so let's require "equal time"; let's again ignore the Constitution and require the press to spend an equal amount of time on each candidate. Each candidate is invited to the debates, allowed to write essays of equal length for the major papers, etc. The U.S. already has a dozen or so unqualified and - to be honest - wacky nobodies who run for President. Require "equal time" of the press, and you'll have those guys flooding the airwaves with irrelevancies, and you'll attract even more people who want nothing more than to "run for President" just to publicize their pet concerns. Instead of too little debate, you'll have too much, and genuine issues of concern will be drowned out by the noise.
"Equal time" does not violate the Constitution. In fact, it's funny you use that term. "Equal time" was part of a 1933 Communication Act (I wish I remembered the exact name) that mandated that, if a station decided to make a stance on a certain issue--whether that be abortion or a certain political candidate--the opponent was guaranteed "equal time" to make a rebuttal. Of course, I do believe that was eliminated in the 1980s under a different law, but the next time you wish to talk about constitutional law, I'd look at past precedent.

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Of course, one could limit the "equal time" requirement to those candidates that actually stand a chance of winning the election, but that brings us back to the DNC and the GOP.
And, somehow, under this current deregulatory system, the third parties get represented?

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Looking at campaign funding, I see two choices: limit individual spending, and limit spending by a group.
Brilliantly vague. There are a few categories: individuals, households, foreign citizens, foreign groups, businesses, unions, and interest groups/PACs. I'm sure there are more, but this is a good start.

Quote:
Limiting individual spending is fruitless. If a person can only give $1000 to a candidate, but a group can give an unlimited amount, he will simply form a small group (on paper, probably asking a few friends to join him) and give what he wanted to via the beginning. Limiting what he can give to a group to prevent that loophole would cause serious damage to minority groups that work for the legal protection of an entire race on the backs of those few who can donate to the cause.
I agree that simply limiting individuals will just lead to the creation of fictitious groups. Likewise, just limiting groups and allowing unlimited individual contributions (like the Republican Party has advocated) will just allow particularly wealthy groups (businesses, etc.) to funnel money to the CEO, who will donate as an "individual."

Quote:
Finally, limiting what a group can give thows out the metaphorical baby with the bathwater. PAC's are gone, sure, but so are the political powers of the AARP and every other politically-minded organization. In fact, it destroys one of the bedrocks of American political change: a handful of individuals with the same concerns forms an organization which finds and financially supports candidates that champion their causes.
Lobbying and lobbyist groups were not permitted until the 1930s. Obviously, our country ran perfectly fine before that. The reason behind them, though? Politicians, supposedly, were so far removed from their home district that lobbyists would inform them of the issues. In a romanticized fantasy, this would work, but the reality is that these groups just further their own agendas, regardless of what constituents want.

Regardless, this is not about lobbying, but campaign contributions. In fact, you've just made a very disturbing slip, but it's real: campaign contributions influence politics. You said so, in not so many words, yourself. If the AARP, for instance, gives money to Senator X, it is expected that Senator X will bend over backwards for it. If Dole Fruits gives money to Senator Y, it is expected that he will do something in return--like overthrow the government of Honduras. Once again, limiting campaign contributions is not the same as limiting speech. In fact, I believe that, by barring their abilities to give money to any candidate or party, you can put PACs like AARP and large corporations like Microsoft at the same level of political influence. They can still send lobbyists, because what I advocate does not restrict that, and a Senator will not have money that binds them to look after the interests of one group over another. This is what a Republic is all about. What we have is the equivalent of bribery.

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The bottom line is this: there is no way to prevent the "bribery" of corporations and the wealthy without severely limiting the rights of individuals to create organizations like the NRA and the AARP and to financially support political candidates throught those groups. There's no way to keep individual freedom intact with those suggestions.
To reiterate, limiting an individual's or interest group's ability to give campaign funds is not the same as limiting their speech. The NRA and AARP can still lobby their interests, but, this time, they cannot throw money at a Senator to look after their interests over others' interests.

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While spending caps look great on paper, the effects seem to be disasterous. It seems that very few people think of the long-term and large-scale effects of these "reforms", but that doesn't mean the effects will not occur.
Actually, spending caps look better than ever.

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Old 01-02-2002, 04:41 PM   #17
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How many people in this discussion actually work in this field? Because, as someone who does, I can tell you there's a lot of bad information in these threads.

First of all, not all public elections are publicly financed. In fact, the only federal public financing is available to presidential candidates who have to subscribe to a spending cap. And the only monies available to this fund are funded by people who specifically indicate on their tax forms that they want $1.00 of their tax money to go to this fund.

As for the cost of security details provided to candidates who are already publiclly elected officials, campaigns must reimburse. Thus, when the President takes Air Force One on a campaign trip, the campaign pays for the operating costs of the plane.

Second, there is a limit as to how much money a PAC can contribute to a campaign.

Third, the Supreme Court found in Buckley v. Valeo that a limitation on an individual's expenditures is indeed a violation of the 1st Amendment.
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Old 01-02-2002, 11:19 PM   #18
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Aren't corporations subject to taxes and the laws of the land, technically at least? If so, then shouldn't they be allowed to participate in the political process?

And also, MOST small businesses are corporations of some sort, so it is not strictly a "big business" issue.

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Old 01-03-2002, 08:57 AM   #19
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Corporations do participate in the political process through government relations divisions and political action committees
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Old 01-03-2002, 10:52 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by Hans Moleman:
I see people like to throw around the First Amendment like a pair of dirty panties, so let's see what it really says:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Nowhere does it guarantee a politician the right to amass ridiculous amounts of money from any possible source. Limiting money does not imply limiting speech. With such logic as above, we could say that money laundering laws breach my First Amendment rights as well.
And I see that you like to misread what I say, through either mere incompetence or an intentional effort to misrepresent my views.

I did NOT say or imply that the First Amendment protects a right to "to amass ridiculous amounts of money from any possible source".

I brought up the First Amendment because it seems to me that it does protect A) the right of a political candidate or party to buy space or time to advertise on mass media and B) the right of mass media to determine its own content.

A) A candidate and a mass media company have the First Amendment right to negotiate an advertising contract without governmental prohibition. It seems clear to me that politcal speech is the speech MOST protected by the Amendment I, and it seems equally clear that mass media is the most powerful way to deliver political speech. Prohibit mass media advertising, you step all over the First Amendment.

B) You bring up the "equal time" mandate from a law from the FDR era, one that was overturned in the 80's and actually returned to make the rounds of Congress in the 90's.

Yes, it was never overturned by the Supreme Court. But that doesn't make it less threatening to the First Amendment, and here's how the 90's version (had it been enacted) would have been used:

The country has several politically slanted radio talk show hosts, most notably Rush Limbaugh, a conservative who broadcasts 15 hours a week on around 500 stations nationwide.

The "Fairness Doctrine" would have required 15 hours of response time on all 500+/- stations. To be completely honest, no liberal comentator has EVER been as popular as Rush. The stations would lose money in the 15-hour response, thus they would drop the conservative so they wouldn't HAVE to air the liberal.

Even if that didn't happen, the government is still telling stations what they HAVE TO AIR over long periods of time. That seems to be a clear violation of free speech.

I would respond further, but my vacation beckons again. I would ask that you would start reading what I say more carefully, that you would quit throwing around misrepresentations like a "pair of dirty panties."

Thanks.
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Old 01-03-2002, 04:11 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by devalera1:
Third, the Supreme Court found in Buckley v. Valeo that a limitation on an individual's expenditures is indeed a violation of the 1st Amendment.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't there currently limits on individual campaign contributions?

But I find the repercussions of the above statement to be incredibly vague. I could argue, on the above, that by requiring that certain medicines be only acquired through prescription to be a limit on my expenditures.

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Old 01-03-2002, 04:16 PM   #22
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You're right Hans.

An individual can only donate $1,000.00 per election to a campaign.

Thus, the maximum you can donate as an individual to a specific candidate is $2,000.00 ($1,000.00 for a primary + $1,000.00 for a general)
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Old 01-03-2002, 04:19 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2Bama:
Aren't corporations subject to taxes and the laws of the land, technically at least? If so, then shouldn't they be allowed to participate in the political process?


"Participation" is one thing. "Domination" is another. Historically, this is a problem. Under the most laissez-faire capitalist model during the late 19th century, there was a severe problem of monopolistic behavior, labor abuse, and the "buying" of senators and representatives. I'm sure, from history class, we all remember the political cartoons where you had the senators caricatured as fat pigs with the name of the industry (i.e., oil, etc.) that they were bought by? Or was everyone asleep?

Quote:
And also, MOST small businesses are corporations of some sort, so it is not strictly a "big business" issue.
"Small business" does not have the power to dominate the political arena. A start-up software company, for instance, will not dominate like Microsoft.

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Old 01-03-2002, 04:44 PM   #24
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Originally posted by Achtung Bubba:
And I see that you like to misread what I say, through either mere incompetence or an intentional effort to misrepresent my views.
You sound like Rush Limbaugh more and more, don't you? So it is either "incompetance" or a vast left-wing conspiracy? One extreme to the other?

Quote:
I did NOT say or imply that the First Amendment protects a right to "to amass ridiculous amounts of money from any possible source".
"The bottom line is this: there is no way to prevent the "bribery" of corporations and the wealthy without severely limiting the rights of individuals to create organizations like the NRA and the AARP and to financially support political candidates throught those groups. There's no way to keep individual freedom intact with those suggestions."

The downright implication of this statement and others you wrote was that "campaign contributions" and "speech" were one in the same, and that in limiting "campaign contributions" would be limiting "speech." But we should be talking about "right to assembly." Either way, preventing Groups A-Z from contributing to political campaigns does not infringe on their right to assemble or to petition a redress of grievances.

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I brought up the First Amendment because it seems to me that it does protect A) the right of a political candidate or party to buy space or time to advertise on mass media and B) the right of mass media to determine its own content.
We've seen political ads, though. They are little more than manipulative tabloids or those car ads in newspapers that advertise great rates, but, in the fine print, you realize that it wasn't what it was cracked up to be. Libel and defamation is not automatically protected under the First Amendment.

As for issue B, broadcast media is open to regulation under the FCC. Hence, the FCC is empowered to regulate content in all sorts. Normally, it bans nudity, violence, and language, but the FCC is free to regulate on anything content-wise.

Quote:
A) A candidate and a mass media company have the First Amendment right to negotiate an advertising contract without governmental prohibition. It seems clear to me that politcal speech is the speech MOST protected by the Amendment I, and it seems equally clear that mass media is the most powerful way to deliver political speech. Prohibit mass media advertising, you step all over the First Amendment.
What I think is more attainable, rather than outright banning TV and print ads, is to strictly enforce libel and defamation laws in campaign issues, since a lot is at stake. They should be just as accoutable, if not more accountable, than supermarket tabloids, because, at least, we think of the "National Enquirer" as a joke. When politicians distort or mislead, we tend to trust them.

But "mass media advertising" is already regulated by the government. You can't put on cigarette or alcohol ads, for instance. Is that not an infringement of First Amendment rights as well? Once again, due to the idea of "limited spectrum," the Supreme Court allows the FCC to regulate content of any kind.

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B) You bring up the "equal time" mandate from a law from the FDR era, one that was overturned in the 80's and actually returned to make the rounds of Congress in the 90's.

Yes, it was never overturned by the Supreme Court. But that doesn't make it less threatening to the First Amendment, and here's how the 90's version (had it been enacted) would have been used:

The country has several politically slanted radio talk show hosts, most notably Rush Limbaugh, a conservative who broadcasts 15 hours a week on around 500 stations nationwide.

The "Fairness Doctrine" would have required 15 hours of response time on all 500+/- stations. To be completely honest, no liberal comentator has EVER been as popular as Rush. The stations would lose money in the 15-hour response, thus they would drop the conservative so they wouldn't HAVE to air the liberal.

Even if that didn't happen, the government is still telling stations what they HAVE TO AIR over long periods of time. That seems to be a clear violation of free speech.
The "Fairness Doctrine"...that's right. The name was on the tip of my tongue.

Your opinion is that it is a clear violation of free speech, but the Supreme Court never overturned it. It fell under the FCC's ability to regulate the media, which has been upheld time and time again by the Supreme Court. The only reason the "Fairness Doctrine" did die was due to the climate of the Reagan-era FCC, which, obviously, was deregulatory in regards to business practices.

My point in bringing the "Fairness Doctrine" up was not in the "fairness" or unfairness of the FCC ruling, but that such limitations are not unconstitutional. If the FCC so desired, they could resurrect the "Fairness Doctrine" at any time.

Personally? I see no need to make a return to the "Fairness Doctrine" at this time. Networks seem to be doing a fair job at "fairness" in news on their own currently.

Quote:
I would respond further, but my vacation beckons again. I would ask that you would start reading what I say more carefully, that you would quit throwing around misrepresentations like a "pair of dirty panties."
Enjoy your vacation. It is always enjoyable to argue with you.

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Old 01-03-2002, 04:51 PM   #25
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Originally posted by devalera1:
You're right Hans.

An individual can only donate $1,000.00 per election to a campaign.

Thus, the maximum you can donate as an individual to a specific candidate is $2,000.00 ($1,000.00 for a primary + $1,000.00 for a general)
Well, I agree with these limits, which, obviously, are not unconstitutional now are they?

My issue, currently, is that under the Republican model of campaign finance reform, they want to restrict the ability of businesses, unions, and organizations to contribute, but to allow unlimited individual contributions.

The obvious motive is to sting the Democrats, who, generally, don't have the backing of wealthy individuals like the Republican Party does. All you need is the Walton family ("Wal-Mart") and Bill Gates to make an appearance, and they could have all the money they ever so desired.

This reminds me of when the Republican legislature in Michigan banned Bingo as a means to raise campaign funds, because they knew that Democrats used this method heavily.

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Old 01-04-2002, 06:21 PM   #26
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You sound like Rush Limbaugh more and more, don't you? So it is either "incompetance" or a vast left-wing conspiracy? One extreme to the other?

I sound like Rush? Thank you.

But, again, you misrepresent what I said. I did not say that it is "either incompetance or a vast left-wing conspiracy". I said it was either incompetance on your part only or an effort on your part only to misrepresent what I said.

I did not suggest a "vast conspiracy". I suggested a conspiracy of one - YOU, MELON - to jump to impossible conclusions about my posts in order to discredit me.

In the current example, the most recent in a long line of examples, I never said or implied that campaign contributions was equivalent to free speech (twice now, you've quoted the same paragraph from my first post in this thread; neither time did you explain how that paragraph implies the equivalence).

What I did imply was that A) a candidate has the First-Amendment right to advertise and B) individuals and organizations have the right to financially support candidates who agree with their beliefs.

A and B are two separate statements. A has everything to do with Amendment I. B has nothing to do with Amendment I. The right to advertise is speech, the right to fund the candidate isn't - and I never said or implied otherwise.

If you must know, I believe the question of campaign financing falls under the Tenth Amendment, you know, the one that says that the people actually reserve more rights than is listed in the Bill of Rights. It seems to be a necessary right, given our system of capitalism and elections. Candidates need money to run a campaign; individuals and groups have a limited right to do what they will with their own property; ergo, it seems reasonable that individuals and groups can fund the campaign.

Returning to my complaint of "one extreme or the other", I made the complaint because I find you jumping to conclusions that SIMPLY ARE NOT THERE.

This is how I draw the above conclusion of either incompentence or intentional misrepresentation, written in short, easy-to-read sentences:

* You have frequently drawn from my posts conclusions that cannot be logically drawn.

* You are drawing false conclusions either accidentally or intentionally. (Is there another possibility?)

* If you are consistently drawing these false conclusions accidentally, it must be through some form of incompetence. You are either merely scanning what I write, bringing with you a barrel of assumptions about me, or suffering from an incomplete knowledge of the English language.

* If you are drawing these false conclusions intentionally, it must be through an effort to make me look bad - or at very least, make yourself look good by creating "straw man" arguments just to knock them down.

Let's look at what I last said, and what you last said:

ME: And I see that you like to misread what I say, through either mere incompetence or an intentional effort to misrepresent my views.

YOU: You sound like Rush Limbaugh more and more, don't you? So it is either "incompetance" or a vast left-wing conspiracy? One extreme to the other?

You turned an accusation that you alone may be intentionally misrepresenting my views into an accusation that there is an entire conspiracy misrepresenting me.

How in the hell did you reach that conclusion, Sherlock?
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Old 01-04-2002, 07:22 PM   #27
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Originally posted by Achtung Bubba:
I sound like Rush? Thank you.
That wasn't exactly a compliment.

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But, again, you misrepresent what I said. I did not say that it is "either incompetance or a vast left-wing conspiracy". I said it was either incompetance on your part only or an effort on your part only to misrepresent what I said.
Or, perhaps, there is that middle road called "difference of opinion" or lack of clarity on your part.

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I did not suggest a "vast conspiracy". I suggested a conspiracy of one - YOU, MELON - to jump to impossible conclusions about my posts in order to discredit me.
Yup...paranoid just like Rush. I don't need "impossible conclusions." Just historical reference and previous court precedent.

Quote:
In the current example, the most recent in a long line of examples, I never said or implied that campaign contributions was equivalent to free speech (twice now, you've quoted the same paragraph from my first post in this thread; neither time did you explain how that paragraph implies the equivalence).

What I did imply was that A) a candidate has the First-Amendment right to advertise and B) individuals and organizations have the right to financially support candidates who agree with their beliefs.
"Let's say we ignore the First Amendment and eliminate a politician's ability to use the mass media advertising of TV, mail, newspaper, etc."

My point was that you were wrongly invoking the First Amendment. By limiting any of this, you aren't "ignoring" the First Amendment. The abolition of mass media advertising could conceivably happen under the current legal structure.

Quote:
A and B are two separate statements. A has everything to do with Amendment I. B has nothing to do with Amendment I. The right to advertise is speech, the right to fund the candidate isn't - and I never said or implied otherwise.e states respectively, or to the people."

If you must know, I believe the question of campaign financing falls under the Tenth Amendment, you know, the one that says that the people actually reserve more rights than is listed in the Bill of Rights. It seems to be a necessary right, given our system of capitalism and elections. Candidates need money to run a campaign; individuals and groups have a limited right to do what they will with their own property; ergo, it seems reasonable that individuals and groups can fund the campaign.
Amendment 10: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."

An incredibly vague amendment. But Congress was empowered to create laws under the Constitution, and, barring any Amendment that states otherwise, campaign spending is certainly open to limitation by Congress. The right to campaign spending is not guaranteed specifically anywhere. A constitutional amendment, of course, could change that.

Quote:
Returning to my complaint of "one extreme or the other", I made the complaint because I find you jumping to conclusions that SIMPLY ARE NOT THERE.

This is how I draw the above conclusion of either incompentence or intentional misrepresentation, written in short, easy-to-read sentences:

* You have frequently drawn from my posts conclusions that cannot be logically drawn.

* You are drawing false conclusions either accidentally or intentionally. (Is there another possibility?)

* If you are consistently drawing these false conclusions accidentally, it must be through some form of incompetence. You are either merely scanning what I write, bringing with you a barrel of assumptions about me, or suffering from an incomplete knowledge of the English language.

* If you are drawing these false conclusions intentionally, it must be through an effort to make me look bad - or at very least, make yourself look good by creating "straw man" arguments just to knock them down.

Let's look at what I last said, and what you last said:

ME: And I see that you like to misread what I say, through either mere incompetence or an intentional effort to misrepresent my views.

YOU: You sound like Rush Limbaugh more and more, don't you? So it is either "incompetance" or a vast left-wing conspiracy? One extreme to the other?

You turned an accusation that you alone may be intentionally misrepresenting my views into an accusation that there is an entire conspiracy misrepresenting me.

How in the hell did you reach that conclusion, Sherlock?
This is very amusing. A complete deflection of my points, turning into a series of personal accusations. The topic-at-hand, as written above, is not on campaign spending or even free speech, but a series of paragraphs on how I try and "misrepresent" you.

I have only two things to state on that:

1) hy·per·bo·le (h-pűrb-l) n. A figure of speech in which exaggeration is used for emphasis or effect, as in I could sleep for a year or This book weighs a ton.

2) met·a·phor (mt-fôr, -fr) n. a) A figure of speech in which a word or phrase that ordinarily designates one thing is used to designate another, thus making an implicit comparison, as in “a sea of troubles” or “All the world's a stage” (Shakespeare).

b) One thing conceived as representing another; a symbol: “Hollywood has always been an irresistible, prefabricated metaphor for the crass, the materialistic, the shallow, and the craven” (Neal Gabler).

But I must commend you in your Rush Limbaugh-style of debating. An excellent attempt to paint yourself as the victim, while blatantly ignoring the point. Unfortunately for you, I picked up on that style of his a long time ago.

If you wish to talk about "campaign spending" or any of the political points at hand, feel free to comment. If this is going to turn into a caddy "smear" debate, I will move on.

FYI, I am not "intentionally" smearing you at all. Any such representation is pure coincidence.

Melon

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Old 01-08-2002, 10:35 PM   #28
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Originally posted by Hans Moleman:
My issue, currently, is that under the Republican model of campaign finance reform, they want to restrict the ability of businesses, unions, and organizations to contribute, but to allow unlimited individual contributions.
Melon:

I thought you always sided with the Democrats because they champion "individual freedom" while Republicans look out for "big business freedom." Is this a policy shift, or are you worried about the way wealthy Republicans spend their money? And if you are, how do you feel about the way wealthy liberals, such as Ted Turner and Babs Streissand, spend THEIR money? Just curious. Thanks.

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Old 01-08-2002, 11:09 PM   #29
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Let's be realistic about the political parties: wealth corrupts. I am worried about any influence the wealthy have on politics, regardless of ideology, because they represent less than 1% of the American populace, but seemingly have so much influence on political agendas of both parties.

Why controls at the legislative level are necessary is that, unless a candidate chooses to sell themselves to wealthy interests under the current law, they will never have the funds to compete at the same level as the other candidates.

The Democrats, traditionally, did champion "individual freedom," but it long since faded away, thanks to the political climate of the last two to three decades. I'm honestly disgusted with both parties.

Melon

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Old 01-08-2002, 11:13 PM   #30
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Gulf Coast State of Mine
Posts: 3,405
Local Time: 07:59 AM
That's a fair-minded answer; I have my disgusts with both parties as well. I just hope that people are consistent in their views on limiting individual campaign contributions.

~U2Alabama
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