If Money is Speech and Corporations are People, Is Democracy a Business?

The Fortnightly Rant for November 5, 2010, from The New Hampshire Gazette, Volume 255, No. 3, posted on Saturday, January 15, 2011. A core principle of American democracy is that we choose our representatives in free and fair elections. Calling the 2010 mid-terms free, though, after four billion dollars were spent on them, seems to require an awfully narrow definition of that term. And since much of that money came from anonymous sources and was spent disseminating lies, it’s a stretch to say they were fair. Under these circumstances it’s no surprise that many Americans feel our campaign funding practices betray a level of hypocrisy …

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Even After It’s Over, It Won’t Be Over

The Fortnightly Rant for October 22, 2010, from The New Hampshire Gazette, Volume 255, No. 2, posted on Saturday, January 15, 2011. In eleven days Americans will elect the first Congress to be chosen under the Supreme Court’s new post-Citizens United campaign rules: 1) money is speech, 2) humans are prohibited from discriminating against corporations, 3) lies and the truth are equal in the eyes of the law, and 4) citizens have no right under the Constitution to know who is paying to spread lies about a candidate. If the conventional wisdom is right, the House will go Republican; but the Democrats will retain control …

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Into the Stretch

The Fortnightly Rant for October 8, 2010, from The New Hampshire Gazette, Volume 255, No. 1, posted on Saturday, January 15, 2011. In just over three weeks every seat in the U.S. House of Representatives and about one-third of the seats in the Senate will be up for grabs. It may sound crazy — in fact, it may be crazy — but once the counting is over, just one-sixth of the electorate will have gotten its way. Here’s the math, based on the results of our last off-year election in 2006. To begin with, only six out of ten adults are registered to vote. On …

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On to the Main Event

The Fortnightly Rant for September 24, 2010, from The New Hampshire Gazette, Volume 254, No. 26, posted on Saturday, January 15, 2011. Considering the large number of candidates, the huge amount of money spent, and the bitterness of the fight, it is clear that this year’s primary election campaign was nothing less than a battle for the soul of New Hampshire’s Republican Party. It would be easy to say, given the condition and value of that little item, that it was much ado about nothing. But elections do have consequences. After a rancorous campaign Republicans turned out in droves on November 2nd to vote against …

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Good Clean Fun, GOP Style

The Fortnightly Rant for September 10, 2010, from The New Hampshire Gazette, Volume 254, No. 25, posted on Saturday, January 15, 2011. Here is more evidence — as if it were needed — that we are mired in a jobless recovery: eight Republicans are scrambling for a single job, running against Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-Rochester) for the First Congressional District seat. Their shared plight serves them right. To be accepted as true Republicans they must bitterly oppose regulation of any kind, even for Wall Street, whose shenanigans brought down the economy. They must support trade policies that favor the export, not of American-manufactured goods, but …

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High Stakes & Low Comedy

The Fortnightly Rant for August 27, 2010, from The New Hampshire Gazette, Volume 254, No. 24, posted on Saturday, January 15, 2011. The United States Senate has often been called “the world’s greatest deliberative body,” most often by U.S. Senators. The public at large seems to have a somewhat less exalted view of that chamber. But whatever we lowly peons may think of it, there can be no denying that the Senate is terribly important and enormously powerful. Morbid curiosity has prompted us to quantify that power. Considering that it takes just forty Senators to stop a nation of 306 million people dead in its …

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