Here Comes Trouble: Stories from My Life

"Outstanding…Moore Triumphs! Publishers Weekly

Mike & Friends Blog

Donna Smith

Donna Smith, American SiCKO, is executive director of the Health Care for All Colorado Foundation

August 27th, 2010 1:15 PM

Two-faced Corporate Personhood: Elected and Convicted

Forgive me for being a tad confused. I am finding it difficult to understand why one person goes to jail for privately selling an appointment for elected office while others have a legal right to buy their elected positions. The U.S. Supreme Court says corporations are persons in terms of exercising free speech through political contributions. Other persons who behave more like corporations than persons are spending personal fortunes buying positions of power in the public sector.

Meg Whitman is working hard to buy the governorship of California. Rick Scott is doing the same in Florida. Millions and millions of dollars of their own personal fortunes have already been spent in their primary battles and both plan to spend “whatever it takes” to win. In both states, the good that could be accomplished with what these two corporate born and bred candidates are spending to win their elections points to how insane our election process has become.

In contrast, former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich faces another trial and millions in public funds will be spent trying to convict him of selling his favor in the appointment of a new U.S. Senator to Barack Obama’s seat after the 2008 Presidential election.

We call selling a political office a crime; we don’t seem to mind buying those same seats.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like what Blagojevich purportedly did. In fact, I am annoyed beyond what is probably reasonable that the former governor of my home state of Illinois makes the appointment process seem so ugly and tawdry. Illinois just doesn’t need any more corruption scandals. There are millions of wonderful, honest people in Illinois who deserve the best of governance.

Is it acceptable if a corporation contributes huge amounts of money with the intent of gaining political and policy favor? It certainly is legal. In fact, the Supreme Court said we violate the “corporate person’s” First Amendment rights to free speech if we limit their spending on campaigns and issues.

But wait. Suggest that the same political or policy favor will be granted during a private phone conversation and you may go to prison?

Is it just that we object to being left out of the secret transactions? Do we think the public purchase of our democracy by corporate persons like Whitman and Scott is somehow more ethical?

Meg Whitman didn’t care enough about the political process to vote much at all over the past three decades. Many California women are offended by that after women fought and suffered to secure the right to vote in this nation just 90 years ago. See one report about the action in Sacramento during which thousands of women expressed their views on the non-voting Whitman.

Whitman has admitted her registration and voting history is terrible but says talking about it now is a distraction. And furthermore, she’s showing up now, so what’s the problem? Her disconnect with the people of California and the way they have to work and live is appalling and her disregard for the seriousness of being an active participant in one’s own governance through exercising the right to vote shows a level of arrogance and cynicism that is nauseating.

Rick Scott is a self-funded, rich candidate of quite another sort. He wants to govern Florida. He was at the helm of a huge healthcare corporation at a time when that corporation perpetrated the most serious Medicare fraud in this nation’s history. Do I need to repeat? He was in charge of a company that profited illegally by defrauding the federal Medicare program. Some of the personal wealth he is using now to buy the Florida governorship was acquired while his corporation was bilking the taxpayers of Florida and of the nation.

Scott takes no personal responsibility for the Medicare fraud discovered under his corporate watch. Does that give the people of Florida a clue as to what kind of responsibility he’ll take for ethical governance of their state or for any policy failings? He expresses disdain for anything government – especially government healthcare. That’s interesting in that he sure loved the Medicare dollars that helped him amass his own fortune. Medicare dollars are taxpayer dollars – government dollars. Scott’s arrogance, his belief that voters are too stupid to connect the dots between his “I-hate-big-government” propaganda and his “I-love-big-government money” financial success story, and his cynicism are nauseating.

What are we doing? Could we explain how money works in this political process to any other sane society? Buy an office? Legal. Sell an office? Go to prison. Tell us you will buy our votes? Legal. Actually pay us for our votes? Illegal. Corporate personhood? The right to unlimited free speech protected by the Constitution. Private personhood? Taken for a fool.

You must log in to comment.

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Log in | Register

FBI Uncovers Al-Qaeda Plot To Just Sit Back And Enjoy Collapse Of United States WASHINGTON—The FBI announced today that it has uncovered a...

Apr 15th
3:28 PM
Read More

Revealed: Rahm Emanuel's top donor bought stock in Marriott just before it was awarded huge contract As schools are closed and pensions cut,...

Apr 9th
2:00 PM
Read More

I'll be at First Time Fest today in New York City at the screening of my first film, Roger & Me. Loews Village 7 at 12:30 pm. Come see it on the big...

Apr 5th
9:48 AM
Read More

Revealed: Rahm Emanuel cuts public pensions, diverts money to benefit campaign donors If you've read the financial news out of Chicago the last...

Apr 4th
2:19 PM
Read More

Please take a moment today to think of Casey Austin Sheehan, son of Cindy and Patrick, who was murdered by U.S. foreign policy in Sadr City, Baghdad ten years...

Apr 4th
2:00 PM
Read More

ICYMI - I've joined this "thunderclap" to support the Connecticut legislators who voted yes on last year's Act Concerning Gun Violence...

Apr 3rd
7:38 PM
Read More

I've joined this "thunderclap" to support the Connecticut legislators who voted yes on last year's Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention...

Apr 2nd
8:27 PM
Read More

I am opposed to the death penalty, but to every rule there is usually an exception, and in this case I hope the criminals at General Motors will be arrested...

Apr 1st
3:55 PM
Read More

How Long Some in the US Will Survive Under New Health Law Donna Smith Those who must access care to live and can afford it are not...

Mar 31st
10:13 PM
Read More

Last night, The Good Wife on the East Coast started 40 minutes late due to the overrun of the NCAA basketball game. If you had your DVR set for the show, you...

Mar 24th
5:41 PM
Read More

Watching films today, looking for the ones I'm going to pick for my film festival this summer. I (and a whole bunch of others!) have this thing we put on...

Mar 23rd
4:48 PM
Read More

When the U.S. Health Care System Keeps Killing, Who Cares Enough to Fight? Donna Smith We have largely forgotten that people are at...

Mar 21st
5:56 PM
Read More

Tell the White House not to give up on Dr. Vivek Murthy's nomination as Surgeon General despite the ferocious opposition from the NRA: Don't give...

Mar 21st
5:38 PM
Read More

This criminal would never see a jail cell, nor would his cronies. In fact, they'd later be rewarded with re-election: Presidential Address on War with...

Mar 19th
9:40 PM
Read More

The crime of the century -- our invasion & slaughter in Iraq -- started 11 years ago tonite in this 7pm (ET) hour, March 19th, 2003: CNN Coverage of...

Mar 19th
9:08 PM
Read More

Washington’s Back-to-the-Future Military Policies in Africa Nick Turse Nick Turse is an award-winning journalist, historian,...

Mar 17th
4:59 PM
Read More

"I think democracy is the most revolutionary thing in the world." -- Tony Benn, 1925-2014 Tony Benn in 'Sicko'

Mar 14th
10:07 AM
Read More

RIP Tony Benn, one of the UK's greatest leaders: Tony Benn, veteran Labour politician, dies aged 88 Former cabinet minister died at...

Mar 14th
9:53 AM
Read More

Please read this important story from K. Ford K.: Am I the Face of the New American Middle Class? I began to feel I had slipped so low...

Mar 13th
2:24 PM
Read More

Yesterday Dianne Feinstein revealed that the CIA has been spying on the Senate Intelligence Committee. This is all about the report the committee has produced...

Mar 12th
6:48 PM
Read More

Health Care for All Colorado has brought Mercy Killers, a show written and performed by Michael Milligan about our murderous for-profit healthcare system, to...

Mar 10th
1:08 PM
Read More

Health Care Dramas that Sting and Why We Have to Watch Donna Smith The realities Milligan has written into the show cut deep into...

Mar 10th
1:02 PM
Read More

Did you know the Lehrer Newshour on PBS has been produced for 20 years by a company owned by conservative cable billionaire John Malone? Me neither. After...

Mar 7th
8:39 PM
Read More

Mr. Obama, if int’l law is so damn crucial . . . | The Russian intervention deserves criticism. But let’s be clear. The...

Mar 6th
1:21 PM
Read More

Enron billionaire John Arnold thinks everyone should believe him when he says we've got to cut pensions because he's so incredibly rich: John...

Mar 5th
4:20 PM
Read More

More in David Sirota's continuing series on the billionaire takeover of PBS: More PBS conflict woes as activists move to eject David Koch from board of...

Mar 3rd
12:35 PM
Read More

Ukraine: One ‘Regime Change’ Too Many? Ray McGovern Is “regime change” in Ukraine the bridge too far for the neoconservative...

Mar 2nd
9:25 PM
Read More

Latest from David Sirota on Enron billionaire John Arnold smuggling anti-pension propaganda into "neutral" institutions like PBS and now, the...

Mar 1st
12:58 PM
Read More

Second Guessing a Life: US Health Care System Robs Security and Human Dignity Donna Smith The dysfunction of the US health care system...

Feb 27th
1:40 PM
Read More

Subscribe to Mike's Blog RSS

Click here to suggest an article

Mike's Blog

See More Blogs

Vew the archives

View older articles