The Watering Hole; Thursday April 10 2014; Money

In the Online Dictionary, ‘Money’ is defined as (underlines added):

mon·ey [muhn-ee] noun, plural mon·eys, mon·ies.

1. any circulating medium of exchange, including coins, paper money, and demand deposits.
2. paper money.
3. gold, silver, or other metal in pieces of convenient form stamped by public authority and issued as a medium of exchange and measure of value.
4. any article or substance used as a medium of exchange, measure of wealth, or means of payment, as checks on demand deposit or cowrie.
5. a particular form or denomination of currency.

In close-up view, there’s little room to disagree that money genuinely is, in listed order, a medium of exchange, measure of value, measure of wealth, and a means of payment for whatever, be it groceries, or debt, or an airline ticket, stick of bubble gum, etc. In other words, the means of payment is roughly the equivalent of having available whatever the amount of ‘money’ it takes to buy something one wants or needs, something available ‘out there’ somewhere on the open market, etc.; and, of course, the amount of ‘money’ one has available, i.e. wealth, pretty much defines the upper limit of the means of payment concept. That’s why the world’s monetary poor (note; not ‘intellectually’ poor) do not own mansions and/or yachts, private planes, or often even shoes. It’s money that defines privilege, in other words. Up to a point, of course, given that (at least in the United States) the right to purchase people, i.e. slavery, was officially abolished with the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment which became law in December, 1865.

Today, some might wonder if the Thirteenth Amendment defined a grand principle . . . which remained in effect only until January 2010 when the United States Supreme Court ruled, in a 5-4 decision in the Citizens United case, that the government may not ban political spending by corporations in candidate elections . . . a vindication, the majority said, of the First Amendment’s most basic free speech principle — that the government has no business regulating political speech. 

The First Amendment, cited above, reads, in part:  Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech. In other words, based on the presumed “logic” implicit in said Citizens United decision, political spending by corporations  i.e. “money” — is now, suddenly and without precedent, legally defined as freedom of speech. Right. I mean really. What could possibly go wrong?

Then came the recent SCOTUS decision in McCutcheon v. FEC wherein, once again via a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court expanded “the concept of free speech” by agreeing that unlimited Big Money tossed into any given candidate’s political arena is essentially and for all practical purposes the First Amendment equivalent of . . . well, of, say, burning draft cards, or nude dancing, or maybe even of a homeless bum exercising his right to free speech by standing on a soapbox in the park and speaking his mind to whomever might dare to listen (until he’s pepper-sprayed and arrested for being a bum on a soapbox in a public park, of course).

Newt Gingrich apparently enjoyed the McCutcheon decision more than did most any other non-billionaire, as evidenced in his suggestion that if only the court could somehow find the means/will to remove ALL donation limits to political hacks on the part of corporations and billionaires, the grand result would be to finally ‘Equalize The Middle Class And The Rich’ once and for all. In Newt’s own words, “The next step is the one Justice Clarence Thomas cited — candidates should be allowed to take unlimited amounts of money from anybody. And you would, overnight, equalize the middle class and the rich.”

YES!! EQUALIZE!! MAKE THE MIDDLE CLASS REALLY RICH!! OVERNIGHT!! GIMME!! YEEHAW! NEWT FOR PRESIDENT!!! Oh . . . wait. That is what he really meant . . . right?

It was in the 1976 SCOTUS decision, Buckley v. Valeo that (for reasons no one with a brain can or will ever understand) ‘money’ became definable as ‘free speech.’ Interestingly enough, a quick search for the word ‘money’ in the text of the U.S. Constitution, as amended, comes up with only six hits, all in Article I wherein Congress is granted the Constitutional power (1) To borrow Money; (2) To coin Money [and to] regulate the Value thereof; (3) To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years; (4 and 5) No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time; and (6) No State shall . . . coin Money

That’s it. Note that NOWHERE in the above are the words “freedom of speech” or “free speech” mentioned or even hinted. Maybe it’s just me, but I’d have thought that had the Founders considered “money” to be the equivalent of free speech IN ANY POSSIBLE CONTEXT that they just might have mentioned it somewhere in the body of the Constitution. But nope, they didn’t.

Money: medium of exchange — measure of value — measure of wealth — means of payment. Money is all of that, no argument. But, lest we forget, that since ‘money’ has officially and legally been defined as FREE SPEECH it’s also become, in this ‘modern’ era, the very definition of POWER, with absolutely no requirement that said POWER be benign and in the interest of We the people. Nope. In fact, the interests, the concerns, ideas, attitudes, even the beliefs of average people (i.e. those for whom immense monetary wealth is but a fleeting dream), have now become defined by the US Supreme Court as secondary to the wishes of America’s emerging Oligarchy, i.e that form of government in which all power is vested in a few persons or in a dominant class or clique; government by the few. . . . government by the rich; government by the few, by the monied.

Hi David (Koch). Hi Charles (Koch). Hi Sheldon (Adelson). Hi Foster (Friess). Gimme a dollar and I’ll bow in your general direction! Gimme a million, git me elected, and yahsuh, I be yer slave!! So said   {add name/names here}  , among many many others, and with many many more waiting in line breathlessly.

Why is it that such a (patently ridiculous) thesis is not literally defined as at least a partial overturn of the Thirteenth Amendment? I mean, really. When people . . . human beings . . . are once again, in America, up for sale to the highest bidder, what’s that called? — erm . . . assuming, of course, that politicians who accept millions in private funds are . . . umm . . . human? beings?  Hmmm . . . can’t think of any who fit that description just offhand, but . . . Well, maybe tomorrow. If I come up with any names, I’ll write ’em down in the morning. That’s if I can scrounge up the cash to buy a pencil. Or a piece of paper.



64 thoughts on “The Watering Hole; Thursday April 10 2014; Money

  1. Next step – eliminate voting entirely: the candidate who can rake in the most money wins.

    If “money is political speech”, this would be logical (not democratic, but those folks, espescially those “multi-national corporate artifical persons”, don’t believe in democracy anyway). Each dollar equals one vote. You KNOW there are think tanks working on making this palateable to thier ‘base’.

  2. If dogs are descendants from wolves, could someone please explain Chihuahua’s?
    My life lesson this morning is: If you have a Chihuahua, you’re probably an asshole and your dog craps like a mule.

    • Chihuahuas are really rats crossed with piranhas. Except for Ziggy, my ex’s dog. He’s a rat crossed with a dachshund. 😀

  3. Retiring White House Prosecutor Says the SEC Is Corrupt

    Bloomberg News reported, on April 8th, that a Securities and Exchange Commission prosecuting attorney, James Kidney, said at his recent retirement party on March 27th, that his prosecutions of Goldman Sachs and other mega-banks had been squelched by top people at the agency, because they “were more focused on getting high-paying jobs after their government service than on bringing difficult cases.” He suggested that SEC officials knew that Wall Street would likely hire them after the SEC at much bigger pay than their government remuneration was, so long as the SEC wouldn’t prosecute those megabank executives on any criminal charges for helping to cause the mortgage-backed securities scams and resulting 2008 economic crash.

    More reasons why we need Elizabeth Warren to run for president. If she just got to a podium at the debates…

    • Hewlett-Packard Admits to International Bribery and Money Laundering Schemes

      Hewlett-Packard has admitted to creating and using slush funds for bribes, money laundering, and clandestine “bag of cash” handoffs in order to profiteer off of lucrative government contracts in Russia, Poland, and Mexico, according to court documents.

      HP’s guilty plea carries with it a $108 million penalty — a combination of SEC penalties, as well as criminal fines and forfeitures paid out to the Department of Justice. Thus far no criminal charges have been brought against American HP executives. The multi-agency investigation, which was conducted by multi-national law enforcement partners, the FBI, IRS, and SEC, has revealed kleptocracies in the three foreign governments and corruption and dishonesty among HP corporate fat cats.

      And former House Rep. William J. Jefferson sits in prison for doing essentially the same thing, but he couldn’t later on hire an SEC official at a lucrative salary.

  4. I’m learning more and more about money. I used to have a little in the bank, enough to get the necessary stuff done plus a bit of a cushion. Then came yesterday afternoon when I learned that my bank balance had plunged to zero. Seems the IRS stopped by and, because my ex wasn’t paying what she owed them on the last joint return we’d filed, they milked my cow. I tried calling the IRS, but both of their customer service agents were busy, and after listening to their totally shitty ‘hold’ music for an hour, I finally threw up and hung up. Will soon try again. My next SS check isn’t due for deposit for two weeks, but step one is to make sure they don’t milk that cow too.

    Does anyone have Charles or David Koch’s phone number? Or if not, how about God’s phone number? (assuming it’s different from C&D’s)

      • Well, I assume so, but since it went to an old address in Phoenix, it probably ended up either in the Dead Letter Office or somebody’s shitcan. My bet is on the latter.

        I did get the IRS’s main number from the bank, but as I said, when I called yesterday both of the IRS customer service agents were apparently busy, and after an hour I gave up. I do intend to call again today, but haven’t yet tried. If I had a few bucks I might walk to the nearby boozer emporium and pick up a bottle of Cheap Thrill gin or rum or Scotch or . . . ‘bqhatevwr’ . . . to fortify my patience. But that’s not an option, so I’m wondering if days-old cold chicken might have the same effect?

        • Friday afternoons are the best time to call the IRS.

          we inherited a business that had chronically failed to make it’s 940 & 941 tax payments on time… took two years to pull it out of the shitter, but we did, and in the interim, i found out an awfully lot about IRS leins, fines, and internal workings.

          • I finally got through, and it sounds as though everything is going to work in my favor, that I’ll get my money back within a day or two. I’ve commenced holding my breath. Of course, after an hour’s worth of jawboning with the IRS on the phone, what the hell else can one do besides work at turning blue in the face?

            • And boy, do they BELIEVE that! It’s the old what’s ours is ours and what’s yours is also ours. I am, so far at least, ,more than a little bit surprised that my sole escape option does NOT appear to be the Black Capsule.

  5. If free speech = money, then how come some of us have less free speech than others? Let’s dig up the skeletal remains of the founding fathers, and after they finish spinning, perhaps they could answer that burning question.

    • That’s because the Clintons are DCCC and totally pro-business. THAT’S why he “can live with her.” She’ll still be good for business. Which is why I don’t want her to be the nominee. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll vote for her if she is the nominee and there’s any chance she won’t win my state. But I don’t like her pro-business views on things (from her Arkansas days), and I’d rather have someone more liberal in the White House.

  6. QOTD:

    “CBS has just declared war on the heartland of America. No longer is comedy going to be a covert assault on traditional American values [and] conservatives. Now, it’s just wide out in the open. What this hire means is a redefinition of what is funny and a redefinition of what is comedy,” – Rush Limbaugh, losing his shit over a practicing Catholic and Sunday school teacher taking over from David Letterman.

  7. Fundies say the darndest things:

    wow some ppl need to realize they wouldnt be breathing eating sleepuing able to see this world in my cas beautiful world if there was no god, because let me and lots of others tell u there def is a god! douche! or u wouldnt be here and alive today duh

    • Selective memory, Wayne.

      This was great:

      6-Year-Old Asks Hillary Clinton If She Wants To Be Called ‘Madame’ Or ‘Mrs. President’

      Alas, Hillary didn’t answer.

    • Husband has spent quite a bit of time in our various embassies and works too hard to follow the minutiae of our domestic political discourse. A RW friend casually asked him what he thought about the attack in Libya. He sort of shrugged and said “It happens all the time.” It definitely left the questioner somewhat nonplussed.

    • My dad would have loved this! He always had a great sense of humor about being a bald guy — which is good, because he started going bald in his early 20s.

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