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Friday, October 21, 2016

Thanks to a Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling Thursday, we now know how much it costs to buy a democracy: $10 million.

That’s how much money right-wing donors spent to put four justices on the court, justices who just eviscerated Wisconsin’s campaign finance laws. Their ruling rests on a bizarre interpretation of First Amendment rights.

The justices declared that the unnamed persons targeted by the investigation were “innocent victims” of what Gov. Scott Walker called a “witch hunt,” even though it was a bipartisan probe conducted by seasoned prosecutors, which the court ruled had been properly appointed by a judge.

This is not a simple black-and-white story — there are several shades of gray, revealing serious shortcomings in our systems for investigating suspected wrongdoing and for the exercise of judicial power.

This is how democracies die: not with a bang, but through the quiet election of officials who put ideology ahead of principle, and invalidate rules designed to make sure our government is not for sale to the biggest donors.

The people who bought Wisconsin’s democracy – namely the libertarian Koch Brothers – can now use this decision to put unlimited money behind their favorite pols in Badger State contests.

This will also embolden the various Club for Growth organizations, which are basically cabals of anti-tax Republicans who tell Republicans to adopt their positions or else they will run someone against them. Think of these clubs as a nonviolent analog to Mafia extortion rackets: “Do what we say or we get rid of you” — in this case via ballot, rather than pine, box.

The ruling also increases the chances that the Republicans will nominate Walker for president. The GOP presidential field has been called a clown car. The Kochs, with their richly financed political operation, want to buy that car and put Walker in the driver’s seat.

If the Kochs and their allies succeed, it will show just how cheaply the government of, by, and for the people can become a relic in the plutocrats’ museum, our government replaced with the illusion of democracy. Buying Wisconsin’s 5.8 million-person democracy cost $10 million, which means the billion dollars the Kochs have committed to the 2016 presidential election is almost twice what they would need to buy out the entire country.

Democracy For Sale

In a sharply divided for 4-2 ruling, the Wisconsin high court shut down a criminal investigation into Walker’s campaign organization. The inquiry had dragged on for three years, and investigators had employed some heavy-handed tactics, such as predawn raids. But the court did not sanction such actions — and so it gutted the campaign finance law, and ordered all evidence of possible felonies to be returned or destroyed.

Predawn raids, which we should generally find offensive, are now commonly used for such matters as integrity investigations of government clerks as well as suspected criminals. So just by themselves, the raids are not evidence of anything extraordinary. If they were, the court would have added extra language, known as dicta, indicating it might kill any criminal investigation that used predawn raids without strong reason for doing so.

Before Thursday, Wisconsin had some of the country’s strictest rules regulating the disclosures of campaign donations and limiting the corrupting influence of money spent to bend government to personal or corporate interests.

Thanks to the recent ruling, supporters can spend unlimited sums to support a candidate as long as they do not directly urge a vote for the candidate or against the opponent. In theory, such “issue campaigns” are supposed to operate independently of the candidate. The prosecutors had been following leads that suggested this nominal independence was a sham.

If you know anyone who thinks most voters distinguish between so-called “issue ads” and outright declarations that you should vote for or against a candidate, I have some advice. Please, without delay, seek a guardianship before email grifters take their life savings.

And if you think “independent” committees are vital to First Amendment rights, well, sorry but the Founders and Framers wrote against money in politics. President John Adams worried that a business aristocracy would arise in America. If a large number of people owned neither land nor the tools they worked with, Adams reckoned, they could be deceived into voting for policies that further entrenched those with lots of money.

That seems an apt description of today’s America, in which right-wing Republicans’ clear message is that our social and economic ills can all be traced to the same problem: The rich don’t have enough.

The Kochs and others are not so stupid that they would put it in those exact words, but listen carefully to their message and it becomes obvious. The Kochs have argued that lower wages are good.

In his dissent, Justice Patrick Crooks said the Wisconsin’s court ruling “will profoundly affect the integrity of our electoral process.” No kidding.

Justice Shirley Abrahamson’s dissent called the decision “an unprecedented and faulty interpretation of both First Amendment rights and Wisconsin’s campaign finance law.”

Earlier she had complained that the documents in the case, which had been filed under seal with the names of the plaintiffs kept secret, had been excessively redacted.

In April, using new powers approved by voters, the four right-wing justices, together with longtime conservative member Patience Roggensack, removed Abrahamson as chief justice. Roggensack cast the deciding vote promoting herself to chief justice.

So we have a decision reached without argument in open court, using secret documents to protect the identities (already revealed in news reports) of people who claimed that they were just exercising their First Amendment rights in spending money to influence voters.

The Wisconsin ruling shows how the reasoning behind the U. S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision can easily be expanded to remove the (imaginary) wall that separates advocacy groups exercising their First Amendment rights from the candidate they support.

Once conservatives changed the law to equate political donations with free speech, it was just a matter of time before those with lots of money bought out democracy.

Back when the first Western democracy was born, in Athens almost 2,500 years ago, the problem of money in politics was a major concern. The oligarchs had always called the shots — so how to make “one man, one vote” an actual practice, not just for show?

One solution was to pick officials by lot, on the theory that all men were equal — a rule applied to all posts except the trained professionals known as strategoi (admirals and generals who set military strategy).

An accompanying rule imposed strict accountability. Get picked by lot to be chancellor of the treasury and you have to replace any money that goes missing (and you just might get executed anyway). Those unfit for office found it smart to pay someone out of their government salary, someone trustworthy, lest they be mortally punished.

We don’t need to trust the gods of chance to pick leaders. We do need to make sure the gods of money do not blind us to thousands of years of human experience, which teach that money corrupts politics and politicians, and destroys both economies and the liberties of the people.

If we do not become active and insist on level playing fields in politics, then court decisions like the recent Wisconsin ruling will continue to conceal from us the people who are backing politicians and imposing policies that are bad for us — and such decisions will, as John Adams warned, be used to bind us to the desires of the business aristocrats.

Illustration: DonkeyHotey via Flickr

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  • Godzilla

    Both political party’s are bought and paid for. Sorry to disappoint the idiots who read here, but your having more smoke blown up your backsides by this site it could lift off the retired space shuttle if lit with a match. Unbelievable hypocrisy!

    • JPHALL

      But since you have chosen to reply, the same smoke was blown up yours as well.

      • idamag

        I would ignore him. He is not intelligent enough to join a discussion and is pretty immature.

        • Louis Allen

          “He is not intelligent enough”, you say?
          THAT’s a LAUGH, coming from you.

    • davidcayjohnston

      Columnist here…

      Both parties indeed are infected with money, as I have written numerous times going back 42 years…and guess who popularized the now widely used term “the political donor class” or “donor class” years ago?

      Your comment does not add to the debate. Please post some thoughtful commentary on what THiS column is about, which is money is now infecting our judiciary.

      • charleo1

        David, the Right simply refuses to concede the point. To admitting to see the difference between a request of a politician being laced with facts underscoring the public good of a thing. Or, a request accompanied by an envelope full of hundred dollar bills. Pshaw! Says Speaker Boehner, “Why, [the Speaker continues,] “The Country spends more on antacids, than on political contributions!” So the lack of thoughtful commentary, if one is waiting on such a animal, extends from the very top of the Conservative Right, through the Supreme Court, and on down to our own Mr. “Godzilla.” Senator Ted Cruz opined it should be a very good day for democracy, if all our judges ran for elected office, much like Congress, and the President, if they were going to continue to legislate from the bench. And he’s an expert! A Harvard Lawyer that carries a copy of the Constitution in one pocket, and big wad of cash in the other.

      • Linda Bullock


    • 788eddie

      Godzilla: a mythical dinosaur from Japan. It never made much sense to me as a kid either.

      I would feel much better if our conservative-appointed Supreme Court judges hadn’t declared that corporations were people.

      I agree that money in politics can be a dangerous thing. Those who have the most money seem to be taking advantage of it to the detriment of the rest of us and to our democracy.

      • idamag

        He is not smart enough to follow the conversation. He might be right, but when a member of his party is being discussed for some serious irregularities, he resorts to grade school arguments, “whut about…” I would like to see him discuss Scott Walker.

    • The lucky one

      “Both political party’s are bought and paid for.” For the most part that is true but the GOP are more energetic in their pursuit of the money and degradation of the environment.

    • MikeyArmstrong

      Call me when the democratic party starts asking for the legislative branch to have more control over the judiciary.

  • Grannysmovin

    So how many years has Wisconsin had these Campaign Finance Laws, and the Conservatives on the Wisconsin Supreme Court just discovered it is not constitutional? A little slow on interpreting your state laws there boys. Why are they ordering documents, etc. collected to be destroyed? What or who are they protecting? Is there more than Campaign Finance wrong doing? You did your puppet no favor justices, you just raised more questions and I hope there are no leaks from the prosecutor’s office handling the investigation. Democrats will just point to how many people on his staff had already been prosecuted for this, that Walker and his donors have been fighting it for 3 years to keep it from becoming public – why??? That Walker was under investigation but 4 Conservative justices stopped the investigation from moving forward. We will never know if Walker was innocent or guilty of wrong doing.

    • idamag

      Classic example of what big money does to democracy.

  • Michael MacPherson

    The thing is if you have 12 people representing 2 different groups, with 6 people in each group, and 5 are honest from one group and 5 are corrupt from the other group, saying both parties are corrupt is painting with a broad brush, and those backing the group with five corrupt members are using that broad brush to bury their heads in the sand to hide from the facts. What we are dealing with here is the planed corruption of our judicial system, in 2000 Jeb bush’s Florida Supreme Court was ordered to stop the ballot counting and appoint George W. Bush president of the United States, Five corrupt right wing members of the U. S. Supreme Court enacted Citizen United to give the rich the ability to buy elections, then they made corporations legally to be called people, so they could be covered under the Constitution as are all people, then they enacted laws to call money free speech, so money could be used as free speech to buy our politicians, and legalize corruption in this country. Now the Koch brothers have bought 4 members of the Wisconsin Supreme court to hide the fact that Walker is bought and paid for by the Koch Brothers. Wall Street and the rich are mounting a coup to take complete control of this country. If the people do not start being just Americans with loyalty to America, Democracy, Freedom and the Constitution, instead of being only loyal to either being republican or a Democrat, then we will always be an Oligarchy controlled by Wall Street and the rich who do not care what the American people want or care about. We have to start fact checking our political candidates and cast our votes for the candidate that has shown he or she has voted in the past for the wishes of the people and not for the wishes of Wall Street and the rich.

    • 788eddie

      Michael MacPherson, I’m impressed with your analysis of our current political situation.

      Thank you.

      • Michael MacPherson

        Thank you, it is always great to hear from others who truly understand what is going on in this country and will hopefully fact check political candidates before voting, to vote for someone who will do what their constituents want and not what Wall Street and the rich want. Thank you so much, you are truly a patriot.

        • Michael MacPherson. As your advanced math teacher told you, you need to show us your work to get credit. As much as I hate the current SCOTUS make-up, please explain to the group how they have been corrupted. Unlike state judges, they don’t “run” for office. They are appointed by the President with the Advice and consent of the Senate. So please connect the quid pro quo dots. Or, in more modern terms, show me the money (trail)?

          • Michael MacPherson

            The 5 justices in question, Scalia, Roberts, Kennedy, Alito, and Thomas have in lock step voted to call corporations people, so corporations can be covered under the Constitution, then these five justices enacted Citizens United so Wall Street and the rich can buy elections for their political arm the Republican Party, then they voted to call money speech so that bribing politicians is covered under freedom of speech. You think they did this just out of the goodness of their hearts? When you have five justices that always decide matters brought to the supreme court by Wall Street and rich people such as the Koch Brothers, it is obvious they are getting paid to do it. Citizens United, Corporations are People, and Money is speech, are all unconstitutional and not the job of SCOTUS to in act into law, the reason we have The SCOTUS is to interpret any disagreements that arise concerning the Constitution.

          • I’d personally love to see those bastards in jail. However, while your facts are correct, they simply give rise to a need for further investigation as they are certainly suspect. However, ironically speaking, with no corroborating evidence you’re case alleging corruption would be summarily dismissed from any court of law. Corruption is a criminal matter, and therefore demands evidence that proves the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. You have offered zero proof to back your allegation. Show me a check from a corporation going to something even as vague as Scalia’s wife’s favorite charity. ANYTHING AT ALL. If you can’t prove corruption, you can’t get them off the bench. So put up or shut up. Spouting baseless allegations is disingenuous, hyperbolic and a waste of everyone’s time.

          • Michael MacPherson

            What it is that I write about has to do with what I read from news sources and e-mails I get on daily from politicians, animal rights groups, health groups trying to get dangerous drugs out of our food supplies, to name a few, over quite a few years of fallowing politics. Are you on drugs? How did you turn anything I said into a court case, where I would have to do a substantial investigation to come up with hard solid evidence that would stand up in court? Apparently you do not know we have legalized corruption in this country, you should lookup corporate lobbyist, that go to Washington DC to bribe politicians do vote for bills written by the corporations that the lobbyist represent. What I have is a preponderance of the evidence, enough to make an educated decision from fact checking who is benefiting from these SCOTUS rulings for Citizens United, corporations are people, and money is speech. They all only benefit Wall Street and the rich, and they are all designed to buy elections and give Corporations and the rich more power in government. You could do a little fact checking of your own, and if you require myself or others to have evidence that will stand up in court, every time we have something to say, then so should you, so you should put up or shut up!

          • Great Micheal, so you’re good at repeating facts. You just don’t seem to be able to come up with answers to questions about the facts you repeat, so we seem to be at an impasse. OK, then let’s try this tack. How is your basic knowledge of the US Constitution? Yes, lobbyists have bought congress and yes, rich donors run the White House — all thanks to CU. You and I are in total lockstep on this. However, the entire structure of SCOTUS was created to insulate it from corruption. Permanent appointments, a.k.a. no elections mean no need to campaign. No need to campaign means no raising funds, which in turn means no immediate way to buy influence. And no, you can’t lobby the Supreme Court. But despite all this, you said, and I quote, “Five corrupt right wing members of the U. S. Supreme Court enacted Citizen United”. You claimed [or repeated someone else’s claim] that they were corrupt. The problem is Michael, corruption requires remuneration in exchange for favor. All I am asking you is for any evidence that these 5 a-holes’ decisions were given in exchange for some type of payoff. Can’t you lend us a quote from one of your politicians, animal rights groups, health groups, or other sources showing us the quid pro quo? I’m not defending the 5 morons, but the institution itself. If they have indeed become corrupt, then I’ll light the fire myself! Let’s burn it down with the other two branches of government and start again. But to do that, I require evidence — any evidence — even one shred of evidence. Is that really to much to ask given the severity of the situation?

          • Louis Allen

            Don’t be so hard on “Michael”.
            He just “parrots” what his handlers “feed” him.
            And neither he nor his handlers need any kind of proof to say the things they say. They just “feel” it that way.
            Oh brother.

          • The sad thing is that I agree with him on everything else. Then again, he seems like a child of our crappy education system. Memorizing the answers, but no ability to think critically. No ability to reason. Exactly what the 1% want from their “worker drone class”.

        • Clifford Terry

          I concur with your arguments but fear such actions may already be too late. If you have not already done so you might want to read Chris Hedges latest essay about the Greek situation.

          • Michael MacPherson

            The only hope we have is for people to show up to vote and not just stay home, we need to get people into office that will do what the people who voted them into office want them to do. There is a movement called the Anti Corruption Act that is going to cities and town in all 50 States to get voters to go around Congress and elect honest candidates into office, who did not take any Corporate or money from the rich. They have already elected politicians in 2014 from 5 cities including Tallahassee Florida, 2 districts in Massachusetts 2 and 19, Princeton NJ, and Genoa Illinois. In 2015 they are expected to gain 100 more cities and by 2020 they will have enough honest politicians to replace the corrupt ones in the Senate and Congress. So don’t give up hope just yet.

          • Clifford Terry

            Yours is the solution to a peaceful revolution BUT, is there time for one? If the dollar loses its’ status as the world’s reserve currency that would put the US economy into a talespin that would make the Great Depression look like a picnic. And a violent revolution all the more likely. I would hope you have your eye on the machinations of the IMF and of BRICS. I am personally no longer as optimistic as you, BUT I do encourage you because optimistic people are able to achieve when the pessimistic cannot. And this happens because the pessimistic have their eyes blocked by the walls they see while the optimists seem to be able to see beyond.

  • Louis Allen

    Still, still, still expecting The National Memo to illuminate us about Kate
    Steinle’s murder in the “sanctuary city” of San Francisco and about
    TNM’s position on the recently proposed “Kate’s Law”, these issues being
    as important as the one discussed here.
    What about it, National Memo?

    • davidcayjohnston

      Columnist here…

      I am a contract writer so your complaint has no effect here because it’s in the wrong forum.

      But as to your closing point, if you really think one murder — awful as it was – is more important than the state of our democracy I think you need to seriously rethink your values.

      There have always been murders (ask Abel), always will be. But when the institutions that provide us with liberty and the ability to prosper are damaged we are all effected.

      • Louis Allen

        # 1) I suspect you are NOT the columnist here.
        # 2) “wrong forum” you say?? !! Why, pray tell??
        # 3) “One” murder is not as important as what you call “the state of our democracy”, of course not. But I was confronting The National Memo, not you, “columnist” !! You, of course, HAD to respond to save the liberals’ mantra. Oh brother.
        # 4) There have always been murders, of course. But if THIS murder had been committed by a white guy against a black woman, you liberal/leftist Ydiots would have been all over the place.
        P.S. – It’s “affected”, you “columnist”, NOT “effected”.
        Oh brother.

        • davidcayjohnston

          Louis Allen

          # 1) I suspect you are NOT the columnist here.
          — Well, your suspicion is without merit. Had you clicked on my byline to check other columns you would see that I routinely respond to comments, which few journalists do (and which I have done since 1966).

          # 2) “wrong forum” you say?? !! Why, pray tell??

          — This is for comments on my column, not National Memo policy, which is properly taken up with the founder and the editor, not a columnist. I have no influence on NM policy.

          # 3) “One” murder is not as important as what you call “the state of our democracy”, of course not. But I was confronting The National Memo, not you, “columnist” !! You, of course, HAD to respond to save the liberals’ mantra. Oh brother.

          — Yet you were not “confronting” anyone. And as noted earlier, you picked the wrong forum, the equivalent of complaining to an auditor about your taxes instead of going to Congress, which at the federal level has the sole power to tax.

          # 4) There have always been murders, of course. But if THIS murder had been committed by a white guy against a black woman, you liberal/leftist Ydiots would have been all over the place.

          — Actually, no. Most murders of all kinds make little or no news and usually only in the geographic area where the crime was committed. The San Francisco murder you cite has received extensive national news coverage, as an Internet search will show. Of the many murders I have covered since 1968 I am best known for my investigation of an especially vicious, racially motivated black-on-white murder in which I hunted down and confronted the real killer, who an incompetent detective failed to catch.

          P.S. – It’s “affected”, you “columnist”, NOT “effected”.

          — Thank you for catching my dictation error. If the NM software allows I will correct. And, FYI, in American English commas and periods go inside quote marks.

          • Louis Allen

            # 1: Granted. Thank you.
            # 2: I know you have no say in TNM policy; but there’s no way to write to them or confront them so I answered your article.
            # 3: Same as # 2.
            # 4: Congratulations on your reporting.
            P.S. – FYI, commas and periods go inside quote marks only when you are quoting a complete sentence, NOT when you are quoting individual words like I did.

          • TZToronto

            Got anything better to do with your time?

          • Louis Allen


          • TZToronto

            Uhhh . . . no, only my job.

        • BillP

          Your item #4 is so typical of you right wing trolls. If you are going to criticize someone for using the wrong word or misspelling a word than check your comments. Are far as I know Ydiots isn’t a real word troll. Were you so upset a few years ago when two neantherdals

          • Louis Allen

            Billp: wow, you are a more-on.
            But of course “ydiots” is not a real word, and neither is more-on.
            My use of ydiots and more-on has to do with the fact that TNM, in typical liberal political correctness, will not publish my post if I “offend” an ydiots like you by calling you idiot.
            Got it? Got it? Got it?

          • BillP

            Gee I didn’t know I was dealing with the 2nd coming of Einstein, though you sound more like chicken little crying out “political correctness” way too much. You wrote numerous comments on this site so I guess that NM isn’t censoring you are they? What seems to be a common thread for all of you trolls is that you always resort to name calling. I’m crushed by you calling me an idiot, I Got it Got it Got it. Being arrogant doesn’t work when you haven’t got crap to write about.

          • Louis Allen

            BillPee: Go cry on your Momma’s shoulder.
            And then go back to your basement apartment at her house…

          • BillP

            Such a witty reply from a troll. Sounds like you are describing your pathetic life. Still claiming that NM is censoring your silly little comments. You just confirmed that you are just an angry right wing troll with nothing positive to offer.

          • Louis Allen

            You are funny, BillP. Stupid and clueless, …. but funny.

          • BillP

            Mommy stop breasting feeding you little boy? Is that what has you in such a pouty mood? Want me to tell your mommy that you are unhappy little boy?

          • Louis Allen

            “Breasting”, “breasting”??!! What in the world is THATTT??!! Haha haaaa!!!
            Confirmed: you are an idiot, my friend!!!
            U r no match for me, you libturd.

          • BillP

            Ooh little Louie boy it’s so good to hear you laugh, I know you have such a miserable life so I’m gad to be able to make you laugh. It must be so hard to be that you are this insecure with nothing positive in your little boy life. Have a nice lonely weekend.

          • Louis Allen

            Hey Bill!
            1) you make everybody here laugh, not just me!
            2) do try to learn some English, my friend (“breasting”, “must be so hard to be that you are…”)
            What a complete idiot!
            And you vote and reproduce??!!

          • BillP

            Little Louie boy who are the everybody you are referring to?Remember invisible or imaginary people don’t count. I have stop this tread, you are repeating your self and it’s boring enough the first time. The 2nd time around it’s sleep inducing. Bye, bye little boy.

          • Louis Allen

            Hey Bill !!
            You are such a funny ignoramus, my friend.
            You can’t even write a few sentences in plain English without making a fool of yourself:
            1) “I have stop this tread, ….” Whattt??!! Did you really mean “I have STOPPED this THREAD”??
            2) “You are repeating your self …” Did you really mean “repeating YOURSELF” ??
            Confirmed: You make everybody here laugh.
            Correction: NOT “everybody”, only the smart ones, …. who, I admit, are a small minority on this cesspool of ignorant “thought”.
            Bye, bye, BillyPathetic ….

        • TZToronto

          Your double exclamation points go inside the quotation mark, not outside it (“columnist!!”, not “columnist”!!), not to mention the other punctuation faux pas (“columnist”, and “effected”.).

          • Louis Allen

            You could have saved yourself all that trouble in trying to correct me because you did not get ONE right, not even one:
            1) the position/location of exclamation marks depends on who is supplying the emphasis. In my case I was, so the exclamation marks go OUTSIDE.
            2) The use of “columnist” does not constitute a faux pas. It was totally correct.
            3) The only faux pas in my use of “effected” is that of the original columnist who wrote the word like that. The correct word is affected.
            You stand corrected.

          • TZToronto

            I wasn’t referring to the effected/affected thing or the columnist thing, only to the punctuation. Read anything with reputable editing, and you’ll see that the punctuation goes inside the quotation marks. I guess you’re like the Jeopardy people, who also, incorrectly, put the punctuation outside the quotation marks.

          • Louis Allen

            I repeat:
            The position/location of exclamation marks depends on who is supplying
            the emphasis.

          • TZToronto

            I figured that since you decided to ignore the topic, so would I. Have a nice day.

          • Louis Allen

            You have a good day yourself.

    • johninPCFL

      Any comment about the 34,997 Americans NOT murdered by an immigrant, but rather by their American next-door neighbor?

      • Louis Allen

        Again, stoopid, stoopid, stoooopid comment.
        But, coming from an arsejjole like you, ….. brilliant.
        Following your handlers’ instructions, I see: “When you can not present an intelligent and well thought-out response, ….. just say ANYTHING.”
        Oh brother.

        • johninPCFL

          The expected response.

          BTW, talking to the mirror doesn’t help you deal with mental issues.

          • Louis Allen

            As was to be expected of you, you again miss the point.
            Let me explain in terms even you can understand: the point are:
            A) That San Francisco has literally become a Sanctuary City for illegals. That means that illegals, as happened with this obscene criminal, will flock to SF.
            B) That this guy had been deported 5 times, repeat, 5 times,….and he had come back each time with no consequences whatsoever. Can you cite something dumber than that???!!
            C) That our federal “government” does not have the will or desire to end this situation.
            You stand corrected

          • johninPCFL

            Again, you ignore the point.
            Bad people behave badly. Picking one event and extrapolating it to the point of absurdity reveals your true point: browns must be excluded.
            So, again, how does one immigrant behaving badly edge out against the tens of thousands of citizens behaving badly every year? Why is it that your neighbor’s chances of being shot and killed by you rather than an immigrant are 500 to 1000 times greater not raising a blip?

          • Louis Allen

            It seems that you are too stooopid to understand the question:
            This guy had been deported 5 times, repeat, 5 times,….and he had come back each time with no consequences whatsoever. Can you cite something dumber than that???!!
            Answer the question, John.

        • BillP

          And you are a one trick pony, well maybe a horse’sass.

        • 788eddie

          Oh Louis, not another cut and paste job!

          Oh brother!

          • Louis Allen

            You are a complete dumbass.
            Is that the best you can come up with??

      • Epic fail commenters. Hello? Do you people have any idea what, when it comes to social media, the word “Troll” means? This article has NOTHING to do with murderers, immigration, or any other rabbit holes you’ve let these idiots drag you into. The only issue here is the purchase of government influence by big moneyed special interests. F*^k them. Stay on topic. We have a democracy to save, and it isn’t going to be won or lost on immigration reform.

    • Clifford Terry

      No way are those issues anywhere nearly as important as this one. As we see more and more state legislatures and court systems being purchased it becomes all the more understandable how the US is moving into fascism with all its’ trappings including surveillance of all citizens, militarized police forces, and torture used as means of control.

      • Louis Allen

        No more skirting the question from you. The question is:
        This guy had been deported 5 times, repeat, 5 times,….and he had come
        back each time with no consequences whatsoever. Can you cite something
        dumber than that???!!

        • Clifford Terry

          That may be dumb, but one such man among 300 million is no threat to the US system of government. Whereas, the purchase of state and federal legislatures and judiciaries leaves a system of rule by oligarch and the citizens no longer have any input as to governance. Worse still is that that government brings tremendous power to bear on individuals to impede any process that may change the system in any other direction.

          So, if your critical thinking skills based on your level of knowledge are not able to quite grasp the importance of this issue, it is time to begin learning about the form of government the US once had so that you can truly understand what you are losing to big money.

          • Louis Allen

            That “may” be dumb??
            You ARE dumb, Cliff.
            You guys never get it. You are too stolid.

            Just tell us your opinion about the “sanctuary” city of San Francisco and about what should be done with illegals who are deported and come back, ….. 5 times.
            What do you think, that it’s ok?

          • Clifford Terry

            You really are lost in ‘never, never land’ aren’t you? By the time that you wake up to reality it will be much too late to work to bring positive change to the system. Either others will have done the work for you or all will be slaves to the plutocrats. Web are now on the brink and though the US has been there before and yet somehow managed to survive, there is never any guarantee of survival on any occurrence. This may be the occurrence that brings the country down to a fully fascist state. I care, but you apparently do not. You will blow as the wind blows and never give a damn.

          • Louis Allen

            Answer the question Cliff !! You keep skirting it.
            Just tell us your opinion about the “sanctuary” city of San Francisco
            and about what should be done with illegals who are deported and come
            back, ….. 5 times.
            What do you think, that it’s ok?

          • Clifford Terry

            You remind me of the man in the “Bicycle Tour” sketch from Monte Python’s Flying Circus. A man who is happily and blithely unaware. Reality becomes irrelevant.

            First, Your issue is irrelevant inasmuch as it has significantly less impact of society than the serious issues of this topical and relevant discussion.

            Secondly, you have little concern for the fact that your topic has no real relevance to the discussion. So, instead of offering comments to the discourse that may offer insight to others you simply act as a foolish gadfly. Worse, that is how others have come to truly know you. If you do not believe me just look back at your previous posts and the responses you elicited.

            I feel sorry for you.

    • 788eddie

      Hey Louis, I just love your cut and paste job.

      Didn’t you upgrade to a word processor that doesn’t need manual line breaks?

  • Allan Richardson

    When the criminals control the courts which exist to try them for their crimes, they can go scot free. What Wisconsin needs is a federal DOJ investigation of these judges to find out who bribed whom, how and when.

  • Dominick Vila

    First they buy the media, then the politicians, after that they buy the Justice system. The rest is easy.

  • booker25

    This is just an on going process, 4 decades in the making, think ALEC and you have the picture. Politicians for sale and they do the rest passing crappy laws that this bunch likes, right to work for less, stand your ground, i.e. and you have part of the Koch Bros wet dream.

    • Matforce

      ALEC= A Legislator for Every Corporation

      • ErnestineBass

        Well done!

  • A nice article, but falls short of calling a spade a spade. The only “ideology” in play here is that of Gordon Gecoko’s, “Greed is good.” And any and all means taken to reach your financial goals are fine. Consequences be damned. It appears that the only avenue left anyone who aspires to the American Dream is to become a politician and sell your influence and vote to the highest bidder. But calling corruption that an “ideology” is an abortion.

    • RED

      Agree! Except there are no consequences for these people, only the middle class and poor pay for their policies.

  • TZToronto

    Read John Grisham’s “The Appeal” if you want a fictionalized version of how the elected courts get stacked to serve corporate greed, collusion, and corruption.

  • Matforce

    Since the New Deal, corporatists and moneyed interest have been probing the fences, seeking a way around national policy that fortified the USA middle class. Policy designed to give workers a voice at the bargaining table with business owners and corporations inclined toward exploiting their workers by keeping wages, workers’ rights, and benefits low to maximize their capital gains . These middle class fortifying POLICIES resulted in the development of the larges, most prosperoust consumer market the world has ever seen.

    Enter FTAs, Citizens United vs. The Federal Election Commission, the repeal of The Glass-Steagall Act, and the deregulation of the financial sector in the form of The Gramm, Leach, Bliley Act. Now, our middle class has been decimated, corporations and moneyed interest have direct access to our legislators with their leagues of lobbyists, lawyers, experts and advisory teams in our pay-to-play, Oligarchical form of government to assure the voice of moneyed interest drowns out that of “we the people.” The only entity that can step in and serve as an arbitrator of justice among competing interests (moneyed interest vs. the interest of we the people) is the US Government. And our big bad government has been labeled the enemy by those within same government by those beholden to moneyed interest through the use of divisive, disingenuous, deceptive rhetorical sound bites to establish an attractive, persuasive narrative that divides our nation up into “makers” and “takers,” with cleverly disguised disdain for the role of the average blue collar worker. Who needs, ’em? They’re “expendable” in the era of globalization, and the offshoring of jobs to sweatshops. Larger capital gains for Corporations and Wall Street, further solidify their grip on the national conversation and thus power and influence in our bought and paid for legislature! BRILLIANT!!!

    • Matt, Please join us on BeTheWave (website, facebook, and twitter). Our goal is simple: Run all corporatists out of office, regardless of party affiliation. As long as we are divided along party lines, the corporatists win. Please help us spread the message and unite working-class Americans. Heck, we’ve even got a candidate we can get behind now! #FeelTheBern

  • Kim Serrahn

    We were able to curb this back in the early 1900’s but since we have become complacent, this type of underhandedness is going to slam us down to the concrete