Two stories collided on my computer screen this week causing a smile and a loud “YES!” One carried words of wisdom from an old and greatly experienced jurist. The other contained indignant words of some rich S-O-B’s who’ve been given a taste of unwanted but entirely warranted public exposure in our democratic system that they didn’t expect. The irony here: a U.S. Supreme Court decision was the connection.

First, it was retired Justice John Paul Stevens predicting SCOTUS will probably have to review it’s monumentally disastrous decision in the Citizen’s United case. That’s the one giving corporations the protections of free speech granted to individuals – a ruling millionaires and billionaires have been hiding behind to pour big bucks into our political system, warping democracy into nothing more than a huge dollar sign.

The original decision was that the First Amendment “generally prohibits the suppression of political speech based on the speaker’s identity.” Stevens wrote a 90-page dissent. Later, SCOTUS decided in another case – without briefing, argument or written opinion – to uphold a ban on campaign contributions by non-citizens.

“Taken together,” Stevens said “that persuades me it’ll be necessary for the court to issue an opinion explicitly crafting an exception that’ll create a crack in the foundation of the Citizen’s United majority opinion. In doing so, it’ll be necessary to explain why the First Amendment provides greater protection to campaign speech by some non-voters (domestic corporations) than to that of other non-voters such as the Canadian Harvard law graduate who has sued but remains barred from making such contributions.”

Stevens logic seems to be the court has made two classes of “citizens” in two rulings while maintaining in Citizen’s United there was only one and it was made up of corporations AND individuals. We are seeing the political economic prostitution wrought by that 2010 action. Several major challenges are being worked on and even some of the smarter political professionals of both parties agree. Stevens thinks the inconsistency he points out may be one place to start. I pray he’s right.

My other smile producer was one of those “careful-what-you-wish-for” moments I find especially enjoyable. Some unhappy billionaires who’ve been pumping obscene amounts of money into the campaigns – all Republican complainants so far- are howling because their names are being made public which has brought unwanted media attention and some claim to have lost business because of the publicity.

One of the louder voices has been that of Idahoan Frank VanderSloot who, for the record, put himself in the limelight when he became a finance co-chairman for the Romney campaign. VanderSloot has always craved the darkness of anonymity in which to work his right-wing activities. He’s used threats of legal action to intimidate small market media people. But no more. Now, it’s the major networks and the largest print media. People with much greater resources to ferret out his backdoor dealings and shine the light of publicity all over his now-public affairs.

The Obama campaign put out a fat cats list – even included some Democrats – and circulated it widely. VanderSloot has put $1 million of his corporate cash into the Romney campaign and has raised between $2-5 million more. For this, he says, he has been “publically humiliated.” “Lost business.”

“Not true,” sez I. But even if it were, it’s about time!

Joe Ricketts – billionaire founder of TD Ameritrade whose family owns the Chicago Cubs – says the backlash to shining a well-deserved spotlight on him “isn’t fair.” Ah, makes him wish for the bleak anonymity of old. Even as he’s putting up $10 million to back a vicious, totally false anti-Obama movie written by a thoroughly discredited nut. The subject is how Obama’s father is “controlling him from the grave.” The same father the President met once when he was 10-years old.

Foster Friess, the mutual fund tycoon who kept the Santorum campaign alive longer than it would have been without him, is another. Remember, Friess was the guy whose experiences with birth control included “women putting aspirin between their knees.” He’s “puzzled about all the frenzy.” Now he’s onboard the Romney campaign.

The Koch boys – Charley and Davy – claim “irresponsible coverage by the far left media” has brought on death threats. Oh, really? Give me a break! That’s like Jesse James claiming the sheriff used real bullets! Of course, those several interviews they sat for on Faux “News” couldn’t have brought on any of their discomfort.

Now that these guys are squirming in the glare of publicity about what they’ve been doing anonymously for years, they want to “fight back.” So, they’ve put up a website listing fat cat donors to Democrats. That’ll show ‘em. I’m a little fuzzy about how that’ll put the toothpaste back in their tubes.

They may call that “getting even.” But I think all the exposure is great. Our political system has a huge and potentially fatal “money cancer” being fed by both sides so let’s get ‘em all out where we can see ‘em. All of ‘em! C’mon, guys. Don’t be bashful.

Our nation is awash in billionaire-sponsored political trash – er – cash. Facts are being mixed with lies and damned lies to be repeated over and over and over and over. It’s easy to blame a lot of candidates of either party for all this. That goes unsaid. To me, the blame rests primarily on rich extremists – very rich extremists – who are using their fortunes to shape our political system as they want it to be so it can be used to their benefit. On them and on a U.S. Supreme Court that has furnished the match for their destructive gasoline.

Koch’s, Adeleson, Ricketts, Friess and the rest have been background players for years. Their grimy fingerprints are all over bad legislation, efforts to suppress voter access to the polls, unwarranted corporate tax breaks, reduced regulatory oversight of the industries that created their largess, secretly financing spineless hand puppets to legislative and congressional seats and more destructive handiwork.

If the glare of publicity causes their reach to shrivel like so many exposed cockroaches, my next cash contribution will be to the guy who owns the brightest spotlight.

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