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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

NOM: Issue Advocacy In The Shadows

Category: Gay Rights
Posted: 10/04/11 23:05

by Dave Mindeman

Campaign Finance ruled on ballot initiative advocacy and interpreted that disclosure is mandatory.

Do we have any objections?

Even before today's meeting got underway, the National Organization for Marriage distributed a press release to say the board was "acting illegally in attempting to force NOM and other pro-family nonprofit organizations to disclose the names of donors."

Why yes we do.

The National Organization for (Some) Marriage wants to get rid of disclosure. Guess it is none of our business to know who is writing those big checks.

NOM is going to advocate for the Marriage Discrimination Amendment. They believe in their sense of tradtion. But apparently they believe more in "big money". And "big money" needs to be protected from public scrutiny. They certainly don't want any public reactions to their corporate donor friends.

Normally, corporations will pay big bucks for publicity. Million dollar commercials, multi-million dollar campaigns. They love it. But, oddly enough, when it comes to political donations or issue advocacy, they get a little skittish.

Now why would that be? Do they not have the courage of their convictions? Are they not willing to stand behind their "purchased free speech"?

NOM wants to advocate publicly, but they want their supporters to be secret.

Without disclosure we don't have the opportunity to hold advocates accountable. We don't get to evaluate why the monetary support is given. And we don't get to determine if their is a conflict of interest.

It is all done in the shadows. That is the kind of advocacy that will always be under suspicion.
comments (4) permalink

Free Trade Has Never Been Fair Trade

Category: Economy
Posted: 10/04/11 17:51

by Dave Mindeman

Rep. Erik Paulsen has finally shown some enthusiasm for something -- free trade.

"By passing these free trade agreements, we will reduce the barriers in these three countries (South Korea, Panama and Colombia), allowing 60,000 Minnesotans, and now others, the opportunity to find new sales and new customers for their products, giving the companies who employ them the opportunity to expand and start hiring again,? said Paulsen, who is the co-chair of the Congressional U.S.-Korea Free Trade Working Group.

Paulsen seems to be saying that these 60,000 Minnesota workers will benefit from this agreement. Frankly, that's not true. The companies that employ them will certainly benefit as they explore new markets, but will that benefit the workers themselves?

Past history would say that is doubtful. As global markets are exploited, companies tend to expand overseas rather than here. Globalization has not expanded American jobs...it has not even protected those jobs.

Expansion of free trade has done wonders for corporate profits. It has done wonders for reducing labor costs for those companies by exploiting labor overseas. But none of that has translated into any kind of job creation, protection, or enhancement of American jobs.

Globalization has taken away American jobs. It has locked us into a financial structure that allows European problems to infect the American economy. It forces our own labor market to compete with labor markets that are simply exploited by corporate business.

I know that President Obama is pushing this as well. President Clinton was the one who opened this door.

That doesn't make it right or good for America.

This is probably the one thing that Paulsen will agree with Obama on. And I think that tells you a lot about this issue's credibility and why Obama should be running from it.
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