LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Let your representative know what you want

Thursday, July 5, 2012 | 3:33 p.m. CDT; updated 8:06 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 5, 2012

Last weekend Occupy CoMO put on Occupy Missouri. We had occupiers from St. Louis, Kansas City and Springfield attend. We set up camp at the Boone County Courthouse, which the county was kind enough to let us use. We had inspirational speakers, a couple of eye-opening movies and lots of good camaraderie. Our Saturday march was shortened quite a bit because of the weather.

But, by far, my favorite part was a direct action we did Sunday. Occupy does not endorse candidates. We want to change the system not the players. But some of us are Democrats and strive to get them elected.

One woman got an invitation to a rally with Claire McCaskill at the Democratic office on the corner of Broadway and Providence. There were already a lot of people there when we arrived. And we were told not to go inside with our signs, so most of us stood outside.

Before we went, we agreed on a common message: to amend the constitution to end Citizens United — the whole corporations-are-people-and-money-is-free-speech nonsense. It was brilliant because Sen. McCaskill’s speech was all about money in politics and how the super-PACs are spending a fortune on negative ads.

After her speech, two of us chanted, "Corporations are not people, and money is not free speech" inside the office. We didn’t want to disrupt the meeting — most of us will be voting for her.

When she came out of the office, I followed her to the car holding my Move to Amend sign. I got a chance to tell her, "All your opponents stand for everything Occupy is against."

The rest of us chanted "Corporations are not people. Money is not free speech. Corporations are not people. Money is not free speech."

If you agree corporations are not people and money is not free speech, you ought to let the senator know. Contact her by phone at 442-7130, by email on her website, by fax at 442-7140 or at her Columbia office at 915 E. Ash St.

Mike Diel is a Macon resident.

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Michael Williams July 5, 2012 | 4:39 p.m.

Is political money from unions free speech?

What say you, Mike?

(Report Comment)
John Schultz July 6, 2012 | 9:32 a.m.

Mike, I'm guessing unions are people while corporations are not. I think I saw that logic used on the old Star Trek show once.

(Report Comment)
Mike Diel July 8, 2012 | 7:17 p.m.

Michael and John, of course unions are not people. Only natural persons should be able to effect our elections!

(Report Comment)
Corey Parks July 8, 2012 | 7:51 p.m.

Come on John and Micheal, Everyone knows that Unions are corporations that exist because of the value its supports believe it is worth by the amount of money they give in.
A Unions only goal is to increase its take while doing as little as possible.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams July 8, 2012 | 8:15 p.m.

MikeD: You may be the very first liberal I've communicated with who would admit that all "organized" money should be kept from elections. Usually corporation money is verboten, rich conservative money is verboten, conservative PAC money is verboten.....but unions, liberal activist groups, liberal bundlers, and Oprah are A-OK.

THAT is a consistent argument! And even if I don't agree, it is a position that I can respect.

On another note (for everyone), I just saw this posted on a gold forum by a poster who has been reliable for the 8 years I've watched it. She did not "source" the claim:

"The economy created just 80,000 jobs in June, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. But that same month, 85,000 workers left the workforce entirely to enroll in the Social Security Disability Insurance program, according to the Social Security Administration.

The disability ranks have outpaced job growth throughout President Obama's recovery. While the economy has created 2.6 million jobs since June 2009, fully 3.1 million workers signed up for disability benefits."

I've not been paying attention to the disability numbers. Anyone have a comment on these numbers?

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith July 9, 2012 | 5:57 a.m.

While they have some common characteristics, unions are not identical. Contrast United Mine Workers of America and United Steel Workers of America with government employee unions. Even today, with attention to safety, UMW of A and USW of A members are exposed to physical danger.

In this country, modern miners and steelworkers work using machines and other devices that multiply their output considerably, making a worker highly productive. Who supplies and pays for that equipment? Unless a government owns mines and steel mills, it's not the government.

PS: I won't comment about government employee unions; mining and steel are the only two I've directly dealt with.

(Report Comment)
frank christian July 9, 2012 | 7:33 a.m.

I believe Governor Scott Walker of Minnesota has dealt with government employee unions and has been making himself readily available for comment.

(Report Comment)
Corey Parks July 9, 2012 | 8:04 p.m.


(Report Comment)
frank christian July 9, 2012 | 8:24 p.m.

Thanks Corey. "I knew that!", as the dumbo always states.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle July 9, 2012 | 9:51 p.m.

Wisconsin proved just how irrelevant unions are. My friend Doug Henwood from the Left Business Observer (where I usually get my spiffy graphs) has spent the last few weeks lambasting unions as too narrowly self-interested and stuck in yesteryear: (and then, of course, defending himself against the hoard of unionsists). Quite frankly, I agree.

I'd be happy to see both unions and corporations barred from any type of financial contributions to elections. Individual contributions only, some reasonable cap ($50K? $100K) on total donations per election cycle. Oh, and full disclosure of everything too: who contributed what, and who they work for and / or what union they belong to. That would still give corporations a distinct advantage, but it would at least blunt the runaway spending advantage corporations currently enjoy, and bring everything out in the open.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith July 10, 2012 | 7:17 a.m.

@ Derrick Fogle:

To repeat what I said above, all unions are not identical, and that includes their relative relevance.

PS: I was in Madison, Wisconsin when the demonstrations were in progress. It was a weekend, and all the sign carriers (there were more than a few) had signs which noted what union local they were from. I didn't see a single sign where the union local wasn't out-of-state. Maybe the local union only demonstrated Monday through Friday. :)

(Report Comment)

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