National Assoc. Of Manufacturers Wins B.S. of the Month Award: The Gander Cries Foul, Demands Cone of Silence!
By letterhead | February 14, 2008
This month may only be half over, but it’s a short month so why not hand out an award early — especially as this is Valentimes Day. So here you go National Assoc. of Manufacturers (NAM)… here is your B.S. of the Month Award (and it sure don’t mean “best spin.”)
Earlier in Feb., the NAM filed suit to block a federal disclosure law that would require naming all donors who contribute more than $5,000 to finance lobbying efforts. The NAM suit alleges that the new law threatens members’ First Amendment rights. Free speech rights! How… quaint.
Double Super Secret Conversations
The nation’s biggest telecom companies can hook up a firehose to their switchboxes and pump all of our private conversations and internet chats directly to John Poindexter’s secret desk in the basement of the NSA (and bribe Congress to give them immunity)… but big corporations scream bloody murder that disclosing federal lobbying money is a violation of their privacy. Harumph!… Their spin is that the law,
“substantially burdens the exercise of core First Amendment rights by the NAM, its members and similar organizations.”
Oh, sometimes one is infinitely grateful for the invention of descriptive profanity, such as “bullshit.”
First off, the claim makes no sense. They claim the law violates their privacy by making them go public. But also that it limits their 1st Amendment rights, which guarantee a right to speak freely in public. So what exactly do they want: privacy, or the right to speak publicly? What it sounds like they want is a Constitutional right to anonymity. Go figure.
Second, how does it “burden” them? By making them bribe Congress in the light of day instead of a back alley (or pricey steakhouse) in the dead of night? Hey, if our privacy is not a concern for the government, then what’s good for the goose…
Terror! Terror! Liberal Terror!!
According to the NAM press statement, having to go on the public record will scare these poor, vulnerable shrinking violets to death! They will cower and shudder in a corner, terrified of “expressing” themselves financially, which will make this blessed Christian nation all the morally poorer. Well, those weren’t their EXACT words.
It’s hard to fathom exactly what’s the “threat” to free “speech” here, but the key worry of the NAM seems to be that most heinous of horrors: “harassment.”
“For example, anti-globalization forces are increasingly resorting to violent means to oppose both political leaders and officials in the private sector who support trans-national economic development. Similar consequences can result from being identified as actively opposing the core positions of organized labor. Taking policy positions that are unpopular with other groups may lead to boycotts, political pressure, shareholder suits, or other forms of harassment. Some areas of advocacy could even make member companies the target of litigation.”
Oooooh… the “litigation” boogey man again! As the “tort reform” movement led by the U.S. Chamber is about is about to take away all our rights to sue any corporation for anything, that hardly seems a worry.
Anti-globalization forces!! We all know just how effective these commies are in stymying the will of multi-national corporations. That threat is clear.
But the “harassment” potential from “boycotts, political pressure, shareholder suits,” now there is the really fearsome beast. We should dump this law because corporations don’t have nearly enough protection from whinging protesters.
The Truth Will Out
Read any press announcement closely enough and either in the lines — or between them — you will find the truth. In this case, the truth of the matter is that this fowl has caught a whiff of the brewing stewpot:
“Many of them will curtail their membership in trade associations. The effect will be to compromise their First Amendment right to express their opinions in the legislative process, and also undermine trade associations which play a critical role in the development of public policy by government.”
Read: we’re scared we won’t be able to raise hundreds of millions of $$ we get for lobbying.
Here Is Your Prize
In the end though, we really have to feel sorry for the NAM, to be so threatened and so scared. Those folks are in desperate need of help; that much is clear.
What they really need is a double super-scret direct communications channel with Congress… a way to yank on the earlobe of power in private… to shout their demands without being overheard.
Well here you go, it may not be much, but it’s a start. What the NAM suit is really saying is:
But wait… on upon closer inspection… is that a “Made in China” label I see?