Last updated on 2013.09.04
Here's lucky #7, the last portion of my interview with Sam Kephart. He ran for the GOP Senate nomination in 2008 but got beat by party favorite Joel Dykstra, who in turn got beat by Tim Johnson.
(By the way, Dykstra is now off making probably more money than a Senator as chief financial officer of Swift Fuels and fiddling with the Broin family assets in RMB Associates. Kephart says he's making videos and Web content... but I think he's really a shadowy operative for the anti-Illuminati.)
Kephart's one and only run for office came before the 2010 Citizens United ruling, which opened the door for corporations and labor unions to spend all they want on political speech. Kephart doesn't think Citizens United would've have helped him win, since he wasn't exactly preaching to the corporate choir. Kephart is open to overturning Citizens United (Ken! don't shut Sam off yet!), but he proposes a raft of much larger reforms to save us from our corporate fascist overlords.
Heidelberger: The Citizens United 2010 ruling lifted restrictions on independent campaign expenditures by corporations, labor unions, and other organizations. Would that ruling have made a difference in your 2008 campaign? Did this ruling hurt the political process?
Kephart: That’s hard to say whether that ruling would have helped my campaign. I’m not aware of any organizations who “got” what I was about and that were ready to step-up and aggressively support my candidacy, had that option been available.
Insofar as whether this hurts our political process, I’d have to say “yes.” While I’m a big free speech proponent, I’m not so convinced that those rights extend to corporate, union, and special interests.
Big money, from any source, has essentially destroyed our democratic republic and replaced it with corporatist fascism masquerading as democracy.
It’s all total theater of the mind bull---- packaged to give us, the voters, the appearance of real choice... when in fact there is none. You can pick A or B, but in reality you are always getting C, who stands behind the curtain and runs our shadow government.
Heidelberger: Should we amend the Constitution to overturn Citizens United and restrict political speech by corporations?
Kephart: No, we need a major overhaul of lots of things in the Constitution, like overhauling our existing tax system and replacing it with the “Fair Tax” or something close to it.
Let’s set-up term limits and institute public funding of campaigns, while eliminating donations from special interests.
How about instituting a balanced budget amendment?
Let’s resolve to become more insular and less likely to deploy troops all over the world. Our sticking our nose into much of the world’s political business is costing us dearly in lives and treasure with little long-term positive effect. It’s simply breeding more terrorists who want to take us down. [Editor's note from CAH: Kephart made this comment well before the President announced his intention to seek Congressional approval to attack Syria.]
How about getting rid of that fat, ugly monster... the military-industrial complex?
How about a Constitutional amendment that says our borders must be tightly closed and monitored carefully?
Sadly, you can’t make chicken salad out of chicken s--t, no matter how much mayonnaise and mustard you add. That’s where we are now legislatively... and it just gets worse with each new Congressional session and President.
Heidelberger: May I redirect on the final question about Citizens United? Are you saying that we should not amend the Constitution to over turn Citizens United and restrict political speech by corporations? Or are you saying that you'd support such an amendment but that we have to tackle other, much larger problems either first or in tandem with such an amendment to solve the problems it's meant to address?
Kephart: It's the latter; Citizen's United needs to be undone and go away.
There are so-called larger fish to fry if we're going to re-jig the US Constitution.
Obviously, Citizens United is important, but I think it pales in comparison to some other vexing issues.
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In my interview with him, Kephart offered a pretty stiff critique of what he views as a failed two-party system that puts forth beauty queens instead of problem-solvers, that excludes newcomers in favor of insiders who are good at being cogs in a bigger, mostly behind-the-scenes machine.
Might he just be grumpy that he lost in 2008? Kephart dismisses that dismissal with these closing words:
Kephart: Some people accuse me of having sour grapes about not winning my primary; that’s simply not true.
My ongoing public criticisms of politics, both here in South Dakota and in Washington, D.C., are my way of trying to wake folks up to how totally rigged our so-called democracy is; its a disgrace and getting worse by the day.
As I like to say, those who fail to watch the pot will end up in it. That’s where we are and soon to come events will prove me a truth-teller.
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Friends and neighbors, let's thank Sam for taking time to think through these issues and write his thoughts down for us. And Stace and Rick, maybe you both should call Sam about shooting some videos for your campaigns.