Citizens United vs FEC (We the People Must prevail)

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mainebob's picture
mainebob
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Citizens United vs FEC (We the People Must prevail)

Annie Leonard does it again... This time clearly explaining
the Citizens United v FEC..."Why Democracy Only Works
When people are in charge."

... She is recommending a Constitutional Amendment
which defines people as people... and corps NOT.

Backup info on her site here: http://storyofstuff.org/citizensunited/

-Bob O

 

jumblies's picture
jumblies
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great posting bob, thanks

great posting bob, thanks for that. an excellent video and gets my vote (not that i'm american, but you catch my drift).

 

rhare's picture
rhare
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More progressive propaganda from Annie Leonard
mainebob wrote:

Annie Leonard does it again... This time clearly explaining

Ack -  UGH!  First we are a republic not a democracy (mob rule).  And I can certainly say there are a whole lot of us who do not agree that government should be involved in many of things she listed.  Anyway, here is a good critique of this video:

 

 

darbikrash's picture
darbikrash
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You know I used to be just

You know I used to be just flabbergasted and incredulous that someone could actually support and advocate for the systematic dismantling of our country, but now I understand that it’s yet another example of capitalism doing God’s work- sock puppeting pays well these days it would seem.

There is no other explanation for supporting the activist Supreme Court decisions of late, increasing in frequency and degree of devastation, and it is duly noted that the chief flag bearers of the descent to fascism are present and accounted for.

While Annie Leonard’s videos tend towards the all too familiar sicky-sweet liberal selective presentation of facts, in this video she does have a point. And the rebuttal, well, where exactly does one start with this Libertarian piece of crap. This is the same guy who appears to hound Annie Leonard (he critiqued her last one) and may well be the same moron that tried to critique David Harvey’s’ similar animated discussion of the Crisis of Capitalism, with simply ridiculous results.

But here we have reached a new low in this rebuttal, as the narrator attempts to bog us down in legalese while steadfastedly refusing to acknowledge the reprecussions of the ruling, instead focusing on arcane terms and references to hundred of pages of the actual decision. While certainly important, this obfuscates the implications and interpretations of this ruling on free society, as most of us are not constitutional lawyers and require expertise to asses macro implications.

In plain English, this ruling is more fuel to the fire of allowing moneyed interests to simply buy elections, much as lobbyists now buy the legislature. The vast majority of Americans are against any such notion as Leonard points out, yet the narrator tries to deflect this critically important point by explaining, in a stentorian voice, that we don’t have a democracy at all, we have a republic.

Well thanks for clearing that up, and what a great explanation for why we should let moneyed interests simply buy our elections. And this is the wisdom of libertarian and conservative thinking.

Further, the narrator dives into the now familiar refrain of the right, that what we should really be concerned with is government invading corporations and taking away their rights, and as an example he starts the fear mongering by threatening that Annie Leonard’s corporation “could be next” and goes into ample detail on how the overzealous archetypes of big government are “coming to get you”. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Yet, our intrepid narrator himself advocates the Cato Institute, founded and funded- by none other than Charles Koch of Koch Brothers fame. Now I’m sure Mr. Koch is just spending all his think tank money (and money to fund these rebuttals) out of a long standing and genuine fear that our country is slowly slipping down the greased skids to Socialism, but some may disagree and point out that Mr. Koch and his cronies stand to profit handsomely from all this discourse- a distinction lost on many perfectly intelligent people who apparently watch way too much Fox News.

More nonsense in the rebuttal? Conflating small mom and pop grocery stores with multi-national corporations buying political campaigns. So let’s use some common sense here, are small S chapter corporations buying elections? Is the local lemonade stand spending millions on campaign contributions/ No, but once again we have the pathological inability to stratify Statist behavior exhibited by large multi-nationals from small well meaning businesses struggling to survive. Pulling on the heart strings and all.

And let us not gloss over the money shot, the attack on the ethics of profitability. In true libertarian form, the discussion always goes to the shelves at the store, the consumerist viewpoint because capital is really all about choices (and freedom!) and liberty! Right? The narrator states boldly, proudly even, that “do you really care how the profit was made”. Well, no, not when your entire universe is Objectivist in nature and shopping is the blood sport. Because freedom is defined by how many choices you have, and if something is unfair, or too expensive why then, we just shop elsewhere. Problem solved. Proof positive that we have nearly completed the deep dive into fascism when the lessons of the opacity and nearly invisible atrocity of the means of production are summarily dismissed and countered with “more choices and better shopping”.

Again and again, the narration descends into the robotic mantra of the far right, it's all about big government versus small government. Denying moneyed interests (be they labor unions or multi-nationals- I make no distinction) the right to buy elections must of course be associated with big government, in the sock puppet world of pay to blab. In what constellation is this true, yet this is a central component of the narrators’ argument. He goes on to introduce arguments that would reduce the discussion to suggest that Leonard is simply engaging in corporate bashing, and tries to position her points as claiming that corporations are against the people. No, they are not consciously against the people, they are for profits, it is not the same thing. However, if people get in the way of profits, who wins?

Overall, more tired attempts to conflate the argument of limiting moneyed interests in buying and influencing our constitutional republic(!) to totalitarianism.

Because don’t you know, if you ain’t fer us , yer against us.

 

Johnny Oxygen's picture
Johnny Oxygen
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Re: More progressive propaganda from Annie Leonard

I think its pretty clear what point Annie Leonard is making and mostly it is lucid and rational. However the same can't be said of the 'rebuttal' which is mostly hyperbole.

His argument hinges on the technicalities of Citizens United vs FEC which he accurately describes:

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 08-205 (2010), was a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court holding that corporate funding of independent political broadcasts in candidate elections cannot be limited—because of the First Amendment. The 5–4 decision, in favor of Citizens United, resulted from a dispute over whether the non-profit corporation Citizens United could air a film critical of Hillary Clinton, and whether the group could advertise the film in broadcast ads featuring Clinton's image, in apparent violation of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, commonly known as the McCain–Feingold Act.[2]

The decision reached the Supreme Court on appeal from a January 2008 decision by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The lower court decision upheld provisions of the McCain–Feingold Act which prevented the film Hillary: The Movie from being shown on television within 30 days of 2008 Democratic primaries.[1][3]

The Court struck down a provision of the McCain–Feingold Act that prohibited all corporations, both for-profit and not-for-profit, and unions from broadcasting “electioneering communications.”[2] An "electioneering communication" was defined in McCain–Feingold as a broadcast, cable, or satellite communication that mentioned a candidate within 60 days of a general election or thirty days of a primary.

The rest of his 'argument' really is evasive hyperbole. For instance:

She (Annie) is for larger government (scare tactic).

'Free Range Studios could be sued for being a corporation'. An evasive straw man argument meant to get you on his side but is in his own words is 'irrelevant'.

He puts words in her mouth with the critique: "1. Corporations always act against the people. 2. Everyone wants what Annie says".  Kind of childish.

"You want to have corproations rather than individuals to sue because they have the capital to pay off a winning law suit unlike individual share holders." C'mon that nonsense. Try suing Goldman Sachs.

IMO here is the point that Annie is making. Large corporations lobby the government with large sums of money to get what they want and that has proven to undermine true democracy. Oh...I forgot...a Republic. Another evasive argument that is technically correct but misses the main message.

Annie also brings the issue of Corporate Personhood which a completely valid concern:

As a matter of interpretation of the word "person" in the Fourteenth Amendment, U.S. courts have extended certain constitutional protections to corporations. Opponents of corporate personhood seek to amend the U.S. Constitution to limit these rights to those provided by state law and state constitutions.[3]

Others argue that corporations should have the protection of the U.S. Constitution, pointing out that they are organizations of people, and that these people shouldn't be deprived of their human rights when they join with others to act collectively.[4] In this view, treating corporations as "persons" is a convenient legal fiction that allows corporations to sue and to be sued, that provides a single entity for easier taxation and regulation, that simplified complex transactions that would otherwise involve, in the case of large corporations, thousands of people, and that protects the rights of the shareholders, including the right of association.

Some have argued in court that corporations should be allowed to refuse to hand over any incriminating documents due to the Fifth Amendment right given to people to not have to incriminate themselves; in one case "Appellants [suggested] that the use of the word "taxpayer" several times during the course of the regulations requires a construction that the fifth amendment self-incrimination warning be given to a corporation."[5] However the court did not agree in that 1975 case.

 He suggest that Annie just admit to corporation bashing. Fair enough. Perhaps he should admit to Ayn Rand Libertarianism.

I think her concerns hold more water than his dogma.

rhare's picture
rhare
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Republic vs. Democracy is the point!
Johny Oxygen wrote:

IMO here is the point that Annie is making. Large corporations lobby the government with large sums of money to get what they want and that has proven to undermine true democracy. Oh...I forgot...a Republic. Another evasive argument that is technically correct but misses the main message.

I don't believe it is an evasive argument and I believe republic versus democracy is the point. In a Republic, the individual is protected from the majority, in a democracy, mob rules, the majority can do anything to the individual.  Annie Leonard clearly espouses that as a good thing.  Note how many places in the video she points out how the majority should force the minority to their will.

Also, if the government did not have huge sums of money stolen from citizens to hand out to favored few, you would not have large  corporations vying for favored status.  The critique clearly points this out that the large corporations are the ones that desire more arduous legislation and regulation because it is a great barrier to entry for competitors and smaller businesses.

I think his critique was on the button in that the original video does not discuss the actual case, rather it is at best corporate bashing.  The only thing that gives me solace about the progressives is most of them are anti-gun, that way when they no longer have big government to steal for them, they will have a more difficult time directly stealing from those of us more libertarian/republic oriented. Wink

Johnny Oxygen's picture
Johnny Oxygen
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Re: Republic vs. Democracy is the point!

Also, if the government did not have huge sums of money stolen from citizens to hand out to favored few, you would not have large  corporations vying for favored status.

Whaa?

Who are the 'favored few'?

The critique clearly points this out that the large corporations are the ones that desire more arduous legislation and regulation because it is a great barrier to entry for competitors and smaller businesses.

Yeah. Those poor corporations. They are treated so unfairly. Why won't anyone listen to their appeals to have more regulations and legislation heaped upon them? Give me a break.

 

DaytonMegan's picture
DaytonMegan
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THANK YOU.  

THANK YOU.

 

rhare's picture
rhare
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Small businesses hurt by regulation
JohnnyOxygen wrote:

Who are the 'favored few'?

Haliburton, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, JPM, GE, ...

JohnnyOxygen wrote:

Yeah. Those poor corporations. They are treated so unfairly. Why won't anyone listen to their appeals to have more regulations and legislation heaped upon them? Give me a break.

Many of us small business owners are being put out of business because of all those regulations.  Just look at some of the latest things going on in the name of food safety that are killing CSA and small farmers.  If you want only Monsantos and Walmarts left in the world just keep pushing for bigger government and more regulation against all those evil corporations.  Just keep in mind many of those small corporations that you consider so evil are your neighbors and members of this community, including CM.

JohnnyOxygen wrote:

Why won't anyone listen to their appeals to have more regulations and legislation heaped upon them? Give me a break.

So are you being sarcastic about not being more regulation or not having a detrimental impact?

Just to address both, federal regulation (not even counting state or local):

[quote=Ludwig Von Mises Institute]

The bad news is that the CFR indicates that federal regulation has increased every year since 1938, with the exception of 1985 and for three years shortly after the 1994 Congress forced President Clinton to cut regulations and restrain spending.

 

 

darbikrash's picture
darbikrash
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rhare wrote:   The annual
rhare wrote:

 

The annual cost of federal regulations in the United States increased to more than $1.75 trillion in 2008. Had every U.S. household paid an equal share of the federal regulatory burden, each would have owed $15,586 in 2008. By comparison, the federal regulatory burden exceeds by 50 percent private spending on health care, which equaled $10,500 per household in 2008. While all citizens and businesses pay some portion of these costs, the distribution of the burden of regulations is quite uneven. The portion of regulatory costs that falls initially on businesses was $8,086 per employee in 2008. Small businesses, defined as firms employing fewer than 20 employees, bear the largest burden of federal regulations. As of 2008, small businesses face an annual regulatory cost of $10,585 per employee, which is 36 percent higher than the regulatory cost facing large firms (defined as firms with 500 or more employees).

And here we go, off to the races…..

While it’s undeniable that small businesses have much more difficulty absorbing regulatory overhang that do large businesses, making this argument just reinforces that moneyed interests make the rules, and deregulation would exacerbate the dramatically unlevel playing field.

Obviously.

If you dig into those amortized burn figures, you’ll find everything including the kitchen sink in there, one of the more notable ones commonly quoted includes the entire Department of Homeland Security budget as an absorbed regulatory cost to small business.

What’s even better, is when conservatives extend these specious claims to justify how corporations simply must move labor offshore to avoid these ‘job sucking” regulations and “uncertain” investment climates. Ha, ha.

Yes, regulatory overhead has increased annually since 1938, last time I checked there were not a whole lot of airliners whizzing overhead at 600 mph carrying hundreds of passengers, nor where there nuclear reactors scattered over the coasts in 1938. But of course let’s just present this as an abomination among men, the fact that society has increased in complexity should not prevent us from rallying round the smoking hulk of Fukushima and lamenting government regulations ‘cause the corporations will take great care of us.

But don’t mind me, I am admittedly a little miffed that Rhare scooped me on the Annie Leonard rebuttal. Knowing full well there would be a rebuttal I searched high and low for it, but could find nothing. Oh welI, I figure they slipped in with his paycheck. Laughing

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