Supreme Court on campaign finance

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jpitre's picture
jpitre
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Supreme Court on campaign finance

Head for the hills !

Looks like the corporatocracy  just took over totally -- or do I misread the impact of this ruling?

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/01/21/supreme-court-sides-hillary-m...

I find it inconceivable that corporations are now legally able to use their financial muscle without restriction to influence the outcome of elections. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the main opinion, which reads in part that there is "no basis for allowing the government to limit corporate independent expenditures." Add this tio their unlimited ability to spend money on lobbying and it seems the noose tightens.

Jim

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Re: Supreme Court on campaign finance

Could be just my paranoia, but it seems to me that "they" are closing in on us. The news (MSM) have been given over to corporate control and have given up on real reporting for the most part -- now add unlimited corporate funding in support of candidates and/or issues and it seems one of the last coffin nails has been hammered in our democratic system.

Jim

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Re: Supreme Court on campaign finance

This all goes back to Buckley v. Vallejo, I believe in 1976, in which the SC equated money with speech, making campaign money a free speech issue.  IMHO it was the worst SC decision of the 20th century.  It is the source of endless mischief, and this just adds one more layer of protection for corporate control of our gov't bodies.  It will endlessly be supported by the right wing of the SC.

It's sickening.

Doug

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Re: Supreme Court on campaign finance

WOW!  Life just became more surreal.  Soon we will have corporations running for office.  Just skip the middleman politicians. 

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Re: Supreme Court on campaign finance

Jim, THANKS for this info.

WOAH! I'm so creeped out right now.

Supreme Court Removes Limits on Corporate, Labor Donations to Campaigns
FOXNews.com

quote: “Money has already corroded the discussion before Congress,” he said. “It'll open Pandora's Box.” 

I'm sharing this with everyone I know.
Corporations have long ago been granted individual rights based on their collective agenda(make more profit)…and now Corporations are granted a coercive political voice

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Lemonyellowschwin
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Re: Supreme Court on campaign finance

The real problem is that corporations are legally "persons" with all the same rights under the Constitution as individual citizens.  Think about that for a minute.  Do you think the framers of the Bill of Rights meant that?  Impossible, at least as it applies to free speech.  Corporations were then extremely rare, essentially special legislative creations in particular instances versus the situation now where anyone can incorporate for a few hundred bucks and expose others to unlimited risk with little individual exposure to liability.  Corporations are NOT people, but they are treated as such under the law.

The corporate form was promoted and expanded in the 1800s as a way to encourage massive economic expansion (think railroads) and  limit individual exposure to liability.  The corporate form has since morphed into some weird thing where making money is the only object and individual accountability is largely non-existent.  They are total artifices.

In "The Terminator" artificial machines took over the world and crushed the humans.  In 2010 corporations are in the process of doing the same thing.

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Re: Supreme Court on campaign finance

I heard this news with great sadness.  Fascism (in the classic sense:  government & corporations joined at the hip to rule) is here.  

Keep on prepping, folks.

Viva -- Sager

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Re: Supreme Court on campaign finance

Actually, a corporations "rights" are not constitutional or statutory.  They are based on court rulings and legal precidents.  If a state or county wants to reign in corporations, they have the legal right to do so and some have.  What happens is the corporation will pressure the local body not to pass such laws.  They'll use every trick at their disposal.  However, once the new regulations or laws come into effect, they trump legal precidents with the force of law.  The courts must put the law first.  If it passes constitutional muster, the corporation must toe the line.  Notice how the decision was worded.  The government cannot interfere because it has no compelling interest or some such.  Pass a law that limits corporate power and the situation is quite different.

A similar case is Roe v. Wade.  The courts ruled that the government has no compelling interest to invade a woman's private relationship with her doctor.  It left it up to the states to determine how abortion would be regulated.  Now we see a national landscape where abortion is increasingly difficult to obtain without being strictly illegal.  Yes, abortion is legal, but you have to jump through all these hoops to get one.  Same with a corporation.  You can't outlaw an entity chartered by the state, but you can require certain bahaviors of it by law.  Typically, when a corporation is bound by local law, the prefer to pack up and leave.  This makes the locality "unfriendly" to corporate pillage.  Other corporations will take notice.  Some will stay away.  Others who see an niche market opening will take the opportunity.  The local law can create a protected market, granted at lower profits, but profitable still.

Corporations can be controlled.  It's just a matter of knowing how.

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Re: Supreme Court on campaign finance
DurangoKid wrote:

Actually, a corporations "rights" are not constitutional or statutory. 

Wrong.  They are both.  They are statutory in that the state determines the rules under which a corporation can form itself and dissolve itself.  They are constitutional in that, once provided with statutory "personhood," a corporation has certain rights under the Constitution.  Legal precedent merely purports to be an interpretation of statutory and constitutional rights.  The state can still impinge on certain constitutional rights if it has a sufficiently compelling interest; the question is how compelling the interest must be given the stakes.  The classic example, of course, is that the right of free speech does not give one the right to yell "Fire!" in a crowded theatre.

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Re: Supreme Court on campaign finance

My reaction to this ruling is similar to those posted here.

Interestingly, some of the early posts on some of the libertarian political sites has been favorable, citing freedom of speech for corporations (I don't think that applies here, but whatever) to hoping for larger donations for libertarian-minded candidates like Ron Paul. In contrast, my reaction was that this ruling would seem to increase the corporatist influence in our government and economy.

We CM followers see things differently than many, which is not a surprise!

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Re: Supreme Court on campaign finance
Quote:

Siding with filmmakers of "Hillary: The Movie," who were challenged by the Federal Election Commission on their sources of cash to pay for the film, the court overturned a 20-year-old ruling that banned corporate and labor money. The decision threatens similar limits imposed by 24 states.

I'm a bit confused. I thought that corporations already were allowed to contribute to campaigns? Not to pick on him specifically, but see our current president's donor list.

Quote:

The state can still impinge on certain constitutional rights if it has a sufficiently compelling interest; the question is how compelling the interest must be given the stakes.  The classic example, of course, is that the right of free speech does not give one the right to yell "Fire!" in a crowded theatre.

Exactly! 

What if the limit for corporations is set to the individual amounts, which I believe is $4,800, then I doubt Government Sachs could buy out an elected official anymore. That would take care of the free speech issue of a corporation, while still allowing them to contribute to a campaign, albeit, in a very limited fashion.

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Re: Supreme Court on campaign finance

I find this ruling horrifying.  I heard some one call in to NPR saying how thrilled they were to hear that corporations were finally going to be able to "defend themselves" against government that wanted to do them harm.  

I was speechless.  And this law will make me and others speechless.  Freedom of speech may give us and corporations the same ability to speak,  but speech is not free and they can buy alot more of it than I can.  The oligarchy has taken a huge step forward today.  

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Re: Supreme Court on campaign finance

It was mentioned on the radio that if Exxon uses just 2% of its profit last year it will out-spend both 2008 presidential candidates combined.  It's hard to believe a candidate won't pander to companies like Exxon to get that money behind his/her campaign.

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Re: Supreme Court on campaign finance

Every time I go through UVA or pass Monticello I wonder what Jefferson would think if he came back. Now that would be a good book!

 

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Re: Supreme Court on campaign finance

I also agree with what others have already said on this thread: I was sickened when I heard this.  It does seem surreal. 

Somebody pointed to an article on the CM site that I was reading earlier today, that spoke of ours being a "cosmetic democracy".  Boy, is that ever ringing true right now.  I think the SC said to hell with the make-up today.

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Re: Supreme Court on campaign finance

So everybody here supported McCain Fingold?  That is surprising to me.

I personally thought that restricting advertisements when nearing an election is a bad thing.  This is especially true when there are ways of getting around this (like the rich spending unlimited quantities their own money).  I am not fond of corporations spending money on elections but what is the alternative?  Why should the NRA, a pro/anti abortion, or a pro/anti gay marriage group's speech be resticted?  I just don't get it.  I would prefer freedom with manditory instantaneous disclosure over restrictions on speech.

I wish this was not the case and that we truly lived in a country with a limited government, but as long as the politicians are deciding winners and loosers in the economy, you are crazy if you think you are ever going to get money out of politics.

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Re: Supreme Court on campaign finance

Here's some more reaction and food for thought...

"Kill A Company, Face Murder Charges: The Fair Consequences of Corporate Personhood"

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rob-warmowski/corporate-murder-charges_b_432633.html

Here's an excerpt:

Already deeply corrupted at every level by influence of private interests, with this decision, the entire political and electoral communications process will be placed directly in the manicured hands of big business. The millions of corporate dollars that once stood between you and your government will be fondly remembered after they are replaced by billions of corporate dollars.

Yet, as one door closes, another opens.

Now that the personhood of corporations has been sustained, expanded and leveraged by Supreme Court right-wing activists, what are other ramifications of the substantiating the notion of corporate personhood?

Shouldn't it follow that when a corporation is bankrupted -- killed -- that its management could be found guilty of the capital crime of murder?

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Re: Supreme Court on campaign finance

Pinecarr, I have made this argument for years:  if corporations are granted the rights of personhood they should be granted the consequences of personhood.  Not only should the management be found guilty of murder if they destroy the firm,  but the firm itself could be found criminally guilty of murder,  not just culpable in civil court.  This could return stock to its original intent - those who own stock are part owners of the company and responsible for its actions.  There would be no such thing as "innocent stockholders".     Radical, I know but imagine the alteration of the business paradigm if there was responsibility attached to ownership?

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Re: Supreme Court on campaign finance

Pinecarr and OOO

My mind was running along the same lines.  If a corporation is an individual, shouldn't it be subject to the same limitations that an individual is?  Or, did this decision throw out these limitations also?

http://www.fec.gov/pages/brochures/contriblimits.shtml

Contribution Limits 2009-10

 

  To each candidate or candidate committee per election To national party committee per calendar year To state, district & local party committee per calendar year To any other political committee per calendar year[1] Special Limits
Individual
may give
$2,400* $30,400* $10,000
(combined limit)
$5,000

$115,500* overall biennial limit:

  • $45,600* to all candidates
  • $69,900* to all PACs and parties[2]

 

Doug

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Re: Supreme Court on campaign finance

This is among the worst SC decisions of all time and shames the so-called "high court" for eternity.  In the future scholars will shread this decision and this court marveling at how anyone could get something so basic so wrong.

Of course, I never forgave them and started referring to the gang of nine as the subpreme court (get it, get it?) after their inexcusable interference in the 2000 election.

Since then I have increasingly despised everything they do and stand for as the work of mental midgets who hold unfortunate positions of huge power.  They apparently do not understand what this country is about or what makes (made?) it great.

So I just sighed when I read about yet another disastrous subpreme court decision taking it as another sign that my country has a future date with some unfortunate consequences.

On the plus side, I am wondering that since now corporations are people if this doesn't imply transitively that I am a corporation.  I am certain that my tax returns could benefit greatly from the many perks and giveaways available to corporations.

Plus corporations cannot be tossed in jail so I expect many trial lawyers will also try to make the creative association for their clients.  Think of all the legal work over the years as the subpreme court tries to codify the distinction that corporations are persons but persons are not corporations.

This attempt at legal hair splitting violates all sorts of constitutional provisions and is just a complete mess.

Whatta bunch of maroons!

 

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Re: Supreme Court on campaign finance
Doug wrote:

Pinecarr and OOO

My mind was running along the same lines.  If a corporation is an individual, shouldn't it be subject to the same limitations that an individual is?  Or, did this decision throw out these limitations also?

Doug,

My understanding is that the direct contribution limits still apply but there are now no limits to what they can do on their own.  So if Exxon wants to spend a billion dollars producing campaign commercials for or against any given candidate they are now free to do so.

Of course the way politics works they won't really have to do this.  They'll just sidle up to a candidate and explain that they might spend a billion skewering them unless they are willing to vote a particular way.

The only positive thing I can find here is that at least the bribes and threats that corporations already apply to our political system will (possibly) be slightly more out in the open.

In a few years we might even see our first congressional candidates decked out in racing overalls festooned with corporate logos which would at least make it easier to figure out who to vote for.  Are you more of a Wal-Mart person or do you prefer the gal with the Target bullseye shoulder patch?

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Re: Supreme Court on campaign finance

The worst part of this was listening to Newt Gingrich gloating during an NPR interview that this new ruling would benefit the middle class, and finally, yes finally, the middle class could get the representation they deserved no doubt due to forthcoming corporate largesse.

Listening to this guy wrap himself in the flag and proclaim that America has been liberated as result of this ruling was entirely too much. I don’t know which is worse, to make such a patently ridiculous proclamation, or to realize that people actually listen and believe.

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Re: Supreme Court on campaign finance
darbikrash wrote:

The worst part of this was listening to Newt Gingrich gloating during an NPR interview that this new ruling would benefit the middle class, and finally, yes finally, the middle class could get the representation they deserved no doubt due to forthcoming corporate largesse.

Listening to this guy wrap himself in the flag and proclaim that America has been liberated as result of this ruling was entirely too much. I don’t know which is worse, to make such a patently ridiculous proclamation, or to realize that people actually listen and believe.

...the whole 'listen and believe' thing is what I'm having a hard time accepting.  But the evidence is all around...

 

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Re: Supreme Court on campaign finance

I agree with Rep. Grayson: "Fight now or ‘kiss your country goodbye"..."Inaction will create 'Congressman from Wal-Mart."  - complete article link

"If we do nothing then I think you can kiss your country goodbye," Grayson told Raw Story in an interview just hours after the decision was announced.  "You won't have any more senators from Kansas or Oregon, you'll have senators from Cheekies and Exxon. Maybe we'll have to wear corporate logos like Nascar drivers."

Grayson said the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling -- which removes decades of campaign spending limits on corporations -- "opens the floodgates for the purchases and sale of the law."

"It allows corporations to spend all the money they want to buy and sell elected officials through the campaign process," he said. "It allows them to reward political sellouts, and it allows them to punish elected officials who actually try to do what's right for the people."

Fearing this decision before it became official, Grayson last week filed five campaign finance bills and a sixth one on Thursday. Grayson said the bills are important to securing the people's "right to clean government."

The bills have names like the Business Should Mind Its Own Business Act and the Corporate Propaganda Sunshine Act. The first slaps a 500 percent excise tax on corporate spending on elections, and the second mandates businesses to disclose their attempts to influence elections. More details are available on the congressman's Web site.

"The bills are short and readable, which frankly is pretty unusual these days," he said. "The longest one is four pages long and there are six of them."  Grayson has created the Web site SaveDemocracy.net to gather petitions in support of his bills. On Friday at 8:30 AM EST there were nearly 40,000 signatories.

Grayson even likened the ruling to the 1857 pro-slavery Dred Scott case, arguing the two are "bad for pretty much the same reasons.  We now today have a Supreme Court decision that essentially says only corporations have Constitutional rights," he said. "The rights of the rest of us to clean government is somehow overlooked by the Founders, according to this Supreme Court.  The decision supports "this bizarre conception that the Constitution is for the benefit of the powerful, and nobody else," he added.

While it may be argued that corporations enjoy the constitutional freedom to give away what they want and to who they want; I don't see how it can be considered legal for politicians to accept what are essentially bribes.  If nothing else, this will increase conflicts of interest.

Larry

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Re: Supreme Court on campaign finance

Unfortunately, Sager, I heard NPR advertisements last fall for their Marketwatch program that were by Monsanto claiming to be the sustainable agriculture organization for this century (I paraphrase...). I stopped supporting NPR on that note--first time in 20 some-odd years i have not contributed to at least two stations...but apparently there was no great outcry from NPR listeners.

What was it Marshalll McLuhan said way back when? "The medium is the massage" ?????  Now our immortal corporations with very deep pockets will be able to massage the media with more resources that most of us can bring to bear...and someone must be believing or they would not invest $$ in that manner.

ciao and meow!

juli

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Re: Supreme Court on campaign finance

Here's a video commentary by Warren Pollock on the Supreme Court ruling....

http://inpoints.blogspot.com/2010/01/fear-itself-blocking-symbols-center-of.html

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