We-The-Corporations

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The Cat
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We-The-Corporations

Post by The Cat »

In the USA, you can forget about enlightened democracy based on We-The-People.
From now on it'll be We-The-Corporations, no matter if they are foreign or not!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jim-walli ... 33041.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Yesterday's Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance law will give a huge boost to the special interests that already exercise a stranglehold on our political system, allowing them to tighten their grip and further prevent any meaningful change. Dismissing the practice of the last century and overturning two major precedents, the Court ruled 5-4 that corporations have the same First Amendment rights as persons, and that those rights include spending corporate funds to influence elections.

In the past, corporations have been permitted to spend their funds to run "issue" ads in relation to campaigns but those ads could not explicitly support or oppose individual candidates. Yesterday's ruling threw that precedent out the window. Corporations can now directly intervene in campaigns with candidate-specific ads. The only requirement remaining is that they be "independent expenditures," not coordinated with a campaign. But that is a requirement more of form than substance. In the closing days of an election campaign, the ad buys of a candidate are easily available, and even without any direct coordination, independent spending can support or complement what the candidate is doing.

The logical outcome of this decision is that there will be a new torrent of money into the electoral process. Corporations are now free to directly support candidates who support their interests, and oppose those who do not. Big banks can now target seats on the banking committees, insurance companies those on committees dealing with health care issues, and defense contractors the armed services committees.

Last year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, commercial banks spent 37 million dollars on Washington lobbyists to intercede in the democratic process, swaying lawmakers and protecting their narrow interests of bank bailouts and million dollar bonuses. Now, they can spend millions more on elections, targeting lawmakers who don't toe their line. Poor and working Americans will be further marginalized in their nation's capital.

Justice John Paul Stevens (joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor) concluded his strong dissent by saying:

At bottom, the Court's opinion is thus a rejection of the common sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self-government since the founding, and who have fought against the distinctive corrupting potential of corporate electioneering since the days of Theodore Roosevelt. It is a strange time to repudiate that common sense. While American democracy is imperfect, few outside the majority of this Court would have thought its flaws included a dearth of corporate money in politics.

Indeed. At a time when financial reform is at the forefront of people's concerns, giving big banks and corporations a green light to even further influence our political process is an outrage and an assault to democracy.
Benito Mussolini:
''Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power''.
Authority has the same etymological root as authenticity.

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Re: We-The-Corporations

Post by piggy »

...

The state IS already a corporate power Pussy!

Even in your beloved marxist, socialist states...... so what's new pussy-cat?

What do you call a news anchor or any other medias presenter who is directed/influenced/censored by his boss?

Freedom of speech is a right, not a privilege.

Balanced and unbiased media reporting is essential.




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Re: We-The-Corporations

Post by IoshkaFutz »

Ciao Piggy,

Corporations aren't people. Their job, their sole purpose is to make profit, not to create a liveable society. What they lobby for or against... who they support or deny support to is not in any way philosophical, spiritual, social, cultural... It's the bottom line.

The bottom line is very important in the grand scheme of things, but so too are higher motives.

Frankly I see a difference between IoshkaFutz and Coca Cola incorporated. They are different not only in degree, but in kind... and so I don't see why they should be considered the same.

Key numbers for fiscal year ending December, 2008:
Sales: $31,944.0M (32 billions)
One year growth: 10.7%
Net income: $5,807.0M
Income growth: (2.9%)

That's more (and helluva lot more) than many nations. That's a lot of persuasive power, a lot of control. How and why is Coca Cola a person? The soft drink was introduced in 1886... making it about 124 years old. Unlike most human beings - well - it's still alive and miraculously very strong for its age! I have a double passport, (almost an exception) Coca Cola has one for every country in the world, including places to which US citizens are not allowed to travel.

Coca Cola is not a person in the sense intended by the founding fathers in the declaration of independence. I can't buy out other people... that would be slavery. Coca Cola can't make kids, doesn't go through labor pains (of the human kind), doesn't suffer arthritis.

It's an entity, and should enjoy plenty of rights, but should not ever be confused with a human person.
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Dietrich Bonhoeffer - German Lutheran Pastor and Theologian. His involvement in a plot to overthrow Adolf Hitler led to his imprisonment and execution. 1906-1945

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Re: We-The-Corporations

Post by piggy »

.

Steven, I was not suggesting that a corporation is a person.

Pussy is suggesting we should beware or fearful of what could happen, but he apparently ignores the fact that it already IS happening.

For the loony-tune, utopian-dream socialists it's 'We the Media' & 'We the ACORN' & 'We the Academics Who Brain-Wash Your Kids' ' We the Labor Unions' Etc, Etc

Now it seems with this recent judicial decision it have some semblance of balance.

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Re: We-The-Corporations

Post by IoshkaFutz »

Okay, then each congressman should be required to wear those Formula One racing suits which prominently display the names of the corporate sponsors. So a typical congressperson might have Hershey Chocolate on his chest and Exxon on his ass, and Big Pharma running down his thighs and a slew of big banks running up and down his arms.

At this point each politician should be required to begin and end each speech with the statement “This message is brought to you by ...” and then list the names of his top contributors. And then why not tag each bill they pass with the logos of its corporate sponsors?

We might as well dispense with the fictions of “liberal” and “conservative” and go directly to the real issues.

The new ruling allows corporate executives to use the company treasury, money rightly belonging to investors (and workers), to influence political contests. Since corporate executives command resources measured in the trillions of dollars, this means that there will be an inexhaustible source of funds with which to command the political powers.

But wait a minute! That money is supposed to be invested to increase the profits of the corporation. Right?

Of course, and that's exactly what it will do... but in the name of democracy. If anyone thinks that his vote will still mean something when the political "caste" has such sponsors, he's dreaming.

This is plutocracy. At a stroke, the court has undone 100 years of legislation and judicial precedent. This is not evolution, but revolution... and it slid by rather quietly over a dumbed down public, when the effects will be huge.
“The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children.”
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Re: We-The-Corporations

Post by The Cat »

Once, in a rural county in South America, there was an election which coincided with a Coca-Cola advertisement:
''Vote for Coca-Cola''. Well it happened that Coke won! That's about what's going to happen in the USA from now on!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-we ... 32079.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
No one thought the issue of corporations' purported right to spend money to influence election outcomes was at stake in this case until the Supreme Court so decreed. The case had been argued in lower courts, and was originally argued before the Supreme Court, on narrow grounds related to the application of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law.

The court has invented the idea that corporations have First Amendment rights to influence election outcomes out of whole cloth. There is surely no precedent to support this outcome, since the court only created the rights in recent decades. Nor can the outcome be justified in light of the underlying purpose and spirit of the First Amendment. Corporations are state-created entities, not real people. They do not have expressive interests like humans; and, unlike humans, they are uniquely motivated by a singular focus on their economic bottom line. Corporate spending on elections defeats rather than advances the democratic thrust of the First Amendment. We, the People, cannot allow this decision to go unchallenged. We, the People, cannot allow corporations to take control of our democracy.
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Re: We-The-Corporations

Post by Mindstorm »

A different view.
Obama, NYT wail over Supreme Court decision on free speech

by Ed Morrissey
A couple of hilarious points of hypocrisy erupted this week in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down limits on contributions and advertising during political campaigns, especially those applicable to “corporations.” The most hypocritical came from Barack Obama himself, who angrily pledged in a statement and his weekly radio address to counter this decision through legislation:
We’ve been making steady progress. But this week, the United States Supreme Court handed a huge victory to the special interests and their lobbyists – and a powerful blow to our efforts to rein in corporate influence. This ruling strikes at our democracy itself. By a 5-4 vote, the court overturned more than a century of law – including a bipartisan campaign finance law written by Sens. John McCain and Russ Feingold that had barred corporations from using their financial clout to directly interfere with elections by running advertisements for or against candidates in the crucial closing weeks.

This ruling opens the floodgates for an unlimited amount of special interest money into our democracy. It gives the special interest lobbyists new leverage to spend millions on advertising to persuade elected officials to vote their way – or to punish those who don’t. That means that any public servant who has the courage to stand up to the special interests and stand up for the American people can find himself or herself under assault come election time. Even foreign corporations may now get into the act.

I can’t think of anything more devastating to the public interest. The last thing we need to do is hand more influence to the lobbyists in Washington, or more power to the special interests to tip the outcome of elections.
It’s worth pointing out that Barack Obama had an opportunity to limit that influence in the 2008 election simply by remaining in the public matching fund program that every major Presidential candidate had used since Watergate. In fact, Obama himself pledged to do just that in 2007 and again in early 2008, but changed his mind in June when he discovered that he could raise a lot more money than his opponent — by currying favor with Wall Street and the unions, as well as ethanol companies and a host of corporate-sponsored, lobbyist-run PACs. Obama raised over $600 million in 2008 for his eventual victory.

Now he wants to limit the power of politicians to raise that kind of money, which is mighty convenient for incumbents such as himself — and his Democratic allies on Capitol Hill.

Oh, and those lobbyists in Washington were doing quite well before the decision on Citizens United v FEC, certainly better than the country as a whole. The power of lobbyists come from the expansion of government. Campaign contributions from lobbyists exist only because expanded government gives lobbyists more cash to donate.

Meanwhile, the New York Times Corporation complained about being returned to the 19th-century robber baron environment:
With a single, disastrous 5-to-4 ruling, the Supreme Court has thrust politics back to the robber-baron era of the 19th century. Disingenuously waving the flag of the First Amendment, the court’s conservative majority has paved the way for corporations to use their vast treasuries to overwhelm elections and intimidate elected officials into doing their bidding. …

As a result of Thursday’s ruling, corporations have been unleashed from the longstanding ban against their spending directly on political campaigns and will be free to spend as much money as they want to elect and defeat candidates. If a member of Congress tries to stand up to a wealthy special interest, its lobbyists can credibly threaten: We’ll spend whatever it takes to defeat you.
As opposed to what — corporations buying newspapers and endorsing political candidates in the final days before an election? Corporations buying newspapers and printing last-minute attacks against their political bêtes noirs? The ban on corporations was always very selectively enforced, because newspapers managed to lobby for and receive an exemption for newspapers and other media outlets. But they’re also corporations, which should have come under the same restrictions — and as the Court pointed out in its questioning during oral arguments, any printed or broadcast message that explicitly said “Vote for Candidate X” or “Don’t vote for Candidate Y” would have run afoul of the law, including books released in the final days of an election.

Besides, we’ve had these laws since Watergate (not since the 19th century, as the Gray Lady shrieks). Has corporate money evaporated from the political process? Absolutely not. It has simply gotten funneled into arcane and confusing legal entities and types: soft money, hard money, 501(c)3s, 527s, PACs, etc. It hasn’t disappeared; it just has become much harder to trace. Obama didn’t skip the matching-fund program because he thought he could raise $600 million from $20 campaign contributions.

And what about influence? Well, those same laws restricted unions, which can also now spend its money in the open. Did that mean that unions had diminished influence before this week? Er, no. The week before this decision, union leaders attended backr0om-deal meetings on ObamaCare, demanding (and getting) a five-year exemption on the “Cadillac tax” on health-plan benefits. That would have saved them $90 billion over ten years, far more than what they’ve spent in the previous decade to buy their way into the halls of power.

The Supreme Court just leveled the playing field, and Democrats don’t like it one bit.

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Re: We-The-Corporations

Post by Mindstorm »

From the The Volokh Conspiracy. Also some interesting comments at the site where the author responds to some of the posters queries.

As usual - lots of embedded links at site.
Should People Acting through Corporations be Denied Constitutional Rights Because Corporations are “State-Created Entities”?

Ilya Somin • January 22, 2010 4:52 pm
One of the standard arguments put forward by critics of the Supreme Court’s decision protecting corporate political speech in Citizens United is that people aren’t entitled to constitutional rights when they use corporate resources because corporations are “state-created entities.” If the state can create an entity, it supposedly also has the power to define its rights any way it pleases. This is slightly different from the argument that people using corporate resources don’t deserve constitutional protection because corporations aren’t “real people.” But it has many of the same weaknesses, and some additional ones as well.

I. Media Corporations are “State-Created Entities” Too.

The first problem is that, like the “real people” argument, it applies to media corporations as well. On this view, the government would be free to censor the New York Times, Fox News, the Nation, National Review, and so on. Nearly every newspaper and political journal in the country is a corporation. If the Supreme Court accepted this view, it would have to overturn decisions like New York Times v. Sullivan and the Pentagon Papers case.

II. The Impact on Other Constitutional Rights.

A second issue is that this logic applies not only to corporate free speech rights, but to all other constitutional rights exercised through the use of corporate resources. If people using state-created entities don’t have free speech rights, they don’t have any other constitutional rights either. After all, the supposed power to define the rights of state-created entities isn’t limited to free speech rights. Thus, government would not be bound by the Fourth Amendment in searching corporate property (including employee offices). It could take corporate property for private use without paying compensation because the Fifth Amendment would no longer apply. It could forbid religious services on corporate property (including that owned by churches, most of which are after all nonprofit corporations). If the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment doesn’t apply to corporate property, neither does the Free Exercise Clause. And so on.

III. Nearly Everyone and Everything is Probably a “State-Created Entity.”

Third, it’s important to consider what is meant by “state-created entity.” If the term refers only to institutions that literally would not exist absent state authorization, it does not accurately characterize many, perhaps most corporations. If the federal government passed a statute abolishing corporate status tomorrow, most actual corporations would still exist and still continue to engage in the same business or nonprofit activities. They just would do so under different and perhaps less efficient legal rules (maybe as LLCs, partnerships, or sole proprietorships). But they wouldn’t all just collapse or go away. There would still be a demand for most of the products produced by corporations.

If “state-created entity” doesn’t refer to the mere existence of organizations currently defined as corporations but to the particular bundle of legal rights currently attached to the corporate form, then it turns out that virtually all other organizations are state-created entities as well. Universities, schools, charities, churches, political parties, partnerships, sole proprietorships, and many other private organizations all have official definitions under state and federal law. And all have special government-created privileges and obligations that don’t apply to other types of organizations.

Even individual citizens might be considered “state-created” entities under this logic. After all, the status of “citizen” is a government-created legal entitlement that carries various rights and privileges, many of which the government could alter by legislation, just as it can with those of corporations (e.g. — the right to receive Social Security benefits, which the Supreme Court has ruled can be altered by legislation any time Congress wants). In that sense, “citizens” are no less “state-created” entities than corporations are.

So government could enact laws requiring citizens to limit their political speech in exactly the same ways in which corporate speech can be limited (or at least condition their continued status as citizens on obedience to the government’s censorship rules). It’s true, of course, that the physical person who has the legal status of “citizen” would still exist even if that status did not. But the physical property and other assets of the legal entities known as corporations would also continue to exist if corporate status were abolished. Indeed, as noted above, many of the entities themselves would also continue to exist under different legal forms. Perhaps you want to argue that native-born citizens aren’t “state-created” entities because the Constitution requires that they be granted citizenship at birth. If so, naturalized citizens are still “state-created” since Congress has the discretion to decide which if any foreigners will get citizenship rights.

more ...

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Re: We-The-Corporations

Post by piggy »

On a side note Pussy ...........

Note the part (I have high-lighted) which, in this matter, you obviously agree.

Now how come you fail to be consistent when it comes to 'we the people' challenging Obama's eligibility, especially in light of his own admission that he was born a British subject?
The Cat wrote: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-we ... 32079.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
No one thought the issue of corporations' purported right to spend money to influence election outcomes was at stake in this case until the Supreme Court so decreed. The case had been argued in lower courts, and was originally argued before the Supreme Court, on narrow grounds related to the application of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law.

The court has invented the idea that corporations have First Amendment rights to influence election outcomes out of whole cloth. There is surely no precedent to support this outcome, since the court only created the rights in recent decades. Nor can the outcome be justified in light of the underlying purpose and spirit of the First Amendment.(Article II)Corporations are state-created entities, not real people. They do not have expressive interests like humans; and, unlike humans, they are uniquely motivated by a singular focus on their economic bottom line. Corporate spending on elections defeats rather than advances the democratic thrust of the First Amendment. We, the People, cannot allow this decision to go unchallenged. We, the People, cannot allow corporations to take control of our democracy.
Please continue Puss.... you are funny.

P.S. my apologies to the other posters here for the interruption.

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Last edited by piggy on Sun Jan 24, 2010 2:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: We-The-Corporations

Post by piggy »

.

This bit (compliments of Mindstorm) says it all ...........

"The Supreme Court just leveled the playing field, and Democrats don’t like it one bit"

Spoiler! :
Mindstorm wrote:A different view.
Obama, NYT wail over Supreme Court decision on free speech

by Ed Morrissey
A couple of hilarious points of hypocrisy erupted this week in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down limits on contributions and advertising during political campaigns, especially those applicable to “corporations.” The most hypocritical came from Barack Obama himself, who angrily pledged in a statement and his weekly radio address to counter this decision through legislation:
We’ve been making steady progress. But this week, the United States Supreme Court handed a huge victory to the special interests and their lobbyists – and a powerful blow to our efforts to rein in corporate influence. This ruling strikes at our democracy itself. By a 5-4 vote, the court overturned more than a century of law – including a bipartisan campaign finance law written by Sens. John McCain and Russ Feingold that had barred corporations from using their financial clout to directly interfere with elections by running advertisements for or against candidates in the crucial closing weeks.

This ruling opens the floodgates for an unlimited amount of special interest money into our democracy. It gives the special interest lobbyists new leverage to spend millions on advertising to persuade elected officials to vote their way – or to punish those who don’t. That means that any public servant who has the courage to stand up to the special interests and stand up for the American people can find himself or herself under assault come election time. Even foreign corporations may now get into the act.

I can’t think of anything more devastating to the public interest. The last thing we need to do is hand more influence to the lobbyists in Washington, or more power to the special interests to tip the outcome of elections.
It’s worth pointing out that Barack Obama had an opportunity to limit that influence in the 2008 election simply by remaining in the public matching fund program that every major Presidential candidate had used since Watergate. In fact, Obama himself pledged to do just that in 2007 and again in early 2008, but changed his mind in June when he discovered that he could raise a lot more money than his opponent — by currying favor with Wall Street and the unions, as well as ethanol companies and a host of corporate-sponsored, lobbyist-run PACs. Obama raised over $600 million in 2008 for his eventual victory.

Now he wants to limit the power of politicians to raise that kind of money, which is mighty convenient for incumbents such as himself — and his Democratic allies on Capitol Hill.

Oh, and those lobbyists in Washington were doing quite well before the decision on Citizens United v FEC, certainly better than the country as a whole. The power of lobbyists come from the expansion of government. Campaign contributions from lobbyists exist only because expanded government gives lobbyists more cash to donate.

Meanwhile, the New York Times Corporation complained about being returned to the 19th-century robber baron environment:
With a single, disastrous 5-to-4 ruling, the Supreme Court has thrust politics back to the robber-baron era of the 19th century. Disingenuously waving the flag of the First Amendment, the court’s conservative majority has paved the way for corporations to use their vast treasuries to overwhelm elections and intimidate elected officials into doing their bidding. …

As a result of Thursday’s ruling, corporations have been unleashed from the longstanding ban against their spending directly on political campaigns and will be free to spend as much money as they want to elect and defeat candidates. If a member of Congress tries to stand up to a wealthy special interest, its lobbyists can credibly threaten: We’ll spend whatever it takes to defeat you.
As opposed to what — corporations buying newspapers and endorsing political candidates in the final days before an election? Corporations buying newspapers and printing last-minute attacks against their political bêtes noirs? The ban on corporations was always very selectively enforced, because newspapers managed to lobby for and receive an exemption for newspapers and other media outlets. But they’re also corporations, which should have come under the same restrictions — and as the Court pointed out in its questioning during oral arguments, any printed or broadcast message that explicitly said “Vote for Candidate X” or “Don’t vote for Candidate Y” would have run afoul of the law, including books released in the final days of an election.

Besides, we’ve had these laws since Watergate (not since the 19th century, as the Gray Lady shrieks). Has corporate money evaporated from the political process? Absolutely not. It has simply gotten funneled into arcane and confusing legal entities and types: soft money, hard money, 501(c)3s, 527s, PACs, etc. It hasn’t disappeared; it just has become much harder to trace. Obama didn’t skip the matching-fund program because he thought he could raise $600 million from $20 campaign contributions.

And what about influence? Well, those same laws restricted unions, which can also now spend its money in the open. Did that mean that unions had diminished influence before this week? Er, no. The week before this decision, union leaders attended backr0om-deal meetings on ObamaCare, demanding (and getting) a five-year exemption on the “Cadillac tax” on health-plan benefits. That would have saved them $90 billion over ten years, far more than what they’ve spent in the previous decade to buy their way into the halls of power.

The Supreme Court just leveled the playing field, and Democrats don’t like it one bit.
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Re: We-The-Corporations

Post by IoshkaFutz »

The Supreme Court just leveled the playing field, and Democrats don’t like it one bit.

You are blinded by the passion of partisan politics. Hypocrisy isn't the bigger sin, corruption is.

As the Independent Business Alliance noted in its amicus brief,

[P]recisely because a corporation enjoys significant state-created economic advantages designed for the narrow purpose of furthering wealth-accumulation, corporate participation in candidate campaigns promotes market entrenchment and corrupts the political marketplace in a fundamentally undemocratic manner.

Okay, so the Democrats ignored an agreement to keep the cost of political campaigns down and spent a whopping 600 million dollars, now the Republicans will spend 1 billion. That'll teach them!!

Big business means big government.

Oddly enough, the technologies exist for making communications cheaper and yet for reasons arcane, the political machinery needs more money... to "sell" its ideas.

What is the purpose of a corporation? Profit. What is the purpose of government? The commonwealth.

Why would a parting President Eisenhower warn: "Beware of the rise of a military industrial complex?" Is it perhaps because what's good for Cannons Inc. might not be good for the People of the United States?

Now we will witness the rise (in truth the further and triumphant rise) of an agricultural industrial complex, an information industrial complex, a food packaging industrial complex, a pharamceutical industrial complex, etc. etc. in every sector.

Would you trust privately paid off cops, privately paid off soldiers, privately paid off teachers?

Money regularly finds the route to power. And that's why the whole notion of corporations being people stinks. It's bribery.. and it's entirely in the hands of the major players, the big boys (wonder why small businesses will be out of the loop?).

You thought you were buying a coke, not a leftwing / rightwing senator...

Now everybody line up and get your flu shots (the govt., with a little urging from Medicine for the Masses Inc.) is extremely worried about your health. They say there's gonna be a pandemic!

What's a cop who takes bribes? He's bent.
A politician?

If you only see it in terms of the last Election, you're missing the bigger picture. Both sides will latch onto this... and it will solidify a caste that already exists, that has already encroached. In other words, whereas we all knew that Washington was fake and unidealistic, and cutting backroom deals... now it's the true and approved modus operandi.

Instead of trying to clean up the act, they truly did level the playing field... to the lowest of the low.
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Re: We-The-Corporations

Post by Mindstorm »

It sounds like some people are getting a totally different interpretation of what this all means. I find it strange the Democrats are complaining considering that they have been the recipients of most donations in the last five years through "soft money, hard money, 501(c)3s, 527s, PACs, etc." It looks like some people have totally distorted the ruling to make their howls heard loudest.

I guess one could argue that it is all "partisan politics" and not a matter of freedom of speech. That is the accusation at the Supreme Court 's the 5-4 ruling -- that it was all down party lines. So much so that I read the Justice Roberts addressed that in his ruling.

From my point of view I will live with the Supreme Court's ruling on this case. I'm part of the group that believes that -- Campaign Money Is "Free Speech" -- because of how others explained the ruling. Of course just because you are a lawyer/law professor/Supreme Court Justice doesn't mean you are automatically right, so as I layman I have to read up on what others have explained.

I would not know the politics of those group of lawyers and law professors that post at the above mentioned The Volokh Conspiracy. Maybe Ilya Somin is right-wing hack that teaches law in his spare time. Who really knows?

Moving on to another take on this.
Anyhow, this is Ilya Shapiro's take on it -- and in a colorful post.

A Victory for Free Speech
Can the government suppress free speech critical of elected politicians? In the home of the First Amendment, that may seem an unusual question to pose. But that was the question before the Supreme Court this week, as it handed down a landmark ruling in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court struck down a ban on corporations and labor unions using money from their general funds to produce and air campaign ads in races for Congressional and presidential races. Also overturned was a ban on corporations and unions airing campaign ads 30 days before primary or 60 days before general election.

The case in question dates back to January 2008, when the conservative non-profit group Citizens United produced a documentary critical of then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton titled Hillary: The Movie. When the Federal Election commission used the McCain Feingold campaign finance law to limit Citizen United’s ability to advertise the film during the 2008 presidential primaries, the group sued to protest the restriction on free speech.

This week, the Supreme Court ruled in Citizen United’s favor. In so doing, it won approval from free-speech advocates and strident criticism from many on the political Left. To discuss the case and its political implications, Front Page turned to Ilya Shapiro, a senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute and editor-in-chief of the Cato Supreme Court Review.

FP: The Supreme Court’s decision has certainly stirred its share of controversy. How do you view the Court’s ruling?

Shapiro: This is a big win for free speech. It is the most significant ruling on campaign finance since [the 1976 case] Buckley vs. Valeo and it continued the trend of this court of allowing greater speech in the political arena. It’s a victory for the marketplace of ideas and it’s a victory for democracy.

FP: Some, especially on the Left, don’t see it that way. The New York Times despairs this morning that the decision is a “blow for democracy” that paves the way for “corporations to use their vast treasuries to overwhelm elections.” Is there any merit to the objection that the court’s ruling will distort democracy by empowering corporations while diminishing the voice of regular citizens?

Shapiro: I think the concern about corporations is misplaced. Most corporations are not Exxon. They are smaller companies or non-profits. With the disclosure rules that are in place, voters will still be able to judge which candidate is in the pocket of some corporation, whether it’s the ACLU or the Sierra Club, or the Cato Institute for that matter. We still have laws in place going back to 1907 that prevent direct contributions to candidates.

To the extent that there has been a diminution in the public’s faith in the democratic process, the government is probably more to blame than the corporations. Earmarks, special tax breaks, the dispersal of government goodies and baddies – these types of actions harm democracy much more. McCain Feingold was never about regular citizens. It was a creature of the Beltway. There was no great call from the hinterland to get money out of politics.

I don’t think democracy will be diminished as a result of the ruling. What we could see is more ads like the Swift Boats ads during the 2004 presidential campaign or the Hillary movie. But the way the law stood, some government bureaucrat could have simply banned books that were critical of a political candidate in an election year. That would have been far worse.

FP: In part, there is a partisan argument here. Democrats complain that if you make it easier for corporations t o spend money in political campaigns, you empower Republicans, since the Left considers corporations and Republicans natural allies.

Shapiro: I think that argument is laughable. It’s not at all clear which party would benefit from this ruling. Corporations are highly strategic about what they do with their money. It’s because they want political influence that they donate money to both parties. Goldman Sachs gave more money to Barack Obama than to any other candidate in the last election cycle. They were the number-one donor to his campaign. You could go down the list of Fortune 500 companies and find similar contributions. So when Obama rails that this ruling will help Wall Street, it’s a little rich. He set the record for donors from big companies.

FP: Another common claim among critics of the ruling is that corporations don’t deserve the same First Amendment rights as individuals.

Shapiro: No one is saying that corporations are human beings. But corporations are groups of private individuals who have legal rights. Take Front Page magazine. It’s not an individual. But the government can’t raid your office and just seize your computer. That would be a violation of the Fourth Amendment. Similarly, corporations have First Amendment rights. Think of it this way: George Soros can spend as much as he wants in an election, but if you and a hundred other people get together to spend your money, suddenly, that can’t work. Individuals don’t lose their rights just because they come together to magnify the effects of their donations.

FP: Some claim that this decision bespeaks a political agenda of the court’s conservative majority, that the court had no business hearing the case and seized on it for political purposes.

Shapiro: Justice Roberts has actually addressed this point in his concurring decision. In legal doctrine, you have something called stare decisis, which means that you don’t reverse a precedent even if it’s wrong. People rely on legal precedent. But in this case the precedent was not that old. On top of that, no one relies on having less speech. No one says, ‘I have an interest in self-censorship.’ The court used the smaller issue of the Hillary film to get at the larger issue of how free speech can be regulated. The court is acting properly when it upholds the Constitution.

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Mindstorm
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Re: We-The-Corporations

Post by Mindstorm »

Fallout From Citizen United Ruling


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The Cat
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Re: We-The-Corporations

Post by The Cat »

Technically it is a 'victory' for the Freedom of Speech engraved into the First Amendment.

Technically...

But on the practical level, it comes down to allowing huge trucks to circulate
on any tiny road for the sake of commercial enterprises 'freedom'. There is
something disproportionate here, something busting out individual rights.

Mindstorm's avatar is
calling for a genocide!
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"Kill them all. And let God sort them out." (Arnold Amaury, Albigesian crusade).
Authority has the same etymological root as authenticity.

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Re: We-The-Corporations

Post by Mindstorm »

The Cat wrote:Mindstorm's avatar is calling for a genocide!
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The Cat -- the forum's number one leftist loon.

He/she does not like my posting articles to rebut his articles -- so the loon attacks my avatar. :lol:

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The Cat
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Re: We-The-Corporations

Post by The Cat »

Mindstorm wrote:the loon attacks my avatar.
Your avatar is calling for a genocide and can be transposed like:
--May Allah have mercy on the kafirs, for we will not.
--May God have mercy on the Jews, for we will not...

Or whatever! But, of course, Mindstorm is very proud of this.
Now let's figure out who's the 'loon' here...
Authority has the same etymological root as authenticity.

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Mindstorm
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Re: We-The-Corporations

Post by Mindstorm »

The Cat wrote:
Mindstorm wrote:the loon attacks my avatar.
Your avatar is calling for a genocide and can be transposed like:
--May Allah have mercy on the kafirs, for we will not.
--May God have mercy on the Jews, for we will not...

Or whatever! But, of course, Mindstorm is very proud of this.
Now let's figure out who's the 'loon' here...
The leftist loon is still attacking my avatar because he is so p*ssed off the I post articles that go against his/hers.

:lol:

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Mindstorm
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Re: We-The-Corporations

Post by Mindstorm »

Money and Speech

Eugene Volokh • January 24, 2010 4:49 pm
People continue to characterize the Court’s campaign finance decisions as resting on the theory that money is speech. And of course money isn’t speech.

But, as I wrote a few years ago, money isn’t abortion, either. Nonetheless, a law that banned the spending of money would surely be a serious restriction on abortion rights (whether or not you think that the Court was right to recognize such rights). A law that capped the spending of money for abortions at a small amount, far smaller than abortions often cost, would likewise be a burden on abortion rights, and dismissing this argument as “it is quite wrong to equate money and abortion” would be unsound.

Likewise, money isn’t education, and it isn’t lawyering. Yet a law that capped private school tuitions at $2000 (not just limited the amount of government-provided scholarships, but capped private spending by parents for tuition) would be a serious, likely unconstitutional, burden on the right to educate one’s child at a private school. Likewise, a law that barred wealthy defendants from spending more than $20,000 — or even $200,000 — for assistance of counsel would violate the Sixth Amendment. Even if for some reason you thought that these laws should be upheld, the response that “it is quite wrong to equate money and [education / lawyering]” would be an unsound response.

Similarly, we wouldn’t say “air travel is speech,” or “computing power is speech.” Yet surely a law that would limit the use of air travel or computers in political campaigns would be understood as a serious restriction on speech.

The problem with restrictions on independent spending on campaign speech — a problem recognized by Justices Brennan and Marshall and not just by today’s conservatives (though Brennan and Marshall would have allowed more such restrictions than today’s conservatives do) — isn’t that money is speech. It’s that restricting the use of money to speak, like restricting the use of air travel or computers to speak, interferes with people’s ability to speak. One can debate whether this interference is justified. But mocking the pro-constitutional-protection position as resting on the notion that “money is speech” strikes me as quite mistaken.

Categories: Freedom of Speech

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Re: We-The-Corporations

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http://blog.nj.com/njv_fran_wood/2010/0 ... inanc.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
The country represented by the flag to which we pledge allegiance, the country that purportedly represents “liberty and justice for all,” may well have been laid to rest last week. That people the length and breadth of America have not already taken to the streets in outraged protest is evidence of how oblivious we are to the things that matter most. As of last Thursday, America is a country where laws regulating our safety and well being, the fair and legal operation of our financial system, the air we breathe, the water we drink and a zillion other critical things -- as formulated by the people we elect to public office – will now be determined by the entities with the most money. (...)

At first, the average voter may not even notice, because campaign ads seem like business as usual. It may be years before the average person realizes the number of TV spots for one particular candidate, party or point of view has dramatically increased. In fact, they may not even look like campaign ads. Rather, we may see slick and soothing portrayals of, say, how well our healthcare system works, or how well our banking system works. They’ll tell us we may not get proper medical care if the government gets too involved, or that we might not get a mortgage if the government regulates banks. (...)

No, there will be no taking to the streets over this decision. Most people, in fact, won’t even realize that handing a giant megaphone to corporate America could drown out the voices of those who have been warning us that corporate profit cannot be our only agenda, or even our dominant agenda, if we’re to leave the democratic America that we love to our children. We like to think of our courts as unbiased, of the justices who populate them acting in the interest of the people. But this single ruling is enough to demonstrate that our current U.S. Supreme Court sees its constituency not as the American people, but as the American corporation. And with one single ruling, the Court has begun compromising our democracy, possibly beyond repair. If the majority of us were really paying attention, that realization would force us to express our outrage en masse. That it doesn’t, that we cannot begin to comprehend the ramifications of that decision, dooms us to its unavoidable fallout. Somewhere, the Founding Fathers are weeping.
---Thomas Jefferson: "I hope we shall take warning from the example of England and crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws our country."

---Abraham Lincoln: “The money power preys upon the nation in times of peace and conspires against it in times of adversity. It is more despotic than monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, more selfish than bureaucracy.

Indeed, the USA was born out from a fight to liberate itself from British corporatism!
That was the origin of the Boston Tea Party! Our Tea Partyers are exulting differently.
We should say that, from now on, the USA are more of a Corpocracy than anything else...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporatocracy" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Corporatocracy or corpocracy is a form of government where corporations, conglomerates or government entities with private components, control the direction and governance of a country. This is sometimes considered to be a form of fascism.
God may have mercy on people, corporations will not.
Authority has the same etymological root as authenticity.

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Re: We-The-Corporations

Post by mrcommonsensenow »

Image
Image
It is not logical to believe that the same God who has allegedly endowed us with sense, reasons, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.

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