Responding to Glenn Greenwald’s: What the Supreme Court Got Right
by Divorced one like Bush
For this post I will formally introduce myself. I am Daniel J. Becker. It is only proper and just to do so. I am using Mr. Greenwalds discussion only as a platform to add my thoughts regarding the Citizens United decision. Also this is a long read. So I’ll give you up front the crib note version: The source of error and thus argument is that the arguing/arguments are starting in the middle of the line of reasoning and not at the beginning.
The “rule of law” means we faithfully apply it in ways that produce outcomes we like and outcomes we don’t like.
The above is, I believe, the thrust of Mr. Greenwald’s argument. It has always been his strength and the source of the pleasure I receive when I read his arguments. I do not disagree with his statement. I believe it is the same argument presented by Mr. Jonathan Turley on MSNBC and by the ACLU. Mr. Turley specifically states that the Constitution does not protect us from bad decisions.
Our predicament with this latest decision and the examples of Bush et al’s “warrantless eavesdropping, torture, unilateral Presidential programs” which Mr. Greenwald presents is not found in the argument of whether we like or dislike the outcome. The argument however is addressing an issue I have had for years with the way law is practiced.
What is the proper means of using, applying, implementing a form of governance based on the ideology of “the rule of law”?
We need to step back further to see the source that can lead to a dire results upon implementing a ruling of properly applied law. One side is asking “how can you ignore the cliff?” The other is responding with “it’s the law”. There might even be a third party arguing that both sides can be viewed as just differences of interpretation of the words used. Maybe this even comes down to a simple placing of a comma?
Seems like quite the dilemma for us, no? If we are not true to applying the law as written then we are by definition of “rule of law” no longer under “rule of law” and thus the entire concept of law as we are historically taught becomes instantly nonexistent.
So it appears we are at times left with only the forced acceptance of hurting ourselves, hurting our social order for the ideal of living by the rule of law, an ideal existing for the purpose of removing the errors of emotion in the attempt to achieve betterment in producing justice.
I’m sorry. I will not accept that a system designed by persons who devoted their lives to understanding human nature and history, and used civil war to create the environment needed such that their ideas regarding government could live, is inherently flawed in a manor that we have to live with the threat of what can be called “legal masochism”. The question becomes: Where is the flaw in the application of the ideal and concept of “the rule of law” such that we have a masochistic results? Even Mr. Turley notes that this current decision has the ability to be a major self flagellation.
The only point at which both sides or all sides can resolve this predicament (assuming you are not accepting that legal masochism is an inherent aspect of our system) is at the place in any sentence where the word “faith” or it’s variant appears. Faithfully. Faithful. This word “faith” can not be interpreted and thus the sentence understood without answering the question: Given to what? What is our faith given to? What is the basis of our faith? We give faith to something because we accept that the “something” has a power of some nature.
SCOTUS: …and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as _________, according to the best of my abilities and understanding, agreeably to the constitution and laws of the United States.
All federal employees: …that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same…
President: …I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
Vice President:… I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same…
Congress: …I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same…
The only entity in our governing system not to specifically or tangentially pledge their faith to the Constitution is “We the People”. The Pledge of Allegiance is a pledge to each other as one. I would argue, that such a pledge implies our faith in “We the People”. This is as it should be. We are not bound to the Constitution by any external power. Not by religious power, royalty power, dictatorial power, corporate power, etc. We can not be so bound because we are the power. There is no other hierarchical power in our system of governance. Any faith we express regarding our ability to govern our self is the result of the enlightened reality that people governed are the source of all governance power. We are the power. We agreed to this understanding of power in ratifying the Constitution.
Thus, the only power that the Constitution has is the power that We write into it. This is the genius of our founders. The Constitution is the written word so to speak of our power. It is our collective thoughts regarding governance. It is our identity as a governed people. It is the blue print to be used by any entity to come if such entity desired to reproduce our governance mind.
Many have noted the Preamble of the Constitution as a reference to why the Citizens United ruling is in error. The presentation is that it states only “We the People” and thus follows that only humans can have rights and power. But, this is incorrect as to why the argument as Mr. Greenwald and Mr. Turley state is in error.
The Preamble does not give power to us. The Preamble however, is very important for it is the statement from us to each other declaring what “We the people” will do with our power. The Preamble is the point of source and reference for all of our laws and the Bill of Rights and thus rulings. The Preamble is the stated purpose and desired goal of the application of our power. It is the final test as to the consistency of all that comes after it. All that comes after the Preamble is the listed means by which we will exercise our power. This includes the Bill of Rights. As an individual, it would be one’s purpose in life.
Here’s the real rub however, that I have with all I have read and the current way law is practiced and the reason for the above set up of this discussion. I am not a sum of parts and neither are you. I am a whole, a one which can not be understood or related to by subsection analysis. My intentions can not be fully implemented or appreciated as to their appropriateness to my overarching purpose independently of each. If you accept that this is true and I believe that the prevailing founders did, then our Constitution as the written word of our power and it’s use must so be understood and applied as a whole life which is summarized in the Preamble.
To exercise our Constitution in a reductionist manor, I believe is a mistake and a disservice to the intellect of those who wrote it. Such proof of thought can be found in the very division of our power. No one division can have purpose, can have material to work with without the other. The concept of separate but equal can only be appreciated if it is understood that the separation is only for the purpose of job distinction. Our power can not be exercised in whole by any one branch. The strength of the whole of our power can not be experienced in any one branch. That each branch is originated in the Constitution and each branch is dependent on the others for its job, is proof of construct and thus application and exercise of the Constitution and all that comes after it. One can not properly determine the appropriateness of any decision originating out of any of the branches without considering the the relationship to the whole of the Constitution. The whole being the relationship back to the Preamble which is the stated purpose and intentions of the application of our power. That such work is not performed creates what the Citizens United case has created…legal masochism.
Yes, we are at the point of faith. “We the People” refers to a collective and thus, the collective faith in the source of governance power. Our government exists solely as the result of our collective agreement to have faith in the idea that the power to govern comes from the governed. The entirety of our power is the collective faith in the idea: the power to govern comes from the governed. This was never made more real to me than when the issue of the “Nuclear Option” materialized. I wondered why not just go to the SCOTUS to get the question of constitutionality settled? I learned that the SCOTUS would not consider such a question coming from another equally powerful branch of our governance. Thus, the rule regarding filibusters and in fact the entire functioning of our government as laid out in the Constitution came down to an agreement by two parties (political or otherwise) to abide by the rules . Once one side decides not to agree, all governance related to the purposeful use of our power as stated in the Preamble stops. It is the Civil war at the extreme of disagreement. It includes the decision to not abide by the intention of the use of our power as stated in the Preamble leading to our incapable congress. That is, filibustering everything. It is why one party could pass all they wanted with just 50 votes.
There is only one means by which an individual or collection of individuals can decide not to agree as it relates to applying our power as designated in the Constitution. It is by not placing faith in the source of the power of government. Once faith is given to any other power than “We the People”, our government instantly ceases to exist. There is no Constitution, no Constitutional power, no Constitutional declaration of the purpose and use of power without faith in “We the People”. It is in this understanding that the argument as presented by Mr. Greenwald and Mr. Turley and those who present the first three words of the Preamble in counter argument fail. Placing power of any type in any entity other than “We the People” is a displacement of the faith. Stating that power comes from any other source than “We the People” is a displacement of the faith. Both makes the Constitution just a bunch of words.
There is a reason those who are charged with acting on our behalf, charged with implementing our intent have to pledge their faith to the Constitution. It is because they are pledging their faith to the source of the power they will exercise: We the People. In pledging to the Constitution, they are pledging to Us. It is this pledge to Us that gives us the ability to judge where their faith lays. The moment power is place in something other than “We the People”, our governance as dictated by the Constitution ceases to exist.
This gets us to the freedom of speech issue. Freedom of speech can only be applied to Us because as a declared right within our Constitution, the document that is the materialization of our power, it is a declared means by which We exercise our power. There is no other source of power regarding governance and thus there is no other entity that can have or obtain such power. The right of free speech can not be bestowed to an entity that is not a “people” by virtue of judging it’s bestowment via the Constitution. To do so is a violation of the pledge of faith to the source of our power.
In the issue of the entity called a corporation, the only true means to give it such power would be through legislation though I would argue that the transference of power properly has to be by constitutional amendment as all issues of seat of power are of the Constitution and not laws created by the legislative branch. Laws can not create power in our governance as it is constructed. At the same time, being that corporations are creations of law, it is impossible to reason that they can have the free exercise of a power which is only sourced from our faith in the idea that the power to govern comes from us. That the SCOTUS in the past has ruled (and this is even questioned) that corporations are proxies for people is a misplace of faith. It is a violation of their oath.
Then again, I could have simply pointed out that to conflate our economic system and its structure and components with our governance system as being a proxy for our governance system is the gravest of insults to our founders. They certainly understood power and they certainly understood the power of pooled money.
Corporations are properly a part of our economic system. It is a system that is in service to “We the people” for it only exists by virtue of law and not by virtue of the Constitution. It is a system that exists for a very specific and limited purpose; a purpose that does not included being a part of our governmental structure which exists for the purpose of exercising our power. Those structures that exist for the exercise of Our power are only the three branches. But consider the argument that corporation are just a coming together of people to exercise their power? Such a thought is a violation of our Constitution and ultimately our faith because the only means to come together to exercise our power is the direct interaction with our government through our Constitution. It’s called voting. That is the only means that exists in the Constitution for all those “strict constitutionalists”.
The economic system should properly be viewed as the results of our implementation of laws that protects us during the exercising of our personal freedom, not power. Freedom certainly results in greater power, but we have limited our individual exercise of power via our faith in the collective power such that all are endowed with the freedom of “domestic tranquility” and “the Blessings of Liberty.” One is free not to be screwed by another to be blunt but, one is not free to screw another.
At this point I am willing to accept that what I am suggesting with this entire presentation suggests that we are currently living under many rulings that are actually in error and thus would result in the undoing of a major amount of what we consider settled law. For example, the entity called a corporation should have never been accepted as the proper vehicle, model or structure for people to freely assemble for the purpose of forming a relationship with their government. Free assembly is just that. Assembly free of formal structure. What it means is that those looking to be elected really do need to go one person at a time to get said person’s vote. What it means is that at the point in the growth of our nation that campaigning became an expense for the candidate, we should have implemented public funding via law, or amended the Constitution to allow another form of assemble for the purpose of funding campaigns. Such a method would be an issue of placing power and certainly relates to the Preamble’s stated purpose and application of our power:
…in Order to form a more perfect Union.
Free assembly is just that. Assembly free of formal structure.
I see the right as the freedom to decide how to assmble without cohersion from government. So this right would include the right to assemble based financial or other interest.
The law made in 1907 was designed to take away the right of certain wealthy individuals to influence the government. But the constitution says you can’t do this. Therefore, the Supreme court made the right decision. I wonder why it took so long.
written in haste
the rule of law is a fiction we need to maintain, and it is even an ideal we must seek to attain.
but humans are human and “the law” has never been, cannot be, in any sense objective. when you hear for example someone nominated for the supreme court claiming he will follow the law, you know he is either lying, a fool, or a dangerous lunatic.
laws are interpreted according to “what we want”. no way around that.
the law is the law, for now, because that’s what the supreme court said it is. the people can elect a new president and a new senate and get a new supreme court, or they can rise in rebellion, and do something stupid all on their own.
but don’t pretend there is any such thing as “the law.” except of course as necessary in order to have any order at all.
Yes, the right to assembly with out government coercion. However, the right to assemble based on financial intererst becomes an issue of power. On this, the problem of equality of power is the hurdle. It is the issue of concern that We created the Constitution to modulate.
At the same time, as I read it, your suggestion is the start of conflating our economic system with our system of governance of people.
The problem with money, and I’m confident that the Founders understood this is that it competes with the basic premise of which We decided to construct our Constitution upon regarding the exercise of our power: One voice, one voice. This is the source of the power of the Constitution to determine when money is unequally effecting the use of our power.
Also, starting a defence down line of One Voice, one vote without giving it deference, is the problem with all the discussions regarding corporate personhood and all that stems from such including the current ruling. Debating in such a manor, ruling in such a manor, passing law in such a manor is the issue of my posting.
To rule otherwise is to give one’s faith to a power other than that which comes from We the People. But there is no power beyond, outside or independent of We the People. The Constitution does not give power away. It is only the manual for how our power will be used.
Yes, I would make an argument that political parties based on the concept and structure of a corporation as the parties currently function are unconstitutional. Would I then ban them? No. I would asure their influence was no more than anyother single person. That would be the proper use of such a structure.
I’m not pretending. I’m attempting to get us back on the track that moves us toward our ideal. I have not forgotten that this is still considered an experiment.
“laws are interpreted according to “what we want”. I totally agree with this.
“no way around that.” I totally refuse to accept this. Thus my post. The way around it is to do the intellectual work and honor the such work that our founders put in.
The New York Times and all the other media outlets just lost their exclusive on unrestricted political speech. No wonder some are very angry.
Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness.
Life is by itself enough, unfettered freedom. Individualism!
Liberty and Pursuit of happiness are not rights but limits to free life.
Liberty is a social contract, made between the (individual) life and limited exercise in the context of the political economy. Don’t let life get inthe way of society’s bounds called liberty.
Outlaws in the feudal sense were outside liberty and could be imprisoned etc.
Pursuit of happiness is a prescription for one man competing for another in the accumulation of happiness in the form of property.
Recall, as liberal as we think the framers they were the propertied class and would suffer no social contract where the peasants would have freedom to derail the accumualtion of wealth in the hands of the few.
Now all this goodness is extended to the fictional owner (concentration of capital), the corporation.
What social contract?
DJB–The Citizens United decision illustrates the power of the strict construction theory of Constiutional law. When the Constitution was written, there were no corporations. The meaning of the word “person” was crystal clear. Person meant natural born human being. So, strictily speaking, the Constitution has nothing at all to say about corporations.
Therefore, the majority in the Court should by its own standards have said nothing at all about what, if any, free speech rights corporations have. But, the beauty of this method is that the Court does not have to use it all the time. So, if the desired result requires a redefinition of the meaning of the word “person” in the First Amendment, that’s what they do. Result–now corportions have more rights than natural persons to spend unlimited amounts of money on political causes and indirectly, political campaigns. IMO
a better word than “dangerous lunatic” would have been psychopath. and a closely related point is that “the law” is often written in such a way that it allows a “narrow interpretation” that is cruel and unjust by human standards.
there is no way around that. the law can be written, and in fact is written, to allow safety valves to prevent egregious injustice. judges that ignore those safety valves are not “following the law,” they are indulging their personal emotions.
we can keep trying to make the law better. but we go badly wrong if we say to ourselves “it’s the law and that’s that.”
i would add that while “corporations are persons” strikes me as insane, the law that corporations can contribute freely to political campaigns does not strike me as excessively unjust. certainly the corporations can determine who wins elections without any specific laws regarding campaign contributions. when the evil thereof gets to be too great, the people, if they are well led, will amend the law, amend the constitution if they have to, or, as i said, rebel.
but meanwhile it is not ultimately an “intellectual” question. it is a political one. and there is no way around human error. and no way to avoid “interpretation” of “the law” that some people don’t like.
Yes, that is one construct of strict construction theory. However, the Constitution is about equalizing power. Thus, anything that will effect the balance of power of One Voice, One Vote is within the relm of the Constitution.
At the same time, the Constitution does not have to say something about everything. It’s concern is maintaining the power with the people and doing it such that all have equal power. Anything we create under the Constitution via law is now within the Constitution and thus gives Us the authority to do with it as we will. The caveat, is our will is guided by the Preamble.
I am not conflating anything. I am attempting the “hard intellectual work” that keeps us clear headed about what the law is and what it can do. I agree that allowing corporate power to determine elections is extremely dangerous. And I would support laws that limit that power. But I can’t say I see any clear limit in the Constitution to what a corporation can do ipso facto. Probably there needs to be.
The Constitution does not “grant power.” Power arises. The Constitution attempts to limit power. Or at least remind us of the forms for limiting power.
there is an unwritten social contract by which i tend to leave you alone and you tend to leave me alone. lots of occasions arise where we decide not to leave each other alone. because absolute “freedom” does not work. that social contract depends, probably, on the knowledge that if don’t leave me alone i may beat you up. or get my friends together and beat you up. of course, when one of us gets enough friends, we call it “the law” whether we mean the tribal customs, or the formal law by which a large state of diverse tribes tries to manage the difficult business of living together.
Pointing out that corporations are not people is a non sequitur. All organizations that represent people are not people themselves so there is no legitimate principaled basis to single out corporations other than the want to shut someone up that argues differently then you do. Corporations are are owned and run by people therefore their political speech is protected.
“In this respect England exhibits the most remarkable phaenomenon in the universe in the contrast between the profligacy of it’s government and the probity of it’s citizens. And accordingly it is now exhibiting an example of the truth of the maxim that virtue & interest are inseparable. It ends, as might have been expected, in the ruin of it’s people, but this ruin will fall heaviest, as it ought to fall on that hereditary aristocracy which has for generations been preparing the catastrophe. I hope we shall take warning from the example and crush in it’s 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 of our country.” Thomas Jefferson’s letter to George Logan, 1816
“corporate philanthropy is nothing more than a scam – theft from the company by the few who make these decisions.” Milton Friedman
Stevens in his dissent uses TJ to rebut the majority opinion. I am not sure so many can use this particular TJ quote in such fashion although it does go right to the heart of the matter. I for one included the lines leading up to today’s most frequently used quote to rebut the Kennedy opinion as I thought it may give a clearer picture as to what Jefferson was referring to in his letter to Logan. Perhaps Friedman said it best in that corporations should be involved in business and not in philanthropy and other issues outside of conducting it goals of business profits.
This is an activist conservative court as supported by Kennedy. It went beyond its boundaries to include grounds that were surrendered in District Court by United, raised in a superficial manner by United, and enhanced by SCOTUS to achieve the proper standing to rule upon in determining the constitutionality of Austin. How does a court do such legitimately when in every other case, it has ruled these grounds were not raised in brief, and thereby can not be decided upon by this court? Or at least the courts have kicked it back to a lower court for proper ruling to be decided later by this court.
While legal entities, corporations are not human individuals and should not be granted the same or similar rights as people; in any sense, the law did not block individuals or owners from campaigning heavily in their own name and neither did it fully block corporations from making contributions to special interests supporting their ideology. Instead of reconciling what appeared to be unconstitutional, the court took it upon itself to wipe the slate clean with a few minor exceptions granting transparency to the process leaving a lack of direction.
In terms of impact to states; I can see this decision as having far reaching consequences in terms of voting regulations and other restrictions placed upon corporations doing business within a state and being regulated under more restrictive laws than residents. Business has always had greater restrictions placed upon it. As far as national impact, I would suggest this ruling will have a similar impact as what Marquette National Bank vs. First of Omaha did for the financial industry in striking down the ability of states to regulate national banks within its borders, hence creating many more […]
Let me add a different view. This ruling allows some groups a legitimate and now open political path to fight back against political demonization. Big pharma, oil, health insurance, certain manufacturers, gay organizations, other citizen organizations etc. now have front porch access to fight political demonization. The need for backdoor, lobbying, and hidden financial support are lessened.
Overall I think that is a good thing.
Coberly, the response above was to Cantab. I was composing and it did not get posted until after you posted, thus it showed up as a non-linked response.
The conflation was to Cantab’s corps are people.
I agree and it is a prime point of my post that the Constitution does not grant power.
DivOne–“…the Constitution does not have to say something about everything.” True. But, since the Ninth Amendment doesn’t mention the right to privacy, the Strict Constructionists maintain none exists. Same thing for right to various issues surrounding gender and sexual preference. So, here we have a Court willing to stretch the definition of personhood out of all previous bounds regarding political contributions while maintaining the Ninth Amendment does not protect people who do things it doesn’t like.
“..maintaining the power with the people and doing it such that all have equal power.” (Emphasis mine.) Who said the power conveyed by the Constitution has to be equal? The all the power vested in the federal government comes from the people who merely apportion it out to accomplish its purposes. Where is the evidence that “we the people” gave corporations the same free speech rights that we have when we invented them?
In the past, the Supreme Court has been attacked for creating civil liberites for African Americans, women, Native Americans and others that “didn’t exist” according to conservatives. “Made up out of whole cloth,” they cried. In Brown v Board, the Court recognized the inherent equality of citizens in our society that had previously been ignored. This Court is unique in ignoring the case at hand and deciding a matter no one raised when the case was argued initially and at appeal. By this standard, any case could result in any decision the Court cared to make. Fine kettle of fish. IMO
“Corporations are are owned and run by people therefore their political speech is protected. “
This is the reasoning followed, however I argue that an individual or group of individual do not have the right or authority to grant or give the power to govern or be governed to any other entity other than that which we have done in ratifying the Constitution.
That an entity is composed of peoples actions can not be an accepted argument for the transfer of the peoples power without giving faith to that entities power. To give such faith is to break the agreement to be governed by the Constitution which is structured such that our government institutions and their resulting decisions maintain Onc Voice, One Vote.
For those that argue corps are people, you have to show the path that allows any person or group of persons to break the faith such that it does not also break the faith in the concept of all power comes from the group to be governed and that such breaking of faith does not create another structure of government. This is the conflation that those who say the court has ruled correctly in giving personhood to corporations.
You can not give personhood to an entity other than a person without starting a chain of reasoning that leads to a new government structure for governing those who have given their faith to said structure.
“fight back against political demonization.”
That is what Goebbels did for the Nazis while they tempted to destroy entire peoples.
Corporations already own congress, now they need to brainwash the people.
points to a limit of my position. we have a supreme court that is indeed “making law” almost as egregiously as the court that appointed Bush Jr president.
there doesn’t seem to be much we can do about beyond revolution. or electing a President to appoint better Justices.
in the meanwhile, it is the people’s own fault if corporate money determines elections.
do you know what a non sequiter is, or do you just think if makes you sound more logical?
All organizations are not people. So what gives the right to free speech by any organization according to your logic. The New York Times and Foxnews are not people either. Yet they get to say whatever they feel like. Are we to argue that the media does not have a constitutional right to free speech because they are organizations and not people?
don’t worry. the back door is not locked.
What is the difference between a corporation’s Right of Free Speech, and a labor union’s? or a organization like Planned Parenthood, Gay Rights, Audubon Society, NOW, AARP, etc.?
They are all just GROUPS of people.
Yes to both
I’m trying to flush this one out too. So far no luck getting one of the liberals to make a well reasoned dichotomy.
(hey coberly, I just used the word dichotomy in a sentence — woo, woo, woo!)
No Cantab, as usual you haven’t a clue. What it does is to completely legitimize the already existing situation, namely that US pseudo-democracy is for sale. Our government is simply to be auctioned off to the highest bidder. This will always be the plutocracy. It has de facto owned the US already; this makes it official. Parse it as you wish, that is the clear fact. So toddle off to your myths and dreams. The US is no more democratic than China and very probably far worse administered since the Chinese rulers appear to have the national good at heart. Our plutocracy has only its own good at heart.
Cantab you are always a tool of the plutocracy on almost any issue. I wonder if you are rich enough and selfish enough to be one of them or if you are just their dupe. Care to enlighten us?
Labor Unions don’t have anywhere near as much money to corrupt the political process as do corporations. Unions are more interested in the welfare of their members. Corporations are interested only in the welfare of the exectives and perhaps somewhat interested in the welfare of the shareholders…perhaps….
They have brainwashed Cantab for sure, unless he is superrich. I am waiting for him to tell us about that. And as Cantab has gone so have many many other little people, down the “dupe-tube”. Convinced their expoiters are just wonderful people. Amazing. Actually rather funny.
My dear it is not just what they SAY, it is what they ‘say’ by spending and giving money and bribing politicians. Essentially the Court is arguing that bribing people is “free speech.” You can swallow that one if you want. I would choke instead.
I would expect people behind corporations to do what’s in their best interest and they certainly have a lot of money to get their message out. But you can’t stop it without ignoring our constitution.
It has already been made clear that the Constitution doesn’t deal with this specific issue, but has to be INTERPRETED. That means a reactionary majority on the court can say one thing whereas if the majority were liberal we would have had a DIFFERENT decision. Or can’t you understand that???? There were four dissenting votes, or didn’t you notice that?// Geez wheez, use your brain.
In fact this makes clear how important court appointments are. If one little pipsqueak on the court, Thomas, were a liberal, as one would expect a black to be, the decision would be different. But Thomas’ brain has been colonized by Scalia at whose intellectual feet he trots all the time. When a “black seat” on the court opened up, Thomas was nominated by the plutocracy to make sure it would go to a reactionary. You may recall the intense struggle over the issue at the time. Decent people knew what the scheme was: to make sure the one black seat got occupied by a rightwinger, and they succeeded and this is the type of payback they have gotten.
no doubt you already know this, but it was not clear to me from what you said.
the Constitution did not contemplate one man one vote. nor did it proscribe economic interests as a source of voting power. the constitution did not originally provide for votes by slaves, women, or even men with no property.
in fact Thomas Jefferson, the author of our Liberty, tried to have a man hanged who had gotten around New York’s property qualification for voters by selling tiny shares in some property to workers.
no. there is no direct link between the voter’s “corporation” and the threatened hanging, but with Jeff you can’t be too sure.
In the midst of all this, we do need to remember the true, full name of “Citizens United,” as shown here on their papers of incorporation. http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/docs/citizens-not-timid/ (2008 tax filing)
It is “Citizens United Not Timid,” and they made a critical movie about Hillary Clinton. That’s all we need to know about the people who instigated this case.
Of course, scum also have the right to free speech. But I notice CU’s full name is not being published anywhere in the mainstream media, at least according to Google News: “Your search – “citizens united not timid” – did not match any documents.” 2:40 PM January 24th.
As a person of the female persuasion, I am surprised this little tidbit isn’t being widely offered to the 52% of the population who might find it of interest.
the corps are not voting. they are influencing the vote. the people don’t have to be so stupid they buy the propaganda. of course you and i know the people are that stupid. so what becomes of “democracy”?
in my state there is a rich dude constantly putting measures on the ballot to take away unions rights to contribute to campaigns… does the ice begin to feel a little sippery ?
you are such an idiot you haven’t even noticed that i am arguing on your side in this… up to a point.
Cantab–“Sequitur”, not sequiter. FYI.
no, you don’t.
a non sequitur is an argument of the form
“one and one is two. therefore the moon is made of green cheese.”
or, more formally:
“all men are mortal
socrates is a man
therefore socrates is made of green cheese.”
you use non sequitur to mean “i don’t like you or your argument or your little dog.”
I will respond that there is no difference. I have not made any distinction among groups anywhere in my argument. I have stated in the posting that I would go as far as saying political parties as they currently are structured and function are acting unconstitutionally.
You want to get together with like minded people and pool your money for what ever it is you are doing regarding your pursuit of happiness including discussing how you should vote. Fine. When the meeting is over, you and your group go out and vote, each one, one at a time. Unions or PAC’s, Hathoway or Red Cross. Don’t care. One voice, one vote. Not one collective voice, one vote.
The only grouping allowed to have power is We the People, not we the sub group of people nor we the multiple subgroups of people.
The only power vested in the Constitution is the power that we all agree to it and abid by it. No agreement, no power. Thus, as I stated in the beginning the power is always with We the People.
Equality is in the concept of “democracy”. To say it is not within the Constitution is to denounce the premise that the document called the Constitution was constructed on: One voice, one vote. This is the premise We the People agreed to follow as a means to exercising the agreed to sourced power.
As to privacy, I would suggest it is within the concept of Liberty as written in the Preamble. One has no liberty without privacy.
Sammy: Don’t let the hypocrits on the left fool you. They do not have a problem with giving free speech to korporations. Just as long as they are the good korporations. Not the evil ones run by Sodomites (posts on this site read like the Old Testament).
To get you started on a list of korporations that have the right to free speech…
American Broadcasting KOMPANY
National Broadcasting KOMPANY
New York Times KOMPANY
Walt Disney KOMPANY
On the Sodomite list….
If you are looking for consistency from the left, don’t waste your time there is none.
In the “We the People” social contract, the intention of the Founders was to retain the “hereditary” and “natural” claim of wealth to power, of course, but as well to limit the absolute claim of that right in order to avoid the unqualified claim of an equally hereditary and natural claim that absolute power comes out of the barrel of a gun or that might of numbers makes right. That the Court has made the power of plutocracy unqualified means the terror is also unrestrained, the war of all against all allowed to take its course– in the breaking of that contract.
On this issue I think it is best to allow everyone (including companies) to spend what they wish. Consider the worst case scenario massive money is spent on a candidate, if it were me running against them I would say, see look at the big money that back them, vote for me and my grass roots campaign.
Jay and others who bring up the “freedom of the press” as free speach:
This is a unique instance within the Constitution. It was put there to serve a specific purpose. it was placed in the document at a time when corporations were very limited example: they could not exist beyond a specified time within many states.
With that, the issue again is the transfer of power. We have, as those who note the large corps of the press that have this special freedom, by our focus on the efficiency of money (I would for this post word it transfer of our faith) ignored the issue of power through consolidation of the press.
The answer to this unique power is to restore competition within the market place of the press such that no one corp has more power than the individual. Break them up.
Thus, the example Jay et al present is just another example of breaking our agreement with each other regarding the source of power.
It all starts with the begining thought: The power to governed comes from the governed. After that, how did the governed decide to exercise the power? The decided to base the exercise on the idea of One voice, One vote. The document was then written.
i guess i’d go further. the right to be left alone is basic. that means privacy. unfortunatley the right has obvious limits. one reason for the fourth and fifth amendment… to define those limits in part. but watch any court and every prosecutor and nine tenths of the people stamp all over those rights when its them in the mob against the “suspect.” and of course for the peope that count the right to be left alone extends only to the right to rob and poison the people. if you are one of the people who count you can generally protect your own privacy without any help from the constitution.
you cannot even FIND the left, let alone hold “them” to any consistency.
now for real consistency, we turn to the psychopath.
how ya doin, jay?
I will respond that there is no difference. I have not made any distinction among groups anywhere in my argument. I have stated in the posting that I would go as far as saying political parties as they currently are structured and function are acting unconstitutionally.
But you did not make this argument a week ago. You made it this week after the U.S. Supreme Court decided that corporations have the same right under the law to be used as platforms to express the views of the owners and other stakeholders the same as other organizations that had the this right last week.
you are such an idiot you haven’t even noticed that i am arguing on your side in this
I state my opinions clearly. Feel free to use me as a role model.
Of course, scum also have the right to free speech.
Are you better then the scum?
Of course, scum also have the right to free speech.
Are you better than the scum
Make a logical argument, FYI
If I were super rich I would have my assistant making posts for me.
I’m sure he’s doing fine. Now that you found Margery what do you intend to do with her?
i should add for the benefit of those who care (me) that another version of the social contract is not so individualistic as the one i just touted.
for most of us, we grow up in families, and even in modern families there is an expectation of cooperation. from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs. i am told that in “primitive” societies there is not a clear distinction in the minds of the members between “me” and “us.” this works pretty well as long as the family does not get too big. when the world was large, a faction that could no longer bring itself to cooperate with the existing family simply picked up its tents and moved down the road. i don’t think such a “contract” is any longer possible, but there are aspects of it we need to remember if we are going to hope to live together at all.
how would you know if she did?
Actually take what is said here and say that you have to say that you support the speech, i.e. no anonymous speech, so that you have a bit like political ads, I am the CEO of xyz corp and we paid for this add and endorse it. Then people can evaluate the source. Note also that a number of CEO’s said in a statement that they did not want to be bothered for contributions and did not want to engage in this sort of thing, as they had better things to do. To partly fix this, change the soviet style of voting for directors to give 2% of the shares the rights to nominate directors on the corp proxy statement.
Amend the Constitution
Section 1. The sovereign right of the people to govern being essential to a free democracy, the First Amendment shall not be construed to limit the authority of Congress and the States to define, regulate, and restrict the spending and other activity of any corporation, limited liability entity, or other corporate entity created by state or federal law or the law of another nation.
Section 2. Nothing contained in this Article shall be construed to abridge the freedom of the press.
sign up an pass it on…..
You were never really a good chess player were you? You can not think 2 steps ahead. Here is an incomplete list of new subsidiaries that will be created in the near future…..
Goldman Sachs Broadcasting Korporation
Monsanto Broadcasting Korporation
Walmart Broadcasting Korporation
First Solar Broadcasting Korporation
The ACLU Broadcasting Korporation
ACORN Broadcasting Korporation
BK will be the new LLC.
Cantab: I don’t listen to their ad homs. These are the people that are “Pro-choice” until a woman (or man) decides to exchange sex for cash. Of course since they are not economists they do not understand that having sex with your wife is as much a commercial transaction as sex with a prostitute. But it has been so many generations since we have had a barter economy, they are too naive to realize the similarities.
Speaking of Constitutional Law. Given the following bastardization of the Interstate Commerce Clause, one could effictvely argue that Obama Messiah’s Health Insurance plan makes unprotected sex an act that can be regulated under the clause.
“not material for purposes of deciding the question of federal power before us. That an activity: is of local character may help in a doubtful case to determine whether Congress intended to reach it…. But even if appellee’s activity be local and though it may not be regarded as commerce, it may still, whatever its nature, be reached by Congress if it exerts a substantial economic effect on interstate commerce and this irrespective of whether such effect is what might at some earlier time have been defined as ‘direct’ or ‘indirect.'”
Margery: I know Bill Clinton had trouble defining “sex”. But come on… Congress shall pass no law.
I can find a bunch of 5 year olds that can INTERPRT that clause. As long as their parents said “no” to them at least once in their life I bet they all come to the same conclusion. I say 5, because after a few years in indoctrination centers (I mean public schools) there is no guarantee that they all read “no” the same way. Bill Jeff is my case in point.
Don’t get me wrong. We do need freedom of the press. How else are we supposed to keep Progressives happy if a few days before an election Keith Olbermann was barred from saying “an irresponsible, homophobic, racist, reactionary, ex-nude model, teabagging, support of violence against women”?
Go over to HuffPo and realize that the ratio of KO supporters to denouncers over these comments is at least 10:1.
Well some of the “groups” of people have wayyyy more money than the others and can therefore speak louder. Eventually they can speak loud enough that some of the other companies get rules passed which limit their activities.
If you think that money is the only thing that should vote then OK.
I know, it gave me such a Rush.
Greg: One of the main differences between the left and myself is that I believe people can think for themselves. The left thinks we need politicians to protect us from ourselves (see consumer protection agency proposals).
Goldman can spend their entire retained earnings balance on ads that run on my television all day. Problem is I vote on principle not on some vodoo bullshit slime campaign. Just ask Martha Coakley how well ad hominens worked for her.
The internet is a cost effective way to get your message out (see the Ron Paul campaign). Give it a decade or two for the AARPers that don’t use the internet die off. Then you’ll get a 2nd party candidate (someone who is not from the Democrat-republican coalition) that wins and brings change we can believe in.
Note had you cunts voted for Ron Paul, and he won, Guantanomo would be closed and our troops would be out of Iraq and Afghanistan by now. But you voted for W’s heir apparent. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
It seems on this one the liberals want to limit what corporate interest can say because their voice in the debate my make, from thier point of view, an unwanted outcome more likely to happen. Its that simple. The long chain that rationalizations for muzzling corporations is nothing more then sophistry motivated by the want to win at the expense of basic constitutional rights.
They got it wrong in 1907
I made this comment in response to DOLB’s first post on this topic. I have not yet seen any reply that reconciles the issue of responsibility for corporate misuse of this new found “freedom of speech,” or should we say group-speak. What if the corporate entity disseminates lies in the pursuit of political advantage? Who is to be held accountable for libel, defimation and slander if done by a corporation in its pursuit of political advantage? A corporation is an an artificial entity set up for the purpose of shielding real people from liabilities that they should be made to bear in their pursuit of political advantage. The use, or misuse, of “treacherous pens and tongues” has a long, sordid history. It grossly interferes with the education of the people. If the truth of any issue is attacked then those who make such an effort should be held accountable by the law for their misrepresentations.
“One significant purpose of forming a corporation is to limit the liability of the stakeholders and decision makers of that corporation. If a corporation has the rights of an individual, and the individual stakeholders and decision makers of that corporation are shielded from the liabilities that may accrue from that corporation’s actions, is there anyone responsible for anything that the corporation may be found to have been responsible for? Worse yet, if the corporation is formed as a shell having few if any finacial assets, what penalty can be applied to the corporation, its stakeholders or its decision makers in the event that the corporation is shown to have been responsible for criminal activity? Who is it that said that “The law is an ass?” Did that person know our current quintet of judicial activits?”
Is that a rhetorical question? Do you think it is acceptable to call women “cunts?” I believe such usage greatly reduces whatever credibility the speaker may have had. And to encourage such usage in the public at large (for instance, via a political film) is to damage civil society. So, exactly what sort of “scum” are you defending?
Oh, and the answer to your question is “Yes, of course.”
Matt, the big problem is, HOW would you say “look at the big money that back them, vote for me and my grass roots campaign?” People really do think the volume and widespread appearance of media messages (ads or news presence) is a real indication of the size and strength of the originator. Plus, there’s the problem of even getting “on the menu.” Few people order dishes that aren’t on the menu, the same goes for voters. and the media seldom cover the candidates, however valid in skills and policies, if they can’t puff themselves up like a puffer fish and dominate the room.
In my town we have a gazillion McDonald’s, and quite a few independent burger places. Without exception, the burger places (including the “Fat Boy”, the delicious “V.J.’s” and my friends at “Angelo’s”) have better food and lots of it, for equal or lesser cost than Micky D’s. So why are there so many McD’s? “…McDonald’s Corp.’s 2003 global ad budget was $1.21 billion, which represents measured media only, according to Ad Age…”
Another thought along these same lines. Is a corporation a citizen? That’s a rhetorical question, Cantab. I’m not looking for confirmation. If an entity can’t claim the Constitutional rights of a citizen and cannot even claim the human rights of a legal immigrant, how can that entity enjoy any of the protections afforded by that Constitution? Haven’t we been told repeatedly that a corporation has an obligation only to its share holders? Arguments have even been made that the officers of a corporation have a greater obligation to the share holders than they do to laws governing corporate behavior. It certainly seems warranted for the Congress to revisit the concept of a corporation as a person.
Yeah isn’t KO just terrible. He’s a shrill voice for the left and has to be muzzled. I mean he’s so stupid compared to Limbaugh, right? Anything leftward of Ghengis Khan has to be wiped out in the USA if we are going to be a good society, right? Yeah, sure. And do keep the imperial wars going forward. We simply CANNOT spend too much money on them. They are our essence.
No sweetie, they got it right then and wrong now. I do hope this stupid decision can be changed in the future. The problem was our little black poodle who trots at the side of Scalia, his master and parrots his every thought. Getting him onto the court has paid off handsomely for the reactionaries. He in effect gives Scalia two votes on the court. Something no other justice enjoys.
If corporations are persons, than why can’t they be sued under the 13th amendment when
they take over another corp.?
Though I haven’t read all the comments up to this point (probably should), I can’t help but ask one question:
What benefits then do a collection of “people” (corporation, union, non-profit) have by organizing formally under the law if you are to propose these organizations do not benefit in the same manner as individuals?
I do not think you can separate one (“rights” outlined in the constitution) from the other (status/protections under laws) without completely rewriting over 200 years of legal corporate precedence. And then you could find yourself dealing with an individual who has incorporated (for whatever reason) wanting to operate in “both” worlds.
Attempting to identify and isolate those entities who do not qualify for the same right & protections as “We the People” would be a fools errand unfortunately. I can understand the reasoning behind it but I think attempting to legislate the perceived “bad groups” has a better chance at potentially reversing a 19th century SCOTUS decision.
“we have a supreme court that is indeed “making law” almost as egregiously as the court that appointed Bush Jr president.”
The overlap between justices on the two sides of both issues can’t be ignored.
“in the meanwhile, it is the people’s own fault if corporate money determines elections.”
How? Because ideally they should listen to multiple voices? Corporations have more than enough money to drown out all other voices.
The Citizen’s United decision made me think of Njal’s Saga for the first time in decades. A body of law that protects neither individuals, communities nor societies has failed in its essential purpose. Corporations will and have used any power available to them to socialize their costs, risks, losses and mistakes. How long will it be before they have paid enough to elect representatives who will pass legislation making that socialization perfectly legal?
Why haven’t any of the bankers who caused the crash of our financial system been called to account for their actions? Because their lobbies had been so effective in gutting regulation that they probably broke no laws while causing more than $13T of economic damage to the American people.
Are the justices who bent the law like a pretzel to come up with this decision unaware of the likely outcomes or do they see the likely outcomes as desireable?
I pick door number two.
One interesting aspect of the decision pointed out by that awful Keith Olbernan is that it permits foreign corporations to come in and buy up our politicians too. I am sure we will be happy to have foreign corporations messing in our politics with money.
So according to this proposal, all that any “corporation,” like GE, has to do, is either buy or create a media arm, and poof: right through the loophole! In other words,
“First Amendment shall not be construed to limit the authority of Congress and the States to define, regulate, and restrict the spending and other activity of any corporation, limited liability entity, or other corporate entity created by state or federal law or the law of another nation….” … Except for those corporations with enough money to own part of the press….
“Freedom of speech can only be applied to Us because as a declared right within our Constitution, the document that is the materialization of our power, it is a declared means by which We exercise our power.”
This is not accurate. NONE of the Bill of Rights amendments are “declared rights.” The Constitution does not give us the right to free speech, the right to keep and bear arms, the right to be secure in our posessions, etc. All of these rights are assumed to already exist and be held by the people themselves: they are the some of the “inalienable” rights referred to in the DoI.
None of the Bill of Rights (with partial exception of the 6th Amendment) can actually be interpreted in “declaring” a right. On the contrary, they all imply that the right exists, and are written to limit the Federal Government’s actions, behaviors, or infringements on these rights.
Yes, I agree. In stating “declared” it is in reference to the fact the Constitution is the written word of our power. Thus, We declared our rights and our intent and use of our power in the Constitution.
Sorry for the confusion.
It seems that via your sarcasm and attempt to frame this as conservatives wanting to censor liberals like KO, you unintentionally support Jay & Canteb’s points:
MSNBC is a for-profit subsidiary of the for-profit corporation called NBC Universal (National Broadcasting “Company”). NBC Universal is owned by GE (80%) and Vivendi (20% – a foreign corporation), two large “corporations” that could certainly have much to gain by how they frame news coverage in their corporate interests.
Why should MSNBC be exempt?