What Fresh Hell Is This?

January 21, 2010

Supreme Court Opens Floodgates to Buying Elections (game over man, game over)


From Talking Points Memo:
In a ruling that has major implications for how elections are funded, the Supreme Court has struck down a key campaign-finance restriction that bars corporations and unions from pouring money into political ads.

The long-awaited 5-4 ruling, in the Citizens United v. FEC case, presents advocates of regulation with a major challenge in limiting the flow of corporate money into campaigns, and potentially opens the door for unrestricted amounts of corporate money to flow into American politics.
Yes, it was the right wing of the Supremes who overturned a century's worth of laws and voted in favor of allowing elections to be bought and sold like any other trinket.

Hey, assholes, if speech really were "free" than lil ol me could run ads on *your* TVs 24/7.

Also from TPM:
Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) warned last week that if the court found unconstitutional all efforts to ban corporations and unions from financing political ads, it would take the country "not just back to a pre-McCain-Feingold era, but back to the era of the robber barons in the 19th century."

Give it up, America. We've lost. Elections will now be one big infomercial and the win will go to the highest bidder.


UPDATE: I forgot this:



Heir to the Throne said...

one big infomercial and the win will go to the highest bidder.Fuck.
Do you remember the Obama channel on Dish Network?
Of course Obama used the novel technique of disabling address verification for credit cards on his website to allow "Untraceable Donations" to raise money for that.

spork_incident said...

Presumably Mein Heir approves of corporate control of our politics.


Conservative Mountaineer said...

HTTT... Spot on. There is NO doubt in my mind that a HUGE amount of foreign money was funneled into Obama's campaign. No doubt at all.

The Liberals are having a heart attack on this, but have no problem sucking/siphoning Union dues and resources to support Democrats only. The Liberals are the ones who want to restrict free speech.

EdHeath said...

Liberals like Teddy Roosevelt.

spork_incident said...

The Liberals are the ones who want to restrict free speech.

Name for me one - just one - CEO or other corporate officer or employee who is legally barred from speaking out on any issue or prohibited from voting for the candidate of his choice.

Just one.


Heir to the Throne said...

How about wanting to jail them for speech?
James Hansen, one of the world's leading climate scientists, will today call for the chief executives of large fossil fuel companies to be put on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature, accusing them of actively spreading doubt about global warming in the same way that tobacco companies blurred the links between smoking and cancer.

Heir to the Throne said...

This will anger Dayvoe the NRA supports the ruling and badmouths his hero Paul Wellstone.
NRA on SCOTUS Campaing Finance Ruling
The late Sen. Paul Wellstone had said during the original debate over this legislation that it was his intention to silence groups like the NRA. While the author of this measure had singled out the NRA, this law delivered a clear message to all American citizens: “Keep your mouths shut and stay out of our political debates.”

EdHeath said...

HTTT, James Hansen is not a prosecutor, he's just a scientist.

I read somewhere that the root laws this Supreme Court ruling struck down date back to Teddy Roosevelt (hence my previous comment). I assume that the "Days of Our Trailers" blog is not suggesting that Paul Wellstone was a Senator during the first Roosevelt administration. And by the way, I don't think "Keep your mouths shut and stay out of our political debates.” is actually a Wellstone quote.

Heir to the Throne said...

So Wellstone was not trying to silence the NRA?

Wellstone's Folly

Then along came Paul Wellstone, the Senate's most liberal member. Wellstone saw McCain-Feingold's protection of "advocacy" groups as a "loophole" allowing "special interests" to run last-minute election ads. (Since corporate and union money was already banished in the bill, Wellstone was presumably worried mainly about money from rich individuals.) Last year, Wellstone pushed an amendment to extend McCain-Feingold's ban on last-minute ads to nonprofits like "the NRA, the Sierra Club, the Christian Coalition, and others." Under the Wellstone Amendment, these organizations could only advertise using money raised under strict "hard money" limits—no more than $5,000 per individual. So if you wanted to give the Sierra Club $6,000 to denounce some environment-raping legislator, you'd be out of luck

spork_incident said...

Mein Heir -

James Hanson has no power to do that and Congress is not going to enact legislation to do that and you know it.

Now, how 'bout answering the question?


Ralph said...

I agree that "Game over" is exactly what we've just seen happen, but realistically the game has been over since 1968, when marketing first became a decisive part of the national election process. Now, thanks to Supreme Court appointees put into place by the Republicans who were elected with all that marketing technology, the stranglehold of big money over the U.S. government will not end in our lifetimes, nor probably in our childrens'.

Perhaps the only way for government to reassert its power is to merge national governments into continent-sized unions such as the EU. Only by banding together can countries fight off the money-hungry corporate mobs.

EdHeath said...

I don't totally agree with Ralph (although his description of how the current decision came to be strikes me as pretty on the mark), but comparing his statement with HTTT's (and mine and Spork's but not CM's) indicates how complicated this issue is. The need to keep from restricting free speech needs to be balanced against the possibility of an election being stolen by Japanese accountant technophobes running attack ads claiming Pat Toomey has a secret obsession with the Chevy Aveo (stick shirt only) and speonding unlimited money.

We all know that this issue was put out there by a majority conservative court that wanted to give Republicans a leg up in the next election, because there is always a chance Harry Reid will go away some day and Republicans will get called on their filibustering habits. Because you can't count on the Democrats to put candidates like Martha Coakley and John Kerry forever (sometimes they put up Barack Obama, although the end of that story still remains to be written).

Clyde Wynant said...

Corporations ain't people. Nor are unions. Can we just stop pretending they are? If we could change THAT law, all of this would be moot, wouldn't it?

spork_incident said...

If we could change THAT law, all of this would be moot

Only if the Supremes reverse themselves (HA!) of a Constitutional amendment is ratified (good luck with that).

See: Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad (1886)


rich10e said...

I don't get it...what's with all the indignation?? SEIU spent 85 million on Obama and various congressional elections in 2008.

Scholar said...

I never understood, from the days of Jim Crow to deregulation of regulated markets, why Corporations are considered more worthy as "people" of being protected by the Constitution than the people themselves?

It's truly mindboggling

Clyde Wynant said...

What it all points to is the unholy fact that "we the people" is really just a convenient historical fantasy.

I had this epiphany years ago when I was sued by a lowlife client, who claimed I spent money before it had been "approved." He had corporate counsel and all that shit. And I was shit out of luck. Add to that the fact that he simply lied through his hat. My point is that, because he had MONEY, he won. I couldn't really defend myself against his huge war chest. So, my "day in court" was as much as fantasy as is our supposed ability to control our destiny as individual voters. The corporations, who already control DC via lobbying, will now just divvy up the nation and install their candidates by fiat.

Game over indeed. And the bad guys are just as ugly, and just as lacking in conscience, as the Alien's were.

In my mind, I keep thinking about The Pelican Brief....