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mustang84

US Supreme Court overturns 1937 corporate campaigning ruling

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Five of the nine Supreme Court justices voted to overturn a 1937 ruling that limited corporate funding of political campaigns.

This makes me very nervous. We have upended 60 years of campaign finance rules and have done a 180 back to the robber baron era of politics. Not only will this affect the national level, it could affect state and local level as well. Imagine the local Wal-Mart funding the election of a small town mayor if he promises to provide incentives and upgraded roads for a new store, or a major employer backing a candidate for governor if he promises to relax regulation. And not only that, but the more money you have, the more negative media you can put out to can drown out the little guy who maybe has a better idea but doesn't have the funding or resources to make his voice heard.

Thoughts?

Edited by mustang84
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Sets a dangerous precedent... but mostly just makes me proud of where I live, like most of the stories I see on my US Cable News Channels lately

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The legacy of George W Bush continues to live on...we need one of the arch-conservative justices to step down, and stat.

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It's gonna take 30 years to try and undo the damage from the first decade of this century. "Activist Judges" are judges who think that corporations have the same rights as individuals and "activist judges" are the majority of the SCOTUS.

Here's some statements from John Paul Stevens' minority decent:

* Even more misguided is the notion that the Court must rewrite the law relating to campaign expenditures by for-profit corporations and unions to decide this case.

* The conceit that corporations must be treated identically to natural persons in the political sphere is not only inaccurate but also inadequate to justify the Court’s disposition of this case.

* Although they make enormous contributions to our society, corporations are not actually members of it. They cannot vote or run for office. Because they may be managed and controlled by nonresidents, their interests may conflict in fundamental respects with the interests of eligible voters.

* The financial resources, legal structure,and instrumental orientation of corporations raise legitimate concerns about their role in the electoral process. Our lawmakers have a compelling constitutional basis, if not also a democratic duty, to take measures designed to guard against the potentially deleterious effects of corporate spending in local and national races.

* The majority’s approach to corporate electioneering marks a dramatic break from our past. Congress hasplaced special limitations on campaign spending by corporations ever since the passage of the Tillman Act in 1907....We have unanimously concluded [in 1982] that this “reflects a permissible assessment of the dangers posed by those entities to the electoral process"...and have accepted the “legislative judgment that the special characteristics of the corporate structure require particularly careful regulation...The Court today rejects a century of history when it treats the distinction between corporate and individual campaignspending as an invidious novelty born [in a 1990 opinion].

* The Court’s ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the Nation. The path it has taken to reach its outcome will, I fear, do damage to this institution.

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I mean, is anybody really surprised by this? Obviously the founding fathers wrote in the Constitution that this is OK. This would be the only reason why Scalia and Thomas voted for this.

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Well that just lengthened the political gap between the middle class and the wealthy by over nine thousand percent.

Edited by FAPTurbo
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This is more dangerous today than it was back in 1907.

That's because the gap between richer and poorer has grown considerably.

The rich have more money than ever to throw at politics.

*The gap between richer and poorer growing is not unique to the US, don't get me wrong. Happens to some degree with all democracies over time. The longer the economy has existed, the larger the gap gets (in general). Interesting to note that apparently the fairest country in the world in this respect is Sweden.

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and with the amount of coverage that money buys. Spending $12,000 a year on some "influencer" tweeter will get you a lot more coverage and a lot more infuance than just buying ads in newspapers.

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at the risk of this getting too political, though everyone here seems to agree in principle the court decision is bad, what do you think of one of the 6 new campaign finance bills that just popped up. 500% excise tax on corporation campaign expenditures.

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at the risk of this getting too political, though everyone here seems to agree in principle the court decision is bad, what do you think of one of the 6 new campaign finance bills that just popped up. 500% excise tax on corporation campaign expenditures.

you have some hr#'s so we can look them up?

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Whaddabout publicly funded elections like they do in many other democracies?

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This case is just about free speech, and four of SCOTUS justices apparently have rescinded their support of that annoying little part of the Constituition. Perhaps we should take a closer look into why this suit was brought to begin with; as always, The Economist presents a more level-headed analysis. Here are some highlights:

  • The rules are so confusing that even experts struggle to follow them. Senator John McCain, who co-wrote the bill, was accused of a serious violation of it during his presidential campaign in 2008. Big firms with expensive lawyers can usually navigate the system, but small players flounder. In the states, campaign-finance laws have been used to stifle debate. Prosecutors in Washington state claimed that favourable radio coverage of an anti-tax campaign was a “donation” that the campaigners should have disclosed. In Colorado, a group of homeowners protesting against plans to incorporate their neighbourhood into a nearby town were sued for not registering as a PAC. Both groups won, but they needed lawyers.
  • The effect of the law, said Justice Kennedy, is that “a speaker who wants to avoid threats of criminal liability…must ask a governmental agency for prior permission to speak.” That, he said, was “analogous to licensing laws implemented in 16th- and 17th-century England” which is precisely the sort of thing that “the First Amendment was drawn to prohibit”.
  • McCain-Feingold has failed utterly to keep money out of politics. The last presidential election was the most expensive ever.

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This case is just about free speech, and four of SCOTUS justices apparently have rescinded their support of that annoying little part of the Constitution. States without such financing limitations are no more corrupt than states with strict financing rules (see here).

Actually, the case was about whether we treat corporations as individuals or not.

Edit: I wouldn't have nearly as much problem with the ruling if there weren't already so much media consolidation out there. Break up the media groups into much smaller "individuals" and then at least the playing field will be level. As it stands, this ruling means that we're going to have Glenn Beck turned up to 11 and drowning out all other voices simply because he'll get the most corporate money. Free speech is great and all, but what's the point if I can't hear it for all the noise.

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Actually, the case was about whether we treat corporations as individuals or not.

Read the majority opinion in my edited post above.

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Personally, I don't like the ruling but I'm not a constitutional scholar so what do I know? However, I've been thinking about this a lot even before this case came along and I think there is a very simple way around it that to me at least, seems like it would easily pass constitutional muster. The basic idea isn't mine but I don't remember where I read it so I can't give credit where it is due.

Any person running for public office may only accept political contributions from the people or organizations living or based in the area they will be representing. For example, why should a corporation based in California be allowed to contribute money to a senatorial campaign in New York? Or, why should anyone living in New York City be allowed to contribute money to the campaign for the mayor of the city of Buffalo, New York? The only office that would not really be unaffected is president since that person represents the entire country.

Of course this will never happen because the entire political system has been rigged by both parties to their own advantage making it nearly impossible for any other party to emerge. I also think that a 'None of the Above' option should be a mandatory choice in any race for public office.

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i don't know how to side with this yet, but one good example could be of "foreign nations", or entities, helping candidates get elected that have a non interventionist ideal, where previously they had been discriminated against. say, Iran. if they wanted to help a pres that would not be pro intervention with them, they'd help elect a person that'd truly get out of Iraq, Afghanistan, the bases in Saudi Arabia, stop bombing pakistan... or north Korea could help elect someone to get the US out of south Korea and open up for trade.... or something closer to "home", Cuba, help elect someone that wants to open trade with them again, say, maybe some auto companies.... ;)

of course if they contributed to someone of the opposite ideas, nothing is really changing.

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Firstly, this us just another mistep for our once great country on it's stagger to demise. Is anyone really surprised? This government hasn't been for or by the people for 30 years now. It's pretty much a "we'll do what the f*** we want and you 'the people' can deal with it."

Secondly, The Economist is a horrible choice to quote on this since it pretty much promotes PURE, unbridled American capitalism... You know, the kind that got us to this point in the first place.

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Firstly, this us just another mistep for our once great country on it's stagger to demise. Is anyone really surprised? This government hasn't been for or by the people for 30 years now. It's pretty much a "we'll do what the f*** we want and you 'the people' can deal with it."

Secondly, The Economist is a horrible choice to quote on this since it pretty much promotes PURE, unbridled American capitalism... You know, the kind that got us to this point in the first place.

there hasn't been capitalism in this country for ...150 years....before the civil war, and i'm not talking about slavery either. the federal government's reconstruction of the south... by no means was capitalistic. planned economies, ie socialism, ie market intervention was just starting to spread in academia before the civil war in Europe, certainly. it only took till the Fed to be made to more easily see what was going on, anti capitalism, and capitalism was beheaded in 1974 with the break down of the gold standard, it's body has just been flailing about ever since while people look at it and blame it for what's been going on.

i think the economist is a decent publication, but i'd not pay for it. i dont' agree with ...i'll say 50% of what they think, but generally it's better than lots of others.

capitalism isn't to be blamed for what we've been doing the last ....30 years. quite the opposite actually. capitalism makes everyone's worth equal, no special interests having their way... limited government.

i'd say the economist doesn't promote capitalism... it might lean to free market.. but doesn't go ...unbridled.

hopefully this isn't too political...?

FOG. please reply in a tad more sane manner... would like to hear what you think.

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...And lets hear it for your new 2012 U.S. President-elect Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho!

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