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Friday, June 30, 2017

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission

Originally Published January 30, 2010; Last Updated June 27, 2017; Last Republished June 27, 2017:

Last week our Supreme Court decided Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, a monstrous 5-4 opinion unconvincingly1 characterizing our corporations as associations of citizens entitled to First Amendment political speech rights, limited only by disclaimer and disclosure requirements.

The majority seems to have conflated the regulatory process applicable to our corporations with the political process applicable to our citizens.

Evidently, an interest to protect is sufficient for the majority to guarantee our corporations First Amendment rights in our political process.

That said one can only hope for such a simplified, expansive, and unlimited approach for all First Amendment case law—call it the return to ancient First Amendment principles approach to First Amendment case law.

Blog:

UPDATED 06/25/2012 LAT, Durbin: May take new court to overturn 'super PAC' ruling
UPDATED 06/08/2012 NYT, Approval Rating for Justices Hits Just 44% in New Poll
UPDATED 05/07/2012 ProPublica, The Best Watchdog Journalism on Campaign Finance
UPDATED 02/18/2012 DailyKos, Supremes put Montana's anti-Citizens United law on hold, but ...

Montana's Supreme Court says its 1912 statute forbidding corporate contributions to candidates is narrowly tailored to serve a compelling state interest—and that's all Citizens United requires.

Not so says petitioner Western Tradition Partnership—Citizens United forbids the forbidding of corporate contributions to candidates.

Justice Ginsburg has stayed the state court's decision, rhetorically asking her colleagues whether granting certiorari would provide them with an opportunity to revisit Citizens United.

Web:

UPDATED 06/30/2017
Reuters, Trump to Senate Republicans: kill Obamacare now, replace later

Maybe the billionaires' threat to our congressional representatives that there will be "no cash until action on healthcare" means that without gutting healthcare for our poor (Medicaid) there is no cash for the billionaires' tax break!


Unsurprisingly, our "new" alt-white-house tells congress to gut healthcare now and replace it later so they can get on with legislation giving the billionaires a tax break. Where is the promise of affordable healthcare for all our citizens without gaps?

UPDATED 06/27/2017 NYT, Donors to GOP: No Cash Until Action on Health Care, Taxes

What a beautiful bare knuckle brawl between our prostitutes and their whoremasters. A standoff over whether to deliver the f^cking before the cash or the cash before the f^cking?

Maybe our Supreme Court will take the case and abandon its "free speech" cover story for the whoremasters' cash?

UPDATED 09/14/2016 Guardian, Leaked Court Documents from ‘John Doe Investigation’

UPDATED 05/06/2016 USAToday, Often-secret donors spend big to push elected officials' pet projects

Guess the source of "political speech" (aka money) is not as transparent or clear as our high court anticipated?

UPDATED 04/24/2016 YouTube, Koch, 'Possible' Clinton better than GOP nominee


How ironic one billionaire's neo-anarchic agenda blown up by another billionaire's neo-anarchic agenda—hey it's free entertainment, watch and enjoy!

Even Koch couldn't imply his support for Hillary Clinton with a straight face. It's like Russia's Putin implying if the United States et al. doesn't ease up on economic sanctions he'll support China's Xi efforts to replace the dollar with the renminbi, so thugs can more freely finance their thuggery!

UPDATED 04/12/2016 AP News, Hundreds Protest Money in Politics at US Capitol
Maybe a hedge fund or super pac will use their free speech to bail out the arrested protesters as soon the judge declares how many words each protester will be required to post as bail?

UPDATED 04/04/2016 YouTube, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Congressional Fundraising (HBO)


UPDATED 03/14/2016 PubIntegrity, Citizens United, Explained Center for Public Integrity teams up with Reveal in hour-long radio show

UPDATED 03/07/2016 NYT, 'Dark Money', by Jane Mayer

Mayer's "Dark Money" illuminates a backstory of a bizarre billionaires' bazaar behind America's escalating and increasingly nefarious electioneering. Mayer's best-selling book opens with a variant of the quotation oft-attributed to deceased Associate Justice Louis D. Brandeis:
“We can have a democratic society or we can have the concentration of great wealth in the hands of a few. We cannot have both.”4
And ends with a near billion dollar projection ($889M), which concentrated wealth is expected to pledge for Presidential Election 2016 electioneering. This, in addition to the $1,000M each major party (Republicans and Democrats) is expected to spend.

Mr. Chief Justice, that's a lot of concentrated and costly speech!


UPDATED 01/22/2015 COLUMN-Are U.S. rivals hacking the American electoral system? Why it's impossible to know
UPDATED 12/07/2014 NYT, Energy Firms in Secretive Alliance With Attorneys General

Conflating faux federalism with financial interests is likely to produce undesirable mischief. When attorneys generals are doing the conflation excessive "ingratiation" (commonly called corruption) and incredulity are likely to follow.
 
UPDATED 04/02/2014  SupremeCourt, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Comm’n

Transparent measures and constraints on monies flows to our representatives should not require NSA intercepts or FBI recordings of representatives' quid pro quo exchanges—a premise artfully articulated by the four dissenters

UPDATED 08/22/2012 NewYorker, Schmooze or Lose: Obama doesn’t like cozying up to billionaires. Could it cost him the election?

One might phrase Jane Mayer's question a little different—should our President place his confidence in the abilities of the American people or personal casino concierges?

UPDATED 02/17/2012 NPR, White House And SuperPAC: How Close Is Too Close?

UPDATED 01/16/2012 Guardian, Stephen Colbert for President? TV host hints at entering Republican race

Our seriously corrupt election processes and consequent loss of its integrity maybe returned in hilarity and humor—run Colbert run!


UPDATED 10/05/2011 New Yorker, State for Sale: A conservative multimillionaire has taken control in North Carolina, one of 2012’s top battlegrounds. and NPR, Art Pope: The Millionaire Helping Republicans Win N.C.

Jane Mayer examines the intersection of Art Pope's corporate money with South North Carolina's legislature.

UPDATED 10/21/2010 NYT, Top Companies Aid Chamber of Commerce in Policy Fights. Let the games begin!

UPDATED 08/26/2010 New Yorker, Covert Operations. Jane Mayer provides a mini-tutorial on the mischief our billionaires create (literally) behind networks of coordinated corporate facades and fronts—it can be very difficult to determine who's funding the "chants of our cults" and for what purpose. Penetration of the facades and fronts usually depreciates and tarnishes much of the good our billionaires accomplish—there's a transparent message here somewhere.

UPDATED 01/30/2011 WP, 25 arrested at California conservative meeting and Reuters, Protesters decry conservative desert retreat. The article reports brothers David and Charles Koch organized the conclave. The article does not provide the conclave’s thematic; perhaps "plutocrats for a vibrant democracy"? Wonder if Sarah "no sheep"3 Palin was the conclave's keynote?


NPR, The Brothers Koch: Rich, Political And Playing To Win. Fresh Air Terry Gross talks with Mayer about her New Yorker article.

UPDATED 04/04/2010 UPI, U.S. Supreme Court: Wallowin' again in that ol' soft money. The Supreme Court's recent decision in Citizens created a disparity between the now unlimited spending permitted by unions and corporations and the still limited "soft money" spending by political parties. Litigants are expected to ask our Supreme Court to eliminate the current "soft money" limitation in time for the next election—bet you can't wait. Of course Congress could act to neutralize the corrosive perception, if not reality, that our politicians are bought and paid for before, during, and after their "public service"2 to our nation.

UPDATED 03/10/2010 ProPublica, Higher Corporate Spending on Election Ads Could Be All but Invisible.

UPDATED 03/10/2010 WP, Chief Justice John Roberts: Scene at State of Union 'very troubling'.



Our chief justice does the Supreme Court and our nation a disservice by engaging in polemics with respect to the courts recent decisions. It may be news to a youthful and energetic chief justice but that's what a Supreme Court justice does—sit, study, listen, and decide, hopefully with dispassionate interest and without political polemics2. It’s unlikely Supreme Court justices can successfully and simultaneously engage the role of polemic politician and credible Supreme Court justice without doing harm to themselves and the Court.

-----notes-----

1. Many have viewed the decision as an unreasoned political polemic, which further dulls our Supreme Court's patina of credibility.

2. The definition of "public service" appears to be raising money for the next election and not voting inconsistent with interests necessary to raise that money. Wonder what the relationship is, if any, between this definition of "public service" and the recent harmful shocks to our financial, economic, and social systems equilibrium? Assuming unconstrained "soft money" enables each political party to offset the "public service" of the other will such offsetting increase or decrease the frequency and magnitude of the harmful shocks to our financial, economic, and social systems equilibrium?

3. Refer to CSM, Sarah Palin: Democrats have 'the fighting instincts of a bunch of sheep'

4. Refer to Peter Scott Campbell's, Democracy v. Concentrated Wealth, In Search of Louis D. Brandeis Quote Mayer uses the variant:
"We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."

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