Friday, January 22, 2010

For the Corporation by the Corporation

From CNN:
Supreme Court eases restrictions on corporate campaign spending

So ya, the conservative Republicans on the Supreme Court has just ruled that it infringes on a corporations "1st amendment rights" to not allow them to directly contribute to political candidates.

Corporations are not people. They don't have the same rights as people nor can they be arrested, drafted into the military or serve jail time. Their rights are not guaranteed by the constitution because the constitution does not start off by saying "We the Corporation", it starts off saying, "We the People of the United States" and later goes on to say that We the People are getting these rights because we also have the responsibility to "provide the common defense" and "promote the general welfare" of the United States, something that would be in direct conflict to a profit motivated corporation, especially a corporation that has already outsourced American jobs. I mean war has been profitable to many corporations and those corporations have typically been the ones who funded the President who had made the decision to go to war so in reality not much is changing with this new Supreme Court decision but it will certainly make it a lot easier for them to directly influence politics. And now, they no longer even have to be industry specific; For example, Exxon is now free to run a prolife campaign ad endorsing a candidate...which will always be a Republican by the way.

To me (AKA not a constitutional lawyer) if corporations are represented by the constitution, aren't they then in contempt of the constitution if they aren't living up to the same obligations, such as providing for the common defense and common welfare of the United States, jury duty, etc., we the people are expected to provide? People have been sent to prison for not coming to the defense of the United States by burning their draft cards yet corporations don't have that worry. People have been sent to prison for tax evasion but no corporation ever has. If they don't have that worry, if a corporation can never be put in jail for committing a crime (and the commit many) then why do they get all the rights and privileges we the people, especially if we the people are the ones who also pay the majority of taxes? For instance, 50 years ago corporate taxes accounted for 1/3rd of all federal revenues whereas today, they only account for 1/8th of all federal revenues collected. A lot of major corporations today, such as GE, AT&T, Boeing, Eli Lilly, Merrill Lynch, etc., go years paying no federal taxes at all and in many cases even receive federal subsidies....They are on welfare!

Now that they are handing out our unalienable rights to corporations, should we also give them the right to vote, the right to run for office? Guarantee them against excessive bail or unusual punishment (oh right, they can't be arrested)? Actually, we are giving them something more powerful than the mere right to vote so they now (ok they always have) have more power than the people.

Look, any individual who works for a corporation has every right, as a person, to contribute to or endorse any candidate they may wish to endorse, I have no problem with that. If the CEO of Exxon wants to contribute to and openly endorse members of congress who favor of subsidizing the oil industry and wants to limit their liability in oil spills and wants to repeal environmental laws and go to war with nations who refuse to sell us their oil, then he has every right to do so. But, how much more dangerous is it and how much more personal would it be for a candidate actually be controlled by a single corporation or how much pressure would a candidate be under, not by his constituents or PAC's or industry lobbyists, but by one specific corporation to pass laws favorable or not to pass laws that are not favorable to a specific company? If you think Wall Street, big oil, insurance and drug companies run congress now...

By the way, who is keeping someone from giving another person money a restriction of free speech?? Doesn't free speech involve...I don't know, speech? Words?

The only good thing about this is that once Unions start running attack ads on Republicans, it is possible that the Republicans on the Supreme Court could be convinced to change their mind as we know this has nothing to do with law, right or wrong or free speech.

7 comments:

dmarks said...

Go ahead and read the First Amendment. I don't blame you if you have forgotten that it exists. After all, the minority in this Supreme Court ruling has.

It prohibits Congress censoring speech and freedom of the press. There are no clauses anywhere in it to allow speech to be censored because it its source.

Toad734 said...

where in the first amendment does it say Corporations are either people or the press?

Those freedoms were given to the people. With those freedoms, such as the right to vote, comes responsibilities such as the draft, jury duty, etc. Corporations aren't exposed to such duties therefore they don't qualify as entities who are covered by those same freedoms...Not to mention "right of the people", "we the people" right there in the text.

Are you saying corporations also have the right to vote? Have the freedom of religion?

We also know that the right to free speech is inherently limited as you aren't legally able to commit perjury or yell fire in a crowded theater.

I know you want oil companies making all the laws for you, well, they already do but this opens the door even more for your profit only world of corporate oligarchies which will now run the government and makes its decisions...not that they already don't.

This is judicial activism at its worst. I wonder which companies have these conservative judges in their pockets?

Come back to me when you find anything in the constitution which gives powers and rights to corporations as opposed to the people.

Toad734 said...

And I guess since corporations are people and have the unlimited freedom of speech and expression they are also allowed to advertise their products as something that will cure cancer and make you live forever and have a nude gay model as their spokesperson and show ads during after school cartoon hour?? I mean, they have the freedom of speech right ???

Again, you are being lied to!

dmarks said...

Toad asked: "where in the first amendment does it say Corporations are either people or the press?"

Read it again. Nothing hinges at all on who gets censored. It only says that Congress can't censor. The open-ended ness, of course, means that Congress can't censor the foreign media. That is good alos, that we are allowed to read foreign newspapers and get foreign information.

"Are you saying corporations also have the right to vote? Have the freedom of religion? "

No. Again, read the Constitution. It described exactly who can vote.


"I know you want oil companies making all the laws for you"

Not at all. I simply do not want the government censoring free speech speech. Especially political discourse.

The issue has everything to do with free speech and protecting the Constitution. To discuss corruption like this is a change of topic.

If you don't like it, change the channel.

"Come back to me when you find anything in the constitution which gives powers and rights to corporations as opposed to the people."

Is that your way of sending me away forever? Because there is no such claim in there, and I've never made it.

"....and expression they are also allowed to advertise their products as something that will cure cancer and make you live forever and have a nude gay model as their..."

The issues on restricting this are the same as if it was just individuals.

Come on, if you don't like what someone says, ignore it.

Anonymous said...

actually, the United States IS a corporation. Look it up, it was passed in Virginia a long time ago.

Brooklyn Girl said...

Money is a commodity. Speech is not. Money is not speech.

Look, corporations can spend whatever they want on advertising. But allowing corporations to actively participate in skewing elections in their favor is the direct road to facism.

Toad734 said...

Werd