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tvashtarkatena

An analysis of the recent Supreme Court ruling

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the preamble is hard to imagine actually being enshrined in the big-C :)

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I really do no think you guys get it is all about greed, money is religion in this country. I am not immune from this sickness.

 

Laugh as you will the internet is next.

 

How much for cell phone bills and fees,lap tops, wireless service then home service?

 

The day is coming when we pay for everything online.

 

 

I work with server rooms, some of the employees I talk to are there just to find a way to bill you more.

 

As long we are comfortable we are just fine, not excluding me.

 

2% of the people make 95% of the money in the United States. look it up.

 

Just the way it is,till the printing machines wear out.

Edited by Roy

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When the rule of law violates basic ethics (corporate money swamping out the speech of the people and corrupting pols in this case) there isn't any point in trying to have a legally consistent argument.

 

Yes, this is a special time, an emergency, that requires special powers and methods...

 

Cheney couldn't have said it better.

 

Difficult times are precisely when we should trust our institutions, most particularly the constitution, democratic process, and the rule of law, the most. If not, anything goes.

 

We've all seen where that can take us.

 

In any situation, you must still answer the same question: who decides?

 

And what, exactly, are you suggesting be done, here? Yeah, we might have an issue of too much corporate influence over government after this ruling. How would you suggest we go forward in correcting that problem? Kvetching about the SC ruling, while a valuable discussion and airing of grievances, probably isn't the most fertile option. That ship has left the dock.

 

It is apparent that fetishism of the law prevents you from telling the difference between 1) Cheney undemocratically grabbing power to impose unethical policies that have been widely denounced throughout time and 2) progressives consistently denouncing the unethical underpinning of the rule of law that enables corporations to evade social responsibilities.

 

In what world does the systematic application of the same set of ethics boil down to "everything goes"?

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Downloads and online viewing of the film 'The Corporation' plus interview of director:

http://www.archive.org/details/The_Corporation_

 

If you haven't seen it yet, this must see documentary demonstrates how corporate personhood consists in creating a class of citizens that can only be psychotics because unable of empathy, unable of ethics beyond maximizing profit, etc .. , whereas its sole purpose is to avoid corporate regulations.

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February 8, 2010

In a Message to Democrats, Wall St. Sends Cash to G.O.P.

By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK

 

WASHINGTON — If the Democratic Party has a stronghold on Wall Street, it is JPMorgan Chase.

 

Its chief executive, Jamie Dimon, is a friend of President Obama’s from Chicago, a frequent White House guest and a big Democratic donor. Its vice chairman, William M. Daley, a former Clinton administration cabinet official and Obama transition adviser, comes from Chicago’s Democratic dynasty.

 

But this year Chase’s political action committee is sending the Democrats a pointed message. While it has contributed to some individual Democrats and state organizations, it has rebuffed solicitations from the national Democratic House and Senate campaign committees. Instead, it gave $30,000 to their Republican counterparts.

 

The shift reflects the hard political edge to the industry’s campaign to thwart Mr. Obama’s proposals for tighter financial regulations.

 

Just two years after Mr. Obama helped his party pull in record Wall Street contributions — $89 million from the securities and investment business, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics — some of his biggest supporters, like Mr. Dimon, have become the industry’s chief lobbyists against his regulatory agenda.

 

Republicans are rushing to capitalize on what they call Wall Street’s “buyer’s remorse” with the Democrats. And industry executives and lobbyists are warning Democrats that if Mr. Obama keeps attacking Wall Street “fat cats,” they may fight back by withholding their cash.

 

“If the president doesn’t become a little more balanced and centrist in his approach, then he will likely lose that support,” said Kelly S. King, the chairman and chief executive of BB&T. Mr. King is a board member of the Financial Services Roundtable, which lobbies for the biggest banks, and last month he helped represent the industry at a private dinner at the Treasury Department.

 

“I understand the public outcry,” he continued. “We have a 17 percent real unemployment rate, people are hurting, and they want to see punishment. But the political rhetoric just incites more animosity and gets people riled up.”

 

A spokesman for JPMorgan Chase declined to comment on its political action committee’s contributions or relations with the Democrats. But many Wall Street lobbyists and executives said they, too, were rethinking their giving.

 

“The expectation in Washington is that ‘We can kick you around, and you are still going to give us money,’ ” said a top official at a major Wall Street firm, speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of alienating the White House. “We are not going to play that game anymore.”

 

Wall Street fund-raisers for the Democrats say they are feeling under attack from all sides. The president is lashing out at their “arrogance and greed.” Republican friends are saying “I told you so.” And contributors are wishing they had their money back.

 

“I am a big fan of the president,” said Thomas R. Nides, a prominent Democrat who is also a Morgan Stanley executive and chairman of a major Wall Street trade group, the Securities and Financial Markets Association. “But even if you are a big fan, when you are the piñata at the party, it doesn’t really feel good.”

 

Roger C. Altman, a former Clinton administration Treasury official who founded the Wall Street boutique Evercore Partners, called the Wall Street backlash against Mr. Obama “a constant topic of conversation.” Many bankers, he said, failed to appreciate the “white hot anger” at Wall Street for the financial crisis. (Mr. Altman said he personally supported “the substance” of the president’s recent proposals, though he questioned their feasibility and declined to comment at all on what he called “the rhetoric.”)

 

Mr. Obama’s fight with Wall Street began last year with his proposals for greater oversight of compensation and a consumer financial protection commission. It escalated with verbal attacks this year on what he called Wall Street’s “obscene bonuses.” And it reached a new level in his calls for policies Wall Street finds even more infuriating: a “financial crisis responsibility” tax aimed only at the biggest banks, and a restriction on “proprietary trading” that banks do with their own money for their own profit.

 

“If the president wanted to turn every Democrat on Wall Street into a Republican,” one industry lobbyist said, “he is doing everything right.”

 

Though Wall Street has long been a major source of Democratic campaign money (alongside Hollywood and Silicon Valley), Mr. Obama built unusually direct ties to his contributors there. He is the first president since Richard M. Nixon whose campaign relied solely on private donations, not public financing.

 

Wall Street lobbyists say the financial industry’s big Democratic donors help ensure that their arguments reach the ears of the president and Congress. White House visitors’ logs show dozens of meetings with big Wall Street fund-raisers, including Gary D. Cohn, a president of Goldman Sachs; Mr. Dimon of JPMorgan Chase; and Robert Wolf, the chief of the American division of the Swiss bank UBS, who has also played golf, had lunch and watched July 4 fireworks with the president.

 

Lobbyists say they routinely brief top executives on policy talking points before they meet with the president or others in the administration. Mr. Wolf, in particular, also serves on the Presidential Economic Recovery Advisory Board led by the former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul A. Volcker.

 

Mr. Wolf was the only Wall Street executive on the panel and became the board’s leading opponent of what became known as the Volcker rule against so-called proprietary trading, according to participants. Such trading did nothing to cause the crisis, Mr. Wolf argued, as the industry lobbyists do now. (The panel concluded that the crisis established a precedent for government rescue that could enable big banks to speculate for their own gain while taxpayers took the biggest risks.)

 

Mr. Wolf and Mr. Dimon, who was in Washington last week for meetings on Capitol Hill and lunch with the president, have both pressed the industry’s arguments against other proposed regulations and the bank tax as well — saying the rules could cramp needed lending and send business abroad, according to lobbyists.

 

Both men are said to remain personally supportive of the president. But UBS’s political action committee has shifted its contributions, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. After dividing its money evenly between the parties for 2008, it has given about 56 percent to Republicans this cycle.

 

Most of its biggest contributions, of $10,000 each, went to five Republican opponents of Mr. Obama’s regulatory proposals, including Senator Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, the ranking minority member of the Banking Committee.

 

The Democratic campaign committees declined to comment on Wall Street money. But their Republican rivals are actively courting it.

 

Senator John Cornyn of Texas, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said he visited New York about twice a month to try to tap into Wall Street’s “buyers’ remorse.”

 

“I just don’t know how long you can expect people to contribute money to a political party whose main plank of their platform is to punish you,” Mr. Cornyn said.-- NYT 2/8/10

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In addition to the obvious threats of switching funding to the regressive wing of the corporate party, the more subtle framing of corporate and GOP talking points: asking Wall Street to stop destroying the real economy, paying up its debt to the taxpayer, and stop fighting regulations amounts to exacting "revenge", "punishment", kicking the corporate "pinata", etc ...

 

It's not like they are killing us and it has to stop, we are just being vengeful.

 

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When the rule of law violates basic ethics (corporate money swamping out the speech of the people and corrupting pols in this case) there isn't any point in trying to have a legally consistent argument.

 

Yes, this is a special time, an emergency, that requires special powers and methods...

 

Cheney couldn't have said it better.

 

Difficult times are precisely when we should trust our institutions, most particularly the constitution, democratic process, and the rule of law, the most. If not, anything goes.

 

We've all seen where that can take us.

 

In any situation, you must still answer the same question: who decides?

 

And what, exactly, are you suggesting be done, here? Yeah, we might have an issue of too much corporate influence over government after this ruling. How would you suggest we go forward in correcting that problem? Kvetching about the SC ruling, while a valuable discussion and airing of grievances, probably isn't the most fertile option. That ship has left the dock.

 

It is apparent that fetishism of the law prevents you from telling the difference between 1) Cheney undemocratically grabbing power to impose unethical policies that have been widely denounced throughout time and 2) progressives consistently denouncing the unethical underpinning of the rule of law that enables corporations to evade social responsibilities.

 

In what world does the systematic application of the same set of ethics boil down to "everything goes"?

 

The rule of law and our system of government is the machinery by which ethics are translated into policy and action. I often hear from self-described progressives about what needs to change, but when I ask how that change will come about given the machinery we've got, the answers often fall short. My patience with that kind of 'activism' has grown a bit short.

 

The way one lives one's life is still primary, of course, but regarding the kind of national issues under discussion; if there's no tangible path between your activism in the form of money or effort and some form of legislative, judicial, or electoral action that will move your issues forward, I find myself wondering whether its just another case of making oneself feel better and/or carping from the sidelines.

 

I'm not saying you're doing this. Rather, I'm asking the above question regarding what you suggest happen next. I agree with you about the power of large corporations over government. Our joke-of-a-health-care effort requires no introduction at this point. I also agree that the GOP is rotten to the core and that it's core values, or lack thereof, are very, very bad for this country and the rest of the world. The question is: are you shooting real bullets in this fight?

Edited by tvashtarkatena

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Well, I guess fighting for and winning actual change is too hard for some people, and I don't blame you for not being up to the task. It's a long term effort with lots of up and downs, and mostly grunt work. A lot of progressives find that type of effort just isn't sexy enough. Plus, it costs money. It's probably a whole lot more fun to host a home screening of 'The Corporation' and talk about it afterwards over some organic Cabernet.

Edited by tvashtarkatena

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Whether you are actually putting money and/or effort toward institutionalizing corporate personhood or just agreeing with it, you are still on the wrong side of this fight.

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Let's say I am on the wrong side of this fight. My question is, one more time...What are you going to do about it?

Edited by tvashtarkatena

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What I have always done, which is support pols and organizations that oppose corporate personhood. As for the specific tactics necessary to reach that aim, they are many: from campaigning for constitutional amendments banishing corp personhood to local initiatives to enforce citizens rights: Spokane Considers Community Bill of Rights Thousands of people voted to protect nine basic rights, ranging from the right of the environment to exist and flourish to the rights of residents to have a locally based economy and to determine the future of their neighborhoods.

 

 

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Poll: Two-Thirds Of Americans Unhappy About Citizens United Ruling

Evan McMorris-Santoro | February 8, 2010, 1:44PM

 

[...]

 

Sixty-four percent of respondents were opposed to ruling, while just 27% said they favored it.

 

"The results are pretty striking," Greeberg said on a conference call with reporters this morning. He said that the current anti-establishment fervor in the electorate suggests that incumbents should get as far away from the Citizens United ruling as they can. "The last thing people want to see in this environment is corporations having more influence on politicians."

 

That's especially true among independents, as data from the poll shows.

 

More than 80% of independents said new limits should be placed on campaign spending. Seventy-four percent of independents agreed with the statement that "special interests have too much influence in Washington."

 

Though the results are good news for campaign finance reform fans, they're not so good for the party in power at the moment. Independents did not give positive reviews on how Democrats have dealt with the problem of special interest influence in Washington. Just 30% said President Obama has reduced the power of lobbyists in Washington, while 50% said special interests have gained more power in the city since he took office.

 

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/02/poll-two-thirds-of-americans-unhappy-about-citizens-united-decision.php?ref=fpa

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Let's say I am on the wrong side of this fight. My question is, one more time...What are you going to do about it?

 

Great. Trumpet a decision that removes a key tool in our ability to limit corruption in government (limiting the amount of money corporations can spend on candidates or issues during an election cycle) then berate the dissenters for doing naught about it. Nice. The question is, WTF are you going to do about it while the rest of us continue to show this decision for the gang rape that it is. Be sure to let us know how much harder real campaign finance reforms will be post-Court decision now that this is a constitutional "free speech" issue.

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Let's say I am on the wrong side of this fight. My question is, one more time...What are you going to do about it?

 

Great. Trumpet a decision that removes a key tool in our ability to limit corruption in government (limiting the amount of money corporations can spend on candidates or issues during an election cycle) then berate the dissenters for doing naught about it. Nice. The question is, WTF are you going to do about it while the rest of us continue to show this decision for the gang rape that it is. Be sure to let us know how much harder real campaign finance reforms will be post-Court decision now that this is a constitutional "free speech" issue.

 

Um...I don't have to do anything about it, as I'm for the ruling, with reservations. I suppose I could gloat.

 

I didn't berate any dissenters, just asked them what their activism involved. It would still be helpful if the voices in the wilderness shouting out against this injustice could provide the silent majority with links to ways they can a) donate or b) act in an effective fashion to address the issue of too much corporate influence. All the informational links are nice, but if you folks are already doing as much as you can, that should only take a minute or two to post.

Edited by tvashtarkatena

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It's important to remember that this ruling:

 

does not affect the ongoing prohibition of corporate donations directly to candidates, parties, and PACS. Corporations may make 'coordinated' contributions, independent of those candidates, parties, and PACs. The FCC is re-examining its rules concerning these coordinated contributions in the face of this ruling. That might be one area to focus activist scrutiny and pressure; ensuring that new FCC rules do all they can to ensure fairness.

 

Allows labor unions, formerly prohibited, from contributing in a 'coordinated fashion' to political campaigns, putting them on par with corporations.

 

allows non-profit corporations to solicit donations from corporations, not just individuals, for candidate support, advertise using all communication channels in that effort, and include formerly banned information, like candidate voting records, in that effort. The ruling is a big win for focused non-profits to engage more fully in the political process.

 

does not prohibit public disclosure of contributions.

 

**********************************

 

The system prior to this ruling vastly favored incumbents, who, with their name recognition and ability to use publicly funded events like press conferences, are much better able to collect smaller donations from larger constituencies than challengers. An alloted amount of free (publicly funded) media play for candidates would go a long way to alleviate this problem.

 

Furthermore, the campaign budget floor; the minimum amount of money necessary for getting the message out, is far more important than the ceiling. Adequate public campaign financing would go a long way to address this issue.

 

Here's a concise and useful legal analysis of what the ruling does and, contrary to some of the blather posted here, does not do:

linky

 

Embedded in my post are some policy changes to support that would minimize the potential harm of this ruling, for those folks who want to pursue the issue in a substantive way.

 

 

 

Edited by tvashtarkatena

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aren't we all corporations in the end, really? if you think about it....

 

and when corporations lose, WE lose. because WE are corporations. do not vote against yourself: vote for corporations.

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Finding it humorous that none of the "realists" weighing in against this decision seem to be the least bit concerned about political implications of allowing the humans that occupy key positions in the government at any particular time to determine precisely who gets to criticize them, how, and when.

 

Funnier still that somehow the NYT is presumed to be composed of disinterested observers with no skin in the game who are dedicated only to advancing the public interest, while the guy who runs an appliance factory and wants to criticize a congressman or administration who supported a steel tariff is a grubby partisan with no business airing his grievances in the public.

 

 

The most humorous assertion of all is that it'd even be possible for Congress to make politically neutral rules governing the rights of between the NRA, Amway, and move-on.org. You really want Michelle Bachman to have any role whatsoever in making that call?

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Finding it humorous that none of the "realists" weighing in against this decision seem to be the least bit concerned about political implications of allowing the humans that occupy key positions in the government at any particular time to determine precisely who gets to criticize them, how, and when.

 

The main effect of this decision is to legitimize corporate influence on pols and elections. Anything else is at best a second order effect and, at any rate, nothing should protect office holders from genuine criticism.

 

Funnier still that somehow the NYT is presumed to be composed of disinterested observers with no skin in the game who are dedicated only to advancing the public interest, while the guy who runs an appliance factory and wants to criticize a congressman or administration who supported a steel tariff is a grubby partisan with no business airing his grievances in the public.

 

The press is supposed to play an essential part in the democratic process: that of the 4th estate to keep politicians honest. Comparing manufacturing appliances to that of keeping the electorate informed when discussing freedom and speech is nonsensical.

 

The most humorous assertion of all is that it'd even be possible for Congress to make politically neutral rules governing the rights of between the NRA, Amway, and move-on.org. You really want Michelle Bachman to have any role whatsoever in making that call?

 

Well, the NRA and move-on are very different birds in term of their representatitivty from Amway, and even more different than GE, etc, which you incidentally didn't mention

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As long as government has no role in deciding which voices, interests, etc are legitimate and are allowed to express an opinion about particular politicians using whatever means are available to them - I'm happy to let the chips fall where they may. If George Soros wants to blow his wad telling the world that George Bush is a Douche the day before an election - fine with me.

 

I agree with you about the ideal role of the Fourth Estate, but the reality is that "The press" is every bit as much a for-profit entity as, say, Amway. There's nothing magical about the beings that write editorials that elevates them above the rest of the mortals frittering away their time in other occupations that entitles them to voice their opinions about a candidate immediately before an election while The Fraternal Order of Sanitation Workers or GE have to remain silent.

 

The other bit I find odd is the conviction that economic activity immediately becomes suspect and evil when organized in a corporation, as opposed to a sole proprietorship, partnership, etc. The trial lawyers manage to exert a fair amount of influence over legislation and other aspect of government without being incorporated.

 

It's also worth asking whether all corporations will perceive themselves as having common interests that they'll act upon. Particularly when the primary end of their lobbying is to get Congress to rig the game in their favor with tariffs, subsidies, tax-breaks, win contracts, or some other intervention in the market that will hobble their competition and extract excess returns from consumers. If a politician gives GE a sweetheart deal via an earmark XYZ corp might be the only interest with the motivation and resources to squeal about it in a way that gets heard.

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The main effect of this decision is to legitimize corporate influence on pols and elections. Anything else is at best a second order effect and, at any rate, nothing should protect office holders from genuine criticism.

 

The main effects remain to be seen. Corporations, both non-profit or otherwise, and now labor unions, SHOULD be able exercise the 1st amendment to influence elections...that's the very point of participatory democracy. This ruling removes the primary barrier to political criticism...and that is a good thing.

 

 

The press is supposed to play an essential part in the democratic process: that of the 4th estate to keep politicians honest. Comparing manufacturing appliances to that of keeping the electorate informed when discussing freedom and speech is nonsensical.

 

GE makes appliances and owns NBC. In such a world, any legislative favoritism given to the latter but not the former is, on its face, arbitrary and does not reflect the real world. In the end, a well educated and informed populace is the antidote to the ills you fear, not having the government attempt to ride herd on which corporate entity is worthy of the pulpit and which is not.

 

The most humorous assertion of all is that it'd even be possible for Congress to make politically neutral rules governing the rights of between the NRA, Amway, and move-on.org. You really want Michelle Bachman to have any role whatsoever in making that call?

 

And, interesting (Re: my legal analysis post), the NRA and Move-on are both freed from several very restrictive prohibitions due to this ruling. From a relative standpoint, non-profits will benefit far more than for profit corporations going forward in terms of being able to represent their constituencies in the political process.

 

In general, this ruling opens up several avenues for a more participatory democracy; for labor unions, for non-profits, and yes, for for-profit corporations...right on down to the mom and pop grocery store down the street. As 80% of Americans are employed by companies of under 25 people, this ruling may well provide an effective antidote for the kind of political apathy so often lamented by progressives. If that greater participation happens through the vehicle of one's garage shop business, so be it. I'm for it.

Edited by tvashtarkatena

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There is a very large problem with the military-industrial complex (or whatever for-profit corporate interest) owning huge media empires and that should of course be addressed but opening the floodgates to corporate money in politics isn't going help. If anything, it will make matters worse. The 4th estate is sine qua non for democracy and stating that it isn't up to the task today doesn't in anyway invalidate the need for a free press with different rights and obligations than that of GE.

 

I find the insistence that this ruling will enable citizens associations and unions to compete with corporate interests disingenuous at best.

 

Economic activity isn't evil. Controlling political outcomes to enhance one's economic activity to the detriment of the great unwashed masses is however evil. Partnerships aren't granted the privilege of limited liability by the state, so they have different obligations, which doesn't imply they should yield influence out of proportion to their representativity.

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I find the insistence that this ruling will enable citizens associations and unions to compete with corporate interests disingenuous at best.

 

Economic activity isn't evil. Controlling political outcomes to enhance one's economic activity to the detriment of the great unwashed masses is however evil. Partnerships aren't granted the privilege of limited liability by the state, so they have different obligations, which doesn't imply they should yield influence out of proportion to their representativity.

 

The ruling advertises what it allows and does not allow. What actually happens remains to be seen. The ability of a corporation to exercise the 1st amendment by independently funding an ad that is not directly coordinated with a campaign, PAC, or party hardly constitutes 'control'. What liability protection has to do with this issue is beyond me. Thats seems to be an irrelevant entanglement of two completely unrelated issues.

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