Politics

Dems United Against Citizens United Ruling, Want New Restrictions on Free Speech

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If you can force yourself to remember President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, you might recall his shout-out against the then-new Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United case, which struck down a raft of dubious infringements on specifically political speech. Specifically, the case involved a small nonprofit whose documentary about Hillary Clinton was censored by the federal government. Read Reason's archive on Citizens United here.

The decision said that independent political expenditures by for-profit and non-profit corporations were OK prior to, well, elections (which, when you think about it, is exactly when you might be interested in more information about candidates and issues). Folks such as MSNBC male hysteric Keith Olbermann called the ruling "our Dred Scott" and predicted that companies such as Exxon/Mobil would now flood the airwaves with "electioneering communications" designed to bamboozle us stupid voters.

Now the Dems are back with new legislation designed to plug the free speech gaps they fear Citizens United opened up. The details of the proposal are online via Politico. And all you need to know that the law is a bad one is its title and acronym: "The Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections Act" or, The DISCLOSE ACT.

Read the fine print then check out Reason.tv's 3 Reasons Not To Sweat The Citizen's United Ruling:

And for Citizens United completists, check out my appearance on Bill Moyers Journal discussing the ruling with Harvard's Larry Lessig.

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  1. Dude, n way man that is downright scary!

    Lou
    http://www.post-anonymously.us.tc

  2. I don’t see how you can tell recipients of TARP that they cannot spend on a political campaign. If you can do that, why can’t you tell welfare recipients or farmers receiving subsidies they cannot donate to political campaigns? You can’t tie receipt of government benefits to restrictions on your 1st Amendment Rights. That is blatantly unconstitutional.

    1. Actually the only problem I have with these provisions is that public employees unions aren’t also banned from spending money to influence elections.

      If you’re going to ban government contractors and corporations that get bailouts from making campaign donations, it’s grossly unfair not to ban unions that rely on government money from doing it to.

      1. And isn’t a collective bargaining agreement a contract? So in a sense, isn’t a public employee union a “contractor”?

  3. OK, scumbag TEAM BLUE partisans, let’s hear you defend 1st Amendment infringements. It gives me many lulz to watch you shred your supposed dedication to civil rights easier than Oprah shreds an entire lamb.

    1. What is there to shred? Corporations aren’t people and don’t have 1st Amendment rights!

      Pwned! Time to go get a latte!

      1. What is there to shred? Corporations aren’t people and don’t have 1st Amendment rights!

        Pwned! Time to go get a latte!
        reply to this

        What stopped the Nixon administration from stopping the New York Times Co. from publishing the Pentagon Papers?

    2. But, but TEH CORPORASHUNS! The corporatey corporations are going to be all corporate! I saw a movie at liberal church that told me exactly how to think about them!

      1. Well, if you consider that they believe pretty much everything that they read (so long as it’s from “approved” sources), it shouldn’t be surprising that CU makes them piss their pants. They think everyone is as gullible as they are.

        1. Bingo, my flightless friend.

        2. Some liberals are hysterical about this. But you don’t have to be hysterical, or liberal to be skeptical of the ruling in CU. Like I’ve said the best defense of such laws I’ve read came in Rehnquist opinions.

          It’s not hysterical to think corporations have certain unique qualities and that these qualities are not of a nature that we would want them more heavily involved in politics.

          1. It’s not hysterical to think unions have certain unique qualities and that these qualities are not of a nature that we would want them more heavily involved in politics.

            1. It’s not hysterical to think women have certain unique qualities and that these qualities are not of a nature that we would want them more heavily involved in politics.

              1. No need to get all sexist.

                1. Reminds me of a prank petition my son circulated in High School for the school vid-journal, ala Penn and Teller.

                  The petition was for signatures to “end women’s suffrage”, and he got a 95% signature rate.

                  1. Ha! Good one. Historically ignorant tools.

                2. Sexy? Hell, yeah its sexy!

                  What’s that?

                  Sexist?

                  What’s that mean?

            2. Er, SF, uh, don’t look now but the law in Citizens applied to unions too.

              1. And I’m sure the Democrats will apply any new restrictions they come up with for corporation to unions, right? Which is the issue here, the new regulations that they want to make.

                1. They applied it to unions as well in the laws under CU dude. My point is that proponents of campaign finance reform were not being inconsistent there at all.

                  In fact I disagree with them. I don’t think unions have the characteristics of corporations that concern me.

                  1. What a shocker.

                  2. MNG, will you ever come out in favor of allowing union members to decide how any portion of their dues are spent on political activities?

          2. corporations have certain unique qualities

            Please enumerate them with respect to their threat to the political process.

            1. They want to make profit. That’s evil and unamerican.

          3. MNG, if you’re for the CU decision, then you must be for banning any and all such documentaries in the future, without regard to ideological content.

        3. It’s not just gullible. It’s that their supposed free speech principles go straight the fuck out the window, without hesitation, when they think an enemy/opponent (corpurashuns!) might be able to pay for an opposing viewpoint.

          TEAM BLUE is at its most disgusting and insipid when it comes to free speech, because they are so delusional about how they are the “good guys” that they really think that they are free speech supporters. It’s laughable, and even more pathetic that they just don’t get it.

          1. In the early 90’s, I remember a bunch of campus lefties stealing copies of a new, conservative student newspaper, and throwing them in the trash. One of the quotes from these assholes was “facists don’t deserve free speech.”

            I think that was the day I stopped considering myself a (modern) liberal.

            1. In the early 90’s, I remember a bunch of campus lefties stealing copies of a new, conservative student newspaper, and throwing them in the trash. One of the quotes from these assholes was “facists don’t deserve free speech.”

              I think that was the day I stopped considering myself a (modern) liberal.

              Those campus lefties did not think the U.S. might be executing too many people.

              They are certain that Stalin did not execute enough people in the U.S.S.R.

            2. Did you happen to go to Georgetown, BP?

              Or was this perhaps an archetypal event around campuses in the early 90’s?

              I remember it happened to us when we launched The Georgetown Academy circa ’94.

              It’s no misnomer that Georgetown has a “red square”, back then a space regularly populated polluted by lefty trustafarians and assorted pseudo-activist howlers.

              Probably became ground zero for the Obami ecstasies that surely swept across the campus like a medieval plague not long ago…

          2. I just hurt myself trying to think of a single civil liberty that the Dems, supposedly the party of civil rights, still supports. I don’t even think they would support the 3rd Amendment.

            The Democrats are the party of entitlements and prohibitions; nothing more.

            1. The Democrats are Government is the party of entitlements and prohibitions; nothing more.

              FTFY

            2. i’ve often though that myself. Can you think of any specific individual right they Dems absolutely support other than abortion?

              1. Well, they’re usually pro-sodomy.

                1. Good point. I forgot about that one.

                  “The Democratic Party. Some of our best friends are Sodomites.”

  4. mmmm…..lamb.

    1. I would eat Oprah if she tasted like lamb.

  5. easier than Oprah shreds an entire lamb.

    I’m disturbed by how that image left me disgusted, queasy, hungry, and a little bit turned on. Is… is this what it’s like to be… Warty?

    1. No, it’s what it’s like to be NutraSlob. Warty shreds entire people.

      1. Slob? You said you’d never tell anyone about my beard dandruff!

        1. Maybe. You shouldn’t. Have grown. The neckbeard. In the first place. Like I told you. 20 times.

            1. Uh, you misread the chart. Neckbeard falls under “threatening”.

              1. I don’t have a neckbeard, you filthy hippie.

                1. Why do you insist on denying the obvious? Why do you think children cower when they see you? Why do you think dogs howl in fear when you walk by? It’s not the odor, I can assure you, though that’s bad enough.

                  1. My beard is full and luscious!

                    1. No. That’s just silly. I think you are trying to make fun of me.

                    2. The beard in that pic is the least of what worries me about it.

  6. And where do they get off telling people they can’t coordinate activities with political parties? This thing is going to get slapped down just as hard as the last one.

  7. Sec. 102. PREVENT FOREIGN INFLUENCE IN U.S. ELECTIONS

    I look forward to the DISCLOSE raids on the Times and all its holdings, especially the Red Sox.

    1. How about a law that makes it illegal for campaigns to turn off the setting that ensures a credit card donation is from a domestic source? Obama’s campaign did that and got little flak for it outside some of the conservative press.

  8. prior to, well, elections (which, when you think about it, is exactly when you might be interested in more information about candidates and issues)

    That’s also the time when disinformation is the most damaging, because there isn’t time to counter it before the election.

    1. Gump was a big celebrity
      He told JFK that he really had to pee
      He never feels to dumb because
      His mom always told him, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

      He’s Gump
      He’s Gump
      What’s in his head
      He’s Gump
      He’s Gump
      He’s Gump
      Is he inbred

    2. The only parties who are likely to put out “disinformation” about a candidate are corporations?

      Jesus Christ, you are either naive or thinking with only half of your brain.

      Eliminate your biases, boy! Think for yourself!

    3. TULPA, WE KNOW THAT’S YOU. Knock it off, dude.

      1. Actually my sister. And well beyond my control at this point.

    4. So, Forrest, you’re for banning speech during specific time periods.

      Right?

  9. The Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Thinking Up Ridiculously Contrived Names Like “The Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections Act”.

  10. The level of misinformation about the Citizens United decision is really disgusting. I keep encountering people who think that it means that corporations can now make unlimited contributions to campaigns, that 1st amendment rights only pertain to individual people (seemingly not noticing that newspapers are corporations), and my favorite, that corporations are now just the same legally as people and next thing you know they will be voting and running for office.

    1. I keep encountering people who think

      No we don’t.

      1. No, apparently not about this issue anyway.

  11. “The Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections Act” or, The DISCLOSE ACT.

    I laughed at first, but I just saw Chuckie Schumer on TV verifying this. Then I threw up a little.

    1. Just seeing Schumer is enough to make one throw up – no matter what he’s talking about.

  12. I’ve said it before, just require majority or 2/3 shareholder approval before the funds can be used. That respects everybody’s speech rights, and it protects the shareholder from having his money used for something he may be politically opposed to.

    1. Didn’t bother to read it, did you?

    2. How about 3/5, as you seem to think Americans are slaves.

    3. Everyone’s rights except for the states who have always been allowed to create their own corporation laws. And the rights of the shareholders who are deprived of the ability to set their own corporate rules. Just those people.

      And indeed, why limit such a restriction to corporations? If you can limit corporate speech, why can’t the government say that any organization of any kind needs to have 2/3rds consent of its members in order to spend money on a political campaign?

      1. For all the shareholders who would like to have their money spent without their consent. Yeah, right.

        1. It is their consent. They agreed to the corporate rules. There is nothing preventing shareholders from electing board members and setting such a rule themselves.

          Further, if Exxon can’t spend its money on politics without the 2/3rds consent of its owners/members, why should any other association be able to do the same?

          1. As an empirical matter it’s very difficult for holders to control management. In theory they should do this when they elect the board, but in reality the management controls the ballotting and the hand picked board members get relected at rates like political incumbents. Shareholder revolts are amazingly rare. This measure would just look out for them. They’d be totally free to approve the spending, it’s just they would have to be asked.

            1. As I said below. If lobbying is so evil and gives corporations such a unfair advantage, how is it that shareholders are being victimized by it? You don’t even try to think this stuff through MNG.

              1. Just explained it to you below.

                But let me ask you a question: why are so against having the corporation gain the holders consent before spending the holders investment? Are’nt you for empowering holders vis-a-vis management?

                1. Because the whole point of corporations is to separate management from ownership and funding. Requiring the shareholders to approve specific decisions made by management defeats the purpose of having corporations in the first place.

                  1. Not necessarily, there are some things that get put to holders directly. In this nation we have such a value against compelled speech this could be one of those things.

                2. Based on this idea, EVERYTHING the government does should be voted on by the people, and only things with a 2/3 majority should go through.

                  I actually kind of like it.

            2. As an empirical matter it’s very difficult for holders union members to control management. In theory they should do this when they elect the board officers, but in reality the management officers control the ballotting and the hand picked board members officers get relected at rates like political incumbents. Shareholder Union member revolts are amazingly rare. This measure would just look out for them. They’d be totally free to approve the spending, it’s just they would have to be asked.

        2. These people live across from the folks who would like to be able to bargain to work at unsafe worksites but are barred by the mean ol’ gubmnint.

          1. The only thing that prevents people from hurting themselves are benevolent liberals like you. Shareholders haven’t made such a rule because they know that political lobbying is good for the company and good for the bottomline.

            Indeed, you totally contradict yourself. On the one hand you claim corporations will own the government if they are allowed to spend money. But on the other, you claim that shareholders are somehow victimized when the corporations spend such money. It can’t be both.

            You claim it to be both because you don’t have any sort of cogent position beyond corporations are icky and you don’t like them.

            1. “It can’t be both.”

              Of course it can, because shareholders have a very limited ability to defeat management, so the “owning” of government may be for things they oppose, but bought with their money.

              1. Why would the shareholders oppose the company making more money? And why would the corporations lobby for things that didn’t make them more money?

                1. See, this is kind of one of the keys. Shareholders, being human beings and good citizens, care about values other than making money sometimes and don’t want their money to be used in certain ways EVEN if it makes them more money.

                  Corporations, as entities, are not like this. They are created to just want to make money and not care about anything else, management has a fiduciary duty to maximize shareholder wealth. That characterstic is not one that correlates with good citizenship.

                  1. So basically you are angry that corporations make money rather than pursue your pet causes.

                  2. See, this is kind of one of the keys. Shareholders, being human beings and good citizens, care about values other than making money sometimes and don’t want their money to be used in certain ways EVEN if it makes them more money.

                    “Good citizenship” is a subjective concept and there is no reason to believe that shareholders, like all individuals, would fit your definition of “good citizenship”.

                    Corporations, as entities, are not like this. They are created to just want to make money and not care about anything else, management has a fiduciary duty to maximize shareholder wealth. That characterstic is not one that correlates with good citizenship.

                    Again, no objective definition, so there is no reason to accept that “good citizenship”, and all its tenets, is a value that all should strive for.

                    You could replace “good citizenship” with “good Christians” and changed your argument little.

                  3. “Corporations, as entities, are not like this. They are created to just want to make money and not care about anything else…”

                    That is the goal most people think about when they hear the word “corporation”, but “corporation” refers to the organizing structure, not the goal of the organization. Many corporation do not pursue profit, Citizen’s United for instance. You are objecting to giving corporations free rights on the basis of a trait (single minded pursuit of profit) that is not inherent to the corporate form.

        3. Oh, not this again. If you don’t like what a company you own shares in is doing, you sell your shares. That is your recourse and your means to make sure your money is spent the way you want, unless you control a large enough part of the company to make decisions about that sort of thing.

        4. If you don’t like how the money is spent, or if the company isn’t putting enough jobs in the US, or isn’t helping the environment, or manufactures tobacco products, you can SELL YOUR SHARES. Vote with your wallet.

          1. Or organize a coup and throw out the board. They work for you, after all.

            1. Only a person ignorant of corporate matters and law would advocate this. Successful shareholder revolts are more rare than voting out incumbents.

              I mean, your own vaunted “law and economics” folks do a considerable bit of work on the “principal-agent” problems that exist in corporate matters today in the US. Try to keep up.

              1. Or perhaps I actually serve on the boards of a couple of companies and non-profits and know how it really works.

                Look, if you own $2,500 worth of a 100 billion dollar company, you can’t really expect to have a voice by yourself. Or with 10 of your friends. So no, you are very unlikely to lead any kind of revolt.

                However, if you and a couple of friends own 15% of a company, not only do you stand a chance of making a big change, but you probably are already in the boardroom when decisions are made.

                This is why banks, insurance companies and pensions are so powerful… they are the biggest investors, so they have control of seats on many of the boards of directors. So now you can really get yourself wound up about how the system works…. the Illuminati actually do control everything….from the bowels of Deuche bank and Lloyd’s.

                1. Look, have you read any literature in this area? Numerous studies have been done on the impotency of shareholder revolts. It’s a hard to miss issue for anyone who has read much in this field. Management runs the elections, they have massive advantages.

          2. This can only happen AFTER the fact. It’s like you guys preferences for tort (emasculated by “tort reform” at that) over regulation. It’s good to prevent harm now and then, not just redress it after its been done.

        5. Then sell your stock if you object to their practices and buy somebody else’s. Why is this so difficult to understand?

      2. why limit such a restriction to corporations?

        As a compromise, and in the spirit of bipartisanship, we have decided to restrict corporate speech only in Arizona. You’re welcome.

    4. Whatsamatter MNG? Afraid that some corporation’s ad is going to make you think bad thoughts?

      If the left has only one fatal conceit, it’s this: Everyone is stupid expect for me.

      1. I think a bigger conceit is one common to libertarians: that advertising has no effect on anything.

        This even though the capitalist they adore spend billions on it every year based on a contrary conclusion.

        1. Really? Do tell. Which of us has ever said that it “has no effect?”

          I just don’t believe that it’s the voices who tell me what to do. Sad that you do.

          1. Well some people think that effect can be negative and they want to curtail it. OK so you disagree it has this negative effect, but now you admit it has an effect. Progress has been made.

            1. The insane bum screaming on the street corner has an effect. Graffiti scrawled on a wall has an effect. Same thing for political ads. Doesn’t mean that it has changed my mind on anything.

              1. If it has not changed anyone’s mind on anything then it has no effect.

                But you just said it had an effect.

                1. So, for something to have “an effect,” it has to completely alter your thinking? Your epistemology is that rigid that its all or nothing?

                  No wonder you fear more speech.

                  1. No, it’s you that seem to demand total mind control. It influences things, even you dude.

                    1. No, I demand nothing. I can realize that I can hear or read something and have it: A) Not change my mind whatsoever, kinda like your posts, B) Intrigue me and want to find out more, C) Convince me that the speaker is completely right or D) anything in-between.

                      Your whole argument rests on the premise that the listener is an idiot and has no control over what he is hearing on how it effects his thinking.

                    2. Sheesh. MING and his enablers ruin every friggin’ thread. Begone!

                    3. Exactly, JW. ALL ideas and concepts presented to humans have “an effect”, so the argument of limiting ONE group because of this is overtly biased. ALL individuals must be prohibited from communication so as to not affect others.

                      This does create a logical problem, but I’m sure there is a government program that can fix this.

                    4. Statists rely on convincing people that they are stupid and we must cede everything to a (government) authority to tell us what is good and what is not. Without this, statists get nowhere fast.

        2. If your vote is influenced by some ad you see on TV, then you are either stupid or really not very interested or informed on politics and your vote is essentially random anyway.

      2. The question one must ask is simple: if this case were reversed, and it had been a group trying to make a documentary about Bush II, and the law suppressed them and SCOTUS threw it out, would TEAM BLUE dipshits here be decrying it?

        Anyone who says yes is either an indiot, a blatant liar, or utterly unaware of their own partisanship.

        1. It’s like the meatheads on Facebook joining the group “Petition to remove facebook group praying for President Obama’s death.”

          Sure. Replace Obama with Bush and I’m sure you’d still be right there with the torches and pitchforks.

        2. Oh come on Epi, you are more correct that it has to do with a distaste for corporations than that the particular film was anti-Hillary…

          1. That’s just the wedge they’re using to get this bill through. A better name would be the “Stop Turnover For Us” Act.

          2. Oh come on. If some organization had put out “Bush Sucks: the movie” in Oct. 2004, you really think that Democrats would be out howling about how horrible corporate influence on elections is? Or would they support it as important political speech and patriotic dissent? I would imagine the latter, and agree wholeheartedly.
            Just face it, campaign finance legislation is only effective at promoting incumbency and keeping the two parties firmly in control of the country.

            1. Wasn’t Fahrenheit 911’s entire purpose to influence people in the coming presidential election? Wouldn’t there be an almost 100% overlap when comparing the people who are against the Citizen United decision and those who saw Michael Moore as an important film-maker? Hell, how many people actually watched “Hilary, the Movie?”

    5. Uh huh

      And lets have the New York Times and the Washington Post and every other media outlet get the approval of 2/3 of the shareholders before they print or broadcast any editorial, political endoresment or opinion piece on anything.

    6. What about majority or 2/3 union employee approval on spending union dues on political activities, MNG?

    7. I am sure newspapers are going to love getting 2/3 approval from shareholders for every political endorsement they run.

  13. If recipients of TARP cannot donate to political campaigns, then no public employee should be able to either.

    1. Is that analogy correct? The public employee recieves pay in exchange for work done. What does the TARP recipient do? A better analogy would anyone with a federal contract.

      1. No, a contract is in exchange for work done. The analogy to TARP is welfare and subsidy recipients. So, I guess you have no problem telling poor people they can’t participate in political campaigns?

        1. It’s not my measure to deny federal contractors the right to play, mine is explained on this thread.

          1. Or welfare recipients. Why do hate poor people and want to disenfranchise them?

            1. John take a breath, for the second time, I am not advocating limiting contractors. I would go the mandated shareholder approval route.

      2. “The public employee receives pay in exchange for work done.”

        You lost me right there.

      3. “The public employee receives pay in exchange for work done.”

        You lost me right there.

      4. “The public employee receives pay in exchange for work done.”

        You lost me right there.

      5. The public employee recieves pay in exchange for work done political support.

        FIFY

  14. From politico the statute will:
    ec. 101. BAN PAY-TO-PLAY

    ? Prevent Government Contractors from Spending Money on Elections.

    I note that although government contractors are banned from spending money on elections, government employee’s unions are not similarly banned. Nicely done! Since nearly every major company probably sells something to the government, they can ban all political activities of sizable corporations while leaving the DNC lapdog unions unaffected. Brilliant!

  15. And another thing: I haven’t yet RTFB, but look forward to seeing how it avoids getting wrapped around the axle via “Government contractors would be barred from making campaign-related expenditures”. At the least, it seems like a lot of individual small-$ contributors to campaigns might not be amused.

  16. So basically now a corporation can bribe a public official by agreeing to provide campaign advertisements in exchange for some other quid pro quo.

    This seems like an odd thing for people who want small government to support, but the Libertarian Catch-22 never bothered any of you in the past, so go figure.

    1. No, current law specifically forbids this activity.

    2. So basically now a politician can bribe a corporation by agreeing to (insert standard politician procedural bullshit, wherein the politician fucks the taxpayer) in exchange for campaign advertisements.

      1. Dan won’t get that, X. He’s too obtuse to understand logic.

    3. Here’s a wacky idea: why not limit the amount of power that politicians have? Then, people (and corporations) will be less liekly to seek them out and give them money in exchange for favors.

      1. Well that’s just crazy talk.

    4. So basically now a corporation can bribe a public official by agreeing to provide campaign advertisements in exchange for some other quid pro quo.

      Corporations like those that own the New York Times and the Washington Post and MSNBC?

      1. We’re exempt from your rules, because we’re special.
        Free speech for me, not for thee.

            1. Pass us some of that gravy!

  17. Ooh, and Section 401 is a real pip:

    If a covered organization (which includes corporations, unions, section 501(c)(4), (5), and (6) organizations, and section 527 organizations) spends $50,000 on airtime to run ads on broadcast, cable, or satellite television that support or oppose a candidate, then that candidate or political party committee is allowed to receive the lowest unit rate for that media market.
    The broadcaster must also ensure that the candidate or political entity has “reasonable access” during nonpreemptible airtime.

    Nice… so now if a station allows a corporation to run any ads that oppose a candidate or party, they have to let the candidate buy time during prime-time at their lowest available rate, and they have to bump paying advertisers to make room for the ads! Way to watch your back, pols!

    1. It actually seems worse than that:

      “If a covered organization spends $50,000 on airtime to run ads [to] support…a candidate, then the candidate…is allowed to receive the lowest unit rate for that media market.”

      In other words, if a covered organization helps you, you then get to go get lowest rate advertising. Seems weird that the word “support” is in there at all, given the purpose of the bill.

  18. Let’s see how this works: The local “Save our Streams” group incorporates in order to limit its liability in case some rabid teabagger infiltrates its next stream cleanup and “stages” a slip and fall injury. Now, as a corporation, it cannot spend one dime electioneering against Councilman Greedmonger who refuses to vote for a new stream cleanup tax.
    Those citizens who want Greedmonger defeated cannot spend their money to do so, except through his opponent’s campaign, who may not be willing to give the stream cleanup issue the attention said citizens think it deserves.

    Look, does anyone really believe a for-profit corporation – McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Starbucks, etc. – is going to risk ticking off a good portion of its patrons by, say, running an ad for Harry Reid or John McCain’s opponent?
    No, the corporations that run these ads are special interests and not beholding to the general public/consumers for their livelihood.

  19. Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech…

    1. Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech…

      Wait a minute! I think there’s a loophole in there.

      1. Wait a minute! I think there’s a loophole in there.

        Yes, but there are a number of laws that have been upheld that limit speech. E.g., libel, copyright, national security, insider trading, et cetera.

        The problem with the limits overturned in Citizens United is that they were a prior restraint of speech.

  20. They wouldn’t think of messing with intertubes access in this stuff, would they?

  21. This whole thing shows how liberals are totally dissociated from the private sector and the business world. Liberals have this Hollywood view of corporations. They are some kind of malevolent force that is separate from the population as a whole.

    In reality corporations are people. My father worked for AT&T. When they did well, he did well. Whenever a corporation does well, the people associated with it do well. So when some liberal rails about the evils of corporate America, what they are really are railing against is the people associated with those corporations. And when they say corporations shouldn’t have free speech rights, they are saying the owners and workers of the corporation have no free speech rights. It is kind of funny, liberals get collective good in every context except where it is most prevalent.

  22. I’ve said it before, just require majority or 2/3 shareholder approval before the funds can be used.

    I’d like to know something: If you advocate micromanaging something like how money is spent on advertising, what wouldn’t you advocate micromanaging? Company smoking policies? Start and stop times for employees? Minimum inventory turns?

  23. I don’t hate corporations at all. Many of them are small operations, and the big ones employ millions of people. I invest in corporations and they make me money. They are great creations for making money with limited risk.

    But that’s what they are, a kind of Frankenstein’s monster created with myopic goals and characteristics that make their involvement in the polity not a good idea.

    1. Funny how you are so quick to see the downsides of corporations yet are completely blind to any dangers created by public employee unions.

    2. Well, your lucid period didn’t even last 2 hours. Time for a prescription review with a good internist.

    3. Well, your lucid period didn’t even last two hours. Time for a med adjustment review with a good internist.

    4. Perhaps people who invest in corporations should also have their free speech restricted. After all, you might advocate on behalf of the corporations you have interest in. We can’t have that, now can we?

      1. What I always find interesting about these sorts of efforts is the notion that somehow you can control speech in anything resembling a free society. Not possible. What CFR is and will always are efforts by politicians to control speech so as to limit political competition; and that effort will always fail and fail miserably.

  24. SHUT UP!

  25. Off Topic — In other news today, former president Bill Clinton just made the SPLC watch list:

    http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/…..inton.html*

    During an interview conducted at the Peterson Institute by Bob Schaeffer, Clinton sounded like a hardcore gold bug as he said that the problems in the economy started when the U.S. went off the gold standard.

  26. Nick:
    Re this: “The decision said that independent political expenditures by for-profit and non-profit corporations were OK prior to, well, elections.”

    In federal elections.

    As I understand it (and everyone, please jump in if I’m wrong), the ruling didn’t affect state laws banning such expenditures.

  27. Again, I think liberals have their hearts in the right place here. They see the massive, malevolent influence they have in government and wish to cut it out. I can’t disagree with that.

    Their problem is that they don’t understand where corps get their real political power. It’s not running campaign advertisements for Congressman Tool (R-MI) or Congressman Nanny (D-CA). Corps get their real power because of perks outside the campaigns: Big Corp X can hire Rep. Tool’s wife at six figures to do more or less nothing. Big Corp Y can put Rep. Nanny on the board after her retirement or ouster. Restricting speech, or even the liberal dream of fully-publically funded elections, won’t accomplish their goals. And it will harm free speech and free association rights.

    And none of this includes the notion that Big Business and Big Government may be run by people with similar notions of how society ought to operate…

    1. Again, I think liberals have their hearts in the right place here.

      I never credit good intention when sublimanated malice is the more likely culprit. If good intentions were the motive than the results and underlying logic would not be so thoughtless. With good intentions, mistakes get made but the rationality behind those mistakes are clearly laid out. With sublimated malice that is not the case. The underlying motivation prevents the person from seeing things clearly.

      But an excellent post, nevertheless.

      1. intention when sublimanated malice

        ‘sublimated’

        Must have pasted back the original draft instead of the corrected one.

  28. Should the NYTimes get 2/3 shareholder, or subscriber approval before running an editorial or news article?

    MNG seems to suggest that the answer is yes.

    And what if a corporation – say Intel – publishes a quarterly, or yearly “election breakdown.” Does that make it a “de facto” news source and thus give it FA protection?

    1. I’ve asked MNG in the past, and upthread today, if he thinks union members should have the ability to decide how their dues are spent on political activities.

      To date, he has not dared answer.

  29. MNG – I’ve got to say, I’ve watched a LOT of your banter with others on here with a keen eye.

    You’ve got some interesting things to say, but mostly, you’ve got interesting ways to say it.

    Your posts are more verbal warfare – cleverly and intentionally worded – than intellectual. You often ignore blatant contradictions and inconsistencies in your own positions and frequently clothe yourself in libertarianesque positions to provide yourself some sort of cover.

    Not all of us are fooled. If any.

  30. Honestly, I’ve read the link, and I can’t say it’s terribly offensive.

    All it does is ban people that get government money from spending on elections (which, IMO, is a good way to reduce the ability of concentrated interests to influence spending).

    Also, increases disclosure requirements.

    The only objectionable parts are 1) it doesn’t explicitly prohibit public service unions from spending money in the same way as TARP beneficiaries or government contractors. 2) it’s a bit harsh on the foreign ownership criteria (20% foreign stake).

    Now if they expanded it so that *anyone* who benefitted from government largess was banned from making campaign contributions, that would be awesome. Perfact. All of a sudden, it would be a lot harder to vote yourselves money from the treasury.

    1. Sooooo, my Congressmen is barred, by virtue of accepting payment from the government, from advertising in the election?

      Ha!

    2. All it does is ban people that get government money from spending on elections

      Now, Hazel, maybe you see why the Democrats are eager to make sure everyone in this country receives some kind of government money?

      Now it makes sense why Democrats have embraced being the party of corporate welfare?

      Now we see why they want government healthcare benefits extended to as many citizens as possible?

      Our government realizes that most average Americans buy into the fact that if you receive money from the government, the government calls the tune. And this belief crosses the entire political spectrum.

      1. So, you are always free to not accept any government money.

        It would be like that heinlein book where you can’t vote unless you’ve served in the military.

        If only we could limit the franchise to people who don’t get any form of welfare.

        1. So, you are always free to not accept any government money.

          Not necessarily. That’s the argument as to why your smoking is being limited. “Healthcare costs”. Do you receive government money? Possibly not, yet your behaviors are being increasingly limited due to the call of ‘increased healthcare costs’.

          1. I don’t think it would be difficult to limit it to direct payments from the state, as opposed to “in some way your behavior costs the government money”. And I doubt the latter would be constitutional anyway.

            If you accept medicare or medicaid, insurance subsidies, etc. sure, let the state limit your health care choices. Personally, I don’t mind that. It’s a reason not to accept medicaid or medicare, and maybe even an opening to argue that people should be able to opt out.

            The crux of the matter is that it really sharpens the point that if you want to be truly free, you cannot be dependent on anyone else. Any time you accept welfare from someone, you’re giving them rights to control what you do. It’s a fair exchange as long as your free to choose it.

            So far, there aren’t too many forms of welfare you are forced to accept, thank god.

  31. On a related note, Ben Smith reports PhRMA is running ads for Harry Reid thanking him for passing the health care bill.

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/…..PhRMA.html

    Wonder what Chuck and co. have got to say about that.

  32. Didn’t a lot of progressives say that Citizens United would result in an explosion of ads by conglomerates supporting pro-business interests and calling for deregulation and shit like that? Because the only corporate political advertising I’ve seen was an AARP ad supporting the Democrats’ bank reform plans.

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