14th Amendment

Montana's Misguided Attempt to Nullify Citizens United

State officials may not like it, but they're still bound by the First Amendment.

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Western Tradition Partnership, Inc. v. Attorney General of Montana should have been an easy case for the Montana Supreme Court. At issue was the state's 99-year-old ban on corporate spending in political campaigns. Because the U.S. Supreme Court had struck down a nearly identical federal restriction on political spending by corporations and unions for violating the First Amendment in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010), the Montana court was duty-bound to follow this precedent and nullify the state law.

But instead something else happened. "Unlike Citizens United," the Montana court asserted in its ruling last December, "this case concerns Montana law, Montana elections and it arises from Montana history."

It's a clever argument, but it doesn't hold up. Since its 1925 decision in Gitlow v. New York, the Supreme Court has held that the First Amendment applies to both federal and state governments. That's because the 14th Amendment, which declares that no state shall "deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws," incorporates the First Amendment (and other protections from the Bill of Rights) against the states. Montana officials may not like it, but they're bound to obey the First Amendment just like every other state is bound to obey it. And as the Supreme Court held in Citizens United, the First Amendment protects the right of corporations and unions to spend money on political campaigns.

Indeed, in a sharply-worded dissent, Montana Supreme Court Justice James C. Nelson openly rebuked his colleagues for letting their personal preferences trump their basic judicial responsibilities. "I believe the Montana Attorney General has identified some very compelling reasons for limiting corporate expenditures in Montana's political process," Nelson wrote. "The problem, however, is that regardless of how persuasive I may think the Attorney General's justifications are, the Supreme Court has already rebuffed each and every one of them. Accordingly, as much as I would like to rule in favor of the State, I cannot in good faith do so."

Western Tradition Partnership (now known as American Tradition Partnership), the conservative interest group that lost the case, promptly appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court, which issued a stay in February preventing the decision from taking effect. The Court is now receiving legal briefs from each side and deciding whether to summarily reverse the Montana court or hear an appeal.

At least two justices think the Court should take the case. In a statement attached to February's stay order, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, joined by Justice Stephen Breyer, argued that hearing the case "will give the Court the opportunity to consider whether, in light of the huge sums currently deployed to buy candidates' allegiance, Citizens United should continue to hold sway."

By "huge sums" Ginsburg was most likely referring to recent political spending by so-called super PACs, which are allowed to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money so long as they do not coordinate their activities with a political campaign. Yet as Floyd Abrams, the celebrated First Amendment attorney whose resume includes the landmark Pentagon Papers case, makes clear in a friend of the court brief he recently submitted to the Court in favor of American Tradition Partnership, Ginsburg's fears have little relevance to the constitutional issue at hand. Not only is the Montana decision "in direct contravention" of Citizens United, Abrams writes, but "nothing that has occurred since that ruling warrants its reconsideration."

As Abrams points out in the brief, today's super PACs are overwhelming funded by wealthy individuals, not by corporations or unions, and wealthy individuals have been free to make such unlimited expenditures since the Court's 1972 campaign finance decision in Buckley v. Valeo. If you're worried about the rise of super PACs, in other words, Citizens United is not your culprit.

Moreover, as my colleague Jacob Sullum recently explained, there's good reason to believe that super PACs have had a positive impact on the American political scene. They "have made races less predictable and more interesting," Sullum notes, pointing to the surprisingly contentious GOP presidential contest, "giving a boost to candidates who otherwise would have been crippled by a lack of money."

So not only did Montana's high court blatantly ignore binding Supreme Court precedent, the post-Citizens United political landscape features more speech and more choice at the ballot box. Isn't that what democracy is all about?

The Supreme Court should heed the words of dissenting Montana Justice James C. Nelson and send the state law to its grave.

Damon W. Root is a senior editor at Reason magazine.

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  1. The fist amendment, like the second, doesn’t apply to the states. Or something.

    1. Yes, maybe someday Mr. Root will actually bother learning the USC. In truth a thorough study of the USC will show that it is no longer in effect. Per Article 7 it was an agreement between the states, but once Lincoln and subsequently the 39th Congress decided to subjugate the states the USC was thrown out. One cannot force an unwilling party to be subject to a corporate contract, other than say to make everyone whole.

    2. No no, it’s that the First Amendment only applies to people, unless there are more than one of them.

      1. And then we’ll tax you as an individual and a group.

        1. For the roads and the children. You must not neglect to mention that all is for the roads and for the children.

          1. And light rail. Never forget light rail!

  2. There has been a suspicious lack of trolls lately, though I see tiny commented on the fox/npr article earlier.

    Have they all gotten bored with us? Have they all been called back to some secret lair by their dark master? Was there a week long Idiot’s convention somewhere? Or did I just time my visits for the last week to miss them?

    1. Oh for God’s sake. I re-read my comment after it was posted……”…dark master?”

      I didnt realize what a racist I am until I saw that.

      1. Don’t worry about it, brah. Everybody’s a little racist.

        Except for you, who apparently is completely racist.

        1. Well, if I learned one thing from Avenue Q, it’s that Everybody’s a little racist.

          1. I took away that there is alwaysd money in porn.

      2. Now I guess everybody can see your true motivation for hating on Barack I. Bet you own guns, too, eh? And a Betsy Ross flag, eh? EH?

        1. Just bought a new one, and it is lickalicious.

    2. Look.
      In.
      The.
      Mirror.

    3. “There has been a suspicious lack of trolls lately, though I see tiny commented on the fox/npr article earlier.”

      Shithead was here last night, explaining how he’s all for freedom of speech, except…
      And you can fill in the lies, distractions, stawmen, innuendo from there.

      1. Lemme guess…speech is A-OK when it’s stuff he agree with, but the rest of it needs a heapin’ helpin’ of STFU?

        1. Pretty much. It was couched in terms similar to the current asshole about how korpurashuns are horrible in that the care only about making money until the focus on shithead or RAL, in shich case they give up making money and only want to “eat babies and the elderly”.
          Standard lefty brain-disconnect.

          1. Evil KKKorporashuns that want to buy and sell to make money, yes. As opposed to the good way of making money: Getting the Central State to take it from people and give it to you.

  3. So, as an Alabamian, is it bad of me to say that though I’m not happy to see any state blatantly ignoring the 14th Amendment, I’m at least thankful they’ve been non-Southern states recently?

    1. yes, any time some state outside of the South engages in stupidity, I silently cheer.

  4. So, let me get this straight: If a state government chooses to charter an artificial entity called a “corporation” for the purposes of letting passive investors sell widgets with limited liability, it automatically has granted that entity the power to spend unlimited money on any political campaign, that money being:

    1) secret;
    2) pre-dividend;
    3) pre-dividend-tax; and
    4) bearing no necessary relationship to the widget-selling business that the corporation was originally chartered by the government to conduct.

    Ulta vires be damned.

    Investor protection be damned.

    Every corporation becomes, under the First Amendment, an unstoppable Golem that can divert unlimited business profits away from divend returns for the shareholders and towards politicians or political causes chosen by the corporate executives.

    This is what you mean by “freedom”? Then I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

    1. No, but thanks for playing! Pick up your new strawman at the door, since you beat the hell out the one you brought.

      1. Your failure to rebut counts as an admission.

        1. I replied below.

    2. “Every corporation becomes, under the First Amendment, an unstoppable Golem that can divert unlimited business profits away from divend returns for the shareholders and towards politicians or political causes chosen by the corporate executives.”

      Hey! Look dere! Brand new brain-dead ‘argument’ that RAL made up!
      Shucks, now all our careful defenses of crooked corporations are just done for.
      What a crock…

      1. Your failure to rebut counts as an admission.

        1. The stupidity of your post counts as not worth rebutting.
          Ignorance of that depth isn’t salvageable.

          1. Nothing is worth rebutting when you have no rebuttal. And you have no rebuttal.

    3. It’s not secret to the shareholders.

      And corporate spending is eminently stoppable — if the execs get fired and/or people stop buying their products.

      Can’t say the same for the SEIU.

      1. Union members vote on union leadership much as shareholders vote on corporate executive leadership. The SEIU has no institutional prerogatives different from that of a corporate entity.

        1. The SEIU has no institutional prerogatives different from that of a corporate entity.

          On this we can agree. The #1 goal of the SEIU is to make a profit.

          1. The incentives are not congruent with those of a corporation.
            Equity holders (the ‘voters’) in a corporation desire an increase in the value of the corporation over time, i.e., increased profitability or market share. Ideally, that incentive is shared by the management.
            The incentives of the ‘voters’ and the management of a union do not match, even in theory. Which probably accounts for unions going into the toilet except for pub-serv (rent-seeking) unions.

          2. The #1 goal of the SEIU is to make a profit.

            I thought it was to elect Dems.

          3. Prerogatives. You need to look it up in the dictionary.

    4. If I were an investor, I might not be particularly thrilled with that, but that’s something I’d need to investigate before buying their shares.

      Of course, Citizens United isn’t that kind of corporation, but you fascist cocksuckers wanted to shut them up just the same.

      1. Citizens United was not limited to “that kind of corporation,” and if you were responsible for collecting taxes on dividends, you might not be “particularly thrilled with that” either.

        Your blending of faux “anti-fascism” with homophobic slurs is most amusing, in a thoroughly unamusing way.

        1. You need to read up on the sexual predelictions of fascists.

          I’m aware that CU isn’t limited to that type of corporation, but the fact remains that “liberals” would happily shut down that sort of corporation, too. In the end, the classification of a corporation as one permitted to engage in political advocacy and one that isn’t is entirely arbitrary. If Johnson Johnson wants to set up an internal office devoted to publishing columns, pamphlets or movies saying we should all vote for or against Candidate A, how does that differ from the WaPo, whose newspaper business is a small part of its overall corporate footprint?

          1. Non-press industries don’t have special constitutional protections, or at least didn’t. There’s a reason the press was singled out by name and a reason the First Amendment doesn’t refer to the right of all commercial interests to spend unlimited money on electioneering.

            1. Explain to me how this spending undermines democracy. Are people too stupid to research candidates for themselves? Are there no voices that stand in opposition to corporate speech? You lefties sure are paranoid.

              1. “Explain to me how this spending undermines democracy. Are people too stupid to research candidates for themselves”

                And yet you are afraid voters will let politicians force them to buy broccoli if OBAMERCURR isn’t replaced.

                Libertarianism. LOL.

            2. T o n y|5.23.12 @ 8:06PM|#
              “Non-press industries don’t have special constitutional protections, or at least didn’t.”

              No, shithead, they still don’t.
              ——————————
              “a reason the First Amendment doesn’t refer to the right of all commercial interests”

              Shithead, 1A doesn’t refer to *ANY* rights of *ANY* person or group; it specifically constrains the government from ‘making any law’.
              Shithead, you would look less like an ignoramus if you learned to read.

            3. That’s just it, Tony. The corporation that own the WaPo has freedom of the press through it’s WaPo subsidiary, a small part of the overall congolmerate. So does GE, via its various NBC news operations. Why should any other corporation be debarred from spending money it sees fit to through some subsidiary or subdivision of the company? Or do we shut down the endorsements of the WaPo because it’s a corporate entity?

              You can’t have it both ways.

          2. You moron. The Washington Post isn’t protected by the First Amendment because it’s a corporation. The Washington Post is protected by the First Amendment because it’s a newspaper.

            If a widget company wanted to diversify into the newspaper business, that would be protected by the First Amendment. If it wanted to editorialize in favor of the Moron Party and its candidate, Brutus, that would be protected by the First Amendment. But that is totally different than just dumping pre-tax shareholder corporate profit into the coffers of favored election candidates, and if you can’t see the difference it’s because they didn’t cut the umbilical cord off of your neck in time.

        2. Seriously, Mary, go fuck yourself.

          1. Not you, Brutus, obviously.

            1. Damn, and here I thought you were coming on to me. I was filled with self-worth for a moment.

    5. So, if corporations use profits for political speech instead of dividends, why can’t shareholders vote the executives out?

    6. [state government] automatically has granted that entity the power to…

      No, the government has not granted those powers. People have rights, not because they’re granted by government, but rather, merely by virtue of being people. And people don’t lose their rights just because they group together.

      1) secret;

      Yep. Why do you think you have some inherent right to monitor how I spend my money?

      2) pre-dividend;

      If it were post dividend, the corporation wouldn’t have the money any more. Duh.

      3) pre-dividend-tax;

      Why does this matter? Are you suggesting that people have a responsibility to maximize their dividend income so that their tax liability will go up? People don’t have to pay taxes on income that they don’t get. I’m sorry if that seems wrong to you.

      4) bearing no necessary relationship to [their intended business]

      So what? I intend to sell widgets, so I only have free speech when talking about widgets? Is that what you’re saying? Well, you’re wrong. I have free speech regardless of the topic.

      1. 1) You assume corporations are the equivalent of natural persons, which is the first and most sinister lie of corporate law.

        2) Because the “you” you speak of is a corporation chartered by the government, and thus accountable in every particular to the voting public that authorized its charter.

        3) Duh, exactly. Let the shareholders make the donations after they pay their dividend tax, not before.

        4) Dumping pre-tax shareholder corporate profit into the coffers of political candidates is not “speech.” It’s corruption and calling it speech is the first and most sinister lie of First Amendment law.

        5) Drop

        6) Dead

        1. Corporations are groups of people. People don’t just lose their rights because they group together for a common purpose. And, no, grouping together does not make you “accountable in every particular” to anyone. Why would it? Just because you want it to?

          Dumping pre-tax shareholder corporate profit into the coffers of political candidates is not “speech.”

          Actually, it is. You’re giving the money to them so that they can get their message out. That’s speech.

          5) Drop

          6) Dead

          I’ll bet you’re really a nice guy in real life.

          1. gagster, it’s OK that you have no idea what you are talking about. Everyone is born completely of the law of incorporation, you just have remained that way until now.

            Corporations are not just groups of people. Partnerships are groups of people. Corporations are groups of people with the following attributes “legal personality, limited liability, transferable shares, delegated management and shareholder primacy.”[1]

            Have you ever heard of any of the denominations of Churches in America? Are they not collections of persons? Don’t they have their rights to engage in political speech curtailed in exchange for certain grants?

            The Church gets a grant of limited taxation, the Corporation gets a grant of limited liability.

            Personally, I’d rather see the Churches taxed and talking about the sins of their fellow, pro-snorting-coke-of-a-hooker’s-tit Republicans, but that’s not how it is.

            So, your main contention is a complete garbage. People do give up their rights in exchange for other rights. In the case of the Church, it is to be free from taxation.

            Montana needs only put it it like this “Every corporation chartered in Montana, or which wants to do business here, and which wants limited liability, must refrain from political speech, where “political speech” is probably a paragraph long and written by lawyers.

          2. gagster, it’s OK that you have no idea what you are talking about. Everyone is born completely of the law of incorporation, you just have remained that way until now.

            Corporations are not just groups of people. Partnerships are groups of people. Corporations are groups of people with the following attributes “legal personality, limited liability, transferable shares, delegated management and shareholder primacy.”[1]

            Have you ever heard of any of the denominations of Churches in America? Are they not collections of persons? Don’t they have their rights to engage in political speech curtailed in exchange for certain grants?

            The Church gets a grant of limited taxation, the Corporation gets a grant of limited liability.

            Personally, I’d rather see the Churches taxed and talking about the sins of their fellow, pro-snorting-coke-of-a-hooker’s-tit Republicans, but that’s not how it is.

            So, your main contention is a complete garbage. People do give up their rights in exchange for other rights. In the case of the Church, it is to be free from taxation.

            Montana needs only put it it like this “Every corporation chartered in Montana, or which wants to do business here, and which wants limited liability, must refrain from political speech, where “political speech” is probably a paragraph long and written by lawyers.

          3. You got a problem with my attitude, gagster?

            I don’t see you or any of the other “true believers” saying anything about sevo festooning every message board on this site with Tourettes-Syndrome levels of the word “shithead.”

            I guess “civility” only applies to people who don’t hew to CATO dogma top-to-bottom.

    7. OK “At Last”, how do you feel about Unions giving money to political campaigns? Idiot.

      1. Glad you asked, JohnD, because one of my core tenets is that labor unions and corporations should be treated EXACTLY the same, and that goes for campaign-finance limits as well. Let individual union members make whatever political contributions they want with their after-tax wages. Let individual shareholders make whatever political contributions they want with their after-tax profits.

        Unions do for labor the exact same thing that corporations do for capital, but they are not treated equally. The law is slanted to make corporations as strong as possible and unions as weak as possible (except for cops — go whine to your boy Scott Walker about that). I think they should be on an equal playing field and subject to the exact same rules.

  5. I can’t believe the comment that was posted to the article by a literally ignorant person named Paul – “The first amendment, like the second, doesn’t apply to the states. Or something.”
    Geez – no wonder this country is such deep, dark doo-pucky!
    Of course this is a case of Judicial Activism – usurping what they have sworn a sacred oath to uphold by pretending that the 1st Amendment was written in invisible ink!

    1. sar?casm

      1. a sharp and often satirical or ironic utterance designed to cut or give pain
      2a : a mode of satirical wit depending for its effect on bitter, caustic, and often ironic language that is usually directed against an individual

      1. Oh shit, did I just get trolled? Mary, is that you?

    2. literally ignorant person named Paul –

      And by the way, Paul is literally worse than Hitler. Get it right.

  6. I’m from Montana, and I can’t stand Steve Bullock’s self-righteous campaign to save the “Corrupt Practices Act.”

  7. If unlimited special interest spending on elections is free speech then free speech is a bad idea in that instance. Thankfully, there’s a way out of that awful thought: consulting a dictionary. If the conservative members of the Court do not want to revisit Citizens as a result of its outcomes then that can only mean they either don’t know about them or they must think plutocracy is a good idea.

    Both corporations and unions are creatures of special government protections. The people ought to be able to police them through elected representatives. They should not be able to buy elected representatives. These seem pretty simple concepts.

    1. What about politicians buying people’s votes by promising them free shit?

      1. You mean regular order in a democracy?

        At least advocates of a safety net are somewhat honest about the taxes it takes to pay for it. The other side claims tax cuts increase government revenues. Talk about free shit.

        1. Politicians make all kinds of promises to certain voters that they ultimately provide with other people’s money. That kind of “free” shit that you are OK with. Boondoggles and the like. But I haven’t heard of a government spending plan that you said you didn’t like.

          1. Anything Republicans come up with? That usually entails more spending than the alternative, btw, so just call me a fiscal hawk.

            1. T o n y|5.23.12 @ 8:27PM|#
              “Anything Republicans come up with? That usually entails more spending than the alternative, btw, so just call me a fiscal hawk.”

              Yeah, shithead:
              https://reason.com/blog/2012/05…..e#comments
              To be honest, “ignoramus” is way more appropriate than “fiscal hawk”.

            2. Seriously, you really are a partisan hack if you favor all the shit Democrats spend on.

              Are farm subsidies grand?

              Special zoning laws that benefit certain businesses over others?

              Increasing defense spending and continuing paying for wars overseas?

              Democrats vote for this shit, too, you damn fool.

              1. And I never said I was always for everything Democrats do all the time.

                1. Considering there’s a lot of bipartisan support for literally hundreds of bills which require taxpayer money, I am still curious why you constantly lambast Republicans, yet are silent when Democrats do the exact same thing.

    2. In what dictionary does it say that “corporations/unions aren’t covered by the first amendment?”

      And tell me – how does unlimited spending on political speech, from any source, undermine democracy? Why can’t groups with opposing view points shout back?

      Since you went all straw man there, I will write that liberals like you just want to limit speech you don’t like; typical leftwing fascists that you all are.

      1. In what dictionary does it say that “corporations/unions aren’t covered by the first amendment?”

        I say corporations and unions are covered by the first amendment. They can speak or write whatever they want and advocate any opinion they want. Since when did the first amendment have anything to do with the freedom to spend money?

        And tell me – how does unlimited spending on political speech, from any source, undermine democracy? Why can’t groups with opposing view points shout back?

        Because to the extent that your ability to spend money means your speech is amplified, policy-as-affected-by-“speech” will inevitably skew toward favoring wealthy interests, i.e., the ones with the ability to pay the most. The whole point of democracy is that people are equal as people, and if anything policies should correct for the inevitable inequality in influence over public policy that wealth creates. It should certainly not be enhanced.

        Since you went all straw man there, I will write that liberals like you just want to limit speech you don’t like; typical leftwing fascists that you all are.

        What straw man? And I don’t in fact want to limit speech I don’t like. I have a deal for you. We redistribute wealth completely equally, then allow unlimited election spending. That would be a much better imitation of democracy in a regime based on an inherently plutocratic premise.

        1. Since when did the first amendment have anything to do with the freedom to spend money?

          Since when did the First Amendment proscribe the spending of money as a form of speech? Did you know it costs money to print a newspaper, even to publish a blog? So I guess those forms of media are not protected by the 1A, according to you.

          1. Their right to speak and publish is protected. Do you know how speaking and publishing work? You generally get paid to do it if there is demand for your speech or writing.

            I’m not saying the question isn’t difficult–the many complicated realities of campaign financing that exist today didn’t in the time of the authorship of the constitution.

            But advertising is not the same thing as speech, and this case and this concept is about advertising, the spending of money to disperse a message–at the extreme end known as propaganda.

            Unlimited propaganda from wealthy special interests is a clearly and obviously contrary to the Enlightenment principles that inform the First Amendment. Chalk the ambiguity up to the founders not being psychic and predicting a massively corporatist environment.

            1. Who gets to decide what speech is too influential? And speech can only be protected if there’s a demand for it? That’s absurd.

              What about government spending money on advertisements? Should that be protected speech, then, according to your definitions?

              1. And speech can only be protected if there’s a demand for it? That’s absurd.

                Sevo, this is what a straw man is.

                What about government spending money on advertisements? Should that be protected speech, then, according to your definitions?

                I said advertisement shouldn’t be protected speech, least of all government advertisement.

            2. T o n y|5.23.12 @ 8:42PM|#
              “Their right to speak and publish is protected. Do you know how speaking and publishing work?”

              Irrelevant, shithead.

              1. You always think knowing things is irrelevant.

                1. T o n y|5.23.12 @ 9:09PM|#
                  ‘You always think [making irrelevant comments] is irrelevant.’

                  Yes, I do, shithead.

            3. Do you know how speaking and publishing work? You generally get paid to do it if there is demand for your speech or writing.

              What utter nonsense. No, you do not generally get paid for speaking or writing. Did you get paid for writing your post? Should I expect to get paid for writing mine? I’ve been speaking my whole life, but I’ve only been paid for it on rare occasions. So, is it your position that only people who get paid for what they say have free speech? Does the government have the right to censor your posts and mine?

              But advertising is not the same thing as speech

              Only in the sense that cats are not the same thing as animals. Advertising is one form of speech, just like cats are one form of animal.

              Unlimited propaganda from wealthy special interests is a clearly and obviously contrary to the Enlightenment principles that inform the First Amendment.

              Again, this is complete nonsense. The position the founding fathers took, which is the correct position btw, is that the answer to free speech that you disagree with is more free speech.

              1. The position the founding fathers took was that corporations should not exist, unless it was serving some public good, like a railroad or canal.

                If all we were dealing with was railroad corporate lobbying, it probably wouldn’t be an issue.

        2. And as far as I know there’s nothing in the constitution that forbids redistributing wealth completely equally, or any mention of capitalism or the corporation for that matter.

          1. T o n y|5.23.12 @ 8:32PM|#
            “And as far as I know there’s nothing in the constitution that forbids redistributing wealth completely equally,…”

            That’s not surprising, shithead. Every hear of A5?

            1. Ever hear of A16?

              1. T o n y|5.23.12 @ 8:44PM|#
                “Ever hear of A16?”

                Yes, shithead, as constrained by A5, shithead.

                1. Is that how the constitution works? Prior elements constrain amendments?

                  1. T o n y|5.23.12 @ 8:58PM|#
                    “Is that how the constitution works? Prior elements constrain amendments?”

                    Yes, shithead, even with the recent SCOTUS, that’s pretty much the way it works.
                    Sorry, shithead, you aren’t allowed to steal whatever you wish.

          2. I’m reasonably sure that laws against theft would bar redistributing wealth completely.

            1. There’s no law against taxation of income, which would seem to be the most practical way of achieving the goal, quite more so than stealing.

              1. What goal? Slavery to the government? How much “revenue” is enough for the government, Tony?

                1. Enough to cover the expenses of the people. If they don’t want a safety net, they don’t have to buy it. It would be nice if they were informed that such things cost money, and weren’t told by Republicans that it’s all free as long as we cut taxes for rich people.

                  1. T o n y|5.23.12 @ 9:05PM|#
                    “Enough to cover the expenses of the people.”

                    Shithead, define “the expenses of the people.”

                    1. The things the people buy with their government. Things they find make sense to pay for collectively, like armies and firefighters.

                      Freedom means people are free to act as collectively as they want. Libertarians think collective action is inherently suspect. A perfectly fine opinion worthy of discussion in the marketplace of ideas. Pity it mostly exists as corporate-subsidized propaganda.

                    2. T o n y|5.23.12 @ 9:13PM|#
                      “Freedom means people are free to act as collectively as they want.”

                      Lie, shithead. That’s a lie.

                  2. So if “the people” (a rather vague term, actually) decide they want to punch me in the face, then that’s A-OK, right, Tony? I mean, democracy is the end-all for you, even though you think the average voter is ill-informed and highly susceptible to corporate influence.

                    1. If the people want to punch you in the face, what’s gonna stop them? A piece of paper? A deity? A principle?

                      I think democracy is inherently unstable. Best that it’s preserved diligently. That means strong investments in education and strong protections against wealthy special interest influence.

                    2. I am, of course, talking about morality, i.e., is it right for them to do so, just because they are the majority? A government which both recognizes my natural right not to be aggressed against and stops “the people” from doing so is what I think a moral government would be.

                      Oh, and guns work just fine against aggressors.

                    3. T o n y|5.23.12 @ 9:15PM|#
                      “Best that it’s preserved diligently. That means strong investments in education and strong protections against wealthy special interest influence.”

                      Oh, look! Shithead just made up a (well, sort of old and tired) non-sequitur!

                  3. ah tony,
                    now, you are outright lying. Taxes were cut for all income brackets and even dishonest liberals know that.

                  4. Oh yeah, which expenses should be covered? And are rich people “people,” too?

                2. there is never enough for these folks, cw. You know that.

                  By the way, tony, the purpose of taxation is not to redistribute wealth; the purpose is to pay for govt services. Your definition is the same as stealing.

                  1. All government services entail the redistribution of wealth. I’m saying we need downward redistribution now as a policy in and of itself, but not that we always will. It would be a practical means to an end of a more rapidly growing economy and less social welfare spending. Once we’ve accomplished necessary progress, we can go back to taxing to pay for shit according to the traditional ability-to-pay model.

                    1. T o n y|5.23.12 @ 9:18PM|#
                      “All government services entail the redistribution of wealth….”

                      Lie, shithead. That’s a lie.

                    2. no Tony, it would be stealing, and it would never end because no Dem would ever say that “the necessary progress” has been accomplished. It’s like every other program or tax – once instituted, it is with rare exception, forever.

                    3. Hmm, CATO and other sources provide many empirical studies showing how wealth redistribution schemes don’t seem to benefit their intended targets.

                      And you thought libertarians simply relied on reason, and not empiricism.

                    4. Oh is that what CATO finds? Is CATO a rigorously unbiased academic or scientific organization?

                    5. rigorously unbiased

                      What human institution doesn’t suffer from bias?

                      scientific organization

                      For the umpteenth time, the social sciences are in a different universe when it comes to the scientific method. They may use empirical reasoning, but that doesn’t mean they can set up double-blind studies and control every variable (and repeat in the same settings) that the physical sciences can.

                    6. But CATO does differ from an academic or scientific outfit as it advocates specific policy outcomes and presents “research” to back up that agenda.

                    7. Maybe part of the reason they believe what they believe is because the evidence suggests its true, and they therefore advocate it. You should be familiar with that.

                    8. I can’t decide which is worse: your cavalier attitude in taking other people’s money or your obtuseness in missing how this sort of theft only strengthens the entitlement mentality of the looter class. Then again, without the looters there would be no Dem Party.

                    9. wareagle, yawn. Ancient Republican party race-baiting talking points. I’ve explained, in what I think is a description of obvious reality, that whoever may be more “entitled,” the looter class will always be wealthy interests.

                      Hence one of the basic flaws in libertarian thought: that large amounts of private wealth are always considered legitimately earned, while the small amount of wealth in the hands of the poor is always too much, based on a moral premise at that!

                    10. speaking of talking points, how interesting that you infer race from a comment where it was not implied. Why do you think that only blacks are looters? Have you missed the white trash and union folk wanting their cut of everyone else’s money?

                      This is getting tedious, as always. The straws request that you stop grasping them so tightly. And, I’m sure that whatever wealth the poor manage to amass, the Dems will work mightily to take enough of it away to keep the lower class perpetually dependent on govt. Nice racket. And run with no shame.

                    11. I’m not implying you’re aware of the historical racial component to “looter class” propaganda. Maybe “welfare queens” doesn’t have a racial connotation to you–you wouldn’t be a typical Reagan voter then.

                    12. T o n y|5.23.12 @ 9:29PM|#
                      “I’ve explained, in what I think is a description of obvious reality, that whoever may be more “entitled,” the looter class will always be wealthy interests.”

                      No, shithead, you’ve “explained” nothing.
                      You’ve made claims, you’ve lied, you’ve tried all sorts of adolescent ‘tricks’ in various discussions, but you’re *never* explained anything at all.
                      Is that clear, shithead?

              2. T o n y|5.23.12 @ 8:59PM|#
                “There’s no law against taxation of income, which would seem to be the most practical way of achieving the goal, quite more so than stealing.”

                Non-sequitur, shithead. It might be the most ‘practical’ way of promoting your theft, but, as per shithead practice, that’s irrelevant.

                1. Nice work, Tony. You maintained a great deal of civility dealing with these ignorant asshats, and, in the case of wareagle, unrepentant liars.

                  I think your points are generally fine, although I would bring up this quote, from Demosthenes’ On Organization, written about 2400 years ago:

                  “In dealing with the sum of money under discussion and the other matters referred to this Assembly, I see no difficulty, men of Athens, in either of two methods: I may attack the officials who assign and distribute the public funds and may thus gain credit with those who regard this system as detrimental to the State, or I may approve and commend the right to receive these doles and so gratify those who are especially in need of them. For neither class has the interest of the State in view, when they approve or complain of the system, but they are prompted respectively by their poverty or their affluence.”

                  As for these other asshats, they don’t know how a Republic is supposed to work. There are two types, according to the Oracle of the American Republic, direct democracies and electoral ones.

                  Virtue is critically important for a direct democracy, and a requirement for an electoral democracy. Wealth inequality undermines virtue.

                  If you would rather be rich and in a dictatorship, like fast growing China, feel free to remain a pro-corporate libertarian.

        3. How is it amplified? Ultimately, politicians get their power from being reelected, i.e., by votes from a majority of individuals. Again, do you think these individuals would be too influenced by corporate spending to make an informed decision?

          1. I can’t speak with authority to the level of influence special interest spending has on voters, but I presume they are rational capitalistic and wouldn’t be spending the money for nothing. And I presume there is some reason advertising remains a viable industry.

            1. T o n y|5.23.12 @ 8:46PM|#
              “I can’t speak with authority to the level of influence special interest spending has on voters, but I presume they are rational capitalistic and wouldn’t be spending the money for nothing. And I presume there is some reason advertising remains a viable industry.”

              Yes, shithead, it is “speech”. And the hope is it does have an effect.

              1. Commercial advertising cannot be considered the same thing as speech. Or should drug makers be able to lie about the effects of their products with absolutely no qualifications? Why would that be a good outcome?

                I’m telling you, by equating money with speech you and the Court are damaging the integrity of the First Amendment.

                1. T o n y|5.23.12 @ 8:53PM|#
                  “Commercial advertising cannot be considered the same thing as speech.”

                  Oh, goody! An opinion from the ignoramus known as shithead!

                2. Oh, and:
                  T o n y|5.23.12 @ 8:53PM|#
                  …”Or should drug makers be able to lie about the effects of their products with absolutely no qualifications? Why would that be a good outcome?”

                  Shithead, you mean sort of like Obama lying about, well, most everything he’s ever said? That sort of dishonesty?
                  Well, I guess Obama needs to have his speech restricted, right, shithed?

            2. You do know that businesses make failed investments all the time and suffer for it (unless the government bails them out), right? What’s to say business political advertising is without great risk to the business?

              And ultimately it still comes down to this: Do you think the average voter is incapable of rejecting corporate advertising? Are there no other alternatives in seeking information about a specific candidate?

              1. I think the average voter is seriously poorly informed and highly susceptible to corporate advertising. If this were not so, why is there so much corporate advertising?

                1. I agree – they continually vote for statists who promise them shit that they think is free to them.

                2. T o n y|5.23.12 @ 9:01PM|#
                  “I think the average voter is seriously poorly informed and highly susceptible to corporate advertising.”

                  Shithead, there isn’t a shred of evidence to suggest you’ve ever *thought* at all.
                  ———————————-
                  “If this were not so, why is there so much corporate advertising?”

                  Non-sequitur, see immediately above. It is left to the student…

                  1. More good work,Tony, dealing with these ignorant asshats.

                    For people like Sevo, who are far too dim to understand it, the proof that the people are swayed by corporate advertising is that there is so much of it. Management has a fiduciary responsibility to the shareholders to only spend money in effective ways.

                    One ignorant asshat, speaking at Cato (I believe) said that we don’t have to worry about uninformed voters, since they will break evenly, among all the choices, and the informed few will be the deciding vote. This is, of course, nonsense. The moneyed interests will have far more ability to get their message out there than the more humble ones.

                    Virtue is required for a public. Wealth inequality is bad for virtue.

                  2. More good work,Tony, dealing with these ignorant asshats.

                    For people like Sevo, who are far too dim to understand it, the proof that the people are swayed by corporate advertising is that there is so much of it. Management has a fiduciary responsibility to the shareholders to only spend money in effective ways.

                    One ignorant asshat, speaking at Cato (I believe) said that we don’t have to worry about uninformed voters, since they will break evenly, among all the choices, and the informed few will be the deciding vote. This is, of course, nonsense. The moneyed interests will have far more ability to get their message out there than the more humble ones.

                    Virtue is required for a public. Wealth inequality is bad for virtue.

        4. T o n y|5.23.12 @ 8:26PM|#
          …”Since when did the first amendment have anything to do with the freedom to spend money?”

          Shithead, care to offer your money to buy TV ads? Newspaper ads?
          Exactly how stupid do you care to appear?

        5. You want equality of outcomes. You may have that by traveling back in time and moving to the USSR or communist China.

          1. I want equality of access to political influence via democratic action and free speech, or as best as it can be approximated. Since wealthy interests will always have more influence, if anything that needs to be corrected for by positive action. Redistribute wealth for democracy. Get to a point where outcomes aren’t equal but just and fair.

            1. T o n y|5.23.12 @ 8:48PM|#
              …”Get to a point where outcomes aren’t equal but just and fair.”

              Define “just” and “fair”, shithead.

              1. Start with Plato. Then read about 100 more books. That should get you started.

                You’ve apparently figured out “freedom” down to the most arcane campaign finance laws.

                1. Maybe you need to study more history about countries that forcefully redistribute wealth in the name of fairness.

                  1. Every country that has ever existed, with “fairness” being defined variously. To have a government is to forcibly redistribute wealth within its jurisdiction. Taxing people and then giving it all back in equal amounts would be pointless.

                    1. You are right, but the importance of those distinctions as to what constitutes “fairness” and the degree to which a government is constrained from redistribution cannot be understated, and is really the point of my above post.

                    2. T o n y|5.23.12 @ 9:03PM|#
                      “Every country that has ever existed, with “fairness” being defined variously…”

                      Enough of ‘well, this and that…’
                      DEFINE YOUR TERMS, shithead.

                2. T o n y|5.23.12 @ 8:55PM|#
                  “Start with Plato. Then read about 100 more books. That should get you started.”

                  No, shithead, no ‘why, look over there!’, shithead.
                  You, shithead, DEFINE YOUR TERMS.

                  1. They’re vague terms whose definitions have never been settled by centuries of philosophy, so sorry if I misled you into thinking reading the 100 or so necessary books to get started on the question would actually answer it.

                    I’ll do my best though in this context. Fair is that people receive income relative to their value, rather than relative to the level of system-rigging that has been done for them.

                    1. T o n y|5.23.12 @ 9:23PM|#
                      “They’re vague terms whose definitions have never been settled by centuries of philosophy,…”

                      Which, shithead, is exactly the reason a government has no business trying to sort it out.
                      Unless you think Obama is a philosopher such that he can do so.

                    2. Oh, and:
                      T o n y|5.23.12 @ 9:23PM|#
                      …”Fair is that people receive income relative to their value, rather than relative to the level of system-rigging that has been done for them.”

                      Now, shithead, you get to define what someone’s “value” is!
                      Oh, boy, this should be something to see!

                    3. Who gets to decide what’s valuable? Government fiat? I think a free-market price system does that best.

                      Oh, and per your saying that everyone should have an equal influence in a democracy: are you sure you aren’t for limiting people who are more eloquent than others from speaking? Surely a professor with an I.Q. if 200 has more political influence than an 18 year-old who can’t find Brazil on a map.

                    4. Hence the value of education. Democracy will never be perfect, but it can be more perfect.

                    5. T o n y|5.23.12 @ 9:44PM|#
                      “Hence the value of education. Democracy will never be perfect, but it can be more perfect.”

                      Uh, shithead, that’s weak even for an ignoramus like you.
                      What question are you answering and what does your answer have to do with that question?

                    6. I’m saying yes intelligent people have more political influence than stupid people. So to make a better democracy, we should minimize stupidity.

                    7. How do you make people smart/informed? There will always be inequalities in abilities – even more so in general interests in politics. Just like there will be in wealth.

                      C’mon, Tony; even you have to admit that educational standards keep dropping in the name of making everyone “informed, happy citizens.”

                    8. T o n y|5.23.12 @ 9:52PM|#
                      “I’m saying yes intelligent people have more political influence than stupid people. So to make a better democracy, we should minimize stupidity.”

                      Well shithead, you could avoid voting, but other than that, WIH does that have to do with anything under discussion?

                    9. Fair is that people receive income relative to their value, rather than relative to the level of system-rigging that has been done for them.

                      So Tony now supports a free market with no system to be rigged?

                    10. A laissez-faire market (which is what you mean by free) inherently tends toward being rigged by wealthy interests. Sorry it works out that way, but it does.

                    11. T o n y|5.23.12 @ 9:44PM|#
                      “A laissez-faire market (which is what you mean by free) inherently tends toward being rigged by wealthy interests. Sorry it works out that way, but it does.”

                      Lie, shithead. Sorry it works out that you’re lying, shithead.
                      Or, if you really want to make that claim, let’s see the evidence, shithead.

                    12. You are, of course, describing mercantilism, something which laissez-faire thinkers like Smith railed against.

                    13. Adam Smith would be closer to a Democrat than a libertarian or Republican in today’s context. He was nowhere near as radical as they’ve taken things.

                    14. I highly doubt that.

                      Democrats have turned the constitution upside down with their belief that a just government isn’t one of limited powers. Pete Stark says that much himself.

                    15. T o n y|5.23.12 @ 9:56PM|#
                      “Adam Smith would be closer to a Democrat than a libertarian or Republican in today’s context. He was nowhere near as radical as they’ve taken things.”

                      Ha, ha and ha, shithead. You really should learn to read.

                    16. Oh, and Democrats (and many Republicans) favor protectionism and corporate welfare. Smith would undoubtedly be against that – and that issue animates the Democratic Party base as much as income inequality.

                    17. PM|5.23.12 @ 9:40PM|#
                      …”So Tony now supports a free market with no system to be rigged?”

                      Not on your LIFE, PM. Shithead means people are valued by what shithead ‘defines’ as “value”. And I’m waiting to see how long it takes shithead to whiff on that one, too.

            2. Redistribute wealth for democracy.

              wow. Just wow.

              1. “wow. Just wow.”

                No shit. Tony’s gone full fascisti on us. He’ll tell us who can say what, where.

                1. “No shit. Tony’s gone full fascisti on us”

                  Nope. You’re presuming that shithead has some consistent world-view. That’s a mistake; shithead simply emotes what is ‘fair’ and claims that is ‘right’.
                  Shithead simply is not mentally equipped to deal with the issues about which shithead posts; we’re dealing with an adolescent world-view here.

                  1. I have a great quote from Adam Smith, that should at least make ignorant asshats like Sevo, Brutus, and wareagle (the unrepentant liar) pause.

                    This isn’t just any old quote from Adam Smith, it is the final passage from An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations.

                    To widen the market and to narrow the competition is always the interest of the dealers… The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from this order, ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and ought never to be adopted, till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention. It comes from an order of men, whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it.

                    Adam Smith was anti-corporate during his lifetime, except for those designed for public goods, like railroads and canal companies.

                    That means, since he was against corporaitons, by extension, he was against corporate free speech, too.

                    1. Did you even ready the quote? Sounds like he is against cronyism, not corporations. Also, it seems to say that the lawmakers should carefully weigh a law on its merits, which has nothing to do with corporate spending on elections.

                    2. He was saying any law from men in business comes from a people who generally have an interest in oppressing the public, and have, “upon many occasions” oppressed it.

                      As for the anti-corporate message of Adam Smith, which no one denies, here’s some more:

                      The directors of [corporations], however, being the managers rather of other people’s money than of their own, it cannot well be expected, that they should watch over it with the same anxious vigilance with which the partners in a private copartnery frequently watch over their own…. Negligence and profusion, therefore, must always prevail, more or less, in the management of the affairs of such a company.

                      Since Management isn’t risking their own money, they are liable to behave irresponsibly.

        6. So if a law was passed limiting the NYT to $100 of newsprint per day, you’d be okay with that?

    3. T o n y|5.23.12 @ 8:01PM|#
      “If unlimited special interest spending on elections is free speech then free speech is a bad idea in that instance.”

      Thank you, shithead, for your honesty in admitting you do not support freedom of speech.

      1. Why aren’t Churches allowed to spend money on elections?

        They aren’t because it’s part of deal. They get the right not to be taxed, they give up the right to influence elections through spending or speech.

        Now, you and I both agree that it would probably be a better world if Churches were taxed, and allowed to talk about whatever they want, but the Churches don’t want it that way, they don’t want free speech, because they don’t want to pay taxes more.

        The same could be done for corporations, you flaming bag of shit, ignorant of even the basics of political philosophy, and all around ignorant asshat; Corporations want limited liability more than they want the rights of free speech.

        1. I’m sure most corporations would gladly relinquish some of their free speech rights in exchange for a tax exemption.
          BTW – when does limited liability = tax exemption?

          1. Both limited liability and tax exemption are government grants.

    4. T o n y|5.23.12 @ 8:01PM|#
      “Both corporations and unions are creatures of special government protections. The people ought to be able to police them through elected representatives. They should not be able to buy elected representatives. These seem pretty simple concepts.”

      Want to see a simple concept, shithead?
      “Congress shall make no law …. abridging the freedom of speech…”
      See, shithead? That should be simple enough for a brain-dead like you to understand.

      1. Tony must think governments grant people rights as much as they “give” people money in the form of tax decreases.

        1. cw|5.23.12 @ 8:40PM|#
          “Tony must think governments grant people rights as much as they “give” people money in the form of tax decreases.”

          Pretty much. Shithead seems to think that rights *are* ‘granted’ by the governments.
          Shithead’s reading abilities aren’t real developed. I’m sure shithead has some sort of 12 year degree or other, but it seems to be on one of the majors that simply requires memorization rather than critical thought.

          1. So where do rights come from?

            1. T o n y|5.23.12 @ 8:50PM|#
              “So where do rights come from?”

              My “right” to do anything I want comes from being born. No more, no less, shithead.
              The limitations of that universal “right” comes from the fact I live in a society; hence a government to prevent shitheads like you from stealing everything they can get away with.

              1. So does a baby born in North Korea have all the same rights you do?

                1. Yes; the NK government may not recognize them, but that what makes that government illegitimate. The North Korean people have every right to overthrow their government.

                2. no, the Nork baby has the extreme form of govt that you repeatedly advocate. In theory, the baby has those rights; in practice, it has exceeded cultural expectations simply by making it to birth.

                3. T o n y|5.23.12 @ 8:56PM|#
                  “So does a baby born in North Korea have all the same rights you do?”

                  Yes, shithead, that baby does. Unfortunately, it was born under a government that favors shitheads like you who steal what they please, so its rights are stolen by shitheads like you just like its food.

                  1. So they were born with these rights same as you, they will just never, ever get to exercise them.

                    First, in which organ of the body do these rights exist? Second, if this rights organ is never allowed to function, what good is it?

                    1. if this rights organ is never allowed to function, what good is it?

                      thank you for asking the fundamental question surrounding collectivist govt. The NKs represent the extreme of the redistributionist govt you want to foist on everyone. No one has shit except for the ruling class which sees to it that no one ever has shit.

                    2. So NK is both an example of a robust redistributionist system, and one in which a tiny elite have all the wealth?

                      Did typing that cause any physical damage to your head?

                    3. T o n y|5.23.12 @ 9:32PM|#
                      “So NK is both an example of a robust redistributionist system, and one in which a tiny elite have all the wealth?”

                      Yes, shithead, NK has ‘redistributed’ poverty to all those without political connections, while providing the connected with wealth beyond most of our imaginings. I realize that the concept is hard for one with your limited abilities to comprehend, but repeated study of what goes on there might actually begin to give even you a hint.
                      A further hint: All such governments (which I’m sure are your faves) have done exactly the same: Claimed to have redistributed wealth and instead redistributed poverty and starvation.

                      “Did typing that cause any physical damage to your head?”
                      Got a headache, shithead?

                    4. Distributing to the political well-connected is exactly the policy I’m advocating against. Lots of places have called themselves socialist and done the opposite. The places where redistributionist policy has been actually impleneted well are often found at the top of “best countries to live” lists.

                    5. T o n y|5.23.12 @ 9:42PM|#
                      “Distributing to the political well-connected is exactly the policy I’m advocating against.”

                      Uh, no, shithead. By allowing the government to limit speech, it is exactly the policy you’re promoting.
                      But, hey, shithead, I know you’re an ignoramus, so claiming the opposite of what you propose is expected.
                      ‘Hey, we’re going to end poverty! By rewarding it!’
                      We’ve seen your policies in action.

                    6. T o n y|5.23.12 @ 9:25PM|#
                      “So they were born with these rights same as you, they will just never, ever get to exercise them.”

                      Yes, shithead. Sadly, there are shitheads like you who will deny them and others of what is rightfully theirs.
                      Aren’t you proud?

                    7. The kind of redistribution of wealth you advocate doesn’t currently exist. Why do you pursue it, then?

                      And, who says the North Koreans will never get to exercise their natural rights? What if they actually revolt against their government?

                      [I]n which organ of the body do these rights exist?

                      How, exactly, is this relevant to whether one’s natural rights exist? Yes, the practical mechanism needed to protect those rights from violation is important, but its absence does not mean one therefore has no natural rights.

                    8. [I]n which organ of the body do these rights exist?
                      “How, exactly, is this relevant to whether one’s natural rights exist?”

                      Like much of shithead’s posts, it’s totally irrelevant. Shithead offers word salads when misdirection, lying, strawmen and other logical shenanigans don’t seem to be working.
                      Shithead is as shithead posts.

                    9. Natural rights meaning what? Who decides what those are? Antonin Scalia perhaps?

                    10. Actually, I agree with what you’re getting at: in the end we all have core assumptions about the world. The difference, though, is that I readily admit that I have first principles; you simply believe you assume nothing, that all you believe is totally backed by what’s “there,” by “science” (scientism, in this context).

                    11. I have principles, but I try not to let them be too muddled by magical thinking. It’s perfectly legitimate to argue for social darwinism as the most moral possible system. You just won’t find much respected moral philosophy to defend it as such.

                    12. T o n y|5.23.12 @ 9:54PM|#
                      “I have principles,”

                      Yes, they’re obvious:
                      “I get to steal what I want for whatever excuse I can!”
                      ——————————
                      “but I try not to let them be too muddled by magical thinking.”

                      You’re lying or a failure.

                    13. I take it “magical thinking” must be the kind that arrives at different conclusions than yours does?

                      It’s perfectly legitimate to argue for social darwinism as the most moral possible system.

                      I thought you were against the lying kind of free speech.

                    14. T o n y|5.23.12 @ 9:43PM|#
                      “Natural rights meaning what? Who decides what those are? Antonin Scalia perhaps?”

                      Kinda missed this, did you shithead?
                      “My “right” to do anything I want comes from being born. No more, no less, shithead.”
                      Or are you just running out of lame shenanigans?

                    15. You have a right to do anything you want?

                    16. T o n y|5.23.12 @ 10:10PM|#
                      “You have a right to do anything you want?”

                      Yes, shithead, I have *exactly* that freedom, as constrained only by the society I choose to live in.
                      Which society is (or should be) arranged to allow me the maximum of that freedom, and protected from lying, stealing shitheads who wish deny me that freedom.

                    17. So you’re talking about the liberties you have in a hypothetical state of nature in which you were the only person around. Except there are vanishingly few humans born outside of a society, and any who are enjoy the “liberty” of a short, miserable, feral existence.

                      Seems to me a much more useful society is one that maximizes freedom of opportunity.

                    18. T o n y|5.23.12 @ 10:42PM|#
                      “So you’re talking about the liberties you have in a hypothetical state of nature in which you were the only person around.”

                      No, shithead, I’m talking about my freedom in other than a state run by shitheads like you.
                      Aren’t your proud?

      2. Begging the question, obviously. Or are you still on the straw man paragraph of chapter 1 in Logic for GED Prep?

  8. T o n y|5.23.12 @ 8:49PM|#
    “Begging the question, obviously.”

    Begging what question, shithead?

  9. Wow I had no idea man, Thats jsut like WAY too cool!

    http://www.Privacy-Geeks.tk

  10. Wow I had no idea man, Thats jsut like WAY too cool!

    http://www.Privacy-Geeks.tk

  11. T o n y|5.23.12 @ 9:56PM|#
    “Adam Smith would be closer to a Democrat than a libertarian or Republican in today’s context. He was nowhere near as radical as they’ve taken things.”

    OK shithead, ignoring that bit of bullshit, I’m still waiting for your definition of someone’s “value”. Let’s see it, shithead.

    1. A worker’s market value should approximate his worth to society as a whole. A modern CEO is neither worth nearly as much as he is paid nor is he paid according to supply and demand principles.

      1. A worker’s market value should approximate his worth to society as a whole.

        Market prices, especially the kind that government barely interferes with, are good at determining that.

        [N]or is he paid according to supply and demand principles.

        Evidence? Nah, just admit it: you don’t like CEOs, therefore they should be paid less.

      2. T o n y|5.23.12 @ 10:10PM|#
        “A worker’s market value should approximate his worth to society as a whole”

        No, shithead, no more ‘look over there!’
        DEFINE YOUR TERMS, shithead.

      3. Oh, and:
        T o n y|5.23.12 @ 10:10PM|#
        …”A modern CEO is neither worth nearly as much as he is paid nor is he paid according to supply and demand principles.”

        Prove your claim, shithead.

      4. By whose definition?

  12. T o n y|5.23.12 @ 9:44PM|#
    “A laissez-faire market (which is what you mean by free) inherently tends toward being rigged by wealthy interests. Sorry it works out that way, but it does.”

    And shithead, let’s see you whiff on this one.
    Evidence please, shithead.

  13. I am glad for this article, because it shows how radically the 14th Amendment perverted the U.S. Constitution. (BTW, it was passed by “legislators of the southern states” who were not lawfully elected but were there while the south remained under martial law).

  14. Oh, and:
    T o n y|5.23.12 @ 10:42PM|#
    …”Seems to me a much more useful society is one that maximizes freedom of opportunity.”

    OK, shithead, let’s see you whiff on “freedom of opportunity”.
    WIH does that mean? In *specific* terms.

    1. Excellent public school would be a specific example of a contributor to freedom of opportunity.

      Your definition of freedom is that of a preschooler. You want to wave your little peepee around in front of the whole class and not get in trouble for it.

  15. Jesus, Tony’s gone off the authoritarian deep end. I bet he looks fabulous in his crisp brown tunic!

    1. Brutus|5.23.12 @ 10:54PM|#
      “Jesus, Tony’s gone off the authoritarian deep end. I bet he looks fabulous in his crisp brown tunic!”

      Shithead was ever thus, but shithead “means well!”, doncha know?

      1. I think this explains a lot:

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…..36697.html

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  17. T o n y|5.23.12 @ 9:51PM|#
    “But CATO does differ from an academic or scientific outfit as it advocates specific policy outcomes and presents “research” to back up that agenda.”

    You made the claim, shithead. Prove it.

  18. All my interests are special, and I want them to have unlimited funds.

  19. T o n y|5.23.12 @ 9:09PM|#
    “And speech can only be protected if there’s a demand for it? That’s absurd.
    Sevo, this is what a straw man is.”

    Oh, look! Shithead tries to misdirect attention from the one who made to comment to another!
    How…………..
    Fucking adolescent, shithead.
    Stuff it up your butt.

  20. This is the new incident happen in the montana court which need to debate on the public munch.

  21. Montana’s efforts were misguided.

    As I said before, they should ban corporate free speech in exchange for limited liability.

    1. Maybe they could strip everyone’s First Amendment rights as a condition of getting a driver’s license next.

      1. They should probably just outlaw limited liability, but they’ll never do it.

        1. Please elaborate on the connection between limited liability and speech. You seem to have wandered very far into the tall grass and appear to be lost.

          1. There is no direct connection, as far as I can tell, between limited liability and speech, just as there is no connection between taxation and speech.

            Limited liability lets people (let’s call them the lazy, greedy, rich) invest their money with no fear that they might lose anything, or be sued for any actions of their agents.

            It’s a grant, and, as usual, grants can be offered freely, or, as I am suggesting, with strings attached.

            No major corporation will choose to lose limited liability, so they would all need to conform to the political speech constraints, should such a law be enacted.

            The two main companies this wouldn’t affect are basically Ernest Julio Gallo wines and the MM/Mars candy company, both of which are still privately held. Very few others would be that free.

  22. The Eleventh Amendment Movement (TEAM, http://www.11thAmendment.org), a non-partisan political action association based in Hawaii, last week filed an amicus curiae “friend-of-the-court” brief that raises the 11th Amendment jurisdictional issue in the current case of American Tradition Partnership vs. Bullock.
    Carl Mayer, lead attorney for TEAM: “Of all the briefs filed and arguments made in this case, TEAM’s brief is one of only two that strike at the heart of the Court’s constitutional jurisdiction. In litigation, there is nothing more fundamental to winning a case than to deny jurisdiction to a court when it is not warranted. The 11th Amendment clearly restricts the Supreme Court in this case against a sovereign state and we can win solely on that basis.” http://www.11thamendment.org/press-release/

    “State voters uniquely possess a right to a “republican form of government.” This right, “guarantee[d] to every state in this union” by the Guaranty Clause, Article IV, ?4, assures the state’s citizens against the dilution of that “consent of the governed” which legitimizes a republican state. State elections undermined by corruption are inherently not “republican,” and thereby violate the constitutional guarantee. Cf. Alden, 527 U.S. 750-51 (“political accountability … essential to … republican form of government”).”
    [from Essential Information/TEAM companion amicus brief, by Robert M. Hager, pp. 14-15; to be released on TEAM’s website soon]

  23. “That’s because the 14th Amendment, which declares that no state shall “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws,” incorporates the First Amendment (and other protections from the Bill of Rights) against the states…”

    -Except that no, it doesn’t. Indeed, the 14th says nothing about incorporation, let alone ‘selective incorporation’ – and the plain language of the 1st explicitly mentions Congress.’

    You may like the result, indeed, the result may be swell… but please don’t labor under the misconception the Constitution provided for this. This was the Supreme Court creating law.

    It created law in Marbury v Madison, in finding a ‘privacy right’ that somehow safeguards abortion but not the right to be circumcised {for e.g.} without your consent, and it created law in the Michigan law affirmative action case, reading ‘equal protection’ to allow for explicitly race-based preferential criteria.

    I agree with the ruling in Citizens simply because jailing people for speech is crazy.

    But the Constitution does not grant the Supreme Court to invent or neglect rights or powers.

  24. Strictly speaking, the Montana court is right because there is no legal basis for the jurisprudential federal doctrine of ‘selective incorporation.’

    The touchstone of Constitutionality is the Constitution {gasp!} – not SC “interpretations” of it which grants powers or rights not contemplated by that document.

    You can always amend, but please don’t pretend!

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