Friday, January 22, 2010

"We, the corporations, of the United States of America..."

In a landmark decision, the US Supreme Court ruled that corporate money has too LITTLE influence over the formerly democratic process. In again affirming the fraudulent and legally incomprehensible notion* that money equals speech, the Court has illustrated the absolute imperative to change the Constitution. We need to pass an amendment whereby campaign 'contributions' should be restricted exclusively to those who are eligible to vote for the office in question. Or at the absolute bare minimum, federal, state and local legislative bodies should be constitutionally allowed to impose such attempts to guarantee democratic governance if they so choose.

(*-In every other circumstance under the law, money is treated not as speech but as property)

This Constitutional change would necessarily preclude outsiders from meddling in the election of other people's officials.

It would also necessarily preclude corporations, unions, religious organizations and other non-humans from buying their own politician playthings.

As employers of elected officials, we citizens should have the right to place an ethical code of conduct on our employees.

If politicians are going to be in hoc to anyone, it should be to the citizens they are supposed to represent.

This perversion of democracy and good governance is the most basic problem that needs to be resolved before any of the other issues American humans care about can hope to be seriously addressed


PlanetAlbany said...

I found something else to disagree with you about, especially the hyperbole in the last graf. The more speech the merrier, rightly says the First Amendment.

Brian said...

Activities like who can run what commercials when (which is actual speech) may be quite annoying but I don't see as them any sort of existential threat to the political process. That's part of the hustle and bustle of democracy.

What I'm really most concerned about is the use of direct contributions of money (legalized bribes) to politicians by non-humans in order to influence them.

I disagree with the Supreme Court's fundamental premise that equates money with speech. That's absurd. The government taxes money via such things as sales and income taxes. If money equals speech, then does that mean it could assess you a $1 tax for every 100 words you utter? Logically you could, under the Court's premise.

In reality, saying "Vote for Conner" is a use of speech. Donating money to Conner's political campaign is NOT a use of speech, it's a use of property.

The government regulates property in all kinds of ways. It assesses property taxes and inheritance taxes. It has zoning laws. It makes it illegal to burn dollar bills. It already regulates your ability to donate money by making some donations (to churches, charities, etc) tax-free while making other donations completely illegal (to groups deemed to have terrorist links). If it can regulate your ability to donate to Hamas, why can't it regulate your ability to donate to Nancy Pelosi?

The law treats money as property (not speech) in every other context. There is no compelling reason why political campaigns should be an exception (and plenty of reasons why they shouldn't).

Brian said...

I've just been informed that I may have misinterpreted the scope of the Court's ruling. I'll have to do further research. Again, my main concern is regarding campaign contributions/bribes.

Brian said...

So you ignore me when I praise you but are quick to nitpick. I have to say I'm used to it by now.

PlanetAlbany said...

Am not sure if last comment is taking offense at something I have or have not said. If so, maybe you should contact me and explain your grievance.