How did you justify excluding Fox, ABC while restricting the ACLU, Unions and non-profits?
Why was News Corp given an exemption under the law?
Why is that not handing power to the large media companies?
You make the charge that it was sophistic, under the law that was struck down who does the government get to gag? whoever they don’t like? We know the Unions were gagged, as were non-profits. If I bought a newspaper do I have the right to speak, even though the “freedom of the press” was a right of ANYONE to publish?
Thank you, people often praise my succinct way of writing.
Skynet will be glad to hear that!
Please. I’ve gone over this with Lance Armstrong to no fricking end already. Yes, I know, corporations are legal fictions designed to allow rich guys to minimize risk, since there had to be some kind of “entity” which could own things, get sued, etc., hence the fictional entity that is a corporation. I get that, I really do.
Now, every time the topic comes up about some corporation doing something awful that causes a great deal of human suffering (think of Bain Capital and some of its exploits) the conservatives and libertarians on this board are always quick to post something to the effect that, “A corporation’s only responsibility is to make money for its shareholders, you can’t judge it in human terms! Ethics and human welfare are not the province of corporations!”
I also understand that corporations can be public advocacy organizations like the ACLU, or public service organizations like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. So limiting the speech on corporations can be problematical. Why, even limiting the amount of MONEY that can be spent of speech is problematical, to hear Lance Armstrong tell it.
Oh, it’s all so very reasonable and so very legal, Rick, but … let’s head over to the real world, shall we? The vast majority of corporations are not about public service or advocacy, they are about making money, plain and simple. The biggest, most powerful corporations are all about that. The ACLU and PBS and Citizens United are tiny little drops of clean water in a huge, viscous black, oily lake of greed. And what would the money-only organizations advocate for with all that speech we have given them? ANY FUCKING THING THAT MAKES THEM MORE MONEY!
Of course, what else? That is what corporations are all about! And if human lives degrade or American society goes to hell or for that matter the ECONOMY goes to hell, it does not matter: the corporation’s only responsibility is to do (and advocate) that which makes more money for its shareholders. As it should be! Nothing else matters, or should matter, to a corporation.
And so, via these very reasonable, very legal increments we find ourselves in a positions where amoral organizations whose only motivation is sheer, overwhelming GREED have the loudest, most powerful voices in public discourse … because they have the most money, and it is money that determines how many people you can reach how often via mass media.
You say that being interested only in making money does not make one a psychopath, and you’re KIND OF right, a psychopath is a person who has no sense of right or wrong, no sense of human empathy, no ability to connect emotionally with others, because their brains just aren’t wired that way. And who ever heard of a corporation that didn’t have all those qualities in spades?
A corporations as a legal entity is a PRETTY FREAKING GOOD analog for psychopath that cares only for making money. See Bain Capital, the tobacco companies, and well … so many others.
And so, Rick, by all these tiny degrees we are persuaded to give up democracy, any sense of ethics or human feeling we might have, because you know, that’s the legal and proper thing to do. Give over our democracy to the plutocrats who own and control the greedy, psychopathic corporations. Considerations about whether or not the “people” that are corporations should be able to use their enormous wealth to influence our elections are silly and misinformed. Because simple, pithy statements like mine are not legally accurate.
You go right on believing that Rick, if it makes you feel good.
But the Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot do that. You should be thrilled.
U.S. courts have ruled, time and again, that commercial speech CAN be restricted. It is a fundamental principle of the interpretation of the First Amendment that the determination of whether or not speech can be restricted is based on what type of speech it is, not on who is saying it.
Providing it is not overly broad or unreasonable, the government can restrict commercial speech. What they have said, again and again, is that you can’t restrict political speech. Of course one can engage in political speech to advance your monetary interests indirectly, but that remains the distinction, and it’s a perfectly reasonable one. That’s the kind of speech the First Amendment was meant to protect. It’s the most important kind of speech there is, freedom-wise.
If you hand the government the power to restrict speech based on who’s saying it, I am 100% certain that will be horribly misused, probably within, oh, a month.
A psychopath is, by definition, a human being. Corporations are not human beings. A corporation is not a “psychopath” any more than a sofa or a submarine sandwich is a psychopath.
Every Western democracy has the concept of legal personage. I don’t see democracy receding. If anything, it seems to me the Internet’s opening up the channels of communication to the little guy more than ever before.
Gosh, John, could you make your traps a little more subtle? I feel a bit like the Roadrunner reading a sign that offers “Free Burd Fud”.
Allow me to offer a counter-trap. If we are to assume that corporations are totally persons, endowed by their Incorporator with certain unalienable rights, does that include the Second Amendment? Do they possess the right to keep and bear arms, just like all the rest of us persons do? After all, with their organizational charts and hierarchy, they are a lot more like a “well-regulated militia” than your brother-in-law, yes? May we expect Comcast to be packing heat?
And Shirley they must have the right to refuse self-incrimination, yes? No more embarrassing e-mails from stock “analysts” gloating over how they are screwing their customers? If they are endowed with First Amendment rights, who’s to say they don’t have all the rest?
They always were. I know people are struggling with this fact, but legal personage is not a new concept. Corporations have always been legal persons. They were legal persons before any of us were born.
Wow your entire argument has been reduced to pluralization? You do understand that in English, when speaking of an “entity” which the legal fiction of a company or heck even a country…you refer to it in the singular.
This does not mean that they are “robots in disguise” The legal fiction of a “corporation” is an entity that is a fictional person. And it has been so for far longer than any campaign finance laws have been in place.
When you speak of a union, county, city etc… you use the same language.
I like how you ducked the question on why it was better that Fox news given the right to political speech but the ACLU, unions and non-profits were gagged.
Let me make it less exciting for you to read, John
The vast majority of corporations are by design amoral greed machines whose only concern is making more money
Giving such organizations political free speech rights, especially coupled with unlimited SuperPAC funding means that such organizations have the ability to drown out most other voices in the mass media, which runs on money, which is what the greed machines have in spades.
Therefore, our current definition of personhood for legal entities has led to a predictable takeover of our political system by greedy corporations and the plutocrats that control them. (Hello, President Romney!) The present status of corporations, however REASONABLE by your standards, will lead to an America that will make the Gilded Age look positively egalitarian. Anyone who cares about democracy must oppose it.
It’s called wit. Helps make arguments fun to read. Feel free to quote Animal Farm if the spirit moves you, though you should be aware that some quotes are more equal than others.
To put perhaps too fine a point on it all, the rise of the SuperPAC has made the whole argument more or less academic. Before all this kerfluffle, the Koch Brothers had about a gazillion times the political power that I did, or you did, Now, its still pretty much the same.
One possible ray of sunshine, still dim, but possible: there are some signs that political advertising doesn’t have the clout it used to have. Perhaps one day soon our Corporate Insect Overlords will begin to think that such massive outlays of cash are not cost effective. Of course, that will mean they simply move that money into more effective lobbying, but still…
I think you may be confusing “corporation” with “publicly traded Delaware Corporations” but that is a policy issue and not an issue with Corps as a concept.
SuperPAC’s legality was not related to Citizens United, they are also still open to regulation but the FEC has been slow to act. Direct contributions to candidates by corps is still Illegal. AS to the airspace, big players had an option, just buy a media company then you are not under restrictions. This was not an option for citizen groups.
You have given no evidence for this outside of broad sweeping conjecture.
Note that Americans wasted more on one week of lottery tickets last year than the entire amount spend on lobbying in the year.
The political will of the people will never be expressed if they expect it to happen through apathy. Some of the most powerful lobbies in DC are groups of citizens who are not rich. E.G. the NAR, AARP, NRA and Teachers and labor unions.
But I will ask you, if you are in favor of gagging “corporations” do you also support gagging ABC/CBS Fox, News Corp and the New York times? If not by what standard to you exempt them?