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We Knew it was Coming: SCOTUS hands Elections to Corporate "Persons"
01-29-2010, 06:32 AM,
RE: we knew it was coming: SCOTUS hands elections to corporate "persons"
Actually, I really do believe I do get your point.

that's what the sovereign citizen movement is all about - circumventing or flat out ignoring magistrate law - that doesn't mean that anyone that goes through the motions of disavowing any contract that creates a "person" within such laws makes you any less likely to be dealt with in the way they deal with the rest of fictional entities that don't know any better - unless you're born with the knowledge and an unquestioned ability to provide yourself, and then immediately orphaned.

In that case, you'd probably be murdered rather quickly.

unless you're speaking in a metaphysical sense, as in the fact that "this is all an illusion, and we create our own realities with our thought and belief..."

In that case, it deserves a different thread, and prison isn't fiction in that sense either.

or am I missing something?
Is there something you might be able to quote or link to from the link you provided above (or somewhere else,) that might pinpoint what you're trying to say? How does knowing that the law is fiction make it easier to exist within the affectations created by a spiderweb of fictional laws?

I'm not trying to be a smart-ass here, and I'm positive that I haven't gleaned the contents of atg in total, but I believe I've gotten a glimpse at the motivations of those who work on the site in my past, and I just can't figure out why my comment would make you think that I didn't understand your point because of the whole nonfiction-prison thing.
[Image: conspiracy_theory.jpg]
01-30-2010, 08:14 PM,
RE: we knew it was coming: SCOTUS hands elections to corporate "persons"
Quote:Corporate Speech is Our Silence
Richard Whitehead
Friday, 29 January 2010 09:15

In a disheartening 5-4 decision in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court ruled that a government restriction prohibiting corporations and unions from using general funds money to campaign on behalf or against political candidates, was an unconstitutional restriction. After this scandalous ruling was made, some nascent progressive efforts, led by Congresswoman Donna Edwards and constitutional law professor Jamie Raskin, have been gaining some distinct notoriety as credible measures pushing for a constitutional amendment rejecting the Court's ruling. As defined by, a constitutional amendment needs to “firmly establish that money is not speech” and that “human beings” are the only entities “entitled to constitutional rights”.

There are a number of similar petitions out there, and, to the best of my knowledge, I've signed every one of them. Why are these petitions important and why should you sign them? As any casual observer can easily guess, the Supreme Court's ruling crucially alters the political balance of power away from a political system already favorable to business interests, to a system where corporate money has the potential to define the terminology of conflict in future election campaigns. If there was ever a threat to democracy in America, this Court ruling is it folks! What we can now expect over the coming years is a shift away from a campaign finance ideal composed of millions of small donations, toward ones led by a smaller number of large donations. Already, the Chamber of Commerce threatens to organize the most aggressive election campaign in history during high stakes of the 2010 election cycle. With corporations now able to engage in a campaign spending orgy, the Chamber's threats will likely become a reality.

However, before we concretize our progressive objections within the discursive battle ground of politics, we need to come to grips with exactly what is so offensive with the Supreme Court's decision. Indeed, as these petitions show, we have already started defining the landscape of our objections. As if to reflect America's predilection for most things legalistic, and progressive's distaste for most things Corporate, the main offense has rested upon a rejection of corporate personhood, or legal provisions treating corporations to the same rights afforded to people. Perhaps the Public Citizen Petition best sets this tone, where five out of the seven objections listed cites the term “corporate” or “corporation.”

Addressing corporate personhood has clear political advantages. The concept is digestible in a 30 second sound bite, is easy to delineate in a petition, and has broad appeal to those non-progressives equally tired of a system dominated by unelected bigwigs. At the same time, debates within the broader media and blogosphere have yet to tackle some important epistemological questions about freedom, which, in my mind, are the more fundamental problems arising out of the Supreme Court's highly dubious interpretation of free speech. Why is this so fundamental? It is so because the Court's majority interpretation, which grants free speech rights to corporations, is consistent with an overly legalistic interpretation free speech, an interpretation that is at the crux of the upper-class bias in the American polity.

Let's start with the term “free”, which, in America's somewhat unique lexicon, describes a condition whereby a person's actions are unrestrained, autonomous, or independent. For the classical liberalism articulated by the likes of Montesquieu, Locke, and Hume, as well as America's Constitutional architects, political beliefs were constructed in opposition to things like divine rule, aristocratic clientelism, and taxation without representation. In this context, the natural law treatment of people as atomistic creatures might make some sense. But, in today's America, the idea of an individual being autonomous, unrestrained, and independent is theoretically and empirically untenable. The fact that corporations will now spend large sums of money on adverts successfully infiltrating opinion formation, should be enough evidence to show that this classical liberal definition of freedom is entirely fictional and actually damaging to the 80 to 90 percent of us who are nothing more than ordinary folks.

There is one more tendency worth pointing out. American political discourses are striking for their knee-jerk tendency to identify threats to freedom as emanating from institutions, namely governmental ones. In other words, the American lexicon reduces freedom as a function inversely proportional to the size of government. No surprise there! This logic of course gives people like Cleta Mitchell, a leading GOP attorney, the latitude to say that the Court's ruling in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission “has ripped the duct tape off the mouths of the American people.” If the reality of politics was as simplistic as saying ‘less government equals more freedom', then I can completely concur with Mitchell that the Court's decision was an expansion of freedom. But, reality is not that simple.

So, how does these lexica relate to the Supreme Court Ruling? Let me first say that the exercise of government authority can, without a doubt, be inversely related to freedom. During my travels in Eastern Europe and Africa as an election monitor, I can say quite confidently that the there are few things “free” about beating protestors, forging election protocols, or assassinating political opponents. However, our overly legalistic interpretation of freedom, along with our knee-jerk tendency to identify government as the first and foremost threat to freedom, yields an unrealistic understanding of the sociological nature of freedom and ignores threats to freedom from non-governmental entities. In reality, we might say that freedom is inversely related to greater concentrations of power in the hands of people who are unelected. Stated differently, one private person's relative dominance is another private person's relative subordination. One person's loud-mouthed speech is another person's silence. The use of government authority can have a liberating effect when direct toward resolving these power imbalances between non-democratic forces. The primary spirit of democratic governance is to level the playing field of politics, yielding the concept of one-person, one vote that the Founders applied to the House of Representatives at least. In order to comport with the spirit of democratic governance, speech should be treated in essentially the same manner.

The Supreme Court's ruling however, effectively jettisoned this democratic ideal. Rather than seeing campaign spending restrictions as enhancing the democratic voice of ordinary citizens, the court took a highly primitive, purely outmoded perspective by suggesting that the only threat to absolute freedom comes from government itself. Yet, in reality, freedom of speech can be just as limited by campaign dominance from corporations as by the sometimes paternalistic nature of governmental authority.

The conservative reply is obvious. Even after the Supreme Court's decision, people can still say what they want. True. But, remember that the logic of the Citizen United position is something to the effect that, while corporations could indeed say what they wanted prior to the Court's ruling, spending restrictions effectively limited corporate ability to communicate what they wanted. This is essentially the logic I defined above, except that my logic comports with the spirit of democratic governance, while the Citizen United position does not. Any reasonably astute thinker would able to understand that giving people or corporations unlimited power to buy political voice fails to comport with the spirit of democratic governance, which the United States claims to uphold.

But Supreme Court justices are not necessarily astute thinkers and good democrats. Their ruling has the effect of reinforcing a system whereby political discourse is treated as a private commodity, where the voice with the highest bid wins. While our short-term focus should be targeted toward corporate personhood, we need to keep in mind that the real bone of contention lies with America's dominant interpretation that equates freedom with autonomy and freedom as universally at odds with government authority. With this interpretation, politics has less to do with the merits of an argument and the betterment of public interests, and more to do with the use of public political space for the satisfaction of private material wants. In many of the developing countries I've worked in, the privatization of public space would normally be defined as corrupt. Why should the often touted “beacon of democracy” be treated with lower democratic standards?
There are no others, there is only us.
01-31-2010, 02:23 AM,
RE: we knew it was coming: SCOTUS hands elections to corporate "persons"
(01-30-2010, 08:14 PM)FastTadpole Wrote: “human beings” are the only entities “entitled to constitutional rights”.

Good article by the way. This is the most important point though. 120 years of this bullshit is too much.
05-18-2011, 10:50 PM,
Information  RE: We Knew it was Coming: SCOTUS hands Elections to Corporate "Persons"
Of all people Stephen shill Colbert brings some attention by doing a stunt aimed at the FEC to this issue as reported in the entertainment section of The Atlantic Wire

Quote:The Serious Implications of Stephen Colbert's FEC Stunt
By Ujala Sehgal May 14, 2011

Stephen Colbert, in full character as the prototypical conservative pundit, appeared at the Federal Election Commission after filing paperwork for his political action committee, the "Colbert Super-PAC." As Politico explains, Colbert was there to determine if his airtime on Comedy Central would be considered a campaign contribution from the network's parent company Viacom, or if it would fall under the so-called "media exception" that allows newspapers, blogs, radio show hosts and others considered media to urge votes for or against candidates.

It was a typical Colbert stunt. In an address to a crowd of several hundred, he declared he was motivated by the "American dream."

And that dream is simple. That anyone, no matter who they are, if they are determined, if they are willing to work hard enough, someday they could grow up to create a legal entity which could then receive unlimited corporate funds, which could be used to influence our elections.

But some are speculating that this stunt might actually motivate an important political cause that arose following the 2010 Supreme Court case Citizens United v. FEC, where the court struck down laws barring corporations from donating money. The Republican win in the 2010 midterm elections is in part attributed to advertising dollars made possible by the Citizens United decision. Writes Vogel:

If nothing else, [Colbert] could help the cause of campaign finance advocates by highlighting the ability of corporations to spend unlimited amounts to support or oppose candidates, and – as Lisa Gilbert of Public Citizen describes it – expose “the clear conflict of interest that Fox media has as they allow political figures to promote their PACs on a supposedly neutral media outlet.”

If the FEC rules that any airtime Colbert devotes to promoting the PAC should be treated, and disclosed, as a in-kind contribution from Viacom, this might “have a real election law impact,” according to Gilbert. It could potentially restrict the freedom of high-profile Republicans who serve as paid Fox News contributors while being affiliated with PACS, including Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Karl Rove, and Dick Morris.

Of course, this requires the FEC to be willing to play along with Colbert's point, and bureaucracies are not renowned for unconventional approaches to reform. In that vein, The Wall Street Journal suggested that Colbert's demonstration had comedic value only:

Democrats tried to make hay over the Citizens United ruling last election, an issue that never quite caught on with voters. But the crowd outside the FEC late Friday afternoon wasn’t typical American voters.

"This is D.C., so this is not that nerdy, unfortunately,” said Jon Avery, a 25-year-old economist for the federal government. “It’s always funny that he can kind of bring light to it."

Video of Colbert at the FEC is below.
There are no others, there is only us.
10-05-2011, 09:13 PM,
RE: We Knew it was Coming: SCOTUS hands Elections to Corporate "Persons"
Here's an opinionated (warning: false paradigm left biased) case study on how a few select individuals are taking advantage of the SCOTUS ruling that has effectively ended campaign finance limits and allowed secretive contributions through "corporations".

Uber-Vultures: The Billionaires Who Would Pick Our President
Wednesday 5 October 2011
There are no others, there is only us.
12-09-2011, 10:29 AM,
RE: We Knew it was Coming: SCOTUS hands Elections to Corporate "Persons"
Any chance this will pass?

Quote:Sen. Sanders files amendment to end corporate personhood
By Eric W. Dolan
Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced a constitutional amendment to the U.S. Senate on Thursday that would overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial Citizens United ruling.

The decision held that corporations have the same First Amendment rights as people, and that political spending was free speech. The ruling allowed corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections, so long as their actions were not directly coordinated with a candidate’s campaign.

“There comes a time when an issue is so important that the only way to address it is by a constitutional amendment,” Sanders said.

He had previously described the Citizen United ruling as “basically insane.”

“Nobody that I know thinks that Exxon Mobil is a person,” Sanders said in November.

The Saving American Democracy Amendment would state that corporations are not entitled to the same constitutional rights as people. It would also ban corporate campaign donations to candidates, and give Congress and the states broad authority to regulate spending in elections.

“The dominance of corporations in Washington has imperiled the economic security of the American people and left our citizens profoundly disenchanted with our democracy,” said Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), who has introduced a companion measure in the U.S. House.

“I look forward to working with Sen. Sanders to save American democracy by banning all corporate spending in our elections and cracking down on secret front groups using anonymous corporate cash to undermine the public interest.”

The amendment comes only days after the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to support a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment that would assert that corporations are not entitled to constitutional rights.

“Sen. Sanders’ amendment returns us to shared understandings that democracy is for people,” said Robert Weissman, the president of Public Citizen.

Sens. Tom Udall (D-NM) and Michael Bennet of (D-CO) have also introduced a constitutional amendment that would overturn Citizens United by granting Congress and the states the authority to regulate the campaign finance system.

The amendment would not dictate any specific policies or regulations, Udall said, so that it could garner some support from Republicans, who have blocked attempts to overturn the ruling in the past.

Democrats had previously attempted to pass a law — the DISCLOSE Act — to mitigate the effects of Citizens United, but it was opposed by conservatives and failed to clear Congress thanks to a Republican filibuster.

Watch video of Sanders on the Senate floor below:
There are no others, there is only us.
12-09-2011, 07:19 PM,
RE: We Knew it was Coming: SCOTUS hands Elections to Corporate "Persons"
not surprising... as an independent, (even if a long term incumbent,) he would have a very difficult time fighting off a challenger with the backing of either mainstream political party and their money making machines. corporations would love to be able to throw people like him out of office... You know... people with a conscience. If I were still in cali, I might try to get a proposition supporting it on the next ballot. it only takes 500k sigs... in case anyone who´s still over there is reading...
[Image: conspiracy_theory.jpg]

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