Advertisement

Archive for Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ruling will feed voters’ skepticism

January 27, 2010

Advertisement

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case. It was a 5-4 decision, and Justice Stevens authored a long and bitter dissent to the majority opinion.

The case began as a challenge to the financing of the film about Hillary Clinton during the last presidential election. The FEC questioned whether corporate sponsorship of the film constituted illegal political contributions. By last week, the Supreme Court had transformed the decision into a far more basic question: Are corporations’ political activities protected by the First Amendment so that governments cannot put limits on how much they spend on such things as films, videos, and advertising on political topics? (The case preserved limits on direct donations to candidates.) In last week’s decision, a majority of the Court answered in the affirmative.

Supporters of the decision hailed it as a victory for individual rights, although corporations are, in fact, not real people at all but fictive “persons” created by law. Critics saw the decision as opening the floodgates for unlimited corporate financial manipulation of the political process. To a large degree, the split was along party lines, Republicans supporting the decision and Democrats decrying it.

In my own opinion, the decision seems more than a bit shaky on legal grounds, but I think that, in the long term, its impact may not be as harmful as critics think or as helpful as proponents believe. I believe this because I think that the impact of increased corporate political spending will be offset by the increasing skepticism about politics and corruption of individual Americans.

Both critics and proponents seem to assume that most Americans are too ignorant and too passive to be able to separate true information from propaganda. I’m of the opinion that, while this has been true in the past, the past decade in politics and the lies and misrepresentations at every level of government and from both parties have put Americans on notice that they cannot trust the media or politicians or all of the so-called “talking heads” to tell the unbiased truth.

All across America, populist sentiment is on the rise. Populism is, by its very nature, neither Republican nor Democrat. Populism is about giving power back to the people, about distrusting the packaged information put out by government and corporations and other entities and questioning what J.K. Galbraith called the “conventional wisdom.”

In the end, propaganda can only be effective if the people believe it. I think that the Supreme Court’s decision will have an unintended consequence: people will simply distrust the media and all those “experts” so willing to tell us what to think and believe even more than they do now. To my mind, the best defense against increasing corporate influence in politics, and any other influence as well, is an educated, informed, and active citizenry.

Comments

georgiahawk 4 years, 2 months ago

We all should be very weary of what corporations and unions try to shove down our throats. But, hey, I've got a novel idea; rather than object, out of hand, what either one is supporting, why not investigate for yourself which candidate is right for you. The only way this ruling can have any affect is if we allow it! We are individuals in a democratic system, we have an obligation to be informed.

0

commuter 4 years, 2 months ago

tomatogrower (Anonymous) says…

This voter will be watching who the corporations are supporting then vote for the other one. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

What about unions? I will watch who the unions are supporting, then vote for the other one.

In previous elections were corporations contributing to PACs, then the PACs were running ads against certain canidates??

Doesn't the unions run ads also??

0

Mixolydian 4 years, 2 months ago

The provision struck down recently by the court in McCain Feingold has only been around since 2002.

Were we all ruled by our corporate overlords before then?

A lot of hand wringing and teeth gnashing for nothing.

0

jaywalker 4 years, 2 months ago

"You're right— the “wing” part is unnecessary"

Whoops, missed that gem. Ha-yuk!

nota,

Yeah, I know it. Sad, right?

0

tomatogrower 4 years, 2 months ago

This voter will be watching who the corporations are supporting then vote for the other one.

0

jaywalker 4 years, 2 months ago

"The “choice” of chicken strips or chicken nuggets or chicken tenders is not much of a choice when you want Italian food."

Now that one made me laugh out loud. Thanks for the chuckle, scott, and I see where you're coming from now.

0

georgiahawk 4 years, 2 months ago

Thank you Scott3460 and anon1958!

0

anon1958 4 years, 2 months ago

Hoeflich views the world through rose colored glasses. He is number one cheerleader for the KU administration, surely people have noticed that. This ruling is a disaster and regresses our democratic system about a century.

Also, it is not just democrats that believe most voters are dense. The republican bread and butter is disinformation and fear mongering. A big issue for republicans has always been to cut education funding whenever possible. For, the most part, the electorate is indeed disinterested and poorly informed about important political issues, that is just a fact.

Another well known fact is that most people vote with their emotions rather than having their intellect inform them. That is why so many lower and middle income people support the republicans and actually vote against their own best interests.

The emotion over intellect has never been demonstrated more clearly than by all the people who are low income and are dead set against health care reform.

0

scott3460 4 years, 2 months ago

" corporation, like a partnership, sole proprietorship, union, etc. is simply a collection of….wait for it….people. A corporation is a legally created entity and cannot act without people. There are responsible corporation and irresponsible ones, ethical and unethical ones, just like humans. If you had a great idea and wanted to incorporate your business, would that automatically mean the corporation would be at odds with you, its sole shareholder and employee? Of course not.

Let’s not all get crazy. They aren’t all evil robots. Some corporations even allow humans to blog on their websites."

I disagree with your conclusion. Yes, corporations are made up of people, but they are people who are, by and large, relieved of having to deal with the human consequences of their actions. It is one thing if I choose to evict the widow and children, or pollute the environment in which my neighbors live, or decide to fire my employees and outsource operations to India. On some level I have to be responsible for the scorn and righteous consequences of my actions. Corporations are formed precisely to avoid those avoid those consequences. When people are allowed to hide behind nameless and faceless organizations, the temptation to act in an evil or immoral way is increased and we ought not allow our government to act in ways that increase the evil and immoral tendencies of humans.

0

Satirical 4 years, 2 months ago

"Get out your thesaurus and blather us with stupidity!" - georgiahawk

Hey! That's my job!

0

Satirical 4 years, 2 months ago

georgiahawk... " You just don't get it, do you! This is not a left, right issue. This is a human being v corporate entitiy issue."

Wow. Someone has been watching a little too much Battlestar Galactica. Corporations are not Cylons. They aren’t going to destroy the human race.

A corporation, like a partnership, sole proprietorship, union, etc. is simply a collection of….wait for it….people. A corporation is a legally created entity and cannot act without people. There are responsible corporation and irresponsible ones, ethical and unethical ones, just like humans. If you had a great idea and wanted to incorporate your business, would that automatically mean the corporation would be at odds with you, its sole shareholder and employee? Of course not.

Let’s not all get crazy. They aren’t all evil robots. Some corporations even allow humans to blog on their websites.

The thing I do think we need to be concerned about is multi-national corporations and how/if they influence American politics. While the Clinton’s see no problem taking foreign (Chinese) money for political purposes, it is still a No-No.

0

georgiahawk 4 years, 2 months ago

Barry, you learn how to communicate effectively, than you can correct my blogs! By the way, I don't trust big government anymore than I trust big business! What we have here is the inevitable union of big business and big government (even more that what we have now, which is too much). You just don't get it, do you! This is not a left, right issue. This is a human being v corporate entitiy issue. Why on earth would you defend a corporation that would sell you down the river on a whim? Are you a corporate stooge or a human being?

Get out your thesaurus and blather us with stupidity!

0

notajayhawk 4 years, 2 months ago

deathpenaltyliberal (Anonymous) says…

"You would hate to let the facts get in the way of your talking points. The SCOTUS accepted an otherwise unremarkable case and spun it to their desired result."

You mean - [gasp!] - upholding the Constitution?

Why, the sheer audacity of the fools!

0

scott3460 4 years, 2 months ago

"That's assinine, ludicrous, and paranoid, scott. So those that hold the majoriy in the House and Senate, not to mention the President, in your estimation are either moderate right OR prevailed despite a “rigged system”. Fresh air, brother, preferably far away from Larry, is just the ticket for ya."

You are missing my point, jaywalker. I am sure it is not deliberate. The point is Obama, bush, McCain, Palin, Liebermann, Cheney, Reagan, Hannity, whatever, it is all variations on the same corrupt agenda. Just because there is a "D" after his name does not mean that former insurance executive Ben Nelson is left of center. The "choice" of chicken strips or chicken nuggets or chicken tenders is not much of a choice when you want Italian food.

0

deathpenaltyliberal 4 years, 2 months ago

"notajayhawk (Anonymous) says… ... I'm not the one who said this was 'judicial activism,' you were. Poor reading comprehension and an argument based on a faulty premise..."

You would hate to let the facts get in the way of your talking points. The SCOTUS accepted an otherwise unremarkable case and spun it to their desired result.

I understand that coherent and consistent arguments are foreign to the rightwing. But that doesn't excuse your incredibly inane posts.

0

notajayhawk 4 years, 2 months ago

Remember, jaywalker, to boohoohoozo, Mao Tse-tung was 'center-right.'

0

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 2 months ago

"Center right?"

They aren't either left or center-- the corporate giveaways to Wall Street and on the healthcare bill and maintaining the status quo on warmongering certainly preclude that.

0

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 2 months ago

"You've seen enough of my posts to realize I'm no “wingnut”"

You're right-- the "wing" part is unnecessary.

0

Satirical 4 years, 2 months ago

BABBOY… “Satirical sounds like a total dork.”

I prefer “dorkus.”

“It amazes me that he thinks he knows so much about it that he is going to argue about it.” - babboy

I agree, knowing stuff is totally lame. Clearly you have proven that ignorance is bliss : )

Perhaps none of us should ever voice our opinions about topics which we find important. Then we would never have the burden of making decisions. Excellent plan!

“Get a life dude……………” - babboy

Do you have any suggestions on how to start?

0

notajayhawk 4 years, 2 months ago

deathpenaltyliberal (Anonymous) says…

"Why is this judicial activism acceptable? Just because you agree with it? Typical wingnut logic."

Well, for a start, little one, I'm not the one who said this was 'judicial activism,' you were. Poor reading comprehension and an argument based on a faulty premise - typical looney-leftie logic.

"Show me where in the Constitution it says that corporations have First Amendment rights."

That would be in the part where it says people do, dpl, since according to the laws of our country corporations have the rights afforded to a person.


SettingTheRecordStraight (Anonymous) says…

"You realize that opposing this ruling is equal to saying there's too much speech."

I believe that was mentioned in the decision - that if there's to be an error, the Constitution dictates that the error be in the direction of more speech, not less.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says…

"When in control, republicans govern very far to the right, just as their corporate masters want."

Yeah, it's always the corporate masters, Herr Klowne. There they go again, with their jack-booted heels on the throats of the noble proletariat.

Um, ya' think it might also have something to do with the fact that more people in every state of the union identify themselves as conservatives than do as liberals? And that Washington might govern more to the right because that's what we (excluding you, of course) send them there to do?

0

jaywalker 4 years, 2 months ago

"Certainly, from your wingnut perspective, they aren't center-right, jaywalker. But who cares?"

You've seen enough of my posts to realize I'm no "wingnut", that is if you're not in fact deranged and devoid of rational thought. Are you actually porch person also?

That "clarification" ain't helpin' your case either, bozo. Center right? To Iwannajihad, maybe.

0

barrypenders 4 years, 2 months ago

If you percieve that a government is aligning with you on any issue and is on your side you are wrong! Governments have no soul, no ethics, no loyalty, do not attribute any human characteristics to them. They will sell you down the river for one penny

Fixed that for you georgiahawk. The Government is a conveinient entity for PAD's to vent with, but their stiffling anti-'Free Market' is cloistering the pocket book. Theirs and mine.

Stimulus, PAD Cloisters and Posercare live unprecedented

Darwin bless you

0

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 2 months ago

Just for a clarification-- in their personal beliefs, I think the majority of Democrats are moderate, with equal numbers to the left and the right. But because the way business is done in Washington, as in the agenda is controlled by corporate interests, the Dems tend to govern at the center-right. When in control, republicans govern very far to the right, just as their corporate masters want.

0

BABBOY 4 years, 2 months ago

Satirical sounds like a total dork.

That is the only observation I have about this thread. It amazes me that he thinks he knows so much about it that he is going to argue about it. Get a life dude...............

0

georgiahawk 4 years, 2 months ago

This is not a right v left issue! Just because circumstances right now favor one side or the other makes no difference. If you percieve that a corporation is aligning with you on any issue and is on your side you are wrong! Corporations have no soul, no ethics, no loyalty, do not attribute any human characteristics to them. They will sell you down the river for one penny. The only side they are on is their own.

STRS, there can never be too much speech, but there can be too much yelling!

0

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 2 months ago

Certainly, from your wingnut perspective, they aren't center-right, jaywalker. But who cares?

0

jaywalker 4 years, 2 months ago

"Yes, because Obama and the majority of the House and Senate are all far right or moderate right…are you kidding me?"

Whoops, didn't scan the rest of the comments before responding to scott, Sat. Inadvertent repetition on my part.

"In terms of how they actually govern, they are very clearly center-right."

Look out, deathpenalty, you've now got competition for dumbest post of the day.

0

jaywalker 4 years, 2 months ago

"When the game is rigged so that the choice we have is politicians that lean to the far right vs. those who adopt moderate right positions, those of us who support progressive improvement are justifiably up in arms"

That's assinine, ludicrous, and paranoid, scott. So those that hold the majoriy in the House and Senate, not to mention the President, in your estimation are either moderate right OR prevailed despite a "rigged system". Fresh air, brother, preferably far away from Larry, is just the ticket for ya.

0

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 2 months ago

"And you want to be taken seriously on the LJWorld?"

After that last post of yours, I could easily ask you the same question.

0

barrypenders 4 years, 2 months ago

Progressive Articulate Disillusionists need control of the propaganda. They are powerless without it. They need their media outlets to massage their PAD 'Mahantra' to the masses without 'Free Market' interference. The founding fathers of the country were wrong. The Poser's 'Mahantra' is correct.

Stimulus, PAD Propaganda and Posercare live unprecedented

Darwin bless us all

0

SettingTheRecordStraight 4 years, 2 months ago

You realize that opposing this ruling is equal to saying there's too much speech.

To paraphrase Mother Teresa, that's like saying there are too many flowers.

0

Satirical 4 years, 2 months ago

Bozo… “The media corporations primarily provide information that they are paid to provide, and they do it primarily for the highest bidders.”

Yes…and don’t look now, but the CIA, FBI, Secret Service, NSA, police, PETA, and Girl Scouts are after you too! (And the fact the LJWorld will only let me use caps on some of those acronyms proves they are after me : )

“In terms of how they actually govern, they are very clearly center-right.” - bozo

And you want to be taken seriously on the LJWorld?

0

deathpenaltyliberal 4 years, 2 months ago

"notajayhawk (Anonymous) says… ...A liberal talking about “activist judges.” That's rich."

Why is this judicial activism acceptable? Just because you agree with it? Typical wingnut logic.

Show me where in the Constitution it says that corporations have First Amendment rights.

And unions aren't a "person" either, so they should be excluded, just like corporations.

0

notajayhawk 4 years, 2 months ago

jafs (Anonymous) says…

"Most people who work and have families don't have the time and energy to spend on careful research about every topic that is presented to them."

That's why we have a representative form of government in the first place, because everyone in the country can't go to the polls on a daily basis. But that just makes it even more critical that, at least once every four years, they DO their homework before electing someone to make decisions for them. I'd love to see party identification removed from ballots - so voters would at least have to know the name of the candidate they were choosing.

0

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 2 months ago

"Yes, because Obama and the majority of the House and Senate are all far right or moderate right…are you kidding me?"

In terms of how they actually govern, they are very clearly center-right.

0

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 2 months ago

"More information simply means one much be more careful about what information to trust."

This will not result in more information-- it'll merely provide more amplification to (mis- and dis-)information that's already well amplified.

"I agree with the outcome of the ruling because if I were required to choose between only getting my information from corporations who own a media outlet, and all corporations, I choose the latter."

The media corporations primarily provide information that they are paid to provide, and they do it primarily for the highest bidders. The the current highest bidders are the very corporations who have now been given permission to spend even more money not just getting their "message" out, but drowning out all opposing viewpoints even more than is now the case.

The next target will be to do away with net neutrality rules, turning over complete control of the internet to nothing but corporate propaganda.

0

Satirical 4 years, 2 months ago

Scott3460… “When the game is rigged so that the choice we have is politicians that lean to the far right vs. those who adopt moderate right positions, those of us who support progressive improvement are justifiably up in arms…”

Yes, because Obama and the majority of the House and Senate are all far right or moderate right...are you kidding me?

“The solution is not to simply accept that they are all corporatist whores.” – scott3460

Tell it to Obama who talked about the virtues of public financing about a year before he rejected it so he could sell himself out to the highest bidder. But I am sure you will claim the ends justify the means for Obama…how's that hope and change going for you?

0

Satirical 4 years, 2 months ago

Scott3460… “Great example. The result of this progressive government program has made monumental improvement to the state of the elderly in our country.”

You really are arguing that it the duty of government to protect people from themselves!?!

If you want to talk about Social Security in particular (which is off-topic), then perhaps we could discuss the original purpose of SS vs. what it has become, or how the ratchet effect has impacted SS, or how the government takes away my money and gives me almost no return on my investment (ROI) when I could be investing it and getting a substantially greater ROI, and how some can’t afford to save for retirement because the government is taking away too much of their paycheck to pay for those already retired, who per capita have much more wealth than those in their 20s.

0

scott3460 4 years, 2 months ago

"But I find it humorous that the left is so up in arms and griping like this is some sort of victory for the right, as if liberals get no backing from corps. Check the major contributors to Obama and McCain last year. They were almost all corps, in many cases pacs from the same corp for both, and of those Obama reaped 2 to 3 times what McCain got from the ones they had in common (JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, etc.)"

When the game is rigged so that the choice we have is politicians that lean to the far right vs. those who adopt moderate right positions, those of us who support progressive improvement are justifiably up in arms, jaywalker. The solution is not to simply accept that they are all corporatist whores.

0

SettingTheRecordStraight 4 years, 2 months ago

"Most people who work and have families don't have the time and energy to spend on careful research ..." -jafs

jafs, You've compeletly given up, haven't you? You don't just want government to take care of us, you seem to believe we actually need government to hold our hands.

0

scott3460 4 years, 2 months ago

"Have no fear ignorant masses. You aren’t smart enough to plan for retirement either, here is Social Security. Hoorah! The liberals are here to save you from yourself…again."

Great example. The result of this progressive government program has made monumental improvement to the state of the elderly in our country.

0

jaywalker 4 years, 2 months ago

"Thus they will either be influenced more by the first thing they see/read, or get so bogged down by the conflicting information that they simply give up, and stop voting at all"

Then shame on them, all the way around. But that's no different than what's been going on forever, so what effect will this ruling actually have? Don't get me wrong, I'm not a fan. But I find it humorous that the left is so up in arms and griping like this is some sort of victory for the right, as if liberals get no backing from corps. Check the major contributors to Obama and McCain last year. They were almost all corps, in many cases pacs from the same corp for both, and of those Obama reaped 2 to 3 times what McCain got from the ones they had in common (JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, etc.)

0

Satirical 4 years, 2 months ago

Jafs…

I don’t necessarily disagree, but how is that different from our present situation?

Being an active and informed citizen today is much more difficult than it was 200, or even 50 years ago. The world is much more complex and more information is available than ever before about a plethora of issues. But again, if I were required to choose between going back 50 years, as far as what information in available, or the level and complexity of information available today, I definitely choose the burden of more information.

The internet didn’t destroy democracy and I don’t believe this ruling will either. As long as full disclosure is required, I don’t see this ruling as a negative.

0

jafs 4 years, 2 months ago

Satirical,

Most people who work and have families don't have the time and energy to spend on careful research about every topic that is presented to them.

Thus they will either be influenced more by the first thing they see/read, or get so bogged down by the conflicting information that they simply give up, and stop voting at all.

Or, I suppose it's possible they'll pick one isse and find out what they can, voting on that one issue.

Unions aren't people either, of course.

0

Satirical 4 years, 2 months ago

Scott3460…

You take a typically liberal approach - people are too stupid to think for themselves, which is why the government must decide for them. In this case, it is which information they are allowed, and from whom (and it just so happens the information people don’t need is that which comes from entities which historically have supported the opposition more than us). Like a parent with an internet filter, the liberals are here to save all of us. Because they always know best...

Have no fear ignorant masses. You aren’t smart enough to plan for retirement either, here is Social Security. Hoorah! The liberals are here to save you from yourself…again.

0

notajayhawk 4 years, 2 months ago

"Both critics and proponents seem to assume that most Americans are too ignorant and too passive to be able to separate true information from propaganda. I’m of the opinion that, while this has been true in the past, the past decade in politics and the lies and misrepresentations at every level of government and from both parties have put Americans on notice that they cannot trust the media or politicians or all of the so-called “talking heads” to tell the unbiased truth."

The author has apparently never read the comments section on the award-winning LJW's website.

"corporations are, in fact, not real people at all but fictive “persons” created by law"

So are unions. I wonder why critics of the decision keep leaving that part out?

"the decision seems more than a bit shaky on legal grounds"

Actually, this one was pretty simple. From the excerpts I've read or heard, it seems the Court acknowledged the concerns about corporations - or wealthy individuals, for that matter - having unfettered rein in political races. However, they said, no matter how legitimate those concerns were, you simply can not use an unconstitutional remedy to correct the situation.

(I wonder why all the same liberals who used that same argument against Bush's Homeland Security efforts are against this ruling? Oh, forgot - "That's different.")


deathpenaltyliberal (Anonymous) says…

"Republicans are celebrating because those activist judges have opened the floodgates for foreign (corporate) money to influence American elections. "

A liberal talking about "activist judges." That's rich.


diplomacy205 (Anonymous) says…

"The film company successfully turned it into a 1st Amendment case."

I heard an interview with the guy who made the film. According to him, he didn't turn it into a 1st Amendment case, the Court did. All he had asked for was for the FEC to grant him an exemption, which was denied, so he sued only to force the exemption (which he really believed his film qualified for). He might have actually lost that one, but the Court had them come back in and testify again because they picked up the bigger issue at stake.

0

Satirical 4 years, 2 months ago

I couldn't agree more with Prof. Hoeflich. More information simply means one much be more careful about what information to trust. Staying informed, and sifting through the rhetoric and propaganda, is the burden and price one must pay for democracy to succeed. A healthy democracy requires constant vigilance, and active participation.

I agree with the outcome of the ruling because if I were required to choose between only getting my information from corporations who own a media outlet, and all corporations, I choose the latter. I am not so naive to believe that corporations who own a media outlet don't also have their own agenda. Perhaps with more information, more individuals will question the "conventional wisdom" given by the likes of MSNBC, FoxNews, etc.

But to be honest, I don't expect the long-term effects of this ruling will have a significant impact. We will still have the "talking heads," and propaganda and misinformation. We will also sill have credible information, and fact checkers. Now, we will just have more of both (hopefully). I am confident there are enough citizens who are willing to undertake this burden to make our country continue to prosper and our democracy survive.

0

scott3460 4 years, 2 months ago

"In the end, propaganda can only be effective if the people believe it."

With all due respect, baloney! Look at the destruction to our society wrought by the right wing agenda of the last 30 years for proof that propaganda is terribly effective. Control of the mainstream media was the first step for the right wing fascists, and the upcoming control of the political process will be their final victory, and the death of our nation.

0

deathpenaltyliberal 4 years, 2 months ago

Republicans are celebrating because those activist judges have opened the floodgates for foreign (corporate) money to influence American elections.

One justice, Clarence Thomas, did not think that corporations should have to identify themselves in the ads.

Remember this the next time Republicans say that they are looking out for the people.

0

diplomacy205 4 years, 2 months ago

I read the transcripts. The FEC lawyer said that, under the law, they would ban books that mentioned political people. They would censure all media regardless of format. That's why the ruling was so sweeping. The film company successfully turned it into a 1st Amendment case.

0

SettingTheRecordStraight 4 years, 2 months ago

"Are corporations’ political activities protected by the First Amendment...?"

Mike's column is thoughtful, but I don't think he ever asks the right question. What the Citizens United case resolved was whether corporations have a broad right to speech.

I'm a bit surprised that the word "speech" does not appear anywhere in this column.

0

jaywalker 4 years, 2 months ago

Sure hope you're right, Mike.

0

Commenting has been disabled for this item.