How bad is the decision of Citizens United v Federal Election Commission, constitution writing from the bench, far more extreme than mere legislating?
First, the obvious, it is a guarantee that mega corporations can swamp the airwaves and other media with propaganda on behalf of candidates they will, essentially, own, in general campaigns.
It guarantees that corporations can overtly or covertly run fully funded candidates of its choosing, its stooges, unbeholden to a party, which become about superfluous with this ruling, but not to the company that owns them. Individual tycoons used to, which is why they began to adopt regulations. Modern corporations have vastly more money to corrupt the system with than those quaint crooks of old.
A huge shocker is that, as argued in the court, itself, foreign govenments, through American corporations could do what any other corporation does and buy offices holders to serve their interests. If you want to consider what that means, Saudi Arabia or a consortium of oil states could exercise direct influence, if not control, of our policy on oil, energy use, Israel, or any other number of areas of interest to them. They could lower taxes on their products to zero and institute other measures that would bleed us, the mere human beings who live here.
And of course, what those countries could do, China or other countries could do. Greg Palast’s* question about al Qaeda forming an American corporation and getting directly involved in our elections have gone unanswered by Ted Olson who argued that nothing in present law could or should prevent that from happening. Since there has been some speculation that they and other foreign criminal organizations already have some business interests in the United States this isn’t a fantasy. Of course, our own, home grown criminal organizations are a larger presence in corporations, if that’s any comfort.
The absurd dodge that Olson Alito and others took when this issue was raised, that congress could regulate that, raises the question of why they would vote to regulate their owners? And, given the atrocity of this illogical, clearly constitution writing decision, why should anyone not expect that these same or other stooges on the court would sustain those?
The obvious intention of the five traitors on the court, Citizens United, Ted Olson and the others who supported the perversion of the Bill of Rights was to insure Republicans would control the government. As I said yesterday, this is Bush v. Gore by other means and made permanent. Once its beneficiaries are in place it would take a total collapse to change things. Politicians who have so few morals as to be the stooges of corporations and foreign governments aren’t going to be reliable in the matter of amending the Constitution or making statutes to regulate their patrons. Since the Republicans are pretty much the overt corporate party now, we will have an effective one party state in power for a long, long time.
Some are calling this the worst Supreme Court Decision since Dredd Scott, I see no reason to think that it might not be worse, making all, merely human “persons” in the United States into lesser beings. Dredd Scott was overturned, through the Civil War. Seeing the difficulty that Abraham Lincoln had in coming to the decision to end slavery during the war, the ambivalence of even many in the North to ending slavery then, that decision would likely have endured for a long time to come if the war hadn’t happened. Economic power, the interests of the elites, in all regions of the country, which directly benefitted from slavery were the main motivation for its retention. A large number of other Americans were effectively propagandized into accepting its existence. Building an effective anti-slavery movement took an enormous effort and a long, long time. My warnings about violence yesterday, weren’t unconsidered, they were based on this history.
I hope that there will be enough Americans to get rid of this abomination without civil war or insurrection. I am not optimistic about change within the constitution, which was intentionally set up to weaken the rule of The People through the Senate and the cumbersome amendment process. That process would likely make the overturning of this atrocity by amendment very unlikely. State legislatures would also be bought, to an even greater extent than they are now. Frankly, Republicans in control of a sufficient number of those can do what they do in the minority in the Senate, thwart the will of a large majority.
And there are those unintended, unforeseen consequences talked about yesterday. Millions of putrid, invasive seeds were sewn in this decision. What they produce won’t be obvious before they sprout and grow.
If Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress don’t understand this changes everything, right now, and take every possible measure to stem it, we are sunk. The absurd media libertarianism that Obama supported is out the window. Trying the fairness doctrine, equal time,.... everything to try to blunt the effect of this spear at the heart of democracy is the least they can do. If his legal training makes him feel queasy about that, it was lawyers and judges with impeccable educations and credentials who have created this betrayal of everything the Constitution is supposed to be there for. If it doesn’t produce government of, by and for The People, every part of that document and the entire legal edifice around it is garbage. Pomp and pretense masking a corrupt and hypocritical oppression.
* The extent to which foreign governments have an interest in our domestic agenda is already a danger to us.
In July, the Chinese government, in preparation for President Obama's visit, held diplomatic discussions in which they skirted issues of human rights and Tibet. Notably, the Chinese, who hold a $2 trillion mortgage on our Treasury, raised concerns about the cost of Obama's health care reform bill.
If you think that Palast’s question to Ted Olson was in poor taste, that is made quite irrelevant by the spectacle of Olson taking the risk of making it relevant.
UPDATE: I wasn't the only one thinking along these lines, note what this Buzzflash post with what Thom Hartmann had to say.
I was talking on the phone this morning with Thom, and he brought up the irony that may be prophetic that the infamous Dredd Scott decision that declared slaves to be property led to the Civil War. Now, we have a Supreme Court decision that affirmed that corporations have, according to the GOP 5-4 vote, the same election rights as people...
... For America, it's been a decade of two Supreme Court coups that have stolen democracy and replaced it with something akin to activist right wing judicial rulings on behalf of the oligarchy that pulls the strings in D.C.
The Dredd Scott decision, as Hartmann points out, resulted in the Civil War.And the Center For Public Integrity pointed out:
Federal election law has long prohibited any foreign national from directly or indirectly making “an independent expenditure, or disbursement for an electioneering communication.” And the Supreme Court’s ruling does not explicitly address the issue of foreign corporations. However, in his dissent in Citizens United, Justice John Paul Stevens cautioned that the decision “would appear to afford the same protection to multinational corporations controlled by foreigners as to individual Americans.”