Commentary - 01/23/2010

The Not-So-Supreme Court Sells Us Out

I could not believe my eyes when I read that the Supreme Court of the United States of America has ruled that corporations could now uses their financial warchests to directly influence our elections. It was bad enough when they did it indirectly.

The Christian Science Monitor newspaper reported:

The Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling striking down a 2002 campaign finance reform law ‘strikes at democracy itself,’ Obama says in his weekly address. Republicans say ‘free speech’ – even in the form of money – strengthens democracy.

Fresh off a fighting stance at an Ohio event, President Obama aimed a haymaker at the Supreme Court in his Saturday morning address, saying a 5-4 ruling striking down the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law undermines the Republic by giving “voice to the powerful interests that already drown out the voices of everyday Americans.”

On this particular unique subject, I certainly agree with our President.
You will find the complete transcript of the President's speech here.
Two paragraphs from that speech are:
. . . this week, the United States Supreme Court handed a huge victory to the special interests and their lobbyists – and a powerful blow to our efforts to rein in corporate influence. This ruling strikes at our democracy itself. By a 5-4 vote, the Court overturned more than a century of law . . .

This ruling opens the floodgates for an unlimited amount of special interest money into our democracy. It gives the special interest lobbyists new leverage to spend millions on advertising to persuade elected officials to vote their way – or to punish those who don’t. That means that any public servant who has the courage to stand up to the special interests and stand up for the American people can find himself or herself under assault come election time. Even foreign corporations may now get into the act.

That last sentence is not exactly right. It's not that foreign corporations are not already in the act (which has been the whole point of this website), but now they have the blessing of the highest court of law against ordinary folks. Our law is now looking more like the laws of Lenin, Stalin and Hitler.

This New York Times article points out serious ramifications of that decision.

24 States’ Laws Open to Attack After Campaign Finance Ruling

A day after the United States Supreme Court ruled that the federal government may not ban political spending by corporations or unions in candidate elections, officials across the country were rushing to cope with the fallout, as laws in 24 states were directly or indirectly called into question by the ruling.

“One day the Constitution of Colorado is the highest law of the state,” said Robert F. Williams, a law professor at Rutgers University. “The next day it’s wastepaper.”

So how would this tighten the noose around our necks? That was explained by this Washington Post article:
"I wonder how it could not be a huge boon," said David Bank, media analyst at RBC Capital Markets. "You've got a deep-pocketed source of funds that was unable to advertise and can now advertise, and the time restrictions on spending have been lifted."
So the folks who control the media get paid by the folks that control the large corporations. But they're the same folks! I've tried to point that out by who controls the newspapers, who controls the TV networks and who controls the money center banks.

Just how do "supreme" court justices justify their actions. Perhaps a clue can be found in one of their own's public engagements. It did not surprise me to learn that Justice Scalia was among those supporting this decision. I was in the audience in Warrensburg Missouri March 4, 2008 during Justice Scalia's one-man show, and heard the audience's nervous laughter when Scalia said: (some transcripts here)

...I don't mean to suggest that in the bad old days judges never distorted the Constitution. Of course they did. You're going to have willful judges with you until the end of time. But in the good old days they had to distort the Constitution the good old fashioned honest way. They lied about it [laughter]...
So, who's next on Barrick Gold, GoldmanSachs and JPMorgan's political shopping list?!
To big to fail? The real question is:
"Have they become too big to stop?!

Perhaps that's why Sometimes The Dragon Wins

© 2010 by Edward Ulysses Cate
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