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I need to start many diaries and comments by saying (like Dr. Dean) that I hate Republicans and everything they stand for.  I need to say that because I am a little to the right of most people here, especially on two topics: guns and speech.

I am truly suprised by the reaction to the ruling in the Citizen's United case, because I think it actually helps the left.  

Why the counter-intuitive position ?   Well for one thing, corporations already own the system: how much worse can it get ?   But there are other reasons too.....

I think the ruling opens up political speech, and I have yet to encounter a corporation that is run, or owned, by non-humans.

One thing about corporations is that they do act like people: they pursue their own interests, which in many cases are opposed to the interests of others....and in many cases, the interests of other corporations.  

You see, prior to the ruling, corporations who may have wanted to stake a political position or get involved in the process were hamstrung and disincentivized from doing so, leaving the field only to politically active corporations.

I'm not using Swiftean satire to say this: I will be looking forward to more corporations fighting it out in the politcal arena.   There are a great many of us who work for corporations and own corporations thru direct investments and via pension funds etc.

As I noted, how much worse can it get than it is right now ?   The fact is that the libel and slander laws have not been overturned; do we have so little faith in America that we believe that mere volumes of propaganda can determine our shared view of the world ?  

Not by a long shot.  Propaganda only works to amplify ideas that are already virulent; rarely indeed can it establish them alone.  

What this development really does is bring into focus what corporations are saying: what they want, and how they want to get it.  To the extent that bad things happen as a result of corporations motives (nearly always mere profits in any case), it will help focus on something really broken in our society, which is corporate governance itself.

As a shareholder burned many a time already by treasonous managers, I am delighted that there will now be a lot more focus in their political activities.   Democracy is not just at the ballot-box, and I think this ruling will indeed bring unexpected silver linings.......            

Originally posted to bluelaser2 on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 07:17 AM PST.


What are you really afraid of with this ruling ?

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| 29 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    burrow owl, oldpunk, LousyDeemo

    Out of my cold dead hands

    by bluelaser2 on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 07:17:37 AM PST

    •  It's a big step towards violating the principle (0+ / 0-)

      of one man, one vote.  Corporations aren't democracies and thus don't reflect the attitudes of all the people who comprise them - they're run by a handful of individuals who now have the equivalent of millions of votes for themselves.

      The hidden golden lining is that we've now further opened up the US political system to foreign manipulation by multinationals - something we've traditionally done to other countries but for some reason have been loathe to allow within our borders.  Given how the US has run roughshod over the rest of the world for the past 60 years, isn't it time at least a handful of foreigners had a vote?  

      Hopefully in the future we can get rid of the cumbersome and unnecessary paperwork involved in registering as a lobbyist or foreign agent.

  •  The fact that things are bad (8+ / 0-)

    doesn't mean things can't get a hell of a lot worse.  A minority of people being able to see who is pulling the strings more clearly isn't going to immunize us from being pushed around by the greater masses of people whose strings will be pulled ever more easily.  

    If you don't feel enthusiastic now, fuckin' fake it. -droogie

    by Sun dog on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 07:21:43 AM PST

    •  Getting worse is the way to getting better (0+ / 0-)

      in so many cases.  No doubt it will be a choppy ride, but I'm glad its moving.....  

      Out of my cold dead hands

      by bluelaser2 on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 07:23:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That worked great (0+ / 0-)

        in 1999 for all my 'things need to get worse' Nader supporting friends.  

        If you don't feel enthusiastic now, fuckin' fake it. -droogie

        by Sun dog on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 07:50:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It did work well actually (0+ / 0-)

          Bush killed Reaganism for good.  The hard-core are down to 22%, which is far better than the 51% when Nader made the statement.  

          He was right, and altough I love Al Gore, he is a weak politician.  He may have set the left back: counterfactuals are very, very difficult.....

          Out of my cold dead hands

          by bluelaser2 on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 08:26:10 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You cannot kill the undead (0+ / 0-)

            Seriously people are already starting up the anti-regulation rhetoric.  And those tea baggers definitely were not all about reducing taxes.  Just wait to see what happens when the Bush tax cuts sunset, "Democrats are responsible for the biggest tax increase in history!  And the regulation!"

            Most Americans do not understand the cause of the recession beyond, "bad mortgages."  This ignorance is the equivalent to a cool dark moist place for the fungus that is Reaganism to once again grow strong.

            Bush didn't kill Reaganism, but he did set liberalism back 40-years.  You can believe that it'll make a comeback long before the damage is undone.

            A call for government to "simply" do something, simply means you don't get it.

            by DCJackass on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 01:11:43 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  did you (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    k9disc, One Pissed Off Liberal

    even read Olberman's diary? Are you so....dense as to not understand how frakking WRONG this is?

    Peace thru hemp / hemp for life!

    by Boudicia Dark on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 07:24:40 AM PST

  •  Do you have a lot of immortal, psychopath friends (7+ / 0-)

    with half a trillion dollars?  

    Corporations are nothing like people.  Or most people, thank god.

    People are driven by diverse, often conflicting motivations.  Corporations (for-profits) have but one:  return maximum value to shareholders.  Those that fail in doing so are subject to legal remedies.

    People with such single-minded self-centeredness are called psychopaths.  Corporations are, by law and design, psychopathological.  

    Finally, some new songs up at da web site!

    by Crashing Vor on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 07:27:36 AM PST

    •  Ever worked in a corporation ? (0+ / 0-)

      Why do they have (sometimes very powerful) charity arms (I know, just to look good) or art collections (I know, just to make money on) or employee welfare programs (I know, just to keep the proles on the line).....

      Profits are a good thing- they mean that value is being added to the chain; without profits, we have nothing.  

      Sorry to have to even type that.  

      Out of my cold dead hands

      by bluelaser2 on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 08:37:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not "just to look good," but to reduce tax (0+ / 0-)

        liability as well, maximizing shareholder return.

        I'm not saying there is no place for entities like corporations or profits.  What I'm saying is that corporations are in no way like people and should NOT be afforded the same rights and protections.

        Corporations are people? How many immortal, psychopathic trillionaire friends do you have? __________ Songs at da web site!

        by Crashing Vor on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 08:53:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The one problem is that corporations can not (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skrekk, Crashing Vor

    be treated like humans.  If the corporation commits a crime, can it be arrested?  Yes, the executives can get arrested, but that would be like my brain cells getting arrested if I commit a crime.

    I would have actually been happier if the Supreme Court had ruled that companies cannot be treated as humans, and therefore cannot be taxed.  I would rather pay more taxes than to give companies human qualities for participating in government.

    Feed 'em all. Let God sort 'em out.

    by anonevent on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 07:28:56 AM PST

  •  I applaud you standing up for (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bluelaser2, oldpunk

    your beliefs, especially with how united the community is against this decision.

    I don't think it will be as bad as everyone thinks, though I certainly dislike this ruling.

    Tipped and rec'd for honesty and a decent presentation of a different view.

    This article is about the twelfth President of the United States. For the Power Rangers character, see Zack Taylor.

    by LousyDeemo on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 07:34:07 AM PST

  •  Limited liability (7+ / 0-)

    Unlimited rights.  

    Uh, no.

    Progresssive -> Progress; Conservative -> Con

    by nightsweat on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 07:35:22 AM PST

  •  I asked these questions last night (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobdevo, skrekk, runningdoglackey

    and didn't get an answer. Perhaps you have one.

    Suppose corporations buy every minute of ad time for the thirty days preceding an election and shut out candidates and advocacy groups totally? They have the money to do so.

    How about if their unlimited funds drive up ad-buy costs so much that no one else can afford to buy?

    As unlikely as these scenarios seem, aren't they possible, or am I simply over-reacting with far-fetched scenarios?

    "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

    by sceptical observer on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 07:44:54 AM PST

    •  yes (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bobdevo, sceptical observer

      they are not only possible, but that is what will IN FACT happen in smaller markets. This decision, if not rectified TODAY is the de facto END of America as a democratic republic.

      Peace thru hemp / hemp for life!

      by Boudicia Dark on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 08:12:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  If they buy every last minute of ad time (0+ / 0-)

      who is to say what the influence will be ?

      For every Ford there is a Chevy.  For every Corporation that wants something, there is likely another that wants something else.

      If it's to be a battle of industry v. industry, thats even better: its about freaking time that corps have to really return more to society than profits- although profits are very, very important.

      In fact, if the ads are 100% owned by corps, people will have to get political information from something other than ads- not a bad thing at all....


      Out of my cold dead hands

      by bluelaser2 on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 08:47:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I was thinking more of a single corporation or (0+ / 0-)

        industry deciding to weigh in on a state election.

        I could give multiple examples but Alaska will do. It's rich in natural resources, has a small population and it's ripe for the plucking, given a compliant legislature.

        "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

        by sceptical observer on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 09:36:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It might happen in a small market (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sceptical observer

          but realistically why doesn't one corporation buy up all the ad time for the Super Bowl?  Because it's fucking expensive.  And that is just 3-hours, on one station, one day.  

          I doubt that even Goldman Sachs has the capability to buy up all the ad time on all the networks for one day's prime time, much less to also hit all the cable networks and the satellite networks, much less to do the same for an entire week.  And if they did then I'm pretty sure the entire Board would be voted out of power.

          And here is the critical point: the networks are corporations too and they too want to maximize profits.  They do that by selling off ad time in chucks then upping the rate as it gets more scarce.  It is in the networks' best interest to not sell to one company knowing that campaigns will still be flush with cash (and I think they have to make so many hours available to candidates at a rate lower than their typical rates, am I making this up?).

          However, IF one corporation did buy up all the ad time then I can think of about 3 very interesting questions that will be litigated (sadly after that election cycle).

          A call for government to "simply" do something, simply means you don't get it.

          by DCJackass on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 01:27:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks, that's an answer that I can understand. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            All of this is speculation at this point. The reality will probably be something that no one ever considered. Like having a minority dictate the agenda. :)

            "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

            by sceptical observer on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 02:19:58 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Here's my prediction: (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              sceptical observer

              A call for government to "simply" do something, simply means you don't get it.

              by DCJackass on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 08:43:09 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  D'oh! (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                sceptical observer

                Why did I double click the return key?  No idea.  Any who:

                There will be a check on major corporations getting overly involved in the form of pension investments potentially bailing on a company.  For example if Chrysler tried to push through anti-union candidates then I could see union pension funds divesting and seeking another company to place their substantial holdings (assuming anyone invests in Chrysler).  This obviously won't affect the smaller corporations that will likely take advantage of this awful ruling.

                Next, I do anticipate that foreigners who cannot vote in our elections will form a simple corporation with a Delaware address and then funnel large sums of money into particular races.  This may have a mitigating effect on some domestic corporate influence as the rest of the world (generally) prefers a liberal to a conservative.  Generally.

                Other than that, I do not think that much will immediately change but the real problem is that much can change.  Eventually someone will destroy the current election model through corporate financing.  And that will be as revolutionary as small donor donations -- only in a very bad way.

                A call for government to "simply" do something, simply means you don't get it.

                by DCJackass on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 08:54:30 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  Corporations DO NOT act like most people. (0+ / 0-)

    Most people have some sort of empathy that informs their personal ethics. They try not to hurt people, sometimes to the point of accepting hurt on themselves to avoid it. They generally realize that it's not possible for them to own all the money without seriously harming other people. They will generally try to work to make the neighborhood they live in a better place, if only for their own comfort and safety.

    Corporations don't do this. A corporation's sole ethical informants are "Don't break the law (or at least don't get caught)" and "Shareholders must be enriched". If this means dumping toxic chemicals in the water supply in places where it's either not illegal or they're fairly sure of having bought enough politicians and bureaucrats to keep their name out of it, they will, regardless of the harm it does to the surrounding community. A corporation will shit in its nest at every opportunity, if the cost of doing so is lower than the cost of properly sequestering its toxic feces. A corporation will screw its employees with a dildo made of razor blades if it means greater paper profits (ask ex-Enron workers).

    People in this and other diaries are calling corporations psychopaths. I completely agree with this. Corporate ethics (the actual working version, not the one they put on paper) are an exercise in completely alien morality.

    •  wake up (0+ / 0-)

      most corporations are a few people to a few dozen people and they act just fine.....

      Out of my cold dead hands

      by bluelaser2 on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 09:49:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Disingenuous. Corporations that fit that (0+ / 0-)

        description don't have the money to influence anything. I'm not worried about them. It's the big ones, the ones that have 100s of millions of dollars to spread around that worry me. I barely have $20 to donate to a single candidate or fundraising page per month. How am I supposed to have my opinion equal that of the megacorp when the disparity between our resources is so wide?

        I AM awake. It's the people who aren't panicking over this ruling that I wonder about.

        •  money has ALWAYS driven politics (0+ / 0-)

          and always will.  thanks to this ruling, your $20 can actually go farther, but in any case, mere advertising and electioneering don't control the outcome of elections.

          Corporations need their money- they only spend it when it pays them to spend it. Now corporations can duke it out just like everyone else- big or small.

          The previous rules distorted democracy- this idea that democracy needs protection from groups of people is really not reflective of the way its been practiced or will be....

          Out of my cold dead hands

          by bluelaser2 on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 10:08:19 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  "The previous rules distorted democracy" (0+ / 0-)

            This makes no sense. None. Democracy is when power is given to the people, not arbitrarily created immortal, amoral, richer-than-anyone-else fake legal fictions.

            •  power is not given to the people (0+ / 0-)

              all power comes FROM the people.....

              the electioneering rules in force before the decision distorted free speech (and democracy) in my opinion and that of the Supreme Court of the United States (a democratic institution by the way) so it makes complete sense.  

              Out of my cold dead hands

              by bluelaser2 on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 01:04:50 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Okay, agreed...that was poorly worded. (0+ / 0-)

                I don't understand where you think this gives advantage to actual citizens of the US rather than megagiantcorporations that have 100s of millions of dollars to spend on political advertising.

                •  because they dont have unified agendas (0+ / 0-)

                  corps each have their own ideas, often in conflict with each other.  speech is speech.  advertising can only do so much, and hopefully even less going forward, and if every boardroom is a political cockpit, all the better, because they are doing it now, just not in the open.....

                  I may be 1000% wrong wont be the first time, but I think this will play out better than almost anyone on DK thinks.....

                  Out of my cold dead hands

                  by bluelaser2 on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 03:32:47 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

      •  The Corporation as a person (0+ / 0-)

        There’s just one problem with the corporation ... it's legally defined mandate is to pursue its self-interest regardless of who or what suffers as a result of its actions.

        That callous approach means the corporation – already considered in law as a "person" – can be defined as a psychopath says Joel Bakan, a University of BC law professor and author of the Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power (Viking Canada, 2004, 228 pages, $37.00)

        Using the World Health Organization’s checklist for personality types and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Bakan concludes the corporation is a psychopathic personality. A corporation has a callous unconcern for the feelings of others; an incapacity to maintain enduring relationships; a reckless disregard for the safety of others; a pattern of deceitfulness; an incapacity to experience guilt; failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviour.

        Corporate Democrats are the velvet glove on the Republican iron fist.

        by Sagebrush Bob on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 06:24:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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