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Money swirling into a black hole
Money talks. Democracy goes silent.
Yesterday’s 5-4 Supreme Court ruling in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission represents another step toward the complete capture of our political process by moneyed interests. In a blistering dissent, which he took the unusual step of delivering orally, Justice Stephen Breyer declared: “If the court in Citizens United opened a door, today’s decision may well open a floodgate.”

If money is speech, how long will it be until the Supreme Court declares that laws against bribery are unconstitutional? You think I’m kidding? It is certainly within the realm of freedom of speech for a billionaire to ask (does he have to ask nicely?) a politician to do something like, oh, I don’t know, pass a law allowing the company he owns to pollute to its heart’s content. Well, if money is speech, then how can the law prevent that billionaire from fully exercising his freedom of speech by topping off his request with a grand rhetorical flourish of the kind only a multimillion dollar campaign contribution can provide.

The idea that money equals speech comes from the Supreme Court’s decision in Buckley v. Valeo, which overturned a whole host of limits on campaign and independent expenditures passed in the post-Watergate era, although it did uphold limits on campaign contributions.  

The Court in that case found that our representatives could pass laws banning a direct quid pro quo of the kind I have described above. The Roberts Court, however, has found that Buckley v. Valeo didn’t go far enough in other areas, and has removed most of those limits on contributions. Who is to say that a conservative majority wouldn’t some day follow its own logic to the conclusion that laws banning bribery are unconstitutional, because money is speech?

Please read below the fold for more on this story.

In Buckley v. Valeo, the Court’s majority also found that Congress did have the authority to pass laws on campaign finance in order to ensure that our system avoided "corruption or its appearance." It simply decided that spending by campaigns and individuals did not fall into those categories, and could not be restricted.

Of course, “appearance” is in the eye of the beholder. The dissenters in Buckley v. Valeo rejected the idea that money was speech, and further proposed that excessive spending could, in and of itself, be corruptive and corrosive to our democracy. They also argued that our lawmakers—not the Court—were charged with making that determination. Justice Byron White wrote in his dissent:

Congress was plainly of the view that these expenditures also have corruptive potential; but the Court strikes down the provision, strangely enough claiming more insight as to what may improperly influence candidates than is possessed by the majority of Congress that passed this bill and the President who signed it. Those supporting the bill undeniably included many seasoned professionals who have been deeply involved in elective processes and who have viewed them at close range over many years.
As in Citizens United, five conservative justices, led by the good ol’ “umpire” John Roberts, yesterday decided that they know better than the nation’s elected representatives whether one individual contributing millions to campaigns and parties creates the “appearance” of corruption. If that’s not judicial activism, I don’t know what is.

Finally, I’d argue that—even if bribery remains technically illegal—those massive contributions represent not just the appearance of corruption, but the reality of it as well.

Originally posted to Ian Reifowitz on Thu Apr 03, 2014 at 09:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Bribery has been legal for a while in this country (4+ / 0-)

    If you do it right, you won't get into trouble. You just need to learn how to navigate through the loopholes.

    “In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.” Terry Pratchett

    by 420 forever on Thu Apr 03, 2014 at 09:11:00 AM PDT

  •  Have you stopped making campaign donations? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ian Reifowitz, skod, RUNDOWN

    I have "circled the wagons" and have unfortunately stopped.

    What is my hard-earned $50 or $100 when I realize that campaign finance corruption will allow the plutocrats to buy elections with "two comma" donations.

    "Two comma" > $1,000,000 and up.

    The Roberts corporate court has screwed democracy.

    •  I understand the sentiment, but (6+ / 0-)

      there are candidates who work against these plutocrats, and they do need our support. That said, when times are tough, times are tough. I get that.

      •  There are more of us. (4+ / 0-)

        Yes, it can seem disheartening when someone drops 100M on a GOP campaign. But this is where Obama's machine proves its worth. We can all donate only 10 or twenty and still surpass their total. I read that SCOTUS' opinion only effected about 600 donors. There is over a million of us. Do not be disheartened.  This makes it more difficult, but we will prevail.

        The main thing we Kossacks have to do is to get everyone to vote. Like Kos said, "We win if our people vote!"

        •  Those 656 donors can donate a total of 2.3 Billion (5+ / 0-)

          dollars per election cycle, directly, not counting PACs.

          That's using Elena Kagan's estimate of 3.5 million per individual, and Jon Stewart's assertion that 656 people hit the max donation in the last presidential election.

          At $20 each it would take 114,800,000 people to equal that amount, or slightly more than a third of the population of the US.

          I'm thinking it's a problem.

          •  If it's all - and only - about money, we lose. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ian Reifowitz

            Yes, some high rollers are Democrats and we have to hope that many of them are Progressives!

            But there just aren't enough Big Spenders in our camp. So what we do, we will have to do with prowess and presence. And Get Out the Vote!

            2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

            by TRPChicago on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 07:31:41 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  In a vacuum, yes. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ian Reifowitz

            Your calculations would be correct. However, you are assuming all those maxed out donors were all Republican donors. It would be nice to know for sure, but I am certain a good part of those maxed out donors were on our side. So the deficit is not as much to overcome as you suggest. Don't get me wrong, the ruling benefits Republicans much more that it does us, simply because they depend more on wealthy donors.

          •  "Only" 2.3 gigabucks? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ian Reifowitz

            I can think of two donors who could donate 2.3 gigabucks each and not even notice it on their portfolios. Between the 656 donors, they could donate a complete terabuck, and probably 2.3 terabucks.

            I'm variable race by having reverse engineered John Howard Griffin.

            by 99percenter on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 09:00:18 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's what CU was for. McCutcheon opens personal (0+ / 0-)

              donations straight to candidates, keeping the individual limit but tossing out the total cap.

              Now the only limiting factor is the number of races, which Kagan estimates would keep the total down to 3.5 million.

              There's only so many races to donate $5200 to, after all.

              •  And there are tons of offices. (0+ / 0-)

                From "Animal Control Officer" aka dog catcher on up there are across America a gazillion offices and hacks willing to make the run to jump aboard the gravy train.

                Essentially, 3 million offices and $5K each is 15 gigabucks. But wait! Given superPACs, you get to effectively launder money legally, creating a loophole so big you can drive an aircraft carrier through it. The net result is that the limit is in fact infinity. The real limit is their own stash of money is finite. It's merely so massive that it may as well be infinite.

                I'm variable race by having reverse engineered John Howard Griffin.

                by 99percenter on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 11:06:20 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  As a grad student I did volunteer work. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ian Reifowitz

          Helping get out the vote and sharing information with neighbors is a tiny drop in the bucket, but there are a lot more of us then them.

    •  I regret that I am unable to afford to upgrade (4+ / 0-)

      my citizenship from Entry-level to Business Gold status. Perhaps next time around I'll pick my parents better.

      •  More like Visa Plutonium CEO Class. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        allie4fairness, Ian Reifowitz

        To qualify for Visa Pu-239 CEO Class you must have chose either David or Charles Koch as your bio-Father and be the Preferred Son on this flight in case of death of either Koch Brother.

        click  click click.....

        ....... please wait.....

        I'm sorry. You don't match the needed DNA profile.... Please wait until you are ejected over an ocean from 35,000 feet....

        Have a nice day.


        Game Over. Insert Another Solid Quarter Gigabuck.

  •  In the movie 'Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire" (3+ / 0-)

    Christopher Plummer and Steve Boyd are fighting to the death at the end while the head of the Praetorian Guard is entertaining bids for who will be the next Caesar....
    "You want to be Caesar?...Not enough."

  •  I don't think they can keep doing this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ian Reifowitz, polecat, Musial

    I had a CON Law professor who I loved. Students like "black letter law".

    He spoke realistically. Most important lesson is FDR and the Slaughterhouse? Cases.

    1. Why do we listen to the SCOTUS. The truth is Marbury v. Madison made up Judicial review. They had no right to make the decision, actually didn't said a lot giving themselves power and were smart enough to say  . . . but we can't do that so it's moot.

    2. What's the Court done since? They have 12? Bailiffs. The POTUS has the Army. My Con Law proffessor seriously brought this up. Why would he listen. As long as they walk a straight line. We leave them be. When their agenda is outed see "the switch in time that saved the nine" . . . mid way through striking down all new deal reforms a Justice Roberts said "hm I am changing my mind about everything". Why? Because FDR said F U I am going to add justices so we can move forward. That's why there's still nin.

    3. Don't believe me. Imagine that Some religious type law gets passed saying that Jesus was white, so we should pay white people so they are a majority. Are we going to listen to them? Hell no.

    4. The Court is VERY VERY VERY careful. They know this. It's no secret. I honestly thought the ACA would be upheld because of Bush v. Gore and Citizens United. Because it was becoming transparent. Deciding a president and letting them decide future elections.

    5. These are real people. I strongly believe the ACA was (and said before) it would be upheld (don't check comments i might've to friends).

    6. But if they stray too far they have no power. Look at all the "orders" they gave to clean up mental institutions. They don't have a police force to implement all they have is a cherished place in American Folklore. They can lose it. They almost did 80 years ago.

    They can again. They can't keep going this way. They know it. Otherwise the ACA would've gone down. If that happened they now are a political body we don't listen to. At least campaign stuff, it's "bipartisan".

    Expect their next "big" issue to surprise. Or they are really fucking stupid. And we tune them out.

    •  Hand Weshcler Debate (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ian Reifowitz

      Whether the Judicial Review was made up
      a. Hand- beware social upheaval nothing gives the Court the right to do this in the Constitution, so since we made the power up we should exercise it sparingly. Do it when necessary.  The power is not logical from the structure cuz powers are separated.

      b. Weschler- as long as acting on a neutral principle it’s ok. Because he felt the principle is anchored in the constitution he felt you need to practice this power as an obligatory duty.

      •  Judicial Review Made up in Marbury (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ian Reifowitz, Musial

        In 1800 the Federalists lost Congress and the presidency to Jerferson, they were left with the Federal Courts.

         Marbury- He was a Hack who got himself a nice judging job. Problem is, a becoming a judge you needed a commission to be signed, sealed and delivered. Adams signed and sealed it, but it wasn’t delieverd.

        Jefferson- Wouldn’t allow Marbury to sit, and wouldn’t follow an order telling him to make Marbury a judge.

        The case started as a summons and a motion saying show up here and then show why the claim should not be granted.

        Madison’s response- “no cause has been show”-he didn’t show up, they didn’t care what was going on because they weren’t going to do it no matter what the court said.

        You can site law from here until tomorrow, it doesn’t make the slightest difference if they choose not to obey.
        Weakening of Court, if legislators see this in the future it’s precidential for how they will act

        John Marshall’s problem? Not going to obey, what do you do?

         Marshall’s Strategy: Jurisdiction last
        a. First Question is: Does Marbury have a right to the order? (problematic because if the answer is yes you might have to make that order)
        Second Question: is there a remedy?
        Third question: Jurisdiction (this should’ve been first!!) Instead he inserted Judicial Review before as Dicta.

        It happens. They know. They made the right up and can go too far, they don't really have any actual power (if called out for transparency).

        •  Marbury was innocuous enough, Dred Scott is what (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          crashed the system. Gilded era Court picked up where Taney left off, imposing judicial supremacy over a corrupt Congress. Corruption has been the general rule. Judicial supremacy is not tolerated in serious democracies, according to Louis Boudin, "Government by Judiciary". Lincoln at Gettysburg, popular democracy didn't perish from the earth, but soon thereafter, US is no democracy and trying to kill it globally. The branches are no longer separated and powers extend to whatever can be gotten away with, as Prof. Ackerman noted, predicatbly a military disctatorship within the next 40 years. Fourth Amendment obsolete. now free speech obsolete. Exceptions in New Deal and Civil Rights movements show how voters should proceed through an anticorruption revolution, securing landmark legislation that forces the Court to switch in time or lose its imaginary jurisdiction to the exceptions clause. The amendment approach concedes defeat on the most important issue, the Court's invasion of a political question, separation of powers.

      •  Define neutral (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ian Reifowitz

        Problem as I remember it is how to define "neutral"?  After all Justice Roberts insisted at his confirmation hearing that he valued precedent, judicial restraint, that judges were just "umpires".  

        •  I can't define Neutral (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ian Reifowitz

          We are talking about Learned Hand on one side and a Con Law Scholar on the other. Jstor has his review article.

          My guess is this is not what he envisioned as I believe their debate was front stage after the "excesses" of the Burger Court.

        •  And way was the instant replay invented? (0+ / 0-)

          Because refs can get corrupt. Countless football games were decided, not because of a better team, but because of a bad call from a corrupt ref. Same with basketball games.

          And legislation. That takes five corrupt refs per bad call.

          I'm variable race by having reverse engineered John Howard Griffin.

          by 99percenter on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 09:16:52 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  SCOTUS wanted to save street cred by upholding ACA (0+ / 1-)
      Recommended by:
      Hidden by:
      Villanova Rhodes

      The 5 "conservatives" responsible for Citizens United v Feferal Elections Commission should be held on charges of treason. The Constitution holds that Treason is to be punished by Firing Squad.

      Here's my prescription for a firing squad death sentence. Each criminal is strapped in and 5 guns each are aimed so 2 are aimed at each eye and the fifth aimed at the forehead. The triggers are attached to solenoids.

      There are 5 people to press buttons, and an Arduino gets to pick at random which button to obey, then set off the solenoids. Then... POP!!! POP!!! POP!!! etc. Then the bodies are fed to pigs to recycle them, just to be "green".

      Personally, I'd rather sentence the traitors to Death by Re-Entry. Send them up to almost orbit and let them get on the hot seat as they de-orbit. OUCH! Or drown them in a cage like anyone would do to trapped rats. Note that a re-entry video would be awesome on Youtube. :) Scalia starting to burn up would be some must-watch TV...

  •  What's next is a constitutional amendment (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ian Reifowitz

    to counteract decades of the Supreme Court going off the rails and to have a national conversation that helps the people reclaim their government. Toward that end, better than hoping that an utterly broken Congress will someday save us, let's get ⅔ of the states to call an Article V convention that would propose an amendment. That's a national conversation that has a realistic prospect of resolving the issue of money in politics.

    While everyone has heard of Congress proposing amendments, the founders put the convention method into Article V for exactly the (otherwise intractable) situation that we're in today.

    Wolf PAC

    Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

    by Simplify on Thu Apr 03, 2014 at 09:39:03 AM PDT

    •  Plural. The Reason the Ct Could go Off the Rails (3+ / 0-)

      was because parts of the rails were always bullshit pot metal.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Thu Apr 03, 2014 at 10:06:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  if we get a constitutional convention we're toast (4+ / 0-)

      so, there's no controls over what can be asked for in a constitutional convention
      so, we're gonna get a good result out of a convention attended by state legislators?

      27     Republican-controlled legislatures
      17     Democratic-controlled legislatures
      6     Split legislatures
      50     Total
    •  Sure. All we need is a progressive majority (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dotdash2u, Ian Reifowitz

      In the House, a filibuster proof majority in the Senate and a progressive President. Once we get that, come back to me and talk about a constitutional ammendement on this.

      And make sure in the meanwhile that your progressives don't get comfortable taking all that money needed to make a super majority.

      I think the only realistic path is for progressives and anyone else who wants to join us to make incessant, permanent demands for a publicly funded system. Make it an unavoidable news item that the press must cover. Bring it up en masse at every meeting, public or private with political representatives. Put them on the defensive to defend the current system which most citizens and even a large number of politicians find repugnant. Make it a moral issue.

      Continuous demand with our politicians has worked as much as it has with civil rights, women's right, LGBT rights. We're trying to use it as to raise the minimum wage and to expand social security and Medicare. We can't even get half a dozen diaries a week a DKos on campaign reform even though I'd argue unwavering insistence is the most direct path to change. We don't need an amendment, we need a SCOTUS that represents the people.

      That may seem like a stretch to some but not as much as trying to muster the numbers to pass a constitutional amendment.

      •  One minor detail. (0+ / 0-)

        We need 150 million people to each add in $1000 to counteract all the money the rich have at a minimum. The trouble is that most of the people in question can't afford to part with the $1000 each election cycle. Every two years we need to donate about 150 gigabucks to hope to counteract the money the rich have available, which is a close approximation of infinite.

        I'm variable race by having reverse engineered John Howard Griffin.

        by 99percenter on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 09:29:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We've never kept up with the rich to make change (0+ / 0-)

          It takes some money, sure, but mostly we've made change by working to elect politicians as volunteers, through writing them in great numbers (a few million is a lot), talking with friends and neighbors, writing letters to the editor, making ballot and primary challenges, meeting representatives at political rallies, etc.

          While we'll need to spend some money to buy back the public's influence, the difference here is that we would be requesting that it no longer cost as much as it has over the last 30 years or more.

  •  On the bright side ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ian Reifowitz

    Loads of cash draw in all the crooks ... err, "consultants".

    The Kochs and others will spend thousands to get the same result from one volunteer making a few phone calls.

    “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” ... Voltaire

    by RUNDOWN on Thu Apr 03, 2014 at 09:41:05 AM PDT

  •  This is one of the problems with only (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ian Reifowitz, skillet, Simplify, a2nite

    appointing sitting judges to SCOTUS.  In the past, we had a mix of sitting judges and people who had served in elective office.  None of the current Court has ever held elective office.   Sandra Day O'Connor is the last to have done so.  

    Why does this matter?  Well, having at least one member of the Court who could relate their personal experience with running for elective office to the breathren would bring them down from the ivory tower thought process that is what the majority here (OK, the plurality plus Thomas) has utilized to come up with to bring us this fine mess.  O'Connor could always temper her colleagues' ideas on this by relating how asking for money degrades the candidate, as well as the process.  

    I’ve said before, I will always work with anyone who is willing to make this law work even better. But the debate over repealing this law is over. The Affordable Care Act is here to stay. -- President Barack Obama

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Thu Apr 03, 2014 at 09:48:26 AM PDT

  •  Corruption is When a Systems is Used Contrary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ian Reifowitz

    to its design.

    The reality of our system design is in my opinion a lot closer to these Court decisions than most of us seem to be willing to accept.

    You're talking about a government design that was over a century behind its own times, especially in terms of comprehending its present and future economy, damned near perfectly ignorant frankly.

    It wouldn't hurt to add the term "the peoples' " into the Bill of Rights to modify "speech" and "exercise of religion."

    God in his infinite wisdom doesn't know how to get from freedom of the press to a healthy, pertinent and accurate system to inform an electorate.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Apr 03, 2014 at 10:09:58 AM PDT

  •  Voting as a free speech right (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ian Reifowitz

    Well it is time for some legal scholars and folks denied the ability to vote to start arguing that voting is the ultimate exercise of free speech that cannot be regulated in any way!

    But look on the bright side: it is so easy now to go to a candidiate forum prepared to ask just one question: who is paying for your campaign!?

    •  Try asking THIS in a townhall meeting. (0+ / 0-)

      The politician can be either party. Ask:

      We export jobs and import people like no tomorrow. Does that make any sense?

      Listen to the deafening silence from the politician. Better yet, film it and put it on Youtube.

      I'm variable race by having reverse engineered John Howard Griffin.

      by 99percenter on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 09:36:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Not to pick nits, but (0+ / 0-)

    SCOTUS won't declare laws against bribery to be illegal, merely unconstitutional.

    Then congress will swoop in and save the day, right? I think I need a drink.

    Our government is not yet small enough to drown in a bathtub. That doesn't mean it can't be waterboarded.

    by furrfu on Thu Apr 03, 2014 at 12:26:58 PM PDT

    •  Cngress will fix Citizens United... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ian Reifowitz

      After the Chicago Cubs win a World Series championship. And we will all be driving X Wing Fighters before that! Don't forget to dodge those meteors in the mean time as you drive. Just follow that guy in the Millennium Falcon...

  •  Try to look on the bright side. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    anshmishra, Ian Reifowitz

    The oligarchs threw a ton of money in Karl Rove's direction in order to get their stooges elected. With abysmal results.

    "Nationalism, religious bigotry and feudal loyalty are far more powerful forces than…sanity." —George Orwell, “Wells, Hitler and the World State” (1941)

    by Blood on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 06:11:39 PM PDT

  •  Your right to political speech ends... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ian Reifowitz

    when my wallet can not match your spending.

  •  Money is people, my friend. nt Oy! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TRPChicago, Ian Reifowitz
  •  so do all of these unlimited contributions (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ian Reifowitz

    have to be disclosed?  Will there be full accounting of all the "speech" being distributed?

    don't always believe what you think

    by claude on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 06:29:28 PM PDT

    •  Don't worry. (0+ / 0-)

      They'll simply use Bitcoin and the Tor browser to stay hidden, and even align the payments by using throwaway tablets in random McDonald's restaurants.

      I'm variable race by having reverse engineered John Howard Griffin.

      by 99percenter on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 09:43:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for the diary, Ian. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ian Reifowitz

    Two thoughts: since it has become increasingly clear that in the current court, Roberts, Alito, Thomas and Scalia have abdicated their responsibilities in favor of making decisions purely for the purpose of helping Republican electoral prospects, and the four liberal justices are standing in a bloc against them, this leaves Kennedy as a man with far, far too much power.  He's a single individual who holds in his hands the future of our democracy.  No one individual should have that kind of power.

    "It ain't right, Atticus," said Jem. "No, son, it ain't right." --Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

    by SottoVoce on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 06:36:04 PM PDT

  •  5-4 decisions have become normal. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ian Reifowitz

    "Has the Roberts court set any kind of record yet?

    Is this an indicator of an incredibly cynical bench?

    Trust, but verify. - Reagan
    Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

    When the rich have tripled their share of the income and wealth yet again, Republicans will still blame the poor and 3rd Way Democrats will still negotiate.

    by Words In Action on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 06:44:16 PM PDT

  •  Why are you asking in the hypothetical? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ian Reifowitz

    Bribery on a large scale is de facto legal and encouraged in the USA.  That's partly how we have this supremely corrupt supreme court.  And my, how breathtakingly corrupt they are!  No banana republic, or the old Soviet Union judges have anything in the way of our Roberts court.  We are heading into a long dark era.

    The Long War is not on Iraq, Afghanistan, or Iran. It is on the American people.

    by Geonomist on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 06:49:51 PM PDT

  •  Are all financial transactions "speech"? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MikePhoenix, Ian Reifowitz

    If political contributions are speech, are all other financial transactions also speech?

    If that's the case, then what right does the government have to limit any of my financial transactions?

    Aren't taxes now limitations on my freedom of speech?
    Any kind of commerce law now comes under question, right?

    Someone tell me how this is wrong.

  •  McCutcheon does two things: (1) the Court ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ian Reifowitz

    ... is legislating. It knows best about elections and what is and isn't corruption, more than Congress knows.

    And (2) the Court is depriving Congress of the ability to legislate by decreeing a constitutional imperative.

    (Not that a Congress full of beneficiaries - on both sides; this is not a partisan issue! - is going to legislate true campaign spending reform and meaningful limits on contributions. It's still not the Court's prerogative.)

    As the diarist says, you could see this one coming as early as Valeo in 1976, when it held that in politics, money is speech.

    2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

    by TRPChicago on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 07:05:19 PM PDT

  •  Time for a Constitutional amendment (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ian Reifowitz

    This is the issue of our time. No progressive issue can move forward when money can preserve the dangerous status quo.

    "Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place." -- Mandela

    by agoldnyc on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 07:31:56 PM PDT

  •  Money may buy legislators, but ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ian Reifowitz

    money doesn't always buy elections. I'm trying to maintain some optimism here, so bear with me please.

    Cases in point: the Koch brothers allegedly pledged to raise $60 million to defeat President Obama in 2012. Not a good investment for the Kochs and their buddies.

    The Kochs and their allies spent $383 million on the 2012 elections. So what did that get them? Of 16 U.S. Senate candidates endorsed by the Tea Party in 2012, only four won (from DBug's diary)

    The Kochs are smart, funding various downticket campaigns.
    - Not one Koch funded candidate won election in Iowa. In fact, one (unsuccessful) Iowa conservative candidate for city council said that the Koch backing was like being endorsed by Charles Manson. The Kochs ran an ugly campaign against the mayor of that Iowa town, but the mayor was re-elected with 65% of the vote.

    Of course, they had successes. In one state (I can't recall which one), four of eight Koch funded state candidates won.

    The Kochs are gaining some notoriety, and most voters dislike bought elections. Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman learned they couldn't buy elections in California.

    This country needs federally funded campaigns.

  •  That damned Supreme Court..... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ian Reifowitz

    Well, it's official. We are fucked.

    Politicians have always been influenced by money. But yesterday, The Supreme Court officially legalized the wholesale purchasing of our "elected" representatives. Anybody with pockets deep enough can give an unlimited amount of money to an unlimited number of candidates, political parties, or political organizations. To make a long story short, anybody with enough cash can buy the government that suits its needs. The rest of the people, 98% of us, don't matter. Can you honestly call this system a democracy? Nope. As of last Wednesday, we are an oligarchy. It's been going on for a while, but now it's official. You can thank the political right for fucking up our economy, starving the poor and middle class out of existence, and giving all the working class peoples' money to billionaires that already have enough. And they do all this under the guise of Christianity. Well, it's a good thing I'm an atheist.

    When I was in the military, I often lived overseas. I lived in a lot of places that had a small ruling class, a smaller middle class, and a huge underclass. There was no large middle class to serve as a social buffer. And as a result, there was always something either blowing up or burning town. Eventually, it's gonna happen here. The GOP has officially flushed this nation down the toilet. And we are all going down, were gonna take them with us.

  •  veronica (0+ / 0-)

    Hi ! I am Jenna, and i will be your personal coach and will guide you in starting with an online business and earning online... So if you are interested in making $90 hourly and up to $12000 a month then follow link at the bottom and sign up and you can have your first check by the end of this week...­­>>>>WORK71.C­­O­­M

    •  Hi Jenna! (0+ / 0-)

      Can you please STFU? I'm trying to read my favorite blog.

      "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

      by bryduck on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 09:49:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ian, I enjoy your diaries, but I'm sorry to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ian Reifowitz

    see you recommend here the execution by firing squad of five legitimately confirmed Supreme Court justices for performing their constitutional function. Courtesy recs for your commenters aren't always called for. If you agree with the sentiment, that's troubling indeed but I'd like to see you say so in words and get that debate going.

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