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Buckley V Valeo ruling
The First Amendment, United States Constitution
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
United States Supreme Court, Buckley v Valeo, 1976
We find that the governmental interest in preventing corruption and the appearance of corruption is inadequate to justify [a] ceiling on independent expenditures.
The American Public, 2014
How about now? Still inadequate? Are we there yet? What will it take?
Vincent Blasi, in a 2004 speech, upon his appointment as James Madison Distinguished Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law
[First Amendment author James Madison] was belated in appreciating the importance of the First Amendment and possibly even its potential meaning… He thinks that the First Amendment in fact is part of the system of checks and balances. It’s about breaches of the public trust and remedies for the breach of public trust… It is about checking abuses of power
Okay, cue the beatbox guy and step over the tangled-up orange sound cable.

Don’t feel bad, Jimmy Mad.
It’s pretty clear we’ve all been had.

For Madison it was all about checks and balances,
Petitioning the government for redress of grievances.
Then with the Alien and Sedition Acts,
He came to think that where it was at
Was keeping the press free to agitate,
Disagree, criticize, investigate,
Keep an eye on the power, watch for abuse.
Turns out we’ve all been rather obtuse.
This check and balance, or so we call it,
Unchecks the power of the plutocrat’s wallet.

And now
   Republicans and Democrats kowtow to plutocrats.
   Republicans and Democrats kowtow to plutocrats.
   Republicans and Democrats kowtow to plutocrats.

Editorial cartoons in New York and Philadelphia?
Pamphlets passed out from Boston to Virginia?
Freedom of the press is now freedom of the media,
Instantaneous, simultaneous, Maine to California,
Government excess on the nightly news,
Bold expression of dissenting views,
Reining in the power of rich white men.
Unless, of course, the rich white men
Who run the media prefer that they not.
Otherwise the media do what they ought.

And we get
   Media myopia, the plutocrats’ utopia.
   Media myopia, the plutocrats’ utopia.
   Media myopia, the plutocrats’ utopia.

The Supreme Court said they can’t justify
Telling a rich guy that he can’t buy
His favorite legislation with a huge donation
(Or two or three) and the Constitution
Allows no limit on what you can spend
For your legislative investment dividend
As long as everyone involved can go,
“I swear there wasn’t any quid pro quo.”
Free speech doesn’t let us get away
With slander and libel, but corruption’s okay.

And now
   Lobbyists are fundraisers for their favorite legislators.
   Lobbyists are fundraisers for their favorite legislators.
   Lobbyists are fundraisers for their favorite legislators.

Money isn’t speech. It buys it, though.
But it doesn’t buy much for the average Joe.
Rich guys get to talk louder and and longer
And spread their speech farther and stronger.
When it costs big bucks just to be heard,
Joe’s two cents ain’t worth a word.
Couldn’t you call that wealth discrimination?
If you’re not rich, how equal is your protection?
One way or another, for democracy’s health,
How about a check on the power of wealth?

Now we’ve got
   Full-time fundraisers, part-time legislators.
   Full-time fundraisers, part-time legislators.
   Full-time fundraisers, part-time legislators.

We need to fix
   Republicans and Democrats
   Kowtowing to plutocrats,
   Media myopia,
   The plutocrats’ utopia,
   Lobbyists as fundraisers
   For their favorite legislators,
   Full-time fundraisers,
   Part-time legislators.

Politicians used to get locked away
For taking the donations they can brag about today.


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