Friday, June 25, 2010

The Corporate Snakes In The Supreme Court Grass‏

We had already done nine parts in our series condemning various gross judicial errors in what we are calling the Supreme Court's "Corporations United" case, ruling that corporations can spend whatever they want to pervert our election process. We're not proud, we're not tired, but there is still more treacherous ground to cover so let's get back on it.

But first, we are valiantly trying to understand why we have even a single "Corporations Are NOT The People" bumper sticker left. Yes, you have requested and we have sent out tens of thousands of these beautiful 4 color process bumper stickers, mostly entirely for free not even charging for postage. Yes, hundreds of you have gotten the bulk packs to distribute these among your fellow activists and neighbors. But you folks have not picked us clean yet.

Get a pack of 25 for just a modest donation, which makes it possible to sent out all the free singles to those who cannot make a donation right now.

Bulk Corporations Are Not The People bumper stickers:

Request one free for yourself if you have not done so already, and let's get this confront the Supreme Court movement visible and mobilized.

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And now, part 10 of the analysis series, in the plainest non-legalese we can muster.

In part 9, we addressed the outrage of the Supreme Court creating a super First Amendment right for corporations, while at the same time having zero tolerance for the free speech of ordinary people in cases where free speech actually was important to protect the interests of society, as in exposing police corruption. But Kennedy, writing for the rogue 5-4 majority even confuses in his opinion the difference between the speech of the people and the speech of media organizations.

The First Amendment states that "Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, OR of the press . . ."

Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are NOT the same thing. Otherwise why reference them separately? And yet Kennedy makes a big point in his opinion (at page 35) that the precedent he was so bent on overturning could potentially "ban the political speech of media corporations" themselves, despite the fact that there was no evidence that any such thing had ever happened in the 20 years since the Austin opinion originally issued.

Well, there is a very good reason why no such thing could be demonstrated, because as Kennedy himself admits, just two sentences in the opinion later, media corporations were EXEMPTED from the law he was determined to decimate. Moreover, media corporations have always been perfectly free to speak politically, it's called an EDITORIAL, and they do it all the time, something Kennedy might know if he ever came out of the 18th century cave his legal reasoning dwells in.

So the argument that allowing media corporations to speak politically in their editorial capacity is somehow prejudicial of the "free" speech of corporations to spend a king's ransom to buy ADVERTISING is not just a straw man argument, it is the argument of a man made of trash. For if media corporations cross the line and start financing their own ads for political purposes, and exceed the exemption which includes only "any news story, commentary or editorial" [2 USC 431(9)(b)(i)] that would be proscribed and properly so. All this Kennedy would know if he were intellectually honest or diligent enough to even read the actual wording of the statute he cites.

This kind of shoddy and hack attempt to make equivalence between things that are not even comparable is the foundation of rubble on which the whole opinion is built. Freedom of speech of the people does not equate to the freedom of the most dominant corporations to promote their own business interests by influencing elections. And yet, over and over in the opinion we hear the wailing crocodile tear violins that this is all about protecting the free speech of little people, like "small corporations without large amounts of wealth" (page 38). Scalia in his concurring opinion (page 4) jerks at the heart strings even harder talking about Quaker groups printing their own little pamphlets in colonial days and so on.

Different rules MUST apply to different kinds of organizations. The supreme error of the Supreme Court is to try to apply a one size only fits all rule, going to the extreme of equating purely profit driven artificial business entities with people who are live voting citizens.

But mostly, all this is just a total abdication of what judges are supposed to do, which is to make differential judgments. Kennedy whines that judges might have to make "intricate case by case determinations" (opinion page 12), making it sound like doing their JOB (making such determinations) is just too much of a big pain in the butt.

It is preposterous that a law cannot be crafted to distinguish between giant corporations and the comparatively tiny and faint voice of the people when swamped by wall to wall mega-advertising, if that was their real concern. Even more preposterous is the suggestion that if such a determination needs to be made, as required by them, that is an excuse for overturning any standard of determination at all.

For you see, Kennedy had already made a prejudicial determination, that the Austin case and any financial constraints whatsoever on corporate political advertising had to go. And he made that determination long before the case associated with this decision was even filed. He made that determination 20 years ago in his original DISSENT to the case he now so wrongfully overturns, and was just lying in wait all this time, like a snake in the grass, until enough reasonable centrists were replaced with right wing ideologues like himself, to get enough colluding votes to do the dirty deed of taking a wrecking ball to the precedent he had so long resented and despised, precisely what the principle of stare decisis is supposed to protect us from.

And all this should set up perfectly what will be last two parts in this series on this dreadful dictate, coming soon to a computer screen near you.

Please take action NOW, so we can win all victories that are supposed to be ours, and forward this alert as widely as possible.

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