Found here, via here. Anyway, I was reading along, and came across this passage: “With its monumentally wrong-headed Citizens United decision…” That was enough for me. Oligarchical elements in our Republic are, indeed, rather strong: but it is instructive to note that they were not weaker under so-called ‘campaign finance reform.’ In fact, if you look at American politics since free speech was reaffirmed under Citizens United you will note that a good number of local political dynasties have been since defeated. 2014 in particular gives some prime examples; but ask the Carnahan family in Missouri how well they’re doing these days. Or the Reids in Nevada. I’m sure that there are other political families now on harder political times, these days. Continue reading Why I stopped reading Gary Hart’s piece on oligarchy.
Because if somebody is able to intimidate folks out of releasing a satirical movie, imagine what they’d start doing if they see a documentary that they don’t like…
Actually, we don’t have to imagine what they’d start doing. You see, in 2008 a federal court decided that a documentary called Hillary: the Movie was in violation of the infamous McCain-Feingold campaign finance ‘reform’ law. The group that put that documentary together insisted that it was instead, you know, free speech and thus absolutely protected… which, oddly enough, was an argument that the federal government didn’t like. Which is why the federal government argued against it in the Supreme Court – and lost, thank God. But not before the FEC actually argued with a straight face that McCain-Feingold allowed for banning books. No. Really. Continue reading Buried lead: Barack Obama comes out in favor of Citizens United!
I almost feel sorry for Anonymous Austin Guy; it must not be fun to have a Republican gently tell you that you’re on the side opposite Ted Kennedy, Russ Feingold, the NAACP AND the ACLU. Then again, that kid was probably so hopped up on smug that he didn’t realize that he had been spanked, so I don’t actually feel sorry for him at all.
Yeah, I think that Massachusetts Senate hopeful Ed Markey’s (D, MA-05) going to have more problems in his primary than he thought that he was going to have in his primary.
Representative Edward J. Markey refused to back down Thursday from comments he made this week that seemed to compare the US Supreme Court’s ruling on campaign finance law to the high court’s 19th-century Dred Scott decision, a notorious pro-slavery ruling.
Because let’s see who the Boston Globe quoted in response. Reverend Eugene F. Rivers III of the Ella J. Baker House and Boston TenPoint Coalition called this a “somewhat revisionist approach to the Dred Scott case” (Translation: What the heck, Markey?). Reverend Talbert W. Swan II of the Springfield NAACP tried to polish the excrement a little, but concluded “I don’t think campaign finance can be compared to the subjugation of an entire people” (translation: What the heck, Markey?). The Reverend William E. Dickerson II of Dorchester’s Greater Love Tabernacle noted that “We minimize the issue of the Dred Scott decision when we try to juxtapose it [with lesser issues]” (translation: What the he… oh, you get the point). And, of course, there was Stephen Lynch (Markey’s major opponent in the Democratic primary), who took time out from laughing at Markey’s gaffe to solemnly assure the world that while of course he feels that Citizens United should be overturned via a Constitutional amendment* (while still taking that dirty, dirty corporate campaign money, of course) he doesn’t think that it was anything as bad as the Dred Scott decision. Continue reading Ed Markey’s increasingly useful stupid rhetoric on Citizen United and the Dred Scott decision.
I’m pointing out this Citizens United trailer for their new movie The Hope and the Change – which will feature a variety of Obama voters from 2008, and presumably why they’ve decided to atone for that particular error in such a public fashion – for three reasons.
[Very strange; so, I’m going to replace it with a plug for James Blish’s classic Spock Must Die!, which is one of the books that allow some Trekkies to make the argument that, actually, Star Trek can be science fiction. It’s about clones, so there’s your link.]
When the Supreme Court handed down its Citizens United ruling, Obama still had one of the largest Democratic majorities in Congress in decades. But Democrats still didn’t do anything about it. If they viewed that holding as truly critical, the Democrats could have passed a law addressing the issue. Passing legislation about campaign finance reform was simply not a priority for the Obama administration.
There’s something fascinating about this article from the New York Times on the Citizens United case. The author (Adam Liptak) noticed that the decision removed certain onerous restrictions on political speech, yet left current mandates on disclosure of funding largely intact. ‘Resolving’ the two led Liptak to this:
The two parts of Citizens United are not hard to harmonize. Citizens United takes the libertarian view that people may be trusted to evaluate the messages they hear and need not be sheltered from the responsibility of critical thinking. The theory is as applicable to the marketing of soda and cigarettes as it is to that of political candidates.
The five-justice majority in Citizens United said that speech about politics is at the core of what the First Amendment protects, that more speech is better than less and that the government has no business deciding who can speak or how much.
It is a small step from that reasoning to saying, as eight justices did, that it helps to know who is advancing the ideas you are evaluating.
Super PACs are, of course, the political groups that were set up after the Supreme Court’s landmark free speech decision in Citizens United: they are able to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money advocating both for and against political candidates, but may not donate to those candidates directly. The Left ostensibly hates them, which did not stop them from using them to raise over 28 million dollars in the 2010 election cycle (44% of total Super PAC fundraising) to the Right’s over 35 million (54%: the other 2% hedged their bets); their general argument is that allowing groups to openly spending money expressing their opinions on candidates is corrosive to American democracy. ‘Openly’ is the key here: Super PACs must generally disclose their donors.