Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Citizens United Against Citizens Opposing Citizens United

The Supreme Court and its decisions have always been the subject of controversy. Conservatives, libertarians and capitalists hugely criticized the Obamacare decision in which Justice John Roberts validated most of the law based on the Federal government's tax authority. Decisions on gay marriage, abortion, affirmative action, crime and punishment, regulations, and federal power are often criticized by either the left or right based up on which "side" lost the decision. That these the court cases are so often the subject of intense scrutiny is not really surprising to anyone who pays attention to politics in America. 
Of course, one case that draws particular interest amongst the liberal left is the case Citizens United vs. FEC. The case involved a group that created a documentary criticizing Hillary Clinton and her record on abortion. (For the record, I do consider myself pro-choice). The documentary was to run on DirectTV. The FEC put a stop to commercials that ran highlighting the movie saying that they violated the McCain Feingold Act of 2002, specifically the part about electioneering communications so close to an election. The DC Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the FEC, and Citizens United appealed to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court decided with a 5-4 majority making up the conservative bloc of the court, including Justice Kennedy, who is often the deciding vote in many close cases, that the rule prohibiting Citizens United from running their ad and documentary during the election season was unconstitutional. That "If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech." Basically, the First Amendment included not only the right of citizens to speak freely, but groups of citizens to speak freely, and even groups of citizens to speak freely anonymously. 
Of course, the liberal left was all up in arms about this decision. They claimed that corporations would control all the elections and that greedy capitalists will win every election, thus enslaving workers, poisoning our water, and forcing 7 year old children into factory jobs. The Koch brothers would control every facet of our lives and Sarah Palin would be elected President with Ann Coulter as VP. The level of hysteria reached even the highest level of government as President Obama famously chastised the decision in his State of the Union front of several Supreme Court members saying that foreign corporations will be able to control our elections. At which point, you could see Justice Alito mouthing the words "not true".  Of course, Alito was right, the decision said no such thing.  Liberals went on unhinged diatribes falsely claiming that the Supreme Court said that corporations are now people.  The decision said no such thing.  

"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."

It should be that simple, the first amendment says "Congress shall make NO law" meaning Congress shall make no law.  It doesn't say Congress shall make NO law except for....., it doesn't say Congress shall make NO law pertaining only to this or that, it says CONGRESS SHALL MAKE NO LAW.  It is right there is black and white, and frankly you have to be completely oblivious to the meaning of NO to understand this.  Of course basic understanding and reading comprehension seems to be out of style these days.  Liberals love to talk about the importance of education, but it seems that in this case, that the meaning of the simple word NO is a little too much for their minds.

"But the corporations this and the corporations that blah blah blah blah."  This is same tired trope that the left and some of the more clueless libertarians love making.  They think that corporations are going to control every election, that greedy capitalistic Republicans will get elected in every race, with the possible exception of Nancy Pelosi's district in California (I mean not even the dumbest liberal is stupid enough to think a Republican has a chance to win there), and create a free market dystopia with forced prayer and forced assault weapons training.

Yet when we actually see the results of the elections, this liberal hypothesis doesn't quite meet the smell test.  A lot of people spent money in the 2012 election, from various interest groups, unions, PAC's, and even the occasional corporation and businessman.  Liberals complaining that Mitt Romney hates the poor and wants to send your kids to a Chinese run Bain and Koch Brothers owned labor camp.  Meanwhile conservatives spent money to convince you that Barack Obama, Kenyan born Muslim usurper, who is personally going to show up at your doorstep with the UN to take your guns, your money, and send your kids to a Chinese run Soros owned labor camp.

But, at the end of the day, the corporations did not end up controlling the outcome of the election.  I mean the corporate backed, corporate guy from the big corporation lost.  Mitt Romney had ALL the money, and poor old Barack Obama had to rely on public access channels and the media (ironically enough run by corporations), yet on January 20th, 2013, Obama was sworn in for a 2nd term.  Of course, listening to the looney left, you would have never known that the Democrats won despite so this so called disadvantage.  Then again, the left will also ignore the large amounts of donations, PAC's, and interest groups that it has on its side.......including many who are parts of corporations.  Finally, the media, who for the most part is in the bag for Democrats is of course run guessed it.....corporations.  

You see the liberals problem isn't necessarily with corporations.  It is with anyone who dares question their doctrine.  Any Republican, Tea-Partier, Libertarian, capitalist is automatically considered a corporate loving stooge who hates teachers, children, the poor, the elderly, and the sick.  They have no problem with the massive amounts of large money coming in from their special interest groups, whose primary concern is enriching themselves (no different than the corporations in reality) AND stifling any dissent.  They have no problem with corporations like GE (through MSNBC) and CBS corporation essentially running television ads for the Democrats through their "news" departments.  Nope, Democrats only have a problem with big money when they donate to the other side.

George Soros is the epitome of this.  There is no more greedy capitalist in this world than George Soros.  The same Soros who is known as the "Man who broke the Bank of England".  The guy who has been convicted of insider trading in France.  Yet, he is a darling of the left, supports many left causes, and donates TONS OF MONEY to influence elections in the US.  To be fair, I have no problem with Soros and his donating to political causes and candidates.  It's his money, and I believe he has that right despite my personal disagreement with his politics.  But that is the difference between myself and much of the left.  The left will do anything to shut down even the slightest bit of dissent from their doctrine.  Trying to ban "evil corporations" from politics is merely a part of this.

Of course, the actual Citizens United case had little to do with corporations.   Citizens United was not a corporate group, they were more of your run of the mill political advocacy group.  While the decision did say that corporations could use their funds for direct advocacy, or more importantly that the government COULD NOT ban corporations or any group from direct advocacy because the 1st amendment says SHALL MAKE NO LAW.  That is the point, Citizens United doesn't protect corporations, IT PROTECTS EVERYONE AND EVERY GROUP.  It even protects people and groups who wish to speak anomalously for fear of reprisal, if they so choose.  

Finally, in today's viral social media world, traditional modes of campaigning are being replaced by cheaper, more inclusive, and more far reaching means.  YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and blogs have given even the most amateur of political speakers a chance to have their voice heard.  Conservatives, libertarians, liberals, and socialists all have the ability to tell dozens, thousands, or millions of people why they have all the answers and why everyone else sucks.  Even yours truly has this ability.  Of course, most of the left will simply ignore this little fact, choosing to play the victim card and complaining about those evil corporations.....while complaining about them on platforms created by evil corporations.

At the end of the day, what Citizens United does is give Americans more speech.  People, organizations, communities, and other groups will have the ability to speak without fear of overstepping government's burdensome regulations on speech.  While it may make the campaign season more annoying with the endless amounts of commercials, it is clearly within the intent and meaning of the First Amendment.  We need more speech not less. 

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