Thursday, March 27, 2014

Threats: Billionaires, Corporations, Voter Suppression

(see more below)
(gotten worse, not better)

Flashback (January 21, 2010):  Another day that will live in infamy.

Holding: Political spending is a form of protected speech under the First Amendment, and the government may not keep corporations or unions from spending money to support or denounce individual candidates in elections. While corporations or unions may not give money directly to campaigns, they may seek to persuade the voting public through other means, including ads, especially where these ads were not broadcast.

JudgmentReversed, 5-4, in an opinion by Justice Anthony Kennedy on January 21, 2010 in a 5-4 decision with an opinion written by Justice Kennedy. Justice Stevens dissented, joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor.s

Corporate growth and influence since, including power of a handful of billionaires can be seen here (Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) report) (.pdf total 3 pages). 

Corporations continue to grow as seen herepay little in their share, and now they are perhaps about to gain the ultimate prize:  Control of our entire lives with a new forthcoming USSC ruling (Hobby-Lobby and the Birth Control mandate case ).

A reason to reflect: Think back four years ago to the case that expanded the rights and privileges of corporations as “persons” just like you and me.

That was the 5-4 ruling in Citizens United that said business corporations were entitled to the same First Amendment speech protections as private citizens and other associations when they spend money (called “independent expenditures”) to influence elections. 

Recall too that previously, the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law barred business corporations and labor unions from engaging in that kind of spending during the last weeks before an election.

The court tossed out those restrictions. Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote, “independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.”  The reaction from critics was WTF (or words to that effect).

Justice John Paul Stevens was so outraged by the decision that he read his 90-page dissent from the bench in the Supreme Court chamber, an almost unheard-of act of protest. His summary is worth recalling:

This ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the Nation. The path the Court has taken to reach its outcome will, I fear, do damage to this institution.”

And, let's not forget the current "Man behind the White House cash Hunting Party..." 

Sheldon Adelson - billionaire who spent $93 million in 2012 - his candidates lost - so what
(tax write off anyone?)

More here about Adelson ... and the brass ring kissers (next photo) - my take at least:

Kiss the ring, get his talking points for 2016 platform
(hope to win the GOP nod) 

Neat segment here:

More at my voter suppression library files below — FYI. Enjoy the research on these topics. Thanks for stopping by.

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