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(Washington Post) NewsFlash US Supreme Court: The Constitution created a plutocracy, duh   (washingtonpost.com) divider line 815
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18201 clicks; posted to Main » on 02 Apr 2014 at 12:07 PM (24 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»


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2014-04-02 12:47:21 PM

hasty ambush: Kevin72: If Sheldon Adelson wants to buy a president, he should have the right to have a primary so that he can put his hundred million behind the candidate that will at least get the nomination before losing to Hillary in 2014.

[www.trunews.com image 850x703]


DRINK!
 
2014-04-02 12:48:13 PM

EmmaLou: This is why who the president is matters, really. They appoint these lifers on the Court. I'd like to think that at some point SCOTUS was a group of people who actually cared about the US and took hard stands to protect our freedom because it's pretty plain to see it's a bunch of idiots being persuaded by big money like every other branch of government. Thanks Alito, Roberts, and the evil Scalia-Thomas monster.


To be fair, SCOTUS also upheld "separate but equal" for 50 years.
 
2014-04-02 12:48:21 PM
Help me out:

1) money is speech
2) speech is free by way of the 1st amendment

therefore

3) money is free

Can I start counterfeiting now?
 
2014-04-02 12:48:40 PM
Now that bribery is free speech this should be fun
 
2014-04-02 12:48:46 PM

d23: R.A.Danny: d23: JungleBoogie: So, if money is political speech, rich guys have a lot more political speech than you do.

Top Romney and Obama donors, from Politico.

I think that's precisely the flaw in the argument... and why the "money = speech" argument is such tortured logic.

Money is a tool. Using it to be heard is protected.

Bullshiat.  The argument IMPLIES that the rich person should have more speech than you do.


For the sake of argument, why shouldn't they?

Money is power.  They have more money.  Thus, they have more power.

The only way to make things "fair." would be either to decouple power and money, which isn't possible, because they are the same thing; or to give everyone equal money.
 
2014-04-02 12:48:48 PM

MattStafford: Coconut Approved Solution


See, even though you and I agree on almost nothing, this is why I can still stand you.  You can self efface at times.

:)
 
2014-04-02 12:49:05 PM
I wonder if the biggest effect from this decision will be seen at the lower levels of government; the local and state levels, not the Federal. Congress and Presidential elections already had millions of dollars funnelled their direction either through PAC's or direct contributions. Local candidates though almost always had to claw and beg for every dollar, and there were few PAC's supporting them either. Now there's no limit to how much money by one person (or corporation) can spend to elect politicians; sure they are still limited to a certain amount contributed directly to one politician, but suppose some rich guy decides he wants to contribute that much to EVERY state legislator running for office in his chosen political party? And then contribute the maximum allowed to EVERY local legislator from his party for his city? Here in NC back in 2012 we had the most expensive school board campaign ever; outside state organizations poured money into both sides. Now more of this is going to happen, drowning out the individual voices in favor of those with the most money.

The Oligarchy of America is what we've become.
 
2014-04-02 12:49:23 PM

DamnYankees: I'm not quite sure what the conservative position on this is.

1) Rich people ought to have more of an influence on politics than poor people.

2) All people should have an equal influence on politics, but the price to make that happen is too high.

3) People actually do have an equal influence on politics, and these restrictions are therefore unnecessary.

It's supposed to be #2, right?


I love playing Devil's Advocate on these kinds of things, but I seriously have nothing.  Constitutionally, it makes sense, but trying to come up with a reason that this particular practice should be allowed outside of "constitution sez so" is a pretty tough task.  I mean, as far as I can tell the line of thinking is this:  "Rich guys are republicans.  You're a republican.  Therefore let these rich guys influence politics because they are the same as you."  And the average person never makes the connection that the tail is wagging the dog, the rich guys are making you republican by these very tactics.  I don't know.
 
2014-04-02 12:49:36 PM

vonmatrices: Help me out:

1) money is speech
2) speech is free by way of the 1st amendment

therefore

3) money is free

Can I start counterfeiting now?


Speech is only free as in speech.
 
2014-04-02 12:49:51 PM

DeaH: Still think there's no difference who's elected president? President's from what party appointed the justices voted for this? Justices from which party voted against this?


But Obama is exactly like Bush, and furthermore like such as.
 
2014-04-02 12:50:06 PM
Eh. This country was going down the tubes anyway. May as well hurry the process along. The sooner everything is destroyed the sooner we can start to rebuild.
 
2014-04-02 12:50:17 PM

hasty ambush: Kevin72: If Sheldon Adelson wants to buy a president, he should have the right to have a primary so that he can put his hundred million behind the candidate that will at least get the nomination before losing to Hillary in 2014.

[soros.jpg]


DRINK!
 
2014-04-02 12:50:35 PM
So those of us still paying taxes get to have a bigger say things. Great news! That's the way it should be.

It will be a good counter balance to the 47% who pay nothing and vote for the party that promises them endless free stuff.
 
2014-04-02 12:50:50 PM
I hate this ruling but it is technically correct (the best kind of correct.jpg). Our system isn't perfect and this is one of its baked-in flaws. But it IS what is right according to the Constitution.
 
2014-04-02 12:51:03 PM

GardenWeasel: Miss Alexandra: I think what needs to be done--and yeah, I know, it's a pipe dream--everyone who's registered to vote should vote for anyone EXCEPT Republicans and Democrats.  Write someone's name in if you want, so long as the person meets the qualifications for the office in question.  The objective here is to get the current crop of Congress critters out of office.  (Say that rapidly a few times.)

Wrong. That mentality is why we are in this mess. Votes for Nader beget Bush, which beget Roberts and Alito who shat this vile decision out of their asses.


You're assuming that there's actually a difference between the "two" major parties.  If there was, you'd have a point.

Say you get 45% of votes for R, 40% of votes for D, and 15% of votes for a third party.  A Democrat would claim that a lot of the 15% would have voted for D.  I get that.

But here's the thing:  I count that as 85% of votes for the New World Order party and 15% against it.  Because I see no difference between R and D.  Just the packaging.

And people who run for Congress need to do so with the idea that they are SERVING their constituents, not the other way around.  That's why it's called public SERVICE.  You run for Congress, you need to have the mindset that you're going to be a servant, not an overlord.
 
2014-04-02 12:51:07 PM
WTF does that have to do with speech?
 
d23 [TotalFark]
2014-04-02 12:51:09 PM

sendtodave: For the sake of argument, why shouldn't they?


Because a citizen is supposed to have equal protection and equal representation in government.  There is no trailing clause to the phrasing that says "...unless you earn more money then you should have more voice."

The constitution is set up as a republic and it's not with regard to how much one earns or has in the bank.
 
2014-04-02 12:51:14 PM

chapman: MaudlinMutantMollusk: Lemme guess... 5-4?

/Koch suckers

Yes. Somebody needs to stop those Koch Bros from spending so much money, I mean just look at this list of top donors and how the Koch Bros insidiously don't even make the top 25:

[scontent-a-iad.xx.fbcdn.net image 514x480]


As per the link that JungleBoogie provided, Sheldon Adelson alone would be in slot 16, just in the last election cycle.  Despite your claim that's recorded political spending in the last 25 years.

Your list seems to indicate that Democrats are more scrupulous about actually providing transparency about where their money comes from, not that conservative figures aren't contributing tens of millions.
 
2014-04-02 12:51:21 PM

DamnYankees: Whoa whoa whoa. Why are we giving the people in the lead an advantage?


How else would you suggest we handle it?  Everyone polling over X gets an equal share?  Everyone on the ballot gets an equal share?  If you set the bar too low, you will get lots of extreme fringe candidates getting money that shouldn't be.  If you set the bar too high, it just reinforces the status quo.  I'm open to suggestions, however, and just made that solution up about 10 minutes ago.
 
2014-04-02 12:51:41 PM

AliceBToklasLives: Yes - the example I provided is more relevant to Citizens United, not this ruling. But the basic principle is the same. I can spend $1,000 on a political candidate, but for millions of folks even that much money is realistically beyond their means. Do I deserve more of a voice than someone working a minimum-wage job?


I would think the answer would be no as a moral point.  But remember this is not a moral point we are discussing, but a legal one.  The First Amendment is a negative right - a restriction against government meddling in speech.  Thus it could be (and has been) argued that the first amendment doesn't mandate any fairness with regard to the effectiveness of expression.  We are not all made to talk as softly as the quietest man, nor dance as poorly as the most uncoordinated.  Instead, the First Amendment is generally viewed to prevent only the government from farking with the game.  Thus a law mandating such equality coming from the government would be precluded.

TL;DR the First Amendment isn't meant to make the game fair, it exists to keep government from interfering with the game at all.

/for a delightfully contrary opinion, see Breyer's dissent from this case.  I don;t think he is right, but man i wish he was.
 
2014-04-02 12:52:00 PM

zedster: Money in politics may at times seem repugnant to some, but so too does much of what the First Amendment vigorously protects. If the First Amendment protects flag burning, funeral protests,and Nazi parades-despite the profound offense such spectacles cause-it surely protects political campaignspeech despite popular opposition. See Texas v. Johnson, 491 U. S. 397 (1989); Snyder v. Phelps, 562 U. S. ___ (2011); National Socialist Party of America v. Skokie, 432
U. S. 43 (1977) (per curiam). Indeed, as we have emphasized, the First Amendment "has its fullest and most urgent application precisely to the conduct of campaigns for political office." Monitor Patriot Co. v. Roy, 401 U. S. 265, 272 (1971).


So if money is free speech, can I spend my money to buy a sniper?  Is that protected under the 1st Amendment?  Is that not "political speech?"

From the same assholes who deny the Separation of Church and State part of the 1st Amendment.
 
2014-04-02 12:52:02 PM

sendtodave: vonmatrices: Help me out:

1) money is speech
2) speech is free by way of the 1st amendment

therefore

3) money is free

Can I start counterfeiting now?

Speech is only free as in speech.


Man, don't ruin my fun with liberty vs gratis argument about the word free.
 
2014-04-02 12:52:19 PM
"Spending large sums of money in connection with elections, but not in connection with an effort to control the exercise of an officeholder's official duties, does not give rise to such quid pro quo corruption," Roberts wrote.

Where does Roberts live? In the USA you donate to elections and later you cozy up to your rep and say, "remember all that money?"

Been the same way the last 40 years I've been here anyway.
 
2014-04-02 12:52:26 PM

Teiritzamna: Grungehamster: I absolutely disagree with the ruling and think it's ridiculous, but Roberts does concede that money does corrupt politics. He just argues that there is nothing you can do to prevent such influence beyond contribution caps on individual races (and Clarence Thomas claims even those are unconstitutional.)

Yup.

Also Jesus Thomas, outside of a few patent opinions, you are always the crazy guy in the corner.  Doesn't that bother you?


I can't wait to watch Republicans squeal in impotent rage when the Democrats start using this decision as a bludgeon after regaining the House in '16.
 
2014-04-02 12:52:36 PM

d23: R.A.Danny: d23: JungleBoogie: So, if money is political speech, rich guys have a lot more political speech than you do.

Top Romney and Obama donors, from Politico.

I think that's precisely the flaw in the argument... and why the "money = speech" argument is such tortured logic.

Money is a tool. Using it to be heard is protected.

Bullshiat.  The argument IMPLIES that the rich person should have more speech than you do.


Nothing is implied.
 
2014-04-02 12:52:40 PM

serial_crusher: Maybe we should all agree as a society to do diligent research into the candidates and their positions, and not let flashy TV commercials control our opinions.  Yeah, that sure would be swell.

/ A man can dream can't he?  A man can dream...


It is starting to happen.  Karl rove dropped  half a billion of other people's money on various races and crapped out on every single one.  in 2008, the Billionaire owner of Massey Energy tried the same thing in WV essentially trying to buy a majority in the statehouse by setting up a PAC that spent millions per candidate in races where total expenditures previously had been only in the low tens of thousands.

Again, he failed.  Utterly.  NONE of his candidates were elected
 
2014-04-02 12:52:54 PM

Serious Black: SphericalTime: Serious Black: zedster: Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts: 'We have made clear that Congress may not regulate campaign contributions to protect against corruption'

Are you goddamn serious? That was part of the opinion?


"The government has a strong interest, no less critical to our democratic system, in combatting corruption and its appearance," Roberts wrote. "We have, however, held that this interest must be limited to a specific kind of corruption - quid pro quo corruption - in order to ensure that the government's efforts do not have the effect of restricting the First Amendment right of citizens to choose who shall govern them."

Do I have a First Amendment right to kick John Roberts in the groin whilst wearing a steel-toed boot?


No.  There is not freedom to commit assault.
Unfortaunately.
 
2014-04-02 12:53:11 PM
Supremely corrupt.
 
2014-04-02 12:53:17 PM

FlashHarry: In 2012,sixty percent of the Super PAC money donated by individuals came from just 91 people, and 97 percent came from just 1,900 donors. The total amount that PACs raised from small donors of $200 or less is roughly equivalent to the amount given by just 629 "megadonors," who each contributed $100,000 or more.


Understand this is not about the 1% controlling elections, it is about the .01% controlling elections.
 
2014-04-02 12:53:19 PM

Contrabulous Flabtraption: I hate this ruling but it is technically correct (the best kind of correct.jpg). Our system isn't perfect and this is one of its baked-in flaws. But it IS what is right according to the Constitution.


Please point me to the exact place in the Constitution that says money is speech.
 
2014-04-02 12:53:25 PM

Lando Lincoln: Eh. This country was going down the tubes anyway. May as well hurry the process along. The sooner everything is destroyed the sooner we can start to rebuild.


You think that the rich and powerful having more riches and power, is going to cause the downfall of society?

Have you been paying attention to how humans repeatedly organize themselves over the last 10,000 years?

The rich having more power than you IS society.
 
2014-04-02 12:53:55 PM

farm machine: 2.  Donate as much as you'd like but all donations enter a single pool and all candidates, regardless of party affiliation, can apply for funding.  The amount you're eligible for will depend on the position (Governor, Senator, President, County Clerk, etc.) you're running for and your opposition will receive a like amount.


I like this concept, but why even donate?  Just have the government fund it straightaway.  The only question is what requirements would have to be met to apply for funding, and will all applicants receive the same amount?  For example, if the Neo-Nazi candidate applied for funding, should we give him the same amount that Obama would receive?
 
2014-04-02 12:54:33 PM

d23: sendtodave: For the sake of argument, why shouldn't they?

Because a citizen is supposed to have equal protection and equal representation in government.  There is no trailing clause to the phrasing that says "...unless you earn more money then you should have more voice."

The constitution is set up as a republic and it's not with regard to how much one earns or has in the bank.


Did you even read the rest of my post?
 
2014-04-02 12:54:34 PM

MattStafford: DamnYankees: Whoa whoa whoa. Why are we giving the people in the lead an advantage?

How else would you suggest we handle it?  Everyone polling over X gets an equal share?  Everyone on the ballot gets an equal share?  If you set the bar too low, you will get lots of extreme fringe candidates getting money that shouldn't be.  If you set the bar too high, it just reinforces the status quo.  I'm open to suggestions, however, and just made that solution up about 10 minutes ago.


I would probably make a rule saying something like "if you're polling above X% within 12 months of the election, you get Y dollars, and then if you're polling above Z% within 4 months of the election, you get another Y dollars." Something like that.
 
2014-04-02 12:54:35 PM
FTA: "If the First Amendment protects flag burning, funeral protests and Nazi parades - despite the profound offense such spectacles cause - it surely protects political campaign speech despite popular opposition."

Except flag burning, funeral protests and Nazi parades don't offend me at all. The rape and pillaging of our legislative system and democracy as a concept does offend me greatly, however. How can these things be equated?
 
2014-04-02 12:54:41 PM

TuteTibiImperes: FTFA: Justice Clarence Thomas agreed with the outcome of the case, but wrote separately to say that he would have gone further and wiped away all contribution limits.

Justice Thomas desperately needs to go EABOD.


If there's any Justice that needs to volunteer for an immediate fatal coronary, it's him.  It would be the only original or useful thing he's done his entire time on the Court.

/but there isn't any justice
 
2014-04-02 12:54:59 PM
 
2014-04-02 12:55:13 PM
I'll wait for Fudge Supreme's ruling.
 
2014-04-02 12:55:25 PM
Mr. Justice Roberts' Words FTFA:

Money in politics may at times seem repugnant to some, but so too does much of what the First Amendment vigorously protects," Roberts wrote. "If the First Amendment protects flag burning, funeral protests and Nazi parades - despite the profound offense such spectacles cause - it surely protects political campaign speech despite popular opposition.

Conclusive proof Roberts is a moron. And so is every person--every single one--who agree with this passage.

The issue isn't that campaign donations are "offensive." It is that they corrupt the process of government.   Neither flag burning nor funeral protests nor Nazi parades do so.

Conservatives: you want to impeach Roberts for NFIB v. Sebelius. I'm on board with you now. Not because I disagree with this decision, but because his reasoning proves he has been fully lobotomized and is therefore unfit to serve. Let's get this fancy lad off the court ASAP.
 
2014-04-02 12:55:26 PM

vonmatrices: Help me out:

1) money is speech


No.  Expending money in the furtherance of expressive conduct is part and parcel of that conduct.

2) speech is free by way of the 1st amendment

The government cannot generally preclude expressive conduct (outside of certain exceptions, see, e.g., obscenity) without showing that there is a compelling government interest and that the preclusion was necessary in meeting that interest.

therefore

3) money is free

Can I start counterfeiting now?


Alas, no.  Even if counterfeiting was held to be an expressive activity ("i am counterfeiting artistically), preventing counterfeiting is likley a compelling government interest and thus can be precluded.
 
2014-04-02 12:55:32 PM

FedExPope: FTA: "If the First Amendment protects flag burning, funeral protests and Nazi parades - despite the profound offense such spectacles cause - it surely protects political campaign speech despite popular opposition."

Except flag burning, funeral protests and Nazi parades don't offend me at all. The rape and pillaging of our legislative system and democracy as a concept does offend me greatly, however. How can these things be equated?


They are both protected speech. This was already covered.
 
2014-04-02 12:55:38 PM

serial_crusher: Maybe we should all agree as a society to do diligent research into the candidates and their positions, and not let flashy TV commercials control our opinions.  Yeah, that sure would be swell.

/ A man can dream can't he?  A man can dream...


I've completely read every response up to yours, and I think it's the best. There may be others I haven't gotten to yet, but your reply hits on two things that others here seem to miss.
1) Right off the bat, "Personal Accountability". It seems most people simply want to be fed everything and then blame others when they get sick, versus making an effort to think for themselves and have an interest in what they are eating. In other words, too many too lazy to act for themselves and then blaming others when things don't go their way.

2) "Come to me with solutions, not problems." Seems most of the replies prior to your's are people whining about what is already known and offering no solutions. Your reply, while simplistic in its premise, is at least 'something', which is more than nothing. Strangely enough, it's also the most tangible and easily implemented by the masses. ...probably why it will never catch on.
 
2014-04-02 12:56:05 PM

Bendal: I wonder if the biggest effect from this decision will be seen at the lower levels of government; the local and state levels, not the Federal. Congress and Presidential elections already had millions of dollars funnelled their direction either through PAC's or direct contributions. Local candidates though almost always had to claw and beg for every dollar, and there were few PAC's supporting them either. Now there's no limit to how much money by one person (or corporation) can spend to elect politicians; sure they are still limited to a certain amount contributed directly to one politician, but suppose some rich guy decides he wants to contribute that much to EVERY state legislator running for office in his chosen political party? And then contribute the maximum allowed to EVERY local legislator from his party for his city? Here in NC back in 2012 we had the most expensive school board campaign ever; outside state organizations poured money into both sides. Now more of this is going to happen, drowning out the individual voices in favor of those with the most money.

The Oligarchy of America is what we've become.


This is what pisses me off.  I'd strongly favor limiting contributions somehow if you aren't even eligible to vote for the person.  If you live in Maine you don't need to be farking with politics in Florida for example.
 
2014-04-02 12:56:20 PM

NickelP: Delta1212: Well shiat

/on reflection and further reading, this is less dire than I originally thought
//Still, well shiat

That is just because people haven't come up with creative ideas to exploit it yet.  Look forward to groups with common interests that expressly donate together.  1 dude donating the max won't make someone flip their vote.  When a group donates to a large number and their issues comes up, saying 'hey we have 10,000 donors that will either donate to you or your next opponent.  Why don't you sit the fark down and listen to what we'd like you to do for a second' goes a long long way.


Yes, but isn't that basically called a SuperPAC?
 
2014-04-02 12:56:45 PM

Baz744: The issue isn't that campaign donations are "offensive." It is that they corrupt the process of government.   Neither flag burning nor funeral protests nor Nazi parades do so.


Seriously. What a god awful argument. The issue with campaign finance isn't one of "offense". It's an entirely different thing.
 
2014-04-02 12:57:02 PM

cchris_39: So those of us still paying taxes get to have a bigger say things. Great news! That's the way it should be.

It will be a good counter balance to the 47% who pay nothing and vote for the party that promises them endless free stuff.


Regurgitating talking points from 2012?  That's sad even for you, mr Internet CFO.
 
2014-04-02 12:57:06 PM

cchris_39: So those of us still paying taxes get to have a bigger say things. Great news! That's the way it should be.

It will be a good counter balance to the 47% who pay nothing and vote for the party that promises them endless free stuff.


47% of the country voted for Romney.  Weird coincidence, huh?

Also, no, this means people that can afford to offshore their money have a bigger say in things, not tax paying Americans.  Anyone who thinks this isn't a giant F you to the vast majority of tax paying Americans is an idiot.
 
2014-04-02 12:57:27 PM

MattStafford: I love playing Devil's Advocate on these kinds of things, but I seriously have nothing.  Constitutionally, it makes sense, but trying to come up with a reason that this particular practice should be allowed outside of "constitution sez so" is a pretty tough task.


Shouldn't a court ruling on constitutionality be based only on "constitution sez so"?
 
2014-04-02 12:57:32 PM
What's the big deal? At least we don't need superPACs anymore
 
2014-04-02 12:57:36 PM
Good. Now maybe the Libertarians can take in some serious money.
 
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