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(LA Times)   Obama has destroyed America so thoroughly that California lawmakers propose the first Constitutional Convention since 1787   (latimes.com) divider line 256
    More: Hero, Citizens United, California State Senate, U.S. Constitution, joint resolutions  
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4296 clicks; posted to Politics » on 24 Jun 2014 at 1:38 PM (35 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-06-24 03:21:11 PM  
Nabb1:
Sure, it may have more raw economic power that most people. But if a Budweiser truck runs you over, do want liability limited to the driver or do you want Budweiser to be liable?
Do you think the individual persons whose acts directly caused the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico could satisfy $40 billion in claims? Corporations are bound by contracts when people sign them on their behalf. Should contractual obligations of a company be limited only to the person who signed it? I'm not even sure what you are talking about with regard to inheritance. You'll have to elaborate on that.


Ah yes, the parade of horribles. The problem is that there is nothing in Move to Amend amendment that deals with these issues nor do they in any way naturally or logically flow from such an amendment. The amendment simply deals with restoring Congressional power to regulate corporations. It does not imply or dictate any specific law, rule, or regulation--those are for Congress to decide.  It is about a transfer of power, nothing more and nothing less.
 
2014-06-24 03:22:13 PM  

Teiritzamna: Headso: Ok, still not seeing what that has to do with limiting their ability to participate in the political process has to do with individuals participating in the political process.

You cannot have a rational interpretation of the First Amendment that protects Alice and Bob in expressing themselves on their own as individuals, but that does not protect Alice and Bob when expressing themselves together.

The very fact that Alice and Bob have teamed up should not mean they lose their First Amendment rights.


luckily they don't have to form a corporation to team up as individuals.
 
2014-06-24 03:25:49 PM  

nmrsnr: No, forcing you to agree to certain limits on your speech before being given a grant to speak is curtailing your right to express yourself, but let's not get caught up on your absurd hypothetical.


You really aren't paying close attention here. You still can talk.  You would just need to get prior approval to spend money in spreading your opinion.  All we are discussing is allowing the government to put limitations on your use of resources to expand the reach of your opinions.  You can still shout on a street corner, or talk to a group or wherever else you want, as long as you dont spend resources to do it.

nmrsnr: This is akin to saying that since the government has laws that state that you can't own a bazooka, you have no right to bear arms. That ANY restriction or ruling saying that money is not equivalent to speech means that ALL restrictions on the use of money to enable the expression of an opinion are forbidden. To maintain this argument you'd have to agree that explicit bribery is acceptable, since that is merely expenditure of money to express how important a decision is to you. Which is equally as ridiculous a position the other direction.


Nope, because i understand how laws work and know that "the freedom of speech" is neither absolute nor without exception.  Bribery, fraud, fighting words, obscenity, defamation have all long been held to bot be within the ambit of the freedom of speech.

nmrsnr: Which is also a ridiculous standard.


It is also the legal one.

nmrsnr:  Imagine I hijacked a tv feed to make my message, since that's illegal you are curtailing all venues for me to state my opinion. By your logic, since there is one venue by which I have been barred in making my speech, the government is now welcome to bar an and all venues by which I might address the public, since if one is not protected, all are not protected. The principal that "any means by which you can get your opinion expressed" is not protected does not impinge on the freedom to express an idea. The logical underpinning of your argument just isn't true.

I dont even entirely know what you mean here, but let me parse this out for you:  You think that the courts of the land have declared that money is speech, that little dollar bills are the same as talking.  They have done no such thing.  What they have held is that the expenditure of resources in furtherance of expressive conduct is just as protected as talking or singing or any other physical expressive acts.  What you are asking for is to get rid of all of that. 

Here is Buckley v. Valeo on the subject:

"[V]irtually every means of communicating ideas in today's mass society requires the expenditure of money. The distribution of the humblest handbill or leaflet entails printing, paper, and circulation costs. Speeches and rallies generally necessitate hiring a hall and publicizing the event. The electorate's increasing dependence on television, radio, and other mass media for news and information has made these expensive modes of communication indispensable instruments of effective political speech."Buckley v. Valeo, 424 US 1, 19 (1976).
 
2014-06-24 03:26:25 PM  

qorkfiend: It should not give them enhanced First Amendment rights, either.


how are they enhanced?
 
2014-06-24 03:29:49 PM  

Headso: luckily they don't have to form a corporation to team up as individuals.


Sure - but sometimes they would be stupid not to.  I just dont see where in the First Amendment the freedom of speech is no longer in force if people happen to team up under a particular legal form.
 
2014-06-24 03:30:33 PM  

Teiritzamna: nmrsnr: This is akin to saying that since the government has laws that state that you can't own a bazooka, you have no right to bear arms. That ANY restriction or ruling saying that money is not equivalent to speech means that ALL restrictions on the use of money to enable the expression of an opinion are forbidden. To maintain this argument you'd have to agree that explicit bribery is acceptable, since that is merely expenditure of money to express how important a decision is to you. Which is equally as ridiculous a position the other direction.


Nope, because i understand how laws work and know that "the freedom of speech" is neither absolute nor without exception. Bribery, fraud, fighting words, obscenity, defamation have all long been held to bot be within the ambit of the freedom of speech.


The Supreme Court has defined corruption so narrowly that absent the revelation of a recording unequivocally showing person X handing a bag full of money to representative Y and telling representative Y "I'm giving you this $100,000 specifically so you will vote a certain way on resolution 257," representative Y won't get punished.
 
2014-06-24 03:31:39 PM  

Serious Black: The Supreme Court has defined corruption so narrowly that absent the revelation of a recording unequivocally showing person X handing a bag full of money to representative Y and telling representative Y "I'm giving you this $100,000 specifically so you will vote a certain way on resolution 257," representative Y won't get punished.


Could you elaborate on that?
 
2014-06-24 03:33:24 PM  

Serious Black: Nabb1: worlddan: Nabb1:

It doesn't. A corporation is nothing but a bunch of people who agree to abide by what is on that piece of paper. And that piece of paper means it can sue and be sued, be bound by contracts, own and lease property. It can't vote. It can't adopt people. It doesn't have all the rights natural persons have.

That is a silly retort. The mere that that a corporation in some areas doesn't have the same power as a natural born person is no evidence that it doesn't have more power in other areas. In fact, when it comes to issues like liability, inheritance, perpetuity, and so on corporations do have more power than a natural born person.

Sure, it may have more raw economic power that most people. But if a Budweiser truck runs you over, do want liability limited to the driver or do you want Budweiser to be liable? Do you think the individual persons whose acts directly caused the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico could satisfy $40 billion in claims? Corporations are bound by contracts when people sign them on their behalf. Should contractual obligations of a company be limited only to the person who signed it? I'm not even sure what you are talking about with regard to inheritance. You'll have to elaborate on that.

Budweiser can theoretically declare itself bankrupt and then, through the magic of limited liability, not have to pay out anything for you getting run over by one of their trucks.


I thought you couldn't bankrupt out of court judgements.
 
2014-06-24 03:33:56 PM  

Serious Black: Nabb1: Serious Black: Nabb1: worlddan: Nabb1:

It doesn't. A corporation is nothing but a bunch of people who agree to abide by what is on that piece of paper. And that piece of paper means it can sue and be sued, be bound by contracts, own and lease property. It can't vote. It can't adopt people. It doesn't have all the rights natural persons have.

That is a silly retort. The mere that that a corporation in some areas doesn't have the same power as a natural born person is no evidence that it doesn't have more power in other areas. In fact, when it comes to issues like liability, inheritance, perpetuity, and so on corporations do have more power than a natural born person.

Sure, it may have more raw economic power that most people. But if a Budweiser truck runs you over, do want liability limited to the driver or do you want Budweiser to be liable? Do you think the individual persons whose acts directly caused the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico could satisfy $40 billion in claims? Corporations are bound by contracts when people sign them on their behalf. Should contractual obligations of a company be limited only to the person who signed it? I'm not even sure what you are talking about with regard to inheritance. You'll have to elaborate on that.

Budweiser can theoretically declare itself bankrupt and then, through the magic of limited liability, not have to pay out anything for you getting run over by one of their trucks.

You think Budweiser is going to declare bankruptcy over one tort claim? Do you think a bankruptcy judge is going to allow that? How is Budweiser going to avoid that? People can declare bankruptcy, too. Like that Budweiser truck driver if you sue him and can't get to Budweiser.

I didn't say they would do it. I just said they theoretically could. And if the claim were large enough, yes, I think just about any corporation would choose to go bankrupt.


And their assets would be liquidated to pay their bills, which is a hell of a lot more money than you would get from the driver w/ your stupid alternative.
 
2014-06-24 03:36:44 PM  

Serious Black: The Supreme Court has defined corruption so narrowly that absent the revelation of a recording unequivocally showing person X handing a bag full of money to representative Y and telling representative Y "I'm giving you this $100,000 specifically so you will vote a certain way on resolution 257," representative Y won't get punished.


Which, if you note throughout this thread, i think is wrong.  That would, alas,  be one of the many points upon which I and the Supreme Court disagree.  Of course that is only in the context of political contributions, which has nothing to do with Citizen United (which is about spending money in parallel for political ads and films and the like).
 
2014-06-24 03:38:31 PM  

jst3p: Serious Black: Nabb1: worlddan: Nabb1:

It doesn't. A corporation is nothing but a bunch of people who agree to abide by what is on that piece of paper. And that piece of paper means it can sue and be sued, be bound by contracts, own and lease property. It can't vote. It can't adopt people. It doesn't have all the rights natural persons have.

That is a silly retort. The mere that that a corporation in some areas doesn't have the same power as a natural born person is no evidence that it doesn't have more power in other areas. In fact, when it comes to issues like liability, inheritance, perpetuity, and so on corporations do have more power than a natural born person.

Sure, it may have more raw economic power that most people. But if a Budweiser truck runs you over, do want liability limited to the driver or do you want Budweiser to be liable? Do you think the individual persons whose acts directly caused the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico could satisfy $40 billion in claims? Corporations are bound by contracts when people sign them on their behalf. Should contractual obligations of a company be limited only to the person who signed it? I'm not even sure what you are talking about with regard to inheritance. You'll have to elaborate on that.

Budweiser can theoretically declare itself bankrupt and then, through the magic of limited liability, not have to pay out anything for you getting run over by one of their trucks.

I thought you couldn't bankrupt out of court judgements.


That depends on the nature of the judgment. Filing for bankruptcy often stays all pending suits as well.
 
2014-06-24 03:40:38 PM  

Nabb1: Could you elaborate on that?


Under a series of cases goiing back to Buckley, and most recently seen in McCutcheon, the only type of political donation that the Government has an interest in preventing is so called "quid pro quo" donations, i.e. direct exchange of an official act for money.

I.e. if it isn't rank bribery, the government has no a compelling interest in stopping it.

I.e. this is stupid.
 
2014-06-24 03:43:36 PM  

Teiritzamna: Headso: luckily they don't have to form a corporation to team up as individuals.

Sure - but sometimes they would be stupid not to.  I just dont see where in the First Amendment the freedom of speech is no longer in force if people happen to team up under a particular legal form.


corporations are advocating for policies that are bad for the humans that actually live in America, being they are not human and don't actually have to inhabit the world the policies they advocate for create it makes sense that they not have a voice in creating that world.
 
2014-06-24 03:44:01 PM  

Teiritzamna: Nope, because i understand how laws work and know that "the freedom of speech" is neither absolute nor without exception. Bribery, fraud, fighting words, obscenity, defamation have all long been held to bot be within the ambit of the freedom of speech.


Except your previous comment (hope that's not filtered) was that "If the expenditure of money to expand the reach of your expression is not protected, if, to use the facile construction "money is not speech" then you have no such right." that ANY curtailage denotes a complete abolition of a right. That's a false standard, equivalent to the bazooka restriction I stated earlier. Once you agree that there are exemptions and other possible, arbitrary, standards, then you must agree that we can enshrine "no money for political speech beyond X" as a potential exception (just as surely as obscenity, which is even more poorly defined) without opening the door to banning posting on the Internet. Once that slippery slope argument is gone you really have nothing but worrying. Saying that money does not equal speech does not automatically eliminate any possible protection that expenditure of money may conceivably grant.
 
2014-06-24 03:44:54 PM  
A constitutional convention is the way to go ...Cali and Vermont rock, keep up the good work. Everyone else, get on the train!

More of this, please.
 
2014-06-24 03:45:47 PM  

Nabb1: red5ish: A constitutional convention, with this congress? Ah, ha ha ha ha, no thanks. Take away corporate "personhood" instead. Corporations are NOT people until you can put one in prison, and I'm looking at YOU Comcast.

Corporations often provide limitation of civil liability, but corporate officers and employees cannot hide behind corporate structures for criminal liability. Many of the corporate officers responsible for ENRON went to prison. How are you going to imprison a whole corporation? Jail everyone who works for it? From the boardroom to the mailroom? Maybe the shareholders, too. Even those teachers whose union added the stock to the pension portfolio. Please explain what you mean by putting a whole corporation in prison.


facetious
fa·ce·tious
fəˈsēSHəs/
adjective
treating serious issues with deliberately inappropriate humor; flippant.

On a more serious note, while I wholly support the right of individuals to participate in the political conversation, I am not happy when corporations participate. It seems inevitable that people with interest in a corporation - such as those you have listed above - will be contributing money "corporately" which they would not individually choose to contribute, supporting causes they, individually, would choose to oppose. I think a case could be made that their first amendment rights are being violated.
 
2014-06-24 03:47:37 PM  

Serious Black: Here's a link that discusses this specific algorithm. For those who don't want to follow, it draws districts by grouping census blocks, the smallest geographic units used by the Census Bureau, together in such a manner that no other grouping results in the residents of the state having a lower average distance to the center of their district. I don't think this system can really be gamed unless you somehow get a bunch of people to infiltrate the Census Bureau and redraw the blocks in a manner that will benefit you. That seems quite unlikely.


You might even agree with the most handsomest of Farkers that such an effort to game the algorithm would be "complicated, but possible". :)

I'm also hesitant to think that any government would accept a computer-generated map as-is without making "improvements", even those that don't corral all the dark folks into one snakelike district. Things like moving a line away from the middle of a densely populated area (like Silver Spring in your MD example - it makes little sense to divide an area like that between districts).

So, given those maps as a starting point for state legislatures to work with (and assuming they can't just hack MD back into the mess it currently is), it's easy to see how the result gets "gamed", one way or the other. Ending "majority-minority" districts (or really, anything that takes into account partisanship. Think geography and general community guidelines, like trying to keep a single area together rather than diluting its political power by sectioning it off into other districts) is a good place to start.

// though I do like the hybrid approach - automate, but verify
 
2014-06-24 03:50:09 PM  

Nabb1: Serious Black: The Supreme Court has defined corruption so narrowly that absent the revelation of a recording unequivocally showing person X handing a bag full of money to representative Y and telling representative Y "I'm giving you this $100,000 specifically so you will vote a certain way on resolution 257," representative Y won't get punished.

Could you elaborate on that?


I'll give you a condensed version and suggest that you read Lawrence Lessig's Republic, Lost for a more complete detailing.

What I specifically described in my example is quid pro quo corruption. I give you some goods, and you give me some activity in response to my giving you those goods. In Buckley v. Valeo, Citizens United v. FEC, and McCutcheon v. FEC, SCOTUS reiterated that it is constitutional to prohibit these kinds of activities even though they could arguably be seen as a form of speech. What the majority in none of these cases have accepted is an alternate form of corruption. Specifically, the form I'm talking about is what Lessig calls dependence corruption. Dependence corruption is a systemic problem where the elected members of a government are not faithfully representing the views of the constituents of that office. In our case, the elected members of Congress are more faithfully representing the views of the richest members of our society. When it comes to what bills are brought forward for up-and-down votes, what the content of those bills is, and how they vote, Congress consistenly fulfills the wishes of the absolute richest among us while only fulfilling the wishes of lower- and middle-class Americans except for when those wishes coincidentally match each other. That means they are not dependent on their constituents but on their funders.
 
2014-06-24 03:55:03 PM  

nmrsnr: Except your previous comment (hope that's not filtered) was that "If the expenditure of money to expand the reach of your expression is not protected, if, to use the facile construction "money is not speech" then you have no such right." that ANY curtailage denotes a complete abolition of a right. That's a false standard, equivalent to the bazooka restriction I stated earlier. Once you agree that there are exemptions and other possible, arbitrary, standards, then you must agree that we can enshrine "no money for political speech beyond X" as a potential exception (just as surely as obscenity, which is even more poorly defined) without opening the door to banning posting on the Internet. Once that slippery slope argument is gone you really have nothing but worrying. Saying that money does not equal speech does not automatically eliminate any possible protection that expenditure of money may conceivably grant.


Ah - i see the confusion.  I meant the following:

If the expenditure of resources to expand the reach of expression is not within the ambit of the First Amendment as you appear to be advocating, then there is no limitation on government curtailing such use of resources.

When i said "then you have no such right."i was referring to the right to expend resources in the furtherance of speech, not the right to speak at all.  Although i would argue that the bare right to make physical noises/gestures is a fairly limited one, and a construction where that is all the First Amendment protects within "the freedom of speech" is far too narrow.

Of course, i agree that just because the Government is not prevented from establishing limitations on speech by the First Amendment doesn't mean that the government must therefore impose such limitations.  But my experience writing briefs for the ACLU suggests that given that the government tends to try to restrict speech all the time "for good reasons", and the internet is often a major thorn in their side (see, e.g., Snowden), i would expect to see some major new regs on what can/can't be said online pretty quickly after an amendment freeing up the government to restrict the expenditure of resources in furtherance of expression.
 
2014-06-24 03:56:52 PM  

Eddie Adams from Torrance: Congress can barely agree on things like renaming post offices... I don't think a Constitutional Convention is going to fare much better in today's political climate.


i.imgur.com
 
2014-06-24 03:58:58 PM  

Somacandra: Eddie Adams from Torrance: Congress can barely agree on things like renaming post offices... I don't think a Constitutional Convention is going to fare much better in today's political climate.

[i.imgur.com image 594x403]


I think if we just drew by lots who should represent the states at the Constitutional Convention, you'd get a lot better result than if state legislatures and/or their Congressional delegations chose who should represent the states.
 
2014-06-24 04:00:48 PM  

Teiritzamna: What they have held is that the expenditure of resources in furtherance of expressive conduct is just as protected as talking or singing or any other physical expressive acts. What you are asking for is to get rid of all of that.


Sorry, I didn't respond to this. I'm actually not advocating that. What I am saying is that they are not equivalent and that curtailing one is not the same as restricting the other. They are not entirely independent, either, so that one can freely restrict one without an effect on the other, but money should not be given the SAME rights as speech because THEY ARE NOT THE SAME, the judges should absolutely consider what ramifications the expenditure might have on speech, in the same way they should consider the effects of voting laws on the ability to vote. You don't have a right to vote at 8am on a Tuesday, but if a district decided that it was only going to have voting hours between 11am and 1pm, the disenfranchising effect might raise it to an infringement on voting rights. That is, they are related, but not the same, since the district CAN legally decide that they want to close the polls at 9pm, and not midnight, without infringing. Same goes for money and speech: they are related, not the same.
 
2014-06-24 04:01:29 PM  

GoldSpider: Jairzinho: whidbey: Unfortunately, when I hear "Constitutional Convention" it brings to mind a bunch of people brandishing weapons.

The teatards brandish them anyway.
[4.bp.blogspot.com image 800x600]

Indeed, a reasonable person has a fearful reaction to the idea of changing the Constitution by the explicitly proscribed method.


When a bunch of gun nuts hog up the process with their Teatarded rhetoric, it's not fear, it's disgust.
 
2014-06-24 04:10:38 PM  

nmrsnr: Sorry, I didn't respond to this. I'm actually not advocating that. What I am saying is that they are not equivalent and that curtailing one is not the same as restricting the other. They are not entirely independent, either, so that one can freely restrict one without an effect on the other, but money should not be given the SAME rights as speech because THEY ARE NOT THE SAME, the judges should absolutely consider what ramifications the expenditure might have on speech, in the same way they should consider the effects of voting laws on the ability to vote. You don't have a right to vote at 8am on a Tuesday, but if a district decided that it was only going to have voting hours between 11am and 1pm, the disenfranchising effect might raise it to an infringement on voting rights. That is, they are related, but not the same, since the district CAN legally decide that they want to close the polls at 9pm, and not midnight, without infringing. Same goes for money and speech: they are related, not the same.


I must respectfully disagree.  What is protected under "the freedom of speech" is a broader set of activities than mere speech - it completely includes the expenditure of resources in furtherance of speech.  The Framers who drafted the amendments were more concerned with government curtailments on broadsheet publishers and handbills - the Internet and TV of the day - than they were with talking out loud, as it was the suppression of those very things that was the core of then British tyranny against "the freedom of speech."

It is not the same as merely an imposition on a right, such as a curfew on voting day, it would be the gutting of that same right - such as finding that the right to bear arms does not include the right to buy them.
 
2014-06-24 04:16:00 PM  

whidbey: Deneb81: Geotpf: shroom: Teiritzamna: shroom: FWIW, I think these groups are going about it wrong. Don't get me wrong, I'm against the Citizens United decision. But the problem is broader than this one decision. The more general issue that needs to be addressed is eliminating the whole idea of corporate personhood. Move to Amend has it right. Take away corporate personhood, and Citizens United takes care of itself.

So you want to take away the ability for companies to own property and sue/be sued so as to fix a perceieved problem that actually has little to nothing to do with with those previously mentioned abilities?  Because CU was predicated less on corporate personhood and more on good old fashioned first amendment jurisprudence - and removing corporate personhood would merely tactically nuke our economy, as every company basically becomes a full liability partnership, but the Koch Bros. can still bankroll as many ads as they want.

TLDR: Cunning plan/thinking/not all the way through

Where the hell did I say any of that?  I said end corporate personhood.  Corporations are artificial entities.  They should have the rights the people (by way of Congress) vote to allow them, and not have rights the people (by way of Congress) votes to not allow them.  Nothing more, nothing less.  I want hard limits on corporations donating to political campaigns, and I want the Supreme Court to stop telling me no.

How does that stop Sheldon Adelson, or the Kochs, or George Soros, or whoever from personally donating a billion dollars to political causes?

And how does it NOT stop normal 99%ers from forming advocacy groups?

See, that's the thing.

Corporations have a war chest for their "free speech," ordinary citizens don't have that advantage.

The process should be subsidized so that anyone can get their message across with the same effectiveness a billion dollar corporation does. It's the only way without repealing CU.


There are quite a few "ordinary citizens" who have a spare billion to spend on such.  In fact, corporate donations of this sort have been minimal since legalization in Citzens' United.
 
2014-06-24 04:16:34 PM  

Serious Black: tarkin1: The real problem with gerrymandering is that it is like porn:

1) You know it when you see it, but people can't agree on a definition.
2) When it's your gerrymandering, you love it, but when it's somebody else's, it's pretty disgusting.

There are several simple ways to kill gerrymandering, but they all argue about what kind of districting is appropriate.

Should you group similar people together?  As in everyone in the same city/neighborhood?   Even if that means that district is 90% one political party and the 3 surrounding ones are 55% the other party?

Should you maximize competitive districts?   Even it that means that if the state is 51% one party, that party wins ALL the districts?

Should you instead manage them so that if the state is X% one party, that party should have an advantage in X% of the districts, and a disadvantage in 100-X% of the districts?

Should you guarantee safe districts for minorities?

Should you just grid it out, regardless of other political or physical boundaries - so that the farmers who want the water are in the same district as the city that they fight with over the water?

 I personally think that the current system is the worst of all possible worlds.  Without any rules at all, people abuse them.    A simple rule such as no single district may be more than 15% different from any district it touches, could solve a lot of the worst abuses.


I like this proposal: use a computer algorithm that draws districts which are as compact as possible. It's a neutral criterion that can't be gamed whatsoever with arguments about communities of interest or adhering to natural landmarks. Here are some candidate results from the algorithm:

[img.washingtonpost.com image 600x786]

[img.washingtonpost.com image 600x636]


The problem is that there's no way to get this implemented because our government is so fundamentally broken that no legislative body would vote for it.
 
2014-06-24 04:17:52 PM  

IlGreven: Voiceofreason01: On the one hand there absolutely need to come up with better ways to finance elections, on the other we should be REALLY damned careful about how we limit free speech rights.

Step 1: Get it through everyone's thick skull: MONEY IS NOT SPEECH.

Everything else should fall into place.


But it requires money to pay for speech (beyond standing on a box in a downtown park).  Free speech is rarely free from monetary cost.
 
2014-06-24 04:20:54 PM  

Geotpf: And how does it NOT stop normal 99%ers from forming advocacy groups?

See, that's the thing.

Corporations have a war chest for their "free speech," ordinary citizens don't have that advantage.

The process should be subsidized so that anyone can get their message across with the same effectiveness a billion dollar corporation does. It's the only way without repealing CU.


There are quite a few "ordinary citizens" who have a spare billion to spend on such.  In fact, corporate donations of this sort have been minimal since legalization in Citzens' United.


So what? Exxon and Monsanto can still fart out propaganda at a moment's notice. Meanwhile 501(c)3's are still having bake sales.

The playing field is hardly level, and it's not "free speech" if it can be bought top dollar.

If CU is going to continue, then TV, radio and other common forms of communication should be provided free of charge.
 
2014-06-24 04:24:44 PM  

Teiritzamna: Nabb1: Could you elaborate on that?

Under a series of cases goiing back to Buckley, and most recently seen in McCutcheon, the only type of political donation that the Government has an interest in preventing is so called "quid pro quo" donations, i.e. direct exchange of an official act for money.

I.e. if it isn't rank bribery, the government has no a compelling interest in stopping it.

I.e. this is stupid.


Limits on direct campaign donations to any one candidate are still legal (and were, in fact, found specifically legal in McCutcheon).
 
2014-06-24 04:27:23 PM  

whidbey: Geotpf: And how does it NOT stop normal 99%ers from forming advocacy groups?

See, that's the thing.

Corporations have a war chest for their "free speech," ordinary citizens don't have that advantage.

The process should be subsidized so that anyone can get their message across with the same effectiveness a billion dollar corporation does. It's the only way without repealing CU.


There are quite a few "ordinary citizens" who have a spare billion to spend on such.  In fact, corporate donations of this sort have been minimal since legalization in Citzens' United.

So what? Exxon and Monsanto can still fart out propaganda at a moment's notice. Meanwhile 501(c)3's are still having bake sales.

The playing field is hardly level, and it's not "free speech" if it can be bought top dollar.

If CU is going to continue, then TV, radio and other common forms of communication should be provided free of charge.


Exxon and Monsanto (and almost all public corporations) have  never paid for "Vote for Sue" type ads, or even "Sue sucks because she didn't vote for Bill X" or "Tell Sue to vote yes on Bill X" type ads.
 
2014-06-24 04:28:03 PM  

Teiritzamna: it completely includes the expenditure of resources in furtherance of speech.


No it doesn't. My speech isn't protected if I want to expend my resources illegally, for instance (I can't graffiti someone else's billboard and have it be protected speech). Nor is my speech protected in certain places, where it would be legal elsewhere (electioneering is still prohibited outside polling places). We have made many, many restrictions on the use of influence and access on speech. Anti-Lobbying laws prohibit taking senators out to lunch, when that is a way of using your resources to get speech across.

Unless you think all of those are constitutionally protected, the "use of resources" is not completely protected as speech. You've just drawn a line somewhere I haven't.
 
2014-06-24 04:28:39 PM  

Geotpf: Teiritzamna: Nabb1: Could you elaborate on that?

Under a series of cases goiing back to Buckley, and most recently seen in McCutcheon, the only type of political donation that the Government has an interest in preventing is so called "quid pro quo" donations, i.e. direct exchange of an official act for money.

I.e. if it isn't rank bribery, the government has no a compelling interest in stopping it.

I.e. this is stupid.

Limits on direct campaign donations to any one candidate are still legal (and were, in fact, found specifically legal in McCutcheon).


I don't recall reading anything in the majority opinion that specifically said caps on direct donations to one candidate were constitutional. That would make sense because SCOTUS didn't have to say anything about the constitutionality of those caps to declare the aggregate caps unconstitutional.
 
2014-06-24 04:30:02 PM  

Geotpf: Limits on direct campaign donations to any one candidate are still legal (and were, in fact, found specifically legal in McCutcheon).


Indeed, never said they werent.  I do however, maintain that the McCutcheon majority's position that the only form of corruption that rises to the level of a compelling government interest is, as noted above, stupid.
 
2014-06-24 04:31:10 PM  
How is anyone surprised we're going the way of Rome?
 
2014-06-24 04:32:04 PM  

nmrsnr: JammerJim: Printing presses, ink, computers and the like aren't speech either, but we wouldn't restrict them.

That is correct. But printing presses, ink, and computers aren't government regulated entities, either. The government owns the airwaves and leases them to private organizations, saying that you can't buy an ad spot on the public airwaves is a far, far cry from saying you can't buy a printer, or Teiritzamna's suggestion that government requiring a license for paper and pencil.

In short:

[www.visi.com image 500x75]


I may be guilty of a fallacy, but I don't think it's that one.

I'm not suggesting that money restrictions would lead to printing press restrictions, but that money restrictions are like that in effect. Money, like a computer or printing press is means of getting your viewpoint out there.
 
2014-06-24 04:40:42 PM  

nmrsnr: No it doesn't. My speech isn't protected if I want to expend my resources illegally, for instance (I can't graffiti someone else's billboard and have it be protected speech). Nor is my speech protected in certain places, where it would be legal elsewhere (electioneering is still prohibited outside polling places). We have made many, many restrictions on the use of influence and access on speech. Anti-Lobbying laws prohibit taking senators out to lunch, when that is a way of using your resources to get speech across.


Wait what?  We were talking about substantive categories and now we are talking about free speech exception?

Ok. I shall take it very slowly:

1) The First Amendment prohibits the government from imposing limits on "the freedom of speech"
2) "The freedom of speech" includes many things, including the expenditure of resources for the furtherance of expression
3) however the freedom of speech also does not include things like obscenity, fighting words, incitement to imminent lawless action and so on
4) beyond that, even if an activity is found to be protected by the First Amendment, that is not the end of the analysis - one must assess what the government has done.  If it is a content based restriction on speech, then the government can still prevail with a limiting law, but it must show that the limitation is in furtherance of a compelling interest and that the limitation was narrowly tailored such that it was the least restrictive means of reaching the goal.  If it is not content based, the government has a lower bar to meet to show the limitation on speech is allowed.

You are talking about (4) when the discussion is about (2) - what is included within the freedom of speech.  Saying the expenditure of money is not speech is not akin to saying that a time place manner restriction is valid.  They are at different levels in the analysis.
 
2014-06-24 04:41:22 PM  

Geotpf: whidbey: Geotpf: And how does it NOT stop normal 99%ers from forming advocacy groups?

See, that's the thing.

Corporations have a war chest for their "free speech," ordinary citizens don't have that advantage.

The process should be subsidized so that anyone can get their message across with the same effectiveness a billion dollar corporation does. It's the only way without repealing CU.


There are quite a few "ordinary citizens" who have a spare billion to spend on such.  In fact, corporate donations of this sort have been minimal since legalization in Citzens' United.

So what? Exxon and Monsanto can still fart out propaganda at a moment's notice. Meanwhile 501(c)3's are still having bake sales.

The playing field is hardly level, and it's not "free speech" if it can be bought top dollar.

If CU is going to continue, then TV, radio and other common forms of communication should be provided free of charge.

Exxon and Monsanto (and almost all public corporations) have  never paid for "Vote for Sue" type ads, or even "Sue sucks because she didn't vote for Bill X" or "Tell Sue to vote yes on Bill X" type ads.


You are (perhaps deliberately) misunderstanding my point.

Once again, if corporations have that kind of power per Supreme Court decision, then so should the average citizen. Otherwise, CU is not equal protection. It gives a freakishly unfair advantage.
 
2014-06-24 04:46:38 PM  

whidbey: Once again, if corporations have that kind of power per Supreme Court decision, then so should the average citizen. Otherwise, CU is not equal protection. It gives a freakishly unfair advantage.


And where does CU indicate that they don't?
 
2014-06-24 04:47:05 PM  
Um, doesn't a Constitutional Convention put the entire US constitution up for grabs?  If there is a specific issue you think should be addressed at the constitutional level, a single amendment can be ratified without a convention.  In fact, this has been done 27 times.
 
2014-06-24 04:47:52 PM  

Teiritzamna: 1) The First Amendment prohibits the government from imposing limits on "the freedom of speech"
2) "The freedom of speech" includes many things, including the expenditure of resources for the furtherance of expression
3) however the freedom of speech also does not include things like obscenity, fighting words, incitement to imminent lawless action and so on
4) beyond that, even if an activity is found to be protected by the First Amendment, that is not the end of the analysis - one must assess what the government has done. If it is a content based restriction on speech, then the government can still prevail with a limiting law, but it must show that the limitation is in furtherance of a compelling interest and that the limitation was narrowly tailored such that it was the least restrictive means of reaching the goal. If it is not content based, the government has a lower bar to meet to show the limitation on speech is allowed.

You are talking about (4) when the discussion is about (2) - what is included within the freedom of speech.


And here is the crux of the disagreement, you claim that use of money is part of (2), I claim it's part of (4). Money IS NOT speech and therefore SHOULD NOT be protected as such. It therefore does not belong in the categorical protection category of 2. The fact that the Supreme Court placed it in that category I believe was a mistake, and that it properly belongs in category 4, where you CAN limit the expenditure through narrow, tailored legislation, just like you can say you speech isn't protected if you graffiti it on a wall.
 
2014-06-24 04:48:47 PM  

whidbey: Geotpf: whidbey: Geotpf: And how does it NOT stop normal 99%ers from forming advocacy groups?

See, that's the thing.

Corporations have a war chest for their "free speech," ordinary citizens don't have that advantage.

The process should be subsidized so that anyone can get their message across with the same effectiveness a billion dollar corporation does. It's the only way without repealing CU.


There are quite a few "ordinary citizens" who have a spare billion to spend on such.  In fact, corporate donations of this sort have been minimal since legalization in Citzens' United.

So what? Exxon and Monsanto can still fart out propaganda at a moment's notice. Meanwhile 501(c)3's are still having bake sales.

The playing field is hardly level, and it's not "free speech" if it can be bought top dollar.

If CU is going to continue, then TV, radio and other common forms of communication should be provided free of charge.

Exxon and Monsanto (and almost all public corporations) have  never paid for "Vote for Sue" type ads, or even "Sue sucks because she didn't vote for Bill X" or "Tell Sue to vote yes on Bill X" type ads.

You are (perhaps deliberately) misunderstanding my point.

Once again, if corporations have that kind of power per Supreme Court decision, then so should the average citizen. Otherwise, CU is not equal protection. It gives a freakishly unfair advantage.


So...the government should also buy everyone a church, a machine gun, and a brewery to go along with their printing press, right?
 
2014-06-24 04:50:39 PM  

Teiritzamna: whidbey: Once again, if corporations have that kind of power per Supreme Court decision, then so should the average citizen. Otherwise, CU is not equal protection. It gives a freakishly unfair advantage.

And where does CU indicate that they don't?


Well, when it gives corporations more power by default, pretty sure that protections for the average citizen are lip service.
 
2014-06-24 04:51:30 PM  
Ditch the electoral college, create ranked ballot and vote by mail. Require ballot retention for 4 years.

Require broadcasters to provide equal free air to all qualified candidates. Require all issue and candidate advertisement funding open, regardless of IRS classification.

Now CU ruling is irrelevant. Maybe add in corporate personhood only applies toward contracts or something. Allow SEC to set and enforce rules that prevent any one person from being on more than one board and require every board to have a director assigned by labor.
 
2014-06-24 04:53:18 PM  

nmrsnr: And here is the crux of the disagreement, you claim that use of money is part of (2), I claim it's part of (4). Money IS NOT speech and therefore SHOULD NOT be protected as such. It therefore does not belong in the categorical protection category of 2. The fact that the Supreme Court placed it in that category I believe was a mistake, and that it properly belongs in category 4, where you CAN limit the expenditure through narrow, tailored legislation, just like you can say you speech isn't protected if you graffiti it on a wall.


Fair enough - although the idea that the framers did not include the ability to make a handbill, or pay for ink within the "freedom of speech" is pretty alien to me.  It makes the First Amendment far far too limited for my taste.  And pretty much every court to address the question would disagree with you.

But! As a major proponent of a strong First Amendment I totally respect your ability to think we are all wrong.

And as a farker, i love the debate, so cheers!
 
2014-06-24 04:55:08 PM  
Other than the ridiculously narrow definition of corruption, Citizens United basically got things right.  As long as we allow money to influence politics it's going to be very difficult to say who can spend that money and in what amounts.  We have to stop private financing of elections.  We can't do anything about lobbyists - that's a human being talking to another human being more or less but we can prohibit political advertising.  Do what the UK does - short election windows and everyone that gets enough signatures gets the same amount of airtime.  For state and local elections people will have to do things the old fashioned way.
 
2014-06-24 04:57:16 PM  

whidbey: Well, when it gives corporations more power by default, pretty sure that protections for the average citizen are lip service.


Fun fact: The First Amendment aims to limit government interference in the marketplace of ideas.  that's it.  It doesn't aim to make the marketplace fair.

/Making the game fair is our job as intelligent citizens.
 
2014-06-24 04:57:31 PM  
In any case, this is not going to happen.  There's not going to be a constitutional convention, or even a new amendment passed by normal means, during my lifetime.  To do either requires a very large supermajority to agree that such is needed.  Right now, you couldn't get a large supermajority to agree that pizza is yummy.
 
2014-06-24 04:57:49 PM  
Ooh, almost forgot.

Limit SCOTUS "lifetime" appointments to periods of no more than 20 years. No re-appointment unless to Chief, possibly.
 
2014-06-24 04:58:49 PM  

Teiritzamna: whidbey: Well, when it gives corporations more power by default, pretty sure that protections for the average citizen are lip service.

Fun fact: The First Amendment aims to limit government interference in the marketplace of ideas.  that's it.  It doesn't aim to make the marketplace fair.

/Making the game fair is our job as intelligent citizens.


Like repealing an unfair law like CU.

Fun fact: I signed the petition to repeal it. So should you.
 
2014-06-24 04:59:07 PM  

Teiritzamna: whidbey: Well, when it gives corporations more power by default, pretty sure that protections for the average citizen are lip service.

Fun fact: The First Amendment aims to limit government interference in the marketplace of ideas.  that's it.  It doesn't aim to make the marketplace fair.

/Making the game fair is our job as intelligent citizens.


On man.  If that's true we are completely boned

(I actually agree with you).
 
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